Do I really have to be a grownup?

standard January 11, 2016 3 responses

I turned 39 this past summer. Not a momentous birthday. Went out with a handful of friends. Had a lovely dinner. Moved on.

Except, apparently, I didn’t, because I catch myself increasingly frequently saying things like

“Listen, we’re almost 40, we should…”

“We’re almost 40, isn’t it time we…”

“At almost 40, we should probably…”

As if it were a deadline after which things will Change, with a capital C, marking the difference between the Before 40 and the After 40.

I pondered it briefly while on a plane this past weekend – because nothing really makes you face your mortality and fragility more than those two seconds after the plane has taken off and is leveling off and you’re not quite sure if that’s what’s happening or if you’re about to nosedive back to the tarmac – and I realized that somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain, 40 is apparently when you become a grownup.

40 = grownup. End of story.

Which is funny a) because when I was a teen, had you asked me, 30 was pretty damn old and grown up, and b) some of the least grown-up people I know are pushing (or have pushed) 50.

But in my mind? I have 6 more months to live it up because after July 22, the party is over and the shit gets real.

Which is also funny because a) kids, b) mortgage, c) life.

On paper, grownuphood has already been achieved.

In my mind? Not so much.

Which raises the question to beat all questions.

Does anyone ever, really feel like a grownup?

And should we?

Is there any added value to being figuratively stamped with a big, red “Grown-Up” label?

I’m not so sure. Maybe I should stop saying “we’re almost 40” like it’s a momentous thing and just start saying “eh, we’re still young, let’s live it up some more.” I can probably get away with saying that until we’re 80 or so, right?

Making Pear Vanilla Jam in 25 Easy Steps

standard June 18, 2013 1 response

Today, instead of waxing poetic about living in the silver lining of life, I bring you instead “Making Pear Vanilla Jam in 25 Easy Steps, a tried and true story from the annals of my days. Learn from my mistakes my friends, learn from my mistakes.

1 – Buy a huge Costco sized bag of pears in preparation for a Memorial Day camping trip with friends.

Yay! Camping!

2 – Bring home more than 2/3rds of the bag at the end of the trip.

3 – Spend three hours perusing pear recipes on Pinterest.

4 – Decide that you absolutely must make Pear Vanilla Jam. Yum.

5 – Go about your business for a week.

6 – Remember your Pear Vanilla Jam plan and look up recipe.

7 – Make mental note to grab some vanilla beans and pectin next time you’re at Whole Foods.

8 – Wait a few more days until you realize the pears are getting a bit over-ripe.

9 – Go to Whole foods and buy vanilla beans after gasping at the price. Grab some pectin while you’re there.

10 – Open pectin box and discover that there are two packets in there. Wonder why one is labeled activator. Close box and decide you’ll deal later.

10 – Go on Facebook to ask if you need new lids for your canning jars.

11 – On the recommendation of all of your followers and each of their cousins, head out to Cost Plus World Market for new canning lids.

12 – Find lids at the hardware store instead. While you’re there pick up another box of pectin. This one is “normal.”

13 – Go home and realize you bought the wrong sized lids.

14 – Check the recipe one last time and realize you need at least 8 pears. You only have 5 left and two look way past their prime.

15 – Go back out to the store to get more pears. While you’re there get the correct sized lids.

16 – Wait a few more days until you have a nice stretch of time to devote to your jam making.

17 – Start peeling pears.

18 – Throw half of the original pears – the modly ones – down the garbage disposal.

19 – Swat at a few fruit flies.

20 – Peel new pears and start cooking them with tons of sugar.

Mmm sugar.

21 – Check Youtube for videos on how to use vanilla beans.

22 – Let pear, sugar, vanilla mixture simmer while you clean jars and lid.

23 – Finish the canning process and pat yourself on the back.

Or post to Instagram, the modern day equivalent of the pat on the back.

24 – Research how to fight fruit fly infestation and spend two weeks battling the damn pesky things.

25 – Bake some Bread Machine Challah and treat yourself to the best snack you’ve ever tasted. You earned it!

Mmmm. Heaven.

Make sure to carefully store the jam you made. It’s going to be a while before you attempt this again.

Take note, give thanks, for the little and not so little things

standard September 10, 2012 4 responses

A long while ago, before I actually worked for Tiny Prints, I did a month-long campaign for them on the subject of gratitude. It was a great campaign all about noticing the little things in life and taking time to be grateful for them. The subject was so perfectly up my alley that I jumped at the chance to participate.

For a month I waxed poetic about smiles, hugs, sand and whatever crossed my mind. After the campaign wrapped up I wore the campaign t-shirt proudly because it was the perfect reminder to slow down and remember the importance of the little things.

Last time I wore this shirt was the day the moving company came over to give us a quote on our move. Every so often as we meandered from room to room, discussing what was moving and what was not, the mover would glance at my chest and just as quickly look away.

It’s something that men have done since I was 12 and grew some womanly appendages. I took no notice.

Then, after spending nearly an hour with me, right after he said goodbye, the poor man turned to me, vaguely gestured in the direction of my chest, and, blushing from the tip of his nose to the tip of his ears, stammered “Exactly what is it I’m supposed to be noticing and giving thanks for?”

That’s right. For two years I walked around with a shirt begging people to notice my chest and thank me for it. To everyone who did, you’re very welcome.

(For the record I told this story at lunch with Kristi Yamaguchi and her husband Bret Hedican last week. My t-shirts are the least of the reason why I shouldn’t be out in public.)

Driving all day long

standard January 9, 2012 2 responses

I would have made a terrible chauffeur. I just don’t have the patience and what little patience I do have is being sorely tried this month.

Let’s be clear. I am a great short order cook. Eggs and toast? You got ’em. Last minute order of hot dogs? I’m on it. I also happen to be pretty good at cleaning the laundry, doing the groceries, taking out the trash, loading and unloading the dishwasher and doing whatever other tasks need to be tackled around the house while M is out of commission.

But the driving? The driving is slowly destroying my will to live. (Yes, I’m also really good at over-exaggerating.)

M has been in a full neck brace since his surgery back in December. It was fine while he was home with me. (In fact it was lovely, like a lengthy second honeymoon.) But now that he’s back at work, I’ve found that instead of enjoying time alone with the man of my dreams, I’m spending all my waking hours in the car.

OK, fine, not ALL the waking hours.

It just feels like that.

We leave the house at 8am. At 8:30 we pull into C’s school. At 8:55 I pull into the parking lot next to M’s office and Little L starts to whine about how long we’ve been driving. At 9:25 I pull into the driveway at her daycare and finally release her from the confines of her car seat. And, at long last, at almost 10am I pull back into our driveway.

Five hours later, I get back into the car and do the trip in reverse.

So, on average, I’ve been driving 4 hours every day, not counting errands, trips out to eat, or whatever other compelling reason lures me back into the driver’s seat.

For the last 12 years, M has been the designated driver in our family. He likes to drive. He likes to be in control of the vehicle. And guess what? I like being a passenger. You can read, play on your phone, help the kids pick up the fifteen toys they’ve dropped on the floor, check your make-up in the mirror, futz with the radio. And when you’re out to dinner with friends you can enjoy that extra glass of wine or three.

In two weeks M should be released from the brace. I have a feeling that we’ll both be doing a happy dance in the parking lot as we walk away from the clinic. Him because he’ll be free for the first time in six weeks, me because I’ll be handing him the car keys.

M can’t wait to be free of what Little L calls his Neck Ray.