Don’t Fall in Love With a Dreamer

This morning, I woke up at 4:56am, my usual time (gross, I know), to find a piece of paper and a pen on my bedside table. I had not had those there at night time – I guess I had taken a stroll in the night (which is frightening as HELL), and decided to do some writing…this is what I found:

May I ask you a question? I would like a real answer, please – not a smartass one. I like to wear hats – especially berets. Can you please tell me what is wrong with me? Where is the cat? Did you feed her? Am I so hideously ugly? I know I’m not stupid, so it can’t be that…am I a know-it-all? Cats are girls and dogs are boys. A straight-up bitch? Bad at conversation? Socially awkward? Pickles are good. Am I no fun to be around? Too _________? What is it? I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the past year in my life, the ups and downs I’ve gone through with the people around me…and the common element in all of this is ME. I can’t find my right shoe. I am clearly the problem. I really like pickles, and pickle juice will clear up a hangover and any constipation issues you may have. There’s something wrong with me, I am the problem – but I can’t fix what I am not aware of. What’s your name? I’m Slim Shady. Will you please tell me? Sheep are nice, too.


Isn’t that hilarious????! Clearly, the part of my brain that has been reflecting on the things that I seem to be doing wrong with the people around me wanted to talk about those issues…yet, I couldn’t stop talking about pickles, hats, animals, and my alias as white rapper Eminem. What the hell is that???! So. Funny. Constipation even made the scene – it’s just too funny. DISCLAIMER: I have NO idea if pickle juice will help with constipation at all. Just FYI.


I have been thinking about all of this lately, and how I seem to find myself in skirmishes over and over again…and the only constant in all of this is me. I must be part of the problem – which is not what I want. I know that I am abrasive, too direct, needy yet too independent for most people to put up with, and a host of other faults…but I can’t be that bad, can I? Surely there are worse people walking around this world and not having one tenth of the troubles and stresses that I do….so I have to figure this one out. Read this article with me:

You have bad luck. You keep getting fired, you never get the good projects, or you have really warped coworkers. Or maybe–just maybe–it’s not them, it’s you. Here are 5 ways to tell if you’re the problem.

You have had multiple micro-managing bosses.
We all know that micro-managing bosses exist. But, if you’ve had two or three in a row, there’s a real possibility that they aren’t so much micro-managers as they are managers who recognize that you need to be micro-managed. Some employees don’t know how to get from step A to Step E without a manager spelling how exactly how to do B, C, and D. 
Some employees are sloppy with their work. Formatting is unprofessional. Typos. Important questions are left unanswered.

You Get Punished For Behavior Your Coworkers Get Away With
If you show up for work 15 minutes late, the boss reams you out, but if your coworker gets in 20 minutes later than you do, no one says anything to her. Sometimes that’s an example of managers playing favorites, but sometimes it’s an example that the employee is clueless as to the effects of her actions. 
If your job is to answer phones, or you play a critical role in a group project, it matters when you show up at the office. If, on the other hand, you work independently, have few meetings, and consistently get your work done before the deadline, your manager is less likely to care when you show up.


Your Coworkers Never Want to Eat Lunch with You

Yes, the office can sometimes have “mean girls” who will pick on people and purposely exclude them. But, if it’s not just the “cool” people that are not inviting you, but that no one is, and furthermore, when you invite people to go with you, there is hesitance or just flat out nos, then you might be the problem.
Do you have a bad sense of timing?
Are you a restaurant complainer?
Do you “order expensive” and then split the check evenly?
Are you a whiner?
Are you a bit gross? 

You Had Multiple Run Ins With Different Racists/Sexists/Ageists
We all know that these people exist, but it’s not ever-present. If you’re constantly encountering people who are treating you poorly because of your race, gender, age, or other characteristic, it may well be that you’re perceiving something that isn’t there.

Sometimes people are jerks. Sometimes you’re getting “picked on” because you’re a low performer. Sometimes people mean no offense when they say things.

Everyone You Work With Is Really Stupid
Your boss is an idiot. His boss is an idiot. Your coworkers are dumb as rocks. And, we won’t even talk about the completely incompetent HR department. 
Now, there’s a really good chance that you’ll work with one or two people who are dumber than a box of hair. But, if everyone is, you may need to rethink your definition of stupid. Are you defining these people as incompetent because they disagree with you? It may well be that they just disagree with you.

Are you defining them as not so bright because they don’t understand what you are saying? Is it possible that you are not a good communicator? Is it possible that you don’t understand what they are saying, and not the other way around?

Whenever there is a problem at work, you need to look at the possibility that the world isn’t out to get you–that you just may be the person who needs to change.


This is funny (especially the “Are you a bit gross?” question – heehee! I hope I’m not!!!) – but there’s really something to it. I’ve not suffered with micro-managers over the years as much as I have struggled with bosses who act jealously towards me…and it drives me nuts. They should sit back and relish the fact that they have a competent employee, instead of worrying about what I’m doing so much. I haven’t had a lot of punishment at work for the things that I’ve done (knock on wood), but I sure as hell get punished enough in my real life! I eat lunch with the same people every day – they don’t seem to mind me, even if I am a bit gross. 😉 Over the years, I’ve met MANY sexist/racist/assorted other -ists, but I just keep my head down and do me – their behavior says more about them than it does about me! The last point about stupid people, though…this article might be on to something. I find that so many (too many) people that I encounter in a day are kinda stupid, and it frustrates me and causes me to probably act like a bitch – so…I need to work on that. Hmm.


This article relates to being the problem in the work place, but I think that many of the same ideas can be applied to your personal life, as well. Let’s look at this article on 10 Reasons Relationships Fail:
All couples face problems in their relationship, but not all problems lead to breaking up. Relationship fail for different reasons; the key is to figure out how to solve the problems in yours.

