Sunday, March 29, 2009


My friends and I have been hiking on the weekends. Monster hikes. We see waterfalls and meadows and clover fields and tide pools. We bring dogs and babies and more friends. We leave phones and iPods and makeup somewhere else.

It reminds me of Jane Austen novels, in which the party always takes a long walk in the country after breakfast, or before supper, or before all hell breaks loose due to a missing letter or an mis-overheard conversation.

We group in twos and threes, and converge together. We are quiet and chatty and raucous. We thank God that we are not Pioneers Making Their Way Across the Country for a Better Life and that in two hours we'll be showered, feet up, watching the latest Netflix offering.

In my life I've spent so much time making dinner for people, meeting them out, planning big elaborate occasions because I want to see them and have the chance to chat, to get in deep, to reconnect. The 40licious realization is that you don't need to have an excuse to see your near and dear ones, or to get to know someone new a little better. You just need to go out together and fill your heads with nature and the sound of rushing water, buzzing bugs and silence under sky. And walk.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Carbo Deloading

Is a low-carb diet any kind of living for someone who's 40licious? Especially when her father was co-author of the Pritikin Program for Diet & Exercise, which advocates no fat, no protein and high complex carbs?

If it means that dinner is half a bag of almonds, two glasses of wine, and The Office and 30 Rock, well then yes. Yes, it is.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Brings

New things.

A fresh take, a new chance for resolutions, for a clean slate, a shining plate.

I have a giant new bed. It is huge. It takes up most of my room. It spans time zones and languages and carbon dating and fault lines. It makes me feel like I am in a hotel, in transit, in someone else's fresh new life.

This morning I woke up, lying across it, horizontally. As if sleeping has given me license to take a new perspective, direction, inflection.

Spring has sprung.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

40licious Hall o' Fame: Michelle Obama

Not only does she get to regularly bed down nightly with the world's collective crush.
Not only does she teach her kids about locally grown food.
Not only does she rock whatever she wears, even if it's a big stupid plastic belt.
Not only did she leave corporate America to become a community organizer.

She also told Oprah this:
"I think in my 40s, I started feeling very comfortable in my own skin. Motherhood helps, marriage helps -- those learning curves that force you to be better. And my hope is that my 50s will hone that. I never consider myself a finished product."

Michelle, welcome to the 40licious Hall o' Fame.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

image (c) 2008 Vanessa McGrady

The more 40licious I become, the more my mother makes sense. She said this yesterday:

"People really are just walking flowers."

Come to think of it, we are.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

The New Economy

I realize that many of my sisters and brothers are walking this earth without a job. I don't know what I can really do for them. Make dinner. Connect them with people who might know something. Look at their resumes.

The latter of which I have been doing a LOT of. For example, my young friend, an IT help-desk whiz, needed a refresh on her rez because she wasn't getting any calls. We stayed up late and talked Geek Squad trash, and made her a new one, all streamlined and pretty and informative. She's since gotten three calls for work. So I opened my my services to my professional network of women. In exchange for an hour consultation and edit on their resume, I asked for something in trade. It could be a sewing machine, organizing skills, massage, whatever.

I immediately got six or seven responses. The first was dire and sad; a woman and her husband, have both been laid off and are about to lose their home and take the couch tour. I can't promise her anything but an edit.

In return so far I've scored a membership to a group called Mix LA, a consultation with a music supervisor for my music-producer brother, possibly some musical equipment, and $40. It's becoming a game to see what makes itself available.

Have you found a new economy since everything all went to hell?

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spam a lot

My father was always an early adopter. He got the first stereo remote control, and would amuse and amaze visitors by waving one arm up and down (the other in his pocket) as the volume of the music mysteriously changed accordingly. In first grade, we had a ditto machine that bested the copier at my school. Betamax? Yep. Laser Disc? Check.

And of course, every iteration of computer (though he was a WordStar loyalist until his death in 2003. We could never talk him out of that one). Always one to spot a bargain and/or satisfy his curiosity, he would click on offers for "Free Cash!" and "L1tTl3 Blu3 P1LL!" and "I am Russian teenager." He had a small army employed to de-bug his hard drive.

I miss him every day in a different way. Sometimes it's because I want to tell him that I got a new job or fell in love or the dog got her tumor cut off or that little Bjorn went through the Christmas pageant talking about "Baby Cheeses." Sometimes it's to ask advice on how to soften up a cheap, mean editor. I forget my grandmother's mother's maiden name. I want to show him pictures of Israel, from my brother's wedding. But today, I want to send him this clip about spam, because he would laugh his big Irish laugh and send it around to the rest of the family.

Dad, I don't know exactly where you are. But I hope you have a fast Internet connection. Here you go.


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Friday, March 6, 2009

What's It Worth to You?

A funny thing happened on the way to the ATM.

I became careful.

I still have a job. A very good job, and for that I am eternally grateful. And even a little sumpin' sumpin' on the side occasionally, which makes indulgences that much sweeter.

Maybe it's the nature of a Pisces to be a sponge and soak in all the environmental angst. Two of my best friends -- the skinny blonde high-earners -- have lost their jobs. Bubkis. I'm realizing how fragile it all is. Anything can go at any time. Even people who have been "taken care of" by corporate America since they had their original hairline/hair color can be cut loose with a simple "thank you for your service."

Now I'm noticing some radical changes in what I value. What can I live with? What do I outsource? What will I cling to with my cold dead fingers?

A few examples:

Giving up
Trips to my lovely and talented hairdresser (I'll go every other time, how about that?)
Dinners out with a bunch of people. Last time I did this I paid $60 for a glass of wine and a salad.
Maniacal shoe shopping. I have every version of everything I could need.

Cleaning. I just hired a wonderful housekeeper named Bella who makes the house smell, look and feel good every other Wednesday. I do this because it frees me up to work on freelance and creative stuff. It's an investment in my alternate careers.

Clinging to
Pedicures at Nail Station. At $14 a pop, it doesn't get much cheaper or better.

What's on your list?

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

First off, thank you everyone, for the birthday greetings. I am so very touched and amazed by how many people came out of the woodwork (or Facebook) to say hello. And yes, it was one of the happiest celebrations of my life!

Second, I wanted to clarify the math of 40licious. Here's the great thing: You don't have to do too much word wrangling with this one, you're basically 40licious until you are 50licious. My brother is wondering about the male version of this, and has coined "40tastic." What do you think, from a use and branding perspective? Dudes, now's your chance to chime in! Ladies, would you date someone who's 40tastic, 40licious, or anything else?

You don't even have to remember exactly how old you are for, like, 10 years! Unless you are speed dating or trolling online for a mate, and in that case, you'd likely be very vague as well.

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

As much as I want to jump off Facebook every time somebody does something I don't understand, like send me a sea garden creature or pelt me with a virtual snowball, cool people from the woodwork of my past tap me on the shoulder and I'm so happy to hear from them and then I relent and dig out pictures from my prom or whatever. Not like I'm a difficult person to find.

For those of you who don't face the Face, here's a video that explains it in real terms. For those of you who do, you will again realize the absurdity of it all. (Thanks, my friend and co-conspirator, Don at Open Trench!)

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