Sunday, February 26, 2017

Things I Saw Today

I spent the day walking in the woods with an old friend. At the risk of sounding too philosophical, I like the metaphor displayed in the first picture (of me).

Confronted with the vastness of the universe, we are truly small (and possibly insignificant) yet our individual struggle to be ourselves (depicted by my choice of a bright red sweater) stands out in the dark wilderness as a beacon of our uniqueness.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Time and Fear

We think of time as an absolute concept, measured in ticks of a clock. But, even putting aside the vagaries of quantum physics, our perception of time is relative. A good example comes from sports.

Baseball players say that when pressure mounts (like the bases getting loaded), time speeds up for them. Anxiety causes their heart to pump harder. Because time is passing more quickly, they're prone to making stupid errors they'd never make when relaxed. Coaches tell them to SLOW DOWN. Slowing down their body's perception of time allows them to relax and return to normal performance.

The same thing happens to inexperienced car-drivers and motorcycle-riders. Encountering dangerous situations, some panic -- and that's exactly the wrong thing to do. Panic causes our brains to race, depleting us of normal skill. For example, instead of steering away from an oncoming vehicle, panicked operators close their eyes and crash. Their minds fearfully let external factors determine the outcome instead of trying control it.

I've learned to ride my motorcycle in a relaxed state, even when situations are risky. In risky traffic where a millisecond can mean the difference between life and death, I never panic. On the racetrack, sweeping through sharp curves at 120 mph, I stay calm. It isn't easy but this is a trait you can learn. Nobody is born eternally calm; it's a mental tool you develop.

Have you ever felt time "speed up" in a moment of panic?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Canadian Expressions

I love Canada, our friendly neighbor up north. I've been there twice in the past two years and plan to return this Summer to visit Suzanne.

You may not know this but the Huffington Post (which you should read) has a special Canadian edition. It teaches me a lot about Canadian politics, culture and other stuff, plus it's fun to read.

An article just published notes that there are many expressions Canadians use which Americans won't recognize. For example, do you know what any of these phrases mean?

Double Double
Beaver Tails
Caesar (a drink)
Canadian Tuxedo

You can check 'em out here.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sentimental Objects

Are you sentimental? Do you save objects from your past as mementos of special times?

I am and I do. In fact, I'm extremely sentimental about my life's experiences because they are the most important things I'll ever have. Let me report from your future that you will become MORE sentimental as you age. I look at objects from my youth and struggle to hold back tears.

I was cleaning out the basement yesterday. I opened boxes that haven't seen light and fresh air in 30-50 years. Wow. What memories they stir. For example, I saved the ceramic knob that was the top to the stick-shift of my first car, which I cradled in my hand when learning how to drive. It's all that's left of my beloved 1964 VW bug. Shortly after I gave the car to my little brother, he totalled it. (He was okay but the car was irreparably wrecked.)

My first job was part-time work as a stock-boy at a women's clothing store named Loehmann's. They sold "Designer Clothing For Less." The store was close to my high school and I walked over after the school-day ended. I chose to keep a few plastic rings that went on clothing racks to indicate dress sizes.

During college, I returned home for Summers and worked delivering auto parts to gas stations. I kept a few matchboxes advertising my employer (Roadside Auto Parts). We had the "2% rule" -- if a customer paid cash, we'd instantly drop the price two percent and nobody paid taxes on the sale.

I could go on. Seeing tangible objects that connect me to my past, now so long ago, touches my heart.

Do you keep objects for sentimental value?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How To Bee Happy

In the nadir of Winter, it's easy to be blue. It's cold out, days are short, and there's lots of illness going around. I was suffering these seasonal afflictions until... my friends rescued me. My close friends Hollie and Megan just pulled me out of a blue funk.

I met both gals through blogging which isn't a surprise since they live so far away. Hollie resides in Texas and Megan lives in Tennessee, places that are over 1,000 miles away from New York.

By coincidence, both just sent me gifts -- and both gifts are socks! How funny is that?!

There's nothing sweeter than an unexpected gift. No holiday or birthday occasion, just a thoughtful gesture from big-hearted women.

I recommend everybody make the effort to lift up their friends. A simple pair of cute socks can make the difference between glum and glee. These certainly gladdened me!

The white heart socks are from Hollie; the bee socks are from Megan.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Donut Dress

Fashion Week sometimes has interesting designs. Consider these from designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada and tell me if you'd wear any of them...

Saturday, February 18, 2017


The term "friends" is used loosely these days. When I was young, friends were people you knew and interacted with in person. There was no Internet enabling you to claim friendship with people you'd never met.

Today is different. Social media lets people believe they have hundreds, even thousands of friends. Relationships with online acquaintances, however, are categorically different.

I'm curious about your experience with this subject. If you don't mind discussing it, how many friends do you have in real life versus online? Do you consider people you've never met in person to be friends? How much do you trust online friends?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Romper Room

The phrase "adult romper" sounds like an oxymoron. But, truth be told, I've been dying to try a romper for years. I wondered how I could make one look adult-ish. It occurred to me to do what New Yorkers always do -- wear black. So I took my first romper and used it in an all-black ensemble.

