Togo or not Togo

For about five minutes last fall, my daughter debated joining the Peace Corps. She started the whole process, the application and so forth, and got up to the final interview. Before you go on the final interview, they tell you what your placement will be. My daughter would be assigned Togo.

Togo is a sliver of a country in Africa, on the western portion of the continent, east of Ghana, west of Benin and south of Burkina Faso. A small portion of the country is on the Gulf of Guinea.

Geography lesson over.

My daughter decided not to join the Peace Corps because it was really not for her. Nothing against Togo, but this was not how she wanted to spend her gap years between college and law school.

But she agonized a bit about this decision…

Did not wanting to go to Togo mean that she was scared?

My daughter is not one to back away from an intellectual challenge- in fact- she relishes it. She does have fear, but she is not really afraid of most things…

But for some reason she felt like a quitter by not joining up…

I asked her:

Is joining the peace corp something you really want to do, or was it just a very pretty marketing brochure that caught your eye when you were trying to come up with something unique to do before you went to law school?

And she said that yes, the on campus recruitment was very seductive to someone in her position, who didn’t want to be a paralegal or join the company that she interned with over the summer. The peace corps promised experiences that she would never receive in another way. But no, in theory, she did not want to spend two years that far away from NYC.

Did that make her a wimp? Not wanting to do it because she wanted to be around her dog and cat?

We had a whole conversation about how it’s ok to NOT do something. Just because it sounded appealing doesn’t mean she had to jump in with both feet. She explored it, thought about it, and decided that NO, this wasn’t for her.

There’s nothing wrong with making a decision based on how you feel about a situation.

She wasn’t a bad person because she said that Togo was a no go…

Sometimes we get caught up in overthinking things- for attaching too many thoughts to one thing. While thinking about something is important, the listing of the pros and the cons…when it comes down to it, a con is a con if your mind says it is. No further explanation necessary…

The whole peace corps thing brought up a lot of other things…so look towards another Peace Corp blog in the next week or so…

Check In

My daughter is a mentor at her university. For about eight weeks, she would meet a group of Freshman once a week for a school sponsored dinner.

She would always start out the session by asking everyone if there were issues: scholastic or otherwise. When she asked about how the roommate thing was going, one of the students said:

Well, my situation with my roommate is fine. He’s a decent roommate. However, the other day his Father knocked on the door at 3am.

What? you ask…

Apparently, the son hadn’t reached out or returned any of the calls his Father/family had left for about six weeks- since they had dropped him off for orientation. No calls, texts, emails or anything.

Finally the Father just boarded a flight from California and went to the dorm to see if his son was OK.

As this was a scenario my daughter never expected to hear, and definitely did not come up in training, first off, she knew she had a lot to report when they had the mentor wrap up meeting. Secondly, she had to figure out how to respond.

What do you say to your eight students about this incident?

What do you think about this incident?

Does an adult child (assuming for the moment that 18 is an adult) need to respond to family?

Should the parent have alerted the school, and asked the Resident Advisor to say that the kid is OK? Now, the problem with this scenario is that the school might not legally be able to give out information about an 18 year old.

If you’re the parent in this situation, what do you do?

If you’re the student, should you at least respond to outreach from parents?

I think my daughter flubbed her way through something like you don’t have to talk to your family if you don’t want, but maybe give them a heads up that you’re OK… She also said that if you feel your roommate is having issues adjusting it’s OK to tell the resident advisor because that is why they are there- to help kids transition to life without their parents being around.

What do you think about this senario?


I came, I saw, I ate: 3/12/23

Learning to Paint in Premodern China is an interesting exhibit at the Met- There are some lovely works that I really could have stared at for hours- the delicacy with which these works are done…

Met Galleries 760,61,62,63 and 64. We are starting to get to some of the works that I really wonderful- I loved the last three images, and when peaking into the next galleries I know I am in for a treat…

  • Urban Hawker is an Asian Food Hall that recently opened in midtown Manhattan. I had the Classic Roti John sandwich from Ashes Burnitt pictured on the left, while my daughter had the Stingray Fried Rice from Mr. Fried Rice. The offerings at this food hall show a range of Asian cuisine, and while some stands are better than others, there are many amazing options.
  • Enchilada Suiza’s from Amor Loco in theater district Manhattan. My daughter and I split because the portions are huge at this place, but the food is delicious and somewhat reasonably priced given the location.
  • Parade on Broadway- sad but well done musical based on a historic event- I will talk more about this experience in a future post
  • Big East Basketball Tournement
  • Some Like it Hot on Broadway- Old fashioned singing and dancing Broadway show loosely based on movie of the same name
  • The jigsaw puzzle that was 20×20 and fit perfectly on my coffee table

New York Historical Society is one of my favorite museums in NYC- I think they curate some really interesting exhibits. The Scenes from New York room is one of my daughters favorite places in the city. The Kara Walker exhibit is really thought provoking and well done. The History of the Jewish Deli is just a fun walk thru.

