Things that happen when you are 44

Since I don’t expect to live past 88, 44 seems like a good as age as any to review some realities of mid life.

    • You can’t remember if it is Wednesday. Sort of like answer C on multiple choice tests Wednesday is really the best guess. Spoiler: It IS Wednesday.
    • You require specialty pillows, ear plugs, and Tums to sleep. Might I suggest the melt aways. And special women’s earplugs. Those two X chromosomes really prefer pink plugs.

  • You notice agism as much as gender inequity. Steve: “We are pulling out of the Nuclear deal.” Me: “Tell me something unrelated to Trump and how screwed we are.” Steve: “Geena Davis’ fourth husband is divorcing her.” Me: “First Hollywood ditches her then her younger husband. What has she been in lately?” Steve: “Let’s ask IMDB” IMDB: “Nothing relevant.” Me: “Well she is 62. 62 is even worse than 44” Steve: “Is that a thing?” Me: “Its even more of a thing than fifth grade continuation. There are like three actresses that can be cast over 60.” Steve: “Hellen Mirren Helen Mirren Helen Mirren” Me: “And Dame Judi Dench.”
  • You bald on the top of your head whilst growing beard hairs. Even if you have two X chromosomes. Totally unfhair. (Stop underlining my puns autocorrect.)
  • You talk to your devices. And not just the ones who want to be talked to. “Alexa: tell Siri she sucks.” Siri: “Sorry, could you say that again?” Alexa: “As many times as you want Siri” Siri: “Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.”
  • The kids seem like the parents.  I am mindlessly sitting on the couch playing 2048 (6×6 survival if you want to be like me.) Oliver: “The equation for 2048 is y=2+ 2to the x.”( Except I can’t remember what he said. Let’s pretend that was it.) Me: “uuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhh” Some vague echo of memory is stirred and then disappears. Oliver: “I love equations.” Me: “uuuuuuuuh.” Oliver: “Do you want me to make you eggs?” Me: “I’m not sure I’m eating breakfast.” Oliver: “Mama, Breakfast gives you the fuel you need for your day.”
  • Lots of foods and drinks give you stomach pain. Spinach. What could be wrong with spinach? My system says spinach sucks. Eggplant. Ouch. Bell peppers. Ditto.  C’mon these are VEGETABLES. Red wine. That is supposed to prevent breast cancer. And make me feel European. Instead it gives me a migraine. Chocolate. Dark chocolate is a veritable super food. Yet I can’t sleep if I eat it. Milk. Totally off the table. Not going to explain it here.
  • Belly bloat isn’t the only reason elastic waist pants seem good. Lets just blame the vegetables. You know what makes me feel middle aged? The fact that Chicos starts to seem like an actual option for clothing.  What could be better than wide legged linen pants an oversized t shirt and a toe length cardigan? Maybe some slacks and a blazer? I know- add oversized jewelry. That’ll spice things up. This all pairs well with Dame Judi Dench’s hairdo.
  • Fun activities include: weeding, checking the status of the little free library, comparing the weather in the places you have lived, decanting bulk goods into jars, making shopping lists, re-writing shopping lists, and figuring out equations. Well, except for the last one.
  • Hey Steve, looking for ideas for mother’s day: Might I suggest?


life. I’m sure you have your own to add. Please do…

Happy Birthday to Me

Here are 42 ways I feel old (er), even though obviously I am NOT OLD.

  1. I spent an entire year not knowing how old I was. Today I turn 42. Yet for the past 360 days I thought I was 42 already. Lets call this a bonus year rather than calling last year a lost year, shall we?
  2. I see 3am more than I see 10:30pm.
  3.  I am up wee hours with literal or figurative indigestion. Both bad. Only one can be fixed by Tums.
  4. A lovely dish of Tums graces my bedside. (see #3)
  5. I say “its too loud” 20 times more than I say “turn that up.” Although come to think of it that may be a sign that I am NOT old.
  6. I like tea more than vodka.
  7. My neck and shoulder have been hurting for, like, ever.
  8. One of the first things I did when we moved to Denver is find a CSA.
  9. I see a chiropractor more than a hair dresser. Which would be true even IF I didn’t cut my own hair.
  10. Picking up our CSA is one of the top ten activities in my week.
  11. I know the phone number of my doctors office.
  12. I have a doctors office. Like every healthy lady of childbearing age I used to only have an OBGYN. What else did I need?
  13. I have been a mother for more than a decade.
  14. Scarves.
  15. I have lived in 15 houses. Although that might have more to do with a certain Zillow addiction than age. But even at the rate that I move it takes a more than a few decades to get to 15 houses.
  16. My kids work the TV better than I do. Which is obviously the fault of the incompatibility of the “smart” TV and DirectTV but still…they seem to have navigated.
  17. I eat dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. If that is not a sign of maturity I don’t know what is…
  18. I wash my face and brush my teeth without my mother reminding me. EVERY DAY.
  19. I make my bed. I like having my bed made. Two signs in one bed.
  20. I like throw pillows. Steve likes to throw the pillows. Win Win.
  21. People are naming news websites that I have never heard of…and I forget the name already.
  22. The music I love was written 20+ years ago.
  23. I am booking a flight to my 25th highschool reunion.
  24. I can grow a beard.
  25. I barely remember 23. (age and high school)
  26. I love my clogs more than my Frye boots.
  27. I have more dates for tea than I do for cocktails. Which is OK because of #6.
  28. I have 4 lotions on my bathroom counter. I use them.
  29. I am older than every single Patriots player. Even our ancient quarterback.
  30. I decant my Tums into a dish. (see #3)
  31. Picking up our CSA is one of the top five activities of my week.
  32. I can’t name a single middle school teacher. Although soon I will be able to name my son’s middle school teachers.
  33. I take 4 pills daily. That count does not even include the Tums.
  34. I am shopping for a mattress that relieves pressure points.
  35. Cardigans.
  36. I don’t drive at night. At least without risking my life.
  37. I can go 5 conversations without whining at my mother like a 12 year old.
  38. I took candy crush off of my phone. I left it on my iPad though…I am not THAT old.
  39. I have lived in a state where pot is legal for almost two years and I haven’t been to a dispensary.
  40. An Afghan sounds OK to me.
  41. A great night out ends by ten.
  42. I usually send Steve to pick up our CSA.

