Boozey Brunches

Once upon a time there was a lazy Sunday in May, seventy-eight degrees, a carrot-infused  bloody mary, a roasted beet and honey salad, lavender scones, and three perfect hours with my childhood best friend.

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Then there was a closet shelf of just the perfect size to become a shrine to Chanel … the perfect pumps with the baby soft lambskin soles in nearly perfect condition.

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And there were bacon jam samples at the deli where I stopped to pick up frommage D’affinois.

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My family was healthy.

My heart was full.

And for that day, life was better than I even dare to hope for.

Dear Gentlemen, it’s too bad about this whole feminism thing

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I stumbled upon a sad little blog the other day full of angry little trolls huffing and puffing that white men had become the marginalized minority, discriminated against, marginalized, and silenced. Between the venomous lines of hate, I read quite loudly the longing these men shared to return to the “good old days” of masculine power and white privilege.

I couldn’t help but want to scream, “You chose this! You gave your power away; you squandered it with violence, war, greed, and tyranny.”

The problem is, gentlemen, that the men who came before you destroyed the status quo you loved so much; they proved that you are not to be trusted with power.

For centuries, we gave you a pretty good deal: at home your woman provided three hots and a cot (made up with linens hand-washed, starched, and embroidered with dainty flowers as symbols of our devotion) and the great privilege that comes with assumed male superiority, and all you had to do was foot the bill and not behave like neanderthals.  But, too many of your brothers and fathers took advantage of these Sevres handcuffs. You left bellies empty, black-eyed wives,  and wounded young bread winners on the battlefield of pointless wars, and so we got fed up.

We warned you with small actions like Abigail Adams’ letter where she urged our newly formed Congress:

“I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

But, you gentleman refused to listen. You refused to concede your complete rule over female education, bodies, finances, suffrage, and sexuality and so we warned you again, louder, refusing to be quieted until full rights of citizenship were granted.

But, still, you refused to recognize our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You attempted to block our access to effective birth control, to reduce our income through unfair wages, and to pass insulting laws and laughable sentencing guidelines against sexual predators and domestic abusers. And so again, we expressed our displeasure, burned our bras, marched in the streets, and reminded you to keep the promises of our founding fathers. Instead, you patted us on the head and gave us Cosmopolitan Magazine and Roe vs. Wade, but you didn’t listen.

That’s okay. We don’t need you to listen. Because quietly, behind your backs, we decided to take matters into our own hands. We started to make things happen, one college degree, one Tupperware party, and one pink-collar promotion at a time.

We became doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and politicians – in spite of your tush pinching, bra snapping, subtle discrimination of low expectations.

We earned spots in your armed forces, even though sexual violence against our female troops was routinely used to humiliate, degrade, and marginalize those who tried.

We bought trucks, guns, groceries, houses, and tickets to NFL games – and you listened to our dollars, even when our words were silenced.

We shaved our legs, or not, on our own wims, and many of you started a little manscaping of your own.

And then one day, after ignoring our requests for millenia you looked around and realized that the laws of physics you’d enjoyed so much, had changed. White men no longer controlled the conversation simply by nature of less inky melatonin and the existence of your dangling participles. You’ve now arrived at the day where you have no choice but to listen to the women who surround you.

You report to us, appeal to us for leniency when you run stop signs, and pay $29 per month simply hoping one of us will decide not to swipe left on your selfies.

Oops! Sucks to be a late adopter then find out the price went up, doesn’t it?

Into Everyone’s Life A Little Motivation Will Fall

Six hours

I have six hours until I need to be on a flight to the UK, followed by three days “on”, a day to fly home, two days of laundry, groceries, and prep then four days in Chicago, five days in Rome, and one week home. Then it’s on to one week in New York, a long weekend in Louisville, a few days of baseball practice, birthday parties, and laundry, a week in Dusseldorf, a week at home … two weeks in Eastern Europe. Then, finally, I’ll get a nice long six week break before I start it all up again.

I’ll earn this year’s Gold Medallion status in just one quarter of work travel.  But, today, I just can’t seem to must two f*cks to give. 

I love my job. I love to travel. I love to pack, and head out on a great adventure.  But sometimes, I love to sit on my bed, with a nice glass of Pinot, and watch Keeping Up With Kardashians.  And, until July – there will be no time for such luxury.

So, right now, instead of going to get the mani-pedi I desperately need, or packing up my still empty suitcase, or tackling the laundry mountain that is threatening to swallow me whole, I am wallowing. I’m still in last night’s T-shirt, snuggled under the covers, too pre-emptively tired to even reach across the bed for the remote control, and Pinteresting packing ideas (as if that will magically fill my suitcase with clothes).

