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  • The Betty Ford Self-Care Rehab Clinic for the Chronically Self-Neglecting

    I am writing today from my comfy room at what a friend (thanks, Elizabeth!) calls the Betty Ford Self-Care Rehab Clinic. The Betty Ford part is a joke (except, Betty Ford: RESPECT) but self-care rehab is the real deal. It's also immediately rewarding, so I might extend my stay indefinitely. More about this later.

    You can check in, but you might never want to check out...

    But for now, as we seem to say around here a lot, two things:

    Thing 1. I had big plans at the beginning of the summer to write comprehensively about the connection between Telling the Truth (at least to ourselves) and stopping bingey eating (and other distressing habit patterns). 

    Oh, the plans!

    Oh, the BIGNESS.

    When it came time to write about Telling the Truth as in out loud, using our words, with other people, well I just fell silent. This is some for-real bigness, right here. And I will just tell you the truth of the moment, for me: I don't feel ready to write about this yet. 

    I know for sure - for me, and I'm betting for you, too - that there is a direct, powerful connection between not speaking up for yourself and eating compulsively. Like, a straight line right to the fridge. Some people - Walt Whitman, I guess - can contain multitudes, but the rest of us cannot contain so much, and stuff's gonna get expressed, in words, binges or maybe exhaustion or illness. Or all of it.

    And I want to be able to do more than point you to Nonviolent Communication (which I do recommend, of course). So I am contemplating this deeply, and we will definitely come back to the extremely important self-care "must" of advocating on our own behalf. 

    Thing 2. Body {of} Knowledge. If

    • you find the idea of Self-Care Rehab Clinic gleefully thrilling
    • you would like nothing better than an excuse to devote three months to yourself possibly for the first time ever
    • you'd like to trade in unconscious eating patterns for a conscious Self-Love Upgrade

    my Body {of} Knowledge program is ready for your consideration. 

    3 months of
    epiphanies + trustworthy 1:1 guidance +
    solid techniques + current science
    + non-judgmental accountability =
    breakthroughs + stunning change

    You could start now and be done by Christmas. Click here for details.

    Have thoughts?

    Leave a comment! I would love to know what you think.

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    The Self-Care Menu

    Wear it now

    Mechanical tools and practical magic

  • The Self-Care Menu

    You may have gathered that I don't value productivity per se, and I think striving for efficiency can be a big waste of time.

    I am by no standard an expert in this, but I am trying to dismantle the habits of 1. Being Good and 2. Working Hard to Earn My Keep and Demonstrate My Value, and 3. treating my body like a mule (I wouldn't even treat a mule like a mule, come to that), and all such related rot.

    Turns out, if I handle body, mind and pleasure, the mystery kinda just takes care of itself.

    Instead, I want to make more room for ease, mystery, magic, wonder, pageantry, idling, richness, sparkles and delight.

    Thus, sometimes I try things that might look like efficiency maneuvers but they're not so much about "getting things done" as seeking the most direct path to ease and pleasure and freedom, where "direct" means leaving out any parts where I meander through suffering to earn a reward, or think that I have to accept some bad with the good. (I mean, I might! But I never want to take that as a given. I don't want to start from that position, ugh.) 

    Since I am a practical person who finds mechanical tools useful, I have been tinkering with my self-care routines. There are lots of tools I like, and I like having a variety at my disposal, and I like spending my time actually using them. And I don't mind that I simply must in order to stay (and/or seem) sane.

    However, I don't like my social conditioning that turns helpful practices into obligations. If I let that attitude take over, I'll be meditating at 4am, and finishing my "morning" pages around teatime. In between will be lots of "duties" that might crowd out crucial things like breakfast, puttering and even actual work.

    So I've been experimenting lately with a menu approach, in which I try to make sure I take care of my body, my mind, and my pleasure by picking one or two tools that address each category every day. No more obligation to do something every day, no matter what. (Although I am still pretty devoted to meditating in quiet.)

