Friday, July 27, 2012


     My year of 35 is over, I’m turning 36 tomorrow.  It was a good year— lots of happy memories made and no major disasters, except I’d like my elbow to return to normal.  But what can you do?  I’ll admit the grey hair count is up since I started this blog, but I’m still not dying my hair.  Take that mother nature!  I just keep wiping mascara to cover the greys.  And ignoring those few and far between strands works just as well.  
     I share my July 28th birthday with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (she was born on July 28, 1929).  She summed it up beautifully when she said:
     “I have been through a lot and I have suffered a great deal. But I have had lots of happy moments as well. I have come to the conclusion that we must not expect too much from life. We must give to life at least as much as we receive from it. Every moment one lives is different from the other.  The good, the bad, hardship, the joy, the tragedy, love and happiness are all interwoven into one  single indescribable whole that is called LIFE. You cannot separate the good from the bad. And, perhaps, there is no need to do so either."
—Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
     In college I lived in an all women co-op my sophomore year.  One of the older students photocopied Jackie’s quotation and slipped it into each of our mailboxes.  I liked it so much that I brought it home with me to read it to my father.  He too liked it and taped it up on a wall in our kitchen.  Jackie’s quote still hangs in our kitchen to this day with Dad’s neat, all caps, block print reading “circa 1995” written below the typed text in black felt tip marker that’s now faded to brown because of the scorching Albuquerque sun.  I guess you could say that quote became our family motto.  It’s a good one if you ask me.   
     And with that I’ll bid you adieu.  Happy Birthday to all my fellow July 28thers out there and to all the other Leos!  Isn’t it fun being a fire sign?

Thursday, July 26, 2012


     Call it an early birthday present, call it whatever you want--a new season of Project Runway started last week and I love that show.  I love the designers working in their work room, the runway shows, the critiques and most of all I love the crazy challenges they have to win.  Who wants to wear that outfit made with materials that came from a pet store?  Well I guess it's time to carry on and make it work, just like Tim Gunn would instruct.  Auf Wiedersehen! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


     One of my good friends called me last night to a) ask what I wanted for my birthday and b) to tell me that she'd thought of me when a Sex and the City re-run came on the other day.  In that episode, Charlotte is turning thirty-six (like I will be on Saturday) but doesn't want to because she feels like she's getting old.  I found the dialogue on and pasted it below.  I can't really tell who's saying what, but take a read:

Charlotte's 36th birthday is Saturday night.
I say we spinsters take back Manhattan.
I've thought about it and I've decided I'm sticking at 35.
- It was such a good year? - I'm not where I thought I'd be at 36.
- I don't feel 36. l don't look 36, right? - No.
Men are more interested in meeting 35-year-olds. So I'm sticking.
We all turned 36 like big girls. Now it's your turn.
Lying about her age is the smartest thing she's done in years.
Where are we celebrating Charlotte's 35th birthday, the sequel?

     I, myself don't have (that much) trepidation about turing 36.  Yes, it IS one year older, but I don't feel like I'm an old lady.  Sure I might do some old lady stuff--that I've admitted to in this blog!--but for the most part I don't feel like a granny.  So I'm going to go into this new year excited for what's to come.  Hey, maybe I'll meet my own hairy-backed Harry (remember that episode?!), like Charlotte did and truly, madly, deeply fall in love with him.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


     Have you ever been to an early bird dinner in Florida?  I have, when I used to visit my grandparents.    Dinner could start as early as 4pm.  Seriously.  I don't know what happens when you reach grandparent age.  Maybe you think there'll be a food shortage and that you'll need something to make it through that really long red light or maybe you don't want to spend money on staples like sugar and other artificial sweeteners.  Whatever happens, elderly people get weird about food.  So they start stealing it.  
     Exhibit A: all the Sweet'N Low, Equal and sugar packets would disappear during early big dinners--and people weren't drinking that much iced tea or coffee.  Entire sugar bowls were left empty.  Cute grandma and grandpa were stealing the Sweet'N Low...just in case they needed those packets later on.  Or possibly because they didn't want to go out and buy their own Sweet'N Low.  
     Anyway, restaurants in Florida, at least in my grandparents' town, caught on and stopped putting out the sugar and sweetener packets.  If you wanted to sweeten your drink you had to request one or two or 100 from your waiter.  I think I saw some in my grandma's pocketbook one time.  They were wrapped, a/k/a hidden, in a tissue.  That's nice.  What was she planning on doing with them?  Beats me. 

Monday, July 23, 2012


     My sister and I aren't big texters.  I'm just not that into it and neither is she.  We prefer to call each other and our friends on the phone.  Or heaven forbid, see these people in person. 
     Most of my friends are big time texters and I KNOW I put a damper on their flow when I call them or don't instantly respond to their texts (or let's be fair--respond to them at all).  I should also mention that the other side of this is that not many people text me.  My phone doesn't buzz off the hook.  And I'm ok with that.
     When I hung out with my sister and her best friend recently, her best friend and I were talking about texting.  I asked the friend if she texted with her mom a lot.  Our friend went on to tell me how much she texts with all of her family and friends, except for my sister.  "Your sister just doesn't text that much."  I smiled and thought atta girl
     My sister and I haven't ever discussed why we don't text, we just don't.  Maybe it's how we were raised or because we're technologically challenged (not her, me).  I'm not sure.  But I do know that I like calling my sister and I like it when she calls me.  (In fact I like it when any of my friends call me.  It's nice to talk on the phone.)  I talk to her all week long, but like clockwork every Sunday night I hear the phone ring around 9 p.m.  It's my sister's end of the week recap phone call, her check in before we get busy with Monday.  It's the best phone call of the week; the one I look forward to most. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012


     I was dating someone recently and invited him to a work event.  He met a lot of the muckety mucks at my company, including the owner.  I raved to my date about working at my company and how the owner makes everyone feel valued.  I talked about how generous the owner was, how he supports his employees, how he's such a good father and good husband, among other things.  I explained how he is a good man.  My date looked at me stupefied, as if he'd never heard the term or didn't know what a good man is.  Maybe he was waiting for me to say that he was a good man (which I never did, because I didn't think he was a good man, ummm, hello, we're not dating anymore) or maybe he's never been in the presence of a good man.  But I have.  And when you compare these good men with all the other men out there, the differences are so obvious.
     I've had the good fortune to first work for a good man when I clerked for a federal judge.  He mentored me and taught me so many things that a young lawyer needs to know.  And besides that, beyond our working relationship he cared about me as a person.  He asked about my life, my family, my interests.  When I was robbed in a Walgreens parking lot, he gave me money after I came to work the next day and started hysterically crying in his chambers.  He said "you're not going home tonight."  My judge and his wife brought me home to their house.  They cooked me dinner and let me sleep in their daughter's room.  I made it through that terrible time because I had him as part of my support system.  I later learned that my judge told his own daughter that he enjoyed working with me during my clerkship year.  He told her that it was like coming to work with his daughter everyday.  It was a great compliment to hear.
     That clerkship set the bar high for good bosses.  I didn't get another boss like that until my current job.  It took 10 years.  My current boss is a father of 6.  Four of his children are daughters.  He is a brilliant attorney, a former naval officer, a good husband and an all around good man.  I can't get over it.  He never ceases to amaze me with his kindness and his praise.  I feel so lucky to work for him and for the owners of my company, who are just as incredible.  For example, this weekend before the writing conference my boss sent me a good luck all caps.  And on Saturday, the company's owner sent me a text asking me how things were going.  In that text he told me how much he believes in me and how he thinks I'm a good writer.  I've never worked at a place like that--a place full of such good men.  
     And then of course there was my father.  The good man who raised me.  The good man who I wish was still here.  The good man who got what I was talking about.  The good man who got me.
     Maybe this is why I haven't found the right guy yet.  I'm holding out for a good one.  I'm waiting for someone who's like all these good men I'm so lucky to be surrounded by: someone who will care about me when I'm sick, by asking me if I'm feeling ok and by bringing over chicken soup or ice cream; someone who will support my dreams as much as his own; someone who loves his family and speaks highly of them to others; someone who's not afraid to dole out compliments to others because he's secure enough; and someone who wants to see the people who work for him succeed.
     I don't think these qualities are that unreasonable to expect a man to have.  But the way that guy I was dating scrunched up his face as I listed the owner's good-man-qualities made me rethink things.  My date was basically asking what's the big deal?, and why do you think those things are so important?  I'll tell you why, because I believe in character and integrity.  Being a good man, like being a good woman (like being a good person, actually) is about how all those little things add up over time.  You don't get to be called good man because you do one kind thing one time in front of an audience.  Most of the time the things that make a man a good man is because of how he acts when no ones is watching.  Maybe that guy I dated was waiting to hit his stride.  My advice: hurry up.  Life's too short.  And by the way scrunched-up-face-man, you've got a long way to go.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


