Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Night

This is my random act of kindness where I bought a bunch of good Halloween candy (mini baby ruths, snickers and little packs of M&Ms, plus tootsie rolls and jolly rancher hard candy) and put them in plastic sandwich bags, tied off with a ribbon. I also confronted my own perfectionism by actually using red and green Christmas ribbon because it was the only ribbon I had. Put it out on the table in my building hallway when I went to meet Stephanie for dinnner.

Here's a remnant of the weekend snow. Much better than another friend of mine who just now wrote: Just a very quick email to let you know we do not have power (or heat!!) and don't expect to get it back anytime soon. We had over a foot of snow, a tree fell on the house, another over the driveway, and another took out all the electric and telephone lines on our side of the street. They have not started work on any of the downed power lines in my town. They expect maybe by the end of the week. Alas.

Here is Stephanie. She's the one on the left.

This is the dining room at Maz. There's this spider web stuff all over the walls and ceiling and they make the framed pictures crooked and put plastic bugs in the spider webs. Tonight all the waiters were in costume: a Mexican bandit, a devil, a policeman, a Mexican wrestler (I think) and some others. When the devil waiter was attendingn to the table next to us, his rear end and tail were right by me. Stephanie told me to pull his tail, and I did. I can hear you moms saying, "If Stephanie told you to jump off the Brooklyn bridge, would you?" Well, maybe. We had a great dinner... started with our wonderful slushy frozen margaritas (no salt), chips and salsa (where we "salute" Stephanie's former cardiologist by sprinkling salt), split an appetizer of nachos (individual ones, not that sloppy plate of glop that passes as nachos); split an order of shrimp fajitas and then decaf cappucino and split a piece of chocolate rapture cake.

I missed a great chance for revenge for the birthday sombrero incident. After we ordered the coffee and cake, Stephanie got up to go to the restroom.  I SHOULD HAVE TOLD THEM IT WAS STEPHANIE'S BIRTHDAY!! But I didn't think of it. Would have been great payback.

Here we are leaving. The woman on the left is Maria, the owner, who dresses for the night as a witch and gives out candy to kids on the street. Those are not her teeth! Well, not her real teeth. She had some blacked out, but they looked so real that all I could think of is the dental bill to fix those up.

And this is a little girl who was helping Maria pass out candy. I saw a bunch of adorable kids. My two favorites were a little girl about a year old dressed up as Minne Mouse including a black spot on the tip of her nose and black freckles. Then I saw another little girl, maybe 18 months old as a tiny version of Little Red Riding Hood. Oh, she was just precious. As for me, I had a lovely gift from Stephanie tonight of an opal ring that is a family piece which she has now given to me to remember her by when she moves to Florida (oh dear, less than a month) on the condition that I wear it, which I will. She also brought me a salted caramel cake-something from Starbucks which I'm saving.

On the way home, I overheard a very funny one-side of the conversation from a young (early 20s) man I passed on the street who was talking on his cellphone... evidently to his pissed off girlfriend. The only line I heard was: "There's a big difference between not listening to you when you talk and me accidentally falling asleep."

He stressed the word "accidentally." Made me laugh.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fran Scares Easy

She writes: Well, there I was, just walking home from Zumba class when I sensed a presence by the side of the road. There wasn't another soul around. I felt a chill and the hair on my arms stood up. As I neared this house, the presence became stronger, stronger. I looked up. Eeeek. There he was. The Ghost of Fessenden Street. Just standing there--hey wait, does a ghost "stand"? -- no, make that hovering there. Watching. Waiting.

And here are some views of the very rare pumpkin fruit:

Favorite Tweet of the Day

One of the varied people I follow on Twitter is Piers Morgan (the person who took Larry King's place.) He tweeted "this whole size zero Hollywood thing is getting ridiculous." He included a picture, but you can't see the photo, you have to click a link on to see it.

I knew Piers was referring to actresses who want to be a size zero, and how now even that isn't good enough and there is a size double zero. So I was expecting to see a photo of some skin and bones actress but instead, I saw this and it made me laugh.

Halloweeen Eve

Fran saw this ghost today on Fesseden Street NW. Looks like a child ghost to me.

