Bloganuary Day 31: How do you feel when you look at the stars?

I love looking at the stars.

Alas, as I live in the city, I don’t see stars on the day to day. It is one of the things that I dislike about living in a city.

But when I do get a change to see stars, I feel the connection to things greater than me, of being a small cog in an extremely large wheel.

Looking at the stars is like looking at the blank page of the computer screen. The possibilities are endless…

Like or Discuss

Is the purpose of a book club to pick books to discuss, or is it to pick books to like?

I hate when I go to book club and the first thing someone says is:

“I hated the book”

The books I typically “Like” are light hearted and the conflicts are not too egregious. Or a psych thriller that is just crazy enough to make it a page turner and surprise me in a good way. Or a book on personal growth that just makes me see things in a new light. But honestly, these books are not necessarily ones that I wish to discuss in a book club…these are books I read clearly for entertainment… I don’t have any expectations that these will be the great American novel. I don’t necessarily expect them to be “good”.

What is a “good” book? For me, it means the language has cadence- there is a rhythm to the sentences and their structure. it means the story makes sense, there are no plot holes. The author has started out with an idea and seen it though to conclusion, so continuity. The characters are true to themselves and show the appropriate growth or lack of. I think a book needs to be historically accurate if it is a historical fiction. If the book chooses to use multiple perspectives, all the perspectives have to have a clear and unique voice.,

The books I read for book club I expect to have a little gravitas- I expect that I will not like some of the things, because quite often good books come with real conflict. It is very hard to “like” harrowing situations, times when people treat others so poorly you want to cry at the inhumanity.

So, if you belong to a book club, what are the types of books that you want to read and discuss?

How important is it to “like” a book in a book club setting?

What makes a book “good”?

What does “like” mean to you?


Bloganuary Day 30: Describe yourself as a tree

As many of you know, one of my absolute favorite books is “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith. I first read this when I was about ten, and it immediately became part of me. I love this book. I wish to write words that are impactful to someone as the words in this book are to me.

I really don’t have the words to do this prompt the justice which it deserves, so I will present you with a wonderful quote from the book:

Who wants to die? Everything struggles to live. Look at that tree growing up there out of the grating. It gets no sun, and water only when it rains. It’s growing out of the sour earth. And it’s strong because its hard struggle to live is making it strong. My children will be strong that way.”

What Inspired Me: January 30,2022

  1. A New York outpost of Sarashina Horii recently opened in NYC. Their signature is their soba made from the innermost part of the Japanese buckwheat seed, which produces a white noodle with a delicate flavor. Also a delicious flavor. You dip the cold noodles into the hot broth (this is one option) and then slurp them up. So good.
  2. Our tea society book club had its meeting via Zoom. so I set myself up for enjoyment. The book was Pocketful of Rye and the discussion was delightful!!
  3. I love brunch, and brunch at Bluebell London was just about perfect. Had gorgeous eggs benny done perfectly!!! There may have been a lavender honey mimosa as well…they call it Becky with the Good Hair- which I think is a perfect name for a cocktail
  4. Carnegie Hall- Wonderful program of classical music including Philip Glass Mad Rush and Samuel Barber String Quartet in B Minor. The Highlight was Penelope by Previn and Stoppard, featuring Renee Fleming and Uma Thurman as narrator. Thought the critics didn’t love it I thought it was decent.
  5. Restaurant week- we went to Morton’s steakhouse- wedge salad, filet, green beans almondine and matchstick fries followed up with key lime pie. Didn’t suck…
  6. Went to the Met- where my numerical visit was once again stymied by a closed gallery….if it’s not open next week I’m going to need to go out of order…But I did get to preview the Charles Ray. I felt like I was at a different museum, because the Met didn’t pack the room with work, as they tend to do. They gave the work breathing room. Much of the work is based on Huck Finn. Very well curated show, which excellent work displayed. The Boy has long been a favorite of mine. As I was looking to replace my failed attempt at Greco/Roman galleries 165 and 166, I wandered over to the Watson Library, where I had never been. They are in the middle of changing the exhibits, but I saw the beginnings of a curated selection of works by black authors. Will need to see in its entirety- It is very difficult to photograph because of the glass case and the overhead lights.
  7. Restaurant Week with my friends was lunch at Union Square Cafe- and as good as the food was, the company was better!! Had delicious mushroom soup and chicken milanese. Just a perfect winter lunch!! And much needed outing.
  8. I watched The Gilded Age on HBO. The first episode was very average, but it’s Julian Fellowes and it’s about old New York and the clothes… so I will continue to watch this no matter what

Bloganuary Day 29: How are you changing the world?

