Highlights 5/19

Sometimes you have monumental highlights that are incredible, and sometimes you can be just as excited about something small.

The Big Highlight- One of my friends daughters graduated from Medical School on Friday. To say that I am thrilled and excited for this amazing young woman is an understatement. She has worked her tail off for this since she was twelve years old. Just awesome.

The little- A new mini Target opened up recently in my neighborhood- they sell organic milk with the easy open top at a reasonable price. Yay.

Theme this week: Expectations

Gratitude Saturday May 18

This has been a busy, yet wonderful, couple of weeks.

I am most grateful for pineapple. I recently read that pineapple has some property that helps relieve you of sinus congestion. So as I had a stuffy nose and post nasal drip thing going on, I went out and got pineapple (which happened to be super delicious) and I felt a little better. Not sure of the science behind it, but it was tasty. Obviously, also grateful to growers pf pineapple and those who are able to deliver it to my not so tropical locale.

The most calming thing I did this week was to leave my house fifteen minutes early so I could get to a park and read outside on a beautiful day before I had an appointment. Fifteen minutes was just enough time for me not to feel rushed leaving, yet still give me a little time in the sun.

Out With A Bang

In September 2007, my Daughter began First Grade.

In September 2007, The Big Bang Theory debuted on CBS.

I’m kind of like Tater- I always look at the May upfronts and read the summaries of the new shows going to air. I remember reading the synopsis of BBT- pretty girl moves next door to smart nerds. I remember thinking- sure- that will work. add in lots of snide thoughts…

Guess what?

It worked.

This tale of four quirky (let’s face it- they were all quirky) guys and aspiring actress quickly became one of my favorite shows. As well as a favorite of my Daughters. During elementary school years we would look forward to Thursday 8pm- and when middle and high school rolled around, we would decide as a family when we would watch it as my own study nerd no longer had the time to watch TV during the week.

We found the humor clever and understated- the physical reactions of all the actors hilarious. It was one of the most perfect ensemble shows ever- each character had their own individual traits, yet they all blended together so well. It was actually nice to see smart characters on TV- characters that studied and did things with an intellectual, or fandom bend. It made my daughter feel OK about being studious and liking the Marvel universe.

A few years into the show, we met two new female characters- both scientists. How great was it to see a show that valued women in science? Even though my daughter is not going into the field of science, she was a finalist for three years running in the Middle School Science fair. She had A+ grades in science all throughout her career. But to see a show highlighting female scientists? Where do we ever see that? Especially as Mayim Bialik has an actual PhD? Bravo. A TV show with female character who were amazing. Characters that my daughter could relate to.

But let’s not underestimate Penny. Our cat is named Penny btw… Penny may not have been a college graduate or been as intellectual as the others, but boy did she have a mensa level emotional IQ. She knows and understands people, how to behave in certain situations. Clearly in the arc of the show, the character of Penny taught the guys way more than they taught her. My kid can be a little bit like the guys often were: clueless to social situations. (Ok- we all know I don’t have the greatest people skills either…) There was a lot of value to the “dumb blonde”. This was a character that my daughter could learn from too.

“Big Bang Theory” is the show of my daughters youth. She will remember this show forever- she will recite lines and have favorite scenes. I will remember sitting with her watching the show- every week for twelve years. We never watched an episode without each other- it’s not that we couldn’t: we wanted to share those moments together.

On Thursday May 16, “The Big Bang Theory” aired its final episode.

On Thursday May 16, my daughter took the AP Comparative Government test, the last major test of her high school career. Though she has two projects and about twelve days of class left, essentially high school ended yesterday.

My daughter and I passed the tissue box to one another last night.

It all started with a big bang.

And ended with a few tears.

Ticket For One please

A few months ago I wrote about doing things by yourself as opposed to doing things in a group.  My position was that it is perfectly fine to want to be alone sometimes and you really didn’t need anyone to accompany you anywhere. Some people really didn’t want to do certain things by themselves, dinner and travel being the most popular “group” activities. As I’ve both traveled and eaten alone, I felt pretty confident in saying that I would be comfortable being by myself at any event if I so chose.

