Middle age wasted on the middle-aged

You occasionally hear the saying, youth is wasted on the young.

I know my youth was wasted. Not in the sense that I had a "misspent youth" hanging around pool parlors, getting drunk, partying, and otherwise generally being a wastrel.

It was wasted in the sense that I didn't do enough of that sort of thing. If I could live my life over again, I'd forget about competitive swimming, or at least be less neurotic about it. Or maybe instead I'd have wrestled, which I probably would have been better at.

But mostly I'd just chase girls more. I wouldn't worry about making a fool of myself, or looking bad, or even being offensive. I'd just be much more uninhibited about the whole thing.

Looking back, I realize I was so shy I didn't even realize I was shy.

If I could do it again, I'd act more like the people I generally looked down on. You know, the particularly un-shy ones.

I wouldn't worry about what people thought of me -- what a waste of time that was. And I'd tell people what I thought of them -- both good and bad.

But all this makes me wonder: do old people feel that middle age is wasted on the middle-aged?

I have a feeling I'll look back, think of the ruts I was in (am in), and think I wasted my middle age as well.

The mourning moon...or wait the beaver moon? full frost moon?

So I missed the post about last nights full moon. yeah...I'm as sick as sick gets and under a lot of moving stress so you'll just have to forgive me, but I do have good news and info about last nights full moon so keep reading.

Last nights full moon I know of by 2 names, one name being the mourning moon and the other being the beaver moon.
The reasons behind the name mourning moon is because during this time of year before the winter solstice we have to look back and see our past selves. what did we accomplish? what fears did we face? did we gain or lose anything?

Needless to say most of what's been on my mind as of late has been my stress of moving to a new house and the stress of me being sick which causes me to be more sick (negative feedback loop). I have what we call a "giant ghost" in the making.

The other name being the beaver moon is quite interesting so I had to look it up. I've heard of the name before but never the reasoning so I read the farmers almanac (Canadian version) Where I also found out it was also called the full frost moon.
picture from http://www.martinezbeavers.org/wordpress/category/beavers/
Apparently this time of year was/is the last time to set beaver traps before all the water froze/freezes over. Pretty simple but hey paganism is usually nature based and you don't get much more nature based than the animals and the seasons.

Now for moving.
We bought a house, We bought a house *does happy dance before tipping over coughing*
We have been looking for a while but recently found an awesome house with a large yard and enough bedrooms to either have a renter or start a family.
Buying a house is stressful and expensive, lawyers fees, insurance, down payment, moving costs, changes in address, condo fees (yeah we chose to live in a housing association part of town cause we couldn't find a non association house that wasn't falling apart). And we're doing this all in November/December...right before yule and Christmas.
It feels like we're yelling "lets throw around all our money shall we?!?"
So yeah I'm happy, excited and stressed about that but thankful that we won't have to live in this horrid piece of shit apartment ever again. And I get to plan out for my little veggie garden, live closer to family and friends and live in a much safer neighbourhood.
We take possession legally on the new moon of December but don't start move in until the day after so hopefully as the moon grows into becoming full again so will we grow into this awesome house and have things work out for the better. Sounds like perfect timing, no? well it wasn't planned at all, we chose the possession date and move in date without even looking at the calendar and based off my work schedule, a few weeks ago, I only realized this week what phase the moon was going to be in.

So now what's on my mind exactly at this moment?
"how many people can we get/con into move heavy shit in exchange for pizza and beer?"
"what should the layout for my new home office look like for my webcomic design space?"
"raised beds or tilled garden beds?"
"what am I going to grow in those beds?"
"what kind of puppy do I want?"
"OMG how the hell are we actually affording this?" (money wise w're actually doing good, I just don't know how we managed it).

Well here's for a busy and exciting 2 and 1/2 more weeks.

Blessed Be


Why is it that the biggest man-haters are always women who are at least slightly masculine themselves? And why is it always the man-haters who accuse men of being women-haters? Might it possibly be projection?

Just an observation.

"The Myth of American Meritocracy"

An extremely interesting article by Ron Unz at The American Conservative, with the subtitle, "How corrupt are Ivy League admissions?"

Unz, who is Jewish, makes the case that Jews are way overrepresented at Ivy League universities relative to their academic performance in high school, while Asian-Americans and Anglos are underrepresented.

Unz himself got a BS in physics from Harvard. He then went to Stanford, but dropped out before getting his doctorate in theoretical physics. While at Stanford, he wrote software for mortgage securities, and eventually founded a company called Wall Street Analytics, which was eventually sold to Moody's in 2006.

He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for Governor of California in 1994, getting 34.3% of the Republican vote to Pete Wilson's 61.4%. In 2007 he was named the publisher of The American Conservative. He is also a large financial contributor to Wikipedia.

Unz claims to have an IQ of 214. I can't ascertain that, but his resume is certainly that of a brainiac. And if you read the article linked above, you'll see his intelligence shining through on every page.

My Project

It sucks being a match-maker.  I can't help it, but I'm always trying to match my single friends.  I have two successful marriages for which I can take full credit.  At one of the weddings, the preacher even called me out during the ceremony! 

