Monthly Archives: May 2012

at least i have a facebook job! and facebook friends #318 and 319

i have been packing up a quarter century of my life, my ex-husband’s life, my two stepchildren’s lives, my own children’s lives.  it’s sometimes surprising to come across a book, a drawing, a sportsmanship award for which kid and what sport?  i have cried looking at little blobs of clay  that were once handed to me with great pride and  an “i made this for you, mommy!”  but i don’t have to worry about the next phase of my life, because at least i have my job.

well, i have a job on facebook!

i am friends with f2fb friend #318 arthur frank, the father of the delightful gal in the video.  he owns round table books and he was just as surprised to discover that i am now listed as being employed at his establishment.  oddly, he has not offered me a salary.  or a corner office.  on the other hand, i haven’t offered to show up and do actual, like, work.  one of the very odd things about being fifty one is that a lot of employment skills are difficult to implement or to prove to a potential employer without some major practice.  for instance, if i were set loose behind a starbucks espresso machine, i’m sure the company’s share price would drop as precipitously as facebook’s share price.

don’t cry for me, mark zuckerberg! mr. z. has been having some problems of his own even while he’s honeymooning in italy! because of the facebook share price plunge, his net worth has gone from an estimated $20 billion to a paltry $14 billion AND he’s been dropped from forbes magazine’s top forty wealthiest folks list!

 

still, he has even more of a problem–mr. z. set off an italian controversy worthy of a tempermento tantrum enorme!  he doesn’t tip.  no, not at all.  not a a euro at the coffee shop.  not a euro at the cozy sidewalk cafe.  not a euro at the little corner romantic pasta joint.  i went around the world to meet my facebook friends last year and i tipped everywhere.  i gotta ask . . .

arthur might not want to employ me, but he is the owner of a business that will help me.  help me with disposing of the many books i have acquired over the last twenty five years.  round table books takes books on consignment, sells them, and if it can’t sell them, it donates the books to charity.  go visit their website–maybe they can help you find a book you’re looking for or take care of a book you need to find a new home for!  www.roundtablebooks.com right now they have a lot of arlynn presser and vivian leiber books–i wrote under the name vivian leiber for many years.

but arthur’s not doing this alone.  he is employing my f2fb friend #319 eric c. carley who reminded me that there is a very honorable means for a femme seul to live in winnetka–for free!

erin, who i guess qualifies as my co-worker at round table books, will come to my house to take away all the books of so many years. she house sits for people in winnetka and that means she gets to live for free in some of the finest homes–if you want to housesit in your town, go to your local realtor and ask if there are homes that have been temporarily emptied of their owners. you might find yourself in a beautiful mansion!

so next time you look at my facebook page, you’ll notice that i’m employed at round table books.  i wonder if mark zuckerberg would like to give me a job. . . at least on facebook!


my facebook friends resolution comes to a grinding halt. . .

yes, grinding.  as in teeth.

today i was supposed to revisit mr. anonymous — the 314th — friend.  why is he anonymous?  he believes that people will not regard him as well if they knew that he is pretty much housebound.  anxiety attacks coupled with depression have created his own personal prison.  i visited him at his home and was so happy to have the chance to connect with this new friend that i did something pretty dangerous and ridiculous afterwards:

luckily, no facebook friends were harmed during the filming of that sequence!

so today i was going to travel back to the home of mr. 314, this time with facebook friend #315 tony tyner in tow!  say that last sentence five times fast when you have just been shot up with novocaine.

tony also has endured periods of being housebound and i thought he and mr. 314 could commiserate, be helpful to each other, to be friends.  mr. 314 particularly needs this because his wife has left him, he has no job, his doctors give him escalating dosages of zoloft that don’t seem to do much good. . . things are rough and they’re going to get better, but maybe it would be nice to have a friend or two.

and friendship can’t just be on facebook.  it has to exist outside.  and that’s what today was supposed to be about.  the three of us.  until. . . last night a funny feeling that when you’re a kid of six or eight is simply magical!

i used to give my kids dollar bills for the teeth that they’d leave under their pillows. oh, whoops! joseph and eastman, please disregard this caption! the tooth fairy really exists, along with santa claus, the easter bunny, and the mother’s day didyouforget? dragon. . . .

