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Pirate cutout Not too long ago, I went on a cleaning binge.  One of the things I threw out was a poster-sized blow up of a picture of me from my wedding.  My husband had blown up pictures from several different stages of my life to decorate the room in which he threw me a surprise 40th birthday party.  The party now being mymble-farrumph years ago, it seemed time to toss the giant blow up of my face.

The porter in our building, however, didn’t see it that way.  He could not throw it away.  First, he brought it back to our door. “You must have thrown this out by mistake,’ he said, handing it back to me. I assured him that, no, I just didn’t really want a giant blown up picture of myself.  Still, he couldn’t throw it away.  It just seemed wrong to him, he said. It was my wedding picture.  He kept it in the building’s staff room for months until one of the other doormen finally got tired of looking at me, and threw it away himself.

And now, as my parents contemplate selling their country home, and I go about cleaning out the rooms in which my children have spent every summer since they were born, (and my family has spent every summer for the past 25 years) I know just how he felt.  I don’t really WANT  four hundred and ninety-seven scribbles drawings from my twins’ second summer at the house, but somehow, it seems wrong to throw them away.

Let me first say, I am not a hoarder.  And not: I am not a hoarder in the creepy “yes I really am a hoarder I’m just so far gone that I don’t know it” way that the real hoarders on that A&E show mean it.  I’m really not.

Two or three times a year, I have my kids go through their toys and saved school work, and together, we do “keep or throw.”  We’ve gotten rid of LOTS of things that way.  And given away a lot, too. “Throw,” more often than not mean “give away.”  My wardrobe is in constant overhaul mode.  Anything I haven’t worn in two years is OUT. I regularly go through the medicine cabinet and toss anything that’s out of date. Getting rid of things is not the problem.

It’s just getting rid of these things.

There’s the pink bathing suit and coverup set my daughter wore the summer she was two.  I’ll never forget her strolling onto the patio with it on and then carefully taking off the robe, thinking for a moment, then taking off the bathing suit, and finaly heading into the bow-up kiddie pool.

I know I’ll always have the memory.  But I kinda want to have the suit, too.

Or what about the endless paintings my kids did in their summer at the Parrish Museum Art Camp.  This being The Hamptons, my then five year olds didn’t just paint, oh no, they went to visit Jackson Pollack’s house, and then went back to camp and made paintings inspired by his work. Seriously.

I can’t throw those away.

There are the “Welcome Home Daddy” signs they made, and then took to the train station, where they stood on the platform, he in his pirate costume, she in her tutu,(that’s them in the picture) waiting for Daddy to come out to country after working all week in the city.

There are finger paintings, and birdhouses, and bath toys, and doll strollers.

And it all brings back so much that I can’t bring myself to give it away.

Of course I know it’s ridiculous.  I know I can’t hold on to their babyhood forever.  But maybe, just maybe, I can hold on to the physical evidence of their babyhood just a little bit longer.  And maybe then, if I’m really lucky, they’ll stay my babies a little bit longer too.

Original Post to NYC Moms Blog.

Nancy Friedman write about momming, aging, and her 20 year quest to lose same ten pounds, at From  Hip to Housewife.

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At the end of every day, I feel like I have done nothing. Oh I’ve been busy all right. But doing what? So one day last week, I decided to keep track of my day — how could I have been so busy during all those hours when the kids were at school and have nothing to show for it?

Here’s how.

6:50 am – Wake up. Stumble into bathroom. Throw on workout clothes. (It’s a fact that just wearing the clothes confers exercise points, whether or not you make it to the gym.

7-7:35 am – Say “get dressed, brush your teeth, eat your breakfast” over and over and over and over as if it were a mantra, instead of just a daily battle to get the kids out of the house.

7:35-7:45 Walk kids to bus, realize we are late. Run to bus. Marvel at how, once again, neither of my children has seen fit even to say goodbye before getting on the school bus.

7:45-8:30 Walk dog. See? That’s exercise….ish.

8:30-8:45 Shower/Dress

8:45-9 Coffee, breakfast, email. Multi tasking is my friend. Except when I spill my coffee on my computer as I email. Then mulit-tasking is a multi cursing, multi-hours on the phone with customer service enemy.

