My Week in Review October 21

Still Loving Fall…

To Watch: “A Star is Born”-  theater.  Soundtrack outstanding.  Gaga great. Cooper hot. Dice Clay surprisingly able. Movie- doesn’t quite hit the climax it needed.  But, that being said, I enjoyed it.  Just not a great film.

To See Live: Goo Goo Dolls- Beacon Theater NYC Dizzy up the Girl 20th Anniversary Tour. I love live music, and the Beacon is a great place to experience it. Really good concert.

To Read: “Little Fires Everywhere” Celeste Ng.  I’m liking this author- she is really nailing the family sage angst for these times. I think it’s worth a read.

To Visit: Road shows for University of Virginia and Northwestern. But- on a good note, I am now done with the parental portion of road shows.

To Can’t Believe I’m Watching: “A Million Little Things”. I cant believe I’m watching this show.  This is not a good show.  Yet, I am sucked in.

To Look at: Richard Stankiewicz Sculpture from the 1950s-1970s, Washburn Gallery. I didn’t love this work- too dark (not visually, metaphorically) but it was a great representation of the post war years, and it still holds up.

To Look at Also: Ewa Bathelier La Suite Galleria Ca’ d’Ora. This gallery happened to be next door to the gallery I went to and I sort of loved her work because I thought it was pretty.  Nothing more, nothing less

To Visit: Chelsea Market. This is a “mall” filled with with little food shops and some cool stores, and a flea market of sorts – Artist and Flea-(nothing is used- it’s just mainly artisan made and really cool). I bought some Kusmi tea at Chelsea Market Basket- It’s from France and I have always heard how good it is but never tried it.  If you like tea, it’s really worth it.  I tried Russian Morning #24, which is a combo of black teas.  I also wondered around Posman Books and Bowery Kitchen Supply. This place gets crowded, but I love it.

Wow Moment: My daughter sent in her first college application. I’m still in shock.

Food for thought: I am slowly catching up on TV- so I was watching an episode of Modern and Family, and there was an episode about grand gestures.  Now I know I didn’t coin this phrase, but I find it odd that I have been talking about this for the past month and then theirs a TV episode the idea…

I am slowly playing catch up with my life, but things are a little hectic around Chez Waking….more about that in weeks to come.

To Better Days….


Gratitude Saturday October 20

With early action/decision college applications due to their guidance counselor this week, tensions are running high at home and at school.  My daughter says they now have the crying count- where they count the number of students who have spontaneously combusted that day…to say my daughter is tense is an understatement. So…

  1. I am grateful that the tennis team is having a sleepover at the weekend house of the family of one of the team members. They need to chill out.  Especially as their first tennis playoff is Monday
  2. Grateful that they did not bring their tennis rackets along so that they could practice
  3. Live music
  4. Getting to hear “Iris” (on my desert island songs) live- (though I would really be grateful if John could come to my house and sing it to me every morning)
  5. Movies that make you cry
  6. Mom friends going through same angst as me
  7. Patience
  8. hot baths
  9. beautiful fall days
  10. French lifestyle books that transport you to a different world
  11. Time alone

Fall Tasks

Back in September, I set up a list of household organizing projects that I wanted to complete during the fall: cleaning out the cabinet under my bathroom sink, organizing my all purpose closet and making my desk more inviting to work at.  I am happy to say I have mainly succeeded.

Lets start with the closet and cabinet, because I found I had a similar issue in both areas.  To begin the task, I literally emptied everything out.  In order to really organize a space, you must see what you are hoarding and then you can figure out the best way to fix it.  And I do mean hoarding.  The first thing I realized when I emptied both of these areas, the most noticeable pattern was, I had multiples of a lot of products.  I had an unopened container of tide pods.  I had thirty half used travel size bottles of shampoo and conditioner.  15 travel size lotions that were probably barely opened. Twelve 40 watt lightbulbs.  A lot of coats.  Seriously – I think I have a coat addiction- but that will be a spring project… So my first revelation was that a disorganized space means you don’t actually look to see if you already have something tucked away in the back…you just buy a new one… And then I realized something- storing stuff in the back of anything is not a good way for me to organize things that I need.

