Friday, August 10, 2012

we've moved.....visit us at our new address

So far, it's only one person, one city...but am told that will change soon.....catch up with us at:

Hope you'll join us as we continue to navigate life.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

time to say good-bye (lyn)

I'm talking to M the other day and she rightly points out that (a) the blog is no longer about two friends, and (b) the one friend it is about (me) is no longer on a diet. It's become difficult to stay on topic, and I find myself gravitating to topics that are unrelated to the theme of this blog. As hard as I try, it is difficult to find any relationship to eating well and having a problem with Verizon. 

 Reluctantly I've decided that it's time to sign off. I may start another blog themed something like, The New York Diarist, and that way I am not limited in the topics I write about. If you are interested, please write to me at and I will let you know when and if I start writing again. 

 It's been a cathartic experience, and with your support, I achieved my goal of losing 40 pounds. I will miss the discipline of writing almost every day, but I think I need to direct my discipline into other areas, at least for a while. I don't want to be a chronicler of life, I want to live it. 

 Alexander came home from school yesterday and his stuff is now all over my apartment. While I could do without the empty water bottles in the living room, and the dishes in the sink, I love having him back. I already have a list of things I want to do with him, and hope that he'll agree to at least a few of them.

I intend to stay small in my frame, and hope to become bigger in my experiences. Thank you for being with me through an exciting ride. It's time to move on.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

mother's day (lyn)

Alexander won’t be home until next weekend, so I won’t be with him this Mother’s Day.  And I won’t be with my mom until Tuesday.  But I am getting to spend the day with Valerie and her family.  We meet at her club in Long Island for Mother’s Day.  There are 10 of us.  The dress code is “elegant casual” which I translate to mean “no jeans.” 

After lots of consideration, I wear a black Jil Sander pantsuit (that I had always thought was navy, until I look at in in the sun today and realize it is black).  This is one of the suits I recently had altered; it was bought in 2006 at Bergdorf’s, when I was working and had money to spend on Jil Sanders.  Today is the first time it’s being worn.  It’s not exciting, but it’ll pass the dress code.  I could also wear it to my next Board meeting, if I only had a Board.

We all meet at the club around four.  The food is exquisite.  First, we spend in hour having appetizers.  There are four stations:  one with all fresh sushi and sashimi being served by a sushi chef; one with all sorts of hot appetizers; one with cold cuts and salads; and another one with fresh fish, including smoked salmon and shrimp.  I eat too much of everything, and secretly admire the restraint of just about everyone else in our party.  Before entering the beautiful main dining hall, everyone reluctantly agrees to be in one picture.  “But please hurry up; this is so embarrassing,”--- a sentiment voiced by more than one.

Dinner is a served goat cheese salad followed by a buffet of filet, lamb shops, and fresh turkey; three kinds of potatoes; and three vegetable choices.  The dessert table would fill the perimeter of my apartment.  I have two lamb chops, a few slices of steak, a dollop of creamed spinach, a bit of mashed potatoes, and tastes of several desserts.  I am so full by the time we leave it’s hard to imagine ever being hungry again. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

something every clothes-owner should have (lyn)

A few years ago I was in line at the Container Store.  While there, I saw something called a fabric shaver by Evercare.  It promised to remove “unsightly pilling” and “restore clothes to a like-new appearance.”  It was $6.99.  I had to have it.

I came home, put it away, and forgot about it.  The other day when I was cleaning closets again I came across it, still unopened. I thought I’d finally try it out.

Amazing.  In a few seconds it removed all the pilling from a purple cashmere sweater I bought this fall.  Today I try it on one of my favorite wool Wolford skirts.  The skirt looks new again.  Really.  

I wasn’t sure if this item were still being sold, as I bought it so long ago.  I check on Amazon and find that it is:

Many reviewers say it created holes in their clothes.  Maybe they are doing something wrong?  I don’t know, but I think it’s a great little gadget.

Imagine if there were something like this for removing just a few inches here or there.  Just put it on your skin (in my case it would go on my little love handles) and zzzzzzzzzzz---------- gone.  Now that would be a gadget worth having.

