The Winner and a Reminder

And the winner is? #986. JJ, you won! You are officially a lucky person. I sent you a note with details, so check your spam filter.

As for the rest of you, it is officially the last day of March. When the Verizon campaign started, many of you promised that you’d finish three things off your life list this month too. How’s that coming? If you haven’t already commented about your victories, please do today, so I can read what you’ve been up to and include you in the roundup.

If you haven’t gotten started yet, do it! You have 24 hours to rock. Reeeaaddy? Go!

Hooray for you! Your Mighty Lists, Part 3

If you’re working on a Mighty List, please send it my way: maggie at mightygirl dot com. If you haven’t started your list yet, here’s another set to inspire you (more ideas here and here). Cribbing encouraged:


Positively Anna is going to:

“Throw out any socks and underwear that I would be embarrassed about wearing if I got hit by a car and had to go to the hospital.”

Robyn of A Devine Life is going to:

“Donate 10,000 hand-knit items to charities.”

Anna Bell of Wanty is going to:

“Sew a dress that I am really proud to wear.”

Jodi Michelle of I Tell Stories is going to:

“Take a month long road trip with no destination.”

Tell A Girl is going to:

“Go to disco in Ibiza.”


Aisha of Slices of My Life is going to:

“Learn to play a song on my guitar.”

Thrifty Chick is going to:

“Pick my own flowers for my table.”

Kelli of Working Title is going to:

“See Frank Lloyd Wright’s home(s).”

Sara of I Like to Cook is going to:

“Place flowers at the memorial statue of Stevie Ray Vaughn in Austin, Texas.”

Nadarine is going to:

“Attend a real masquerade.”


Grania of Black Oak’s Daughter is going to:

“Oktoberfest, in Munich”

Amber of The Amber Show is going to:

“Gallop a horse.”

Jen of Feast of Life is going to:

“Fly to Paris for my birthday.”

Jennifer of The Good Life with Jen is going to:

“Get to the top of a lighthouse.”

Emily Grace of LIFE: The Journey, Not The Destination is going to:

“Be brave and eat French food without wondering what part of the animal it is.”


MeL of Stay at Aum Mom is going to:

“Go to an old-fashioned clambake on the beach.”

Liza of Crackle_Loud is going to:

“Buy a sundress.”

Laura is going to:

“Stand in the middle of the marketplace in Marrakesh.”

Vanessa of Yes It Is Necessary is going to:

“Restore my great-grandfathers 1959 Chevy Biscayne.”

Widdershins is going to:

“See Ayers Rock at sunrise.”

Nichole of Butterscotch Sunday is going to:

“Spend a night on a train.”

Jazzellis of Tea Cups and Superheros is going to:

“Grow a garden full of things we can eat.”

Lisa Ortale is going to:

“Own a piano and play it well.”

Nothing Witty is going to:

“Make her own vanilla extract!”

Splinters is going to:

“Make 5 different cheeses at home.”

Taste 1,000 Fruits: Purple Mangosteens


These are Mangosteens, and they are superb. I tried them for the first time in Bali around 2000, and they’re still my favorite fruit.

I got this stash in Chinatown, and at the time I was fairly sure they were illegal. They were tucked way, way, way in back and it was about $40 for a small bag. I’ve since discovered that they were cleared for U.S. import in 2007 and small quantities are grown in Puerto Rico, mostly for gourmet restaurants.

They’re delicious, of course, but also so pretty. The purple outer shell is like a thin layer of carrot over a wide hunk of red pith.


You crack one open by squeezing it in your palm, and then peel back the pith inside to reveal the fruit.


I know they look a little like giant maggots, but they taste like juicy, peach-perfumed pineapple candy. The flesh is actually a lot like a very ripe peach, but with a bit more toughness to the fibers.


My niece likes them too.

Your Mighty Life List Ideas

If you’re working on a Mighty Life List, please send it my way: maggie at mightygirl dot com. If you haven’t started your list yet, here’s another set to inspire you (more over here). Cribbing encouraged:


Melissa of Suburban Bliss is going to:
“Buy fresh flowers for the house once a week for a year.”

Bea of Bea is going to:
“Take singing lessons.”

Danielle  of Knotty Yarn is going to:
“Restore contact with three people I’ve lost along the way.”

Eleanor Black of Pundit is going to:
“Hug an orangutan.”

Jackie of A Patchwork Life is going to:
“Take trapeze lessons.”


Raych of The Part of My Life that is Not on The Intrawebs is going to:
“Ring a church bell (the kind in a tower, with a rope).”

R. Glaves of Underoo is going to:
“Get rid of everything I own that won’t fit in a backpack.”

Jena and Jessi of Bouched is going to:
“Sneeze on a sneeze guard.”

The Littlest Bird is going to:
“Take the Hiram Bingham Train to Machu Picchu.”

take luck is going to:
“Restore an old movie theatre.”


