Friday Five

1. Le Grand Escargot. I took this photo a week ago on my morning walk with Reggie. Still can’t believe how big this guy was. Where did he find a shell that large?


2. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ~Nora Ephron from Wellesley Commencement address, 1996.

Nora Ephron passed away last Tuesday at the age of 71. To commemorate the witty writer of some of Hollywood’s favorite movies (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and Julie & Julia to name a few), I thought you might enjoy reading a piece she wrote with her trademark tongue-in-cheek style for the Daily Mail.

Adolescence comes as a gigantic shock to the modern parent, in large part because it seems so much like the adolescence you went through. Your adolescent is sullen. Your adolescent is angry. Your adolescent is mean. In fact, your adolescent is mean to you. Your adolescent says words you were not allowed to say while growing up, not that you had even heard of them. Your adolescent is embarrassed by you and walks ten steps ahead of you so that no one thinks you are remotely acquainted with each other. Your adolescent is ungrateful. You have a vague memory of having been accused by your parents of being ungrateful, but what did you have to be grateful for? Almost nothing. Your parents weren’t into parenting. They were merely parents.  Whereas you are exemplary. Read the full essay here.

Here is an interview she did with Salon in November 2010 after her last collection of essays, I Remember Nothing, was published.


3. Learning through osmosis. There were many, many days in trigonometry class when I desperately hoped there was such a thing so I could remember all of the functions my daffy-but-genius professor insisted we commit to memory.

It seems my wish wasn’t so far off the mark — although about 20 years too late. A new study from Northwestern University proves that you can, in fact, learn through osmosis, i.e. when you’re sleeping. If you play a recording of whatever you’ve been practicing when you enter deep, slow-wave sleep (a musical composition, a list of vocabulary words, some trigonometric functions), your mind will perform better at recalling these items when you’re awake. Although scientists don’t understand quite how this works, they believe that unconscious mind reviews the day’s events while you’re sleeping.

It’s too late for me and trig as we parted ways years ago. Now if I could only remember all of my PINs and passwords, I’ll be doing all right.

What would you like to learn through osmosis if you could?


4. I Wanna Rock! Why is it that no matter how bad the music from your childhood was you always remember it fondly? (“She’s My Cherry Pie,” anyone?) So when my friend and I went to see Rock of Ages, we couldn’t help singing right along with the actors.  The story is beyond simple – boy meets girl – and it’s certainly not going to win an Oscar, nor should it, but what fun!!

It took me right back to my thank-god-disco-is-dead metal days at a Dokken concert (third row, baby) and cramming 8 people into a Ford Mustang for an hour’s drive to watch Aerosmith (back when Steven Tyler was STEVEN TYLER) and playing air guitar along with Eddie Van Halen  (that was BSH of course…Before Sammy Hagar) and wearing bandanas just like Axl Rose (never did get the dance move down).

For a couple of hours, Rock of Ages brought all those fun memories back, even if I’ve come to realize over the years that most of those songs I sang into my hairbrush were pretty…well…bad. 🙂 Welcome to the jungle.

5. Gold Stars. It’s sandal season so I decided to get my feet in shape with a pedicure. I hadn’t been since the end of last summer, but I always get the royal treatment. The place looks like I just stepped inside I Dream of Jeannie’s bottle.  The staff is friendly and courteous. There are dozens of trashy magazines lying about (but not one copy of 50 Shades of Grey, thankfully).

Since it had been a while, I didn’t realize that the salon had changed their payment policy, refusing to add any tips onto credit card charges for the service. I peeked in my wallet and found a lonely dollar. I was mortified. The smile left the woman who’d painstakingly scrubbed my feet and painted my nails. I promised her I would run to the ATM. “It’s okay,” she said, but clearly it wasn’t. “No. I’ll be right back,” I insisted.

I did just that. I looked for her when I returned but she was nowhere to be found.  I asked another employee and explained what happened. “Oh, she’s taking her break in the back room. You can put the money in this envelope and she’ll get it later.” But I didn’t want her to get it later. I wanted to give it to her personally. Yes, she’d get the money, but I wanted her to know that I’d done what I said. I wasn’t that person who’d skip out on giving her a well-deserved tip. The other employee shook the envelope impatiently and I grudgingly added my money. What difference did it make? I’d know that I did the right thing. But I wanted my gold star.

Gretchen Rubin, from The Happiness Project, has such a need for “gold stars” several of her happiness commandments have to do with this issue, such as don’t expect praise, no calculation (in other words stop keeping score) and do it for myself.

Have you ever found yourself wanting gold stars? Do you try to keep your gold star needs in check? 

Have a great weekend everyone! If you’re in the US, do you have any plans for the holiday?




  1. My boys would have loved to have seen that snail. It was very large, eh?
    Osmosis… math. I would definitely use osmosis for math purposes. I should start now, in fact. My boys are great at math – perhaps if I learn a thing or two, I will be better able to keep up with their smarts.
    When I learned of Nora’s death, I was surprised to learn she was 71yrs old. I had no clue she reached her 70s! I also found it interesting – in the article – to learn she was an atheist. The article was an interesting read.
    I should take myself to see Rock of Ages. It does sound like a fun – albeit cheesy – movie. And, I think it should be enjoyed in the theater to get the full stereo effect.
    I’m giving you a gold star, Jackie. You done did good. 🙂


    1. That snail was so large I bet it would have spanned their entire hands – fingertip to wrist!

      Rock of Ages was definitely more fun to see in the theater. It felt a little more concert-like.

      Thank you for the gold star. That’s very nice of you. 🙂


  2. Oh no! I didn’t know Nora Ephrona died. I didn’t even know she was 71.
    Why did I assume she was in her early 50s?
    I admired her a lot, she was so creative and witty, intelligent and inspiring.
    I watched “You’ve got mail” a while back and then even watched it again with the director’s commentary. It’s mazing, all the things that went in to the movie, about New York, …. Watch it once with the commentary. It’s really worth it.
    Rock of Ages sounds like a lot of fun.


    1. Sorry to be the bearer of sad news. I believe she had cancer. I was also surprised to learn she was 71. I think 71 is the new 51. 🙂
      Thankfully she’ll live on in all of the great movies and books she wrote.


  3. I’m not so sure that osmosis thing is accurate.
    Because I’ve slept through PLENTY of math classes and I still couldn’t tell you what a quadratic hypotenuse is. Is that a thing?


  4. I think I’ll wait to see Rock of Ages on DVD. It will bring back so many memories I’m sure.

    This week we have plans to go to a BBQ, then big fireworks this saturday for L.L. Bean’s 100 year anniversary celebration. Free Chris Isaak concert, too, yippee!


    1. Your plans for the 4th sound great! Do you have room for one more?
      PS – I would love to go to the original LL Bean store.
      PPS – can you give Chris Isaak a big hug from me?


      1. I grew up right next to the Bean store, we shared a parking lot/driveway. My grandfather was Bean’s accountant back in the early days. Now the big Bean boot that sits out front of the store is where my bedroom used to be, so lots of Bean memories in my life. I’ll have to do a post about it someday.

        If I ever got a chance to hug Chris, you’d bet it would be for you, too!

        Have a great holiday, Jackie!


  5. I would have wanted to find her to give her the tip too. I know all about gold stars. Something to contemplate for sure! And believe it or not, that snail grew his/her (they’re hermaphrodites) own shell! (I still use my science teacher knowledge here and there!)


    1. Ah-ha! They grow their own shell. I thought they had to find new, larger shells like the hermit crabs do. I was thinking: where is this guy going to find a bigger shell in Brooklyn?


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