Here’s what Fredrich Nietzsche said about unhappy marriages: “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”  If you’re not treating your partner like a friend (with respect, love, generosity, honesty, acceptance, unselfishness, etc), then you’re weakening the foundation of your relationship.

10 Reasons Relationships Fail
The source of these problems for couples is Human Sexuality by Roger Hock – yes, it’s a boring title, but it’s got some fantastic insights into romantic relationships. It’s not just about sex, it’s about how couples communicate.

1. Broken promises, lying, cheating, stealing. These violations of trust almost always result in relationship problems, and is an obvious reasons a relationship fails. If the basic trust in a love relationship is repeatedly broken, problems accumulate and the motivation to stay together decreases. Couples in loving relationships can learn to reconcile their differences – and even survive a physical or emotional affair without anger or bitterness.

2. Imbalance of power in relationships. Couples may be more likely to break up when one partner has more decision-making power than the other. When one person makes all the decisions about activities, friends, financial matters, household matters, and vacations, the relationship isn’t balanced or loving, and quickly becomes unstable. Both partners should equally share the decision-making power.


3. Acceptance of stereotypes in relationships. This was once a more common reason relationships failed, but it still exists today! Mistaken gender myths include beliefs such as “Men should earn more money than women” or “Women should stay at home and raise the kids.” If couples believe these stereotypes, they create false expectations that can lead to splitting up.

4. Isolation from friends and family. This reason for splitting up is based on fear and insecurity; new couples may isolate themselves from other people because they’re “in love and want to be together.” A brief period of cocooning is normal for many couples, but it’s far healthier to interact with other people regularly.

5. Lack of self-knowledge for couples. If one or both partners aren’t in tune with their own interests, needs, desires, future plans, goals, values, and preferences, then it’s difficult for them to build a better marriage or healthy love relationship. Self-knowledge helps partners communicate who they are and what they want in a relationship, which can prevent problems.

6. Low self-esteem, insecurity, and lack of self-confidence. Relationships fail because one partner feels unworthy of being loved. This insecurity can lead to possessiveness and dependence, which isn’t healthy for either partner in the love relationship. Couples break up because of insecurity and jealousy.

7. Excessive jealousy – one of the most common reasons relationships fail . “Jealousy is cited as one of the most frequent causes of the breakup of romantic relationships,” writes Hock. Delusional jealousy can trigger abuse and violence, which can (and should) be why a couple breaks up! Delusional jealousy isn’t as common as “normal” jealousy, but both can cause serious relationship problems.

8. Ineffective communication. Both partners need to be able to share their thoughts, feelings, opinions, values, needs, frustrations, and joys. Sometimes couples avoid speaking honestly and hide their true selves, which may not always lead to a break up…but it doesn’t strengthen their bond!

9. Control issues. If one partner is trying to control or manipulate the other, the relationship can become weak or destructive. Controlling behaviors include checking up on the partner, name-calling, threatening the partner, requiring the partner to check in all the time, or not allowing any deviations from the schedule. These signs of obsessive love may not cause the couple to break up, but it is a sign of an unhealthy relationship.

10. Unhealthy physical behavior – which shouldn’t be part of a love relationship! This is an obvious relationship problem that should lead to an immediate break up! Physical, intimate, and emotional abuse are attempts to gain total control over a partner. Though relationships like this should end immediately, couples stay together stay for various reasons.


See? This list is goooooood – I can relate to these things. I’ve either done some of them myself, or I have had them done to me. It’s interesting to think about – relationships are things that so many seem to take for granted, they move through life involved in them absolutely effortlessly….while others (like me) just can’t seem to get it together. Fascinating!

Tell me what you think about these things, friends…is it ever you? Probably not, because you’re awesome….plus, it’s ALWAYS me! 😉



A Whole New World

If you are a regular reader of Pretty Thing, you will know that I am 3+ weeks Facebook-free – yaaa me!! :-) I wasn’t as regular on the FB as many people I know, but….I did check in often enough for it to bother me. When I decided to get rid of it, I made that decision because I felt that I was letting what I saw on there hurt me – and I have had more than enough hurt in my life…I don’t need any more. I’ve not cheated and peeked at it again (not even once!), and I think I’m pretty much done with it. Was it easy? It wasn’t bad at all. Do I miss it? I miss hearing from former students and friends and stuff, but…if they are meant to be in my life, they will find a way to keep in touch. Otherwise, I am good if I don’t ever have to scroll through another FB feed…I think the world will still go on turning. 😉


I found this article this morning, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you. Take a look:

Can you imagine a day not logging into Facebook? Imagine all the photos that would go unseen, the viral videos that would go unwatched, and all those notifications that would go unchecked.

Well, the idea of it might make you squirm in your seat, but a new study shows that it could actually make you happier.

Researchers from the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark recruited 1,095 Facebook users between the ages of 16 and 76. 94% of the participants said they visited Facebook as part of their daily routine. They were then split into two groups: one was allowed to use Facebook as usual, while the other was forced to give it up completely.

After just a week, 88% of those who had quit Facebook said they felt “happy,” compared to 81% of those who continued using the social network. Those who gave up Facebook also reported feeling more enthusiastic, less lonely, less worried, and more decisive. They said they found it easier to concentrate, and that quitting the social network allowed them to spend more face time with friends and family. Maybe this finding has something to do with all the FOMO we get from Facebook, since people tend to share only momentous occasions — like vacations, babies, graduations, and birthdays — on the social media platform.

However, it’s important to note that the results are based on self-reported answers; researchers were able to identify a link between happiness and Facebook use, but it’s not a causal relationship. There’s still more research to be done to see if these results hold true past the week mark.

But, hey, maybe there’s something to it. We might be more satisfied with our own life if we’re not constantly inundated by posts about that of others.


