This is the last gallery in the section Art of the Arab lands, Turley, Iran and Central Asia and Later South Asia. This has been a beautiful area of the museum, and one I was glad to look at more closely.
The Mets would go on to win this game.

Gratitude and Mindfulness: 8/13/22

Someone commented the other day that I had a lot of grief in my life.

No kidding.

But life is filled with good and bad, elation and frustration. Life is messy and uncontrollable- no matter how much we try to control it. And that’s OK. Because the messy bits are often the ones we laugh about years later- what was frustrating in the moment end up being cherished memories.

On our vacation, our hotel was on a plaza. The street behind it was small and underused. When our tour bus was going to pick us up in the morning, we weren’t quite sure where the bus would be- so I stayed by the small street, and my husband ran to the major street where our concierge said many of the busses did the pickup. So we had to look for the van and keep an eye on one another. The van actually drove through the plaza and picked us up at the hotel, and I was waving frantically to my husband who was on about 100 feet away. It was messy and silly but we chose to laugh about me screaming and jumping up and down to get my husbands attention…

I am grateful for the messy bits, the grief, the never exactly knowing what is going to happen. I am grateful for all the things that get thrown at me because it’s all part of living a full life.

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

  1. It was heart shattering to see children in these situations, to feel their arms around you when they were afraid, and equally when they learned to trust you. Christy Lefteri (fiction)
  2. He could not trust them, but he had no alternative. Sarah Rose (non fiction)
  3. That’s the other thing that forgiveness does: it allows you to trust yourself. Natasha Lunn (non fiction)
  4. If dozens of people let you down, all people become untrustworthy. Stephanie Foo (non fiction)
  5. It’s a temple to a certain kind of faith, the residual trust that there is a higher authority who knows the answers, who can save us. Katherine May (non fiction)
  6. Charleston’s Blue Bicycle Books is named after the trusty steed that owner Jonathan Sanchez rides to work, with books stacked high over the rear wheel. Jane Mount (non fiction)
  7. I wanted to take her in my arms and kiss her and ask her to trust me again. Daniel Black (fiction)
  8. When an addict first got clean or sober, they had to work hard to win back the trust of the people they loved- but when they got it, it was beautiful. Marian Keyes (fiction)
  9. As the Art Assignment host Sarah Urist Green observed, it also spoke to personal relationships: “Who do you trust to hold the other half of your tuba?” Rob Walker (non fiction)
  10. For almost forty years, Ronnie wore her thorns and wrote in private, and believed herself safe, trusting that what she’d done would stay, forever, between her and God. Jennifer Weiner (fiction)

Here’s how I’m thinking about TRUST

  1. How often do people say “Trust me”- do you trust someone that says trust me?
  2. If someone says “Trust me”, does that mean they are lying the rest of the time?
  3. If you’ve lost trust, do you ever really get it back?

I Do Not Love Thee
Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton - 1808-1877

I do not love thee!—no! I do not love thee!
And yet when thou art absent I am sad;
   And envy even the bright blue sky above thee,
Whose quiet stars may see thee and be glad.

I do not love thee!—yet, I know not why,
Whate’er thou dost seems still well done, to me:
   And often in my solitude I sigh
That those I do love are not more like thee!

I do not love thee!—yet, when thou art gone,
I hate the sound (though those who speak be dear)
   Which breaks the lingering echo of the tone
Thy voice of music leaves upon my ear.

I do not love thee!—yet thy speaking eyes,
With their deep, bright, and most expressive blue,
   Between me and the midnight heaven arise,
Oftener than any eyes I ever knew.

I know I do not love thee! yet, alas!
Others will scarcely trust my candid heart;
   And oft I catch them smiling as they pass,
Because they see me gazing where thou art.

Public domain-

Anything Can Happen Friday: Makeup

I wear eye shadow- part of my daily routine is sitting at my vanity and applying my makeup. This is fun for me.

My favorite eye shadow palette is the one pictured: Naked 2- Urban Decay Basics.

What I appreciate about this compact is that the colors are matte, go on somewhat smoothly, and the colors are muted and natural. The only problem I have is that I am always left with the very dark contour shade…

I know that I need a new palette, but I hate that I am wasting that whole color. I know that I can’t save it because makeup really does go bad- and you should be very careful as to what you put near your eyes. But the frugal part of me…

So many eye shadows only come in sets- this is the new order of makeup. And for my aging dry skin and eyelids, finding shadow that goes on reasonably well is important…but I sort of wish I could go back to the days of single color packaging- where I only need to replace one color at a time.


Definition of integrity

1firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values INCORRUPTIBILITY

2an unimpaired condition SOUNDNESS

3: the quality or state of being complete or undivided COMPLETENESS

I’ve danced around the integrity pole, and we’ve batted around definitions, but is integrity one of those things that you can’t define, but know it when you see it?

For example…

Say Congress passes a law. They know the law is seriously flubbed, and that they will have to repeal it in about five years or less because it will hurt people that shouldn’t be hurt. But they pass the law anyway. Are they doing their job with integrity?

