The One Where I Vent

Sorry- as referenced by the title, I’m using my blog to get some feelings out…Sometimes you just have to write and hit publish…



Went out to lunch with my parents, husband and daughter.

I ordered the special pasta- gramigna alla carbonara- cheese, guanciale, pepper-


My Dad ordered something different but tried mine. He agreed on the delicious part…

Now if you know me, I never eat a whole portion of food. I either split it or bring half home.

So there I am with my half portion of pasta that I’m bringing home…

My husband says-

You should give your leftovers to your Father…

I looked at him like he was nuts…

He said to my Father:

Take LA’s portion

My Father looked at him like he was nuts

My Husband thought it was ridiculous that I didn’t give my Father my leftovers…I thought it was ridiculous that my Husband thought I should…

OK- I don’t want to have the debate as to what I should have done.

What I do know is that my Father was appalled that my Husband was giving away my leftovers…


In my Father’s mind, I’m to be given things…

My Dad had a lot of faults. We had a dysfunctional family. But in his mind, you give to your kids. You don’t take from them.

I said to my Husband:

How would you feel if your daughter’s significant other gave away her food? Would you think they were a stand up person because they sucked up to you?

My Husband just glared at me.

I still think I was in the right. He thinks he was. There’s probably no definitive right answer…just opinions and thoughts…

Isn’t that the crux of any relationship?

Two people disagree.

They each think they are right, but in actuality, neither is right nor wrong…

They simply disagree…

And one of them gets to write about it in her blog…

Rant over.

Write it Down

Welcome to today’s version of “How A Book Inspired LA to write a Blog Post”

Today’s book: Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar.

While Akhtar considers this a novel, not a memoir, there are aspects of his real life in this book. Akhtar is a Pulitzer winning author so he has some literary street cred, so when he talks about his craft I listen.

Akhtar goes home at night and writes, with as much detail as he can muster, the events of his day. People, settings, feelings, situations….He will spend about two hours retelling his day.

Talk about a journal…

Is this the only thing besides actual talent that separates me from a Pulitzer? I just don’t take the time to write down the minutia (sometimes, not always) of my day?

Show of hands: How many of you journal? Brain dump? Morning pages? I can’t see you because I won’t Zoom, so tell me who you are.

How detailed do you get when you free write?

I do a brain dump in the morning. I tend to do a combo of things that I need to do that day and I probably obsess about one detail from the day before. There’s usually some reason I become fixated on something and eventually it probably becomes a blog. But I rarely write the whole thing- I did not talk about the smell of yesterday’s heat when I complained about it. I didn’t write down the body language of the guy I didn’t trust yesterday. I didn’t write down how I met someone for the first time and how he referred to me as Sister…

  1. Why didn’t I write these details down, when they are so clear in my mind?
  2. Should I be writing these details down?
  3. Is my lack of detailed notetaking the only thing that separates me from being a Pulitzer winner?
  4. Why have I become so obsessed with Pulitzer winners?

What do you think about writing down your day in detail?

Do you think you would benefit from it? Why or why not?

What do you think about free style journaling? Pro or con?

Write how you feel…

Showing and Telling

I like to fancy myself a reader and a writer.

I read everyday.

I write every day.

But it took me 54+ years of reading and writing to realize that there are really two types of writers: There are story tellers and there are wordsmiths.

What’s the difference?



and Nothing.

Presently I am reading a book called “The Go Between”. The plotline is very thin…there is one main thing going on, and it took about a third of the way in for the plotline to emerge. But the writing…poetic and lyrical. The sentence structure varies. The descriptions are unique. The only way the author keeps you guessing is by not knowing what literary device is being used next. We all know what’s going to happen to the main character and the sub characters…The author L.P. Hartley is a wordsmith.

I recently read a book “The Wife Upstairs”. This book is all plot. While the author tries to give us an updated Jane Eyre, there is really nothing outstanding about the writing. The words bring you from point A to point B. There is nothing lyrical about the language. There is nothing profound about the dialogue. There is little nuance- it’s an outline with a few trite descriptions thrown in…However, there is a more intricate plot. If you’ve never read Jane Eyre, you might be in for some surprises along the way. Even if you have read it, you still might be in for a ride. The author, Rachel Hawkins, is a storyteller.

Is it better to be a wordsmith or a storyteller?

It really all depends.

Both types of authors are valuable in the writing landscape.

But wordsmiths, well, their books tend to win awards. Their books get praise in The New York Times Book Review. These books are more likely to become classics, or have a long shelf life. These are the types of books that some people buy and never read, but tell people they read them.

Story tellers are more likely to end up on bestseller lists and actually read. These are books that keep you intrigued with what is happening, not the way that it’s presented. These are the books that become movies or TV shows. These are the books fancy people swear they never read.

Which books do you tend to read most?

Do you love a good story? The unpredictable plot? The boy meets girl saga? Or do you long for brilliant use of words? Do you live for first person accounts of looking at a tree and talking about the color of the leaves?

