Sunday, September 30, 2012


Our lives are all different.  Even the same activities have different meanings to us.  For example, polishing one's nails a bright color may be uneventful to you, even tedious.  But to me it is a big thrill.  It symbolizes something critical to me and resonates deep inside.

Let's reverse the direction -- jumping on a motorcycle and going fast is a routine, daily experience to me.  To non-riders, though, it is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime event which will be remembered and spoken about for decades.

What matters to you?  What is a big deal to you? 

Is it career advancement?  Romantic intimacy?  Socializing?  Enjoying your hobbies?

You can stop reading now and answer the question.  Or, if you're interested, you can continue on to personal reflections about my life.  They will not be on the test.  You do, however, get extra-credit for slogging through them.  :)

The major focus of my life has been career achievement.  It was the dream of my parents, not my own.  As the first-born son of immigrants, I was laden with the weight of their aspirations.  I was pushed to work hard and achieve academic, athletic and professional success.  Dutifully, I complied.

I climbed to the pinnacle of my profession.  I've argued before every court, from the lowest to the highest.  I've won major cases and suffered crushing defeats.  I've had juries applaud me; I've had them turn me down.  I've been quoted and published in legal periodicals.  I've had my name on the front page of prestigious journals, more than once.  I've been practicing law for thirty years (1982-now).

Today, that means little to me.  Almost nothing.  I scaled those heights and proved to myself and others that I can do it.  Okay.  Now what?  Been there, done that.

What, you may ask, was my career dream?  I'll tell you because my life isn't over and I plan to pursue it increasingly in the future.  My dream is to become a writer.

Let's turn to romance.  I've had two successful, fulfilling long-term relationships (with Maura and Robin).  The three of us look at those decades of loving support with fond memory.

Romantic companionship is valuable.  It gives us someone to share experiences with, someone to care for.  But, if we're wise, we realize at some stage that no relationship, no matter how deep or nurturing, can do the hardest, most vital work -- the project of ourselves.  Only we can fill the holes inside us.  Believing others can do that is a fallacy that leads too many people in the wrong direction.

So, if I've been successful at work and happy in my romantic life, what's left?  This was the topic of my first blog post, entitled "Circling Back."  What's left is the thing at my core.  The thing that existed at the time of my earliest memory (age 4) and never left me.  My struggle with gender.  It is the issue at the center of my life. 

What's your big issue?  What are you wrestling with, caring about, working on?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Little Black Hearts

Shopping in Wet Seal, I saw a cute top.  Lime green with little black hearts.  I snapped it up but then was confused how to wear it.  A youthful piece like this can become gaudy if combined with other bright colors.  So I decided to play the top down by surrounding it with black.

How would you have worn this?




Oh, and a thank you to Debbie who sent me these earrings in the mail today.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Gracey Show

I'm bigger than you guys.  Six feet tall, over 200 lbs.  A dress that hits you at the knee is scandalously short on me, barely reaching my upper-thigh.

So it was with real delight when I discovered a blogger who shares my ginormous size -- Gracey.  Seeing Gracey dress well on her blog gives me hope and inspiration.  Now, it gives me even more -- Gracey just sent me several pieces to play with.  And they fit!  What a pleasure that is.

Here's a colorful top and nicely-textured skirt, both from Gracey.  The colors work for me and I like the subtle golden sheen of the skirt.

What do you think?




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

You DO Know Ally!

I was thrilled to see the results of my quiz -- you answered so well!  That says you read my blog and listen to what I say, which means the world to me.

Of the thirteen people who took the test, three got perfect scores and seven others missed only one question.  That's impressive.  And it's interesting that those who missed a question missed a different one.  I tried to make the questions entertaining and fun.

Using the tie-breaker, the winner is Lynne!  She will receive a prize from my favorite new store, Henri Bendel.  They do a fabulous job wrapping presents.  Here is the prize, being unwrapped...