So- I actually used the same solution for both areas. I bought two three shelf carts that are only about 6 inches wide. And Then I just started putting all the sundry items on it.  I love the fact that it’s portable and narrow…I can slide it around and it makes it much easier to see what’s in there…Then I bought this little thing that allows me to hang my broom and dustpan on the door of the closet.  Brilliant. Instead of hunting for the broom, it’s so easy to find. (how often I use it is another thing…)

Now, as I realized how many dupes I had, I have not been able to organize the cart properly or with any sense of logic.  When I use up some of the things that I have I will begin to think logically where things belong on the cart.  It’s the same with both the bathroom cart and closet one- too much stuff.



Now- the desk….This was difficult for me, because I like everything accessible, yet I like clean surfaces. My lack of space makes this difficult, so I had to rethink my priorities. I have a desktop file box of papers and family binders that I like to keep handy.  These are things I reference and go to often. But here’s the thing- often means once or twice a week- not daily.  Do I really need them on my desk? The answer was no, but I had to come up with a creative solution.  I have a wall unit in my living room.  I cleaned off one of the squares and made this section my personal filing area.  It’s easy to access, but not in my line of sight when I’m working.  I’m not known for my mental flexibility- I tend to be stubborn about changing up my routine. But once I thought out of the box I was home free. As my desk doesn’t have drawers, I bought a little box that is supposed to be for storing paper.  I found it perfect for my tape, stapler and other little sundry desk items.


Now here’s the big thing.  Setting up a task, no matter how small or mundane, and completing it gives you a huge sense of satisfaction.  I felt much better mentally as I worked my way through organizing and straightening and problem solving.  And being able to find things saves a lot of time and effort. And having efficiency in high used areas just makes it easier to get things done.  I don’t dread changing a light bulb because I no longer have to crawl inside my closet to find the light bulbs…

And because I have made my life a little easier…I’m going to have coffee with my friends.  Happy Friday.

Back In Time

I was at a party recently, and I was talking to the host.  He was telling me that he was so happy he discovered the TV show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”.  He said it was the first time he’d turned on his television since “Mad Men” ended. And he proceeded to tell me things about the show that he particularly loved. And he was right- I watched the show and found it very entertaining.

But I started to think about what drew him to these particular shows. Did he just love all things “M”? Was he drawn to the sixties in NYC? What was it about these shows?

And I thought back to the party.  A cocktail party.  A true blue, all American party with expertly made cocktails and hors d’oevres. All served on beautiful platters, or matching glassware. Like they served at those parties. And he was impeccably dressed in a suit and tie, even though it was a Saturday night, while the majority of men were in jeans.

And I thought about how he reminisces fondly of going to the opera and how people wore formal wear.  And how people dressed up for the theater.  And they dressed for dinner…

And I realized he wants to live in a world that is slightly less casual.  He doesn’t like wearing jeans to work.  He likes hats and stylish overcoats. He loves carrying a briefcase, and having a real pen in his pocket.

So for write my blog Thursday I ask the question? Has the world gotten too casual?

I’m currently reading a book about the French lifestyle- (no worries- when I finish there will be an entire blog devoted to my thoughts and feelings on this book) The author discusses how she is always trying to maintain a certain standard of civility.  She states that as she was writing a particular chapter she was in black slacks, black long sleeve t, taupe cardigan and loafers.  Jewelry, hair, make up.  The full ride.  As I write, I am in a grey velour sweatshirt that is about a thousand years old, leggings with a hole in the thigh, and my sketchers furry slippers….(ok- I am wearing make up and my hair is half blown out) But…would I me more productive if I were dressed less casually?

Should jeans be worn to an office environment?

