Okay, so maybe the bucket isn’t partially full – it’s probably more like a few drops – but progress is progress and that’s what I’m celebrating! After the recent debut of my Bucket List, I thought I’d keep the momentum going by sharing a few stories for things I’ve already completed, as well as announce two that are upcoming. Here we go!
#67: Go to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno – July 17, 2012
Jay Leno was my go-to nighttime show for probably fifteen years. I rarely watched his stand-up, and only occasionally stopped to catch the antics of his regular segments (with the exception of “Headlines”) or listen to the musical guests. I was there for one purpose: the interviews. I loved Jay’s style: warm, effusive, funny, humble. He made it about the other person. He didn’t interrupt his guests, or keep trying to draw focus to himself – it wasn’t about him. He just asked questions and then got out of the way. Love. That.
Over the years I also got to know his cat, Cheese, and his wife, Mavis. Despite being an incurable flirt, Jay always got a little doe-eyed and affected when talking about Mavis, which, on any man, is pretty much the sweetest thing ever.
When the network first ousted Jay, I was heartbroken. Going to The Tonight Show had long been on my list and now it seemed I wouldn’t get the chance. Then the startling news: they were going to reinstate him! When that happened I knew I’d also been given another opportunity and had to seize it. I’m so glad I made it happen.
Episode #4288 featured guests Kate Beckinsale, Adam Carolla and musical guest Lionel Richie. Before the taping, Jay came out on stage to say hello and welcome us all to the studio. (If you know anything about Jay, you know his off-camera wardrobe consists of denim, denim and more denim, and sure enough, there he was in his denim duds!) He invited a few people to come up on stage for photos, answered some questions, gave us a quick overview of what to expect, and then left to go change into his suit. The atmosphere was comfortable and inviting; it felt like we were all sitting around in his living room.
After the show, in the parking lot, a small group had gathered around whatever crazy antique car he was driving in an attempt to shake his hand or try to catch a few words with him. Even there he was every bit the gracious and goofy guy he always seemed to be on TV, and that made me happy – for a lot of reasons, but really because it had just validated all the time and energy I’d invested in Jay over the years. Authenticity is important to me. Passion is important to me. That afternoon in Burbank, I got both.
#62: Visit Ghirardelli’s in San Francisco, CA – April 20, 2014
I knew going in this wasn’t going to be one of those life-changing sorts of list items. It was just for fun and interest: I simply wanted to see the famous home of one of my favorite chocolate companies. Turns out it takes up a whole block near Fisherman’s Wharf (a place aptly named Ghirardelli Square) and features lots of shops, dining and – you guessed it – chocolate. I saw it at night, which is cool, because the building is outlined in lights and there’s a huge Ghirardelli sign above it that’s visible from the Bay. Even though you can buy their chocolate anywhere now, it was still cool seeing this historical landmark. The only thing I missed was a factory tour. They have chocolate-making equipment, but it’s a demonstration, not a factory. Guess I’ll have to hold out for Hershey’s to see that!
#49: Go to The Oprah Winfrey Show – April 6, 2011
Anyone who ever wanted to attend a taping of Oprah’s show knows it was a major coup getting tickets. Some people reportedly spent years trying to do it, and without success. If you were one of them, I’m sorry – for the frustration of it all, and because of what I’m about to say: I got two tickets on my very first try. (Excuse me, I think I’ll just type the rest of this post from underneath my desk. It’s quite cozy there. And much safer.)
Perhaps it will soften the blow to say it wasn’t a “Favorite Things” episode (ours was one of those “Where are they now?” recap shows), and that while the process itself was a well-oiled machine, it ended up being a very formal, technical thing, with lots of waiting around and people ushering you about. I know production isn’t necessarily a glamorous thing – that’s not what I’m referring to. It was the fact that so little of Oprah’s personality infused the proceedings. It was just so… official, or something. Perhaps it was just that day, or maybe just that episode, I don’t know. I guess I was hoping it’d have more of the magic that I was used to seeing from the TV side of things. Don’t get me wrong – I’m very grateful I had the experience. It just wasn’t what I expected it would be. That’s not a bad thing. I still got the chance to drag a friend along, enjoy a road trip to Chicago, revel in the behind-the-scenes action (something both of us geek out for), be part of Oprah’s 25th/Farewell Season, spot myself on TV once the episode aired, and check off one more thing on this crazy list of mine!
And here’s what I’ve got coming up…
#32: Learn to play the Ukulele
I have ordered my very first ukulele and it should be here this week! It’s a darling little Makala Dolphin Soprano in black, thanks to a recommendation by Brett McQueen at Ukelele Tricks. I’ve been looking through some of his free web training already, but I also know if I really want to give this an honest try (and I do) then I need one-on-one instruction. To that end, I will turn to TakeLessons to find a fellow enthusiast to teach me.
There are times (like now) where I bemusedly wonder what I am doing. What on Earth will I do with this skill? I have no aspirations to play publicly. I don’t sing. But then I find another video of someone playing a ukelele and I don’t have to wonder anymore, because I am hopelessly charmed all over again. Sometimes that’s all the answer I need.
#47: Try Curling
In a few weeks, I will get to try my hand at Curling for the first time! I’m quite excited about this one. Turns out my local Four Seasons Curling Club offers a training course that costs $10 for 2 hours. How much more no-brainer can you get? Plus, three-quarters of that time is spent on the ice, learning the practicals and then playing a short game, which makes all the difference. I don’t want to listen to someone talk about the sport, I want to play it! Oh, and in case you’ve always wanted to give this a whirl yourself, there’s still space open in May!