Dot to Dot

I am forever in awe of creative people, those who think outside the box. And then I came across this quote by Steve Jobs:

Creativity it just connecting the dots. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile.

I thought this was a pretty brilliant way of explaining any form of genius. Genius is seeing things that others don’t. Alas, madness is also often seeing things that others don’t…

Very fine line between madness and genius. However, is it possible to be a genius and not crazy? Or not to be thought of as crazy?

Whenever I hear an idea that’s a little off the beaten path, I get excited. I love the possibility of things that change the course of how we think, how we do things, how our lives are lived. But I’m a questioner.

It’s no wonder that a cat is my favorite animal. There’s that old adage about curiosity killed the cat, because I am always questioning things. I am forever wondering “what if”. I never lack for things to talk about or think about or read about or discuss… Though I am clearly not claiming to be a genius (insert madness here) I do sometimes feel a little bit odd when someone asks:

How did you think of that?

Because the answer is simply:

I don’t know- How did you not see it?

I feel a little odd that amidst a pandemic, I seem to be flourishing with ideas. (now if I could only finish King Lear…) I’ve seen other bloggers vastly reduce how much they’ve written. And maybe my ideas aren’t all diamonds but just the rough, what matters more, the finished product, or the spark to put something on paper?

What is it to be creative?

Is it producing something with universal appeal?

or

Is it making something groundbreaking that some may or may not like?

or

Is it just thinking with an open mind?

Can I consider myself creative?

This particular post is not particularly groundbreaking. But what does it say that I was able to read a random quote and be so intrigued by it that I jotted it down and thought about it enough to write about it?

What if this post was to lead me to my own theory of relativity? (Ok- no chance of that, but you know, I can dream…)

I was watching an episode of a TV show last night. One of the characters gets a static shock. This shock literally makes them come up with an idea for a problem they’ve been trying to solve.

How many things have started this way? Something happens, even something mundane, and it makes the person think

All of a sudden a pattern forms in front of them…

And different parts of the pattern begin to emerge:

Dot: you read a quote

Dot: You write it down and think about it

Dot: You answer the question of a blog friend

Dot: you watch a tv show

Dot: you write a post

Dot:

Dot:

Dot:

What path is that one quote going to lead me down?

Is someone going to ask me: How did you think of that?

And am I just going to reply:

I just connected the dots…

The Vacation Conundrum

My family takes a two week vacation every year.

Part of it is practical: my Husband works in a job, for a company, that makes you take off two weeks in a row (consecutive leave) to make sure there is no fraud. (oddly, in January of this year many banks have gotten rid of the consecutive leave policy as there are now way more checks and balances in the system)

Secondly, I am of the mindset that I’d rather take one long, well planned out trip than a bunch of short trips.

Obviously, this is just not going to work out this year.

However, since we entered Phase 1, my Husband has been itching to go away. He asked me to find some spots to vacation.

I was against this from the beginning. I’m rather frugal and I didn’t want to spend the money if I wasn’t going to get the ultimate experience. I look forward to getting away and if I go somewhere, I want things to be open with no restrictions.

But I knew this was important to him so I researched.

Found a spot.

Told him.

He said- “Hmmm. Is everything going to be open?”

I kind of looked at him.

He said “No” to the first spot I chose.

Notice I said first.

Because I was to repeat this exercise four times.

I would actually make a reservation. In fact, if you were to look in my planner you would see a cancelled reservation from tomorrow till Friday. A hotel that I’ve always wanted to stay at had finally socially distantly reopened. True, things would be restricted but there would be hiking and some outdoor things. The spa was open. (I mean- you had me at spa…) I was OK with this.

But three weeks ago my Husband yet again questioned if it was worth the money to go away.

You know. Sort of like I said back in June.

I have no doubt that my Husband will want to go away again. But we add a new wrinkle in the mix, because now, if we go away, he wants to visit his Mother. In Florida.

And he refuses to now look at going away in December that does not involve visiting his Mother.

Which I get in theory.

But in reality he doesn’t want to spend the only away time we have this year going to visit his Mother in the middle of a pandemic to a state where in all likelihood he will have to quarantine upon return.

So he sits and stews. And lets guilt overcome him. And my only hope is that he seeks some sort of peace and atonement with this decision today.

No good decision ever came of guilt or fear.

Yet that appears to be the only way we make decisions these days.