my tooth wiggled under my tongue.  and that’s how i knew that i wouldn’t be able to play facebook matchmaker today.  this morning, i had another round with the drills, the needles, the “open wide” and part of the tooth was taken out.  i go back for another visit to have what’s left of the tooth capped.  this tooth is getting a lot of attention and i hope it is appreciative!

it’s tough to do an interpretive dance about dental work. or a collage. but this picture  from the 1931 movie “public enemy” pretty much sums up my day.

there’s another movie that serves as a coda:

the 1939 movie gone with the wind concludes as rhett butler says “frankly my dear i don’t give a damn” when scarlett o’hara at long last declares her love for him. as he leaves, she is at first heartbroken but then concludes she’ll win him back because, after all, “tomorrow is another day!”

and tomorrow i will figure out how to get back on track with facebook!  wait!  maybe investors feel the same way i do!


not completely abnormal and the thirteenth tooth.

i was supposed to see two facebook friends today but my teeth got in the way.  specifically the thirteenth tooth.  it cracked open in the middle of the night and, eight advil later, i was sitting on the sidewalk outside my dentist’s office waiting for somebody, anybody to show up for work.

some reflexologists and traditional medicine professionals believe that the large intestines and the lung meridians of the body affect teeth 4, 5, 12 and 13 of the upper jaw. so a disturbance in the thirteenth tooth could be a warning of lung, intestinal, pituitary, and thymus gland problems! i just thought the side of my face was exploding with pain!

 

my dentist said “aren’t you glad this didn’t happen when you were out meeting facebook friends in another country?”  and i think i agree although one thing i found through this journey of meeting all my facebook friends is they have been nearly uniform in their hospitality.  i’m sure if i had been in taiwan, facebook friend warner sills would have found me an endodontist.  that’s a fancy pants name for “person who can get rid of that pain that starts in one tooth and makes you want to rip the side of your face off and wear a mask like that dude in phantom of the opera”.

my dentist sent me posthaste to dr. trina, endodontrial genius and then he called their office to make sure i showed up.  he’s not dumb, my dentist.

a root canal is no fun, particularly when the only drugs you’re getting make you feel as if your face has just ballooned out to the size of a small townhouse.  in the course of the surgery, dr. trina discovered that i have not one but two roots in my thirteenth tooth.  this, she declared, was “not completely abnormal.”

she told me the surgery would take two hours.  she wasn’t inclined towards vicodin, codeine, laughing gas, or even a small martini.   she’s into natural childbirth, natural appendectomy, and natural root canal.  i was on my own.  well, not on my own:  trina had both hands and several surgical instruments in my mouth and an assistant kim who occasionally took a jab at me.  i worried that one or another swab, finger, needle, scapel or drillbit would go down my throat.

i have a number of facebook friends with post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, agoraphobia, ms, fibromyalgia:  some of them have complained about the state of their own teeth.  after all, most dentists don’t do house calls.  and most of these friends are pretty terrified of dentists.

dwayne johnson, aka the rock, starred in the 2010 blockbuster “the tooth fairy” along with the dazzling cast including ashley judd, julie andrews, and stephen merchant. it was a poignant commentary on our belief that after the pain of teeth extraction we should get a reward. what i got was a bill for one thousand smackers and an ibuprofen because dr. trina said in a few hours i was definitely going to feel it.

 

i felt trapped in the chair, trapped by the topical anesthetic, trapped by the pain that the root canal was supposed to cure.  and two hours in a dental chair? trapped, trapped, trapped.

then i remembered the point of the williamsburg bridge experience in which i tried to get to facebook friend #317 michele piersiak who lives in staten island.  i was in brooklyn and mr. mapquest said “walk over that bridge.”  i hadn’t known i was scared of expansion bridges strung up over three lane highways and hundreds of feet above the water.  but once i was in, i had to figure out how to get myself across.  saying thank you helped.  i said thank you to just about everybody and everything on the williamsburg bridge.  i was a blubbering thank you, sobbing, red-faced thank you note.

and i did the same at dr. trina’s office.  i started thinking about how she had spent four years in college, three years at dental school, and another two years in specialized training for endodontics . . .  all so she could stick her hand and her drills into my teeth.  all so she could say that my double rooted tooth number thirteen was “not completely abnormal”. . . . obviously i couldn’t say “thank you thank you” out loud but suddenly, i really DID feel grateful for all that work she put in at school so that she could get rid of the pain.  of course, i’m writing this while my mouth is still just a little bit numb.  supposedly, in an hour or so i’m going to begin a long, dark night of the soul.

