What I've Learned So Far This Year, 4th Ed.

It's October. Time for another one of these.

1. I have learned the base of the concept: "let it go". Sometimes, things that you think are essential parts of you, like habits and relationships, should be let go. The bad part is, you want to hang onto those things, instinctively, because you feel like "you should" or "it's always been this way". And even if something is mostly bad, rarely is it all bad, and those small strands of good and familiar make a lot of things that you know are logically bad for you hard to let go. And it's scary because people you really care about might disapprove of you for being "different" than you always have been. If they DO approve, you now have Expectations that you'll have to live up to. Kind of damned if you do, damned if you don't, you know?

I've learned you have to stick to what you believe, embrace it whole-heartedly, get over missing the nice parts, and do whatever you need to do. Not easy.

2. In a similar note, it's ok to paint your bedroom one color and paint it another weeks later. It's also ok to choose one wedding date and then choose another.

3. You know what I've learned about weddings? One word: whatever. I was pretty mellow about planning, relatively speaking. I let the florists, band, and the woman who altered my dress do whatever they wanted (and it was all great). If I had to do it all over again, I'd be even more mellow; I'd buy a dress off the rack and let the bridesmaids wear whatever they wanted. You want to know why? No one gives a crap about if they match.

4. I'm not going to that damned parade in the rain again. I don't care if it IS a family tradition, or that this will be Rob's 25th Thanksgiving Day parade. If it rains, I'm NOT. GOING! Personal comfort trumps tradition.

5. You really don't need a hostess set. At least, I don't. And certainly not two. HOW DID I WIND UP WITH TWO?!

6. I love, love, love, love, love Grey's Anatomy.

7. 2 holidays > 1.

8. You don't have to change your name when you get married!

9. It's great when your friend has a baby.

10. When you aren't quite ready for your own, however, getting a second dog is a good substitute.

11. During take off on a plane, it's best to sit with your butt against the back of the seat, and your head pressed against the headrest. That way you don't get pushed back against the seat as the plane goes from 0 to 200+ in mere seconds, and it doesn't feel as scary. (This means, of course, you will have to resist the urge to sit on the edge of your seat, and... oh? Just me? Everyone else is reading or snoozing quite comfortably? Very well, then.)

12. It is far from necessary, but so much nicer than not, to have your husband's friends embrace you. Similar vein: it is better to say "No Strippers" and be hated than to allow strippers and be angry, especially when your husband (eventually!) says, "I'm glad you said 'No strippers' because that's what's best for me." Good man.

13. Leeloo can climb fences.

14. Passover and Easter always coincide. Always. It's like someone is trying to screw those of us trying to keep Kosher for Passover while having to go to our Christian grandmother's house on Easter. For ham.

15. The basement. It floods.

16. Jobs that suck? Let 'em go. There are other jobs. Life is short.

17. When making bread or pie crust, add flour or water as you deem necessary, and use the recipe as a suggestion.

18. When one has an interview with Al Gore, one leaves several hours in advance. One does not risk keeping Al Gore waiting. Manhattan has TRAFFIC.

19. People bitch about jury duty... and they have EVERY RIGHT to. It's the most inefficient system EVER.

20. I can cook!!!!!!!!!!

21. I can make pie!!!!!!!!

22. Ugh. We, meaning me and the boy, like indy rock, a lot.

23. When I can't find anything to wear, I will send my husband, who will come sailing through the racks with a dress that is PER-FECT.

24. Take in strays, but only if they're friendly. If they're friendly, they're probably someone's beloved pet, and therefore have the mental abilities of a very fast two-year old. In other words, they need your help, or they'll probably be killed when they ignorantly trot into traffic to make friends with the shiny cars.

25. When it comes to returning items purchased in posh boutiques, be aggressive. This is not Macy's, where some minimum wage drone will take back your broken wares and refund you full price after you paid sale (cuz it's easier, and wuheva). The owner is probably handling your return, and she does NOT want to give you back your money.

26. When you have to take your husband to the train at 6:40 am, it's ok to go back to bed when you get home at 7:00. It is essential, even.

27. When in Disney World with 8 other people trying to figure out where to go, just declare yourself the leader and make them follow you. Easy.

28. The right hair cut makes all the difference.

29. The right bra makes all the difference.

30. The right bra, and the right haircut, are probably really expensive... and worth it.