Tag Archives: comedy

Why I Can Deal With 56

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Why I Can Deal With 56

Tomorrow’s my birthday! Remember how delightful that phrase used to be? (Assuming you are past the age of looking forward to growing older…21? 40?) I used to lie awake nights and calculate how long I would need to wait until turning one year older. I still lie awake, but in a “holy crap! Has it really been 40 years since I was allowed to date without my husband’s permission?” way.

Back when The Beatles roamed the earth, (together, engaging in cheeky banter), I used to begin looking forward to my birthday on the day after my birthday. Then I went into labor on my 30th birthday which made the whole agitation about turning 30 a pain glazed, surreal blend of terror and amazement where I discovered that I had really constructed an entire human being from materials I had around the house. The doctors told me this would happen, but these were the same people who said I needed to exercise, so I was skeptical.

But there he was, a mostly blue individual who apparently was under the impression that I, a very young person, was his mother and who was I to tell him differently as he didn’t speak English or tell time, if his sleep patterns were any indication. They handed him over with not so much as a owners manual and I learned that my birthday would be, heretofore, a day of preparation for his birthday and because I grew to think of him as the greatest person in the world, I went along with it.

Eventually, my birthday began to climb out from the rubble and became the most important day in everyone’s life once more. You’d think this would make me happy, but like Captain Hook, I was beginning to hear the ticking of blue hair and orthopedic shoes, or what ever sound terror makes.

That was stupid. I was still young in my thirties. Same goes for my forties, I’d like to go back to my forties and kick myself in my still firm flesh. I’ll probably feel the same in my sixties about my fifties, but thank goodness, that’s really far away.

Only it’s not! I’ll be 56 tomorrow, November 11! 56! That makes it fifty years since I couldn’t wait to get my drivers license and gas cost 47 cents a gallon and I used to return bottles to get the money! (That last sentence was brought to you by “In My Day,” the reality show only old people engage in, although most of us are unaware.)

Which reminds me, I am so old that I feel compelled to tell young people how things were in my day, which can only mean this is not my day! When did it stop being my day!?

Was it when I stopped wearing high heels because they hurt my knees? Was it when a late night out meant I could still be home for prime time tv? Was it when I stopped using pliers to pull up my zipper on my pants, not because they were too small, but because they were just right?

Yes, yes, yes, and so much more, most of which doesn’t bother me, because although I have grown older, my immaturity has remained intact. In fact, I recently took a Facebook quiz which tagged me as a 19-years-old, which doesn’t make me immature so much as the fact that I took a quiz, written by 14-year-olds, which placed me as one of their contemporaries and I was happy about it. My goddaughter, who is, by virtue of the year of her birth, actually a contemporary of the authors of the test, came out as 39, because she is an adult.

Despite the downside, which some would characterize as still being alive, but I prefer to consider as being victimized by gravity, I like most of the aspects of November 11. For one thing, I always got the day off of school because, aside from the day honoring my birth, it is Veterans Day. But mostly, if I were asked what three things are most important to me in life I would say world peace and next, that all the people—-(sound of record being removed from the turntable in a less than careful way). Presents, attention and cake, that’s what I live for, oh and love, of course. I live for the people I love giving me presents, attention and cake. (I’ve included a picture of me at last year’s celebration. Yup. That’s me, blowing out my candles. Sad, isn’t it?)

So, tomorrow, just when I got used to saying 55 with a grimace when asked my age, I will begin saying 56 with a grimace and cake on a day which so far as I’m concerned, is all about me…and presents and cake. And when it comes to making a wish, I’ll probably wish for more cake because the rest of my life is pretty good and after all, I’m 56. It’s not like I’m 57. Holy crap.

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Why You Should Shut Up and Why I Already Have

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Why You Should Shut Up and Why I Already Have

The act of being alive affords many questions which will, if history is any indicator, never be adequately answered. Questions like: Why are we here? (on earth, not the Internet. We’re on the Internet because there’s nothing on TV. The End.) What is the meaning of life? (and I’m not talking about the Monty Python movie) and why do so many people fail to understand that Cilantro tastes like feet?

shut-up

All of the preceding questions will, no doubt, plague the thoughtful denizens of humanity until Kansas is the last ocean front property or until we run out of Oreo’s, whichever comes first, but as far as I’m concerned, there is one question that supersedes the others, one question that is so deeply mysterious that no amount or quality of think tanks will ever be able to even crack the surface of this mystery inside an enigma. And that question is: What the hell is Gwyneth Paltrow thinking?

