Anything Can Happen Friday: Coincidence

I am a logical person, though I freely admit that I have a things for signs, for coincidences. Part of me believes that there is something to them. So, I’m going to tell you a story.

Last weekend I went to DC to visit my daughter. Of course we took in the sights…I mean, it’s me…

We’d been doing the Smithsonian strip, and were on our third and final museum of the day, the National Gallery. We had just seen the Sargent exhibit, and were trying to figure out how to get to the Vermeer, and we ran into a classmate/friend of my daughter’s and the young woman’s Mom. Big gallery, big city, lots of places to go…exact moment in time we pass one another.


Next day my daughter and I were at the zoo. We were marveling at the funky contraption for the orangutangs, and who do we run into? The exact same friend/classmate and Mom that we’d run into the day before.


A small backstory to this particular young woman we kept running into: She used to attend another university, where she became friends with one of my daughter’s good friends from middle school. What’s the chance that someone befriends someone at college who has a friend at the school you end up transferring to?

In the week prior to my trip, two of my blog friends wrote posts about coincidence and fate and whatever…

Are these all coincidences?

Is there a higher plan to all of this?

What do you make of the encounters that I encountered?

What say you about coincidences?

Day 4 of Observation Walks

We are continuing on the path of my exploration of Rob Walker’s book The Art of Noticing. Today we are starting a collection.

In this case, I’m not scouring vintage stores for Hummel figurines: I’m taking a walk and looking for specific things. I chose to look for windows that are half circular. (sorry-there are no pictures today- I felt weird taking pictures of the windows of people’s homes- but just imagine a circular window, and cut it in half.)

I set a time limit for my walk- one hour. My goal was to walk around and see how many half circle windows I could find. The result was I spotted between 75 and 85 windows. Here are my observations:

  1. When I chose a half circle window, I thought I would really have to search far and wide. Spoiler alert: They were pretty easy to spot.
  2. I chose to do this walk in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, around the area of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The UES is known for it’s very high price rents, and to go along with that, meticulous buildings. This turned out to be a smart place to window shop because there is much gorgeous and unique architecture.
  3. Most buildings that operate as stores do not have half circle windows. I think I only spotted one store with a window as such.
  4. Older apartment buildings were quite likely to have a half circle window, many above doorways
  5. Townhouses/brownstones were likely to have them on upper floors, many over the middle window of a tradition three window front
  6. The half circle windows seemed to have thicker glass, making me wonder if it was original, and needed to be kept to a preservation code
  7. The windows were found in older homes. There were no newish building with half circle windows (I don’t know much about architecture, but it appeared the 1960’s was the dividing line as to when half circle windows went out of fashion)
  8. I’m guessing half circle windows are more difficult to repair and insulate

SO far, this was my least favorite observation walks. I don’t know if I was having a bad day, but I didn’t get as much thinking and ideas our of this particular exercise. I had trouble thinking of what to “collect” and I think I was looking for something harder to spot. But, months later, I still don’t know what would have been a better object to collect in this manner.

What would you like to walk around and collect? What do you think would be a fun thing to look for?


Back in July one of my blog friends wrote a list about their “Core” self. I wanted to reference that post, but I think they deleted it, because I just can’t find it. I may not be Sherlock Holmes, but I can see when a post just isn’t there anymore. Of course, I could have imagined the whole post, but let’s assume for the time being I am still playing with at least 50 cards in my deck.

So what probably intrigued me about the post? I’d have to guess it was a list. I rarely see a post with a list that I don’t love. A list is so organized, and it doesn’t have to be grammatically correct.

The note I made to myself stated that the post was about one’s core, so I’m guessing that the author did some soul searching and came up with attributes that they were, that were an intrinsic part of their personality. So even though I don’t remember how my blogger friend phrased it, I’m going to attempt to give you a list of who I am at my core.

