Beginnings, Endings, and the Pages in Between (Or Why I’ll Never Love Reading e-Books)

I recently started a new job, leaving behind a complicated workplace where I’d spent a little over a year and come to bond very deeply with my fellow inmates. Saying goodbye — even knowing full well I’ll see everyone again the very next time happy hour is convened — was unexpectedly painful. Why, I wondered, as a full-blown adult who has had my share of long-term employment, did this particular separation hit so hard?

The answer came to me as I lay in bed reading a few nights after my farewell party, a haze of melancholy still hanging over me. That night, I turned the pages of a novel I’d been savoring, slowing my usual pace to enjoy the beautiful flow of language. Then, unexpectedly, I reached the end. It was one of those paperbacks with the sneaky reader’s guide housed at the back. I wasn’t anticipating the final page and the story’s close left me feeling adrift, unwilling to let go.

I closed the pages, turned the book over in my hands. [Read more...]

Dear Younger Self — You May Be Shocked to Hear …

Raising children reminds you, at times, of your own childhood. You see your kids floating along in their own little bubbles of reality — blissfully unaware of the great big world just waiting to overtake them in a tsunami of endless worry, doubt, guilt, fear and every other swampy emotion that seems specially packaged for adulthood — and remember what it felt like to lose yourself for hours in some invented world of plastic characters, curling leaves, tiny pebbles, who knows what.

Now we have less than 7.4 minutes at any given time to focus on a particular task, thought or emotion before the next one plows into the cerebral station, demanding attention. Which isn’t helped in the least by technology that has shaped the cultural world to fit that perfect snippet of availability, training us to never stand still cognitively.

But I, like my brain, digress. Raising kids makes you think about growing up. As you watch them dressing up Barbies or smashing down virtual enemies, imagining their own glam, top-of-the-world futures, you realize how much you didn’t know when you were in their adorable shoes. Though these may not all be the ones I’d choose to go back and tell my small self, given the chance, here are a few things I never knew back then … [Read more...]

First Annual Hot Celebrity Dads DVD Festival

We’ve all heard about MILFs and the passion they inspire in so many men. Having just cruised through Father’s Day weekend, it seems like a perfect time to celebrate the DILFs and their equally sizzling hotness.

As a woman of a certain age, who also happens to be an entertainment junkie, I’m finding it increasingly squirmish to gaze longingly on sculpted young men who are, literally, young enough to be my sons. And when thinking like that pops into your mind, well, there goes the nice little flutter of excitement right along with it … no matter how unbearably gorgeous Ryan Gosling may be. Hey, girl – how about a backrub from someone you might have served juice boxes to during a playdate just a few years ago? Eww.

So, in honor of all the delectable dads out there who make over-40 look so damn good, I present a five-day program-at-home DVD festival featuring just a select few of Hollywood’s most perfect specimens of real-life dads who are doing the world a great service by reproducing.

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The Indignity of the Office Space

Nothing much changes in the great big world of human interaction. The last time I had a “real” job (translation: one that required me to be in an office, wear pants with constricting fasteners, and actually complete assigned tasks within a regular timeframe) there was not yet such a thing as Facebook and no one had cell phones that you could do much with beyond that old-fashioned thing known as calling people.

This wasn’t very long ago, mind you. But technology moves along at lightning speed in this millennium, so these past six-ish years have seen a great deal of change in the way people communicate, interact, and isolate during any given workday.

It has not, however, changed the way they crunch their goddamn disgusting saliva-moistened snack tidbits like tiny starved mice trapped between the walls nibbling, nibbling with frantic efforts to save themselves from impending doom ALL BLESSED DAY LONG while innocent others, invisibly positioned on the other side of the single shade of grey corporate partition, sit and try with equal desperation not to slip into irrevocable madness while attempting to compose a logical sentence without being mentally derailed by the sound, again, again, of – what? what are they?? crackers? carrots? panko-crusted Lego shards? – of the gnashing of terrible teeth* and swallowing of terrible throats.

That is not even to mention the phantom slurping of hot liquids, done ever so carefully, meticulously, with a triumphant loud swallow as the coffee, soup, or illegal elixir of pleasure is tamed by breath and conquering lips. Ah, how they savor every gulp over there on that side of the cube farm! I would envy them … if I weren’t so busy thinking of ways to slip odorless poisons into their cups.

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I Shop, Therefore I Am

I remember when I first became a true, active consumer. It was when I registered for wedding gifts. This was well before having kids, mind you, when I had the time and mental capacity to ponder such vital decisions as Calphalon vs. All-Clad and Wusthof vs. Henckles. Oh, how those things mattered to me in that moment! I even recall feeling strongly about being a Honda owner when it came time to buy our first car, even if it was a many-times-used beater with the loudest engine on the block.

Now here I am, nearly 20 years down the road (on which I drive a Toyota) and I couldn’t care less whether my wine glasses match or what brand of pans I scramble eggs in. (Though I will mention that the high-quality All-Clad set so generously given to us by our friends and family are still in pristine condition and doing a damn fine job! Take that, Calphalon!!) Becoming a mom totally zeroed out the luxury of consumerism and brand fetishes I enjoyed for that little blip of time.

But I realized something curious recently. Now that I live in the burbs and spend such an inordinate amount of time thinking about food (i.e., feeding those endlessly gaping little mouths at home, finding ingredients for a new recipe, preserving my sanity with a good square of sea salt caramel), I’m finding that my fellow mommy-shoppers dedicate themselves to supermarkets the way Carrie Bradshaw once adhered to her Manolos.

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