A case of the Mondays.

Dear friends,

Yesterday I was flipping through the channels — you know, just vegging on the sofa — when I tripped across one of my favorite movies of all time, Office Space.

It was the beginning of the movie and I was totally sucked in by Peter Gibbons (played by Ron Livingston) and his “case of the Mondays.” I had forgotten the part where Peter asks his neighbor Lawrence, a dry wall installer, about his workplace:

Peter: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you’re not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you “Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays”?

Lawrence: No. No, man. I believe you’d get your ass kicked for saying something like that, man.

So given the risk of bodily harm, I will refrain from saying . . . I will refrain from categorizing my Monday, er yesterday, as anything other than another day at the office.

But, the truth is, yesterday wasn’t the best. And yesterday evening (when I sat down to write this post), I wasn’t feeling particularly creative. Or brimming with the spirit of gratitude, for that matter.

But then I remembered . . . I remembered that Kate’s senior prom was Saturday night. And I remembered I could show you the lovely portraits I took of her.

I call this one “Athena.”

And I call this one “Holy cow look at those eyes.”

I’d like to say she gets those eyes from me, but  that would be a lie. She gets her freckles from me (especially the freckles on her shoulders). Does that count?

She gets her teeth from her orthodontist, but I paid the bill. Does that count?

She gets her great taste in evening wear from me and I know that counts.

By the way she got her bracelet from me, too — rather she looted it straight from my jewelry box.

Oh, there’s one more thing:

See that sweet little hand of hers, so petite and pretty with long, delicate fingers?

She totally got her hand from me.

She did, however, get her date all on her own.

With gratitude {for the Grecian Goddess who just happens to live in my house — for 74 more days},

Joan, who is also responsible for the beauty in Kate’s left ear, because that one is all me, unlike the right one which came from Mr. Mom

A tale of two shoes.

Dear friends,

It was the best of fashion, it was the worst of fashion. It was the age of color, it was the age of drab. It was the epoch of glamor, it was the epoch of frumpy. It was the season of style, it was the season of comfort.

It — is my life in May.

I’m headed out next week to the teeming Texas cities of Houston and Austin for a four-day business trip. My itinerary includes a three-hour tour of NASA. (I’m not dropping names or anything, but I know a couple of astronauts so, you know, this is a really cool trip.) Anyway, I was pretty pumped about this part of my itinerary until I learned I needed specific footwear for NASA. As in — something I can walk and stand in comfortably for three hours, and no open toes or sling-backs.

I’m guessing you can figure out I have no such shoe. (I only buy cute shoes. So shoot me.)

Kate and I spent Thursday evening trying to find suitable (read: ugly) black shoes, since NASA also recommends trousers and I’m doing my best to “cute” things up a bit with my kicky Ann Taylor black pantsuit.

Here’s what I found.

Dreadful, I know. I aged 20 years as soon as I slipped them on. But they met all the criteria, including being surprisingly comfortable, so mine they are. I suspect they will get worn to NASA and never again, but that’s the price I’m willing to pay for our nation’s space pioneers.

Oh, and while I was at the store, I picked up these.

Now that’s more like it, baby! Purple suede, orange suede and gold lame. Is there a better combo to be found in a shoe? No, I say!

These adorable wedges might make an appearance at a Houston dinner party — I’m not sure yet — but I’m certain they will be seen at Kate’s graduation and they are most definitely going to Broadway. (Note to self: be sure to arrange a taxi from our hotel to the theater. Carrie Bradshaw might walk all over Manhattan in cute shoes, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to.)

With gratitude {for new shoes and plenty of fun places to wear them},

Joan, who wore her spectacular suede shoes to the office yesterday and realized she was a towering 6’4″ in them, but seems to recall that Vogue declared “more is more” and surely that applies to stature, right?

When $65 meets perfection.

Dear Friends,

I was a woman on a mission Friday.

Turns out, I live in a town that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day in a big way, where big equals a tradition that spans more than a century and involves painting the streets green and hanging out with thousands of people who don’t live in our town but show up for the party and the parade and the beer. (Sounds a bit like a Midwestern Mardi Gras, huh?)

It also turns out that I am expected to be at a fancy party celebrating this amazing St. Pat’s tradition.

And it also turns out that the women who attend this fancy party wear green dresses.

I learned these details — about the party and the required attire — on Friday morning. And, as I am not one to let grass grow under my feet, by Friday afternoon I had a plan to secure said dress, because you never know when 49 days will not be enough time to plan the perfect party outfit.

Which is why Kate and I hit the road and drove 200 miles round trip to the nearest Nordstrom’s, where $65 got me this:

Source: Nordstrom’s, Available here

I don’t need to say much more, do I? My St. Pat’s dress is perfect, made more so by the fact that it was on sale, that I found it within three minutes of searching “green dress” on the Nordstrom’s web site, that the store nearest me (where near equals not very) had one in my size, and that it fit perfectly. I dare say me and my St. Pat’s dress are a match made in heaven, which I know pleases our town’s adopted Patron Saint very much.

With gratitude {for Friday fashion jaunts with my favorite daughter who not only chauffeurs but also accompanies me to dinner at a chi-chi Italian restaurant},

Joan, who thinks her green eyes are the perfect accessory any lass can have on St. Pat’s but also bought gold sparkly sandals to charm the leprechauns

Because sometimes all you need is a new dress.

Dear Friends,

Lately I’ve been thinking deep thoughts about small things, where deep equals not quite as profound as Jack Handy but introspective nonetheless, and small equals hardly earthshaking in magnitude but certainly consequential in my Plebian life.

And while I think these deep thoughts about simple gifts, and modest pleasures, and sweet treats, and marital kindnesses are key to my little gratitude project, there’s a side of me that’s so much more, shall we say, consumeristic. (Is consumeristic a word or did I just make it up? Note to author-self: when searching for a word that means “prone to gratuitous consumption,” it’s so much easier to rely on your imagination than a thesaurus.)

Will you think less of me if I admit this little number made me mind-bogglingly happy recently?

Isn’t it adorable? And while my figure doesn’t even approximate the model’s, it still looks pretty great even on my middle-aged, lumpy self. Banana Republic wasn’t whistling Dixie when they claimed it was “fit to flatter.” (If it looks good on me, it’s “fit to work miracles.”)

Best of all, I got it on sale.  And shall we just be honest about how happy that makes most girls? Squeeeeeeeeeel!!!!

Cute spring dress + on sale = bye, bye winter doldrums.

With gratitude {for consumeristic math and modest indulgences},

Joan, who believes you can’t buy happiness but you sure can rent it for a while