Even in Europe, our wandering offered up quirky experiences- because there are always quirky experiences.

Charles Wheelan- We came, We Saw, We Left

Are there always quirky experiences?

Well, I guess that’s how we define quirky…Per our friends at merriam-webster.com:

quirky – unusual in especially an interesting or appealing way

I told you, when we were in Barcelona, our tour driver drove through the plaza to pick us up. While that might not seem odd to some people, that’s something I’ve never seen in NYC, and if there is a capital of Quirktown, it will definitely be New York City…

For example, my Husband and I were driving to see my friend at the shore- as we were driving through Manhattan, I saw a woman walking a pig. On a leash. And this wasn’t one of those cute little pigs that celebrities have- this was a big pig. Big. On another occasion, I saw someone walking a lamb…


So, what quirky things have you seen or experienced, either on vacation or in your hometown?


Have you never had a quirky experience?


I Blame …

The Lesson is clear: when the going gets tough, humans find scapegoats.

Charles Wheelan- We Came, We Saw, We Left

I’m going to let you write my blog today:

Do we look to blame above all else?

When there’s a problem or an issue, is our first reaction to say:

He did it!

She made the error.

They started it.

Is it easier to point a finger than it is to actually do something?

In your everyday life, how often do you blame other people, other groups, just others in general?

Have you ever said: Well, the Republicans…

Have you ever said: Well, the Democrats…


The Fridge


A few months back, blogger Cheryl wrote a post about what your personality based on fridge contents and such. This highly amusing, and spot on analysis of my personality, btw, made me wonder what can you tell about a person by the contents of their fridge. So today I present to you my fridge.

What does my fridge say about me?

As you notice, I keep nothing on the outside of my fridge except fingerprints. I have long given up keeping it smudge free. I just don’t care enough. If my kitchen were bigger or I spent more time there my answer might be different.

I traditionally clean out my fridge monthly. I totally admit that I had just cleaned out the freezer the other day. My daughter somehow manages to make this area a disaster, so it really needed a cleanse.

My fridge, on the other hand, was on next weeks to do list. But as I was taking a picture, I cleaned the fridge out after I realized what today’s post would be. Of course that would be 7am on Saturday morning. My husband was not thrilled…

I decided to relocate the lazy susan of condiments from the bottom shelf to the middle shelf. I’m not sure where this really belongs- I feel like it’s lost being on the bottom, but don’t know if having leftovers in the middle, alongside my EAT ME FIRST bin, is the right move. Thought? How do you store leftovers and condiments?

So when you look at my fridge…what does it say about me?

What does your fridge look like and what does it say about you?

Veni, Vidi, etc…

Gratitude and Mindfulness: 8/27/22

My daughter began her senior year of college this week. On Wednesday I got a text from her. In the text was a picture of her and her roommates, holding a sign saying “First Day of Grades 15 and 16”. Of course, I started crying.

I am grateful that my daughter and her roommates were thoughtful enough to send this sweet note to all the Mom’s who have recorded every one of these “firsts”. I’m also grateful that no one at the gym saw me crying, because I was getting ready for class when she sent the text.

My word for the week is GRACE. Here’s how it was used in the books that I’m reading:

