Gratitude and Such: 4/30/22

My daughter is studying abroad for three weeks this summer. This has screwed her up as to trying to find a summer internship because companies want her to start on day X, and she’s unable to start until day Y. Yesterday she got offered a position that is flexible as to when she can start. Huzzah

I am grateful that she was able to obtain a position that she is interested in, and able to start when she needs to.

If you need some prompts for mindfulness or journaling:


Take a bigger view

The only thing that we know is that we know nothing- and that is the highest flight of human wisdom. Leo Tolstoy

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while. Gretchen Rubin

My Month in Books and Movies: April 2022


TitleAuthorGenreBeach Read/Book Club/Personal Introspection/how toRating
Lessons in ChemistryBonnie Garmuswomen’s fiction/strong female characters/gender equalitybook club1
In Love: A Memoir of Love and LossAmy Bloomnon-fiction/memoir/assisted suicide/living with loss/Alzheimer’s
book club2
Smile: The Story of a FaceSarah Ruhlnon fiction/memoir/essay/living with Bell’s PalseyPersonal Introspection3
The Woman Who Took a ChanceFiona Gibsonwomen’s fiction/women of a certain age/deciding to date at 50Beach Read4
The Best of MeDavid Sedarisnon fiction/memoir/essayPersonal Introspection5
The School for Good MothersJessamine Chandystopian fiction/motherhood/gender roles and expectationsbook club6
Leopard is a Neutral: A Really Useful Style GuideErica Daviesnon fiction- fashion and style guidehow to7
Home Sweet Maison: The French Art of Making a HomeDanielle Postel-Vinaynon fiction/home decorating/Francophilehow to
The Love of My LifeRosie Walshfiction/psych thriller/differing perspectivesBeach Read9
heard it in a love songTracey Garvis Gravesfiction/love story/divorce/finding yourselfBeach Read10
  1. Lessons in Chemistry– I loved this book. Strong, tough, unapologetic female protagonist. If you love Bernadette, Eleanor and The Maid you should give this book a look. If only the world would take women seriously…does a brilliant job about what it feels like to be a woman. I can’t imagine this won’t be in my top five books of the year.
  2. In Love– Be warned- this could be a difficult read as it deals with assisted suicide and Alzheimer’s. However, it is a beautifully written account of a woman dealing with the final stages of her Husband’s life. Sad and tragic, heartfelt and beautiful. A contender for my best books of the year.
  3. Smile: The Story of a Face– Well done memoir about a playwright who developed Bell’s Palsey after the birth of her twins. She doesn’t shy away about talking about her anger and frustration with both her condition, the treatments she sought and her feelings about not being able to show facial emotion. She’s very real- which is what I appreciated about this book-
  4. The Woman Who Took a Chance– Ok-this book will never win awards. However, if you want a light read about woman of a certain age, that isn’t too taxing, and makes you lightly chuckle, this book is for you. It verges on being cute, but sometimes I need that, and after a few books that made my head spin, this was just right.
  5. The Best of Me– There were three things I thought as I read this book: 1) this is brilliant 2) Well, I could have written this and 3) what a load of crap. I’m guessing it’s sort of what you feel when you read my blog… Some essays are better than others, but Sedaris is clearly a smart guy with a way with words
  6. The School for Good Mothers– This book made me cringe. Set in a not so distant future dystopian Philadelphia, it centers around a school set up to punish parents for their bad parenting behavior. Much to dissect regarding parental roles and responsibilities, gender and parenting, what is good parenting, and how society treats parenting and views of what makes a good parent. If anyone else has read this, would love to discuss the ending.
  7. Leopard is a Neutral-This time of year I tend to overload on organizing and style books- I guess it goes along with spring cleaning. This had some really good moments, and some average ones. OK book if you want to add a little spark to your wardrobe, but not a style bible by any means.
  8. Home Sweet Maison– I have a thing for lifestyle books, and things either French or British. I love reading about style (probably because I have none) and how people take care and organize and decorate their home. I found this mildly entertaining and interesting.
  9. The Love of My Life– Have you ever been to a pyrotechnic display, where you think it’s going to be an amazing display, and then the fireworks is a total dud? That’s how I felt about this book. I started out really engrossed in this book- I liked the protagonists. It was an interesting storyline. Then…pfffft…peters out. Disappointing.
  10. Heard it in a Love Song– If you want a book about two people meeting and getting to know one another without awkward moments, this is fine. The main characters have been divorced and are figuring out how to find love again. I think the characters are a bit too idealized, and it’s as if the author doesn’t want them to have any major faults, and I think that is not realistic. While I get that the author was trying to portray that sometimes relationships don’t work out because of nothing major, in a book it sort of falls flat.


