Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fairly Good Day Today

Had a great PT session, including walking a long (ok, everything's relative) distance for the first time. I'm fine with the upper body stuff -- they have me doing handweights, pushing a box of weights back and forth, a hand-bicycle (which I did for the full time without stopping today) and other arm strength things.

But the fun came later when Gene, the singer to shut ins arrived, asking Miss Patricia for requests. I told him I am a child of the 60s and asked for some Dylan. Well, the closest Gene could get was Unchained Melody and it was damn odd to be sitting here on my bed while Gene droned how he  hungered for my touch.

I'm just glad someone hungers for my touch.

This is the best meal I've had so far -- macaroni and cheese and mixed vegetables... ate it all for the frst time since I've been here.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Toddling Along

Here I am, business as usual, doing PT, reading a great novel, doing work-work. Yesterday I had this super cheerful aide named Lisa who had this strong Canadian accent that she was surprised I could recognize.

Perky is her default setting.

And two meals:

Sunday lunch --  baked chicken; what a surprise! It looks better than it was. It's cooked so that one molecule of moisture doesn't reman. I ate the vegetables, and the so called rice medley or whatever was just mush

On the scale of blueberry pie, this is a zero. On a scale of rehab hospital desserts, this is a 10.

Today's lunch... yum, yum,., spaghetti and meatballs.., but imagine this on the cool side. I ate the pasta and I would have eaten the zuchhini but it was soft and unseasoned and cool. I took a bite of the meatball, and realized that if I dried it out, we could use it to start a fire == tomato flavored sawdust balls.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


I have an early memory of being at the beach, in the water, with a friend from second grade. The Long Island Sound could be as calm as a lake so we were in the water alone. She said to me, "Let's play seahorse princesses" and I had no idea how to play that. I was really never into the princess thing, or the horse thing most girls go through. It's funny, though, how enduring little girls wanting to be princesses are.

Here are two of Mary's grand-nieces carrying on the tradition although one of them is Cinderella.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Mary's Earrings

The earrings are a gift to Mary from her niece Amy and I'm supposed to guess what they are.

An elephant?

Getting by with Patience

So here's dinner... the beans have no salt, butter, pepper, nothing..... and the red stuff is some form of beef a roni -- way overcooked pasta and ground meat... again, so seasoning. One brown bowl is the twice daily soup which I wish I liked but it it routinely oily with some weird taste. Tonight the other bowl or "dessert" was canned pineapple which I actually enjoyed. I also get a piece of whole wheat bread and one pat of butter so my big decision was to have half a piece of bread with all the butter or the full piece with less butter per square inch. I decided to do the whole piece of bread, but then didn't really want the other half. I ate 1/2 of the pasta, none of the beans.

So here's my aide whose name is Patience, and she wll go looking for a sandwich for me and tonight she was successful with peanut butter and jelly. Actually her first offering was some unidentifiable "lunch meat" and you wonder do people really eat that? But I have to give a shout out to Patience. She really has been very kind to me.

You can see we eat early here, but I am grateful for the PB&J. Wish the PB was a little thicker, but I'll take what I can get!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Rescue Kitties

My sister's family got their dog Charlie from a well-known rescue place and they now have gotten two Christmas kitties. Believe it or not, these kitties were foster parented by Howard Stern (yes, THAT Howard Stern) and so Mary and Scott had to be willing to have their names used for publicity. I told them that they must have passed a bunch of tests to get kittens because that's what everyone wants -- and Howard Stern's kittens to boot. So there was a long questionnaire including a question about if Scott lost his job, how would they take care of the kittens? They also had to provide two references  both of whom were spoken to...

so now introducing the Christmas Rescue Kitties named...


Holly got her name for Christmas and Oliver is just a name the kids like.

Christmas Tree

Here's the tree in my sister's home.

I still love old-fashioned live trees. Note the angels on the walls.

Family Visit

I've been hearing about some great dinners tonight -- Scott (brother in law) is making filet mignon with rosemary roasted potatoes and broccoli. We had a nice visit where Mary gifted me with this wonderful throw blanket with literary quotes on it.