I don’t trust people who say they are going to change the world.

Saying that you want to change THE WORLD implies that you literally know what’s best for THE WORLD. It implies a degree of omniscience…and sorry…anyone with that much ego can’t help but be a bit dangerous. For every one person with good intentions towards saving the world, there are probably ten with nefarious intentions.

What I do believe in is people taking personal responsibility.

If we all took personal responsibility there would be no need to change the world. If people took care of their health, didn’t abuse substances, didn’t hurt others…If people took care of the children that they brought into the world…if people worked and didn’t spend more than they have…if people learned to respect others…

If every single person took care of themselves and respected others there would be no problems.

So I guess, if pressed to answer the prompt, I take care of myself. I take care of my daughter. I now help my parents. I take care of the pets that I’ve taken into my home. I take personal responsibility.

Gratitude Saturday January 29

When I was 17 I had a cavity. When I was 17 I had a filling to take care of the cavity.

It is the only cavity I’d ever had.

2020 happens. My dentist retires. I go two years without a dental appointment.

Finally, January of 2022, I go to the dentist.

He thinks I have a cavity.

I am crushed.

He Xrays the tooth to look at it closely.

Turns out it’s not exactly a cavity. my forty year old filling is coming loose. A cavity is beginning to form in the cavity (see that wordplay) between where the filling is breaking and my actual tooth because really, it’s a difficult spot to brush.

So dentist fixed the offending area.

And I was mad at myself for not getting to dentist sooner.


I am grateful that I caught this before it got worse. I am grateful for a very gentle hygienist and dentist.

And I urge all of you who worried about getting COVID but didn’t worry about all the other things that can happen to your body to please go out and get appropriate check ups. Please take care of all your health things… What I missed turned out to be easily fixed- no harm no foul. However, it could have gone much worse. Take care of yourself. Please.

Bloganuary Day 28: What is on your music playlist now?

I make really varied and weird playlists, because I will hear a random song and toss it on the list, with really no meaning as to why other than it moved me in some way. When you have this scattered attitude, you can wind up with literally anything.

The things that have been my favorites over the past month include:

  1. The soundtrack from the movie Belfast– which is lots of Van Morrison and just wonderful
  2. Mad Rush by Philip Glass performed by Simone Dinnerstein (which I saw her perform live last week at Carnegie Hall)
  3. Adele 30
  4. For Your Love Maneskin
  5. Head Up The Score
  6. Only Love Can Save me Now The Pretty Reckless
  7. Heavy is the Crown Daughtry
  8. Nothing Can Change you Goo Goo Dolls
  9. Hello It’s Me Todd Rundgren
  10. Here’s to Moving On Dashboard Confessional