Friday, May 11, 2012

another customer service story (lyn)

Dealing with Verizon could cause a girl to go on an eating binge.  Fortunately, my healthy obsession (at least I hope it’s healthy) prevents me.

The Problem
For the past few months, my answering machine (in the phone) picks up immediately when someone calls, despite my having set the phone to pick up after two rings.  I assume I need a new phone.

I spend time researching the best phones. I have lots of criteria. I find one I like and put it on my Amazon wish list.  Other things have had priority, so I haven’t yet gotten around to buying one.

Yesterday, out of the blue, I try to resolve the problem of my phone picking up seconds after the first ring.  I call Uniden.  Surprise. Surprise.  They tell me it’s a Verizon problem. 

Thursday, around 10am
I call Verizon.  I’m on hold for 18 minutes.  Finally, I get Dan.  He’s very helpful and tells me, after some research involving my hanging up and his testing the line, “It appears the wires in your area are wet.  That would cause both static (which I also have) and the immediate pick-up of calls.”  This is great news.  I won’t need to buy a new phone.  I wish I hadn’t waited months to call.  After additional research Dan says, “We can send a technician out to your area tomorrow.  You don’t need to be home because the technician will be fixing the wires outside your home.”  Even better.

Thursday, 2:08 pm
I receive a voicemail from Verizon asking if I’d rather schedule my appointment between 8 and 12 or 1 and 5.  Huh? I call and relay my conversation with Dan.  This time I’m told, “Dan was incorrect.  On further investigation it appears that the wires outside your home are not wet.  They are fine. We’ll need to check the wires within your home.”  Frustrated, I schedule an appointment between 8 and 12.

Thursday, 7:07pm
I receive an email.  “This is a friendly reminder regarding your scheduled repair appointment on Friday May 11, 2012.  The technician will be arriving before 7pm.”  What?  No need to be home morphed into need to be home between 8 and 12 and is now stay home all day until 7pm.

I call Verizon.  I get an unctuous and argumentative Jeff from Albany.  Finally, after listening to his ridiculous defense of the three conflicting Verizon messages, Jeff tells me that I am the second person scheduled so someone will definitely be at my house by noon tomorrow.

It’s a perfect weather day.  Sunny and 70.  I’m inside waiting for Verizon to show up.  By 12:30, no one has arrived.  I call and ask to speak to a supervisor.  I’m on hold for an agonizing 17 minutes, listening to awful music, without anyone coming on to say they are sorry but someone will be with me shortly.  Finally I get Lori from Brooklyn.  “Yes, ma’am.  Are you calling about today’s repair?  Someone is schedule to be there this afternoon, by 7.”  I feel like I’m in a Twilight Zone episode.  This is my fifth contact with Verizon, and every single time I get a brand new time frame!  I explain the problem and Lori says she’ll call me right back.  She does, 90 minutes later.  She tells me I’m that last one on today's route.  That means they might not get to me at all.  I almost start crying.  Lori is empathetic---either that, or she just doesn’t want to hear a grown woman cry.    She puts me on hold, calls the dispatcher and probably says something like, “Listen.  I think this person is a nutcase.  If you don’t get to her house soon, she could have a nervous breakdown.  Can’t you PLEASE move her up on your list?”  Because when Lori comes back on the line she says, “The technician will be there soon.”  I hang up and within five minutes, the doorman calls up, “Verizon’s here.”

So this very nice, and competent man arrives.  He checks my wires.  He checks the building’s wires.  He tests my phone.  His conclusion:  it’s the phone!  

I'm right back where I started.  But at least now I know not to get FIOS.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

a few of the week's highlights (lyn)

I have a meeting with the company I’m working with, and one of the technical people accuses me of “going way beyond my responsibilities” when I suggest new copy that can better describe how to use the product we're about to launch.  I am proud of myself for not responding angrily, which is what I feel, but I calmly sip my latte and let him rant.  In the end, the copy does not get changed and users remain confused.  I leave the meeting frustrated and upset, but happy for my restraint.

My mom had wanted to come up for Mother’s Day, but does not feel comfortable leaving my dad.  Instead, I make plans with Valerie to go up to the Cape and visit my parents next week.  Jean will also come up and join us.  My mom is thrilled.