but i’ll take not completely abnormal.  not a bad title for the rest of me.


facebook tanks and so do i!

last week, it was all about the facebook initial public offering (ipo) making billionaires out of the facebook team, about the ipo revitalizing the united states stock market, about investors clamoring for a piece of the $38 per share pie!  facebook was bigger than elvis, jesus, and the beatles combined!

last week, mark’s fiancee priscilla graduated from medical school, he had a birthday, there was the great day when facebook shares were made available to the public for the first time and, of course, there was the wedding. this week? maybe it’s a good idea that mark and priscilla are on their honeymoon. because investors think their honeymoon with facebook is over!

 

shares opened at $38 and have struggled to keep above $32 ever since.  one startling accusation/development has occurred:  jp morgan, morgan stanley and goldman sachs cut their price estimates and VERBALLY advised their largest institutional investors to be wary of the facebook ipo.  the smaller investors were not given the benefit of this advice.  and where did this negativity come from?  the  three companies have indicated that a facebook executive, again VERBALLY, that the facebook financial situation wasn’t all that great and that expected revenues were going to be lower than expected.

there will be investigations, there will be further drops in the stock price, i suspect it will bottom out at $16 per share.  at least, that’s when i’m going to start chipping in.

so a downer day for facebook and a bit of a downer day for me.  i woke up with an anxiety attack  that i tried to ward off with meditation and then with a run.  i tried writing down ten things i was grateful for–a mental exercise that usually does the trick–but i couldn’t get past three before the internal “i’m dying of a heart attack” scream took over.  i caved, and took four ativan.  spent the rest of the day in a  bit of a haze.  but as the great philosopher and femme fatale said “tomorrow is another day!”

and it will be a new day for facebook as well!


mark zuckerberg avoids transfer taxes! also, incidentally gets married.

what a week for mark zuckerberg!  on monday, his girlfriend of nine years — priscilla chan — graduated from stanford university medical school AND it was his birthday!  he posted “I’m so proud of you, Dr. Chan” during the commencement ceremony.  aww, ain’t love grand?

then facebook shares became available to the public and institutional investors for the first time. it was an incredible payday for the private investors who have supported facebook until now.  the private investors have risked everything on an idea–that ordinary people want to look up old friends, find new ones, play hidden chronicles, and post pictures of their adorable ___ (cat, dog, baby, grandmother, thing they made for dinner).  those investors, and mark, were right.  facebook shares opened at $38 per share and are holding steady as i write this.

mark’s fortune is now so vast that relationship advice expert donald trump opined that a naive young billionaire often makes bad moves, saying “they get married, and then for some reason over the next couple of years they get divorced and then she sues him for $10 billion and she hits the jackpot.  I’m notoriously cheap with these things, I think if she made $1 million, that would be very good.”  that donald, always an optimist!

the movie “the social network” makes it sound like mark was a bit of, ahem, loser with women. actually, he and priscilla have been dating for nine years. they’ve been together during the tough times and the really great times. for my wedding present to the zuckerbergs, i’m going to give them a photo album entitled “my trip to the grand canyon”, a link to a leah silberman music video and a list of all my friends!  oh, wait, they already have that!  p.s. don’t they look adorable pictured here in their backyard at the wedding?

so one day after facebook went public, mark zuckerberg changed his status from single to married and wrote a pithy post:  “Married Priscilla Chan”. . . it has a lot of ‘likes’. . . .

a curious financial note that the donald might not have thought of:  let’s say i’m a billionaire.

okay, i had to have a few moments to close my eyes and think about that one!  back to business!

i’m a billion.  my girlfriend (her name, just hypothetically, is priscilla) is a pediatrician who wants to open up a clinic for underprivileged children.  i want to give her, say, a billion to build the clinic of her dreams.  if she’s my girlfriend, the transfer taxes are awful–the internal revenue service will have an agent on my doorstep asking for their share of the money toot sweet! that’s french for jimmy johns fast–

but if i want to give my wife (again, just hypothetically named priscilla) a billion dollars to open a clinic, it’s what the i.r.s. call a “nontaxable event”.  the i.r.s. hates nontaxable events–if they could figure out a way to make taking a nap on the lounge chair in your backyard a taxable event, they would! personally, i think the world has come out on top.  mark owns all our personal information because we have an implacable human need to connect.  priscilla makes medical care available to kids who might otherwise not be able to get it.  and love reigns!  too bad about the i.r.s.

