Did you ever want to read a
In suburban neighborhoods and on family farms, in uptown lofts and in
homeless shelters, on U.S. battleships and on summer vacation, women
across America chronicled their lives on the same day—June 29, 2004. This
Day in the Life shares more than thirty of these complete diaries
and hundreds of candid moments.
Full of intimate details and laugh out loud truths, and
drawing on the life experiences of women of all ages, ethnicities,
backgrounds, and lifestyles, this diverse collection is a surprising
reminder of how much we all have in common. If you’ve ever wondered
what the woman standing in front of you in line is thinking, This
Day in the Life is a refreshing glimpse at how we really spend
our days—and the value of every single one.
Below are some snippets from This Day in the Life.
"I go outside on the stone stairs for a final cigarette. Haifa is like
San Francisco, on a steep hill, overlooking a bay. Nothing is flat. The
midnight air is finally cool. My sweetheart, Dorit, is watching the
news. Today two were buried, killed in a terror attack; the dead
include a four-year-old boy. They bury them fast here, often on the
same day they die. Unlike in the U.S., our news programs bring the
blood and the body parts into our homes, to push both the brutality of
their deaths and the personal insult we are encouraged to feel when
Jews die. Is it so we can work up a more frothy revenge ethic? "
Batya Levy Salzman, 47, Haifa, Israel
"I am naked except for watch and clogs, washing dishes. I can't sleep
and I've already tried drawing in my studio, but everything seems to
come out wrong. Something smells really bad in the kitchen. But I'm not
going to freak myself out finding it until tomorrow."
Lauren Weinstein, 29, New York, NY
"He turns on the radio… You’ve got this room for two. One thing
got left to do, discover me, discovering you… I guess it’s an
appropriate song for our first night together. We brought real meaning
to "Your Body Is A Wonderland." Lying in bed, singing, his arms around
me. I almost forgot how much I missed this."
Becky Horowitz, 22, Framingham, MA
Intern at NFL Films
"The beeper sounds again. Struggling out of bed a second time is so
hard. The words on my beeper read, "can't wake baby up." I’m up like a
shot and call the parents back immediately. Their twelve-day-old baby
has been sleeping more than usual and feeding poorly. With a newborn,
these symptoms can mean infection, so I send parents and baby to the
Elizabeth Rider, 52, Chestnut Hill, MA
"Finish paper while eating half a tube of raw cookie dough."
Rochelle Spencer, 26, Atlanta, GA
Educational Specialist Georgia Southern University
"Just got dropped off at Cody's books on Telegraph Avenue. There is
already a line halfway down the block. I'm here to see Bill Clinton and
get him to autograph my copy of his book. I'm sitting in my lawn chair,
with my snack bag of grapes, bagels, and bottles of water. Also have
two cups of coffee, one for me, one for my friend Deb who is supposed
to meet me.
Rachel Crossman, 43, Berkeley, CA
"Husband Bruce is perky, ready to start his, er, our vacation. While we
wake up and get ready to head out we're watching that horrible HBO
documentary on child beauty pageants. Bruce and I are appalled and
terrified by the hyper-driven parents and the creepy made-up children
who all look like tiny Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. Four-year-old
Sabine, on the other hand, is enchanted by the fancy costumes and make
Susan Meigs, 40, Austin, TX
"Did I say no battle? The two girls in
the bathroom…pushing…I was here first! You…move over there…you…keep
your hands to yourself…I should just tape-record my voice…I say the
same things every day."
Deborah Arthur, 42, Keene, NH
"Juliet finishes her breakfast and comes up to inform me that she would
like another birthday. I tell her she only gets one a year but that
Daddy will be having a birthday soon and won't that be fun. Apparently
that is not what she wants to hear and informs me that Daddy does not
need a birthday and storms off to her room."
