Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Should Age Be An Obstacle?

In the second half-century of my life, I learned a valuable lesson -- that age is merely an attitude. Or at least should be. My hard-earned advice is don't let growing old stop you from doing anything you want.

When I was in my twenties, I desperately tried to appear older. I even grew a moustache which was truly the worst decision of my life. <photos burned> My goal was to be seen and taken serious as an adult. A real lawyer, not a tyro. The facade didn't fool anyone and I squandered parts of my youth.

In my forties, I agonized about growing old. I focused on all the things that were fading away. I felt distant from young people who didn't remember Vietnam and Richard Nixon. My attitude toward age was impeding my life and pushing joy away.

Then, fortunately, I had an epiphany when I hit fifty. I realized I could go one way or another. Cling to conventional ideas about "old age" or reject them. I chose the latter. Now, I simply disregard age. It isn't an issue.

I now have friends of every age. Many of my closest are in their twenties and thirties. I relate to them as equals, not as a condescending old man. I listen to their concerns and hopes; I support where I can; and I'm curious about their experiences.

Removing age as an obstacle has opened doors for me to a happier life.

What's your attitude toward aging?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Biggest Secret In New York

Psst... Wanna know a secret?

The largest, most fun place in New York is virtually unknown. It's an entire island that's merely a stone's throw from Manhattan -- and utterly uncrowded. This paradise costs almost nothing to visit; if you go before noon, it's free.

The secret is Governors Island.

Governors Island is a 172-acre island only 800 yards south of Lower Manhattan. It's so close you can swim to it. The Island has spellbinding views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan. For centuries, the Island was closed to the public because it was used for government purposes, like stationing soldiers during the First and Second World Wars. After 1966, it was used as a U.S. Coast Guard base.

Recently, the Island was turned into a national park. In 2014, a first section was opened to the public and this year, in July, an impressive second section was opened. The new section is called "The Hills" and contains four mountains as high as 70 feet. Skilled landscape architects designed and built the area as a playground for adults and children. There are paths for hiking and bicycling, two 1812-era forts to explore, and four slides to go down (one of which is three stories high). The Island also offers rotating cultural and artistic exhibitions.

The only way to get to Governors Island is by ferry, from either Manhattan or Brooklyn. A round-trip ferry ride is free before noon and $2 afterward. No cars are permitted on the Island; only pedestrians and bicyclists can roam around. You can rent a bicycle there or bring your own.

The views at the Island are incredible. You've never seen New York look so good. There is no admission to enter the Island. Imagine you're rich and have your own private island.

On the way home, I stopped at one of my fav restaurants in NYC (Mudville 9) for super-hot wings and cold stout beer. Yumm. Their wings are universally acclaimed as the best in New York.

Here are some pics of my day...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Western Ally

I'm an East Coast gal. Born in New York, educated in Boston and residing on Long Island. I've travelled up and down the East Coast from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean. During my travels, however, I've rarely headed west.

As  a result, I have little familiarity with Western culture and clothing. I've never worn any cowboy/cowgirl gear. But as I wandered down fashionable Newbury Street in Boston this weekend, I stumbled onto an adorable boutique. The sign outside said "Rock 'n Roll Cowboy Clothes." I had to check out what they have inside. Wow!

The sales-person was very friendly and the merchandise adorable. There was lots of stuff I 've never worn (like cowboy boots) and I was so into the friendly vibe, I picked out a shirt and took it home. (Wearing it below.) The store is owned by an older couple and is their only location. Most of their wares are made by them.

The shirt is 100% cotton, with real pockets and good-quality buttons (actually snaps).

What do you think? Is there such a thing as a New York cowboy?! Or cowgirl? (I believe the shirt is gender-neutral so it could probably be worn in either gender-presentation.)

Have you ever worn Western garb?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Cool Stuff

I just got a new coffee-maker in the shape of a motorcycle helmet!

How cool is that?! The coffee-maker is from Hammacher Schlemmer.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lady Luck

I found a beautiful gown on a thrift-store rack for only $25. (It was priced at $35 but I'm entitled to a 30% Senior Discount.) I smiled broadly just looking at the gown and couldn't wait to wear it.

The other day, when shopping in a costume-store for a moustache, I spotted disco ball earrings. A child of the Seventies, I snapped 'em up. You never know when you'll need disco ball earrings. For me, that day is today.

Here we go! What do you think?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Smooth Stroke

Everything in life is better when you use the right tool. Which explains why I just sprung for a new pool cue.

My existing stick is okay but I wanted something better. Higher quality. So I visited a local billiard store and purchased a new Cuetec Gen-Tek Series cue stick. It's perfectly balanced and smooth as silk. The stick comes apart in the middle and fits into a carrying case which makes it easy to transport on a motorcycle. I roar into town on a thundering machine with a pool-sword strapped across my chest. What a dashing image!

Every pool player needs a catchy name. Like Minnesota Fats. I use "Ally Cat" -- which makes me related to the famous Party Cat prowling Detroit. What's your pool nickname? Make one up; it's fun.

BTW, I've decided to give my prior cue stick away to anyone who will use it. The stick is in excellent condition and comes with a brand-new carrying case. If you play or want to learn, leave a comment or e-mail me (

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Litchfield Prison

I got a new job! And they gave me a free coffee mug. Orange you glad for me?  :-)

(For those of you not familiar with the TV show, "Orange Is The New Black,"
this post is a joke. I'm imitating one of its characters [Joe Caputo].

