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About Me

I’m a relative newcomer to the Big City, and while I’m hard at work teaching Art History, I wanted to become part of the larger community of the city that communicates online about their likes, dislikes, and opinions about EVERYTHING!! So, while not endorsing restaurants or stores for any profit or financial interest (really!), I’m just going to write when I find something that I want to share. And I hope you’ll decide to follow me and spread the good word. (Meaning – I’m going to try to only be positive about what I like, not tear down things I don’t care for.) Let’s lift up the small businesses and entrepreneurs who are working hard to make it here in New York.

Be yourself. Everybody else is taken. – Oscar Wilde


The King of Cups

King of Cups

This week’s Tarot Card is the King of Cups. This is a wise and generous man,  well-balanced and calm – especially in a crisis. So, while as always the meaning of a specific card changes depending upon where it appears in a spread, this King is usually indicative of a person (yourself or another) who is going to provide stability and leadership, either in a relationship, a work or vocational environment, or just to life in general as a mentor or guide. It may be a person who comes in and out of your life for a short period, just to influence that particular time or decision-making episode; or he may be a member of your family (extended or ‘just like a family’ friend).

When you have your Tarot card reading, it can be helpful to have a particular question in mind that you share with the reader. A general card reading can be insightful as well, illuminating things about your past and future and about the intentions of the people who surround you. Just remember that the cards change along with you, so every reading can be different – or the same cards may keep reappearing until a problem gets resolved and you move on to another phase in your life.

Try having your cards read. You may enjoy it!

Stop, and Be

ONan Book May 2019

I could excuse my lapse in writing here by saying, hey, I was busy just living my life, and that would be true. Or refer you to the third book in the series being written about the mishaps that seem to characterize my life in New York City, “Capturing the High Priestess,” which should be available on soon. That explains a lot about the crap that’s rained down since readers were left hanging after the shootout in New York Harbor on New Year’s Eve; I find that kind of “cliff-hanger” writing unconscionable, by the way; just a cheap ploy to make readers rise up and demand the next episode. (I suppose it worked for Dickens, but I digress.)

I am instead going to recommend this lovely book, by a lovely writer, Stewart O’Nan, late of Pittsburgh after quite a few years living in the Constitution State. (Wow, can we get to that later? The restoration and protection of our Constitution? Ooops, another digression. I seem to be having trouble focusing.)

Anyway, Mr. O’Nan writes these lovely, almost plot-less books that are slow and quiet but reveal so much about the truly important things in life. It make a reader want to stop and take a breath. Like, maybe a garden does contain the secret to happiness, and I’ve been missing it all this time. His books contain familiar characters (there are three in this group now: Henry and his wife Emily are each featured in their own way in “Emily, Alone” and “Wish You Were Here.”

Being alone is hard, yes. But the dance of a relationship is harder, I think. And working out the terms of a marriage, especially one that lasts for decades, is the ultimate challenge. Who you are at the beginning and how you change is inextricably meshed with your partner…for better or worse. Struggle, joy, stagnation, peace, compromise: so many words. But it’s the little things you do every day, together and apart, that make it add up to life.

I’m placing this piece in my “Art” category despite the fact that my colleagues will protest. But if we don’t consider literature as one of the arts, then there’s something wrong with the definition. So, here is a work of art, by Stewart O’Nan. Engineer by training, storyteller by vocation.


ID, Please

So I have this new laptop that is really nice, very hi-tech. I’m trying to get with the modern world, after years of resisting it. No, it’s not a Mac. I won’t bite that, those babies are too expensive for me, especially on the verge of unemployment – and I’d have to learn a whole new user system, right? No thanks. I did fall a bit into the rabbit hole and bought an iPhone. It took me a decade or so to catch up but I took the plunge. Mixing metaphors…and I couldn’t even turn the damnable thing on. It just kept saying hello to me. Yes, hello.

ANYWAY. I got someone to explain the “home” button and now I know how to use mostly everything. So I have this new Yoga thing and it also uses a lot of the same technology. Fingerprint reader to open etc. Except that it doesn’t always work. And then what?

Like, say you’ve got really dry hands, since this winter has been cold and dry and awful. So you put some hand cream on, and go to the laptop but it says, “Who the hell are you, with your greasy finger on my pristine surface?” Nope, you’re not getting in. No matter how much wiping and washing you do, you’re out. You can try again another day, sister, but unless you remember your passcode, you are not getting into this secure machine.

Passcode? I had a passcode? I have no recollection of that. Sure, the friendly Yoga says. We gave you many options. We’re not the bad guys. You must be a bad guy if you have the wrong fingerprint AND you don’t know the passcode. Try one more time, and we’ll electrocute you.

This never happened with my iPhone. So far.

I hope their anti-virus protection is this good, although there’s really nothing to steal, since I can’t get in to do anything on it yet. Maybe full-facial recognition would be better. But then again, I’ve seen my face in the morning.

