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Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Ashley Ladd

Life Is Short

I've always wanted to make my life count, to accomplish a lot in my short time. I knew this when I was in my early twenties so was certain I couldn't wait to start writing until my children left our home an empty nest.

Even though I knew that and dove into college, marriage, kids, career, and writing, life feels short.

My aunt died last week. She was my mom's older sister. She's been ill with dementia for a few years and so not herself. Few family members from my parents' generation remain.

On top of that, almost every day for the past two weeks when I turned on my day job email, there was another notice of a death in one of my co-worker's families.

Mortality keeps slapping me in the face. There's so many things I want to do. So many stories longing to be written.

My bucket list includes a lot of travel. To Australia and New Zealand, Germany and Great Britain, Alaska, Utah, the Catskills, and my grandpa's homestead in Montana. I joined the Air Force to travel. I was stationed in Omaha, Nebraska, instead, smack dab in the middle of the US; not exactly my dream come true. To be fair Omaha was a great place for newlyweds. The cost of living wasn't bad; it had terrific restaurants, Aksarben, and I loved the old part of the town. They also had lots of bowling alleys. But it wasn't the exciting place I'd always dreamed of visiting.

Next we were stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi. Actually it was my second time to be stationed at Keesler AFB in Biloxi. It was a little more exciting than Nebraska. Biloxi had a nice beach and some touristy type attractions. I left before the casinos moved in or Katrina visited. I was there, unfortunately, for Hurricane Elena.

And now I live in South Florida, a place some people consider Paradise. There are lots of beaches, palm trees, and sunshine. There's also a ton of softball fields which has made me a softball widow. (My husband is UIC in charge of several softball recreation leagues and tournaments in this area.)

Besides travel, I want to see my books on the NYT or USA bestseller lists. I want to see some of my books turn into movies and have Brendan Fraser and Billy Ray Cyrus star as my heroes. I'd love to have the time and means to attend several romance writers conferences annually instead of one every other year.

I want to play in the snow again. I want to ski and hang out at a ski resort.

I want to vacation at a dude ranch and ride horses for a couple weeks. Actually, I'd love to ride daily.

I want to take a cruise to Alaska.

I want to see the American Idol finale live.

Meet a talking cat.

I want to learn web and graphic design...

Yet, I know I've done a lot and that I'm very blessed.

I do what I love most on a daily basis - I write romance. I'm the "Working Girl" I longed to be (remember the 1980's movie with Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford?) I was finishing up my bachelor's degree when it came out so it instantly became my favorite movie and Melanie Griffith or rather Tess Magill became my idol. I spend my days managing people, helping the poor, and sometimes even find myself in big, exciting meetings. At home I have a loving, noisy, rowdy family. There's never a dull moment.

So should my maker call me home tomorrow, I've accomplished the most important things on my to-do list - given birth to five beautiful kids and 50 romances, have a great family life, and I've played part for 16 years in a mission to help the poor.


booklover0226 said...

My mother and I went on a cruise to Alaska two years ago. We spent 2 weeks together, one on the cruise and one by rail to Fairbanks.

It was the best 2 weeks in our lives. I'm so happy we spent that time together.

Tracey D

LeslieJane said...

I love your bucket list. Got a lot of the same things on mine, top being like you, travel. I have already been to GB and Germany, but Australia is high of places I haven't been, along with the cruise to Alaska. You should add China to your list, fascinating place, very different from USA.

I did get lucky when Dad was in the Navy, and we got stationed to Scotland. Favourite placed I have lived. Then my brother got stationed to England when he was in the Navy, and I visited him there. Of course, that was a few years after we had to go to Switzerland to go to his wedding. I love a family that travels and gives me an excuse to go to other places.