Friday, February 26, 2010

Things I Don't Want For My 40th Birthday

When it comes to things I don't want for my 40th Birthday, the list could be long: I don't want wrinkles, cellulite, gray hair, and so on. But I'm talking specifically about things I DO NOT WANT AT A 40TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION.

I started trolling around for images from 40th Birthday parties and inevitably, "celebrity" 40th birthdays abound.

I don't want this guy at my birthday party:
Hans Dorsinville's 40th Birthday Hosted By Donna Karan

Or this gal:
Hans Dorsinville's 40th Birthday Hosted By Donna Karan

But apparently, they both made Hans Dorsinville very happy at his 40th hosted by Donna Karan. Different strokes...

Another thing I do not want is for my husband to throw a party for me entitled "An Evening for Lola," when my name is not Lola.

Jennifer Lopez Celebrates Her 40th Birthday With A Star Studded Affair!

And finally, I'll take a pass on these ladies:
Belvedere Vodka Hosts Jamie Foxx 40th Birthday Party At Delano

They seemed to make Jamie Foxx happy at his 40th Birthday party. Either that or he's having a heart attack. He looks like Red Foxx (apparently no relation) doing his classic,"Elizabeth, I'm coming to join you!" fake heart attack on Sanford and Son.

I definitely don't want a heart attack. So no surprises, please.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Turning 40 Quote #2: "Mom, You're Squishy."

This was my four year-old's observation as I was getting dressed this morning. To prove her point she pinched a few places..."See?" A real confidence-booster.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Outrageous 40th Birthday Wish #2: India Hicks' House

As you may recall, Outrageous 40th Birthday Wish #1 was Peace - not world peace, just a peaceful household. But if that doesn't work out and the rot gut takes hold, I have a PLAN B...and that's where Outrageous 40th Birthday Wish #2 comes in: rent India Hicks' house on Harbour Island in the Bahamas.

For years, I have had my eye on this house -- actually two homes: The Cricket Pavilion, which sleeps four and rents for $5400 per week, and The Guest House at Hibiscus Hill, which sleeps eight and rents for $9100. The rental description says that you can "throw an ice cube from the deck and hit the beach."

The interiors are clean, white, and breezy, with beachy touches like palm trees and old globes and white painted birdcages. Photos show plentiful fresh fruit, inviting outdoor eating spaces, an alluring path down to the private beach. I've clipped every image over the years and put it in my "style file."

I think I'm sucked into the whole India Hicks lifestyle. You know who she is, right? The willowy blonde with the year-round tan (and no wrinkles to pay for it), former model, interior designer, Top Design judge? She's been sharing her island lifestyle with magazines for so many years that Crabtree & Evelyn finally turned it into a product line: India Hicks Island Living.

I think part of me imagines that booking a vacation at India's house will miraculously transform my winter white skin to a buttery caramel color, and send all by troubles packing as I mindlessly throw ice cubes at the sand. I'll eat bananas, and sip coconut milk from the shell, wearing a wide brimmed straw hat, gazing at the sea, without a care in the world. I may also finally get my much needed inspiration and write a novel during this fantasy vacation week. (Lesson learned: if you're ever renting out your home, ask a beautiful model to pose for pictures in it and have them taken by a fashion photographer.)

Of the two homes, The Cricket Pavilion is the one I think might work out best. They don't allow children to stay there. As I said, I think this is the one that might work out best.

It's an Outrageous 40th Birthday Wish...but who knows, it just might come true (some of it, anyway.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

1970s Flashback: Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific

Did I tell you I went to a Seventies party a few weeks ago? It was on a Monday night (I know, it's becoming a habit), so I admit I set out for the party a little tired and a bit half-hearted...but sometimes, that's when you wind up having the best time!

Some of the outfits were great, especially my husband's Saturday Night Fever white suit and black silk shirt; the simple yet stunning decor was nothing short of groovy, with disco balls and lucite tables; and the music included all my favorites.

The only thing that could have made it better, possibly, was this: Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo and conditioner. It's back!

And there's nothing like scent to instantly transport you back in time to banana seat bikes, roller skates that attached to my shoes and came with a key to adjust them, and later on - actual sneaker roller skates. My parents' living room with the glass Noguchi table and the arched silver lamp with the marble base that nearly gave my Dad a hernia moving it into our house, the green velvet couch with a nail that stuck out and always scraped me, and our black and white TV with the rabbit ears on top.

