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Read Reply All and Reply All Lite cartoons at ArcaMax and The Washington Post

We tried to keep them ‘just a little bit removed’….


I’ve been waiting years to watch The Wolfpack – ever since I first heard about it.  I’ve watched and read everything about the making of this documentary.

The story of these six brothers has everything I love in a story…isolation, survival, fundamental and significant conflict, true love, a really wrong act, smart people trapped by the good intentions of people with problems, innocence and guilt juxtaposed, and, art as escape.

In the case of these brothers, the escape art is movies.  Watching movies. Making movies. Learning movies.

And not just watching loving movies, but needing movies to make life worthwhile.

I highly recommend this movie.

And I want to adopt all six boys.

And their mom (and sister).

xoxo, d

Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover – A Mother’s Day Post, Kind Of

Part of finding your own quiet requires that you own what you want, what you don’t necessarily want, and when you want it.

As a woman who hasn’t ever aspired to be married, it’s sometimes hard to bridge the gap between the lifestyle of my mother and my own lifestyle. I don’t want her lifestyle and she definitely doesn’t want mine – that’s not an issue. But talking is sometimes an issue unless we preface every thought and statement with something akin to “this is based on my view of my world and doesn’t have anything to do with your view or your world.”

After many years of being the one who wasn’t married in rooms full of marriage conversations, I am finally becoming relevant. As friends and colleagues move on to second lives, second careers and post-marriage love, I finally know about issues that they’re interested in.

While I may not be the authority on forever, I do know a bit about changing it up, trying new things, and trying out people for the purpose of making them a part of your life.

So here’s my contribution to a blog I love:Dating, Sex, and Life in your 60s  Let’s Have Lunch and Talk by Nadia Alegria Amore.


50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

I have a special treat for you on Mother’s Day – a guest post from my friend and Renaissance woman Donna A. Lewis. Donna has way more experience with men than I do and I thought she would be a great resource for all of us dating re-entrants!

Donna lives in Washington, DC where she dabbles obsessively in law, writing and art. She is the creator of Reply All comic strip and Reply All Lite cartoon, both of which are syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group.

I have the perfect lunch for us while we sit back and read Donna’s post. Let’s enjoy spaghetti al pomodoro (, Audrey Hepburn’s favorite recipe, recreated by food blogger Tori Avey.

reply all PIX 5 10 2015

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Donna A. Lewis

For five or so decades, my mother has been talking to me about men. She considers herself an expert on men because she’s been married to one man for a really long time. In fact, she’s been married to that one man for as long as I’ve known her.

It’s hard for me to explain to my mother in a respectful, discreet way that what she actually knows is a lot about one man.

“Yeah, mom, you know about men. You know about one man named Joe.”

For the record, Joe isn’t my father’s real name. I changed the name to protect my father’s identity.

“Yeah, mom, you know a lot about ‘Joe’…. but I know somewhere between a little and a lot about hundreds of men.” 

See? I told you. There’s not really an easy way to respectfully and discreetly say that the reason you know a lot about men is because you have actually known a lot of men.

But I do. I do know my fair share about men.

Now maybe I don’t personally know a lot about hundreds of men, but I do know about a large enough number of men to provide a scientific sampling upon which we can base supportable conclusions.

And maybe I don’t know a lot about staying with one man forever, but nobody I know really has that as their top priority these days anyway since forever is different from the forever we grew up with.

What I do know about is how to meet men. And I know how to have a really good time with them. And I know how to get rid of them.

Now THAT, my friends, is valuable information for the modern woman.

To be honest, I didn’t realize how valuable that information was until so many of my married friends became unmarried. All of a sudden, I had some information they needed and didn’t have.

But before I tell you my 50 all-time favorite ways to leave lovers, let me tell you how to actually get a lover. Or two. Or ten.

Tip #1

Want a lover.

Sounds simple and kind of obvious, but do you really want a lover or do you just think you should want a lover? And if you actually want a lover, are you sure you want a lover now? Are you lover-ready, emotionally and otherwise?

The gist of this tip is really ‘don’t look for a lover before you’re ready for a lover.’ If you look for a lover too soon or at the seriously wrong time, all you’ll do is cripple your self-esteem with rejection resulting from bad timing.

Don’t go there until you’re ready to be there.

Tip #2

Smell good.

Look good. Feel good. Be intentional about being in the best condition to attract a lover. You don’t need to be a perfect hourglass size zero with double D boobs, high slit skirts and perpetually tanned skin. And hopefully you’re not, since that’s…well…you know.

But you need to generally look like you want to be attractive to those you wish to attract.

If you’re not sure whether you look like you want a lover, ask one of your most honest friends. An honest friend will tell you whether you look like you’re thinking about loving a lover or thinking about eating double stuffed pizza while learning to make your own curtains.

Tip #3

Go where the men are.