Think of the books that you read: Are they telling a story, or are they just using language to create word pictures?

Pros and Cons of both?

Can you think of a book that excels in both story telling and language use? And don’t tell me Pride and Prejudice because that’s too easy (and some will argue it’s just a romance book and I don’t feel like refereeing that debate)


What Inspired Me: June 27

What would I call this week?

Maybe Lights, Camera, Action…..

  1. Saw off off Broadway theater- LIVE- this company always does a very campy Agatha Christie play. Kitsch but fun…
  2. Saw a cabaret show at Tavern on the Green- I happened to see Kathyrn Gallagher on Broadway in Jagged Little Pill before the shutdown, so when my daughter told me she was performing I knew I had to see her. Secretly, was hoping her father (Peter Gallagher) was there because he is my secret crush…
  3. Also went to see H.E.R. live at Rock Center for the Today show taping. Don’t tell GMA that I cheated on them…
  4. Primary Day here in NYC- we get a new Mayor. We won’t know the candidates till July thought because of ranked choice voting which is new this year
  5. Harry Potter store- if you are a Potter fan, come on down in July when the Virtual Reality experience opens. The store and Butterbeer are pretty cool though
  6. The Shake Shack shake….SOOOOOO GOOOOD
  7. My daughter bought me a book with 30 Manhattan walks. My husband and I ventured out on the first walk, which was in Lower Manhattan. Happened upon the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which was very impressive. Onto the glass blocks are etched letters that Service people had sent home. Really moving. One of my new goals is to explore my city a little more- to look at things I may have walked by, or venture to neighborhoods I really don’t know very well.
  8. When my daughter finished kindergarten, we told her we would take her for dinner to celebrate the schoolyear. For the 15th year in a row, we went to Cowgirl…

Gratitude Saturday June 26

You all heard about how I dropped the dog poop in my purse…

I’m grateful that it was solid…

I was out the other night at a lounge where you sit on couches and when I got up to go to the ladies room my dress knocked over a glass

I’m grateful that the glass only had some ice cubes in it

I was at the museum using the facilities when my dress got tucked into my undies

I’m grateful that someone noticed it before I left and that I wasn’t wearing a thong

Saw a friend of my husband’s who I hadn’t seen since pre pandemic. I asked about his girlfriend and was told he was no longer seeing her

I’m grateful that I didn’t blurt out “Oh thank goodness because she’s a train wreck”

My Month in Books June

Yes. I read a lot this month.

I know people often comment about the amount that I read. I use Barnes and Noble Nook as an ereader, and they began a new feature that estimates how long it will take to finish a book. It’s based on how quickly you read. I thought I would add what my estimated reading times are and how long it took me to finish the books.

TitleAuthorHow I learned about bookNook estimated read timeActual read timeRanking
The GuncleSteven RowleyGoodreads Newsletter4 hr8 days1
Song of AchillesMadeline Millerdaughter5 hrs40 days2
Crying in H MartMichelle ZaunerGoodreads Newsletter3 hrs 24 days3
The Empathy DiariesSherry TurkleBuilding Book CLub4 hrs20 days4
The Missing Treasures of Amy AshtonEleanor RayIn Person browse Barnes and Noble4 hrs3 days5
The Music of BeesEileen GarvinCollege Book Club, GMA Friday Picks, Good Housekeeping4 hrs13 days6
The Soulmate EquationChristina LaurenGoodreads Newsletter4 hrs8 days7
People We Meet on VacationEmily Henrygoodreads newsletter, Real Simple5 hrs6 days8
Gunpowder GreenLaura ChildsTea Society book club3 hrs7 days9
Malibu RisingTaylor Jenkins Readeread author before, Good Housekeeping, Goodreads Newsletter, Jenna Book Club5 hrs4 days10
The Wife UpstairsRachel HawkinsGoodreads Newsletter4hrs11 days11
The NewcomerMary Kay Andrewsauthor I read before6 hrs4 days12
The Talented Miss FarwellEmily Gray Tedrowenot sure4 hrs6 days13
That SummerJennifer Weinerauthor I’ve read before, personal browse5 hrs2 days14
Family ReunionNancy Thayerauthor I’ve read before, personal browse4 hrs2 days15
This is how much I liked the books. It does not mean that the first book is great and the last book is bad. It’s just how much, at this moment in time, I enjoyed these things.
Still no BINGO. But I have hope for adding more next month!

Inspiration Begins Here…

I have a thing for upbeat self help books.

Sometimes they’re about organizing, sometimes about making my life cozier, or sometimes just how to see the good in every situation. I realize that not everyone likes or appreciates these sorts of books, but in a world where you can accidentally drop a piece of your dog’s poop into your purse (true story), I need a cheerleader. My personal cheer section comes in the form of these books.

One such book that I read in “The Lemonade Life” by Zack Friedman. And one section of the book that I found interesting/helpful focused on the Seven Wonders. Now, while the author did talk about the Seven Wonders of the World, what the author refers to in the book is YOUR personal seven wonders…

What are the things that inspire you?

