Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

When I was a child my mother knew a seemingly endless list of poems, songs and stories.  Most of them were told to her when she was a child, passed down from times when children played all day with friends and night was time for family dinners, bed time stories and mommy kisses!

One of these, one of my favorites to this day, was a story about three little boys sailing off through the sky in their wooden shoe. Wynken, Blynken & Nod was written in the 1880's and originally published in 1889 as "Dutch Lullaby." While it was definitely a throw back to beliefs and stories of the old world, it was written and embraced by Americans. As a child, I fell in love with the idea of sailing through the stars. As a mother, I love watching my children imagine the same wonder as they imagine the possibilities! But, as a Pagan, I love the symbolism and find it to be the perfect embodiment of both the magick of the stars and the magick of childhood all rolled in to one!

Here, is that poem! Enjoy!

Wynken, Blynken & Nod
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe---
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
Said Wynken,
And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea---
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish---
Never afeard are we";
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam---
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
'T was all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought 't was a dream they 'd dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea---
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
And Nod.

Making Muammar look good

Nine days ago I proposed the theory that the success of a new government is inversely correlated to the extent that its victorious army celebrates by firing guns into the air.

Guy Davis just sent the following article, which doesn't bode well for the future of Libya:


30 Days of Truth

So not only am I a blog writer, but a blog reader. Over the past few months I've seen a number of other bloggers who did the "30 Day's of Truth" challenge to help their bloggers get to know them better. So I have decided to do the same. Over the next 30 days, I'll be answering and exploring the questions in the challenge and hopefully it will aid each of you in knowing who I am and where I'm coming from.

Here's the questions I'll be answering:

Day 01 Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 Someone you didn't want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn't know.
Day 11 Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 Something or someone you couldn't live without, because you've tried living without it.
Day 16 Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 A book you've read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 Something you wish you hadn't done in your life.
Day 23 Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 The reason you believe you're still alive today.
Day 26 Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 What's the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Dipped Legs

I've been saving photos of painted chairs and stools with raw legs (or natural frames with dipped legs) for a couple years, but I didn't really realize how much I loved the idea until I saw this image in April's Better Homes and Gardens.

They used this chair from World Market (on sale for $100 each!) to get this amazing look. I want a whole set, please and thank you. That lavender is lovely.

A few more dipped legs, for your viewing pleasure...




Living Etc


Trumping First Class

We recently took the family to Atlantis in the Bahamas. We had a heck of deal on the room and airfare. We flew to Atlanta and then on to Nassau. Our gate in ATL was handy. It was directly across from a little Mexican cantina and there's just something about having a bloody Mary at 8:00 in the morning just because ya can...

Airports are fun for that, aren't they, I mean "whoa, look at me, I'm such a world traveler, I don't even know what time of the day it is or what time zone I'm even in, so drinking alcohol at this hour is perfectly acceptable." So, there we were, parents of two with two bloody Marys between us and the gate. Watching Matt Lauer and sipping vodka. So convenient. The gate's right there. We still have an hour. No, I'm not hungry. Wait. That's our gate right there, right?

I love it when a vacation is awesome even before you get there.

As I sat there sucking down my yummy Mary, er uh, bloody Mary, I noticed a cool looking, stylish little family like us on a good day if I actually put on makeup. The mom was rocking her Tory Burch bag and the dad was making his True Religions proud. I had a second of jealousy. They were in the FIRST CLASS red-carpet line. Our little family was flying on likely the cheapest fare Delta ever let Priceline pass on. We were decidedly NOT in first class.

The worst part about boarding an airplane has got to be that awkward creep through the first class cabin on your way to row 31, ya know when your slightly drunk and it's not even time for Rachel Ray?? The first-class people are trying not to look at the coach peeps and us coach peeps are trying to act like it's no big deal either. As I clumped my way through those endless first four rows, my children carrying the carryon AND my purse, I found it very helpful to use those seat backs like crutches. I saw that cute little first-class family there spread out like a slumber party, all comfy and first-classy and I wondered if it'd be worth it for an hour and a half trip to pay the premium. I was also thinking row 31 was a long damn way. And then I wondered if I packed the phone charger. And then I woke up in Nassau.

Arriving in Nassau refreshed and sober I had happily forgotten about Mr. and Mrs. First Class. We walked forever towards the inescapable purgatory of foreign customs. As we turned the final corner a room bigger than a basketball court was revealed and there must have seriously been 500 people crowded in like cattle toward a food trough.

We prepared to settle in, picked a line to commit to, and prepared ourselves for the duration. Then we heard our names broadcast clearly from the loud speakers. The command was "make yourself seen" and though I never feel shy about doing just that, all I could think was that we dropped our passports or they found the dinosaur dna I had smuggled into the country.

