I Mean It


I am a woman of my word. I try not to say things I do not mean. I will show up and be on time if I’ve promised I will be. I do not say throwaway things like, “I’ll be in touch,” “I’ll call you,” or “I’ll help you,” if I don’t plan on doing so.

I don’t say I love you and not mean it (OK, that did happen in one relationship years ago, I admit, but never again…not a good lie to get into).

I don’t surround myself with people that I don’t want to be around. If you are my friend, I value you and I have made the choice to have you in my life.

Lessons learned:

1) Do not promise to do things for others if you do not plan on delivering. Setting people up for disappointment is not cool.

2) If you really want to connect with someone and hang out with them, be sincere about it, make plans, and follow through.

3) If you don’t care for a person, don’t associate with that person unless you absolutely have to (i.e., your wicked mother-in-law at a family function; in that case, be cordial and minimize contact). For those you can choose to hang out with but don’t really want to: Get comfortable with the word “No.”

It’s pretty simple.

You only live your life once, and as I said before and will say again, LIVE IT FOR YOU.


Bruises, Burns and Other Marks of Fierceness

He said, “Why do you have blood all over your hands?”

I said, “Watch out,” and smiled.

I was kidding; it was my own blood and not someone I’d just slaughtered. But, it brings me to address the fact that I am a bleeder. When my manicurist mis-cuts a cuticle, I will bleed for a good 15 minutes before she (or he) can continue…even with the help of the green solution. This day it appeared my cuticle had ripped somehow while I was browsing a flea market. I hadn’t noticed but eww. Thank goodness I carry around wet wipes.

Unfortunately, I am unfortunate in the injury category. I’m of normal health, but I happen to attract catastrophe, and that combined with clumsiness just does numbers on one’s body. When I had my cancer removed, I bled like crazy. That story here.

A few weeks ago, I managed to trip on the broken sidewalk in my new high heels (too lazy to pick up my feet), then later that day I fractured my rib, and then the next day I contracted the most painful bacterial infection. I waited 2 1/2 weeks before finally going to the doctor for help. I think that if I ignore things they will go away. Not being able to function normally was really interfering with my life though, so I finally went to the doc for the check-up and all of the meds required to heal.

I thought I was on the road to recovery. The road was veering in a different direction. Two days later, I was working on a project and was asked to pose by a running motorcycle. I’ve never ridden one and have only stood by bikes that weren’t on. Why did no one warn me that they can burn you?!?!? I burned 4 layers of skin off in less than 3 seconds. OH whoops, must have touched the exhaust said friends. I was next to the pedal…what? All I know is the pain that came with it. 

I am a walking disaster.

Here’s a photo gallery of some injuries: 

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Updike’s Rules for Literary Criticism

imagesI think we can all take something away from John Updike’s rules, whether we are critiquing someone’s writing, art, or any form of creative expression—even a fashion choice. Not all apply to things other than literature, but the “added sixth” is a nice lesson. Here they are:

1. Try to understand what the author wished to do, and do not blame him for not achieving what he did not attempt.

2. Give enough direct quotation—at least one extended passage—of the book’s prose so the review’s reader can form his own impression, can get his own taste.

3. Confirm your description of the book with a quotation from the book, if only phrase-long, rather than proceeding by fuzzy précis.

4. Go easy on plot summary, and do not give away the ending.

5. If the book is judged deficient, cite a successful example along the same lines, from the author’s œuvre or elsewhere. Try to understand the failure. Sure it’s his and not yours?

To these concrete five might be added a vaguer sixth, having to do with maintaining a chemical purity in the reaction between product and appraiser. Do not accept for review a book you are predisposed to dislike, or committed by friendship to like. Do not imagine yourself a caretaker of any tradition, an enforcer of any party standards, a warrior in any ideological battle, a corrections officer of any kind. Never, never try to put the author “in his place,” making of him a pawn in a contest with other reviewers. Review the book, not the reputation. Submit to whatever spell, weak or strong, is being cast. Better to praise and share than blame and ban. The communion between reviewer and his public is based upon the presumption of certain possible joys of reading, and all our discriminations should curve toward that end.