Don’t you love it? I’m not sure if I feel more happy yet, but I certainly have found that I’ve got more time, and significantly less negativity in my life…which is awesome! :-) I’ve never been much of a sufferer of FOMO (fear of missing out) – rather, I found myself annoyed at people who bragged about their lives all the time. I don’t have that annoyance around anymore…so people can toot their horns as much as they want – and I don’t hear a thing. Rejoice! :-) Are you a social media user? Do you think that it has a positive or a negative effect on your life? I can’t wait to hear from you! :-) (through here, obviously….and NOT through Facebook! 😉 )


Paris, Je t’aime

I’m heartsick over what happened in my beloved Paris on Friday. I will never understand the hatred that lives in the hearts of some people, and I will never get why they can’t just take their miseries out on themselves, and leave the rest of the innocent, beautiful world alone.


Even though I’ve quit Facebook (three + weeks and going strong), I read about this post online – I wanted to share it with you:

you never think it will happen to you. It was just a friday night at a rock show. the atmosphere was so happy and everyone was dancing and smiling. and then when the men came through the front entrance and began the shooting, we naiively believed it was all part of the show. It wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre. Dozens of people were shot right infront of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue. Futures demolished, families heartbroken. in an instant. Shocked and alone, I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless.. Holding my breath, trying to not move, not cry – not giving those men the fear they longed to see. I was incredibly lucky to survive. But so many didn’t. The people who had been there for the exact same reasons as I – to have a fun friday night were innocent. This world is cruel. And acts like this are suppose to highlight the depravity of humans and the images of those men circuling us like vultures will haunt me for the rest of my life. The way they meticoulsy aimed at shot people around the standing area i was in the centre of without any consideration for human life. It didn’t feel real. i expected any moment for someone to say it was just a nightmare. But being a survivor of this horror lets me able to shed light on the heroes. To the man who reassured me and put his life on line to try and cover my brain whilst i whimpered, to the couple whose last words of love kept me believing the good in the world, to the police who succeded in rescuing hundreds of people, to the complete strangers who picked me up from the road and consoled me during the 45 minutes I truly believed the boy i loved was dead, to the injured man who i had mistaken for him and then on my recognition that he was not Amaury, held me and told me everything was going to be fine despite being all alone and scared himself, to the woman who opened her doors to the survivors, to the friend who offered me shelter and went out to buy new clothes so i wouldnt have to wear this blood stained top, to all of you who have sent caring messages of support – you make me believe this world has the potential to be better. to never let this happen again. but most of this is to the 80 people who were murdered inside that venue, who weren’t as lucky, who didnt get to wake up today and to all the pain that their friends and families are going through. I am so sorry. There’s nothing that will fix the pain. I feel priviledged to be there for their last breaths. And truly beliving that I would join them, I promise that their last thoughts were not on the animals who caused all this. It was thinking of the people they loved. As i lay down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet to end my mere 22 years, I envisioned every face that I have ever loved and whispered I love you. over and over again. reflecting on the highlights of my life. Wishing that those i love knew just how much, wishing that they knew that no matter what happened to me, to keep belieivng in the good in people. to not let those men win. Last night, the lives of many were forever changed and it is up to us to be better people. to live lives that the innocent victims of this tragedy dreamt about but sadly will now never be able to fulfil. RIP angels. You will never be forgotten.

-Isobel Bowdery


Powerful, eh? These lines just killed me: “I promise that their last thoughts were not on the animals who caused all this. It was thinking of the people they loved.” My heart just breaks for these people, their families and friends, their city….their home. It’s beautiful to think that their final moments were spent thinking of what really mattered in life…as it should be. This makes me so sad. :-(


Please think of Paris and the beautiful French people as you go about your day today. Join me – and the rest of the world – in support of Paris. In moments like these, we all feel powerless to help…but in fact we are not. Engage with the world around you, be involved, and help make it a better and more loving place…change can start with one person.



PS: Please watch this clip of the brilliant, lovely, and so profound John Oliver as he so eloquently expresses exactly how I feel about what has happened in Paris:

With a Little Love

I got this list this morning in an email from Lifehack (you know I love them!), and I wanted to share it with you – it’s called “50 Small Things You Can Do Every Day to Really Love Yourself“:

When we love ourselves, it helps us feel our best, and when we feel our best, we can give more to the world. Treating yourself well, and with love, is more than eating healthy and exercising.

What exactly is self-love, though? In Psychology Today, Deborah Khoshaba, Psy.D. writes, “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us.”


She explains the profound effects of self-love, stating, “When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.”

I’m on a mission to empower people to spend their lives focused on their purpose, priorities, and passions, and to get rid of the junk that gets in the way of living the life of their dreams. Part of living the life you dream of is practicing self-love. Self-love is incredibly important in many areas of your life. It influences how high you set your goals, how you let others treat you, and how you react to difficult situations. Self-love affects how you treat your body, how you manage stress, and your ability to live consistently with your values.

Here are 50 small things you can do every day to practice self-love. I divided them into categories of the 7 Dimensions of Wellness, so you can practice self-love in all areas of wellbeing.

Social wellness
Social wellness is the ability to connect with others and develop positive relationships. To practice self-love in your social life, do the following:

1. Connect today with someone who is positive, inspiring, and encouraging.

2. Visit with your neighbor.

3. Send a note in the mail to a family member or friend.

4. Plan a fun night out with friends.

5. Snuggle with your love.

Emotional wellness

Emotional wellness is the ability to cope with life’s challenges. The University of California states,”The ability to acknowledge and share feelings of anger, fear, sadness or stress, hope, love, joy and happiness in a productive manner” contributes to increased emotional wellness. To practice self-love in this area, work on the following:

6. If you’re not satisfied with your life, admit it to yourself, and write out your action plan to make changes.

7. Spend 10 minutes today being quiet.

8. Forgive yourself. You must accept that you are not perfect before you can love yourself.

9. Seek the help you need — set up an appointment for counselling or therapy if you’re struggling emotionally. You are worth it.

10. Spend 10 minutes working on a favorite stress-management technique.

11. Write down your schedule for the day. This will help you set aside time each day to spend time on your priorities and minimize wasted time.