When our name was announced yet again, I did the 'ole flap and wave until one of the customs guys motioned us toward the front of the line. The very front of the center line. We couldn't believe it. Our family who lives there had some serious influence we supposed because we were immediately ushered through customs, right on to our waiting bags then directly into the car our family had sent for us.

It was a good time. Unbelievable. From the jetway to the Town Car in 15 minutes flat. And the best part...I couldn't help but notice Mr. and Mrs. First Class et al watching US in the special FIRST THROUGH CUSTOMS line.

Thank you Denay and Jesse. I don't know how you arranged that and I was already proud to be related to y'all, but this little brag-worthy trick takes the ice cream cake. Good thing I made it through with the dino dna hidden in that fossilized sap.

Freddie Mercury

There was a documentary about Queen, the British rock band, on the Biography channel last night. It was fun to see clips of some of the band's performances from the 80's.

What I hadn't realized before watching the show last night was that Freddie Mercury, their flamboyant singer, was also their primary songwriter. He wrote Bohemian Rhapsody, their signature number. Production for the song was so complicated that it took place at five studios, and the other band members had no idea how the finished product would sound.

Mercury also penned Killer Queen, Somebody to Love, Don't Stop Me Now, We are the Champions, and Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

Wikipedia also had a surprise about Mercury. His birth name was Farrokh Bulsara, and he was born in Zanzibar (now Tanzania) to Parsi parents from the Gujarat region of India. He grew up mostly in Bombay, where he learned to play the piano.

Mercury's natural speaking voice was evidently a baritone, but he sang mostly as a tenor. Remarkably, his range extended from low bass to high soprano.

Mercury was, in his own words, "as gay as a daffodil." I've certainly never seen a gayer -- i.e., more exuberant -- gay man. He was a spectacularly ebullient performer, but had the saving grace of always seeming to be making fun of himself at the same time. He would prance around on the stage wearing ridiculous outfits, and dance and posture like a madman, but it never seemed to affect the quality of his singing.

All of the songs linked here, in particular Bohemian Rhapsody, show evidence of his genius. A couple demonstrate his showmanship as well.

Man bites dog story


Striped Rugs on the Diagonal

Do you read APT with LSD on Vogue's website? Lauren Santo Domingo shares the homes of really fashionable people. I loved when she shared her own apartment the best though! It's an amazing space (check it out here).

I loved this little trick she shared. Lauren bought regular striped wall-to-wall carpet (similar to the bound remnant I bought for my living room) and had her carpet installers lay it on the diagonal!! GENIUS!!!

What an easy and chic way to have super custom looking flooring. I'm thinking if we move and need a smaller rug, I'll have my yellow striped rug cut down on the diagonal and re-bound. It feels really fresh!

On a related note, I'm still loving chevron rugs in the right spaces. I rounded up a handful of great-looking chevron rugs HERE. The most expensive one by a long shot is $500 for and 8x10.

The LoSt LaUgH

My seven year old is pretty funny. She is very proud of herself when she plays a trick or makes up a joke. Tonight while she was eating her Freddy's fries, she held out her ketchup-stained napkin and said, "hey Mommy, I lost a tooth!" Predictably, I fell for it and said, "wow, lemme see it!" She responded, "I just told you I LOST it."

Ya, she got me, but I'll have the last laugh...I totally cleaned out her room today, threw away tons of stuff! Nanny-nanny-boo-boo!

"What's that honey?? Where's your giant, annoying, ridiculously loud vuvuzela horn? Hmmm, I dunno sweetie...maybe you LOST it!"

Huge Artwork Over the Bed

Thank you all so much for the sweet emails, comments and tweets of support about the scariness of last week. I'm sure you heard that hurricane Irene was milder than expected by the time it got to New York, which Michael and I were very grateful for. It ended up being a really nice family weekend. Anyway, thanks again for all the love, concern and support. We had offers to stay at readers homes all over the east coast! I really love you guys. xoxo

Timothy Whealon for Veranda

I've been working with Joanna on decorating her bedroom. It's sooo close to being done and it looks really great! I can't wait to share the projects here after she does a tour on her blog. The headboard was a killer DIY that you will love, and we really wanted something amazing above the bed, which we found last week and which you will also LOVE! So exciting.

Katie Ridder

Last week we were brainstorming about what size art to go with. I like it when art is placed where it can be easily viewed. Art hung really high on a wall or above a big piece of furniture (like a bed) really should be fairly large. Almost across the board, I only like using a small sunburst mirror (especially for a curved headboard) or really big artwork above a bed. I also don't mind a grouping of frames, as long as the images are pretty simple and don't need to be looked at up close.