For those who’ve never experienced it, pre-emptive exhaustion is the practice of being exhausted not by what you’ve done, but by what you’re preparing to do. I haven’t yet flown for 15 hours straight, haggled to get a trunk full of sample merchandise through customs, and then been charming and “on” for four days of double-face-kisses and global sales dominance, before washing, rinsing, and repeating in another city, another W hotel. But, I know it’s coming, and right now, just the thought of it is more than I can handle – exacerbated by the fact that following her performance review, the world’s worst assistant quit, with no notice, and an inbox full of To Do’s.

Damn, I wish the liquor store opened before 11:30, it’s the perfect Pinot-and-Kardashians kind of morning.

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A Moron, a Jackass, and Sarah Palin Walk Into a Bar

Last week I found myself knee-deep in stupid wrapped around a premise of profound. I’m sure you’ve been there too, that moment when you’re talking with someone and a piece of verbal garbage so profoundly ridiculous comes out of their mouth it leaves you scrambling for the conversational escape hatch …

“Command, I’m going to need an immediate evacuation from this social exchange, I just realized I’m speaking with a mouth-breather.”

Fortunately, my particularly awkward social exchange took place via email so I opted for the only appropriate response in that situation: delete and move on, no reply necessary.

Typically, I consider it rude to argue with the idiotic, the ignorant, or the just plain crazy. They have enough to deal with. But then, when a teleprompter broke down at the much ridiculed Iowa Freedom Summit Sarah Palin unleashed a torrent of such verbal nonsense it left me contemplating the various schools of “stupid” one might belong to.

So, geek that I am, I create a Venn Diagram to make deciphering dumb a little easier.

Idiot Venn Diagram
By sharing this critical thoughtless taxonomy it is my hopes that you will be able to avoid that awkward moment of horror when you find yourself waist deep in dope without a shovel.

  • Dumb: Do not argue with these people it takes all of their processing power to string together a sentence and breathe at the same time. You won’t get anywhere and it’s a bit like wrestling with a toddler.
    • Appropriate Response When Encountering a Debating Dummy: Nod your head, thank them for sharing their opinion, then give them a lollipop and a smile – it’s cute of them to try.
  • Stupid: Stupid is the most evil of the idiot school in that stupid can often hide itself behind mean, snide, or cruel. In reality, cruel, mean, and snide are often just a camouflage for stupid, these people don’t have the intellectual horsepower or maturity to come up with a clever retort so they respond by going with an irrational hyperbolic retort. You can argue with this person, but they’ll leave red faced and huffing like an angry little Rumpelstiltskin. Stupids don’t respond well to having their delusional ego dinged.
    • Appropriate Response When Encountering Stupid: “I can see that you’ve got a lot of emotional capital invested in your opinion, thankfully most of us don’t share your perspective.
  • Ignorant: We all have a little ignorant in us. I’ve chosen to sit out the whole Capital Gains Tax debate. Due to the ubiquitous nature of partial ignorance this is the most potentially redeemable school of Idiot. With patience, Hooked on Phonics, and a heavy dose of NPR reprogramming this person might move on to live a full and productive life.
    • Appropriate Response to Ignorance: “When I read (xxx official, peer-reviewed, research and policy statements that an educated person would respect) it was stated quite clearly that (xxx issue to which said Ignoramus is not privy, most likely man-caused global warming) your opinion has fallen out of favor. Let me Google that for you.

You can thank me later, or share your own moments of intellectual horror.

A Code No One Understands

Sitting in a noisy corner of a quiet bar there’s a story tickling the corners of my mind,
a song of Pirates, Cowboys, and runaway mothers on spring break
– abandoned in a forbidden and foreign place.

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There are lying lies, and the damn liars who tell them
covetous addicts, and drunks,
Telling stories without telling the story of the story teller.
And there are writers, who hide a lie behind the truth,
writing in a code no one understands,
yet hoping that one person will.

There sits a bottle, half finished,
whether full or empty depends on the audience,
and one’s perception of sitting alone to enjoy half a bottle of Seminyak Semillon.

There were fears not realized, and there are promises not kept,
and apologies that didn’t convey remorse
… I’m sorry if you thought that, but not sorry that was what I did. 

There was a happily ever after, that followed a prologue.
There was an almost, a never was, and a maybe-one-day
all preceded by an unsatisfying epilogue.
But, only the most trite of stories has an ending that offers closure.

