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Weds
20
Aug
2014
Drop Phone In Toilet

Woman_Screaming_DreamstimeThis was not at the top of my 
To Do List.

But shit happens. Sometimes all too literally. So what's a girl to do?

First, you scream at the toilet. Which, I know you're wondering about but will now have entirely TMI, was not empty.

Then, number two, you should pardon the expression, you dig down deep, not just into the bowl but into your soul.

You always wondered how you would react if something like this happened — the whole grace under pressure thing. Now you know. But perhaps some things, and this surely may be one of them, are better not to know.

Quick! This is no time for philosophizing! Do something! But what???

Wait a moment! Wait a minute! What about. . . rice? Didn't I hear something about using rice?

Yes! Yes! It was on that first episode of Elementary! Sherlock solved a case by figuring out that the bad guy was drying out the phone he had inadvertently put into the washing machine — by sealing it in a big bag of . . . RICE!

But I had no rice. Gave that up in a hopeless attempt to cut back on white carbs. Thought I had some brown rice, but couldn't find it. Was that bad for me too? Quinoa won't work, will it? Noodles? Pasta?

Now I'm panicking . . .

Fortunato! Use what's left of your head. Go on line and ask the musical question:

"What should I do if I drop my phone in the toilet?"

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bathingsuitchoiceA few years ago, I wrote a piece for Woman Around Town about buying a bathing suit, and had so much good feedback from it that I included it in my book, I Can't Believe I'm Not Bitter, available (ahem) on Amazon. I was going to write a new article this year but decided to run the original because a) I am too demoralized from my latest misadventure at Lord & Taylors to write anything,  b) I 've rerun some form of the original every year around this time and tradition is so important when all else has failed, and c)nothing has changed!

BUYING A BATHING SUIT

Somehow I feel that I don't have to say another word. And yet, you know I will.

A few adjectives do come springingly to mind: 
Dreaded, humiliating, humbling (not exactly the same as humiliating), life-negating, tiring, stressful.
(Please feel free to join in!)

And then there are the nouns:
Disaster, failure, disappointment, compromise, defeat.

The sentences might as well be 20 to Life:
I came, I tried, I wept.
I came, I saw myself in the 3-way mirror, I fled.
I came, I saw a lot of suits, none of them fit.

Bathing Suit Designers Are Sadists.

Every year, they decide that a certain style is in, and you're stuck with it whether it fits or not.  
It never fits.

Take the halter top. If you're flat on top, it just lies there, looking useless. If you're large, you hang out. You want to hang out on the beach, not out of your bathing suit.
I hate halters.

For a while, the bottoms were being cut higher and higher, higher and higher. This was supposed to "elongate the leg." What it did was show more cellulite. Now, bottoms are cut a bit lower and some suits even have ruffles on the bottom. Remember the pictures in children's books of elephants in tutus? You will, if you try on one of these.

The people who run the bathing suit departments are also sadists.

There are so many suits, you can't believe that there isn't ONE that will work. There isn't one. Nevertheless, you take 20 or 30 into the dressing room.   
One lives in hope.

And that's where the real heartache begins . . .

Because the people who design dressing rooms are the worst kind of sadists. The lighting makes everything (and I mean everything!) look absolutely hideous.

And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse it does.

If the top fits, the bottom doesn't.
If the cut is good, the color isn't.
If the style is nice, they don't have your size.

One positive note:
After years of two-piece suits that just didn't work, they invented the tankini. I like this, because they're cooler (literally and figuratively) than one-piece suits, and they're much more convenient when going to the loo. Also, when you're lying in the sun in a prone position where things don't hang out so much, you can raise the bottom of the top (is that clear?) and get some sun on your midriff.

Remember, when all else fails: tanned flab looks better than pale flab.

Oh, well. As you know, here at I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M NOT BITTER, we always like to put a positive spin on even the most dire situation.

After much searching, I finally got a cute top from Nautica (tankini, of course, because it's easier to deal with in the loo) from Lord & Taylor that goes with the navy blue bottom from the suit I got from Saks last year. It's not perfect, but it works. But if that doesn't work for you, or if you'd like a spin of your own, try these on for size:

•I never liked the beach anyway. 
•The mountains are so much nicer this time of year.
•No one else is looking that good either.•He loves me for my mind.
•The cover-ups are really cute this year.  

Or my personal favorite:
•After an hour in the sun, I won't give a damn.


TELL US ABOUT YOUR ADVENTURES WITH BATHING SUITS.
IT HELPS TO SHARE.