If you lie to someone to save them pain, are you acting with integrity?

If you get in a cab and find a 20$, do you give it to the cabby so he can track down whose money it is? If you keep it because you figure it’s lost already, can you still be said to act with integrity?

What does it really mean to act with integrity?

What are examples of things done with integrity, and things done without it?


Holding my phone, looking out at Lake Michigan, I understood with sudden clarity that doing the right thing- being right- gets you nothing in this world. It’s the sinners everyone loves: the flailers, the scramblers, the bumblers. There was nothing sexy about getting it right the first time. Jennifer Egan The Candy House

I’ve been thinking about this since I read the book…

Do we idolize sinners?

Do we love to glorify the people who do bad, as opposed to those who do good?

On job interviews, do we ask when was the biggest screw-up, and how did you overcome that?

Do we think that people who never screw up don’t take enough risk, and therefore don’t deserve our time?

I admit, this quote made me STOP when I read the book: I reread the quote at least three times. In a world where I have tried to teach my daughter that she should do the “right” thing, have I been steering her wrong this entire time? While I’ve given her the latitude to make mistakes, and gave her tiny pushes outside her comfort zone…I’ve tried to make sure she followed the path that was lined with good intentions…that she was a “good” person, not quite a “sinner”…

Was I wrong?

Do we really admire those who don’t follow the “rules”?

So what do you think about the quote, about “sinners”, about anything I touched on:


The Fighting

My parents have never had the greatest of marriages: at best they had reached a sort of détente that allowed them to coexist in the same unit. What kept them together was a strange mix of Catholic guilt, shared political ideology and fear of not having enough money if they were to operate two separate households.

Neither of my parents is without fault- my Father is stubborn and spiteful, my mother is pushy and a know it all who will harp on you until you submit to her thoughts because you just can’t take it anymore. She is also not so great at adapting. Add in to this the inevitable aging process, where sometimes your worst traits get amplified, and you have a situation set to explode.

My parents are not getting along. They fight constantly. Neither one of them is rational or willing to listen. And I am getting to the point where I just want to close my eyes and pretend that none of this is happening.

I do not know what to do about my parents, their aging and their fighting.

I have tried babying them. I have tried tough love. I have tried coddling. I’ve tried ignoring (which is my favorite method but probably least effective). I’m running out of ideas. I have talked to their Doctor. I have suggested therapy and anti depressants and anti anxiety meds.

I realize that my Father is ill, and his body has been through a lot. I realize that my Mother is annoying. I know that pandemic was not good for their mental health. I know all the big facts.

Yet, I have no clear path on how to help them.

It’s really starting to fray at my nerves. While I am coping, and making sure I take time our for myself, I still feel helpless. Part of me doesn’t want to even try to help anymore, because everything I try is futile. And for a can-do woman of action, who is the persona I am most likely to take on, this is not a look I want to wear. I am meant to solve problems, not to ignore them. I see a problem, I figure out what to do, and I act. The way I normally am is just not working right now. Part of me, a really big part, just wants to give up…to pass the buck to my sister and let her figure it out…But there’s that little piece inside of me that still thinks she has to protect her sister…and her parents… I’m really starting to hate that little responsible gremlin living inside me. Who knew being responsible would be such a travail?

After I end this post, I will look at my to do list and get on with my day. But there’s that nagging feeling that I should be doing something, doing more than I am to help out my parents, a nagging little bit of guilt and a nagging little bit of adulting…the unwritten to do that I just can’t shake…

Freak Out

Do you know how to freak a Mother out?

When your daughter what’s app’s you from South Africa and says she can’t use her credit card.

I immediately call the bank, who first gives me grief because the card is in my daughter’s name and my Husband’s and I’m not on there. Doesn’t matter that I’m on the other credit card with this same bank…

So I’m simultaneously arguing and trying to get my husband on a three way call with the bank, because I’m not sure if I should try his cell or his work landline, and praying the customer service guy doesn’t hang up on me before the call goes through…

Finally get my husband who authorizes me to act on his behalf…

To have customer service say that they didn’t deny any charge…

so I ask how could my daughter be trying to buy something and not have it go through…

to which customer service replies have her try again…

And I’m like, let me repeat…my daughter is in South Africa which is kinda sorta halfway around the world…

Then they look again and say that oh- maybe they did deny something…

At which I explode, and remind them that on a certain date a week ago I called and said that my daughter would be traveling in South Africa and customer service replied that I didn’t need to preauthorize travel expenditures…

And they asked my why my daughter was buying five tickets to a rugby game…

They said there was no history of this card ever being used to buy tickets to a rugby game so it was flagged…

So while I get that it looked like “unusual activity”, if you are visiting South Africa for the first time you might want to check out a sport that is very popular there…

Which is what I told them…

And they righted the error and my daughter had no trouble with her card after that…

So the question is, with all the fraud in the world, how do we keep things secure without screwing us up?

