Ndel's Favorite Things

Heck, if Oprah can have one, I can too, right?

In no particular order, get ready, get set.... and no, everyone who reads this post will not get one of each of the items!

I think these are just lovely, understated, sophisticated and classy - pearl coin earrings from Iridesse, $150

And who doesn't love Masterpiece Theatre? Only someone who has never seen it. Three of my all-time favorites are: I, Claudius; The Jewel in the Crown & Bleak House, $29-$99

I feel so fantastic and French and cool when I wear Eau Fantasque from Fragonard, $85
As I've freely admitted on a frighteningly regular basis, I am a Burberry addict. I cannot resist the stuff. Nova check? Yes, please. Traditional Check. Of course. Scarf? Always. You get the idea. A cap or hat? Oh my god, yes! This one - $200

When I want to be seductive and sexy, I lather up with Bath & Body Works' Aromatherapy Sensuality line vanilla jasmine scent. The brown sugar scrub is scrumptious and makes your skin silky smooth, $20

I still wear pantyhose; I guess I like self-torture. And I've found that the most durable are Calvin Klein's line of hosiery. I like the zero waistband, buff, size d for me please, $12

This time of year, you can catch something before you can say, "boo!" When that certain sinking feeling is coming on, slip into a very hot bath with Kiss My Face's Cold & Flu. It will make you feel much better - $10
Now that I've got my Nintendo Wii console, I'm in love with the infrared remotes. I so need three more of these things so we can party, party, party - $40

If you've never tried honey liqueur, you must try Barenjager Honig Liqueur. Put it in your hot tea; you'll never think of honey the same way again. At BevMo - $27

I happen to like watches, which is ironic, because recently, I've been a johnny-come-lately to almost everything in my life. This Burberry number caught my eye a couple of months ago - $525

The towels by Thomas O'Brien are luxurious, beautiful and inexpensive. They come in all kinds of yummy colors and are available at Target - $4-$15

Yup, I'm making my list and checking it twice.

Sweet Success!


All I Want for Christmas

I've been bitten. I've been smitten. And I'm considering spending up to $400 to get one.

Yes, it's the Nintendo Wii.

And me, not a gamer! Heck, the closest I come to gaming is playing Brick Breaker on my Blackberry. But, I had the good fortune to have the Thanksgiving feast at my pal Andrea's place and she had the office Wii on loan. We had a ball. We played golf and bowling well into the wee morning hours.

I just have to have one. I'm thinking it'll make Cam's third birthday party for adults a much more child-like experience. Especially on the big screen. Oh yeah. I can see it now. All of us adults running around, hitting golf balls (the one game I actually won). Cam can use it, in like two years. He'll appreciate it, I know he will.

Being the obsessive gal that I am, I got online this morning to research where I can find one of these things that the Amazon reviews say is cheap - $250 retail, well below the other "hardcore" gaming consoles; typically at $300-$600. Well, the joke is on me - a day and more than $200 short to the dance. Apparently, there are no Wiis to be found in any retail outlets this side of the Pacific (netnoise says that there are plenty in Japan where the Xbox and Playstation are kings). So, one must resort to an auction site and on those, the consoles are going for - get this - $425 and above!

I have never paid attention to those news stories about fanboys standing in line to get the latest whatever. I just couldn't understand why the lines were long, the enthusiasm over the top and the fans so rabid. Now I do. I totally understand.

Why did I have this epiphany during the holiday season? A day late and several hundred dollars short. Yet again.

Oh, woe is me.


The Urge to Merge

What is it about plain, mousy, smart women who suck any available man's attention out of the room? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm smart, but I'm not mousy. I'm cute, not plain. I know where I have the deficit is the weight thing. Gosh, but plenty of men like voluptuous women, especially if said voluptuous woman is smart and cute, right?