    Today, my categories look something like this:

    Pleasure

    Body

    Mind

    pleasure reading

    yoga

    meditation

    sex

    dance

    the Work

    costuming

    squats

    tapping

    l’apero

    knee exercises

    spring clean

    The Kathleen Hanna

    steps

    swamp

    scented candle

    nap

    journey

    trinity report

    paddleboard

    write

    Toss 10 Things

    nails

    stone skipping

    puttering

    water

    Havi's YEARbooks

    cocktails

    yoga nidra

    friends

    Orphan Black or Elementary

    S factor

    family

    massage

    sit spot

    helpers

    perfume

    Old Turkish Lady Yoga

    get coached

    trying on clothes in stores

    foam roller

    therapy

    hot springs!

     

    BK videos

    You'll see that there's a fair bit of overlap. Proper costuming is a pleasure, and it takes care of my body, and it might challenge utterly destroy some old ideas and thus be good for my mind. 

    Obviously there's no place on this list for bill-paying and dish-washing. Those are fine things to do but this is not a to-do list, it's a self-care list. 

    You'll also note that there's no category of mystery or magic or something like that. That's because if I handle body, mind and pleasure, the mystery kinda just takes care of itself.

    Thoughts?

    If you're already doing something like this, I'd love to hear what you've got going. And if you aren't, and want to give it a try, let me know how you go.

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    Believe nothing, question everything, don't take anything personally

    Eating for right now, no matter what the scale says

    Feeling now. Writing it down.
     

  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #119: The Last Beach Day

    The last official Beach Day of Summer 2014 was held here, at Rexhame Beach. On to the Beach Days of the Off-Season!

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    Some coincidences of late:

    • The Conch Republic. Time for a trip to the Keys soon? Perhaps.
    • Joyce Maynard. Thoughts?Recommendations?
    • Loads of 22s, of course, especially 722 (the best 22), which I see is how much my favorite Peets meal (bran muffin, medium latte with three shots) costs

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    Surely one of the most unexpected upgrades is the Unsolicited Dental Upgrade. As part of the Frognado recovery effort, there's been a lengthy - since Christmas - rebuild of one of the teeth I broke. Every appointment has itself been lengthy. This morning I was scheduled for 90 minutes. They ushered me in early, had a look and said, This is going to take five minutes. You'll be done before you were supposed to start. So good. Harvard University Dental Service, people. Anyone can use it.

    I also experienced unsolicited solicitude. (Is it even solicitude if it's asked for? Not sure.) After the dentist, I went to Peets and parked myself next to a guy who turned to me and said I'm leaving, but it's because I have to, not because you're sitting down here. Please don't take it personally. I wouldn't dream of making such a thing personal (anymore), but I said Thank you! I am feeling quite sturdy today, psychologically speaking, but it's very kind of you to reassure me.

    Which it was. 

    Imagining

    So last week I wrote about the need for navy-strength self care. A number of you wrote back to say you hoped I was all right. Well I am! I was all right then, too - just seeing the need for ferocious self care, and a little bit laying out some reasons to justify the ferocity.

    But this week I am wondering, Hey are reasons necessary? Is anyone requiring a justification?

    I was thinking about Celebrities Read Mean Tweets #6, in which Sarah Silverman gets one that goes (unpleasant bits redacted): "I wanna [gah!] in Sarah Silverman's [gah gah!]. No reason behind it." Sarah's response? "No reason NEEDED." Little Silverman twitch of a smile.

    That is what I am imagining about self care and self love. Crazy about taking care of myself, for no reason, because, big Silvermanesque grin, NONE NEEDED.

    Operation Mod Cons: I think I have mentioned before that Mr Jones and I live in an old house that last was substantially worked on in the 80s, which is almost worse than never having been updated at all. I have resisted getting the builders in because 1. OMG so stressful and 2. I want to stay married. I have this extreme superstition that builders precipitate divorce like the way knitters think the gift of a sweater presages a breakup.

