What do long marriages, Ryan Seacrest and the best pizza in America have to do with one another?

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This past week the cover article in New York Magazine was about marriage, which got me thinking about the fact that one of my favorite couples (my brother and sister in law) will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary this week. This picture above is of the four of us (in the distant past) on the beach in Rhode Island. The article has lots of nuggets of wisdom. I especially liked this quote, “Because there is nothing more divine than being able to say, out loud, “Today, I am really, truly at my worst,” knowing that it won’t make your spouse run for the hills. My husband has seen my worst before. We both know that our worst is likely to get worse from here. Somehow that feels like grace.”

The article is a complete invasion of privacy. I think you’ll like it.

Have you ever wanted to get tickets to see a live TV show in NYC like Late Night With Seth Meyers or Live With Kelly and Ryan or GMA Strahan & Sara? My friend Wendy clued me on how to get tickets, and it worked! I’m happy to share it with my readers. All you need to do is create a profile on this site (with as much info as possible – make sure to add your picture), find a day on the calendar (within the next 30 days) that isn’t sold out, and request tickets – for free! It worked for me the first time. My tickets said to arrive before 9:30 and we arrived 9 and were able to get seats on the main floor. I took my friend Lisa, and we had a fun morning.

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After the show, we were starving. We stopped into David Chang’s Bang Bar in the Time Warner building. Their Korean flatbread sandwiches are delicious and the perfect thing to eat outside while enjoying the beautiful weather.

At 53, I know the skills I have, the ones I want to have, and the ones I don’t and never will. This self-knowledge was never more evident than my attempt Wednesday night to “Escape the Room” at a birthday party for my dear friend Lisa M. It’s just amazing to me to watch how other people’s minds work.

My girlfriends are becoming Grandmas, and it is so fun to watch! I got to facetime with Libby and Little Joanie this week, and I turned in to complete mush. Babies will do that.IMG_6002

Saturday, mid-morning, a flock of Jardines converged at my youngest daughter Annie’s apartment in Philadelphia. We came by plane, train, and bus. Annie watched us as we approached, which I found very 2019.

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The highlight of the Philly 15 hour trip (besides seeing my kids, natch) was by far our experience at Pizzeria Beddia. I’ve been waiting for years to eat Joe Beddia’s pizza, ever since the June 2015 issue of Bon Appetite Magazine naming it the BEST PIZZA IN AMERICA. It’s not that I’m a pizza fanatic. It’s that in the article, Joe mentions his “pizza epiphany” and he and I share that epiphany. It happened circa 2009 (for both of us, but not at the same time) when we first sat down at the ten-seat counter at Savoy – a tiny pizza place in Azabujuban in Tokyo, Japan. It was a game changer for him and me. So his place in Philly has always been on my TO DO list. But I hate to wait. I could never see myself waiting for hours outside for a pie, and at that time, that is what you needed to do to eat his food. AND THEN IT CLOSED. But thankfully it was because he was coming back bigger and better than ever. He opened his new, fabulous restaurant (with seats and a full bar) a few weeks ago. He takes reservations, they are fully booked for a few weeks, but they do keep tables open for walk-ins. The restaurant has an open kitchen surrounded by glass, and we were very fortunate to get the table in front of Joe as he threw the dough!

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I asked our waitress to tell Joe that we were here because we love Savoy too. Ten minutes later he was hanging out at our table, and we were exchanging all our favorite Japanese spots in Tokyo and NYC. He was the sweetest, most humble guy ever. He told us about a new restaurant called Hiroki that was opening up on the same block, and after dinner, he walked us over there to show us.

And the pizza. OMG. Wait, back it up. You need to get all the little starters. The salads are phenomenal – the sausage, the gigantic white beans in lemon and olive oil. It was all amazing. And the pizzas… we ordered four – all different. Watch out for the angry pizza – it’s spicy but so good. We finished the meal with a few different soft serves. Thanks, Joe!

It was a pizza dream.

Have fun. Be bold.