Bloomingdales gives me too few Loyallist points.  To apologize, they are sending me a $25 gift card.

I do another closet reduction and find more clothes I thought I couldn’t live without.  But since I’ll probably never again wear the pink Akris jacket or the light blue Piazza Sempione jacket that used to go with a matching skirt or the silver quilted Tory Burch flats (that never were comfortable), I will give them all away.  Designer Resale insults me again by rejecting everything I bring them but assures me it’s not personal. 

Robyn and I see a screening of Dark Shadows.  It’s another well done, imaginative film by Tim Burton that I don’t love; perhaps it’s the vampire theme that doesn’t thrill me.

I adore my Myabi Kaizen 8-inch chef’s knife, and find myself using it to cut up everything from tomatoes to chicken.  I’m looking forward to Alexander’s return as an excuse to start cooking more.  There are a few hundred other reasons I’m excited about having my son home for three months.  This is only one of them.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

why I shouldn't leave my house (lyn)

I need to buy some groceries at Fairway.  I need to have rubber soles put on three pair of shoes.  I need to get a free replacement for my iPhone’s iVisor screen protector, that I had no idea shouldn’t be cleaned with a dry cloth but rather run under water and air-dried. And I need to buy a couple of cards.  So off I go with these four errands on my list of things to do.

I eat a quick, simple lunch of Fage yogurt with berries and honey.  I’m about two blocks from my apartment when I pass Pachute, my favorite little boutique.  Not only are their clothes hip and gorgeous, the one salesperson, Lisa, is totally wonderful.  Tiny.  Effortlessly chic.  Nice.  Not pushy.  Interesting.  And knows my tastes (and my wallet) perfectly.  I stop in.

The first thing I see is a gorgeous white linen top.  Lisa takes it out of my hands and tells me it’s too expensive.  She’s right.  The lines in it are beautiful, and you can just tell that the detailing is exquisite.  But at $500, I’m not even tempted.  I look at a few things, talk to Lisa for a while, and then head out.  As I’m saying goodbye, I see a scarf hanging toward the back.  I walk over and feel it.  It’s soft and lightweight.  Grisal, a company I’ve never heard of, makes it.  The fabric is something called Ramie, a natural fiber found in Japan, where the scarf is made.  It feels nicer than modal, which isn’t a natural fiber.  I try it on and fall in love.  It drapes beautifully.  Looks fabulous with my favorite black nylon coat.  Goes with a million other things.  I buy it.

As I’m paying, I see the perfect clutch (by Clare Vivier, whom I've never heard of) sitting on a bench.  I’ve been wanting a black clutch but not wanting to spend $600 or more to get one.  I pick it up.  The leather is soft.  It’s the perfect size.  I feel grown up with it.  I buy that too.

Finally, I make it to my other errands.  I spend only $34 at Fairway and have enough food for the next five days.  That’s a good reason to leave the house.  As for the stop at Pachute?  Not so much.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

act two (lyn)

On Friday night I see half a play.  it's a bloody, gory mess called Massacre: Sing to Your Children.  I hadn’t planned on going back, but when I read the reviews after seeing the play, the second act sounded more compelling than the first, so I decide to go back for Act Two. 

The play is at one of my favorite little theaters called Rattlestick.  It’s a small venue, sort of dumpy, with one uni-sex bathroom that can only be accessed by crossing the stage.  But I like the downtown, youthful feel, and the people that run the theater are very accommodating.

I show up at the theater a few minutes before the play is starting. I start to ask the ticket-taker if I can just watch the second act, but before I get far in my explanation of why (which was going to be that I had to leave unexpectedly on Friday), she stops me.  “Oh, you’re a member, “ she says.  “I remember you from the other night (probably because my new haircut looks so bad).  Of course you can just stay for Act Two.”  In fact, she seems delighted I have returned.  “Come back in an hour and a quarter.  You can grab a seat anywhere that’s not taken.”   

