Sunday, May 29, 2011

Photo Journal: Official Beginning of Summer

It's hair clip season!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Earlier this week I emailed Jill: it’s hard to believe that after tomorrow—when I join her in being 46—we will both be closer to 50 than to 40.

We have lived through a lot together and have learned important lessons that seem to change in nature over time. In our teens it was enough to finally figure out that powder blue eye shadow is not always flattering and in our early twenties to find out that your eye shadow doesn’t need to match your outfit. In our later twenties we figured out that just because you’re willing to wait doesn’t mean he’ll eventually fall in love with you, too. In our thirties we understood that we were lucky to have made it that far, and that time does fly the way grownups always said it did. And, wouldn't you know, we were the grownups now, reasonable and responsible and able to figure out, in our forties, that life is precious and sometimes too short.

As I turn 46, I know a few other things about this precious life that I feel compelled to share.

Life is too short to ever wear pantyhose in the summer. And control top anything. Anytime. Lately I feel gravity is more flattering than displacement and compression.

Likewise, no one should ever wear uncomfortable shoes (and if you haven’t yet figured it out, cheap shoes are invariably uncomfortable).

Or underwear that doesn’t fit right. All that time you’ve spent fixing your wedgies you’ll never get back.

Speaking of time you'll never get back, getting sh*tty drunk is never worth the hangover the next day.

Keeping track of lies takes time and energy better spent telling the truth and being yourself. Being nice is easier than being mean; being sincere is better than being phony.

But most of all, being true to yourself—honoring yourself and valuing your own worth—reaps rewards that trying to please other people at your own expense never will. Because when you settle into yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin, turning another year older doesn’t feel bad at all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Last Three

If I miss the finale of Dancing with the Stars tonight, I will hear tomorrow on the news which of the final three dance pairs wins it all. Ditto if I miss the finale of The Biggest Loser tomorrow night. Ditto Idol. I have gotten sucked into all of those shows this season, and I’ve enjoyed them, but I’m not committed to them the way I am the last three episodes of Oprah. After all, it’s not a season coming to an end, it’s twenty five years.

And watching Extra and Access Hollywood recap the farewell extravaganza won’t cut it.

I have missed a few episodes in this last season of The Oprah Show; I have been disappointed with a few others. (Did the Frey interview really need to be two hours/two days?) But this week I will not miss a single hour of the last three Oprah shows. The last three episodes ever.

I cried today, but didn’t go into an ugly cry, as Oprah would call it. (I LOVED her dress, by the way. And did you see her bling????) Tomorrow will probably be a little more emotional. Wednesday? Yeah, all bets are off.

My eye mask is in the fridge on the ready.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Photo Journal: Three (or so) Steps to Heaven

This isn't my first BAT, nor is it the first time I've written about one...
Some things are worth repeating.
mayo on one side, arugula on the other side
of a fresh club roll

center cut bacon

The Best. Sandwich. Ever.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

(Yet Another) Note to (my Stupid) Self

Joanne, Joanne, Joanne.

When did you get so stupid?

What happened to the bright girl—honor roll, Dean’s list—with a healthy dose of common sense to go along with the book smarts? Did you not learn your lesson last time you had a migraine that the accompanying clumsiness can be disastrous? Hello?!?! Remember the nail polish?

Did you think that any good could come from trying to squeeze the be-jeesus out of your tube of tomato paste…while you were cooking with a migraine? While you were wearing a white shirt?


What’s next? Think you might try licking a metal pole in the winter? Or stick a wet hand in the toaster? Blow dry your hair in the bathtub? Maybe you should put a blind fold on next time you’re dicing an onion with your new Dirty Girl knives.

Or maybe you could just wear your red cotton apron next time you get near the stove. With or without a migraine.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Opting Out

Lately going to the gym has become a chore. My time on the treadmill has felt like just another thing I need to get done during the day. While I watch TV as my legs move, my mind is on what I else I need to do that particular day, and what time I’ll get home after it all. As much as when I am done I can watch flashing LEDs tell me what my average heart rate was, what my maximum heart rate was, how long I walked and how many calories I burned, I haven’t been feeling satisfied—despite the numbers.

The other day I decided to break out of my rut and out of the gym and enjoy the outdoors and what feels a lot like spring in these parts. I laced up my sneakers and hit the pavement. I broke a sweat and got my heart rate up while admiring the pretty dogwood trees along the way and deciding which house on my route was my favorite. Not once did I run through a list of things I still had to do that day.