A Perfectly Imperfect Marriage

I recently read somewhere that if we only fell in love with people who were perfect for us, then there wouldn’t be so much fuss about love in the first place. That easily could have been written about my marriage to Tom. When we met, we had almost nothing in common.  I was a born and bred Jewish New Yorker from a divorced, and remarried family with several half-siblings, who attended college in NYC and only dated guys with accents. I wasn’t athletic in the least, and I’d never had a beer in my life; I preferred Kir Royales sipped slowly in dark wine bars in Soho. My hobbies included reading, dancing, and shopping in flea markets and second-hand stores. Tom grew up in a Catholic family in Rhode Island, with a football captain father, and a homecoming queen mother. His entire life centered around sports, all sorts. When the family would come to the beach house for weekends, they would get a keg (just for the family).

But from almost the first moment we met, in a training program at Merrill Lynch, we were melded to one another. It was a match that many couldn’t quite understand. This weekend, we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary, and although it wasn’t a “big” number, each anniversary we celebrate is the most important day of the year. In my high school yearbook, when asked to list my life goals, it says, “To be the President of something, and to be married successfully.” I was 17 when I wrote that, and although I have given up on the first part, I couldn’t be happier that I have managed to attain the last.

Each year we make sure to make a big deal out of our anniversary, and this year was no different. We shared one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time with old Tokyo friends who now live in Napa. On a side note, if you want the inside scoop on all things Napa, follow Hilary’s blog at Napanista. I had somehow scored a reservation at Legacy Records, and it was the perfect place to celebrate our anniversary. From the gulp-able cocktails to the unbelievably delicious food, to the decor, and overall buzz in the room (not to mention sitting next to Sting), made it a great start to an exceptional evening.

From there, I reserved a table at our favorite champagne bar Air’s Champagne Parlor. Amanda saved us a fabulous corner table where we ordered a bottle of Louis Roederer vintage champagne and continued our celebration. Tom and Chris had fun with their Chambongs.

We ended the night at the bar at Gramercy Tavern with one last drink and a shared hamburger and homemade chips.

Saturday morning, Tom and I made our way to Raoul’s for an anniversary brunch. We had many dates at Raoul’s back in the late 80’s, and it continues to hold a special place in our lives. Not to mention, it has somehow managed to stay relevant 30 years later. The drag queens are gone, but you can still have your tarot cards read while you wait for the bathroom. They make an incredible hamburger au poivre that you can only enjoy at brunch or the bar. Somehow the soundtrack yesterday was from the 80’s and we ate our way out of our hangovers listening to the Pet Shop Boys, Soft Cell, and Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark.

The last of the planned weekend anniversary festivities was a real treat. We returned to Westchester for a small and very delicious dinner party with the two couples who were there when it all began. Some “never before told” stories were revealed over a perfectly cooked meal, accompanied by very old Moet. The perfect end to a magical weekend.

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, but if you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself in a perfectly imperfect one.

Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

 

 

Just When You’re Comfortable In Your Own Skin, It Starts to Sag

 

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Great title, right? I agree, but it’s not mine. It’s the title of a new book, just out from the dynamic duo Amy Nobile and Trisha Ashworth. If you haven’t read one of their previous books (also with amazing titles) I Was A Really Great Mom Until I Had Kids, and I’d Trade My Husband For A Housekeeper…among others, you need to get this one. (Full disclosure, I’m quoted twice in the book – try to figure out which ones…)

I virtually sat down with Amy and Trisha to talk about their book and the concept of perennials – the rebranding of Middle Age.

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Me: Hi Ladies! First of all, I want to say thank you for writing this book. It’s long overdue and after reading it, I can say that the wisdom within these pages completely spoke to me. I’m on a mission to make 50-something relevant, and sometimes I feel like the world is standing in my way. It’s a daily fight against age and gender bias.

Them: YES – we even fought age bias in pitching this book to the media!  Women’s magazines and some of the big national tv shows are shying away from the ‘midlife’ topic, as it’s just not ‘sexy.’  Yet women are buying the book like crazy for themselves and their friends!

Me: I love your goal of rebranding middle age, of rewriting the rules of midlife. And I appreciate your usage of the new term “perennial.” It’s so refreshing to hear something other than millennial. Explain that.