While waiting for Act Two to begin, I go over to a nearby Starbucks and splurge on a skinny cappuccino and not-skinny gigantic chocolate-chip cookie.  With me I have a cheesy Mary Higgins Clark book to read (too bad I hadn’t thought to put it on my Kindle) and 20 active games of Words With Friends to play.  

Act Two turns out to be as much of a mess as Act One.

a minor injury (lyn)

I’m meeting Gail for brunch and a new play, Lonely, I’m Not with Topher Grace.  On my way to Marseille, where we are meeting, I step into a pothole and fall into the middle of the cross section of Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street.  I break my fall with my hands, and twist my ankle.  A man helps me up, and I am more embarrassed than hurt.  Putting pressure on my left foot is difficult at first, but within a few blocks I’m fine.

I get to the restaurant a few minutes before Gail.  Heads turn when she walks in.  She is definitely beginning to show signs of weight loss.  Her blond mane, peaches and cream complexion, and 6-foot frame cause heads to turn.  I regret not wearing higher shoes.

I almost never go out for brunch, so it’s a treat to have an excuse to order eggs benedict.  I opt for the smoked salmon instead of the Canadian bacon, but regret my choice once it arrives.  The cold salmon detracts from the otherwise hot meal.  If I’m going to eat a zillion points I want to enjoy every morsel.

I get home and realize I’ve left my credit card at the restaurant.  And, the only thing we drank was coffee!

This Morning
I get an email from Gail asking about my ankle.  She is such a concerned friend that even though I’ve forgotten all about it, she hasn’t.  She writes, “Did your ankle swell-up overnight (this can happen)?”

I start to write back that it hadn’t, but then decide to actually look at my ankle.  What I see are very dry feet and what looks like a golf ball where my left ankle should be:

I think it’s kind of funny.  Within a few minutes I get a call from Gail, offering (more like insisting) on picking up my credit card (I decline this incredibly generous offer), coming over with special ice packs and ice (I have ones I can use), and instructions from her doctor husband.

-- Take 2 Advil every 6 hours EVEN THOUGH IT DOES NOT HURT.  The Advil is an ANTI-INFLAMMATORY.  You need to decrease that swelling in order to help healing/make sure the neighboring tissues are okay . . .

--Ice it EVERY 2 HOURS for 10 MINUTES...If you do not have your own ice bag, let me know, since I have A TON OF THESE CUTE LITTLE GAL PAL ICE BAGS


--stay off your ankle!!! no long walks!! No, no, no, no!!

So now I have a good excuse not to walk (as if I need another one) AND a cute little ice bag is on its way from Amazon for my next injury.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

a belated birthday celebration (lyn)

Last month a few of my friends were taking me out for my birthday.  But at the last minute, two had to cancel and one could only come for dessert so we decided to reschedule for tonight.  Seven of us plan to have dinner at T-Bar, one of my favorite restaurants, at 7:45.

Corinne was going to be out of town, so unfortunately she couldn’t come.

Then today, around 6:30, Janice (who’s an ob-gyn) emails that one of her patients has gone into labor, so she can’t come.

Fifteen minutes later Pam writes that though she’d been hoping to feel better, she’s been sick with a bad cold since yesterday and doesn’t want to spread her germs.

So in the end, it’s a small group of four: Zelia, Shari, Brooke and I. 

Before the night starts, I ask the waiter to grab a picture, not giving the group much of a chance to argue.  Everyone has pretty much accepted by now that my camera travels with me.

The food, as usual, doesn’t disappoint.  We start with drinks, and I get my usual cosmopolitan.  While the others get salads, I choose the tuna tartare.  I get the strip steak, which is as good as any steakhouse.  It’s excellent, and I end up taking home half.  Shari (I’m guessing) has arranged the dessert, and a big bowl arrives, with a brownie coated in chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and a lit candle.  We all eat every bit of it.  I love that my friends, all fit, enjoy food when they go out, and never seem to fret over calories.

