Monday, December 31, 2012

Threat Vector by Tom Clancy

Well Tom Clancy does it again. His latest book, Threat Vector is a high powered, high energy techno-military thriller based upon real time military issues and probable upcoming threats. Yes, you have Jack Ryan, who is once again President of the United States. A President of integrity and grit, by the way. A President who we hope for, but is entirely fictional. Additionally, the rest of the book's protagonists include all those Clancy characters you also know and love from novels past. Tough. Honest. Patriotic. And, most of all kick-ass. Yet this novel is more about the next generation, Jack junior and his cadre. Super sleuths. Super spies. Heroes.

Here
The younger Ryan, and his entire generation of characters, is part of a group called The Campus. An off the books, black-ops organization. Basically doing things even Navy Seal Team 6 is forbidden to do. But like clockwork those amazing young Seals even make quite an appearance in this novel. You know the story is fiction, but deep down inside you also know that these young heroes have America's back and do their job well.

The international problem in this story is the Chinese. In all honesty anyone who has been watching and following along with the issues in the South China Sea isn't really surprised by this choice of topics. China's aggression and actions vis-a-vis America's allies in that part of the world is bordering on volatile. Their threat to block and/or control that all important South China Sea trade route has been an on-going problem for years and is only getting worse. It is not hard to see the war footing of Threat Vector turning into reality.

Then there is China's use of cyberwarfare.  The ability of clandestine organizations in the Chinese military to infiltrate and expose the USA's weaknesses when it comes to protecting our infrastructure, our military and our every aspect of our lives is very apparent. There are interesting real reports that appear periodically in papers across the USA,  about possible Chinese cyber attacks even on the Pentagon. Cyberwarfare is real and it is a growing concern. Not only for the USA but for every nation on the planet. What this novel shows is, if we are not careful there are ways our enemies can defeat us without firing one bullet.

As usual Tom Clancy is spot on with issues and real diplomatic problems facing our world. What is really refreshing in this novel is that someone, somewhere realized that the biggest threat to our nation is not some terrorist organization in the Middle East. But our biggest threat is the nation that is our banker. When you are in hock to those that hate you, and wish to supplant you as a leading world power,  alarm bells really need to go off.

Hopefully someone in Washington is listening. not sure they are in the White House. Yet maybe a national security wonk is listening in the bowels of the Pentagon. Well listening until we get a SecDef who thinks Neville Chamberlain was a great statesman, appeasing our enemies is the way to deal with evil or that the USA is the problem in the world, instead of freedom denying oligarchical tyrannies or fascist theocratic states.

In the meantime read this new book. You definitely won't be able to put it down. Unfortunately, afterwards, you might not be able to sleep so soundly either.




Qi en Pace,


Elise

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yes, I am Having Shoe Envy

Here is a look at my latest shoe-want..not that I am going to buy it. Have no where to wear it and well don't actually have a spare $1000 laying around. So ogling the picture will have to suffice for now.

Yes, of course,  they're  Louboutin's  (READ HERE)

BUY HERE

OK for those who don't like the rosy color (even though the website calls it nude),  they also come in gold....


Qi en Pace,



Elise



Book Review: Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

BUY HERE
Are you a fan of the TV show Rizzoli and Isles? Well I am. I actually am ashamed to admit this, but I didn't realize the show was a mash-up of a book series by author Tess Gerritsen. Now I say mash-up because a few things have been changed for the TV series, but not much. Anyway I decided since I had watched every episode of the show I could just wade into her latest book. Actually you can, all you need to do is give a few background allusions a leap of faith. Not to worry it has no effect on the plot of this novel.

Here you find our heroines knee deep in trouble once again. There are mass murders, family intrigue and international espionage. There is police politics and underworld shenanigans. There is the good old fashioned Rizzoli family drama along  with the "nerd heaven" of the coroner's office.

This book, like the television show, is fun. Something not too serious, with highly intelligent super-heroines that solve unreal crimes, but have all too human problems.

And yes, aspergers even appears in this novel too....now that was completely unexpected but considering the focus on autism lately I wasn't totally surprised.

UPDATE on KINDLE FIRE:

Interestingly this is the first time, I used my Kindle Fire to read a novel. I have to say that I do tend to enjoy holding a book. Reading for me is not only about the words on the page but it is tactile as well. Now I had purchased a Kindle Fire in the mistaken belief that it was as useful as an iPad; wanted to conjoin the ease of an e-reader and a mini-tablet. Nope its really is not, but hey you live and learn. It does not have as much storage space as the iPad and I really don't like the Android platform. Anyway I had purchased Last to Die as soon as the Kindle arrived. Yep it took me months to get down to reading it.  (This is probably why) The Kindle part of the Fire is not bad. Honestly if I was going on a major trip its much better than lugging a huge and heavy book with me, but something still gets lost in the translation.