It’s really ironic that my fingerprint won’t be read by the new laptop, because I tried to pull a fast one when I was questioned about a murder once and my prints were fuzzy. I told the cops that when I was training as a gymnast, we sandpapered our hands and that’s why my prints didn’t come out clearly. It wasn’t true. The Gypsy boys in Greenwich Village taught me to use it when I was learning how to pick pockets on the subways. No gymnastics there, just pure sleight of hand.

I’m going back to my 15-pound Toshiba. It’s always happy to see me, and carrying it around is good for my biceps. The Yoga looks classier, though, so I’ll keep trying it until my fingerprints reappear or I get electrocuted, whichever comes first.


A Frozen Celebration

It was National Margarita Day on Friday. Similar to Cinco de Mayo, most of the bars that have even a passing relationship to anything south of the border were filled with “lovers of the worm.” Ironic, isn’t it, given where our so-called leaders want to take our country?

But we were celebrating, not banging our collective heads against the wall and wondering when the inmates escaped the asylum… The first person who starts to talk politics or utters that hateful name has to pay for the next round. Keeps the company bearable.

I would argue strongly that one should stick with the traditional or “classic” recipe when ordering a margarita. Don’t get seduced by fancy ingredients or flashy names. Just make sure the bartender is using a good quality tequila, and you’ll be fine.

cocktail drink food frozen margarita

I personally like the frozen as opposed to on-the-rocks drink, despite my penchant for slurping too fast and getting the inevitable brain freeze YOWIE pain in the temple at least once but probably twice before I relax into a more ladylike sipping mode. In honor of the National celebration, I ordered a large drink (it was a tough week). I carefully checked for fish before beginning to enjoy the contents of my goldfish bowl. Yum!

Photo by Kim van Vuuren on

Only two months until Cinco de Mayo! Ole!

Bird & Stone

bird and stone braceletsI love these bracelets by the female-founded company Bird & Stone. Produced in the USA, each one is tied to a “cause” and a non-profit organization that receives proceeds from the sale. Aside from the fact that I love the politics behind every statement and cause they support, this is the kind of small business entrepreneurship that I want to support. The products are ethically manufactured, and their simple designs are elegant and powerful. And since I have a “nevertheless she persisted” sticker in my office, I practically hyperventilated while ordering my bracelet, which helps support Planned Parenthood of NYC.

Other issues addressed are women in politics, women’s health, girls’ education, poverty alleviation, stopping sexual violence, and climate change. I encourage you to check them out at

The Hanged Man

Or, All Shook Up.

Hsnged Man

So I helped out a friend yesterday by playing the part of “subject” for a couple of students learning how to do Reiki. In fifteen words or less, it’s the practice of moving energy around in the body to keep things in balance. (If you want to know more, please look it up.) I was  supine on the table, my eyes covered, and these two women were being instructed in how to approach a client, whether to touch or not, etc. There was hand-waving, occasionally someone would touch my arm or shoulder, and it was fine.

Then someone slipped her hands under my rib cage and the trouble began. I have been trying to get rid of a bad cough for over a month now, and the pain on my left side has gotten worse, not better, in the past few weeks. I don’t have pneumonia or pleurisy, but the pain in my chest persists. So, good for the newbie to pick up the bad energy there!

But bad for me that she had no idea how to smack it down and fix it. So, everything got worse last night: there was no sleeping, just coughing. Grrr.

As I got up from the table, that student told me that I had to let everything go; just release it and I’d feel much better. Okay, I thought. I’ve spent a month trying to cough up a lung, maybe I could try harder?

This morning, when I pulled a Tarot card for this blog it was the Hanged Man. All right. He’s an interesting character. Lots of ways to read him, hard to do it without some other cards to put him in a proper context. Hmmm. I looked in my Tarot Bible to see what it has to say about the guy: “The Hanged Man says that it’s time to let go of any emotional baggage…” Bingo!

He’s the card of contradiction – if you feel like taking a leap of faith, stay firmly on the ground and wait; Think you’ve met your love match? think again…Want to try a new job or a new city? Now’s not the time.

But in this instance – when you are actually ready to move into the future by letting go of the past – he turns up at exactly the right time. If you’ve been reading along with my latest adventures with my ex-whatever Yurgos and his mother Merina, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. And now my own family seems to have had a part in the betrayal! It’s just much!!

So that “diagnosis” of trouble and prescription of release was pretty much on the money,. Of course, like most everything else in life, following through is easier said than done. It may well be that it’s not the lungs or the ribs that need attention, but the heart that’s breaking inside.

[Check out Cassie’s newest tale in “Capturing the High Priestess,” available from and]

Close, and Closer


I’m interested in the art of Chuck Close. His early portraits are disarming, closely detailed examinations of individuals faces at such painstaking depth that nothing is left to the imagination. In fact, they are called “photorealism.” And then, in his later work, the grids take over, in which the faces are dissected into small pieces, almost as if they are viewed through water droplets: get too close, and they are just boxes of color; step away, and the face is there, with its unique detail and expression. How does he do that?

And why? Why a lifetime of dissecting faces, many of them over and over? Indeed, he spends a great deal of time painting his own face, over the years, as it changes and ages. It’s interesting to read that Close suffers from the neurological condition prosopagnosia, or face-blindness, which prevents him from recognizing faces. Irony.

