To Do Lists

Had I thought about it when I was younger, I would have thought that as I got older my to do lists would get shorter. That is a huge laugh. My life is more complicated than ever before and my lists are longer and more labor intensive all the time. I find that I have my own to do list. Then I have my husband’s to do list, which requires me to have a list of what I need to remind him to do. Then I have my son’s to do list, which requires me to have a list of what I need to remind him to do and a list of what I need to remind my husband to remind my son to do! I have a list for work related items, a list for home related items, a list for holiday related items, a list of phone calls I have been meaning to make for the last five years, a list of notes I should have sent and a shopping list which always includes at least ten of the same items. Eggs, bread, milk, gallons of juice, half and half, coffee, things for sandwiches, gatorade, chocolate syrup and kashi bars. This should tell you something about most weekday eating. I even make list of what we are going to eat for the week in the vain hope that someone else will make it. Otherwise, it just means I only have to think about it once, to make the list, and not every day. My husband occasionally offers to do the shopping in an effort to alleviate my burden, making him a list, however, takes longer than the shopping since he is not aware of the recurring items, their brands or sizes. So the whole to do list thing has become somewhat humorous, in my view, because the list takes, generally, as much effort as just doing the things as they occur to you. Of course as I age I have the advantage as I forget the items regularly and if I have no list, I will have less to do as the tasks will occur to me with less and less frequency! So perhaps today I will do away with my to do lists (or perhaps not?)


It is the season of Thanksgiving. It is the season in which women spend days cooking meals that are consumed in fifteen minutes. It is the season of endless dishwashing while men watch football. Of course there are those wonderful husbands that do the dishes, or as a last resort, teenagers will do; but they seem rare. It is a season in which often women are able to see beauty and hope. I hope that for my friends and family, especially the women (and all women), that Thanksgiving is exactly that, a time for giving thanks. Despite whatever ails your life, if anything, for most of us there is much to be grateful for. One thing we have learned, as we grow older, is that gratitude is the cure for self-pity, it is an important ingredient in fighting depression and it is what restores us to a sense of possibility and hope. When I find myself mired in routine and unable to think beyond the grind of the day, meals, work, bills, homework, gratitude can restore me to a sense that anything is possible. When I was young, anything was always possible, we know that we don’t feel that way all the time anymore. Gratitude allows us to see how lucky we are when there are children starving and women enslaved and those who are not free to worship. Gratitude allows us to see how far we have come in our lives, how much has been possible. So…as you are washing your dishes, or cooking your turkey, look around and marvel at your life, your family, your friends, your freedom, and be grateful.

Red Hats

I have thought about the “red hat” phenomenon for a long time. What motivates middle aged women to gather in clusters and wear red hats varying from the reasonably sedate to the unbelievably outlandish. I believe I have come to an understanding of the “why”. It is because women “of a certain age” are invisible in American society generally; especially to men of any age. The impetus to be different is great. The desire to be noticed is sometimes overwhelming. And so, the red hat. It is hard not to notice a gathering of women, often dressed primarily in purple, wearing bright red hats. Whatever the reaction is, you notice them. I am sure I am just slow in realizing that this is the entire point of the exercise, but at least I have arrived. At the risk of offending, however, I note that if you are in a group of people who all look the same, you are not different and it is not you that is noticed, it is the group, or the hats. And so, while I recognized the impulse, I have no desire to join. If I am to be noticed, it is for myself, my own uniqueness, my talent. Today I will not wear a red hat.