Joanne Palmer: Hey, Santa, bring me a Swiss spa |
Joanne Palmer

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Joanne Palmer: Hey, Santa, bring me a Swiss spa

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

What! No??? Argh. … Help!!

I slam the cabinet door. Blam! I slam the other cabinet door. Wham, blam. In between brushing my teeth and slathering my skin with gobs of moisturizer, I wail, "Who is that old lady in the mirror?" I run through the house in search of a second opinion.

"Dooooo I lookk olelper?" It's hard to enunciate clearly with a toothbrush in your mouth.

"Yep, you look like a olelper," my boyfriend says hastily and backs out the door before I can question him further. I lose the toothbrush and wake up my son.

"How old do I look?"

"Mom! Let me sleep."

"Be honest or I won't drive you to school."

He glares at me. "Nineteen, he says sleepily. You look 19."

"You'll make a good husband one day."

What happened to my face? Barely six weeks ago, I turned 29 again, but my face reflects a different reality. It seems to be trying to win first prize in some prune look-alike contest. Overnight, I have morphed into a "woman of a certain age," and that person does not look like Catherine Deneuve or Helen Mirren. This person looks like Hagrid the Horrible in drag.


Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking. But sadly, my bank account can't support expensive anti-aging products, trips to the Swiss spa Tina Turner frequents, or medical procedures designed to make me look like an embalmed Joan Rivers.


OK, so you think exercise might help. A toned body can draw attention away from the face. I agree, but here in Ski Town USA, the town is bursting with hard-bodied young things with no body fat. Just as I always choose the wrong line at the grocery store, I always get behind one of these annoyingly fit young creatures at the gym.

This is not my fault. I get to class early (standard procedure for women of a certain age). Before going to class, I take a little ibuprofen, zip lock my drooping body parts into supportive garments laced with Lycra and show up early for, oh, let's just say, a yoga class.

As I relax my shoulders and try to let go of stress, Gumby Girl breezes in fashionably late (probably having just finished a merciless, heart pounding session of you-know-what underneath the mistletoe). Even though the thermometer registers 15 degrees below zero, Gumby Girl is wearing a skimpy tank top that highlights her sculpted deltoids and tattoos to full advantage. Gumby Girl unrolls her mat and eases her hyper flexible, pierced body down right in front of me. Why me? Why not the hunky young buck in the back corner? But nooooooo, she picks the spot directly in front of me.

As I struggle to maintain a nonjudgmental, Zen-ish state of mind, Gumby Girl is twisting her lithe body into positions only seen on the cover of Yoga Journal or the front of a bag of pretzels. Since it would be decidedly un-yogic to move to the back of the room or rip her yoga mat out from underneath her, I am forced to breathe deeply and do the entire class with my eyes closed.


It is time for action. I have gotten rid of all the mirrors in the house. In their place, I have posted posters with positive affirmations (aka lies) that read, "You look 29 today," or "Hello gorgeous!" I am putting aside $1 a day for that trip to Tina's Swiss spa. As for Gumby Girl, well, just wait until she sees what Santa leaves in her stocking.

Ho, ho, ho.