Can We Talk? (#3)

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I‘m just going to come clean and confess.

I’ve had such a bad case of blogging ADD lately that I’ve worked myself into a corner (bed)

   My computer desktop is a mosaic of partially finished posts I can’t quite ferry into port.

Meanwhile, Life’s clipping by at an almost comical speed and the end of each day sounds a chastising gong;

‘You didn’t accomplish enough!’ gonggong

February 6th and already my New Year resolutions are in the “Fail” column.  I know that’s pretty much a given, but man, Feb. 6 is early-even for me.

Nike Fuel Band , slimpaley.com

My Nike Fuel band has registered this just once since January 1st :-(

I’m not proud, but there it is.

I think it’s broken.

The re-design of Slim Paley remains inert and that, my loyal readers is truly just the tip of the iceberg.

Patagonia slimpaley.com

Speaking of icebergs, I’ve yet to go through my Patagonia pics to write the two more travel posts I’d been planning.

 I sit down at my computer, commence a blogging and then perhaps Pinterest, sultry siren that she is, curls her comely finger at me.

BTW, did you read this on Remodelista? How I learned to Love Pinterest by Diane Keaton (don’t read it ’til you finish my post!)

See what I mean? You peeked, didn’t you?

(I know I’m not the only ADD person around here )

Then, oh, I don’t know…the phone rings, the dishwasher breaks, my credit card gets hacked, more emails & texts pop up.

 I go back to editing photos…hold the phone, wouldn’t this look great Waterlogued?? Wow-that looks so cool-I should have it printed!

In fact, I should print a bunch of them as gift cards, or maybe a book of Waterlogue photos on Artifact Uprising

Are you Waterloguing your face off?!

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“Oh my — In the past 24 hours, I have Waterlogued EVERYTHING … old family snapshots, my friends’ houses, flowers, palm trees, sunset/sunrise, postcards, impressionists’ paintings, my toes, and on and on. Truly an impressive amount of fun for $2.99. Did you know that the creator has two other photo editing apps: percolator and popsicolor? Percolator looks kinda klimt-y.”

(Thank you to Slim reader Susan Hodges for her comment above on my last post)

Are you also aware of the oil painting App Glaze”?

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and, and, and,

 That book mentioned in the NYT’s this Sunday sounded fabulous, I should download it on my Kindle-whoah-what’s this? A choice of a free book a month as well as one from the Amazon Prime Lending Library…what else should I get? I’ve never read “Middlemarch” and this one recommended on Instagram looks good!

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This could be the answer to all my problems

Wait, is that the time? I have to get to physical therapy!

797142e90277f393a9e3d0769fc426d3 I continue to make good progress-this is just about my range at the moment.

I haven’t even touched on the fact that it’s hockey season (I’ve switched allegiance from the Vancouver Canucks to the LA Kings who are killing me-nope, I take it back, they just scored! I have to go on Twitter for a minute)

Yes, I am watching hockey as I post.

K, I’m back. We won! Where was I?? Oh, and the Olympics are starting tonight.

Are you going to be watching?  I’m torn. I’m worried that Sochi’s like the kid who has a birthday party and nobody comes. Crap cake, bad party favours.

I want to support the athletes (not just the hockey players!) BUT it’s  just…

Let’s face it, it’s another thing to DO.

It will keep me from…DOING other things!

And believe you me,  I haven’t even touched on all the boring sh#%

Not going there.

Is it the weekend yet??

Have a Focused one :-)

x0xSP

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Past chats

Can We Talk?  07/09/2012

Can We Talk?? (#2) 11/12/2011

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The Goldfinch

goldfinch

Carel Fabritius (1622-1654)
The Goldfinch, 1654

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So we haven’t talked books in awhile. Way too long actually. I admit to suppressing a little shudder when I recall that the desire to chat about books was one of the main catalysts for starting my blog. A book club where I always had the floor :-)

 Alas, what the Gods of Blog don’t tell you is that blogging is The Enemy of Reading.  At least in my case…any other bloggers out there concur?

