Sunday, January 27, 2013

You Can Count On Gracie

Last night at a gig with my bluegrass band "Too Blue" a friend questioned my lack of blog posts.
"I check back every now and then and you haven't been writing..."

I was touched by her interest in "Doing It With Grace"; there's a lot of stuff out there and it's nice to know that your work shined through every now and then.

"Grace" was conceived at a somewhat tumultuous time in my life. My father had been recently diagnosed with lung cancer, a little over two years after my mother's struggle and death from dementia. The Senior Tour, as I called it, involved about six years of running between New York and Pennsylvania to manage my parents' declining lives. My own existence was so centered around theirs, that, when it was all said and done, someone asked me, "So what are you going to do now?"

Very good question, grasshopper.

Well, for a while, I carried out my duties as the executrix of my father's estate. ( Ya gotta love that moniker-
I envision myself strutting into the Register of Wills all decked out in studs and leather. ) My brother and I worked through the details and successfully sold the family manse to a lovely young couple, who, we are told,  are a wonderful addition to our beloved neighborhood.

The focus of "Grace" then shifted from reminiscing to living, which involved a fair amount of hanging out with a certain golden retriever. Oh yeah, and my band recorded and released our second CD in 2011, "Trouble With the Grey". It's a terrific project we accomplished with the help of producer/recording engineer extraordinaire Bob Harris.  Shameless self promotion insists that I insert a link to our band website -

Now back to Grace.

I've been photographing this crazy dog for years now, the results of which have shown up in blogs or on greeting cards sent to friends. After hearing repeated chants of "You should do something with these", I decided to do something with them. A counting book. "You Can Count On Gracie". Now isn't that clever.

As it turns out, this relatively simple concept has taken well over a year to transform into a physical product.

I didn't use any of the photos I had previously taken of Grace; instead, I came up with eleven new scenarios to illustrate 1 through 10, adding and 11th shot to tie it up. Ms. G and I executed  the photos after I had scoured the internet and trolled through Michael's Arts and Crafts, gathering props ranging from fake carrots to a children's swim mask and flippers. Warning: just when you think your life can't get any weirder, you may find yourself in an art store wondering how you can transform your dog into a flower.

A year or so earlier, I had met graphic designer Paula Smith through Gracie's obedience school. Paula's daughter Amelia was conducting tests to measure dogs' intelligence for her school science project. If you're interested in knowing how my golden supermodel fared on her tests, you can read about it here-

While I generally don't delegate many creative tasks, I decided it would be best to assign layout and design to a professional. Paula took my photo pile and transformed it into my vision of "Simple elegant fun."  To say that I am proud of the result is an understatement.

Knowing that getting the attention of a publishing house or even an agent is next to impossible for someone of my obscure literary stature, I decided to go the self publishing route. I've created my own company, "Little Minute Publishing" and am presently working on the website where "You Can Count on Gracie" will live. The book will be available for sale on the website and on Amazon and I'll also be doing my best to get it into as many bookstores as possible. I will also be posting about the book and my marketing journey (readings, signings, etc.). "You Can Count on Gracie" went to print two weeks ago and I expect delivery in about a month. In the meantime, I've been schlepping the approved proof around and getting rave reviews. Everyone it seems, has a child in mind for whom they've pledged to buy the book. Even  "Big Kids" say they want a copy of it for themselves.

So, while I may not be posting on "Doing It With Grace" very regularly, I will be doing plenty with Gracie as we promote our collaboration. I had a wonderful time creating my beautiful book and I expect to have an even better time sharing it. Please join us on our journey- I'll be posting on a new blog called "Up to the Little Minute" once the website goes live and the book is available.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Thing of Beauty

It's official. If my regular bouts of crankiness haven't yet earned me the karmic award of returning to earth as a larvae, I'm coming back as a golden retriever.

"What a beautiful dog!"

No doubt about that. Leggy, lanky and blond, she might give any Sports Illustrated Model a run for her money if it weren't for an overabundance of hair.

"What a lovely face-it looks like she's smiling."

She is the canine Cameron Diaz with an ear to ear elastic grin. By the way, you'd be smiling too if you had someone at the ready to pick up your poop with a Ziploc bag.

"Her fur is so soft; you must spend an awful lot of time brushing her."

That's right- I am Rapunzel's lady-in-waiting with a brush surgically incised to my hand. No matt would even consider forming in my presence; burrs run screaming at the mention of my name.
Truth be told, Grace is pretty much a wash and wear gal. Aside from her monthly after-bath brushing and a hindquarter trim to avoid the unsightly "saggy butt" look, she's on her own.

