Want Some Salsa With that Chip on your Shoulder?

I get weirdly compulsive when I’m busy, or when stress overwhelms me. When my brother-in-law lay dying in a hospital, I cleaned closets till the wee hours of the night. When my kids were little, I counted. Steps up the stairs, steps to their rooms, steps to the car. I compulsively baked pies (rather publicly) during a difficult time in my life. I’m moving soon, the girl is graduating from high school and any number of the tasks that accompany all these things are looming … so I’m making salsa. Compulsive salsa.

Luckily this is a relatively healthy compulsion. I’m perfecting my smoky tomato salsa recipe, though, and by the time things settle down in the fall (HAHAHAHA) I’ll be the salsa master. I haven’t looked it up, but I’m sure there’s some coping mechanism at work here. It doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem, and it seems to calm me down when I’m freaking out about everything on my plate (pass the chips) so what’s the issue, really? Too much salsa is probably not a legitimate complaint.

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The Dot on the I is a Smiley: On Turning 44

I’m not a smiley dotter of the letter “i.” I’m not a smiley dotter of anything, really. Partly, only out-dotted by the word Beijing, my first name has plenty of dots, thank you. They don’t need embellishment.

Reflecting on my current state of bliss, I was reconsidering some ideas in this vein. An acquaintance whom I hadn’t seen in quite some time said, “I am so sorry to hear of your divorce.” I waved my hand about like I was shooing a persistent fly and said, “I’m great! Not to worry!”

The “i” in divorce deserves a smiley.

Louis C.K. said it best: “No good marriage has ever ended in divorce.”

I’m turning 44 and I’m happy. Happier, in fact than I’ve otherwise been in my adult life. It’s a revelation.

On my birthday three years ago I was standing, as I do, in the beauty products aisle of the grocery store pondering my annual investment in anti-wrinkle creams. My interest in this sort of thing fades by Christmas, but around and on my birthday, I have a marked upswing in calling back faded youth. My phone rang and along with birthday wishes, my son announced his minutes-old engagement.

Now he’s divorced. He’s divorced, I’m divorced; everybody gets divorced!

That’s not true, of course.

But for each of us, me, for the past two years, he, for the last several months, we’ve been working through our fresh starts. I’ve learned so much!

And somewhere in there, I fell in love. Here I am at forty-four, in love and probably, inevitably, shopping for beauty products designed to turn back the clock. But this year, I don’t care as much. I’m happy and I feel like I’m in my twenties, but with much less stress than I had in my actual twenties.

Sometimes, a smiley is the right choice, when dotting an i.

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You Probably Already Know This, But I Wrote a Book

Last fall, I spent some time sitting in a chair with my laptop, writing a book. That’s a100 Things to do in Charlottesville cover_high good thing for someone who’s feeling a little under the weather to do. I always wanted to write a book, but was never sure what that book would be, and as it sometimes happens, an opportunity arose, and I took it.

I procrastinated at first, but from contract to deadline was only a few months, so those last couple of weeks were spent head down, typing away.

The book came out in March. I’ve done a couple of events and the book sells in several local stores and online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It’s a REAL book with a real publisher and everything! Sometimes even I surprise me.

Today I’m doing a signing at Beer Run, a place where I know everyone, and everyone knows me. It’s a little like coming home, and it’s important to me to share the book with friends in this place. In the early days of writing the book, I’d sit at the corner table at Beer Run with an Allagash White and my laptop. Yep, the first few pages were written at a bar. What a surprise!

I hope to see lots of you this afternoon at the event, but if not, I hope you’ll let me know if you picked the book up somewhere else.

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Lincoln Land, Save me a Horseshoe

You guys. You guys! I am taking my Gentleman Farmer home to meet my parents. It’s high time he met them, (and they met him) and I’m looking forward to giving him the Tour of my Childhood sites. We’ll go in search of horseshoes (the sandwich), visit the Lincoln Museum (continuing our aim to tour all the presidents’ homes, except for the ones from Texas), and catch a show at the Muni.

I have to say it’s weird, thinking of being in Springfield with a boyfriend, something I haven’t done (or had) since 1988-89. I was there earlier this year without him and it just felt totally wrong. I’m really glad we’re making this trip.


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On Forgiveness and Moving On

I met a woman recently who was in the midst of a difficult divorce when her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Given the circumstances, and while their relationship is not ideal, they’ve tabled the divorce. AND — you won’t believe it — but she’s his primary caregiver.

Another woman I know, divorced more than 30 years from her husband of only a few years, is helping him with end-of-life decisions.

It’s wild, isn’t it, what the universe asks of us in our relationships with other people.

I’ve learned a lot about love, forgiveness, letting go, and focusing on the future, especially in the last three years or so. I’m still learning and I’m sure I will be for a long time.

I don’t believe in holding grudges. I don’t believe in hating people. I don’t believe that any good comes from hanging on to anger — no matter how valid.

I’m not saying any of that comes easily. I have to work at it, for sure. But every time I make the decision to let go or forgive, I am better for it. A weight lifts.

I’ve read it many times and it’s true: we forgive NOT for the other person. There are situations where the other person may never even know they’re forgiven. They may not care. They may want to hurt you. It doesn’t matter — you don’t forgive them for them — you do it for YOU.

That’s some of what I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I hope it helps someone else today.

More on forgiveness:

From the Mayo Clinic

Hi Sugarplum!

The Forgiveness Challenge

Password Therapy


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