My recommendation: buy an iPad (yes Apple has a kindle app but it isn't really good for long term reading) and a basic kindle. That will keep you very happy wherever you go.

Qi en Pace,


Elise

PS: I tend to link to Amazon, simply because I am an Amazon Prime member. I get no kick backs for you clicking on the link above. I am certain you can find this book on Barnes and Noble or at any other book seller too.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cookies for Cancer

Love to bake cookies. It's that time of year....Christmas cookie season. While you bake help raise money to fight pediatric cancer.

For those that don't like to bake or have no baking talent (me) you can also create a virtual cookie jar over at GLAD.

Cookies for Cancer
Cookie for Cancer GLAD promotion
Cookies for Cancer Facebook Page


Remember, while baking that sweet comfort food everyone of us enjoys, you could also be saving the life of a child.

Qi en Pace,


Elise


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Million Dollar Rooms

Here is a show that will make your materialistic dreams come to the surface. Yes, this stuff is way over the materialistic top. And yes probably in really bad taste during a recession  with so many people out of work. But seriously these rooms are the stuff of fantasy.  From kitchen and baths, to play rooms, media rooms, dining rooms, living areas, foyers, even garages, the owners of these homes spent at least One Million dollars on each of these rooms. Here's a house called Chateau D'or..or House of Gold....




Go to the main webpage HERE and clink on all the links to see other episodes.


Qi en Pace,


Elise

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

To Gel or Not to Gel....Manicure Wars?

From the Wall Street Journal....

The Manicure Arms Race 

Promising Women No Chips for Weeks, Gel Manicures Shake Up a $1 Billion Ritual

 
I really like my gel manicures. They keep my nails looking nice no matter what I do: clean my house,take care of my children or my dogs. My hands always look well groomed and I feel like a lady. I chose a french manicure because my nails always look refreshed. Not a big fan of nail color. But I do like a Christmas-red pedicure.

 

ENJOY!

Qi en Pace,

 

Elise 

P.S. All above pictures from the WSJ article.

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Charm

For those that don't know my father past away unexpectedly last August at the age of 78. My parents were married 53 years.

52 year ago this past September, my father bought a present for my mother celebrating the day I was born. It was a heart shaped charm for her charm bracelet. I now wear it around my neck, in memory of their love.

We go through our lives knowing that at some point we will bury our parents. But when faced with this reality it hits us like an avalanche. But it also gives us pause. A major life milestone allows us to review and examine our lives, where we have been and where we want to go.

Psychologists say it takes a good year to fully recover from the loss of a loved one. I know many who never get over the passing of a parent, you simply learn to live with that void in your life.

I do like to think that there had to be some meaning in my father's passing. Perhaps the boys needed another guardian angel in heaven. Somewhere, there at God's elbow, my father is whispering how my children need special care, guidance and support. I told my mother that that is the only reason I can think of why my father died so young. There is no other rational reason.

A Righteous Man...My Father
The Jewish Days of Awe, Death of a Parent, and a Conundrum of Conscience

Qi en Pace,


Elise

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Run 10 Feed 10..Help the Hungry in the USA

The Feed Foundation the organization created by Lauren Bush-Lauren to help feed the hungry in Africa, has a new program to help feed the hungry in America, Run10Feed10. If a child does not eat properly, they cannot learn. If they cannot learn they cannot become all that they are entitled to become. Our nation may be in trouble economically, but we are still the wealthiest and freest people in the history of humankind. It is a sin that anyone goes to bed hungry in this country. It is time to help.

You can start a team to raise money, or run on your own. You can see who is running in your City and just donate to a strangers team or donate directly to Run10Feed10. HERE  Or if you want you can also buy some really cute gear.

3/4 sleeve T



baseball jersey


coffee cup

Of course you can always go to the original Feed Foundation and donate to their many different programs as well HERE. Or you can purchase some bags (you knew there would be handbags involved here somehow right...) at Feed Projects.


provide 50 meals to hungry Americans



Tory Burch Feed Bag




Or go HERE for all items that can help someone else....


Yes, I have a bag from years ago.....it holds my knitting.


Qi en Pace,



Elise

Monday, September 10, 2012

My New Fall Handbag Obsession

Phillip Lim 3.1 Pashli Flap Satchel in fushia

I love the color of this bag. I feel happy just looking at it.

What annoys me a little bit though is that the design is definitely a knock-off of the much more expensive Celine Luggage bag......I don't like copy-cats but then again if the design works why not remake it in several images for everyone?

Celine Luggage Tote

Not sure how plagiarism comes into play here. But I do know that the "red sole" is now exclusive to Louboutin shoes...