The conversation is all over the place.  We toast one friend who was just elected to a senior volunteer position at Horace Mann.  Another friend is attending an important (foreign) government event and we discuss if maybe a top (foreign) designer would want to dress her. I’m reprimanded for asking “an appallingly stupid question” by one, while the other two laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.  We talk about dating (or the lack of it), our freshman sons coming home soon, world events, work (both paid and unpaid), and more.    Three hours pass quickly.  It’s a great celebration.

jil sander vs. michael kors (lyn)

The other day I went shopping in my closet and found a few unworn items:  A Jil Sander suit (pants, jacket and skirt) and a Michael Kors dress (navy blue, jersey material).  The tags were still on everything.

I decide to take these items to their respective stores to have them looked at.  My question is a simple one:  Would you alter this item, and if so, how?  All these clothes were purchased many pounds ago.

I expect the experience at both Madison Avenue stores to be similar.  They are not.

I first go to Michael Kors.  I overhear the salesman talking to the security clerk.  “He’s a she now,” he tells him in reference to I don’t know what.  But clearly I’m interrupting a conversation he’d rather be having than helping me.

I explain my situation and the salesman's first response, with an audible sigh is, “We won’t alter previous seasons' clothes.”  His tone suggests I shouldn’t even be wearing them.  “That’s okay,” I tell him.  “I just want your opinion on fit.”  I try the dress on; he looks at it and tells me it fits perfectly but needs a belt.  He then tries to sell me one but I defer, though he does take the time to explain that belts this season are being worn differently than in seasons past.  “They are higher now, and don’t lie on your waist.”  He takes one off another dress and says, “Here, let me show you,” then adds, “this belt might be a little small for you.”  Really.  Who likes hearing that, even if it is true (which in this case it isn’t).  I can tell he is anxious for me to leave since (a) I ‘m not buying anything, and (b) I’m sure he wants to get back to the she-who-was-a-he story.

I then go over to Jil Sander.  I think maybe Jil Sander herself calls in advance and speaks to the two salespeople, Jose and Lavdie, about my impending arrival.  And this is what I’m sure she says to them.  “Look, this women is coming by to have some clothes altered. I want you both to help her.  Don’t overcharge her for any alterations.  If our tailor is too expensive suggest she use her own.  Give her honest advice.  Spend time with her.  Offer her water.  Even if she brings a dress from Michael Kors with her, give her your opinion on that too.  In fact, if she wants the belt loops taken off that dress, just do it and don’t charge her.  Treat her like she’s our best customer ever and you’d do anything to make her happy.”  Because that’s exactly what Jose and Lavdie do.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

top 10 lists (lyn)

What do you write about when you have nothing to say?

My son has that problem when it comes to writing term papers, which in his case, is not okay.  But in my case, it is.  I don’t have to write.  And if I write about things that are too uninteresting or un-relatable, no one is going to read them.

Someone in Georgia is not going to care if it’s wet and cold in Manhattan today.

Someone trying to lose 50 pounds is not much interested in my desire to lose three.

And just describing my euphoria at finding the perfect Jil Sander dress, marked down from $1,150  to  $172.50, will mean little to anyone now, since that  sample sale ended on Saturday.

So today I’m going to write about a few things I like and don’t like (not listed in any particluar order).

10 everyday things I don’t like
  1. Having to wonder if I’m too old for certain styles of clothing
  2. Being unable to eat meat five nights a week because I know it’s not good for me 
  3. Accepting that I’ll probably never own an apartment or house
  4. Having to get my hair colored every three weeks for it to look---if not good--- at least not bad
  5. Worrying about money all the time, everyday
  6. Being long past the prime age for advertisers, 18 to 49
  7. No longer having ample cushioning on the balls of my feet, making walking in high heels unbearably uncomfortable
  8. Not being able to eat French Fries on a regular basis because they’ll make me fat
  9. Not having a boyfriend, wanting one, but having no desire to go through the effort of finding one
  10. Believing that if I could only have a personal trainer I would exercise!

