Winter Resilience And Fun

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

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Anticipating Christmas and The End Of Renovations

Wreaths, poinsettia and building renovation suppliesChristmas is eagerly anticipated worldwide right now. In my corner of the planet, I am also looking forward to the results of renovations on my apartment building.

The modernization started about a year ago and I see beautiful new workmanship every day. Dated pink wallpaper was replaced with serene, sensible beige. Moldings were added with drops a few inches from the ceiling to hide cable wires. The elevators were replaced with taller, safer ones. Marble flooring is being installed, which actually worries me: the inevitable icy winter weather will cause wet, slick floors. And you really don’t want to slip on marble. Continue reading Anticipating Christmas and The End Of Renovations

New Horizons: Things Are Looking Up

12-12-16 Sixth Avenue NYC facing north

Midlife is a strange and exciting time to be job-eliminated.

I had a lifetime of caring for other people (I am the oldest of five so the responsibilities started early.) I can now sensibly think of shifting gears and earning a living at work that I love. But what? Continue reading New Horizons: Things Are Looking Up

Which Gift Cards Are Worth Buying?

#Sephora #giftcard signI have a love/hate relationship with gift cards. Yes, they are convenient and show the recipient some consideration.

But…

The bank or retailer is holding on to your money until the card is redeemed. Not only are you lending them your cash for free, but banks actually charge you for the privilege. Hey, at least throw in some nice packaging! So as a public service, I visited local retailers and gathered some helpful intel: Continue reading Which Gift Cards Are Worth Buying?

Union Square’s Seasonal Transformation

The calendar and political climate have caused New York’s Union Square to make dramatic changes in just the past two weeks. Politics and the holiday shopping season collide.

Many gathered at the park to speak of their discomfort with the presidential election results. It was a friendly scene; I thanked one speaker for urging protesters to select one thing to be activist about rather than be overwhelmed by the big picture. This turned into a casual conversation between two people  who were, clearly, older than most of the rest of the attendees. This is Union Square at 14th Street on November 10: Continue reading Union Square’s Seasonal Transformation

Bonding Over Thanksgiving Leftovers

cooked turkey on a platterI suspect every American knows that the best thing about Thanksgiving is the leftovers.

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

It’s No Longer Enough To Be Born In America: A Midlife Hispanic View of the American Presidential Election

cropped-manhattan-from-queens-august-20151.jpgPresident-elect Reality Show Host has shown open disdain for Hispanics, and that doesn’t bode well for me. Long ago it was preferable to “pass” for an another ethnic group rather than look Spanish. I can but have enough self-respect to answer honestly. “What is your heritage?” “What is your ethnic group?” “Are you [fill in locally acceptable nationality here.]?” Hispanic. Continue reading It’s No Longer Enough To Be Born In America: A Midlife Hispanic View of the American Presidential Election

Breaking Fashion Rules to Celebrate My Right to Vote

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

That’s the simple beauty of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting women the right to vote. It was ratified in 1920, meaning that there are women alive today who were born before they had that right.

Continue reading Breaking Fashion Rules to Celebrate My Right to Vote

Holiday Gift Shopping Made Easy

four-awesome-gift-ideasThis year, my sister and niece are organizing a new way of exchanging Christmas gifts, and I couldn’t be happier.

Each family member over high school age buys one  gift valued at up to $50.00 and brings it wrapped. Each recipient will be assigned a number. Number one selects first, number two second, and so on. You get the gift associated with that number or you can “steal” a gift that has already been opened. I’m not sure if that would be funny or cause some sore feelings, but I’ll go with the flow.

Our family members in the scheme will range from college age up to, well, me. Boys and girls. We are neither fancy nor cute, mostly suburban working class. And after some retail research, here are some ideas: Continue reading Holiday Gift Shopping Made Easy

The Hudson River at Dusk

10-11-16 Hudson River, Statue of Liberty and New JerseyIn Midtown Manhattan it’s so easy to forget that New York is a city of active rivers, with shipping and ferries, sightseeing boats and sights to see. This is the view at sunset near where I currently work in New York City. Continue reading The Hudson River at Dusk

Trying Not To Kill The Air Plants

old-and-new-air-plants-tilandasia-hicksI love air plants, that they don’t need pots or messy soil. In nature they grow on the sides of trees in humid environments and feed off the moisture in the air.  How hard can it be to keep them alive, right?

This summer saw the possible demise of three plants I bought at the beginning of the season. I didn’t keep them hydrated enough and they lived under a ceiling fan. They were pretty shriveled up by the time I realized that my nice breeze was their kiss of death. Continue reading Trying Not To Kill The Air Plants

How Old Is Too Old?

I study the little poofy ponytail in the mirror, the same type my hair has made since I was a little girl. The apartment is warm but I have work to do, vanity be damned.

I notice that my once-prominent cheekbones have softened my face into an oval, my dark hair now colored a lighter shade of brown to more effectively disguise the greys. Am I too old to be seen with a ponytail? Continue reading How Old Is Too Old?

Celebrating Life in the Sharing Economy

FH 5/14/15Last May I alluded to the new economy, one based on sharing rather than owning, on dealing with new ways of being employed.

And right about that time, I unexpectedly became a roommate. Continue reading Celebrating Life in the Sharing Economy

Women in the Workplace: This Week’s Edition

So the Trump boys thinks that if a woman is sexually harassed in the workplace, she should quit.

And do what? Create a job opening for another potential sexual harassment victim? Live on no income while she looks for another job?

The harasser is in violation of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission law. The EEOC website says:

If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, you can file a Charge of Discrimination.

That’s an actual copy/paste from their website. And it’s a clickable link.