Laura Seydel

We ended up going with a HUGE photograph above Joanna's bed - it's almost the width of her mattress. It's getting printed this week and hopefully hung next. In my mind and my sketches, it looks amazing! :) These inspiration images are giving more confidence too.

Coburn Architecture

I'd love to hear - what do you have hanging above your bed?

This month's Elle Decor

Elle Decor showhouse

Kips Bay Showhouse

Elle Decor

Sara Story for Domino

Madeline Weinrib in Elle Decor


Peter Dunham

PS On Babble, I posted a DIY roller shade tutorial that would be perfect for a nursery...

And on one of my all-time favorite wallpapers.

An impressive pair

I have a 49-year-old friend who is still recovering from a serious operation on his arm. His doctor has told him not to engage in any strenuous activities for a while, and to limit his exercise to walking.

However, after learning that Hurricane Irene was going to make its way up most of the East Coast, my friend drove down from his home in New Hampshire to Rhode Island this past weekend so he could surf at Narragansett Beach. (The storm surge did not have had the same power north of Cape Cod.)

"I know I wasn't supposed to, and my hands were shaking by the end of the day. But you don't get to surf ten foot waves very often," he explained.

The Idiots Guide To Christianity

So I finished reading The Complete Idiot's Guide to Christianity and I have to say I actually learned much more than I ever thought I would. I was raised in a strict Jehovah's Witness family and all of our extended family was Irish Catholic! And when I say Irish Catholic I mean at church before the priest every morning for mass Irish Catholic. Apparently a passion for faith is genetic! So put that together and I honestly didn't think there was to much left for me to learn. Both Irish Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses do their best to educate themselves on other paths - mostly so they can discredit them, but it's still an education.

So coming out of this environment and doing what research I had done on my own I was honestly surprised that there was so much left for me to take in. I will note that the book is only about 98% fact,
there are some areas where the author either didn't quite know the facts or simply had them wrong, but from what I could tell, this was minor. In the end I finished the book with a better education than I started, which was the goal.

The book explores not only the differences in beliefs from denomination to denomination but also the history and in some cases where they are heading now. As with all "Idiots" books there are a great bit of useless facts, but those are always fun to know! I mean I will never need to know that the trend of Streaking or Mooning as a form of protest was started by Quakers, but it's still neat to know!

Personally, I feel we could all do with some extra education on the major religions of our land, and this book - and those like it - are a great way to increase that education easily! If you have the opportunity to read it do so! Check with your local Library, if they don't have it, Amazon has it for just a few dollars!

Sport lying

The following article appeared in yesterday's NY Post: 

Madoff's nose growing with untruths

Even a 150-year prison sentence hasn’t convinced Ponzi king Bernie Madoff to tell the truth.

The convicted fraudster’s latest whoppers include a story that he is working with Harvard Business School on “building an entrepreneurial course” that will focus on his long-forgotten accomplishments, such as his role in paving the way for electronic market-making.

“I have been approached by a number of other business schools but have only committed to Harvard,” Madoff boasts in an interview with Fox Business Network.

“The entire matter is not true,” a spokesman for the school told FBN’s Charlie Gasparino.

In a series of telephone and e-mail chats with Gasparino, the 73-year felon also claims that hedge fund honcho Steve Cohen, of SAC Capital Management, is “the worst kept secret” when it comes to illegal trading.

Asked how he knows this, Madoff tells Gasparino that he was once forced to call the SAC founder to tell him “to stop his managers from approaching my traders with their offer to give them info if we let SAC execute our commission business.”

While SAC has been caught up in the federal probe into insider trading, Madoff carried out his $65 billion fraud without much trading.

“Steven Cohen has never met or spoken with Bernard Madoff and any assertion otherwise is absolutely false,” an SAC spokesman said, adding that SAC “does not execute trades for other firms.”

One of the most telling differences between sociopaths and the rest of us is that they will lie even when they have no compelling reason to do so. They'll lie even when the only thing they have to gain is someone's (very) temporary respect. Even when they know they'll eventually be caught, they just concoct tall tales anyway.

No one forced Madoff into his Ponzi scheme, but once he was neck deep, he pretty much had no choice: he either had to continue with the big lie, or go to jail. But in the exchange with Gasparino described above, he seemed to lie just for the hell of it.

This is called sport lying. (And the people who do it are sometimes known as "pathological liars.") The incentives are twofold.