I was…

Every year we go to Cowgirl to celebrate my Daughter’s report card- have been doing it since Pre-k. This was my daughter’s favorite dessert when she was younger- the ice cream baked potato. It’s vanilla ice cream covered in cocoa powder, whipped cream (sour cream) pistachios (chives) and frosting square (butter) I am intoxicated with joy when we come here.
My daughter and I have been watching Sex and the City reruns this summer. This is the building that was used as Carrie Bradshaw’s house. I was interested in seeing something in person that I have been watching on TV all summer.

Gratitude and Mindfulness: 8/6/22

My phone worked fine internationally. I did not have any issues at all. However, when we touched down at JFK, and I was allowed to open my phone, I knew there was some sort of problem. I could log in to JFK wifi, but my Verizon services would not work. This cause me a moment of anxiety. When we got back to our apartment, I used my Husband’s phone to try to call Verizon customer service. Of course, Verizon customer service was closed…


Can you feel the mellow of my vacation seeping away?

I tried googling troubleshooting, which said it was a SIM card error, but I couldn’t get the SIM slot open on my phone

So I played with my phone a bit, knowing that I would have no phone with which to call customer service the next day as everyone would be at work, and I saw a thing that said RESET NETWORK. I figured what did I have to lose?

So, I reset the network.

I am grateful that this was exactly the fix that my phone needed. Within a minute my phone was back up and running.

My prompt for kinda/sorta the past few weeks has been HUMOR. This is how it was used in the books that I read:

  1. Betty Wertheimer was known to have a good sense of humor, and Sargent always looked for ways to amuse his sitters. Deborah Davis
  2. Just humor us, Mom, ” she’d said during their last conversation. When she replayed that line in her head, she sounded like a spoiled teenager. Jennifer Close
  3. We’ve been so busy, people haven’t had a sense of humor. Helen Ellis
  4. Yet the trip was a pleasure to him, for by now he was so entranced with China that he took even took the poor accommodation in good humor: “I never expected ti find my way strewed with luxuries,” he admitted drily. Sarah Rose
  5. Thinking about my grandmothers now, I understand that it was faith, bravery, curiosity, and humor, as well as their fashionable hats, that made them beautiful. Caroline Kennedy
  6. Firas would be on his phone, and Mustafa would snatch it from his hands and put it in one of the empty honey jars, but he would never really get angry with his son- there was a certain humor between them, even when they were in battle with each other. Christy Lefteri
  7. His emotional distress only humored us further. Daniel Black
  8. If I were a waitress, walking around offering people a refreshing palate- cleanser between heavy novel course, I’d hold out a tray of humorous essay collections and let them take their pick. Emily Pullen, highlighted in a book currated by Jane Mount
  9. In the winter, while everyone else was laying out copy, he summoned me to his desk and told me I had a “biting sense of humor”. Stephanie Foo
  10. Eventually she is through the checkout, once again marveling at the assistant’s unruffled good humour, and zigzagging her trolley through the car park. Elly Griffiths
  11. As a text (referring to Under Milk Wood), I find it unknowable, but I’m always drawn to its undulating rhythms and wicked humour. Katherine May
  12. It’s a strange feeling, thinking about who you were in past relationships: a mix of sadness and humour, of mortification and frustration. Natasha Lunn
  13. Even when we disagreed, it was always good-humoured. Marian Keyes

What I’m going to think about humor/humour

  1. Can the Brits and the Americans get on board and agree to a common spelling?
  2. How often do we humor people?
  3. How hard is it to go through life without a sense of humor?
  4. Is humor universal?
  5. Should humor be universal?

Face Lift
Sylvia Plath

You bring me good news from the clinic,
Whipping off your silk scarf, exhibiting the tight white
Mummy-cloths, smiling: I'm all right.
When I was nine, a lime-green anesthetist
Fed me banana-gas through a frog mask.  The nauseous vault
Boomed with bad dreams and the Jovian voices of surgeons.
Then mother swam up, holding a tin basin.
O I was sick.

They've changed all that.  Traveling
Nude as Cleopatra in my well-boiled hospital shift,
Fizzy with sedatives and unusually humorous,
I roll to an anteroom where a kind man
Fists my fingers for me.  He makes me feel something precious
Is leaking from the finger-vents.  At the count of two,
Darkness wipes me out like chalk on a blackboard. . .
I don't know a thing.

For five days I lie in secret,
Tapped like a cask, the years draining into my pillow.
Even my best friend thinks I'm in the country.
Skin doesn't have roots, it peels away easy as paper.
When I grin, the stitches tauten.  I grow backward.  I'm twenty,
Broody and in long skirts on my first husband's sofa, my fingers
Buried in the lambswool of the dead poodle;
I hadn't a cat yet.

Now she's done for, the dewlapped lady
I watched settle, line by line, in my mirror—
Old sock-face, sagged on a darning egg.
They've trapped her in some laboratory jar.
Let her die there, or wither incessantly for the next fifty years,
Nodding and rocking and fingering her thin hair.
Mother to myself, I wake swaddled in gauze,
Pink and smooth as a baby.