TitleGenreWhere Seenrating
The DukeBased on true story/light comedyTheater- Angelika1
The Rose Makerforeign (French), dramedy, personal growthTheater (Angelika) 2
Everywhere Everywhere All at Oncesci fi/action/female empowerment/mother-daughter relationships/foreign (Chinese) in partsTheater – AMC3
The Lost Cityaction/adventure/rom comTheater- AMC4
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledoreaction/fantasy/continuation of Fantastic Beast seriesTheater- AMC5
The Northmanaction/adventure/ShakespearianTheater- AMC6
Turning Redanimated/kids 10-13/puberty and changes/what it’s like to be a girlDisney plus7
Raya and the Last Dragonanimated/childrens/strong female characters/nominated for 2022 OscarDisney plus8
All the Old Knivesdrama/thriller/spiesAmazon Prime9
Coming to America 2comedy/sequel/nominated for 2022 OscarAmazon Prime10
  1. The Duke– Hmmm- Charming and understated may just be the keys to movies that I enjoy. Broadbent and Mirren are wonderful as always. Based on the time the painting of The Duke of Wellington from the national gallery in London. I’d never heard of this incident, so it was a mini history lesson as well. Good if you just like a simple story with gentle undertones of humor.
  2. The Rose Maker – Charming, understated look at a woman trying to save her business and the unlikely trio that helps it happen. Friendship, mentoring, personal growth all tied up in a pretty scented bow. This is for someone who likes a quiet movie about people with no bells and whistles.
  3. Everywhere– This movie is not for everyone. It’s a bizarre combo of science fiction multiverse, action flick and relationship movie. Story very interesting, but not for people who like there timeline to go sequentially. Some violence, some touching moments, some things that are just plain off the wall. Good for real movie buffs who are looking for something different and possibly ground breaking.
  4. The Lost City– Although a not quite as good version of Romancing the Stone, I still enjoyed this romp about a writer and her cover model needing to get themselves out of the jungle. Charming Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum and Brad Pitt. Some laughs, some squirms, some romance. Good if you just want some light entertainment
  5. Fantastic Beasts-I admit that this is not a great movie. However, I like the whole Harry Potter/wizarding world thing, so it’s the sort of movie I gravitate to. Plus, Jude Law plays a young Dumbledore- seriously- Jude Law.
  6. The Northman– While there is much good in this movie, mainly filming and cinematography, with gallant nods to Shakespeare and mytho;ogy, on the whole it was a miss for me. I love words and there just weren’t enough dialogue to make me happy. However, I think there is an audience for this film- just not me.
  7. Turning Red– It’s cute, but not necessarily clever. Best for girls who are learning about the changes that their bodies will undergo via puberty. Everyone else can skip it.
  8. Raya and the Last Dragon– cute movie with fun Akwafina voicing the dragon. The story was kinda/sorta like some other superhero flick that happened somewhat recently, so D for originality, but overall an endearing film that is probably best for kids between 7 and 10. Younger might get scared, older might get bored. Strong female characters though, so big plus for that. Not worth subscribing to Disney plus for unless a female between 7 and 10.
  9. All the Old Knives- This is neither a good nor a bad movie- it’s exceedingly average. While the storyline has merit, the movie is misguided in its attempt to leave us on the edge of our seats. Waste of a solid cast.
  10. Coming to America 2– Has some funny moments but does not have the heart or spirit of the original. Fine if you just want to chill in front of the TV and you already have prime. Well deserved academy nod for make up.

Shorts- Animated- 2022 Oscar Nominees

Windshield Wiper1
Robin Robin2
Affairs of the Art4
I really did not enjoy any of these- I don’t even know what I watched for the most part. My favorite is because I thought the actual animation was gorgeous.

