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Gen X File #002: Kenneth!

Kenneth! gets a big exclamation point because WOW! It's been forever since we've been saying we'll get together. And we ...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflections? Me, my turn? Oh, um...where to start...

Feels at once, somehow, like a slog of marathon and a brief page flip. Let's sum up: 2015 was a rebuilding year.

I've learned what an incredible man my husband Joe Kowalski really is, and I've learned how lucky I am that so, so many of you are truly real friends. I can't begin to even express...what can I even say, you guys rallied and saved my life. That's real.

I've learned about mental illness and self-respect.

2016's theme is going to be personal health -- nutrition and exercise and sleep., I need improvement in all three areas. When done right you can feel like a whole new person, so that's the goal.

What else...well I think Joey and I should get wedding rings. We skipped that part when we got married in Vegas.

Also, I've sketched out a plan for starting a book in 2016, about what happened to me in 2014, and I have a good feeling about it.

Most of all, my new job...I can't say enough...they've kept every promise they've made since I met them fourteen months ago, including...last week, just signed an offer letter taking me from hourly to full-time/salaried at a decent rate, plus a metric ton of stock options with the warm inclusion of "you are considered a founding member." It really boggles, to compare to the "old job." (Hear that, asshole? Founding member. It's supposed to mean something.)

The satisfying sensation of waking up every day eager to get to work, and enjoying the work itself as well as the people, a positive work/life balance, mutual respect and a seat at the table. Guys, you can be happy at work. I've said it before but it bears repeating, advice for anyone unhappy: change it. Change what's making you miserable. Don't waste another year bogged down by dreadful misery because you've been worn out, worn down to expect nothing but indifference, disappointment, disrespect, exploitation and a string of broken promises.

2016, it rings crisp and clear, doesn't it? It just has that springy, upbeat sound to it when you say it.

2016. Happy New Year: let's make that true, everyone.


Just when I decide to write more and Facebook less...

...a friend I never see gets the cutest puppy in the world. 

Must see all puppy pics forever.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Generation X Problems

When I was little I demanded to know why Goofy wears clothes and talks, but Pluto goes bare and makes dog sounds. Can you DO that? Can you have two dogs in one franchise and only one is anthropomorphic? Were they ever in a scene together? What does Goofy have to say to Pluto?
Stop the glorification of "busy."
It's OK to be happy with a calm life.

Monday, December 28, 2015

That's Not A Hoverboard

Why is everyone calling those two-wheel things "hoverboards?"

Roll. No hover. We're just calling shit whatever now? Then I didn't get a Mazda 3 Zipcar and go to Target to find a new trash can. I got a spacebuggy and went to Narnia to find a Horcrux.

You can't just say stuff is other stuff when it clearly isn't.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day

Uncle Joe and the girls waiting for pie.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Who went to Cardullo's for Torrone?
Marone, the place was a madhouse! On a Friday at Christmas? You don't say.

Do you know this box? For the un-initiated, this is a box of Italian nougat candies. They come in lemon, orange and vanilla. In our house, mom placed them on the Christmas tree along with the candy canes and popcorn balls. Torrone is individually boxed. I used to wrap the individual boxes (after I ate the candy) in bits of wrapping paper because they were just the right size for the Barbie Dreamhouse.

Recipe: Loaded Potato Chowder

I whipped up this decadent soup the other night, making it up as I went along -- that's usually how I approach soup-making -- but this one came out so good that I've got to write it down. Sorry, it's not for vegans nor Atkins people. This is a hearty, fatty winter soup that's a stick-to-your-ribs meal in a bowl. You non-bacon, non-dairy, no-carb guys might live a few years longer, but then again, you don't get to have this soup. Let's call it Loaded Potato Chowder.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 2007

Cherry Hill, NJ

Joe's mom puts up two trees.
"The tree" and "the other tree."
This is the other tree.

Every time Joe snaps a selfie, one of us is cut off.
It's okay.
Love my tall man.
Related: WII Cook, WII Eat, WII Drink, WII WII
Related: Christmas 2007: Part the Second...Dog Days

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 1986

Photo: Sharon Lombardi

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas in Harvard Square Bears

Harvard Coop bears are ready for Santa.

Cardullo's gingerbread house. Sure it's big enough, Paisans?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Joe Gets A New Tattoo

On the bus to Central Square so Ian Adams can put a new tattoo on Joe.
Are my eyes even open?
I was so tired that I fell asleep in the tattoo place.
I'm sure I snored like a bull.

A new Joe Show!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 2008

That time we had a house guest for a week.
I loves me some orange cats.
This orange cat loves him some Joe.