I kid, of course. The real mystery of the ages is why do people go to musical performances to have conversations? Have they not heard of restaurants or even living rooms or cars?

Since every written question is rhetorical, by virtue of the lack of human give and take, known as conversations, I will answer for all of you who do not talk at performances. No, they have not heard of these places, nor have they heard of peaceful lakesides, or church where apparently talking is now considered in vogue and-spoiler alert!-the topic of a future rant.

Maybe talkers, (who will be heretofore referred to as Yapsters) think people wander off of the street, decide to become musicians and begin to make a pleasing sound (unless they’re Yoko Ono) with no forethought or sense of accomplishment, when, in fact, they start picking out tunes on the piano as toddlers, tenderly banging their fists against the ivories looking for that next new sound, which will most likely be closer to the cry of raccoons in heat than Gershwin and notice how I didn’t reference Yoko.

For the next ten years, aspiring musicians will be forced to attend lessons, ignoring the pleading teachers and parents who warn said children, if they don’t become rock stars they will have no way of earning a living. (At least that’s what I told my kid.)

Finally, after many student musicians who aren’t meant for the stage have drifted off to concentrate on their acne, those who remain will realize that musical instruments attract members of the opposite sex (or same, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Trademark: Jerry Seinfeld,) and will pour their hearts and souls into learning to play, sing and move around the stage without tripping or looking like Joe Cocker (unless you’re Joe Cocker, in which case, have you taken your medicine?), finally rising from their basements and garages to take the stage in some dingy bar or coffee-house, throw back their heads and let their dreams spew out (this is only for metal heads and those band members who accept every drink bought for them,) only to find that the majority of patrons have attended, not to hear the artfulness of the performers musical expression, but because they’ve left their home in order to start a thousand sentences with the word, “Dude.”

This isn’t only the case with rockers or folk singers, but Barbershop quartets and opera singers, although those at the opera start conversations not with “Dude” but “My Good Man”. In any and all cases, Yapsters not only feel free to gab, chat and generally exhort one another, much to the dismay and/or indignant fury of those who left the house in order to hear the wonder of a human being with the ability to use the same 8 notes (except, once again for Yoko, who has apparently discovered her own musical tools, hitherto unheard by man nor beast) to make a myriad of melodies with instruments and vocal performances, that are so pleasing to the ear as to soothe the savage breast. (Yes, its breast. You have the quote wrong and, once again, the soothing part doesn’t apply to Ms. Ono, bless her heart.)

These talents, and I’ll give you that the word “talent” can be used very loosely in some cases, are everyday occurrences to Yapsters. After all, music plays while they ride in elevators, shop in malls and watch Honey Boo Boo, so what’s the big deal, seems to be the “thinking”. The world owes them a soundtrack and they have no sense of reciprocity. So I will explain this in a patient and respectful way, so that, once and all Yapsters will understand. (They won’t, but since I’m here…)

Here’s the deal: Shut the hell up. When you’re in the elevator, shut the hell up. When you’re watching TV, even if it’s something so f!@#cked up that somewhere Shakespeare is weeping into his hands, shut up! Give yourself the chance to intake rather than output from time to time, or at least at the local bandshell when groups of bent old men, who look as if they’re concealing backpacks by wearing them under the fronts of their shirts and have been practicing for a year for this night where they can achieve warm applause for singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” mostly on key in three and 3/4 part harmony.

Shut up at orchestral presentations and piano recitals. Shut up for the ballet and the young man who only knows three chords but is trying his best on open mic night. Shut up for Yoko. You heard me. You knew what you were getting into when you came so shut up and take it.

And while I’m at it, and this is for your own good, shut up for Stand Up Comics because they make a living with their mind and they will not fail to use it against you in the most tortuous way. Think Braveheart but painful.

Make your kids shut up at the movies. When they ask why they have to be quiet when all the other kids are yapping, explaining that the parents of the other kids are Yapsters and Yapsters are the only group it’s ok to throw things at, then proceed to demonstrate this.

Shut Up! Be Quiet! Pipe Down! Zip your Lip! Shut your Pie Hole! Or Your Cake Hole (Your preference) Dummy up, Dummy!

