Turns out, I AM Don Draper. And a teenage diary author.

Dear friends,

Tuesday night as Mr. Mom and I were riding in the car, he told me how much he liked that day’s post about Kate. I smiled and said I noticed that he had shared it with his friends on Facebook, which is rare for him.

Then he told me a long story I won’t go into here about some of his Facebook friends and their behavior, which drives him nuts — the bottom line being that he finds it distasteful to engage in showy promotion or affection of spouses while social networking.

I get it. Doesn’t hurt my feelings. (Although I will note that all writers crave the praise of their loved ones more than any other reader.)

Anyway, I was surprised to notice on my Facebook page the very next day that he “liked” my post titled Incarnation. So I asked him about it because, you know, we just talked about his public restraint and here he is liking my post two days in a row. I wondered if he found my prose especially lyrical, my imagery particularly evocative, my phrasing unusually sublime.

Joan: So what was it you liked about my post? You must have considered it special since you hit “like” a day after you told me how you try to refrain from that.

Mr. Mom: I enjoyed how introspective it was and I thought you were really insightful. I mean, a lot of your posts read like “what I did on my summer vacation” diary entries. But in this one, you really seemed to have a clear view of yourself, which is rare for most people. Especially the part about Don Draper. I haven’t watched the show, but you seem to be a lot like him, the way he recreates himself at everyone’s expense. You’re always remaking your life and putting the rest of us through the paces along the way.

Joan: <walks from the master bedroom to her closet because, really, she’s heard enough to get the gist of it>

Mr. Mom: <undeterred by his wife’s absence, keeps talking, only louder> I mean, one day you’re a vegetarian and everybody in the family is eating vegetables. The next day you’re Macrobiotic and everybody’s eating Miso soup. Or you’re on a running kick, or a redecorating kick, or a graduate school kick — whatever it is, you’re putting the rest of us through the paces to keep up with your odyssey.

Joan: <moving heavy things in the closet in an attempt to make noise and drown out her literary and existential critic>

Mr. Mom: So I just thought you really hit the nail on the head.


Here’s to seeing yourself clearly.

With gratitude {for brutal honesty of all varieties including self-imposed and conjugal},

Joan, but you can call me Jo-Don


Dear friends,

Source: Say it Sweet

I had a dispiriting day yesterday.

The reason isn’t important because we all experience them, don’t we? Sometimes it’s a work issue. Other times it’s a family problem. Or the dishwasher stops working. Or the dog gets sick. Whatever the reason, we sometimes have days that disappoint us, make us lose confidence, cause us to question what we believe about ourselves and our abilities.

Lately, when I have that kind of day, I go looking for words of inspiration and encouragement. Sometimes I find them as posters on Pinterest. Etsy is another good place. And my favorite Buddhist books and websites usually give me a lift, too. I’ve even been known to Google my particular disappointment and see what pops up — and like an encouragement lottery, I sometimes find a winning ticket or at least an interesting path to follow.

Yesterday, I tripped across the canvas above on an Etsy shop.  God bless Victor Hugo, because I really needed the reminder that sometimes, you just need to let the sun go down on your disappointment.

You’ve likely figured out by now I have a tendency to over-analyze. I mean, who else but a hopelessly introspective individual would publish a gratitude journal for all to see? And like most traits, my tendency toward self-analysis can be both a strength and a frailty, depending on the day.

Self-reflection has at times given me more empathy, more humility, more patience. And it has also driven those closest to me to distraction with my tendency to “talk it all out.” Really, you can’t just argue with me. Because then you have to dissect the argument. Discuss the motivations of the participants. Reflect on the outcome and opportunities for improvement. Have a meta-argument. (Did I mention my graduate degree is in Psychology? Top that with an interest in self-help techniques and an endless curiosity about spiritual beliefs of all faith traditions and . . . yeah, I’m one of those people. I suspect some folks wish I would just curse at them and storm out of the room. It’s certainly more efficient.)

Anyway, I spent the better part of yesterday obsessing about this particular setback until I decided some time around 8:00 pm that I was done with it. I turned my attention elsewhere and let the sun go down on it.

I’m not fooling myself. The matter is messy and unresolved and I have to pick it back up again at another time or it will continue to fester. But on Wednesday night, I bid it bon nuit and released myself from the responsibility of absorbing it any longer.

And Thursday morning . . . well, the sunrise looks a little brighter today.

With gratitude {for words of wisdom sprinkled throughout the universe},

Joan, who once took an aptitude test and was told she should be a writer or a psychologist and can’t figure out how in the world she ended up as neither