Sunday, March 31, 2013

Little Anecdote

A friend emailed me this today:

Saw something about Marvin Gaye this morning and was reminded of the tale about a bizjet salesman who was demonstrating the sound system on the jet, playing a Gaye song. "See," he said, "it's so clear you'd never know he was dead!"

Fran's Easter

Fran and I were reminiscing yesterday of Easters gone by -- how when we were little, we'd get a new Easter dress and coat, new patent leather shoes and new socks and, of course, an Easter hat. How back in those days, a woman had to wear a hat to church -- you just never saw a bare head inside a church. It was sacrilege. Then, I think around the late 60s, it got more relaxed. I remember wearing these sort of caps made out of black netting that may have some black velvet bows here and there. I still remember that when you bought one, it was flat in a cellophane envelope and I think they were only a dollar.

For the following photos, Fran says:

These were taken on Holy Saturday (the days before Easter were called Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday - remember?).... a beautiful spring day in D.C. These were taken on Connecticut Ave and Albemarle St. while walking from my apartment to Tenleytown.

And some more...
I know this is a magnolia tree.

Fran says this is supposed to be horizontal, but it insists on being a vertical so we'll let it be what it wants to be.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gwenyth's Easter

This is the Easter dress Aunt Mary bought:

Easter Saturday

From the kitchen of Mary, here are her Easter cookies she made to bring to her brother and sister in law's home for Easter.

As for me, I have not been that industrious. I enjoyed one of my cheap thrills this morning. Upon first opening my eyes, I do that split second "Who am I? Where am I?" followed by "What day is it?" followed by "What do you have to do?" and this morning when the answers to the last two were "Saturday" and "nothing," it brought a smile to my face.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Missing Document

This story has a happy ending.

I just wrote a fairly complicated news release, finished at 3 pm on a Friday and was thrilled to be done with it and send it on to the client.

When I went to 'attach file,' the document was nowhere to be found. Looked everywhere. Even did a search for a unique word in the document and nothing. Continued to look and was just about ready to give up, thinking I'd somehow not saved it which I really couldn't believe I'd done but I faced the fact that I may have to rewrite it.

So then I opened Word again and there's one place where you can see recent documents, not the list, but a different area. There was the document! I gingerly clicked it on praying that it wouldn't say that the document wasn't available, but it opened. Whew.

Then I saw that somehow it got saved as a Micosoft template. I have no idea how that happened... one of those weird computer things... so I resaved it and sent it on.

I am so effing glad I didn't have to redo it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Who else hates K-1s?

A K-1 is some sort of official statement filed with the IRS if you have an investment in a partnership. The problem with them is they always arrive so late, often long after you've been to your accountant. I had one of those limited partnerships that everyone got stuck with in the 1980s (since sold) and I used to fret over the late arrival of the K-1.

This past year, one of the stocks I own was bought by another company and I was given the choice of taking a buyout or letting it turn over to the new company. I remember some sort of explanation that it wouldn't be entirely stock, but I didn't pay much attention. I figured that the stock was doing well so I'll just stay with it. Plus, if you let it ride, you didn't have to do something which is always attractive to me.

My federal taxes were filed electronically yesterday -- and what arrives today? A K-1 from this company. What??

I can go from zero to catastrophe in about two seconds. I had myself audited, owing money, etc. all over this late-arriving K-1. I know... I can call my accountant. This is an improvement over my worrying about it for the next 12 months. This investment is in my Roth IRA so I thought I was OK.

Which I was.

I called my accountant, told him as briefly as I could what happened and he said, "And it's addressed to your Roth IRA?" and I said yes, and he said I can just ignore it. Whew. No refiling required.

Kiva Loans

I love doing Kiva microloans -- I always pick women and a recent loan I funded was a 72-year old woman who lives in Kyrgyzstan. I picked her because not only did I not know where it is, I can't even pronounce it.

Today I got a field report that said a local Kiva worker showed my woman her profile and the pictures and names of people who had funded her loan. She said she can't believe that people who live on the other side of the world would help her. I have to say I like thinking that I have impacted lives, if only in the smallest way.

So here she is:
Very cool jacket -- you could imagine it on some skinny model hipster -- well, in a smaller size!
And I researched and the country is pronounced kurdgy-stan, easier than I thought, and here it is on the map:

And I thought I was whiney...

Just by chance, I read a recent review of Gracie's Corner, my favorite coffee shop. This person wrote:

I ordered a untoasted butter bagel and received a bagel with butter on the side. The butter was not on the bagel like I expected it to be. Its how I have always gotten it from other places I've ordered from.

Man, if this is that person's biggest complaint, I'd say they're doing pretty well.

Ain't Technology Great?

I think I've got this right. Amy's daughter Rosie is in France. The subject line in the email stated, "Rosie Joins the Passover Seder"so this is Amy's family with Rosie (if I know Amy) on Skype from Paris. Inside Amy wrote, "Ain't technology great?"