I recently changed the name of my Sunday posts to “What Inspired me This Week”. I began to think about the things in my world that make me get out of bed in the morning, the things that make my heart race, the things that make my life worth living. It’s another form of gratitude to acknowledge that there are things in your life that make you happy…

I present you my Seven Wonders- the things that inspire me:

  1. Art- street art, old masters, my daughters school work framed on my wall- doesn’t matter. I love to look at sculptures, paintings, installations…whatever. If it falls under the category of art I’m in
  2. Music-All music inspires me- just depends on my mood. My playlist is eclectic….classical, jazz, hip hop, ROCK…if it has a beat of some sort, I’ll listen to it
  3. Food– I love to try food that is different and new to me. If I go out to eat I try to find food that I’ve never eaten or can’t/won’t try at home
  4. Flowers– can’t grow them but love to look at them. I could sit at the Botanic Garden and just look at the blooms
  5. The Written Word– come on- you know I love to read. As evidenced from this post, I get inspired by what I read in books- all books. I have rarely found a book that doesn’t move me
  6. Walking– I love to take walks- I love to stumble upon things I’ve never seen. I love to just move my legs, no real destination in mind. It’s about the journey
  7. Planner– when I look at my planner I feel hopeful. I can look at yesterday and appreciate the memories of what I did. I can look at today and see the things that I did to move my life along, and I can look at tomorrow and tomorrow and see what life has in store for me. And also, that a blank page is a page filled with possibility…

What are the things that inspire you?

What makes you, YOU?

Q and A

I had in my notes for todays blog:

If you ask a question on your blog- you have to be able to hear uncomfortable truths about yourself- Pepper V

First off- you would think I would have saved the blog post that inspired me to write this note- but I’m obviously not that smart. A blogger wrote a post that I thought was worthy of exploring…and I forgot…


So now, I wonder what I was thinking about and what made me write this note…I obviously thought it was interesting because I WROTE IT IN MY PLANNER

But where was I going with it?!?!

Ok- let’s delve into my mind for a second. I know my mind is a deep, dark, scary place that you clearly need a compass and detailed map to navigate, but I promise I will kind of, sort of guide you…

Do we really want to know anything about ourselves?

Do we really want to know what others think about us?

People tell me I look like Susan Sarandon.

I hate this.

I hate this with a blinding passion (but not as much as I hate Zoom however…)

While I think Ms. Sarandon has many fine attributes…I don’t want to look like her…

If I were to show you a picture (don’t get your hopes up) I would expect you all to say that I don’t look like SS…

But if any of you did…

I would be annoyed…

But at some point I may have to concede that I might bare a tiny resemblance to her…

My uncomfortable truth would be that I’m not the sort of attractive that I WANT TO BE

We see ourselves in a certain way- people break that illusion.

I thought I was intelligent until I became a parent. I quickly realized that I know nothing. And boy does my daughter point that out..

No matter how confident you are, no matter how much you love yourself…

What other people say to you, or about you, matters…

I read a parenting adage once, that every time you say something negative to your child, you need to say one hundred positive things to make up for the one thing.

100 positives to counteract 1 negative…

Is that how our brains work?

Do we seek outer validation to balance the scales?

Are there times when we just can’t take one more thing being said against us?

If we ask a question, do we want the truth?

Or do we want our version of the truth?

Are we scared to see what we are really like?

Are we scared that we might not like who we really are?

Are we scared that people can see through our illusion?

If we ask a question, do we really want an answer?

Ok- that’s all I have…

I’m asking questions: give me some uncomfortable truths…

Who’s on First

I am going to give you a list of food- They are all meat/filling encased by dough and usually fried, but can be baked or steamed. The list is alphabetical.

  • Banh Bot Loc (Vietnam)
  • Buuz (Mongolia)
  • Chuchvara (Central Asia)
  • Coxinhas (Brazil)
  • Empanadas (South America)
  • Gyoza (Japan)
  • Khinkali (Georgia)
  • Knish (Eastern Europe)
  • Kreplack (Eastern Europe)
  • Kroppkaka (Sweden)
  • Mandu (Korea)
  • Manti (Turkey)
  • Maultaschen (Germany)
  • Modak (India)
  • Momos (Tibet, Nepal, India)
  • Pasteles (Puerto Rico)
  • Pastizzi (Malta)
  • Pelmeni (Russia)
  • Pierogi (Poland)
  • Ravioli (Italy)
  • Rissois (Portugal)
  • Samosa (India)
  • Siu Mai (China)
  • Svestkove Knedliky (Czech Republic)
  • Tamales (Mexico)
  • Vareniky (Ukraine)
  • Wontons (China)

I’m sure that there are many more variations of the dough/filling thing…but thanks to, we have at least a small list…

So the question is:

Which of these dishes came first? Which one was the very first dough/filling thing?

And which culturally appropriated ones do we shame because they are just a mere copy?

Do you have a dough/filling combo that you think was the very first of its type?