First, the sociopath enjoys the admiration he gets for his false claims to glory. He knows that when he is caught in the lie, the other person will be disgusted with him. But that doesn't matter to him, since a sociopath lives entirely in the moment. I remember reading about a psychology experiment in which a group of people were told they were going to be given an electric shock, and asked whether they wanted to receive it at that moment, or put it off. All of the nonsociopaths opted to get it over with, whereas all of the sociopaths asked to delay it. Lying about one's accomplishments is merely the flip side of that same coin. A sociopath just wants to bask in the admiration of the moment; he doesn't care about the future reckoning.

The other incentive for sport lying is that it makes him feel smart. Even if he only gets away with the lie temporarily, by fooling you he has proven that he is smarter than you. That is how a sociopath's psyche works: he actually takes egotistical satisfaction from things that most of us would be embarrassed about.

If you ever meet anybody who tells a lot of tall tales, beware. 

Whatever you do, don't invest your money with him.

Obscene Jewelry Addiction

I've just returned from a cool trunk show at my favorite boutique, Adelante, where my talented friend My-Cherie Haley was showing some of her Shimmer and Bliss scarf collection. I bought the most electric pink, circa 1986, silk scarf EVER! I'm so inspired to be creative with all the different ways she was showing my friends and I to wear them. Rock on, My-Cherie, you're a "scarf star!" shimmerandbliss.com, FYI.

The other brand they were showing was Beth's Addiction, which is this hard core line of so groovy, jewelry and really fun BAD STUFF!! She takes vintage pieces of junk and fashions them into things like this "LOCA" pin here I picked up. The charm is from those old 60's charm bracelets, but she stamped my favorite word on it attached it to an old bow pin and WHAM, it's bad ass!!

The rest of her stuff though, is sooooooo naughty, like bracelets with "whore," "puta" and even "dick" on them! It's LOCA! My favorite was a pendant that simply said, "AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON!" Check her out if that sort of thing blows your dress up, ya know...bethsaddiction.com

This one is an old medal with a "loser" charm on it. How cool is this! There was also one that simply said "drunk." A toss up between that and the LOSER I bought. I have to say I particularly appreciated the irony of the idea that a medal would be awarded for LOSERRRRR!!!

This concludes this style FYI, thank you for your support, PUTA!

Hurry Up And Wait

I hate to wait. We all have to wait though. I even wrote what I thought was a pretty good essay on waiting in line for my freshman composition class in college. I was so proud of my little paper, my first college writing assignment. My professor hated it, she gave me C, said she "couldn't relate"...really! Who can't relate to WAITING. Everybody waits. At the bank, in line at the movies, the grocery store...and at the doctor's office. (not in customs in The Bahama's, but that's another blog entry)

Yesterday, I tried a new doctor, one who's supposedly into all the buzz about bio-identical hormone replacement and some cutting edge new physical-therapy-meets-chiropractic approach called Airrosti. My appointment was at 1:00 pm, was supposed to take fifty minutes, and is thankfully less than five minutes away. Since I am a "new" patient and always early anyway, I got there at 12:45 to fill out the necessary paper work. From the get-go I knew I'd have to leave by 2:45 to pick up my kids at two different schools, plus I was picking up a friend's kid, so I couldn't be late...plenty 'O time...NOT.

I was called from the waiting room into that little purgatory place called the exam room fairly on time so I was totally powerless and entirely unsuspecting as I waited in my tiny cell with the fake oil painting of what looked to me like an elaborate weed, a weird exam table that was shaped like a pommel horse and a completely pristine issue of Southern Living, February 2010. I did tear out a super simple looking oven baked chicken spaghetti recipe. I hate that in-between time where we think, "I must be on deck, I'm not in the waiting room anymore." Yes you are. It's just smaller with no people to watch.

So, that's such a tricky little ploy doctors have. You think you're going in, but they're really just spreading around the wait. The doctor finally came in my room at 2:15. 2:15! More than an hour I've waited and now I'm talking a million miles an hour because I KNOW my time is short, but I desperately want the help for my back and my jacked-up hormonal situation. I talked so fast and she said all the right things that OUR time together was only fifteen minutes! Where's my fifty minute visit for my $25 co-pay??

The doctor ordered some blood-taking so she could establish a base-line for me before deciding what hormone therapy I should have so she left to get the phlebotomist. Never saw Doc again. If you're keeping up, it's 2:30 now and here's a piece of advice: NEVER tell the twenty-one year old child with the needles that you're really in a hurry.

Both arms, two technicians, at least seven needles, and twenty more precious minutes. Once the real phlebotomist got the single vile of my red stuff that they needed I tore out the door knowing I'd be late for the first school that lets out at 3:00.