    This comes from my first marriage. One night that husband and I were watching an episode of This Old House, in which a childless middle-aged couple were redoing a place that was probably built to shelter a family of nine and their live-in servants. They had such a specific vision for it, and their plans included working at home. Both of them. And dear heaven, they seemed so cheerless. Whether constitutionally dour, or situationally depressed (reality TV, the builders in), or just projection on our part, I don't know, but at the end of the episode, First Husband and I looked at each other in mute horror, until one of us finally said "I give them 18 months, tops. And then they're gonna have this giant overcustomized house to sell."

    So what do I know? That couple might have survived where First Husband and I did not. Maybe six months later they laughed their heads off at the absurdity of hard-wiring the entire Victorian pile for internet and bought his-and-hers wireless routers and are today happily raising alpacas in the back 40. Maybe builders do not automatically bring divorce.

    (Oh dear I am just remembering my cousins' straw-bale place in Durango. They bought it off a couple that built it as their dream house, and they added lots of personal details like a big relief sculpture of a lizard on the kiva fireplace. They broke up right after they finished that house - augh, augh, augh! HEXSIGN - and it was priced to sell when my cousins picked it up.)

    And maybe I am being tongue-cluckingly irrational, but while the builders are replacing my bathtub, I will be in Boulder. No reason here! None needed. Also to avoid hexing myself I will call this blog post something innocuous, like Beach Day! instead of something real, like OMG Operation Mod Cons is Now Fully Under Way! just in case malevolent gods are monitoring the Internets today.

    Of course, it could be that you know about a million times that builders have saved marriages. If so, please do tell.

    Updates on past experiments

    Actual Beach Day this week at Rexhame Beach, the last one of the season, day before Labor Day. First time there. Good waves, and I totally got knocked down and dragged out, which is half the point. I really did not want this to be one of those summers when, on Labor Day, I am heartbroken about how little time I spent at the beach. And it isn't. 

    Same-Age Boyfriend: One of the things I really like about being with Mr Jones is that we're close in age. Last serious guy before Mr Jones was 10 years younger than me. Last serious guy before that, a full dozen. Which is fabulous if you're into that sort of thing, and I was, until I wasn't, and then I met Mr Jones, and OMG what a relief. There was so much that suddenly didn't need to be explained. Gang of Four? We can discuss. Ageing parents, also yes. Christina Amphlett. Need to sleep. All the things. So easy.

    He's really a year older than me, but for two months out of the year, I think of Mr Jones as my Same-Age Boyfriend. Yesterday it was his birthday, and he overtook me again, and then I thought of Clownie, who's been with me my whole life, and who is really quite old - you know, for a clown. It made me smile to think that while I only have a Same-Age Boyfriend two months of the year, I have a Same-Age Clown every single day.

    And that makes this an update on my very longterm experiment (12+ years now) in how to make relationships last. This is my new record.

    Jesus, I am really tempting fate now, aren't I? <<<-- HEXSIGN HEXSIGN HEXSIGN!

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? We had a very memorable dinner at Strip-T's in Watertown, mussels and mashed potatoes and rosé. Sounds kinda... ordinary. It was so very not. This place is run by a David Chang alum, and if you are anywhere nearby, you should go there. I've been to a fair few David-Chang-alum places. This is the best. We also went back to Miracle of Science, which is like a barebones burger place near MIT that I like because no reason needed, and I just don't have one, unless it's the name.

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Beast (Portland)
    7. Bondir Concord
    8. Brine
    9. Commonwealth
    10. Coppa (for brunch)
    11. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    12. Giulia
    13. Kirkland Tap & Trotter
    14. L'Espalier
    15. Myers & Chang
    16. No. 9 Park
    17. O-Ya
    18. Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
    19. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    20. Rialto 
    21. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    22. Scampo
    23. Shojo
    24. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Sarma
    5. Sportello
    6. Strip-T's
    7. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions. 

    Leave a comment

    You can report on your own Wayfinding experiments, or tell me about how having the builders in saved your marriage, or just say Hi

    (Lurking, also good. We love you too.)

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    Wayfinder's Quest Post #118: Navy Strength

    Wayfinding Week 25: Ageless as a clown

    Nothing to be ashamed of

    Photo of Rexhame Beach: TheBeachSaint 

  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #118: Navy Strength

    Mmmmmm, navy strength! Swashbuckling and romantic.