Windshield Wiper did end up winning the Oscar.

Self Helping

I am a sucker for a good self help book.

OK- I am a sucker for a good book in general, but I can’t help but gravitate towards book that cheerlead. I like a full on, pompoms and pyramid building Go Team experience.

Why do I like these books? I have no idea. I am not the type of person who leads the group in the school fight song…I tend to be the person in the back making sarcastic comments about the proceedings. So what is my addiction to happy go lucky self help?

Do I secretly want to be Queen of the Pep Squad?


Do I often see so much mediocre in my day to day, that I need to pick up my spirits, and a book that screams out BE AWESOME is just the ticket I need to get out of depressionville and into happyland?

I guess it doesn’t really matter WHY- I guess it just matters that when I read one of these books I automatically feel better. It’s a relatively harmless way to treat myself. The cost is a book…the side effects are a dash of positivity and perhaps a slightly different outlook. Is there a downside to my odd self help addiction? Not one that I know of. We all know I’m never going to veer towards toxic positivity…so I think I can figure out how to balance things out.

Now- I know I can be negative sometimes. And I can be mean in my head (or in your face if you irk me enough) but I think my scales don’t tip too much to one side or another. Emphasis on think- I know I can be, let’s just say passionate, about things, and I can tend to talkreallyfast and/or GET REALLY LOUD… But I also recover quickly. My Husband was always amazed when my daughter and I would be yelling at one another, and five minutes later we were hugging and best friends… Maybe that’s my superpower- recover quickly from bad to maybe not necessarily good, but at least neutral…

However you look at it, I like the way self help books make me feel. They give me a practical way of looking on the bright side, or at least the not so dark side. The practical is the part that works for me: these books break things down into manageable steps- they give me the guide on how to see things in a different light. They teach me how to be a little more of whatever it is I’m looking for at the present moment. They don’t TELL me what to do- they SHOW me how to do it.

How do you feel about self help books?




Never tried?

Tell me anything about self help:

These are a few of my favorite things…

Every now and then I need to take stock of the things in my life that really make me smile. Obviously, pets and friends and family, but sometimes there are tangible things that are an integral part of my life. I try to eschew material goods, however, some things are just made for me.

These are the things I use/admire every day:

  1. my ipad- Books, email, wordle, blog comments. I would be lost without this handy little piece of tech
  2. pink gel pens
  3. planner
  4. device that keeps my tea warm while I write
  5. water bottle with a strap
  6. fuzzy slippers
  7. fuzzy robe
  8. mattress base that adjusts up
  9. my vanity
  10. my desk
  11. spotify playlist
  12. hot water bottle
  13. eye pillow that can be heated or chilled
  14. fresh flowers
  15. loose leaf tea

Now it’s your turn: What are some things that make your life better?

Put it in the Calendar

I’ve reached the age where I have to worry about my parents and their health. So as I navigate this stage of life, I am trying to figure out what to do and how to do it. I’ve been trying to share my hard earned knowledge with my husband so that when he starts doing this for his parents, he can learn from my mistakes and lack of knowledge. There are so many paths to navigate, and everyday I realize that something should have been done a different way.

So with this in mind, I have been thinking about a few things:

Should a person just set a date in the future where they start to give power to someone that they trust and respect? Like…at 65, should I start to give my daughter power of attorney over certain aspects of my life? Should I begin to make her my HIPAA guardian, so to speak?

Here’s my reasoning: I’ve noticed that by the time my parents needed help, it was really hard getting my sister and I added to things. We are still in the process of making sure that we can talk to all their medical professionals, and that we can help them with bills and such. It’s a lot of work.

And then I must add…while my parents are mentally capable at this point, who’s to say that I will be as I age? I watch “This is Us”. I’ve read a few memoirs of people facing this, as well as seeing parents of my friends deal with dementia. To need to unravel all the things you need to help a parent who is facing dementia is daunting…

So I’m seriously considering setting up some sort of trust where at age 65 my daughter has the ability to help out and jump in to help me out. And making my husband do the same. I don’t want her to have to worry out the pesky details- I want her to be able to concentrate on helping us and her still being able to function in her own life.

Does that make sense?