  1. Don’t look over your shoulder. The past is past. Just try to get through it, and give yourself some grace. Mary Kay Andrews
  2. These are the moments when we have to find the most grace: when we come to atone for the worst ravages of our conduct in darker times, when we have to tell truths that we’d rather ignore. Katherine May
  3. I’m not long for this world. My days of grace are far spent. Daniel Black
  4. She thinks about what Tabitha said, about how hard things had been for her in New York when she was younger, and wonders if in twenty years she and John will be more like Tabitha and Perry are now, if they will be confident and calm, if they have the money and the grace and the experience to handle anything. Eleanor Brown
  5. He was laughing, reveling in the presence of his beloved girl. He was full of grace. Stephanie Foo
  6. Her natural poise and grace combined with everything she had learned in her time in the limelight became the building blocks for taking my father from visionary to successful working artist. Lian Dolan
  7. It’s (China) ornamental floral descendants grace our springtimes with bold yellow forsythias and splashy rhododendrons, azaleas, and camelias; our summers with roses, peonies, gardenias, clematis, apricots, and peaches; our autumns with chrysanthemums; and our winters with citrus- oranges, grapefruit and lemons. Sarah Rose
  8. And also that in every tragedy, large or small, there are moments of remarkable grace. Kristin van Ogtrop
  9. Glenn compares the hungover state to conditions of nirvana or grace. Rob Walker
  10. Tyson writes for everyone and refutes science-deniers with humor and grace, in books, on radio and television, and most pithily, on Twitter. Jane Mount
  11. You’ve got to move on from the end of your marriage, and you’ve got to let go with good grace, because you have two wonderful sons who are the best part of your life, and you love them, and that’s an incredible gift from your ex-husband. Natasha Lunn

Here’s how I’m going to think about GRACE:

  1. Is grace tied into religion?
  2. Do we ever give ourselves grace, or are we too hard on ourselves?
  3. When we use the word grace, what do we actually mean?
  4. What are synonyms and antonyms for grace?
  5. Does grace have negative connotations?
  6. Can Grace be learned?
  7. quote 8- When amidst a tragic situation, are we able to see and value the grace, or is it only seen in hindsight?
She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

