Go to that High School Reunion.*

“Things are great . . . with an asterisk.”

After first seeing the Facebook announcement for my 35th High School Reunion, I looked at it. Then I looked at it again.

The passage of 35 years was so hard to conceive and my arithmetic so weak, I took out paper and pen and subtracted 1981 from 2016.

Gag me . . . it had been 35 years.

I vowed to lose 5 pounds. Take every yoga class for the next four months. Pick out a dress. Face lift. Butt lift. Skin-on-my-legs-especially-the-skin-above-my-knees lift.

Months passed and it was two weeks till the reunion. I weighed about the same. I’d made it to three yoga classes the month of August.  Nothing had been surgically lifted, so I packed some make-up, a pair of Spanx and rubbed self-tanner on my legs.  Though I did think it the perfect excuse to get a facial.


Reunion photo credit to Ricky Silva. Can you find me?

Reunion photo credit to Ricky Silva. Can you find me?


Random thoughts on attending your 35th High School Reunion.

— Commit to going. Don’t think about it. No one ever gives birth or adopts children, signs up for a marathon or goes to a class reunion if they ruminate on it.

— Note to the venue. For the love of Mike, when most party-goers are over 50 — dim the lights on the dance floor.

— Try on the dress you decide to wear before the night of the party. I bought a dress last spring and never once had it on again until the night of the reunion. Whatever mojo I felt in the dressing room wasn’t there reunion night. Didn’t like it. At all. Thankfully, I did bring another dress. But logic says to try the dress on before leaving your closet in the rear view mirror six hours down the road.

— To those who went to high school in Florida and haven’t lived there in a while. HAVE A BACKUP PLAN FOR YOUR HAIR.  I completely forgot about the Florida humidity. It was raining as well. My hair went up in a coated rubber band.

— Your mother can show up at the party before you, talk to people, and you laugh about it. If my mother would have shown up to a high school party 35 years prior, I’d have dropped out of Winter Park and enrolled at Edgewater under an alias.

My 83-year-old mother dropped by the party before I arrived. (She was eating in the adjoining restaurant.) She walked in and started talking to all my high school friends, and some of their children. When I arrived my friend Ann said, “Did you know your mother was here?” She laughed saying,  “I looked up and thought that’s Jamie’s mother  . . . this is wild.”



This photo is Facebook credited to Ann who is in the middle of this pic. Ann who talked with my party-crashing mom.  (I think her husband must have had the phone.)


High School Reunions are wild in a Twilight Zone sort of way.

Facebook is for cowards. Nothing can substitute the authenticity found in a face-to-face conversation after 35 years.

I heard a great phrase today. Out having breakfast in Madison, we were approached by an acquaintance we hadn’t seen in a while. He asked the standard “How are things?”

We gave the standard reply, “Things are great.”

To which he said with a smile, “Things are great with us too  . . . with an asterisk.”

By the time you’re heading to your 35th High School Reunion, everybody can say, “Life is great  . . . with an asterisk.”

Asterisks don’t discriminate. They are equal opportunity offenders in the form of losing loved ones, of divorce or divorces, children heartbreak. Financial struggles or collapse. Job traumas. Battling illness as if our lives depended on it. And the universal of challenge of experiencing our young selves — becoming not so young at all.

We’ve have lost the urge to play the comparison game to feel better about ourselves. If I asked you what you’ve been doing the last 35 years, I was truly interested in finding out your journey. Not to boast on my superstar decades headlining as wife, mother — and writing a blog.

On Facebook you get a bunch of amazing photos. Ones people post after they deleted the first fifteen they took.

It is a great way to keep up but,

With Facebook you can’t throw your arms about somebody’s neck in a squeeze or learn how fun life can be with a sugar monkey. Or giggle with friends you giggled with 35 years ago.



Thanks to Michelle for this snapshot.


So as Nike said back in the day,

 Just do it and go to that reunion.

What’s to lose? It was quick. Just a few hours and then done.

Just like high school.

Just like the last 35 years.




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To-do Lists. It’s in the 3×5 cards.

This was me last Saturday.




I debated whether to post this pic. Full disclosure — In cropping out my thighs, my beer also disappeared from the photo where it rested a few inches from my left arm.

This is what I do well. Sit in the sun while reading. A reformed magazine-o-holic, my mother brings me all hers and the few I do get pile up. Then when I get away, I binge read Good Housekeeping, SELF, Oprah, Country Living, Southern Living — the assorted Anything Living magazines.

Part of me likes to think it helps me write a smidge better since I write for print. How other writer’s handle interviews and home redo stories interest me.

The other part of me likes to veg. Check out. And a good magazine helps.