Of course I'm in my glory these days with all the ghost shows on for Halloween. On Friday I was talking to my friend James who is a great skeptic -- airline pilot, hunter, Southern gentleman. He had told me previously about being out hunting in the wilds of South Carolina where he lives and he came upon this old cemetery, which he thought was a slave cemetery, that totally creeped him out. He said he wouldn't go back in the area. On Friday I told him there was a similar story on one of my ghost shows -- same scenario of a hunter coming upon a cemetery in the woods where weird things ensued.

James then told me about being out hunting in the early morning when it is still dark -- and how from time to time, out in the woods, with no houses nearby, and he'll hear a blood curdling scream from a woman. He'd never told me that before. I asked him if it were one long SCREEEEEEEEEAM or repeated screamscreamscreamscream. He said it was repeated, and then I asked him how long it goes on for. And he said about a minute, which is longer than I thought. He then went on to say how it scares the hell out of him. What do you do when it's happening? I asked. He said he just waits for it to be over.

He then went on to tell me that he grew up in the woods hunting and knows all the sounds various animals make. Once he finally fessed up and told his father about the scream, and his father said he'd heard it too. I don't know what I believe, despite my watching all the various paranormal shows, but most folks would have to admit that there are lots of stuff that happens for which there is no explanation. No rational explanation anyway.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My un-random act of kindness

Maybe this was just a good turn. I was talking with a retired colleague yesterday and mentioned another retired colleague. He said that person for some reason doesn't want to communicate with him because he had written an email to her and never got a response.

Man, that just didn't sound like her, so just now I wrote her and told her this. I said about three times, if this is the case, no problem, no explanation necessary, not my business, thinking maybe there was some spat I didn't know about, but in case it's a misunderstanding, here's his email address.

She replied almost instantly and said:

Good heavens! I don't remember getting an e-mail from him and I just checked and can't find anything.

And then went on to say she is going to write him right now. So that's nice. I've healed one little molecule of the world.

My dreary Saturday

I am grateful to have a washer and dryer so I didn't have to go outside today. I am grateful to have had a wonderful New York "scrambled egg and bacon on a roll" delivered as a late lunch which I complemented with iced coffee. I am grateful that I figured out a way to make iced coffee in a hurry. I brew my Keurig one cup. Then I stick it in the freezer for five minutes and it comes out luke warm. I used to add the ice next to cool it off, but the coffee was still warm enough to melt the iceand I'd end up with watered down coffee. So I changed the order and added the milk next which sufficiently cools the coffee to then add the ice which remains solid.

This is my garden at 4 pm.

Not what the event planners have in mind

As someone who has prayed for good weather for special events I've managed, I feel sorry for today's Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk who I am sure pictured a glorious fall day with burnished leaves, sunny skies and just a nip in the air -- not the sloppy, dreary, snowy day they got.

Mary was staffing a table at today's walk in DC and sends along these photos. She is now at home, warm, curled up and relaxing.

This is about what the weather is like here, maybe darker -- occasional pummels of heavy wet snow, occasional thunder, just a bleak, dreary, dark day.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Random Act of Kindness

Yesterday when I opened the front door to my apartment (from the inside, going out), I saw something at the doorstep. Sometimes the letter carrier will leave a small package there, but this wasn't mail. It looked like a plate of something.

I picked it up and it was a plate of chocolate chip cookies, wrapped in plastic wrap, with a little plastic ghost saying Happy Halloween. No name. I haven't eaten any of the cookies yet, but just the thought of them was a lovely gesture.

It makes me want to do an anonymous act of kindness. I'll try for one this weekend.


It is human nature, at least MY human nature, to want to get credit for doing good. As I've thought about what I might do, I regret that the person won't know it was I who did this great deed. I totally think it's more fun to do something anonymously, but I want to be patted on the head and praised. I admit it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gloomy, Dark, Dreary Thursday, but it's LUNCH OUT DAY!

I brought my lunch reading material in this bag made out of recycled garbage bags which I believe Meredith gave Mary who then loaned it to me to take stuff home with. Well, it never quite made it back to Mary, but I do use it. I'm fascinated by it since it then folds up and has a zipper, but I used it today since it was raining.
My block on this rainy Thursday.
I never tire of seeing the professional dogwalkers with their dogs grouped by size.
The dogs always remind me of children, each one trotting along in its own little world.
Second Avenue Subway mess. I hope I live long enough to get one ride on it.