I sped off the main street toward the first school and came to a screeching halt, for the pick-up line stretched almost three blocks...so, I WAITED. As I sat in my car, Sirius radio set to the E Street station of course, I began to feel the pain in my arms and noticed one of the bandages had actually bled through. Ouch. At least the pick-up line had me waiting long enough for my blood to coagulate. There is always a bright side, I suppose.

If you're worried about the other school, don't. Thankfully the release times are all staggered. I retrieved all my precious cargo and they all lived happily ever after.


I've recently decided to learn how to use a gun. I've never been a gun nut, in fact have always found them vaguely off-putting. But my son has managed to convince me that my masculinity is lacking if I don't get one.

Johnny recommended a semi-automatic called the FN Five-seven (pictured above). He says it's powerful, accurate, and appropriate for me because it has less recoil.

So I signed up to take a gun course in early September. As a prerequisite I have to read a short primer on guns and complete a brief quiz.

While reading this booklet, it occurred to me what a wonderful prop a gun could be if you were single. Just leave it where your date would see it, perhaps in an open drawer. (The booklet emphasizes that you should store your gun in a safe place accessible only to you.)

She would of course ask why you have a gun. You could answer in several ways, each designed to not be credible:

"I don't have a gun.....Hey, you're not supposed to be looking in there."

"Oh that? Uh, a friend just asked me to keep it for him for a while."

[If you have a serious-looking semi-automatic, like the one pictured above]: "That's not a real gun, it's just a starter's pistol. I, uh, help out at the local track meets from time to time."

Or, as if this renders its very existence meaningless, "Oh....well, it's not loaded right now."

All of these answers would make you appear more of a badass than you actually are.

So....while my 19-year-old son puts his life on the line on a daily basis in Afghanistan, I, at age 57, am indulging in fantasies more befitting a 14-year-old.

There's something very, very wrong here.

And not with my son.

One Crazy I Honk For No More (quoth the Raven)

So, I see some clinically crazy person removed their stupid blog from the internet. This person fancies herself as a brilliant writer, artist and general humanitarian and she wrote a whole bunch of bull shit about me on her ridiculously self-serving blog about a year ago. My family and I all read it and just rolled our eyes.

I'll admit it was really hard for a second not to comment on one about me in particular as it was actually pretty defamatory, but I'm so glad I never acknowledged it. When we parted ways...well, when I threatened to forward about fifteen emails to the new "love" in her life if she didn't leave my family and me alone, it was over on that day. Completely over. Her self-protection mode was activated and I never heard from her again, as expected, so she was left to spin the "story" however suited her latest persona and I never gave it a second thought.

I've never written about this, and I hate to even acknowledge it with too much of my valuable time generally spent doing fun things and not drudging up a painful past caused by a former prostitute, stripper, current druggie, uneducated, pathologically needy, and dishonest woman who threw her baby away....twice. Oh excuse me, that just came out.

NOTE TO SELF: the next time my amazing Mom goes out and finds my birth-mother for the first time and the birth-mother confides to such a turbulent, not to mention illegal and disgusting past early in our new "relationship," RUN AWAY.... You can't rescue someone like that or ever make the damage of their past go away. Please Self, you must listen to your gut next time and stop trying to help people! Even when they complain about how hard their circumstances are, turning them onto the joy of Botox or buying them high-end gifts won't miraculously change them into sober, sophisticated, honest and psychologically healthy individuals.

Over the couple of years since I explicitly told her "get the hell out of my life" however, a few (3) of her long time friends have secretly contacted me to lament of her annoying narcissism and constant need for validation. It's pretty funny I guess, so consequently they feel the need to forward me many of her needy posts from Facebook or tell me about some first grade-looking art she's put on the web. That's how I found out about her blog where she threw me under the bus. One of her very "best" friends from Northern California in particular, tells me everything and it's really twisted too, because I don't ask her, have never asked her, and will never ask her anything about this particular idiot, so the intel I receive randomly is purely entertaining or at the very most an interesting study in human behavior. It's like a train wreck, I guess, once you start watching you just can't look away...

It got me to thinking about psychological disorders though, so I looked this thing up about narcissistic personality disorder on the Mayo Clinic website and OMG, I gotta say it's spot on:

"Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personalty disorder believe that they're superior to others and have a little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidnece lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism."

Apparently, bi-polar is a nice companion for these people too. Fun. I really should have googled years ago. I could've saved my Mom and me a lot of stress, not to mention resources.

But alas, the load is lifted, a burden I carry no more. I've always explained how I still don't really know what I want to be when I grow up, but through my life I've been able to figure out the things I DON'T want to do via a sometimes tricky process of elimination. Rest assured, I have figured out that I DON'T want to be a birth-mother integration facilitator. Ever. Definitely not adding that title to the "seeking" category of the 'ole resume. Thankfully all that's left are the occasional entertaining snap shots of her needy posts and uninformed political and social rants. Thank you to her friends who shall remain nameless...Oh how I do love a good laugh.