My Month in Books and Movies: January 2022


Shakespeare for Every Day of the Yearedited by Allie Esiricompilation1
Hercule Poirot’s ChristmasAgatha Christiecozy mystery2
The MaidNita Prosecozy mystery3
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining WomenKate Moorenon-fiction 4
Perestroika in ParisJane Smileyfable5
When Ghosts Come HomeWiley Cashmystery6
The Narrowboat SummerAnne Youngsonwomen’s fiction/self reliance/starting over7
I’ll be Seeing YouElizabeth Bergmemoir8
Dava Shastri’s Last DayKirthana Ramisettiwomen’s fiction/family saga9
The PlotJean Hanff Korelitzpsychological drama10
A Little HopeEthan JoellaInterconnected short stories11
The Love HypothesisAli Hazelwoodrom com- there’s a misunderstanding and one sex scene12
The Last Thing He Told MeLaura Davepsychological thriller13
Fleishman is in TroubleTaffy Brodesser-Aknerliterary fiction14
If OnlyJudith Arnoldlight fiction- family/older woman15
  1. I like books that are to be read a page a day for a year. And it’s Shakespeare.
  2. Charming mystery for fans of Poirot. It’s light, but interesting and fun. Typical Christie
  3. Very quirky main character- I like quirky, but if you don’t, beware. Interesting take of judging people and expectations. On the light side, if you don’t want to think too much.
  4. I’m surprised by how much I liked this book. The story of the fight for justice for people poisoned by radium at their workplaces. Story is told simply, which in this case helps, because too much jargon would have made it a boor. A few too many details about how the women dressed and how much their husbands were in love with them- slowed down the story for me. Just because they were women doesn’t mean we need what can be referred to as feminine details. However, incredibly interesting tale.
  5. Sweet fable. The main characters are a horse and a dog and a bird. If this isn’t your thing, skip it. But if you just want a little lightweight charm, this is for you.
  6. Aging sheriff wondering what the future holds- surprised me in a good way
  7. Quaint story about three women coming to terms with changes in their lives, both wanted and unwanted. Light female empowerment- what you can do if you set your mind to it
  8. Memoir about needing to put parents in a care home. Written as a series of journal entries chronicling the way she felt about her parents feelings. Brings up many discussionable points- may write blog about it
  9. The premise of this book is really interesting- the actual book is not. Family saga that thinks it’s way more out of the box than it actually is. Could be interesting for a book club because there are things that would be good to discuss, but overall annoyingly average
  10. This is an easy read if you like psych dramas. The story moves at a reasonably brisk pace and there’s not to much to trip over. This is not necessarily a good thing. I expected more.
  11. This is not really a novel, not really short stories, so I don’t know what to really call it. It’s really about a few inhabitants of a small town and how they interact with one another, sort of. I applaud the author for trying to make sense of the random connections that we make with one another, yet I felt that pretty much every story was incomplete.
  12. If you were to see the cover of this book, you would get that it’s exactly like its cover- If you want a trite, predictable read, go no further. Sometimes I need that…
  13. There was a lot of hype about this book. I don’t get the hype.
  14. This is a reread for me (book club). I hated it when I first read it, because I hated all the characters. On the reread, I was able to concentrate on the bones of the book a bit more, and it is a well written novel. However, I still think the characters are precious and whiny and I really wanted them all to fail miserably.
  15. If only I hadn’t thought this book looked interesting when I saw it while browsing. This book annoyed me on many levels. The protagonist talks about how she eats salad with no dressing because she’s afraid of gaining weight. Why of why are we allowing women to do this to themselves. She hates every salad she eats- do I want to read this. The character is so bored with her life that she keeps imagining the paths that she should have taken. The problem is- who cares? She’s a trite, cliched boring character and no matter what road she took she would be a boring, trite, cliched character. it’s not shocking that she barely has any friends, a surface relationship with her children, and the most boring marriage. Let’s write about fun, intelligent women in their 60’s…not hollowed out shells.


MovieWhere SeenGenreRating
CODAApple TVfamily drama1
Being The RicardosAmazon Videobiopic/drama3
Parallel MothersTheaterforeign language/drama4
BelleTheaterforeign language/animated5
The Tender BarAmazon Videocoming of age6
The French DispatchTheaterabsurdist7
A Herotheaterdrama/foreign language8
MacBeththeaterdrama/you know…Shakespeare9
Don’t Look UpNetflixcomedy/satire11
The lost DaughterNetflixdrama12
In The Same BreathHBO Maxdocumentary13
  1. This movie is so good. Laugh. Cry. Experience all the feels. Great acting, great story, great screenplay- there is very little wrong with this film. If you can, subscribe to Apple TV for a month- watch this and Ted Lasso. Totally worth the money for the app to watch these shows.
  2. Beautiful songs, gorgeous animation. However, it tries to give too many messages. That being said, if you have a kid who loves Disney, this is a win
  3. Decent biopic- slightly choppy scene by scene. Editing could have been tighter. Excellent acting. In the battle of the Leading Actress biopic, I must give the edge to Nicole Kidman. IMO, the four leads should all be nominated for awards- the acting makes this movie come alive.
  4. This movie has moments of brilliance. It also has two excellent plot lines and neither felt complete or whole. Would be better if it focused on one story line and not two. I don’t think they meshed as well as the director hoped they would.
  5. Beautiful animation. Coming of age and resilience- but I felt there were plot holes
  6. Based on a memoir, this is a decent coming of age story with a better than average performance by Ben Affleck
  7. If you like the work of Wes Anderson, you will like this. Decent screenplay, but otherwise average
  8. Well done morality tale, but probably goes about three steps too far. Should have been shorter- movie drags into boringness
  9. Beautifully shot version of Shakespeare- but you really need to love MacBeth, because my Husband needed to leave the movie before he went mad…
  10. Very good documentary about the 2018 Presidential Election in Zimbabwe. Obviously seen from the viewpoint of the people opposed to the current President and officers. Makes you question the meaning of a Republic/Democracy. Has made the Oscar short list, but I don’t think it’s strong enough to garner a nomination.
  11. This is a decent satire featuring an all star cast. The story goes a little all over the place, and the script could/should have been better. While I don’t think it deserves an Oscar nod- the all star cast and topic will probably be hard for some to resist.
  12. I like Olivia Colman as an actress- however, I think she’s very average in this aspiring to be average drama about a women who keeps thinking about her past. Uneven and confusing pacing. I just didn’t care about the story or the characters.
  13. Documentary about COVID. Sorry- still too early for me to watch a doc about this topic. I question docs made while something is still happening. There was a point where Cuomo looked like a God- did we need a doc about that small portion of 2020? I don’t think this will be nominated for an Oscar.
This is the Barnes and Noble Bingo challenge. My goal is to complete the whole card this year! Feel free to do this with me!!!