9-10:30 Do breakfast dishes. (yes, email takes priority over dishes in the sink.) Make beds, straighten up. Notice the kitchen floor feels sticky. Don’t want to know why – just mop it. Ditto for the Dining Room, which needs sweeping and mopping.

10:30-11:15 Get Fresh Direct delivery. Open up pantry to put everything away, and nearly get killed in the avalanche of cereal boxes, pretzel bags, and precariously balanced cans of Organic canned tomatoes that falls on my head. Re-organize pantry. Find food I probably should have thrown away in 2007.

11:15-12:15 Research our next vacation: Africa. Ok, I admit, this is the fun part. A bit overwhelming, perhaps, but fun. We are going on a big trip for my husband’s 50th birthday, and I’m responsible for putting it all together. The number of companies offering Safaris is astounding. And each one looks better than the last. Hey, somebody’s gotta do it.

12:30-1:30 I forgot to mention that during the entire day, I’ve been short of breath. Seems my lovely swine flu/pneumonia experience has left my lungs a little less than perfect. Spend this hour at the Dr.’s office taking a lung capacity test, reading ancient magazines in the waiting room (I think I saw an advertisement for that food I should have thrown away in 2007!), and being handed a handful of prescriptions. Fun Fun Fun.

1:30-2:15 Walk the dog again. Take him to the Pet Store to buy more poop bags and more training treats. Use said poop bags on the way to the pharmacy with the dog to pick up my prescriptions.

2:15-2:30 realize I haven’t had lunch. Eat, standing up in front of the refrigerator: a tangerine, a hunk of cheddar cheese on a piece of leftover Challah, and a chicken leg.

2:30-3:00 Receive package with new bedding for my bedroom.( Note to readers: do not get new bedding just before getting a new puppy. Your new bedding will instantly become old bedding, and you will need to get new new bedding way too soon.) Take dog stained and chewed old-new-bedding off the bed, replace with new/new bedding. Spend at least seven minutes trying to figure out if it’s worth saving old-new bedding, and if so, where I can store it. Decide to toss it. Dog pee and puppy-teeth sized holes just don’t say “sleep comfortably” to me. Call me crazy.

Hey look! It’s 3:00 already. Time to get the kids, start dinner, help them do their homework (the evening mantra: sit down and do your homework/sit down and do your homework, sit down and…), etc. etc. etc. See how busy my day was? And see how much nothing I did? A lot of nothing. Plenty of nothing. And after a day like that, I’m not so sure that nothing is plenty for me.

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traveling-mom-logoI have trekked through the rain forests of Costa Rica.  I have biked 18 miles up-hill to the top of  Mount Constitution in Washington State. I have traveled through Turkey – by myself – with blond hair.  But the ideaof going to Splish Splash Water Park terrifies me.

It’s not the possibility of drowning *though there is that), or the inherent germiness of being in a place where so much, and so many, are so damp. (Though there is that, too.)  I’m afraid of it because it means I’ll have to wear a bathing suit in public for an extended period of time.

To read the rest of this post, click here.

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Long ago, I discovered the secret to buying (passably) flattering bathing suits: the worse you look the more you pay. (Hence, the Karla Coletto bazillion dollar(and worth every penny) bathing suit.)  I then learned the secret to feeling young and attractive: hang out with the septaugenarians.  I’ve bemoaned the new fahion-math: in Hollywood, size six is the new size twelve. I’ve questioned the new age-math (not new-age math, mind you, but new age-math) which tries to tell us that 40 is the new thirty, and 80 is the new sixty.  By that logic, I’m actually getting younger every year.

Still, nothing prepared me for my recent beach-side discovery:  post-forty, bodies age exponentially.

Think about it: what was your body like at 20?  Was it so different at 25?  At 30? Probably not. As a matter of fact,  I was actually in better shape at 32 than I was at 22.  At 32 I was working out, jogging, eating right.  At 22 I was living in Paris, smoking, drinking wine, and thought exercise was something I only had to do in America, and only then when some oversized PE teacher was forcing me.

Now think of your body at 38.  Then at forty.  Then at 42. (If you haven’t reached this milestone, don’t read on: you might not want to know what’s next).  Still the same body?  Not so much, huh?

