Mighty Life List
Jun 30 2014

My Life List Proceeds Apace

I’m looking for ten solid recipes to go in each section of my recipe tin. I’m particularly light on veggies (because I tend to just steam and serve), pork, beef, and appetizers.

Some simple, fun things I’ve was doing on Go Mighty when I wasn’t here:

My little fire escape garden is so life affirming.

I’ve added five bathtubs to my 100 bathtubs goal.

Mulberries, I have decided, are not very delicious. I’ve tasted around 110 of my 1,000 fruits, but have yet to move them all over to Go Mighty. Trust.

Peppers are pretty in a bouquet, and they sort of look like fingers. That makes 16 out of 100 bouquets.

I’ve made 19 of my 100 cocktails. So I’m probably drunk right now.


Jun 26 2014

Robot Dance Party!

(This post is sponsored by Target.)

For decades humans have feared that when robots unite, they’ll do so to subsume humanity. But, come on. Robots just wanna dance!

Since we started building his box robot, Hank and I have been talking about a robot party. I like using toys to decorate, and now that Hank’s Transformer collection has achieved critical mass, these robot tableaus are really coming together.

Details if you’d like to host your own Robot Dance Party or Transformer Party:

The table centerpiece features several of Optimus Prime’s alter egos — the 16-inch tall Optimus Prime, Silver Optimus Prime, James Brown Optimus Prime — and Grimlock, who is temporarily suspending his desire to supplant Optimus as leader of the Autobots… in the interest of getting down. (And because, from a franchise standpoint, he is way outnumbered.)

These are my startled robot cupcakes. I made the marshmallow heads first. A toothpick secures the Dots gumdrops on either side of the head, and little dots of icing are holding the candy eyes in place. Then I trimmed down some Sour Punch Bites to be mouth size, and attached that with icing too.

You can make the heads while the cupcakes bake, and once they’re done, add a little dollop of extra icing in the top center to hold the marshmallows in place. I like this guy because his head is tilted in question of our inferior logic.

I used the Grimlock vs Optimus battle set to guard the snacks. They’re like a Rock ’em Sock ’em Robot update with flat bottoms, so they stand on their own in the bowl even when they aren’t propped up by chips.

These tall, slim bottles come in lots of flavors/colors, and the labels peel off easily. (These are Market Pantry Blue Raspberry Lemonade.)

Trying to line up labels on a printer makes me want to knock my head against the desk, so I just photocopied Transformer logos off some packaging onto glossy paper, then taped them to the bottles with thin double-sided tape.

We requested that guests arrive as their favorite robot alter egos. We made this for the top of our Facebook invite, but we don’t mind if you use it too:

Everyone loves good robot gif.

This post is sponsored by Target. More Transformers, More Than Meets the Eye: Blur the lines of fantasy and reality with your favorite Transformers at Target.

Jun 23 2014

Go Summer

Image by Nataniel Russell. You can buy his prints here.

Do you have summer resolutions? My list for this year:

Leave the country.
A couple weeks ago, Brad and I used airline miles to fly to Mexico. It was the most nothing I’ve ever done.

Go on a road trip with Hank.
We’re driving home from a wedding in Seattle right now, where the bride and groom played live Chilean Cumbia, and half the wedding toasts were in Spanish. I’m typing this from a hotel room at dawn, with the boys sleep-breathing on either side of me.

Eat a popsicle outside.
Pop Nation makes flavors like Sea Salted Dark Chocolate, Bourbon Peach, and Mango Chili Lime. I always have one at the Alameda Flea Market, and this month I had two.

• Portland
We have another wedding here. It’s one of my favorite cities.

• Robot Dance Party
Robot Dance Party! I’ve been cocooning lately, and there are too many faces I haven’t kissed. Cool, metallic robot faces.

• Street fireworks on Independence Day.
Sparklers, and Piccolo Petes, and ground flowers, and cone fountains, and watermelon.

• Feet in the river.
Sandwich in my hands.

(My last year’s summer manifesto is here, and these will be up on Go Mighty soon. If you put yours up, tag them #gosummer. I like to see what you’re up to.)

Jun 19 2014

I Made Sparkly Garden Pots

I finally planted my fire-escape garden I’ve had on my Life List for years. I planted in these basic terra cotta pots, which I glittered to make them prettier. If you want some too, you’ll need:

A small paint brush
A bowl in which you are willing to mix glitter and glue
Glitter in whatever color you want
Modge Podge glue, glossy
Masking tape or painter’s tape (I used washi, because I had it)
Some newspaper to protect your work area

Tape off the sections you want to glitter. I found that dramatic triangles that reached near the top of the pot looked the coolest, but you do you.

Mix about half a cup of Modge Podge with a liberal amount of glitter (amounts will vary depending on the size of your glitter flakes. Dump in enough glitter that there are no glitter-free sections when you apply the glue to your pot.

Paint away. Wait a few hours for it to dry, and then peel the tape off.

Wasn’t that so easy? I know! Good work.

Jun 18 2014

Tape Dispenser, Roll Out

(This post is sponsored by Target.)

This is my 7-year-old child craning his neck to see what’s on the television screen I’m watching, while he plays on my laptop.

It’s his preferred state of being, and I take full responsibility. I’m not sure what was in the bowl in front of him, but probably extra-dye M&Ms coated in high fructose corn syrup and then rolled in crunchy sugar crystals. He’s a growing boy.