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    Perhaps you think, as I do, that Anna Wintour's Vogue is the least temperate of the American Vogues. (Grace Mirabella wasn't half so breathless. Diana Vreeland the woman: dramatic. Her magazine? I remember reading it without fanning myself.) As measured and cool as Anna the Woman is, I find her magazine that delirious. For example, see treatment of any politician ever.

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    Or oh, say, cosmetics, which they discuss with excitement I would reserve for an AIDS cure or a new Austin Grossman novel. Vogue will pronounce, in all seriousness, things like 'probably the best cleanser in the world' as if they believe it.

    (Have you noticed this? Yes.)

    However! When I went to get my Tote of Receiving with its new red-and-yellow initials, insanely eye-popping, I don't know how I can leave the house with it (but Imma try), I got a Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrade of said cleanser, Eve Lom by name, in the form of several samples, and I will tell you it probably is the best cleanser in the world. You might want to go seek out samples yourself.

    After that experience, I decided to start using other samples. You can hardly move in my bathroom for all the free samples there, actually. Didn't want to use them; didn't want to throw them out. Suddenly, they have become a luxury worthy of Vogue-style ecstasy. 

    I think this is probably a key to enjoying more Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades: appreciating and using up the ones you get. Emptying out to receive more. Even the little sample-size upgrades.

    Speaking of Havi (emptying and receiving), she has been mentioning the idea of the training montage recently. You know what they always leave out of the training montage? The long recuperations from the training injuries. That is what happened to me in Maine this past week, when the first day out I had an inglorious paddleboarding accident and spent the rest of the week with my knee up on a pillow, watching Elementary <<<<-- the unexpected upgrade part, thoroughly glorious OMG I LOVE LUCY LIU AND JONNY LEE MILLER SO MUCH.

    But also in that one afternoon before the inglorious accident, I made glorious, glorious, astounding leaps. Like in a real Hollywood training montage.

    Imagining

    In the department of OMG could it be more obvious?!, I appear to have understood, finally, that Job No. 1 this incarnation is to care, as my Zen teacher would say, for this incarnation. Obviously I knew something about that before. It is what I live to teach. And yet.

    While in Maine, I had a distressing and very simple dream. Someone approached me at a party and asked me a single-word question. I responded with a single word. And that was the whole dream. It was dead easy to analyze and it was telling me that I was falling apart from lack of self care. The dream's message was "your self care needs to be ferocious." Not uncompromising at all times, not "nobody else gets nuthin!", just ... no more confusion about priorities. 

    So I've been thinking about this as navy-strength self care, "navy strength" being the quality of gunpowder that will still light if you get rocked by a rogue wave and spill your gin on it. Nowadays the term refers more to the strength of gin (strong!) than gunpowder, but I like the original definition. Like, this is how strong you would want to be if you were going on a sea voyage and your inner fire could possibly get misted. You want to be navy-strength strong.

    Obviously, it's related to provisioning, to mantles, and to Operation Passport.

    (And to Operation Higher Ground, which is about figuring out where we want to live, when all we know is it can't be landlocked.)

    It also has the quality of being the Most Ordinary Thing in the World. It is a question I am asking all day, every day now. What does ferocity of self care look like? What would navy-strength self care do (WWNSSCD)?

    Turns out yoga is involved. Turns out that shit that is not fun is NOT INVOLVED.

    Updates on past experiments

    I got a really unpleasant email this week. Instead of making the sender into the Great Satan and wondering what I had done to provoke her, I made an entry on my Pride, cha cha cha! list when I calmly revived Operation Johanna Mason, and put all future such emails on the kill list. No need to explain. No need to respond. Definitely no need to wait for three strikes. Just, WWNSSCD?

    Simple: 86 that shit, forever. So easy. No need to fry down any villages, either.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? Mr Jones and I went to Primo, in Rockland, Maine, which is harder than ever to get into on account of all their recent James Beard awards. As we approached the door, we saw into one of the smaller dining rooms, one we'd never been in. It was hung all around with Igor Galanin paintings of mermaids. Each of us thought, privately to ourselves, Oh I hope we get seated in there! And we were, under the best of the mermaids.

    We also went back to Suzuki's, home of Old Ladies Still Killin it in the Sushi Business. Mr Jones had a beautiful bowl of scallop cakes and jewel-like vegetables that made me vow to pick up my Everyday Harumi again.

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Beast (Portland)
    7. Bondir Concord
    8. Brine
    9. Commonwealth
    10. Coppa (for brunch)
    11. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    12. Giulia
    13. Kirkland Tap & Trotter
    14. L'Espalier
    15. Myers & Chang
    16. No. 9 Park
    17. O-Ya
    18. Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
    19. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    20. Rialto 
    21. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    22. Scampo
    23. Shojo
    24. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Sarma
    5. Sportello
    6. Strip-T's
    7. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    I would love your comment

    I love lurkers, too! I suspect comments bring more readers, though, so if you're inclined, that'd be lovely.

    You might also enjoy

    Wayfinder's Quest Post #110: Adding Operation Johanna Mason

    Points of Pride

    Wayfinder's Quest Post #113: Summerscarfprincessmagic

    Photo: steeljam via Compfight cc

  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #117: Pompeii Purple


    Also this week we are frying down whole villages.

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    There has been a big spontaneous upgrade to all-the-time contacts. I got them last January, but I had a story going that I couldn't write with them in. Too much disequilibrium somehow. (To be fair, this was fully mid-Frognado. Real disequilibrium.) I spend a fair bit of time writing, so days could go by without my putting my contacts in.

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    But right now, my only pair of glasses, possibly among the last ones ever manufactured in the great fashion nation of Italy, are lying at the bottom of the Annisquam River following a completely predictable paddleboarding accident, all my fault. 

    People used to regularly stop me in the street to exclaim over these glasses, right up to the end. I loved them intemperately and am even now wearing my black armband.

    But I think it is a Sneaky Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrade (SSUU). Forced to write with contacts in! And just like that, I have become a person who wears contacts. No big deal. Isn't that the way?

    Another upgrade-in-disguise: I couldn't find my Brazil-themed nail color (Samba-dy Likes Purple) today, and I spent an unreasonable amount of time looking, and in the end settled for a color named Pompeii Purple, which like the first is in no way purple, it is a sparkly fuchsia, but is better because 1. ITALY, the place with the BEST GLASSES and best everything, really, and 2. You know how I am always bragging about being a volcano of excellent ideas?

    Well right now I am a volcano of actual lava, a fury of natural destruction, and anything "Pompeii" better fits my mood of wanting to fry down whole villages with what's inside me, more about that later or perhaps never.

    (Well, maybe when I get around to writing about those Dangerous Things.)

    Imagining

    I am noticing some things about comfort. Here are a few:

    I.

    That if I have eaten "for comfort," I don't get any comfort from it because eating that way makes me go numb. I'm actually tring to stop feeling, and in that state, I can't take in comfort, because "comfortable" IS A FEELING.

    Then, while I'm disconnected from my feelings, I eat too much, and when feeling returns, I'm even more uncomfortable because I've got a full stomach on top of the emotional pain, and I don't like the feeling of fullness anymore, and haven't for quite a while.

    Not that this happens a lot; it hardly does at all. Just putting into words what I've never seen so clearly before.

    II.

    When traveling you've got to negotiate a tricky balance between carrying everything you need (heavy = uncomfortable) and going without (underprovisioned = uncomfortable). It's … tricky! That makes this another DUH insight, but I'm traveling a lot. In fact, I'm traveling again tomorrow. 

    III.

    I'm getting very aware and much less tolerant of unnecessary discomfort. 

    Marines, hippies, narcissists, environmentalists, crunchy boarding school faculty, outdoorsmen - so many of the people who brought me up encouraged or approved of physical discomfort in such a way that I thought there was something wrong with me for wanting comfort (and even luxury). 

