The FUN List Revised

Balloons_in_the_skyBack in 2014, when I was figuring out what I wanted to do for Cynthia’s Yearlong 50th Birthday Bash (read about that here), I managed—sadly—to omit fun entirely. Sure, launching a project or doing something new can be fun, but it’s not the same as fun for the sake of fun. My ex-husband, Michael 1.0, used to be good at reminding me to have more fun, but without his influence I tend to forget. (I know, I know. What can I say? It’s sad but true.) Then a friend told me that for her 50th birthday she made a list of activities she wanted to do and asked friends to join her. I loved this idea, and so, the concept of The FUN List was born.

Here were the ground rules: I made a list of things I’d always wanted to do but never gotten around to doing. Or things I hadn’t done in awhile and wanted to do again. If someone thought I’d forgotten something, they had permission to make a suggestion. After all, I was clearly in need of help when it came to fun.

Since I made the list in 2014, here are some of the activities that I did:

  • Drove to Half Moon Bay for fresh seafood and visited “Dog Beach” with Katie and Delta.
  • Visited the Oakland Zoo again.
  • Visited the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.
  • Took Katie to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and rode the wooden rollercoaster. (Katie bailed on the Big Dipper at the last minute, but Nate and I took turns riding it, which brought back so many great memories. It also reminded me that I’m not in my twenties any more!)
  • Returned to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk many times. This is Katie’s “happy place.”
  • Checked out the Exploratorium in its new waterfront location. Twice! (I still love that museum.)
  • Hung out and had dinner with my girlfriend Jennifer in Santa Cruz.
  • Had drinks and dinner at The Last Word in Livermore.
  • Ate an ice cream sandwich from C.R.E.A.M. (Okay, I’ve eaten several.)
  • Had mac and cheese with bacon at The Rock House.
  • Took a road trip to Santa Barbara over Spring Break to visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to see a children’s book art exhibit. Explored the Paso Robles wine region as well.
  • Visited my girlfriend Deborah several times in Capitola/Santa Cruz while she worked on a temporary assignment. Katie had so much fun swimming in the pool and watching HGTV with Homer, Deborah’s dog, she thinks I’m lying when I tell her Deborah doesn’t actually live there.
  • Saw a Shakespeare and Associates summer production in the outdoor theater at Wente Vineyards. Cyrano de Bergerac was incredible!
  • Hiked in various East Bay Regional Parks, including Brushy Peak for the first time!
  • Drove to Pescadero for green chili soup, boysenberry pie, and relaxation on a windswept beach.
  • Tried several new (as in, new to me) restaurants: Posada and Roya in Livermore, Kingfish in San Mateo (now sadly closed), Taqueria La Espuela and Cascal in Mountain View, Refuge and Mama Coco in Menlo Park, and Palo Alto Sol.
  • Drank Philz coffee for the first time.
  • Stayed in Truckee for the weekend with the gals I met in my college dorm 35 years ago. (You can read more about that here and here and here).
  • Went to the Oakland Zoo during the holiday season for ZooLights.
  • Visited the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.
  • Explored Japantown in San Francisco.
  • Had a Missouri-themed date which included St. Louis-style ribs at Sauced and the movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Both were excellent!

Not exactly earth shattering, but I’ve made a conscience effort to seek out more fun. Clearly this is still a work in progress for me.


Which is why, as my birthday approaches, I decided to create a revised FUN List:

  • Attend a poetry slam.
  • Attend StorySlam.
  • Visit the de Young Museum again.
  • Drive to Muir Woods and hike.
  • Visit the Asian Art Museum.
  • Have mac and cheese at Homeroom in Oakland.
  • Visit my friend Jennifer in Albuquerque, NM and read at DimeStories.
  • A fall weekend in Yosemite.
  • Hike in an East Bay Regional Park (Morgan Territory, Sunol, etc) once per month.
  • Visit Sedona, AZ and Santa Fe, NM again.
  • Wine tasting in Livermore with friends.
  • Attend Friday Night at the de Young. (I missed the tango exhibition, but there are others.)
  • Take Katie camping at Camp Shelley in South Lake Tahoe and make s’mores.
  • Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium with Katie and Chris (his first time!).
  • Visit New York City for more than a day.
  • See the monarch butterflies in Pacific Grove (November through January).
  • Take a road trip to Portland, OR.
  • See the Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls.
  • Visit the Rosie the Riveter Museum in Richmond.
  • Go to a yoga retreat.
  • Take a poetry workshop.
  • Visit Catalina Island.
  • Spend a weekend (or a week) in Palm Springs.
  • Visit the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
  • Stay at the Rancho la Puerta Wellness Center in Tecate, Mexico for a week of R&R.
  • Go white water rafting.
  • Visit Berta and Terry in Boise, ID.
  • Ride mules to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
  • Visit Paris again.
  • Spend a month (or the summer) in the South of France.
  • Visit Greece.

I will be adding to the list over time, so consider this one merely a start. If there is something on the list that looks fun to you, let me know and we’ll do it together!


Now go create your own FUN List and let’s compare notes.

Until next time,

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
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