12. Practice an optimistic attitude.

13. Be mindful of your inner dialogue. The messages you tell yourself can greatly influence your life.

14. Set boundaries on how you’ll spend your time. Steer clear of time-sucking activities that don’t add meaning to your life.

16. Turn away from behaviors that tend to get you into trouble.

17. Say no to toxic people and activities.

18. Say yes to adventure.

19. Have fun. Laugh every day.

20. Compliment yourself.


Spiritual wellness
The University of California describes spiritual wellness as “the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives.” To practice self-love in your spiritual life, take these actions:

21. Explore your faith.

22. Spend time in prayer or meditation.

23. Seek an opportunity to grow in one of the challenges in your life.

24. Get outside in nature.

25. Do something altruistic.

Environmental wellness
Being environmentally well means recognizing your responsibility to make a positive impact on the earth. To practice self-love and environmental wellness, try these tips:

26. Practice not buying what you don’t need.

27. Donate items you don’t need. Practice getting rid of 1 item per day.

Occupational wellness
Occupational wellness involves getting fulfillment from your work. To practice self-love in your work life, take these steps:

28. Learn about your strengths.

29. Discover your passion. This workbook is a great start.

30. Write down your big career goals.

31. Take one small step each day toward your dream career.

32. Connect with a coworker.

Intellectual wellness
When you are intellectually well, you continually expand your knowledge as a lifelong learner. To practice self-love intellectually, try these actions:

33. Read 1 page of a book that interests you today.

34. Learn.

35. Book an adventure to a new place.

36. Sign up for a new class through community education or a local college.

37. Take a small step out of your comfort zone every day.

Physical wellness
Optimal physical wellness is achieved when you have a healthy quality of life. To practice self-love and increase physical wellness, try these actions:

38. Appreciate the amazing things your body can do rather than focusing on what you consider to be your “flaws.”

39. Schedule your routine physical with your doctor.

40. Pick a new vegetable to eat.

41. Choose one new healthy recipe to make this week.

42. While you eat, focus on your meal.

43. Make a specific game plan to quit a destructive habit.

44. Nourish your body with healthy choices.

45. Establish a nighttime routine for a healthy dose of sleep.

A few bonuses
46. Set aside time each day to work toward making a big dream of yours a reality. Guard this time furiously.

47. Do something you love every day.

48. Buy yourself fresh flowers someday soon, just for fun.

49. Schedule a massage.

50. Start a gratitude journal and list something you are thankful for every day.

When you start working on these small actions, you’ll begin to accept and appreciate yourself more. When you genuinely love yourself and love life, it causes amazing effects in your life and in the lives of those around you.


Great list, eh? I love it! And I really LOVE the idea that positive change begins with one small step – that is something that I believe in so passionately. Tomorrow (November 13th) is World Kindness Day, which began in the late 1990s when a number of humanitarian groups got together to make a Declaration of Kindness. The point is that tomorrow (and every day, come to think of it), we are all encouraged to do something kind for someone else. I’m a massive believer in the power of the random act of kindness, and I honestly believe that thinking like this has the power to change the world. If everyone did something kind for someone else, it would be like a wildfire, spreading hither and yon (where is yon? Anyone know? Just wondering….asking for a friend…) – and people would succumb to the allure of the kindness, and it would just keep going and going….until a lot of the negative crap in the world just fell away. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Anyway, if you want to know more about World Kindness Day, here are a few resources for you:

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

The World Kindness Movement

National Awareness Days


I hope that you remember to be nice to someone else tomorrow (and every day), and I so hope that most everyone you meet is nice to you. It’s so much easier that way, don’t you think? :-)



Life has been far too serious lately, and it has been really getting me down. So….Let’s play a game today, shall we? How about a spirited round of the Proust questionnaire, so named after Marcel Proust…Are you ready? Let’s go! :-)


What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being with my Wee One in Paris…that was the happiest that I can ever remember being.
What is your greatest fear? Dying before the Wee One has grown up, leaving her to be raised without me.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I can be so needy, impatient, and careless with my words.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? People who are judgmental, prone to throwing tantrums (and getting their way when they do), and moodiness. I can’t stand the mood swings.
Which living person do you most admire? Crikey – this is a tough one. I admire a lot of people for a lot of different things. I’m going with my kid – there’s a lot of grace under pressure there. I like that. :-)
What is your greatest extravagance? Dresses – I buy A LOT of dresses.
What is your current state of mind? Tired, hopeful, excited :-)
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Physical beauty – the inside of a person is MUCH more important than the wrapping paper.
On what occasion do you lie? All the damn time…to spare the feelings of others. If I told the truth, the carnage that remained would not be pretty.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? Everything except my face…I think that part is alright.
Which living person do you most despise? How much time have you got? The list is considerable. I need to get over some things, methinks!

What is the quality you most like in a man? Effort, humor, intelligence, wit, work ethic, sense of fun
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Humor, intelligence, wit, kindness
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? The f*^@ word – but I do love it so!
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My Wee One
When and where were you happiest? With my Wee One in Paris…..that felt like the culmination of a lifelong dream. It was worth the struggle that I had to get us there!
Which talent would you most like to have? I wish that I could sing, dance, and be comfortable around groups of people.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would be more forthcoming in my personal life – I’ve no problem confronting situations at work, but I avoid that stuff like the plague otherwise. (I’d also make it possible for me to eat as much as I want to eat – which is considerable – and I’d get to have a tiny arse)
What do you consider your greatest achievement? That I keep putting one foot in front of the other, that I keep going – and that I keep getting up every morning. It would be so easy for me to take to my bed and never come out again, my life is so complex…yet, I manage to continue on. Yaa me!
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Shit, being Karl Lagerfeld’s pampered puss Choupette would be nice (apart from the whole ‘having to live with Monsieur LeDoucheSac’, that is). If I can’t be that cat, I want to come back as Kate Winslet – that beauty lives her life with zero apologies…I LOVE that quality in a person!
Where would you most like to live? Paris Paris PARIS!!!
What is your most treasured possession? This is a tough one – I try so hard not to hold on to the materialistic part of life too much. I love pictures of the life that I have led, I have Lambie, my stuffed lamb that my dad gave me the day I was born – and I love her a whole lot. I’m more about people and relationships than I am about things. I think that’s probably a better way to be, don’t you?

