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I do not believe in bare walls. In my theory of everyone should surround themselves with only things they love, I believe art plays an enormous role. This was an art weekend. Art is a broad term, described by Richard Wollheim as “one of the most elusive of the traditional problems of human culture”. Yes, that broad.

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Art is a human activity that brings to it imagination, technical ability, creativity, performance, or interaction. The shape or quality of one’s art form, will ultimately fall within a particular genre, and one’s style will emerge by using a distinctive method. It is an act of courage like no other to create art and put it out for the world to judge. This is truly legacy in the making.

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People are quick to place value judgments based on emotion, art is either understood or misunderstood. Art expresses something as lofty as the human condition, as fleeting as an emotion or as simple as a smile. I’ve come across many a piece I didn’t understand and I’ve listened to many a curator speak in terms I thought were ridiculous but because I didn’t get it doesn’t mean someone else won’t find it incredible.


The purpose of art seems to be two fold; non-motivated and motivated. Non-motivated leans to the basic human instinct for harmony, balance and rhythm. One experiences the mysterious, can’t help but express their imagination and funnels themselves through symbolism. For those who practice a motivated style of art they are simply communicating, entertaining, or healing. This simplistic boiled down explanation of the purpose of art would surely be disputed by anyone/everyone in the “art world” but if you think about each of these expansive words you see how one could go on and on…so too the purpose of art.

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I have been the recipient of some incredibly beautiful art. The generosity of that gift still fills me with gratitude and the art still takes my breath away. I hope to be that generous to those nearest to me one day. There is a small collection being built as we speak.


There is so much to see, so many people creating, so many different genres and ways to experience art. There is always an instant connection to art, it can leave you scratching your head, disgust you or take your breath away. Whichever reaction you have I encourage you to continue to observe, question, experience, and surround yourself with the art of whatever genre takes your breath away. No reason for bare walls when you could surround yourself with the inspiration of another human being.



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_DSC5525005If ever a year of firsts were to go down in history this would be the year. When you lose someone and every first thereafter is life affirming, instead of devastating, you know that the greater good is in play. You begin to understand those left behind rather than those who’ve gone ahead. Don’t get me wrong #lifewithoutlina has its heart wrenching moments but watching her sister come into her own is uplifting.

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Toti on vacation was eye opening. Combine new places, new experiences, play dates and selfies and you’ve got time well spent on the Cape with a dear little dog that left behind the life she spent hovering and protecting her sister. Her entire life was all about Lina but now, now she is having a ball. And she has become the belle of the ball.

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Toti Nonna and her Gramma have developed quite the love affair since I first snuck her into senior housing. During Gramma’s recent rehab stay, she and Toti became even closer. In fact, Toti took herself into several rooms along the way to Gramma’s to say hello. Do I see therapy dog training in her future? They both light up when they’re together especially if there are belly rubs involved.

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Each year Lina and Toto and I have been together we’ve raised money for a wonderful charity, Companion Animal Advocates, that makes an amazing difference in our community. I found them the same year Lina and Toto found me, coincidence? Probably not, just like minded energy at the intersection of we’re the luckiest people/dogs on the face of the earth so let’s do this. In my heart of hearts I thought I wouldn’t be able to hold it together this year without Lina. I couldn’t have been more wrong, Toti wagged her tail from one end of the event to the other, she kissed every dog she met right on the nose, she acted with grace and curiosity and kindness and fun. She was funny. My Toti, the ever vigilant defender of her meek sister, had people laughing at her adorableness and antics. Yes she popped herself right up on the CAA picnic table to say hello as soon as we arrived. The Queen surely knows how to make an entrance.

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There are moments when I feel incredibly guilty for the relief of caring for our special needs girl.   Lina, my love, lived her entire life with anxiety. She was attached to me in a way I found comforting but in retrospect she just couldn’t be… If I got up, she got up, she started at every noise, she would turn us around and take us home if anything spooked her on the walk, she couldn’t relax in the car, she just couldn’t be…and her sister would accommodate and protect and comfort.

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With a relatively short mourning period Toti has moved back into the moment. She loves the car, in fact she thinks each time we walk out the door it’s time to get in the car. And so I’m taking my cue from her, I’m staying in today, loving our walks and our rides and our vacations and our belly rubs and our trips to Gramma’s and our interactions in the neighborhood and on and on. She has taught me that when your job is done you can relax and live a wonderful life, especially if you’ve done your job well. #makingnewmemories



A Perfect Day for Ice Cream…

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Yesterday was a beautiful cool, crisp, fall day and we headed out for a best-of-summer treat, ice cream.  I know its October but this is legacy worthy and is it ever really not time for ice cream?  My friend Tonine and I had a conversation about Conrad’s Confections in Westwood, NJ that I had completely forgotten about, I’m so grateful she reminded me and treated me to my first (of many to come) Conrad’s ice cream.

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There is so much history in this tiny little shop that I can’t begin to convey it here, but you can read the history of Conrad’s on their website.  What I can convey here is the nostalgia, the nuance, the feeling and hopefully the sentiment.

Conrad’s is located in one of the few bustling downtowns left in Bergen County.  I can’t figure out if they are the lucky ones to be located in Westwood or if Westwood is the luckier to have them located there. Either way you’ve got that hometown feeling before you even walk in the door; when that door does  open and you’re inside modern life simply drops away.

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We sat at the counter that was reminiscent of every soda fountain of the fifties and sixties, I believe at one time there were once nine soda fountains in Westwood alone, but what made the difference to Conrad’s survival and success was the inclusion of confections.  Cases and cases of the most delectable morsels you can imagine line one side of the store.  Every nose under three feet tall has pressed up against those cases at one time or another but that will be another time for this girl.  This visit was for ice cream.

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The choices are limited to the usual favorites with a nod toward some of the more modern flavors like my choice of sea salted caramel with nut mix.  Tonine is a die-hard chocolate chip mint devotee but felt compelled to start with a tiny scoop of the salted caramel on top.

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What’s interesting about the people who came and went in Conrad’s as we were sitting there is that they were brought there by someone who called this place one of their greatest traditions.  Like Tonine brought me, so did someone from a group just next to us.  A young mother brought her two little ones, a toddler and a newborn, to get them started on the path. Mothers and daughters, groups of teens, and older couples gathered for a bit of ice cream and nostalgia.  This is what builds endurance, this is what builds tradition, and this is an ordinary legacy in the making.  Their website seems especially proud that “customers, who have grown up on Conrad’s chocolate and ice cream, now bring their children and grandchildren to take part in the delicious tradition”.

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The staff is young and personable and knowledgeable and I’m sure that after they put your order down in front of you they wait just a split second to see your reaction to your first taste, especially if you are a newbie.  Mmmmmm and your eyes close. The richness is overwhelming, coating every part of your mouth and throat.   The flavors are at once distinct but blend beautifully.  I am completely ruined for any other ice cream.  While micro-batching has become the catch phrase of the artisan movement, Conrad’s has never strayed from this process, never strayed from quality ingredients or time tested methods that prove themselves over and over.

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You can pay by credit card but you will notice that there is no tip line, tips are gladly accepted in cash.

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The experience is perpetuated by Conrad’s current owner, JJ Krachtus who is a product of salt-of-the-earth parents, John and Corinne Krachtus, who believed in hard work and being part of the community.  We had a lovely conversation with JJ, who enjoyed hearing Tonine’s funny and enduring Conrad experiences. JJ was reluctant to be photographed but I inadvertently caught him talking with some of his customers in the mirror’s reflection this, and in production behind the scenes, is where he seems most comfortable.

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I’m so glad I was able to experience Conrad’s’ before they stop making ice cream (after Halloween) for the season.  I’ll look forward to visiting them for some holiday chocolates and eagerly await the start of the ice cream season shortly after Mother’s Day, you can follow their schedule on Facebook.  My plan is to come back in the summer and walk right up to the serving door and get my fix, I hope you will too…and bring someone.

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I’m Back


Back and Macless but not without a story…you’re shocked I know.  There is a reason why my adventure into the world of Mac didn’t work out, not just because some people are Mac people and some people aren’t.  Even though I had a Mac Guru there was a reason why he was unable to assist due to family and work constraints.  You’ve heard me say it before if it’s not a blessing it’s a lesson.

The Mac went back and I began the hunt for another laptop, windows based, light weight, beautiful grahics blah blah blah.  If you type those characteristics into google several brands come up.  Now I start asking around and see who’s using what beyond Mac.  Then I ask a friend…one of my former employees from a thousand years ago works for Lenovo…what do you suggest?  Several instant messages later not only does she confirm my recent research she assists in the sale…it was a lovely and generous assist but for me her reasoning was the most heartwarming thing I’ve heard in a very long time.  Ghandi said you may never know what effect you have in the world but if you do nothing there will be nothing.  Apparently I did something for her many many years ago that I had no knowledge of, I was doing my best as her manager and she never forgot me and felt I did more than my best. I have watched her become a woman of substance, a loving mother and beautiful soul over the last several years and my heart bursts for her with every new and exciting life hurdle she overcomes.  I could not have been more flattered or humbled by her loving words and generosity.  This is why the Mac didn’t work out.