You can take your own trip down memory lane by picking up some Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific at The Vermont Country store, which is one my all-time favorite catalogs, selling everything from old-fashioned candy to the is-this-for-real "Ergonomic Easywipe."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Almost-40 Realization #1: I'm Whine Intolerant

Nearly four years ago, a few months after the birth of my second child and right as I was about to return to work after maternity leave, I started to experience stomach pains unlike anything I'd experienced before.

It was a pervasive ache, running the full length of the stomach, piercing through to the back, and accompanied by a sudden tenderness around the rib cage. And there was no relief - not Tums, not Zantac, not Prevacid, not Alka-Seltzer. I felt like I was in digestive purgatory and in major need of a nap.

When I consulted my doctor (okay, that's a bit of a stretch, because I will admit that I don't have a primary care physician, just an OBGYN) she said that it's not infrequent for gallbladders to act up after having a baby, so off I went for a sonogram. All clear.

As the months and then years went by, the stomach aches continued, off and on. I had an endoscopy (how cool is anesthesia? I was fascinated that one minute I was counting backwards from 10 and the next I was in the recovery room) and some kind of body scan that required downing 2 vile liters of Barium Something Or Other (not so cool although I still have the complimentary tin of feel-better mints from NYU Hospital) and everything, thank goodness, came up negative.

It seemed that the occasional bout of Rot Gut (my technical term) was my destiny.

It wasn't until Spring Break last year - three years after my first bout -- that a diagnosis came. And I didn't need a primary care physician, a gastroenterologist, or a sonogram technician to figure it out -- it was my husband. Day 4 with the kids was also Day 4 of consistent Rot Gut and it was then and there that my husband had the lightbulb moment - it's not an ulcer, it's not your gallbladder, it's not a muscle pull, IT'S THE KIDS.

Some people are wheat intolerant, some are lactose intolerant, I am whine intolerant. Every whine, every unreasonable harrumph and every eye roll is like another knife in the gut. Sometimes even happy shrieks can aggravate an already irritated system.

But while you can make gluten-free cookies and switch to Spelt bread, or pick up Lactaid in place of your usual 1%, you cannot get whine-free kids. So, I continue to suffer quietly, but as I get older and see others struggling with far greater health issues, I can endure the occasional Rot Gut with the great peace of mind's only the kids.

(image from

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Fabulous 40th Birthdays to A Few College Friends...

If I was tech savvy enough to add music to this blog, you'd be hearing the pulsing beat of "another one bites the dust" right about now. Just for fun.

Happy Fabulous 40th Birthday Shout Outs to...

Jim (February 12) -- My favorite Jim moment may be when we drove from Washington, D.C. to New York City to see Saturday Night Live. We stopped by the Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel, and Jim ordered a Manhattan, just because he was in Manhattan. I loved that. The scariest part is that was 20 years ago!!

Vanessa (February 13) -- More than 20 years ago, Vanessa lived across the hall from me in our freshman dorm. One of our rituals was dancing in the hall to Tone-Loc's Wild Thing (or possibly Funky Cold Medina). I also recall that we once went on a double date at The Tombs with two graduate students. Now we run into each other in the mornings after school drop-off.

Jason (February 14) -- I've lost touch with Jason, but once I know someone's birthday, it's hard for me to forget it. Jason was always a voice of reason and maturity in a sea of crazinesss.

Happy Fabulous 40th Birthday Friends!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Olympians Over 40

We heard a lot about Dara Torres and her impressive (over 40) performance at the Beijing Olympics. Now let's hear it for the two 40 year-olds I found on the US Olympic roster -- Curlers John Benton and Tracy Sachtjen.

The final medal events take place February 26 (women's) and February 27 (men's). Let's go John and Tracy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Can You Turn Down that Racket? (and other ways that I'm turning into an octagenarian)

Tonight, I attended an ice skating party in Central Park held by my daughter's school. Outside, it was a crisp February night that gives you the chills; inside, after wrestling two pairs of ice skates onto squirmy little girls while wearing three layers of clothing, it was boiling. On the ice - it was perfect (well'll see). The dark sky, the brilliant ice, the trees and the skyscrapers surrounding us like a movie set. It's a sight that makes me love living in New York.

