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Strike a prose!

February 5, 2011

Take a hiatus from blogging for a week or so and great things happen! Yesterday, I was nominated by my blogging buddy, Charles, at Mostly Bright Ideas, for a Stylish Blogger Award. I should stop blogging more often! The award requires work, so I suspect this is his clever way of telling me to stop slacking. Thank you for the honor, Charles, and for giving me a kick (whether you meant to or not).

Things I must do as a recipient of the award

1. Write seven things about myself – Charles forgot that I just turned 50 and can’t remember what I have already shared with readers. I will attempt to avoid redundancy. I will struggle to top one of his seven, jumping out of a plane, not once, but twice!

2. Present the award to six bloggers. Not easy. I am Amiable Amiable. I want everyone to receive the award! Really. I am generous to a fault.

Example: Yesterday, I was invited to a friend’s house to enjoy good company (cultured company, not artsy-fartsy, Mofongoman!) and a glass of wine. I chose red, against my Better Judgment, who yelled in my ear, “No! Not the red! You’re clumsy, you fool!” My friend has a gorgeous flat with a remarkable collection of artwork, and a beige wall-to-wall carpet. Naturally, I spilled a drop of red on the carpet. First thought to cross my mind? “I need to buy him a new carpet!” Fortunately, he was at the ready with a can of Resolve, a far less expensive solution to the problem. It worked like magic! I am stocking up on that stuff. It will be handy in my own home, but will also make a nice host or hostess gift next time I am invited to someone’s home for wine and refuse, again, to listen to Better Judgment.

3. Contact those people. (Check)

4. Create a link back to the person who honored me. (Check)

Before I stretch my brain to think of interesting things to share about myself, I encourage you to visit my fellow Charles-appointed Stylish Blogger Award recipients. Charles and company are all wonderful writers. Why I am included among them is perplexing but, as a blogger, I accept the honor as an opportunity to justifiably write about myself. (I threw in that split infinitive – I think that’s what it’s called – just to prove my point, that I am not grammar-savvy, to the writers.)

Arbor Familiae
Conjuring My Muse
Cooperstowners in Canada
Mirrored Images
Surely, You Jess!

Now, in the words of Madonna’s Vogue, let’s get to it

I’m fairly certain I have blogged that my mother worked for the editor of Vogue in the late 40s. She also modeled a few times for Glamour, an it-only-happens-in-the-movies opportunity when she was plucked from the secretarial pool and placed before a photographer by her boss. She was inherently stylish, unlike her daughter. This makes the Stylish Blogger award even more amusing for me.

Were I to give an acceptance speech, I would have to credit my mom in some way. She made me walk around the living room balancing the dictionary on my head to improve my posture. Maybe some of the words seeped into my brain. Thank you, Mom. It would be more appropriate to thank my mother for the appreciation I gleaned from her for Coco Chanel. My mother always had a little black dress and a bottle of Chanel on her dresser.

So, I share with you seven facts about me, all inspired by Coco Chanel quotes. The first fact is long  as I am making up for lost blogging time, but the rest are brief.

As soon as you set foot on a yacht, you belong to some man, not to yourself, and you die of boredom.

Before I met my husband, I dated a jazz trombonist in a band that performed at Bill’s Seafood, a restaurant and bar in Westbrook, Connecticut. Classical jazz? No. Generally, by the end of the evening, the band was blasting When the Saints Go Marching In (get the idea?) and the audience was parading around conga line style, singing, and grabbing innocent spectators from their dinner tables to bring up the rear. I always held fast to my table. In fact, I may have hidden beneath it. My mother loved the band, and she tagged along with me to every performance and behind every conga line.

I don’t know how the trombonist and I became a couple since I don’t care much about music. It became clear that a breakup was imminent when he took me to a Yo-Yo Ma concert at Tanglewood with another couple who were friends of his and fellow musicians. I take great pleasure in sharing that their names were Barbie and Ken. From the get-go, Ken, how should we say, hated me and made no secret of his detest. As a music snob, he couldn’t fathom what his trombonist friend was doing with a non-musician type. Barbie, thank God, was personable and we hit it off from the first note.

Like a yo-yo, my relationship with the trombonist had its ups and downs. Image from

After Malibu Ken took out the score to whatever Yo-Yo was playing and began reading along, I could hardly contain myself. Ah, sweet vengeance. I soon had Barbie doubled over in fits and giggles, joining in with my completely irreverent humor (imagine the yo-yo jokes!), and infuriating her Party-Killer Ken of a boyfriend. It gets better. Much to his horror, we assumed Talking Barbie voices, pretending to pull the strings from the backs of our necks, and she delivered the classic Beethoven joke in wonderful Talking Barbie fashion:

Barbie: “What was Beethoven doing in his coffin?”

Me: “Decomposing!”

Barbie and Me (non-Barbie voices): “Bwaahaaahaahaahaaa!”

How do you write that sound that people utter when they are thoroughly disgusted by something? It often accompanies rolling of the eyes. This was Ken. Add smoke coming out of his ears. There, that’s the perfect picture. And this was me, then sticking a baton to him:

“But people were hoping he’d come Bach to life!”