Anyway…no doubt by now most of you have heard about, if not read, Donna Tartt’s latest book “The Goldfinch”.  It was listed as one of the “Top 10 Books” of 2013 and I can’t imagine it won’t be made into a film very soon. I took the opportunity to read it when we traveled to Patagonia recently.  Weighing in at 784 pages, it’s not a book one would take in hard-cover on holiday, but the perfect choice to christen the new Kindle “Paperwhite” my sister bought me for Christmas. And to uncharacteristically veer off track for just a moment, I LOVE MY PAPERWHITE! Not only is it awesomely convenient and great for my eyes, it’s been a no more stink-eye from the husband relationship-saver when it comes to reading in bed. Such a blessing when you’re on different schedules (He-sleep, Me-What is sleep?) It’s small enough to hold in one hand and even with the backlight dimmed way down, very easy to read (especially, ahem, if I INCREASE THE FONT)

kindle paperwhite , slimpaley.com

But back to Donna…I just need to say this really fast because I know with certainty I’m in the minority here;

IjustlikeditIdidn’tloveit.

There. I actually do feel better getting the confession off my chest.

Perhaps my expectations were simply too lofty-always a problem with good books and films if you don’t get there quickly enough. And the reviews for this book from both critics and people very close to me have been tremendous. Which makes it that much more difficult to admit I had issues.  The main one being that I simply felt compelled to hit my plausibility button just a few too many times. Suspension of belief is all well and good in certain genres of novels but I guess I wasn’t expecting this to be that (and I’m critiquing her writing-God forgive me!)

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 I also felt like The Goldfinch was written for a younger audience than myself, which quite frankly, I didn’t see coming either. Big font and all.  Not that that is a criticism of the book, just a contributing factor as to why it slipped into my ‘like’ as opposed to ‘love’ category.  Though I haven’t read any, I’d venture there have probably been some comparisons of the main character, Theo, to Holden Caulfield. Caufield is a literary star in my deepest heart of hearts, but he earned that place when I was in my early teens. I guess it made me feel a little sad that I couldn’t get to the same place emotionally with Theo, if that makes any sense. Which, maybe it doesn’t.

Please don’t misunderstand me-there was never any time when I wanted to bail, swear at, or even take a break from The Goldfinch. It’s an entertaining, easy and well-flowing read.  But…oh dear, I just have to sneak in one more slightly presumptuous criticism…I think it might have been a better book with tighter editing (at least 100 pages) and may I remind you, no one loves a good long read more than me. I’m the Extended Tasting Menu of readers. When a book is great, I’m in. Hell, I’ll overstay on occasion.  But in this case, long and in my opinion, unnatural conversations (Theo in the bar with his friend’s older brother) and unrelentingly bleak side stories veering wildly away from the plot line for half the book derailed it. That being said, Goldfinch does tie up satisfyingly in the end.

Ok, phew. That made me want a cocktail. I feel so very alone.

I’m going to leave you with a few pretty captive bird related images to redeem my presumptuous old self.

Vogue Livingvia Vogue Australia Living

I had intended to get this post up before The Dutch Masters exhibition at The Frick closed last Sunday. Unfortunately my New Year’s resolution of slowing time and speeding up personal production hasn’t quite manifested as yet. I will tell you that my son and his friend were able to go and said it was fabulous.  Crowds of people lined up in the frigid NY weather to view Fabritius’ Goldfinch, some long stashed away Rembrandts and Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring .

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Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl earring

I’m sorry I don’t know where the Dutch Masters exhibition is headed next. Anybody??

Hotel Das Cataratas, Brazil slimpaley.comThis is the lovely, old world bar in the Hotel das Cataratas, located on the Brazilian side of the Iguassu Falls, the second to last stop on our trip to South America.  I loved the hand-painted birds against the old mirror and the broken wires of the cages. Clever.