Kathleen, 38, Holmes, Overland Park, KS
"We gather ourselves up and head for the tool room which the foreman
unlocks; he gives us our assignments. My partner Bob and I head for the
slat walls. We are installing aluminum strips that are fashioned to
hold brackets for shelves of videos and DVD's in the video store of the
recreation center. There is some cutting of plywood strips and
anchoring them to the wall. I use a variety of power tools, like
circular saws, hammer drills, belt sanders and planers. Now that’s
great. I get a hot flash. I have to really concentrate on my work so I
don’t make a stupid mistake. After a few stories of missing fingers,
you pay attention."
Rocky Hwasta, 50, Parma, OH
"Thank goodness for pig PMS. It's good comic relief. Kelsey, the
babirusa (a rare type of pig from Indonesia) is in heat again and
screaming at me for her food. If I wasn't a seasoned keeper, I'd swear
she was dying by the sound of it! All right, all right, I'm going as
fast as I can. Cut me some slack. These are the hands that brought you
in to this world little girl. How soon they forget. "
Jeannette Berenger, 39, Providence, Rhode Island
Zookeeper, Roger Williams Zoo
"I receive a voice mail from my oldest daughter with a prayer request.
Sometimes I dread prayer requests from my kids because it usually means
something bad has happened."
Rebecca Carlson, 51, Berrien Springs, MI
"Home from P&H. My mom and I argue all the way back about how long
it should take to do the drive and how long it actually takes. I make
it in eighteen minutes, but my mom challenges the accuracy of my
reported start time, 9:02 am—and complains about the speed at which I
take the turns on South Road. The subtext is a critique of one
another’s driving styles, the sub-sub-text is a critique of the other’s
way of life."
Eve Pearlman, 34, Alameda, California
"Had my car washed and my hair done all in anticipation of my mammogram
and possibilities of a negative report too often on my mind."
Sandra Silverglade, 65, Wilmette, IL
"My husband wakes and we talk about the day. He has been much kinder
and gentler lately because he knows I am considering leaving. What he
does not know is that I have already rented a storage unit and have
already started moving."
Diane Price-Powers, Waterford, VT
Copy Center Associate
"Awakened by my partner, My WIFE, thanks to Massachusetts Supreme
Judicial court ruling allowing Same-Sex marriage!! "Do you want
coffee?" Those are the magic words to get me out of bed."
Melanie Andrade, 39, Roslindale, MA,
"I almost forgot to pick up son Zarek at his friend Tyler's house where
he spent the night (How could a good mom not realize she is a child
short?) It isn't until he gets into the car that I realize I forgot the
car adapter for the TV. There is no way I am driving six hours without
some form of entertainment to keep these kids occupied. My mood is
already shot and we haven't left town yet."
Jennifer Satterwhite, 34, Plano, TX
"After taking the pregnancy test, the counselor talks to the client
about her relationship, the father of her baby, her plans for the
possible pregnancy (Will she have the baby and raise it? Is she
considering an abortion? Would she consider adoption?) Then the client
watches a video about her options. If she is considering abortion, she
watches a non-graphic video describing the techniques used at various
stages of pregnancy. Every client is asked about the requirements to
get into heaven. If she doesn't know that you must accept Jesus as your
personal savior and make Him Lord of your life, she is presented with
the Gospel and told that Jesus died for our sins and rose to live
again. He wants us to live for Him."
Jenny Taylor, 34, Jacksonville, AL
volunteer at Save-a-Life
"Like I said I stay at the Center-for-Homeless. Well I found out there
this guy that like me. That going around stay-thing about me. So I was
upset about this, but I proud of myself because I told him to stop. But
in my head I was say bad thing about this person. I went upstaired and
started to ask God to clean my mind of the sick think."
Vaughn, Cynthia, 40, South Bend, IN
"My intern is copping a major attitude with me
because I totally ripped apart his work and give it back full of red
marked corrections. Serves him right for doing a half ass job. He's
been here over a month and I correct the same crap every damn day. Damn
pretentious college kids. Think they know it all. I hope I wasn't like
that a few years ago when I interned..."
Adrienne Katzman, 24, Bethesda, MD
Marketing & Research Support Specialist at the U.S. Chamber of
"Its mail call! Between 10-1100am everyday. I've been waiting for a box
of scrap booking supplies and a video my mother sent of my daughters'
preschool and kindergarten graduations. Even in the desert I am a
scrappin' fool. As a single mother with two small girls I actually have
found more time to scrap out here than when I was back at home.