but i wonder what you think …

and, of course, i wonder–did they invite all their facebook friends?


what a busy day for my facebook friend mark zuckerberg!

i’m not actually friends with mark zuckerberg — or the other founders of facebook, dustin moskovitz, eduardo saverin, and chris hughes.  but i feel like we should be.  after all, mark and his friends started facebook in 2004 at harvard university as a way for students to check out other students–it replaced a paper bound directory that couldn’t keep up to date on everybody’s relationship status.  by 2007, i was posting pictures, tracking down folks i went to high school with and playing online scrabble with facebook friends i’d never met.

about that relationship status.  i was separated from my husband and mark had still not figured out that “it’s complicated” is a good status.  i listed “single” and a few short months later my husband joined facebook, sent a friend request and was pretty darned unhappy that i was jumping the gun on the american divorce court system.  we agreed to defriend each other and although we are very much divorced we are very friendly.  it’s . .. complicated.

but mark, we were talking about mark.  and the founders of facebook and the other private shareholders of facebook. up until yesterday, they were the sole investors in facebook.  with an initial public offering (ipo), those shares are let loose on the public market and anybody can be a facebook shareholder.

ah, the winklevoss twins! they went to harvard with mark and they thought they were part of the creation of facebook. this was the point of two lawsuits between the twins and mark. as part of a settlement of one of those suits, the winklevoss twins own six million shares of facebook. caution: do not invite this trio to the same potluck supper!

 

so the offering of shares yesterday was a little like the story of goldilocks and the three bears–set the initial price of the shares too low and the private shareholders don’t get as much dough, set the price too high and institutional traders won’t bite and the price will plummet and everybody will think your company sucks.

the facebook shares were initially offered at $38 a share when mark rang the opening bell at nasdaq trading headquarters. after rising and abruptly falling the price of the shares returned to just under $40 per share at the closing bell. does that mean the initial price was just right?

 

thursday was a big day for mark, the founders, the shareholders, and new investors!  but it was a regular day for facebook employees (many of whom, by the way, own shares in the company).  at one of the company cafeterias at the menlo park, california headquarters, the day began with a breakfast of strawberry banana soy smoothies, coconut mango smoothies, whole wheat cranberry orange scones, sausage and biscuit hash with cream gravy, whole wheat choco-chip pancakes with vanilla whipped cream, whole wheat low fat flax waffles, and old-fashioned buttermilk pancakes.  Meals are always free for facebook employees.  i would totally screw up my diet!

best wishes to mark and facebook!  mark and some other visionaries are very rich now.  so rich that they can’t attend occupy wall street rallies anymore.  but they provided us with a service we needed to keep in touch, to play that scrabble and to share with the world cute pictures of our cat.

last year, i made a new years resolution to meet all my facebook friends. i was a scaredy cat who didn’t leave the house much and i wanted to know who all these friends were! the resolution changed me. i have to say . . . thank you, mark!

 


NATO facebook friends come to chicago and i offer a few pointers on how to get along with native midwesterners!

chicago plays host to the NATO conference this weekend.  workplaces and schools have been shut down, dire warnings issued about protesters and traffic jams and delays at the airport and the lines at starbucks.  buses have been dropping off protesters.  o’hare is clogged with NATO dudes and galpals.  i am quite happy i’ll get to see some of my facebook friends who are ambassadors, and i write this blog as a way of giving them some tips on american culture, particularly midwest culture,  that might not have been brought to their attention by their briefers.

as an ambassador, you might see some people with signs that might not seem to be welcoming. rest assured, midwesterners are a friendly sort. and they make good use of irony. if someone says in conversation or shouts to you that you are a warmonger, a friendly smile and a wave is your best response!

some pedestrians may wear green robin hood masks–these people are asking for a redistributive tax system to help those countries and peoples who are poor.  this is not a good time to complain about the quality of champagne and foie gras you were served the evening before.  some pedestrians may have been offered bracelets that connect together, most times at the wearer’s backs.  feel free to ask a police officer if you can have two of those souvenir bracelets.  if he hesitates, it is only because he expects you to do the midwestern handshake–which is to close your right hand in a fist and smash his nose.  you’ll get your bracelet right away!  although you won’t be able to join your new friends in their city provided accommodations. . .

