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What’s in a Word

I’ve been thinking a lot about language.  This is nothing new.  Having been a writer since the third grade, as evidenced by the four-page position papers handed to my parents when they said ‘no’,  to diary entries worthy of a Pulitzer (Dear Diary, why doesn’t Richard Frankel like me as much as I like him?) to truly, painfully bad poetry in high school, once again centered on my parents incomprehensible rules or Jeff or Rich or Ben or Mitch who inexplicably did not return my affections, and finally, to embarrassing entries for major prizes (Hopwood) or publications (The Writer), it’s no wonder that finding the right word sometimes unfolds for me as a religious quest or at the very least, perfectionistic obsession.  The right word makes the sentence flow as music, with just the right cadence and a lilt and flow of emotion, be it poignant, joyful, or somber.  A simple preposition can make the sentence sing or fall flat. Mark Twain wrote, ‘the difference between the right word and the almostright word is the difference between lightening and lightening bug.’  I rest my case. If you can quote Twain, you win. When my kids were little and got a scraped knee, [...]

By | 2018-05-21T13:22:42+00:00 May 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Birthday Slut

I am reposting this blog, with a few alterations, because it was just my special day!! I confess, I love my birthday. This is not news to my family who I suspect writes the day on their calendars in BOLD 72 font lest they forget to call me or Facebook post at 12:01 am and risk my wrath.  But you may not be aware of just how serious I am.  I begin the day earlier than usual, (why miss a minute), and answer every phone call like this:  ‘Hello it’s me and it’s my special day!!’ Most people are still speaking to me. You know the folks who make you promise not to have a cake and sing happy birthday to them?  What’s wrong with them???  I say, sing away, make a fuss, bring the pomp and the presents and oh yes, some jewelry never hurts.  It’s my special day after all! This year lived up to all my expectations in terms of the fuss and fanfare despite not having all the family I wanted with me and despite having to travel on the actual special day and despite not being surprised by the captain announcing it was my special day and [...]

By | 2018-02-20T16:04:14+00:00 February 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Threads

In my new book, Cook Your Marriage Happy, the first title in my Cook Yourself Happy series, I talk a lot about cooking and other tangible therapies and how they can prompt self-reflection.  Growing up, meals were much more than food for the body, they were integral to identity and lifestyle; penciled into our family schedule in bold.  Lunch was discussed at breakfast, dinner discussed at lunch.  The itinerary for eating was revered and strictly adhered to and even late-night snacks took on the regularity of a 4th meal, ritualistic as worship, and as much about family time as food.  But despite that, it’s the thread of clothes and shopping that I remember most, the thread that helps me chart my childhood and is a window into the memory of how my mom and I bonded.  I suppose shopping, too, then, is experiential? We were not fashionistas, mom and I, and neither once of us could boast great style, but we’d perfected the before, during, and after gestalt of shopping; it was our thing.  Today it might be mother/daughter spa day or yoga and spin class; back then it was Bonwit Teller and B. Altman.  My mom exulted in designing me and [...]

By | 2018-02-20T16:07:14+00:00 February 13th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Multitasking on Merlot

I have always been good at multitasking.  I gave birth to my second child while watching The Preakness Stakes, deep breathing, going to my mentally happy place, and having a discussion with the doctor and my husband about global warming.  Well, I was yelling at them to shut up about global warming but I think that counts as participating, don’t you? By the way, if you don’t believe me, the winner that year was Tank’s Prospect, who won by a head.  There’s a birth joke in there somewhere but I’ll leave it to you.  I was actually rooting for Eternal Prince (I gave birth to a son) but the horse came in third.  My son would probably say that sounds about right.  What a whiner. See, I’m already multitasking having started a blog, a memory, and a guilt trip in one paragraph.  I take this seriously man.  I mean, I train.  In the service of expedience, I can mentally compose an email while physically doing the same with a marinade for pork chops (coffee and molasses, yum) and play HQ all at the same time.  (note:  I have only made it past Q 7; apparently, the Sous Therapist is not the Cerebral [...]

By | 2018-02-20T16:28:29+00:00 February 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Unexpected Perks

A few years ago, an acclaimed writer wrote an essay for the NY Times Book Review in which she claimed she’d rather be a part of a book club than attend one as the featured author, primarily because her main character was the recipient of much dislike. As my appearances at book clubs grew, I found I had the opposite experience.  Not that my book was so beloved, but what an unexpected pleasure came along with being published. Here is a snapshot:  I get to sit around, eat homemade goodies, chat with ‘new friends’ and drink wine, although I hold off on the wine until I’ve established myself as somewhat entertaining and at least moderately well-spoken. In my fiction, my often mid-life suburbanite protagonist is similar to me in that she is dealing with marriage, family, career issues, body changes, and of course, the neighbors.  Also, despite sometimes making bad choices, which run the gamut from wrong husband, poor parenting tactic or second chocolate brownie, she is ultimately likable; yes, you can make the leap, I think I am too.  In my new book, Cook Your Marriage Happy, the first in my Cook Yourself Happy series, and in my role as The [...]