It's a compact with two mirrors inside (a regular one and a magnifier).  I hope Lynne likes it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Fountain of Youth

Age is attitude.  You can be "old" at 30 or young at 50.  It all depends on how you approach life.

I try to stay healthy, be active and -- now -- play with clothes.  Exploring new areas of fashion is fun and invigorating.

Recently I was walking through a mall and saw the store, "Wet Seal".  I'd never gone in there before because, first, I assumed it has only women's clothes (true) and, second, I assumed it carries only gaudy stuff for young women (untrue).  Testing my assumptions, I wandered in and was pleasantly surprised.  I saw many things I liked and quite a few that I could incorporate into outfits.

I ended up buying two camis (on sale, together, for $5) and a fun pair of shorts ($10).  Today, I'm wearing one of the camis and those shorts.  Yes, they're youthful but I don't think they're too youthful.  I think I can pull them off.

Have you ever shopped at "Wet Seal"?  Are these clothes too youthful for me?





Blogger Meetup With Lawyerdoll

Reading a blog is looking into someone's life through a prism.  You seem some of who they are but not all.  I've learned, from almost a dozen meetups, that there are always some things that don't come through the online window.  Meeting someone in person, however, will tell you all you need to know in five minutes.

Lawyerdoll and Freeda are sisters.  I've been reading their blogs for years.  They're fun and funny.  Yesterday, Lawyerdoll  offered me the chance to meet her in person for the first time.  I jumped at it and we spent a few enjoyable hours in Queens.

We started out our meetup by watching Lawyerdoll shop for shoes.  To choose three pairs from a mountain of open boxes, she weighed the pros and cons of each pair, how they'd fit into her shoe-collection, and whether she wanted to be practical or fashionable.  It was instructive to listen to her inner dialogue.  Afterward, we went to a Thai restaurant for dinner.  We had pleasant conversations about fashion, family, criminal justice (her career) and social issues.

Another fun meetup!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Irish Stepdance

One of the women in my office, Mary Lou, has two teenage girls who love Irish stepdance.  It's a tradtional dance-style that originated in Ireland centuries ago.  It's visually distinctive in that the dancers rigidly hold their arms down at their sides and never move their arms while they athletically bounce up and down with vigorous leg-movement and kicks.  It has to be seen to be believed.

I, like most Americans, was introduced to this dance-style when "Riverdance" swept New York in 1996.  It was a theatrical performance that caught America's eye and generated huge enthusiasm.  For most of us, it was our first look at traditional Irish dance.  Soon afterward, I saw the star of the show, Jean Butler, perform in person at a concert by The Chieftains, a famous traditional Irish music band.

Mary Lou's daughters' lives revolve around dance and they compete at the national level.  They travel far to dance-competitions and study with famous instructor, Donny Golden.

Mary Lou invited everyone in our building to see one of her daughters dance at a local exhibition.  I was the only person who showed up.  The dancing was incredible and equally as amazing were the costumes.  Mary Lou said the dancers try to stand out by wearing the best costumes.  Her daughter's dress cost $2,300.  The costumes are made by hand and some go up to $6,000.  When you see the pictures below, you'll believe that.

Have you ever heard of Irish stepdance?  Have you seen "Riverdance"?





Saturday, September 22, 2012

Am I In New York?

Queens is an outer borough of New York City.  Most of it is the congested city environment you'd expect.  Today, however, I saw an oasis in this urban desert.

Friends of mine, who live there, invited me to join them for a festival at the only working farm in Queens.  Called the Queens County Farm Museum, this public farm has crops and animals.  I thought I was in the Midwest, not New York City.

Here are some pics...








Friday, September 21, 2012

Do You Know Ally?

I thought it'd be fun to quiz you on how well you know me.  There are a dozen questions here and a prize for the person who gets the most answers right.  The prize is nice; you'll enjoy it.

The answers are at the bottom of the post.  We're on the honor system, so tell us how many questions you got correct.  In case of a tie, the final question calls for a one-sentence essay which will be judged to break the tie.  The contest ends Monday morning.

Ready?  Go!