  1. List maker
  2. Doesn’t like grammar
  3. gets blog ideas from blog friends
  4. ambivert
  5. not as observant as I thought I was
  6. able to make connections and see things others don’t
  7. not book smart, though picks up the oddest bits from the books that I read
  8. argumentative
  9. loyal to a small group of people
  10. rule follower, except for grammar and then it’s a free for all
  11. kind hearted to those I love
  12. impatient with stupidity
  13. tries to look at all sides of a situation
  14. gives monologues (my daughter told me this on a recent visit- she said I am no Shakespeare though)
  15. will fight for what I believe in

I think these are the values at my core- but who knows? I could actually be the opposite of them…

What are your core values?

What do you think are the most important core values?

How do you define core values?

Discuss absolutely anything you want about core values! (except abdominal exercises because I really don’t want to be an exercise blog…)

Video Evidence

I’m going into the archives of my mind today. I thought about this story, and figured it might offer some thoughts or lessons.

About ten years ago, we were redoing the flooring in my living room. Yes…it’s as annoying as it sounds. We ripped up the old carpet, and had mainly decent, if old parquet floors. Unfortunately, some of the flooring wasn’t great, so we needed to cover it. We didn’t have the ability to replace the floors, so we did a patch job: bought vinyl tiles to cover what was there.

to recap:

  1. remove old carpet, including staples
  2. clean existing floor
  3. replace with tile


At some point I went to our basement to look for a box to put some remnants in so we could throw things out. When I went to the basement, I literally looked in the boxes that had collected there (people bring large garbage and boxes to the basement and staff takes care of it and throws it out on the appropriate days)

Two days later, our super approached me. He said that when someone was cleaning out the apartment of a relative that had passed, they mistakenly brought a plate down to the basement that they didn’t mean to throw out. He asked me to return the plate.

I didn’t take the plate.

I didn’t even see the plate.

Which I mentioned to the super.

The super responded with “But I saw you on video looking through the boxes.”

But did you see me take the plate? I asked.

No, but...”

I was guilty by association. I was in the right place, and it looked like I was rummaging for things. But I knew that I didn’t take the plate.

Does it matter that I was innocent?

Not really, because the super didn’t believe me. He saw what he believed to be evidence of me taking the plate. He even said to me:

I know it’s not stealing because things left down there are fair game

And there was no way I could actually prove my innocence. What annoyed me most is that because it was assumed I took it, they never put up a notice saying that something was left there by accident and if someone took it, please return it.

It doesn’t feel good to be guilty of something one didn’t do.

It’s also a good lesson that just because you “see” something doesn’t mean you actually “saw” it.

Video is great. Until it isn’t.

When the product stinks

I remember having a conversation with someone about the movie Bombshell. They raved about how good it was, while I said it was a lousy movie. They countered with “but the story (it was about the sexual harassment charges at Fox). I said that they were judging the movie based on what it was about: they hadn’t bothered to see that the movie was a muddled mess, with stilted dialogue and overacting at every turn.

How many times does a brilliant story make a lousy movie or book?

When you are making a movie or writing a book, having a good plot is only as good as its execution. If you can’t get the audience to see what you want, feel what you want, you are going to have a stinker of an end product.

I notice that in blog posts as well, when I’m trying to retell something that happened in my life- sometimes I just can’t get the point across. How you tell the story is more important than what the story is.

I used Bombshell as an example of something that was tabloid ready, but executed ineffectually. What are other examples of things that should have been better based on what they were based on?

As I write this post, I am debating on whether or not I should see The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. I loved the book, but the Rotten Tomatoes score is hovering in the low teens. I rarely see anything below a 75%…will I be disappointed in seeing an less than stellar recreation of a book that I loved?

Veni, Vidi, etc…10/16/22

Gratitude and Mindfulness- 10/14/22

One of my friends had breast cancer awhile back. I am so grateful that her latest scan came back clean. There is nothing better to be grateful about than the good health of your friends and loved ones.

Let’s all remember to take care of ourselves and have mammograms and/or whatever health checks that you may need.