No redemption for Son

There was an article on FoxNews.com yesterday about how David Berkowitz, the infamous Son of Sam serial killer, will not seek parole when his next hearing comes up next year.

Gee, and he seemed like such a good bet to be released, too.

Okay, so this is not exactly big news. But people are always interested in hearing about famous monsters, and Berkowitz definitely fits that bill.

At the time Berkowitz was arrested, there was a lot of publicity about the fact that he claimed a dog (named "Sam") ordered him to kill people. That always struck me as a smokescreen, a setup for a possible insanity defense. He wasn't crazy, he was simply evil, which is why he took such pleasure in killing six people and wounding seven with a .44 handgun in 1976 and 1977.

I saw Berkowitz interviewed from prison on a TV show once. It was a shock to see him middle-aged and florid, but he spoke with complete confidence, like a glib salesman, and didn't seem crazy at all. In fact, he came across just like some investment bankers I've known.

Berkowitz wrote a two page letter to Fox News about how he had found salvation through Jesus Christ. It's always fascinating to me when sociopaths like Berkowitz claim to have found redemption. Yes, he has stopped killing people (though who knows what he'd be doing if he still had the opportunity). And he has found religion. But his basic psychology is the same: a sociopath simply never stops being a sociopath. (You are as likely to grow another head after the age of ten as you are to grow a conscience.)

So what we have here is a perfectly controlled experiment: a man whose sociopathy is not in doubt, but who claims to be a changed person now. (Sociopaths are always going on about they've turned over a new leaf.) So how does Berkowitz's sociopathy manifest itself nowadays?

Berkowitz writes:

"My job assignments are 'Mobility Guide' for inmates who are legally blind, and as an 'Inmate Program Aid' [sic] for the men who are mentally challenged. I also help out in the facility's chapel, where I assist in overseeing our Sunday services plus other services and Bible studies. My main activities are sharing my story of redemption and hope with those on the outside, as well as writing a monthly journal which can be viewed at Ariseandshine.org. I'm a hyperactive, always 'on the go' type person. But I've often been told that I do not take enough time for myself."

Okay, Dave, we get it: you're just too nice for your own good. (This is another sociopathic quirk, always telling you how good they are.) Note, too, that he now sees himself as a role model, an inspiration to others.

Berkowitz also said that he has found salvation because he knows that "Jesus Christ has already forgiven and pardoned me, and I believe this." But how does Berkowitz know this? How does he know that Christ is not in fact repelled by his self-righteous conversion? Does Berkowitz somehow have a direct pipeline to Christ?  

Would the Son of God forgive the Son of Sam? It seems far more likely that Christ, or at least St. Peter, is planning to send him to Hell. (If Berkowitz isn't headed there, then hell doesn't exist, which means that much of Christianity is a sham.)

Berkowitz's religiosity is a little reminiscent of some televangelists who also claim to have a direct pipeline to God. (And yes, I've always suspected them of being sociopaths as well.) Many of them, while claiming to be filled with religious fervor, seem to exist in a state of feverish self-love, exuding pride at their own goodness. True goodness, of course, does not manifest itself with self-adoration. That is simply ordinary narcissism, a component of every sociopath's psyche.

Berkowitz has gone from sociopath-in-serial-killer mode to sociopath-as-man-of-God mode. Before he was giddy with his power (the power to kill people); now he is giddy with his own "goodness." The two kinds of giddiness are not as different as they might at first seem.

It is often said that patriotism is the last bastion of the scoundrel. If patriotism is the sociopath's last bastion, religion may be his first. 

Berkowitz's character is probably best illustrated by his behavior at his trial, which was attended by Mrs. Moskowitz, the mother of Stacy Moskowitz, one of his shooting victims. Mrs. Moskowitz had stated publicly that she thought Berkowitz ought to be given the death penalty. Berkowitz's response was to continuously chant, just loudly enough for Mrs. Moskowitz to hear, "Stacy was a whore, Stacy was a whore."

I'm feeling chatty today...

It's been cloudy all morning, and the rain *just* started to come down. Heather, my sister, who has been living with us all summer and who is going back to Utah tomorrow for her last year of undergrad (if the storm doesn't stop her flight), said 'Well, this is the beginning of the end.' She's hilarious.

My friends are all renting cars and going inland for the weekend. Between this hurricane on its way and the earthquake earlier this week - it's been a weird couple of days. There's a really weird vibe on the streets here.