Scrappin' is my outlet."
Montero, Angela, 30, Waukegan, IL
Laboratory NCO, U.S. Army
"My son is ready to go to the store to get provisions for his trip. Of
course since he has his driver's permit he gets to drive. On the way
home we narrowly avoid an accident and after I stop shaking I realize
it was a good learning experience for my son. I wasn't proud of the way
I shouted and flipped the bird to the oblivious driver of the offensive
vehicle, but a mother will do what a mother has to do! And my kids are
well aware of the adage "do as I say, not as I do" at least in front of
Robin Kall, 41, Providence, Rhode Island
"On the way home, Theo, four, says, 'Mom, I really love you, but I
don't love you all the time.' I tell him that's fine, and don't mention
that it works both ways. He then chimes in asking me to stop singing,
since I am apparently 'driving him crazy.' I'm driving HIM crazy?!!"
Charly Haversat; 42, Freeport, ME
"At home for a few days as I am every week to care for my ailing
parents. Debbie (home health aide) arrives in red pick-up truck. She is
sweet. We will probably never see her again. Different one will come
everyday. Great continuity for patient comfort. Jesus. I show her mom’s
stuff. Debbie talks non-stop, flat affect, about her husband's cancer.
My mother likes this. She feels better when discussing the misery of
others. I think too bad Debbie can't come every day. She brings great
tragedy. A healing bonus."
Susan Cayleff, 50, Provincetown, MA
Department Chair, Women’s Studies
"What a breakfast! Dad once again had to tell me that when he's at his
local restaurant in Florida, once he sits down at the counter they have
his coffee in front of him and his breakfast on the grill. I need to
once again go into the explanation that things are different here in
Russia. Customer service is a new concept for these people and that's
just the way it is here. Just wait until we are ready for the bill!
Russians never want to hurry you, and so are very slow to respond with
the check. I just know dad will complain about that one too (for the
hundredth time). "
Janet Misamore, 53, Moscow, Russia
"Time to move on to a project I started yesterday. I'm designing and
assembling a Mosaic Gazing Ball, glued onto an old bowling ball.
Attaching small square mirror tiles, and irregular pieces of stained
glass, on a mortar base. When it is finished and placed in the flower
bed in front of my house, it will reflect the sun and make everyone
happy when they go by."
Maysel Galiga, 81, Country Club Hills, IL
Retired school secretary
"Witnesses on another case (an indicted robbery) show up. Can't believe
it. No, I can believe it. The physical evidence the security officer
swore to me existed, no longer exists. Great (read with sarcasm). Now I
hear the excuses coming out. I want to scream. You said you would
obtain it. I relied on your word. I acted on that reliance. Sometimes
can't take people at their word. Kick myself for not being more
Barbara Hutter, 38, New York, NY
"Off to the butchers and the hair salon. Outside the grocery store I
see a smartly dressed woman (as the Brits are fond of saying)
struggling with her bags. She cleverly gives her head a shake; her
sunglasses fall out of her hair, and land perfectly on her face. Her
self-satisfied smile is infectious and I can't help but feel cheered.
It's sometimes the small things that we derive the most pleasure from."
Lolly Dandeneau, 28, London England
Mom and wife of U.S. Air Force officer stationed overseas
"At gas station. I can just afford $7 gas. Sigh. I give the guy a
fifty-cent tip. I wish I could do more. Ever since that summer Daniel
pumped gas, I’ve always tried to remember to tip the station attendant.
Low fuel light is off for the moment. Yay!"
Paige Balter, 28, Portland Oregon
Coffee barista and student
"The baby jus nearly choked on apples while she was sitting in her
highchair. That's the thing about being a mom. It's impossibly mundane
and then, with no warning, you have these episodes of high drama. And I
am such a great player in this scene. Imagine what a comfort it must be
for Sabrina to have her mother standing over her screaming, "She's
choking! She's choking!"