La Florecita is going to:
“Own a saltwater tank.”

The Takemoto Family is going to:
“Learn to throw pottery.”

Ms. Quarter of A Quarter Century in the Cream City is going to:
“Cook gulyas over an open fire.”

McGriddle Pants of Serenity Now!! Insanity Later is going to:
“Become proficient in the use of a plane, motorcycle, tractor, surfboard, rifle, pistol, canoe, football, basketball, bow and arrow, a guitar, lariat and boomerang.”

Charmed of Ramblings of an Idle Mind is going to:
“Go spelunking.”


Alliecat In A Beautiful Pea Green Boat is going to:
“Take my children to experience snow. Preferably a White Christmas somewhere very, very north of here.”

J. Murray – Szarvas of is going to:
“Travel across Canada on my motorcycle.”

Cahilla is going to:
“Ride the trains in Darjeeling.”

KT of Review Notes is going to:
“Spend a day at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.”

Gail of Impolite Conversation is going to:
“Become involved with a gnostic community.”

Allison of Perknitious is going to:
“Wear red shoes in the summer.”

Pumpkin Soup is going to :
“Eat caviar.”

Dakotagrrl is going to:
Finish a New York Times crossword puzzle.”

Sandra Vahtel of The Sour and the Sweet is going to:
“Travel to over 50% of the globe.”

Stacy of Sassafras Mama is going to:
“Have a front porch so incredible it could be on the cover of Country Living magazine.”

Learn to Roll in a Kayak? Check.

Kayak Lesson

Despite appearances here, sporty stuff is not my jam. I read my way through childhood, and distant memories of dodgeball still make me feel a little sore. In my soul, I mean.

Learning to tip

There are a few things that made my Mighty Life List because I’m afraid of them, and rolling a kayak is one of those. Bryan loves to go kayak camping, but the few times we’ve gone, all I can think about is the boat flipping. What if I can’t pull off the rubber skirt thingie and end up trapped? Upside down? Underwater?

I’ll tell you what happens, people. Death — with bona fide dying, and moving toward the light, and all the dead people you know slapping you on the back and offering you smokes.

Suki Waters of WaterTrek Ecotours

This is Suki Waters, the patient and aptly named owner of WaterTreks Ecotours up in Jenner. She and her friend George met us at a little lodge in Guerneville that offered to let us use the pool for the day.


My goal was to learn how to roll so I could stop obsessing about tipping whenever I’m in a kayak — overcome my fears, spread my wings, today is the first day of the rest of your kayaking, and so forth. Suki told me it was possible I wouldn’t be able to flip in one lesson, but we’d give it a go.

As you might imagine, signing a contract with Intel has pushed me to do many things I otherwise could have put off perpetually. This, for example:

Underwater in the kayak

That’s me upside down in a kayak with no escape but my wits. Also the two people on either side of the boat waiting to flip me back over, but shut up. If that photo doesn’t make you anxious, your Xanax dosage is too high.

The first time I went over, I didn’t have a nose plug on, and the water went straight up into my brain. Lesson 1, if you want to flip a kayak, get an effing nose plug. It’s been a few days, and I can still feel water sloshing around when I think about anything complex.


The idea here is to avoid panicking when you go under so you can set up your paddle, sweep it across the top of the water, and use it to propel you back up. Naturally, every time I flipped over, my first order of business was panic. My brain stuck on Panic’s Greatest Hits — Claustrophobia! Aspirating Water! Drowning! And so much more!


We practiced for four hours, and I was feeling fairly grim for 3.5 of them. All I wanted to do was get my head out of the water, but if you sit up, your head drops you back down because it weighs about as much as a bowling ball. The human head makes an excellent kayak anchor.

I swept my paddle, swept it, swept it, and then thrashed around underwater, until Suki and George dragged me up. Rinse and repeat, literally.

Bryan and Hank played nearby in the pool while I moved from dread, to terror, to dismay, and eventually became familiar enough with my internal frenzy that it ceased to bother me.

Me and Hank

We were about to call it a day, when suddenly everything came together. I swept my paddle and popped up so easily that I assumed a powerful outside force was at work. A wave, the hand of God, Oprah, something like that.

On our very last try, I did an entire roll. Over on one side, back up on the other. YES! Then I offered to bear Suki children if she would let me out of the boat.


As we left I was feeling profoundly accomplished, and I still do. That fear used to get in my way, and now it won’t anymore. My horizon just got a little bit wider because I took action on my anxiety. That’s a uniquely pleasant feeling, and one I don’t experience enough.

Bryan caught the whole thing on film and made a little movie of my previous attempts. So tune in tomorrow for the mildly agonizing but ultimately triumphant footage. Thanks to Suki Waters and George Zastrow for all the help and support. And as always, a huge thanks to the team at Intel for sponsoring my lifelist. I couldn’t (or rather, probably wouldn’t) have done it without you guys.