Ten Things: 3/11/23

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. went to Farmers Market. Forgot to put my money in my change purse. Was only able to buy one apple.
  2. My daughter was able to get home successfully despite a few flight issues
  3. Got email from a friend from writing class who moved after the class ended. Always nice to hear from people and have fun email conversation
  4. Kitchen organization angst! Sometimes my lack of space starts to get to me
  5. My next coffee table will be larger so it can accommodate larger jigsaw puzzles
  6. Had a day where I wanted to dwell and obsess. Decided I let it become a self fulfilling prophesy after having written about dwelling
  7. Grateful for some good workouts
  8. Pets slept with my daughter instead of me…for one night anyway
  9. Got to see my friend K before she went back west
  10. finished jigsaw puzzle!!

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. Buddha

Anything Can Happen Friday: You’re so Lucky

I was eavesdropping the other day-

(I know we’ve talked about who a story belongs to, but I’m sorry- if you are at Starbucks and are talking loudly enough for half the place to hear you, your story is not your own. I’m betting most urban writers have lifted plotlines and characters from real life)

So I was eavesdropping:

Two women, my guess would be thirty something… Blue says to the Yellow:

You’re so lucky to have him.

Yellow, the recipient of these words, didn’t say anything, but just sort of looked at her friend. She didn’t smile or acknowledge or anything. She just looked at her blankly.

Is telling someone that they are lucky to have someone a COMPLIMENT?

If someone told you that you were lucky to have your partner, what does that really mean?

Does it mean that your partner is out of your league and therefore you should count your lucky stars every day that they lower themselves to be with you?

Does it mean that you don’t deserve to be in a relationship with this person?

Does it mean that the speaker of these words wishes they were you and this particular person wants to be with your partner?

Under what circumstances would you tell someone that they are lucky to have someone?

I don’t like this phrasing. I think it implies an imbalance in the relationship- it presumes that one person is better than the other.

Is one person in a relationship “better” than the other?

Wouldn’t it be better to say something like: You two balance one another out? It’s good to see how you two work together towards a common goal? Isn’t that the heart of a relationship: two people coordinating together to make a life?

Would it be better to say: You’re so lucky that your partner does X?

But even then, are you lucky that, say, your partner does 50% of the household duties, or is it not luck but communication and setting expectations?

Does luck have anything to do with an ongoing relationship?

Have you ever told anyone that they are lucky to have someone? What did you mean by it? How would you feel if someone told you that you were lucky to have your partner?


Stand Up

Standing desks are all the rage.

I just don’t get it.

I know- sitting is the new smoking so they say…and I’m not saying that sitting for eight hours a day is good for you, but really, is standing for eight hours a day any better?

I did not do scientific research about this- I’m sure there are thousands of articles and statistics that support standing desks, and I’m sure there are an equal amount of studies and stats the say the exact opposite. That’s the nature of anything- one group says A while another says Z. It’s not so much a right or wrong, just different studies and different ways to look at something…

But logically…

Shouldn’t everything be a balance?

If sitting all day isn’t good, is doing the exact opposite the right course of action?

From personal experience, my Dad had a job that made him be on his feet all day. You know what it did for him? Varicose veins, foot issues and heart issues. Standing put too much stress on his body. Sitting a bit might have been better for him.

What if you stand all day but have poor posture? Is that a plus or a minus?

Is good health about more than a decision to stand or sit?

If you stand all day but smoke, how healthy are you?

If you sit and take a five minute walk every hour, how unhealthy are you?

Stand and do no other exercise?

Sit but work out regularly with weights and separate cardio?

Isn’t healthy an all around life style?

What do you think about the standing desk phenomena? Do you think it’s a fad like those kneeling chairs? (remember those? It was supposed to be better to kneel when doing work)

Or do you think it’s an effective tool to use towards a healthy lifestyle?


Is Lying on a Dating App the Norm

Back in October I wrote a post:

At some point in the conversation, Leslie and I discussed lying on dating apps:

  1. Does everyone lie on a dating app?
  2. Is it OK to lie on a dating app?
  3. If it’s OK to lie on a dating app, are there parameters?

I have never used a dating app. I met my husband playing tennis. He was roommates with my doubles partner. There was no match or bumble or whatever, so I have no knowledge of how dating apps work…


It would appear that this is the way many people meet their partners. As I’ve never done it, I can’t really talk about the experience, though from what I’ve heard, I don’t know how much I would have liked it…But if people like it and it works, then have at it…

The biggest criticism I’ve heard about dating apps is the license that one takes when filling out their profile…

  1. Pictures that are old
  2. Overly generous of one’s height or under generous of one’s weight
  3. whether they are married or separated
  4. being vague about their age
  5. skirting around drinking, drugs or smoking

But the other side of the coin is that IF you tell the truth about certain things, will anyone swipe right…

Like, if you are a woman who is fifteen pounds overweight, is hovering around age 60, and likes a cocktail or three at night, how do you display yourself?