It's a curse though.  Recently, I've been trying to find a match for an old high school friend.  I thought it would be so easy.  I know him so well and since I was a 13 year old kid.  He's a decent and loyal person and he's even very handsome with a perfect jaw line, straight white teeth, greying blond hair and he weighs exactly the same as he did in high school.  A total "boy scout," he's never even smoked a joint, he played football at a major university and he happens to be a bone fide oil mogul with more money than he could ever spend...

So...apparently he somehow comes off too desperate for love.  I mean, he's looking hard.  I'm introducing him to beautiful, successful women who don't "need" a man, but who seek the companionship of one and they see the needy, insecure side of this almost perfect guy before the first course is served.  

What do I do with that?  I can't just throw him out there to the desperate girls.  That wouldn't be good for either of them.  Do I send him to a counselor?  He wants it to happen for him yesterday and so do I, but I want to be careful with him at the same time because I've known him for so long and I know it all comes from a good place.  He seriously seems defeated and outright depressed when a girl won't return his calls.  The girls are nice enough about it I guess, but just like, "um, no thank you."

This one is a challenge and I'm like the Roman gladiator at the coliseum of love. 

Let Them Eat Cereal

I've had it with my picky eaters.  I'm done trying.  If it were up to them we would have spaghetti five nights a week and tacos the other two.

We have one of those wooden message signs in our kitchen which reads, "Menu: eat it or starve."  I'll admit I bought it just because I thought it was cute, but now I really mean it...and meanly.

Basically every time I cook something that I think the entire family will enjoy, the kids turn up their noses and harrumph and whine until I dump the contents of their plates into the trash and either quickly fix yet another dish while my plate gets cold or point to the fridge and say "cereal."

For example, last night I made a simple meatloaf, cornbread stuffing and sweet potatoes.  And the thing is, they have eaten meatloaf plenty of times.  Same goes for stuffing, I mean what kid isn't down with stuffing?  But Noooooooooo, neither kid liked any of the stuff I'd prepared.  They elected instead to have Honey Nut Cheerios.  I wanted to scream.

I'm so tired of fixing "kid food" like macaroni and cheese and lasagna.  Uhg!  There was one night recently when I had fixed a nice dinner of my husband's favorite "pork chops and cabbage" with some fresh snapped green beans on the side.  The kids of course "tried it" and unceremoniously spit it back out onto their plates.  I then desperately made quickie mac and cheese for the boy and scrambled eggs for the girl, thereby dirtying at least four more dishes.  Fun.  It would be nice to be able to prepare only a couple of things for dinner and have some variety there throughout the week.

I don't buy chips or sodas or even ice cream...ever.  We do however always have plenty of breakfast cereals and toaster waffles on hand.  "Easy and quick" is definitely on the morning menu in this house.  Basically due to that being the only "junk" food ever available, the kids end up having cereal for dinner many times during the week when they "dis" my dinners.  Serves them right I say.  I'm done feeling guilty about that.

New motto in the Staglik household: "eat it or starve" (or eat cereal for dinner)!  It not just a decorative piece of art anymore.

Reporting on the Brass Faucet

So far, my only complaint about the Kingston Brass faucet I bought (and talked about here, though I ended up getting this one actually) is that it took a while to get here. Like, maybe two whole months?

When it did finally arrive though (I guess it was temporarily back-ordered), I was happily surprised with how heavy the thing was! And the polished brass was not so 'bad 80s brass' as I thought it might be. I was wondering if I would need to strip the lacquer off or sort of buff off some of the shine, but I think it looks pretty good as is. And I actually like it with my boring stainless steel sink. The mix of metals there sort of mimics the mix on the range.

As far as functionality goes, it ran a little slow for about a week after we installed it. The pressure was weak and it drove me completely nuts. I was worried the low pressure was because of the high bridge. But it ended up being a mistake on my part (I put the filter in the wrong way) and now that it's fixed, this faucet easily has more water pressure than the shower in our last apartment! I could probably put out a fire in our backyard with the sprayer. :)

So, I'm curious. Since this redo was done on the cheap, I've been sort of dreaming of what I would have done if we owned the house and budget was no issue (the answer begins with reconfiguring the whole lay out of the parlor floor...). If you've redone your kitchen, where did you splurge and where did you save? What kitchen element is most important to you? Appliances? Countertops? Cabinets?

How exactly is Obama "hip"?

One of the things you constantly hear about Obama is that he is "hip." I've never been able to figure out exactly what that means.

Is it because he likes hip hop music? Because he can dance (as he showed on the Ellen Degeneres show)? Is it because he's young? Because he's black? Because he's a leftist? Is it because he's taken cocaine? Or because he likes basketball rather than, say, golf? (Oh, wait a sec, he likes golf a lot too.)

"Hip" is one of those hazily defined terms which everyone thinks he has a sense of. But the definition of that quality also seems to vary with each person.

In order to clear up the confusion I decided to look up what Wikipedia had to say on the matter:

Hipster refers to a subculture of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers that appeared in the 1990s. The subculture is associated with independent music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility, liberal or independent political views, alternative spirituality or atheism/agnosticism, and alternative lifestyles. Interests in media include independent film, magazines such as Clash, and websites like Pitchfork Media.

Well, for starters, Obama, a product of the Chicago political machine, is definitely urban. And until he was elected U.S. Senator -- and his wife got that big raise, and he wrote those best-selling books -- he was definitely middle class. 

His musical tastes when young ran to Grammy Award-winning artists from ten years before, which doesn't exactly sound "hip." On the other hand, it does connote a certain retro sensibility which is often associated with hipsters. And Obama has hosted Jay-Z and Beyonce and Herbie Hancock at the White House. So he passes on that score.

As far as his fashion sensibility, these days we mostly see him in a Presidential suit and tie. But when he was young and freer to just be himself, he did show "non-mainstream" taste in clothing, at least in hats:

As far as "liberal or independent political views," Obama, as a friend of Hugo and Fidel, gets an A+. 

When it comes to "alternative spirituality or atheism/ agnosticism," Obama also seems to qualify. As a youngster in Indonesia, he was listed on his school forms as a Muslim. While in Chicago, he attended the Trinity United Church, where the Reverend Jeremiah Wright preached black nationalism. These would both qualify as "alternative" to mainstream American religions. Since he has been in the White House, Obama has not attended regular services anywhere, which hints at a certain atheism/agnosticism as well. Another A+. 

When it comes to alternative lifestyles, well, being actively gay undoubtedly qualifies.

I have no idea what Obama's taste in movies, magazines, and websites runs to. But he's pretty much gotten straight A's on his Wikipedia-definition-report-card, so we must conclude that he is indeed hip. 

On the other hand, Wikipedia is obviously a mainstream website, so doesn't that fact -- by their own definition -- preclude them from being "hip?" And if you're not "hip" yourself, doesn't that at a certain level disqualify you from being qualified to define the term?

But let's ignore that for the moment. Wikipedia does mention that the term "hip" originated during the Jazz Age to connote aficionados of that scene. The term was later co-opted by beatniks during the 1950's. Later, in the 60's, the term morphed into "hippie."

The whole movement gives off the distinct air that white people who try to act black give off: the air of people trying desperately hard to be cool. You would think that as a black man, Obama would be exempt from that accusation. But even there, he sports unexpected credentials. Although he himself is half black, there was very little that was genuinely black in his upbringing. After his father deserted the family when Obama was two, Obama was brought up in Kansas, Hawaii, and Indonesia, with limited contact with black people. So when he got to college, and especially when he arrived in Chicago to organize the place, he had to make a conscious effort to become truly black.

Reading between the lines in the Wikipedia article, it seems that the entire history of hipness consists of various youth groups "inventing" a new culture in an attempt to appear different and modern and "with it" and, basically, better than everybody else. By doing this, of course, they prove only that they are the same as everyone else.

So, yes, Obama is definitely hip.

A Fab Gift Guide

I was a little blindsided by Thanksgiving, but now I am in full-force holiday mode. I'm not sure what's the reason, but I can't remember the last time I was so excited for the holidays! Maybe it's that my kids are old enough to really get into all the festivities? They have already written their letters to Santa and our Elf on the Shelf has been out for about a week now. There's some serious good energy round these parts! :)

I'm trying to be proactive about gifts this year so there's not such a mad rush at the end of the month. I love the Fab site and they invited me to round up some of my favorite picks from their Holiday shop (open through the holiday season!) Here's a little His and Hers round up to help get you thinking about gifts:

For the dudes in my life (clockwise from the top left):
iPhone Alarm Clock Radio - I LOVE how sleek this iPhone charger looks! Want! Need!
Chalkboard Tablet - While I love my iPad, there is something so nice about actually writing, not typing. I'm loving this chalkboard tablet for my office (or for the girls at church?)
Hex Spice Collection (similar here)- This magnetic set of hex shapes spices will look amazing on your fridge. Why hide pretty objects?
Turntable - I mean, who doesn't want a turntable??
Piggy Bank - With it's chalkboard finish just begging for a cheeky phrase, any witty design-lover would be all about this piggy bank.
NYC Neon Tee - You wouldn't find this t-shirt on Canal St!

And for the ladies I love (clockwise from top left):
Turkish towel: Stripes and tassels make everyone smile. It's a fact!
Acrylic Box Set: I MUST have this set of boxes in my life. A colorful acrylic box for every room!
I Heart NY More Than Ever: For the NYC-lifer in your life.
Apricot Ikat Pillow: This soft, peachy orange color is a not-boring neutral. Trust that it would work in any of your girlfriend's living rooms.
Slate Board: I need a cheese board in my life. These are so handy for last-minute get-togethers.
Handheld phone: Pretty much the perfect gift for your friend that works from home and doesn't have a landline.
Playhouse: For the young or the young at heart. I can testify these are hours of fun for kids, especially when you factor in the coloring time.

So what's on your Christmas list?

Topiaries at IKEA

I just got back from a marathon shopping trip to the trifecta: IKEA, Home Depot and Target. I may never walk again! :)

While I am hundreds of dollars poorer, today's outings were successful. I found everything on my shopping lists (and more! two full carts at IKEA!), including these adorable little topiaries. I will be considering the addition of some festive bows just like this.

Run to IKEA before the topiaries are gone! No fewer than five ladies and one gent asked where I found them while I was checking out. (The garden section. $15.99 ea.) Now run!

Manic Meltdown Part 1

While telling my story of lunacy after discovering Richard's infidelity, there are only a few instances that I will be able to provide you with the exact timeline, the precise date.  This post is a case in point.

The events of the day I'm about to relate were arguably me at my most imbalanced.
Oh, Holy Understatement, Batman...make that totally mental, psycho and destructive.  I know what day I flipped out,  Friday, January 28th, 108 days since DDay.  I know what time I lost my mind, very close to 10:00 am.  I also know where I took complete leave of my common sense.  The worst possible place.  Richard's office with all of his employees there to witness.  What I can't share with any certainty is WHY!  I have little recollection of what tripped my crazy trigger.  

As it was Friday, Richard and I had planned a date night.  We both had to work that day but we were able to go in a little later so we could share the ride and thus, only have one car to drive home.  Richard drove his car, the black Lexus that Jaymie had been in much more than I cared to imagine.  The plan was I would drop Richard off at his office and then head to my store to begin my work day.  I would pick him up later that afternoon and our date would commence.

Somewhere along the drive down the 15S to the 163S my madness boiled over.  It was like molten lava oozing up from the belly of the beast.  An eruption was imminent, but the timing and the force unpredictable.  I know the conversation in the car turned the switch on my composure from simmer to rapid boil, but for the life of me, I don't understand why then, what was so infuriating about that morning?  His words pushed me over the edge of self-control and yet, I can't recall many of them.

I hope I'm not making this part up.  I sort of/kind of remember talking about how it made me very sad that I couldn't go up to his office anymore.  Michelle had no interest in seeing me or even speaking with me.  I had ripped her a big, fat new one after I learned she had knowledge of Richard & Jaymie's affair and did little to put a stop to it.  (Yeah, yeah!  I know.  Not her job.  But, it made my life a tad easier to spread the blame around.)  Plus, I knew his whole staff saw it.  They all had front row seats to my husband's seduction of his baby whore.  You can surely imagine why I chose to avoid their pitying glances and whispered gossip.  Richard agreed it would be uncomfortable, but he hoped in the not too distant future, we would get back to normal.  To me, that meant, you can't go up to my office right now, which meant I was FOR SURE going up to his office right now.

Here is where the story becomes crystal clear.  With my adrenaline level off the charts,  I announced something like, "I'm going up to your office now.  I haven't seen Michelle for a while. It's time we talked."  Richard didn't think that was such a great plan.  Even though I can't be sure, I'd bet the ranch he slipped into panic mode after I declared my intent.  He protested the idea with numerous lame ass excuses, so when we were nearing his office, by Balboa Park, stopped at a light, I jumped out of the car and the meltdown was on!

I hit that sidewalk like a soldier charging into battle.  Lit a cigarette and I stormed..that's right...I STORMED 3 blocks toward his 3rd floor office.  Richard must have hauled ass to his parking spot, because he managed to catch up with me at the elevator.  He pleaded for me to be calm.  His last line of defense against this office invasion was trying to convince me that he understood my anger and he was so, so sorry.  SORRY!  I was soooo OVER that word!

Out of the elevator and straight into family law central.  Jaw and fists clenched as I rushed past the front desk, Richard right behind.  I caught a glimpse of the receptionist's face.  Obviously, she knew something was up but had yet to fathom what the issue could be.  She would grasp it all very shortly.  I was in no mood for subtleties.

As I headed for Richard's private work/Jaymie Love domain, at the end of the hall, I flew by Michelle's office and lucky for her, the door was closed which meant she was with a client.  I must have been graced by Divine Intervention because I managed a minuscule amount of restraint that prevented me from barging right on in, client be damned.

Not that the client wouldn't get an ear-full anyway.  Richard's office is just past Michelle's.  They share a common wall and as soon as I crossed the threshold into the space that had witnessed Richard and Jaymie together naked, my very loud tirade began.  Almost an out-of-body experience.  A meltdown of epic proportions that everyone in the office could hear.  Hell, probably everybody on the 3rd floor heard it and I could have cared less.

Using Painter's Tape for Mapping Out Furniture

Did I tell you we bought a dining table?? Remember I was in love with this octagonal Widdicomb table? Well, I thought long and hard about making my own version. I priced out the right wood and brainstormed how I would do it. Ultimately I decided it was too risky. The wood alone was going to cost hundreds of dollars and I wasn't sure that it would look perfect in the end. We needed a table we could use all day long, everyday. I think that sometimes, especially with the bigger stuff, it's best to buy, not DIY.

Luckily, I was doing some shopping for a client that week and had to stop in to Two Jakes in Williamsburg. I rounded the corner and saw this:

I loved the color of the wood and the shape reminded me so much of the Gibbings table, but I didn't really think more about it since it was just a desk.

Then I made my way to the back of the store, and BAM! Another desk! Now, two desks do not always a table make, so I asked the nice and vey knowledgable owner (who I assume is named Jake?) about the desks and he told me he has TWELVE of them and that they were mid-century, and designed to be configured in multiples for your needs. They can be placed long-way to make a massive conference table, or just used as a single desk. OR used in a pair as a hexagonal dining table that comfortably seats six!? Yes!