Bartender, Hotel Das Cataratas, Brazil, slimpaley.com

Brazil, slimpaley.comWhat the clever bartender conjured up

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HauteCulturePress.com ‘s first book is a translation of Flaubert’s “Felicity”.  Handmade using silk, gold and a parrot feather bookmark the volume is signed, numbered and comes complete inside its own birdcage. Also clever!

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Available through Assouline 

Habitually Chic

via HabituallyChic.com

The Biltmore Hotel, Santa Barbara, CA  slimpaley.comThe front entrance foyer of The Biltmore Hotel in Montecito, California last week.

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Versace

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Earrings by SolangeAzagury-Partridge

Paradise by Way of Kensal Green,  Bloomsbury Life“Paradise by Way of Kensal Green” in London (via ABloomsburyLife.com )

Timorous Beasties wallpaper

Wallpaper via Timorous Beasties

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Dolce & Gabbana

McQueen

Alexander McQueen Fall 2013

Elle Decor

bird wallpaper

EnVoguewallpapers.com

bird wallpaper

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Alexander McQueen Fall 2013

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Wishing you a beautiful weekend with a cozy place to nest and lots of reading time!

For more cagey birds visit my post “Tweet Tweet” 

xox SP

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Countdown Abbey (II)

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God bless us all, it’s finally that time again!

I can’t believe I arrived home from our “Grand Tour” of Patagonia JUST in time.

It’s all too exciting!

I’m literally dashing off this post as I’m unpacking (wet clothes from our suitcases-nice) and drinking way too much coffee waaay too late in the day.

But stay up I must!

I hope you’ll all be watching with me and for those across the Pond and Down Under please feel free to chime in, with judiciousness of course (omg-I spelled that correctly the first time. Note to self; perhaps more coffee less wine…)

And…

May I just include a complete non-humble brag and mention I attended a party during the Christmas Season where I met a lovely relative of Lady Mary’s who told me that L.M. reads Slim Paley!!

Swear! Fetch the smelling salts

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management slimpaley.com

A great friend of mine who lives in Britain says this season is an absolute cracker.  She’s been awfully good at not letting anything slip while whetting my curiosity just enough.

She also sent me this absolutely divine and massive antique book;

 “Mrs BEETON’S BOOK OF HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT”

published in 1912 and weighing in at no less than 2,040 pages.

I’m quite sure Mrs. Patmore kept it handy.

‘Isabella Beeton (1831-1865) the eldest child of an extended family of 21, was required from an early age to see to domestic arrangements. After her marriage to a small publisher, she began to contribute to his Domestic magazine. In 1861 her writings were published in book form for the first time. An immediate success, selling over 60,000 copies in its first year and nearly two million by 1868! One of the most famous of all cookery books it also contains advice on household management, childcare, etiquette, entertaining and employment of servants.’

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“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her”

Can we get an AMEN?! :-)

Mrs Beeton's slimpaley.com

Sadly, Isabella Beeton’s life story was not a happy one. She lost her first child at only 3 months of age, her second to Scarlet Fever at 2 and poor Isabella died just days after giving birth to her 4th child when she was only 28.

Downton Abbey-esque or what?

A BBC drama based on Isabella Beeton’s life aired in 2006 and a documentary by Sophie Dahl in 2011.  I would love to find both.

OK, must wrap up before the show begins!

One Final Downton Abbey Recap before Tonight’s American Premiere HERE

And, if you’re so inclined;

Exactly One Year Ago

& last but certainly not least,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

xox SP

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The Calm Before the Storm

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Finally.

There’s a decidedly nippy quality to the air in Santa Barbara. I won’t go so far as to say it’s cold, but it has that bell clear, cinnamony, tartan scarf, pumpkin latte feel to it.

These beautiful leaves were gathered from my garden just 2 weeks ago when the temperatures were still flirting around 80 degrees.

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The colours were stunning. The Instagram photos don’t even do them justice, but alas, I can’t lift my big camera just yet.

Patience, patience (limp noodle)…everyone warned me.

BTW, you know one thing I’ll add to the “Post-Shoulder-Surgery Tip List” from last week??