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Things I Saw Today

Walking around my neighborhood, my eye is always alert to interesting visual images -- which can be found in the most pedestrian of places.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

BMW S1000R

Her shapely curves,
her perky personality,
her soulful presence...

I think I'm in love.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Are We Really Friends?

In the age of social media, the word "friend" is thrown around easily. Yet, we should question this -- are all the people who call themselves our friends on Facebook, etc., actually true confidants? Would they pick us up at the train station late at night? Do they listen to our woes with attention and compassion?

Turns out, they aren't. Which shouldn't really be a surprise: the amount of effort required to interact with someone on social media is minimal -- far less than necessary in the real world.

Recent research reported this week in The New York Times finds "that only about half of perceived friendships are mutual," meaning that "someone you think is your friend might not be so keen on you. Or vice versa, as when someone you feel you hardly know claims you as a bestie."

The article sensibly concludes that "it's worth identifying who among the many people you encounter in your life are truly friends. Who makes time for you? Whose company enlivens, enriches and maybe even humbles you? Whom would you miss? Who would miss you?"

This subject matters to me. I take friendship seriously. I will ride a motorcycle halfway across North America to visit a friend. I will listen patiently to someone share her deepest anxieties. I will confide my personal secrets with an expectation of trust.

During my life, I've learned to distinguish between acquaintances -- who are simply people in our orbit -- and friends. We're all surrounded by others at school, work and the gym; mere presence doesn't mean people are our friends. Rather, friends are the ones we choose; they are people we're drawn to, people we hope will understand us.

What do you think about this?

Monday, August 8, 2016


I had a terrific day today, full of achievements. Experiences that mean something to me, if no one else. My day possessed purpose, accomplishment and fulfillment.

I'm reflecting on how this happened and I come to a single conclusion -- the answer is hard work. Each of the things that occurred was the result of past sustained effort. And much of the satisfaction I feel comes from seeing that dedication bear fruit.

My day started off with a serious dilemma at work. A difficult adversary sprung something on me Friday and I worried about it all weekend. My brain conceived a brilliant solution late last night. I implemented my idea this morning and, by 11 a.m., the dilemma was solved. I out-maneuvered a treacherous opponent with clever cunning. My solution has the value of a week's work, so I earned a week's pay by lunchtime on Monday.

Next, I spent two hours riding one of the most powerful, technologically-advanced motorcycles on the planet. The machine is like a Hattori Hanzo samurai sword -- it's as dangerous as it is potent. I derive intense joy from continuing to improve my riding-skill on this monster.

I used that mode of transportation to eat a fabulous meal at a distant Chinese restaurant. I discovered the place recently after searching online for weeks and trying several alternatives. Despite having to travel far to reach this culinary destination, I savored a super-spicy dish of Ma Po Tofu with brown rice. Szechuan cooking at its finest.

Finally, I shot some pool, as I have been doing regularly since I last posted about the game. Daily practice has restored my consistency and I'm playing well. Occasionally, as occurred today, I make absurdly-difficult shots (like full-length double-cushion bank-shots on a 9-ft. table). When this happens, I laugh out loud. I play alone so there's nobody to impress. I'm just enjoying myself.

All of these pleasures resulted from hard work. None came easy. In fact, it is precisely because they require effort that makes them valuable. When you get the sense that you earned an experience, you cherish it more.

When was the last time you felt good about achieving a goal?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Canadian Road Signs

I love Canada. It's a beautiful country with nice people. Depending on how our next Presidential election goes, I may move there.  :-)

Our neighbor to the North is, however, a little mysterious. There are things in Canada I don't understand. For example, I didn't know what poutine was until I tried it -- and now it's my favorite bad food.

An American traveler recently posted pictures of road signs he saw in Canada. Their meaning was unknown to him. Looking at them, I have no clue what they mean. Do you?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Lake Placid

Lake Placid is a resort town in the Adirondacks, a region that is heavily-wooded. The Adirondacks cover 6 million acres and are committed to be "forever wild." The area has beautiful scenery and lots of places to go hiking, boating and enjoy other recreational activities.

On Saturday I rode up on my motorcycle, savoring windy country roads. The mountains are so pretty that you want to stop the bike and just stare. I live on a flat sandbar with little nature so these bucolic sights are unfamiliar to me.

The first night here I ran into a bunch of bikers from a motorcycle club I used to belong to. This was their one big ride of the year. (To me, it's simply what I'm doing this month.) We had fun hanging out and catching up.

The next day I spent a wonderful time with my friend Aimee who lives north of the Adirondacks. She drove an hour south to meet me. We talked, walked, visited interesting places and went on a long hike through a nature park. Aimee is smart, informed and a charming conversationalist. I always enjoy her company.

Aimee is also a talented, professional seamstress. She told me about commission work she does and I asked her if she'd be willing to make something special for me. She agreed and an idea was borne for my next big blog-project. It will take a few months but I enjoy the process of developing these projects. (You may remember my last one: the mermaid post.)

This trip was just what I needed -- good riding, visits to nature, and fun times with friends. That's what vacations are for. Where are you going this year?