"She's so well behaved"

Admittedly, at times Gracie makes me look like the dog whisperer's prize pupil. She is sweet, affectionate and well practiced in focusing her attention on a new acquaintance. By accident or by design, she conceals the counter-surfing juggernaut who would happily snatch a donut out of the hand of a sleeping old man.

"Look-she really likes me!"

Please pardon the roar of bursting bubbles, but she likes everyone. She couldn't care less if the hand stroking her head is attached to King Kong, Godzilla, or the Son of Sam.

"You're so lucky to have her."

Wisecracking cynicism aside, I know I am. No one on the planet will ever be so happy to see me when I come home. She rarely turns down an invitation and always pays her way in good will. Who can blame me for giving in to jealousy? Compliments are showered upon her and she can accept a public body massage without fear of sexual harrassment. The moment is hers as she grabs it and hangs on for a good time ride.

Trust me- next time around, I'm going to be on the other side of the leash.

Photo: Gracie chills out after enduring hardcore petting sessions  during her hike to the falls at Bash Bish Falls State Park in southwestern Massachusetts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dog Smarts

"It is absurd to divide people into good or bad. People are either charming or tedious." ~ Oscar Wilde

According to veteran freelance writer Robert Brault,, "Charisma is a fancy name given to the knack of giving people your full attention." Having a knack for something indicates a genetic predisposition; either you have it or you don't. While we can  hone our social skills, the ability to "charm some one's pants off " comes with the territorial DNA. We've all admired the sparkling beacon in the center of a pantless crowd and muttered, "Maybe she's born with it." Whatever the source of the magic, the results are easily measured by the reactions. Case in point: a certain golden retriever named Gracie.

She is the canine "It" girl and I'd like to think that this assessment is not the product of a stage mother's pride. I've witnessed her ability to engage and amuse without any coercion from my end of the leash. No doubt about it, she was born with it.

As Grace adds to her growing ranks of admirers I often hear, "She's so smart!" While I can't disagree that she is entertaining as she jockeys for attention and executes her repertoire of tricks, I haven't attributed her actions to a heightened sense of intelligence. Perhaps I've let her affable nature and goofball countenace get in the way of a fair assessment; can problem-solving and the desire to roll in deer poop coexist in an enlightened creature? Well, boys and girls, according to the results of a fifth grade science project, the answer is yes. Feel free to roll in deer poop without damaging your academic status.

About a month ago, I received an e-mail from Candice Cunningham, the owner of Gracie's alma mater, Positive Paws Training School,  Amelia Smith, a local fifth grader, needed help in compiling data for her science fair project, "Dog Smarts - What's Going on Behind Those Puppy Dog Eyes?" 

Hi Everyone,

I would like to ask all of you to consider participating in this Science Project with your dog! On Monday (2/7) Amelia and Paula (Amelia's mom) will be at our Hopewell Location ready to interview any willing dog and owner. They will arrive around 5:30 and prepare to "test" dogs before class and during class.  Each dog test will take about 3 minutes. Students that are currently enrolled in the 6pm Elementary Level or 7pm High School Level class will have the opprtunity to participate during class. Any other interested people should plan to arrive around 5:30pm to participate before the 6pm class begins.

Again, please do consider helping Amelia with her science project.

Unable to pass up the opportunity to do something fun with the diva and perhaps settle the intelligence question, I packed up her highness and headed to Positive Paws' Hopewell Junction, New York location at the Golden Dog Grooming Salon. Owners and their puppies were preparing for class while Amelia conducted her tests in the back of the room. Gracie stood in the doorway, set to full exuberance and ready for a good time as we took our place in line and observed as the other participants were put through their paces.

Watching the black and white blur of a border collie whizzing through his tasks, I looked at Grace and said, "We can leave now if you'd like." Apparently unaware of the vaudevillian's advice to never follow a dog act, she grinned and chose to stay. We introduced ourselves to Amelia and her mother Paula and prepared to determine the extent of Gracie's genius. Poised and focused, Amelia described the three tests and explained the facets of intelligence each would measure. Impressed by Amelia's sweet, yet serious nature I imagined that her mother must be proud of her daughter and  her dedication to her project. I remained skeptical as to whether or not my four-legged debutante would do the same for me.

Does a dog realize that an object still exists even when they can't see it?