So this guy thinks it’s acceptable to break the law. The victim, though, pays twice: first when she is forced to perform some sex act so she can earn a living and again by losing her job if she complains. The victim is now forced into a lower financial situation where she is less able to defend her rights in court.

This is his view of America, where women are devalued, debased and tossed aside. And he wants to be president.

What do we tell our daughters?

 

Cherries On Top Of Dessert: How To Make That Happen

Pitting Cherries 7-24-16 - yummmSweets are great.

A treat with a cherry on top is greater.

Dessert with a pitted cherry  is better still, eliminating the awkward pit disposal.

I never really knew how to  pit fresh cherries so I tried three methods: Continue reading Cherries On Top Of Dessert: How To Make That Happen

Seeking the Details of My Ancestry

Bear with birth announcementEven decades after her birth, I still marvel at my daughter. Her genetic makeup covers the Caribbean, South America and at least three European countries.

That we know of.

I’m certain that I inherited my coarse, curly hair and need for eyeglasses from the birth mother who left when I was a toddler. I’m kind of sure of my ethnicity but feel sad that I passed the uncertainty to another generation. Continue reading Seeking the Details of My Ancestry

Looking Up From The Phone

Summer sunset outside the subwayAfter a long commute and a much longer day at work, this is what greeted me as I climbed the stairs up from the subway. The next day was as hot as that ball of sun promised it would be.

Continue reading Looking Up From The Phone

Cameras Partner to Catch Drivers

QB @ 108/71/ContinentalAn expensive, annoying pest is proliferating high above New York City streets: traffic cameras.

Local law sets the driving speed limit at 25 miles per hour, which is 40.23 kilometers for my metric friends. It’s part of the weirdly-named Vision Zero initiative and has reportedly saved lives. I still believe it’s overkill. Continue reading Cameras Partner to Catch Drivers

City Summer

Wow, have I gone soft!

I live on the top floor and what I remember most from science classes is that heat rises. I’m reminded of that every day that I wait for my landlord to replace the broken air conditioner.

I grew up without air conditioning. That was my normal. We did what we always did, just sweaty and, probably, a little stinky. If it became unbearable we took quick showers or ran through people’s lawn sprinklers. And yes, the year I lived in the Bronx I enjoyed the fire hydrants with all the other kids. Three life lessons in one: tough enough to handle the water pressure, grateful that someone (illegally?) opened the hydrants up for us, nimble enough to dodge the cars because we were, after all, in the street. Continue reading City Summer

City Respites and Trees That Curve

One of the few things the City of New York does consistently well is build parks. It’s a strange claim to fame for a metropolis but we really have some nice parks.

This park is in a residential area across the water from LaGuardia Airport. I like how the curve of the trees let you see the airplane landing in the distance. By the way, this is the airport  that was rightly insulted by none other than our Vice President.  Continue reading City Respites and Trees That Curve

Outta Your Heels, On Your Feet

After seeing the musical “On Your Feet,” we came upon this pair of abandoned shoes at Penn Station, a New York commuter rail station.Penn Station, New York

I was fascinated by those shoes, pretty black pumps that may have been ditched after a night out. Was she running for a train? Were they danced in or stepped on? The shoes were gone the next day. I hope they got a second life.

Much like the Estefan hits. Continue reading Outta Your Heels, On Your Feet

Blogathon and Learning To Like Co-Working

thinking roomBloglife doesn’t always have to be a solitary life.

Many of us have chosen to read or create in public places: think diner, coffee shop or a blanket in a grassy park. A new industry is popping up that provides workspaces with desks, wifi, human contact and an industrious environment. With conventional companies outsourcing and hiring contract workers for distinct tasks – like writing – this is the office of the future. Continue reading Blogathon and Learning To Like Co-Working

Resting Bitch Face Is a Gift and a Skill

The Roman baths, Bath, EnglandI’m normally a positive person but, like any human, I have my resting bitch face moments.

The Urban Dictionary describes resting bitch face as: “a person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless without meaning to.”

Continue reading Resting Bitch Face Is a Gift and a Skill

Party Decorating With Obstacles

When my sister-in-law decided that we would host my sister’s bridal shower and that I was in charge of decorations, I felt (1) giddily creative and (2) that our newest family member really knew me. All will be well, I thought.

Inspired by something I saw on Pinterest, I decided to start decorating plain glass vases as poufy brides. How hard can it be to glue tulle to glass, right?

It took weeks to assemble the supplies, mainly because I wanted something sparkly to use as a “bodice.” After finding nothing at the local sewing stores, I happened upon a gauzy scarf at the dollar store. Score! Or so I thought. Continue reading Party Decorating With Obstacles

Emily Dickinson and Me

“I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you nobody, too?

Then there’s a pair of us – don’t tell!

They’d banish us, you know!

How dreary to be somebody!

How public, like a frog

To tell your name the livelong June

To an admiring bog!”

Oh that Emily Dickinson. Say “poetry” to me and this one comes to mind, although I did have to research the actual poem.

Dickinson here sees herself as a nobody, apparently unaware that her works would be taught in high schools all over the United States after her death. Being “nobody” is situational. One can be invisible in some circumstances but shine in others. Easter dinner reminded me that my siblings are more boisterous than I am. But I live, work and thrive in noisier, more urban environments than they do. Maybe we’re all different kinds of somebodies at our own optimal times and places. Continue reading Emily Dickinson and Me

Remake a Necklace, Define a Life

Two months out of the year I hang baubles on a tree.  I decorate myself year-round in pretty, dangly jewelry. Most of it is inexpensive and that’s just fine with me. So, it didn’t hurt too much when I deconstructed a long, awkward bead necklace to make something I’d actually wear.

Continue reading Remake a Necklace, Define a Life