And then I went to a museum exhibit with a friend.

Oddly, I had gotten a ticket for this exhibit solo. Then my friend S texted- “want to hang on Wednesday” and I said “You know- going to The Shed at 11- come with?” And a solo outing became an afternoon for two.

As we stared at this very bizarre exhibit that neither of us really understood what we were looking at or what the artist was thinking, my friend S remarked: “I found your blog about being by yourself very interesting.” S is a great person in a group, but she truly values her alone time. She is independent and really just does what she wants when she wants and is as content by herself as she is with her Husband. She is fearless in just doing what she wants, whether or not she has someone to go with.

So imagine my surprise when she said: “I don’t think I could go to a big concert by myself. There’s just something about that experience that I think you need to be with someone.”

I couldn’t believe there was something she wouldn’t do by herself.

And then I thought about myself.

I’ve been to plays alone: both on and off Broadway. Movies, obviously- I probably go to as many alone as I do with others. I’ve been to classical and jazz and ethnic music concerts by myself: at libraries and parks for free as well as paid venues like Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. But what about something at Madison Square Garden?

Would I see U2 by myself?


Highly doubtful.

And there it was- the chink in my armor. I am probably never going to see Beyoncé dance live without someone by my side. I will not be screaming BRUUUCE when “Born to Run” is played if I’m by myself.

No lone rock concerts for me.

So what is it about this form of music that makes me want to be with friends?

Obviously I listen to this music by myself. I shower sing to them. I put them on when I’m working out. So what is it about the live rock concert experience that makes me want to share?

What marks an experience that makes it better when shared with a friend?  Why are there certain things that are just “better” when done as a group?

A New Plan (ner)

It’s been awhile since I wrote about planners…

A few years ago I bought what is known as an academic planner- It went from August of one year to July at the next: obviously it left me mid year without a planner. So I did what every organizing nut does: I went on the hunt for the perfect planner. And I found it.

Last year I introduced you to my Plum Paper customizable planner. It was perfect. I got to add note pages where I actually needed them. It gave me weekly grids that made it easy for me to right out what needed to be done, what was due, what everyone’s schedule were. It gave me a central location to keep all my lists. It was a little expensive but worth it because it really kept me somewhat organized.

Recently I realized that I was in need of a new planner.  I went to the Plum page. I began designing my planner for the upcoming year. And then I realized something: without my daughter at home, my planner needs have totally changed. I no longer need the Mercedes of planners.

Cue silent weeping.

My daughter is leaving and my planner needs are changing.

Oh the inhumanity.

Could life be any worse?

Ok- after I calmed down, I started to look for a new planner. The first issue I faced was of my own making. When I created my Plum planner, I somehow had it end in May. Why did I do this? I don’t know- I’m an idiot. I didn’t plan properly. OMG- could it get any worse? Now I failed at planning?

Cue banging head against wall.

When I calmed down, I wrote a list. (really- what did you think I would do first?) I need something that would enable me to write blog ideas and novel notes. I need to be able to track future to do’s. I still need a weekly view, but I realized I no longer needed the grid system that I have used in the past- my lifestyle is about to change.


Ok. Back on track. Weekly, but I can switch to a day block.

Whew. That was a tough thought process.

I still need to look at the month as a whole. I’m not an animal. I need to long range plan.

Good. Now I’m on track. I need a weekly look with blocks, and I need a monthly view.

I need a notes page per month. I have monthly “fun” bucket lists.

This is where I sensed a fail. Without creating an expensive planner, there was no way I was going to find a planner with monthly note pages. Not at mid year any way.

I then remembered that I needed to find a planner that starts in June.


Huge Fail.