10 everyday things I do like
  1. Pulling out a pair of size 27 jeans and having them fit
  2. Knowing I have, at a minimum, seven really close girlfriends
  3. Waking up everyday in the best city in the world
  4. Having no major health concerns
  5. Living within a short walk of both Agata and Fairway
  6. Being a mother to a fabulous son
  7. Getting in bed at night and having multiple shows to watch that I’ve DVR’ed 
  8. Getting lost in a great book
  9. Having both my parents alive; having brother-in-laws whom I adore; having two close sisters; and having two incredible nephews who live a few blocks away
  10. My new, 100%-cotton-made-in-Italy-purple-and-white-cotton-checked scarf that didn't, to use a favorite phrase of my mom's, "cost a fawtune."

Monday, April 30, 2012

day plan goes awry by night (lyn)

I try all day to eat light. 

I get to the courthouse at 10 to report for the case I was selected to serve on last week.   I have half a fat-free scone for breakfast, while sitting and waiting for the lawyers to arrive.   At 10:15,   a clerk of the court comes in.  “Your case has been suspended.  One of the lawyers had a personal situation and can't be here today.  You are all dismissed.”  That's it.  I’m done with jury duty for another four years.

I walk over to the office where I’m consulting.  I have a two-hour meeting with the head of marketing and leave hungry.

By the time I get home it’s three.  I need to leave by 4:30 to meet Robyn for a 6pm screening; I’ll eat only one meal today.  Around 4, I make a big salad from leftovers.  I’m feeling skinnier already.

I meet Robyn to see The Five-Year Engagement, a sweet Judd Apatow movie.  I get home around 8:30 with a strong need to eat.  I go to Sedutto’s and get a chocolate chip ice cream cone, and feel guilty for the rest of the night.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

weigh-in (lyn)

As a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, I need to officially weigh-in a minimum of once per calendar month.  The other requirement is that I must maintain a weight within two pounds of my goal weight, which is 124.

A year ago exactly I weighed 121.6.  Today I’m 125.8.  Okay, I still fit in all my clothes; I’m not tracking; and I look thin.  But I’m afraid if I don’t watch it, my weight will steadily increase.  I'm still aspiring to be 121-122; I like the way that sounds.

I grew up thin, and only weighed myself when I went for annual check ups and the doctor required it.  I never thought much about food. I ate according to preference, giving no consideration to calories or health.  It was a nice ride for over 50 years.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

a long story for a short pair of jeans (lyn)

Not too long ago I hated buying jeans, but now that I’m thin again I don’t mind.  The other day I was getting a manicure and a woman about my age was wearing a pair of slouchy jeans with holes in them.  They looked great on her.  She told me she had gotten them at J Crew, so I order a pair of size 28, thinking that’s my size. It turns out I’m a size 27, so I return them.

Now, of course, I absolutely need a pair of cropped jeans.  I can wear them three-seasons a year, and I like the look.  The next day I go to Bloomingdales and find a great pair of boyfriend-style jeans.  As an added bonus, all the jeans are 20% off.  I first put on a pair of slouchy jeans that fit well, but may be a bit too slouchy. After my old-lady shoe error last Saturday, I’m trying to be more fashion-conscious.  Next I try on a pair of AG (Adriano Goldschmied) jeans that fit beautifully but are more than a little distressed. I ask everyone I can find what they think and the consensus is, “Buy them.  You look great in them and they flatter your body.”  Here’s a photo (I wish that were me in them).

But then I worry that maybe these jeans look too much like I’m trying to appear young.  So I send M and Robyn a photo and ask them if I should keep them. 

M writes back; here’s the entirety of her email:  “No.”  Later, when probed, M writes, “These look ridiculous for a 60 year old woman. Unless of course, you live in Appalachia or on a street corner.”

Robyn calls with advice.  “They are too casual for a date (I don’t remind her that I don’t date) and too informal to dress up.  For the money, I wouldn’t get them.  You can’t even really wear them to a BAFTA screening.”  So, I decide to return them and start again.

Since I now know that the size 27, AG jeans fit me perfectly, I order three different styles from Zappos, hoping I fall in love with one of them. When they arrive, I discard two immediately.  One I consider, the Tomboy Crop, 15 Years.

I go back to Bloomingdales to exchange the jeans I thought I loved.  I find another pair that I like, and buy them (the Piper Crop-15 Years).  The pair that look the best (at least on the hanger) are missing my size. They are the same cut as the original jeans I like but without the holes.  These are called Stilt Roll-Up-19 Years (the number of years is for the wash on the jean, NOT the age you need to be to wear them).