What do you think? Would you wear this?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Office Gal

I seek experience. I want to learn how it feels to dress different ways -- modestly, in a sexy manner and everything in between. In pursuit of experience, I sometimes go too far -- like wear a sassy dress so short I can't sit down in it. My goal is to explore and learn.

With that in mind, here's another outfit at a different place on the spectrum. Modest but hopefully interesting. Something I might wear to the office. A cute pencil-skirt over a black knit top, with beige hose, kitten heels and silver jewelry. Oh, and a more conservative hair-style.

What do you think?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Party Girl

When you think party clothes, you think sparkle. I found a glittery dress and decided to amp it up with sparkly tights and heels.

Be honest... tell me... is this dress too short?  :-)

Seriously, I believe we can all wear whatever we want. Sure, this dress is short but I won't have these legs forever. Let me take 'em out for a spin while I still can!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Red Hook

Red Hook is the red-haired sister of New York. Hidden in an obscure part of Brooklyn with no mass transit, Red Hook is an overlooked gem. It retains the charm of old New York, back when working men and women lived, dined and drank here. Much of Brooklyn has been gentrified over the past few decades and now crawls with hipsters; Red Hook avoided that fate. Walking its cobblestone streets sends you back in time. You hear faint echoes of songs sung by old Norwegian sailors.

I visited Red Hook today and found an amusing mix of old, new and quirky; the latter is amply illustrated in the photos. Being on the water is a mixed blessing. Red Hook has boardwalks with scenic views, including one of the Statue of Liberty, but the area was flooded during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

My favorite place in town is Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies, a bakery that makes Key Lime pie. Not just any Key Lime pie but THE BEST Key Lime pie. I'm not kidding -- this pie is justly praised for its intense flavor and natural ingredients. Steve's is one of only two bakeries in the country that use real freshly-squeezed Key Limes in its pie. The store is tucked away in an industrial area. Steve's serves nothing but Key Lime pie except for something called a Swingle, which is Key Lime pie on a stick covered in rich Belgian dark chocolate. Can you believe that? It's scrumptious. There are outdoor picnic tables where you can savor the sweet tartness of a Swingle or pie.

A visit to Red Hook must include a stop at Sunny's Bar which has been popular since 1890. Yup, it's over a century old. The saloon served unfussy longshoremen and other working stiffs. Someone wrote a book about the place ("Sunny's Nights: Lost and Found at a Bar on the Edge of the World") which captured its central role in the remote location. I dropped in this afternoon and toasted Red Hook with a local bourbon. They were playing 1940's jazz on a turntable with lyrics like, "I got class I ain't never used yet."

A fun thing to do is to tour a chocolate factory that makes not only candy bars but also hard liquor (whiskey, bourbon, rum). Cacao Prieto makes its chocolate fresh daily from organic, single origin Dominican cacao beans. I tried several of their varieties and love the Absinthe bar, which includes the delicious flavor of Star Anise. (I put Star Anise pericarps into my tea every morning.) I picked up a bottle of 10-year old bourbon called "Widow Jane."

Red Hook isn't just bars and pies; it has history and culture. Although shipping no longer takes place here, they left the huge shipping cranes as monuments to the town's past. There's also a big space for art exhibitions called Pioneer Works.

There are many things to do in town. I ate a delicious Italian sandwich at Defonte's, open since 1922. Called the Valentino, my sandwich had fried eggplant, peppers and mozzarella cheese. My fingers smelled of Italian herbs the rest of the day. I sipped coffee at The Black Flamingo, a French bistro with Old World charm. You can find tasty seafood at Brooklyn Crab, a popular restaurant. I found a record-store where I bought some vinyl albums and another store where I picked up a funny t-shirt.

An exciting day in Red Hook proves you don't have to travel far to have fun. You just have to look closely at what's around you. Red Hook can be reached by ferry from Manhattan or by road from elsewhere. It offers a trip to the past and a variety of good times.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


New York is being hit today with a big snowstorm, up to 16 inches.

I'm tired of shoveling snow so, yesterday, in anticipation of the storm, I bought a new tool for clearing my driveway...

Actually, I got this historic photo from a tweet today by the agency that runs Governors Island (which is the biggest secret in New York; click the link to see why). Back in 1947, the U.S. Coast Guard used flame-throwers to clear snow on Governors Island. I want one!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Things I Saw Today

You never walk the same trail twice. Just as the sun was setting today, its light turned intensely yellow.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Teen Rebel

Despite the fact that I've been around, I'm able to act like a rebellious teenager.

I found a cute prom dress on sale in a retro boutique this week. Rather than treat it respectfully like a dainty princess, I chose to be bad. Party cat bad. I added big-ass fishnets and fun red sneakers. And a dose of attitude.

When you do a photo-shoot like this, it's helpful to play music really loud. I elected for original gender-bender David Bowie.

Whadda think?