I met up with some local blogger friends for dinner last night. We all talked about blogging and work and what's new in our busy lives. Then we talked about how scary the earthquake was, because who ever expects there to be an earthquake in New York City? I've never been in one before, so admittedly, my reaction was probably stronger than necessary (especially for you earthquake pros in California). But guys, the books on my bookshelves five feet from my desk were falling down. That's scary stuff in the moment.

And now the rain has come. It's pouring. One of my vintage furniture dealers upstate is emailing me to say that I need to come pick up a bench I bought right away because his store will probably flood. My neighbor is telling me to go to the Duane Reade if I need toilet paper and milk, because CVS is already pretty cleaned out. I can hear at least two ambulances. And I look down at my desk to see the Emergency Evacuation Strategy packet my building manager left at my door last night.

I have been so stressed about work lately - should I do this, and/or should I do that? Is this a worthwhile opportunity? How will this effect my family responsibilities? How will this translate on my blog? How can I pass that up?

Last night at that dinner, Abbey and I were talking about how during the earthquake we were both just thinking about our babies. It was such a heavy feeling. The responsibility of other lives - those little bodies that mean absolutely everything to me. I think we all had a shake up moment where perspective changed a little. Things that have consumed my thoughts lately suddenly couldn't have mattered less.

I'm going to call it a weekend. We'll hole up and make some yummy food, watch a couple movies, maybe paint a side table I picked up last Saturday... Hopefully, Monday I'll be back with a fresh attitude and some sunshine. I'm praying that the storm on Sunday is gentle for all of us.


Confessions of a beta male VIII: When someone yells at you

One of the clearest divides between personality types is illustrated by how they react to being yelled at. People always react instinctively in this situation; when someone yells at you, you are definitely in the moment.

One of the telling differences here is not just between alphas and betas, but between alphas and guys who think of themselves as alphas. Guys who like to think of themselves as alphas are generally just narcissistic personalities, and narcissists inevitably become angry when criticized. When actually yelled at, they become filled with rage and yell back.

This might on the surface appear to be alpha behavior, but in fact a real alpha would be so sure of himself that he would be unaffected by someone else's criticism -- or histrionics. He might laugh, as most adults would at a five year old throwing a tantrum. Or he might just be quietly amused.

I, as a beta, do neither. When someone yells at me I tend to cower in fear, and wonder why they're so angry. Then I wonder what I can do to mollify them, and whether they will ever like me again.

Sometimes others' anger at me is justified, sometimes not. But I tend to react the same way: what did I do wrong?

Next time someone yells at you, don't give him the satisfaction of either getting angry yourself or being cowed. Just act completely unaffected instead. Pick up a nearby apple and start munching on it (no one eats while upset). Or laugh at him, as if they are being cute. Even better, look as if you are trying to stifle a laugh. Those are the most eloquent ways of letting him know his opinion means nothing to you.

It occurs to me that my previous posts on this subject -- alphas vs. betas -- conflated narcissists with real alphas. Their behavior does overlap sometimes; then again, so does that of alphas and betas.

Perhaps the best way to put it would be to describe how each type reacts to criticism, whether or not it's delivered with a lot of volume. A real alpha just calmly analyzes it, and decides based on facts whether it is warranted. A narcissist angrily dismisses it as untrue, whether or not it is. And a beta tends to assume it's true, whether or not it is.

Of course, much of how you react to yelling has to do with how used to it you are. If you are in a combative profession, and encounter unpleasantness on a daily basis, you will be less fazed by it, whatever type you are.

If you're the one who usually starts the unpleasantness, though, you're probably a narcissistic personality yourself.

Dear Jenny: Decorating Kids Rooms

Dear Jenny,

I have 5 year-old twin boys and I am pregnant again with another boy. While I'm happy to have another little buddy, I was sort of hoping to get to decorate a little girl's room this time. Almost all my inspiration images are full of pink and frilly things! :)

I know you have all girls in your family, but I'm positive if you had a son, his room would be adorable and chic, like everything else you do. Would you mind sharing some of your boy room inspiration images? I'd love pictures of both big boy rooms and nurseries. I feel so bored and stuck.

Please and thank you!


Hi Carrissa! I would LOVE to help here! In fact, a huge chunk of my Dear Jenny emails are requests for kids room inspiration images, so I put together two HUGE slideshows on Babble.

Cookie Magazine

Here are my very favorite boys rooms

And here and my very favorite girls rooms!

I think it's worth taking a look at both slideshows because there are design elements that could definitely work in gender specific or gender neutral rooms, depending on what you are looking for. Enjoy!! xx

A change is coming!

