Friday, August 28, 2015

If You are Thinking of Moving to MARS

From TED lessons

Yes that's Mars, in the Red Planet.

Anyone contacting a moving company?

Additional Resources for you to Explore
Studying terrestrial analogues of morphological features on Martian surface is one of the key approaches to getting information about Mars. Studying signatures of different conditions on the Martian surface will help us to figure out both the climate history and present conditions on Mars. Some features are common on both planets, but some features on Mars could be found in just few spots on Earth, which makes specific characteristics of those locations worth precise study.

Some features are unique only to Mars. Visit this site for some high resolution satellite images of Mars. Scientists use simulated environments for studying them. These types of facilities are so expensive that just a few research centers and universities in the world own them. Visit one facility, the Mars Desert Research Station in U.S. Then go to NASA's SAM Mars Chamber for another example, but on a smaller scale. They have the same gravity, temperature, pressure and atmosphere as Mars.

What else are we studying other than Mars and its origin? How about Martian geomorphology? By learning more about how landforms look and evolve on other planets, we learn a lot about processes that also occur here on Earth. For example, we could test ideas about how gravity or air density plays a role in forming the landscapes. In addition, the geomorphological study of potential landing sites on Mars is one of the important factors to consider for planning exploration missions for a number of reasons, including landing hazard assessment. Knowing Martian geomorphology would also help in determining proper areas for surface or sub-surface sampling. 

To our best knowledge, Mars is the most Earth-like planet. Could it be the past or the future of our own Earth? We want to know the processes by which planets formed with the larger goal of revealing key questions about life and the potential habitability of other areas of our Solar System.
From early in human's history, Mars got more attention because of its apparent red color. There was a huge curiosity about the existence of life on the planet. By studying the features and decoding present landscapes of Mars scientists can reveal their history. This will give us valuable clues of existence of life on Mars. 

Water is fundamental to life on Earth. Searching for evidence of water will make us closer to the answering the question: Did life exist on Mars? Many surface features seem to be the result of fluvial processes. There are many features that have been interpreted by researchers as a sign of existence of water flow on Mars. Watch: Channels in Phlegra Montes and see what you think. The shapes, compositions and locations of ancient river deposits tell us about geologic processes and climate evolution on Mars. With such information, we are able to decode habitable landscapes through time.

These explorations lead us to further questions: If there were rivers on Mars, why don't we have them today? Where is that water? Currently, the existence of water on Mars is impossible due to low temperature and atmosphere. They are several opinions about where the water went. Did it evaporate out into space? Is there a thick layer of dust protecting the ice? There are still several hypotheses that exist. Only by gaining more information about Mars year after year can we become closer to answering this question: Are we alone in this universe?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Mystery of the Disappearing Pair of Glasses

It's either an alien abduction, or a vortex opened up in the house for a brief split second, just long
enough to suck hubby's pair of glasses from this level of existence into an alternative universe. Maybe its both, like in Star Trek Voyager, where  shape-shifting alien species 8472 from an alternate
universe  invaded our space time continuum. There is no doubt that no matter which one of these alternatives is the real reason for the disappearing pair of glasses, the hubby's pair of glasses are gone. Kaput. Finito. No where to be found within the bounds of the four walls of our house.

Let's start at the beginning. Hubby wears contact lenses and then when he removes them he requires glasses. This is not a new phenomenon. He has needed "corrective lenses" since he was in his late twenties. All that law book reading and late nights working. Honestly, I think he looks rather dignified when he wears his glasses as opposed to his contacts, but that is just me. Of course, having a little crush on the hubby probably has something to do with my glasses fetish.

Anyway, his routine is such that when he gets dressed in the morning he puts in his contacts.Then carries his glasses on top of his iPad down the stairs to his cubby where he then plugs in the iPad for recharging and places his glasses in the glassescase in his briefcase. Next he returns the glassescase to the briefcase. Then off he goes to work. It is rote and traditional by now.

Disconcertingly, yesterday at 2AM, trying not to wake me up of course, since hubby is nothing if not considerate, there was hubby with a flashlight looking all over our room; under the bed, behind dressers, in closets and because he is repainting the room, he looked in all the equipment that he has stored in a corner of our room awaiting when he gets the time to finish this project. He then branched out into the bathroom, hallway, stairs, cubbies, etc. He scoured the entire house for his glasses. He emptied his briefcase, which is more like a small suitcase, and if you saw how full that case is you would understand that that in and of itself is a major undertaking. No glasses.

He then pulled out a pair of older glasses that are basically useless and he tried to function for the rest of the time until he went to bed with lenses that made him blind as a bat. Waking up the next morning he had no choice but to put these subpar glasses on and attempt to get ready for work. Luckily he put his contacts in right away so at least he saw what tops and pants he was putting on and didn't have a fashion faux pas for work. (And yes I wold have stopped him before he embarrassed himself.)

After he went to work, I then went into action. I removed the bedskirt. Took off all the bedlinen. Checked the comforter and even the pillows. Moved the furniture around, including the boxes under the bed (the dust bunnies growing underneath our bedframe is a topic for another post. I obviously am not the best housekeeper.) I went through the laundry hamper. I took everything out of the drycleaner
basket. I went through the closets-his and mine (you never know if the glasses fell off the iPad where they may have landed). I then took my flashlight and went through the medicine cabinets, emptied the bathroom garbage cans (that was disgusting) and slowly walked down the stairs to the cubbies, always with my iPhone flashlight trained on the ground. (Yes know if the glasses were on the ground, we would have seen them without a flashlight, but I was getting rather desperate at this point).

I then went into the cubbies and emptied out the four cubbies (we each have our own). I found lots of things; books, fathers day cards, Bluetooth ear pieces, small flashlights, and papers I had given hubby to read years ago. But nope, no glasses. I went into the livingroom/den and put my hand under the couch cushions (that was interesting since you never know what you will come across under that circumstance) and under the back end of the couches. I had my oldest lift up the couches so we could get a good look underneath. I then went outside to check to see if for some reason, the glasses had fallen out of the briefcase and were laying unbeknownst to us on the stone stairs, the driveway, or mixed into the mulch. Nope nada.

I checked the younger son's room. Sometimes hubby goes in there to hang out watching TV with our son before the two of them go off to sleep. No glasses.

No glasses in either boys' offices.                                           

No glasses in the kitchen.

No glasses in the garage.

No glasses in any of the garbage cans (don't ask).

No glasses in any of the hampers.

I finally texted hubby and mentioned that he was going to have to empty his briefcase again and leaf through every page of paper. Maybe somehow the glasses had fallen out of their case and fell in-between papers or files.

Meanwhile, I have come to the conclusion that hubby is going to need new glasses. Obviously an alien invaded out home and sucked his glasses into an alternative universe or into another time-realm. Of course, a small part of me also thinks that a small blackhole could have also developed in our home, just on top of the glasses whereever he had laid them down as he dressed, and sucked them into that empty-gravity-dense-time drawing spacetime anomaly.


Maybe the alien invader will return hubby's glasses one day. It would be nice if an apology note was included.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway: "The Devil's Bridge" by Linda Fairstein


Once again Linda Fairstein hits it out of the park. She combines New York City history, along with an exciting crime and legal drama to provide you with an interesting, seat of your pants, very enjoyable read. I opened Devil's Bridge and simply couldn't put it down.

Let's begin at the beginning. This is the 17th novel in Fairstein's Alexandra Cooper series. Our heroine is an ADA in the Sex Crimes Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's office. A position Fairstein created in real life. She deals with the worst of the worst. Think Law and Order: Special Victims Unit on steroids. Cooper, or Coop, as her police-officer-buddy turned boyfriend, Mike Chapman, calls her, is a respected, well-known element in the world of finding justice for victims and bringing to bear the full force of the law on criminal perpetrators. She takes no prisoners when it comes to ensuring that the streets of New York City are safe from sexual predators. But then Coop disappears....enemies abound for Coop. So the intense and frightening question is where do the powers-that-be begin their search for the missing ADA.

That is when Mike Chapman and his partner Wallace Mercer, go into action. It's time to find Coop. It's take no prisoners time. While the question becomes who snatched Coop and why, in the end, it is the answer of course that will surprise you. Chapman's investigation leads the reader to the Statue of Liberty, the American Revolution, military history and a modern crime wave. It takes you on a whirlwind journey through a time in New York City history that many have conveniently forgotten...the bad-old-days of the 1970s and 80s, complete with Irish gangs, murder and mayhem.