It also didn’t work out because I chose it for all the wrong reasons.  Initially when my laptop died I first asked all the creative people I know and they unequivocally said they use Mac…so that’s what thought I had to do too.  The thing is it doesn’t make me less creative if I don’t use a Mac, doesn’t make them more creative because they do…I was trying to follow something that I wasn’t, I was negating all the expertise, experience and background I had in Windows for something I thought I should be using if I wanted to be considered creative.  The medium you use does not determine your level of creativity…ever. I will never again discount my experience, expertise or hard earned background to follow a crowd. Lesson learned.  By the way, all of that expertise and experience is the reason why so many people find it difficult to assimilate to Mac, it gets in the way.  I’ve been saying intuitive my ass for that very reason.  The youngest of the young can open the box and begin using those products mainly because they lack context, for them lack of context equals intuitiveness.   Ok, I’m done with that now…maybe.

Now my laptop is ordered complete with all the bells and whistles, my preferred software and the wait begins.  Now mind you I don’t have a laptop………what I do have is a camera full of images, 40gbs to be exact, and nowhere to do my work.  Here’s another reason why this happened, I’ve learned to value my work.  My work, not the job I do each day that pays the mortgage, my work.  My words and images and thoughts and observations and tastes and smells and recognitions and on and on.  My work. I missed my work.  I found myself wallowing in several different unproductive waist high marshes of boredom and television watching.   Until I had to travel for a few different reasons and downloaded some very pivotal audio books. Bless you Brene’ Brown and Marie Kondo for putting your work out in the world for me to grab on to and go.

You all know I can fill a construction grade big green garbage bag but putting your house in order according to Marie Kondo takes it to a whole new level.  The amount of nostalgic hold me backs that went in the trash or got donated lifted a weight I never even knew I was carrying.  Not done yet but the really hard stuff is going to require supervision…just sayin.

Finally my laptop is making its way from Shanghai, probably from the plant next door to Apple (but I digress) and should arrive on Monday 10-5-15.  The thing is it arrived early, does that ever happen (do not roll your eyes), on Friday 10-2-15 after I’m visiting my mother for her care update meeting I come home to the notice on the door that says we’ll be back on Monday.  Oh no you won’t………………I call UPS and beg them to get a hold of the driver, he’s out of the area already. Really?  The notice on the door was delivered 20 minutes ago.  Ok, yes hold it at the Customer Center and I’ll pick it up tonight.  What time?  Between 8-9pm.  Well I thought why not go down there early, bat my eyelashes use my best can ya help a sistah out routine and see what happens.  Here’s the thing, there is no one there UNTIL 8pm.   I drove down there in the pouring rain during rush hour to try and work a thing, lesson learned.

What the hell am I going to do for an hour and a half?  There is a huge mall a few miles from the UPS Center and I make my way over there, chiding myself the whole way about thinking I’ll get in and get out of there with my laptop under my arm, and find myself in the parking lot near Lord and Taylor when someone pulls out of a first row, six spaces in parking place….best parking karma ever.  Again, do NOT roll your eyes.

As I get out of the car I notice my phone is about to die…I plug it in and go.  No phone, no contact, just me soaking wet headed into the mall.  I walk through Lord and Taylor and beyond the mall side entrance is an oasis called…wait for it…Aroma Espresso Bar. Behind the counter is Lamar, who asks how I’m doing and takes my order.  I know what I looked like, a nearly drowned rat with a bit of the shivers, so Lamar assured me he’d make everything piping hot.  Amen.  There are no pictures with this post because my phone was left in the car but Lamar set the most beautiful tray in front me complete with croissant, a chocolate, and napkins.  My latte had a gorgeous foam art heart that instantly warmed me.  I couldn’t thank this young man enough.

And so I sat people watching, writing in the journal I always have with me and sipping my latte.  The heart never lost its shape, with each sip I took a bit went down my throat but it always kept its shape and there’s the lesson, if you work from your heart it will always keep its shape….I have been working from my heart all day with my new laptop, blessing the people who helped get me through to this day Muriel, Linda, Anthony and Lamar, and utterly enjoying my work.  Amen