Are You a Pleasure Procrastinator?

According to this article in the New York Times, I am. Currently, I have unused gift cards for Target, Nordstrom, Macy's, Fleming's, Brewvies, and a facial at a local day spa. I even have one for a tattoo that my friends gave me for my 34th birthday (please don't do the math!). I've written about my problem before here.

I also have a bottle of my favorite champagne stored in my basement. Champagne doesn't get better with age, what the hell am I waiting for? Honestly, I don't know, but I think it has something to do with waiting for that perfect reason to celebrate. I wish I could tell you that a hoarded bottle of booze is the worst symptom of my disorder but sadly it's not. For nearly a decade I've been using a credit card to accrue miles for that perfect beach vacation. I have the miles now but still haven't planned the vacation!

I've always been this way. I opened my first savings account when I was thirteen and didn't make a single withdrawal until I bought a car after I turned sixteen and got my drivers license. I've thought this was my own little brand of crazy for years now but the New York Times article suggests that I'm not alone.

So, one of my New Year's resolutions will be to seize the day! I'm drinking that bubbly (maybe this weekend), laying out all those gift cards as a reminder to use them, and planning that long overdue vacation to a sunny place where cabana boys bring me cocktails. Please tell me that I'm not alone and that some of you do this too!

NY Street Art

I'm in love with the simplicity and creativity of Joshua Allen Harris's amazing street art. Wouldn't it be incredible to walk down the street just as one of these were coming to life?

Book Review: On Writing

On Writing On Writing by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've never read a Stephen King novel. A writer friend whose opinion I respect recommended this book to me. On Writing is divided into three parts. The first part is vignettes from King's life. While it was interesting and in some places quite moving, I was a bit confused while reading this section. I was expecting more information on the technical aspects of writing. My concerns were premature because the second part of the book was just that. I enjoyed reading about King's 'process'. Plus, his writing style seems doable. I've never really had aspirations to write a novel but after reading this book I'm feeling the urge to at least give fiction, maybe a short story, a shot. The final section of the book focuses on the auto vs pedestrian (King was the pedestrian) accident that happened in 1999 seriously injuring King and the influence that writing had on his recovery process.
I've not been converted to the horror/sci-fi genre but I do have a new found respect for King's writing and work ethic.

I've also recently discovered the King occasionally writes a witty column for Entertainment Weekly magazine (wipe that smirk off your face, I only get EW because of I bought a Sundance Film Festival package last year and the subscription was party of the deal).

View all my reviews >>


I've been trying to put together a Christmas post to wish you all a merry Christmas but I haven't been able to muster the will to do it. You see, Christmas Eve used to be my favorite holiday of the year, filled with family and friends. But, I lost all that when my marriage ended years ago, combined with some more recent bullshit family squabbles. Instead, it is now a day that I loathe with every fiber of my being. For years, I've been threatening to spend the following Christmas lying on the beach but each year I puss out. Next year may be the year. On the upside, less than five hours to go until its over.

Hallelujah Chorus

Tis the season and despite where you fall on the 'meaning of Christmas' spectrum one thing is for sure, music is an integral part of the holidays. Inspired by my friend Erin's post, I offer you this humorous take on my favorite song of the season. I was a choir geek in high school which given Glee's popularity makes me feel a bit less nerdy about that revelation. Every year, we performed the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. I still get goosebumps when I listen to it.

I've Been Saving This Little Gem For You

This song takes me back,way back to my dancing days at Maxim's. Back to the days when I was more likely to fall for a gay man than a straight man. Freeze! White!

Book Review: A Scandalous Life: The Biography of Jane Digsby

A Scandalous Life: The Biography of Jane Digby A Scandalous Life: The Biography of Jane Digby by Mary S. Lovell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars I was partway through 'A Scandalous Life' when I realized that the author also wrote 'Sound of Wings', the Amelia Earhart biography that I'd just finished. Like Amelia, Jane was a woman who lived her life beyond the cultural norms of her time. Born in 1807 into a wealthy British family, Jane defied marriage vows and family expectations with her behavior. Her beauty, charm, and sexual prowess were legendary. But, the part of the book that I found the most interesting was later in her life she moved to the middle east to be a sheik and traveled the desert extensively with him. The descriptions of traveling the desert on camel, living in tents was really quite remarkable. If you enjoy biographies, I'd recommend you pick this up. View all my reviews >>

"I realized that my favorite books about marriage — Calvin Trillan's “About Alice” and Joan Didion’s “Year of Magical Thinking” — included one spouse who was dead."

That is a quote from Elizabeth Weil's article 'Married (Happily) With Issues' in a recent New York Times magazine article. If you missed it, click here. Savor the article with a cup of coffee or wine, for it is long, but well worth the investment of your time. Weil's writing drew me in immediately with her sharp wit and humorous tales about her relationship. Plus, she quoted several of my favorite writers and their works. Writing like this inspires me.