Last year, I noticed that my knees were wrinkling. Knees!! What the hell can you do about that?  This year, my quads have joined in.  Mind you, I weigh less (thank you Weight Watchers) this year than I did last,  and the muscles are still under there: yoga and Nia, and weight training, and even ballroom dancing sees to that.  But my skin doesn’t care.  My skin is aging.  Fast.

So is the rest of me.  Today, I went to Tip Top Shoes to try to find stylish shoes that don’t bother my back or my bunion. There, I said it.  BUNION.  If that doesn’t say “your body is aging” well, what does? (By the way stylkish shoes adn bunion really don’t go together. I don’t care what Mephisto says.)

Then there’s the fact that I can no longer drink alcohol.  I was never much of a drinker.  Maybe a few glasses of wine once or twice a month.  But now?  ONE glass, and I’m out of commission for three days. Jeez.

It isn’t that I don’t want to get older (well, I don’t, but that’s not the point) The point is, why is it happening so fast?  I pretty much looked the same from the time I was 20 until I was thirty.  There were little changes – maybe my skin wasn’t quite as vibrant – but overall, the changes were just a difference – not a decline.

So all this leads me to one thing:  should I change the name of my blog?  Let’s face it, agelessbodytimelessmom.com is quite a mouthful, quite a thing to type in, and awfully hard to remember, from what I gather. (Does no one get the Deepak Chopra reference?  Anyone? Anyone?)

I have been working on a manuscript for a while now, it’s called: From Hip to Housewife in Two Kids Flat.  So I’m asking here — should I change my website’s name to FromHiptoHousewife.com?  FromHip2Housewife.com?  Or just keep it as is.  Because, let’s face it, despite my best attempts, I’m not exactly ageless here.  

Votes welcome.  Vote, please, and fast.  I’m not getting any younger.

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Oy. For those of you who have never seen a Woody Allen Movie, gone to hear Barbra Streisand perform, or had grandparents who remind you of Billy Crystal when he does his old man schtick, “oy” is “oh boy” with a Jewish accent. It pretty much describe the way I feel right now. There are lots of different kinds of travel. Family trips with our kids or romantic rendez-vous without them, business trips and girlfriend getaways. I am on a different kind of trip. I am entering the full-fledged land of the grown up.

Read the rest of this post at Traveling Mom.com. And while you’re there, check out some of the articles about planning your summer vacation, saving money on trips, and lots lots more. I know I write for the site — but I’m not just saying this – there is A LOT of good info at TMOM.  Check it out!

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Swimsuit season is upon us.  And with it the onslaught of diet ads on tv, magazines with pics of celebs caught having actual cellulite, and me, bemoaning my post-partum, post-forty, past passing for anything but middle-aged body.

Though I am, if I am completely, intellectually honest, neither truly fat, or particularly unattractive, I have made a life (and something of a writing career) of comically dissecting my physical flaws.  I’m the self-appointed Queen of Bad Body Image, chronicling on line and in print my twenty year quest to lose the same ten pounds.  I’ve joked about the fact that my belly button seems to be frowning, that the only men who find me attractive are septuagenarians, that I’ve chosen to paint my daughter’s room the same lavender color as my newly acquired varicose veins.

Ha Ha.  Nudge nudge.  Wink Wink. Very funny.  Until this morning, when my daughter refused to eat breakfast because, she told me through her tears, the boys in her class had told her she was fat.

Want to read the rest of this post?  Click here to go to NYC Moms Blog. (and while you’re there, leave a comment, wouldja?)

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Weight Watchers.

The two most terrifying words in the English language.  (Though I suppose that “Compassionate Conservative” and “Hairy Back” might be contenders.)

And yet here I am, once again, doing the WW.  Counting the points, weighing the portions,trying to decide if a deck of cards (the proper size of a serving a meat) is the same size as the giant hunk of leg-o-lamb I’ve just plunked on my plate. (that would be NO.)

Full disclosure:  a publicist from WW gave me three months of Weight Watchers for free.  I figured that if I can’t follow the program and lose the weight when I don’t even have to pay for it….Well, then I might as well  just accept that “trying on bathing suits” will forever remain the four scariest words in the English language.