     The writer-in -residence talked about that place all writers live while they're writing, re-writing, editing, re-editing, and just writing, writing and more writing.  He coined that place the pain cave.  It's back to the pain cave for me.  No book deal...yet.  However the feedback I received was invaluable.  My workshop facilitator said that my memoir is well-written and then gave me great advice on structure.  He also told me that he sees a publisher touting my memoir as "the perfect Father's Day gift" one day.  I'll cheers to that.  And until then, I'll be in my pain cave.  Please come visit.

Friday, July 20, 2012


     I, along with all of the other conference goers, became part of the Mayborn Conference tribe of storytellers today.  The only tribe I've ever really considered myself a part of is the Jewish tribe--you know, the 12 Hebrew Tribes.  Jews love to refer to this and have whittled it down to just "the Tribe."  Anyway, it felt good to be part of another tribe at the writing conference.  I felt like I belonged with all those other people who have a story to tell.  The passion was palpable.  Storytelling is cool.  Go tell your kids.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


     Today is the 4 year anniversary of my father’s death.  I can’t believe it’s been four years.  It feels like just yesterday he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.  I’d fly back and forth between Albuquerque and Dallas every four days to spend time with him in the hospital and to be at work.  

     After my father passed away, I started writing a memoir about growing up with him; about how this Indian man raised his two daughters after his Jewish wife passed away.  My mother wanted us to be raised Jewish and Dad took up that challenge.  The majority of the time, Dad hadn’t a clue.  He tackled a different culture and a different religion.  For anyone that’d be difficult.  As a single parent it was more so.  But Dad did it with his usual gusto, which included missteps and lots of humor.  My memoir’s ultimately about love, tolerance and death and how those three things led me to have an incredible relationship with my father.  He ended up being my best friend.
     It seems only fitting that tomorrow I’ll be sitting in a chilly hotel conference room listening to a critique of my memoir after I read one of its passages aloud.  After that book manuscript workshop I’m attending with 19 other finalists comes to a close, the powers to be at the writing conference will meet and then announce a winner on Saturday night.  The winner receives prize money and the best part—a book deal.  I hope my name is announced on Saturday night.  But even it if I don’t hear it, it’s not a complete loss.  I’ve come a long way and I know Dad would be proud of me. 
     Plus, the conference is at a hotel in Grapevine, Texas, near the Grapevine Mills outlet mall.  When Dad drove from Albuquerque to visit me he’d always stop at Grapevine Mills to “stretch his legs.”  Really, he didn’t have time to stretch his legs at any of the gas stations or rest stops on the way?  No, of course not.  Those places didn’t house a Neiman’s Last Call or a Saks Off 5th outlet.  Dad was a consummate shopper.  And I’m just like him.  So if this weekend doesn’t turn out the way I want, I’ll turn my energy (just for the night) to the outlet stores.  Hey, that mall stays open until 9 p.m.  Then come Monday, I’ll be back to polishing my memoir and striving for more.   That's what he would've wanted for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