#11. A glass of red wine helps before physical therapy. It helps a lot.

I just learned that yesterday. My genius is a slow, steady affair. It doesn’t like to rush in all at once and cause a big spectacle.

and just in case there are any doctors reading this-I’m not condoning drinking wine while still taking pain-killers.

(anyway, those are like sooo gone)

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m saving my very last one for the check up with my surgeon on Monday. He’ll be putting me through my paces to see how much progress I’ve made with my arm extensions :-( (hold me)

I’m down to only 2 Alleve a day, but let me just say-the physical therapy is no day at Butterfly Beach.

IMG_8055On the sweet side, meet ‘Leon’

He jumped up and gave me some tender, loving company yesterday afternoon while I was getting iced at the physio clinic.

Look at that face! He feels my pain.

May we also note it was the first day I wore trousers with no elastic at the waist. Hallelujah

So, basically, wine had to be served.

But, where were we?? Oh yes, we’re drawing very close to the holidays now.

Grab your helmets.

In just a few short days, the time between Thanksgiving, Hanukah & Christmas is going to pass so fast it’ll peel our faces off.

So, how about taking just a little time for yourself and curling up with a good read?

The calm before the storm as it were.

I finally finished “Empty Mansions” and would definitely recommend it.

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‘ “We are all a little peculiar” as she would say…’ a friend of Huguette Clark

Although it would be more than a stretch to write reclusive American heiress Huguette Clark’s eccentricities off as mere peculiarities, after reading this new biography by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. I don’t know that anyone would come to the conclusion that she was crazy either.  Sadly, many of her extended and long estranged family (all descendants of her father’s children with his first wife) tried to prove just that-or at least, that Huguette was not of sound mind towards the end of her (105 yr.!) life. After nearly two years of litigation concerning the $300million+ remaining fortune, the lawyers, family and various participants reached a settlement just two months ago.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, but the story of Huguette, her immediate family and some of the people she chose to have in her life is indeed a head-shaker.

 Of particular interest to me, and no doubt many other locals, was Huguette’s stunning Santa Barbara mansion below.

Clark-Estate-3_t479“Bellosguardo” presides over the last ocean cliff separating Montecito from Santa Barbara, capturing panoramic views of both the mountains and the sea, to no doubt breathtaking effect. The estate was built by the preposterously rich, copper mining Clark family in the 1930′s as a summer residence and is “The House on the Hill” of our little hamlet.

Clark-Estate-1_t479It’s actually so close I can walk to it from my house. My doctor’s office is just to the left of the bird refuge/lagoon you see on the lower edge of the property. Huguette built the refuge as a tribute to her deceased sister.

The entire estate, as well as a large ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, passed to Huguette when her mother died in 1963.

Neither of them used the house in over 60 years.

Not once. Zero. I used it as much as they did.

Some years back, Ty Warner, owner of the Beanie Babies, Four Seasons Hotel NY, The Biltmore & San Ysidro Ranch and whose private residence is extremely close to Bellosguardo purportedly offered Ms. Clark $100 million for the property. She politely declined.

130909-hugette-clark-dolls-vmed-1p.photoblog600Huguette was a child-like woman who owned several vast homes yet chose to live in a small, spare hospital room (in very good health) for the last 20 years of her life.  Until the day she died she seemed to prefer the company of dolls to humans, but was unfailingly polite, charitable and kind to everyone she came in contact with.  She loved music, cartoons and everything Japanese, yet never visited Japan. She was an accomplished artist, loyal correspondent and friend, devoted daughter, loving sister, and generous patron of the arts.

huguette29n-1-webThis last known public photo was taken on her honeymoon in 1928 at the age of 22. I believe she was probably much prettier than the photo would suggest, but she was extremely uncomfortable being photographed. No Selfies for ‘Hugo’ .  Privacy was everything to her.

Everything. Howard Hughes was Kanye compared to Huguette.

She and her husband would be separated only 9 months later and divorced within two years., yet they remained friends until he died.