Honestly I leave it to the fashion world to figure out the legal contretemps...I'll just content myself with looking at these very very very pretty life-catchers. Yeah a backpack can carry all your junk too, but sorry its really not the same thing.......

North Face









Qi en Pace,



Elise

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My New Tech Obsession:My Kindle Fire

Yes, I have been AWOL for the last month. Apart from the fact that I really didn't have much new fun things to talk about, my father passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago and its been quite the roller coaster ride. I was in Florida with my mother for ten days before I had to leave to come home to my own family. It was hard to leave her, but I had no choice. She understood that. I understood that, but it doesn't make it any easier. I have to say though thank heaven for technology.

Since my mother now lives alone in Florida I gave her my iPad, so she can facetime chat with us while we are away from her. It's important that we be able to not only hear her voice, but to have eyes on her as well. We need to make sure she is eating and going out and taking care of herself. So before she left as well,  brilliant-computer-sis had her all set up and on the iPad and her computer. My problem now was that  I still needed a new tablet.

In all honesty I didn't want to buy a new iPad. Not because I don't love Apple products. Everything I have is made by Apple. (iPads are a little pricey right now too) In all honesty, I had begun to read on the Kindle app. So I had thought about buying a generic kindle before I had given up my iPad anyway. But then I looked at the Kindle Fire and decided that I would buy that one instead. What pushed me over to the Fire was that fact that it streamed movies from amazon. We are a huge amazon prime movie family.

Click HERE for the Tour


Well unbeknownst to me (probably because I don't pay attention since the Kindle Fire page talks about all its benefits) not only does the Fire stream movies and TV shows, but since it is an android platform it has all the android apps. Yep every app I had had on my iPad (including my optimum TV app) I could now redownload onto the Fire, plus all the books, magazines and games I used to play.

Yes, unlike the iPad there is no phone access. So if you do not have wifi you can't use the download feature of the Fire. However, I never used the phone part of the iPad (it had been a gift from brilliant-computer-sis when she bought her new iPad, and she had bought it originally with phone capability), only the wifi access anyway. Besides wherever you go in today's day and age, you generally have wifi. Plus when you download books, magazines and movies it is in the Fire's memory until you delete everything. So for the most part you really don't need the 4G access.

Oh and the Fire also gets my email as well. ...Its web accessible too, so I don't have to give up my twitter and facebook addiction. Yes I know I have my phone to help me along with everything but the Fire is just a little bigger so it makes typing and reading just a little easier.

Did I mention its 7" by 3"s. Fits comfortably in my handbag and I even bought a cute hotpink cover for it.

Yes. I made myself happy.

Oh and don't worry I can still facetime with my mom on my iPhone or on my Mac.....


Qi en Pace,



Elise

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Latest Book Adventure

One of the scholarly pursuits I enjoy is arguing Constitutional law. Yeah I am a big law geek. Can't help myself. So it should come as no surprise that everytime a Supreme Court Justice writes a book I read it, well with exception of anything written by Justice Thomas. He may be on the Supreme Court but I still remember the Anita Hill hearings and I won't give that man one more penny of my money than which of my tax dollars happens to pay his salary.



Meanwhile, I have read everything byJustice Sandra Day O'Connor and Justice Stephen Breyer. Recently Justice Antonin Scalia came out with a new book all about how to read and analyze law, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts.

It is a look into the mind of one of our most prolific and "conservative"  justices. He dissects the different ways to interpret law and breaks everything down into succinct blocks. It looks like its going to be an interesting read...Yes I said looks like. Something tells me this book is going to take awhile to read through and absorb, which is fine. It's well over 600 pages

For example, the preface of the book opens up with a quote from Justice John Marshall...

"Where the mind labours to discover the design of the legislature, it seizes everything from which aid can be derived; and in such case the title claims a degree of notice, and will have its due share of consideration."

Well at that point my brain began to hurt and I had to put the book down for a minute or two....yeah its going to take more than an afternoon to get through this book. But I am always up for a challenge and hey I might even learn something along the way.

Here is Scalia as he appeared last weekend on Fox News Sunday.




Qi en Pace,


Elise

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Review: Judgment Call

I know, I have been on a reading riff lately. It just so happens that many of my favorite authors have released their summertime books all within weeks of each other. The latest good read is by J.A. Jance, Judgment Call.

Jance writes the Sheriff Joanna Brady series. Her latest novel  finds our heroine, the twice elected sheriff of a small town in Arizona, facing a rather puzzling murder mystery. The victim, the highschool principal, seems to live the life of a nun. A semi-nun, by the way, who never goes on line, has no email and never heard of social media. A woman who has no known family, no known friends and no known acquaintances outside of her job. To make matters even more frustrating it seems that Joanna's daughter is caught up in some typical highschool drama, which actually gets in the way of solving the homicide. In the meantime, Joanna also learns about a long ago death, that has implications for her, her family and several prominent people in her very small town.