Pretend you don’t have anything earth-shattering to share (and you don’t. Let’s just face facts), until the lights go up and the applause goes down and then you can alienate your friends and family with your constant chatter on a one-on-one basis which is how nature intended, where face to face, we can all contemplate the age-old questions, such as Why Are We Here?

Answer: Because no one publishes my blog posts so you have to be here in order read them. Next question? Ask me when the show’s over.

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Why May and I are BFFs

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Why May and I are BFFs

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of winter as an old man. First of all, old men seem to focus on their lawns and that’s seems

Springless than possible when any semblance of green grass is destroyed in November and only begins to moan about being in a coma in March.

Winter, to me, is an old woman who will not turn the thermostat up, despite the blue hue of her fellow dwellers, which is a good name for a folk band.

She gives the cold shoulder to those of us who like to know our fingers and toes are stil attached without visual assurance. “When I was a girl,” she’ll screech, “There was constant snow! We didn’t have any mamby pamby sleds, either! If I wanted to slide, I’d let my ass freeze over in the outhouse and trip on my way back to the unheated hut that I called home. You didn’t hear me complain! I loved it! Why, when April came around, I’d chase her away with a shovel!” (April being the delicate flower of a girl who had the nerve to want to wear her Easter Sunday dress without a woolen overcoat.)

I spend most of my time in the winter, cursing this evil doer, but usually the cold sucks the breath from my mouth, freezing the words, and letting them drop into the snow, never to be heard again until I slam my finger in a window come screen cleaning time.

Spring in Chicago, on the other hand, is very hard to differentiate from winter. Same snow, same cold, same growling, teeth chattering from me, but the blue in my fingers begins to turn toward mauve and when I see April skip around the corner for the first time, I secretly hate her, because, let’s face it, she’s a bit of a tease.

40 degrees is all we ask and she gives it to us, before smacking us in the face with plastic flowers and running inside to bake cookies with Winter for another several weeks.

By the way, cookies are part of the distinct misery that is winter, although they are not thrust upon me, I feel compelled to overindulge. There is a scientific reason for this, but I don’t care because my pants don’t fit. However, for those of you who like the intricacies of science, here it is: Before Marshalls and TJ Maxx, humans needed protection from the cold and fig leaves weren’t cutting it. So, because they weren’t thinking of how this would affect me, they ate enough to fill a black hole, if a black hole get’s hungry and let’s hope they don’t.

Back then there was little need to get in shape for bikini weather because razors and waxing weren’t invented yet and also because laying on the beach with your friends constituted a buffet for those higher up on the food chain. Also there were no fashion magazines, so women didn’t know that they should be ready, at ever given time, to model for osteology classes.

So, they ate. A lot. And I kind of envy them, because there was no downside. No one sobbed over last year’s wardrobe because only a tube top and you husband’s gym shorts still fit. No one worried about muffin tops, double chins and thunder thighs as that meant less time poking a fire in the cave.

I suppose the fact that they ran from whatever meat-eater found them attractive, thus getting their cardio in every day, kept them in shape, but unless a bear chases me up the block on a daily basis or I chased something desirable, like cheesecake or Chris Martin (for those who have written demanding more Chris Martin blogs, this will have to do for now and you’re welcome,) there will be no running for me. It’s been written into law by my knees.

Anyway, with no thought for the future, Evolution and Calvin Klein did away with the need to eat cupcake and cookies and donuts to keep warm, so why, once September turns a cold shoulder to me, do I feel the need to bulk up from Halloween through Easter and why do these holidays focus on candy? And why aren’t philosophy majors working on this? After all, it’s not like they have jobs.

Despite my less than ideal appearance once Sprinter (Some Spring but mostly Winter) rolls around, May is my favorite month, like a friend who lives far away and I only get to see once a year. You don’t have to dress up for her, she brings fruit, she smells nice, she likes to sit on the porch and watch it rain and she never mentions the fact that you’re wearing a tube top and men’s gym shorts.

Even when May slips up and snows, (yes, it freakin’ snowed in May this year) you have to forgive her because you know you’ll miss her when she’s gone.

Some people don’t appreciate May like I do, however, hence the following conversation I overheard in TJ Maxx recently:

“Wasn’t last weekend hot?”

“Yes, it was. I told my daughter, that’s enough summer for me!”

“I know and it’s going to get cold again this weekend.”

“Awful.”