This photo was taken an hour after BaileyCat arrived.
Bailey and Joe had never met.
Joe makes everybody feel at ease right away.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Today I made a Tree Man out of Sculpey clay.
I use a big overturned ceramic mug as a sturdy base.
(Photos: Joe Kowalski)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Top Ten Tiger Beat Stars, Redux

This one's for my girlfriends who were teenagers in the 80s, my big-haired Gen X comrades-in-legwarmers, my fellow teenyboppers, a delightfully shrill roving army on rollerskates that launched the careers of our Tiger Beat Star boyfriends. Oh yes, Rick Springfield, nee Springthorpe of Australia with the pouty lips and the bull terrier named Ronnie that you put on all your album covers, you're nothing without us! Same for you, Johnny Depp, Will Smith and all of these dreamboats whose faces wallpapered our bedroom walls. Pulpy pin-ups clipped from from magazines, all coiffed and pouting and posing along with deathly important articles such as, "Be The Girl Who Understands Him Best!" Let's call it something dumb that fits the topic, like Lexi's List of 80s Crushes Who Are Aging Gracefully.  

Friday, November 6, 2015

You Guys, I Met Peter Sagal

[Peter Sagal, Boston MA]
I was recently at a marketing conference here in Boston, and to my utter delight I found out that Mr. Peter Sagal was going to deliver the final keynote. Peter has been hosting NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" for about fifteen years or so. Every week for half a lifetime, the NPR listener-ship tunes in to this news-based radio gem with its rotating panel of players, call-in listener challenges and celebrity guests. Me 'n Joey never miss it.

He opened with a joke about jargon and farts. That's about right. “I have no idea what you do,” Peter quipped amiably to the ballroom packed with marketers, analysts, SEOs, and a lot of people whose job titles seem made-up. "But I'd like to fit in here, so..." He said that for today's audience, he decided he'd sum up his role in broadcast as “disrupting the traditional paradigm in the fart joke sector.”
Slaying the Jargon Beast with fresh, direct writing is about 87% of what I do for marketers and their clients. For example, they tell me their business goals, I convert those into words that normal people can understand. I make website copy convert from "we are the only platform that provides the capabilities to innovate at scale" into something else that conveys actual ideas, and then they give me money. Sometimes I leave my home office and meet Peter Sagal! He is such a pro, moving about the stage comfortably, interacting, getting genuine laughs. He didn’t have a slide deck, but he played audio snippets to demonstrate real-life jokes that were written one way, but once told, took on a whole new, unexpected life of their own. He said that the real art of joke-telling is...no way, if I tell it wouldn't be fair to Peter. Okay, I'll tell you if you ask me next time we meet, but only if you donate a dollar to NPR and tell me in the comments below. ∎

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 2001

Joe Kowalski, All the Queen's Men
(Photo: Rachel Berman for The Noise)

I mean...what would you have done?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Invited this guy to share my table at Panera, since it's a 4-top and has an outlet.
Dude's been absentmindedly kicking the table leg for like two hours.
Trying to write here, Kicky McJitters, how about switching to decaf, son?

Friday, October 30, 2015

My brother was my left shark when we were little.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
Don't be stupid!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 1987

Hyde Park, NY
Humanities Class trip to the Vanderbilt Mansion NHS.
(Photo: Brenda Fitch)
Bonus Throwback
This isn't the first time this photo set came around. Prob'ly will again, too. A nice side effect of staying in touch with the people you were stupid with in high school.
Me, James, Brenda, and Deb.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 1989

Louie's Caffe - New Rochelle, NY
(Photo: ? The camera was Lorraine's, but...that's Lorraine on the right)

Here's the thing.
Our college IDs were laminated, but they didn't have Date of Birth.
You could peel back the laminate,
type in a DOB that made you 21,
and use a warm iron to melt back the laminate into place.

Our "Junior Sisters" dutifully took us through it freshman year.
I dunno if that's what CNR had in mind with the Junior Sister program.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Look who they let into a company box at Fenway.
"I was on TV!"

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I'll Call You Back On My Purse

Betsey Johnson bag spotted at Macy's in Downtown Crossing.
The handset works, dude.
The handset works.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


September 13
2:55am · Boston, MA

Joey did his part to knock out the eight or nine bottles of wine. So I put my none-too-steady husband to bed, assuming he'd be asleep in minutes.

I set about putting away leftover cheeses, covering olives, closing bottles of tonic, organizing the empties...when I heard an exuberant voice say "Red velvet cake!"