My Month in Books and Movies: August 2022

Book AuthorGenreBook Club/Beach Read/Personal Inspiration/How ToRating
The BodyguardKatherine Centerfiction/women’s fiction/light fiction/rom comBeach Read1
Don’t Cry For MeDaniel Blackfiction/literary fiction/epistolaryBook Club2
The Beekeeper of AleppoChristy Lefterifiction/literary fiction/refugees/lossBook Club3
The HomewreckersMary Kay Andrewsfiction/women’s fiction/cozy mystery/HGTV centricbeach read4
Again, RachelMarian Keyesfiction/women’s fiction/addiction/loss/lots of triggersBeach Read5
Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack LightHelen Ellisnon fiction/essays/middle age womenbeach read6
Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult TimesKatherine Maynon fiction/self help/guiding through difficult timespersonal growth7
Any Other FamilyEleanor Brownfiction/women’s fiction/adoption/infertility/new view of familybeach read?8
The Summer PlaceJennifer Weinerfiction/women’s fiction/family saga/multiple viewpointsbeach read9
Delphine Jones Takes a ChanceBeth Morreyfiction/women’s fiction/confidence/moving on/beach read10
The Locked Room (Ruth Galloway 14)Elly Griffithsfiction/cozy mystery/sequelbeach read11
Marrying the KetchupsJennifer Closefiction/different POV/family sagabeach read12
  1. Bodyguard– This is not an Pulitzer nominee, or a quotable book, or one with lyrical language. However, what it is, is my perfect beach read. It’s light, it has humor, it has a very likeable main character, it’s told in a light and breezy manner. Yes- you can predict all the way through the book, but I didn’t care- I was all in for the ride. Textbook rom com. I’m guessing it will be in my top 10.
  2. Don’t Cry For Me– Beautiful and touching and sad first person narrative about a man coming to terms with what it means to be a man and a father, and how he regrets mistakes that he made, and wishes that he’d come to grips with things sooner.
  3. Beekeeper– Beautifully worded sad tale of a man trying to survive Syria and the refugee process. Not a lighthearted travel romp, but a gut wrenching tale of survival both mental and physical. Would make for a great discussion on many levels.
  4. Homewreckers– This is how I like my beach reads- a little mystery, a little romance, and a little home design. There is nothing ground breaking about this novel, but it’s a fun story, with likeable characters, and it moves at a reasonable brisk pace. My con is that the 32 year old heroine seems older, not like the basic millennial we’ve all come to know, so I don’t know how authentic this character would feel to someone younger than me. If you need a pleasant distraction, this might work.
  5. Again, Rachel– Over 500 pages- does any book need to be that long? There’s a lot to unpack in this book, and it deals with many triggering subjects, yet it does so with a light hand, so I don’t know how discussionable this book would be in a book club setting. The author is obsessed with expensive things and beautiful people, and I could have done without the clothing descriptions and gorgeous characters- it takes away from the harsh realities that this book deals with. That being said, I think Keyes is a decent writer for the genre.
  6. Bring Your Baggage– Ellis is a witty and clever writer, with a sense of adventure. I have no doubt if you met her at a party she would have you laughing. She talks of being a woman of a certain age, and all the fun things that surround that. Charming and funny, but I think you need to be a woman of a certain age to appreciate
  7. Wintering– The theme of this book is how to embrace winter in order to, I guess, balance out your life. She thinks of winter and cold and snow as a sort of renewal- taking a cold bracing swim to sort of prove that you’re alive, then sheltering yourself in blankets and hot drinks as a way of taking care of oneself. I found it a refreshing perspective, but not necessarily one that I want to embrace. However, I am going to try to think more positively about winter, traditionally a less favorite season of mine.
  8. Any Other Family– A woman has four children and they are adopted by three different families- this is a story about how the three families form a different family so the siblings will know and grow up with one another. The concept is interesting- the story itself is trite and predictable in places. I saw some flashes of myself, the not so good parts, in two of the characters, and that’s a wake up call that I didn’t need. It’s not a bad book, I just don’t know if I can recommend it, or who I would recommend it to. It does have some moments that made me think.
  9. Summer Place– Weiner is a decent storyteller. That being said, sometimes the stories are a little too much. While I get why we have the word “coincidence”, there’s a point where it stops being “Oh wow no way” and the unpredictability becomes predictable. I was a big fan of Weiner’s older works, and then she really started to slide for me. While this book is better than her last few, it lacks heart- as if she’s telling the story but doesn’t really believe it herself
  10. Delphine– Entirely average, predictable and lackluster novel about a 30 year old woman and her attempt to get on with her life. There is nothing remarkable nor notable to say about this book- you can pass
  11. The Locked Room– I really look forward to the Ruth Galloway mysteries. That being said, this book is by far the worst in the series. Set in early pandemic, she uses the pandemic as one of the characters. First off- don’t really want to read about the pandemic, as I lived it. Secondly, to use it as a backdrop to a story is fine, but Griffiths beats you over the head with it, often repeating the same trite phrases and ideas. I only need to hear about the clap for hero’s once in a novel- by the fifth time, I’ve lost interest in what the author is saying. On top of this, the mystery is boring, and too much personal stuff. It seems as if Griffiths was really phoning this one in.
  12. Marrying the Ketchups– This book whines its way from page to page. The characters are insipid, excel at blaming others, hold grudges, and are generally people I would never want to hang out with. The author had an agenda, and once you get caught in a spiral of an agenda, it’s hard to come up with a worthwhile book. Am pretty sure this will fall at the bottom of the list at year’s end. What a bunch of bull.
MovieGenreWhere SeenRating
Vengeancedrama/family/misconceptions/American ideologyTheater- AMC1
Emily the Criminaldrama/thriller/dark/american ideologyTheater- AMC2
Bodies Bodies Bodiesdrama/horror/who dun it/american ideologyTheater- AMC3
Nopesci fi/Theater- AMC4
My Old Schooldocumentary? non fiction- story of a guy and what he didTheater- Film Forum5
The Territorydocumentary/foreign language (Brazilian/Portuguese/Tupi-Kawahiva)/deforestation of rain forest and displacement of indigenous peopleTheater- Film Forum6
Love Songdrama/lonliness/love/companionshipTheater- AMC7
  1. Vengeance– Strong film written and directed by BJ Novak (who also stars) about NYC writer who thinks he has all the answers and knows better, then travels to Texas and learns things he never thought he needed to know. Excellent screenplay, understated acting- just a well made film about the misconceptions of what is right and what is wrong in America. Everything makes sense.
  2. Emily– Tight thriller about chasing the “American dream”, and the pitfalls therein. Good film if you’re OK with looking at harsh realities and the lengths people will go to for money
  3. Bodies Bodies Bodies– On the surface, this is a horror/who dun it, but when you get past the occasional blood and gore, what you are left with is a wry, observational view on society with a slight comic edge. This movie actually made me think, and the ending was nothing short of brilliant. In broad strokes- I am interested in the overall trend in the movies that are coming out and what it says about who we are in this present time.
  4. Nope= I loved Get Out, so if I have the opportunity to see a Jordan Peele, I go see it. There are parts of this film that are quite well crafted and interesting, but I’m not really a sci fi person, so I don’t know if I got all the nuance.
  5. My Old School– This is the true story of a guy in Scotland who pretended to be a teenager and reenrolled at his old school. Alan Cumming lip-syncs the voice of “Brandon Lee” and his story of how and why he did this. Also interviewed are some of his classmates and teachers. Very interesting and well told story leaving you with lots of questions.
  6. Territory– You view a documentary to learn, or get more knowledge on a particular subject. What makes a good doc? Is it balance of both sides, startling imagery, entertainment, or just the facts ma’am? I’m not quite sure. I know I learned about the situation in Brazil regarding the deforestation of the rain forest. I got a glimpse into both sides of this. But this doc missed the mark for me- I left feeling emotionless. But I don’t know if a doc is supposed to pull the heartstrings…
  7. Love Song– Quiet and gentle story about a woman trying to find her place in a world without a partner. It’s the cinematic equivalent to literary fiction- nothing much happens, and we need to interpret life by what the main character doesn’t say. While there are some nice moments, I felt like the movie lacked something. Sometimes you do need more words.