At which point, Barbie laughed so hard that tears streamed down her cheeks. The imminent breakup with my boyfriend happened halfway between Tanglewood and home.

What does this have to do with Coco’s quote? After the trombonist, I met my future husband (at Bill’s Seafood!) and our first date was on his sailboat. I am happy to report that I have always remained myself (perhaps to my husband’s chagrin) and have never had a near-death boredom moment with him; compared to the boredom I suffered with the trombone player.

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.

My husband and I love the movie Moonstruck. We named our current boat after it. Years ago, I decided to surprise him with a trip to the opera, our first, to see La Bohème, featured in the film. In my mind, I had purchased tickets to a production at Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House, à la Nicholas Cage and Cher. In actuality, the suprise was on me. I had purchased the tickets for a Metropolitan City Opera production at the David H. Koch Theater on the Lincoln Center campus.

Is there anything wrong with that? No, except that we didn’t discover this until we arrived at Lincoln Center. It quickly became apparent that black taffeta gowns are really, really out of place, like a fish out of the Hudson, at the Koch. Unless, of course, a woman remarks to you in the restroom, “You look absolutely fabulous,” as opera snoots looked down their noses at me as they powdered them. Problem? The woman wore a hot-pink and black zebra-stripe fur coat. I stuffed my embarrassment, silently questioning her style and sanity, and gracefully thanked her for the compliment. It was the only classy thing I could do.

I am not young but I feel young. The day I feel old, I will go to bed and stay there. J’aime la vie! I feel that to live is a wonderful thing.

Exactly, Coco. This is why my husband and I, respectively at the ages of 59 and 49, decided we were young enough to rent jet skis 0n a a trip to Key West. We joined a jet ski tour with a group of people half our ages. It was horrifying. Not being with the youngsters, but holding on for our dear lives while we raced around in the Florida sun. I felt very young before boarding the shared personal watercraft, and felt extremely old after our adventure. Were I not on vacation, I would have gone straight to bed and stayed there, writhing in agony from the pain in my back and legs and the nightmarish flashbacks.

49- and 59-year-olds, please step away from the dock. Image from

In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.

I’m still trying to figure out how to equal Charles’ death-defying skydiving. The jet ski incident was close, in my opinion. There was another time, trying to be an irreplaceable mom, that I journeyed to Arizona State University with my oldest son during the year of college visits. He had never been west of New York. Wanting him to experience the beauty of the Arizona landscape, I decided that going on an ATV tour with him would be the best way for him to have that opportunity. How many of his friends’ moms had been on ATV tours with their sons? None. Why? Because they were the smart moms. However, I am just a little smarter because I know what to do if you encounter a rattlesnake in the desert while on an ATV. Thankfully, I did not have to put that knowledge to use.

A bite from one of these might make you replaceable. Image from

Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.

I believe Coco was also referring to shoes. As a student studying art in Florence during my junior year of college, I invested much of my food allowance in fashion. One day, I purchased a pair of boots valued at a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. I thought they were quite stylish and soon discovered that I was the only person of that opinion. My roommates snickered at them and called them “Lizard Boots.”

I was dating an Italian at the time who spoke decent English. Because he chose to communicate with me in that language, I didn’t bother to speak Italian with him. Therefore, he assumed I couldn’t speak or understand it to save my life. Out on the town one evening, I sat in a club with him and his ragazzi. He glanced at my boots, turned to his buddies, and, laughing, said in his native tongue, “Those are the ugliest boots I’ve ever seen.” Having taken enough boot abuse, I responded in perfect Italian, “They’re not as ugly as your face.” This, too, was another relationship that soon saw an imminent breakup. Was that a ladylike thing to say? Of course not. But a woman has to stand tall in her boots.

Since everything is in our heads, we had better not lose them.

As a mother of two boys, I have come close to losing my mind many, many times. Their distracting ways are to blame, and the reason I discovered a bag of hamburger in a kitchen cabinet one morning while making coffee. My nose found it before my eyes. Since then, I vowed to keep my head screwed tightly on my shoulders. If it’s ever become that loose again, I can’t remember.

This is what I found for a photo after Googling “bag of hamburger.” I need to get me one of these!Image from

Women have always been the strong ones of the world. The men are always seeking from women a little pillow to put their heads down on. They are always longing for the mother who held them as infants.

When my husband and I first started dating in 1986, he caught me burning water. How does one do this? One gets bored waiting for it to boil and starts flipping through a magazine. My mother-in-law is a great cook. My husband has not found her culinary skill in me. I am strong, though. I gave birth to a 9 lb., 12 oz. son and a 10 lb, 4 oz. son. Will my boys want wives like their mother? Only if they want to honeymoon in Arizona and book an ATV tour.

Me, a different kind of mom.

And, now, I bestow the award upon the following bloggers. They may choose not to accept, but check out their blogs when you can. I wish I could have a longer list! Please visit “Nothing Like These Blogs” to see all of the many wonderful blogs that I follow.

All-knowing. Comic genius. Familiarize yourself with The Policies before reading any of his posts.

