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Today was not a very good Monday. It started out as any ordinary day, but in short order it turned into the Monday from Hell.

At 7 a.m. I climbed into the car I sent in for service last week and found that none of my problems was remedied. I had complained that the sound system sounded like crap. They chuckled at what they assumed was a silly girl and said I must’ve had the headphone button pushed in. Didn’t sound much better when I picked it up, and this morning I figured out why. Sitting in bumper-to-bumper high school traffic, I played with the balance and found that all the speakers on the right side of the car aren’t…


Love Letter to My Girlfriends

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Helen Was Here

Did you ever wake up with the uncontrollable urge to organize your house or office? Not the banal daily kind of cleaning and straightening. I mean projects you always mean to get to: going through piles of stuff that have been cluttering your desk or your countertop for months…cleaning out your closet…organizing your underwear drawer…matching up your socks…alphabetizing your cookbooks…cleaning out your handbag…refolding your linens…tagging all the photos in your digital albums…dumping the moldy contents of the Tupperware in the back of the fridge…writing out a bunch of notes or cards you’ve been meaning to send…running errands with sleek efficiency…shopping for and cooking a scrumptious gourmet dinner from a bunch of magazine recipes you’ve dog-eared and meant to try….


Teaching Kids Philanthropy

The family joke is that when my dad was a typical wiseass kid in religious school, and was called upon to answer a question about any significant historical figure, his stock answer was, “(So-and-so) was a great Jewish philanthropist,” (and technically he was almost always right!).

Well, I’m proud to be living in a frat house full of budding great Jewish philanthropists. You see, tomorrow kicks off the Fourth Annual Reiser Brothers’ Jimmy Fund Challenge. Late in July, each guy makes a pledge to be totaled based on statistics of the Red Sox during the month of August, and together they make a combined donation to the Jimmy Fund, which supports cancer research and care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute…


Goodnight, Shea

A sweltering July night. A pregnant orange moon hanging precariously over Queens. 63,000 sweaty, delirious fans. A bottle of red. A bottle of white. It was a farewell celebration like no other. It was the “Last Play at Shea.”

New York’s own Billy Joel performed the very last musical event ever to be held at Shea Stadium (the Mets’ new home, Citi Field, will be completed for the 2009 season). The three-hour show was an electrifying extravaganza of Joel’s stunning catalog, and the Piano Man pulled out all the stops to bid a most unforgettable farewell.

Joel truly made Shea Stadium’s history and his beloved New York the guests of honor. He sang a bit of “Spanish Harlem” as an interlude…


“Memories light the corners of my mind.”

“What are you doing the rest of your life? North and south and east and west of your life?”

“Time…I’ve been passing time watching trains go by…all of my life.”

You no doubt recognize these classic lyrics to love songs written for the big screen. The songs are shmaltzy, cheesy, nostalgic, sappy, touching – but whatever your bias, you have to give props to the Oscar- and Emmy-winning lyricists, husband-and-wife team, Alan and Marilyn Bergman. And I proudly chose to spend my birthday last night hearing the Bergman songbook performed by the charming Michael Feinstein at his intimate supper club at the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue.

Yes, I was by far the youngest…


Either I’ve got a face that somehow makes strangers feel compelled to confide their innermost troubles, or someone snuck in one night while I was sleeping and wrote “Tell Me What’s Wrong” on my forehead in ink that’s invisible in the mirror.

Don’t misunderstand – lending an ear, a shoulder, encouragement and a big hug is one of my trademarks as a good friend, and it has been at least since my days at Boston U when my friends identified me as the least screwed-up and made me, de facto, the go-to problem solver. Whether I’ve actually ever felt that way or not, I’ve always been perceived as the one who has her sh*t together. And while I don’t honestly…


“Gypsy” in My Soul

WOW! WOW! WOW! It doesn’t matter how many previous productions of the musical “Gypsy” you’ve seen—this one, starring Patti Lupone, is, without a doubt, the ne plus ultra. It even managed to knock “Jersey Boys” out of my top spot for favorite musical ever.

You know the story: needy, greedy stage-mom-from-hell pushes her daughters into show business so she can experience it vicariously. From the moment she enters down the aisle, Lupone is mesmerizing. Riveting. Electric. Every syllable, every note was crystal clear, thanks to a truly remarkable sound job. Lupone, of course, is a legendary powerhouse, and she makes every moment she’s on stage meaningful and magical. She is part of a tiny, elite group of stage actresses who…


Night at the Opera

Yup, I said opera. I was an opera virgin until last night, and after the hilarious, resplendent performance of Candide, I can’t truly say I’ve been to the opera per se – but the New York City Opera’s staging sure was a treat.

The show itself is an operetta – more like a “musical-plus” rather than an opera. Written in English with a score by Leonard Bernstein, this two-week engagement was produced by the legendary Harold Prince. And oh, what a glorious production. It was lush and cheeky and teeming with Vaudevillian charm. Daniel Reichard (who originated the role of Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys) sang the title role with soulful optimism, and Richard Kind (Dr. Pangloss and others) and…


A Tale About the Mail

It’s high time I talked about the mailmen in my life. Calm down, it’s nothing lascivious or scandalous. The very first day we moved into our new home in Barrington back in ’99, the mailman came all the way down the long driveway to the door to introduce himself. Jim was his name. An older guy with white hair and a mustache, Jim would’ve been a perfect extra on the Cheers set. He proceeded to tell me how many years, months, weeks, days and hours it was until he would retire. Nothin’ like loving your job.

Over the years, Jim did as little as was required to deliver our mail. He told me he had the most enviable route because…