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Losing my Dad. It’s been 11 years, and I’ve still not recovered. It appears likely that I never will.
What is your favorite occupation? The Education industry has been good to me, although it has been tough – it’s not the same work that I started out in over 20 years ago. I loved the brief time that I spent in Law – I so badly want to make my way back there…I think we’d be a good fit for each other. Finally, if I could be a writer for my job, I’d never work another day in my life. :-)
What is your most marked characteristic? I think my brain – I wish it was my sparkling personality or my ravishing good looks, but…I know my limitations.
What do you most value in your friends? Their loyalty, sense of humor, patience, and the fact that they are just there. That’s important to me. :-)
Who are your favorite writers? William Shakespeare is my first love, Margaret Laurence, Mandy Stadtmiller, JD Salinger, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Arthur Miller, Stieg Larsson, and W. Somerset Maugham
Who is your hero of fiction? Holden Caulfield and Lisbeth Salander…I love a character with a rebel heart. :-)
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Oddly, Marilyn Monroe…I’m not sure why, but I feel like she was as misunderstood as I feel. Nobody seems to get the real me – it’s probably my fault, since I don’t put enough of myself out there. Grr.
Who are your heroes in real life? My mom’s brother (he is one of the kindest, most beautiful souls that I have ever known), my grandfather (he was a major influence on my life, and a man who could do ANYTHING – he should have worn a cape!), my grandmother (a spitfire from the word go), and my kid (she suffers from illness every day of her life…and keeps a smile on her face. She’s magical!). :-)
What are your favorite names? Alyssa, Marina, Jenna, Lily, Rose, Scarlett, Lola, and Jack

What is it that you most dislike? People who stay in situations that they are in because they have to, not because they want to. I think that sucks.
What is your greatest regret? That I haven’t lived up to the potential that I had as a younger person, that I’ve squandered so many opportunities that came my way, and that I made far too many bad choices in my life due to my incredible ability to choose the wrong person and screw up relationships. 
How would you like to die? In my sleep, at a very old age, with no warning whatsoever….well, I mean my advanced age would be warning enough for me to have gotten rid of any porn or other things that might potentially embarrass the kid.
What is your motto? Let it be. I love that…. instead of always fighting and struggling against the world, just let it go, and….let it be. I guess my other choice would be To thine own self be true – I love that sentiment as well. :-)



Fun, right? What answers have you got for me, friends? :-)



How To Save a Life

How about we start today with some stories that will make you feel good and fuzzy in your heart? Here you go:

1) This article – it tells the story of a bride who survived cancer as a teenager following a bone marrow transplant from a complete stranger. The heartstrings get pulled when you see pictures of her – and her donor – dancing together at her wedding. I cried….not that surprising. I’m a ball of mush. This story is awesome. :-)

This kitten has nothing to do with anything that I am writing about - I just thought she was really cute :-)

This kitten has nothing to do with anything that I am writing about – I just thought she was really cute :-)

2) These questions – they are 36 questions, designed to help determine whether intimacy between two people can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. Basically, can you contrive closeness or does it have to happen organically? Well, the extent of its effects aren’t totally clear yet, but the questions definitely encouraged a deeper connection than conversations of similar length between similar people that we would consider “small talk.”

These 36 questions build on one another, beginning more generally, and growing more specific and personal as you work your way through the list. How intensely or quickly your feelings or your partner’s will change through this process is a mystery. That they’ll grow is something you can count on.

So, rather than waiting for love to find you and then holding on for dear life when it does, why not invite it into your life, accept the results as they appear, and think of a “successful relationship” as one from which you learned something new? If you’re up for it, give these questions a try.

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.


Looks fun, right? I know!! So, if you’ve got someone that you’re thinking you might be compatible with….start asking!!! :-)


3) These pictures from the annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade – the very fact that dog parades are a thing fills me with tremendous amounts of joy. Yaaa! :-) I’ve been to Tompkins Square in the East Village many times- it’s near some of my favorite places in NYC: Manitoba’s Pub, Josie’s, Sushi Lounge, and the Yuca Bar, which isn’t Yuck-a at all! (see what I did right there? Heehee) I love this part of the city, and I can’t even wrap my wee brain around how cute the dog parade must be. Some year I will go!! :-) Woof! :-)



I hope that I’ve brought a couple of smiles to your day so far…if you need me, I will be plotting costumes for my own dog to wear (not for a dog parade, but just because costumes are fabulous), and working on my answers for the 36 questions up there. You just never know when someone might ask! 😉


Love Sick

My latest binge-watching indulgence has been the show “Louie” – starring the brilliant Louis CK. Are you a “Louie” watcher? If not, you oughta be – it’s fantastic. For. Realz.

I’m on the second season now, and I don’t know what is going to happen with Louie and Pamela, the woman that he’s sweet on (if you already know, PLEASE don’t tell me – I want to be surprised!)….but this declaration of love is pretty much everything I could ever hope for in my life:

This is what he says (but do yourself a favor and watch the video, too….it’s awesome):

Louie: But can I just, can I just tell you one time the way I feel about you?

Pamela: You wanna tell me?

Louie: Yes, please.

Pamela: Go ahead.

Louie: Pamela, I’m in love with you. 

Pamela: Oh, God.

Louie: Yeah, it’s that bad. You’re so beautiful to me.

Pamela: Oh! Aye! Ew!!

