My Mighty Mondo Beyondo Life List, v3

When I feel overwhelmed, I make lists. Lots of lists. (There are many scraps of paper on my desk, and a plethora of virtual stickies on my desktop, which should tell you how freaked I feel right now about everything I have to do and how much I’m not getting done.) I used to work with an art director who could sense when the boat was about to capsize, and she’d grab two things — a big-ass piece of paper, and a big-ass black Sharpie, and she’d write the shit out of a big old list, post it in the artroom, and we’d all feel better immediately. When you see it, you name it, and then you can own it. Maybe not right away — but one by one, piece by piece, until you can cross everything off that big old list, crumple it up and throw it the hell away.

But it’s the in-between, the doing, the working, the struggling — the creme between the two Oreo cookies. That’s the meat of it. (Oreo cookies and meat. Sorry. Ewww.) That’s the now. That’s what life actually is. The crumpling only comes when you’re dead, I think, and done with living. Totally fine with not crumpling at the moment. All about the list-making. And doing. And re-doing. Very much alive here, God. Look at all this shit I have to do!

Funny enough, it’s still January, which means that I’m in the throes of resolutions and “make this your best year ever!!!” and you’re not getting any younger and blah blah blah. And still with the lists. I can’t help it. It’s soul-purging.

Two women have recently inspired me to make and re-make life lists — Andrea Scher, of Superhero Life (, and Maggie Mason, Mighty Girl and creator of the Mighty Life List ( The life lists can be as attainable or as fanciful as you like. I’ve combined their two philosophies to make one crazy big-ass list. Some are achievable. Some are impossible. (Or are they?) I write them. I name them. I cross some shit off. And I keep coming back to them and revising them, because, as I say, once they’re crumpled, I’m dead. (Did you hear that, God? Still alive here!)

Here’s my latest incarnation. Maybe it’ll inspire you to make your own.