When I see a recipe, self help or house idea I like I rip the page out old school as in the days before Pinterest.



Like this article on to-do lists in Martha Stewart’s Living. Which is ironic to me, since every issue of her magazine can be considered one big TO DO.

Martha Stewart does. And she does whatever she does well. Dang, she even did her stint in prison better than I did some 5-year-old birthday parties.

Not that I don’t try with the to-dos.





Just like the beer was in my wingspan out by the pool, this stack of 3 x 5 cards stays at my right elbow on my desk.

I recently purged the piles on my desk but that said, these were the to-do cards I found scattered about his morning.




Just looking at the photo, I can already tell the chance of that swim happening are about nil.

Also the write for an hour. On my book. That needs to become a priority and here I blog.

The Living article stated the point of writing things down is to get them off our minds. To make things less overwhelming.

It also said to find a system that works for you. I need visual reminders or I run to the brightest, flashiest object and forget the dull, yet extremely important task — like pay the water bill before it gets shut off. Who remembers that stuff when there are posts to write and seeds to sow?

There are the tasks, I move from day to day. Mail off my racing medals to Medals-for-Mettle. And tasks that don’t seem pressing but need to get done or it will be too late, like putting in my summer garden.

Am starting to get a little antsy because I need to draft a column for magazine. That needs to get done today. But so does a trip to the bank, and dinner and I want to pick strawberries with the kids this week they are out of school.

The article promises to help us “get control of our to-do list — rather than the other way around.”

I’m not sure that applies to me. How can I be controlled by a list when so much is left undone each day? The only thing it controls is my stress level by causing it to skyrocket.

What about you and to-do lists? Help.


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My Body Truly Amazes Me. Darn It.

What? No one has posted here since  . . . heck, when did I post last?

I could have posted about the beach. My three flat tires (bike). My first ever chiropractic adjustment. How I’m going to tank the run of another triathlon on Saturday. The first day of school. My therapy epiphany.

But no.

I just didn’t write.

I did everything else but blog.

So to love and pet and whisper I’m sorry for being gone so long to my dearest blog, I’m hopping on the Finish The Sentence Friday bandwagon.

For I can hop. It’s Friday. And I like to finish sentences.

My own. And everyone else’s.


Hoeing in a sundress. Is that a word? Hoeing?

Hoeing in a sundress. Is that a word? Hoeing?


 The most amazing thing my body has done is…


1.  Given birth.

That’s cliche. The truth. But cliche.

As a writer, I’m taking a giant leap over the obvious.


2.  Had sex.

An act I seriously wondered in sixth grade if I’d ever accomplish.

With someone else, that is.

But guess what. My body has done it. With another. At least once.

See Number 1.


3.  Swam a mile in the St. Pete Bay as part of a triathlon.

The water was so rough, I looked at the kayaks. Really, really hard. If you touch a kayak, its stoic rider scanning the waters with his mirrored sunglasses, you are out. As in out of the race.

I felt guilty even entertaining such notions at the time — till I heard that they fished 90 would-be participants out of the bay that day.


4.   Ran two marathons.

I blame training for two marathons in consecutive years, as the reason my knees are sh*t for running but that’s how I roll.

Go big and f*ck up for knees for the rest of your life.  WOOOOO.


5.  Swim.


Have you ever truly swam? It’s the most amazing body experience.

Secondly only to Number 1. Number 2. And Number 6.



6.  I can’t think of anything.


No. After weighing all my personal options, I’m going to go another way.


The most amazing thing my body has done is . . . grow old.


It’s me.

The the same 25-year-old me on the insides.

Yet not me.

I now have gray hair that I color. Skin that drapes on my frame with a mind of it’s own. Aches. Pains. Hormones that are fleeing my body faster than urban development around The TED. RIP.

My body relentlessly grows old.

A fact amazes me every day.


And what say you?

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Just keep swimming. But first I have to jump in.

Sunday is the triathlon. Now it’s just a sprint but for a busy gal like me  — it’s been hard to put in the miles for proper training for my 50-year-old self.

One thing I wanted to do before Sunday was an open water swim. Swimming in a nice, pretty pool with a wide black stripe on the bottom is a lot different than a deep lake. The muddy Georgia lakes are akin to sticking your head under the bead — with goggles. And no air.

But I love it so.

Open mouth. Insert finger and jam in back of throat.

So with the days ticking down and the weather not cooperating in the least, I headed out to a friend’s dock mid-day.




Lovely weather.

A cold front decided to park itself over our heads for the next few days. It looks like I could be swimming in this weather for the race — so might as well swim in it now.