There’s a much to study about the artist who spends his days painting parts of faces. He employs others to set up his grids, to do some of the painting: does that make the work any less his own? What about the other things people say about him, that he takes advantage of his students, perhaps harasses the assistants in his studio? Should we not look full-on at his work when these things have been said? If he sees one of his subjects on the street, does he recognize her? Does he “see” his subject at all, or just the inch he is painting at each moment?

Good, and Lazy, but Good for You


So this is how I get my produce these days. These cups are loaded with fruit, veggies, herbs, nuts, other stuff that I often don’t want to think about, and it’s all good for you. And it tastes good when you add some kind of milk to it (I add almond milk) and blend it. Yum, really. Sometime it’s a dark, lumpy green, and sometimes it’s a really offensive puce color. Like that Crayola color, burnt umber, that no one ever used. Often it looks nice, like raspberry or light green. But mostly it borders on the edges of the green family, because there’s always a leafy something in it. Kale, spinach, whatever makes us big and strong.

I do feel guilty, briefly, about getting these cups delivered, but only until I realize that without them, I wouldn’t be drinking these smoothies at all. I’d rarely buy the ingredients to make them so well-balanced, and throwing a banana and an apple in a blender with some protein powder and chia seeds in no way resembles these delightful drinks.

I also get my food in a box, so what can I say? No one ever taught me how to cook, and I understand that take-out seven days a week might be hazardous to one’s health. I do have to put the food in a pan and cook it, which is presenting a challenge, but so far I’ve only destroyed one pan and a couple of pot holders.

Try #Daily Harvest. They also have lattes and cookies. How could you go wrong?


When I was a child, people often asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I think they found it comical when I said that I wanted to be a college professor like my father. Har-dee-har-har. “Why, she’s a real cutie, Les,” they’d slap my dad on the back. “You’d better watch out – she’ll take your job someday soon.”

Yeah. As if.


Then, when I was older, we’d have to write essays about people we admired. Can you imagine kids today having to do that? I feel bad for them. I’m sure the selections would all be pop stars or actors. There was a time I wanted to be Gloria Steinem. And then Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Briefly, in college, I aspired to be Georgia O’Keeffe, but then I decided the lonely life of a painter was not for me. Or more accurately, a blunt instructor told me I’d never make a living as an artist, so I’d better look for something else to do where I had “actual talent.” He said that just before he told me I couldn’t major in Art, even though I’d taken all the prerequisites for three years. I’d have to start over in a new field.

Yeah. As if.


So I danced, for several years. I wasn’t bad. Not good enough to go on a stage, but I did read a lot about the prima ballerinas that one was supposed to admire. I really wanted to emulate Mikhail Baryshnikov – flying and jumping around with pure abandon. Not many roles for female dancers doing that, except where I ended up. In the circus.

Flying through the air on a trapeze is exhilarating – until I fell from 50 feet without a net. Landed on the clown car.

Back to the discussion of heroes and aspirations. Can a young man become an astronaut if that’s who he admires in grammar school? Sure, if he studies and has a passion (and aptitude) for the science required to achieve that goal. Right? But what if he wants to become rich and famous, like Justin Timberlake or Lebron James? Hard work and passion can get him to a certain point, but what are the odds that he could break into the music business and become a success, or be chosen to play for an NBA team? What I mean is, are those goals realistic? Not to be too judgmental – well, all right, I’m going there – but think about how many athletes and musicians are positive role models. If a kid aspires to be “just like Mike,” what exactly does that mean?

I’m trying to stay away from politics in this blog, but I think the childish, vindictive, and unstable occupant of the White House has done nothing but harm to the national psyche. What do we think its long-term effect is going to be on the youth who are taking it all in – the lying, the thuggish bullying, and the narcissism? I hope that no child chooses to write “When I grow up I want to be Just Like DT” (I won’t write out his name).

I hope they aspire to be much better people than that.

A Beautiful Thing

metrocardWhen I was a kid and my father would bring me into the city for a visit to a museum or to the theater, we’d take the train and then the subway, using those old tokens. I still have one or two somewhere, in the bottom of my coin bottle. I couldn’t get rid of them. Even though the MetroCards are wonderful conveniences (but they also have allowed the MTA to easily and substantially increase prices over the years), the tokens were cool.

I like to walk, when the weather is good. This is a perfect city for walking, except for the tourists. In the summer, it’s good, because lots of people leave. I had a car when I first moved here, but it met with an unfortunate combination of explosives and fire. So much for the combustion engine, eh? I use the subway when I have to go long distances, but that hardly happens, except for visiting Lincoln Center or MOMA.

When I was a child, my father let me figure out how many tokens we’d need for our trips to the city. We saw the Nutcracker, skated at Rockefeller Center (even though there was a better place in Princeton, it was still cool to go there at Christmas and skate near the tree), and went to dinner at the top of the World Trade Center once to celebrate some award I’d gotten. It still gives me a lump in the throat, what was lost there.

It’s a wonderful city. Not mine yet, but I hope it will be someday.