Should we dress up if we are going out for the evening?

What’s the line between casual and sloppy?

Do your clothes really say something about you?


Going It Alone

Last week my daughter found out the authors of a book she was interested in were going to be at Town Hall here in the city, giving a talk about their book. She realized this the morning of the event, bought a ticket and attended the show.  Completely by herself. No friends, no me…just herself.

At 16, there was no way I would ever attend an event by myself.  My first thought would be “What kind of loser will people think I am because I’m at this alone?” I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the event.  I would have sat home.

But that sort of summed up my childhood…sitting home alone, too afraid to try anything.  Too afraid of how people would perceive me. I cared so much about what others thought of me.

I guess you know that’s changed.

Nowadays- I really don’t care what others think of me.  I speak my mind, wear what I want, do what I want. And I can’t help but wonder if this is why my daughter has the courage to try- to go out of her comfort zone. Maybe there is something to this actions speak louder than words….

See, when I was growing up my Mom was great at the “You can do anything” speech. Except when it was something my sister or I wanted to do. Then she would say “Why do you want to do that?” My Mother had conceived notions as to what was acceptable behavior, and what were acceptable pastimes. She had very strict codes of conduct that we were supposed to follow.

But my Mother is also the Queen of actually not doing anything.  My Mother has two hobbies: shopping and “discussing” politics. She actually DVR’s home shopping network.  And to say she discusses anything, let alone politics, would be an injustice to the definition of discuss.

My Mother has also never gone out of her comfort zone.  Ever.  I am 78% scaredy cat because my Mother’s innate fear of everything is so ingrained in me and I don’t think I can afford to spend that much money on therapy. So I grew up with my Mother telling me exactly what I should and should not do- what I was allowed to do, and what I was not allowed to do.

And it took me a long time to get out of my comfort zone.

When I finally had a child, I knew I did not want her to grow up with a sense of fear that was part of my DNA.  I knew I had to tell her she could do anything. But I also had to show her that I was willing to go out of my comfort zone. (well- a little, because we all know I hyperventilated climbing the steps of a lighthouse) I had to show her that I am willing to speak my mind about anything, take intellectual risks, go places alone if I am interested in something that no one else is.

Maybe it worked.

I will not take all the credit for her confidence. I actually don’t know what you’re born with and what you take on. (for the record I’m not getting into the nature/nurture today) But I do know that my daughter has a confidence that I just don’t have. My Husband, her Father- well, he doesn’t have it either.

I took the risk of having a child. I took the risk of choosing a way to raise her. I took the risk of believing in the path that was in front of me. I was confident in my choices.

I guess my daughter was watching.

Grand Gesture- Take 2

A few weeks ago I wrote I post – “The Grand Gesture”.  I was not happy with how this post turned out.  It didn’t convey the message that I was trying to express.  Now I’ve written a lot of posts in my short blogging career, and obviously some were better than others. But, I was always proud of them because for better or worse, they said what I wanted them to say.  Until The Grand Gesture.  I realized the problem with the post was that I was holding back on something: I had an idea in my head but I wasn’t ready to share that idea with the world.  And it reflected in my writing. Now, I’m still not sharing the catalyst for that post, but I do have an anecdote that I think will help convey my message.  If for any reason it doesn’t, expect a take three in about ten days….

When I was in my twenties I was still unformed. OK- I’m still unformed- so let’s say I was a big ball of goo back then. I met a guy.  I went out with this guy.  And one day we were walking home from a party and he said “Ok. Let’s do this.  When do you want to get married.” No ring.  No prepared speech. No dinner. Not even really a question. In my very gooey brain, I thought- wow- he must love me.  He cut through all the romance and the nonsense and just cut right to the chase.


Needless to say, he would eventually become my ex husband.

