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My Hips Don’t Lie Either . . . Bummer

Shakira and I have a lot in common (I know, you were just thinking the same thing, right?) My hips don’t lie either. And that’s a problem around this time of year.

Strange things start to happen in my kitchen in late Fall. Daylight savings ends and my oven flames on of its own accord and sings irresistible songs about cinnamon and cloves and butternut squash. I have no defenses. Must bake. Or make soup. Sadly the baking gene surfaced in each of my children as well. Heather made killer Soft Molasses Cookies (click on the photo for the recipe, you’ll cry they’re so good) and pumpkin bread (my sister-in-law Jen’s recipe is also on the page–best ever) this week. Have mercy.

Every Fall I wish my hips could lie. If only that zucchini muffin didn’t go straight to my lower regions and settle in for the winter I would have no problem. Why can’t my hips find some cunning way to hide the apple crisp and the Belgian waffles and the hot biscuits with pear butter? Is full disclosure kind or necessary?

I suppose I should be grateful to my hips for their brutal, tell-all honesty. When it reaches the point that I have to hold my breath in order to zip my jeans I turn away from the KitchenAid and head out the door for a run (I use the word “run” in its absolutely loosest sense.) Yep, I show those hips who’s boss. They regret their tattle-telling now, I’ll wager.

Ouch. My hips don’t lie, but they do whine a little after our run. They speak the truth as I hobble stiffly up the stairs: “You’re getting old . . .”  Thanks for the reminder. A couple of Advil will shut them up. With a pumpkin bread chaser.

What’s your favorite Fall recipe? Share it in a comment or just leave a link. I’ll add it to the recipes page.  I will also make it and eat it and let my hips say whatever they want. 



My four-year-old grandson loves a good joke. Actually, Emerson loves any joke. He has mastered the forms and conventions of joke-telling perfectly. Chicken crossed the road? Em can tell you twenty reasons why. Knock-knock? Make his day and say “who’s there?” Emerson will never run out of  jokes because he knows the formula and can make them up at will. Humor? Optional.

Nothing tickles me more than exchanging jokes with Emerson on video chat.  (Love my webcam, baby!) He gets as close as he can to the computer on his end so his head floats larger than life on the screen in front of me. (“I am OZ, the great and terrible, who are you and what do you want?”) Usually I am expected to lob the first volley.

Nana: “How do you tell which end of the worm is its head?”

Em feigns bewilderment, even though he has heard this one before.

Nana: “Tickle its tummy and see which end laughs.”

Em chuckles agreeably and returns fire in his scratchy little voice.

Em: “Knock Knock!”

Nana: “Who’s there?”

Em: “Banana”

Nana: “Banana who?”

Emerson’s eyes dart around the room, scanning for any random object on which to pin his punchline. Ah-hah. Got it. He turns back to the computer with a victorious grin.

Em: “Banana in a stinky sock.”

He totally cracks himself up, collapsing back in his chair in self-satisfied glee. I laugh out loud and wait for his next invention. The wait never lasts very long. The whole process delights me.

One problem plagues our joke exchanges. It happens when Em says, “Tell me another joke.”  My mind does not retain jokes. Or if I do remember the beginning, the punchline escapes me. Or worse, I forget how it starts and the punchline tumbles out before the set-up. Hopeless. If I try to make up a random joke, Em style, he gives me a lame chuckle and a skeptical look like, “Really Nana, you can do better than that.”  Then he waits. Nana on the spot.

So, this post is actually a plea for help. Please leave me a comment with your favorite clean-and-politically-correct joke in it. (It’s not hard, I promise. Just click on the “Leave a comment” or “# comments” button and type in your joke.) Better yet, leave me two or three jokes. Emerson’s appetite is insatiable and I would love to collect a serious stockpile for the long winter months ahead. Make me laugh–I promise I’ll remember the punchline.

Blast From the Past

Can I just say that I have no problem with middle age? OK, I’ll say it. I have no problem with middle age. As much as I enjoyed high school, I would never go back. But I did go to my 30 year high school class reunion on Saturday night and discovered or rediscovered a few gratifying things:

  • Three decades pretty much level the playing field. Cellulite and receding hairlines and pot-guts and varicose veins come to jock and brainiac, cheerleader and yearbook editor alike. But you know what? It’s life. And life looks good on us. We’re beautiful.
  • Despite the above-mentioned signs of aging, I’m super comfortable in my own skin. In the hour-plus it used to take me to do my Farrah Fawcett hairdo in high school I can now shower, get dressed, do hair and make-up, feed the dog, check email, call my mom, start the dishwasher and sync my iPod. Low maintenance is my MO. Hallelujah.
  • My high school friends were extraordinary human beings, still are. They live with compassion and integrity, meet obstacles with courage and grace, and make the world better.
  • I love my life and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

As part of the program on Saturday night, I took a stab at condensing the past thirty years into 90 seconds of common life experience.  I called it “Life History Lite” or “Three Decades–Reduced.” Some folks have asked for a copy of it, so here it is. (It’s nonsense that’s  meant to be read aloud!)

Where Did Thirty Years Go?

1981. Grad night fun. On the move. Moving out. Big hair, big dreams, big plans. Plan B. Out of state, room mate. Freshman dorms, fill out forms. Fraternity, sorority, Republican majority. Student loan. Cap and gown.  MBA. Resume. GRE. PHd. Job fair. New job, no job.

True love, true blue. Rented tux. I do. Honeymoon. Townhome, twin home, Home Depot. Fixer-upper, Mr. Fix-It, Thirty-year fixed.  Ultrasound.  Ultra-Huggies. Newborn, new crib, no sleep. Car seat. First steps, first tooth, first day of school. Ballet, Little League, cubs scouts, time-outs. Room mother, soccer mom, Mr. Mom, step-mom. Slip-on Vans, mini-van, middle school, carpool. Hurry up, buckle up, cheer up, pay up. Fast track, no slack, Democrats come back. Refi, remodel, relocate. Four bedroom, two story, three car garage. Teenage, middle age, aging parents. High school, too cool. Driver’s ed, driver’s license. Drive-up, drive-in, drive-thru. Drives dad crazy.

Detox, botox, pep talks. Grey hair, no hair. Rogaine, weight gain, capital gains.  APR. ARM. IRA. 401K. High tech, high stress, highlights, light rock, less talk. iPod. iPad. Ear bud. Bluetooth. Touch screen. Express lane. Overnight. While you wait. Instant message. Fast food. Rush order. Rush hour.  Overtime, over committed, over drawn. Over the hill? Not us. Never. Golf bag, gym bag, mountain bike, take a hike. Running shoes, shin splints, triatholon day, Ben-gay. Been there, done that. Moving on. Hanging on. Bring it on.  Here’s to the next thirty years!

What’s your favorite thing about getting older? Have you gone to your high school class reunions? Leave a comment with your favorite “blast from the past” experience.