My Mighty Life List: 75 at 35

I just celebrated my 35th birthday. It was a pretty mellow day, really, as all I wanted was some alone time with my hubby, a breakfast with an adult beverage in a smoky bar, uninterrupted by food being thrown or screaming, and a quiet day exploring downtown Nampa. Now I know some might cringe that this idea appeals to anyone, but when you've been with your kids 24/7 going on 18 months straight now, it's the littlest most mundane things that you sometimes miss about being an adult. Like the fact that I can actually casually explore a fruit stand at a farmers market without chucking some peaches in my bag before losing a child in the madness, or liberally covering my scrambled eggs with Tabasco without worrying about having to share them with my 2-year-old. Even though I love my girls so much that my heart explodes every night as I kiss them goodnight, I need a break. I needed to do something for myself on my birthday.

All this self-centered talk makes me feel guilty, though. Especially since I'm trying to balance four jobs on top of being a radical homemaker and a stay-at-home-mom. And I feel like I'm not on the top of my game with any of them. There's dried up cat puke next to my bed that's been there for days and Alice has watched too much Sid the Science Kid this past week. Not to mention that I've missed several of those bedtime kisses because I've been out conducting interviews for stories or meeting with artists or at historic preservation hearings lately. I'm trying desperately to work on balance, on what my family needs and what I need and be able to do it all with a little less grouchiness and a little more fun. It's hard.

As my birthday gift to myself, though, I decided to write and publish my Mighty Life List. I've been reading Maggie Mason's blog, Mighty Girl, for several years now. The Mighty Life List is an idea she came up with, writing down a 'bucket list' of sorts, laying out things she'd like to do in her lifetime. The idea is that by publishing them, she's utilizing her online community of friends to help, support, and encourage her to cross items off. Recently, she was lucky (and famous) enough to have Intel and Verizon financially sponsor some items on her list, like take tap dancing lessons and swim with bioluminescent plankton in Puerto Rico. She also hosted a weekend in northern California wine country recently for some of her friends to get together and offer each other guidance and assistance with their life lists. She's invited others in the blogosphere to join the challenge and I've been working on my list for several months now with Lucy, who's been compiling her own. So, here it is:

1. Hand churn ice cream.
2. Go to the Oscars.
3. Walk a marathon.
4. Stomp on grapes to make wine.
5. Host a dressy, adults only dinner party.
6. Sew myself a garment that I would wear in public.
7. Take a train ride.
8. Milk a cow.
9. Learn to make pasta from scratch.
10. Raise backyard pet chickens.
11. Have my hands painted in henna.
12. Get another tattoo.
13. Visit Paris.
14. Eat
poutine in Quebec.
15. Take my daughters shopping for a prom dress.
16. Take Eric to a Broadway show in New York City.
17. Visit Ellis Island.
18. Own a small cabin in the mountains.
19. Take ballroom dance lessons.
20. Be in a movie.
21. Own a convertible.
22. Complete a paint-by-numbers painting.
23. Be a contestant on
Wheel of Fortune.
24. Take piano lessons (again).
25. Learn Spanish.
26. Snorkel in Hawaii.
27. Rent a house in Mexico.
28. Take a painting class.
29. Have a girls-only spa day.
30. Host an under the stars movie night in my backyard.
31. Learn astronomy.
32. Have a birthday party for my house.
33. Restore a vintage travel trailer.
34. Grill salmon on a cedar plank.
35. Build a tipi.
36. Wallpaper a room.
37. Stay at the
Horizon Hotel in Palm Springs.
38. Visit Bisbee, AZ just to stay at
The Shady Dell.
39. Take a roadtrip along
historic route 66.
40. Teach a
Jazzercise class.
41. Obtain literary recognition for something I wrote.
42. Go clamming.
43. Stand inside the Taj Mahal.
44. Throw a block party.
45. Catch up on our family scrapbooks.
46. Deep fry doughnuts.
47. Try 100 cheeses.
48. Host an Oscars cocktail party.
49. Create a Halloween haunted house.
50. Own a
three-wheeled bicycle.
51. Help deliver a baby.
52. Drive a bus.
53. Own a hearse.
54. Make corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day.
55. See the
Watts Towers.
56. Take a class from Richard Simmons at
SLIMMONS Studio in LA.
57. Visit Graceland during
Elvis Week in August.
58. Watch a twilight film at
Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
59. Take a week and shop the
World’s Longest Garage Sale.
60. Make a parade float.
Go kayaking.
62. Take a hot air balloon ride.
63. Enter something to be judged in the fair.
Own a pearl necklace.
65. Mosaic a piece of furniture.
66. Attend a
Broncos football game at Taco Bell Arena.
67. Have sleepovers with my grandbabies.
68. Cook through an entire cookbook.
69. Visit the
American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.
70. Rent a house for a week in Vermont at Christmastime.
71. Learn to make really good jalapeno poppers from scratch.
72. Brew my own beer with my husband.
73. Take a dip in a new Idaho hot spring each year.
74. Re-learn how to be silly.
75. Start a ladies golf league.

The ones in red were completed this summer. It gives me confidence that I'm already well on my way to making these happen. Some are more ordinary things and some are grand. And what I need from you, dear readers, is support, both moral and real. If you have any experience with anything on my life list and would like to offer me help in crossing it off, I'd love it. Have a fantastic jalapeno popper recipe? Send it my way, or, better yet, let's make them together! Have some old beer brewing equipment you no longer use? I'd love to inherit it! Own a farm? Teach me to milk your cow! I plan to write blog posts each time I complete something. I'd also love to see your Life Lists, and they don't necessarily have to contain mighty things, as you can see from mine. Nor do they have to be long. It would be great to aid one another in living to the fullest.

61. Go kayaking. I went kayaking twice this summer by myself. The first time was on Redfish Lake outside Stanley and the second was on the Payette River in McCall. It was less scary than I thought (I'm afraid of water) and was kind of peaceful. I'd surely do it again!

64. Own a pearl necklace. I've been wanting a real one for several years now and my stepsister, Angie, caught wind of it. She gave me a long, natural, cream-colored strand hand-strung by an Oregon jeweler as a thank you gift for officiating her wedding in July. I wore it to the ceremony. It's lovely and precious.