If you want to go where the men are, join a few local meetup (or other) free social groups and look at the male to female ratio before attending. If the group boasts one man for every twenty women, then you won’t be going home with a lover.

And don’t spend too much time hanging out where the men aren’t. Most men are generally not painting pottery or attending Pilates. They’re not usually at Sunday brunch or the shopping mall.

And if you’re thinking it’s a shame that your interests don’t include men, then prepare for a lot of time spent without men. Or find a few new interests.

Tip #4

Go where there are more men than women.

Go to a local dive bar that has televisions playing sports. Ask the men silly questions about sports and let them talk. Go to a local Comic Con, gaming outlet, car show or gun show. Hang out at Home Depot in the area where they sell wood. Ask the men at Home Depot silly questions about wood – the kind of wood they sell at Home Depot.

If you hang around places where men tend to be, the odds of meeting a man increase significantly and naturally.

Tip #5

Consider everything practice.

Remember when you were in the sixth grade and you had to present a book report to the class? Remember how well you did at home with your mom watching you and cheering you on? Remember how you then got to school and felt like throwing up when you realized you forgot what the notes on your index cards meant?

The same thing happens when you’re looking for a man to love you. You feel great when you’re safely at home being all cute and funny online with men who want to chat. Then you leave the safety of your house and remember that you have cellulite, a crooked tooth, and a top on top of your muffin.

When you leave your house, instead of thinking in terms of success or failure, think of everything you do as practice. Go on practice dates or practice trips to Home Depot. Ask practice men your practice questions. Don’t consider any activity the ‘real thing’ and you’ll be more relaxed. More importantly, you’ll be better prepared to accept whatever happens. …since it’s just practice.

Tip #6

Have fun no matter what.

Enjoy whatever you’re doing. Laugh at whatever is happening, even if the joke is on you. If you can have fun no matter what, more things will be more fun.

And people who have fun attract people who like having fun.

Tip #7

Talk to people.

Remember that people are shy, including men. And remember that other people are waiting for you to make a move, create an opening or give a sign.

So just say hi. And be really friendly. And make a stupid joke about something simple that makes them laugh and realize you’re one of those people who are easy to talk to.

And then be easy to talk to.

Tip #8

Leave the unsexy topics at home.

Talking about your ex, your divorce, your custody problems, your toe fungus, that weird bump that might be cancer but might just be a bump….none of these are part of foreplay.

And talking is foreplay if you talk about the stuff that turns people on.

If you’re not sure what turns people on, talk about delicious food, your favorite music or hot cars. Don’t talk about food issues, music you hate or the car problems you can’t afford to fix. Stick with the stuff that makes people feel good. When the listener feels good, the listener is more likely to like you.

Tip #9

Touch others appropriately.

If you’ve been talking to someone for more than five minutes and it’s going well, try an appropriate, light, gentle touch on their forearm or shoulder. Start making contact.

Practice by touching their sleeve or watch or ring and saying you like it and asking where they got it. Combine flattery with a gentle touch and you’re closer to getting a lover than you were before.

Tip #10

Be proud of rejection.

Rejection means you tried. Rejection means you’re out there. Rejection means you’re human and that you’re interacting with humans.

If you’re not getting rejected, you’re not out there enough.


There’s ten tips to get you started!

And please, let me know how it goes! I need material for my future posts!

xoxo, d

How Are You Doing?


In 1982, I left college.

I hadn’t graduated yet, but I was running around in circles. I was caught in a web of seemingly conflicting interests and I was wary of committing myself to any one of them lest I  make the wrong choice. That’s a fancy way of saying I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

But I kind of knew what I wanted to do. I was officially pre-law. And I knew that I wanted to make a living helping people get help. But I wasn’t clear what the intersection of law and helping was.

So I left college with the goal of figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.

I left college and returned to my hometown of Baltimore. I lived in my parents’ basement for a bit, resolving every hour of every day to get the hell out of their house.

My parents were good parents, but they were my parents and constant proximity wasn’t conducive to healthy respect.

I remember wondering what I might do to help people get help. I thought about psychology and social work and any profession where you help figure out and resolve other peoples’ crises.  My mother helped me brainstorm where I might spend time getting experience in such things and we came up with Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, usually just referred to as Sheppard Pratt.

Sheppard Pratt was a short drive from my parents house. It’s where Zelda Fitzgerald was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1930. And where she wrote the semi-autobiographical novel, Save Me the Waltz, published in 1932. At that time, Sheppard Pratt was called a sanatorium. Originally, it had been named an asylum.

I remember hoping to run across the ghost of Zelda there. The grounds were magnificent, beautiful and inspiring in a serious, poetic way.

Initially, I volunteered at Sheppard Pratt. I offered myself to one of the hospital’s long term psychiatric units five days a week and eight hours a day in exchange for the promise that I would be given as much responsibility as was legally allowed. I had volunteered in hospitals when I was younger and knew how easy it was to spend an entire shift filling and refilling water pitchers.