Bloganuary Day 27: Where do you go when you need solitude?

I love my alone time.

That being said, I have places that I go to get a little me time. My local park is a favorite. The Metropolitan Museum of Art works. Barnes and Noble is a plus (this is one time I don’t want an indie book store- I want to get lost in the stacks and not have anyone offer to help me) However, the number one place I go when I need solitude is a movie theater.

There is nothing like a movie theater to get me to my happy place.

First off, I love movies and film and anything shown on a big screen with surround sound. I love the comfy recliner seats now popular in mega theaters, and I love the old school scratchy velvet seats- (always burgundy btw) of the indie houses… I love the smell of popcorn popping and the pseudo buttery topping. I love that the indie theaters have a selection of tea.

When I go in and sit in my seat, lean back, and just get absorbed in the moment I am in my ultimate happy place.

I tend to go to movies by myself because this is something I do entirely for me. It is also something I do to be completely alone. This is my ultimate solitude place. What ever was troubling me as I walked down the carpeted aisle will leave the moment I organize my coat and drink and snack…

Going to see movies in a theater. My ultimate indulgence. My ultimate place of solitude!!

The Uniform

My daughter sent me a picture recently. It was her and her roommates on a rooftop at some party. I asked her what the theme of the party was.

She said “what theme?”

And I said: “Well, you’re all in medium fade jeans and black tank tops. You’re all wearing white sneakers. And it even looks like your apple watch bands match.”

She responded: Nah.” No theme. That’s just the XYZ University started pack for weekend evenings.”

And I laughed. Because the group of kids most responsible for screaming about individuality and having 50 ways to express one’s sexuality is also the group most likely to become conformists.

And my daughter sent me a group shop of other people, and I saw what she meant: a bunch of young women in almost the exact same outfit. The guys all in jeans and graphic T shirts and sneakers…

So what makes these kids do this? Is it a feeling of belonging to a community? Or are they actually too scared to show who they really are?

I have friends who, like me, wear black most of the time. And then when they go on vacation, they attempt to figure out the style of the place they are going and adapt their wardrobe to that place. (FYI- I get that if you go to a tropical resort you may have to change up your style as your furry boots and wool turtlenecks might not work) I mean going to someplace with the same temperatures, but having a different style/look than you normally do.

Do you do this to blend in?


Do you do this to not stand out?

Are you adapting because you want to fully experience the place where you are, to add to the interest of your trip? Or are you trying not to be seen at all?

Now I fully admit that the style and look of the clothes my daughter wears is the same in DC as it is in NYC- her favorite clothes here are her favorite clothes there. So maybe this is just how Gen Z dresses…but I really don’t know

But now think about yourself: Do you dress in the clothes that make you feel confident from the inside? Or do you dress to feel accepted from the outside?

I know I feel more confident in my battery of black dresses and shirts and sweaters. I like the solid neutral palate that I can dress up with fun accessories. That’s my look and I’m sticking with it, no matter where I go or what I’m doing or who I’m with.

So how do you dress? As you like it, or as others do?