I kid, but there are some screen-related things I don’t obsess about. I don’t worry that he’s becoming stupider, and I don’t mind that his heroes include robot trucksI do care about spending enough time together engaged in non-watching activities, and making sure he’s hitting all the developmental marks along the way. We’re great on the reading front (relief), but he’s never been very interested in making things.

I grew up covered in glitter and Elmer’s Glue, but Hank can’t be tempted. We once gave him a giant activity book, which he read cover to cover, and then wandered away from it. He won’t even use safety scissors to sneak away and cut his own hair. This didn’t worry me much, kids have different interests, until he came home from school one day and said that he’s not good at art as the other kids. Aw man.

Time to get more serious about glue stick practice and Scissor Holding-101. I thought for a while about how to get him engaged for more than a few minutes in a way that wouldn’t leave him disliking art more than ever.

Hank has always been into science and robots, but lately he’s been interested in a very specific type of robot. So when the Tooth Fairy brought us this killer book called Welcome to Your Awesome Robot, I suggested maybe, we could, you know, make a Transformer.

If he wanted.

Optimus Prime is listening. Proceed.

You have no idea how hesitantly he engaged with this tape, my friends.

But he got into it! We built for a couple of days, and I encouraged him to come up with his own ideas and build things himself.

Innovations include, this sign that warns you not to stick your face too close to the input flap, lest it be chomped off.

Here is our threat monitor, which indicates when it’s time for the Autobots to roll out.

In the middle of drawing an arm hole, Hank said, “Mom. Building robots is SO. MUCH. FUN.”

Truth. And then we jumped around for a few minutes, because I’d been waiting seven years to hear something positive about cardboard and pipe cleaners.

We added party hat receptors, and a view slot, and an Optimus Prime sword, which makes very convincing robot sounds and doubles as an interior light source.

This photo is exactly what I thought it would be like to be a mom.

But what does it transform into?

“A fort! … can I play iPad inside?”

Sure, little guy.

This post is sponsored by Target. More Transformers, More Than Meets the Eye: Blur the lines of fantasy and reality with your favorite Transformers at Target.

Jun 11 2014

This Particular Green Juice Does Not Make Me Retch

I bought a used juicer and started doing the green juice/smoothie thing this week by trying random recipes on the Internet. You will be shocked to hear that many of them are blech. But! The other morning I made a good one. And then I picked out a pretty glass and straw and took photos of it next to an air plant in my bathroom, like so:

It had mango, spinach, pineapple, and bananas, and even Hank was into it. It’s called the Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie if you’re game to try.


Also, my friend Molly warned me that she knocked out her thyroid by drinking juiced kale too regularly. Has this happened to any of you? I looked it up and found out that all cruciferous vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli, and so on) can tax your thyroid. Here are some links to info, which can be summed up as “Moderation. Etcetera.”


Also, I was afraid of juicing because of the general complaint about how hard it is to clean up afterward. It turns out that’s not a thing. My juicer is a Breville Juice Fountain, and it’s a little easier to clean than a food processor. I also have an old Vitamix blender that I was paranoid about purchasing because it’s ludicrously expensive, but I use it every day and it’s incredible. It’s a beast when it comes to blending vegetables, and it’s even easier to clean.

Jun 10 2014

Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck

Read this book. I’ve mentioned Martha Beck several times over the years, she’s a career development specialist and a columnist in O Magazine. I’ve reread this book twice over the last few years, and it introduced me to a couple of concepts that come up a lot when I’m considering what I want to do next.

First, the Generalized Other, which is the people we’re actually referring to when we say “Everyone will think I’m dumb.” Ms. Beck posits that we often pull a handful of terrible people together to make up our “Everybodies,” because of the natural instinct to avoid danger and preserve social access. She has a whole chapter on how to replace your Generalized Other with people who support you. Useful.

Second, the idea that we’re perpetually cycling through four general life phases: 1. Death and Rebirth, where we lose our identity to a catalytic event like a death or, on the converse, winning the lottery. 2. Dreaming and Scheming, where we try on new plans for ourselves. 3. The Promised Land, where we work hard toward our goals. 3. The Hero’s Saga, where we achieve our aims and work on a daily basis to maintain our life until another catalytic event knocks us back to a new identity shift. She offers strategies for tackling each phase, because her theory is that all of us have trouble getting through at least one of the phases.

More best parts of Finding Your Own North Star, by Martha Beck:

“Keeping your body still when it wants to recoil or rejoice creates the physical tension that locks sensation away from consciousness.”

“Even if you achieve things that seem outwardly fabulous, an unhealed emotional injury will make you experience them as empty and unappealing.”

“If you begin to face your fears, something bittersweet is going to happen to you: You’ll grow up. You’ll lose your dependency on the grownups of the world, because you’ll realize that there is no time, no age, at which fear suddenly fades and you become one of these impervious beings.”

“Describing what you want is probably the most important step in any confrontation.”

“I don’t believe in suffering for its own sake. Enduring a thankless, painful life doesn’t mean that you deserve happiness as a kind of recompense; it just means you’re enduring a thankless, painful life. If I’m going to suffer, it better be for a damn good reason. It better yield me more joy than it costs. If not, I will do anything I can to avoid it, and advise all my clients to do the same.”