RHYS BOWEN: Since we're all in reflective mode at the end of the year I thought I'd revisit this post to see what things I had done during the year that pushed me outside my comfort zone. I'm sad to report that I have not been up the Amazon, nor swum the English Channel, nor climbed any major mountain. I haven't learned Mandarin or to play the viola or make a good souffle.
The only thing I've done during the past year that was pushing the limits a bit for me was to agree to write a third book this year. Usually I write one Molly Murphy book and one Royal Spyness and I find that quite enough, when combined with research, travel, book tours etc. But I'd written a Christmas book for Penguin and it did well, so my other publisher asked me to write one for them. Of course, I said. No problem. (thinking that it would be the one book of the year, as it had been for Penguin). Then I found out it was AS WELL AS. I tried to back out. They pleaded. They kept coming up for solutions to make it easy for me. Finally it was easier to say yes, but it hung over me all year, knowing I'd have to come up with the energy and enthusiasm to write it.
I'm happy to say the first draft is done. Mission accomplished. It's called AWAY IN A MANGER and it will be out next November. And it's a sweet Christmassy story too.
So here is the post that got me thinking:
RHYS: Like most people I subscribe to Groupon, Living Social etc. I thought I filled in a profile when I joined so they would know what my interests might be. However recently I have been offered discounts on such diverse things as tandem skydiving and pole dancing.
Do they really see me as a sky-diving type? Or a pole dancer?
So I'm coming to the conclusion that there are some things I've never done in my life and now will never do. I will never sky dive. Since I hate the fast rides at the carnival the idea of hurtling toward the ground and praying that the chute will open does not appeal to me.
I will never shoot the rapids on the Colorado River (having known friends who were flung out of the boat and bashed against rocks for several miles. Uh, no thank you. Not my idea of fun.
I will never eat a fried Twinkie. I didn't know they existed until the twinkie factory closed and then there was a big uproar. I might have tried one in my youth, but now I watch my sugar and calorie intake this seems like a suicide mission.
And regretfully I'll never marry Robert Redford. Rats.
But there are other things I'm not ruling out. I may learn to pilot a plane, drive a race car. I really hope to go on a safari in Africa. It's one of the few things not accomplished on my bucket list.
So Reds: are there things you know you'll never do now? Any regrets? Any things you are still determined to do, however crazy they may seem?
LUCY BURDETTE: Oh Rhys, I thought we were twins separated at birth with the skydiving and rapids rafting and definitely Robert Redford! But I am also not interested in drag racing or flying planes. Nor climbing Mount Everest or any other scary mountain. When that story broke about the Sherpas (heartbreaking!), all I could think was those people are insane. And I will be shocked if some of them continue to climb in the wake of the terrible loss.
I'm basically a weiny when it comes to physical risk-taking, and that's okay with me:). As I told my sister, I like my adventures in my mind...
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I will never eat ham salad. Or sweetbreads. And I'm iffy on lima beans. Sky-diving? Not a chance on this planet. Rock-climbing, nope. Motorcycles, anything to do with motorcycles. Forget it. I'm even unhappy on bicycles, since I broke a collarbone when I decided it would be easier to go OVER the curb when I was going too fast at the Newton rotary--and I learned you cannot go OVER the curb. I HAVE white-water rafted. Level five rapids on the Chatooga. It was actually great. So I am absolved from doing it again.
Yeah, I know I will never win a Pulitzer. That is SO sad.
RHYS: Hank, I adore sweetbreads (if a French restaurant cooks them). And I have come to accept that I will never win that Edgar (okay maybe lifetime achievement when I'm too old to enjoy it). I completely agree with the lima beans. No reason to exist. (And when I went to find this picture of them there was an article called 8 Poisonous foods we commonly eat. Nuff said.)
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: I've eaten grasshoppers and worms in Mexico and who-knows-what in Japan — but those days are over, since I'm now a vegetarian-trying-to-be-vegan. However, like Hank, I'm iffy on lima beans.
Just two years ago, I broke my knee trying to skateboard. (Yes, I know. My son asked me.) Since then I seem to have lost my fearlessness and approach everything a bit more carefully....
HALLIEPHRON: I heart lima beans. Really I do. And I have a recipe for the best creamy lima bean soup... will post one day soon. Sweetbreads not so much. Ditto almost any of the organ meats. And okra cooked slimy leaves me cold.
While you ladies pole dance and sky dive, fly planes and bungee jump, I'll be over there on the bench sitting with Roberta, sipping tea and eating homemade linzer cookies.
What I'm sorry I missed (and quite sure that I have): wearing sexy shoes when I still could.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I've been getting the same sky-diving Groupon! Must be a trend! But I think I can say with certainty that I will NEVER sky-dive. Or bungee jump. Or go white-water rafting (much to hubby's disappointment.) (Although I'm very proud to say that I have been sculling on the Thames, which was probably the most exciting thing I've ever done.)
I won't climb Mount Everest, although I have for years been fascinated by those who do.
I will probably never drive again in Mexico City, or, God help me, Rome.
But I'm with Rhys on the African safari, and with Hallie on the lima beans:-) And unlike Hank, I heart sweetbreads. My mother used to make them regularly and I miss them, but hubby will not eat them so I don't cook them.
And I would really, really like to take a narrow boat holiday in England, and spend a summer cooking in Tuscany or the south of France.
Anyone want to join me?
RHYS: Yes--me! Me! I've been intending to do a narrowboat holiday in England. How about a writing retreat/narrowboat holiday next year??
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: May I come? That's one of my dream vacays. Write all day as you float along the rover, drinks and good food in the evening... but our topic is things I've never tried, and now never will. Hmm. Doing basic car maintenance. I thought for years I ought to be able to change my own oil, but I have now surrendered to the realization that I'm never going to do this when I can head over to Jiffy Lube instead. Make fancy cakes and cupcakes. Always thought I ought to, because my mother was such a whiz at it, but nope, it never happened.
Some of my never-wills have to do with my kids ageing out: I'm never going to create elaborate holiday customs for them (harking back to earlier this week.) I'm never going to make those needlepoint Christmas stockings I always planned to, but never actually took the time to get started. Never going to do mother-daughter or sister-sister dresses. If I'm wearing the same thing as my 21-year-old Smithie, one of us is really not doing it right, and the only way my daughters are going to wear the same dress now is if they're both bridesmaids in a cousins' wedding.
No to bungy jumping, but I never wanted to bungy jump, even in my youth. The narrowboat writing retreat, however, may just rise to the top of my bucket list after this.
RHYS: So let's hear from you. What things have you never done and now never will? Any regrets?