While there are undated planners, I know from experience that these don’t work for me. I don’t like writing in the days, creating the month. I like it done for me. (yes- I’m a Princess)

When you’re about to go off the deep end, you have no option but to regroup. Which I did. I went on Amazon and found a reasonably efficient planner that started this past January and ends in December, when all planners should end. Calendar year. It had the weekly and monthly views that I desired, and I figured I’d wing it with a notes page. And the planner was about 75% off because you know, half of it is useless.

In October, expect a week of blogs regarding my search for the new perfect planner. As always, we need to constantly adapt, because life is always in flux. I know. We don’t always like change. We would often prefer things never change. But that’s not realistic. Change is inevitable. It’s all in how we handle the change. And, it’s all about the plan…




Recently I wrote about adaptations of books and rating them. I obviously have a lot of thoughts on both of these subjects. Today I’m talking about a sort of hybrid: historical novels. I think that they are adaptations of history and therefore, I’m going to rate them as such…

I recently read “Lost Roses” by Martha Hall Kelly, her new prequel to “Lilac Girls” (which I also read) I also recently read “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris. There may be spoilers ahead: I’m not sure how I want to pen my ideas.

Historical novels are books based on actual events yet are fictional. Hmmmm. Should we be doing this? Why would we do it? What could go wrong when we take an actual event and fictionalize it? Are you starting to see where I’m going with this?

I know both of these books are based on actual events. They speak of real people who did things in their lives. In one case, the author had actually spoken to the namesake tattooer. So these things really happened.


And there’s the problem. We take an actual person, an actual thing that they did, and then you build a fictional story around it. Fictional. As in, one thing was real, and maybe 80% is what the author dreamed up based on historical documents. Hmmmm.

As a fledgling writer I have been in classes where I have presented a story or chapter and have been met with choruses of “That would never happen in real life.” “That’s not believable.” Even published authors have received criticism that things aren’t realistic. (and we all know that sometimes what we write, even though labeled as fiction, is actually based on real events, so like it or not, things happen). So with actual fiction, every story, anecdote and happening must pass the believability test. It has to actually seem like it would happen. Not so much with historical fiction.

I think there is much more license to be creative when something is deemed historical and based on a true event. You have to believe it because this is a real character who had a real life and real things that led to this incident or time in history. You must believe all the words on a page because it “happened”. It’s based on a “true story”.

I call bullshit.

Here come the spoilers.

“Tattooist” is basically a love story. Boy meets girl as he is branding her with a tattoo in Auschwitz, a concentration camp run by the Nazi’s in World War II. All these things are fact. Real people, real places, real events. Truth. The author actually spoke to the tattooer before he died.

But the story…If this was the first Holocaust book that someone read, they would have a very poor understanding of what it was. This book was more reminiscent of summer camp, and boys and girls sneaking behind the cabin to have sex. Which is literally a scene in this book. Now I want to ask you logically: with what you know about concentration camps and Nazi’s, do you think that a male and female prisoner would be able to sneak behind a building to have sex (excuse me- make love) and long talks? Do you understand why I looked at the book and said “Bullshit”?

Now, in this case I’m not blaming the author. She actually interviewed the main character back in the early 2000’s. But honestly, I can’t imagine his memories were very real. First off, by then he was probably in his 90’s. I’m sorry, memory fades with age. Secondly, he is a Holocaust survivor: he is going to have the memories he chooses to have because he survived one the most horrific periods in history. Like anyone who has experienced a personal tragedy, they need to separate things in their mind- the survivor instinct lets you build a whole new reality. But to say “Based on a True Story”? I take offense to using those words with this book.

In “Lost Roses” I am totally blaming the author. She has chosen to write about women in a prominent New York society family during WWI. I don’t think she actually spoke to any of the women personally. These women were pioneers in helping those who could not help themselves, refugees and others. Commendable. Women like this should be recognized.


To say that there were parts of this story that were ridiculous is an understatement. The coincidences and chances of fate that happen? You would not believe how many people happened to be walking down the street at the same time as their love from twenty years prior, especially as they are now in a completely different city. And the degrees of separation? every time they met someone new, that person knew all their friends and relatives. Amazing. Fate at its finest.


