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I met the most amazing craftspeople when I was in Portland last week. Read my USA Today piece, 10 Portland makers who will make you say, “Please take my money!” and get all your holiday shopping done early!

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Life as I See It

the best advice i ever received. so far.

Posted on January 21, 2014

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the equine experience at miraval

Posted on January 16, 2014

Lois and Cherokee

We’ve always been taught to get our information straight from the horse’s mouth.

But, as I recently learned firsthand, the deepest truths just may come from the horse’s hoof. more »

little miss sunshine!

Posted on January 15, 2014

Sunshine Award

Winning Blogger Idol was such a huge deal that I’m still pinching myself over it! Yesterday, though, I received an award that’s kind of related and, in a warm and fuzzy way, may be even more meaningful. more »

what’s so funny about turning 55?

Posted on January 9, 2014

Birthday cakeMy father thinks it’s hilarious that I’m turning 55 today.

Why? Don’t ask me because I don’t find anything funny about it.

But, the other night, when someone mentioned that my birthday was coming up, he started laughing hysterically.


To the point he could barely speak.

“What are you laughing about?” I asked, in the tone of voice that brings a sudden chill to the air and is accompanied by a raised eyebrow.

The tone of voice that makes my kids apologize, even if they’ve done nothing wrong.

“You’re turning 55!” he sputtered, with tears rolling down his cheeks.

This set off everyone at the table, with my sister – who, by the way, just turned an apparently-not-as-hilarious 52 – practically spitting out her iced tea.

“Are you freaking kidding me?” I burst out. My brother-in-law was grinning, my nephews were trying to hold in their laughter, and my mother just smiled and said, “He thinks it’s funny.”

I glared at my dad and said, “You know how old that makes you?”

He just kept laughing, and repeated, “You’re turning 55!”

I sighed and reached for another cookie with my still-54-year-old hand. more »

my word for 2014

Posted on January 5, 2014


The amount of pressure I’ve been putting on myself to find the right word for the coming year is ridiculous.

I wanted to have my word ready to go as soon as the ball dropped in Times Square but, instead, I dropped the ball.

So here we are on January 5. more »

lesson learned

Posted on January 4, 2014

bulletin boardI’ve always been a magazine junkie.

I suffer from a serious Us Weekly addiction, as you may remember from my Blogger Idol post about the apocalypse, but my obsession goes way deeper than that.

Growing up, I devoured every type of magazine – fashion, celebrity, travel – carefully cutting out pages which I then pinned (not Pinned; this was old school) to the bulletin board above my bed. I was as crazy about the articles – the different styles of writing, the fonts, the layouts – as I was with the glamour shots of Paul McCartney, Huk-a-Poo shirts and hotels on stilts in Bali. Just the feel of the glossy pages was enough to make my heart beat a little faster.

When I was twelve, I won a short story contest in American Girl magazine. This was pre-internet, pre-email and before American Girl became synonymous with budget-busting dolls.

I was dizzy with joy when I saw my name in print. My dad proudly drove me to the library to Xerox a copy to send my grandma. My mom and I were giddy, joking that we could tell the mailman’s route by the order in which my friends Karen, then Mary, then Lisa called, squealing because the only place any of our names had ever appeared in a magazine before was on a subscription label.

It was like the world was cheering for me, and I felt totally validated. It was the most powerful feeling I’d ever had. more »

erma bombeck and me

Posted on January 1, 2014

Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

Well, hot dang.

The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop just named me Humor Writer of the Month!

Now, that’s the way to start 2014! more »

kids laughing


Posted on January 1, 2014

Amsterdam sign

Let me start at the beginning.

We were on a tour bus in Amsterdam when the guide mentioned Hans Brinker.

“Who’s that?” my daughter asked me.

“You never heard of Hans Brinker? The boy who put his finger in the dyke?”

There was a pause as the kids looked at me in horror, then looked at each other and burst into the kind of obnoxiously loud, hysterical, can’t-catch-your-breath laughter that is absolutely inappropriate in public places – and impossible to control.

kids laughing

“Put his finger in the dyke?!” spurted my son, gasping for air.

“Oh, my God, you guys, you know what I’m talking about,” I said, rolling my eyes and trying to shush them while the other passengers gave us dirty looks and my husband pushed his Earbuds in deeper.

And so began another Mark family vacation. more »

happy new year!

Posted on December 31, 2013

Laughing Glass toast

Mary, Elin, Ruth, Edith, Amy, Carol and Barbara toast you with yummy, all-natural, low-calorie Laughing Glass Margarita. Now, that’s the way to start a new year!

2013 was an amazing year — thanks to all of you.

Midlife at the Oasis was born in July, right in time for BlogHer, and our community came together so quickly because you are so encouraging, so inspiring and so much fun to be around!

I wish all of you a happy, healthy new year and know we are all going to do big things in 2014.

Laughing Glass margarita

Janet, Carolyn and Heidi drink to you, too!

Please leave comments with your wishes, dreams, hopes for the new year. Putting it out there will help make them happen — well, that and the support of the most incredible group of readers ever.

I raise a glass to your health and happiness, and send you lots of love.

Here’s to the best year ever!


The gang’s all here, celebrating SodaStream and friendship!

11 things to think about before the year ends

Posted on December 31, 2013

Filofax 2013

When Oprah offers advice, I tend to listen.

So when I received her email suggesting “11 Things Every Woman Should Write Down Before the Year Ends,” I decided to try it. I’m not sure what insight this will bring me or how it will improve anything but I have no doubt something I write here will end up making a difference somewhere in my life. more »

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