Monday, December 30, 2013

Stationery Quote

In advance of writing thank you notes, I took out some notecards that came in this pretty little box -- oh yeah, I am a sucker for that type of thing, and although I've had these for a number of years, I noticed a quote on the box for the first time.

It reads:

Happiness leads none of us by the same route.

I interpret that to mean that it's OK for Mary to have her ungodly desire for salmon which I can't stand. It's also OK for her to seek out a movie about a blind orphan in the tsunami who finds a broken flute and charms people with his music as he searches for his twin sister and her dancing turtle. Portugese movie with subtitles.

So who said this? Charles Caleb Cotton. Never heard of him.

He was an essayist and British cleric who had a sad ending. According to Wikepedia:

He continued  gambling, however, and lost his French fortune. At the time of his death, Colton was living on funds received from his immediate family. An illness required surgery, but Colton dreaded the operation. He eventually killed himself rather than undergo the procedure.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Never Mind...

I have to laugh at myself the nunber of times I do this. I get alerts from Citibank about how much money I have in my various accounts. And today I had way less in my checking account than I thought I should. Of course, my mind jumps to being scammed, robbed, burgled, embezzled, etc. When I went to my online account to look at the activity, I saw the culprit. Oh yeah, I paid my American Express bill. Never mind.

Official Life Decision

I was catching up with a stack of mail today and one of the pieces was from a class-action law suit over World Comm stock that I swear has been going on since 2006. I dutifully filled out the forms; over the years, I'd be notified and as I opened this envelope and took the piece of paper out, I could see by the peforations that a check is attached. Or maybe I can just smell checks when they arrive!

Wowsa, I am now $10.54 cents richer. But it's not even that -- because it's from my retirement account, I have to deposit it there which means mailing it to my broker with a letter.

I stopped filling out the forms two or three years ago -- but this check today convinced me I will do it no longer... well, maybe that I will do it no longer GUILT FREE.

Many Moods of Milo

Faithful blog readers will recall Mary's sun porch project -- that was just this year, right? Anyway, it's one of Milo's hangouts and here he is soaking in the winter sun.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Favorite Place

A grade school friend sent me this photo of one of our favorite places. This is the "Neighborhood House" in the town where I grew up. It hosted the public library, a community room with a stage, two bowling lanes in the basement -- back then, you could play for an hour for fifty cents, setting your own pins. It's where Girl Scouts met and all sorts of activitiess took place.

Since it was built in 1923, there was no air conditioning, but I recall the big windows open in the spring and summer and a gentle breeze coming in, no matter how hot it was. There was also this huge grandfather's clock and it was such a quiet place that you could hear the clock ticking.

The place needed renovation, but I expected it to be sensitive. I remember my shock when I walked in for the first time after the renovation and the place had been butchered. I never set foot in the place again.

This is one of the places where I developed my love of reading and I have many fond memories of browsing the shelves.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Stuck in Traffic

Mary is trying to work her way home from Pennsylvania, but is stuck -- she thinks there may be an accident ahead. I always feel so torn -- I sort of *want* there to be an accident so we can get by that and resume normal speeds, but then I don't want to wish an accident on anyone.

Later, that same day... here's the update where Mary shows it was definitely an accident. Let's all send a good thought these people's way:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Poignant Christmas News

It seems like everyday news stories take on a sadder or happier slant at Christmas. I heard two stories this week that I can't get out of my mind. One is so tragic -- a father of a three-year old in a custody dispute threw the child off the roof of a 10-story building. Then the father jumped. The child survived the fall, but died within a few hours. Think of the number that did on the medical personnel working on him. The father died right away. The news made a big deal about its happening in a nice area -- it was somewhere on the West Side by Lincoln Center -- as if we expect this of poor people, but not of people who live in "nice" areas. So sad.

Then I heard a story -- don't know where it took place, not in New York -- where a woman knowing she was going to die recorded a request for some contest a radio show had -- I missed the opening details... but I think she gave the tape to a friend to hold until she died and her husband remarried. So now she's dead, he's remarried and the friend submits this tape to a "make my Christmas wish come true" at the local radio station -- and the dead woman, speaking on this tape in the kindest voice asked the radio to give the new wife/new stepmother for her children a day at the spa and said how taking care of four boys is hard work and she deserves a day to herself. Then she asked for a family vacation for all of them, and so the station also gave the family a trip to Disney World. Her selflessness was just stunning -- not a total antidote to the first story, but close.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Stephanie's Pics

Here are Stephanie and her husband Danny at the Knights of Columbus Christmas party, followed by Kali, the calico cat. I don't know if this is a typical resting place for her.

Love the purple with Stephanie's aurburn hair. I believe this is in Tampa somewhere.

The happy couple at the ball.