Yes I like this series because the hero is a woman. A strong woman, who obviously has a supportive spouse, teenage daughter issues and a rambunctious toddler thrown into the mix. In other words, the character lives a real life. And as a true modern woman, she has learned that she can't have it all, but what she does have, she appreciates. She is also that law enforcement officer who  excels at doing the right thing. Something we all aspire to.

You can go back to the beginning of the series and enjoy the character developments; the love triangles; the parent-child relationships; the town upheavals and politics. Or you can dive right into this latest novel. Happily Jance writes her stories so people can understand her characters without needing to delve into their literary past. But make no mistake if you choose to start at the very beginning it will definitely be a worthwhile dalliance.

Qi en Pace,


Elise



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Needlepoints and Creating Treasures

I used to frequent the needlepoint store in my hometown. I loved their canvasses and the fact that they used old fashioned yarn for their projects. I was truly at a loss when they closed up shop and moved to the hinter lands of Connecticut. I then went on line and found the Elizabeth Bradley website and created numerous pillows out of her beautiful canvasses. I had wanted to create one of her "rugs" but unfortunately everything got truly messed up. I ended up throwing the project away....I know cringe....but sometimes I get so frustrated that is truly my response. Not proud of that...but there you are.

Rose Canvas

After that sad episode, I decided to try my hand at knitting. And as anyone who knows me knows, when I put myself into something I practice and work at the craft until I get it right. So for years I knitted and created: hats, socks, sweaters, coats, scarves, blankets, layette sets, etc. You name it, I knitted it. Both for my family, my parents, for Project Linus, Soldiers Angels and Operation Gratitude. Recently though, I have had enough.

I had bought yarn with the idea that I would knit a layette for a friend and I just couldn't do it..I looked at that yarn and felt nauseous. I told her to let me know where she was registered and I would buy the baby something they wanted instead. She didn't mind. Honestly she might have even been happier, since I took something off their "need" list.

Happily, I just sent the yarn off to Operation Gratitude so others could knit scarves for our service personnel. But I have gotten bored. Yes I have been reading alot....Yes I like to write and have three blogs now. This one, my autism blog and a political blog (warning if you read it, it is center right on foreign affairs and pretty liberal on social issues). Still something was missing....I needed another type of creativity to keep me happy.

So I have returned to needlepoint. I found this terrific website called NeedlepointUS. They have the most wonderful tapestries from Europe with every theme imaginable. They use a different wool then I had been used to, but I am learning how to sew with it and the projects look really nice.

Actually I now have two projects that I am working on. I initially was very ambitious and bought a wall hanging of the Lady and the Unicorn. It has proven rather unwieldy and frustration did set in. However, I held my own and didn't throw this canvas out. I have packed it away for another day. In speaking to the website's owner, she implored me not to toss it and that if I had real problems they have people that would finish or fix it for me.....I am going to wait, stay calm, and maybe once I finish a smaller piece I will return to this overambitious project.

I wanted a light hearted canvas.  I bought something bright, sunny and fun. I chose a smaller albeit not tiny  picture with beautiful colors that is a reminder of spring. Here is what I have begun....


Vase de Fleur



This is what is waiting for me in the wings......



The Lady and the Unicorn


I see busy fingers in the years to come.


Qi en Pace,


Elise

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: The Fallen Angel


For those that love espionage, mysteries and international politics thrown into the mix, the latest by Daniel Silva is a great read. The next installment  in  Silva's Gabriel Allon series, The Fallen Angel, does not disappoint. Allon is oft compared to another fictional hero, the incomparable Jack Bauer of 24 fame. Meanwhile for Silva fans, there is also a Gabriel Allon movie in the works.



In this latest installment,  our Israeli-super-spy is thrown into the middle of a possible Vatican scandal. This seemingly isolated incident ends up taking Allon on a ride from Catholic politics to stolen antiquities, to funding of Hezbollah terrorists. Along the way Allon once again stops numerous terror attacks, kidnaps an Iranian terror mastermind and brings down an arch international criminal enterprise. All done to the backdrop of gorgeous European vistas and the world's holiest sites.

Hezbollah rally in Beirut
One of the more intriguing aspects of Mr. Silva's works is how he mixes real fact to make his stories seem to jump right out of the news pages. In this episode he brings in the latest struggle between Jews and Palestinians....historical reality. He discusses not only the advent of Holocaust denial by the Arab world, but the latest attempt to delegitimize the Jewish State with the  ignoble ignorance of Temple denial. The new and rather insulting move by the Arab and Moslem world to deny that the Temple of Solomon ever existed and that the Jews have no claim to Jerusalem.  It is why archeological digs are so important. These sites prove beyond a doubt that  David's City actually existed and that the Jews are  indigenous to the area. It is as one of the characters describe so eloquently "a new form of war."