These women should be deposited in a the bleakest of Canadian back yards where, every year, fossils are discovered one the snow melts in August. (These fossils are called friends and family).

May has come and gone now and I miss her already, although I also enjoy her slightly hotter sister June. I try not to be a glass half frozen girl, but I start dreading December in July to beat the rush, so I’m going to make June count. After all, as the the song from Carousel goes, June is Bustin’ Out All Over, so she has no room to talk.

Why My Son Uses Frowned Upon Language

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Why My Son Uses Frowned Upon Language

 

When my son was about two, he sat in my Pastor’s house, happily building with blocks in the middle of the living room floor. My husband and I were friends with the pastor and his wife Lori, because she said we had to be.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like them, it was just, growing up Catholic, it never occurred to me that you could be friends with your minister, let alone his wife, which would be a whole other kettle of fish. Turned out, the Pastor’s wife was, and is my kind of gal, but that’s not why you called.

Anyway, there was my cherubic son, wearing his OshKosh B’Gosh overalls and looking for all the world like the sweetest human being God ever put on the planet. OK, that’s probably just me, but I’m right.

As he built whatever he thought he was building, (he was darling but architecture wasn’t his strong point,” it all tumbled to the floor.

That's right, baby, D is for @#$%^!

That’s right, baby, D is for @#$%^!

He let loose with a dammit preceded by the name of the deity who should do so and then went back to his work. Silence ensued.

 

When I managed to raise my eyes to the pastor, he cocked an eyebrow. “Cable TV?” I offered feebly, knowing full well who was responsible; my husband and his potty mouth.

OK. That’s not quite true. Actually, of we’re going to be technical, it’s an out right lie. It was Lori.

Actually, as I’m sure anyone who knows me or any idiot off of the street, (I’m choosing not make a joke at the expense of those who know me and, those of you who do, know what a strain that is for me,) will assume without making an ass of either one of us, that my son’s unfortunate slip was simply an echo of what he’d heard while, as is the case with most mothers and children,
we were making cookies together using cookie cutters which would not release the dough.

I instantly regretted my words and vowed to watch my language. I didn’t, but I made that vow so that should count for something.

After another out-of-character tirade (for a two-year-old and not so much for a seasoned sailor,) spewed from the back seat of my car, aimed at a slow driving person in front of us, I realized I had to clean up my language and this time it stuck, unless I became unglued. (See what I did there?)

One exception is notable however and this isn’t really my fault. When my son was about seven, I was trying, unsuccessfully to change to bulbs in our ceiling fan/light fixture. Time after time, I attempted to screw the bulb in, which was nearly out of my reach, but not so much so that I easily gave up.

Finally, I thought I’d done it and, as I was crawling off of the official tool for screwing in light bulbs, my kitchen chair, the bulb and the surrounding fixture fell to the floor with an impressive crash.

I said something along the order of @#$%^&&^%$#$%^&*(*&^%$#$%^&*! And your mother too! You *&^%$%^&!

Almost immediately I remembered my son, quietly watching shows with little, to no profanity, in the next room and I went in to apologize. He was sitting on the edge of the recliner, his large eyes nearly double in size, causing him look a bit like animé and not in a particularly bad way, depending on your level of dorkiness.

I profusely apologized and explained it was very wrong for me to wish the maker of my ceiling fan a painful experience in his private regions.

“That’s ok, Mommy,” he said. “I didn’t even know those words could go together.”

So we both learned a valuable lesson that day.

Some time later, I was rewarded with a feeling of maternal progress when my son approached me and announced, “I know what the F word is!”

I sighed and explained that knowing it is ok, but saying it was not nice. He nodded and promised not to say it, but I could tell he was desperate to say it and who wouldn’t be? So, I gave him permission to tell me, just this once.

He could hardly contain his pride as he announced the word. “Shut up,” he said.

“That’s right!” I said, relief and amusement washing over me.

Later that week, while on the phone with a casual friend I recounted the story and, because amusement goeth before a fall, I gave the phone to my son and told him to tell my friend what the F word is.

He took the phone in his hands and said, “Fuck.”

My friend was very angry and didn’t see what was so funny about encouraging my young son to use filthy language. She is no longer my friend, not precisely because of that, but because when I told my real friends, including the soon to be ex-wife of my former pastor they belly laughed and that’s what you want in a friend.