For the record, filling and refilling water pitchers is, quite possibly, the most boring thing I have ever done in my life.

I was put to work immediately, shuffling patients to therapy, cafeteria and time spent outdoors. I was encouraged to talk to them and get to know them and be part of their day. I was trusted with information about them and informed by the staff about their conditions and treatment.

It was fascinating.

And at night, I hung up coats in a dance club.

Stop laughing.

I made more money in one night of hanging up coats than you can imagine, which is good since there was only dancing Thursday through Sunday. Sure, all the money I made was in quarters, but back then everybody still wore winter coats in winter so a night full of quarters added up quickly.

After a few weeks of volunteering, the nice folks at Sheppard Pratt offered me a full-time job, a full-time paycheck, and health insurance, all of which I accepted before they were finished offering.

I had probably moved out of my parents’ basement before the end of that day, if not sooner. Luckily, my parents have never interpreted my need to get the hell out as anything having to do with them personally.

It turned out that I loved working at Sheppard Pratt.

I really did.

I was trained to work on an inpatient unit focused on addiction treatment. Most of the patients had a dual diagnosis, meaning they had alcoholism or drug addiction along with another disorder. The patients attended individual therapy, group therapy and a never ending schedule of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings alternating with Narcotics Anonymous.

Not shockingly, I spent the next several years dating recovering alcoholics. I would have dated recovering drug addicts, but I couldn’t handle the habits of drug addicted men.

I ended up spending years working in the treatment environment, eventually going back to college and then entering law school. By the time I finished my college credits, I knew that I loved helping people but that I wanted to be in a profession where I would have access to a broader range of resources. I felt that as a lawyer I could do that.

I transitioned directly into disability advocacy after law school, dealing with the problems I knew well but playing a different role in the lives of the clients.

I didn’t date lawyers, but I dated a never ending stream of law school applicants.

That’s probably because I was supporting my beginner’s law practice by teaching LSAT at night and on the weekends.

To this day, my years at Sheppard Pratt are among my favorite years of all time.

At Sheppard Pratt, everyone was a mental health care consumer, even if they had the cleanest mental health bill in the world.  Everyone there, from the doctors and nurses and therapists to the lady in the gift shop, was focused on overcoming life’s challenges or helping others overcome life’s challenges. Everyone there had been through something, whether it was their personal experience or that of a family member.

Everyone there was working on making today better than yesterday.

And I loved that environment.

I remember I looked forward to work everyday, where I could count on everyone I saw to give me a real hug and ask me what I was working on.


Yes, it was the common greeting.

Hi! How are you doing? What are you working on?”

I was among the youngest of the staff but every member of the staff was working on something. It was the norm in that environment.

Nobody was finished. Nobody had arrived. Nobody was in a place where they expected to stay for long.

Everyone was equally en route, working on something that would make them or their life better or help them to better help others.

And I loved it. I really loved it.

Then I transitioned to the world of lawyers and politics in Washington DC where people ask “what’s new” and ‘where are you now,” meaning “what have you accomplished since the last time we talked?”

And it’s awful.

Lawyering isn’t awful.  I like lawyering.

And Washington, DC isn’t awful. It’s pretty and filled with lots of interesting history.

But the environment of constantly being asked what’s new and what you’re doing suggests that new things should be happening in your life. And that, perhaps, BIG NEW THINGS should be happening in your life.

Maybe that’s not what everyone hears when they’re asked ‘what’s new‘ but that’s what at least seven people I know hear.

It’s a lot to ask that someone continue to have new things happening in their life. Even if that’s not what you mean when you ask them what’s new. Not everyone has something new happening.

There isn’t much new in my life but, then again, it’s all kind of new since I juggle a lot of activities and work hard to make every today better than yesterday.

Sure, some days are ‘hang in there‘ days…and some days are ‘just get it over with‘ days.

But mostly, my life is filled with days I hope will be as good as or better than yesterday.

So, you might ask, what’s the takeaway?

Well, I think I’ll try to do something tiny and new each week so that I have a good answer when asked what’s new.

The alternative is to yell at the person who asked me what’s new and berate them for expecting too much from me.

Also, answering “nothing” in response to “what’s new” sounds like nothing’s going on, when really lots of life is going on in and around me.

What’s new so far today is that I finally learned how to thinly slice an onion without thinly slicing my finger.

Yes, it’s been an issue in the past.

And this week, I hope to learn the basics of basting a stitch.

I’m not sure what that means, but learning to baste a stitch has been recommended to me as the next critical item on my “learn to sew” list. Hopefully, basting is something I’ll be expert in by the new year.

Just an FYI –

If thinly slicing an onion and learning to baste a stitch are the last interesting things I do for a while, those will be my answer every day until something new comes along.

xoxo, d

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