What the reader also learns about in this novel is the extent of the criminal corporation known as Hezbollah. Silva takes his readers on a journey into the underbelly of terror funding and how the European continent is ground zero. We learn about the extent of  the Iranian terror network and the easy with which they operate. 
 
It is one thing to read about terror and the Iranian connection in a novel. It is quite another issue to have your novel come to life. Yesterday, Iranian operatives blew up a bus full of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. Weeks earlier Hezbollah operatives had been arrested planning terror incidents against Jews and Israelis throughout the EU. Yesterday was also the anniversary of the bombing of the Buenos Ares Jewish Center which killed over 90 people. Argentine investigators linked that bombing directly to Iran.


I have to admit, it is very disconcerting when a novel comes to life. It is odd to juxtapose make-believe and the news. I had to keep reminding myself which story is fake and which is real...It is indeed off-putting when the two worlds meld together, especially when the stories are about hate and evil. Yet the reality is what people need to understand. In many ways this novel is a good lesson for the reader. While we may want to escape and read about inane and foolish things, we know deep down inside that a shadowy world exists. It is those few brave souls that inhabit this world of specters that truly stands between us, evil and oblivion. 


This is the world of Gabriel Allon. He is a fictional character dedicated to protecting freedom and liberty and the lives of the innocent.  But in the back of your mind you know that there are real life Allons, as there are real life Jack Bauers, out there. And yes sadly, as we see, they cannot be perfect all the time. All they can really do is their best. To them I want to say thank you. It's the least they deserve.





Qi en Pace,




Elise

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Prada and Schiaparelli Together At Last

Evening jacket 1937


 I admit it, I am late to this exhibit. ...

If you are in New York City, go right over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is a terrific exhibit by the Costume Institute. They take two icons of fashion, Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada,  and juxtapose some of their most famous creations. It is very interesting to see just how much "new" fashion plays off the classics. Honestly I found myself loving the Schiaparelli clothes alot more than Prada..however, there was this one flapper style dress by Muccia that was just magnificent. (The purple dress below.)






From the Met

One of the more enchanting parts of the exhibit was how the two designers discuss their fashion philosophies. Of course you couldn't have Schiaparelli actually partake, since she passed away in 1973, but they had the incomparable Judy Davis play her in the vignettes.

Then for those who love true extravagance and artistic flair in their clothes be prepared, because the exhibit was actually staged by Baz Luhrman of Moulin Rouge fame ....



and the upcoming remake of The Great Gatsby.




The exhibit is available for one more month, until August 19.

Qi en Pace,



Elise

Yeah I came home with the book of the exhibit and the refrigerator magnets too...couldn't help myself.




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review: Night Watch

I just finished the latest book by Linda Fairstein called Night WatchThe title is a play on a very famous painting by Rembrandt. Ms. Fairstein specializes in high crime murder mysteries that brings in interesting historical and social details. Once again, she did not disappoint.

Her female protagonist, Alex Cooper, is a top notch assistant district attorney for Manhattan. Her specialty is sex crimes. The expertise that Alex shows is the real life expertise of the author. Ms. Fairstein started the sex crimes unit at the Manhattan district attorneys office, which became the prototype for these departments nationwide. (Some of us are old enough to remember a criminal justice system devoid of Ms. Fairstein's innovations.) So the court scenes, the crimes, the law and how the DA deals with victims and perpetrators is staight from true life.

This particular addition to the Alex Cooper series takes place on two continents. You begin in the south of France, where of course Alex ends up in the middle of a murder mystery; to Manhattan Island where the possible future President of France is drawn into high profile sex crime (sound familiar? Think DSK.); to the new age of drug smuggling, which by the way, has nothing to do with South and Latin America.  The legal machinations, tabloid exploitation and political expediency of the event is laid out clearly for the reader. The time and effort the lawyers, police and forensic experts take in caring for the victim, while trying to elicit the truth of the matter, makes you feel comfortable that our legal system really does work and is staffed by descent and honest people. Fairstein takes you on an interesting journey.

What is also thought provoking,  is how she resolves the outcome of the alleged rape. This, of course, leads you to believe that this is probably why DSK was sent back to France, instead of living out his life in a maximum security prison in New York State. Certainly you could assume it is all conjecture on her part. It is afterall a novel. Yet having been a prosecutor for decades, the author has an idea of what may or may not inhibit a case's presentation in a courtroom.

The other entertaining aspect of her novels are the historical details, including a slice of life that you would never think about. In this case it is the "star-rated" restaurant business. She takes you into the highly competitive and driven orbit of the world's gourmands, all of whom require perfection in their food, drink, atmosphere and experience. Furthermore, you are brought into the era of  prohibition's rapscallions, learning the secret effect this period had on the NY restaurant industry. Needlesstosay, as a self-proclaimed history buff, I found this all quite alot of fun.