Meanwhile, Fairstein draws on a huge cast of characters. If you pay attention to New York City, and even U.S. national politics, there is fun in identifying these miscreants. Check out the sleazy "Reverend" shyster with access to the mayor and even the White House; the District Attorney who is only really interested in his political standing and is willing to throw anyone under the bus to maintain his standing; the useless, feckless mayor and his questionable friends, cronies and power abusing spouse; additionally even the politics of policing in New York City comes into play. But in the end the men and women in blue do what they do best. Save lives and keep New York City safe.

And of course, it all comes back to the lore of The Devil's Bridge. Not only is it about dangerous spans built all over the world, but the intervention of Beelzebub and the price he demands for his help. In the end, it's simply a question of whether you too could trick the devil with flair and aplomb?

All the books in this series are fine as a stand alone mystery. Read it and enjoy.


I have been allowed to offer this book in a giveaway. Please leave a comment below to enter the contest. Unfortunately it is only open to people with a US address.  The giveaway ends Monday, August 24.

*I have received no financial reward for this review and giveaway.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Family is all we got......

Family comes in many shapes and sizes. Mostly it's made up of people who love you, not necessarily people who share DNA....In reality, most of us in this world create our own family.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Why did humans rise to the top?

From TED 

 Yuval Noah Harari, A lecturer in history at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari  asks what made homo sapiens the most successful species on the planet. His answer: We are the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in our imagination, such as gods, states, money, human rights, corporations and other “fictions,” and we have developed a unique ability to use these stories to unify and organize groups and ensure cooperation. In his next book, he'll explore the growth of inequality in human society. He asks, are we on the cusp of the next great divergence? 

Harari specializes in world history, medieval history and military history. His current research focuses on macro-historical questions: What is the relation between history and biology? What is the essential difference between Homo sapiens and other animals? Is there justice in history? Does history have a direction? Did people become happier as history unfolded? Harari also teaches a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) titled A Brief History of Humankind

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How One Tweet Can Ruin You Life

By Jon Ronson from TED

For the longest time Jon Ronson reveled in the fact that Twitter gave a voice to the voiceless ... the social media platform gave us all a chance to speak up and hit back at perceived injustice. But somewhere along the way, things took a turn. In this passionate, eloquent talk, Ronson explains how too often we end up behaving like a baying mob — and that it's time to rethink how we interact with others online.

Pass this on. It is very important to understand just how social media can do to your life.

Friday, July 10, 2015

A cry against child marriage

Memory Banda’s life took a divergent path from her sister’s. When her sister reached puberty, she was sent to a traditional “initiation camp” that teaches girls “how to sexually please a man.” She got pregnant there — at age 11. Banda, however, refused to go. Instead, she organized others and asked her community’s leader to issue a bylaw that no girl should be forced to marry before turning 18. She pushed on to the national level … with incredible results for girls across Malawi.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Meet the Women Fighting on the Front Lines

Years before it became official, this group of women joined Special Forces in Afghanistan to do a job no man could do. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells their story for TED.

Friday, June 26, 2015


 This was my parent's wedding song.

This post is dedicated to all those couples who have been given the right to spend their lives with the ones they love. My 78 year old Republican mother, who passed away recently, supported gay marriage and would say to me, that she was allowed to spend her life with the love of her life, and she believed everyone was entitled to that.

Congratulations and may you know the happiness and love that my parents had for one another in their 53 years together.

Mazel tov.

It's about damn time.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Tosca performed at Masada

Last year the Israeli Opera performed Carmen. This year they chose Tosca.

As I have mentioned before, the joyful act of singing and being alive, transposed upon the background of Masada, a symbol of such death and destruction from 2000 years ago, is in itself a marvelous piece of art. Now throw in Puccini and you really have something.

 Go HERE for a virtual tour of Masada.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Word Association: FEMINISM

From CUT: These women from 5 - 50 (and every age in between) responded to one word: "feminism." These are their responses.

What does the word "feminism" mean to you?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Shut Up and Dance With Me

It's summer time, let's have some fun....

Listen to the girl ....just shut up and dance.......

Friday, May 15, 2015

Your Life's Purpose in 5 Minutes

Adam Leipzig has overseen more than 25 movies as a producer, executive and distributor. and has produced more than 300 stage plays and live events, and he was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Theatre Center.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Your parent's music and the memories it brings

I knew there would come a time when the youth of today would never know the music of yesteryear. Silly me though forgot that one day yesteryear would be the young not knowing who was Paul McCartney and Billy Joel, not Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy David, Jr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop the original RatPack. They were the original Ocean's Eleven.

My mother enjoyed the music of Dean Martin.  It's downloaded on her iPhone. I know attachment to music is was all about the memories. I listen to this music and I see my parents, young and vibrant dancing the night away.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Nostalgia...Channeling The Beatles

I am feeling rather nostalgic lately. Downloaded these Beatles tunes onto my iPhone. My sons don't get this music. Oh how youth is wasted on the young...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy Celebrations

This weekend we celebrate Passover and Easter. I want to wish everyone that celebrates a joyous holiday weekend.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Weekend Music-Heartbeat Song....

Kelly Clarkson is back from her self-imposed maternity hiatus and is as good as she ever was....

You might have heard about the controversy about Kelly's post baby weight. Yes, some people have too much to say. Fat-shamming is also not a new issue....

Fat-shaming, Body Image and a Culture of Dehumanization

Monday, March 23, 2015

Plato's Allegory of the Cave...Seeking the Light

From TED

I have to say that this is a very interesting short post concerning society, self-delusion and democratic ideals.  Funny how an allegory from thousands of years ago can apply to today. You may not agree with Plato's perspective, or Socrates for that matter, but it does make for some interesting dinner table conversation.

Twenty four hundred years ago, Plato, one of history’s most famous thinkers, said life is like being chained up in a cave forced to watch shadows flitting across a stone wall. Beyond sounding quite morbid, what exactly did he mean? Alex Gendler unravels Plato's Allegory of the Cave, found in Book VII of The Republic.


Want to read the Allegory of the Cave in its complete format? Go to this site and get started. To better understand the allegory’s larger context, try reading the rest of The Republic by Plato and these classic lectures. Then, check out this theological perspective on how Plato’s cave allegory relates to the human condition, or this modern scientific interpretation of what it tells us about human knowledge.

Want to see two different visual representations of this allegory? Watch this version of Plato’s allegory in clay animation or this one narrated by Orson Wells! Each is a bit different, but provide a unique representation of Plato’s allegory. How does the visual representation give you a different perspective from reading the Allegory of the Cave?

You may also want to read a summary of the Theory of Forms and how it relates to language. Even if none of that interests you, chances are you’ve already seen the Allegory of the Cave interpreted as a major blockbuster film.

Interested in comparing Plato’s Allegory of the Cave to a real-life issue such as alcohol and addiction? Visit the New York Times Learning Network Text to Text and follow the lesson. Read through it and compare the two texts presented. What other everyday situations can Plato’s allegory help us understand?

I also found this book, which can continue this discussion:

The Cave and the Light, Plato versus Aristotle and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization, Arthur Herman, 2014, Random House Trade Paperback

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The weather outside is still frightful, but I'm dreaming of every shade of pink

Mother nature has decided to be rather frightful. I never gave much thought to groundhogs predicting the weather, but this year it seems Punxsutawney Phil got it right. Winter just won't let go. 

But that hasn't stopped me from pulling out my spring wardrobe and adding that little bit of color where I can without freezing my tuchas off. So of course, the best place to start is always with the handbag...(not in any particular price point order)








MCM (it's reversible too)



Now a little something extra  to keep me going .....

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

PMS...It may not actually exist....Oh Really?

From TED

Robyn Stein DeLuca is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University where she's taught Women's Studies through the lenses of psychology and healthcare for over fifteen years. DeLuca studies the psychology of pregnancy, including postpartum depression and the psychosocial consequences of cesarean delivery. For two years, she was the Executive Director of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program at Stony Brook. In 2015, DeLuca received a graduate certificate in Religious Studies and Education from the Harvard Divinity School. She teaches and speaks often about the role of women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Next they are going to take away menopause symptoms.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Meaning of St. Patrick's Day from the History Channel

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How do you know you exist?

From TED, because we don't have enough to worry about.....

How do you know you’re real? Is existence all just a big dream? Has some mad scientist duped us into simply believing that we exist? James Zucker investigates all of these questions (and more) in this mind-boggling tribute to René Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy.

René Descartes believed that most of what he acquired and learned came from the senses, but his senses had deceived him in the past. Can you give an example of when your senses have deceived you? Is there an experience that has made you doubt what you have seen or heard? Could this give you reason to doubt EVERYTHING you have learned from your senses? Check out this video for some background on this idea or watch the TED-Ed Lesson How Optical Illusions Trick Your Brain for one example of how and why your mind can be tricked into seeing something differently than it is. Would René Descartes agree with the statement that “things are not always what they seem?" Do you?

Descartes believed that if you doubt your own existence, you must exist to doubt it! In other words, “I think therefore I am.” Check out this video to get more insight into this idea! Some people believe that this statement proves that the one’s mind exists but not one’s physical body. What do you think?

René Descartes was an extremely talented man. A video link is provided here that describes his life and philosophy. He was not only a philosopher but a mathematician as well. Three links are provided below that will give you more insight into the life of this man:

Some famous quotes from Descartes are written below. These may give you an idea of how he thought and what he believed:

“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”

“Let whoever can do so deceive me, he will never bring it about that I am nothing, so long as I continue to think I am something."

“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.”


or are we like the WHOs, who live on a dust cloud, who can only be heard by an elephant's ears?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hava Nagila: The Movie

Hava Nagila (The Movie) is a documentary romp through the history, mystery and meaning of the great Jewish standard. Featuring interviews with Harry Belafonte, Leonard Nimoy, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell, Regina Spektor and more, the film follows the ubiquitous party song on its fascinating journey 

Here's the song:

With lyrics:


With a little modern flair:


It's also a great song to use in Olympic competition. Watch Ali Reisman win the gold medal for floor exercises HERE.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Interesting Videos: The Power of Herd Immunity; Protecting Women from Honor Killings

From TED

Video 1
How do vaccines prevent disease — even among people too young to get vaccinated? It's a concept called "herd immunity," and it relies on a critical mass of people getting their shots to break the chain of infection. Health researcher Romina Libster shows how herd immunity contained a deadly outbreak of H1N1 in her hometown. (In Spanish with subtitles.)

Video 2
Nearly 1000 "honor" killings are reported in Pakistan each year, murders by a family member for behavior deemed "shameful," such as a relationship outside of marriage. When Khalida Brohi lost a close friend to the practice, she resolved to campaign against it. Yet she met resistance from an unlikely source: the very community she hoped to protect. In this powerful, honest talk, Brohi shares how she took a hard look at her own process, and offers sharp insights for other passionate activists.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jennifer Lopez- Ain't it Funny

From 2011, love how she is performing for the troops.

Here she is today singing the same song. I like the flamenco beat.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lady Gaga Wows at Oscars 2015 with Sound of Music Tribute

For anyone who thought that Lady Gaga was simply a flash in the pan with no talent, listen to her tribute to The Sound of Music. This lady has some mean pipes.

Friday, February 20, 2015

100 Years of Beauty

A provocative You Tube series by

In one minute they go through 100 years of beauty for Caucasian women, then African-American women in western society. They also have an interesting comparison video.

The latest video is of Iranian women. The reality there is watching how the rights of Iranian women have actually gone backwards due to the Islamic revolution.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

RIP- Lesley Gore, original feminist

Lesley Gore, nee Goldstein, died yesterday. She is best remembered as a 60s pop icon. But what people forget is that her songs brought about a new kind of freedom of thought for women. She was all about female empowerment and independence before anyone actually used those words to describe women's rights. She is one of the original feminist icons with songs like "You Don't Own Me."  Here are some of her famous tunes:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Trusting Your First Impressions: Not what you might think

From TED ed

It's not about first impressions per se, its about what kind of first impression.

Interestingly humans actually remember negative interactions simply because we expect others to be good and moral. The positive human traits are the majority. It is the negative human traits that go against the grain. In other words, we remember the rare occurrence not what is usual.

Dig Deeper

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Importance of Left-Handedness

From TEDed

This is for all the south-paws in our lives. And yes, left-handedness actually runs in my family.

Today, about one-tenth of the world’s population are southpaws. Why are such a small proportion of people left-handed -- and why does the trait exist in the first place? Daniel M. Abrams investigates how the uneven ratio of lefties and righties gives insight into a balance between competitive and cooperative pressures on human evolution.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sports illustrated Swimsuit 2015... sexy or rude?

Brouhaha about this picture...

But as noted by Yahoo Health there was a similar cover in 2009...

Is this new cover too low or is it simply the angle?

After all it's the SI swimsuit cover, which is not about sports, but about beautiful women in what amounts to less than a loin cloth of cover.

And on another note, apparently the editors of SI have finally figured that not all beautiful women are a size 0. About time....

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Let Altruism Be Your Guide

From TED

What is altruism? Put simply, it's the wish that other people may be happy. And, says Matthieu Ricard, a happiness researcher and a Buddhist monk, altruism is also a great lens for making decisions, both for the short and long term, in work and in life.

Why you should listen

After training in biochemistry at the Institute Pasteur, Matthieu Ricard left science behind to move to the Himalayas and become a Buddhist monk -- and to pursue happiness, both at a basic human level and as a subject of inquiry. Achieving happiness, he has come to believe, requires the same kind of effort and mind training that any other serious pursuit involves.

His deep and scientifically tinged reflections on happiness and Buddhism have turned into several books, including The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet. At the same time, he also makes sensitive and jaw-droppingly gorgeous photographs of his beloved Tibet and the spiritual hermitage where he lives and works on humanitarian projects.

His latest book on happiness is Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill; his latest book of photographs is Tibet: An Inner Journey.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The danger of hiding who you are

From TED

Morgana Bailey has been hiding her true self for 16 years. In a brave talk, she utters four words that might not seem like a big deal to some, but to her have been paralyzing. Why speak up? Because she’s realized that her silence has personal, professional and societal consequences. In front of an audience of her co-workers, she reflects on what it means to fear the judgement of others, and how it makes us judge ourselves.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Gowns of the SAGAwards

Keira made up for her Golden Globe fiasco by winning the night in this elegant purple number.

These ladies did give her a run for her money though...

SAG winner Julianne Moore

SAG winner Viola Davis

Felicity Jones in the go to pale pink of spring.

Julie Bowen. Not a typical Hollywood siren, but lovely in this very soft flowy floral embroidery.

Jennifer Aniston showing us all that she's still got it.

Camilla Avila (Mathew McConaughey's wife)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Less Stuff; More Happiness?

From TED

Graham Hill tells us how to scale down our material selves.

Why you should listen

Graham Hill is the founder of LifeEdited, dedicated to helping people design their lives for more happiness with less stuff. When he started the company in 2010, it brought the ideas of his previous project, the eco-blog and vlog, into design and architecture. (The TreeHugger team joined the Discovery Communications network as a part of their Planet Green initiative, and Hill now makes appearances on the green-oriented cable channel.)

Before Treehugger, Hill studied architecture and design (his side business is making those cool ceramic Greek coffee cups). His other company, ExceptionLab, is devoted to creating sustainable prototypes -- think lamps made from recycled blinds and ultra-mod planters that are also air filters.

Hill is the author of Weekday Vegetarian, available as a TED Book on Amazon and Apple's iBooks

I could have used this when we lived in Manhattan. No doubt, we did a good job of scaling our life down on our own. Living in 400 square feet with two children does that to you. Why 400 square feet you ask? We bought  our little one-bedroom apartment at the height of the 1980s market, which precipitously dropped several months after we bought. We were basically stuck in that apartment until our oldest was 5 years old simply because we couldn't even rent the apartment out at a functionable price so we could afford another place to live that had two bedrooms.

Of course that eventually changed and we rented out our little albatross, moved, moved again and then moved again. Eventually sold the apartment, at a loss by the way. However were able to take it a a business loss since we had rented it out for more than two years. Not certain if that is still the tax law, but at least we did get some help with our little debacle of a foray into Manhattan real estate. Believe me when I tell you being a landlord is not for the faint of heart. That last tenant (an Ivy League lawyer) we had was a trip in and of herself. Never met a woman who was so filthy in my life. She had not cleaned that apartment in a year, including all the kitchen appliances, and the bathroom.. In fact the bathroom had blackmold all across the ceiling. The bathtub had so much scum in it, I don't know how she felt clean after taking a shower in it. We told her she had to buy it or pay for renovations she had damaged the apartment so badly.

Meanwhile, along the way we have accumulated alot of stuff. I go through the closets every now and again to rid ourselves of the superfluous. But in the end, the reality is that attached to the things we have are important memories that we are not willing to give up. I can understand why the elderly have a very hard time moving from their homes as they age. Their lives are in their houses. No its not always about the things they have, but about the memories associated with the objects that holds a person to a place or makes it too hard to give up their belongings.

That is one part of the narrative that Mr. Hill doesn't seem to recognize. But then again, it appears that Mr. Hill has no children and at the point of this video above, had noone of any significance withwhom he shared his life. These two points make a huge difference as to what you would get rid of and what you choose to keep.

Now in truth, there is no reason any one person needs 30 pairs of jeans. I have seen closets in people's homes that were bigger than my house. But then again if you paid money for an item and you want to keep it, that is your right. Of course, there is a fine line between being a hoarder and hanging on to your belongings. I think that line has to do with cleanliness and order. But don't quote me on that.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


A new promotion by Dove, about accepting your curls...I. Love. I wrote on Facebook...

Growing up in an era when the only perfect hair was straight and blonde that is all you wanted. I ironed my hair, I bleached my hair and I used chemical straightener on my hair. It wasn't until later in life that my curly hair became the rage and I no longer felt disrespected by society. Of course I had long before that decided my hair was beautiful, but society has a way of screwing with our heads without us even knowing it.

My curls....

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Binge Streaming the British on Netflix

So I have finally discovered binge streaming. The funniest part is that we have been Netflix members for years only I never bothered to look at any of the programs offered. The hubby and the boys tended to watch their Netflix programs, but it just didn't occur to me to take a look on my own. Don't know why, don't ask.

I actually became enamored of binging when Netflix produced the new Marco Polo series. In fact, one of the more interesting aspects of my binging is that I have discovered some very high caliber British television. Not that I hadn't paid attention to British TV before, being a Dr. Who semi-fan and rather intrigued by the show M-I5 and quite enamored of  Downton Abbey. But, I only watched those shows on PBS masterpiece theater or BBC America. Now I have an entirely new arena in which to get my mysteries on...

Anyway here are a few reviews of some of the programs I have lately streamed:

Marco Polo

Extraordinary attention to detail with an eye to the historical. While of course it is romance, swashbuckling fun at its best (even though it is all on land), there is an attention to period detail that I found extraordinary. The story of Marco Polo and the Kublai Khan is an interesting clash of civilizations and the opening of the Silk Road is one of the most important periods in history. But moreover, the cast is the extremely talented  amalgamation of some of the best that not only British, but the European actor guild has to offer. Definitely watch this as a binge if you can. I can't wait for season 2.

Happy Valley

Police, murder, rape all combined with the concept of redemption. Simply ask yourself how would you feel in the main character's shoes and how would you have handled the situation any different? All-in-all while there is an interesting crime mystery to solve, the real story is about the people, who they are and how life, in and of itself, is the one true mystery. You don't have to binge watch this series. But I found myself getting quite drawn in to the story and didn't want to wait to finish it, even though I had to go to sleep so I could function the next day. P.S. one main question, I still don't know why the average British police are not armed, when all the bad guys do have weapons and men are really stronger than women (despite what some feminists might tell you)...just asking.


They made this series into an American television show called Gracepoint. Now I actually started watching the American show before I streamed the British version. I hadn't known that Gracepoint was based on this series at all. In fact when I started watching Broadchurch I knew there was something familiar about it, then I realized I had watched some of Gracepoint.

Interestingly, I really didn't like the American take on the series. Ironically, Gracepoint was almost verbatim what the British version was, but I couldn't watch past that first episode. However, it really worked as a British mystery. Perhaps I was just not in the mood for the show when it aired on Fox. But I do know that the endings are actually different for the two shows, well according to the reviews as I never did watch Gracepoint after that first episode.

For Dr. Who fans, David Tennant is the detective in both versions.

The Fall

Another good British series, replete with multitudes of flawed characters. Gillian Anderson, who you will remember from the X-Files, is terrific as the senior police detective on the case. The series takes place in Belfast, which is still having problems since The Troubles.  But be forewarned it is a serial killer case and the script, as well as the actor Jamie Dornan,  does a good job of really creeping out the watcher. I streamed Season 1 as a binge and then started season 2. I had to skip to the last episode in season 2 without watching all the episodes, not because it wasn't good, but because it just got too under my own skin.


