Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Being a Monica.

I think it starts with taking down the Christmas things. Every year, I'm seized by the idea of straitening up and getting rid of stuff. I've been reading lots of minimalist blogs for inspiration. And after digging around this one I've become kinda obsessed with the phrase "capsule wardrobe." This is a whole movement, grounded in the idea of shopping less, wasting less, reusing what you already have, and only wearing what you truly love. And never buying anything that you don't love just as much, even if it's on sale.

Just last week my friend and I were discussing how I wear the same 10 items of clothing over and over and over -- the same jeans, t-shirts and sweaters constantly. Right now my clothes fill two closets -- and if I narrowed it down to what I actually wore -- I could probably do something cool with the other closet. Like a fold-away office. Or a washer/dryer. Who knows?

What can I say, I grew up in an orderly house. I'm probably related to Monica and Ross.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book clubbing.

When I go to a book club, I usually bring the gifts but occasionally these groups of sweet women -- almost always complete strangers -- insist on giving me a gift. Last Friday up in Newtown this gorgeous bird house was bestowed upon me. LOVE. Thanks Tina and the girls!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cancer style.

Lots being said over the last couple of days about people tweeting about terminal illness. Just days after I had breast cancer surgery, a video of another surgery went viral: a woman asking her surgeon, nurse and team to do a dance with her in their scrubs. Since I am known as a "happy dancer" everyone remarked on how I should have done the same. But here's the thing: everyone handles illness, fear, and death differently. I was meditating, not dancing. Not filming. But there is no right or wrong way to be sick. You don't have to be giggly just as you don't have to be noble. You can tell the world or tell no one. Everyone needs to find their own way to feel better about feeling bad.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Recently I told a friend who was contemplating a tattoo about the experience I had being tattooed during radiation treatment. I felt branded, marked, numbered. I realize women decorate themselves for many positive, life-affirming reasons. But I felt the weight of all the negative ones as the ink entered my skin.

You are a specimen. You do not belong to yourself anymore.

And the permanence, ugh, the permanence. Before that day, the possibility of change was always there, floating in the air. Scars heal. Pain lessens. Even numbness might fade.

But there they are, always. The pinpricks of dark at the end of the tunnel full of light.
There is the black forever.

Friday, January 10, 2014

On being vindictive. On being a woman. On being a vindictive woman.

Bridget Anne Kelly's traffic snarling payback is being parlayed as evidence of a bullying mentality in Chris Christie's organization. A swagger that we see in him, and fear in him. It has to do with his size, his confidence. It probably has to do with New Jersey, and the mob. It has to do with a lot of things. But that's not what I see.

I see a pretty little girl with two rough-and-tumble brothers who learned how to put them in their place. I see a smart girl who wasn't taken seriously because she was short and she was blonde. I see a woman who learned how to be tough and play with the big boys in New Jersey, and sometimes that meant taking chances. I see the men around her saying admiringly, "Damn that took balls."

I've known a thousand women who would have done the same thing she did. Just to get the boys to slap her on the back.

Ah, but that's why I write novels. I make shit up about everything I see. But this time, I feel like I'm right.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

5 Questions We Ask that We Never Used to Ask

1. Text me your number?
2. Is she your Facebook friend or your real friend?
3. Can I borrow your glasses?
4. I don't have any bars. Do you have any bars?
5. Are both your parents living?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New year, new things.

Some people are teachers and some people are learners. I'm a learner. It comes from being a read-the-encyclopedia kid. It comes from being bored a lot. And it extends into my exercise life. I don't think there is a form of exercise or sport that I haven't tried.

I've developed some strong opinions along the way. I love downhill skiing but don't like cross-country. I love to tool around on my bicycle, but HATE being trapped in a room with an instructor screaming at me during a spin class. I don't mind Nautilus machines but HATE other machines, like Pilates Reformers. I would rather be stretched on a rack in a dungeon than do Pilates again. And Pilates mat? I call them "yoga, minus the joy."

An injury plus surgery recently necessitated rethinking my routine. Vinyasa yoga, Nautilus, weight lifting classes, and even TRX classes are all too difficult now. That left Pilates -- NO! Or . . .Barre. Why not, I thought? The pictures look like dance classes! I love dance classes! I love plies, I know first and second and third position, I love music!!

And I guess what? I HATE BARRE. Every instructor, every class, every time of day. HATE THEM ALL.

There are, without fail, 3 kinds of women in the room -- 1) thin, quiet, serious older women 2) thin, quiet, serious younger women and 3) chubby, quiet, serious younger women.

Ah, I see the problem now.


No one speaks. No one smiles.

There is no time for that crap! We are here to perform a dizzying array of weird exercises that don't resemble anything in nature without pausing for anything, even one ounce of fun!

Which brings me to the only thing I like about them: They go by fast. And damned if they don't seem to be working. But is that enough? NO.

Yesterday I decided to arrive first and smile at everyone who entered the room. 12 people. Only 2 smiled back.

Still, that's 2. Maybe tomorrow there will be 3.

And next week, I might try laughing. Maybe they'll kick me out.