     Is it that big a deal for the Volvo dealership to comp me the batteries for my car key remote?!  I mean they make money hand over fist at that place and have the nerve to tell me they're charging me for batteries.  I think not.  And I told my service advisor that.  Well, technically I said: "you're really going to charge me for the batteries for my key remote?"  He replied: "yes."  But when I got there to pick up my car, he informed me he that "took care" of the batteries.  Oh, how incredibly generous of you kind sir.  Cut me a break.  I would've been livid if I'd left there paying for some lousy batteries.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


     Tonight I'm attending a University of Michigan Alumni event.  The U of M club is screening the movie Black and Blue: The story of Gerald Ford, Willis Ward, and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech Football Game.  The film's director/producer will be hosting a Q & A after the movie.  It should be interesting.  President Ford played football at Michigan and refused to play against Georgia Tech when they told the U-M coach that Michigan had to bench its only black player, Willis Ward.  Ford ended up playing the game because his friend Ward asked him to.  The movie chronicles the game, the friendship between Ford and Ward and how Ford was involved in civil rights throughout his life.  
     Speaking of football games, I'm a little sad I won't get to wear my ¡Vamos Azul! t-shirt (that I haven't bought yet) to the Michigan vs. Alabama game which will be played in Dallas at Cowboys Stadium on September 1.  I'll be in Napa, since it's Labor Day weekend.  I know, I know, it's such a hard life to have such great options to chose from--a trip to wine country or a fun college football game at a top-rated NFL fstadium.   

Monday, July 16, 2012


     Besides the sunshine and outdoor concerts, I love a good summer sale.  I mean when else can you find a pair of black linen pants, nice ones by the way, that cost only $12.88?  Sure I already have a pair of black linen pants, but I couldn't just leave that great sale priced pair on the store's rack.  No way Jose.  And that's how I've amassed an incredibly unruly closet full of doubles and possibly triples of things.  But really I had to have those cheap, new linen pants.  Wouldn't you have bought them too?  If you're thinking no, you're a liar.  Caught you!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


     I bragged about my new shoes all last night.  I kept telling everyone how comfy my new 5 inch heels were and that they didn't hurt my feet.  Well truth be told, my feet started hurting by the end of the night.  I blame it on my dancing.  And when I woke up this morning my right, pinky toe was killing me.  There's a possibility it's broken--that's my official, non-medical, highly dramatic diagnosis.  But really who does that?  Who hurts her pinky toe dancing?  This girl.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


     Happy Bastille Day!  You know that French holiday everyone celebrates.  When my sister and lived together in New York, we literally climbed the stairs from the subway into a huge Bastille Day parade.  We'd decided to go to a New York Health and Racquet Club to work out far from our Upper West Side apartment on 110th and Broadway.  We boarded our local train and then got off around 23rd street, mane it was 14th.  Actually, I think we'd made it to the East Side so there was a transfer or a crosstown bus in there somewhere.  Anyway, when we climbed out of the filth of the subway tunnel, we were greeted with music, French food, smiles and a bunch of free hats and a fans from a French conglomerate.  It was unexpected, but we joined right in.  A parade is a parade and when in Rome...I mean Paris---eat a croissant.

Friday, July 13, 2012


     Apparently I live under a rock since I don't watch the Jersey Shore.  When my friend invited me to see the dj Pauly D tonight at this club, I had to Google Pauly D.  Now I know who he is and I'm getting ready to to this club and see what he's all about.  I'm sure it'll be an interesting night.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


     Ok, so I never really had a real pair of Birkenstocks.  I wore my fake, no-name brand of similar looking shoes to Birkenstocks around Ann Arbor my first week there.  I even wore white socks with them the night I met my college boyfriend.  Sexy, I know.  This was when grunge was in and I wore extra large plaid shirts and jeans 5 sizes too big for me.  Even sexier, I know.  None of it was a good look, but man those shoes were comfy.  And actually maybe it was a good look at the time, I mean I did have a boyfriend, an upper clansman, thank you very much.
     Well I just purchased my first pair of real, yes the real deal this time, Birkenstocks.  And let me report that these real ones are even more comfortable that the fakes I used to wear.  They've got arch support and a toe grip and they're surprisingly not that ugly.  They won't win any fashion shows, but they're good to knock around in and that's what I needed after my flip flops gave me a blister.  I don't see many blisters in my future while wearing my Birks.  Did I just regress?  Am I getting old talking about arch support?  What is happening?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