Them: Every time we interviewed a woman and used the word ‘’midlife,’ we could feel her cringe over the phone.  So we finally just put it in the spotlight and asked women what word they’d rather use, and there’s a page in the book that reflects these ideas (“kindergarten 2.0,” “Becoming”).  The word that seemed to light up each woman was “Perennial.”  They all seemed to love the symbolism – everlasting, ever blooming, more vibrant year after year.

Me: The book starts off with a question: “Is this it?” It’s something I ask myself on a daily basis. I guess I’m not alone?

Them: No you are most certainly NOT alone!  It’s a strange concept to feel like we are a lucky generation, that we have choices that are so much more bountiful than our moms, yet feel unfulfilled on some level.  We heard it over and over again – women whispering into the phone that they feel guilty/bad about feeling that they’re somehow lacking, or stuck.  And not sure of how to get themselves ‘unstuck.’

Me: Many of my friends are dealing with the family sandwich: parenting their newly minted young adult children and their elderly parents. It can be overwhelming. Any advice?

Them: This is a perfect storm situation.  It’s happening everywhere, yet we’re still shell-shocked when it affects us.  We’re having kids later, and suddenly we’re hormonal, they’re hormonal, and our parents need us as caregivers.  It’s incredibly overwhelming and once again, we put ourselves at the very bottom of the priority list.  The first step is to put ourselves not only back on that list, but near the top.  What are your weekly/monthly non-negotiables?  It could be something as small as a 20-minute walk or meditation each day.  But it’s vital to put that on the family calendar, let everyone know it’s happening and don’t overlook it.  We have to stay strong and start saying ‘no’ to some things in our lives to make room for these situations.

Me: My kids will roll their eyes at this, but my husband and I are extremely excited about being empty-nesters and have a new lease on life. That being said, it can be a huge transition from a busy, child-filled home, to it just being the two of you.  You sort of have to figure it all out again. What have some of your responders said about this transition?

Them: It’s a time laced with so many different emotions all at once – pride, excitement, fear, loss, sadness.  A lot of women told us that sending their kids to college was a sock in the stomach, and completely took an unexpected emotional toll on them.  Other women talked more about the transition in terms of how it shaped or shifted their marriages – you’re really forced to look at each other again, and some marriages don’t survive it.  In fact, after age 50, 3 out of 5 divorces are initiated by women, and the numbers are rising.  A smaller number of women said they were overjoyed to have their lives back in a sense, and described being empty nesters as like being in Kindergarten all over again.

Me: And how about girlfriends? Things change in that regard as well. The reason we became friends in the first place (kids, kids, kids) have gone to college. We have less to talk about, and sometimes it can be harder to connect in a meaningful way. Any suggestions?

Them: A lot of women talked about feeling very alone during this phase – and yes, it’s true that those friends we made because our kids were BFF’s aren’t usually the best fits as we progress, and the kids aren’t the common thread anymore.  We need to reassess who is in our lives now, who is serving us, who is not (we call this ‘pruning’), and make some decisions about what we really want in terms of friendships.  Even one solid meaningful girlfriend who truly gets you and is there for you in a positive way is worth more than 5 friends who are more superficial.  One way to meet new friends is to enroll in a class or club to do something you love – gardening, writing, running.

Me: After decades of others being the priority in our lives how do we put ourselves front and center?

Them: It takes a true effort to decide to focus on ourselves.  It’s a choice, every single day. It’s a conscious choice to be happy, to choose ourselves as someone we love.  Once we begin seeing each new day in that light, things will start to shift.

Me: And then, there’s the big M. Can we blame everything on menopause? What can we learn from those on the other side of the transition? In other words, am I ever going to get a good night sleep again?

Them: There is sooo much misinformation out there!  Even the doctors we interviewed had so much conflicting advice; it makes our heads hurt.  And menopause is so steeped in taboo that women are hesitant to talk with each other about it!  What surprised us most is the long laundry list of odd symptoms — like hearing sensitivity, anxiety (sometimes crushing) and changes in eyesight.  But once women got through it, and were on the other side, many of them said their sex drives were better than ever, they could lose weight again, and they were happier.

Me: There’s hope!!! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions today. I know you are going to be very busy with the book tour. Looking forward to seeing you next Wednesday at the 92nd Street Y

I can’t think of a better book club book for women our age to talk about!  You can order one here.

Have fun. Be bold.