To Dwell or To Avoid

Let’s think about the differences between DWELL and AVOID. For this exercise we will look at the definitons provided by Merriam-Webster.


to keep the attention directed —used with on or upon

tried not to dwell on my fears

to speak or write insistently —used with on or upon

reporters dwelling on the recent scandal


to keep away from SHUN

They have been avoiding me.

to prevent the occurrence or effectiveness of

avoid further delays

to refrain from

avoid overeating

Have you ever dwelled on something? My Mom is a classic dweller. She can take a topic and beat it to death. She still has things from forty years ago that she manages to bring up in conversation on a regular basis. I have learned to avoid certain words and phrases when dealing with her because I know she’ll just get lost in the dwell.

What are some common themes that people dwell upon?

Do you dwell on the regular?

Now let’s look at avoid. My Husband is a classic avoider. If you don’t say something, it won’t happen (sort of the opposite of Field of Dreams if you build it…). He will talk and walk around pretty much any subject he doesn’t feel like dealing with. I have to figure out ways to get him to talk about harsh realities and sometimes the not so harsh ones.

What are subjects/situations that people tend to avoid?

Do you veer towards avoidance?

Neither avoiding nor dwelling is good in the long run. Both choices tend to stop us from getting on with our lives- they cement us in a spot and stop growth and change and being able to get to the next step.

But how do we avoid being a dweller or an avoider? What are the steps we can take to stop us from going down either of these paths?

Is there anything good about dwelling or avoiding? Are there circumstances where these are the best courses of action?


Take Your Phones Out

My Husband and I recently went to see the Broadway show Moulin Rouge. (It’s a fun show, with popular music throughout, and it’s just an easy, enjoyable night at the theater)

You may not be aware, but Broadway theater is not necessarily cheap. While you can sometimes get lottery or rush tickets, which will be about 30$, this is not the norm. The cheapest seats you can normally find start at 49$ for the back rows of the highest level. Seats in the orchestra can run over 200$ a seat. When I go to the theater, I’m looking for special deals or flash sales, or I have a subscription to a theater company, which gives you tickets at a discount. But however you look at it- not cheap.

But anyway.

Moulin Rouge- which I got as a special no fee deal, but still we were in about the fifth row mezzanine. And it’s still not “cheap”.

While we were at the show, while the show was actually on the stage, people were on their phones.

When I say people, I don’t mean Gen-z. I mean older millennials and I dare say Gen X.

Seriously people?


I had to tap the person in front of me three times to shut her phone in the dark theater. She made a face at me. I may or may not have mouthed an inappropriate word at her. when she started to do it a fourth time I may or may not have kicked the back of her seat really hard.

And I told the usher at intermission about the plethora of phones. I told her exactly which seats had been doing it, but as there were so many, I think I missed some.

It is very very distracting for someone to put a light on in a dark place. If you don’t know this, I’m sorry but I’m judging you as an idiot.

Why did you pay good money to be at a show if you are going to scroll throughout the show? Seriously. I want to know.

Have we lost our ability to be in the moment?

Have we forgotten that you are disturbing the actors on the stage? Disturbing the people around you? Do you ever think about anyone other than yourself? Do we just not care as long as we get to LOL at a cat meme? Should the usher be forced to stand at the front of the mezzanine to make sure that no one uses their phone?

These aren’t children. These are grown ass adults who presumably have the funds to attend a Broadway show…

If you’re “bored”, just leave…

Points for discussion:

Has our use of phones gotten out of hand?

Do we reach for our phones the SECOND that we are bored or restless?

If you go to a theater, movie, music or play, do you take out your phone throughout the performance for the sake of scrolling?

Was I right to tell the person in front of me to stop?

If, and I mean if, I kicked the back of the chair, did I have the right to do that, or should I have thought more about the person scrolling because it might have been a twitter emergency, or that thumbs up really needed to be on the Instagram post?

What would you do in the situation?

Was this my story to tell?


I Came, I Saw, I Ate- 2/26/23

The Gardens are starting to look glorious outside! And the Temperate Pavilion is always nice!

I’m still touring the American wing- Gallery 735 is a room that is a panorama of Versailles (I don’t know why it’s in the American wing, but it’s really cool. The others are galleries 752-755. I love the miniatures- and the miniature paint box set.