an interesting note: these people could theoretically be arrested for disturbing the peace and whatnot. as a nato ambassador, you cannot be arrested, detained or held by police unless a waiver is obtained from your home country. diplomatic immunity is da bomb!

lastly, two words about, ahem, personal interactions.

a common greeting should you meet a male for the first time is “yo mama” followed by a compliment.  for instance, “yo mama is so fat that when the Lord told her there was no room for her in heaven, the devil said there was no room for her in hell!”  the point of the compliment is that the other person’s mother is such a good cook and has an abundance of food so that she can develop into a robust and traditionally built lady.  trust me, any gentleman you say that to is going to immediately call you brother–you might even get a midwestern handshake!

and if you meet a woman in the course of your day?  grab your crotch, and announce loudly “i want me some of that!”  women love that sort of thing!

i hope my facebook friends who are NATO ambassadors enjoy their stay in chicago.  in fact, there’s only one person who prays for their comfort and ease more than i do:

mayor emanuel really needs this weekend to go well! everything has been arranged for your comfort and safety as if he were conrad hilton and arnold schwarzenegger in one! as for the comfort and safety of the folks protesting NATO and the status quo, uh, well, not so much!


happy birthday, mark zuckerberg!

i would jump out of a cake but i think it would be alarming.  i am, after all, fifty one years old and while i have been adhering to the atkins diet and am nearly back to my fighting weight of 138 there have been some, ahem! changes to the general physique since i was twenty eight.  which is mark’s age today!

mark is not even my facebook friend! yet, i wish him a happy birthday! i don’t feel too bad about not sending a birthday present because next week is the fabulous facebook IPO — facebook is valued at nearly 100 billion dollars!

 

mark could wake up tomorrow morning, spend $300,000 and do it again the next day and the next until he’s eighty and he’d have some left over.  talk about being ready for your retirement!

i’m fifty one years old.  i’m packing up a lifetime of stuff.  in t minus forty three days i will say goodbye to the house i have lived in for so long.  i am scared.  i was weepy this morning, so much so that i cried when the grocery clerk said “have a nice day”. . . so i wonder:

 


girls! girls! girls! a brooklyn-ish strip club!

i returned from staten island to brooklyn, where my son joseph lives.  i went to a hardware store and got him some new stuff.  i took him to dinner.  we said goodnight and goodbye.  and then i had a surprise.

for some people, hopping on a plane, train or pulling the automobile out of the garage is a casual thing.  for f2fb friend #57 vince peters, it’s just like that.  he’s a rapper, a music executive, a west point graduate, a government contractor.  i met him when i directed the video for his hit single “girls in da club”. . .

one of the things about this project is not just to meet a facebook friend once and be done with them–it’s to get to know my friends a little better.  vince strolled into the hotel le jolie lobby about a quarter to eleven.  an hour i would ordinarily be found in my pajamas with a bit of drool coming off my lips and a very ladylike snore. . .

i said one drink.  just one drink.  there was a bar next door called joy cocktails.  trendy.  impossibly trendy in that brooklyn we’re too cool to be trendy kind of trendy.  the guys wore super tight jeans and carharrt’s boots, flannel shirts, disheveled hair.  the girls?  both vince and my son joseph pointed out to me that from behind, a brooklyn matron of sixty and a hottie of twenty six are indistinguishable.  black leggings.  flats.  polka dot sundress.  shapeless cardigan.

true enough.

but after a few tequila shots sent over to the trio giggling and ogling vince p., conditions changed.  sweaters came off (not mine!) so that all that was left was a shimmering sea of polka dots.  and there was some lolling on the pool table (again, not me!) until the bouncer had to come over and say “please get off the table”.  then the girls did a great shimmy where they threw their hair in front of their faces, jumped up and down and gave the bouncer the middle finger.  it was quite a show.  then i looked at my watch and realized there was a reason there was light coming in from the windows. . . i left him on the sidewalk.

i haven’t done something that irresponsible in some ages.  it was fun.  i don’t know what vince p. did next–but if there’s some girls in brooklyn who are happy because of my facebook project so be it!

the hbo series girls tracks some twentysomethings living in the greenpointe neighborhood of brooklyn. they have a lot of bad sex on the show. i hope that life does not imitate art and vice versa.