  1. Spend more time alone. Spend less time having conversations about things that won’t matter five years from now.
  2. Widen my blogging audience. Be a guest blogger on other sites. Invite others to post on mine. Expand the circle and let others in.
  3. Go to writers’ workshops, conferences and retreats. Attend BlogHer in 2013.
  4. Have an article published online.
  5. Have an article published in a magazine.
  6. Have a book of blog posts published.
  7. Become a featured columnist somewhere and get paid for it.
  8. Write and publish a memoir about my childhood.
  9. Complete a first draft of the screenplay that is in my head. Write additional drafts. Get it read. Get it sold. Get it made.
  10. Keep taking photographs. Submit some to local art shows. See what happens.
  11. Clean out and organize my attic so my children aren’t cursing my dead self in the afterlife when they have to do it — many, many decades from now.
  12. Take photos of Madonna shrines — and the people that own them — throughout New York and New Jersey.
  13. Travel to Italy with my family. Photograph it.
  14. Travel to Ireland with my family. Photograph it.
  15. Travel somewhere by myself — maybe Cuba? –  and photograph it.
  16. Take my children to the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay.
  17. Take a road trip across the U.S. with my husband and children. Visit Old Route 66 as part of the trip.
  18. Learn the art of listening more thoughtfully. Embrace the pause. Respect the silence.
  19. Have a family portrait taken while my children are young, and again when they’re older.
  20. Have a picture taken with my cousins — all the descendants of John and Annie Buckley — in front of the row house they once owned in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
  21. Host a summer dinner party in our backyard, with twinkling lights, mismatched chairs and long tables of friends.
  22. Host SNL once in my life. Or at least get asked to join the cast for one season.
  23. Visit every state in the U.S.
  24. Take my kids to the Grand Canyon.
  25. Visit the Statue of Liberty and walk up to the torch and crown.
  26. Visit the American Southwest.
  27. Set foot in Chicago.
  28. Visit Niagara Falls and ride the Maid of the Mist.
  29. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
  30. Run the NYC Marathon.
  31. Have fantastic anniversary celebrations at 25, 50 and 75 years of marriage.
  32. Own ridiculously decadent lingerie. (Just one nightie, purchased for our 15th anniversary weekend getaway. I’ll be buried in it.)
  33. Own ridiculously decadent bedding.
  34. Research my family history and write it out for future generations.
  35. Keep my husband in love with me. Earn it.
  36. Build a strong, loving marriage that spans the years and serves as a model for my own children.
  37. Renew my wedding vows with my husband. With my children watching.
  38. Earn the enduring respect and love of my children.
  39. See the inside of my grandparents’ houses in Brooklyn and Queens one more time.
  40. Take tours of secret places in New York City.
  41. Put together a bad-ass vinyl record collection again. Lose myself in listening to it. While I’m spending more time alone. (I’m not a f-cking hipster. I’m old enough to have owned vinyl records once before.)
  42. Go to New York City by myself regularly, as long as I’m able, and explore. Take pictures. Browse. Eat street food. Watch what happens around me. Get lost.
  43. Play my acoustic guitar every day. Become a guitarist again. Encourage my children to play instruments every day, too.
  44. Learn to play the drums. Put a vintage wooden Gretsch kit (the kind that makes that woody, thuddy sound that Levon used to do) in the basement of a house somewhere, and play. Just for me.
  45. Grow my hair really long again.
  46. Own a home in Woodstock, New York.
  47. Own an apartment in Manhattan. Retire with my husband and live between the two.
  48. Drive a restored VW Bug. Doesn’t matter what color. Except white. Oh, God, not white.
  49. Learn to make the perfect piecrust.
  50. Attend a reunion at my Catholic elementary school.
  51. Attend a high school reunion.
  52. Go to a homecoming game at SU.
  53. Go to a an SU basketball game.
  54. Visit my alma mater with my husband and kids, and kiss my husband on SU’s kissing bench (while my children pretend to puke).
  55. Live to see my children grow up and get married.
  56. Live to see my children’s children.
  57. Live to see my great-grandchildren.
  58. Plan a fabulous 40th birthday party for myself.
  59. Go camping with the kids.
  60. Make our home a peaceful sanctuary for my family. And for me. I didn’t say perfectly neat. I said peaceful.
  61. Buy myself an overwhelmingly expensive piece of jewelry.
  62. Pretend to have a power outage once a month and hang out with my family by candlelight.
  63. Eat a croissant in a Paris cafe.
  64. Get acupuncture.
  65. Go sledding with my kids.
  66. See a free concert in Central Park.
  67. See Led Zeppelin in concert.
  68. See the last two surviving Beatles together on stage. [Almost done.  We took the girl to see Paul McCartney at Citi Field.]
  69. Own a piece of Shea and Yankee Stadiums.
  70. Be at peace with my parents.
  71. Do something I think I can’t do.
  72. Fly a kite with my kids.
  73. Go ice skating again.
  74. Learn Gaelic.
  75. Brush up on my French.
  76. Adopt shelter animals.
  77. Make a life reading list and finish it.
  78. Finish up all the unfinished house projects.
  79. Practice yoga.
  80. Embrace meditation.
  81. Organize all the files on my computer.
  82. Make quilts out of my kids’ footie pjs.
  83. Become a more dedicated member of the Unitarian Society.
  84. Act in comedies. Someplace. Somehow. Improv?
  85. Plant a vegetable garden.
  86. Get my body back into really good shape.
  87. Dance in the pouring rain with my kids.
  88. Make photobooks for each of my children.
  89. Throw a really great block party.
  90. Send a financially struggling teen to college.
  91. Plant bulbs.
  92. Age beautifully.
  93. Let go of little things.
  94. Get lasik surgery.
  95. Get a tattoo.
  96. Own land in Ireland. And be the first in my family to do so in hundreds of years.
  97. Make it to 100.
  98. Live out loud — in spite of the the Negative Nellies, the Jealous Joes, the Naysaying Noras, the Judgmental Janes, the Debbie Downers, the Gossipy Garys, the Fearful Fayes, the Prudish Prunellas, the Anxious Alfreds, the Smarmy Sadies, the I-Told-You-So Ivans, the PTA Peggies  — oh, I could go on and on. Live like I don’t give a f— if they’re watching, but wish them the very best in their own lives if they do anyway.
  99. Become known as “the beloved comedian Kathleen Harris” before I die. And get that round of applause at the depressing part of the Academy Awards show — the “In Memoriam” segment where they run the film reel of recently deceased members of the motion picture industry. Even though the Academy president tells everyone to hold their applause until the end, you’ll still hear the audience clapping and whooping for me in the mike leak, because I made them feel that good when I was alive. (A girl can dream, can’t she?)
  100. Love the hell out of myself. (I wrote myself a love letter this year. What a putz, you mutter in your attractive sweats and scrunchie while you read this. I heard you. You know what? I suggest you do the same. No one has to know. You don’t have a blog, and you didn’t post it just like I did. So there. Who’s the putz now? Ah, yes. That would be me. But I’m a lovable putz, dammit. It says so right here in this letter.)


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