Note: Previous posts, With A Thong In My Heart, and Bathing Suit Blues, have appeared in summers past.

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100Birthday_Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of you who have never attended a 100th birthday party (And who among us has?) here are a few pictures of the one we had for my mother, Josephine, who was born 100 years ago, on May 24, 1914.

 

100Candles-1Mom was overwhelmed at first, but became used to the fuss pretty quickly and got into the swing of things. She stayed up longer than usual before announcing that the party was over, she wanted to go to bed, and we should all go home.

She did. We didn't

After all these years, we still don't always listen to our mother.

100Singing

We had lots of great food by Debbie Soffel Catering, balloons and decorations by Jennifer  & Ron Fortunato, and a wonderful cake I got fromVeneiros in NYC But not enough cannolis. (Remember: Only Allah is perfect.) However! There were over 40 guests, including lots of relatives, and no shots were fired.

I'll bet this only happens every 100 years or so.

HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY, MOM!

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When Did Everything Change?

Some say it was the Vietnam War, when we stopped believing a single word our government said,* including "and" and "the." Maybe it was when we started calling love affairs "relationships," thereby sanitizing the romance right out of our sex lives. Or was it the rise of political correctness, when suddenly abolutely anything you said about anyone became incredibly insulting to someone.

Lady_5I agree with all of the above. But I have another explanation:

It was the day we started calling spaghetti "pasta."

Growing up as an Italian-American, the only time I remember hearing the word "pasta" was in conjunction with "fagioli," although we were more inclined to call that bean and macaroni dish "pasta fazool," a Brooklyn-American version of Neapolitan dialect made famous by Dean Martin in the song "That's Amore."

It was love all right. We loved our macaroni, which was different from spaghetti, both of which Pasta_Typescame in many varieties: from angel hair to bucatini,  tubitini to ziti, ravioli to lasagna. In truth, we very fussy about which pasta (although we didn't call it that) went with which sauce, and everyone and his uncle (and, especially, his aunt) had their own, fiercely held opinions about this. But we called them by their names, so that it was linguini with clam sauce, or spaghetti and meatballs.

These days, it's all different. And mostly for the better. You rarely encounter soggy, overcooked lasagna or baked ziti anymore, and you can get all kinds of stuffing for ravioli, not just the classic and one-time ubiquitous cheese. Now spinach is a given. Not to mention mushroom. Or duck. How about lobster! Crab!! Veal and truffle!! Almost anything you can think of. And so far, I haven't met a ravioli I didn't like.

It's just that somehow I feel robbed . . .

The general American public, against which I have nothing, or very little, has co-opted my heritage. They talk about pasta as if they invented it! They no longer marvel at my family's Sunday spaghetti dinners. Although, to be fair, we really don't have those any more except on the rare occasions that my husband, the much put-upon Lou, AKA Luigi, spends a whole day making His Sainted Mother's Sauce, which involves rolling about 60 meatballs (I help) and frying sausage, making braciole (pronounced bra-johl, like the old days), sometimes even adding chicken and pork chops.

After all this, he gets to choose the—all right, I'll say it— pasta, and he usually picks rotini or fusilli, the difference being very subtle. I, on the other hand, lust for plain old medium thick spaghetti. We used Ronzoni in my house because it had an Italian name, and #8 or #9 was the preferred size for meat sauce, although, of course, you had to use capellini for anchovy sauce, which you had to have on Christmas Eve.

We now use imported brands like DeCecco or Barilla, and have serious discussions, coming perilously close to arguments, with friends and family about which is best. I'm not sure, but they're all better than Ronzoni so some of this change, as I've said, is for the better.

And yet.

A small part of me (and many, although not all,  parts of me are small) still feels cheated . . .

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Ain't email grand? 

The words of wisdom that appeared in my inbox today were written by Regina Brett, a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer who's a mere 90 years old. (The italics below are mine.) 
If you're in a hurry, go directly to #10. It sums it all up.

Mae_West 

1. Life isn't fair, but it's good.

Or as that great philosopher Mae West once said, "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
But watch out for the dog shit.

3. Life is too short – enjoy it.
Life Is Short is the very apt title of Mickey Rooney's autobiography (may he rest in peace). I'm thinking of writing one myself, and I'll call it, Life Is Short And So Am I.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick.  
Your friends and family will.

