Girl Talk, Life Lessons


No, I am not referring to World Wrestling Entertainment.  I’m talking about my girls, aka: the Women Who Eat.  The WWE, for short.  The four of us have been friends for about a hundred years – collectively speaking, that is – and were named by a long-forgotten boyfriend one night during a raucous and lavish dinner.

“I love these women!” he gushed.  “They eat.”

Truer words were never spoken…  We’ve gone to Tea at The Ritz.  Eaten Fenway Franks standing up.  We’ve been to Morton’s for steaks, and the North End for pasta.  We’ve sipped Malbec, toasted with Kir Royales, and indulged in a margarita or two.  PMS’ed on obscenely expensive and highly caloric cupcakes.  We’ve had breakfast for dinner, brought in take-out, and cooked for each other.

But who we are, and who we are to each other, goes way beyond our shared healthy appetite.  During our collective hundred years of friendship, we’ve celebrated weddings and babies, hosted showers, housewarming parties, and milestone birthdays.  No topic is off limits and the laughter is infectious whenever the WWE get together.

Over the years, there have been some dark times spent in hospital waiting rooms.  We’ve lifted each other up through illness, prayed for each other as well as for ailing parents.  Too many times, we’ve comforted each other through heartbreaking losses.


Our lives are complicated and we can’t get together as often as we’d like.  But we do our best.  Just last week, as the weather turned pleasantly warm, a flurry of late-afternoon emails and texts were exchanged.  We not only wanted to dine outdoors, we wanted to be near the ocean. The waitress was overburdened and the food was a long time coming.  But we didn’t mind.  Because the view of the harbor was breathtaking.  And we were together.

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Life Lessons

The Violet Hour

The violet hour.  That’s the phrase T.S. Eliot used in his poem The Waste Land to describe the end of the day.  But he wasn’t only describing the color of the sky at sunset, he was also evoking melancholy.  Eliot got the visual right – the sky is actually purple some evenings.  But I’m not buying into all of his sadness and gloom.  Because for me, the violet hour offers serenity, a respite from the fast-paced day.

sunset on the roofdeck

Singer/songwriter Carole King – now she got it right.  Her song Up on the Roof is one of James Taylor’s signature hits.  The notion that you can find solace and peace by climbing up to the roof might seem idealistic, romantic even.  A skeptic would ask: Who does this?  How high up does one have to climb?  Isn’t it dangerous? 

I’m not exactly sure how high up it is, but my roof deck sits atop a seven-story brick building, offering a 360-degree panoramic view of my city.  One of my neighbors goes up there at dawn with her first cup of coffee.  Another likes to sunbathe in the noon-time heat.  Me, I wait for the violet hour, when all of nature slows down.  It’s my favorite time of day.

How do you spend the violet hour?  Whatever you do, here’s a little mood music:

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Girl Talk, The Brownstone

Closet Space

Should I invest in a nanny-cam?  Maybe that’s extreme, but how else can I catch that mischievous little closet fairy in the act?  For years, she’s been subtly shrinking the dimensions of my one-and-only closet.

Walk In Closet of my dreamsLike most city-dwellers, I daydream of the perfect walk-in closet; however back in 1888, my brownstone apartment was designed with eleven-foot ceilings and no closets.  Years later, a tall but narrow closet was built into one of the bedroom walls.  So oddly shaped is this closet, I’ve yet to find an organizing system to fit.

Hangers touching, my garments weigh down a closet rod that’s starting to buckle.  My shoe boxes not only cover the closet floor, the extras are piled atop the sweater and hat boxes on the overhead shelf.  Not your typical closet, I need a six-foot wooden painter’s ladder to reach most of what’s stacked on that scary high shelf.  Like playing dominos – one false move and it all comes crashing down.  Over the years, I’ve been pelted with purses and stabbed with stiletto heels.

So cramped for closet space, I’ve guilted my mother into letting me keep off-season clothing in my childhood bedroom closet.  Having some of my apparel two-hundred miles away is unsettling, but it beats paying the neighborhood loan shark-dry cleaner to store my belongings off-site for an absurd monthly fee.

Last weekend, while in the midst of my seasonal closet switch-over, I found evidence of the closet fairy’s latest prank.  In addition to my clothing no longer fitting in the closet, some of my favorite garments actually shrunk during their winter hibernation!  the closet fairyI imagine the closet fairy hiding in a pocket, giggling as I lie on my bed struggling to zip up a colorful pair of summer Capri pants.

I give up.  It’s time to weed out.  Donate some of my gently used clothing.  Maybe that’s what the closet fairy intended all poppy

Life Lessons, Mothers and Daughers

Shades of Gray

My mom’s about to celebrate a birthday.  How old is she?  If you ask, she’ll gladly reveal her age.

Mom and me 1961

Married young, she had her children right away, so my mom was always the youngest of all my friends’ mothers.  However, she inherited the “prematurely gray” gene prevalent on her mother’s side of the family, and was coloring her hair by her mid-twenties.

Funny, now the young women that age are dyeing their hair “granny gray” to get the same look.

My mother remained patient as I, an indecisive teenager, was shopping in the junior department in Macy’s Herald Square.  The way the florescent lights caught the top of her head, my mother’s hair no longer looked dark brown, but a rather unnatural shade of olive green.

“Mom!” I gasped. “Your hair looks really strange.”

She peered into a mirror and blurted out, “EXPLETIVE! It’s oxidized!”

A few weeks later, instead of getting her roots touched up, she began wearing a wide headband to cover the gray.  Then she skipped a haircut.  There was a method to this madness, I just couldn’t figure out what it was.

When she finally went to the hairdresser, I accompanied her.  “Cut off all the dark brown, the red highlights, and that other color that defies a name!” she instructed her hairdresser.  “I don’t care how short it is.  I’m ready to be gray!”  Mind you, she was still only in her forties.

Luckily, it was the new wave 1980’s and short asymmetrical punk hair styles were in vogue.  Her new look was chic and dramatic.  She looked fabulous.  She still does.

The “prematurely gray” gene skipped over me.  But as soon as I graduated from a subtle sprinkling of “icicles” to looking as if I’d been house painting and doing a messy job of it, out came the bottle of hair dye.  Like any other addiction, it’s become a nasty habit.  Lately I’ve been thinking about quitting.

Birthday GirlMy mother has always been comfortable in her own skin.  She serves as a model for me on how to age gracefully.

Thanks Mom…

And Happy 77th Birthday!

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