Instead there’s the code: of silence, of expectations,
of conduct for adult behavior in adult situations,
that meets at the intersection of  once-upon-a-time and happily-ever-after
in a delightfully roundabout sort of way.

Why I Don’t Lie About My Age

Today I turned 36, and I don’t mind saying that one bit.  To my closest friends I’ve joked that my thirtieth birthday improves with every year I celebrate it, but the truth is, I don’t feel compelled to hide my age. If pressed, I’d say I look pretty damn good for 36, and there’s nobody in my life rude enough to tell me otherwise. Lately, I’ve felt so confident in how I look at 36 that half the time I find myself lying up (’cause if I look good for 36 I look AMAZING for 40).

The biggest reason I don’t worry about my age is that I have earned every single day.

I have been alive to witness 13,140 sunsets. I have seen the sun set on four different continents, during prayer call, after siesta, from the front seat of an ambulance whisking my baby to the trauma center, from the 6th Arrondissement while walking toward the Jardin des Tuileries, and in the most basic of moments while having my heart-broken, and while breaking a heart.

Jardin des Tuileries

Coco Chanel is quoted as saying, that as a woman ages, “youth must be replaced by mystery, prettiness by beauty” and to me, nothing is more beautiful, or more mysterious, than an accomplished woman who has been able to survive the constant request from the world that she dumb herself down for the love of some man. But, I’ve managed thus far to resist that pull, and now I can’t imagine a single man who’d dare ask that of me.

In younger, more naive, times I dated men who needed to be made to feel “like a man” by being with a woman less accomplished than he … stupid, silly men who thought they could explain wine, or geopolitics, or Nietzsche.  Now I nod gently, and smile to myself that some man would have such a limited imagination as to think that I’d need his instruction. Thirty six years, and as many, if not more, boys, boyfriends, lovers, and a husband have taught me the art of nodding gently and smiling. But, of all those silly men, the only one invited to stay was the one who reacts with surprise when I request his explanation, so confident is he in my accomplishments and intellect, and to me that shows he sees my true and ageless beauty.

I have watched the sky beneath a five hundred foot sandstone wall, stood on a stage to receive a national award, experienced laughter that made me snot Chinese food, meditated through a silent natural childbirth, clung to the bathroom floor while absorbing the agony of the death of a loved one, known heartbreak so raw I lost thirty pounds in a month, then loved so deep it took my breath, and I’ve seen rehabilitation from it all.

If my face and body carry marks of age then each line, and scar, and memory was earned. Why would I limit my story to claim fewer moments than I have been given? Which of my years would I ignore?

I’ve plucked gray hairs, sighed at the losing battle that is gravity, gained weight, lost weight, botoxed, detoxed, and unboxed thousands of dollars worth of “beauty” but I have never felt as confident in the skin sold to me by Madison Avenue as I do wearing the sun-kissed glow of an afternoon spent with my sons. With each year of my life that passes, those boys grow too, into toddlers, then boys, and now nascent young men of honor and intelligence; how could I possibly enjoy denying even a day of their lives?

If my face shows age, then it also shows my story, of life, and love, and loss, and that story is mine. I would not trade a moment for the collagen-rich dewy glow of my 22 year-old, untraveled cheeks. And, when my face is sixty, I hope the lines have doubled, and strengthened, and broadcast a richer story than I can even imagine today.

A life well spent, is far more intriguing than even the most perfect face, which offers nothing once it opens its mouth; and accomplishment and adventure can never be taken, or hidden by three-quarter moisturizing cream and a nylon-Spandex blend.

The Autumn Metronome

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Summer begins its slow fade into autumn, and our harvest reminds me of my abundance.

My apple trees are heavy, peaches overwhelm every inch of counter space, and every meal I make.
Fat heirloom tomatoes can be eaten at the peak of ripeness with only salt and pepper.
And, my well-earned tan lines will begin to blend into the freckled skin of my shoulders.
And, my life is full of health and laughter – more bounty than I could ever dare to ask for.

Autumn nostalgia sweeps over every corner of my home …
Boys going back to school
Jackets coming off their storage hooks
Down comforters aired-out off linen closet shelves.
And, one more mark against the stairwell door,
Six inches! No wonder I can’t keep you in shoes.

This morning was chilly; that soft bite of September that still warms up by noon.
This evening will be busy: homework, football practice, back-to-school night.

Autumn becomes the metronome by which the rhythm of family life moves.
Until Christmas break, and Easter’s flirtatious Spring, and lazy summer comes again.