Too true. But ya gotta take care of them too.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
Yes! This blogger HATES paying interest to those bloodsuckers. It's like throwing money away. And there are SO many better ways to throw away money.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
I get the first sentence. I get the second. Just don't see how they go together. Help, anyone?

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
Okay, but be sure to invest in some waterproof mascara first.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
He? Not She? The jury is out on this one.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.chocolate_lover
Now you tell me!

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
Any questions?

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
Past? I don't remember making any mistakes, do you? Of course, I don't remember what I had for breakfast.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
Or anyone else. Although I am still embarassed by the time I broke down in sobs in the dentist chair. Not because of the upcoming root canal, although god knows, that can unnerve a person, but because my dear friend had just died and I hadn't really cried yet.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. And never be envious, the green-eyed monster will really mess you up.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
We've all done it, so don't be too hard on yourself, but yes, if you can't shout it from the rooftops, or at least giggle about it with your best friend, run, don't walk away from this person.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don't worry, God never blinks.
I don't get this one at all. Please explain.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
Ahhhh, yes.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways. 
This includes people.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
No pain, no gain? Unfortunately, this is all too true.

19. It's never too late to be happy. But it's all up to you and no one else.
I do believe that I, and no one else, can make me happy. On the other hand, if George Clooney called . . .

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
Yo, Houston! Failure is not an option

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
I hate it when they go gaga on Antiques Roadshow that something has "never been out of the box." Great, so it's worth more money. And no one has ever enjoyed it! Sheesh. What a world.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
Yup. Make the list, check it twice, then remember that anything that can go wrong almost certainly will . . .

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Bitter Patter

Okay, so I broke up with Walter White 
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Breaking Up
(
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But I do so love Valentine's Day.

Click here to see a clip about that very subject:

MY 7 MINUTES
& 23 SECONDS OF FAME

But Who's Counting.

Pat's Appearance
on the TV Show
Good Morning, New York

This is great advice. . .
about advice!

The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right.Henry Ward Beecher

HOWEVER: NEVER SAY NEVER! 
I'm the woman who said she never got a cold.
Guess what? I got one. 
Oh well, it made a good story: 

Wallowing 101

Does anyone else keep getting those emails from people who want to change your life?
Here's the lastest one from "Tara":

Today, this wonderful Secret can bring about happiness in your life, by fulfilling the wish that is closest to your heart, the one which may completely change your destiny.

Tara, a question:
Can you make me twenty again?
Knowing what I know now?
No, didn't think so.
Therefore, take my name off your mailing list.

 Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
― Albert Einstein

Apparently, Mr. E. also got a new coffee maker.

See: "The Coffee Pot From Hell"

 

Have you visited 
WOMAN AROUND TOWN? 
It's an online publication
that features some of my articles.

Here's a link to a book review:

"Antidote For Holiday Stress"

 When you finish reading the latest post,  click on the icon on the right, which will take you 
to Amazon, where you can  get your very own copy of 
I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M NOT BITTER!

 Just as I posted
I WAS THE GIRL PHANTOM
,
I found a website called The Ghost Who Blogs about The Phantom comics:

http://falkonthewildside.blogspot.com

Writing Comics. . .
Was a small but wonderful part of my checkered career, and doing a post about it  brought back a lot of great memories. If you know any other women in NYC who wrote — or are writing — comics, tell me how to get in touch with them. 

 I'm on a watching-old-movies kick these days.
Great way to lose yourself.
If you're lucky, you'll never be found. 

OLD REVIEWS  
TO PERUSE

I'm All Right, Jack:
"Jack" is not just all right, it's totally delightful and fresh as a daisy after all these years (made in 1959), with Sellers, although not technically the lead, giving the brilliant performance that launched him as an international star. He plays an all-too-zealous union leader and father of a blonde bombshell who falls for Stanley, the British Upper Class Twit played, also to perfection, by Ian Carmichael, who you might remember from the Lord Peter Wimsey series. The makeout scenes between the the Twit and the Bombshell are priceless. But what is Stanley doing in this working class atmosphere anyway? Working. And too well at that. Forced by financial circumstances too dreary to discuss, he gets a job in his uncle's factory and messes things up for the other workers by, well, working, and thus making his fellow employees look bad. The film takes a big shot at unions — but also at management: they are manipulating white-collar thieves who'll do anything for a buck. Or a pound. Except for the ones, like Major Hitchcock, played by Terry Thomas, who are just plain lazy and inept. Needless to say, Stanley foils everybody's plans, labor and management alike, to my great joy and delight. Oh, and on top of everything else, Margaret Rutherford plays dotty dowager Aunt Dolly. Delicious!