It felt good. The fresh air AND the exercise.

And, maybe most: being in the moment.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Photo Journal: Prelude to Summer

quintessential summer food

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In Awe of Moms

I know a thing or two about unconditional love—on both the receiving and the giving ends—as a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend. But I’m not a mom, so without children of my own, I don’t know what it’s like to have to take care of children 24/7, to spend every minute of every day in charge of another life. As an aunt, I am one of those women who can joke about giving them back at the end of the day.

On one hand that couldn’t be further from the truth: I care and worry and swell with pride about my nieces and nephews all the time, even when they aren’t with me. On the other, I am able to do so in the comfort of my own home, without worrying about their meals or baths (or showers) or runny noses or fevers or laundry and permission slips and immunizations and skinned knees (most of them anyway) and sports schedules and fundraisers, so that is exactly the case.

I’m not sure I’d have what it takes to do all of that all of the time. I’d like to think so, but I’ll never know. Today and every day, for those who do, hats off to you.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

[Heart] Omeprazole

I used to suffer from frequent heartburn. Peanut butter on toast in the morning, a third cup of coffee during the day, a glass of wine, a good margarita, a slice of pizza were all triggers for oh-too-familiar-to-me heartburn. Eating late was invitation for being up all night, even if I popped a couple of Tums—which I buy in bulk—as a night cap.

And then last week, while I was out running errands, I had heartburn and some CVS extra bucks. But I refused to buy a three pack of rolled Tums for three bucks when I knew I had a ginormous jug of it by my bed. (Even when suffering from a sensation that leaves me wondering how someone could have poured battery acid down my throat without my knowledge, I’m cheap.) I decided instead to try another heartburn prevention medicine. Something new. Something that would maybe work this time. Omeprazole was on sale, and the sign promised instant extra bucks, so I went with that.

I haven’t had heartburn since.

Have not chewed a single Tums since.

Today is Day 8 without heartburn.


I [heart] not having heartburn. And so I [heart] you, Omeprazole.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

(Another) Note to Self

Dear Joanne,

Next time you have a terrible migraine, and you’re sitting quietly waiting for your meds to work and the pain to abate, it’s probably not imperative that you take a minute to touch up the nail polish on the corner of your big toe where you see a chip.

As you know, you get clumsy when you have migraines; you spill and knock things over. Well, the combination of clumsy and nail polish can be pretty ugly. Especially if it spills on your carpet.

And if a migraine isn’t enough to ruin your day, well a big streak of dark nail polish on your light carpet sure will.

Take care of your migraine first. Take care of your toenails another time. Or leave it to your nail salon.

Glad you’re feeling better.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time Frames

One of my favorite pictures of my nieces and nephews—with all four present—is one taken at the hospital the day after Charlie was born. His big sister Meredith, just 6 at the time, is holding him; their cousins flank them: Amanda, 8, sits to their right, and Jonathan, 12, on the left. I think they are posing for someone else at the time, so instead of the staring into my camera, they are looking off to the side and it appears they’re just involved in a conversation. What comes through the most for me is how hopeful and happy the three older kids are, how genuinely excited they are for Charlie to have arrived.

I have the photograph framed in my entry hall, but Liz took that picture out over the weekend at Meredith’s 12th birthday party and it became a subject of conversation; I was reminded how much time has passed since that snapshot.

How Meredith and Amanda got from being 6 and 8 to being 12 and 14 is a blur. One day we’re telling stories by the pool, taking turns building them together (“once up a time there was a house made of chocolate”…”okay, my turn!"...), and now life is told in text messages and conversations rarely are about make-believe. Jonathan is 18 now, so our conversations are different from those I have with the girls—partly because he’s a boy young man, but mainly because he’s getting ready to graduate and head off to college in the fall. I hardly remember him as 12, but it seems like just yesterday his smiling face greeted me when I moved back from Boston. “You’re not gonna live in Boston anymore?,” he asked, with the same excitement he and all the girls had when Charlie was born.
Charlie and me...years ago already

 And Charlie? He is 5 now, almost 6. He read stories to me the other day before we played with blocks the morning after the party while everyone else was sleeping. I see now in him that innocent hope and happiness, pure and unhurt...and I wish I could freeze him in time.
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