Jan Stinchcomb, 37, Austin, TX
Adjunct Professor Austin Community College
"I head with a teammate to the mall. We drive out the entrance of the
Olympic Training Center and I see the sign that counts down the days
until the Olympics. It hits me that I will be competing in Athens in
forty-seven days! Sometimes I just wish it would hurry up and get here,
then other times I feel I am not ready and I want more time. So many
emotions run through my head on a daily basis—fear, excitement,
anticipation, anxiety, joy. Am I ready?"
Tara Cunningham, 32, Mt. Pleasant, MI
"Left work to go to the loft—fix trays, write husband a note about
candles and lights and atmosphere for the reception. He needs notes--no
he disdains my note--no he really relies on notes—well, all of the
Joan Axel, 61, Muscatine, IA
"Machines please run!!! Less than an hour left for production to run.
I'm hot, sweaty and nasty. Fans blowing hot air and my hair is all over
my head. This is the life of a maintenance worker working in a non-air
Peggy Potts, 52, Douglasville, GA
Welder, General Motors plant
"Why is it I can channel-surf for twenty minutes and never see hide nor
hair of the kids, but the minute I settle on something and get
comfortable, they show up and want to watch their shows? And why do I
Angela Giles Klocke, 29, C artersville, GA
"Good lord I am so klutzy. I am walking out of my boss's office into
the studio where about ten people are gathered and exclaim, 'Hey…' as I
run smack dab into the side of the doorframe."
Laurel Rice, 31, New Orleans, LA
Casino Media Representative
"I met with Radia for our language exchange, her practicing English and
me practicing Arabic. She picked MacDonald's as our place to meet
because it is air conditioned, especially since she wears hijab,
leaving only her hands and face showing in public out of modesty and
respect for self and God. Radia appreciates a cool spot in such sweaty
weather. I couldn't stop thinking about the consulate's warnings to
stay away from American-identified places, yet I didn't suggest another
spot. The air conditioning was just so tempting."
Amanda Halpin, 22, Rabat, Morocco
Fulbright Scholar student
"A headmaster from a refugee school that provides education to street
children stands up at the coordination meeting. He stands erect with
pride and calmly addresses the roomful of people, asking for any kind
of assistance to help keep the school opened. He cannot pay the
thirteen teachers, who earn about thirty dollars a month, and the
street children have nothing to contribute in terms of tuition. Can we
do anything? I announced that nine of our schools are closing. How on
Earth did this happen? How did we let this happen on our planet?"
Pilar Robledo, 34, Peshawar, Pakistan
Education program coordinator, International Rescue Committee
"So my daughter says she has to, like, do an errand, and, like, would I
come along. So, like, I said, sure. She needed to, like go pick up an
item for a friend who had recently had a piercing. WHAT! We are parked
in front of a tattoo parlor! Am I really this enlightened?"
Mary Jane Bradbury Duran, 52, Denver, CO
"Back in my room in time to watch The Weakest Link followed
by Family Feud. Some of the contestants give the worst
answers on these shows. These shows allow me to think, and test my
knowledge. I was a schoolteacher in my younger years, and you never
Marion Montgomery, 90 Frankfort, SD
Nursing home resident
"Had a good session with my therapist. I feel like I got a lot off my
chest. She was actually talking about cutting back on our sessions
since I've been doing so well. I always knew our sessions would
eventually end. I'm just not sure if I'm ready for that yet. This is
kind of feeling like a break-up…."
Marjorie German, 32, Baltimore, MD
Narcotics Detective Baltimore City Police Department
"Treadmill time! This is the third day (just got the treadmill Saturday
2nd hand for $25.00, wow, what a bargain!). Already tired of it."