 The Big Lebowski:
What can you say that hasn't been said before: brilliant, inspired, with some of the most memorable lines ever to come out of a movie, the most quoted being "The Dude abides." Oh yes. For anyone who hasn't yet seen the film, and it's now out in a special Blu-Ray edition if that floats your bowling ball. The Dude in question,  played to perfection by Jeff Bridges, is an out-of-work pothead who is roughed up and has his rug destroyed by some thugs mistaking him for another, bigger, Lebowski. The Dude is really upset about this because, man, "that rug really tied the room together," which The Dude says with all seriousness and not a trace of irony, a great comic touch considering the condition his condition is in.  Oh, and besides "Just Dropped In," all the music is perfect for the film. The plot, according to Wikipedia, which has been known to be wrong, is "loosely based on Raymond chandler's novel, The Big Sleep." Could be. But who cares. It involves a bowling competition, "the occasional acid flashback," a trophy wife, a group of German nihilists, a kidnapping gone awry, a mad millionaire and his lackey, in another great performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Actually, they're all great performances. Never a fan of John Goodman before or since, he is brilliant in this film. And so are John Turturro, overacting his little heart out, Steve Buscemi in a nerdy, needy role that makes you marvel at his star turn in Boardwalk Empire, and even the actors in the smaller parts, especially Julianne Moore and Sam Elliott. Elliott plays The Stranger (God? Everyman? The part of us that roots for the bad boy?) who elicits from Bridges the immortal words, "The Dude abides." Which prompts The Stranger to comment to the audience: "Don't know about you but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there. The Dude. Takin' 'er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals." We'll never know about the bowling trophy because there's never been a sequel to this 1998 film by the great Coen Brothers, and I hope there never will be. It just abides, as all great films do.

Prince of the City:
Okay, the criticisms of this movie are not totally unfounded: it's too long, and Treat Williams may have overacted a bit, although I found him so deliciously charming I couldn't care less, and there's one part concerning the Jerry Orbach character I just didn't understand. But get over it, The New Yorker, this is one powerful movie. And yes, Dog Day Afternoon it isn't, but what it? The DVD has a great special feature with Williams (I so want to call him Treat) and Sidney (what the hell: I once made a meatloaf sandwich for the man) that explains a lot about filmmaking in general and this movie in particular. Also, Sidney's views on good and evil, and how things are not so black and white as you think. I loved it.

Bad Day At Black Rock:
Recommended on TCM by Robert Osbourne as a film he originally had no interest in seeing, then loved it, and by Alex Baldwin, who pointed out the great actors in the cast, including Lee Marvin, Ernest Brognine and Dean Jagger. Well, after all that, I had to like it, right?  I did. A lot. It was a Good Day On My Couch.
Behind the Scenes Stuff: Spencer Tracey was off drinking and wouldn't commit to the film until the producers (who wanted him desperately) told him that they had Alan Ladd, at which point Tracey grabbed it.  He was perfect for the part, wearing a dark suit and tie the entire time in a western setting,  pulling it off perfectly. Other than that "fashion statement," the film makes a strong case against racism: the hatred of the Japanese during WW2. See it.

Song of The Thin Man:
I usually like these frothy, silly, suave, utter unrealistic films from the 30s and 40s, with William Powell and Myrna Loy as the couple we'd all like to be — if only we had the looks, brains, money, a huge capacity for drinking and a dog like Asta. But this one was a stinker, rather than a stinger, or maybe a sinker, because  it turned out to be the last, not to mention the least, in the series. Watch any of the others four sequels, but not this one: Even the pooch jumped the shark.

The Children's Hour:
It had its moments, and just looking at Audrey Hepburn makes life worth living, but mostly I kept thinking that the play, by Lillian Hellman, was so much better. It's about two young women runing a school for girls, who are accused by a hateful little brat of being (GASP!) lesbians. And although the closest we get in this 1961 production to using that actual term is the word "unnatural," it's enough to ruin their lives.  A young Shirley McClaine is worth seeing in this, and James Garner, and Audrey Hepburn is, well, Audrey Hepburn. The rumor of the love that dare not speak its name is totally untrue — or is it? And I'll say no more, because you should see the movie for yourself, imperfect as it may be, as is Life Itself.

Because when I am not blogging, I sometimes cook,
and because woman does not live
by martinis alone,
I like this blog:

grapesandgreens.blogspot.com

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