If you are looking for a quick paced exciting story, one that will keep you guessing to the end, I recommend this book as the perfect summer novel. Actually, I read it in one afternoon...just couldn't put it down.


Qi en Pace,



Elise






Tuesday, July 10, 2012

3-D Sidewalk Art


This is a picture from the first International 3-D Pavement Drawing Festival in Israel. Read about it HERE.

You have to look real close to see what is actually going on. I was taken aback for a moment until I realized that the entire picture is really one dimensional. It's just amazing.....


Qi en Pace,


Elise


Feel Good Film of the Day: Baby Pandas at Play



Thank Brilliant-computer-sis for this one. She sent it to cheer me up....me being ear-infection-grumpy-person.

Yeah it worked.

Qi en Pace,


Elise

Ear Infections Are No Fun Especially When the Doctor is an Ass

Oh,  I came down with an ear infection last week. Pain... OMG.

I called my doctors office.

The receptionist asked which one of my docs was my regular physician. I told her. Oh he wasn't on call that day. Well I can see anyone I told her. She told me to hold. She came back on the phone, apparently after speaking to the office manager or the doctor on duty and told me...

They had no room for me and was sending me to urgent care instead or I could wait until tomorrow to see a different doctor. Excuse me? You tell a longtime patient that the doctor can't see you even if you are in pain. That you can go run around looking for a place in another town half an hour away or wait another day to see one of their doctors.....remember the operative word here  is "ear pain"....oh no I don't think so...

The receptionist said if "I didn't know which I wanted I could always call back once I made up my mind."

I told her that she can rest assured "I wasn't going to fucking ever call back"...Yeah not the best way to handle the situation but you know pain is pain and tough nuts to this unfeeling bitch...

I kept hearing her say...."excuse me...excuse me"... as I hung up the phone.

Hubby did offer to take me to the emergency room of our local hospital at that point.

However, before sitting for five hours in the emergency room I decided I would call the boys' pediatrician and asked if they could recommend someone for me. (They are part of this huge doctor group that includes all disciplines of medicine.) Got a name. Called.

Lo and behold they were able to fit me in and had someone see me. Yes I had to wait 1 and 1/2 hours, but they didn't turn me away. They didn't know who I was. They had no record of me. But they heard I was in pain and they found a place for me.

Once in the patient room, the visit took all of five minutes. (Too bad the old doctor didn't have the time....shmucks.)

Doc looked in my ear. Yep big infection. I told her what antibiotics work best for me. She wrote the prescription. I shook her hand and told her it was nice to meet her.

She is now my new doctor.

Do doctors not understand that customer service is important and helping people is their job?

By the way, this is not the first time I had issues lately with this office. This is just the last straw.


Qi en Pace,


Elise




Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cinderella's Glass Slipper Goes Couture

Louboutin does it again...taking an iconic fairytale image and turning it into  the must have shoe of the season. Only 20 pairs will ever exist. Can you just imagine the shoeaholics scrambling to be one of the "chosen ones"?

The Cinderella shoes are covered in lace and Swarovski-crystals to create an illusion of transparency.



Qi en Pace,


Elise

Positive Tweet or Post Day

I have come to the realization that so much that we put on social media is very negative. I know that we use twitter and facebook and our blogs to vent. It quite frankly is what keeps us mentally healthy at times. But I think there comes a time when you overload on negativity too. So I have declared today, at least for me #positivetweet and #positivepost day. Here are some of my latest....













And here's just one from my political profile...




I also find that people become bogged down by the challenges of our differences instead of how our differences make this a better world.







Think up some positive tweets of your own and share them with everyone. Spread the positive energy.

Qi en Pace,


Elise

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Good Luck Charms and a Birthday Wish for the USA

I admit it I am superstitious. Not the superstitious where you are afraid to break a mirror, have a black cat cross your path or walk under a ladder. Well the ladder issue is not superstitious that's just being cautious. Let's talk reality here, do you want crap falling on your head from whatever the handymen are working on when they are standing on a ladder? No I didn't think so...

Anyway, as you walk into my house you are greeted with things that I think bring luck into our abode...My version of Feng Shui.

You are greeted with a mezuzah on my front door. Jewish households are commanded to remind themselves of God's presence..inside you will find a portion of Deuteronomy....handwritten according to religious law as outlined in the Torah.

This mezuzah is made out of Jerusalem stone. It is a replica of one of the Gates of the Old City.

Then you will see the following items in my foyer:

Tree-of-life Hanukkah menorah. The tree of life is another name for the Torah. What Christians call the Old Testament.



