Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Little ironies

I'm a bit slammed with work, panicked by looming deadlines, and wondering at the wisdom of hoping to be chosen to collaborate on a book that is wildly interesting to me, but one that will certainly make my life a little, no, a lot more stressful. I haven't heard yet whether I got the book I interviewed for. The beautiful and kind agent did email me last night to say a decision should be made this week. I'm trying to work fast and smart on my current projects, to clear the decks for the possibility of more work. In a way, I'm in a good place. If I get the book, I win. If I don't, I will be less stressed, so I also win.

We had houseguests this past weekend, my niece and her fiancé (left), and also a friend whose family lived down the street from our family when we were growing up on Paddington Terrace, for which this blog is named. As you can imagine, there were lots of laughs and reminiscences about those halcyon days. Our houseguest's sister was my brother's first wife; they later divorced, but she is still my sister. She lives in Germany with her true love now, both of them brainiac scientists.

Her little brother Robert, my onetime neighbor, joked that he used to come thirty-first out of thirty students in his high school class. It's a delightful irony, because he's now the CEO of an information technology company, has published two breathtaking photography books, bought a premium stretch of beachfront property on which he has placed a houseboat that he is renovating, and has dibs in numerous other business ventures besides. The newest? He was in the city this week attending a seminar to become officially certified as a matchmaker. His clientele will be executive women. He had the idea one week, located a well appointed office space the next week, identified who he could hire to run the business while he did his day job, and registered to acquire the proper credentials by the week after that. And while he was with us this week, in between impromptu comedy routines, he wrote his business plan.

My dad always said, the bottom five percent of any class will employ the top five percent. He reasoned that people who don't overthink the obstacles but dive right in are the ones who end up making magic. Better not to know the hurdles ahead, but to meet them as they come, he reflected. This did not mean he was remotely okay with my brother and me falling below the top five percent of our classes.

The photo is of Robert and me with another denizens of our Paddington Terrace days. On the right is Ian, who lived across the street from me with his older sister who was my age, and a younger brother. His dad was a judge, like mine. Ian now lives in upstate New York. He came to visit, as he and Robert were thick as thieves growing up. They're the same age, went to the same school, and were in the same grade. Ian, however, posted straight As, and was never less than second in his class. There are so many ways to be brilliant.

In other news, I've made my blog private for work reasons, and have tried to invite all of you who I know read here. There may be other regular readers who never comment—I wish there were a way to let them know they are welcome, too. If you have any ideas about that, please share.


  1. Your one-time neighbor sounds like one of those people who, as a child, was constantly told by one teacher or another to SIT DOWN AND FOCUS. PLEASE!
    So glad you've been having such sweet guests and opportunities for memories and laughs. And you have reminded me of what a wonderful word "halcyon" is.
    Sounds like you've got the exact right attitude about the book. Of course I hope you get it but if you don't, other paths will be revealed, I am certain.
    Life is a funny thing, isn't it? And speaking of funny, I love what you said about your dad not being remotely okay with your brother and you falling below the five percent in your classes! Sounds like a parent to me.
    A good parent.

    1. You're so right about my one time neighbor! He was younger than me, a merry little guy, and so obviously bright and original in his thinking that it shocked me to learn this week that he went through high school at the bottom of his class. But there you go. My dad appreciated the risk taking nature of people who were academic nonconformists, but he drew the line at leaving the lives of his children to risk. The truth is of course, our children will live their own lives, no matter how we try to draw predictable lines around them. And that is as it should be. Thank you for being here, dear Mary, and for commenting with your generous heart.

  2. It sounds like Robert has a lot of energy and he's not afraid to take a risk. I'm terrified of risks but I'm learning to be okay with that. We all have our strengths but that's not one of mine.

  3. "There are so many ways to be brilliant" - so true!