Highlights September 27

Blueberry cake….I need to remember to photograph before I cut into it
See that orange sign? That means they’re going to film something. Haven’t seen that in months
Union Square Farmers Market
Customers are no longer allowed to get their own produce.
Color me Mine
Painting some pottery
I can tell you how to get to….
My friend M and I were interviewed for our local news
My daughter and I splitting breakfast. I might have to buy a milk steamer
Virtual book club
Guess what? My boots came? Guess what else? They came in wide calf version…and I’m assuming you get that I don’t have wide calves
Who’s a pragmatic optimist?
Thanks to The Home Edit my new favorite term is Backstock
Last week I told you about my record number of 5’s….you should never brag because this week I got a record number of 3’s
Message from my daughter while I was cooking dinner…yeah…good times….
Very very average
Memoir about renovating a house. Went slightly different than I thought it would
My ear worm song of the week

Gratitude Saturday September 26

Back in March I realized that my knee high leather boots, which are one of my favorite things, were getting a little old. Back when I thought the pandemic was eventually going to end, I wrote in my planner for September 20-

buy new boots

On September 20 I pulled up DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) and began searching for boots.

I am grateful for being optimistic.

I found a really nice pair of riding boots at a good price.

Grateful that they make riding boots for show, that they had a size 7M in black.

I was about to buy them when I looked at the time and knew that I needed to start dinner or we would never eat. So I put them in my cart.

After dinner was over and we had cleaned up, I sat at my desk to purchase the boots, but first I checked my email.

Lo and behold DSW was having a three hour sale. 40% off everything plus free shipping.

I was grateful for a 40% off code.

However, because 40% off everything and free shipping is an amazing deal, I wasn’t the only one trying to buy boots…

Their website had crashed.

After trying for a bit to see if the website would revitalize, I gave up.

At 10:30, I gave my email a check.

I am so grateful that DSW had sent a new code, thus extending the 40% off period.

So I got my boots at a ridiculous stupid price.

Two days later…

So I got a notice that the boots shipped from Holbrook New York which is two hours EAST of NYC. The notice said delivery tomorrow.

When I didn’t receive a package, I looked at tracking info: The boots were in Pennsylvania- 3 hours WEST of NYC.

FYI- unless you are on a plane or boat. you MUST drive through at least part of NYC to get from Long Island to literally anyplace else in the contiguous United States.

The boots are now scheduled to arrive this coming Tuesday as opposed to last Wednesday.

So the thing I am most grateful for is that my boots have been able to do a gap week and explore their wild oats before they lead a simple life here with me. Just hoping they brought me a souvenir pocketbook from their travels.

WAP- WTH

Have you heard the Number One most popular song in America?

WAP?

I heard this song earlier in the week. When I first began to hear the words my mouth just dropped open. I knew that I would need to write something, because I was very confused.

I was originally going to do something sarcastic or clever, Friday Favorites, explicit lyrics edition. But as I sat here this morning, I just couldn’t be flip about this subject.

I believe in the First Amendment.

I don’t believe in censorship. Last Friday I did a post about things that I love that have been banned or challenged just to show how ludicrous censorship can be. On Sunday I posted a picture of one of my favorite works of art which had been censored.

I will defend the right for people to say what they want, including artists of all types.

Yet… my questions become:

Why was this song written?

Why is it so popular?

Last night when I was emailing a friend about this subject, I told them that I was going to put a warning on my post that it would contain explicit song lyrics. I was going to copy and paste the song lyrics.

But as I looked at the words this morning, I just couldn’t.

I could not bring myself to copy and paste a song that just boggles my mind.

The song literally and figuratively calls women whores.

Last year there was a Ban on “Baby it’s cold outside” because it’s demeaning to women and takes away their power.

Yet, now we find it is empowering to talk about how women act towards men so the men buy them expensive things, and refer to themselves as whores? In language that is so sexually explicit, there is only one way to interpret it?

Is the song supposed to be sarcastic? Is it supposed to make fun of men?

I’m no expert at interpreting words, but I just don’t see how any women can hear this song and scream from the rooftops “I am so proud to be a woman.”

Here’s the hard part of this post. I don’t want to force anyone to listen to this song. Yet, I want people to be aware of what’s being touted as the most popular song in America.

But if someone could please tell me why this song is so popular?

I was going to write what “WAP” stands for and I just can’t…

I never thought of myself as a prude, but as I can’t understand this song, maybe I am.

What’s Age Got to Do With It

My daughter and her friends rented an AIRBNB beach house over the summer.

Five 19 year olds and my 18 year old daughter.

The day they were leaving my daughter hands be a piece of paper: This is a contract from the owner of the property. you need to sign it. She handed me a piece of paper that listed all the girls names as well as the Mom’s (what does it say that even in 2020 when a child is asked to provide the name of a parent they still put their Mom….see…this is how blog ideas happen for me)

Back to the contract: Why do I need to sign? You’re legally an adult? My daughter shook her head in the international symbol of “I don’t know.”