As my husband took on the back-breaking duty of skating with a four year-old, one of the other dads struck up a conversation with me. "Do you play street polo?," he asked. That can't be right, I thought, and when I asked him to repeat the question, it turned out he said, "Did you see the Super Bowl?"

Which brings me to the question...WHEN DID THE MUSIC GET SO LOUD? A few weeks ago, I told you I was one all-night computer session away from needing bi-focals, now I'm struck with another sign of aging, the strong desire to say, "Can someone please turn that racket down?" Never mind that I don't recognize most of the songs playing, but could we please turn them down enough so we can hear each other? At a party not so long ago, I felt like a stranger in a foreign land, struggling to understand what a fellow guest was saying, but only comprehending every fifth word or so. You can only say, "excuse me" so many times.

If I were going to write a Jeff Foxworthy style book, "You Know You're 40 when...," this would be right up there.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

40th Birthday Greetings

I'm starting a new collection of 40th Birthday cards. Maybe I'll even frame them and put them in my home office. That is, after I get around to creating the home office -- I still have a couple of "to-do's" there.

Here are two that caught my eye this week as I was walking up Madison Avenue.

The 1970 yearbook card that I found in the corner stationery store (I also picked up gold stars and lottery tickets) is a compilation of 1970 trivia. Did you know that the first New York Marathon was held in 1970? How about the cost of a gallon of milk? $1.32. Harvard tuition? $2,400. NPR was founded in 1970. The winning word in the National Spelling Bee? "Croissant." The life expectancy in 1970? 70.8 years (is that if you were born in 1970 or if you were already living in 1970, because I'm planning on living longer than that.) Lastly, the US unemployment rate? 6.1% (All this, again, is according to a greeting card from Seek Publishing.)

I found the other card in Phoebe Cates' shop, Blue Tree - a real treasure trove of finds. On the cover is "40ish", which says it all. That's how old I plan to be for a long, long time.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Bagpipe Salute to 40

This was the party I was reluctant to share with you, for fear the birthday girl wouldn't want me to...silly me, it's already been featured here and here.

A few Saturday nights ago, C. invited us to her very elegant 40th birthday party, held at a beautiful mansion on the Upper East Side of New York.

The invites were sent via Paperless Post -- a very elegant evite option. If you haven't seen it yet, the invitation comes out of an "envelope" and lends a bit more formality to an emailed invitation.

The dress was Black Tie - on the way to the party, my husband and I realized that we were both wearing clothes we got for free. He received his tuxedo as a hand-me-down from his mom's former boss(in 8th grade, no less!) and I got my Oscar de la Renta dress when an old boss of mine didn't want it! Let's hear it for former bosses.

We pulled up in a taxi and even the taxi driver was taken back. "Wow," he said. The long covered entrance to the building was aglow in soft blue lighting, and the path was lined with an enormous Pipe Band (bagpipers) - the Saffron United Pipe Band of Babylon, NY, one of the East Coast's finest. It was like a gauntlet - you almost expected to hear your names announced with titles like Lord or Earl added to the front of them.

We headed in the building and up the beautiful circular stairs to the historic ballroom - lit up in red lights, with dozens of votive candles in the fireplace. The DJ kept the tunes coming, the hors d'ouevres kept going and going, and the birthday girl looked fabulous - like Oscars fabulous.

The photographer for the evening was none other than our own wedding photographer, Andrew Bicknell. His photos were amazing (with the exception of the ones of me, which I can only blame on myself for awkwardly tucking my camera case under one armpit and evening bag under the other, while taking photos and looking generally gawky.) His photos are the two top ones above. I'll find one of my geeky-gawky ones and add it.

The birthday girl shared some beautiful words with the crowd (and so did her lovely daughter - a daunting task to speak to 200 adults when you're 8, but she was fantastic!)and danced the night away. It was a fabulous 40th birthday!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Turning-40-Quote #1

We are always the same age inside. -- Gertrude Stein

Do you agree with that? My mom says she feels exactly the same way inside as she did when she was 25. My grandmother-in-law, the fabulous Sally (who is deserving of her own post) says the same thing. "I feel the same things, think the same things, I don't feel different at all."

I think I agree...but "25" wouldn't be my number. I'd pick "30" as my baseline....what about you? What do you think?