Do you write:

Overweight fan of Jack Daniels who was alive when Kennedy was president

or do you say:

Full bodied woman who likes a full bodied drink and appreciates things that are aged well


Size 8 Gen Xer looking for someone who appreciates a glass of wine with dinner

Ignoring my ineptitude at writing these…

Which one gets a date? The flat-out honest one, the one that embellished, or the one that pretty much lied? Why?

In a world of five second attention spans and Instagram perfect lives, can we actually be honest on a dating app? Or do all profiles have a bit of bait and switch?

Just for fun, write yourself a dating app (to be clear this is a writing exercise, not an invitation to enter the world of online dating) and if you have a partner, write their dating app.

I’ll wait…

OK- how much truth stretching is there? Are you brutally honest? Did you represent yourself as you are?

more importantly:

Do you think anyone is messaging you based on the description?

If you were to include a picture, would you use one that was taken just as you got out of bed, or would you use the one at someone’s wedding where you were in spiffy clothes and you were looking relaxed and attractive? In short- would you use a photo of what you can look like instead of how you do look?

Is the world of online dating a big wall of deception?

Does it need to be a big wall of deception?



Today’s post is sort of a mash up of ideas taken from the past few posts: sometimes I do that- compile all that I’ve been tossing about in my brain and sort of bake up an idea.

Let’s look at two themes: looking slowly and luxury.

Is it a luxury to look at things slowly? To take the time necessary to look at something?

Have we stopped paying attention because time is a luxury we often can’t afford?

Do we think our time is better spent doing other things?

My Husband is away on a ski trip. Yesterday I walked the dog, went to the gym, the farmers market and the Botanic Garden. I did some kitchen reorganizing (which I’m unsure about so I may be re organizing the reorg) I was done with this by about 3pm. I spent the rest of the night binging some fashion design show on Netflix (the one with Tan France- I don’t remember the name) and working on a jigsaw puzzle.

Have you ever done a puzzle?

They take time.

I worked on the puzzle for about five hours off and on (as I write I’m not even close to done)

While there were clearly other things I could have done, it was really nice to just work on this puzzle- study the colors and the shapes and the scenes- look at it, feel the pieces, figure out what went where…

I allowed myself the time to do this…

I allowed myself the time to just do something for the sake of doing it…

I allowed my brain to luxuriate it two activities that are not really productive at all- but made my mind and body go ahhhhh…(ok maybe not my lower back because bending over the puzzle was a little wonky- but you get the idea)

When was the last time you gave yourself the luxury of time? Is it free, or do you think the long term cost is too much?

Is time a luxury you think you can’t afford?


Little Luxuries

I had a craving for ramen.

I went to the ramen place a few blocks from my house, sat at the counter, and ordered a bowl of ramen.

I’ve written about this matter of factly- but in matter of fact, I rarely go out to a sit down restaurant by myself in the middle of the week and order a meal.

I don’t have a phobia about eating/doing things by myself. I love food and restaurants. But I almost never go out to a sit down meal by myself. Sure, I’ve grabbed fast casual when I’ve been out and about, but waiter service? Rarely.

I guess I think of waiter service food as a treat- it’s something to be savored as a meal rather than merely sustenance. Which I guess makes the real question…

Why do I not want to treat myself?

We could go into the whole mother/wife/woman mindset- how many of us will give our families the best of us and leave the crumbs to ourselves…

We could ponder why I don’t think I deserve this…


I could just be thankful on the day I craved ramen I just went out and got myself some. That on that particular day, I didn’t overthink, I didn’t question myself or sociological constructs, I just took my e reader out to lunch, and enjoyed a spicy bowl of tonkatsu, no nuri or egg, with curly noodles.

Try not to think about what others expect of you: try to think about what you expect of you.

Sometimes we have to allow ourselves some little luxuries.

I Came, I Saw, I Ate

We have a little snow this week in NYC- Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Met Museum- Permanent Collection- Galleries 756-759. I thought the painting about moving day was really cool- May 1 used to be “moving day” in NYC, when everyone’s leases were up- so everyone moved that day. Also thought the work by Perry was pretty cool.

Berenice Abbott’s New York Album- Small, but interesting exhibit. I’m a sucker for old NYC photos. Some of these feature my neighborhood and areas I frequent often.

Virginia Woolf exhibit at the NY Public Library

  • Brooklyn Craft- I took a knitting lesson- fun!!
  • Empire Bakery- they make bakery versions of yodels, twinkies and sno balls. Yum.
  • L’antica Pizzeria da Michele- this pizza is SO GOOD. For any Eat Prey Love fans- this is the Julia Roberts pizza from Naples. They just opened an NYC outlet!!