A Dream Realized

Much like legions of others out there, I've longed to be a writer ever since I came to grips with the fact that I didn't possess the musical prowess to become a songwriting musician. My main problem was that despite my desire, I didn't dedicate much time to writing. Clearly, this is a problem for an aspiring writer, although one that seems relatively common.

I started this blog in order to make writing a regular part of my life. What started as a selfish exercise has become an enjoyable part of my life, more so than I could have initially imagined. The blog has also given me the confidence to dip my toe into the uncharted territory (for me) of freelance writing. I even embarked on a home improvement project this year to have an attractive and comfortable space dedicated to writing.

I don't know if all writers feel this way but when I put something out there, I feel quite vulnerable, exposed. It's getting easier as time passes and I become more practiced but there is always a slightly queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach when I do it.

I was recently given the opportunity to write an article for a local publication, Utah Stories. Today that article was published on their website (hard copies are also available in stands at local retailers). I wrote an article about Lamb's restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City. Lamb's has been an establishment on Main Street since 1939. It was a pleasure to meet the proprietor and hear his story. I hope I've done it justice. You can read the article here.

Favorite Blog Discovery of 2009

I have fallen head over heels in love with VeganDad's blog. Both of my kids are vegetarians and have been for a long time. I occasionally find that I'm lacking inspiration to put together meatless meals that truly are delicious. When this happens I just head over to VeganDad's blog. How does Crispy Cajun Chickpea Cakes sound? Delicious, right? He's also posted a bunch of Ethiopian recipes lately that I'm dying to try. I dare you to head over there and not find something that you'd like to try.

This Book Stuck with Me

Ayelet Waldman's Bad Mother is a brutally honest account of motherhood. What appealed to me most were the things she dared to say about motherhood which many mothers must feel and think but wouldn't say out loud. I wrote a post about the book last summer. Click here for the link.

Best Article of 2009

This one is a no-brainer for me. Mark Bittman's NY Times'article on 101 Simple Salads posted during the summer has become a mainstay of our dining repertoire. Here's the link. Bookmark, refer to it often, and enjoy!

p.s. Bittman has done similar lists for suppers, picnics and appetizers. I can't find a link for the appetizers. I seem to have only a hard copy of the article. I'll keep looking and update.

Sidewalk Bistro

One steamy night this past summer I had the most ridiculously wonderful dinner in New York City. As some of you know, my daughter moved to NYC in August to start graduate school. I traveled out there to make sure she got settled into her new apartment and provide some moral support. Actually, she didn't need the moral support, I did, but that's another story.

Ban made the trip east with me and since he'd never been to New York before I wanted to spend some time in the city, in addition to time on Long Island with family. We spent a glorious day walking, biking, and taking the subway all over Manhattan. I posted about our adventures here and here. But late that night, we ventured out on foot into the Hell's Kitchen area and walked around until we found somewhere that appealed. Being New York City, you can imagine how many delectable temptations faced us but one stuck out in particular.

It was a little French bistro with sidewalk seating. I can't remember the name. I even looked back through my credit card statements (Ban must have paid). But I do remember the steam coming up through the manhole cover, and the crisp, refreshing taste of the glass of champagne, and the creamy smooth texture of the mussels that we ate. I remember feeling simultaneously exhausted and exhilarated and promising one another that we'd be back for more explorations sooner rather than later.

Best of 2009 Challenge - Trip

Blogger and social media guru extraordinaire, Gwen Bell posed a challenge to bloggers yesterday on twitter. She outlined 31 days of blog topics which all involve some reflection upon the past year. I loved the idea and today is the first day of the challenge. So, here is a post about my best trip in 2009. This was tough because I took a few really fun trips but one stands out as a milestone in a year full of ups and downs.

The best trip of 2009 was my summer trip to Island Park with my son. One of my dearest friends owns a cabin up there and she and her daughter were planning to spend the week there at the end of July. We pretty much crashed their week by inviting ourselves up there on a whim. You can read about the trip here. However, there was more to the story that I wasn't able to write about at the time.

Earlier this year, Ryan experienced some serious health problems. It was the most terrifying experience of my life. I've never felt more helpless. We are very lucky that we have good health insurance and were able to get Ryan excellent medical care when he needed it. His path to recovery was steady but slow.

What made the trip to Island Park remarkable was how happy and healthy my son appeared that week.
He seemed like his old self for the first time in over six months. I kept watching him and found myself moved to tears on several occasions. I've always believed that this cabin is a magical place but this trip made my heart believe that everything was going to be alright after all.