  • Prosecco Camp at Eataly- got a talk from the head of a Prosecco Vineyard, plus yummy food!
  • Harry Potter Virtual Reality – I’m not even a good broom driver virtually- hit the virtual wall
  • The Peep cookie coop just cracked me up
  • Gen Korean BBQ- This place is unlimited food, and you get to cook it yourself! Fun and yummy!!

Ten Things: 2/25/23

Every evening I write down ten things that defined my day. I try to capture the good and the bad, things that I am grateful for, things that I am looking forward to, and what I do that day just for me, I really just write the little details that made that day different from others. I enjoy it and it works for me. Here’s some things pulled from various days over the past week:

  1. I got off the bus realizing that I left my umbrella under my seat- I tried to get on the back door just as it was closing- the driver saw this, and actually opened the door and let me run on and get it. She didn’t have to do it but I am very grateful for this one small gesture.
  2. I reorganized the space under my kitchen cabinet. Everything under the sink was great. When I was cleaning up after dinner, I saw a leak. It turns out there was a hole in the pipe! When the handyman came to fix it, he said that not only the pipe had a hole but two other things as well. Glad that all is fixed, and fixed quickly.
  3. All of a sudden, things are crowded and people are busy
  4. Played pickleball outside for the first time- wind was tough to get used to but it was fun
  5. Enjoyed all the live action shorts nominated for Oscars
  6. Remembered to text two friends I’d been meaning to text
  7. Flowers starting to sprout at the garden!
  8. My sister and niece came to town-
  9. Tried new workout class- so hard but so good!
  10. I really like Prosecco

How quick come the reasons for approving what we like? Jane Austen (Persuasion)