And the belle of the ball -- Ms. Kali

Mary's Roadtrip

Mary is driving to Pennsylvania with Matt in Mary's car as Matt has some car trouble. Here's Mary's update.

she says:

There have been periods of blowing snow and bright sun
Other than traffic on 270 it's been a lovely trip. Matt's been driving since Thurmont, MD.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fran's Tree

Mary gave Fran an angel Christmas tree topper during our Christmas weekend, and here it is in place... with Valentino under the tree. I remember one year at Stancie's house, someone had given their cat a catnip toy and the cat was stoned out of its mind on the catnip -- lying on its back under the Christmas tree, staring up at the lights. Ooooh, the colors!


And to all a goodnight... here I am, lying on my bed when I typed an accidental combination of something which allowed me to take a snapshot of myself and post it...I had no idea my computer or my blog could do this. This is me waving goodnight. Sweet dreams to all!

Splurge Fail

On Sunday I bought this little tub of lobster dip/spread -- the kind of thing that's like $6.95 for 6 ounces or something. Tonight as I was cooking dinner, I thought I'd be sophisticated and have some of it. I opened the lid and there was a bit of blue fuzzy stuff. Can you imagine the trips to the restroom bad lobster would entail? I turned it over and the expiration date is January 4. Then I had to speculate that maybe it wasn't mold, but something else... but I ain't taking any chances so out it goes. I'm going to call the grocery store in the morning to see if I can get a refund.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday's Christmas Party

Today Barbara and I had our annual Christmas lunch -- and since I"m still feeling a bit poorly she came here. We decided to do Gracie's (coffee shop) and went for old school Cheeseburger Deluxe. She had cheddar; I had American. I am not exaggerating when I say this was one of the best burgers I've had -- oh my God, it was good. I had some cole slaw from Tal Bagels in the fridge and some pickles slicer things and made one big messy juicy burger.

It came with lettuce, tomato, fries and two onion rings -- You can see how big and wonderful and sloppy these burgers were. Truly burgers to remember.
Then we exchanged gifts. I gave Barbara a bottle of Proseco -- when I first learned of it, I asked Barbara if she'd ever had it and she said she and her husband practically got addicted to it when they went to Italy. So I thought she and Bob would enjoy a bottle on Christmas morning.
There's a bakery on First Avenue which has been untouched for all practical purposes since 1902 -- still has the wooden display cases, tiny white tile floor, string holders hanging from the ceiling, etc. It's where I buy my "home-made" Christmas cookies. The difference is that most places try to look old; like fake Disneyland old, but this place really *is* old. So Barbara loves the cookies from there and so I bought a box to go with her Proseco. I thought Proseco and Christmas cookies are a wonderful combo.
So when Barbara arrived, she said she was a few minutes early so she went to the bakery and bought me some Christmas cookies! I sort of smiled but didn't say anything. Then when we exchanged presents, she saw we had exchanged boxes of cookies. Both of us confessed to having cookie envy of the other person -- I confessed to wondering if I could remove the string, snatch a few cookies, and then put the string back on, but I resisted. In addition to the cookies, Barbara gave me this perfect little box of six chocolates, made in Brooklyn, that are like truffles, but there is salt on top. I think Barbara is the one who introduced me to the joy of sweet and salty things.
To add to my paperweight connection, she also gave me the paperweight below which is in the shape of a sleeping cat. She found it in an antique store so we added that to my collection. I'll confess when I first opened it, I said "Oh a snail!" mistaking the cats ears for those snail horns. But now I see it's a cat. The photo doesn't quite do it justice, but it's very colorful, very pretty.

Thursday's Christmas Party

Amy and Nancy came to town to have our annual Christmas get-together. Later they went to see Twelfth Night put on by the Royal Shakespeare Company. We exchange small gifts and I found these neat books called "No Fear Shakespeare" and they take the play page by page and "translate" it into present day language. The left hand page is the original words and the right-hand is the translation. Some of it is funny --- for example, there'd be some fancy admonition on the Shakespeare side and the right hand side would read "what the hell are you talking about?"

I was so impressed with these books that I went to Amazon and ordered one for myself -- I ordered
"Much Ado About Nothing" -- because it's a phrase I use and I know nothing about the play. I got it used ("nearly new") for one penny and then $3.99 for shipping. I really hope this will help me understand the plays more as I want to but just can't get through them.

On the menu was sesame chicken, brown rice, dumplings and then Christmas cookies that Amy baked. Here are the girls showing off their flashing Christmas necklaces and their books:

Amy (left) and Nancy show off their key to understanding Twelfth Night.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Meet Tolly who is the new puppy for Fran's friends Will and Kelly. I think the dog likes its new home.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mary's Spa Weekend

For her Christmas present, Mary's sister took her to a spa weekend. One of the treatments she was supposed to get -- which I got about 20 years ago and loved -- is a salt body rub. I remember lying totally naked on this tile slab in a tile room. The woman had those huge black rubber gloves on and a white outfit. She would take a big handfull of rock salt and rub it all over me. It hurt in that sort of pleasant way -- like you knew it was taking off every last dead skin cell. Then she took this big hose and hosed me down so all the salt was off, followed by skin lotion. My skin was like butt-ah... OMG, I loved that.