How many acts of fate and coincidence am I supposed to believe because something is labeled “based on a true story.” In 1917 Russia, am I supposed to believe that a woman by herself was able to get a horse and a cart through the revolution and onto Paris? Really? In a country with no food and constant rioting because no one was really in charge, a beautiful woman was able to get out alive, feed herself and feed her horse, from St. Petersburg to Paris? Really?

Come. On.

But I guess it happened because it was based on a true story.

So yes, I’m throwing the entire historical fiction novel, especially those based on a true story, under the bus. Don’t get me started on revisionist history either- just because we wish something was so doesn’t mean it was. But that’s not even a blog- that’s a book…


Historical fiction? Yay or nay?



Calm? Who Me?

This year I’ve been thinking about a theme, and using it for Monday to Friday blogs. This gives me the ability to incorporate thoughts that my blog friends have given me into a central idea or unit. I have been fond of this method because it has given me time to pause, reflect and slow down, which was one of my goals for the year. But I’ve realized that sometimes I need a follow-up. Weeks or months later I have thoughts or ideas that stemmed from past blogs. So this week, piling on from last week, will be a few new ideas I’ve had about past subjects.

A few months ago I wrote about Myers Briggs, and my typing ISTJ-A. When I took the test and looked at the supporting descriptions, I thought that it was pretty dead accurate to my personality, except there was one part, I think the A, that suggests that I am calm. In my mind, I am not calm. I just got irrationally annoyed because I accidentally erased this paragraph. Ask any customer service representative if I talk in a calm manner…..

But… I started to realize something. When I am talking to someone who I think is slacking, I tend to talk faster. I’m probably trying to get them to speed up and think and pay attention. And I normally talk fast, and loud. (I would not make a good librarian). So I give the appearance of not being calm- yet inside….I’m pretty much in control in there.

I also realized that I’m actually great in a crisis. When my friend K recently had to go to the Doctor, she asked me to come along. Now, I’m a nice person, but it wasn’t necessarily my bedside manner: it was because of my ability to listen openly and rationally. We got to the office and I pulled out my pen and notepad (and I had a spare pen in my bag) I had google open on my phone so I could check a definition at any point. My friend K looked at me and laughed- “of course you bring a notebook”. When she told our other friend that I was going to the Doctor with her my friend G responded- “Oh- of course you bring LA. She is the perfect person. She’ll know exactly what questions to ask.”

K was not the first person to ask me to accompany them to a Doctor’s visit. I know nothing about medicine or the like, but I do know how to listen, how to jot down what’s important, and how to think what the logical next question is.

When my daughter was about eighteen months old she got a nasty stomach bug. I realized that she was dehydrated and I called Doctor and he told me to get her to emergency room to het hydrated. Here’s the thing: I was not one of those Mother’s constantly on the phone with the Doctor. The Doctor knew that if I was calling, I wasn’t fooling. And then the nurse at the ER praised me for realizing quickly that my daughter was dehydrated- She said that most parents didn’t realize it right away and that made it worse.

I calmly sat with my daughter as the IV rehydrated her. Listened to the Doctors and Nurses. Kept my young daughter occupied. I did not fall apart. Even as my Mother and Mother in Law constantly called me in hysterics.

I didn’t break. I just did what needed to be done.

It’s funny how you can let people’s perceptions of you color your own judgement. Because I’m quick, I’ve been told I’m not calm. But guess what? I am actually quite calm. It takes a lot to break me. If I go out of control you know you’ve worn me down. My Husband was annoyed with me once (yes- only once….) and he was ranting and I was calmly listening to him, and it made him more mad that I was rational and not screaming. It also helped that what he was saying was ridiculous. How mad can you get if someone is just being ridiculous?

So there you go- though I might not appear calm, I actually am. Just like my house- when you enter you might think I’m not organized, but open up a cabinet or drawer, and there it is, all straight lines and order. I’ve built a good base.