I couldn't decide what to order -- one thing that intrigued me, but I couldn't figure out if it would be delicious or gross is pineapple fried rice -- a combination of sweet and savory. I do love pineapple, but I settled on wonton soup which was really good except for this dark green leaf vegetable in it that was very bitter.
Forgot to mention the name of the place. It's Fusion 88 -- 88 for the street, and fusion for Japanese, Chinese and Thai food.
Here's the view out the window -- it stopped rainig for a bit during lunch.

So I ordered two appetizers. This one is shrimp and vegetable tempura. Such a pretty plate. The orange garnish is finely cut carrots. The vegetables in the tempura were sweet potato (I think); onion and broccoli.
And this is pan-fried dumplings. Also very good. Spent more than usual this week. Along with a soda, the lunch tab was $19.10 plus tip.

More Second Avenue Subway mess.

A building on my block landscapted for fall. This was a bit of autumn cherriness on this gloomy day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Report from South Africa

Amy is vacationing in South Africa and she has just now sent me an email whose subject line is "Knowing how much you like photos of hotels..."

she continues:

I'm sending you a peek into a really nice one we stayed in last night. The African Oceans in Mossel Bay. Tonight we are in the Hide Away on the bay in Knysna, and though it's one star less, it is still quite nice (just traffic sounds instead of beach sounds, but I don't think that matters once you're asleep).

What nice people is my general impression of the country. Oh, and one little tip. Book where it looks like there are several rooms open (late booking) and then book the lowest category. So far all of the inns and hotels I've done that with have upgraded us to a nicer room for no charge : )

The only disappointment on the trip was that the weather didn't let us go soaring last weekend. But camping out at the airport was still fun, and we learned a lot about how aviation happens over here, so, all good in the end. Talk to you when I get back.

Me again: And here are the photos. I am envious. It calms me just to look at these.

Happy Birthday, Melissa!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Odd Factoid for the Day

Fran and I have been following the news story about the missing baby from Kansas City. One of the developments is that the police brought in a cadaver dog in the baby's home and the dog "indicated" as the term goes on the floor on the side of the mother's bed.

If you haven't been following the story, the mother at first said she just went to bed, then later admitted she had "more than five glasses of wine" and was by her own description "drunk."

Anyway, we were curious about how long it takes for a dead body to give off a scent. And I learned the answer while flipping around the channel and landing on HLN (the Nancy Grace channel) although this wasn't Nancy Grace, it was another of the angry women.

So here's the answer: a cadaver dog can smell death if the body has been there a minimum of 90 minutes at the earliest, but definitely when the body has been there for three hours.

Mary's "Glorious Impromptu Afternoon"

After meeting a woman from the Alzheimer's Association  at the Tidal Basis, Mary says:

"I started to drive off and saw a parking space so I took it. Then I walked from there along the water to the new Martin Luther King memorial - I'd guess it to be the equivalent of 5 or 6 blocks at the most. It was so beautiful and I did think to bring my camera so I'm sending you pictures along the route. It starts by the paddle boats before the little bridge across the tidal basin (isn't that where Fanny Foxe gained fame?) with the Washington Monument on the right.  

Fran and Pat, I tried to get a picture of a plane landing at National but the best I could do was a helicopter).

 I walked over the bridge, then on Independence Avenue past the newly restored (Thursday, November 10, at 11:00 am is the ceremony celebrating its completion) monument to DC residents who died in World War I (I love this little memorial),

then into the entrance of the MLK memorial.

The quotations on the wall brought tears to my eyes, especially the one I photographed. There was a big crowd there, very nice to see.  The controversies surrounding the memorial I think have merit - the miss-quote about his being the drum major is there and I think not representative, but at least the real quotations were in quote marks and the ones on his statue are not.

 The other controversy I sort of agree with is he looks angry - but I didn't see him as angry from all angles, more determined than angry. I love where it is situated - he's looking right out on the water toward the Jefferson Memorial. All in all, I think it is a beautiful tribute.