After one of the Mom’s picked up my daughter for the drive, I got a phone call from an unknown number. When I checked the voicemail, it was the renter of the house.

Does your daughter have permission to away?

This conversation went a little like this:

Me: She’s 18. She’s legally allowed to enter into a contract.

Renter Guy: No she’s not. They can be on your insurance until they’re 26 so they’re not adults till then

Me: What????????

Renter Guy: Yeah. At eighteen all they can do is enlist in the army

Me out loud : What???????

Me in my head: Hmmmm…do they call a soldier’s Mom before they go to battle- Hey- Can Jimmy man a tank today? We have to go invade something. Oh wait, what about getting married? If this was their honeymoon would they call and ask- Oh Can Susie have sex with her husband this weekend? When I was eighteen I remember going to the Hamptons with my work friends and renting a room and no one said anything…I could legally drink at 18…

Me out loud: Of course she can go.

After this incident, I read that AIRBNB is trying to make the rental age 25 across the board. Sort of like renting a car.

Twenty five.

Do you know there’s also talk of lowering the age that you can become President to 25.

There’s been talk of lowering the voting age to sixteen…

Twenty five.

Sixteen

Simultaneously, we have people that feel that at the age of 25 you are mature enough to literally take on the problems of the world.

Yet, you are not mature enough to rent a house for the weekend.

You might cause damage in the house…

You might be irresponsible…

So what’s the actual deal?

Do we change decide what age someone should be because it suits us as a society?

Do we want the bright ideas of bright young things?

Or do we think these same said kids are still in toddler mindset?

Have we further infantilized young adults by doing too many things for them?

What is the age of consent?

Shouldn’t the age of consent be the same for everything?

How can we allow one thing that smacks of being an adult while blocking something else?

Shouldn’t there be a point where we don’t have to be active parents? Like, I don’t know, 18, when we ship them off to college or work?

Or do kids just not want to grow up?

Discuss

What Are You Wearing?

I’m in my nightshirt and bathrobe right now…furry lined slipper clogs on my feet. This is my blog writing outfit. It’s soft and comfortable and when I sit at the computer I just feel ready to write.

When I sit down to work on my book I wear t shirt dress and some sort of soft cardigan/jacket over it. When I go out, I just switch out the layer and add different shoes.

This clothing combo of dress/covering/comfy shoes is the armor I wear no matter what I am doing. This way of dressing makes me feel powerful.

A dress is part of my identity.

Recently I read “After You” (I know- I am very late to the JoJo Moyes party). In the book she makes mention that women wear pants to feel more comfortable and more in control.

Hmmm

So I began to think about how we get dressed…

Do women feel more confident in pants because they feel they are channeling men? That wearing pants is like an act of defiance because there was a time when women in pants was shocking? There’s a scene early on in Downton Abbey, where one of the female characters appears at dinner in a sort of Harem pants outfit. It was scandalous to her Mother and Grandmother who would never wear fabric down the insides of their legs. She was breaking the established mold. It empowered her at that moment.

So what does it say about me that I feel much more confident with my calves out?

Is it just because I like my legs?

Is it because I love a nice knee high boot and can really show them off if I’m in a dress?

Or is it because most men don’t wear dresses and the most empowering thing I can do as a woman is by making a statement that a dress or skirt is the most powerful piece of clothing there is, simply because men routinely choose not to wear them?

When you get dressed, what are you thinking about? When you choose an outfit, what goes through your mind?

Are you consciously or unconsciously lifting hangers and scrolling through shelves?

What are you wearing?

Why?

Same Song, Different Day

Since July, I have been a fountain of blog ideas. I’m not saying they’re all good: I’m just saying that I am literally seeing topics everywhere.

We know I write ideas in my planner. But, did you know, that I’m going to have to block out December 25th soon so I don’t schedule a post about hemlines or something for that day?

The blogs I’ve been penning recently? Some of these ideas are a month old or older. I came up with an idea yesterday and wrote it down for December third. (Spoiler alert: it’s going to be about the Japanese concept of ikigai)

So, with all this roundabout language, what I’m really trying to say is that today’s blog has an origin story.

One of my neighbors broke up with their significant other. We talked about the heartbreak and the sadness. If apologies work in a case like this. Would they get back together. The stuff that rom com’s are made of.

The stuff that rom com’s are made of…

Oddly, I just finished a book on Sunday where the main character and her boyfriend break up.