When I got to the dock, the rain had turned into a mist lightly kissing my face.

Pooh on mists that lightly brush my expanding thighs in my new black tri shorts.

The lake.



The lake up close and personal.



I guess I had to get in.

There’s a dock that’s about 200 yards out. I swim out to that and back and I have my 400 yards for the race.

So donned my cap and goggles. Held my breath and jumped in.

It was still warm. You don’t know how happy that made me. Of course by Sunday the water will be cooler after nothing but rain for three days  but I’m not going to obsess about that now.

There’s plenty of time to obsess on the negatives tomorrow.

I started to swim and it felt great. Till the black water, gray sky and cloudy goggles started to close in on me. Very disorienting. This is when I always think  . . .

Instrument rated.

To be an instrument rated pilot you have to fly blind — or with nothing but clouds in front of you — only looking at the information on the cockpit panel. When I can’t see clearly and imagine people splashing all around, I just bury my head in the black water and think stroke, stroke, stroke. All I have to do it keep breathing and stroking though I can’t really see a blasted thing.

Every now and then it’s important to stop, look up and sight the buoys — but remain calm and keep swimming.

The first 400 yards were okay. Only a few mild bursts of disorientation followed by slight panic. The second time out and back to the dock was better.



So I’m ready as I’ll ever be at this point.

Looking forward to it.

I really am.

Have you ever done a triathlon? Any open water swim stories to share?



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10 Beauty Tips for the aged and peri-mental.

Ahh. Monday and the smell of a good listicle permeates the air.

This week Stasha, at the suggestion of Julia @momontherunx2 asked us to come up with 10 beauty products we can’t live without.

And since I’m teetering on the precipice of a big birthday, mine is 10 beauty must-haves — of an aging vaintress as Shannon Colleary of the fabulous blog The Woman Formerly Known As Beautiful likes to say  or

the aged and peri-mental (or some one who is still considered hot at the Villages).

Ten things we can’t live without that are readily available about the homestead.


10.   Smoke


9.      Mirrors


8.      Veils.




6.      Well-placed scarves.







5.   Sunglasses.


4.  Or even, well-placed readers.


3.  Back-lighting.


She’s really 85 years old.


2.    A tight towel wrapped around the head.

Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to make this work when I am fully dressed and not just out of the shower.


1.   Confidence.



What are your suggestions?


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Another Peri-menopausal Moment

Well, another peri-menopausal moment. I still refuse to use the full-tilt  phrase menopause — because well, it’s a long story.

Earlier this evening, I was at a function at my in-laws.


party 6:1


I should have known by the glazed look in my eye that my brain wasn’t firing on all cylinders.

Right after this we sat down and had some delicious barbecue and great conversation — during which I took a blood vow to join a friend in a pilgrimage to Las Vegas to see Donny Osmond at the Flamingo. And no that’s not the peri-menopause faux pas.

Well, after that oath, I excused myself and headed back to my house because I had to make final preparations for my daughter’s departure to camp tomorrow morning.

Like I had told everyone for a week. My daughter was going to camp on Sunday.

I got home and pulled out the final list to double check.

Then I read it over again. And again.

Yes, That’s right.

The camp doesn’t start tomorrow. It starts on Tuesday.

I almost drove three hours to drop my daughter off to a place she didn’t need to be for 48 hours.

I am going cray, cray.

Full tilt cray, cray.


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Rolling with the changes. Primary school graduation.

All smiles.

joe's graduation

At the graduation ceremony, a few minutes before . . .

All business.

joe graduation

Yes, my baby is set to leave the primary school tomorrow.

My Oklahoma Joe.

As I stood in the serpentine line of parents winding our way to the check-in spot at the office, I had the wonderful thought.

I forgot my camera.

Followed by.

I forgot my phone. With its camera.

You’d think a middle-aged crazy woman pumped up on Hormone Replacements would be never forget her camera for a moment such as this.


Well. Shrugged my shoulders and reached out for the door as the nice man, who looked like he probably had his camera, held the door for me. Which I held for the next person.

Walking down the halls of the primary school — probably for the last time (okay it just hit me that I was walking the halls for the last time) — I made it to the library. And managed to find friends to ask if they would take a picture for me.


I struggled with this. Why wasn’t I more emotional? I so loved seeing all those cute faces walking across the carpet. Wondering what path each of them will take in life.

Who will shoot straight like an arrow at their target?

Who will bloom late and flourish?

Who will fall between the cracks and wonder why they sat on the sidelines their entire life?

It’s funny. Some children will fulfill their potential and surprise no one — the I-always-knew-they-were-going-to-do-greats.

