Today is Labor Day in the United States, the unofficial end of the summer season. Beneath the barbecues, furniture sales and endless traffic home from the long weekend is the meaning of the day: to honor the working people who make stuff happen. Continue reading A Critical View of Labor Day
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
That’s the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It’s straightforward and apparently so important, our forefathers made it the first one. Continue reading Introducing: The American Constitution
I attended the Women’s March on New York City with a friend and the Center for the Women of New York. We assembled in a midtown hotel lobby where I bought a commemorative pin and sash from the Center; they need the money and I wanted a memento that I can use again. I helped myself to complimentary coffee as added fuel. Continue reading Not Being Silent: The March on New York City
It’s been a mild winter so far here in New York, but we all know the snow is inevitable. Continue reading Winter Resilience And Fun
The sheer amount of food on the holiday can be overwhelming, especially if you are hosting and have to figure out where to put ALL THAT FOOD. Continue reading Bonding Over Thanksgiving Leftovers
I always loved Christmas. The cheer, the celebrations, the pretty decorations, all never failed to put a spring in my step and a dent in my wallet.
I entered the season with an already dented wallet and was shocked when I realized that Christmas was almost here. So last week, after a City appointment and time to waste on a gloriously warm day, I walked through lower Manhattan looking for the weird or the wonderful. Continue reading Looking for Christmas
It’s probably the last summery day we’ll feel for a while here in New York, so I did another first-ever: I took the bus to Rockaway Beach.
The ride itself was weird: I got a seat a few stops after I boarded. Its previous occupant’s phone dropped out of his pocket. I hollered to him as he disembarked, waving his phone at him. He was thankful. I chatted with a nice couple and admired the family seated across the aisle. When the family got up to leave, I saw that they left their lunch carrier under their seat. I held it up and some people banged on the windows to get the family’s attention. As we handed off the lunch someone noticed their phone on that seat as well. I laughed and, inexplicably, called after them in Spanish, their language, “y el teléfono también.” I don’t normally speak in tongues, and I am sadly monolingual. Or maybe not any longer?
Handbook For An Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata And My Crazy Mother And Still Came Out Smiling (With Great Hair)
It’s quite a title, but sums up Rosie Perez’s autobiography in a nutshell. Rosie was born of an affair her mother had and was promptly left in the care of her paternal aunt. After three years, her mother demanded Rosie back, only to dump her in “the home,” a prison-like residence run by sadistic nuns.
Her aunt was a loving, steady and joyful woman. Through her youthful ordeal, Rosie knew she was loved, especially when her father became a part of her life. However, the mother was not just crazy, but abusive and manipulative as well. This created a special hell for the kid, but that didn’t stop young Rosie from enjoying what there was to enjoy.
I have a fantasy party based on this CNN article listing the ten happiest countries in the world. I would invite one ordinary person from each country: a teacher, cop, accountant, construction worker, firefighter, machinist, doctor, you get my drift. We have so much to learn from them, why not over beer, wine and appetizers? I feel that a full-on dinner would be too stressful and detract from my global happiness search. But appetizers and wine from each guest’s country can really get a conversation going.
Revelation! As much as I like my job, and as much as I believe the job likes me, I really need some backup skills. Parenting and blogging don’t pay, there’s no inheritance in my future and the lottery is too much of a long shot. At this stage, there’s no return on a grad school investment and besides, I have no idea what lucrative field I’d want to study.
But who doesn’t love the plumber? When your pipes misbehave and you’re desperate to wash the dishes, who do you call in desperation? Plumbers in the county just east of me are paid the highest in the nation, according to this U.S. News & World Report story! Yes, it’s dirty work and doesn’t get the respect it deserves but it pays the bills with cash to spare. It’s honest work when performed honestly. No government has ever had to bail out the plumbing industry. And plumbing can’t be outsourced.
This trade must go back thousands of years, to the building and maintenance of the Roman aqueducts. People have been controlling the movement of water for millennia.
WordPress.com challenged us bloggers: If you could learn a trade, what would that trade be? Simple: The one most consistently in demand!