Since they had so many of the table sections available, I did the patient, responsible thing (don't worry, that doesn't happen too often), and took the measurements home to triple check that the table would fit.

I use graph paper a lot to map out furniture for my own home (the computer programs we use pretty much kill my creativity). But even when you have a perfect floor plan, it can be hard to really feel what how the furniture will sit a room. This is where painter's tape comes in. It works fine to map out furniture on the floor, but if you place the tape on furniture that is roughly the same height/scale as the new piece, that will help a lot for visualizing and there will be less surprises later.

I mapped out the hexagonal table on my old, ill-fitting table, and put the chairs where they would belong at the new table to verify they could be pulled out far enough, etc.

It ended up being a really good thing I taped out the table. I found out the table would fit well, but that the armoire I had found on craigslist (to go to the bottom right of the table in the photo) was completely too big for the space, even though it made sense on my floor plan.

The table is in and we love it. And I've moved to Plan B for the armoire, so now we have plenty of room and storage space. More photos coming up (including the step-by-step for painting the giant chandelier!).

Also, I still love the Widdicomb table and hope that maybe someday one will fall into my lap. But I'm thinking maybe this simpler design is a better fit for our small dining room? All those arches might have been a little intense. Plus, there's no way I would have been able to get the finishing the way I'd want it to be. Like how the grain changes direction in the inlay here? Love it.

I even sort of like my old chairs with the table. I might keep it this way for a while longer, though I'd still love a set of straight-back louis chairs in a pretty leather with white frames. Would it be sacrilege to paint my chair frames here white? Or to whitewash them so some of the greek key shows though? Hmmm...


 There seems to be a fair amount of talk in the media that after the "mandate" President Obama received with this election, the Republicans in the House ought to be willing to compromise more.

After the 2010 election, when the Republicans received their "mandate," was Obama more willing to compromise with them?

Of course not.

So why should the Republicans show more give now?

The most interesting things

The most interesting things are always those which are unexpected, or even taboo. Wow, Bill Clinton is a sociopath. Wow, Barack Obama is a homosexual. Wow, sasquatch might actually exist.

A lot of people are very uncomfortable going outside mainstream thought: they are afraid that others will think them foolish, and laugh at them. For some reason, I don't have that fear. (Maybe I should, but I don't.) So I don't mind stating my opinions like those cited in the first paragraph.

I've certainly been scoffed at, and I'm sure an even higher number scoff at me behind my back. But ever since I was told my IQ was high when I was a kid, it's just never occurred to me to worry about my intelligence. I may not be as smart as I think I am, and there are certainly plenty of people who are smarter, but I know I'm smarter than most. So I don't worry about others thinking I'm dumb. Or even crazy.

It's not that I don't have insecurities. I worry that I'm weak, or soft. (Probably because I am.) So I try to act macho. If anything, that sort of behavior probably makes me appear even weaker, and softer.

A lot of people are that way about their intelligence: they never express an original opinion for fear that people might laugh at them, or think them off in some way. They cleave to the middle of every road in an almost desperate attempt to seem "balanced" and avoid any sort of public censure.

They don't realize that this just betrays a second rate intelligence -- at best.

This is exactly what the enforcers of political correctness count on: peoples' intellectual timidity. They know that with enough intimidation, people won't stray to conclusions the facts lead them to, but rather will stay within the boundaries of what's deemed respectable to think.

When you have a population which is too insecure to believe the evidence of their own eyes and come to their own conclusions, and which is too intimidated to speak their minds, then you have a politically correct, easily manipulable society. It's what our media masters want -- and it is, for the most part, what they've gotten.

So go ahead and be as timid in your opinions as you like. You'll actually be making your life much less interesting by limiting your thinking to what's generally considered "acceptable."

And be aware that acting like a sheep doesn't make you look intelligent.

Weekend Give Away: 5 Baubles from Jewelmint with Three Winners!

Ladies, am I right when I say you can change your day for the better just by putting on a pair of fantastic earrings? Or a pretty cocktail ring, or a fancy necklace? I tried out a collar for the first time on Thanksgiving and felt pretty special.

I got it from Jewelmint along with a few other baubles when they were having a sale, and was surprised at the quality of the accessories given the price! I was ecstatic then when Jewelmint reached out to me, kindly offering three readers their choice of FIVE pieces, plus a t-shirt from Stylemint! How will you possibly choose your favorites? Here's what I'm eyeing:

To enter, just register here to pick your favorites from the site. (Kate Bosworth is a style director, so you know it's gonna be good stuff!) Once you've narrowed it down to a few choices, leave a comment on this post. Contest ends next Friday at midnight. Three winners will be chosen at random and emailed.

If you're impatient, you can buy one piece and get one FREE by clicking here. I think I'm going to get the citrus earrings and that mauve and metallic ring at the top left.


Feeling Thankful

I meant to post this yesterday, but I guess it's good to feel and express thanks on days other than Thanksgiving, too. :)

Thank you all for dropping by my little site here. I think of all of you as lovely, supportive friends. Thank you for being so kind to me and for sticking around all these years. I feel like there have been so many chapters of my life that we've seen together. Half a dozen cities, more than a few moves, babies, successes and hardships, and all the decorating craziness along the way.