Amelia showed a treat to Gracie and then placed it under a tin on the floor. Lassie did not immediately tell me that Timmy was in the well, but she did knock the tin over after I jiggled it a little, demonstrating that she was indeed aware of the treat's out of sight existence.

How well does a dog understand spatial relationships between objects, especially horizontal objects?

Holding a pillow on a tray above Gracie's eye level, Amelia showed her a treat and then dropped it on the pillow, which was used to silence the treat's landing. Gracie's gaze went to the pillow, a sign that she understands the way that horizontal objects relate to each other. I filled out her application to Harvard in my mind.

Can a dog figure out how to get around an obstacle to retrieve a desired object?

Amelia showed Gracie a treat and then dropped it behind a V-shaped barrier formed by two chairs on their sides. Gracie quickly went around the chairs to retrieve her prize, rather than barreling through the barricade. Her response may have been because she had encountered this situation before, or is adept at looking at physical problems and coming up with solutions. Either way, hers was the big-money response and she went to the head of the class. I mailed her application to Harvard in my mind.

Three weeks later, I attended the Science Fair at Amelia's school. Standing in front of her beautifully designed  presentation, she fielded questions and explained her research like a seasoned pro. She had tested 100 dogs and displayed the results with carefully executed charts and graphs. Normalizing the scores ( 3 being the highest ), she arrived at a mean score of 2. Only 8 dogs scored below 2, and while she did observe differences in breed performance, Amelia concluded that, overall, there is a lot of thought and intelligence behind those puppy dog eyes. Sorry if I doubted you, Grace.

Photos:   1.Amelia with Gracie at the Golden Dog Grooming Salon. 2. Amelia and her presentation at the Science Fair. 3. Gracie's 15 minutes of fame.

Thanks to Paula Smith and her daughter Amelia. Her interest in dogs continues beyond her project and has led her to competing in Junior Showmanship with her Norwich terrier, Diesel. I hope to follow her progress and look forward to seeing her at Westminster one day.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Storm of the i: An Artobiography

"Storm of the i", an "artobiography" by author/artist Tina Collen, is a cohesive marriage of exhibition and memoir. She opens her life's portfolio and gives us a dazzling view of her aesthetic triumphs while battling the bedevilment of unanswered questions. The target of her father's irrational anger, she is plagued by the apparent absence of his love. Though she may never completely transcend her disappointment, she certainly gives it a run for its money, living creatively and tenaciously. Beautifully designed and well-written, her book pays homage to the scraps, trophies and mementos that have become her tapestry. Images of her artwork, family photographs, treasured relics and poems treat us to a candid and refreshingly amusing view of her personal and professional journey.

I began writing "Grace" as my father entered his final months. Chronicling the ordeal at hand, I also found myself packing up my past as I reviewed the contents of my life. Memories provoked tears and laughter while the souvenirs of a simpler time brought me the warmth of comfort. The love of supportive parents shines from artifacts I have retrieved and brought to my own home; they ignite emotions and serve as a visual diary. They tell my story and I'm more than willing to listen.

Tina has crafted a compelling portrait of her search for a truthful and rewarding artistic existence. "Storm of the i" is a clever combination of storytelling and artistic expression that begs the reader to revisit and reflect; one woman's unique journal reminds us that loose strings and unfinished business should not prevent us from moving forward.         

"The most unusual thing about this remarkable memoir is that it's not about the author-it's about the reader."       ~Marilyn Van Derbur,  Award winning author, motivational speaker, Miss America 1958

Please welcome Tina Collen as she describes the birth of "Storm of the i". May she experience continued success with her book and with the work in progress that is her life.

            You've said that it was a performance at the Aspen Comedy Festival that started you down the path to this emotional and revealing book ( How it all began ). What happened after the festival?

            Back home in Boulder, Colorado, while still under the festival spell, I happened to glance at a ceramic figure I’d made in my early twenties. It was displayed prominently in a bookcase built along a wall going up my stairway— I’d seen it thousands of times before. This time, however, I saw something different.  Here's how I describe that moment in the book: “There in front of me was the incarnation of longing, disemboweled and exuding a feeling of eerie emptiness. The piece was an archeological relic I’d been unable to decipher until that very moment. Though it has hands and feet, it has no eyes, no face, no internal organs. No voice. I could see that the figure has no self. Its insides are an empty space, a void—perhaps, waiting to be filled. And the piece was about me.”

So I was standing there on the steps all alone and yet I felt extremely vulnerable and exposed. Everyone has a wound—I was looking directly at mine. I felt nauseous. And at the same time, I felt excited by the idea that maybe other pieces of my work also contained messages. I quickly went up the stairs and into my bedroom where I saw an album cover I’d made in college. It was hanging on the wall opposite my bed. When I’d made it I thought I was just doing an assignment using a photograph I had taken for a photography class the day before and writing the words of a song I had heard across the top. It never occurred to me, in all the years that this piece followed me to every apartment and house I lived in, it never occurred to me that the piece was about me. "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child," the album cover read. My childhood was seeping out everywhere. Hiding quietly in plain sight, it was a message to me. . . from me. I was touching the unconscious. 

            Vaulted into a frenzy of activity I began unearthing relics from my past. I was captivated by the intrigue of decoding my own cryptic clues unwittingly planted over a lifetime. From closets and flat files and computer hard drives I began pulling out written pieces, sculptures, etchings, art photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, journal entries, poems—everything I could find. Unraveling inner mysteries, no doubt to reconcile a difficult family dynamic, has been an endless quest for me. 

            As pieces haphazardly fell beside each other, some of them seemed to exhibit a magnetic attraction and once locked together moved as a pair. Startling juxtapositions began to emerge. A faded quotation, clipped from the pages of my later life, fell arbitrarily next to a series of small paintings I’d made in college shortly after I was married. 

            The paintings, one leading to the next, showed the evolution of birth. “It’s never too late to be what you might have been,” the quotation read. The image of an unborn child right next to those words catapulted me back to that time in my life when I faced the dilemma that would become a major life struggle—to what degree do I follow my own path. 

            Each of the items in front of me, whether written or graphic, turned into puzzle pieces as they fell into place. The objects with which I had surrounded myself, I discovered, were telling me the real story of my life. Hours morphed into days and then into months as the landscape of my life was laid out in front of me. The objects worked synergistically to reframe personal issues that had been floating disconnected inside of me for years—issues that, until then, would only occasionally bob to the surface. 

            Working out this complex and often contradictory collection of memorabilia and memories liberated me in ways I never imagined possible—for as I found order for the objects and pieces of paper in my hands, I myself was reassembled. 

If you'd like to see a bit more about how Artobiography came into existence  click here.

To purchase a personally autographed copy of Storm of the i go to 


Oftentimes the objects we hold onto contain cryptic clues that point towards something deeper about ourselves. Take a look around your house (or your room) at the things with which you have surrounded yourself. Is there anything you are still hanging onto that seems to contain a hidden message for you? What do you think it is? 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow Bored

Although she spends a large portion of her day traveling back and forth between a couch and a comfy chair, my retriever Gracie is by no means your garden variety potato. The jingle of a leash brings this sassy senior to her feet in seconds; the human equivalent of 61, the golden girl is in standby party mode and ready to rock at a moment's notice.

Mounds of snow, bitter temperatures and sloppy, salty roads have kept the diva indoors and put a serious dent in her social life. You would have thought she had made the call when the cable guy arrived to check our service.

 "Hello- I'm experiencing an interruption in the transmission of butt rubs and head pats. May I please schedule an appointment? Between 8 and 11? Yes, someone over the age of 18 will be here."

Understanding that no one thinks your dog is as incredibly cute as you do, I did my best to keep the socialite at bay so the technician could do his work. Although he didn't seem to mind when she opportunistically nosed her way underneath a free hand, I lured her away with a bag of pita chips and hummus. When our issue was resolved, Gracie followed her new best friend to the door, made him promise that he would call and bid a wagging farewell. I looked into her limpid pools and said, "You need to get out more, girlfriend." She agreed.

The list of places to take a dog on a chilly weekend night in January pretty much begins and ends with Petco. So off we went to the pet-friendly superstore so the queen could hold court with her subjects.

Her anticipatory whines rose to a fever pitch as we pulled into the parking lot and she couldn't get through the store's automatic door fast enough. She did a quick survey of her kingdom, planted her lanky front legs and went into a full body shimmy, smiling at the highest setting. "Well, well... Hello Dolly, well, Hello Dolly, it's so nice to have you back where you belong..." Stock boys danced through the aisles, accompanied by cashiers on their registers, while the manager served up a glittering silver platter of  the finest canine haute cuisine. "Bridge that gap, fellas. Find me an empty lap, fellas. Dolly will never go away, Dolly will never go away, Dolly will never go away again!"