    Since I was surrounded by confident (and egocentric) people - and a zero on the confidence scale would've been north for me - I tolerated an insane burden of discomfort. I was absolutely ashamed of preferring comfort, as if God and Darwin and everybody would've been mystified by me. But now I see it as a neutral preference, like espresso v americano. 

    So all the people around me who celebrated physical hardship like it's a badge of honor … augh, I don't want that.

    Here are some other Badges of Discomfort (BoD) I have earned but don't want to wear anymore:

    • The Quarter Bounce
    • The Obeys Orders (well, except when she doesn't)
    • The Straight A's
    • The Summa Cum Laude
    • The Teacher's Pet
    • The Teacher Knows Best (especially the yoga teacher)
    • The Invisible Stitches (actually I'll keep that one, because being able to sew beautifully is a fine skill - I just don't feel it's among my most sexy attributes)
    • The Clean Plate
    • The Deflected Compliment
    • The Selfless Sex Partner
    • The Reflexive Apology
    • The 14er (oh! NOPE, failed to collect that one by a couple hundred meters)
    • The All-Natural Childbirth
    • The Cloth Diapers
    • and more!

    IV.

    I notice I'm pretty comfortable writing. Until I'm not. Which is right now. Because I really want to be writing even-more-dangerous Dangerous Things, but it feels like Silent Retreat might be a better idea until the lava cools down and makes some nice pahoehoe <<<- favorite word from freshman geology. I've waited a long time to write that.

    So I guess I am imagining 1. Frying down some villages with my lava flow but NO! 2. Turning into Thich Nhat Hanh and transmuting my lava into pahoehoe for ... what? I don't know. For tourists to admire? I really do not even know.

    And that makes this another piece of documentary evidence showing I have Trouble with Metaphors. Help a sister out, if you like. What is cooled lava good for, anyway?

    Updates on past experiments

    There have been no further Indecently Long Lunches, but I am going on a beach holiday to Maine tomorrow, so I expect to have one every single day. To be followed by Absurdly Leisurely Apero.

    The Tote of Receiving (kinda like a Bag of Holding, but I don't call it that because I don't want you to get wind of my Nerd Origin Story, which is that I'm kind of a nerd) is back at the shop, in Texas I believe, where it is getting its red-and-yellow initials. I miss it very much, in fact so much that I caught myself looking at other totes (Henry Beguelin, yummy) at the consignment shop. Whereupon I reined it in, of course. I am very loyal to my Tote of Receiving, as it is the Bag to End All Need for More Bags. 

    Although I will just allow that I was in that shop checking on a pink python Dolce & Gabbana evening clutch, waiting for it to go to 50% off. Which it did! But, you know, a gal's gotta have an evening clutch. You can't carry Bag of Holding Tote of Receiving while wearing a sexy cocktail top into a glamourous cocktail joint.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? We went to Kirkland Tap & Trotter, which I might be the only person in the world to have disliked. The food was fine. The staff are fine. But as you know, there are things even more important than food. Here the atmosphere is Ironic Iowa Hootenanny, which, I am not from Iowa, but WHAT NO. Farm implements and those big fake barn stars on the wall. Bob Seger - really loud - on the speakers.

    I go back and forth: Which is harder to take, earnestness, or irony? Today, irony. Ironic Iowa is not my kind of Iowa. I guess Star Trek (2009) is my kind of Iowa.

    However, DATE NIGHT. Doesn't happen every night. So that part was good.

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Beast (Portland)
    7. Bondir Concord
    8. Brine
    9. Commonwealth
    10. Coppa (for brunch)
    11. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    12. Giulia
    13. Kirkland Tap & Trotter
    14. L'Espalier
    15. Myers & Chang
    16. No. 9 Park
    17. O-Ya
    18. Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
    19. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    20. Rialto 
    21. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    22. Scampo
    23. Shojo
    24. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Sarma
    5. Sportello
    6. Strip-T's
    7. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    Comment

    Or just read on Silent Retreat. Either way: RESPECT.

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