Mary Elizabeth and Louisa (left), Clark and Charlotte

Clark caught in a candid moment

the twins: Louisa and Clark

more twins
Charlotte making Crystal Light for me

Clark really loves his Mom.

Christmas Flowers and Marilyn

A  company I do work for sent me this pointsettia with live evergreens -- don't know if they add fake fir smell, but I forgot how much I love that fresh evergreen, piney smell.

Marilyn stopped by for a visit and to deliver mail and more clothes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Brad's Family

This is a post-church photo of Brad, Thea (pronounced Taya-a) and their kds Jake, Josh and Madison.  The little ones are twins. All I can say is that it's lucky for Madison that she has her mother's beauty.

Me and Charlotte

Barbara wrote me:
I saw a copy of Charlotte's Web at a shop today for $4, and decided to buy it, remembering how much I admired it as a child.  I read it this evening and it's quite good.  The penultimate sentence in the book reminded me of YOU so I had to send it:

"It's not often that someone comes along who  is a true friend and a good writer. "

I still love ths book; haven't read it in years. What a classc this book is


Monday, December 22, 2014

Civil and Me

I love the names of the ladies from the Islands who work as aides. This is the lady who was my aide this morning and gave me my first shower in a long time -- not enough hot water so it perked me right up, but I have clean hair and smell good now. She also "fixed" my slippers so that they fit -- by ripping the sheepskin lining out -- but now I have slippers. We high fived in the shower... I thought her name was Sybil, but it's Civil... I was kidding that she was my stylist -- picked out my dress, combed my hair, sprayed me with body mist.

My stylist Civil and me.

The red scarf was delivered by FedEx from Lane who suggested I wait until Christmas to open it. Hell, no. So it's this wonderful pure wool soft as anything scarf in Holly Jolly Christmas red along with a note to remind me tha the warmth of the scarf is likt the warmth of my friends around me.

I had PT this morning. Russell came for a long visit, and Mary came for a visit. All is well.

Two big differences between here and the Institution. The Institution did not allow cameras of any sort and had signs about it. Here they allow them, of course. Also, no family was allowed in the PT room but here Russ could come in the room and watch me struggle a bit, but I am open to any exercise, any task, any anything they want me to try.

Having a Holly Jolly Christmas in my brand new cozy scarf.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Accomplishment for Sunday

Have been here since Wednesday. Today I sat up in bed, swung my legs around to stand up. Prior to today, I'd have one person holding the walker, the bed raised the highest up and one person holding me on either side. Today I don't think the aide knew this and I personally forgot about raising the bed and I stood up totally by myself so that felt good.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Today wth Uncle Matt

 Uncle Matt with Derek and Evan in the US Capitol building:

What I Missed

This is pre-party on Saturday at Mary's where she says that Tom and Dave were watching TV and she and Michelle were puttering:

And here;s the meat and the finished table. All looks wonderful!


Catching Up

Tis the season to be jolly, and whatever it takes, I'm going to try to be. First picture up is Russell at a tourist place where Michelle and Mary and I ate a year ago when we went to the Outer Banks. Place is called Dirty Dick's and their slogan is "I got my crabs from Dirty Dick's" or something similar. I remember the late lunch as really good... and so when Russell mentioned he was taking his son for a few days in the Outer Banks I recommended it. I also highly recommended Apple Uglies, but they didn't get those either. Russ amd his son didn't eat at Dirty Dick's, but I did get this sourvenir photo:

John (left) and Russell

Monday, December 8, 2014

Congratulations, Dave

Meredith's Dave (Michelle's son in law) successfully defended his PhD dissertation today so now he is a full-fledged DOCTOR.  Congratulations, Dr. Dave!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Cards?

One card always hails for me the beginning of the Christmas card season, and I received it today electronically since they are trying to save on postage. I am thinking about how un-embarrassed people are these days about their finances. It never used to be that way, but it's totally reasonable with first class postage rates to send a card electronically. I know both sides of this couple and they send a yearly recap of their activties for the year. Am I the only one who likes Christmas letters? I don't even know most people mentioned, but I do like to read that Jim Jr.'s science project came in second to the volcano project; details of vacation ("and we had ice cream cones by the waterfall"), etc

Anyway, today's card came with a letter and a separate photo... Love this tree... the whole room looks like people should be sitting in comfortable chairs, with something good smelling in the oven while we sip something adult.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Lazy Saturday Thoughts

Got a big package of work to do from an existing client this past week so that's been reassuring. Wish it were something I could be excited about doing, but as Lane says, "Mr Paycheck is our friend."

