Thriftygal’s California Bucket List

By | December 20, 2016

I just spent a couple of months in the beautiful state of California. Specifically, the bay area of California. I know what you’re thinking because I thought it too initially. Two months in one spot? Holy cow. I CAN DO SO MUCH.

You have to expect more of yourself and think big. This is why I make my various stupid lists. To set up expectations. Celebrate it when you rock it. Do you remember when I shared my “Anchorage Bucket List” with you? I rocked that. You were probably impressed with how hard I rocked it.

As much as you have to think big, you also have to refrain from being a huge jackass to yourself when you can’t make your success explosion noise. That’s slightly harder to do, but probably more important.

I say this because, naturally, I made a bucket list for this trip. I called it my California Bucket List: Visit Number Seven Million and Three to this Glorious Place. But, I only crossed off one item on this baby.

Thriftygal’s California Bucket List: Visit Number Seven Million and Three to this Glorious Place

1. Write a book.

I wish I had been a wee bit more precise with the wording of this item. Even though I worked to the point of obsession and managed to complete a first draft, I can’t cross this off and make explosion noises. Yet. It’s not done. It’s not out in the world.


2. Strengthen three friendships with people I know in this area.

You know the spiel. Do things with people. Make memories. Become friends. Do more things with those same people. Make more memories. Become closer friends.

I hung out several times with one of my besties from Sydney who now resides in San Francisco. One friendship stronger.

Me and Janan in San Fran. That rhymes.

But the rest of the time I lived a rather hermit-like existence. Working on the book, ya know. My other interactions with people in this ‘hood were one-offs. Perhaps I strengthened a few acquaintanceships. That’s not a word.

3.  Sit in Judge Judy’s audience while she’s taping and cross off bucket list item #22 (be an extra on a television show or movie).

If you’re a casual fan of Judge Judy, you might think she tapes her show in the city of New York. The scenery filler shots before commercials and the state flag behind her all work to perpetuate that myth.

Creepier fans know that she lives in New York, but tapes in Los Angeles. Her courtroom audience is also made up of paid extras. I had the idea that perhaps I could take a quick trip to LA and get tickets to sit in her audience. Maybe we’ll get to talking when we pass in the hallway. I could explain how much I enjoy watching her dole out justice. She’d cackle with me. We’d become besties.

Fail. Massive fail.

Judge Judy never replied to any of my many emails or calls requesting a spot in her studio audience. She’s busy. I get it. I still love her. No hard feelings. Plus, I’m pretty sure the extras are all unionized. It’s not reasonable to interfere with someone else’s livelihood just so I can cackle with Judy.

I suppose.

4. Go on two mini trips

I pictured myself doing a few quick trips. I’ve never been to San Diego. That’s unacceptable. Or Salt Lake City. Both of these are cheap plane rides away from the bay area. And of course, Los Angeles for item #3.

Fail. Although not as miserable.

This stupid, glorious book took up all the air available to me. I’ve still never been to San Diego. That’s still unacceptable. The state of Utah remains white on my visited places map.

I did go to Maui for a few days. That’s why the fail is not truly miserable. Good old Hawaii.

Beach time in Maui.

5. See an animal. Preferably wild.

I saw a seal in the water while sailing in San Francisco. Some deer while out hiking. I made frequent trips to the animal shelter and cooed to the kitties and the doggies.

This is always a fun item to cross off.

6. Go bowling or roller skating. You haven’t done that in a while.

I didn’t make time to do this.

7. Biking.

I had easy access to a bike here, but I took advantage of it only once. In my defense, the hills are positively psychopathic here.

My trip wasn’t exactly how I envisioned it, but so what? It was still pretty sweet. I walked around outside a bunch even though it was winter because California offers beautiful weather all the freaking time. I read some good books. You’ll hear about them soon enough. I attended a few fun parties. I got addicted to a thing called “fitbit” and bought one for myself. This watch thing tells me when I’m being lazy. Best of all, when I reach my daily goal of 10,000 steps, it makes explosion vibrations and explosion visuals while I supply the explosion noises. How could I not love that?

Life is good.

I may not have crossed off many items on this list, but I’m still big-picture-thrilled with myself. My “fails” for the last couple of months include a trip to Hawaii and finishing a first draft of a book. That’s some pretty happy failure there. Aim high. Higher.

11 thoughts on “Thriftygal’s California Bucket List

  1. Classical_Liberal

    Ha! Finally one up’ed Thrifty Gal on travel (this will never happen again)…I’ve been to San Diego! (explosion noise).

  2. Marla Martenson

    Back in 2001, when I moved back to LA after having lived in Chicago for 5 years, I was doing various gigs to make money until I got something full time going. I was an actress/waitress but wasn’t quite ready to go back to waiting tables. So.. I did audience work through an agency that books people for that, and Judge Judy was one of the regular shows I did. We got 40 bucks cash for the day, and that was a big paying gig, because most of them paid 6-8 bucks an hour cash, and you usually weren’t there for more than a couple or a few hours. Many of the shows I did were game shows, and some talk shows. It was interesting work. Many of the people who did audience work lived in the hostel on Hollywood blvd. Many didn’t have cars, many were just scraping by in life. There were some real characters!

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      How incredibly cool that you got to do that! And thanks for affirming what I suspected about other people needing the gig more than I do.

      1. walter

        so…is it not okay to push, step on/over, cut in front of others in pursuit of a bucket list item? i was going to suggest a SAG card if that helps to cross it off the bucket list.

  3. tt

    ah, dissonance… the pic w/ blue water & bare legs?

    Having grown up 2 blocks from the beach in SF, wedged between GG Park & the Zoo, I knew I wasn’t looking at my gloomy, coldish beach @ the great highway!

    FYI: with a bike, do hill sprints from the beach @ say, Santiago, to 19th Ave. Grab a breath, cross 19th (carefully) & sprint farther up the hills. psychopathic? Nah, just another day flying through the rain & fog. For extra credit w/the bucket list, perform without checking brake pads before the ride back down… (This will feel as if you’ve crossed off #45)

  4. Palindrome

    I went to San Diego in ’08. I thought it was just ok, maybe because I was there for only a few days, and my friend who hosted me was kinda cranky, and I couldn’t really escape her. I really like the San Diego zoo, though, and we visited Tijuana and another city in Mexico, which was fun. Mexican food saved the trip!

    San Fran is my bucket list! And I can’t wait to read your book once it comes out. No pressure or anything 😉


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