When I saw this, I realized how I sometimes take all of this for granted. That we can Skype, that there are smartphones, that we can electronically send each other photos. That someone can be in Paris and appear live in Florida -- and these are everyday people, not a TV news station with a satellite or anything. So even though our computers and various devices can drive us nuts sometimes when there's a glitch... to answer Amy's question, Yes, technology is great!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Secret Shame - Part 2

New York State has state-wide final exams called "Regents exams" on particular courses that you must pass to pass the course. You could get A's all year long, get an A on the school's Final and fail the Regents and you failed the course.

Math was never my strong suit.

My brain was not built for Geometry and so in 10th grade, I struggled by with C's in Geometry, but I knew I had to pass the Regents or else I'd have to repeat Geometry. I went for extra help every day after school from Easter until the exam.

In those days, the Regents exams were given in the gymnasium where they'd move in desks that would be positioned 10 feet apart and it was a big deal. I think the test was two hours. Part of studying for the Regents was doing old Regents exams and you'd buy books full of old Regents exams and take them as practice.

So on that sunny day in June, lo those many years ago, I was sitting at my desk, in the gym, facing the Geometry Regents. My teacher put the exam face down on my desk (because it was timed) and looked me straight in the eyes and said (I swear), "You know, it's a shame... no one deserves to pass more than you."

Hey, thanks for the vote of confidence! He assumed I was going to fail.

But, I came though. Passing was 65 and I got a 67. Good enough for me.

So it was with some joy that I saw this t-shirt that Mary drew my attention to tonight... This is my kind of Geometry, and it's exactly how I still feel about it!

I'll give the place a plug -- the website is called -- and even looking at this T-shirt makes me shudder with bad memories of Geometry with Mr. Stock.

Cheerful Flowers

Mary and I were on the same wavelength -- her on purpose and me by good fortune. She brought these bouquets from her garden -- evidently not hurt by the snow -- to cheer up her office:

And I got this gorgeous bouquet from a client yesterday. They came from Pro Flowers, and I know I've written about them before -- how the flowers arrive looking dead and then spring back to life. Same with these... definitely wilted, although the stems were stuck into wet oasis (that green stuff, although this was brown). There were two bouquets and a really pretty purple vase which barely contained them. So the flowers were transferred to onen of my own vases today. They are hale and healthy now.

Bonus Photo: I made this near-perfect sandwich for lunch. It's a very fresh Panera asiago cheese bagel with shaved Virginia ham, Swiss cheese, cole slaw and sliced pickle. I wrapped it up and brought it to my desk. It really was delicious. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Assembling Furniture

I've been hunting for a while for new dining room chairs and I am surprised how many need assembly. Even expensive ones -- well, my definition of expensive. When I read the online reviews, people say cheerfully, "It only took my husband 20 minutes per chair" or "We used our own tools rather than the ones supplied" and I hang my head, knowing I could never do it. I think the last time I had to assemble something was an inexpensive bookcase that I broke some of doing it.

So I'd been thinking that there are people you can hire from Craig's List who specialize in assembling furniture and how I could do that. It may cost more, but it would save money in the long run. And that's what Mary did with a chest for her screened in porch. The assembler only charged her $30 and she gave him $40 which sounds more than reasonable.

I received various photos during the day of the chest, but just now got one which says the chest is now decorated. I expected to see a bouquet of flowers or a knick knack, but here's the decoration:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mary Finds Spring... and Winter! What?

Winter wasn't quite finished with DC yet. Here in NYC, we're supposed to get snow, but so far, nothing.

Mary's front yard

Mary's backyard. Looks like the perfect day to stay home, make hot chocolate and read a novel. I would imagine that's not what Mary did, however. Too bad.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Secret Shame

I've gotten into the habit of watching "Super Soul Sunday" with Oprah on Sunday mornings -- no, that's not my secret shame -- I'm typically a news junkie and remain one during the week, but I've been so discouraged of late with politics that I've sworn off Meet the Press for a while.

Anyway, Oprah usually offers up some self-development, metaphysical, emotional author/lecturer and they're typically fairly interesting -- if you don't mind Oprah continually inserting how evolved she is because she knew *that* (whatever *that* is) already.

This morning, the author, whom I really liked, was talking about the perils of shame, perfectionism, fear of appearing vulnerable (you're playing my song!) and how we can only be our authentic selves and have intimacy by making ourselves vulnerable.

I am now ready to confess my secret shame of today: March 24, two weeks after daylight saving time took effect, and I just this morning changed the three clocks in my home that needed changing. Luckily, the computers change themselves.

So there! Oh, I feel so authentic and free.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mary's Religious Green Thumb

I had thoght that Christmas cactus only bloom once a year, but Mary's (overachievers that they are) bloom four times a year. So they are in bloom now -- a pink one and a red one.
So pretty.
But there's more, not only does she have Christmas cactus, but the religious theme continues with her Lenten Rose, shown below.