I also bought two pieces of furniture this past week. Remember the homicide perpetrated on my sofa so I've been doing without for some weeks now. I have to say I've come to enjoy my minamalist room! Anyway I bought one loveseat in yellow-gold nubby linen and this loveseat that is in the "apple" color.

And here's the yellow loveseat that's in "goldenrod" color. Then I have an old-fashioned floral print on an overstuffed chair. I have better/more interesting throw pillows. I don't like the ones that come with this sofa -- looks like some 1960s redo, so of course they come free with the sofa... but I have others that I think will look good.

This is the first time that I don't have a sofa bed... I hate them, I hate putting sheets on them, I hate taking the sheets off, I hate the mess of them. So eventually I will buy a daybed for my smaller bedroom/office/laundry room.

That's the news from rainy New York City.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Angelina, Hanging Out

It doesn't look comfortable to humnas, but maybe it is for cats.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday, again

I was disappointed last night that my guilty pleasure TV show -- the one where they track down the crappy construction guys was not on. That's the problem these days -- I don't know what's on, when it's on, or how long the shows are on for... Instead I watched this program on one of the History Channels about stolen artifacts and documents -- everything from Moon rocks, to the gun that killed President Lincoln, to an original copy of the Bill of Rights, etc. They give interesting stories about these items and offer a $10,000 reward for tips -- sort of like an America's Most Wanted for artifacts. It will be interesting in they find anything.

They had the guy who stole the Moon Rocks -- he actually worked for NASA  -- total amateur job but he got away with it for a while and spent 8 years in prison and is now out.

What struck me is how tremendously selfish it is to steal something for your personal collection. Oh, another thing was the Austin Martin with all the whizbang gadgets used in Goldfinger. It was stolen out of a hangar in Boca Raton.  This one had a revolving license plate, a passenger ejection seat -- really very cool.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Report

Lots of change of plans. We had a slush storm on Wednesday and I did not want to risk falling, slipping on the slush with some young EMT trying to haul my big wet butt up so I didn't go to Long Island, but the whole family came here on Friday.

Back up to tell a sad story of losing my digital camera. I looked for days; Ana moved furnitiure; Marilyn said she would start looking in "stupid places" like the refrigerator. No camera. So on Wednesday, she went to Best Buy and bought me a new one.

Mary, Scott and the three children came in on Friday and we had a dim sum banquet. It really was fun with chopsticks and lots of picking and trying and guessing. Oh, they also brought Charlie the dog who is the first dog in my apartment. He wasn't too sure about city life, but he did give everyone a laugh when he jumped on the big overstuffed chair and lay there like he owned the place.

Mary wants the kids to be more city-savvy so we sent them out to buy their own drinks -- these days, there are way too many choices -- and they went to a nearby 711 with the dog.

Mary gave me my birthday present which is a beautiful wooden frame with their enlarged school photos -- Charlotte in 10th grade and Clark and Louisa in 8th.

Despite six people and a dozen dim sum containers, we all crowded around the tiny table and had a good time.

But, back to the camera. I took really wonderful photos and then, since the camera is new to me, I accidentally deleted ALL of them, not just the one. I even looked at the instruction manual for anything resembling "restore" and there was nothing. Oh well, there were some nice ones.

I saw Charlie's trick which is that he says "I love you" in order to get his dog treat. He has the number of consonants down right, and it sorta, kinda sounds like I love you.

I gave Charlotte her Sweet Sixteen birthday present which I labored over. Finally went for the plainest piece of jewelry and it is a gold chain and one pearl and I have to say it looks beautiful on her. She put it on right away, maybe out of politeness, maybe because she really liked it.

So now I know how to delete all photos, and I will never do that again.

