Monday, February 23, 2009

This Damn Economy

Given the financial climate, I guess we’re all hoping for a big win these days. Sooz spent the weekend wishing for an Oscars trip while I’ve faithfully logged on to enter the HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes each day for the past month. I use it to cure insomnia, calming my mind before bed by picturing the dream home, thinking about how each spring we’ll head out to Sonoma to enjoy it, tour the wine country, and throw amazing dinner parties on the back patio where guests will perch on designer pillows made of bamboo fabric.

Then last week I panicked. What if I really win? I can’t afford those taxes! And how much would it cost to heat and cool the monstrosity? We could never sell it in this market!

The only prize I’m winning is for most paranoid person. It’s the uncertainty of it all that gets to me. Experts throw out “roller-coaster” and “unpredictable” and “I’ve never seen this before in my life.” So how I am supposed to know what to do? Even my husband, the absolute calm in all my storms, feels queasy.

Last weekend I handed over $8 and saw Confessions of a Shopaholic. (I felt ashamed that I had the $8 to spend but justified it since it was the matinee.) The message of the movie is that you don’t need things to be happy. And that’s true, but man did that actress have some nice things! I left the theater and went straight to the mall. More shame. More guilt. After all, people are losing their jobs, their homes, their retirement packages. I’m at Dillards gleefully sorting through the dresses.

According to my friends, I shouldn’t feel guilty about shopping since I am stimulating the economy. This may be true, but I hunkered down this weekend and didn’t spend a dime. Today, however, I’m back. After a multi-year struggle, a dear friend of mine just had her first baby and I plan on sending the first gift that strikes my fancy, whatever the cost. Her shiniest day has come despite these very gray times and I’m going to celebrate. In this damn economy, joy remains recession-proof.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Yesterday afternoon my best friend Annie phoned and said "Quick! Go to and enter the sweepstakes to win a trip to LA and two tickets to both Oprah's After-Oscar party and to the taping of Monday's show." I rushed to the computer and entered the contest just as Annie had directed. Annie and I then chatted on the phone, deciding what we would wear to each event, and what we would say to our soon-to-be new best friends, Oprah and Gayle. We realized that we needed to do some shopping and made plans to do that as soon as we were notified of our winning status. Annie decided to visit her safe deposit box and get us a few pieces of nice jewelry (and Annie has plenty!) for the events. I fretted a little about having to cancel the birthday dinner for my daughter tomorrow night as well as my trip to North Carolina to see my dad on Monday, but decided they would both understand. Annie declared that she would just quit her job if there was any problem about her not showing up on Monday and Tuesday. We were ready. We both had really, really strong feelings that we were going to be the lucky winners. All that was left to do was wait for that exciting call this morning. Would it be Oprah herself? Or perhaps one of her producers? What tone should we take -- shrieks or calm thanks?

I actually made pre-trip to-do lists in my head before I went to sleep last night. And this morning I anticipated the ringing of the phone. Knowing that the day of shopping and packing ahead would be busy, I was up early and into the shower --- with the phone right outside the shower door. The phone rang -- Daughter D. It rang again -- Verizon wanting to sell me FIOS service. Another call -- Daughter J. I checked the Oprah website thinking there might be some sort of announcement. Nothing. But while on the website, I read the information about attending the taping of a show and noted that neither Annie nor I should wear white or beige as those colors interfere with the show's lighting. At noon, Annie called. When I saw her name on Caller ID, I thought this might be it! But, no. Annie said that she had actually received a wrong number call earlier and looking at the unfamiliar name on her Caller ID, she had felt faint. Annie also confessed to listening to her own dial tone several times to be sure her phone was in service. We had been so sure that we were going to win.

As Annie and I talked, her husband, in the background, laughed and said we were "misguided." But I don't think that's right. We were exceedingly hopeful, and I don't think that can ever be a bad thing. Plus, we had such fun anticipating and planning the trip, and isn't that an important part of any getaway? Anyway, realizing that the winner had no doubt already been notified and sadly it was not one of us, Annie and I jumped right into discussing how Oprah had really missed out on a good thing. We talked and laughed until I was almost crying, and I was reminded once again of how great it is to have a really good friend. We may not be attending Oprah's party, but we had a great time.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Let Me Eat Cake

If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that birthday cake always tastes better when eaten with a plastic fork.

I'm struggling with this post. I've written and deleted several times now. It's my birthday, and naturally I'm filled with thoughts of getting older. Being old. Yikes. But my day has so far been filled with sweet cards, calls and messages from the people I love, so who can go wrong with that? Age really sneaked up on me. Whew! Time has flown by. Yet how lucky I am, because I have everything I've ever wished for.

So let me say on this, my day, how delighted I am with my life. No one ever had a better husband. At age 19, I looked across the college library and met eyes with a boy I had never seen before. Time literally stood still, and I can still feel the moment. I knew he was "the one" and thankfully, he came and talked to me and that was that. And then, our girls. The joy, the fun, the frustration.....I would not trade a day. The girls are so different in looks and temperaments, yet each so perfect. Smash does not like the word "proud" but that is what I am.... I am proud of these so very lovely young women whom I so much adore. And I am so thankful for the close relationship I have with each of them. I didn't have that with my own mother, but having my daughters has made that not matter.

And, of course, the icing on this birthday cake is my granddaughter. Even though she loves her mommy the very best, and will barely give me the time of day when that mommy is around, just looking into her big brown eyes is a pleasure unparalleled.

I'm old(er) today. And I'm wrinkling, sagging, and filled with aches and pains. But man, am I happy. I'm holding the plastic fork.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another Day, Another A

Thankfully, the phrase is the only thing left over from my first college boyfriend, a boy I once thought I would marry, and am decidedly glad I did not. These days I’m pulling mostly Bs and Cs which seems okay given that most people (Sooz included) are barely passing with Ds and Fs. Childishly, I actually felt left out of her last post. After all, everyone else’s bad news was included! But I don’t really have bad news and a B average means life is humming along as it should. But man, these days are dragging on…

Maybe it’s the weather, but nothing is holding my interest lately. Even finding something to post was a struggle. I work. I work out. I eat out. I sleep. Again. Again. Again. Even my body has the doldrums – the heartbreak of psoriasis is more painful than ever, my hip flares up with every temperature drop and my nose alternates between too dry and too runny. I am grouchy and judgmental. Chuck on NBC in 3D? Stupid. $1 photo valentines at the mall? Ridiculous. I sneer. I slump. I sigh.

The most telling symptom of my malaise is my bank account. Usually filled with debits from dinners out, new clothes and pedicures, my last three major purchases are as follows:
· Three 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles ordered online
· Overdue library fines (Who has the energy to return books?)
· An $85 bird feeder

The hubs almost fainted at the cost of the bird feeder, but I insisted. There is a fat red cardinal that I want to woo to our deck in hopes he brightens these winter days. I’m 30, living the life of a 90 year old.

My friends at work have expressed concern. Is it Seasonal Affective Disorder they wonder? Oh, if only it were something so topical and interesting. She’s too young for a midlife crisis, they verify. And work is going fine, so what could it be? One particularly kind friend emailed this weekend, urging me to discuss my mood with my husband. I take her advice and as I fold laundry while he packs for a trip I proclaim, “I’m in a major funk!”

“I know,” he says, without looking up, “That’s why we got you that bird feeder.”
Good enough. Another day…another A.

PS: Scoots, we know you’re reading. What we don’t know is: are you enjoying?