Nancy Day, 57, Catonsville, MD
Patient Billing Systems Analyst Northwest Hospital Center
"Sitting outside while Martin cuts the grass. Ronica just called. My
poor baby—she started crying. She says she's tired. I told her that her
journey is just beginning. I reminded her that she told me she knew
what she was doing when she got pregnant again. I tried to get her to
see that this baby is not La Shawn and she should have waited before
getting pregnant again. I asked her if she was saving money. She said
no. I told here even if she came here after the baby, she would need
money to get her own place. All of my children's lives I've talked to
them, especially Ronica, because I didn't want them to make the same
mistakes I made. And I be damn if she ain't repeating the pattern. I
told her that she can't give up and shouldn't give in."
Monica Spears-Lombard, 39, Marshall TX
"Here I am in another doctor's office waiting
room, finishing my ultrasound. Wish I was done, through this. The tech
person asks if she can be direct with me. She is very emotional and
starts to cry, asking if I have a death wish because I haven't done
surgery in both breasts and am doing an alternative treatment for the
cancer. My feeling is that if I was gonna die I'd already be dead. I
was calming her down, asking her not to put her fear and negativity
into this, into me. Leaving, I hug her as she starts to cry again. I
tell her that I will meet her for dinner in ten years, June 29, 2014,
but she is paying."
Doreene Clement, 53, Phoenix, Arizona
"Rocío, my co-maid of honor, is here! It's a relief just having
her nearby. Her dress needs some last-minute alterations. In no time at
all, my mother has adjusted the straps of Rocío's dress and
reattached them so that the neckline falls in the right place. All of
this, with a travel sewing kit that I bought at the dollar store. Aside
from the fact that the plastic handle keeps falling off of the
scissors, it's working pretty well. My mother is an absolute
miracle-worker. I still can't believe she's with me here, in my
soon-to-be in-laws' house-in Ireland!"
Nataly Fletcher, 28, Nashua, NH
"Twelve women sit in a semicircle in one of the
bookstore rooms. Bruce introduces Nora (F. Roberts) and me, and we sit
at top of circle. They ask a hundred questions, but it's fun answering
with Nora because we are so completely different. She's a
seat-of-the-pants writer, I'm a laborious outliner; she writes a book
in three months, I take two years; she writes romance, I write
mainstream fiction. We're good at this, Nora and I. We feed lines to
each other, take turns playing straight man, crack each other up. The
women want to know, What's the best part of writing? Getting paid for
making up stories. What's the worst part? Book tours."
Patricia Gaffney, Blue Ridge Summit, PA
"Secure the rim in place on the "Jeremiah" basket
I wove last night at the Basketmakers Club. Will try to finish the
lashing this weekend. According to lore, some weavers weave their
dreams into baskets; I weave in my worries too."
Brenda White, 50, Somerset KY
"Jeopardy is on! I am hooked on that guy
that keeps winning! I love the show anyway. I wish I could be on. I am
a walking warehouse of worthless knowledge".
Kimberly Olsovsky, 31, Darlington, SC
Middle school teacher
"Met my friend at one of our
favorite restaurants in the Meatpacking District. We had a fabulous
Thai meal and people watched as we caught up. Gwyneth Paltrow drew a
stir among the patrons."
Elisabeth Röhm, 31, New York, NY
Actor, Universal Studios
"Left to go to Jamatkhana where I was going to
meet the seniors, but the rain was so bad only two people showed up. I
was upset, but couldn’t help it. I myself didn’t feel like going, but
duty is first. I am a uniformed volunteer at our Jamatkhana. Our motto
is Work No Word. When we give honorary service, we do not complain. I
think that is the reason why we Ismailis are so successful. I did meet
some new people. One more lady asked me if I could find her a job at
the hospital. I hope God helps me find her a job."
Faizbano Rayani, 51, Stafford, Texas
"Check email. After 35 years on the air, I've done
forty applications. I can't get a job. Ageism. One guy said, "No one
needs an old broad." I'm living in the wrong country."
Sally Jessy Raphael, New York, NY
"My fifteen-year-old niece, Anna, and I found the
bull where he lay on a beautiful green hillside. I have no idea how old
he was, but from all appearances he was in his prime: powerfully
muscled, glossy coat, massive in size. There were no clues as to what
took him, but clearly his animating spirit was gone."
