Mighty Life List
Dec 29 2014

Working on His Game

Middle-aged man in the tiny coffee shop aisle, black V-neck sweater, business casual pants. He orders a latte, and flirts with the barista.

As they chat, he mimes a dramatic full-body golf swing. At first, I think the motion is a sarcastic gesture, something in reference to their conversation. But he lingers, and in moments where she busies herself with coffee and other customers, he waits to see if she’ll return her attention to him.

When she does not, he tees up for another private round of counter-side golf. Two swings, three, a pause to glance around casually, then four. I step around him to get at the milk.

Dec 19 2014

New Things I Learned This Week

Photograph by Elliott Erwitt

• I read an article that mentions anhedonia. It means living in the absence of pleasure or desire, an affliction sometimes related to depression.

• Have you seen these One Clique mix-and-match heels? You can pair a shoe upper with several shoe bases in their collection. They’re currently sold out.

• November’s O Magazine had a section on what to do when you have ailing or dying parents. I’ve been mulling two parts of Martha Beck’s “You’re Doing Fine:

Consider traditional Tibetan culture, in which children are encouraged to ponder their own demise, where the word for body can be translated as “something you leave behind,” and where revered teachers like Gyalse Rinpoche advise, “If you have got to think about something, make it the uncertainty of the hour of your death.” Does that upset you? Then you’re at war with one of the few certainties in life.

and also

When a friend of mine was dying, she said something I’ll never forget. “Guilt is useless,” she began. “If you did something wrong, let it go. If there’s something you’re doing wrong now, do better. If you can’t do better, forgive yourself.”

Dec 16 2014

Alone with Bob Dylan

The Swedish film series Experiment Ensam (Experiment Alone) explores how much of our enjoyment comes from company. Among other experiments, they arranged for Bob Dylan to play a concert for one man. (via Kottke)

Are you a person who does things on your own? If so, I’m curious about what types of things. I’ve said before that I enjoy eating alone, I think I’d be happy at a movie too. But I’m not a huge fan of traveling alone, and if it came to a concert from one of my idols, I’d so much rather have a friend along so we could grin stupidly at each other.

Dec 10 2014

How to Make Tinsel Tassels

When I was a kid we always decorated the tree with Christmas tree icicles, so I threw some in the cart this year. Then I wondered if I could use them to make cheapie tassels instead.

After some clumsy attempts using twine and ribbon to fashion the tassels, I pulled out some craft wire and voila! They’re super quick, about $1 each, and you can even leave them up for New Year’s. You’ll need:

Tinsel, one 1,000 strand package per tassle
• About 10 inches of Fine-gauge craft wire per tassel
• Scissors

First you’ll make the wire loop that lets you hang the tassel. Loosely fold the wire in half.

Form a loop by giving the tail wires a couple twists.

Poke one end of the wire beneath all the strands of tinsel.

Pull the wires downward and gather the tinsel into a tighter bunch.

Twist the tail wires together to enclose your bunch of tinsel.

Carefully pull your tinsel out of the package.

You should have something that looks like this now.

Fold your tinsel down with a wire protruding from each side of the bunch. If you give the bunch a little twist, it will make a more attractive tassel head.

Now it’s time to secure the tassel head by wrapping the tail ends of the wire around the top of your bunch. Start with wrapping one wire tail in the direction of your twist until it’s wrapped all the way around.

Now for the second wire. You shouldn’t have to do anything special to finish the wires off, they should just lay flat with a pinch.

Now you have a tassel! Boom. Straighten out any tangeled strands by combing fingers through, or if you’re a perfectionist, you can use a wide-toothed comb. Gentle, my friend.

Clip away any uneven ends or unruly strands.

Yay! Now you can make one thousand more. And then heck, make yourself some pants. Let’s go dancing.

Dec 8 2014

Rancho Siempre Verde

Last year, we set out to cut down our own Christmas tree and stumbled on Rancho Siempre Verde, which is like something out of Gilmore Girls. It’s a tree farm with s’more roasting, and wreath-making tables, and a big ball of kids who roll around inside a cloud of dust.

There are half dozen rope and tire swings hanging from the Eucalyptus. I wish this photo were scratch-and-sniff.

Hank’s favorite part is riding around in the tractor cart when it goes to pick up trees.

My favorite part are the wreath tables — $7 for the wreath forms and boughs, but the local ladies bring berries and ornaments and ribbons and small animatronic animals to affix.

When I was making my wreath, the ladies at the next table were discussing who would drive them all home. They were a little smashed on thermos toddies. Who made the toddies? They are strong. Fortunately, one of them was on a cleanse, so they poured another round.

Next year, I’m bringing toddies.

Rancho Siempre Verde
2250 Cabrillo Hwy, Pescadero, CA 94060
(650) 326-9103

Dec 4 2014

Little Kid Scientist Gift Guide

As a toddler he was impatient to get to the moon, when she turned four she asked for a lab coat. A few gifts for our budding geeks. Live long and prosper, little ones.

Tattly Science Set of Temporary Tattoos, $15 Future founder of the first scientist biker gang.

Break Your Own Geodes, $15 Geology means you get to smash things.

Fire Bubbles and Exploding Toothpaste, $12 We’ve been through alllll the science experiment books around here, and this series is our favorite. Simple experiments, solid scientific explanations, and many of them work with stuff you’ll have around the house.

Miracle Fruit Tablets, $15 Condensed Miracle Fruit tablets temporarily bind to the tastebuds and make sour things taste sweet. So neat!

Crystal Growing Volcano, $8 Like a baking soda volcano, but you don’t have to do it in the driveway and change clothes afterward.

Dec 3 2014

Pregnancy Update: Still Pregnant

Do I want hot chocolate or a pickle? This is what I use my brain for now.

Nausea prevented me from eating much my first trimester, which made me pleasant to be around. A few of the appetizing meal choices I made in that period:

This last one is dinner on Halloween night.

That was a couple days before my appetite started to return, and just before I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Hey-ohhh!

So if you guys want to come over for some unsweetened soy hot cocoa and pickles, party’s at my place.