We're all used to the stunning beauty who sucks all the manttention out of the room; we hang around hoping that said men will notice she's vapid and vain and can't tell the difference between the Sunnis and Shites. (I'll leave out the gorgeous and smart gal pal that you're always happy to see meet a great guy - but then again, she's rarely single precisely because men snap her up immediately - she spends little time on the open market - better yet for your odds.) But I am continually perplexed by the chick who manages to monopolize any single man's attention within striking distance. I've known - actually worked with two women like this. I simply don't get it. I was always disarmed by their ability to zero in on and then hold a man's attention. It's not that I am jealous - exactly.

No, I'm not jealous; I'm confused. I can't be jealous because the spell never seems to last - a week or two at most, but still, why are these men attracted in the first place? Why do they gravitate to these women to the exclusion of other, shall we say, more interesting and attractive women in the room?

Like yours truly?

I'm not tooting my own horn - okay, yes I am.

I won't say these women, including my acquaintances are not good women. They are. At least, I think they can be, if they lose what I sense is desperation seeping from their pores. If I can see it, feel it and taste it, why can't men? Are men attracted to desperation? I thought that's the one thing that men run from. Is it a matter of being drawn to the fire only to recoil once touched? Is it the protector instinct coming out? Or is it being drawn to the wounded bird? Now, I can't really say that the men that are catches or anything - maybe they're the ones who are wounded and desperate, but heck, I can't know everything...

Can I?

I want to merge. I have the urge. But desperation just isn't my bag.


Fione Man of the Month

Okay, so I've switched from "Fione Man of the Week" to "Fione Man of the Month". Mostly, I've changed so that I don't go through the entire White House Press Corps by the election. As you see from my choice, I'm partial to smart, articulate, informed men. Yet another political choice. Gosh, I'm predictable.

Richard Wolffe

Wolffe is the senior White House Correspondent for Newsletter. Before Newsweek, he was deputy bureau chief and U.S. diplomatic correspondent in Washington D.C. for the Financial Times. His earlier work included coverage of the Microsoft antitrust trial and the Clinton administration’s plans to break up the company. Wolffe is the author of The Victim’s Fortune, which reveals the behind-the-scenes deals that led to billions of dollars in compensation to the Nazis’ victims in the late 1990s and as co-author of a Spanish cookbook, Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America, published in 2005. He has also written for food magazines such as Food Arts and Food and Wine. Wolffe is an MSNBC political analyst, and appears frequently on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. He has previously appeared regularly on CNN and Fox News, as well as international media including the BBC and CBC. Born in Birmingham, England, Wolffe graduated from Oxford University with first-class honors (summa cum laude) in English and French in 1992. He and his wife live in Washington, D.C.

I also have the very unfortunate habit of having crushes on married men. Oy vey!


Stores That Aren't Here Anymore

Remember Zody's? I used to love that store. It was full of brightly colored clothing that we could actually afford. In Pasadena, where we lived, the local Zody's was above a Ralph's on Villa. We used to go grocery shopping and then head upstairs for a quick look-see.

We always ended up buying something.

As I trolled the aisles of Target on Sunday, I wondered if Zody's just went away or was it the precursor to Target? What happened to those really cool neon bikinis they used to sell (and I used to fit in)? Heck, what happened to Akron and all that really cool macrame and rattan, that I'm sure Huey Newton was familiar with. And what of Gemco and Fedco, Montgomery Ward's? And from when I got older and could afford a more few dollars - I.Magnin, Bullocks, The Broadway, Robinson's, Joseph Magnin's and The May Company. Heck, I want to give a shout out to Builder's Emporium! For all us young, single gals, Judy's was the place. Then, there was Casual Corner, not really ever my taste, but oh well, you get the point. All of these places are gone, as I'm sure many of the establishments patronized by the young folk of today will go the way of the telegraph. Stores, just like cellphones, become obsolete. We mourn their passing for nary a millisecond and we're off to the next big thing. Me? I can't fit in that H&M stuff and Lane Bryant isn't really doing it for me, but hey, I might be able to find something at Bloomingdale's, a name I've heard since childhood but only arrived in SoCal in the mid 90s.

Some go away and some stay around. As long as Wal Mart isn't the last one standing, I'm okay.


Crushed for Lunch

I'll be forty next year. I don't think about it much, except that I'll be a round number (as I get rounder) and that I vaguely feel like I should "do" something. What I'll do is anybody's guess, but I find it quite funny that as I enter the middle part of my life, a ghost - no, a longing, from the past is very much probably going to be a part, a very small part, of my future.

Remember your first real teenage crush? You know, the one you really liked, you hoped liked you back, but you couldn't speak directly to, so you had all kinds of intermediaries taking your messages to? Remember those notes in class? Or how about waiting breathlessly for nutrition or lunch to discuss with your friends the complicated head nods in the hallway, body language and bouts of silence? These things needed to be dissected. No wonder these types of complicated teenage mating rituals almost always end badly.

Brady was my 9th grade crush. He was the one that got away. Although we had P.E. together and spoke, even occasionally walking part way home together (he home, I to the bus stop), we never quite talked directly about the undercurrent of tension that characterized that fall of 1982. We were one of those could have been couples. We could have been a couple if he weren't in the wildly popular established clique and I new to the school. Or, that he was obviously better off than I. Or maybe even, and the most likely, maybe black girls and white boys had a harder time of if than black boys and white girls. Go figure that one out.

Brady and I never "went around" and eventually I got over him. It was bittersweet to see him write in my yearbook, "...too bad things between us didn't work out..." It was the first indication from him at all that we might have had a chance.

And then, life went on.

The next year, I went to Israel for high school. As it so happens, my mother did not save my place, although she meant to, at the high school where Brady went, so I ended up in a succession of schools that never made up for the fact that my future should have been at the school with Brady. I don't think I've forgiven my mother for this. I probably never will. I know in my bones if Brady and I had gone to the same high school, we would have gone out and my life would be drastically different. If only she had remembered to return the paperwork. If only she thought it was important enough to resolve before I returned.

My lifelong friends would be different (although, my BF Amber is from this period and that would not change - a testament to why she is my BF); I would have gone to college; I would probably be married with more than one child now. Yes, I know in my bones that I would be the same person in a different place. I think there are just a few key missteps in our lives that we can look back on and say, "my life would be totally different if it had just happened this way..." And I not going to the same high school with my junior high compatriots is it for me.

Last year was the 20 year reunion. I went as BF's date, as we had agreed years ago; it was imperative that I see Brady - that we see each other. We missed the 10 year; we were not going to miss the 20. I figured he was married - how could he not be? But that wasn't the point. I had to stand next to him; to confirm that yes, we there actually was this spark of something great that didn't get the chance to grow to a full fire. Did he remember as much as I did? Would there be fondness in his eyes? Would there be that patience in his voice? What kind of man is he now? I had to confirm that he turned out to be the stand up guy that I pegged him to be back in day. I had to know if the one person I continued to pine for all these years was indeed worth it.

And, I'm happy to report that yes, he is all that I thought he would be. He is a family man with two lovely children and a gorgeous and gracious wife. He is successful with his MBA from USC. He's still dry and a bit stoic, but his humor comes out at regular intervals. And how do I know this, you ask? Well, funny enough, not from the reunion. He and I only chatted for a little while. I actually talked to his wife more. I was ecstatic to know that he married a good one; that he was a good provider and a good husband. It was some comforting kind of reassurance to me. I didn't go there hoping he'd throw over his wife for me. No, I needed to see him for me. I needed to know that I didn't have totally lousy taste in men.

I followed up with a handwritten note and my card again (we exchanged at the reunion itself), as I did for all the people I talked with at length. No one followed up with me. And that was okay. I do that for most functions I attend. I send a note with my card. That was it. I had his card; he had mine.

And it so happens that a few months later, I had the opportunity to pass some business along to him. I called him first and asked him if I could give his number to a vendor that might be able to throw him some business. We played phone tag for a day or two and then finally spoke. It was short and sweet and to the point. I asked him to send his wife my regards. We hung up.

Fast forward six months. I walked into an industry function, expecting to see the usual suspects, when, low and behold, there he stood. Can you imagine my shock? I was floored. I blurted out, "what the heck are you doing here?" I thought perhaps my lead had brought him to the function, but no. He had changed industries completely. He had just started, that week, working for a friend from his college days; a guy that I've known professionally for a few years. His entree into my field was completely separate and most likely, inevitable. I would have seen him even if I had not attended the reunion.


