While you are reading this blog or listening to this week’s podcast, I will be experiencing something lifechanging: my son, Exhibit A ™’ (now I’m thinking about what tense to use, because you may be reading this Friday or later.) will have been getting married over the weekend. Yes, it’s a big step! And it’s such a joyful milestone and experience for our families.

The way he and his fiancee have planned and organized for this momentous tradition is very different from the way we did it … oh a century ago. FIrst of all they planned it, not us. (We were barely allowed to invite anyone.) There’s was no long engagement; no waiting a year to get ready. Who’s ever ready for a huge change in his or her life anyway? And they are not kids, so this event is a reflection of themselves, and not what they’re supposed to do.,

I’ve never seen my son happier; the look on his face when he bought the engagement ring was enough to convince me that he was deeply in love, which I already knew.

And his fiancée says she’s never met a man who makes her feel as good as my son does. That’s a lovely thing to hear.

So I think it’s fair to say that of my five things which made my life better, Love is number 1.

Candice Payne

Candice Payne

2) . I read a wonderful story over the weekend about a 34 year old real estate broker in Chicago, Candice Payne, who decided to personally rescue as many homeless people off the streets of Chicago during the impending polar vortex by buying inexpensive hotel rooms for a night or two. Her generosity didn’t end there; she had to transport the people to the hotel, feed them, and provide them with fresh clothes. Via social media Payne recruited other volunteers to help her ferry the homeless to the Amber Inn, as well as help pay for the hotel bill for what amounted to several more days, and 60 rooms altogether. Candice Payne is a hero. Through her acts of kindness, she jump-started other people’s altruism, and without waiting for laws to get passed or red tape to be cut. Here’s the story via the New York Times.


3) The Life-Changing Genius of adding Lug Soles to one’s shoes or boots.

Yesterday, these ankle boots had flat leather soles. Today, they are winterized with thick lug soles and heels. Who wouldn’t want that for their hard-working winter footwear? You can have these or any of a number of rubber soles affixed to your shoes (even red rubber ones to emulate Louboutins, if that’s your thing) at pretty much any shoemaker around. My thing is to not slip on the ice.

Richard E. Grant

Richard E. Grant

4) . I am crazy about actor Richard E. Grant. I’ve been aware of his work ever since the early 1990s when he appeared in a diverse group of movies such as “Henry and June,” “LA STory,’ “The Player,” “The Age of Innocence,” and no snob he — “Spice World.” He’s never boring, and doesn’t merely use his familiar bag of tricks to bring a character to life. I cite him now because he has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” as Jack Hock, the slithery sidekick to Melissa McCarthy’s Lee Israel. More than that, he is enjoying this run enormously. Though a recognized and famous actor at this point (62 years of age), he is not pulling a jaded, “Oh it’s an honor just to be nominated” pose; he’s joyous at every banal interview. Good for him! On Instagram Mr. Grant reads a fan letter he wrote to Barbra Streisand when he as a 14 year old fan in Swaziland. He finally got a response from Streisand (social media is a good lubricant.) and his reaction to it is priceless.


5) . Hi, Mr. Mueller. Everything okay? Can I get you some coffee or Tylenol or oak tag? I’m here if you need me, just not this weekend.


Stay warm and act natural!