A Week With Sheba (She-devil?) The Puppy

ShebaDay One was the Superbowl, so we traveled to my bf’s house to watch. She slept in the car and was the life of the party as well as the only Ravens fan (sans me) in her purple and glitter-bombed gloriousness. She passed out before the game ended thanks to the blackout. After the victorious win, she whined when she couldn’t sleep in bed with us. I lifted her up after Joe fell asleep, since I would never fall asleep with her crying. I put her back on the ground early in the morning to disguise this fact, but by 7am, she’d figured out how to jump up on the bed which is 4 times her height. She loves him, so of course it was on his side. I can forgive that, but only since he did.

She was a happy camper there and mum on the ride home. Totally chill as if she actually smoked the sheeba. In real life, while she can be mellow, she is simply bat shit crazy. Surprisingly, cars with crazy drivers calm her energy, whether she is in them or observing them. She tries to play with cars zooming by when I walk her. Uber scary, so I keep that b***h on a tight leash. Also, people scare her. Bizarre. On Monday, we slept soundly in my bed.

On Tuesday, there was a snowstorm. Sheba and I made homemade Valentines.


On Wednesday, we went for a walk in the park. It was date-night, but since I was babysitting, it was stay-in night. I decided to trim her and dye the hair on her head pink. I crossed my fingers that Mom wouldn’t be mad. S was so miserable having her hair wet for the shampoo and rinse, she moped for the rest of the night while I relaxed with my boyfriend. She still insisted on sleeping in the bed, though.

On Thursday, we ran together. She’s the type to sprint and then stop. This makes leash-running difficultly random. However, the start-stop surprise was a fun change to my paced workout.

On Friday, I went on a long run and left her home for the first time. I came home to the owner of the building (of course he had to randomly visit at my one moment of freedom) wondering what all the yapping was about. Apparently, Sheba doesn’t get tired of barking once someone leaves her; she has severe abandonment issues. I live in a no-pet building. This took some explaining and made me realize she cannot ever be left alone—at least not here. Uggh, but almost over!

On Saturday, waking to yet another blizzard aftermath, I asked my roommate to watch her so I could get a mani/pedi, run to the store, and go to the pantyman (Felix, who does my laundry). Those two hours were the most fabulous break ever. As much as I’d become attached to her and as much as I felt guilty leaving her, I really enjoyed the peace of having some space. I was reminded of  babysitting in college. I took care of a newborn two afternoons a week, and his mother was overjoyed at being able to get away for a few hours to gym and primp.

My mother’s flight from Florida (same Saturday) was postponed due to the snowstorm known as Nemo, but I was lucky enough to have an aunt and uncle willing to take Sheba for the night. I was able to go out to my own birthday party, what a thrill! I dropped her off and that was the last I had to deal with her. Until now.

This Sunday marks the beginning of another week of house lockdown with the pup while my mother skis in Vail. If you want to jet-set, I don’t recommend buying a dependent and rambunctious puppy with sharp teeth that acts like a baby. Save that for when you can fully domesticate, or when you can afford to have someone else do all of the work for you. All babies, whether human or animal, are fun in small doses. They are, in reality, 24/7 work, constantly needing, and that is something highly underestimated with the initial excitement of new life.

Grave Robber

HPMiniPinkI suffered the unfortunate loss of my pretty pink mini…I mean miniminimini hp, mini me, in all of her pink gloriousness this past week. I tried to get her back via the Grave Robber. WoW.

When Pretty in Pink first crashed and I could not bring her back to life myself, I went to the old school tool: the phone book. Not the online version on my phone or anything, but the classic Yellow Pages. How fabulous. I tore out the two pages of businesses under “Computer Repair” and selected “Grave Robber Computer Repair” because I loved the name. If that one didn’t work out, I’d check the loose pages in my purse and venture to the next shop.

I picked up little pink mini me and was off on my way. I arrived in front of a tiny storefront that had a sign indicating it was indeed the right spot, but more curiously, banners across the front windows shouting “FREE BOOKS!!!” As a lover of literature, I was even more elated I’d blindly decided on this establishment.

