Friday, March 28, 2008

Across the Universe

First, the amazing news: Uncle Mike has had his ups and downs, but seems he's doing swimmingly. I went up there last weekend, brother and cousins met up and basically hung around the Olympia hospital room. What I came away with was this: I am proud to be part of a family that shows up.

It's been a grueling week what with Corporate America crushing my poor rose-petaled soul like an old soggy Armenian cigarette. I see how it is now, and it's quite disillusioning. I am tired of being the responsible one. The one who takes the high road. Who refuses that last glass of wine and goes to bed early to better perform the next day.

However, tomorrow this 40licious heads on a plane to Israel to stand by my older brother, Ilya, as he gets married and introduces his newborn son, Adam, to all of us. Again, I guess it's just about showing up.

Then I get to traipse around England with the Sexy Brit. Roll up for the Mystery Tour!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sound. Tree. Falling. Woods.

I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to pray at this point.

My Uncle Mike, the guy who stepped in for my dad when he was alive and after, the guy who led the charge in the biggest battle our family ever waged, the guy who taught me it's good and important to be funny, might be slipping away from us. He is one of the finest men there is.

He had a stroke and then complications this week. He's the kind of guy that chooses dignity over a lesser life. Every time the phone rings I get a cold shock through my body. I need to go home and see him. Even though I know he doesn't want ANYONE to see him this way.

So it is at this point I am supposed to pray, but I am not sure for what. I feel like I've got an open line to Ben AND Jerry, but I don't know what flavor to ask for. I don't know if I should ask for something impossible -- fat-free, sugar-free, no splenda organic Cherry Garcia -- or something simple, that goes down easy.

Do I ask for what Mike wants, or what we want? Or omakase?

I think I need to clarify that I am not an overtly religious person. Spiritual, OK. I think it's all the same, really: prayer, visualization, meditation, wishing. There are 108 beads on a rosary and on a mala -- a Buddhist prayer necklace. Also, I put my dad's rosary in my purse in Vegas and won a shitload of money. So there's that.

Any recommendations happily considered.



PS -- Mike hates religion, so please, nothing too Jesusy.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I Don't Know Why You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

One of the things that happens by the time you get to be 40licious is that you get really good at stuff. Work, your racquetball technique, knowing when to walk away from a roulette table when you've still got a pile of chips.

But you also get to be good at things that aren't so nice. Like withstanding the blow that someone you love has died.

I have lost entirely too many people in my life (well, maybe "lost" isn't the right word. I just don't know where they are, though I suspect they are somewhere close).

I know the drill. The call. The "I have some sad news" on the other end of the phone. The "Oh no!" that wells up from deep within my belly. The helplessness of it all. Retracing our last steps together and regretting that I never sent that recipe/picture/book I promised. Regretting that I didn't have a few more moments to express my deep love and gratitude. Regretting that I didn't get a chance to say a proper goodbye, and that words spoken through tears out into the ether will have to do.

I wish that was something I didn't know how to do.

My friends and collaborators, Don and Adam, have just put down their 16-year-old cat and learned, in the same week, that their lovely little terrier has a plum-sized tumor on her heart. They are are watching her go, slowly.

I've never let Lucy, my 12-year-old beagly mutt (who is in excellent health and very puppylike, still) sleep on the bed. When my ex-boyfriend moved out, she had a temporary pass to come up there so that I could have a warm and friendly body next to me.

Recently, I've been trying to get her to go back to her own perfectly good bed on the floor next to mine. And then I think about Don and Adam's lovely little Louise, and that time for all of us is limited and with an undefined shelf life.

And I invite Lucy up to sleep with me. For just one more night.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Making It Look Easy

By the time people get to be 40licious, they make it all look easy. That is the mark of a true master. I think about Sinatra, Manilow, Liz Taylor, people like that. You get so good at something from doing it so long that it's as natural as dunking your Cinnabon in your coffee.

This applies to white-collar work, too. I think about the people who slave away many, many, many hours. Yes, I'm realizing that sometimes it's necessary. But 80-hour weeks every week? WTF? There's a serious disconnect there, either in management or the worker bee not saying "stop."

Maybe the person who gets in at 9 and leaves at 5 is really the true genius after all.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hippie Mom Purse

Every now and then, because I am 40licious and because it's my site, I will spend a little time on a pedantic retrospective of my career. But I will only load up things I really like. Like this one.

My mother, Colleen Bennett-McGrady, walks me outside our apartment building circa 1969.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Just. Stop.


Art stuns me into humility. I really, really, really wish I'd thought of this.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Holy crap

Someone just pointed out that if I've turned 40, I'm entering my fifth decade, not my fourth. Holy crap. Um. Maybe this blog wasn't such a good idea after all.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Announcing the 40licious Hall o' Fame!

Because I am officially now 40licious, and hence I can do whatever I want, I hereby announce the creation of the 40licious Hall o' Fame!

My first inductee is one Ms. Kathlyn Albright, my good friend and collaborator from the Seattle days, who just up and decided that she's going to run the L.A. Marathon for her 40th birthday. Just like that! (And I thought I was a bad-ass going to Vegas to see Barry Manilow!) In all the time I've known her, she has never been, truth be told, much of an athlete, unless you count going up and down the bazillion Escherian steps to her apartment. I didn't even know the woman owned a pair of sneakers. But there she was, texting me from the racecourse (I know. So L.A.). She finished in a little over eight hours and raised more than $2,000 for cancer.

Kathlyn prepares for the big race

I hope all of us can learn a little something from Kathlyn: That you can indeed drink yourself silly two nights before a marathon, flirt with a sexy bartender and still finish with dignity and grace.

That, my friends, is the definition of 40licious.