Tag Archives: Maturity

Call Me Diane Von Dufus-berg


My office walls are sad. I mean in the sense they are pathetic, but if they could cry, I’d have toxic mold. I’m looking at this beige expanse behind my computer, and all I see are a couple of nails and a PAWS calendar.

As unevolved as this may be, I feel a sense of chick-based pressure to be amazing at decorating. This despite the fact that I work in ratty pajamas and Paul’s hand-me-down shirts in my home office every day. What makes me think my home should look better?

My first defense: I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s. Although Virginia Slims gave women the confidence to burn bras while dropping acid as a birth-control chaser, there’s still this lingering guilt in my mind that I should be a classic homemaker. Apron, tidy hairdo, Laura Petrie figure.

It doesn’t help that seemingly out of nowhere, Paul recently blurted, “You want to nest, right?” He sounded a little desperate.

In fairness, I don’t believe he’s totally asking this because I’m female. I think it’s about the two of us. We’re lazy bums who keep hoping the walls will magnetically suck pictures onto them, in a tasteful way.

My second defense: Paul’s got the aesthetic eye. I mean, he paints and draws. Stuff you’d recognize. I’ve even hung a few pieces on the wall (and my pride over this is way out of proportion to the achievement).

I, on the other hand, paint as though I’m drunk. On a roller coaster. And I’ve just vomited all over the canvas.

My third defense: So why isn’t he nesting?

As I sit here in my blank-walled office, I’ve made a decision to stop apologizing and self-flagellating (at least about this). I’m going to enjoy my non-cluttered space because I have a style. I’m a minimalist.

I think that cat’s judging me.

The Latent Accountant

I’ve been chastising myself lately, and not in a fun, sexy way.

It’s about money management. I keep wondering why it’s taken me half a century to focus on financial responsibility in a somewhat grown-up way. My mother modeled great fiscal behavior, and my father offered sound advice, but I suppose when we’re young, that sort of thing doesn’t get through.

My mother taught me how to stick to a grocery list, fiercely, so that I could plunder the impulse purchase area at the grocery checkout. This resulted in a lot of quality time with my dentist.

And when I was fifteen, she was generous enough to hook me up with the guy who had the best pot prices in town. There’s no sense in overspending when you can avoid it. Such an important lesson.

My father didn’t model anything until his last years of life, when he married a woman who took him from the edge of bankruptcy to wealth (and back to bankruptcy and a fatal level of debt without his knowing it; he died believing he was a rich guy. She was a great wife and stepmom, bless her).

He did offer several pieces of monetary and general life advice, though:

“Marry someone safe, and be a secretary.”

He offered this advice when I was ten. For years after this statement, I thought of myself as a rebel. No way was I going to do what my father said – until I married an Air Force officer and became a secretary. But I was steadfast in my belief that his words had no influence on me. Such an unappreciative daughter.

“If you want to go to college, get a scholarship.”

He tossed this ditty at me as he strolled through the living room and disappeared down the hallway, and he lovingly allowed me the room to figure out what a scholarship is. I was also ten with this one, so there was plenty of time to research it.

He had a habit of offering life tidbits as he was passing through rooms.

“You should take up the clarinet” was one. He was thoughtful enough to suggest this when I was wearing braces. I remember lots of tears. Probably of joy.

“You should take up stamp-collecting,” whoosh, gone. Although this is possibly the most boring sport in the history of humankind, there is a bonus: I learned what “philately” means. It’s an awesome Scrabble power word, and someone always insists on challenging it.

“Buy real estate from women who just became widows. They’re vulnerable and ready to sell at any price.”

I was so lucky to be thirty-two when he imparted this one – and even luckier that he didn’t leave the room this time, so we could finally have a great father-daughter talk. I could appreciate the point he was making even though I didn’t fully grasp the wisdom of it in the moment.

We were sitting in his den, waiting for his mother’s wake to begin, so my grandma’s death was pretty much on my mind. My father and I were getting into the innocuous sort of chitchat that happens right after death, kind of catching up on family members. He mentioned that my stepbrother was going to visit Seattle.

I said, “Oh, Ricky will love it. It’s so beautiful.”

Dad said, “Yeah, and I told him he’s going to find great pussy there.”

Instead of berating myself, I’m going to appreciate that I’m now paying attention to my finances and be thankful for the nurturing guidance of two caring parents.


Egomania and Beef Broth

I’ve got the bread in the oven. I’m getting the beef bones and veggies ready for roasting. Then I’ll simmer them for eight hours. I love doing this stuff, but now I’m getting flashbacks to the last time I did more than one thing in the kitchen at a time.

Ever since I cut out sugar five months ago and (most) alcohol somewhat more recently, I’ve got more energy and clarity than I’ve had in years. I hate it. I feel like I’m supposed to achieve amazing things now. I imagine blogging about my amazingness, but in a humble way, and my followers can’t get enough of me. I’m so inspiring.

I work at home, and time is flexible. It seems like everything is possible. But I’m haunted by my history of starting projects, especially buying all the gadgetry that goes with them, while finishing nothing. In a sense, I’m being true to my life motto: “If it can’t be overdone, it’s not worth doing.”

But I’m fifty-seven now, and I want to be more mature, or at least appear that way. So I figured I’d be sensible and start with just one or two goals. I feel in charge, mature, balanced.

Now the couple of goals have grown into:

Make bread, salad dressings, and broths to avoid processed crap with all the sugar and chemicals, while feeling smug about the poor saps stuck with store-bought junk. Check out my awesomeness:

Crossword my ass off in a book so large that the editor, Will Shortz the authentically amazing, questions the sanity of anyone buying so many puzzles at once.


Crochet snuggle blankets for animals in shelters. Current status of Blanket #1:


Start a cross-stitch project I’ve owned for ten years and just broke out of the packaging. What it should look like:


Current status:


Learn to knit:


Tidy and decorate the house:


Write my memoirs:


Exercise regularly:


I suppose this is all just a different kind of obsession, but I seem to be kicking domestic ass today. And there’s the red flag I always miss. Just in case I forget about it when the broth is ready to strain tonight, I posted this above the kitchen sink:


Maybe I’ll do okay. Today.