Hamsa... the crystal engraving ..also known as a "Yad or Hand of God." The blue stones are from Turkey (a present from a friend). They too are Hamsas. The blue is meant to keep the evil eye away. If you travel through Arab countries you will find that many of their doorways are painted blue as well. The Crusaders by the way were characterized by blue-eyes. You do the math.



Chinese-Lucky bamboo. I have had this plant for almost six years now. So far so good.....




This is my Ketubah- my Jewish marriage certificate. The words used in the Ketubah are thousands of years old. While many in today's day and age choose to write their own Ketubah with a more modern imprint, we chose to go the traditional route. Actually the ketubah is the first known written document outlining a women's rights in marriage. It is actually the first object in direct line of sight when you open the frontdoor. By the way, it sits next to hubby's chair.




But ultimately the absolute first thing you notice when you come to my front stoop is this......





People need to be reminded just how lucky they are to be free and once in a while it wouldn't hurt to remember the price that has been paid for that freedom too.







 By the way...HAPPY BIRTHDAY USA....forever may you be that shining light upon the hill....




Qi en Pace,



Elise



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review: The Columbus Affair




The Columbus Affair is the new mystery by Steve Berry. I picked up the book in the morning yesterday and finished it at 8pm last night. It was a fun, fast paced read surrounding the question of Christopher Columbus and Jewish history. OK, so how are these two ideas juxtaposed?

Well let me start at the beginning and why this book premise intrigued me. Forty years ago I read a book called Americans All. (No longer in print) It was stories of Jewish-Americans who had made significant contributions to the United States of America over our 400 year history. For an eleven-year-old who was the only Jewish child in her school that book was an amazing find. Now one of the stories was about Christopher Columbus.

The theory postulated that Columbus was a converso, or a secret Jew, who had been forced to convert to Catholicism during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. The book outlined how Columbus never referred to the New testament, the stain-glassed window in his cabin was a picture of a Star of David and in his journal the night before he sailed he referenced the expulsion of the Jews of Spain. Also the people that financed his voyage was not the King and Queen of Spain but other conversos who were looking for a safe-harbor for the Jewish community and his first mate was also another secret Jew who was fluent in Hebrew and Arabic. Interestingly as well, unlike what Hollywood told you, there was no Priest on board any of his ships. Very odd for it was the time of the Inquisition.

Now, as a child, and so unbelievably proud, I went up to the teacher to tell her what I had just read. In true ignorant and intolerant fashion instead of telling me that I should look into a little more or allowing me to feel proud of my discovery, the teacher ridiculed me in front of the entire class. Making fun of my book, my theories and the entire idea I presented. Her closing argument to me was "You believe what you want and I'll believe what I want." As you can tell, my disdain for members of the teaching profession did not start with those that were cruel to my autistic son.

Honestly, I am not certain that there wasn't some hint of antisemitism in the teacher's reaction. In fact if you look at some private reviews of the book on Amazon you can find some borderline antisemitism in the criticism as well. Some aspects of  human ignorance just don't seem to go away no matter how hard you try to fix society.

Meanwhile, to this day, in my family, whenever we want to make fun of someone's bigotry or ignorance, we turn to each other and repeat that teacher's statement. While she may have thought she taught me the fifth grade curriculum that year,  I learned a different lesson and one of greater import. I learned that no matter where you go or what you do in your life, there will always be one asshole in the room.

So we reach modern day and out comes this book by Steve Berry, who is known to take theories, historical papers, hints of mysteries and turn them into some interesting yarns. Considering my past history with the Columbus legend I just couldn't resist the book. And there it was in print, everything that I had learned so many years ago about Columbus and who he may or may not have been.

What ever you believe or don't believe about Columbus is of no import. If you are looking for a fun diversion with a little real history thrown in to boot, this is the book for you. No, not just about Columbus' voyages, but about Ancient Rome, the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jewish diaspora, the Holocaust with even a touch of Jewish mysticism thrown in for good measure. It is a story that comes full circle from ancient times to modern day politics.

I wish I could have told that 11-year-old-me about the reputable historians in the future who would believe just like she did....

Oh and by the way, we Jews, don't have to claim Columbus at all. In the end, that is fine and not really what compelled me to read this book. History may be full of questions about who Columbus was or was not, but one thing we can all agree upon is that in the end he was a real shmuck to the indigenous population of the Caribbean. His voyages actually brought about genocide and slavery for the native inhabitants. So quite frankly the Catholic Church can actually keep him if they still want him.


Qi en Pace,


Elise




Saturday, June 23, 2012

Exercise for Your Health: Get Moving

One of the hardest parts of beginning an exercise regime is deciding what type of exercise fits with your lifestyle and personality. Here are a few of the latest types of exercise that can be done at home or at a gym. I have tried them all in both places.... I alternate depending on my mood and free time.