STOP  me before I tell you any more of the story! gawd.

Those who knew her best said she was shy but not at all unhappy.

Personally, I think she just wanted to live in the world completely and utterly on her own terms and had the limitless resources to do so.

Apparently a recipe for a very, very long life indeed.

Is that so crazy??

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PS. I imagine this would make a great Book Club read. (even though I’ve never been in a book club)

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So, speaking of having an appreciation for the Older, Finer things in life…

Style Mavens Dawn Moore and Holly Palance have recently combined their considerable aesthetic forces to create a fun online shop for strictly vintage and antique home decor; MixxCentury.com

Mixxcentury Both long time lovers of antiques, Holly and Dawn define their Mixx concept;

“By having Museum Bound (beautiful high-end pieces) and Recently Found (funky flea market finds on up…) and ONLY focusing on decorative arts and furnishings, we are for passionate home aficionados and trade professionals who don’t want to rifle thru jewelry, wine and real estate.”

Mixxcentury.com

“We are literally a one-stop for all vintage and antique home decor. AND we have our own point of view, both in theory and actual product-The Point of View Collection”

Visit & shop (all industry pricing 25-60% all year round) here:  MixxCentury.com

I was thrilled and flattered to be featured as one of MixxCentury’s first “MiXXMasters” this week, along side such design luminaries as Timothy Corrigan and Jamie Bush!

For my short musings on Design and Mixxing it up click;  HERE 

I know, right?? Shuhhup-Just act cool, like…oh me & Tim & Jamie, yeah. We cruised over to Vincente Wolfe’s place, there was a small party. Bunny W. and Newel Turner were there, natch…Peter Marino was in full Village People, but I was kinda tired so I left early…

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leaves.slimpaleyEnjoy the rest of your weekend and remember…

Don’t stress!! It’ll get done, it will all get done.

It will all get done, won’t it?!!

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Flash from the past; One year ago today; The Day After

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The Painkiller Diaries

operation

Still here :-)

 still pecking away with one hand, almost 3 weeks post shoulder surgery.

‘your arm should be a limp noodle for 6 weeks’ my surgeon admonished me.

limp noodle, limp noodle, limp noodle -my sexy new mantra

I was also forewarned the first days after the procedure would be painful. uh, check…and that recovery from rotator cuff surgery is slow.

I’m not exactly the most patient patient in the world, but I think I’m doing as well as can be expected. many thanks for your emails and kind wishes!

I’ve also discovered there’s an awful lot of people who experience this type of injury at some point, so i thought i might share a few of the things i’ve learned while going through the process.

be forewarned; this is not a pretty post by any means. don’t worry, i’m not going to share my photos or the  surgery DVD i was sent home with ( to think i used to be happy leaving a doctor’s office with a plastic ring and balloon)  i haven’t the stomach to watch my movie yet (i get squeemy if my pierced earrings don’t go through on the first pass) but i’ll let you know if my performance was award-worthy once i do.

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i’m just saying…there’ll be no flowers or shoes and little fashion on this post.

you’ll just have to deal.

herewith then,

10 Tips for being a Successful, Semi-Productive, One-Armed Bandit for 6 Weeks;

*note; a couple of these tips are gender specific. you can decide which ones.

1) let’s get the nitty gritty out of the way first; lest this might not cross your mind, it’s a great idea to wax your underarms to within a centimeter of their lives the night before surgery. you will be unable to shave for at least a few weeks after.

2) a mani-ped the day before is mandatory.

3) invest in a good back scratcher-they’re a life-saver.

4) load up on elastic waisted sweats, p.j.’s and slouchy, easy to put on tops. your arm and shoulder will be big and swollen for several days.  arm-holes will be an issue and surgery = bloating.

