recent columns


“Maybe all you need is another perspective.”


roses ‘n regret

I’m staring in the mirror, and the wretched words cross my mind: She let herself go . . .“ I’m back from an outdoor weekend that’s left my hair straggled, my skin parched, my feet looking like claws. A light dusting of earth has settled inside my crevices. “I have to clean myself up,” I say to the crone in the mirror, “before anyone sees me.” The cursed words echo -- “She let herself go . . . “ read more

chasing the bucket list

Hang gliding over the Rockies? Starting the great American novel? Making apple pie from scratch? Organizing your family photos? No, don’t do that in summer! Otherwise no time like the present to tackle the bucket list. But the dream is just a dream and the pie is from a box if you don’t have apples and don’t go into the kitchen. So in the spirit of bringing Mohammed to the mountain, I boarded a boat on the west coast of Iceland…read more

a summer shark tale

With summer upon us, and all of us keeping our eyes peeled on the waves at the shore for that blade of darkness rising up from the deep, it’s hard not to recall an almost. An almost swept away by an undertow, an almost collision with something -- what was that? -- an ass over elbows tumble that almost left you in pieces. We’re not talking about the things that do happen. Hallelujah. We’re talking about the things that almost happen. So many they hardly count. Except when it comes to sharks. read more

stand up and be counted

Since no one asked me to deliver a commencement speech this year, an obvious oversight, I’d like to offer the belated advice I would have shared if I’d been called to whittle down life into one neat package. Forget the top ten. Who has the time? How about the top one. read more

do we ever grow up?

Is there ever a time in our lives when we stop blaming our parents? Even if it was all their fault? I posed that question to a group of complaining, blaming women -- if only Mom had been thinner, more supportive, smarter; if only Dad had been home more, talented, had a big fancy boat -- and everyone laughed. Then they became silent. Then they nodded their heads. Then they said OK now what; if the mess of my life isn’t their fault, whose fault is it? read more

what club would you join?

In preparation for a gathering, I decided to play a game. Sort of a home version of the Groucho Marx line, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” And yet -- with a number of people who didn’t know each other, I was hoping the idea would help those who felt left out join a club, no matter how demoralizing it was. read more

fake is the new real

When I got married, my husband gave me a $5 fake engagement ring, knowing growing up in a jeweler’s family, I related sparkly gems to issues better left on a therapist’s couch. Too much information. In fact, on our first Valentine’s Day, Romeo bought me fake flowers. He was biding his time at an airport, obviously sick of nut mixes and magazines. read more

put on your comfy pants

After buying new clothes that I later realize make me look old or fat or ugly or just plain stupid, I’m proud to say my selection of attire I can wear around the house has markedly increased. Around the house, I look quite stylish in a manic array of too frilly, too silly, too crinoline-y, a regular hodge-podge fashionista. read more

keep on rocking and rolling

In the midst of travel and deadlines and family and the flu, I love it when a plan comes together. I’m always amazed when a party, or a pair of tickets or a vacation goes right. So much can go wrong, so many wrenches thrown into the works. On my side of the street, anyway, there seems to be a direct relationship between importance and impotence. read more

bikini birthday blues

With a big birthday coming, I’ve encountered all sorts of advice on how a woman should approach her advancing age. Some of it is actually welcome. Especially the words of one woman after I boldly announce I’m going to be “a-hem, cough, cough” in April. She said, “Don’t ever say that number again.” And so, today at least, I won’t. read more

let’s show some skin

If you’re not the type to bare all, never had a great bikini or Speedo body, yet still want to feel light and airy as the warmth and long nights tiptoe back in, take a cue from the intimidating snake. No, that’s not a euphemism for your last boy or girlfriend. read more

a bad cook’s party tips

Since my last roasted Brussels sprouts looked like desiccated remains from an excavation site, and my last fried potatoes limped into their bowl, and my last rice dish was chiseled out of its pot, I’ve been wondering what advice I can possibly give when it comes to winter dinner parties that remove the sense of isolation that creeps in this time of year. Still, I have something to say on the subject. read more

cold hands, cold feet, cold heart

You know the old saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” It originated in Norway but migrated to those countries where snow, ice, rain and wind can strike at any time, and where those who get caught shivering are reminded of their failures by strapping Norsemen to which there’s only one thoughtful response: “f*** off.” read more

talk nice, not dirty, this new year

It’s the beginning of January and we have lists of things we want to change, begin, accomplish. We have files of lists. We have drawers of files. We have cabinets of drawers. We have houses filled with cabinets. We’ve tried, we’ve failed, we’ve tried again, we’ve failed. Whatever it is -- new career challenges, less relationship drama, less dandruff -- we’ve tried.  We’ve made big resolutions, promises, pronouncements, and we’ve failed. Plain and simple, we’re losers. read more

ode to soup

Even rotten cooks have their specialties. For me, it’s soup; you can always add a little water and throw in a couple of croutons. It’s the elixir of my winter life, and with the dark months upon us, I thought it wise to remind all of us when the going gets icy, windy, frigid, we can toughen-up with a bowl of hot, homemade, everything but the snow, giddy, gratifying soup. Even a rotten cook can make it. read more