And one for good luck.

43. I can’t stand the smell the pump out of Abercrombie, most perfumes, every cologne or scented candles. Now let me go make a wish on my cake. Hopefully the candles won’t be scented.

Picture of Anna Rosenblum Palmer
The last day I am 42. Right before I turn 42.

Pick your poison

Old woman loves lifeI had my teeth cleaned yesterday and my dentist offered me Botox.

During the 15 minute battle to determine my dental insurance number I pointed to the laminated sign advertising smooth skinning poison and asked the woman behind the desk what she thought of the Botox. “It’s great, people say they have to wait four weeks at their dermatologist, but WE can often get them in the next day. White teeth and smooth skin makes any lady happy!”


Here in Denver woman can do things to their bodies that I have never considered. A billboard on Colorado Boulevard advertises some sort of laser treatment to shut down sweat glands. Isn’t there a purpose for sweating? I mean I do covet that slender woman’s airbrushed pits, but something about sealing off an entire physical function seems extreme to me.

At coffee the other morning one friend told another about a discount on Botox, she was headed there after we finished. Units were such and such a price for some limited time. The other woman’s eyes lit up, but her expression didn’t change because it couldn’t.

Not one to keep my mouth shut I butted in.

“Is that something we just say?”

I understand the irony…I’ll just say anything. If I used Botox I would talk about it just like my friends do. What I meant to ask was when did Botox become ubiquitous. When did we start working into our days and dentists as if it were a haircut?

Ranting about this the next morning to a more natural looking group of friends they told stories of their own efforts to reverse the clock. One had used Botox herself. “Only once.” The other was planning some sort of chemical peel that kept you inside for a mere week. Totally worth it, they agreed.

There was a time when waxing was not ubiquitous. Now even my Vermont friends who eschew makeup go in for molten material in parts too delicate to mention.I remember when I was talked into waxing. I was greeted in a lovely waiting room and offered a water. There was soft music. It was lovely. Then I was brought into the torture chamber. I was laid on a table covered with paper a la the gynecologist. I was lit with a light brighter than the sun. Then she approached me with a popsicle stick which she twirled ominously to keep the scorching substance from hitting the ground. The burning is the least of it. Then the ripping, the redness, the regrowth. All of was ridiculous to me. Then I had to pay them for the torture.

My boys are 10 and (almost) 9. Their skin is smooth and hairless. It is the right look for them.

Electrolysis, lasering , waxing, peeling, lifting, inserting, bleaching, cauterizing. So many verbs to restore verve.

There are times when my drooping eyes (and other parts), my beard and sun spots, my limp hair and yellow teeth make me wonder about those “ings” would I feel better, smile wider, walk taller, feel the breeze on my hairless face?

It must do that and more for many women. So I will try to set aside my judgement.

All of my friends are beautiful to me. Some are primped and polished while others braless and sleepy eyed. I see beauty in their skin, but not in the way Botox boasts. Their beauty comes from their eyes, under saggy lids that have seen so much in life. Their beauty come from smiles from lined cheeks. Their beauty comes from their laughs etching lines ever deeper around their mouths. Their beauty comes from their foreheads wrinkled in concentration and caring. Their beauty comes from the soft gathers of skin on the same hands that have helped their children and written love letters.

Their beauty comes from the lives they have lived and the way they wear it, unerased on their faces.

Don't hide it!
Don’t hide it!





For Love of the Game

by Nathan Hartswick

Over the weekend I got to see my father play baseball with a bunch of other middle-aged fathers. I have blogged on this topic before, but it’s a deep well.

When my dad tells people he plays in a league, they usually reply, “Oh, is it softball?” This is a reasonable assumption given that A) my father is in his mid-fifties, and B) a softball is generally easier to hit, throw, and see out of the corner of your eye when you are drinking a beer in center field.

But there are no large balls or beer at my father’s games, so he will typically glare at the person asking the question and intone seriously, “It’s hardball. We play hardball.”

As it turns out he is not the only overly serious person on the team. To the casual observer this might look like a simple pickup game, but there is an array of equipment, a seriousness to the verbal patter, and a noticeable lack of levity at these games. Oh, they are still having a good time. They are just very, very committed to it.

Sitting there watching them, I realized that being passionate isn’t necessarily the same thing as having fun. When you see people doing something they love, there’s an intensity to it, a focus they don’t have for other things – you can tell they’re enjoying themselves, but they may not even be smiling while they’re doing it.

It’s a little bit magical to watch people do this, because you know you’re witnessing them living completely in the moment. They could do this for hours and hours, oblivious to the weather, to the time, to their own physical pain (and there’s plenty, with these guys).

My dad’s team lost this weekend, but you’d never know it listening to him talk about the game afterwards. He gave my mother such a dramatic play-by-play it was nearly impossible not to get caught up in his passion for it – and I’m not even a baseball fan. Passion is contagious, I guess.

So what’s yours? And how much of your life is built around it? Is it a hobby, or your job?

What do you get lost in?