Autumn in Washington DC

Fran writes:

This the time of year......leaf blowers form mounds of leaves near curbside

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Calling Dr. McComb....

Melissa writes:

So... I was so impressed by Mary's Christmas Cactus (actually I was weeping)! Here is my Christmas cactus... The same as it had looked for 4 years!  Mary, what am I doing wrong???

Pat adds: Other botanists are invited to chime in with advice....

Dr. Mary, Urban Botanist, responds:
hmmm I'd have to guess it's just luck, or luck with light.  My second plant is starting to bloom too.  They both get sunlight but nothing special.  I water them once a week and always worry about whether I'm over watering or underwatering but they seem to be ok.  I also think the one that I sent you a picture of seems as if it needs more soil but I've never actually managed to add soil and it's blooming.  Maybe someone else knows what I'm accidentally doing right.
Pat adds: You have nothing to lose, so I'd repot the whole thing and put it in a whole different window/light area. Sometimes I think what kind of light they get is more important than anything.
Anyone else?

Apple Cider vs Apple Juice

I really do love apple cider, and had bought a 1/2 gallon. I was reading the label which says simply it's 100% apple juice. So if apple cider is apple juice, what's the difference?

Turns out that apple juice has other additives for shelf life and is also pasteurized. Apple cider is not pasteurized and has nothing to extend its life.

Having said this, I do NOT like hot apple cider, or mulled cider, or hard cider -- just a plain, old glass of cold cider. I also like it mixed with other fruit like cherries, raspberries, etc. Haven't had any other mixtures this season though.

Thumbs up for apple cider donuts and probably to apple cider vinegar which supposedly can do a whole lot of household and medicinal tasks ranging from lowering blood pressure to curing acne. Hmmmm... my jury is out on those.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mary's Christmas Cactus

I heard a bird sing in the dark of December,
a magical thing and sweet to remember.

We're nearer to spring than we were in September.
I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.

I think I memorized that in grade school, and I always liked the notion that spring is coming. That's why I enjoyed Mary's characterization of her Christmas cactus as "the first bloom of the season."

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bill Cosby

I don't normally write about anything controversial, but watching the Cosby news really bothers me. He reminds me of a man who is powerful and used to be listened to, obeyed, no questions asked. The king of his own kingdom. For someone with his media experience to ask the Associated Press to withhold part of an interview seems like such a rookie mistake.

My mind also drifts to what are you, what sickness do you have that you feel it's a good idea to drug women in order to be with them sexually? Is it power? Is it mental illness? I think about him making the preparations -- drug, check. glass, check,. ice, check. At no point do you catch yourself in the mirror and wonder what the hell you're doing - the risk you're taking. You could overdose that woman and kill her.

I am thinking it must be about power -- a passed out woman and you can do anything -- because I am sure Bill Cosby could have had many women just by snapping his fingers,

The pundits keep saying he needs a crisis communications specialist -- but man, I had a plan for OJ which would have worked and have crafted others -- I don't know what you do with him -- say you were a sick person and now you're seeking treatment?

And, yet, there's part of me that feels just a tiny bit bad for him., He was so well-loved, and now this is what he will take to his grave. And his wife sits there like a statue.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Turning into my Aunt Meta

My maternal grandmother, whom I never knew, had two sisters. She was Anna and her sisters were Meta and Dorothea. Anna died, my grandfather remarried Alice, who also died and he then married Esther who did not particularly like children. She was more my grandfather's wife, not "more" -- that's all she was to me.

So anyway, Meta married Henry and had one son named Roy. Meta named him Roy because she hated nicknames and thought you couldn't make a nickname out of Roy. What happened? Everyone called him Joe. We called him Uncle Roy and he was the first gay person we knew and our gay family member. He always lived with his parents, and he was a schoolteacher.

He was an odd duck -- with nothing to do with being gay. He had a little dog named Domino whom he adored. He was a soda addict and would put an inch or two of water in the bottom of plastic mugs and freeze them. In his mind, it saved the time of getting ice cubes. He also kept his soda stash behind the sofa so he didn't have to get up if he wanted more. Even as a child I thought that was weird, not cool, but it showed me that when you're an adult you can do whatever the heck you want.