Mary writes: I don't think I've ever sent you a picture of my Lenten Rose (hellebores), partly because they're on the side of my house by the kitchen door so I don't always walk by them. They also are hard to show  because their pretty bell-like blossoms kind of point down.  Anyway, I thought they looked awfully pretty this morning. 
So let's have our Botany 101 lesson, courtesy of Clemson University Extension and Google Images.
The folks at Clemson explain: Lenten rose is an evergreen, 15- to 18-inch tall groundcover with leathery, dark-green, shiny foliage. Their new growth generally appears during late January and February, and precedes the 3- to 4-inch nodding, cup-shaped flowers that quickly emerge through the mulch or snow layer.

The flowers are most commonly white or lavender, but breeders have developed crosses with shades of pink, plum, green, dark purple, red and yellow.

And some more photos:



And, finally, the WASP

I had mentioned that I hung out in the press room after hours when I heard the WASP would be coming to be photographed. There were sevenn of them, and they were being photographed individually and as a group. There's something about these women that just so touches me. I look at them as such pioneers and I look now at their ageing faces and try to imagine what they looked like as young women flying these military aircraft.

autogrpahing a poster

Such dignity!

As I said, I just like looking at them.

Fran Finds Spring!

And she found it under a tree...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nashville Miscellany

This was a delicious room service dinner -- it was chicken fried chicken and you had the choice of two sides. I turned down the garlic mashed potatoes which would have been my first choice, based on the close quarters of the press room looking over each other's computers. I dont know: does garlic breath last into the next day if you've brushed? So I took the baked potato and the vegetable of the day which turned out to be cabbage. A surpirse vegetable, but it was really good.

The menu suggested this chicken dish would be good with this certain beer, and I thought what the heck, yeah! So I ordered Yazoo Pale Ale and I forget sometimes how much I like beer. That bottle really hit the spot.

This was the wonderful woman who took care of us in the press rooom. Here she is with her big platter of fruit so I wanted to make a big deal about her by taking her picture. She also made us smoothies each morning. We tipped her at the end, and Amy said the tip brought tears to her eyes. You can see the big strawberries, and there were also these giant blackberries which were wonderful. Note how it looks like she has a halo around her head -- but she really was our angel.

I get intrigued  by what the different maids so. I guess in this hotel the rule was to lay out the person's toiletries as if for surgery, but I kind of like it.

Rather than lugging my big suitcase up the steps, I tip the cab driver to do it. Here I am, arriving home, with my suitcase already carried up the steps.

I took this as the last hall I would have to walk in a while -- the one right to my front door, and yes, I was that glad to be home!

My Great Sunday Brunch

Arriving at Nashville Airport on Sunday morning. I make a big deal out of this brunch only because I assiduously avoid airport food -- and you know I'm not exactly a vegan who only eats organic -- but it is so greasy, so bad and so overpriced.

That's why I was happy to find Nashville New York Deli as part of my Magical Mystery Wonderful Lucky Irish Trip back to New York. One small complaint -- giant sign saying "Please wait to be seated by the hostess" so I stand there for a few minutes -- really much longer than I should -- and then a waitress comes by and says "Sit wherever you want." I think I was the only one there, then a few others came.

I was so thrilled with this plate because I was dreading the Wendy's/McDonald's whatever. It was really good.

Including an Everything Bagel. You can see they are fairly stingy with the "everything" but I couldn't complain.

Here's my bill --  more than reasonable (for an airport) price for the food, but look at the price of the soda!

So this is my first step out of the restaurant. You can see the Restroom sign on the left, followed almost immediately with my gate. Unbelievable! '"What's funny is I couldn't see B1. When you enter the gate area, it was B2.

Back to Nashville - Part 1

So here's the blessed Opryland. It's basically a collection of areas, all under what I call the biosphere. You have the sense you are outside because of sunshine, live trees, babbling brooks, etc. but you're inside.

These aren't in any particular order, but this is part of my walk to the press room.

This is my halfway mark to the press room and one of the few places you could sit. So I'd sit on this ledge and rest a minute or two before I continued on my trek.

Part of my walk.

This just about sums up the size of the place. Note lack of any chairs or benches.

My trek began with two of these. This is the internal hotel room corridors before I got to the right elevator.

Delta is one of the areas -- I think there are five, and I was in Delta.

This is the area called Cascades because it had a waterfall.

This is near the finish line. The Ryman rooms. From here I just had about had made it. Go past the table and lamp, and the room was around the corner.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Melissa Finds Spring!

Melissa says: Spring has sprung in Texas. Texas Bluebonnets -- wild and free, against the law to pick them! With so little rain, we probably won't have a bumper crop this year, but spring is spring and they only last for a month or two!