This year has been an especially bittersweet Thanksgiving for our family. Sandy was not kind to a few families that go to my kids' school. Two of the children in Gracie's first grade class live in Red Hook and they lost everything. I can't even begin to imagine what that would feel like - especially with kids, in the winter. Those families have been displaced for weeks and the school has been trying to help them with donations of furniture, clothing and toys. Even just extra play dates to keep those poor kids in good spirits.

At a class Thanksgiving celebration this week, the children were taking turns sharing what they were most thankful for. When it was the turn of one of the boys whose home had flooded, he said that he was just thankful for his family and grateful that he learned from the storm that you can feel at home wherever your family is. (Every adult was practically sobbing.)

It's guilt-inducing how untouched our home was by Sandy. There was so, so much damage just to the north and south of us. Every time I hop in the car and drive for just a mile or two I am overwhelmed with gratitude and heartbreak.

Some of my graphic designer and artist friends and their friends have come together to help and give back in the best way they know how. They created beautiful NYC-post-Sandy tribute artwork where all the proceeds go to the Mayor's Fund for Hurricane Relief. The prints are available through December 2 in limited editions here on Print Aid NYC.

I can't wait to share these with friends and family as holiday gifts - I know I would happily display any of these in my home. I'm so proud of my friends.

Hugs to you all. xoxo

And My Kitchen Stayed Clean

Thanksgiving was a great success!  No one cooked and no one cleaned up.

This was the second year in a row our small family decided to go "out" for Thanksgiving and it is our favorite new "tradition" going forward.  Yesterday we had a private room at one of the city's most critically acclaimed restaurants with great service, incredible food, and flowing Cakebread for over three hours!

The highlight of the day was when our NYC-dwelling niece appeared as a server, water pitcher in hand, to surprise her parents and grandma!  It made me cry it was so exciting.  We got it on video and we all watched it over and over again.

Although I love seeing all of our extended family, I also dread the "work" that goes into it, the preparation, the cooking, the cleaning and how it takes hours and even days to prepare for a feast that lasts thirty minutes tops.  I just have to be in a certain mood and moody as I am, I haven't seen that mood for sometime.

I hope this preference towards Thanksgiving reservations isn't setting a bad precedent for our kids.  I mean, we all grew up relegated to the "kid's table" and family all around and now I'm teaching my kids to sit quietly and order from a menu or fill their plates from the brunch buffet.  I would offer though that the time spent with the kids is more quality time, since I'm not distracted with food preparation and details.  Plus, it's so nice with the kids a bit older now and able to cut their own meat for example.  These are the best years.  They are generally well behaved, interesting, clever, polite and conversant young people at the dinner table and did I mention no one has to clean up afterwards.

Yes. This is how our clan rolls.  ...and a good time was had by all.


Today is the 49th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination. This date often results in some mention of the event, but I didn't see anything in the media today.

Next year, however, will be the 50th anniversary, so it will be sure to get some special attention, as the 10th and 20th anniversaries did.

The problem is, as time goes on, there are fewer and fewer people who remember Camelot well enough to be nostalgic about it. Next year it will basically only be the over 60 crowd for whom it has any meaning.

Guarding against terrorists

It's said that the roundup and internment of Japanese-Americans who lived on the West Coast during WWII was one of the great injustices of the last century. There wasn't a single instance of one of them cooperating with Japan. And there were many instances of Japanese-Americans who lived in Hawaii (but anomalously, were not rounded up) fighting heroically for the US in Europe during that war.

So, yes, it was a great injustice.

In 1978, while living in California, I knew a Japanese-American woman whose parents had been interned at Tule Lake and had been forced to sell their large farm in what later became Brentwood for pennies on the dollar. (Had they been able to hang on to it, that family would obviously have ended up extraordinarily wealthy.)

But, speaking as a half-Japanese, I understand the reasoning behind rounding up the Nisei. You never have to look for for examples of people sticking up for their own ethnic group. It is, after all, what evolution has programmed us to do. And had the authorities merely watched the Nisei more closely, rather than rounding them up, they would have been justified.

Turn the clock forward 67 years. We have now been at war with various Muslims in the Middle East and Afghanistan for over a decade. And every single domestic terrorist incident that has either taken place or been foiled in that time -- including the plot for which four men were arrested a few days ago -- has been committed by a Muslim.

No one is suggesting that all Muslims be rounded up. But it would be incredibly stupid not to be a little more suspicious of Muslims than others, and not to infiltrate mosques which are known to be hotbeds of Islamic radicalism.

But the pendulum has swung the other way. Any excess attention paid to Muslims is regarded by some as insulting and discriminatory.

It's why Major Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter, was allowed to get that far without the authorities clamping down on him despite the evidence of emails between him and Anwar al-Awlaki, the terrorist leader in Yemen. After all, to have been suspicious of him would shown "prejudice" against his Muslim faith.

There are fourteen Ft. Hood families who bitterly regret the Army's reticence. But they don't have a voice on the New York Times editorial pages.