1. What scares Ally the most?
A. Riding a motorcycle at 140 mph
B. Mixing patterns
C. Buying women's panties in a department store

2. For a living, Ally:
A. Boxes professionally
B. Practices commercial law
C. Steals candy from little children

3. What does Ally love most?
A. Neckties
B. Mens suits
C. Pantyhose

4. When Ally comments on blogs, she's:
A. Curt and dismissive
B. Haughty and condescending
C. Friendly and supportive

5. To relax, Ally enjoys:
A. Reading fashion blogs
B. Torturing ants with a magnifying glass
C. Brewing her special brand of moonshine

6. Ally's favorite blog is:
A. Yours
B. Someone else's
C. Honey Boo Boo's

7. Ally's favorite sport is:
A. Baseball
B. Curling
C. Pinball

8. Ally's earliest memory of wanting to be a girl was at age:
A. 4
B. 8
C. 49

9. Ally's favorite movie of this year is:
A. "The Three Stooges"
B. "Green Lantern"
C. "The Artist"

10. What kind of sibling did Ally have:
A. A brother
B. A sister
C. An alien of indefinite gender

11. Ally's lifetime dream is to be:
A. A rich financier
B. A snarling lizard
C. A sweet woman

12. Tiebreaker Question: In one sentence, describe Ally's fashion style.

Answers: 1. C; 2. B; 3. C; 4. C; 5. A; 6. A; 7. A; 8. A; 9. C; 10. A; 11. C

Pretty Dress

I love pretty dresses.  I mean, we all love pretty dresses but I really like them.  I spent a lifetime in boring menswear so I view dresses with great fervor.

I'm entranced by the colors and print of this beauty.  It mesmerizes me.  The dress is so special by itself that, other than adding a scarf as a belt, I present it without adornment.

What do you think?


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Swap Post

Sheila over at Style Agent 909 has a great idea -- an online swap-party.  From now until Saturday night, you can offer any items for a swap by posting pictures of them on your blog and linking to her blog (where she'll mention your blog).  Sheila's explanation for the party is here.

What we're doing is offering items to others in the hope we can swap with something they have.  You don't have to participate in the party to make a swap, but partiers get first dibs.

I have five items to offer, shown here, and beneath them is my wish-list.

1. This pretty animal-print purse has never been used.  I enjoy looking at it but, as you know, I seldom have the chance to actually go outside so it sits neglected.  Someone, please take this beauty out for a walk!

2. Next is a gorgeous necklace.  The photo doesn't show it accurately, so let me remedy that by saying it is gold in color and the little balls attached to it look like clear yellow resin.  The necklace is much golder than the picture depicts.

3. The next item is an orange top with hip-ruffles.  It's made by Charlotte Russe and is size Large.  The first picture shows it flat, which is weird, so I'm including a second picture showing what it looks like on somebody (me!).  It was only worn once for a short photoshoot.  It's in virtually new condition.


4. My hands are big.  Too big.  When I buy jewelry or clothes, the first thing I check is to see if the material stretches.  If it doesn't, I'm in trouble.  I have two nice bangles which, try as I might, I cannot squeeze my hand into.  Thus, they've never been worn.  The top one, which was a gift from Lynne, looks like wood.  The bottom one is glittery red plastic.

5. My fifth and final offering is a Halloween costume.  Pretty cheerleader outfit, with matching jacket.  The size says Small but I could squeeze into it so it'll fit medium-sized gals, too.  Worn only once for a photoshoot.

Now for my Wish List!

1. I'd like any feminine clothes.  While I'm large, I'm used to squeezing into small clothing.  If material stretches, I'm game.  I also like costumes of any kind, including dancewear.

2. I can also use any color of nail-polish.

3. Jewelry: necklaces; bracelets; rings; clip-on earrings.

4. I'm not optimistic enough to believe any gal out there has size-12 shoes, so I'll leave that dream in the box where it resides...

Come join the party!

SWAP NOTE: The zebra purse is gone!  Swapped to Gracie for a sundress.