Eventually, I reverted to my less than pristine language mostly because I believe words are words and some of them shouldn’t be set aside because someone (probably someone’s mother whilst burning her hand as she lit the castle’s candles) said they were bad.

My son is now 25 and I’d like to say he has learned to control his use of the F word, (which by the way, in case anyone is  still wondering, does not mean shut up), but this is not the case. In fact he sometimes uses that very phrase I used while destroying my ceiling fan and, rather unkindly points out that I have no one to blame but myself, which is true , but still not the kind of thing a mother wants to see written across her Mother’s Day cake.

Because I’m a time-and-place kind of potty mouth there are times I regret my behavior and, as an old person, I feel compelled to give advice to the young, not so much so they won’t traverse the same rocky road as I, but because, after I give them this unwanted advice and they head off into the sunset using the very road I warned them against, I can say, I told you so.

So, always remember, (here’s where young people hear the sound of the adults in the Peanuts cartoons so I could say just about anything, but still…) Do not watch cable TV (this was a type of entertainment which existed before satellites and the Internet) with your impressionable children and, what ever you do, don’t change light bulbs until they’re asleep.

Oh, and take your pastor’s wife out to lunch and ask her if she knows what the F word is.

Why The Olympics Are Less Than Enjoyable to Me.

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Despite practicing with garbage can lids.

Well, another Olympics have come and gone and I, like most of you, can’t help thinking about the young people who came from all over the globe, proudly wearing their country’s colors in order to vie for the opportunity to interrupt each and every one of my favorite programs.

I left Parenthood in the middle of a potential divorce, Bones over some revolting guts, calmly presided over by the enigmatic Dr. Brennan and Scandal in the middle of a, well, you can probably guess, so that athletes can replicate what I can only imagine originally took place in the backyards of male teenagers between, “Hey! Watch this!” and traction.

I picture these anonymous (and probably currently arthritic) young men attempting to defy gravity, (which was put there for a reason), by flipping their feet with their heads (which were put on in the original way for a reason), while hurdling toward the frozen pool with garbage can lids strapped to their feet, while practicing gymnastics. Which begs a question; how many catastrophic injuries have been preceded by the phrase: Hey! Watch this!

Although, I don’t enjoy the games, I can see why orthopedic surgeons might, in fact there is probably a unmentionable reaction in the crisply pleated trousers of the these specialists when a human being straps on long slippery footwear, points his or herself down a mountain treated with extra coatings of Crisco and hurls themselves toward the bottom.

Many of my friends watch these activities and urge me to likewise tune in, and sometimes I do because NCIS and Psych aren’t on, but I find myself unsuccessfully trying to talk people out of piling into a (Crisco-coated?) sphere in costumes which may or may not consist of latex paint and —this just in, outside of the theatre, costumes are referred to as uniforms. Who knew?

Figure skating is often pointed to as the one activity that I might enjoy, and sometimes I do, especially when I gasp for oxygen after holding my breath for the entirety of the routine, imagining the death and destruction which seems all but certain to take place when people take to the ice with sharp blades on their feet and proceed to toss each other around like a Sicilian pizza chef preparing a crust.

As I watch these exercises of impending doom, I wonder things like; who would I trust enough to allow him to throw me up into the air with the promise to catch me.

The answer is no one. When I venture from my home in the winter, my beloved husband and darling son fear for my life and often take me by the scruff of my coat with the intention of keeping me upright on icy sidewalks. I trust both of these people with my life, but I know, if I fall, they’re going with me, most likely on top of me, which would make matters worse, especially when we went to the creepy orthopedic surgeon.

Now picture my husband telling me, “Wife, hold onto my arm and just before we get to the ice coated gate, leap into my arms and I will toss you into the air where I hope you’ll prettily point your toes before gravity works its magic and I will catch you with one hand and flip you over my shoulder before settling you back down. Then we’ll go get milk.”

He might add, “Don’t worry, I’ve practiced this with a shovel and garbage cans strapped to my feet when I was a teenaged boy, so no harm will come to you.”

I might respond in a way which resembles the time I was trying to change lightbulbs in my ceiling fan and the complexity overcame me. I ended spouting a stream of vulgar words before realizing my small son was in the next room. I called out an apology to which he replied, “That’s ok. I didn’t even know those words could go together.” This is how I Iost “Mother of the Year” in 1993, the one and only year I was in the competition.

I always wonder about the parents of these athletes and how they watch these activities with no sign of being physically held back by security. Have they no instinct to tackle their child and return them to the safety of the nest or basement or wherever they’d have to lock up their kid in order to keep them from interrupting my programs?

My grown son fell outside of his apartment last weekend (which I like to refer to as his temporary living space before returning home for good), and when he called to describe his injuries my first reaction was to call out the National Guard to protect this disastrous event from recurring when my son leaves his “apartment” to come home for good. The National Guard, however stopped taking my calls when my son was injured during a rehearsal of the musical, Hair. Seems it’s not in their job description to prevent American citizens from being injured during dance numbers. I have received similar messages from The FBI and The CIA

Luckily his injury was not considered local news and my programs were not interrupted and now that The Olympics are in the rear view mirror, I can get back to what’s important; evaluating Adam Levine’s attractiveness on The Voice. I give him an 8 and he doesn’t even have to strap garbage cans to his feet.

Why Hibernation Seems Like a Good Idea

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Why Hibernation Seems Like a Good Idea

I don’t hibernate, unless you count the amount of time I spend in bed during the course of the day. But, technically, I don’t hibernate, although you wouldn’t know it by tabulating my caloric intake once the weather turns colder.

It starts in mid-October when I convince myself that I won’t dip into the Halloween candy before the trick-or-treaters arrive. I tell myself that I’d better pick up the 250 piece bargain candy before they run out and I’m stuck with dumdums and those mouthfuls of gunk wrapped in orange and black wax paper. I tell myself the little goblins would be disappointed when they ring the doorbell and, for their trouble, receive pennies and packets of Splenda. So I buy the 250 Mega Candy bag and put it in the cupboard where I wait for a good couple of hours before making that first small tear with the promise that I will eat one mini bag of peanut M&Ms. Then, I realize a regular bag is probably three mini bags and…you get the picture.

So, I go back and buy more candy on the 30th and, guess what, there are plenty to choose from, but I will conveniently forget this by next year and, because I bought the 250 piece bag and, traditionally get under 50 trick-or-treaters, even after I grace every bag and pillow case with handfuls of candy, I still have enough to tide me over until November 11, my birthday.

My birthday is a national celebration, the mail isn’t even delivered, but my favorite donuts usually are and by the end of the day, I’ve made my way through more food than Kate Moss has eaten thus far in her life.

I have about 10 hours to recover when my son’s birthday arrives and all of his meals are special and there is usually cake…and leftovers.

As we as a nation are fully aware, the end of November brings a holiday, ostensibly about thankfulness but is mostly about finding your old maternity pants even though your son is 25 years old and then, after giving them to your husband, finding another pair for yourself.

The day after Thanksgiving is Christmas as it has evolved from one day to 30. No one alive today remembers when Christmas was a single day because the last time that happened there was a manger and baby and not the kind that the bad kids steal from front yards.

Christmas used to start on the day after Thanksgiving, but because Kmart and JC Penney can’t wait, we have to leave the table and hit the stories without doing the dishes or having a second piece of pie. Warning: the pie will be gone when you come home.

December tests the limits of my ability to process sugar and butter, two of my favorite food groups. If I were the composer of My Favorite Things it would have been a much shorter song.

Butter and sugar and Chris Martin singing…These are a few of my favorite things.

See? Much less affective the schnitzel with noodles.

Christmas dinner isn’t the end of it. There are cookies and boxed candies well into the New Year until I make that traditional healthy lifestyle resolution; not because I want to, but because I cannot eat one more bite and I’m too dizzy to drive to the pie restaurant.

My husband’s birthday arrives at the end of January and as a result, more cake. Valentine’s Day usually means a dinner out as long as my husband drives, as I’m still slightly off kilter.

Finally Fat Tuesday arrives. Although I haven’t been Catholic since I was 13 and am only slightly Polish, I celebrate by eating punchki, a pastry which translates into English as “fried heart attack”.

Finally Spring arrives and I waddle into the sunshine, my appetite having dwindled and my shadow shrieking in pain from being stretched into a shape which closely resembles a land manatee. I bend over to yank out a weed, and the miracle of life begins again.

If I hibernated, I’d stumble into the spring sunshine, slim and groggy, having burned off at least the bag of Snickers I ate in October. It’s too late now, I already bought the turkey and I’m the only one who knows how to cook it, but, hibernation seems to be a lifestyle choice I could embrace. Maybe next year.