ZUMBA



KICKBOX



PILATES



YOGA



LOW IMPACT AEROBICS



These cardio workouts while good overall also don't include strength training per se. Honestly for that all you really need are some small weights. Begin with 2 or 3 pounds and work your way up. I never went above 5 pounds simply because I didn't want to gain muscle mass, just wanted to lengthen the muscles I have.




And while all the above helps with your abs and your core, it is important to specifically target that area of your body. As you age the first thing that goes, especially after children are the abs, and after that your back, particularly your lower back. We all know that lower back pain is absolutely no fun whatsoever.



Remember the biggest killer of women in the USA is heart disease. One of the ways to stem that is to  get moving...at least put on some shoes and walk around your neighborhood and do some simple core exercises. Your body will thank you in the long run and so will all the people that love you when you live longer.

Also if you lose weight fine. If you don't fine. It's about movement, strength and feeling good about yourself.  We are all not going to look like the cover of a fashion magazine....so don't worry that you don't. In fact be glad you aren't that thin.....

Qi en Pace,


Today is strength training day....


Elise




Friday, June 22, 2012

I Bought Myself a Toy

Not THAT kind of toy...sheesh such dirty minds...


OK for you youngsters out there this scene is from the movie When Harry Met Sally

But a hamburger press to make perfect round hamburger patties so the darling men in my life can have burgers that fit on their buns...no not that kind of buns either (really people)....the multigrain whole wheat kind of hamburger-buns....sheesh....the kind of bread product that is supposed to be good for you...well at least the kind of bread product that is not as bad as the white-bread zero nutrient type of bread product....yeah the bread product that tastes like cardboard....




The top is adjustable (you use the screw top handle to fix the size and the nut to hold it in place) so you can make any size burger you want from 1/4 pound to 1 pound...

Seriously, who has a mouth big enough for a 1 pound burger? Who can open up that wide? ....again get your mind out of the gutter...really people (you know Jewish girls do not do that)....


No Jews were harmed in the making of this video (I know, Iran was pissed.)

Yes the patties were a big hit. All was good at dinner time. If the persons in your life are semi-anal and you have a desire to make them happy, you can buy the hamburger press at Williams-Sonoma. Meanwhile, it was a weird type of therapy to shmoosh all that burger meat. Don't ask me why, it was just extremely satisfying.....(I definitely am hanging around my adolescent son too much....double entendres lead the way)

Yes, I know this was the exciting part of my week. Yes, I need to really get out of the house and quite frankly away from the computer...and no I don't do the naughty sites unless you consider my obsession with twitter,  facebook and my 3 blogs  slightly obsessively naughty ....maybe? not really? OK its a little bit much I know.....

Qi en Pace,



Elise

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Serious Fall Bling

Miu Miu definitely is attracting an interesting fashion crowd....


Madras Jeweled Satchel


Suede Stud Carved Heel Ankle Bootie

These Miu Miu accessories are more like it for us conventional fashion followers....

Medium Bow Satchel





Suede Peep Toe Bow Ankle Bootie











Of course I will simply stick with my funky dansko clogs for the fall.....






Cute and comfortable does win the day.

I do really like that Miu Miu carved heel though. Very fun.



Qi en Pace,



Elise

Sunday, June 17, 2012

HOMELAND

I spent the weekend glued to my TV set. I originally thought HOMELAND was going to be awful, mostly because I thought liberal-Hollywood would once again make the USA the cause of all the world's ills. Honestly, I simply wasn't in the mood for anti-American crap. However, I decided to give it a bit of a chance, basically because all my wedding dress shows were repeats and I didn't feel like doing chores. Now I'm hooked and I can't wait for season 2.

It's the story of a returning American Iraqi war veteran held prisoner by Islamists terrorists for eight years and the CIA agent who thinks he's been turned by al-Qaeda...Oh and it is anything but anti-American...






Yeah, its getting really interesting....its as if you are watching novels by Tom Clancy, Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Daniel Silva, Nelson DeMille all rolled into one.

Qi en Pace,


Elise

Chinese-Karate Fantasy Movies

Several years ago there was a craze for Chinese/karate fantasy movies in the USA. It began with the gorgeous sensually sumptuous movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Then moved on to lighter more Americanized fare like The Forbidden Kingdom.






watch Jet Li versus Jackie Chan HERE in The Forbidden Kingdom

Then of course the grandaddy of all karate/Chinese movies Enter the Dragon in which the legendary   Bruce Lee versus everyone.




Here Bruce Lee fights Chuck Norris...



Here Bruce Lee fights Kareem Abdul-Jabbar...



Many people don't know that Abdul-Jabbar was one of Lee's students or that Jackie Chan learned the art of movie-karate from Lee as well.





Qi en Pace,


Elise