Diary of boneheaded leisure

When was the last time you thought of peeking into someone else’s diary or the seemingly mature version, the journal? A page or two perhaps -- not the stuff that makes you cringe -- just enough to get a sense of what another suffering soul is thinking first thing in the morning, last thing at night, to help you feel you’re not crazy about the stuff that goes through your head. So here you go… read more.

when it rains, it boggles

In the middle of a sunny day, we say “I’m roasting. I’ve got to get out of the sun.” While on a cloudy day, we say “I’m cold. I wish the sun would come out.” On a rainy day we complain “I’m wet and miserable.” When it’s hot and dry again we moan “I’m frying to death.” Yes, the weather is exasperating -- but global warming aside -- at least it’s not our fault…read more.

finding jeans you can trust

Magda is the kind of person you pray you’ll meet after squeezing into every high-rise, low-rise, mid-rise, straight, skinny, cropped, distressed, boyfriend possibility in every Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. And still when you get home with the best of the worst those who love you say take them back: “There’s too much material in front or the butt is hanging, or maybe jeans aren’t for you anymore now that your body is fatter, skinnier, saggier, changing.” read more.

the divas get laid-back

The Divas have a new goal this summer as we try to get more peace in our lives by way of not making ourselves miserable. Essentially, we’re going to un-beat ourselves up, instead of the other way around. As silly as it sounds, it’s a catchy little phrase that doesn’t beat around the prickly bush. Yes, it’s the beginning of the latest Wisdom Divas challenge. read more.

the naked thief

Have you ever worried you’ll lose your clothes in a dressing room while begging random shoppers for an opinion on a new outfit? Or you’ll unexpectedly run out of the house when deer start eating your lawn and you’ll forget you’re naked? Or superhuman villains from another planet will land on your roof and dematerialize your PJs but leave your body for all to see? read more

marriage or an affair

We all have lots of opportunities to consider whether a situation will be short-term or long. Maybe it’s a relationship or an investment of time and energy or a significant purchase. Will it be right for a week, a month, a season, a lifetime? Or just a couple of drinks. In other words -- is it a marriage or an affair? Good to know what criteria to apply. read more.   

home is where the mess is

Whenever I leave the house on a trip, I leave written instructions. Water the plants Friday, grab fruit at the farmers market Saturday, pick up the dead branches blocking the front door, the ones you’re stepping over. I try to be specific. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t exist. read more

get out now

In a given week, how often do you drive away from home, remember you left something on the stove or forgot your gym bag or your shopping list or the gift you’re carrying to a party, and you turn back. Your neighbors see you rush out like a hyena and return crawling like a mouse, head tucked to the ground. Her again. You run back for hand sanitizer or tissues or dental floss -- what if, what if, what if. read more

america needs a nap

It’s the middle of the day -- maybe noon, maybe 2, maybe 4 -- and a light switch goes off in your head. Nervous, shaky, you start judging yourself: I’m all washed up, useless, lazy, soft, stupid, old. You run for coffee, grab a breath of fresh air, get up and walk around, try to keep busy. Maybe you reach for dark chocolate -- it’s an emergency! -- thinking it will help your heart which may be failing since you feel so faint. read more

have a 99% better day

Rolling out of bed with a minimum amount of pain and suffering and starting the day with a maximum amount of vim and vigor is one of mankind’s biggest challenges. Between the bed and the car, lots of things we can’t control can go very wrong. read more

broccoli cancels chocolate

I have enough pasta, tortilla chips and frozen bagels to satisfy the whole neighborhood not to mention most ethnic groups. I could live months maybe years in my house without buying an ounce of food. Should the apocalypse occur, my community is secure. Yet anything short of all-hell-breaking-loose leaves me panicked I’ll starve to death. read more

the definition of joy

The Wisdom Divas, my girl group, has decided to write “joy journals,” the kind of thing you did when you were 13 years old which we’re not, and the kind of thing you forget about after 13 when you have joy nailed down. Which we don’t. read more.