The music faded into the background and the spotlight shifted from our heroine to the Petco piece de resistance- the Treat Bar. "We feel the room swayin', for the band's playin', one of your old favorite songs from way back when...  Brightly colored plastic scoops rest atop mounds of biscuits and cookies spilling forth from their bins. I decide that it is a contemporary still life worthy of the old Dutch masters; Gracie decides that it is an open invitation to petty thievery.

 Subtlety is not one of our girl's strengths; she shoots toward the bar like a heat-seeking missile and scores a mouthful while a nearby group of boys  can hardly contain their laughter. I assure them that there is no charge for the entertainment and I attempt to redeem my dog-training credentials by demonstrating one of Gracie's brilliant tricks. A small crowd gathers, and in no time at all, the bandit is the belle of the ball. Perfect-yet another felon catapulted to celebrity status. Pretty soon she'll be
headed to rehab.

Mistaking Grace's audience for a potential onslaught upon her register, the lone cashier called for reinforcements. Basking in the oohs and ahhs of a
 few teen aged girls, Gracie snapped out of her trance long enough to see a familiar figure scurrying towards the front of the store. Darlene, our favorite Petco employee hurried to the aid of her coworker, stopping when she recognized the center of attention. "It's Graaacie!" She stooped down to greet her highness, who immediately demanded a massage. Darlene happily conceded,  golden curls running  through her fingers as she kneaded Gracie's shoulders. "I love this dog-she's my favorite." Like a sidelined stage mother, I smiled in agreement.

Darlene returned to her duties and we finished our shopping. Our social mission accomplished, we made our way to the checkout, where Gracie racked up a few more head rubs and earned a couple of treats. The lights dimmed, and we exited stage left. "Wow, wow, wow, fellas, look at the old girl now, fellas... Dolly will never go away, Dolly will never go away, Dolly will never go away again."                                 

"Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless its spread around, encouraging young things to grow." ~ Dolly Levi

Top photo- Gracie with Petco employee extraordinaire, Darlene. She is warm, professional, and a huge fan of Ms. G.
Bottom photos- No explanation necessary. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Literary Grace

 I'm honored to be part of the virtual blog tour for "Storm of the i", an extraordinary memoir by Tina Collen. Her struggle to make sense of an unfulfilled relationship with her father weaves throughout her creative and personal life, speaking to the unanswered questions we face everyday. Please stop by on February 4, 2011 for a guest posting by Tina.

Virtual Book Tour Announced for

STORM OF THE i: An Artobiography

Her father didn’t speak to her for 15 years and she never knew why.
Then she wrote the book she needed to read.

BOULDER, CO -- January 21, 2011 -- Author-artist Tina Collen will begin a Virtual Blog Tour on Jan. 31 to promote her award-winning memoir, Storm of the i: An Artobiography. This virtual book tour will take the author around the country via ten blogs that include book reviewers, literary commentators, fellow artists and even a Los Vegas stand up comic(!).

"A project five years in the making," Clay Evans wrote in his review for the Boulder Camera, "Collen’s slick, clever, refreshingly unpredictable labor of love, is like no other book you’re likely to read any time soon." Going a bit further, Sara Davidson, TV producer, and New York Times best-selling author describes STORM OF THE i: An Artobiography as "a fabulous hybrid, a memoir that's alive with foldouts, paintings, drawings and a surprising lift-up flap. (There's even a pop-up that hands the reader a fortune cookie with a message inside!).

Beneath the playfulness, however, lies the story of an artist trying to understand her father's lifelong anger towards her. At the pinnacle of her career, an exhibition of her work in Paris, Tina Collen finds herself inexplicably weeping. It takes courage to probe a father's lifelong rejection, but Collen has wonderful tools: her humor, memories and the trail of art she created. (I discovered Collen through her Fleurotica collages. At first glance, I thought I was looking at lush paintings of wildflowers, but on closer examination, I was in the world of the Kama Sutra. Based on the idea that flowers are simply sex organs, Collen created her wildflowers from risqué magazine scraps. She took something forbidden and transformed it into something witty, beautiful and acceptable.) In Storm of the i, she takes a heartbreaking story and transforms it into something witty, beautiful — and unforgettable."

"A reminder—vivid and visual– that the parent-child bond is the bedrock on which lives are built," wrote Stewart Oksenhorn, book reviewer for the Aspen Times.

After receiving an EVVY (1st prize for autobiography) and a 1st place Tech Award (for layout & design) from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association, Collen went to the Benjamin Franklin Awards in NYC—and with her book #3 on the best-seller list at the Boulder Bookstore back home, she walked away with a Silver medal for memoir. The next night she collected a bronze IPPY.