So what did I learn from this experience? First off, I may have been at the forefront of a brilliant career, and I may have been really great at my job, but personally I was a mess. I had no idea how to navigate a relationship. I had about a thousand licenses from various government agencies saying that I could be trusted with your money, but I could not be trusted with making rational decisions of the heart. I thought that nonchalance equated to love. I later realized that nonchalance equated to not giving a damn.

Enter: The Grand Gesture.

I think if you love someone you must do something big to show it.  Now, big is a relative term.  It does not have to be renting out the scoreboard at a sporting event.  It does not have to be hosting a party for a thousand of your closest acquaintances. Expensive jewelry need not apply. What big is in this circumstance is meaningful.  You must present the one that you love with something meaningful. And meaningful means different things to different people.


You must present the one you love with something meaningful that is unique to their personality and is an expression of your love of them.

You must create an intimacy that is specific to your relationship.

Because you need to show that person how much they mean to you.

All relationships go through ups and downs.  Obviously, the ups are easy to ride out- it’s all rainbows and unicorns. But the downs. How do you get through the downs? What is the thing that makes weathering the downs bearable? I think it’s that expression of love that holds you through- the memory of an event, that piece of whatever they gave to you- I think that expression of love is what makes you remember what you are fighting for. And sometimes you need a reminder of what you are fighting for.

So no matter what stage of a relationship you are in, show the person you’re with how much they mean to you. Tell them. I don’t think there’s a limit to how many times you can show someone that you care, that they mean the world to you, that you love them. Just make it meaningful, from the heart. And make it something your person with like.

Solid relationships. Appreciation. Love. These are not things to be nonchalant about.  These are things to cherish.


See this dress?20181015_0749598299606371136416558.jpg

This plain, non descript dress? Well, to me, it is anything but a plain, non descript dress.  to me, this is Superdress, my equivalent to a flowing cape.  When I wear this dress I feel like I can take on the world. Needless to say, I’ve worn this dress a lot lately.

This is my Holly Golightly attire.  I wore this to curriculum night with flats and a long cardigan.  It strolled around Chelsea galleries with a cord jacket and a big scarf.  It took me to dinner at a funky restaurant with a big silver necklace and a black moto jacket. It is quite literally my perfect dress.

What is it about this particular dress, which didn’t cost much?  Maybe because it was relatively inexpensive.  Maybe because it’s not too loose to be dowdy, not too tight to be uncomfortable or showy. Is it that it’s easy to dress up or down? The perfect backdrop for accessories? Does it matter?

I think everyone needs a piece of clothing like this is their wardrobe, an article that just makes them feel better when they put it on. Sometimes life is crazy or unpredictable, and it’s nice to have something that’s just easy- something that doesn’t require thought.  When your insides are churning, it’s satisfying to go into your closet and breathe a sigh of relief- you don’t have to stress about what you’re going to wear, you just pull out that trusty garment that sort of says it all…

Sometimes, appearance does matter.  To you.  If you think you look great, it’s going to positively affect your mood.  If an outfit feels great on your body, it’s going to make you feel better.  Sometimes the wrapping is important….

And yes.  I’m probably pulling this dress out today (knee high boots and a pink leather moto jacket) And yes, I will instantly feel like I can take on the world….

Find your dress. Or denim jacket. Cowboy boots. Whatever.  Find that one article of apparel that helps you kick ass.  We all need a little boost every now and then.


My Week In Review October 14

Wow- just about halfway through October….anyone hear Christmas music yet?

To Do: Queens County Farm Museum Corn Maze- this is a family tradition- we have done it since my daughter is three. Now, Daughter is pretty good at mazes- we didn’t start getting out quickly until she became our leader….and this was our last corn maze. And she got us out in a new family record of 17 minutes….yeah…bittersweet

To See: “The Old Man and the Gun”= movie/theater. OK- I did not love this movie.  I thought the dialogue was non existent, the acting average and the story boring.