There have been plenty of times that I've flown in the past and the security people have waved me by while paying more attention to some little old white lady from Eau Claire or some place like that. Take a look at that little photo on the right: I have a swarthy, vaguely ethnic look to me. I could easily be a terrorist. (In fact, while flying, I was more terror-ized than terror-ist, but I do look the part.) I always wanted to scream out: search me, not her, you idiots! I certainly would have felt much safer had they looked more suspiciously at me than at the little old white ladies.

But political correctness always seemed to prevail.

And political correctness, as always, connotes a certain willful blindness.

The "bag man"

It looks as if the NYPD has caught the latest serial killer operating in the city, Salvatore Perrone --

-- yet another sociopath with those weirdly thin lips. (Can't explain it, can't think why it would be so, but I keep seeing it.)

Most likely outcome on fiscal cliff

The Republicans will agree to a tax rate rise for those making above $500,000 a year, a restriction on some loopholes, and raising the capital gains rates for those making above a million a year. This will allow them to say that they haven't hurt the mom and pop businesses and that they are not just for the extremely wealthy.

The Democrats will agree to cut back on some entitlements (whether they make an end run around these is another matter). This will allow them to appear as if they have won on the tax front and are serious about cutting the deficit as well.

Both sides get to save face, and the national debt will continue to increase.

That's why they call it politics.

Don't forget the inside

Thank you all for your kind comments about our work-in-progress kitchen! (It is a mess right this minute. Flour and sugar and spices everywhere as we begin the prep for the Feast (somehow what my kids have been calling Thanksgiving?). Exhibit A.)

I took it as a sign that my readers know me well (and not at all that I'm boring and predictable) when a few of you guessed early that I would probably be painting the inside of the cabinets a crazy color. 

Who, ME?

The insides of these old cabinets were not great and they had to be painted no matter what. So I thought to myself, why not bright persimmon red?! (which happens to be the answer to a lot of my color conundrums.) I figured something this bright would be a welcome addition to my dark kitchen. But it would be like a secret-surprise-bright-welcome-addition, you know?

My friend came over last week, opened the drawer for a spoon and yelled "Red drawer!!!" Mission accomplished, I say.

PS Just found this. So predictable.

Dealing with rejection

How well someone takes rejection speaks volumes about who they are as a person.

There are few more impressive than the guy who, upon being rebuffed, can say that he still likes the girl, perhaps turns his rejection into a joke, and acts amused by the whole thing.

On the other hand, there's nothing less impressive than one who, upon being turned down by a girl, accuses her of being a dyke. (I seemed to know a lot of guys like this in college.)

Similarly, a woman who finds out that a guy is not interested in her sexually and takes it in stride is admirable.

But one who becomes filled with rage and then tells her friends that she thinks the guy must be gay, or suggests that he get therapy for sexual ambivalence, or somesuch, is one with a very fragile ego -- and such egos tend to come with a tenuous grip on reality. (I've known a few of these, too.)

Mr. Sensitive

One of the most ridiculous articles I've ever seen.

A Baltimore Raven, Jacoby Jones, was being interviewed on the sidelines by an attractive reporter, Michele Tafoya, and he answered her politely. At the end, when she congratulated him on his play, he replied "Thank you gorgeous," gave a quick wink, and ran off.

Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports saw an opportunity to burnish his pc credentials, so lambasted Jones for not having treated her with the "same respect and regard any man would in a similar circumstance."

One of the funny things about the article is that when you look at the picture of Doug Farrar, he looks exactly like the kind of fat slob who loves to guzzle beer and watch football games and yell at the screen, but never do any exercise himself. He doesn't exactly look like a, uh, feminist. (Perhaps he's aware of the image he presents, and thus felt obliged to present this paean to his own "sensitivity.")

Here is a picture of Doug:

It's worth taking a look at the interchange between Jones and Tafoya, which is embedded in the article. Jones doesn't linger over the word "gorgeous," nor does he make a leering wink. He actually struck me as quite polite.

How offended are you when someone calls you "gorgeous," or "sugar," or "hon"?

One of the problems with liberalism is that it results in these ever escalating wars of political correctness, where people fall all over themselves trying to outdo each other in showing how correct and easily "offended" they are.

Okay Doug, you win this round.

Choosing Neutral Art

While I love colorful art, sometimes it's best to go neutral in a room with other vibrant accents. Lately I've been so drawn to dreamy, soft nature-inspired art. I like how it balances and tempers the bright aspects of a room.

Art.com asked me and a handful of other design bloggers to share some of my favorites for a gift guide. I broke down some of my choices here by the color of the undertones. You know how I'm always going on about color temperature balance? Well for me that goes for art as well, especially more neutral art.

I always like to find color temperature balance in a room. If your walls are a cool gray, with blue undertones, try adding a piece of art with warmer, more brown or yellow undertones.

Or, if you're renting and your walls are builder's beige, try something with a bit more blue in it.

And true black works with all temperatures and should be mixed in, in healthy doses!

PS I'm trying to not buy that swan print, but there's a 15% off deal on art.com right now, so I don't think my resolve will last long.

PPS How are you guys? Sorry for not posting yesterday - we are nursing some serious colds around here. bleck.