I pinched myself. Maybe there was something to this remembering him with such fondness. Maybe there was destiny in our shared karma or maybe it's dharma; I can never remember the difference between the two.

We tried for a while to get together for lunch; scheduling and rescheduling. Finally, our calendars aligned and we had lunch last week. It was a long lunch, talking business, the past and the present. We laughed. He remembered more than I would have ever dreamed he would. He remembered that I went out with Glenn for a minute that he swears seemed longer. Heck, even I forgot Glenn - one of those convenient bouts of forgetfulness. Glenn did not hold a candle to what I felt for Brady.

But some things never change. I talked around how much I really liked - loved him in those days. I couldn't even voice it now. What good would that do? No, I talked around it, just like I did then. At the reunion, I figured his wife knew; she sensed that I was the one who really cared.

I don't know if my dreams of the past live in him today, but I know I like him; he's a good man. I'd like him if I met him for the first time today. But maybe that's the gift of yesterday; it can give you a new tomorrow. I'm glad that this road has circled back. I'm glad to know both he and his wife. Somehow, a connection from the first part of my life is a signal that the middle part of my life is on track. I am content.

1982 was a stellar year. I'm thinking 2008 might be the same.


Ready or Not

As I was driving home yesterday, listening to All Things Considered on NPR, like all good wishy washy liberals, I heard a piece on the 2008 presidential race (what else?) and Clinton’s poor showing in last week’s debate. Now, I didn’t see that particular debate – there have been too damn many of them – but I have seen the gotcha moment and the other candidates, namely Obama and Edwards, capitalizing off her rare mistake. The reporter asked if a voter was going to give Obama a second look now. The guy said no; he didn’t think the US is actually ready to elect a black man president.

The would-be voter guy was black.

How do I know you ask? I just do. Besides, reporters never ask white people if the U.S. is ready for a black president; and if they do, it’s not a straight out question. It’s more like, “would you vote for a black man for president?” And what are they going to say – no way, hell will freeze over first? No, that wouldn’t do. Reporters feel free to ask black people if we think white people will vote for Obama; it’s so much “nicer”. You don’t know what you think – we do.

And, apparently, we don’t think you’re ready. We think you’re still too racist, too close minded and too fearful. And because you aren’t ready, dear white folk, we aren’t either. You won’t vote for him, so why should we? I don’t get the logic and I don’t get the point.

I support Obama because he is realistic in this complicated world guided by euphemisms and “interests”. He is inspirational. He is smart. And –this is a big one for me - he’s not a Clinton, a Bush nor a Gore. We’ve been there people – and let me remind you, the scenery wasn’t as pretty as you remember it. If Clinton wins the presidency, that will be almost thirty years of either a Bush or a Clinton in the White House. Have we turned into an aristocracy? Well, almost, but that’s another post for when I have way more time. Nope, I’m all for turning the page of history. I would like to see hope in the eyes of my fellow citizens again. I want us to be proud because we are the best and we are doing the best we can. We are not doing that now. We are a fearful, belligerent bunch of sheep, allowing the veiled powers to lead us where they may.

I say no more. This is our Kennedy moment; we can embrace love and fearlessness or we can retreat further into partisan sniping and fighting. We can do better; we can be better. We are the citizens of the United States of America. This is do or die - believe and follow through or slowly succumb to an empire’s inevitable descent into decay and disorder. I don’t know if the U.S. is ready to elect a black man president; I just know that I am when I believe he is the best man to take us into a braver new world; leaving behind 1984. And with that belief, I will go into the voting booth on whatever date is decided, and punch the name of the person that I want to vote for without thought if someone else cannot vote for him because of the color of his skin.

Are YOU ready?


Oh, Let Me Go

This is one of my all-time favorites from the vintage year of 1983 by Heaven 17. It can get me out on the dance floor in seconds - casts or no casts! Pick up the full album, Lap of Luxury by this socialist 80s icon!