To Watch: “The Crooked House” amazon prime. Yet another glossy adaptation of a Christie story.  I love a good murder, but these are getting awfully stylized…

To Not Watch: Murphy Brown reboot.  It is so bad.  I mean, really bad.  I mean almost unwatchable unless you want to see how shows are not supposed to be made

To Listen: Sorry- it was all Goo Goo Dolls for me as I head into their concert tomorrow…

To Do: Elsiefest (think Caberet) A four hour outdoor music festival featuring Sutton Foster, Matthew Morrison and Darren Criss.  Fun and sing alongs.  Yay.

To Accompany my Daughter: More college road shows: Up this week Hopkins and Cornell ILR. She likes both programs.  But you know, as with every school my daughter has picked- these are really selective environments.  They are a reach school for every single student that applies. My stomach churning moves up a notch

More my kid: Tennis regular season ended with my daughter finishing with a decent record, and her team finishing third (which is highest they’ve ever done) Play off schedule comes out tomorrow!

The Reality: this was just a bleh week- a case of a bunch of things piling up. I am still in need of a massage and a long tropical vacation. I am trying really hard to see the positive.  I barely read this week…does that give you an idea how I’m feeling?

Thanks for all the love!!!!

Gratitude Saturday October 13

My stress level continues to hold at about a million. But I’m going to figure out all the little stuff…

  1. My daughter finished the regular season for tennis. I am so grateful that she was able to represent the school that she loves playing a sport that she loves, and grateful that she had the opportunity to be co captain for three years.
  2. Tennis play offs begin next week
  3. I had a particularly lousy Thursday. I am grateful that I was able to email a friend and just have a fun and meaningless (yet meaningful) exchange
  4. crunchy peanut butter with apples
  5. allergy meds (seriously)
  6. anti itch spray for when I get bit by a bug on my ankle
  7. I organized my desk, my hall closet and my bathroom- the three tasks I set out for fall
  8. Groomers who are somehow able to groom my overly energetic dog
  9. pink
  10. my new very fun grey nail polish

In The Pink

My wardrobe is mainly black, a little grey and a splash of white and olive green. I wear black because it makes me feel confident.  My house is earth tones- tan, brown and olive green. This color environment is calming. Neutral. Serene. Non descript.

But, I do have a signature color: pink.  I own a pale pink moto jacket and two hot pink bags.  My phone case: pink.  My wallet/key thing: pink.  My bathrobe: pink.  My mainly colorless world has little pops of pink running though it.

Yesterday Deb made an interesting comment about Little Women: I posed the question, which character did you most relate to. Deb responded how the four main characters represented the stereotypes of the day, and how we are probably a little piece of the different characters. And she was right- the characters are stereotypes.  And, people do group others into types.  Just like they do when people choose one color over another.

When people see me wearing black, they jump to conclusions.  Emo, Goth, plain, boring, chic, urban…the list goes on.  They see my all black outfit and make assumptions about the type of person I am.  Now this doesn’t happen in NYC too much, because black is a predominant color in a Manhattan wardrobe. But when I traveled…I think I was spotted as a New Yorker before I even opened up my accent…

Now let’s jump to the pink.  Pink gets a bad rap.  I know Mother’s who will not let their girls wear pink- they think it’s “too” feminine”.  I get odd glances when I walk around with my hot pink patent shoulder bag. How can I wear pink? I see the look in their eyes without them opening up their accents…

And maybe pink is feminine.  But I’m OK with that.  I’m feminine. This is neither a good or a bad trait- it’s just part of who I am and I wear it proudly.  I’m OK with the pale pink side of my personality.  I’m 100% OK with being a female.

But what about the other shade of pink, the shocking pink, the hot pink…Personally I think those shades of pink are a lot more bold than red. And boy do I throw my fuchsia around…

I am not just the pale color associated with all things Easter and all things cute…I am also bold and innovative and in your face. I take calculated risks. I can be reserved and I can be authoritative….

I am not one thing. I have many dimensions, many shades….

Yet- if you hear I love pink….what do you think?