Herding Cats in Hammond River
A Jolie hostess, a Queen of Alliteration, and the creator of the best rants ever! With regard to the latter, I suggest you read A Premature Passing; Pecans, Pesto, and Pizza; and the Plowman Pops In. Positively prized posting! She and her husband also own a bookstore. Yay!

P.S. Wendy, I know I owe you some lies! Coming up in Sunday’s post!

I love Linda’s photos and learning about life in the Canary Islands. Stop by Tenerife and you will soon feel as familiar as she has made me feel with the people, landscape, and architecture.

Pooter and Booger’s Place
How can you not want to read posts with a blog title like that? You’d never suspect from the name that Renee was a highly successful New York and Milan model. Guess why she got my interest? Yup, and my mother would have loved reading her posts, too. Born in Texas, she shoots from the hip and has a finger on the humor trigger. Each post leaves me wanting to read more about her fascinating life. Retirement #1 sets the stage.

Saturday Evening Porch: reeling in the years
Her style is fresh and fun, and we can commiserate about being empty-nesters, as in Text to College Student: How Do You Turn on the TV? Her posts Where’s the Bread? Land of Snow Wimps and Halloween Already were Freshly Pressed.

The Brooks File
Gerry is a Connecticut newscaster with great insights and wit. His posts are short and sweet and/or salty, sensitive and/or funny. He says a lot in a few words. I bet he has some good jokes to go with some great stories. He’s a guy I want to shoot the breeze with over a beer. Check out A week ago … and accompanying posts about his trip with his wife to Machu Picchu.

Wander Woman’s Blog
I want to be her! I admire her fearless solo travels. I’m not half as brave. (My husband is grateful for this.) The stories and photos she shares have piqued my interest about many places. I enjoy all of her posts, but Travel Essay~Woman And Luggage Against The Cinque Terre had me laughing aloud.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2011 6:59 PM

    Merci beaucoup! I would love to have that beer someday. When it’s warm. Someday. In our lifetime.

  2. February 5, 2011 7:40 PM

    Thank you, AA! I’m honoured to receive the “Stylish Blogger Award” (I’m glad somebody thinks I’m stylish…my children don’t!). I’ll enjoy checking out your list (I know Oma already of course, but the others are new to me…). One small correction…the bookstore is mine and my dad’s…Jim’s an IT guy/amateur photographer (I appreciate the link to the store!). Looking forward to your lies on Sunday!


  3. February 5, 2011 7:41 PM

    You rascal, aren’t you too kind! I absolutely loved your 7 Coco points and was bent over double with the Yo-Yo Ma Barbie business…Bach…Beethoven? Don’t you just love to see the pompous Ken dolls of the world do a little mouth throw-up on their own self-importance?

  4. February 5, 2011 7:52 PM

    All knowing? Comic genius? Thank you!

    May I send you a list of people who need to understand those things about me much more clearly?

    • February 5, 2011 10:01 PM

      Of course you may send me that list, with a guarantee that I get The Jolie for the USVI.

  5. February 5, 2011 8:39 PM

    I hate Ken and I hate the trombone player, but I loved this post. Oh, and I wasn’t crazy about the rattlesnake (although no legs are better than eight). Your fingers are warmed up now, AA. Keep it going!

    • February 5, 2011 10:04 PM

      I hear from the Incredible Hulk action figure that he’s going to kick the butts of Ken and the trombone player. I’ll work on getting him to slay the rattlesnake for you.

  6. February 5, 2011 9:29 PM

    Hi AA,
    ” Hot-pink and black zebra-stripe fur coat” OMG what a sight that must of been, the mind boggles, I’m actually having trouble picturing the coat!

    Rattlesnakes, how lucky you didn’t come across any, I hate snakes of all shapes and sizes, and of course here in OZ there are heaps, all protected, although I couldn’t tell you why.

    Fantastic post, I always have a bit of laugh when I visit your blog.

    • February 5, 2011 10:09 PM

      Yay! Glad I leave you laughing!

      There are times I wish I could get away with wearing that coat. It would just solve so many of my fashion dilemmas if I were able to wear whatever I wanted without a care in the world.

      If only we could find the answer to why there are heaps of protected snakes where you live. Then again, could it be there are over-populated animals of another variety that require consumption by snakes? Ack! Did you read about the snake I found in my kitchen? Don’t!

  7. February 8, 2011 1:47 PM

    Amiable–You Get the Best Story Teller Award! I love these stories! You are as stylish, cool and adventurous as Coco! And generous to boot; bless your heart for putting my name there. It warmed the cockles of my heart as I sit in battered sweats and tee, crooked reading glasses on, eating tuna out of an envelope–very non-Coco-esque, oui?
    We want more stories and photos from your albums of life!

    • February 8, 2011 9:52 PM

      Battered sweats and tee, crooked reading glasses, eating tuna out of an envelope? C’est la vie! As another Coco quote goes, “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury!” Thanks for the Best Story Teller Award! I credit my husband, whose favorite expression is “Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.” You inspired me to share some family photos in the first place, and I will deliver more! Can’t wait to read your post, Reeling!


  1. Odd News, Apparently I’m Stylish « A Friend to Yourself

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