Louie: Shut up!! Let me tell you – let me. Every time I look at your face, or even remember it…it wrecks me. And the way you are with me, and you’re just fun, and you shit all over me, and you make fun of me, and you’re real. I don’t have enough time in any day to think about you enough. I feel like I’m going to live a thousand years because that’s how long it’s going to take me to have one thought about you, which is that I’m crazy about you, Pamela. I don’t want to be with with anyone else.

Pamela: Louie.

Louie: I don’t! I really don’t! I don’t want to think about women anymore, I think about you. I had a dream the other night that you and I were on a train. We were on this train, and you were holding my hand. That’s the whole dream. You were holding my hand, and I felt you holding my hand. I woke up and I couldn’t believe it wasn’t real. I’m sick in love with you, Pamela. It’s like a condition, it’s like polio. I feel like I’m going to die if I can’t be with you, and I can’t be with you, so…I’m going to die. And I don’t care, because I was brought into existence to know you. And that’s enough. The idea that you would want me back, it’s like, greedy. I’m doing a bad job of this.

Pamela: No you’re not.

Louie: I’m not?

Pamela: No. It’s a good job. 


Gorgeous, right? Sigh. The thing that gets me the most? “I was brought into existence to know you.” Holy shit, that’s some beautiful stuff right there. Love. :-) What were you brought into existence for?


I’ve been making a whole bunch of life changes lately,  trying to work out some issues with my existence – I got rid of the cable in June (which probably doesn’t seem like that big of a change, but trust me…it was massive), I deactivated my Facebook profile (let me explain this one for you: I could not take another day of people bragging about their wonderful, amazing lives on Facebook – lives that I happen to know for a fact are not quite that wonderful and amazing. It drove me nuts! I figure that if you truly have great things going on, that’s awesome for you…and the rest of us will notice, I promise – you don’t need to ram it down our throats. Grr. As well, I was tired of people and their chronic need to over-share…every morsel of food that goes into their mouths and every thought that blows through their head like a tumbleweed across the plains of Texas – they would share it on Facebook. Barf. I needed to take a step back from being a voyeur in the lives of other people – and focus more on living my own).  I’ve taken to listening to Andrew Johnson’s Deep Sleep app before bed (seriously – the BEST way to beat insomnia EVER, and if you’re a regular reader, you know how I suffer with this. This app is INCREDIBLE!), which is leading to a drastic improvement in my sleep every night. I don’t wake up looking like the Crypt Keeper anymore (hopefully)! Woohoo!!  I’m starting to make my way down the meditation road (not as difficult as I previously thought), and I’m slowly starting to feel more calm inside. After years and years (a lifetime?) of upset and turmoil and imbalance inside my head, I think things are finally starting to settle. Finally. Only took me 41 years! 😉


As well, I’ve embarked on a social media cleanse recently – no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram….nada. It’s been tough, but necessary, methinks. While I am really, really missing the news updates and the interaction, the quiet feels so good right now. I’m not sure if I will keep up with the Twitter and Instagram ban or not – but this time away has been good for me. I’ve been doing so much thinking, and reading, and writing, and contemplating, and….apparently, I had a lot to think about. I am famous for settling for most things in life, for accepting ‘good enough’ and trying to learn to be okay with that – but why? Why have I done that? Why have I not held on and waited for what it is that I really want? My selfishness is part of it, my need for instant gratification is another…and I’m quite possibly the most impatient mo’fo you’ve ever seen in your life. This has to end. I need to find what Louie said to Pamela up there…don’t we all? I want somebody to feel that they were brought into existence to know me – and, until that kind of thing happens, then I will just get comfortable on the couch alone. And that will be okay. :-)




In May, a graduating senior from my school presented me with a thank you card – with a letter inside. I appreciated the card so much – it’s rare that an 18 year old young man thanks you for the things that you did to help him through his school years. The letter was really something – it detailed his intention to embark on a Ulysses Bucketlist Quest…here are the details (NOTE: My student did not write this; he found it somewhere, and has used it as an inspiration for something that he wants to do):

When I was 15 years old, I ran away from home because I was pissed off at my parents for a reason I can’t remember. I didn’t have much money, so I decided to hop onto the skytrain(public transport train in British Columbia) and ride it as far as it would go. I reached the end of the line in less than an hour, and decided I wanted to ride it all the way back again, while trying to formulate some kind of plan of how I wanted to live the rest of my life without my parents or anyone. At the last stop, or the first stop depending on your perspective of it, a girl came on and sat in the row right behind me. I didn’t pay much attention to her at first, as I was busy writing my life plan on a napkin. It was a few minutes later that she got up and came sat next to me, curious as to what I was writing. I told her the story, and after a few laughs, we began talking about everything and anything. Her name was Amanda, 17 years old, and absolutely wonderful. She told me she was getting off at the last stop, which was also the first stop, depending on how you look at it. It was also the stop I had gotten on originally, and I told her we would ride to it together. The train ride took less than an hour, and what a wonderful hour indeed.
When the last stop did come, we both knew we probably wouldn’t see each other ever again(this was before the days of cellphones, and I was a shy little kid afraid to make moves). As we got to the end of the sidewalk which split in two different directions, she went right and I went left. Before saying goodbye she turned to me and asked me a question that has become a wonderful part of my life; she asked me, “Tell me something you have done, or want to do, that you think I should do? It can be anything, as challenging as you want it to be, or as easy. As long as you give me the rest of my life to complete it, I promise I will do it..” I was confused as to why, but I thought about it, and told her, “Sing a song acapella in a room full of strangers.” She said perfect and asked me if I would like a challenge as well. I told her I did, and she told me, “read, from start to finish, “Ulysses” by James Joyce.” I had never heard of it at the time, but I agreed, and we said our goodbyes.