My prompt for the week is CHANGE. Here’s how it appears in the books that I’ve been reading:

  1. Enlist a side chair to hold a curated selection (of pretty blankets), where it can be seen and enjoyed, swapping it out as the seasons change. Martha Stewart
  2. Unsure how to ask what she really wants to know: who is he now, has he changed in all these years apart, after everything that’s happened. Celeste Ng
  3. I don’t think he necessarily gets me, but he doesn’t try to change me. Beth O’Leary
  4. In an instant Holmes had changed from the languid dreamer to the man of action. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  5. Later, she would remember that first kindness- the disciplined way he’d made the anger leave his face, the swift change of subject. Geraldine Brooks
  6. Each mother-child relationship teaches us our limitations and our strengths. It changes us in constantly unfolding ways and entwines us in the unpredictable mystery of another life. Caroline Kennedy
  7. What I do remember is that the farther north I go, the more the stars will change. Javier Zamora
  8. Writing at night, I am reflecting on a day I already had and am powerless to change. Julia Cameron
  9. Making small, simple yet significant changes along a longer period of time is the way forward. Pedram Shojai
  10. Everyone has a favorite, maybe the first book they hugged to their chest and told someone else about, or the one that changed the way they saw the world forever after. Jane Mount
  11. You can’t change the past. Graeme Simsion
  12. “Do you know,” said Kath, last month, Vogue said to buy a basic black dress and ring the changes with accessories.” AJ Pearce

Here’s what I’m going to think about CHANGE:

  1. Why are the things we don’t want to change always the ones that do change?
  2. Is change always positive?
  3. Should we force change?
  4. If someone says they never change, should you be wary?
  5. Is running away a good form of change?
All Things Pass

All things pass
A sunrise does not last all morning
All things pass
A cloudburst does not last all day
All things pass
Nor a sunset all night
All things pass
What always changes?

Earth … sky … thunder …
mountain … water …
wind … fire … lake …

These change
And if these do not last

Do man’s visions last?
Do man’s illusions?

Take things as they come

All things pass

Anything Can Happen Friday: When is it Too Much

I am against book banning. There was never a book that my daughter wanted to read that I did not let her read.

I am also the kind of parent that always explained concepts and ideas to my child. I answered every question truthfully, and in an age appropriate manner. I believe in arming kids with the facts and with the truth, but I will stress: it must be done in an age appropriate manner!!

For example, my precocious, early reading four year old, after seeing it on a bus ad, asked me what Birth Control was. I simply said that it’s when Mommies take the time to decide when to have a baby. (I know parents who at that moment would have gone through the whole story about how babies are made. While I applaud teaching young children about their bodies and how they work, the city bus is probably not the time to launch into how and egg and a sperm unite)

In short, LA’s parenting philosophy, especially with regards to young children:

  1. Let them read what they want
  2. Explain concepts in small bites, using terminology that they can grasp
  3. Be age/maturity/intellectually appropriate
  4. Don’t lie
  5. Keep answers short and sweet
  6. Be aware of where you are: if you are in a place where you can’t give a good explanation to the question, say something simple that will suffice
  7. Teach them about everything, but in ways that they can understand and appreciate

And this is why I find these most recent ads disturbing:

I think these ads put parents and caregivers in a very bad situation. How do you explain this properly to a child when you are waiting for the bus?

I don’t know how I would have explained these ads, with beloved Sesame Street characters on them. I really don’t know how a babysitter or a caregiver or an older sibling would explain them either.

How do you tell your kids that Big Bird says the end is near? How do you explain it? I mean, I know kids are intelligent: I know they grasp things. But really, is it irresponsible for ads like this, aimed at young children, to be out in public where parents don’t quite know to interpret or respond to them? Or to be unaware of them until faced with it? Where’s the parental guide? Where’s the “For More Information…”? I mean really, give us a hashtag, but nothing about how to explain it to a child?

Is the intent to scare a child senseless? To fill them with anxiety and dread? To we want to be handing out antidepressants along with the oatmilk and gluten/peanut/sugar free cookies at first grade snack hour?

I definitely think that children should understand that doing things to the environment can be harmful- which is how you explain these concepts to a child. But to peak their interest with a character aimed at a young audience, but not give a reasonable explanation? I think this is foolhardy. You’ve made the already difficult job as a parent ten times harder.