By | 2018-02-20T16:29:39+00:00 January 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Cook Me Soft-Boiled

I’m having a teeny tiny small moment.  Certainly no fire and fury, but here it is:  In my new book, Cook Your Marriage Happy, the first title in my Cook Yourself Happy series,  I help people cook themselves happy, I freely admit that having someone else cook for you is most definitely therapy.  No mess, no fuss, a little pampering by being served. And even the Sous Therapist needs a Sous break.  Please know that no one appreciates the restaurant server more than me, as evidenced by my cheery repartee and more importantly, generous tipping. BUT, I expect a few things in return.  First, be pleasant.  You don’t have to be Sam or Suzy Sunshine, just slightly north of lukewarm.  Next, do your best to get my order right.  If you don’t understand it or you forget it, check back with me, I’m happy to repeat.  And if there’s a glitch, own it (or blame it on the kitchen I don’t care) and apologize.  Not profusely, not deferentially, just sincerely.  This is not a high bar I’m sure you’ll agree. There are astounding gaffes in restaurants and ones that have to do with cleanliness or contamination are the worst.  But this is [...]

By | 2018-02-20T16:31:47+00:00 December 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Cook Yourself a ‘VACAY’

When it comes to comings and goings, I would much rather be the one leaving than the ‘leave-ee’.  Especially when someone is leaving on a vacation and you are the one left home doing the everyday. Ugh.  Talk about being primed for an invitation to a pity party. So, when that happens, I think it’s more than fair to indulge in massages, extravagant meals, and trinkets.  Note to self: I did not mean to do that much damage in Anthropologie. While I often don’t mind eating out alone, this is a perfect time to experiment with recipes that make you feel IMPORTANT!!!  A time to buy expensive spices like Cardamom and Saffron and specialty vinegars (champagne) and pricey Halibut at Whole Foods.  OMG 34.99 a pound! For me, it’s a vacation in the kitchen; my inner wild child loves to splurge on decadent ingredients.  And a lot less expensive than a trip to Aruba or an impulsive mid-life purchase like a Harley.  Full disclosure:  The only Harley I’m actually interested in pursuing is a Lab mix rescue dog named Harley at the local shelter.  But just because you’re having an ‘every day’ doesn’t mean you can’t feel like you’re luxuriously seated at [...]

By | 2018-02-20T16:52:54+00:00 November 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Food Bridge

I moved to a new town a few years ago, and had to change everything from doctors to hair stylists.  Sometimes this involved a little trial and error.  But in the very first nail salon I tried for my very first gel Mani in a new shop, I met Sue.  I’m still not sure that’s her real name; most of the manicurists are Korean and seem to have an awful lot of short American names:  Joy, Lyn, Rose, Amy.  I hope this says more about good Korean business sense than fickle American clients put off by foreign names. God forbid we are put off by getting our nails done by Soo Jin or Yun Hee. No matter, this is about Sue. Some people have a welcoming energy.  A warmth and positivity that embraces you as if you’re in immediate proximity to a bakery, a Cinnabon kiosk, or the muffin section of Costco as the goodies come out—that’s Sue.  And that’s my metaphor for a warm person in food terms.  Which you can always count on from me.  I once told a couple that he was like tuna fish and she peanut butter, both delicious but not together!  I digress. Sue’s English is [...]

By | 2018-02-20T16:54:35+00:00 November 6th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Change It Up

Having worked in the addiction field I’m amazed, as most of us are, at the way insurance companies randomly deny treatment to those in need. One "reason" given for denying inpatient treatment is: The patient doesn’t have to leave the state to get treatment. (And yet, as most of us know, many states have subpar facilities and the best chance for success is often for a patient to leave his usual triggers, people, places and all of the dynamics that contribute to relapse.) This made me think of how ‘leaving’ or ‘interrupting’ patterns can be helpful in mental health in all its varieties. If you are in the midst of an unhealthy dynamic, a pattern of anxiety, a spiraling into sadness, perhaps it’s time to change things up as best you can. There are dramatic ways to do so and on a case by case basis it’s often appropriate to change jobs, cities, even spouses! But I would never encourage that without knowing you. However, as the Food Therapist I can most certainly say that if you are in an emotional rut, one prescription would be to go for a recipe, flavor, or food you’ve never tried. And by never I mean….NEVER! You [...]

By | 2018-02-20T16:56:24+00:00 October 25th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Birthday Slut

I confess, I love my birthday. This is not news to my family who I suspect writes the day on their calendars in BOLD 72 font lest they forget to call me or Facebook post at 12:01 am. But you may not be aware of just how serious I am. I begin the day earlier than usual, (why miss a minute), and answer every phone call like this: ‘Hello it’s me and it’s my special day!!’ Most people are still speaking to me. You know the folks who make you promise not to have a cake and sing happy birthday to them? What’s wrong with them??? I say, sing away, make a fuss, bring the pomp and the presents and oh yes, some jewelry never hurts. It’s my special day after all! This year lived up to all my expectations: Friends, family, way too much fried food (which in its own way extended the birthday a few days but that’s probably TMI) and no post-party depression in the morning. Although I did roll over in bed and quietly sniffle…it’s not my special day anymore. Sigh. Being the Food Therapist I was prepared with a morning after ‘pill’. Anticipating a low, I had [...]

By | 2018-02-20T16:57:44+00:00 October 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments