Page's Turn

First 100 Days ... of Marriage

April 30, 2017

It’s amazing what you can accomplish in a 100 days. But don’t ask the president that.  He now says not to judge him on his first 100 days, calling it “an artificial barrier” and “not very meaningful.”


I, however, find the first 100 days particularly meaningful. While President Trump and I have little in common, we do share the same 100-day anniversary. My husband and I got married on Inauguration Day, which is funny in that we are polar opposites politically. I imagine we will always cancel out each other’s votes.


So how have our first 100 days panned out? Here is where I might sound Trumpian: I give us an “A.” But as a friend likes to say, “You’re grading your own paper again.”  


Though it hasn’t been without bumps, John and I have deftly navigated our political differences, not to mention countless trips up and down I-95. I am still living part time in Washington, which means I may have logged almost as many miles as Donald Trump flying to and from Mar-o-Lago. 

(Photo by: Page Evans)


Alternating between “fake news” and “alternative facts,” we have both become more sensitive to “the other side.” I often send him links to more liberal leaning op-eds, which he may or may not have read. He’ll send me links to articles on corporate taxes or affordable healthcare, which I may or may not have read.


And then there’s the decorating of my husband’s house in Richmond. Talk about getting things done in the first 100 days. 

House painted. Check.

Duck prints replaced by abstract art. Check.

Red oriental carpet gone. Check.

Sage green walls in the master bedroom replaced by pale lavender. Check. 

Okay, so this is the one area where I  may have pulled a fast one on him (but remember, he voted for Trump), thanks to my friend Sunny, who also happens to be an artist and color consultant. She picked a gray-lavender for our bedroom, but told me to tell him it was gray. “Most men are colorblind,” she laughed. I conveniently scheduled the painters to come while I was away on spring break with my daughters. John called after the painters had left.


“Hi, sweetie. I think the painters made a mistake. Our walls are lavender.”

“Not lavender, honey. Gray-ISH.”

“No, they’re lavender.”

“Let’s call it a gray-lavender,” I say, happy we were compromising over color and not political differences. “And it goes well with Mom’s painting.”


He chuckled good-naturedly, but I could tell I was pushing his decorative comfort zone.

Fast forward two weeks and he now loves it, agreeing with my description of the room as “airy and calm.”


I can’t say I’ll ever be “airy and calm” with Trump as our president. But at least the lavender walls give me peace.


Decorating aside, many are not finding peace with our new president. I have seen extreme cases, particularly on Facebook, of friends claiming they would de-friend anyone who voted for Trump. And on the flip side, I have heard others say they could never be married to a liberal. Luckily, my husband and I ascribe to Thomas Jefferson’s philosophy: “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend.”


Besides, if I had made politics an issue, I would have missed out on some of the happiest 100 days of my life. 

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From Empty Nest to Messy Nest

June 30, 2016

It’s funny how quickly things change. Take my sadness over my girls’ dual departures for boarding school and college last fall. We went from a bustling household of homework, free flowing snacks, and constant carpooling, to a quiet, empty—and tidy—house. For weeks, I fought off the tears, bemoaning how quickly it goes from crib to college  But as an older friend told me, “You get used to it pretty fast. And, let me tell you, it’s not so bad.” She was right. It wasn't so bad.


Well, guess what? The chicks are back in the nest for the summer. And guess what? The nest is a mess. Perhaps it has been messier, but with the girls gone, clothes were actually put away—in actual drawers. Closed drawers.


Imagine walking into a room and seeing the drawers closed. Or closed cabinets. Yeah, I’m trying to imagine that. 


“Peyton, please pick up your towels,” I say, as if on a loop.


“Katherine, please don’t leave your shoes in the kitchen.”


“Peyton, please put the dishes in the dishwasher,” I say, adding, “and close the dishwasher door.”

(Photo by: Page Evans)


You’d think closing a dishwasher door would be as automatic as the dishwasher itself? Does something happen in college where students learn everything but how to close things? Or clean up after themselves?


Hmmm, I think I’ll get a snack and leave every kitchen cabinet open. I mean, you never know when I’ll need another pita chip. I might as well leave the door open for easy access.


Or, let’s bake chocolate chip cookies and leave at least four pans in the sink for Mom to scrub. She particularly loves the glass measuring cup with the congealed melted butter on the sides. 


And then there are the clothes. Mclothes—and shoes. Last week Peyton sent me a text about not being able to find shoes for work. When I told her she would most likely find her navy wedges under the wet towel she left on her bedroom floor, she texted an enthusiastic response: “Nevermind. Wearing your new ones. They are so comfortable!! I love them!! I’ve already gotten two compliments!!”


Good to know. I’m sure I will find out how comfortable my new shoes are when I get a chance to wear them.


Will I cry again when they leave in late August, leaving closed cabinets behind? Probably. After all, my house won’t be back to normal. It will just be clean.


It’s funny how quickly things change.




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Searching for 'Meaningful Beauty' at Fifty

May 25, 2016

I’ve been dreading turning 50. I knew I was scraping rock bottom when I shelled out $131.82 for Cindy Crawford’s “Meaningful Beauty” skin care line after watching an informercial. Yes, an informercial. Somehow, I identified with Cindy because, well, she turned 50 this year. Of course, that’s about the only thing we have in common.

(Photo by: Page Evans)


I hate to admit it, but face cream has become a bit of an obsession. I poll pretty much every woman of a certain age, ignoring the overly injected ones. In the end, I know it comes down to using sunscreen, slathering on moisturizer, drinking plenty of water, and good genes. 


But more than that, meaningful beauty comes from the inside, not a face cream. It’s about living a meaningful life—and having fun. 


My parents are the best role models I know for what it takes to live fun, meaningful lives. My mother’s career as an artist took off in earnest in her 50s, and continues to thrive.  Now in her late 70s, she is coming off the heels of a museum retrospective, with work constantly selling in galleries. When she turned 50, she took up French and started going to France to paint in the summers. And she did this on top of volunteering as an art teacher in a women’s prison and raising three unruly teenagers.


At nearly 85, my father is still working as an environmentalist and dabbling in politics. He also can shoot under his age in golf!  And like my mother, he loves to sing and dance, a genetic trait that has been passed down to me and now my children.


On a recent visit to see my parents with my teenage girls, we all ended up dancing in the living room after dinner. At one point, Frank Sinatra’s “Young at Heart” came on. Dad sang along and I was struck by the poignancy of the moment. 


“Fairy tales can come true

It can happen to you when you’re young at heart

For it’s hard, you will find

To be narrow of mind if you’re young at heart….”


So as I end one decade and begin another, I will probably continue worrying about skincare and looking my best. My vanity runs pretty deep, after all. But I will also keep this song and this scene in mind: Dad and the girls laughing and singing in the living room, with Mom twirling about like a teenager in between them. It’s a reminder to be grateful and notice what we have right now. And to be open and hopeful for what is to come. 



“And if you should survive to a hundred and five

Look at all you’ll derive out of being alive

And here is the best part, you have a head start

If you are among the very young at heart.”


There’s no more “meaningful beauty” than that—at any age. 

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