Then some will fulfill their potential and surprise everyone.

It’s those children I ache to see on down the road.

Which ones will be touched with magic and confound their teachers, their fellow students, their fellow students’ parents.

Who have the power to change things and don’t know it.

Or maybe they do.

It’s just everyone else who’s yet to see.

That makes me happy.

And the best quote of the day — and of my year — was one I read on my friend Jill Hill’s blog this morning. It sums up why I have no tears.

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.  Dr. Seuss.

Yes, I’m smiling for what has happened.

And for what is yet to be revealed.

What about you? Tears for big milestones or do you roll with the changes?

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Falling off wagon midlife.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

One of my favorite quotes. Don’t know what that says about me.

But when I read the Jana’s Stream of Consciousness Sunday prompt that’s what popped into my head.

Five minutes girl uninterrupted writing on: What have you fallen out of the habit of doing (or not doing)?


moby dick


My first thought was to write on this weird floating-adrift-in-the-Atlantic-Ocean way I’ve felt lately.

Lost in Transition. Fallen-off-the-wagon-of-everything feeling.

But I’ve writing about that too much lately.

Midlife crisis BORING.

So I’ll be specific.

Sweets and chips.

I’d given eating them up for Lent and decided not to take up them up again.

Well, yesterday at the fabulous Bloggy Boot Camp I ate chips and queso — not once — but twice.

And three-quarters of a slice of key lime pie.

Not that the conference sent me on a bender. I had already dug my hands deep into a stash of Peanut M&Ms that I had never thrown away.

Not sure whether, I’m hopping back on the sweets wagon with wild abandon yet.

For some reason I think this is just a symptom of someone floating adrift in a sea of salsa.

Hoping find shore soon.


Yes. Where is that bowl of ice cream?

Come over to Jana’s and link up.

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37. Surely I’ll have my act together by then.


That was the year that my adorable cottage house would be perfect. The beds would be made every morning and dirty dishes never had time to rest in the kitchen sink.

I’d have a fabulous career. Law, international photographer, novelist. Something I would do fabulously well — effortlessly — making me independently wealthy.

Be married to an adorable man and have tons of adorable children who always kept their rooms clean. And though I showered them with everything imaginable, they would not become spoiled, self-centered brats — but  turn into loving, altruistic self-actualized beings that floated through life.

I’ll stop now.

My head hurts.

Linking up with Finish the Sentence Friday and “When I was younger, I wanted to…”

When I was younger, I wanted to have my act together by age 37.

Growing up in the 60s, 70s and early 80s, the year 2000 was the mythical beacon.

The year I would turn 37 and surely have my act together.

Well, if you are halfway decent at math, you know by now, I’ve passed my pivotal age.

I’ve come to realize I’ll never have my act together but I’m okay with that.

Or maybe my definition of act together has changed. A lot.

My daughter is right there now. The dreaming stage. The stage when anything is possible.

I’m not cynical. Anything is possible with time, sacrifice, working hard, relationships.

It’s just time. There seemed so much of it 30 years ago.

And I did get the adorable husband. (and kids.)

So what did you want when you were young?




Finish the Sentence Friday

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Exploring Frida Kahlo’s papaya. And that most horrible of biblical words.

My last post referenced the sexual nature of a Kahlo painting of papaya.

A friend mentioned that she wished there had been a picture of the papaya.

Well, I did what any 21st post modern woman would do. I went to the nearby stream and made pigments from nature and painted a copy.

No silly. I googled it.

And here is what I found.

The Bride Frightened at Seeing Life Opened.

And then I found this one.

Pico de Gallo.

And as I was reading the commentary of this painting at the blog Feasting on Art 

Once again I was struck by how a seemingly silly thought,  sexual nature portrayed in open fruit had a much deeper meaning.

You see Frida Kahlo was unable to bear a child.


That most horrible of biblical words.

I remember learning that she had a miscarriage. I guess she had a few of them.

The above mentioned post suggested that as her pain deepened over her infertility — her art represented the organs she prayed would  function — like the way everyone organs on the planet seemed to.

Well. She probably didn’t pray since she was an atheist.

But everywhere she looked.

The dog got pregnant and gave birth. The maid cleaning her floor became pregnant and gave birth. Heck, the ancient mother of 12 two houses down, because pregnant again.

And gave birth to two beautiful, brown-eyed boys.

Yet Kahlo’s body failed her.

I might not get the papaya but I get that.

The canvas was her journal. The papaya her pain.

I don’t think I would paint papayas though. I’d have written about a woman in a novel who was running from a zombie.

No being chase by a pineapple.

A vampire bearing a pineapple?

To be continued  . . .

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