Today was my second weigh-in.  Week two.  Week one, I lost 1.4 pounds.  Not bad.  Not great, but not bad.  So week two, I decided to be extra careful: I weighed everything.  I wrote everything down.  And you know what?  I stayed the same.  EXACTLY the same.

It’s better than a gain, I know.  But still.  And this was a week where I skied, worked out with a trainer, took yoga, took a dance class, took a ballroom dancing lesson AND dieted. What else am I supposed to do?  Cut off my left arm from the elbow down and use it to beat the pounds off of me?

It was also a week where I went out to breakfast with a friend.  Here’s what I had: one poached egg (2 points) and one piece of dry whole wheat toast (2 points).  Here’s what she had: a three egg (one yolk only) mozzarella and tomato omelette , french fries, and two pieces of whole wheat toast slattered in butter.

Now, here’s what she looks like: five foot four, one hundred and ten pounds, size four or six.

And here’s what I look like: five foot seven, NOWHERE NEAR one hundred and ten, or even one hundred and twenty, and lets face it, it’s been 20 years since I’ve seen 130 pounds.  Size eight or ten.

Sometimes, life just isn’t fair, is it?

Straight after my weigh-in, I went to Loehmann’s to  – TRY ON BATHING SUITS.  I figured, hey, I’m already depressed about my body, why not go all out and make myself downright dismal???

I had already been to the world famous Town Shop last week, trying on Karla Coletto suits, and that hadn’t gone well.  I have sung the praises of her bathing suits before, but this time around.  Well, let’s just say it didn’t go as well.  The bathing suits are still beautiful.  Still fabulously designed.  I will admit, I look better in a Karla Coletto bathing suit than I have a right to. BUT (and it’s a big but – not to be confused with my big butt), this year, the suits were see-through.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intentional – but they were showing a whole lot more than I feel comfortable showing.  (Or that you’d feel comfortable seeing, believe me.) For $200 and up, I expect a fabric that at least doesn’t show my (theoretical) tan lines through my suit. Or, let’s be frank, the depth of my bikini wax. So no Karla Coletto for me this year.  I’m looking on the bright side: this way, I won’t be tempted to spend $200 plus on a bathing suit!

ANYWAY – so there I was in Loehmann’s, and  as I entered the (communal) dressing room, I see my naturally (and preternaturally) thin friend, J.  (And as you read, remember, she’s a FRIEND) She takes one look at my armful of bathing suits (size 8′s, I might add – it’s not like I was kidding myself) and says “Are you going to fit into those?”

Youch.

I suppose the proper response would have been: “Are you going incredibly mean, incredibly unfeeling, or just a bitch?”  Or maybe “Are you going to go through puberty ever?  And get breasts?”  But no, all I said was:  “Well, I’m on Weight Watchers.”

All I can say is, it better work.

So check in every Wednesday for a Weight Watchers update. I let you know if I’m up or down, and I’ll tell you what’s working and what’s not.  Hey, maybe it’ll keep me honest, and finally, finally, get me to lose those ten pounds I’ve been struggling with for the past twenty years!

If you have any great Weight Watchers knowledge to impart – well, let me know.  Evidently, I need all the help I can get.

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The Olympics start today. Actually, they’ve started already. (Just not on primetime, so not at all. If the Opening Ceremonies happen, and the networks don’t put it on TV, did they really occur?)

Something about seeing all those young people from all over the world — well, dorky as it sounds – it always gives me a thrill. It’s their skill, their talent, their promise. Olympic athlete. It’s like a synonym for there’s nothing you can’t do.

Of course I was never much of an athlete, so I never aspired to the Olympics, but these games have made me think about all of the promise I had, and all of the things I didn’t do.

So here’s a list: the failures, the flops, the missed opportunities: my life in a nutshell. Only this time, I’m going to find the silver lining in the muck of it all.

1. I’ve been trying to lose the same 10 pounds for the past 20 years.

Silver Lining version (SLV): I haven’t gained any weight for the past 20 years! It may not all be where it once was (didn’t my butt used to start up HERE?) but there’s not any more of it, either.

2. I’ve been saying I’m going to write forever. Book? Where’s the book?

(SLV) I have a blog! I write for another blog!! I’ve been in two anthologies (click and buy, click and buy!) A literary agent wants to see my book. Oh wait, book? where’s the book?