Have We Done This to Ourselves?

A few months ago I talked about my Husband and his visit to the Doctor. https://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.wordpress.com/2022/06/15/the-doctor/. To summarize, I talked about my Husband needing a Doctor and running into finding a specialist who worked on exactly what my Husband’s injury was.

As always, the comments about this issue were great, but as I discussed this issue with people, once I got past the humor and ridiculousness about needing to find a sports medicine Doctor who specifically worked on calves, I begin to think about how we got to this point:

Have we become a society who specifically wants the BEST, and who will only accept the word of an EXPERT?

How many times in the past two and a half years have we heard the phrase: According to experts?

How many times have WE uttered the words: According to experts…?

Did I need to call six Doctors because as a society we demand people to be specialists? Do we want to be treated by someone whose title has the word “general” in it?

If you were going in for surgery, would you want to be treated by a general surgeon, or would you want one who only deals with exactly what you are going through, and only that? If you have breast cancer, do you want to be treated by the best “cancer” person, or by the best person who specifically treats the exact type of cancer that you have? You don’t have to actually answer in the comments, but be honest with yourself about this…

I must admit…if I was having surgery, I would listen to the advice of one of my friends who knows medical way better than me: Go with someone who has done a fellowship in exactly what you need done- they are the most qualified…

I now turn this discussion over to you: what do you think about the rise in specialists? Is there a real need, or have we forced the issue?

Can’t I Just Buy a Book?

I’m a reader. I use an ereader, and more often than not, I purchase the books that I read. I like having a digital library for a variety of reasons, mostly so that I can go back and reference things.

A few months ago, I tried to purchase a book through Barnes and Noble for my Nook app on my ipad. When I hit PURCHASE, I got a notification that there was an issue with my credit card and I couldn’t but the book. But at the same time I got this note, I got an alert that my AMEX was charged for the amount of the book and the charge was from BN. (I have an alert every time my card is used- I find it convenient on many levels)


I call AMEX. They see the charge, but tell me that it’s “pending” which means it won’t actually hit my account for 3 days. But they see it, and there’s no issue with my card.


I try to contact Barnes, but it’s late and their customer service is closed.

Next morning I get a rep, I explain the problem, I get switched to like five different people, and they get me my book.