This is a rather old series and if you don't have Netflix, but have amazon prime you can stream it for nothing there. It is a very good and humanizing look at the people that keep Britains safe from terror. There is not just one plot, but many subplots throughout the series with an ever changing cast, all happening at the same time. It keeps you rather riveted. It is nice to see that at least in some areas of the world, people respect those who give their lives in service to their country and to freedom. There are 10 seasons and I suggest you start from season 1.

The Honourable Woman

I watched the entire miniseries because people told me how wonderful it was. I kept hoping that it would get better. And yes Maggie Gyllenhaal just won a golden globe for her performance (why I have no idea). I have never seen her in any other production, so I am assuming that she can really act. But here she seemed to simply be going through the motions as a zombie. I don't know if that was the directors idea, or if that was in the script trying to show her to be an emotionless individual, but I found it distracting to say the least.

In truth the story is quite stupid, and the mystery not such a mystery. I figured it all out in the very beginning. No I don't think it's because I am that astute. Truth is that the story was rather typical for those trying to be profound about the Middle East, without any real knowledge about the Middle East. It was also no surprise especially in the end when you find out who was the real "Honourable Woman." (This one I would skip if I were you.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Meghan Trainor...Your Lips Are Moving

She makes girl-empowerment fun. First it's a body image song and now it's about not taking any crap...not bad for a beginning.

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Pics for "Best" and "Oh no she didn't..." Golden Globe Gowns

These are my pics for most vavavavoom at the Golden Globes. These women know who they are and are not afraid to show their assets. I say when you have it flaunt it.

Jessica Chastain. This may be her go to look, but it really works so why not?

Katherine Heigl in Zac Posen. I discovered that this designer looks terrific on women of every age. His designs recall the 1950s with line and symmetry. And oh yes, his handbags (because this is still my blog) are terrific and oh so affordable.

Kate Hudson with probably the most revealing dress of the evening. Hey if you looked like that you'd wear this too.

Jennifer Lopez getting her Ursula Andres on.

Now for a little bit of a throw back to a more sedate era. Of course it would take an internationally known lawyer to pull this off.

Amal the opera gloves. Makes the entire ensemble. And of course the arm candy she came with doesn't hurt either.

And what NOT to wear when you are pregnant. Keira is always a little avant garde, but simply because this is Chanel doesn't mean she isn't trying out for a part as a cupcake in an upcoming motion picture.

Keira, what were you thinking?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Marathon Swimmer, Diana Nyad, on the Human Spirit

From TEDMED 2014

Marathon swimmer Diana Nyad returned to the TEDMED stage in 2014 to share lessons from her world record-setting solo 110-mile swim from Cuba to Miami at age 64.
“I have three messages: One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.” — Diana Nyad


Author, journalist, former TEDMED speaker, and long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad has broken numerous world records. Her swim around Manhattan (under eight hours) and the 102 miles she swam in open waters from the Bahamas to Florida were her biggest swimming achievements by age 30. In 2013, Diana attempted, for the fifth time, the 110-mile ocean crossing between Cuba and Florida. With a strong team and a new commitment to her vision, she became the first person to swim the distance without a shark cage. Once a nationally ranked squash player, Diana continues to challenge herself in myriad ways. Since her historic swim, she has appeared on the TV show, Dancing With the Stars!, written a new memoir, and workshopped her own one-woman theatrical show in Hollywood.
If you could choose to stay any age forever, what age would you choose?
This moment, 64, is my prime. Emotionally mature. Psychologically calm. Perspective to feel
profound gratitude and awe. Even my physical/athletic side is strongest.

What sparks your imagination?
Books. I’m writing a memoir, and reading others’ memoirs takes me through history and personal illumination.
What do you do to lift your spirits?
Hang out with my dog and three best friends: a beach walk with Teddy, a Scrabble game
with Bonnie, a shopping spree with Nina, an hour of philosophy with Candace in the hot tub.


The Other Shore: The Diana Nyad Story
Timothy Wheeler, Director, 2013

Diana Nyad’s Basic Training for Women 
Rh Value Publishing, 1981

Other Shores 
Nyad, D. Random House, 1978