I come home and call an AG store on the Westside.  They have the jeans I think I like the best, so I go over to try them on.  It turns out, I don’t like them the best.

So now I have two pair that I like, and I make Robyn the final arbiter of which to keep.  I model them both for her and she concludes, they both look great.  “Pick the one that costs less.”  I get the Piper Cropped Jeans from Bloomingdales and save $18.

The end.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I'm always picked (lyn)

Two days of bad eating.  A muffin and coffee for breakfast and a Fiber One bar for lunch.

Two days of running over to the Jil Sander 85% off sample sale.  I end up paying little for a black pencil skirt and a black “hammock-style” dress. 

Two days of sitting around catching up on reading.  I finish three old copies of PEOPLE, two issues of NY Magazine, and almost half of The Darlings by Cristina Alger (it’s great).

Two days of meeting new people from all different professions and backgrounds:  among them, an utterly obnoxious radiologist, a recently-graduated college student with a Masters in the psychology of jury selection, a sweet practicing nurse from Ireland, a non-stop talker, and a retired detective.

This is, I think, my fourth time reporting for jury duty.  Last time was ten years ago when I served on a grand jury for a month.  I listen to my friends tell their stories.  Two days or less and they are dismissed.

I arrive on Wednesday, and watch a twenty-minute movie about the process.  Harry Reasoner narrates.  I guess the process hasn’t changed much in the past 21-years; Mr. Reasoner died in 1991.  

The big waiting room is filled with maybe 200 prospective jurors.  19 names are randomly selected; mine is the 18th name called. We are directed to a smaller room where two lawyers greet us.  It is their job to select a 6-person jury for a trial.  Here are the basics of the case:  a man has been found negligent of a 2005 motor vehicle accident where a woman claims to be injured.  The jury will need to decide if the back injuries the women now suffers from were caused by the car accident, and if yes, do they meet the state’s definition of serious injury.  If the jury finds they do, then the jury will decide the monetary award, if any.

They lawyer questions us in order.  I am number 18 (of 19 in the room).  I am sure I won’t be called, as clearly there must be six qualified people among the 17 before me.  I expect the vetting process to be tedious and boring; it usually is.  But this group is vocal and contentious, and, the two lawyers appear to hate each other. Listening to the interviews becomes almost entertaining.

The group is asked to raise their right hands and swear to tell the truth.  One woman says, “I don’t swear to G-d; ” she refuses to be sworn in.  Soon after, another woman says she doesn’t feel it is her place to judge people.  Someone else is combative in her declarations.  “I think it is wrong to ask for pain and suffering.  People today sue for anything and everything.  Look, bad things happen to people.  And just because they do shouldn’t mean you can sue.”

In the end, I’m one of the six chosen. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

dinner at Marea (lyn)

Too bad Gail weren’t a guy.  I’d be in love.  She is the perfect date.  Thoughtful.  Generous.  Interesting.  Funny.  And full of surprises.  Tonight, in celebration of my birthday last month, Gail takes me to Marea for dinner.

I arrive for our 6 o’clock reservation (Gail made the reservation a month ago; anything after six and before ten was already taken).  Even for the early hour, the restaurant is starting to fill up.  It is sleek and modern, but the wait staff is surprisingly friendly and accommodating. 

Gail looks beautiful in a black dress that she unflatteringly describes as “a diaper dress,” named for the complicated way the dress is designed.  But it looks elegant and is not, in any way, suggestive of its name.  

As soon as I sit down, Gail explains the prix fixe meal we'll be getting.  Everything on the menu sounds exotic with ingredients I don’t know and therefore can’t imagine.  The waiter provides guidance, and has strong opinions about what to order.  His suggestions prove to be perfect.

For starters, I get some kind of shrimp sushi.  I have never tasted anything like it; it is divine.  And that's not because I drink two Cosmopolitans and my senses are heightened.