I have a awful memory, and can’t remember most conversations I have with most people. But I remember all of that clearly. You know why? Because of the challenge she gave me. In the 12 years that have past since, I have tried to read that book in over 150 different sittings. Everytime I open my copy of the 780 page monster of a book, I always think of her, and I always think of that day. Ive never been sure if it was her intent or not, but she left her lasting memory on me with that challenge. I soon after learned what she did, was a completely wonderful and amazing thing for me. So I decided to keep it going. I’ve met a lot of strangers in my life; some that have become friends, and some, due to living in different time zones and whatnot, did not. I dont want to just have experiences and then let them go. I want to remember these meetings, and embrace the fact that they happened. So whenever I leave someone who has left an amazing impact of my life, I always make sure to add them to my Ulysses Bucket List. I ask them to give me a challenge, as difficult or as easy as they want it to be, and regardless of the fact that they have done it or not; simply something their heart has had wanted to do.
Some have been easy and fun; I met a man in India 9 years ago who told me to, for a week or a month, cook/buy twice as much food as I intend on eating, and give the other half to a stranger in need. I completed that mission 8 years ago, and thought about that man and the time we had all the way through. I met a girl on a cruise 6 years ago, who told me to jump into a body of water on a slightly cold day, without touching or feeling the temperature of the water first. I did that the very same year. I met a couple at an outdoor music festival a few years ago that told me to wear the most bizarre outfit imaginable and walk through a public place, completely oblivious to the fact that you aren’t looking normal. I did that task the very next day, at the same festival. Some have been difficult, to say the least: three guys I met in Amsterdam and smoked all night with, told me to go to a mall and give 10 strangers 10 presents. That one took a lot of courage, but I did it a year or so after I met them. It was nerve wracking, but at the same time exhilarating leaving my comfort zone. A girl I met on a plane told me to skydive; I’m still in the process of getting that done. A couple I met in Cali on the beach told me to tell the 5 people I hated the most, that I love them and respect them. That one was very difficult because of my stubbornness, but I’ve come close to completing that list many a times(still in the process, 2 more people to go).


And some things, have had an everlasting impact on my daily life. I met a girl at burning man, who told me that whenever I get mad at someone, walk away, sing my happy song in my head for 5 minutes, go back to the person I’m mad at with a calm heart and mind, and work things out. Ive made this my way of life. I once met a man at a gym in a hotel I was staying at, that told me “whenever your body and brain tells your that you are exhausted and done…use your heart instead and push out 2 more reps.” I’ve made this my motto when working out or working on any kind of strenuous exercise in which my body demands me to quit. I also use it while working on anything, and while studying. One of the best pieces of advice i’ve ever received.
There are many others that each brought joy to my life. There are still many tasks I have yet to accomplish, and every time I think of these tasks, I think of the people that gave them to me. It amazes me how well I remember all these people, while I can’t remember so many aspects of even yesterday. These experiences, not only do I take from them a “mission” or a “challenge”, I also take from them a memory of them that never fails to appear inside of my mind. I opened my Ulysses book for probably the 300th time yesterday, and read a few pages, which prompted me to share this story with you today. I’m in the final 30 pages of the book, also known as the most dreaded of the read(in the last 40 pages or so, James Joyce doesn’t use a single punctuation mark; no periods, no commas, no nothing; a straight 50 page run-on sentence).
I never saw Amanda after that day, nor do I know if she ever did get a chance to sing a song to a room full of strangers. But what I do know, is that she gave me a gift that has never once stopped giving. So wherever you may be, thank you for giving me the Ulysses Bucket List. And I swear I’ll finish it one day. My life advice? Simple: Create your own Ulysses bucket list.


Brilliant, right? I love this…and I loved the fact tht this wonderful young man asked most of his teachers for challenges, even though he was graduating, moving away to college far from home, and embarking on the crazy life challenge of starting over and building a new existence – he was asking the people who helped him in high school to help him move into the next phase of his life. Love that.  He received a number of AMAZING challenges – and I was agonizing over what to pick. This is what I came up with:

Do 3 random acts of kindness for complete strangers…and take a picture that represents what you did. Send those pictures to me as you do each act. As I receive your pictures, I will in turn do something kind for a stranger, and I will send you pictures of what I did. :)


Here are some of the other challenges that he received from our faculty:

Travel across a whole country by train with only a backpack by yourself.
Document your generation and the changes they will bring. Document the difference of today from what will become in our tomorrow.
Do a literary “pub-crawl” across Ireland.
Unless you are ill or it is an emergency, attend every class in college. Don’t skip just to skip.
Continue to pursue your passion of documenting your life through pictures and film. You will love looking at them in years to come; so will family and friends.
Do something genuinely kind for someone you severely dislike. Put thought and effort into it.
Climb Mount Fuji.
Do something nice for someone else at the detriment of your own self. Do it out of kindness.
Go to a foreign country for at least a week with no itinerary. Ask people you meet where to go, what to see and where to eat. Only do those things.
Take a genuinely meaningful photo with your child (or children) on each of their birthdays. Make it one you would want to frame.


I love the randomness of this list – and I love it even more that the underlying themes are travel and kindnedss. Clearly there are some great peeps working around this place! Anyway – the most exciting thing happened last week – I GOT MY FIRST PICTURE AND LETTER FROM HIM!!! He did his first random act of kindness – here’s what he sent me:

Now that I’m in Boston and settled in to school, I’ve finally had the chance to start working on some of the challenges I’ve been given. I completed part of your challenge today.

In downtown Boston, particularly near my campus there are a fair amount of homeless people, and it’s common to have someone approach you asking for money. This has happened to me a lot in the past month or two and typically I have nothing that I can offer, but today a man asked me for a dollar for food. Even though I had cash I offered to buy him a meal from Dunkin Donuts if he would meet me there at 5:30. He seemed like a really nice and genuine person so I wanted to do something to help. I arrived at the Dunkin Donuts at 5:20 and stayed until 5:45. He never came over, but the whole time I was there I could see him across the street asking for more money and buying cigarettes. I am fairly certain he could see me too, so instead of buying a meal for him I bought a meal for another homeless man who was sitting outside the Dunkin Donuts I was waiting at. I’ve seen him around a lot in the past few weeks and he has never asked for money, but he looked like he could use the help.