     If there is one thing my sister and I agree on--no ifs and or buts--it's that one can never ever put a hat on a bed.  Didn't any of you see the movie Drugstore Cowboy with Matt Dillon?  Apparently, if you put a hat on a bed it's a hex and gives you nothing but bad luck (according to Matt Dillon's character a hat on the bed brings 15 years of bad luck or even death).  And that's why we're so adamant about where we put our hats.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


     For some reason I was thinking about that time I trashed my hotel room at the Four Seasons in Austin--it was all because of those shots of Patron tequila I took on the dance floor.  Me, the dance floor, and shots of Patron don't mix well.  After my dance-a-thon and seeing the Spazmatics of the first time, I got back to the hotel and wrecked my room.  And I mean Johnny-Depp-I-just-broke-up-with-Kate-Moss wrecked a hotel room.
     Oh and before I used every single towel in my hotel bathroom, I had to deal with my boss waiting for me in the lobby of the hotel.  Apparently, he'd been worried about me.  He was so worried that moved a couch so that it was facing the entrance of the hotel and then just sat there and waited for me to get back from hanging out with other work people.  So is that a good boss or a creepy boss?  It's not entirely clear, and I didn't stay chit-chatting with him long enough to find out.  Instead, I rushed past him so I could make it to the security and privacy of my bathroom.  To this day I cannot stomach the smell of tequila.
     As an aside, my dad used to make ultra stiff margaritas with Patron because he liked the Patron tequila bottles.  He used the empty bottles as flower vases.  We had several of them all around our house filled with roses Dad had hand-picked from our garden.  Hey, you know if you read about doing that or saw it done in some fancy decorating magazine you'd be putting flowers in a bottle of Patron too.

Monday, July 9, 2012

DAY 348: THE M.O.S.A.

     When we were on vacation, I pointed out a painting or a poster that I liked.  It was all these iconic characters like Popeye and Mr. Peanut.  Of course I liked the Mr. Peanut one--that was my Halloween costume.  My sister replied: "I knew you'd like it, it'll look good in the M.O.S.A."  I'd almost forgotten all about the M.O.S.A.  And I live in it.
     I have a bunch of random stuff hanging on the walls of my apartment.  Lots of old magazine liquor ads, watercolors I bought on the street in Argentina, and some framed posters from Andy Warhol's collection.  When my dad helped me hang a poster of Matisse's Icarus on my bedroom wall he said: "well, this goes great in your museum of shit art."  I told an ex-boyfriend about that and he coined my Museum of Shit Art a/k/a my apartment, the M.O.S.A.  You gotta love family, they tell you how it is and you still ignore them.  For the record, I love that Icarus cut out.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


     Dear American Airlines:
     I find it bizarre and not to mention a tad unfair that the ONLY foreign country you charge a baggage fee for is Canada.  You let passengers check their first bag free to Mexico, but not to Canada.  It makes no sense.  Shouldn't all NAFTA countries be treated the same?  Or am I missing something here?
     And just a heads up to those of you traveling to Canada, there's a baggage fee for your bags, plus the Canadian tax.  Canada is a lovely place, but the taxes are nuts there.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

DAY 346: IT'S NOT THE 4TH...

     It's not the 4th of July and I'm in Canada, but I saw fireworks tonight.  Big ones and a lot of them.  Apparently Montreal has firework shows every Wednesday and Saturday night.  A woman told us that each night is sponsored by a different country as part of a huge fireworks competition.  Tonight Switzerland sponsored the fireworks.  The show was great and hordes of people came out to watch them at the Old Port.