My Month in Books and Movies- February 2023

BookAuthorGenreType of ReadRanking/Rating on Goodreads
And There was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American StruggleJon Meachamnon fiction/bio of Abraham Lincolnperspective1/4.51
Someday, MaybeOnyi Nwabinelifiction/griefbook club2/4.00
MaureenRachel Joycefiction/light/sequelbeach read3/4.11
A Quiet LifeEthan Joellafiction/slice of life/different perspectivesbeach read4/4.19
Flying SoloLinda Holmesfiction/slice of lifebeach read5/3.60
The Art of Living: Reflections on Mindfulness and the overexamined lifeGrant Snidercartoons/adages on livingquiet reflection6/4.11
London’s Number One Dog Walking AgencyKate McDougalnon fiction/memoirbeach read7/3.72
The CloistersKaty Haysfiction/mystery/psych dramabeach read8/3.54
Owner of a Lonely HeartEva Carterfiction/rom combeach read9/4.00
  1. Abe- This was a pretty readable bio of Abe. Straight forward and without much fluff. The things I found interesting were: 1) A little girl wrote to him and said that if he grew a beard he wouldn’t look so weird. The next time he was out in public he had a beard. Coincidence? 2) Washington Dc was always rat infested (a peeve of my daughter’s) 3) Back then the President didn’t pick the Vice President- the convention did. Points to ponder- what if Hamlin were the president instead of Johnson?
  2. Someday- This book is about grief. I didn’t enjoy it as a fun romp, but liked its honest portrayal of someone dealing with a difficult time in their life. I thought the characters were nicely portrayed, but would have liked a little more on some. The writing was easy yet powerful. This is heavy subject matter so this book is not for everyone, but if you want to tackle grief, give it a try.
  3. Maureen- I am a fan of Harold Fry, and this is sort of sequel to the Fry books. I like the way Joyce writes: she makes you think, but without banging you over the head. While this is fairly easy to read, it is somewhat thought provoking, but I don’t think I would read it for book club, unless you read all three and discussed it in tandem. Only read if you’ve read the others- though it might be the weakest of the three.
  4. Quiet Life- This is like the Hallmark Channel of books- folksy characters- some bad things happen to good people- by the kindness of others people begin to live again. Maybe not a tear, but a sniffle. All is right with the world- Understated and readable- not too distressing on the emotions, but of course there is some conflict. A quiet book.
  5. Flying- On the plus side, the main character is unapologetically plus size. She says she wears a size 18, but the book isn’t about her coming to terms with her size- she accepts it and we move on. But that being said, it’s almost like the author threw darts at a dartboard when coming up with plot lines- the book lacks real depth and we circle around lots of nothing.
  6. Art of Living- This is one of those little books you put on your nightstand and read a page or two to give you a brief moment to pause and reflect. Some of the cartoons were quite good, while others were boring. It’s average.
  7. Dog Walking- Book about young woman dissatisfied with her job who decides to tackle dog walking as a career. It’s got some moments, but other than some anecdotes about pesky owners, it was underwhelming.
  8. Cloisters- Average psych drama about a young woman trying to make a name for herself in academia. Parts of this story are quite interesting, but there’s a few things that didn’t make sense to me. But as it takes place at the Met Cloisters- I had a vested interest
  9. Owner- Cute and predictable boy meets girl, boy loses girl formula. It’s fine but nothing to run out and read
MovieGenreWhere Seenranking/Rotten Tomatoes
Closedrama/coming of age/foreign (French)Theater- Angelika1/90/83
A House Made of Splintersdocumentary/foreign language (Russian)/children in foster care in UkraineTheater-IFC- but there is no American distribution for this film- I saw it through DOCNY- a documentary film festival organization2/96/80
You Peopledramedy/social issues/satire sort ofStreaming- Netflix3/42/36
Of An Agedrama/coming of ageTheater- AMC4/87/89
Pale Blue Eyedrama/mystery/period/historical fictionStreaming- Netflix5/63/70
To Lesliedrama/addiction/relationshipsTheater- Angelika6/95/86
Navalnynon fiction/documentary/RussiaStreaming- HBO MAX7/99/91
Your Place or Minerom comStreaming- Netflix8/32/38
Babylonfiction/hollywood epicTheater- AMC9/56/52
80 for Bradybased on a true storyTheater- AMC10/62/89
Alice, Darlingfiction/relationshipsTheater- AMC11/83/46
All the Beauty and the Bloodshednon- fiction/documentary/Nan GoldinTheater- IFC12/95/48
Shotgun Weddingrom comStream- Amazon13/45/52
Marlowedetective/noir/Philip MarloweTheater- AMC14/23/35
  1. Close-Understated coming of age story about two adolescent boys- honest and raw and emotional. Oscar non Foreign film
  2. House- Doc about Ukranian foster care facility that houses children of alcoholics who have been placed there by the state. This was filmed in 2020, so events unfolding presently were not a factor. This is an emotional piece and highlights how children suffer in these circumstances. Emotional and raw. Oscar nom – Documentary feature.
  3. You People- On the surface, this is a rom com- two people meet and fall in love. When you dig down deep, this is a movie about social issues, hypocrisy, and how the world works in 2023. I think everyone should see this movie.
  4. Of an Age- This is a decent coming of age story about a 17 year old boy. It’s broken up into two parts- I thought part one was quite good- honest dialogue, subtle yet powerful acting. I thought part two was a bit of a mess- it was too understated and left me with more questions than answers.
  5. Pale Blue- Interesting story about EA Poe when he was at West Point, and how he assisted in solving a murder. Fairly intriguing story that captured my attention thanks to solid performance by Christian Bale
  6. To Leslie- Tells the story of a woman who battles with alcohol, and how that battle has affected her relationships with friends and family. Moving performances by Andrea Riseborough and Alison Janney in a supporting role. Oscar nom Best Actress (Riseborough)
  7. Navalny- Tells the story of Navalny, who attempted to run against Putin, had an attempted assassination against him, and what it’s like trying to work for change in Russia. Straight up question and answer doc with lots of actual footage. I think this is worth a watch. Oscar nom for Best Documentary
  8. Your Place- Ashton Kutcher and Reese Witherspoon being cute and adorable as best friends for twenty years. Totally predictable but if you like the genre give it a whirl
  9. Babylon- Epic about Hollywood as the silent era comes to a close. Beautifully filmed, lots of glitz, but the film was one big drug fueled orgy. And it’s over three hours long. While there are some good moments in the film and a better than average performance by Brad Pitt, this is mainly a bore. Oscar noms for Original Score, Production Design and Costume Design (and deservedly so in these three categories)
  10. 80 for Brady- Cute film, based on a real story, about a group of friends, who are in their 80s, and their improbable trip to the superbowl to see their hero Tom Brady. I’m thrilled to see woman of a certain age starring in movies
  11. Alice- Interesting topic, relationship gone wrong do to domineering boyfriend- This could have been a good movie, but was reduced to tawdry Lifetime movie status. I felt like all the actors would rather be someplace else
  12. All the Beauty- Lacks a distinct POV- Deals with emotional issues but in a clinical non feeling way, which says a lot. Oscar nom Best Documentary
  13. Shotgun- j Lo’s wedding gets hijacked by pirates…do I need to say anything more?
  14. Marlowe- I love hard boiled 40s noir film, which this film was intended to be…great cast used poorly- misdirected and misguided, with continuity issues. The worst part was, the theater was more crowded for this than it was for films with better ratings. This is obviously a genre that people want to see- so can’t they make a good detective film? or is an audience of people of a certain age not the audience they want?