I walked inside…perhaps a 10×12 room, books stacked on all sides to the 13-ft. ceiling and almost half that height in the center. The only floor space besides a few feet around the door was behind the horizontal book stacks on the table in front of me, so high I could barely see over to what was directly ahead: a seasoned man on a bicycle—not a stationary bike, but a real bicycle mounted to the floor—riding away. He motioned for me to wait a moment, and I awkwardly stood there for a few minutes so he could finish/pause his workout and dry off while I perused his books.

He was able to get mini-me alive enough to run some tests which would take a few hours before he’d know whether it was fixable. He said he’d get back to me as soon as he had the diagnosis; he handed me a pen and an unopened envelope of mail that he struggled to find so I could write down my info. Bizarre business operative style, but I believed he knew what he was doing.

Anthony was punctual about getting back to me later that afternoon and very detailed in explaining what my options were because my hard drive had completely gone to the grave. He saved all of my data (I didn’t have everything backed up) on a flash drive, and the next day, I went to pick that up for $75, along with my mini’s corpse.*

He was on the bike again, I waited again, and then I asked him about the books. It turns out he collected them off of the street, books that people were throwing away, because he couldn’t bear the thought of people throwing away literature. Over the years, he’s given books to friends he thought would enjoy them, but he still has sooo many to give away. They are mostly fiction bestsellers—including several from the famous author who bought the house I grew up in—and some not-so-well known titles, but all-in-all, I think the story is intriguing. The eclectic Anthony wasn’t sure where he’d placed my hard drive amongst the stacks, so I have to return to the shop this weekend to retrieve that. I plan on taking several books home, too. What a fascinating world of people we live in!

*While my baby did not want to come back from the grave, she did let A have her info. [Always back up your data and write down all of your passwords in case you die. I realize this sounds morbid, but I have a written page of all of my important user names and passwords. My brother Piers is in charge of those in case I die anytime soon, because it is his job to publish the best of my written material that has yet to be unveiled to the world. I have so much of a written footprint; it’s an overwhelming a task to take care of this myself while alive.


When my roommate’s father walked into my bedroom, his first words were, “Wow, this looks like all of your grandmother’s furniture.”

While that is not the case, almost all of my pieces are antiques. Hand-carved wood on my vanity table and on my bedside marble topped table, and handmade porcelain lamps with dancers on the posts, gold-leaf decor on the bases, and ruffled gold or tulle ribbon trimming all of the shades.

Ironically, the one piece of furniture I own that is actually from my grandmother is the most modern-looking: a single bed. My “real” bed is so much of a showpiece that I didn’t want to put it into an apartment bedroom. My “real” bed is hand-carved wood, intricate flowers on the headboard and baseboard, was made in 1870, and requires a professional/ special tools to put together. It is also high-maintenance, requiring a certain level of humidity in the room to avoid the wood from either cracking or getting damaged. Too much responsibility for now.

Last week while at my family’s lake house, I visited one of my favorite ladies in the world. Edna, looking glamorous at 92 years old, has been the only woman I trust when buying jewelry since I was about 10 years old.

A British woman who moved to the states for her husband (now deceased), Edna spent much of her life in a wealthy NJ suburb next to the town I grew up in, and somehow transplanted herself to upstate New York wine country and started an antiquing business.

Because of her age, she no longer acquires more inventory. This doesn’t matter, as she has the best collection in the world. I must be her only jewelry customer because when I visited, two rings I was eyeing two years ago had not yet sold. I bought one this time. Some things never lose their appeal.

I get at least one compliment every time I wear one of her pieces. These are statement pieces, and they are one-of-a-kind. You will not find what I’m wearing anywhere because no one makes these styles anymore.

I have no shame in owning pre-owned things. They are beautiful, unique, and I want to surround myself with things I’m attracted to.

The fact that my furniture and jewelry pieces are still usuable hundreds of years later is a testament to the handiwork and attention to detail put into them. Whether it’s furniture or jewelry, this shit is built to last.

No one else has what I have. I have extremely individual taste and am quite proud of it. Not my grandmother’s furniture—mine, very, very much mine.