Whenever there’s a holiday approaching, television networks like to trot out a particular kind of film. Typically there’s a feisty women – either single or divorced – who falls in love with a widower, the most sympathetic of all the male character types. A divorced man or confirmed bachelor is imbued with potential problems, but a widower is a good man capable of great love. What could be simpler? Continue Reading
Will someone please explain to me why–and this is not a rhetorical question–smoke alarm batteries always fail in the middle of the night?
Yesterday morning I was snuggled in bed, dreaming I had a bag of delicious fruit-and-cheese-filled pastries, I’d baked, to get the attention of a handsome movie star. (Side-note: Although I am allergic to wheat, I am certain I could have eaten these with absolutely no ill-effects.) I was also certain that my delectables would seal the deal, and I would win his affections.
As if to put a punctuation mark on that thought, the smoke alarm outside the bedroom door went off!
I must have slipped back into dreamtime immediately, because I saw myself fetch my broom, turn it toward the ceiling, and with a swing that would do any polo-player proud, I whacked that little white dome clean off the ceiling. Trailing all of it’s wires like a tiny electronic octopus, it flew straight through the dining room window and out into the night!
I remember my satisfaction upon seeing the starburst-shaped hole in the window, the glowing full Moon right in front of me, and feeling the burst of fresh, cool air. I thought, “I’ll clean the glass in the morning. Now I can go back to sleep.”
Minutes later, on the second chirp, I put the pillow over my head. By the third chirp, my sweetheart, who can sleep through anything if he sleeps on his “good ear,” was also wide awake. I turned to him, “Do you think this will wake them?” as I pointed upstairs to our noisy neighbors. “I hope so,” he dead-panned.
Here it was, 4:30 am and maintenance didn’t open till 8:00. We rose, brewed some coffee, tried to replace the batteries ourselves and surprisingly, couldn’t. So we put in earplugs and sat at the kitchen table in our bathrobes, drinking coffee as if this were an everyday occurrence.
I was writing and enjoying my second cup of coffee, no longer grumbling, when the alarm inexplicably stopped chirping.
Wait… I think I just answered my own question… Smoke alarms go off in the middle of the night because God needs a good laugh!
It was August, 1969. I was married to Adam Linter who managed a club called The Salvation, on 1 Sheridan Square in New York City’s West Village. I used to go there early in the evening to dance. One night Jimi Hendricks was there, all by himself, just tuning his guitar. No one else was there. He saw me and sang a minute of “Foxy Lady,” then took off his wristband and gave it to me. It was animal skin. Continue Reading
Everytime I consider having some “work done,” I learn something that makes me pause. Last month Anna, my aesthetician, gave me a facial. We’ve been friends for 20 years. I love visiting Anna because she’s a voracious reader and researches organic versus non organic foods, vitamins and skin care. She’s a walking encyclopedia concerning anything you put on the skin and into the body.
As I’m going on about how with each passing day I look more like my mother, and I’m thinking about Botox, Anna stops working on my face and says, “Uh huh… “ Not the kind of “Uh huh” that reconfirms she’s listening, but the kind of “Uh huh” Sherlock Holmes might have uttered as he processed a new clue. I love it when she does that, because I know she’s about to give me a kernel of well-researched information.
“Like everything else we put on our skin, did you know Botox is processed by our liver?” Anna makes it sound like more of a statement than a question.
At an estate sale recently, a large baggie filled with yellow corn-on-the-cob holders caught my eye. The price was $1 and out of curiosity, I opened the baggie to see exactly how many corn picks you got for that kind of money.
There were 66 pair of corn-on-the-cob holders, and I admit being surprised. Why so many? I mean, they come in packs of eight or twelve. So twelve times, these corn fiends plunked down money at the store for a gadget that gets used four months of the year. Are they Rotarians in charge of the annual Pig Roast? Do their grandchildren use them as swords in Barbie doll wars? Do they have acreage in Iowa? Continue Reading
Last weekend I attended a yoga weekend at a holistic retreat house. They had lots of snow, and I decided to join the group for snowshoeing. I’ve not been snowshoeing before, but the others were novices too, and the woman leading us seemed to survive on nothing but kale. How strenuous could it be?
Pretty freaking strenuous, as it turned out.
As we clomped over bumpy terrain and pulled ourselves up the top of the ski hill, using trees as handgrips, I was quite proud of myself for keeping up. We’d been doing a lot of yoga and my glutes were barking, but the scenery made it all worthwhile.
When we came to a fork in the woods, she explained we could take the path to the left and start heading back, or do a longer loop with some beautiful views
I was not sure what to do, so I paused. Seeing my hesitation, she said, with a voice imbued with wisdom, “You should never hate your life.”
I looked at her for a moment, not fully understanding what she meant.
“If you take the trail back to the house, you won’t hate your life,” she clarified. “If you take the longer trail, you might.“
I decided to take the shorter trail back. I did not want to hate my life. I returned to the house to drink tea by the fire.
How often do we opt for the longer trail instead of the shorter one and end up hating the process?
I spent most of last year working on a novel about a woman trapped in suburbia, which highlights how awful people can be. The novel itself is not bad, but the writing process was draining. It dredged up too many things from my past, making me relive the most painful parts of my life whenever I wrote. I realized, as I came to the book’s conclusion, that I was writing more and more slowly. The truth was, I dreaded the idea of spending the next year being my book’s best cheerleader, driving the sales, marketing and publicity efforts needed to birth a book. God forbid it was a success: I’d never break free from the thing.
I hated the idea of all of it, but still felt compelled to press forward for the sake of pressing forward. I pride myself on never quitting anything. Throughout my life, I’ve finished academic programs I didn’t like, stayed in relationships that made me miserable and worked far too long in jobs that chipped away at my soul. I don’t give up, even when it does me harm. I always take the longer trail.
When our snowshoeing guide spoke those words – “you should never hate your life” – it felt like divine counsel. It felt like permission to get off the path that was no longer serving me well. In that moment, I made the decision to abandon my work and to move forward with another project: one that is more healing.
This year give yourself permission to take the shorter trail. You never want to hate your life.
Last week my husband and I went to a Blood, Sweat and Tears concert with friends we’ve known for over 35 years. Yes, Blood, Sweat and Tears’s 50th Anniversary tour. Does that make you feel old? It did me. It was held at a small concert venue that seated 300 people. When we walked in, my hubby said “Good grief. This is a Geezer Fest.” The average age of the audience was at least 60. Yep, I’m a geezer now. But it was one of the most fun evenings I’ve had in a long time.
The United States of America was built on Freedom: Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom to cast our votes for leaders and laws that align with our beliefs. When our founding fathers wrote the Constitution, they didn’t list every possible “inalienable right,” but Americans have always believed those rights included the right to think freely.
We cannot sanctify violence and rioting against people and property because there’s a conservative—or a liberal—speaking at the podium or living next door.
I’ve never really been a scarf girl. I don’t like anything pulling around my neck. Necklaces are fine, but turtlenecks and scarves just bug me… until recently that is. Continue Reading