Hi All,

I've been working on getting my new web page up and running for you all to enjoy :)  It's taking all of my extra time so I haven't really been posting lately.  I promise that's going to change very, very soon!

I can't wait to show you all the new site!



Nafissatou's sociopathy, confirmed

In this earlier post I'd pointed out Nafissatou Diallo's sociopathy, emphasizing her false emotionality, the way she cried as if reliving a trauma when in fact she was only lying about a made up event.

This morning the NY Post ran a fairly extensive article detailing many of her lies and the prosecution's language describing her utter lack of credibility. The prosecution seemed particularly struck by her phony emotionalism, and her histrionics when confronted about her lies.

Kitchens on Kirsty

Kirsty is a really cool site that features a new, really interesting slide show every day. Each slide show is curated by artists and designers and bloggers. I was asked to submit my favorite kitchen images, which was really fun.

Not surprisingly, my favorite kitchens are ones that have personality. We all spend so much time in the kitchen, why shouldn't it be warm, inviting and beautiful? Put up art! Don't be afraid to add some color! Use a pretty rug!

Check out all my favorite kitchens (with commentary!) HERE. Thanks for having me, Kirtsy! xx

Where's Waldo?

Now that the rebels have almost triumphed, the question still remains, where's Muammar? Is he still holed up in the Presidential compound? Did he have a secret passageway leading from the compound that allowed him to make his escape? Has he already gone to Tunisia, which was rumored to be willing to offer him sanctuary? Did he go somewhere else? Or does he figure his life is not worth living from this point, and is therefore planning to take as many of the opposition with him as possible before he dies? Is his compound rigged with explosives so that he can be the ultimate suicide bomber?

If he surrenders, will the rebels just kill him? Or will they give him a trial?

We should find out in the next few days. (That's days, not weeks.)


The Libyan rebels have now marched into Tripoli and reportedly control 95% of the city. Their complete victory -- and the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi -- are all but assured. Newscasts of such events invariably feature pictures of hopeful young faces juxtaposed with pictures of the old dictator, his pockmarked face testimony to years of overeating and corruption. The Libyan rebels are now reportedly already celebrating by firing their rifles into the air.

Here is my theory: the future success of a government is inversely correlated to the extent that its victorious army celebrates by shooting guns into the air. You see, there is this little thing called gravity which pulls those bullets back to earth after they've reached their apogee, and when they descend from that great height they can easily pierce a skull. Those too dumb to figure this out -- or too reckless to care -- are unlikely to be able to effectively run a government for any length of time.

I do not recall hearing reports of George Washington and Sam Adams celebrating their victory by firing their muskets straight up into the air. Latin American and African rebels, on the other hand, regularly celebrate their victories this way.

I am not sorry to see Gaddafi go. He has oppressed his people for far too long. But the word "rebels" usually gives off a vaguely low-IQ vibe, and the current crop in Libya seem no exception.

Narcissism personified

In a CBS broadcast last night, President Obama attributed his low approval ratings to public unhappiness with Congress. He also said that he's "impacted," just like Congress, when people aren't happy with Washington.

This is a man whose self-regard is such that he reportedly once told an aide, "I think I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm a better political director than my political director."

Whom will he blame when he is booted out of office in November of next year? Bush, or the Tea Party?

Probably both.

The new Dolph

Conan the Barbarian opened to a measly $10 million this past weekend. So far the 6'5" Jason Momoa appears to be the 2011 version of the 1980's Dolph Lundgren: the handsomest action hero going, who also happens to be box office poison.

Magnificant Malachite

Malachite is such a pretty stone - no wonder it's a favorite in the design world. Sadly, the only malachite I own is in the form of a ring and a strand of beads, but I wear them a lot (not together obviously). Surprisingly the color compliments a lot of other colors and patterns.

Last week I was browsing through Spoonflower's site and I stumbled across this malachite print. Have you heard of Spoonflower? You can upload your own designs and they'll print up some fabric for you (or you can purchase other people's designs). Prices range between $18-$32 per yard depending on the type of fabric you choose (like cotton or linen blend).

I was so excited to buy a couple yards of this malachite fabric for pillows for a client and to reupholster my rope benches. Look at all the cool stuff you can do with this fabric!

- Have PANTS made!!

-Upholster your walls

via d*s

-Upholster an antique chair:

1st Dibs

-Or just the seat of a chair:

Hamish Bowles for Vogue Living Australia via Habitually Chic

-Make some show-stopping roman shades:

Elle Decor

-Mod Podge it to the top of a chic little table and top it off with some glass:

-Make the folding screen of your dreams:

1st Dibs

PS I put together round up of my other favorite fabrics available on Spoonflower, HERE. I was shocked at how many patterns I wanted to buy!