The waiter, without hesitation, recommends the spaghetti for the "hand-made" pasta course.  While spaghetti sounds like something I could even make, I certainly couldn’t make it with “crab, santa barbara sea urchin, and basil.”  It's unlike any pasta I've ever tasted.

For the main course, Gail and I both get branzino, served with "beluga lentils, cipollini onion, trumpet royale mushrooms, and red wine jus.”  It is hard to decipher most of the ingredients in the dish, but it really doesn’t matter; it all tastes great.

I order a skim cappuccino for dessert, along with a glorious lemon tarte, described as “sorrento lemon curd tart, ricotta gelato, brown butter crumble, candied rose.”  It neither tastes, nor looks, anything like the ones I’ve made.

But the best part of the meal is not what I eat.  It’s not the nice touch of the beautifully wrapped breakfast muffin we are given as we leave.  And it’s not the intrigue of wondering who the secret service men at the door are there to protect.  No, the best part of the dinner is unquestionably spending time with Gail.    And that is saying a lot, considering how exquisite the dinner is.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

couldn't resist (lyn)

Proof that Amercan diets are not the healthiest, I get this today:

David is being returned to Italy.

After a two year loan to the United States, Michelangelo's David is being returned to Florence.

But then, you have to wonder if eating healthy is a guarantee for looking good.

Here's a photo of 52-year old Gillian McKeith, a TV health guru.  She advocates a holistic approach to nutrition and health, promoting exercise,  a vegetarian diet, colonic irrigations, and supplements.

This is Nigella Lawson, also 52.  She is a TV cook who eats meat, chocolate, butter, and desserts.

Monday, April 23, 2012

wrong number (lyn)

It’s cloudy and blah-looking out.  I do some work.  I finish So Pretty It Hurts by Kate White (a quick read).  I organize some more.  I find and get the perfect earring jewelry box on Zappos ( with 35 compartments.  Finally, I can see the earrings I have, instead of trying to recall them from memory. 

I bring some shoes in to be resoled.  I feed my addiction for Words With Friends (zero ww points).  I’m currently in 22 games with 12 different “friends,” some I haven’t seen or spoken to in 15 years.  I must now know all the two-letter words in the English language, but have no clue what most of them mean.  Ka?  Ki?  Aa?  Qi?

And finally, I go shopping at Fairway.  I end up at the deli counter, and take a number.  They are calling number 85 and my number says 09; it doesn’t even look that crowded.  I figure people take numbers and then leave the area to shop for other things, but I’ve done all my shopping, so I wait.  Some have one or two requests while others seem to be buying for the Duggars.  I have lots of time to observe.  It seems like some people have arrived after me, never leave the area, and are now being helped, but I can’t be sure.   Maybe they are lying about their numbers since the people behind the counter don’t check them. But who would do that?  This is a nice Upper East Side neighborhood.  Finally I hear, “91.”  I say, “Right here,” at the same time another shopper says the same thing.  We take out our numbers to compare and yes, hers clearly says 09.  She looks at my number and without smiling says, “Yours says 091.”  The 1 is very light and I didn’t notice it.  I feel idiotic, and her look confirms it.

But still, the orzo with spinach and pine nuts makes it worth the wait.  I have that and grilled shrimp for dinner.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

knives and other things (lyn)

It’s raining today; a perfect day to clean and organize.  I tackle my bedroom.  I throw away books I’ve barely read (like David Pogue’s manual on Tiger OS---I’m three operating systems past Tiger, old photos that I now have on my computer, linen paper with my name and address on it from the days when you mailed letters and resumes, and even two old analog cameras. I even get out a stepstool and clean the top of my armoire.

As I’m finishing, I hear a bell ringing outside on the street; it sounds like an old-fashioned ice-cream truck, but it’s not.  It’s a man who sharpens knives.  I’ve heard him before and this time I decide to use his service.  I grab my 6-inch knife that was dull the last time I tried it, and run out in the rain to his truck. There I meet a smiling, impish older man named Dominick.  His truck is fully equipped with all sorts of knife sharpening machines.  I ask him if he really gets much business just driving around and ringing a bell.  He says it’s like fishing.  “See, here’s my bait (and he rings his bell).  I cast my rod and sit and hope.”