Demand for Collen’s multimedia presentations has been growing steadily. Her most recent author event in Denver was for an audience of 250. At these events, Collen concludes with a shocker—the story of what transpired between her and her 93 year old father after she finished writing the book he never read.

Excerpts of this remarkable work can be seen at

If you're curious about Fleurotica, Images in Erotic Montage you can also see some of the collages there.

Please join us on our tour by clicking the links on the days each review will appear. We hope you'll stop by with a question or comment.


Week 1

1/31/11 - James R. Ament -
2/1/11 - Book Fetish -
2/2/11 - Found Not Lost -
2/3/11 - Sandra's Book Club -
2/4/11 - Doing it with Grace -

Week 2

2/7/11 - Minding Spot -
2/8/11 - CIPA Bookshelf -
2/9/11 - Faye Quam Heimerl -
2/10/11 - Thoughts in Progress -
2/11/11 - Linda Lou, Live from Las Vegas -

For ongoing blog tour information, go to Tina's blog at

Artist/author Tina Collen begins a virtual book tour for her book Storm of the i: An Artobiography on Jan 31, 2011. Collen's book has been described as a fabulous hybrid, a memoir that's alive with foldouts, paintings, and a surprising lift-up flap.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Get It Off Your Chest

A few years ago, my friend's sister and her family made a trip from their home in San Fransisco to New York City. Primarily a baseball pilgrimage planned around a game at Yankee Stadium and a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the ladies decided to meet in the city to grab some "girl time" in an otherwise chock-full boys' adventure. Somewhere between the cheesecake and the observation deck of the Empire State Building, they hopped into a cab and made a trip to Linda's Bra Salon on Lexington Ave. Though not on the general public's list of tourist attractions, the salon pampers its clients with personal service and attention to detail. Two very important details, to be exact.

Linda "the Bra Lady" Becker and her bra-fitting team have  matched thousands of women with the proper foundation garments for over twenty years. While attending a mastectomy bra fitting class hosted by the American Cancer Society, Linda was shocked to find out that most women were wearing the wrong bra size and operating under the medieval notion that an uncomfortable fit was acceptable. She has since built a business committed to helping women of all sizes find bras that look and feel great.

My own bra epiphany came in the form of an e-mail lingerie advertisement which contained a sizing calculator much like the tool used to figure out a mortgage payment. By entering the measurements around the rib cage and across the fullest part of the breast, the correct size magically appears with the press of the button. I had become frustrated with my 34A riding up my back, and decided to see if this Internet Ouija board would give me an answer. Note to tiny self- don't ask the question if unprepared for the answer.

Imagine my horror when 36AA popped up in the little box on my computer screen. While I realize we're talking about a bra size and not a jail sentence or cancer diagnosis, as a 50 year old woman I thought I had left the training wheels behind in junior high. A quick online search found few 36AA's that weren't decorated with polka dots or bunnies. I suddenly found myself breaking out in hives before the high school dance. Oh my God! Is that a zit? Really? He said he likes me? Really?

I yanked myself out of algebra class and eventually found an age-appropriate model made by Wacoal, ordered it and blessed them for their sensitivity to the smaller set. When it arrived, I tried it on, took it for a test drive and it's been smooth sailing ever since.

Last week my friend forwarded me an e-mail for Linda's Bra Salon. She and her sister had indeed found the perfect fit on their visit and received regular e-mails from the store. Teaming up with Bra Recyclers, Linda is donating gently used or new bras on the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. A discount will be e-mailed to all those who donate, the size of the discount depending upon the number of bras sent. Soon a box filled with 34A's will be on its way to Linda and Bra Recyclers, who will in turn make sure they reach the women who so desperately need them. If you'd like to help them reach their goal of 1000 bras, you can send used or new bras to:

Linda's Online
c/o Operation: Bras for Haiti
68 Jay Street Suite 401
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Be sure to include your name and email address so they can email the discount to you.

You can also drop items off at the store at 828 Lexington Avenue between 63rd and 64th streets in New York City. While you're there, you might want to treat yourself to a little attention from Linda and her staff.
Of course, you can always benefit from Linda's expertise by visiting her website at
Believe me, there's nothing like a great fitting bra that knows its place and stays there. I'm proud to say that
soon my 34A's will find their place in Haiti.

Photo- Against the backdrop of my vintage childhood bedspread, Ms. Grace models one of my retired 34A's. I must admit it fits her better than it ever fit me.