Why my 55th Isn’t About Senior Discounts

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Depending on how long it takes me to complete this missive, I will either be 55 in a few days

55.

55. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

or last week. Unlike most people, who get sick and then after a few days, recover, I feel the need to prolong the process to wring every bit of attention out of looking and feeling like hell with the added bonus that I don’t have to work or cook dinner. So, I may be writing this between naps, which take up most of my time these days.

So. 55. If you’re under 30, you’re thinking, Wow! That’s really old! What century were you born in?

Well, kids. I was born before The Beatles invented color. I was born before the previous statement could be countered by the annual showing of The Wizard of Oz on our televisions. You know, when Dorothy steps into Munchkin Land? Aside from the height challenged population, and the large, plastic vegetation Munchkin Land could be Downtown USA if DT, USA decorated itself in shades of grey (Not that kind. No one behaved like that before color was invented.) and determined it’s leadership by dropping houses on the opposition, which might be, in some cases, a model worth considering.

So, 55. If you’re over 40, and not yet 50, you’re probably thinking, good thing I’m not that old. You may also think 15 years is a long time. Keep telling yourself that, no need to become despondent as the sands in the hour-glass race past before you can even turn the damn thing over again.

Once you have a child, of course, time goes by in triple speed. Enough has been said about this phenomenon and I don’t need to delve into it here, but suffice to say, Sunrise, Sunset is a terrible song to play at your wedding. If you hate your parents and hope that they remember your wedding day as the day they wept into the rental tablecloths, gagging on tears, go ahead, be that person. Otherwise, have a heart. Karma is a bitch and all that.  Also, if you have any aged child, do not click on the above link; not unless you have hours to throw down the weeping uncontrollably well.

It’s not that my life at 54 is a living hell. The problem, as Doris Day (ask your grandparents) put it is, you grow out of it. Hence, 55.

At this point I have a husband whom I love and respect, who has put up with me for 35 years and that’s nothing to sneeze at. (Has anyone ever sneezed at less than impressive facts? Does anyone still use this expression besides Doris Day and me?) Putting up with me is quite an accomplishment because I am, after all, me, which is something no one else has even tried to be and for good reason.

I have the best son possible and made him myself from materials I had around the house, which, as anyone can tell you, is quite unique. Despite the fact that he has cruelly abandoned me to attend college and have a life of his own which doesn’t revolve around being available for movies and lunch dates, I love and respect him as well. (Next time he comes home I’m going to perform some sort of evil deed which will make it impossible for him to leave my home of his own volition. Please, don’t tell him this.)

I have lovely friends, some of which knew me before I met my husband and son and still like me, or so they say when their birthdays roll around. Most of them are older than me so, I like them too. Those that are younger, make up for it by speaking up when we’re talking so I don’t have to say, Eh?

There are many members of my family that I don’t want to shoot and who feel less than violent toward me, which anyone with a family knows, is quite an accomplishment.

Yet, 55. 55? That means in less than a decade, I will be 60 and then who knows what will happen next? (I do. I’m just hoping someone will come up with a time travel device before I hit the sixes. It could happen.)

And while, we’re at it, 25. That’s how old my son will be the day after I weep into my hands until I need them to eat cake. How can I be 32 if my son is 25? It defies logic.

Something tells me that my grandparents were happy to see 55 as their fore bearers considered 40 a ripe, old, age and thereby spent very little time wondering if wearing Spanx under your jeans will cut off the circulation to your legs. When my darling Mother-in-Law was 55, by golly, she looked how I feel and, I can only guess by what I know about her now, spent very little time wondering how to meet the lead singer of her favorite band.

So, 55 is on the horizon and I can live by their example and attempt to act my age or I can avoid mirrors and get slapped with a restraining order by Chris Martin (and wouldn’t that be a nice birthday present since he lives in Santa Monica these days?)

It occurs to me, as I became well enough to this project, on the final day of my 54…ism, that it might be about balance; the inner me and the outer me, but anyone who had seen a my dinner menu since I’ve been ill knows balance is not always my forte.

But, I can have a go. Inner me, which has seen enough life to know what is and isn’t important, meet outer me, who doesn’t recognize the surface me and fears the long-term process of disappearing until nothing about the outer me is recognizable. Shake hands. Make peace. Work together. Happy Birthday.