Karma...a Very Misunderstood Law

Very few people actually understand what Karma is
and how it works.
It's impossible for many because it simply can't fit into their
belief system.
But it's really very simple..

There is a Quiet Place
Even in the heart of the storm
at the center of our Hearts.
And in this place 
we can see the Truth of things
we can hear the voice of 
Everything All at Once Forever.
And Everything All at Once Forever....

Is God.

Not some White Judgmental All Powerful Super Hero dude
sittin on the outside deciding this and that
making rules we dare not break..

Everything All at Once...Forever

The Beginning and the End...
and a new beginning.... and a new end.

In that silent place we can hear the voice of God.

It's not in a book written by men.
Doesn't come from the mouths of those who preach.
There is NEVER judgment there.

There is no Wrath of God
Only wrath of foolish men.

There is no Judgment of God
Just judgment of Ignorant men.

In fact there is no "wrong"
or for that matter "Right"
in the eyes of God.

Everything simply is.

The Ten Commandments
did not come from God...

But they are good suggestions for Man.

Each of us is like a cell
in the body of God
Without each of us
in our uniqueness
there would be no God.

Everything is God
And without EVERYTHING
there is no God.

It isn't God that demands we do not kill our fellow men for greed.
It isn't God that tells us not to harm one another
and ourselves.
But there are laws that govern everything
 in this Creation
that we've named God.
Laws that dictate the direction of a souls evolution
through this Creation.
Just as Gravity is a Law in this particular dimension of Creation.

And the most basic of these Laws is the Law of Karma.
And this Law is about as mis-understood by the masses
as is the truth about what God is.

Karma is not a system of reward and punishment
based upon if our actions are "good or bad".

Get this through your heads..

"There is no Higher Judgment"

Only man in his egotistical ignorance
feels they have the right and need to judge.
And in all actuality
they do,
this is how they guide themselves through the first part of their souls evolution..
Dualistic Judgments are the souls(egos) roadmap
to finding that unique separate expression
they are to make within the whole.
Seeking pleasure and running from pain
is the path of all young souls.. 

Karma is a simple Law
As the Rednecks would say,
"What goes around comes around."

Look at it this way.
Everything in Creation is built upon Energy.
Every cell in our bodies has energy enough to run a power plant.
Every thought and emotion carries energy
of certain quality.    
Every Action is an expenditure of very precise energy.

There is No Punishing God

It is our own judgments of right and wrong that "punish" us.
But it isn't really a punishment..
It's just part of the natural process of a souls evolution...

Let me explain:
At the very heart of each of us
is a spark that unites us all..
It is who we are in the beginning
and in the end.
And in that spark is the knowledge that
We Are All One Thing.
And within that knowledge is the understanding that
to harm another is just harming ourselves
and the whole that we are part of.
We know at the very core of our being that harming another is counter productive to the whole.
And every time, throughout our long evolution that we do harm to another..  
We are aware of this.
But no human wants to feel that they have done harm..
that they are "bad".
Because humans
unlike God
Have very specific ideas of right and wrong.
And most are deeply based in the understanding of the true nature of things.
 The Oneness.    
So a couple of lifetimes ago I killed a soldier who was murdering the women and children and old folks in my tribe.
(the warriors were being murdered elsewhere)
Even though I was a holy man....
I snapped, 
and slit his throat.
I still cry every time I remember this..
Am I angry at the soldier I killed?
I don't think so.
Am I angry at the ignoarnt men who sent him to kill.
I don't think so..
But I'm angry at myself...
so deeply..
And that anger lives at some place in my body.
I carry it there and try to keep it pushed back
out of my consciousness...
We humans don't want to see the Harm we do.
We push it aside
Bury it...
But once a human has reached that stage of their souls evolution
where they have finished defining their unique separate expression
through duality..
They must face everything that they have pushed aside and hidden.
They must come to terms with all that has been,
all that has defined who they were.
And if they don't....
there will be problems.

This is Karma. 

Put simply:
Karma is energy that we have put out
then judged.
That must be reconciled with Love..
And until we do reconcile it with Love
and remove our Human judgment..
it will be there
blocking the free flow of energy through us.
And whenever the free flow of energy is Blocked...
There are difficulties.

This is the "punishment" of Karma.
Built upon our own judgments of "Good and Bad".

AND the flip side is,
Whenever we give 
through Love and Intention 
It will create an opening of Light within us
allowing the free flow of energy
which is the key to health and bountiful blessings.  

It's all about that Free Flow of Energy.
Every judgment of "bad"
upon ourselves or others
blocks that free flow.
And when the free flow of energy is blocked...
we have problems.

There is no Allmighty God punishing you 
because he doesn't like something you did...  

You are punishing yourself because you know on some level
that your action was harmful...
you judge it as bad...
tuck it away...
Where it ferments in the dark
and blocks the flow of energy

But every Judgment must have it's day in the Light.
Every Judgment we make must be reconciled back to it's Truth..
with Love.
Karma only exists in Duality
and eventually every souls journey is one from duality
to Oneness.
And that path back to Oneness
requires that every judgment we carry within us...
(and there are lots)
Must be reconciled.
must be removed from our Light Body
through Love..
Until then

Karma gonna bite you in the Butt.