Two days later I see a book from my TBR that is on sale as an ebook. I go to purchase the book and the exact same thing happens- denied buying a book, yet pending charge is there.

Call the rep- repeat the process- yada yada- get book…

A few days go by- I have book club- find out new book…

Same thing.

I repeat the entire process. Except this time I add:

Can you have a manager call me back and explain why this keeps happening and how can we fix it?

To which I got the reply:

No. Management is instructed not to call people back.

How do you think I reacted to this little nugget of information?

Well, if you guessed: LA emailed the CEO and the top five executives at Barnes and Noble you would win a prize…

I actually wrote in the email: I’m trying to buy books from your company. Is Barnes and Noble interested in selling books?

Amazing how someone from “management” called me back without twenty minutes of the email going out…

It turns out, that the issue I’d reported had been reported by a bunch of other customers. But because people are 1) working remotely and 2) no one is looking for a pattern, no one at BN had been aware that there was a problem. And this computer glitch was so involved the fix could not be executed till the end of the month when the big patches go through.

Two weeks later the issue was resolved, and I no longer needed a personal assistant at Barnes and Noble..,

I must wonder though, with all these customer satisfaction surveys, all this tech…how could an issue this large, an issue impacting selling books, could have gone unnoticed until I hounded people? I received an email thanking me for being vigilant, because this could have been a massive problem- but really, while I appreciate the note, when did it become the responsibility of the customer to be the vigilant one?

Leave them Laughing

The secret to a happy ending, Mom used to tell us, is knowing when to walk away.

Jennifer Egan Candy House

I’m guessing you all know what my question is today:

Is the secret to a happy ending knowing when to walk away?

I think it is YES in the particular frame of one’s own personal perspective- if you call the shots, you can control your happiness. But if someone else is calling the shots…like…Person A breaks up with Person B because they don’t see a future. Person A gets their happy ending- they left a relationship when they were ready- but Person B is crying over their latte…

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a happy ending. Most endings end up with me in tears, or banging a wall, or binge eating something. I think of endings as necessary evils- you push through the bad to eventually get to the good. So my next question is :

do happy endings actually exist?

There’s your thought exercise for the day. What say you about happy endings?


Nowadays I find it painful to have a mom who’s widely perceived as unhinged- a mom my friends laugh at. But when I was young and she was all I knew, I lived inside a force field that shielded me from every danger without concealing it. She made me strong.

Candy House– Jennifer Egan

After thinking and writing about love, my next favorite topic to ponder is MOTHERHOOD. I can’t help it: being a mother is an important part of my life, and I am constantly in search of the who, how, why, and what that makes up this part of parenthood. So when I spot things about Mothers in the things that I read, I can’t help but take note.

Does shielding a child from things make them stronger?

My Mother never made me feel strong. In fact, my Mother made me feel weak. I don’t think she did this intentionally- I’m pretty sure she did not stare at me in my crib and whisper “I will do everything I can to make sure you are never confident a day in your life”. I think she thought she was doing what was best for me…

However…what do they say about best laid plans?

My Mother told me that everything was dangerous. She continually pointed out the things I did wrong. She did not praise me, because in her mind, praise made you complacent and weak( spoiler alert- never praising your child makes them weak- I know that for a fact.)

When I need to make a parenting decision I think to myself- What would my Mother do? and then I go about 140 degrees from whatever she would do to come up with my decision. I’ve been confident in my decisions about 98% of the time…

So I kinda/sorta have problems with this quote.

Being shielded protects you on one level, but opens up a big can of worms, because you don’t learn how to detect the dangers. You’ve been told what not to do, but never given the rope to see what you can/should do. You grow up without the ability to make a decision because everything appears to be a danger. For better or for worse, you learn by doing. You can’t keep your kids wrapped in a bubble…

A parent is not going to always be around to protect you.

You need to get strong by making mistakes, owning them, and then getting back up again.

That’s my take.

What do you all think about the quote, and how it pertains to actual life?