Meanwhile Dorothea married John who I also nevter knew. He was in World War I and got permanently damaged by mustard gas and eventually died. Dorothea never remarried, but she was a great example of an independent woman. She worked for the phone company (a "supervisor!"), owned her own home in LaPorte, Indiana. I have to say I really liked her. She had this little sun porch in the front of her house with green wicker furniture and stacks of Reader's Digests. I remember sitting on that furniture for hours reading the Reader's Digests. Aunt Dorothea also introduced me to tomato sandwiches -- Wonder bread, slathered with mayonnaise and sliced tomatoes.

But back to Aunt Meta. She was forever complaining about feeling a draft on the back of her neck. No matter where she sat. We'd go out to a restaurant and have to change chairs because Aunt Meta felt a draft. Roy would sometimes put a cloth napkin around her shoulders.

And now, I am forever feeling a draft on the back of my neck. Now I sympathize with Aunt Meta.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Scattered Thoughts

Rainy, nasty Monday! Was so dark and gloomy and raining so hard that you could hear it from the inside. Would have preferred to be napping with a good book.

Last night, sad thing: EMTs took an upstairs neighbor, actually led him away... his partner told me he had a psychotic episode (again). I had opened my front door because of all the clanging, just as he was leaving. Talked to his partner and told him that "life is difficult" -- yeah, brilliant, Pat. His partner was stoic, sort of like "here we are again." I told his partner to take care of himself too, and he has a tough road. Partner told me they'll keep him at the hospital for a few days and level out his meds and he'll be ok. Have kept both in my thoughts.

My favorite new guilty pleasure is this reality show on the Spike channel where they find homeowners who have been screwed blue by a contractor and left to rot. Of course they've paid the contractor and sometimes the situation the bad contractor left is terribly unsafe. Anyway, this guy Adam Corolla (I think that's his last name) who is some sort of stand up comic had been in construction for years and he and another construction type survey the house, get the background and then they get a private detective to track down the contractor. They set up a sting and then confront the guy and give him the choice of a/returning the money b/doing the work right or c/being sued. So far, the bad guy has chosen to do the work over (under the supervision of Adam and the construction guy).

I don't know how these bad construction guys face themselves in the mirror -- most of them say they were planning on finishing (yeah, six months later after dodging the homeowner) or else claim the work was finished and the homeowner wrecked it to make the contractor look bad. Yes, they actually say that. So it's great to see some justice done.

Leftover Chinese food for dinner.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mary and Judy go to State College

This is where Mary's parents are interred in the mauseleum.

This was I think the State College Hotel but the main draw was the Corner Room, an old warm restaurant where we often ate. Judy and I got a booth looking out on campus.
Mary: It's the only field I've seen that is sunken, all below street level. It's been there since the 30's.

Still Fall Colors in DC

Fran Writes: Beautiful trees spotted while walking the NW neighborhood yesterday. Big red floozie tree on Ellicott St., canopy of yellow leaves on Cumberland, and a autumn mix on Garrison....and one interesting license plate spotted at a red light in Fairfax, Virginia.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Slow Week

Not much to report. Marilyn was here today and I sent her off to the ASPCA with a bunch of old linens. Am all caught up on laundry. Am mostly caught up with work-work. The local media is in its glory with a SNOW ALERT!!! Even the weatherman said the chances are low for snow in Manhattan, but I think they just love jacking people around.

Barbara and I were supposed to have lunch tomorrow, but she caught a horrible cold so we've put it off for a while.  I'm about to put myself asleep with all this news so I'll stop for now.

Wait, now that I think about it, Dull Days are just fine by me. We don't need any drama!

Monday, November 10, 2014

And I'm stil complaining

I had bought a Marie Callendar chicken pot pie and I was mindlessly looking at the nutrition label and saw that it had 480 calories -- not bad, I thought... then I saw that this pot pie which is the size of my first or thereabouts -- not a giant "hungry man" or whatever size... and it lists two serving sizes! If you tried to divide this pot pie into two, I can guarantee you that two people would still be hungry. I got caught another time with that -- a muffin where each muffin was two serving sizes. I do appreciate the nutrition labels, but I wish the serving size were more realistic.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

More on Scammers

I get a PayPal scam at least once a day -- and I was just looking at the latest and thinking these scammer aren't THAT smart. If they were they'd hire a native speaker to write their scammy scummy emails.