How often is this theme used in literature and film? (Hello Ross and Rachel)

Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back again.

How many times have we seen that storyline?

What is it about a breakup and reconciliation that draws us in?

Why do we need to see a couple suffer before they are happily ever after? (I know I know- happily ever after is an overused theme too, but that’s a whole other can of worms, but perhaps we will tackle that on 12/7…)

In reality, how often does the course of love run smooth?

I know more couples that have broken apart before they eventually came back together than couples who just stayed the course. Even to use the Friends analogy (yup, still occasionally watching the reruns) Ross and Rachel were on a break, Phoebe and Mike broke up, leaving only Monica and Chandler to just tough it out.

Do we like to see relationship turmoil in fiction because it mirrors our actual love lives for better or for worse?

Do we like the thought that even if we screw up, there’s a huge opportunity for a second chance?

Where would we be without forgiveness?

Where would we be without second chances?

To go back to my original paragraph, the couple I spoke about are now in the second chance phase.

Yay for love.

Maybe I’ll write a book about them…

How You Doin’

I bet you’re all wondering how New York City is doing…

Whether or not you are, I’m going to tell you.

Virus wise…we are holding tight. Low infection rate. People being discharged. Very flat curve.

As for learning to live in the time of COVID…

How do we visit something?

Reservations are key. When I go to the museum or the zoo or the Highline, I must register in advance because there are very strict 25% occupancy rules. I went to the Met on Saturday. I booked my 11am ticket about five days before. I’m a planner and even that seems crazy to me…yet, I do it. At the zoo, there are no same day, ticket counter ticket sales. None.

This is not a good time to be spontaneous.

To do something in NYC right now requires forethought.

Are we wearing masks?

I haven’t been to the outer boroughs much, but in Manhattan, most people in my area are wearing masks. We are required to wear them indoors. Even outdoor spots like THe Highline and New York Botanic Garden (which are outdoor venues) require you to keep your mask on at all times. If you walk down the street, most are wearing masks.

What this means is that except when I am in my apartment, I am wearing a mask. When I do laundry I wear a mask. A mask is the most valuable thing I own now (if you saw Manhattan real estate prices you would totally get this)

Now, I said I wear a mask. And I did say that most are wearing masks.

Yet…

Subways and Busses

The MTA (metropolitan transit authority) have now instituted a 50$ fine for anyone on mass transit who is not wearing a mask. Which probably means there are mask evaders. The problem with this is that in order to fine someone, you must be able to give them a ticket. In a system where many people are fare evaders, I am 99% sure this will never work, because in order for it to work, people must respect the laws…

See the conundrum…

For now, as the transit system is probably only operating at 25% capacity, it will not be too much of an issue…

But at some point things have to go above 25% capacity…

Things are meant to run at 90% to full capacity. That is the economic model. But this is just a piece about how we are doing COVID wise…the economy piece will come eventually…

Mentally

Those of us left in the city are trying our best to remain positive. Or reading up on how to be a hermit. There are two distinct types of people: the ones that shut the elevator door in your face and the ones that hold it open for you. The ones that yell at the supermarket clerk for being out of haloumi, and the ones that go out of their way to thank the workers.

NYC has become it’s own little version of red state/blue state, and the two groups can’t stand each other…

If you divide, who conquers?

The News According to Bill Gates

In an interview with Chris Wallace, Gates stated that the earliest thing will go back to normal will be 2022.

2022

How are we doing?

I have no idea.

Highlights September 20

Egg and cheese croissant at one if my favorite little cafes
The bar/restaurants have taken to putting TVs outside for football season
Wondering what’s on his playlist…
I made frozen s’mores cake. Don’t be impressed…it’s one of those desserts that you make out of other ingredients that are already prepared….but my family did love it, so there’s that…
Manicure
Doors for Doris Sam Moyer
Alto
Without these Trail Blazers….
Robert Burns
I told you a few weeks ago that some parks are placing circles on the ground so you know where to sit
Is a group of scooters a biker gang in training?
Pastrami, matzah ball soup, and friends
My new computer. Haven’t named her yet…
Movie night…Do the Right Thing
Really good book
Up close and personal with my cat
Fun, light read
I got four 5 star rating on my design game this week….lucky week
RIP RBG….you will be missed. Thank you for being a hero to my daughter, and helping her learn to just keep trying.
This was on my playlist this week, and really spoke to me…
John Singer Sargent Madame X. This is my favorite painting at the Met. It amazes me that it was considered risqué in its day….
Mary Cassatt Mother and Child
Degas The Dance Class
My shadow is not part of the art