Marva Weigelt, 45, Matfield Green, KS
"I get a call from Tiffany asking me over for a
glass of wine. I wish I could go, but the DUI means I can't take any
chances. I've already had three beers, driving over there to drink more
would just be stupid. What a drag. I decline, painfully remembering
that when Tiffany and I both lived in the city I would have zoomed over
there at ten and we would have gone through two bottles of wine without
blinking. Sigh - the old days. (Last year.)"
Heather Harris, 33, Arlington, VA
"Take meds. Have reluctantly gone back on HRT
after having tried some low dose anti-depressants which help some women
with hot flashes. Unfortunately, I was not one of them."
Jaci Wilkins, 64, Hailey, ID
Executive director, Sun Valley Summer Symphony
"I have to leave at five on the dot - and I feel a
little guilty about it. I do my job, and was the first one in, but
there's something about the slightly askance looks that coworkers give
you if they are still seated behind their glowing monitors when you
head out the door with sunglasses perched on your head. Once again, I
am rushing - this time to my first softball game of the season."
Suzanne Cope, 26, Somerville, MA
"John is upset that I've put a bumper sticker on
the parish van. "The Church is not supposed to politic," he says. I
guess he's right and I certainly believe that the official
church should stay away from this "no-Communion for
abortion-supporters" debate, but I don't think I'll remove the bumper
sticker until he tells me to."
Maryanne O'Neill, 68, Los Angeles, CA
Parish social worker
"Agent phoned. They still don't know if the pilot
I did (Practical Magic) is going to be picked up for mid-season on CBS.
I should know right after the Fourth of July. I hope it happens. It
would be a nice birthday present."
Shirley Knight, 67, Tarzana, CA
"All us medics were accounted for and the cannon
went off. I always get a surge of pride when I hear the cannon and I
watch the flag being raised. It makes me so proud to be an American
Nikki Shaw, Alexandria VA
U.S. Army medic
"Wow, I love General Hospital. Twenty-five years
of the same soap and they are definitely in worse shape then I am—yeah!
Small step for womankind."
Ann Gaillard, 58, Pelham, NY
Landscaping business owner
"One hour to go. I’m counting the minutes like I
count pennies in my jar. My mother called today to ask me to bring a
bag of ice after work. She also wants food, everyday. She hates the
food in the board and care. I am worried about her. I don’t know if the
schizophrenia is getting worse, or if she has any of the other issues
that happen to old people. I had to tell her I only have six dollars
until payday. I wish she’d ask how I’m doing or something like that."
Lethia Cobbs, 36, Long Beach, CA
Alternative media specialist
"My client just left. She loved my jewelry
designs! She was reluctant at first. I told her to go with her heart,
to carry her own "torch." Wow! Thank God I have known her for a few
years now. I didn't care if I lost her as a client or lost the sale. I
wanted to be true to me and to her. She is happy and she followed her
heart and not a trend. Wow! What is going on with me. My boundaries?
When I wrote up her invoice I said, "Know that we are blessed to have
these material things...give back in some way." Am I crazy?!! Off to
get a scrubby and massage. Need it!!! Ughh. Forgot my fave hair
conditioner!!! Forgot my PSO lotion too!!! Have to run back to the
Katharine Azarmi, 32, Los Angeles, CA
Owner, Kaviar Jewelry
"I'm enjoying my run. It feels so good. I sort out so many things in my
mind. I wonder what Steve he'd do if he heard through the grapevine
that someone was hitting on me. Maybe he'd wake up to the reality that
he could lose me and so call me then. What is wrong. Why doesn't he
want to talk to me. Is he even thinking of me? What if he heard I was
hurt or in the hospital. Then what? I'm angry at my sappy thoughts and
pick up my pace."
Laura Ballentine, 29 New York, New York
"I receive a voice mail from my oldest daughter
with a prayer request. Sometimes I dread prayer requests from my kids
because it usually means something bad has happened. This time my
daughter and her husband were just notified that their house payment is
going up $250 per month due to tax reassessment. That is $250 they
Rebecca Carlson, 51, Berrien Springs, MI