3. I always thought I could do something with my singing.

(SLV) I sing for my kids every night. Good enough for me.

4. I thought I’d be in show biz. See any shows? Do I have any biz?

(SLV) I did write for TV for eighteen years. The armpit of TV, but TV nonetheless. I’ll count that.

5. I never did work out super hard and get into great shape.

(SLV) I never injured myself over-exercising.

6. There’s that Koulibiac of Salmon I never made. That sewing machine I never learned how to lose. The young adult novel that’s been half-finished in my drawer for 15 years.

SLV: There’s still time for it all.

yes, it’s me, being hopeful. So maybe I won’t be an Olympian — I can still have the promise — and keep the promise, too: I will do some of these things. Maybe even the ten pounds.

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Everyone is so concerned with Suburban Sprawl — the rape of the countryside, the never-ending expansion of the suburbs.

I’m concerned with my own suburban sprawl. The one I’m sitting on right now as I type this post.

See, I’m spending my summer in “the country,” as we city folk like to say, and instead of my usual 3.5-4 miles a day of walking just as a matter of course, I’d say I do about, oh, I don’t know, ten feet of walking. I’m exercising and all that. I’m trying to use my bike to run small errands. But it just isn’t the suburban/country way. This is a car society. And what with the GIANT SUV’s everyone drives around here (understandable, of course. I mean, Long Island is SO very mountainous, with ton of treacherous roads.) there isn’t much room for me on my foot-brakes-only circa 1972 cruiser. So I’m sitting a lot. In my car, at the computer. While waiting on line at Waldbaums. (Hey, once you’re a sitter, you’ll sit anywhere.)

Click here to to find out how bad it’s gotten.

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Have you ever noticed that the worse your body is, the more you have to spend on a bathing suit?

I’ve been to the Lands End site with all of it’s symbols about body type and claims of flattery. And I’ve always liked the suits. Not too flashy. Not too revealing. But in the end, not too exciting, either. They’re all fine in a “I’m a middle aged woman who drives a minivan, has a bad perm, and still uses cans of Cream of Mushroom soup to make a casserole” kind of way. But chic they’re not.

This year, I decided to actually go to a store and try on bathing suits. No easy task. Like most women over forty who’ve borne children, trying on bathing suits is as depressing as it gets. What I didn’t realize is how expensive it can get!

The average price of a bathing suit at my local (and totally fabulous) lingerie store, The Town Shop, is $150. Seriously. They have a few bathing suits under $100, but most fall into the $125-$225 range. Shocking. I must be naive, but I had no idea a little piece of Lycra could cost so much.

But I had decided that, like a good haircut, a good bathing suit can change everything. So I sucked it up (and sucked it in) and tried one on. I don’t know who this Karla Colletto is, but man, can she design a bathing suit. I’ve tried the Miracle Suit thing, and quite frankly, the only miracle is that they can get away with their copywrited claim that you’ll look ten pounds lighter in ten seconds. They’re relatively flattering, but they ain’t no Karla Colletto. In her suits I looked – are you ready for this? — GOOD! Do you understand the magnitude of that? I LOOKED GOOD IN A BATHING SUIT. Talk about shocking.

I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the cut, maybe it’s the fabric. But I don’t care what it is. It was worth the staggeringly high –wait for it…$225 — price tag.

I decided to see if my “the worse you look the more you have to spend” theory applied to exercise clothing as well. Usually, I head to Filenes or Target and buy my exercise clothing there. After all, why spend big bucks on something you’re just going to sweat up anyway?

How wrong I was. I have only one thing to say to you: Lululemon. These pants are amazing. Their seam runs down the back of the leg, instead of the sides, making your legs look longer. The waist band hits at exactly the right spot to avoid side-bulge, and minimize butt bulge.

In my Lululemon signature pants I really do look ten pounds lighter. Unfortunately, they also left my wallet nearly $100 lighter. A small price to pay for a small butt.

So alas, it’s true. The worse you look, the more you pay. But the bright side is, if you’re willing to spend the big bucks, you can look like a million bucks. Or, OK, $100,000 bucks. But that’s rich enough for me.

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