I have included in this email a photo of the items listed on the receipt from today. I didn’t include the prices because I don’t think this about the money spent. I hope to work more on your challenge over the next week or two.

Thank you again for giving me a challenge, I hope to make doing nice things at random a recurring part of my life.



I love this so much, this whole thing just makes my heart so super fuzzy that I can hardly stand it. LOVE!!! :-) I am so pleased that he understood that he got the point, that this wasn’t about the money, and I’m happy that he knows what truly matters: doing nice things for those around us. Now…what shall my first act of kindness be???! :-)I’m open to suggestions! Let’s make kindness a movement, okay? :-)


I LOVE THIS!!! :-)


Where the Boys Are


I don’t actually know where the boys are, but I can sure tell you where they aren’t: around smart women. Did you see this article in the news this week? Here’s an excerpt:
In general, most people like the idea of “dating up.” Isn’t it better to find someone more attractive, more successful and more intelligent than your (already wonderful) self? That depends. For men, the idea of dating someone more intelligent than themselves may actually be a turn-off.

A 2006 study found that men in a speed-dating environment found intelligence appealing unless they perceived their female date to be smarter than they. It’s hard to tell how generalizable these findings are, but it does beg the question: Even if a man says he wants a smart woman, is he actually attracted to one when she’s in front of him?

Researchers from the University at Buffalo, California Lutheran University and the University of Texas at Austin explored this question in their new study. During their preliminary survey, 86 percent of men reported that they would feel comfortable dating someone smarter than they. In a series of six experiments, the researchers put these claims to the test.

In the first version of the study, the researchers had 105 undergraduate men read a hypothetical scenario about a woman who scored better than them on a test, and then asked them to rate how romantically desirable that woman seemed. In the second, they had 151 undergraduate men take an intelligence test and then asked them if they’d like to meet the woman down the hall, who either scored better or worse than them on the test. Both of these studies found that when men imagined a hypothetical woman who was smarter than they, or only knew of the woman in an abstract sense, they were interested in meeting her and even dating her.

In the next two versions of the study, men interacted with a woman (who was in cahoots with the researchers) who either performed better or worse on an intelligence test than they did. After the participants met the woman, took the test while seated next to her and heard both of their scores read aloud, male participants were asked to move their chair across from the woman’s chair. They were then told to take a survey about their first impressions of the other — specifically, how attractive and desirable they found each other. The researchers looked at the distance between the two chairs as a measure of how attracted the man was to the woman.


Men who were partnered with a woman who scored higher on the intelligence test felt the need to physically distance themselves from her when moving their chairs. They also tended to rate her as less attractive and desirable to date than men who interacted with a woman who scored worse than they had.

The last two experiments got even more nuanced by looking at the way men rated their own masculinity. In the fifth version, men were either told there was a woman in the room next door, or they were seated face-to-face with a woman (again, in cahoots with the researchers). Participants and the woman shared basic information, like name, relationship status, age and year in school. They then took an intelligence test side-by-side and were told their scores aloud. The men were told that the woman either scored higher or lower than them on the test no matter how well they did. Finally, participants filled out a survey measuring how much they related to various stereotypically masculine qualities and how interested they were in the woman romantically.

The sixth and last version of the study repeated the procedure of the fifth, but the men in the study saw the woman for a few minutes in person at the beginning of the study (though they didn’t interact with her).

The Findings
The last two versions of the study found that men were less interested in dating and interacting with a smarter woman when she was face-to-face with them. However, in the fifth study, when she was “psychologically distant” (supposedly in the next room), there was no difference in men’s desire to date or interact with her no matter how well she scored on the test compared to them. In fact, the men who never saw the woman showed a “marginal tendency” to want to interact with a woman who was hypothetically smarter.

Overall, men were into hanging out with a smarter woman when they had yet to meet her, but they weren’t so excited to hang out with a living, breathing intelligent woman staring them in the face.

Men also felt less masculine when they were faced with a smarter woman sitting next to them than when they never saw said smarter woman.

The Takeaway
This study sheds light on one reason dating is so complicated: We don’t always know what we want, even if we think we do. This just happens to be a particularly depressing example.


It seems that, even if men say they want a smarter woman, when push comes to shove, they’re not so into women who threaten their own intelligence. As the researchers put it, their findings suggest that there are “conditions under which self-protective concerns may trump qualities of partners that seem desirable at a distance.” Translation: Men who blow off intelligent women might just be protecting their fragile masculine egos.

Of course, these findings don’t mean that all or even most men are threatened by smart women. This study just adds to decades of literature on gender dynamics which suggests that, as a whole, there are a lot of icky complications around confidence and power wrapped up in heterosexual attraction. More research needs to be done until there are any practical implications.

In the meantime, it’s probably not a bad idea for threatened men to do a little soul-searching and think about why they might be intimidated by smart women.


Unbe-freakin’-lievable. What is wrong with people – specifically men? I’m sure you’ve seen or experienced this in your life…haven’t we all? I think it is beyond pathetic when a man cannot accept the intelligence of the woman that he is with, and tries to build himself up by making her look small. What he should be doing is marvelling that someone as bright as she is picked his ass to be with – THAT should be the takeaway, not his raging insecurity. Disgusting.

It’s interesting that the men from the study claimed that they wanted a smart woman in their lives….how many times have I heard that line?  Yet, when push comes to shove, that wasn’t what they wanted at all. Why is that? Straight up insecurity? Sad. I love what the article above said, “Men who blow off intelligent women might just be protecting their fragile masculine egos.” Amen.

One final comment: to hell with the fragile masculine ego. Three cheers for smart women!!! :-)