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 7.13.02 PM5) Channel your inner Julian Schnabel and also get yourself at least one decent set of ‘going out’ pyjamas, just in case you simply must make a social appearance

IMG_7904my ‘street jams’

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6) before surgery you should get set up with one of these ice machines that pulse freezing water through a large pad that clamps your arm & shoulder and attaches with velcro bands around your torso.  have a couple of practice sessions before your surgery with whoever will be nursing you during recovery.

ice machineonce you come out of your pain-killer haze, if you’re anything like me,  you’ll start to regard this device with extreme aversion

alien-Don’t. the creature is your friend, and it really does help. it can also be used on knees, thighs, hips, elbows (and possibly faces) so at $195 it’s a good investment.

i warned you this wasn’t going to be pretty.

all men look away now.

 7) one of the hardest things to deal with after surgery is getting dressed, but by the second week i’d devised a pretty genius bra positioning system, even if i do say so myself.

strapless braps. this is how much i love you that i would share this photo of my old M & S strapless bra.

let’s have some trust here people-i don’t want to see this on Pinterest! (at least not credited)

here’s what you do;

a) get a huge t-shirt that pulls on & off easily

b) place the bra (strapless or not, depending on how much you can bear on your shoulder) around your waist over the t-shirt and do it up at the front. if you’ve been suffering from a bad rotator cuff for awhile you’re probably already well versed in doing your bra up like you did in grade school.

c)  pull the t-shirt up with your good hand, very gently, starting from around the chest region. the bra will follow. continue until the bra is in desired location.

d) remove t-shirt over head. voila.

don’t you think i should write instructions for Ikea??

8) buy some slide on hair bands. there is no way, no how you will be able to put your hair up or out of the way yourself for several weeks. it’s impossible.

God bless my male nurse-i love him to pieces and he’s been brilliant, but  he did not miss his calling as a hair dresser.

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scrunchieI hand him my scrunchie and it’s like I’ve given him the plans to build Gaudi’s  Sacrada Familia

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come to think of it, this does resemble one of his loftier follicular efforts :-)

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9) buy several of these rubber kitchen things you use for taking items out of the oven or getting a grip on tough to open jars.  keep one in the kitchen, bedside (or recliner side), in the shower and one where you apply your makeup. these will allow you to ‘get purchase’ on containers  (including child-proof prescription bottles) from the bottom and open them with your one good hand. just place the bottle on the pad, push down and turn.

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I wish i’d discovered this little trick before my Neely O’Hara “Valley of the Dolls” incident one painful, sleep challenged night.

Patty Duke in Valley of the Dolls, 1967.

i’m still finding pills on the floor.

When I look at the ‘post op’ list i’d compiled of all the things i was going to do from my recovery recliner I have to laugh.

The early days are attention deficit theatre.  Practice my French? c’est fou! organize photos? don’t be ridicoolus. eat an Elvis inspired deep-fried peanut butter & jelly sandwich while under the influence of pain-killers? Even that never happened.

I crossed virtually nothing off, save watching the first 4 episodes of “Homeland”, two instalments of “The Returned” and I’m half-way through reading “Empty Mansions; the mysterious life of Huguette Clark”

but you know what I did watch a ton of??

HGTV

especially

IYOB5

10) hellooo…the “Kitchen Cousins” John Colaneri & George Clooney Anthony Carrino

where have I been?  it’s great!

your thoughts?

my favourite thing about the show is that it doesn’t reek of staged, oh-so-faux drama and deadlines. we needn’t name the multiple offenders here…you know who you are.

no, really-that is my favourite thing.

they arrive, they knock down the kitchen, design a new one, build it on time and within budget (in fact i don’t recall budgets even being discussed) and move on, hopefully to a town near you :-)

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I couldn’t, in all good conscience, leave you with no pleasant visuals!

how did I end up with men carrying heavy lumber in a ‘post-shoulder surgery tips’ post?

your guess is as good as mine, but it is entitled “The Painkiller Diaries”

it had to eventually go off the rails…

Have a great, healthy & happy week!

xxsp

ps. many thanks to my great surgeon Dr. Richard Ryu and the cute staff at Elite Physical Therapy in Montecito!

Blast from the past; a fun post on wearing your pyjamas out; Slumber in the Streets

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