Friday, July 6, 2012


     Today we rented bikes in Montreal through its Bixi bike rental program (Le reseau cyclable de Montreal).  There are tons of bike racks and you just swipe your credit card and rent a bike.  When you're done riding you park it back and the rack automatically locks, but you can take the bike out again with the same passcode whenever you want if it's still within your rental time.
     My sister and I biked all around downtown Montreal, Parc la Fontaine and then up to the Parc du Mont-Royal, Montreal's little mountain.  The city has incredible bike paths all over, so you feel safe and you're not competing with cars.  It was just like when we were kids, except she could actually keep up with me now and was leading us.  That's what happens with little sisters, they grow up and take charge.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


     The Montreal Jazz Festival is so much fun.  The best band today played their horns in the street and had everyone dancing.  My favorite dancers were the two little girls and an old man in a jogging suit.  He had the best moves!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


     It's not the most American way to spend the 4th, but I'm boarding a plane for Canada today.  Hey it's a vacation, so I'll take it.  I can't wait to get there.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


     Until this morning at 7:05, I’d never gotten a ticket.  My perfect driving record (no this does not include fender benders—I’ve had 1 or 2 of those) has been soiled.  A cop hid behind some trees to catch people running a stop sign.  He literally jumped out of the trees and ran into the middle of the street as I turned the corner where the stop sign was located and flagged me down to ticket me.  That was fun. 
     If only I went straight home after the gym and didn’t make a pit stop at the grocery to buy milk.  I must have been flustered at Kroger’s because I left there with a half-gallon of whole milk.  I never drink whole milk. 
     As I passed that same corner on the way home, I saw the police office waiting for more cars.  Sure enough he flagged down another guy for the same thing.  Aren’t people supposed to be nice the day before our nation’s birthday, or is that not in the law enforcement handbook?

Monday, July 2, 2012


     Well it only took 6 months, but tonight was the night I received a call from an actual real live guy through Tawkify.  It was a pretty strange call, we were both patched through some network and after 10 minutes exactly the call ended--he was in mid sentence.  
     The other semi-strange thing, unless you're into it, is that the guy doesn't live in Dallas.  He travels here often but doesn't live here.  I've done the long distance thing SEVERAL times and in my experience, it doesn't work out.  So I'm not sure I really want to talk to someone who doesn't even live here.  Because we all know that means he can't meet me on a whim for frozen yogurt or something else (no pretty much just frozen yogurt) if he doesn't live in Dallas.  In case you can't tell, I really like that frozen yogurt. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012


     I've been writing a memoir.  It's about my dad--how he raised my sister and me after our mom died and how he eventually became my best friend.  I submitted my manuscript to The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference's Book Manuscript Competition for 2012 and I submitted a personal essay to the conference's Personal Essay Competition.  
     I checked my email this morning and got some awesome news.  My manuscript was selected as one of the top 20 entries and now I'll participate in the Book Manuscript Workshop.  The winner of the Book Manuscript Competition receives a money prize and a publishing deal with UNT Press.  Yes, he or she gets his or her book published.  That is my dream!  I can't believe I get to be a part of this workshop.  I am over the moon.  Even if I don't get the book deal, I'm still incredibly happy and proud of this accomplishment.  
     The writing competition coordinator also told me that my essay was selected as one of the top 50 essays, which would make one eligible to participate in the Personal Essay Workshop in addition to possible prize money.  The conference will only allow me to participate in one of the workshops, so they pulled my personal essay out of that competition since I'd rather have my memoir go through the book manuscript workshop.  
     I feel so honored.  The coordinator said that the competition was fierce.  So just getting a spot in either contest's workshop, let alone being recognized in both is unbelievable.  What really made me feel good was how she felt about my writing.  After reading my entry for the Personal Essay competition, the coordinator wrote me and said: "I just read your essay.  What a range of emotions are in that piece.  On page four I was in tears, page eight I was fascinated, then angry then finally admiring your attitude and your Dad's determination."  That's what it's about for me--reaching readers like that.  I loved getting that email and even printed it out.  It might come in handy when I'm having a bad day...
     For now, I'm smiling a lot and counting the days until the workshop on July 20.  I'll be reading the work of 9 other finalists (they'll be reading mine) and going through a critique with them.  Plus, I'm going to meet some incredibly talented writers, editors, and literary agents.  So far, all signs are pointing to July being a very good month.  What a great first day of July!