The highlight of my week was clearly receiving my aerogarden. There are three things that annoy me about my apartment: no jetted tub, no laundry in my apartment and no room to grow herbs. Well, hopefully my daughter has found a way to make one of my dreams come true.20190512_1005477660875302356244784.jpg

This is a not so great shot of my new aerogarden- sorry-

Basically, you fill the tank with water, add plant food, add the seed pods (in my case I have thai basil, Genovese basil, thyme, curly parsley, mint and dill) cover the pods with those little covers, could set up the lights and poof- in a few weeks I should have sprouts!

The lights come on automatically for about 15 hours (I set it up to start at 730 am) and then shut off.

So far so good.

If this works I will play around with what herbs I will grow. I don’t really need thai basil, and I could probably use oregano, or maybe rosemary or sage in the fall.

But we’ll see…


Gratitude Saturday: The Post Birthday Addition


Enough said about the new age and the first day of my 56th year…..here’s what I’m grateful for:

  1. Thank you to all my friends and family for the lovely birthday wishes!!!
  2. Thanks to my daughter who took time out from AP studying to write my blog and go out to dinner
  3. Spicy Penang Curry from my fave Thai place- Jaiya
  4. Mille Crepe cake from Lady M. Best. Cake. Ever.
  5. My new hydroponic garden. In 5-7 days I’ll have basil, thyme, dill and mint.
  6. Getting to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with him last Sunday
  7. Getting to see my friend K, recovering from brain surgery and looking great!!
  8. My Daughter’s best friend got into her first choice college on appeal!!!
  9. Two years blogging!

In all, it’s been a great week, and was a great year!!

Guest post: my daughter

Hi everyone. As I’m sure my mom has expressed to you in multiple blog posts, I am her daughter, a high school senior, and I am very busy. And although her birthday had to fall at the height of all my AP exams (thanks Mom), this is something I am happy to do since frankly, every single day my mom is busy attending to one of my, many, needs.

Now applying to college is stressful and one of the most trying aspects is something known as the Common App. As a seasoned college applicant, I can now laugh at the Common App and the many horror stories it details. But as a worried high school senior in August, figuring out what to write for my Common App essay was extremely difficult. Surprisingly, I ended up writing about my morning routine and the various quirks that make my routine different. I discussed what music I listened to, what I ate, etc. But there are some things I did not include.

-Although my alarm does typically wake me up, on those mornings where I hit snooze one too many times, my mom’s comforting voice is always there to ensure I am out of bed.

-The best part of waking up is actually not Folgers. Instead, it is my mom bringing my folgers as the light slowly enters my window.

-My lucky t-shirt, which I wear on big test days, is something my mom encouraged me to buy. When I accidentally forgot my lucky scarf on state test day, my mom was quick to text me a picture and ease my nerves.

-Since the beginning, my breakfast has always been provided by my mom. When I was younger, chocolate chip pancakes were my go-to. Now, I prefer the New York City staple of an egg and cheese. No matter what time I need my breakfast, my mom is always there to make or buy it.

-While makeup comes slightly easier now, when I first started learning makeup, my mom was right alongside me blending my eyeshadow and fixing my cat eye.

My love of Youtube I developed all on my own. But, my mom has joined me at all my fangirling events (Bookcon, youtuber meet-and-greets, or movie premieres).

-After saying goodbye to my dog and cat, I say goodbye to my mom. She always knows what tests I have, what I am doing after school, and I am consistently able to walk out the door recognizing just how much love I am given.

It’s hard to imagine that in a few months my mom won’t be standing at the door screaming “don’t forget your lunch!”. I’ll miss her warm dinners, her excitement over books and movies, and her enduring love for me. In all that my mom has prepared me for, she hasn’t prepared me for a life without her.

So mom, I will try to do my own laundry and I will probably call you to ask you questions about how to use a stove. But I will also call you to hear your opinion on the Oscars and the latest New York Times Bestsellers. And I will call you because I love you.


hank you mom for making my mornings, and afternoons and evenings go smoothly. I love you more than I love youtube.


Your favorite daughter