 

then i jumped in a cab and headed for jfk airport and home!  i got to see the shuttle parked at jfk!  astronauts are allowed to shop at the duty free shop only if they have a ticket for a nonstop flight to mars!

at jfk airport, i got to see the space shuttle which is temporarily docking here in new york.  astronauts may purchase items at the duty free shop only if they can produce a ticket that shows a nonstop flight to another planet.


mr. de niro, can you hear me? f2fb friend #317 would love to hear from you!

mapquest said it was going to take me four hours and forty seven minutes to get to f2fb friend #317 if i walked and i just couldn’t believe that a city could be that big.   i also couldn’t believe that the funny, witty, supportive, beautiful facebook friend michele piersiak was housebound.  i figured she’d meet me at the ferry station in staten island.  or that she’d catch me at one of the places downtown.

i was wrong.  well, i wasn’t wrong about her being funny, witty, supportive, and beautiful.  that was definitely the woman who answered the door of the house near forest avenue.  but she is (was) housebound.  for about a year and a half her world consists of reading, the treadmill, dvd’s,  the computer that sits next to the couch in the living room, caring for her pets and keeping a house for her and her boyfriend.

stewie is a caped dragon lizard. she may be very lovely to other caped dragons, but i didn’t find her all that attractive. in fact, i got sort of nervous when michele took her out of the cage. after all, who’s to say that caped dragon lizards want a little fifty one year old human flesh after a regular diet of crickets?

michele can sometimes leave the house for brief periods with her “safe” people–her boyfriend, her parents, her sister.  but by herself, she doesn’t even try to check the mail on the curb.  it’s been this way for a few years but was exacerbated when she lost her job.  i’ve noticed a lot of my agoraphobe friends have a major shift inward when there’s a job loss.  and with eight percent official unemployment, i think there’s a hidden group of people that is affected.

michele wakes up every day mad at herself and sad that she is in this condition.  the couch is starting to feel old.  even playing xbox is feeling pretty old.  for me, since i’ve never done it, i thought it was a kick!

this is not wasted time. well, it’s wasting time for me to be bowling on xbox (and nobody should have to witness me trying to play golf!).  but it isn’t a wasted year for michele to have been housebound for a year and some months.  every day has increased her understanding and sympathy for those who are afflicted with panic attacks, agoraphobia, post traumatic stress disorder, ms, etc.  she has a major goal of someday being someone who helps those people.  i think she definitely has something to offer the world in that respect.  she already has helped–for instance, she set up a group of ten people from around the country who set a goal of walking around the block.  at a prearranged time, everybody got on a conference call with their cell phones and walked around their respective blocks together!  isn’t that an amazing use of technology and an amazing creative idea?

she also has a minor goal.  and it’s something tantalizingly out of reach and will require her to do some work.  some planning.  some practicing.  and it will need YOU!  but i’ll get there.

i was insanely honored that michele let me be a “safe” person for the day. we walked to her boyfriend’s place of employment (man, he was a little freaked out by that!) and then we pushed the boundaries a little further. we saw a house that had a three foot wide, five foot tall shrine out front. i like it when people of all faiths feel good about presenting their beliefs to the world!

so the minor goal, an interim goal if you will, is that michele would like to dine at the robert de niro restaurant laconda verde at 377 greenwich street in new york.  it would require driving to the staten island ferry, taking the ferry into the city, a cab or bus ride, then being in the restaurant and actually staying long enough to eat and then to return home.  to michele it seems out of reach.  but the day after i left staten island, she went on several walks with her parents and her sister, pushing herself a little more than usual, to get a few blocks outside of the “safe” zone.  she has made a deal with me that if i return to new york she will go with me to the restaurant.

mr. de niro, i’m betting the prices at your restaurant are a bit dear. but i’m sure if you’re half as good at cooking as you are at acting, the food’s great! michele probably would also like just to shake your hand. to meet you and say “thank you for motivating me to change myself!”

so this is where YOU come in.  if you know mr. de niro or if you know someone in the restaurant industry, if you know someone in new york, i think a gift certificate to laconda or a menu from the place, a message from de niro — even just an autographed picture — would do the world at motivating michele.  and once she achieves the minor goal, she will know that the major one is, okay, just a little harder but perfectly doable.  and that’s the one that helps everybody!

so i’m happy to hear from YOU about whatever you come up with for ideas or inspiration or maybe mr. de niro, if you’re reading this blog???


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