Look at this:

As part of our security measures, we regularly check the work of the screen PayPal.

me again: I don't know if they think screen means "online" or what but the language is often times a give away.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Latest Scam

By now we can all spot the obvious scams -- Nigerian sweepstakes and Madama Tutu dying of cancer leaving a chest full of diamonds or whatever, but I just got one that made me think twice. It's apparently an invoice/warning for a EZ-pass that I hadn't paid. That has happened to me in reality where Dollar charged me $25.35 or something weeks later -- $25 for the ticket and 35 cents for the toll.

I really hate these scammers. On this one, the first giveaway was that it was from the UK and then just common sense of how would EZpass have my email address?

Anyway, I never thought I am immune to falling for one of these so let's all be careful.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Being Annoyed

I think it's the time of year, but I am finding myself easily annoyed. For example, just read that a man has volunteered to be eaten alive by an anaconda for a reality show. Really? Come on.

I did a big favor for someone on Monday, no word of thanks, until prompted... "Uh, did you get what I sent you?" Oh yes, then a flood of thanks.

I know this all sounds petty, and I can be petty. I've also had one of those weeks where I don't know what day it is -- was all set yesterday to watch the one TV show I care about -- Scandal -- only to realize it was Wednesday night, not Thursday. But I am annoyed that this season of Scandal has been so short -- 6 episodes? 8 episodes? What ever happened to the good old days where the show would run all year and we had summer reruns?

I'll see if I can get more cheerful for Friday.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Slow Monday

Not much to report other than I did recycle my candy porn catalog so those thoughts are subsiding. I think I knew with certainty that if I ordered that Taffy or Sugar Daddies that I would start off just licking and end up with a nice fat crown embedded in caramel. I just knew it.

My garden is still way in bloom -- the begonias look like it's July and I've been even cutting some and bringing them inside thinking they couldn't last much longer, but they have.

I took a nice shower today and followed it up with Kiwi cream -- I had my choice of smelling like Kiwi, roses, or lavender (recently thanks to Fran) and I thought I'd use up the kiwi first. Fran had also sent me a lavender sachet that I tossed in the dryer and that worked. I love burying my face in clean linens that have that lavender scent. Yes, cheap thrills on East 87th Street. I had to do something to make up for my candy porn catalog being gone.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Brad's Kids

Brad labeled this "Pre-Sugar Shock." There are twins Madison and Josh, with their older brother in the middle.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Cool Costume

This kid uses a wheelchair and the parents built him his costume around that fact:

Happy Halloween

I've been thinking about Halloween candy today -- wanting some. I got a Miles Kimball catalog of "old fashioned candy" and haven't thrown it away yet. This catalog sells Bonomos Turkish Taffy, now at $1.99 a bar, previously 5 cents a bar when I bought it. I know it will rip out all of my dental work.

Same with Sugar Daddies. They sell those, and I would always start out sucking on it, but when it would get gooey, I'd take a bit and stretch it out... and ditto these days with the dental work. Brad told me he used to put his Sugar Daddy in the freezer. Sounds like a good way to chip a tooth these days.

Remember Cow Tails? They sell those -- theyre like caramel with the white stuff in them in long pieces. They have Bit O Honey (another favorite) and Mary Janes (another favorite)

I was never big on Necco wafers so I can pass those up.

They have Sky Bars, which I barely remember. This is a chocolate candy bar that breaks into segments and each segment has a different filling.

They have Clark Bars, another favorite -- five Clark Bars for $9.99.

Slo-Poke? I remember the name, but was never a fan.

Gummi bears? That's really another generation's and I have no interest.

OK, now here's something: Fizzies!! You dropped the Fizzy in water and it created a truly gagging flavored drink. Even as kids, we couldn't drink it.

If I could wave a wand, I'd like some Snickers, some Reese's peanut butter cups, a Clark Bar or two, and some Almond Joys. And you?