I get that some people do worry about whether or not they will be able to trust another to take care of their “stuff”. I understand that. That’s a real fear. But ever since I saw that based on a true story movie about the woman who managed to become ward of some older people and take all their money, I figure that I 150% trust my daughter more than anyone else.

Would you be willing to pick an age to have someone else have the ability to jump in and help out? Or do you just not want to cede control?

Tell me your feelings on any part of this…


When It’s Easy

Did you ever have a week when everything went your way? The weather was as you needed it to be, the errands that you had the run were done seamlessly, problems you had managed to find easy solutions. How did that magical week make you feel? Were you kinder or happier because things went your way?

Now imagine a week where absolutely nothing goes right: pet is sick, car got a flat, boss didn’t like the work you did on a project that you worked on for months…How does that make you feel? Were you kinder or happier that week?

Is it easier to be happier, kinder, whatever word you want to use, if things are going your way?

I’ve never done an analysis on this, but I would take a guess and say that if things are generally going well in your life, it’s easier to be a more pleasant person.

Which then begs the question:

If things are not going well in your life, how do you get through the day to day without being a rotten person to be around?

What’s the secret formula to being a kind, generous, happy (whatever) person when the chips are decidedly down?




Self confidence?

Something I haven’t thought of because I’m not that good at this?

What do you think is the secret sauce that keeps people on an even keel when they are going through a rough patch?

And to spice things up a bit…

Is it acceptable for someone to be a tad of a downer or mean or cranky if they are going through a bad patch?


What Inspired Me: 4/24/22

  • Flowers. Need I say more?
  • Basquiet exhibit is well curated. His family has firm hold of his estate, and were instrumental in helping with this exhibit that gives us a look into his life from angles we may not have seen before.
  • Louise Bourgeois is a decent special exhibit. I didn’t really know who she was, and this gave me a glimpse.
  • I saw “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” from beginning to end for the first time. This is a movie that I somehow always manage to catch a part of on TV, but never in its entirety. Well done, but for a movie that takes on the limousine liberals at their game via race, it still makes women out to be second class citizens, unless you detect a tone of sarcasm when Hepburn says that her daughter needs a man to follow around like she did…I can’t quite tell. But- worth seeing
  • American Buffalo on Broadway is a master class in acting by Lawrence Fishburne and Sam Rockwell. Just brilliant. Circle in the Square is a theater where the seats are sort of horseshoed around the stage, so you get an intimate glance. We happened to be at an angle where we could see the actors as they exited the stage, and to see Rockwell break into a genuine smile as he walked off the stage was priceless- they knew they did good…
  • Had a mocktail at Sarabeth’s- I know it had lemonade and vanilla syrup and lavender, don’t know what it was called (special that day) but it was delicious!!
  • Rezdora received a well deserved Michelin star last year. Food was amazing. My dish was “Grandma walking through forest in Emilia”. How do you not order something with that name? Basically, spinach pasta with leaks and mushroom puree….
  • Have you played Semantle yet? My daughter introduced it to me last weekend- hard, but addictive…

Gratitude Saturday and Such

I recently bought a new pair of gym leggings at Target. I went to self checkwith my leggings, Cascade, toilet paper, and some candy for my Daughter’s Easter basket. Rang myself up and left the store.

When I got home, I put all the things away, and tossed the receipt- I didn’t need it. I was keeping everything I bought.

Big mistake.

I went to put on the leggings the next day and realized that Target now puts sensors on all the clothes, even the inexpensive athletic ware.

I know I don’t have the receipt. I know I can’t wear the shorts with the sensor on it.


I call Target and I relate my tale of woe.

The rep at Target says just come in, show us ID, and we’ll take the tag off.

I am grateful to Target for not giving me grief and figuring out a workaround to my issue.

If you need some prompts for mindfulness or journaling:


Step lightly

Gratitude acknowledges connection…when we contemplate our place in the intricate, independent network of life, we feel wonder and joy. Robert A. Emmons

Celebrate any progress. Don’t wait to get perfect. Ann McGee-Cooper

Anything Can Happen Friday: The Boot

I used to own a car.

I sold the car at least eight years ago.

