How to be the best kind of noodle

More than 20 years ago, Tom gave me a gift certificate for an hour-long massage as an anniversary gift. I’d never had a professional massage before. (Women don’t count the one-handed massages men sometimes give while holding the remote with their other hand.) I was intrigued but didn’t know how to feel about it. A massage? The concept felt so far removed from my small-town upbringing. Who did I think I was? The Queen of Fancyland? One of the Real Housewives of Shallow County? If I got a massage, where would that kind of decadence lead? Peeled grapes and fur coats? Curious and nervous, I scheduled the massage. But when the day came, I wondered if I had the nerve […]

How to love people and productivity at the same time

On my desk, there are three essential things – my laptop, a computer mouse, and a no-frills, lined pad of paper. Without the computer and mouse, nothing could get done. But without that humble pad of paper where I scribble my to-do list, I wouldn’t remember what needed doing in the first place. Like millions of others, I’ve been a devoted fan of to-do lists for decades. When the glorious iPhone came along, I added a few digital bells and whistles to the system so I could have a mobile version of the list to take with me. It’s like a security blanket for my brain. For the most important items on the list, I also schedule alarms – which […]

Peanut Butter Sandwich Salvation

There should probably be a warning on this column because it’s graphic, and if your stomach is as weak as mine, perhaps you should turn back now and save yourself. If you’re still with me, let me tell you what happened last week and how a humble peanut butter sandwich saved the day. My 16-year-old daughter, Kate, called me from school, and I instantly knew something was wrong. Her: Mom, something happened. Mac ate a chicken leg. (Mac is her 80-pound Goldendoodle service dog who goes to school with her.) Me: What? How did Mac get a chicken leg? Her: He found it on the cafeteria floor. When he picked it up, I tried to take it from him, but […]

A closet love affair

It finally happened. After a stifling summer in the broiler, fall temperatures dipped to a crisp, cool 58 degrees. And that meant it was time for the annual changing of the closet. This won’t come as news to women or married men, but it may surprise some of you to know that a woman with access to multiple closets will have her clothes in at least two of them. Most of us divide what goes where by the current season. Spring and summer clothes live in this one. Fall and winter clothes live in that one. Some women even have a closet dedicated only to shoes, but I have yet to reach that level of luxury. Some men or minimalists […]

A fun-size fable for Halloween

October is about restraint. It’s about resisting the urge to buy those giant bags of candy until the day before trick-or-treaters show up to collect it. Years ago, I learned – the hard way – that if you buy the chocolate too early, your house will be haunted by the siren song of Snickers. It’ll call to you after dinner. Or during the mid-afternoon slump. Or after an exercise session when you think you’ve “earned it.” Or to celebrate when you notice that your electric bill went down. Or because it’s a random Tuesday. It might even lure you out of your warm bed to see if something sweet would help you fall asleep faster. In my experience, we don’t […]

Dear Ragweed…

Dear Ragweed, So you’re back. Again. Back to bully me and 50 million other people all over the world. I’m familiar with your plan of attack because I’ve been battling it every fall for decades. You’re an ugly adversary with hairy leaves masquerading as a harmless fern. You’re no fern, you faker. You’re a seasonal allergy assassin. Even your so-called “blooms” are nothing more than yellowish bumpy spikes designed to spray pollen like a machine gun. A solitary ragweed plant can send a billion pollen grains into the air like millions of misery-inducing missiles. Researchers say those nasty little pollen grains have been found as far as 400 miles out to sea and two miles up into the atmosphere. If […]

My most unflattering photos

BEFORE I had lime Jello for breakfast today. Guess what I’m having for lunch? Lime Jello. And dinner? You guessed it. Lime Jello is on repeat today unless I get crazy and have a little chicken broth before the Jello. I’m also drinking water, white grape juice, Sprite, and tea. If you recognize this odd diet, you’ve probably realized I’m 50. And when you turn 50, you don’t get your driver’s license, vote in your first election, or order your first fancy cocktail. You get your first colonoscopy. Tomorrow is the big event, and I’m a little terrified. I started the mandatory “clear liquids diet” last night, and I’m continuing it today. Even though my stomach has had its share […]

Mister Toad’s Wild Ride

Once upon a time, during a moonlit night, an unsuspecting woman descended the steps of her backyard deck and stepped onto the stone patio. Her three rambunctious dogs raced past her, eager to hit the grass and sniff out the perfect place to pee before bedtime. The woman knew the sniffing would take a while, so she strolled around the patio, hoping to add to the step count on her fitness app. Along the way, she kicked acorns, rocks, and leaves out of her path, unaware of the danger ahead. Just as her foot began to brush aside a large rock, it hopped. Straight up and right at her. She shrieked and jumped in the opposite direction, narrowly missing the […]

So many channels, so little to watch

I miss the writers. The Writers Guild of America went on strike in early May, and it has been a creative wasteland on television ever since. Most of the shows Tom and I used to watch won’t be back with new episodes this fall. Lately, we’ve been flipping through over 100 channels, amazed that there are so many options yet so little we want to see. If I see one more rerun of House Hunters, I’ll go nuts. I want to hunt down that annoying suburban couple who wouldn’t stop whining about a powder room painted a color they don’t like. Just paint the tiny room, people! You can learn how on YouTube. I should turn off the television and […]

Just when you thought it was safe…

I only remember a little about being 7 years old. I remember my second-grade teacher’s name was Mrs. Wood, and she had beautiful dark hair and said I was good at reading. Other than that, I remember only one thing – I was one of the 80 million people who watched the movie Jaws when it aired on the ABC network in November 1979. Why was a 7-year-old kid watching Jaws in the family living room? Good question. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but my best guess is that my brother, who was 14 then, wanted to watch it because sharks were cool. My parents probably thought I wasn’t paying attention to the TV anyway since I was usually preoccupied with sticking […]