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Here & Now

Pajamas. my friends, neighbors and the Fed Ex guys all know that my sleepwear habits are the most reliable clue to my productivity as a writer. If I answer the door at noon still wearing my jammies and lavender cashmere socks, it’s a very good writing day, and I’m on a roll. Please don’t expect small talk; I mustn’t lose my brilliant train of thought. If, however, I greet you dressed like a normal person, hair brushed and Q-tip in hand, we’re talking Raging Writer’s Block. This condition can only be cured by cleaning the refrigerator coils and a/c returns with the aforementioned Q-tip. Or Googling stuff.

Today’s a Q-tip day. It’s 1 p.m., and I’ve run out of Q-tips, so I’m reading up on Gila monster spit. It seems that a certain protein in the giant venomous lizard’s saliva is used to treat diabetes. This is highly relevant to this column because Gila monsters live at the Naples Zoo, which is hosting its annual Zoobilee fundraiser event Feb. 20. There will be feasting and dancing under the stars, an auction, private wild animal presentations and hobnobbing with Jim Fowler, the wildlife guy from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Guests will see the spectacular new Black Bear Hammock, America’s largest black bear zoo habitat. Zoobilee patron tickets are hot items at $250. Go quickly to www.caribbeangardens.com.

When it comes to charity events on the Gulfshore, you don’t want to procrastinate. The 550 tickets for the Naples Winter Wine Festival, (Feb. 6-8; $7,500 per couple), were sold out before the invitation ink was dry, including a goodly number of connoisseurs who jet in from around the world. For the rest of us, there’s always a chance to bask in the elegance as volunteers at the three-day event. A chance, I said. The blue blood on that waiting list is as rich as the $100,000-plus single bottles of wines at auction. If you’d like to be considered in case of an opening
(in 2010 or 2011), waste no time in filing your application at www.napleswinefestival.com.

It’s 3 p.m. and i’m googling again. Did you know that stone crabs can be right-clawed or left-clawed? As an openly left-handed person who loves crab claws, I find this information strangely endearing. Which reminds me of left-handed baseball batters, which naturally leads to our very own new Class A team, the Charlotte Stone Crabs. The Stone Crabs are owned by Cal Ripken Jr. and the Tampa Bay Rays, who, as we know, were robbed by the Phillies of the 2008 World Series title. And that brings us to the rest of the good news. The Rays are moving their spring training to our spanking new $2 million Charlotte Sports Park. With the Red Sox and the Twins already calling Fort Myers home, that’s three chances, by my logic, at having our home team win the World Series this year.

The Stone Crabs will play their first game here April 9. Ripken has a way of filling up stadiums, so get your season tickets soon at www.stonecrabsbaseball.com.

5:30 p.m. For most of the free world in the Eastern Time Zone, the workday is over. It’s Friday, so here on the Gulfshore, it was over hours ago. I’m planning to get started very soon.

But first I’ll check on my eyelashes. I want to look, but I don’t want to look. I’m Cinderella, and it’s nearing midnight, and instead of my coach turning into a pumpkin, my thick, velvety eyelash extensions—a splurge for the occasion of my best friend’s wedding—are vanishing. That one innocent lash resting on my cheek (and the one each day for the past two months) proves what my fairy godmother, Betty Ann Murphy, foretold. The fairy tale is over. Back to mascara.

I remember the day at The Ritz-Carlton Spa (a fairy tale castle in its own right) when I reclined in Betty Ann’s glam treatment suite. Hundreds of micro-fine lashes, a pair of tweezers, a pot of surgical glue and 150 minutes later, I’m ready for the ball. Each lash is bonded to one of mine, and they look really, really natural. I’m Cinderella, Penelope Cruz and Bambi all rolled into one. Eyelash session: $400. Princess effect: priceless.

"Your extensions will last several weeks before refills, dear," says my fairy godmother, "but you must avoid overly long, hot showers and steam rooms." Alas, this will never happen. It’s just as well. I’m not in that many weddings. Anyway, it got a bit awkward in the bride’s dressing room when the stylist stage-whispered: "Those are beautiful, Karen. Are they real?"

Now it’s 7:30 p.m. i use my third lifeline: the mailboxes. Surely at least one procrastination-inducing e-mail will provide some respite from the sneering blank screen. Last Tuesday’s e-mail kicked me right into productivity. Cathy Bluem of Andrew Christian, the California-chic underwear company, writes about the new yuppie derrière-lifting underwear. Which of course leads to 20 minutes of catalog perusal. And—oh, why not?—an order for one pair, size small, with a pair of anti-muffin top briefs on the side. The anti-muffin tops are for men, but it can’t hurt to try. Today the e-mail is painfully uneventful, but lurking in the snail mailbox are—voila!—my Andrew Christians! The derrière lifters first. Black spandex and lace boxer briefs they are, very urban. Hateful computer screen avoided for another 20 minutes as I try on everything I own in my new, elevated, de-muffined state. Verdict: Yes! I feel positively prolific!

8:15 p.m. As long as I’m changing (literally), I slip into my pajamas. And words are flying across the screen.

It’s February on the Gulfshore. Enjoy the wine and the galas. Do something uplifting for yourself. Above all, savor the moment.

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