So, a few weeks ago I get a letter in the mail: In short, it states that I owe money regarding car, but the letter gives no hint as to how much I owe, nor why I owe this money. It just says I owe money and if I don’t pay, my car is at risk of being booted or towed. This letter contains so few details, I think it’s a scam, and I am wary of doing anything with it.

Bottom line: my non existent car is at risk for being booted.

The number to call if there are any questions is 311, which is the NYC standard information line. Basically, it’s customer service. We all know how I feel about customer service…

So I call 311. I supply the license plate info. The representative that I’ve reached says that when she searches the license plate number, there is nothing there, ie- the system says that I don’t owe anything.


She asks me five times what infractions the letter states that I have committed. I repeat, six times for good measure, that the letter gives no details. She asks if I turned the letter over.


She asked if I turned the letter over…

She then passes me off to a “parking specialist”. The parking specialist takes my info and clicks away, and says that I owe 437.30. I ask her from what days. She says she doesn’t have that information- she just knows that I owe that amount.

But how do you know that I owe something if you don’t have the specific incidents? I ask

Because the computer told me you owe the money. She replied.

What happens if I don’t pay the money that you can’t actually prove that I owe? I ask

Your car will get booted or towed. she says.

I say that’s some magic trick that I would love to see.

She was not amused.

She says that I need to pay the money. I ask her if she would pay a bill that really isn’t a bill. She said she would totally pay a bill even if there was no back up information…I burst out laughing. She then said, huffily, that I could go to X office on Y street and they could give me info- blah blah blah.

I ask my husband what I should do- he says go to office and find out what’s going on. I really don’t want to go to a city agency and end up getting arrested because I called someone a petty functionary with a clipboard. So I pass on this for now.

I call my daughter who is slightly better versed in things legal, and has worked for NYC government, and she tells me to blow it off until I get another letter. She says there isn’t a judge who will look at this case if the agency has failed to provide me with details, and there is no case number or frankly anything that identifies it other than the license plate number. She said it’s not a case: it’s a computer glitch.

So I listen to my daughter, because the lazy way is far more appealing.

Yesterday, I get a letter in the mail:

When I see the envelope my initial worry is that they are now providing me with proof. But my ten seconds of worry was for naught.

Big letters:


The letter dated March 31, 2022 was sent to you in error.

So there you go. Another day in the big city. I only wonder how many calls were put in to 311 from other irate people who received the same letter as I.

Another Blog About Shoes

My Daughter thinks I should up my shoe game.


I have reached the magical age where I tell my Mother the things that she needs to do, and I send her reminders AND my daughter tells me all the things that are wrong with my personal style. Who said your late fifties weren’t fun?!

I recently went to a wedding. As I had tossed all my dressy shoes out early in pandemic (I decided that heels were the devil) I needed to purchase a pair of shoes that looked nice with my fun, party dress, but also treated my feet like the ladies that they are. So I bought a low heel shoe with some sparkle on top. Cute and practical and good for an evening out. I loved them. I showed them to my daughter via Zoom. She was less than impressed. Way less…

“How could you wear those shoes?” she asked

“I put them on my feet, strap the buckle and I walk” I replied.

She was not amused.

“Why are you making yourself old?” she asked.

I took a beat and thought about it. Does buying low heeled shoes signify getting old? Does it mean I no longer care how I appear to others? Does it mean that I am giving up?




I guess that the beauty of aging is realizing what is important to the individual. Yes, perhaps buying lower heels as I age signifies that my feet are not quite as springy as they used to be. I have some tendon issues that make angling my foot in a heel very tenuous. It also makes wearing flip flops a problem because I can’t really “grip” with my toes without causing pain. With age comes the realization that I don’t have to be put fashion first.

I also care about the way I look. I really wanted my shoes to match the look of my dress. I was wearing a cocktail dress, and I I wanted cocktail shoes…I wanted something that was a little fancier than my everyday kicks. However…I don’t care what others think of my look. If people mock me due to my pretty yet sensible shoes, so be it.

Of course, wearing low heeled shoes does not mean that I am old. It just means that I don’t wear high heeled shoes. Period. One does not correlate to the other.

We all change as we age. We toss some things out as we bring others in. It’s neither good nor bad: it’s just learning who we are and what makes us happy. So cheers to the upside of aging- figuring out who we are and liking it.