Supplying children with information and answers is vital. But what’s crucial is explaining it to them so they understand and don’t get scared. These ads go straight to scared. Is this what we really want?

Fear does not make things better. Neither do guilt or anger. As a society we have to stop using these and pull out other tools from the toolbox to make a point. A society raised on fear and guilt and anger will lead to all those dystopian novels and horror movies becoming our reality. Can you imagine if your partner used fear and guilt and anger in your relationship? How would you feel on a day to day basis?

Children must be taught, but they need to be taught in the right way. Ads like this don’t help, they harm. Be careful of the messages that we put out into the world.

Take a Break

My friend M is in great shape. She eats right, has healthy habits and exercises regularly. Sounds great, right?

In theory, it is. She is doing what she can to take care of her body, something we all should be doing.


As exercise can be trying on our bodies as we get older, she occasionally gets hurt. All athletes, armchair or otherwise, risk injury occasionally. We move just a little bit funny, and WHAM. Injury. I stepped funny off a curb and I twisted my knee ever so slightly, my husband was playing kickball with his friends and pulled something running to first base. Injuries happen. But if you get a physical injury, what’s the best thing to do?

As I’m not a Doctor, I won’t tell you how to heal your injury. But I can tell you what to be wary of: not giving your body enough down time so that the injury begins to heal. I know this is decent advice because my friend M never gives her injuries the proper rest and she ends up hurting herself more.

M and I see each other once a month for either theater or museum or movie dates. When I saw her a few weeks ago, she was limping. This has become her new look: getting injured in Pilates, taking one day off, then injuring herself again. What was once my most in shape, healthy friend has become my friend most likely to hobble or need physical therapy. As with all things, too much of anything can be a bad thing.

None of us like to admit that we are getting older, that our bodies don’t quite do the things we want or need them to do. But it’s OK to stop occasionally, or even just slow down. It’s OK to listen to our bodies when they are tired or sore- my friend getting injured every week is a message to her that she needs to take it easy once in awhile. We need to balance out the healthy food and the exercise with the other things it takes to make us physically and mentally strong. Listen to the clues your mind and body are sending to you- they’re as important as any health regimen. If you don’t treat your specific mind and body right, it’s not going to matter how many chia seeds you eat.

The Ipad

I am not always the sane, rational person that you’ve come to know and love.

Don’t argue: sometimes I can go a little, what’s that word that we aren’t supposed to use anymore? Crazy…

Case in point: A few months ago I was sitting in my favorite chair, reading on my ipad. I put my ipad on the coffee table. Ok- I thought I was putting it on the coffee table and i kind of missed the table and my ipad fell. A bit later I realized that I had cracked the screen

I was not happy.

I’m sure if you were within a hundred mile radius of me, you knew that I was not happy about cracking my ipad. It was exacerbated by the fact that I was days away from vacation. How could I survive a long plane ride without a book?

Vaja! Quina catastrofe!

I sat in my chair, pouting like a toddler. I never crack my phones! I never crack my ipads! I am super careful with devices. How did I do this?

Does the ipad still work my husband and daughter asked.

Yes I replied

So what’s the issue they said?

I’m an idiot I responded…

Even though my ipad was, and three months later, still is operational, I had a lot of trouble getting over the fact that I had been careless with it. I could not let it go. I stomped. I sighed. I exhaled louder than a non athlete should. I was irrationally angry that my three year old ipad was no longer pristine…

Why do I torture myself like this?

What was it about this particular device, this particular incident that threw me over the rails?

Why are there seemingly insignificant things that we have trouble getting past? Why are we often able to handle the “BIG” things, but sometimes struggle with the little stuff? Is it that we try so hard to control ourselves, keep our emotions in checks in certain moments, but then allow ourselves the ability to just let loose over something that is seemingly unimportant? Do we sometimes need a good vent? Do we sometimes need to just let the anger out before it builds too much? Do we need to occasionally release steam so that we can handle the next actual crisis?

Have you ever lost it over something trivial?

Why do you think we do that?