Love this one: If I Had A Semi
And another potential plumber: http://ohhowrandom.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/dont-call-a-plumber-i-can-handle-it/
In August, 2012, I finally had the opportunity to visit Stonehenge. I’ve always wanted to physically be there, to experience the wonder of these ancient stones. The sky cooperated, getting cloudier and moodier. Sadly, it was part of a bus tour so my time there was limited. I promise to return, with a picnic lunch and time to spare. I’ve experienced several things on my wishlist: parenthood, living in the area where I now live, seeing a few places other than my native New York City. It’s such a big world, though, and I have always wanted to experience more of it. There is so much to see and learn and eat. Our national history and my family’s history are interconnected with that of so many other places. A bucket list seems like a great idea until you start throwing more and more ideas into the bucket. The bucket is never satisfied. It is always hungry. (This post was inspired by this Daily Prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/dust-wind/ Why not visit there and see how other bloggers were inspired?)
Can’t get it out of my head: I have this crazy urge to make something. Something involving a glue gun or Mod Podge or dropcoths. I want to give it away, just for the fun of creating happiness in someone I love.
One of my daughter’s Christmas presents was a gift basket of tree ornaments that I made. Total cost: about ten bucks. Her delight was immeasurable.
That was four months ago and I still smile when I think of it. To top that, I thought I’d learn how to fold dollar bills into flowers and make her an Easter bouquet. There are instructions all over the Internet; I just need to devote a few hours to learning this.
And that’s the problem: inspiration is everywhere. I want to make unique and beautiful stuff, but real-life responsibilities and real-life socializing get in the way.
And besides, some ideas are just wacky. I needed a little plant to replace the dead thing in my windowsill terrarium.(Yep, made that.) It was winter so with few options, I dropped in a packet of coleus seeds. The terrarium is now full of seedlings reaching out of the now-lidless glass. New plan: somehow extricate the plants intact, repot and present to someone with an actual garden, keeping one for the sill. (That’s a dropcloth job!)
Last Fall I glued dried moss to a picture frame, hoping to make a spooky home for a Halloween picture. That stuff does not adhere, I now know. I was vacuuming stragglers for weeks and ended up just throwing the would-be frame away. Wise move, since there’s no room to store good ideas gone bad.
Wouldn’t it be great to devote a whole room to creative endeavors? Unfortunately, that would be one underutilized space.
(Post inspired by http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/cant-get-it-out-of-my-head/ )
Winter is done, at least in this hemisphere. I’m always amazed that little crocuses manage to grow through cold, hard soil. And this year is no different. A small swarm of gnats buzzed in the shopping area earlier today, and we’re seeing longer days and some sunshine. My shower curtain rod no longer holds icy pants dripping snow melt; soon that will be replaced with sandy towels.
The hope of warm, balmy nights and long, fun days has me so giddy that I made my “to do” list for Summer 2014. Oh yes, if I have to do a “to do” list for tasks and chores, I’m going to make one for the pleasant stuff too:
- Go to the beach more. What’s better than feeling the ocean rush against my legs, smelling salt air and sunblock? And I’ll wear the polka dot bathing suit. I will start loading up on beach reads now.
- Live music under the stars. Even better, dancing to live music under the stars!
- Barbecue. Not at home though because the City of New York doesn’t permit using fire escapes for anything except escaping fires.
- I will become an expert on local outdoor cafés. Maybe some will serve barbecue.
- I will visit cool museums.
- i will ride my bike.
- I wonder if I can still “jump in” in jump rope?
- Road trips! Just keep driving until I find something that amuses me. I amuse easily so this shouldn’t be too far.
This summer will inspire some good posts. At least, that’s the plan.
The London Daily Mail (I love that site!) ran this piece once that, in essence, says that young adults like the music they heard in the home, and that the rest of the (not so young) adults most liked what they heard in their twenties. It’s all about happy memories.
That makes sense. We heard a variety of music in the home growing up, from Latin to jazz, country to the standards by Johnny Mathis and Sinatra. Back in the day, my father and his brothers and my grandfather would sing and play guitars at our family parties. I don’t know when this ended but I miss that. Like us, this tradition was different from the other families that we knew and that made it all the more special.