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Showing posts from November, 2008

Luck Takes Time

There are moments in my paranoid little mind when I entertain fantasies that some people have all the luck. Their first song hits number one on the charts, they send out five query letters and get offers from five agents (ha!), they marry their high school sweetheart and live happily ever after, no matter what they do, they make it look easy. Which is what drew me to Spilling the Beans.

Last night I finished reading Spilling the Beans by Clarissa Dickson Wright, known here in the U.S. as being one half of the brilliant, hilarious, and enormously popular 90's cooking show Two Fat Ladies. When I read the synopsis on the back cover, I knew I wanted to read the book. Born to a renowned surgeon and an heiress, Clarissa's childhood should have been the stuff of children's fairy tales. Unfortunately, her father was an alcoholic and Clarissa describes years of abuse suffered by her mother and herself as her father's drinking binges progressively deteriorated his mind. Against h…

Happy Thanksgiving: Let's Count Our Blessings!

When I began looking for inspiration for this holiday post, I recalled Thanksgivings past and nearly included a video of the that famous parade in New York, which is where I spent eight Thanksgivings in years gone by. My favorite was the year it snowed, the year we walked up Central Park West at the end of a very long night of cocktails and saw the floats as they slept beneath their nets. The street was nearly deserted, it must have been very late, the snow flurries looked more like floating crystals than was enchanting.

But what really says Thanksgiving to me is cooking....which is what I've been doing this evening. We're spending Thanksgiving with friends this year and to make it both fun and fair, we've split up the cooking tasks, hence my head start on a couple of my assigned dishes. Tonight I've made two pecan pies with healthy doses of Bourbon and chocolate inside, I've brined my turkey, and made a stock for the gravy. Tomorrow I'll finish the gr…

Experiencing Joy

In the summer after my junior year at the University of Michigan, I moved to Chicago to pursue what Dr. Stebbins said would be a job better suited to my personality than working in his primate lab. (It seems my inability to keep records did not bode well for a career involving vast amounts of data collection.) I found that job at Lehman Brothers as a sales assistant in Institutional Equity Sales. During my interview in the real world, my future boss nodded toward the coffee cup sitting on the table in front of me asked me, "Is that half empty or half full?"

I'd never heard the expression before and so thought he was asking a serious question of semantics. I stumbled for a moment and then said, "Well, I suppose if it were a bucket you could simply put it under the spigot and fill it up!" I'm not sure how that bon mot went over with my boss, but I did get the job.

Nowadays the 'half empty / half full' expression is a familiar barometer of optimism versu…

The Pursuit of Happiness

After my return from Colorado last month, I wrote a post describing the disappointment and resulting depression I felt after I was unable to complete the goals I'd set for the trip. I've spent the weeks since absorbed in the election, but really, absorbed in my thoughts as I've tried to decide what to do next. I still haven't figured that part out, but I have at least gotten out of bed...and begun reading, heading to the beach, exploring options and being much more proactive than I was at first. I've even started writing again, I'm half-way through a new chapter in the novel in progress.

Shortly after that original post, a friend sent an email cautioning me that perhaps I was pursuing the wrong things, that true happiness would not be found in externalities, but within. Interestingly, the first few times I read his email it was if through a fog, I could barely make out the words. Over the weeks, I moved through the feelings that clouded my thoughts, made sleep …