I try to see everything nominated for Oscars. IFC theater in NYC shows these every Oscar season. I appreciated each of these films and thought they were all well done. These are the Live Action shorts in the order that I liked them, with 1 being my favorite:

  1. An Irish Goodbye
  2. Night Ride
  3. Le Pupille
  4. Ivalu
  5. The Red Suitcase


This is another exercise from the Rob Walker book- The Art of Noticing. The goal was to look at things that are technically the same, yet have their own personality stamped upon them.

I chose to do the panels that cover the stairs that lead to basements of stores. This was easy as I live in a densely packed urban environment, and there are a plethora of them.

When these covers were first installed, they would have looked exactly the same- color, pattern, size. Yet time apparently ages and changes everything… Some developed holes, while others experienced a color change, or addition of stickers, or stains that reminded my of Italy…

I walk past these every single day, yet I never stop to really look at them. These are things to walk over or past or simply avoid… It’s easy to assume that because they do the same job, they are all alike. But we can’t assume any two things are exactly alike. Time, our environment, all have a part to play when shaping us.

Every now and then, stop to look closely at things you may not have paid much attention to. It’s fascinating to see things from fresh eyes, from a fresh perspective. You might learn more than you think.

To What Lengths

Writing is what’s important to me, and anything that helps me do that- or enhances and prolongs and deepens and sometimes intensifies argument and conversation- is worth it to me.” Christopher Hitchens in an interview with Charlie Rose, as quoted in Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount

So what do you think about this quote?

Would you do anything for your art?

Let me add some background to the above mentioned quote: Rose asked this question after Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, when Rose asked if he (Hitchens) regretted his past smoking and drinking.

Does that fact change the way that you look at this quote? Does it change the way you think about what you would do for your art? If you could only produce art while under the influence, would you continue to do it even if it meant risking physical, mental or emotional health, or relationships with others?

What is writing (or whatever it is you do) worth to you?



“I don’t think jealousy is the right word,” says Pauline. “They were both strong women. And in those days people liked to make strong women compete with each other. Like you couldn’t have two strong women in the same room at the same time. The world would explode.” Richard Osman The Bullet that Missed

Do we like to make women compete against one another?

And when I say WE, I mean, do women feel the need to compete with one another?

What do you think about strong women?

Are you a strong women?

Are you in a relationship with a strong women?

What say you about strong women?


These are the quotes I keep on my desk…

Shouldn’t we all be fighting the theory of what is well behaved vs what is ill

You Should Know Better

Have you ever said the phrase:

You/They should know better

I’m betting, and I’m not a betting girl, that you have uttered these words at least once in your life. You might be talking about a child, or a sibling, friend or neighbor or co-worker. You see someone do something and you just can’t figure out why they would do that.

I recently said it about my Mother, when she almost fell for a scam to buy someone gift cards. After she told me her tale, I got off the phone and thought- OMG she should know better

I get it- you see someone do something so mind numbingly irresponsible or dangerous or stupid, and you shake your head and wonder…

But when you are wondering about them, did you ever stop to think about that statement?

If YOU think that THEY should know better, is it implied that YOU actually know better?

Are you 100% certain that YOU know better?

It’s easy to point out the flaws in someone else’s logic or reasoning or action. It’s easy to think that the “other person” doesn’t know anything. But is that a little bit overreaching? Narcissistic? Egotistical? To be blunt, does anyone know anything with certainty?

So next time you are looking cross eyed at someone (to be fair, this is a big, fat note to myself), consider for just a second that you might not know as much as you think you do about the subject. Put yourself in their shoes for just a second and think about how and why you might have reacted as such. And then, once you’ve passed the test for the thought process in that situation, remember that we all screw up, that we all fall prey, that we think with things other than logic, or the heart, or whatever.

We probably should all know better…but hopefully we get there one mistake at a time…

I Came, I Saw, I ate…2/19/23

I had trouble writing little summaries under the galleries…All my NYC adventures were wonderful this week. I am a sucker for mother and child art work, so I loved the Innocence exhibit at the Met. We had unseasonably warm weather so the gardens were wonderful! As was the gelato…