Joey was up again. He had gotten himself a fork, and was doing some naked post-party drunken cake eating.

You know what, guys? He's never boring.

Happy Birthday-ay-ay-ay-oh-oh-ooooo...hey, that's nice!, Mel Torme

That was a fun party.

We'd intended to prepare only legit retro party food, but we chickened out once we looked into it. As it happens, party food was gag-inducingly loathesome in the 60s and 70s. Pimento olives made far too much of a showing. Entirely too much ham and gelatin was involved, shaped into something truly diabolical. Everything was formed into a mold or a loaf of some kind.

Friends don't serve friends "molds."

As a nod towards the theme, we prepared shrimp cocktail, a cheese fondue and deviled eggs, but mostly we just re-named better, edible food in a Mel Torme-theme. The maiden punch in my new punch bowl was dubbed "Velvet Fog," and my delightful salad with baby greens, dried cranberries and walnuts was "Mountain Greenery." Joe made a less tacky, more updated champagne & brie "fondue-bee-doo-bee-doo."

 I think Joe might have recruited a few new Velvet Fog converts.∎
One of the slides I made.
The "slide show" was just the Apple TV idle screen
sourcing a set of photos on the drive.
These info cards rotated in between fun pictures of the Velvet Fog 
at all ages, singing, playing drums and just generally cavorting.

Friday, September 11, 2015

If anyone was going to buy cheese at Star Market in Brighton today...

...sorry, they're out. I bought it all. 

Just returned from a shopping trip with a metric ton of various cheeses for Joe's locally famous Fondue-bee-doo-bee-doo.

Celebrate The Velvet Fog's 90th birthday with us! 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 2003

Throwback to 2003 AQM tour! 

This is the night I was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, when our tour was 
rudely interrupted by a severe case of diverticulitis I didn't know I had.
You've heard "I left my heart in San Francisco." 
Well I left my sigmoid colon in Switzerland.

All the Queen's Men
Christine Zuffery
Cathy Cappozi
Tamora Gooding
Joe Kowalski
All the Queen's Men on stage at Bikini Test (La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Something's fucky in the rental market in this town.

I've read several articles over the past few weeks about "high end glut."All over Boston they're in the process of adding over 2000 new high-end rental units, which are NOT getting rented, meanwhile regular folks are struggling to make rent in ordinary family neighborhoods.

Anyone have $2360 to rent a 400 sq ft studio in The Continuum? That's the new "high end" mixed-use building opening soon in Allston, on a busy corner overlooking a gas station, an old dry cleaners, a Dunkin Donuts and a 7-11.

Talking about it with friends, I was saying that a possible attraction would be the handy 66, 70 and 86 bus stops practically at the front door, but someone pointed out that this place will have a free shuttle bus to and from Harvard Square.∎

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 1986

Shepaug Valley High
(Photo: Brenda Fitch)

I'm sorry there wasn't enough mousse for you in '86.
I needed it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It's happening

Mel Torme and Friends
Joe had two copies of the same record, so we hung one of them in an album frame.
Got Joe a tuxedo T-shirt for the party.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Myrick Street

This sunflower blooms every summer through a hole in the sidewalk.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Throwback Thursday: the 1990s

The 90s were so weird.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.

Throwback Thursday: 2000

Jessica is so glamorous.
(Photo: Hub Sinnock?)
Contents of cup make it hard to remember every detail.

When Jess moved to LA, her Boston people missed her so much.
Aaron & Paula threw her a party. It was a costume party
but the "theme" was kept secret from Jess.
When she got there, she had to guess.

It was "LA Stereotypes."
My costume:
I made my face more pale than it usually is, even.
Then I smudged under-eye bags
and pinned a stuffed monkey to my back.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Michelle DiPoala

Does anyone in the family know how to spell our last name?
Because it looks like we're all just winging it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Allston Library Bloom

Friday, July 17, 2015

I picked out my new spectacles

I hope I have chosen wisely.
In two weeks they're my new jam.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Thirteen Lucky Years

“We’re all a little weird.
And life is a little weird.
And when we find someone
whose weirdness is compatible with ours,
we join up with them
and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness
and call it love.”
- Robert Fulghum 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Go 4th and

Have a fantastic weekend. 

Don't do anything stupid.
Joe's in line for gettin' us burgers!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

No automatic alt text available.
Spotted in the grocery store, Red Rose tea bags with the IFAW emblem.

They are wonderful people who rescue animals and protect wildlife populations.
They were a client of mine in previous years, now I just follow and support.
I love the Red Rose campaign.
Please Support IFAW!