So Mary can correct me if I'm wrong. She says that this is the view to the porch:

This is one of several historical photos from the area hanging in the lobby. I wonder if Ike and Mamie got a couples massage:

Fran likes big, old trees. So Mary took this shot of the tree for Fran which was outside their breakfast room window. Where's the photo of the pancakes? French toast? bacon?
These are out of order, so this is when Mary and Judy were leaving Judy's and trying to beat the storm out of town, just like I was a week ago. And the first picture below is the spa/hotel.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Nasty Saturday

When all is said and done, NYC got about 3 inches of snow. It was a dark, dank, rainy, snowy, gray, miserable day and I was happy to stay inside all day. It's also very cold. Mary has sent me some photos of her trip to a spa which I'll post tomorrow. Stay warm, everyone!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

All Milo, All the Time

First we have Lazybones Milo, sleeping in the sun, followed by Holiday Milo....

All last weekend, Milo was enjoying his new home -- a brown carton with nothing in it. He preferred that most of the time to Mary's sofa. He loved that box.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Another Way to Feel Old: Seasonal Food

Fran had mentioned how we used to play telephone with two tin cans and a string -- and I said we would do it with frozen orange juice cans, and that got me thinking. Growing up, there were no cartons of orange juice -- just small cans of frozen. When I brought this up to Fran, she asked, "Remember the plop?" And I do. Then I'd be stabbing the concentrate repeatedly with a wooden spoon. I think making the orange juice was one of the first kiddie jobs.

I think cartons came into vogue in the early 60s. That got me thinking about what foods we could only get when they were in season. My father loved cantaloupe and I didn't like it at the time, but I was fascinated by it -- how my mother would shake it to see if the seeds rattled. She would cut it in half and another kiddie job would be to scrape out the seeds. But now you can get cantaloupes all year long.

The only one I can think of is those cherries with the stems and pits. They seem to be available only in July/August -- same with good corn on the cob. Anything else?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Outrunning the Storm

The media is enthralled with this huge ice storm and as difficult as it was to crawl out of a warm bed at 7:15 on a Sunday morning, I did. The rain/snow/ice was supposed to start at 10:30 and I wanted to be well on my way. Got dressed, packed and out the door by 8:15 including Mary's supreme sacrifice of getting down on the floor to puill the straps of my ortho-shoe tight.

I was drowsy on the way home and stopped and slept for about 15 minutes, then decided to stop again but this snow squall broke out -- when it looks like a blizzard has arrived, and I thought I better be leaving. Got home around 1:30 and now I"m slowly unpacking, relaxing, and doing nothing. My favorite passtime! Yes, it's good to be home. Our snow/ice/rain is supposed to start tomorrow morning. I am thrilled to be relieved of any weather/travel/other worries and just be home.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Catching up with Photos

This is at the Brichmere before the show started. Since we were late because of horrid traffic, weather, etc,, we sat near the back, but it's a small venue -- maybe 300 to 400 people.
Didn't get any of the National Tree, but this is the tree at the US Capitol.
The tree and the capitol -- nasty night with almost 3 inches of rain.
Sunday morning and Milo is relazing.
Mary and I had a nice late breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon and bagels.
For appetizers for dinner, Mary made a baked brie with the creative Christmas tree. Mary claims this is easy with the crescent roll dough and she cut out the tree with a cookie cutter.
Mary's netpher Matt found these cocktail napkins -- the perfect hostess gift for Mary. The photo is just one of those 1950s vintage photos
Dinner was pot roast and gravy made in the crock pot, mashed potatoes, bread that Fran brought and tossed salad with Italian dressing and blue cheese crumbles. We never got to dessert whiich was pecan pie -- very unlike us!
then it was time for presents. Each of us got a flashing red nose from Fran -- mine is on crooked!
Milo has been particularly friendly to me this time -- don't know why but he even slept next to me.

Friday Night

Got here without incident on Thursday. Today Mary and I worked a bit, relaxed and then picked up Fran and met Lane at the Birchmere to join the other oldies (we were young by comparison) to see the Blood Sweat & Tears tribute band -- not the REAL BS&T, mind you, but sort of fake ones. But we enjoyed the food and the live music. The weather here has been nasty -- really heavy rain. After we left the Birchmere, we went to see the National Christmas Tree (not that impressive) and then the tree in front of the US Capitol (very impressive). Mary and I came home, relaxed and chatted. I can't find the camera chord but it's here somewhere so photos to follow.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday Night

Had two lunch guests this week -- didn't take any photos though. Melissa was on her way through New York on Tuesday and my kindergarten friend Judi is here visiting her daughter. Judy came up from Penn Station and took this photo of one of Macy's windows. It's Christmastime in the city!

Tomorrow, I'm off to DC for our annual Christmas get-together including Friday night at Birchmere to see Not even the real Blood Sweat & Tears, but a tribute Blood Sweat & Tears. Oh well, we like the place and will enjoy being entertained in comfort.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Another DC Sunset

Mary saw this on her way home from work. I'll be heading to DC this weekend (actually on Thursday) for our annual Christmas get-together.