I have been looking forward to putting together this post for you for several reasons. One, I am a true believer that just when you least expect it, life delivers special gifts that shape your path. Two, I have know Karen Duffy, the author of Backbone: Living with Chronic Pain without Turning into One, for well over 25 years. And lastly, I was able to collaborate with Duff on this post and get her to answer 12 questions for a new series, Ridgely’s Radar Requisites. It is a jammed packed post and I hope you have a little time to enjoy it!
Lets jump into why I feel like life has thrown me a little gift. When Duff reached out to me that her book was being released, I was immediately excited to read it and to share it on the blog. We decided a call would be best to re-connect and collaborate. This is where I got my little gift. With so much of communication via text and email, it was really wonderful to connect one-to-one on the phone, where Duff’s enthusiasm, humor and generous personality shone through her voice. We had a lot of laughs and shared memories about how we met (I was the assistant to the stylist on a Calvin Klein Advertising Shoot and Duff was the model – how is that for a fun way to meet?!) While we were talking about her, she constantly wanted to talk about me! I am not sure who was interviewing who and in the end, I realized we never really talked about her book. That is Duff’s gift and why her book is going to be a best seller. She manages to impart so much wisdom, humor and insight into everything she does. She inspires me to look at life differently and how I manage the obstacles that fall in my path.
Duff has suffered horrible chronic pain for two decades and her latest book is an inspirational, powerful, and funny manual for coping and living with devastating pain. Because we jumped around so much and I wanted to get this information right, I took this next section from her Bio.
Karen Duffy, a New York Times bestselling author, former MTV VJ, Revlon model, and actress, has sarcoidosis, a disorder that causes the growth of inflammatory cells on different organs of the body. In her case, her sarcoidosis is located in her brain, causing her unimaginable pain. In Backbone Duffy explains how she manages to live a full life through her experience as a patient advocate, certified recreational therapist, and hospital chaplain to illuminate gratifying methods people can use to cope with chronic pain and reinforces the sentiment that “circumstances determine our lives, but we shape our lives by what we make of circumstances” (Sir John Wheeler Bennet).
During our conversation, I asked Duff if she would be willing to answer 12 questions that I think my readers – YOU – would enjoy. They touch on all categories I like to share on the blog and since Duff is an avid reader of Ridgely’s Radar, I was so excited to hear her answers. I hope you enjoy some of her favorite things just as much as I do!
Ridgely’s Radar Requisites
- Book you love and the book you love to give?
The book I love and love to give is “The Art Of Living” The classic manual for living by Epictetus, the Sharon Lebell edition. I LOVE this book because the scholar, Ms. Lebell translates the classic Stoic philosopher Epictetus. Every page is a few powerful, concise ideas of how to navigate the everyday stresses of life. This book is a masterpiece, and I keep a copy in my purse. It is a slim volume, but so powerful.
- What is your Favorite Recipe and Favorite meal?
My favorite recipe is for 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies.
- You take one egg, one cup of peanut butter and one cup of sugar (I use a little bit less).
- Mix up the sticky dough and roll into 1 inch balls with wet hands.
- Place on Silpat mat on a cookie sheet
- Take a fork and make the cross hatch international symbol for peanut butter cookies,
- Preheat over to 350 and bake for 12 minutes.
- Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a rack.
My favorite meal is the Mississippi Pot Roast recipe that are all over the internet. I think I read about it first on RR! It’s a beauty, you put everything in a crock pot, and it is perfect. I serve it with roast garlic potatoes, a chopped salad and bread.
- How do you define your fashion style?
I’d say I’m a bit of a glamorous tom boy. I like to look pulled together and smart, but I don’t like to show a lot of skin.. I have the muscle tone of a raw clam, so I keep my arms covered. There is a saying that you should dress for where you want to be in life, so I try to dress nicely, just for myself. I do live with a chronic invisible illness, and I feel you have to define a style for your illness. On days I’m housebound by chronic pain, I will still put on lipstick, wear my favorite jeans and a big drapey scarf that I discovered on RR’s. I do think it helps to make the effort.
- What is your personal motto?
My personal motto is “It is a mistake to do nothing, just because you can only do a little”.
- Do you have a Beauty Secret?
I’m in my 50’s and age doesn’t creep up on you, it hits you like a bus! I love Vintner’s Daughter facial oil. It’s organic, it smells great and does it work! When I rub it into my skin, I see a glow. I’ve been using it for a few years. I know April Garjulio, who created it. She invested in the science behind this product. It is their hero product, the only thing they make. I no longer wear make-up, just a bit of lipstick and roll on eye concealer from Garnier. I haven’t had botox or any other injectables in years. This is worth the investment.
- What is your Greatest Extravagance?
My greatest extravagance is my medical expenses! I’m not an acquisitive person, I don’t have an attachment to luxury goods. But with health care such a mess, my medical care is my greatest expense.
- Who is your hero?
My heroes are Viktor Frankl, who wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning“. It is the greatest book about overcoming adversity. His message, that we can’t control what happens, we can only control our response is the backbone of my personal philosophy. I also deeply admire Dr. Jonas Salk, who discovered the polio vaccine. He gave his life saving vaccine to the world for free, he never patented the medication. He said his goal in life was to be a good ancestor. A worthy, noble goal.
- What was your First Job?
My first paying job was working at my dad’s shopping center, The Paramus Park Mall. I was the Elf! I took photos of kids who sat on Santa’s lap. My friend Peter was Santa, and he would pinch the kids who got too greedy. Did we have fun!
- Best Advice you have been given?
You become what you think about the most.
- What is your perfect day?
My perfect day begins at my friend’s home in Lake Como. Going down to coffee and hanging out with my family and close friends and talking and laughing. Heading out on the lake in a boat, swimming, reading a long lunch. I bring my needlepoint and do it as the sun sets at our cocktail hour. (I make Needlepoint whoopee cushion covers as gifts) We have our traditional pizza night, and laugh and tell the same stories year after year. I love that my son has grown up around these story tellers.
- What is the most used gadget in your Kitchen/ House?
My Nespresso coffee machine is awesome, I use it twice a day. Three times a week, when my son is playing hockey, we use my Grilled Cheesus Grilled Cheese maker. It’s a traditional contact press grill, but it grills the image of Cheesus on the bread. I use it for French toast and chicken breasts. Feeding a growing hockey goalie is like stoking a locomotive.
- What are the 5 things in your bag that you use the most?
- Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick
- My pill case for the medicine I take 3 times a day.
- Reporter’s notebook and pen – I’m always working on a new book or article (I use either the spiral top pads or I love these)
- Address book– I never import my contacts into my phone. we get so few surprises in life, I don’t need to know who is calling, I like to be surprised!
- Breath mints. Never turn down a breath mint! My favorite mint is the Santa Maria Novella tablet mints, and I stock up when I am in Italy. Otherwise, any cinnamon Altoid in a tiny tin.
to buy: 1. Nespresso coffee machine / 2.The Art Of Living / 3. Vintner’s Daughter facial oil / 4. Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick / 5. roll on eye concealer / 6.The Travel Wrap / 7. Man’s Search for Meaning / 8. Address book / 9. Grilled Cheesus Grilled Cheese maker
Click Below to Preview Backbone: Living with Chronic Pain without Turning into One and buy the book: