Monday, June 30, 2014

My Ongoing Beauty Makeover

I am slowly getting myself back into presentable shape. Hair is cut; still need to color. Today I got my first mani-pedi in months, along with waxing, including un-Andy Rooneying my eyebrows. It feels good to have a smooth face and shaped eyebrows.

The manicurist has a daughter in first grade and when she was here, there were little kids yelling outside, playing, and she said they are probably playing "zombies" which is all the rage. I guess one person pretends to be a zombie and scares the hell out of the others.

The other game her daughter plays is freeze tag -- which we played growing up as well. A game with logevity. How we played is the person who was "it" had to tag each other player and when you got tagged, you had to freeze in position like a statue and "it" had to turn everyone into a statue.

I have neglected shaving my legs, and that should be more of a priority. I would love to have a salt body scrub as I feel as if I have lots of dead skin cells to slough off, but I'll get to everything eventually.

A word about tipping: this woman is self-employed and in the good old days, you didn't tip the owner, but that has changed. I tipped her 20 percent and I have to say she was very grateful. She had reviewed the prices with me when I made the appointment so I had time to figure out the tip. I'm glad I did.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Loyal Visitor

This is Karen McClellan who visited me three times when I was in the rehab hospital bringing me goodies ranging from L'Occitaine beauty products to one of the best BLT's I've ever had. This is her boyfriend Dan and they're at a wedding last weekend at Martha;s Vineyard.

What I'm Reading

This is a recently published book about the death of 19 year old Michael Rockefeller in 1961. He was Nelson's son and in New Guinea to look for so-called primitive art. He was never found, but you know in the first few pages that he was killed and eaten by the locals. So the book is about the author's quest to solve the mystery of what happened to him. A subtext is the whole Rockefeller family interest in art -- I didn't know Nelson funded the first primitive art museum in  NYC. This book has been well-reviewed and I am really enjoying it.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mission Accomplished

Today was the day with Steve, my PT guy, and I made it to the corner. I had been thinking today might be the day but when I was about 20 steps away I told him I was going to stop and he said, "oh no, you can't, you're so close" and he doesn't normally say stuff like that -- mainly because I am usually the one pushing myself. So I did it and we high fived at the corner. I knew I would feel better if I made it. Then it was back again, back up the steps so maybe this weekend I'll venture out by myself. Really what we're working on now is endurance so I'll keep at it. I think I have two more visits with him.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thursday Goings On

I realized this morning when I got in the shower that I did it in a much more fluid way -- not that I struggled to get in before, but it was more of a plodding, deliberate activity. I am trying to be aware of little improvements like this as it's discouraging sometimes to feel as if I'm not making quick enough progress.

I also had my hair cut today. This is a young woman who comes to my house. She is studying accounting and has a day job in a tanning salon doing spray tans which she loves. For some reason she loves doing the spray tans. It's $70, plus tip ($15 to $20) and it lasts five to seven days. Near the end of the five to seven days, you start flaking. Glad this is something I don't do.

Of course, salacious me had to ask if people are nude or wear something. She says most people do nude -- it's half men/half women... so I said, "So you've seen a lot of men's junk, huh?" and she said "oh yeah" and I said, "Well, how is it?" and she said the gay men go nude and the straight men keep on their tighty whiteys.

I further learned that people are not modest, meaning shy about their nudity, except for women who are doing it for the first time.

At this tanning place, you tip by putting it in an envelope and she said some people are really cheap with the tips, including one who tipped her two single dollars plus change. I said if you can't afford the appropriate tip, you shouldn't do it. You also put your name on the envelope so you know who gave you what. She does the tanning contnuously all day, in 15-minute intervals so it pays well. Tips plus a base hourly salary.

Marilyn came this morning and I sent another box of books off to Brookhaven -- am really trying to cull down my books again and the woman who ran the "recreation" department really was trying to build a library.

And my new toaster and new Sonicare arrived... what a whirlwind day!

Meanwhile, Melissa is driving through Iowa, admiring the wind farms and has sent along this photo of them:

She writes: Driving through Iowa today... Not sure why, but I always think wind farms are so beautiful.. It's very green in the Midwest due to all the rain.. Makes it even prettier!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Custer's Last Stand

Today -- June 25 is the date, back in 1876 of Custer's Last Stand. I have had many enjoyable hours reading and at the actual battlefield. I don't know when or where I heard this joke, but I pass it along. Next time you meet someone from North Dakota, tell them you have a North Dakota joke, and they can't resist hearing it.

To get this joke, you have to know that General Custer and his men started off from Fort Abraham Lincoln in North Dakota, headed toward Montana.

Now the scene switches to Last Stand Hill (and it really is a hill) although the romanticized renditions of Custer fighting to the bitter end is probably not historically accurate. Some historians believe he was killed early in the battle.

So Custer says to his men, "Men, I have good news and bad news, and I'll give you the bad news first. We're goners. We are all going to be dead within minutes. There's no way out."

One of the men, really confused, said, "Gee, what's the good news?" And the General replied, "We never have to go back to North Dakota."

Ba dum.

This is a pretty good photo of what it's like. The grave markers were put where each dead body was found and there are just over 200 of them (here in this photo and elsewhere). The entire battlefiled is considered a cemetery so you can't walk on the actual battlefield. A road goes behind this photo and so there is parking up by the big marker which is a memorial to the men who died.


So my cable/tv goes out on Monday and I have to say that the withdrawal from TV was sort of pleasant -- not pleasant enough to do it more, but I enjoyed how quiet my apartment is -- It's something I always liked about my home -- in the midst of Manhattan, it's this very, very still and quiet refuge. I finished my James Patterson book; started another.

I became aware of how, when there is no TV, there is a certain freedom -- not cooking at a certain time because I want to watch a certain show -- so I enjoyed it. 

Here's my next book:

The main character is this nerdy woman who becomes obsessed with a woman who had been mean to her in college and this mean woman is now super successful, owning this lingerie company like Victoria's Secret, and hobnobbing with all the fashion world. So the main character is unemployed and starts stalking this woman -- just out of curiosity about her life.

One day she follows her into this trendy store and finds the successful woman bleeding and dead on the floor of the store. Next thing you know, our main character is visited with the police who have all this proof of her stalking the murder victim and thinks she did it. That's as far as I've gotten. It takes place in NYC and it's a light read, but I am enjoying it.

So back to cable. When I called Time Warner, the first appointment I could get on Monday was today from 8 am to 9 am. Of course, they didn't show up. No big surprise. I call the annoying phone tree, blah blah blah and am told I never had an appointment. Of course, I didn't. I hallucinated all of this.

The guy I get sounds bright and human like and he said he can try some stuff with me -- and I haul my butt over to the TV and turn it on and BINGO all is working. It healed itself. I did try two or three times yesterday and it was still "no signal."

He told me the pink screen I am getting is the fault of the TV, of newer models, and urges me to Google "pink screen." I might do that next time it happens. But for now, all's well that ends well.

About the appointment, my guy today said he believes me that I had the appointment and said that my guy on Monday probably set it up and then never pressed the "finish" button. That makes sense. I'm just glad my TV is back.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

PT for Tuesday

Steve came today and I went farther than I have ever down the block. It does feel good to be out in the world. He comes back on Friday and wants me to make it to the corner. We'll see.

On technology fronts, my TV/Cable crapped out yesterday so I have been TV-less for 24 hours. This is tough for a TV junkie like me. It sure is quiet, but I spent last night reading and I have to say I enjoy that as well. The Time Warner guy is coming tomorrow morning so hopefully I'll be back up and running then.

Cool day... well, a mild day -- sunny and in the high 70s... just plodding along doing work. Yesterday Ana went to Costco and bought me $100 worth of stuff -- I now have 30 rolls of toilet paper, some ungodly amount of paper towels, her giant size cleaning supplies, and my little treat was she bought a three-bottle package of Dove shower gel -- well, it's more like shower cream in this wonderful fresh cucumber scent. Enjoyed using it this morning in the shower. I have to laugh when I see the toilet paper. I think I'm set for the time being.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Almost Unbelievable News

Got a letter from my health insurance company -- a form letter -- to say they are applying for a change to the premium amount -- and I sighed thinking here it comes -- with my old company, the rate would go up about 7 or 8 percent a year.

However with this letter, they are applying for a DECREASE -- A 5.7% decrease. Almost couldn't believe my eyes.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Spending Spree

Today I went to Amazon and bought a few things I needed -- a new Sonicare - I kept hoping mine would somehow heal itself, but no go; extra brushheads; a travel case for it - then a toaster and then I bought a fanny pack thinking when I go to Oshkosh if I use a cane, it would be easier to have a fanny pack than have a purse slipping off my shoulder.

It was a lovely sunny Summer Solstice day -- sunny and cool. I worked through my pile of papers that I can't seem to not accumulate -- and actually found a check I hadn't cashed. It was only $200, but hell, that's $200 I didn't have.

I was telling Mary I am in dire need of a beauty makeover. My eyebrows now resemble Andy Rooney's -- Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I am thinking I will feel better once I am better groomed. So I'll tackle all that this coming week.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Activity

I think today is one of those days where all appliances break. I have had my Sonicare toothbrush for a number of years -- at least five, and I think this morning it gave out. Then I put an English muffin in the toaster and it wouldn't stay down until I really slammed it... could be time for a new toaster, but I have to say that toaster is probably more than 10 years old.

Meanwhile, Steve the PT guy, called me to say he got approval for six more visits so that's good.

It is a perfect day outside. I remember when I was in the rehab hospital I would think about being in my living room, doing work, with the garden door open and this breeze coming in and that's what I'm doing today. It's probably in the mid to high 70s, totally sunny with a breeze. Just perfect.

Meanwhile, this is what I'm reading:

This is a book of the month club selection that I missed saying no to when I was in the hospital. I have to say I like James Patterson's books, but they are so light, so formulaic, but man, so readable. My next book will be something more serious. How many books does this guy churn out anyway??

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Second Bloom

Fran writes:

The second bud of our Tilghman orchard has bloomed. Such a sweet surprise. Each time it blooms I recall good times at your cottage.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Accomplishments and Gossip

Today was PT and I had my goal of going four buildings down the block -- as I said, I was adding a bit more each time. So I got down the steps, down the block, down to the fourth building and Steve said, "Go for one more" and I did. Then back up the block, back up the steps. I told him next time to the funeral home and he said, "No, next time to the barber shop." So the barber shop is about 20 steps away from the corner and the pizza place so I'm the tortoise slowly making it to the corner.

Today was officially his last visit. He's gotten two extensions and now will apply for a third. He has to submit a report on my progress to the insurace company where you have to show I'm making progress, but not so much that I don't need PT any more. He said he will say that I have to walk to the corner (and  he paces out the distance so he can say how far I've gone in feet) so that I can get to "medical appointments."

It's all such a game.

Meanwhile, Barbara came for dinner last night and we had the reverse of what we had last time where I had a cheeseburger and she had a BLT. Last night I had the BLT and she had the cheeseburger and we shared the fries.

Ok, so on to the gossip. Steve told me that where Food Emporium used to be (at 87th and Second) is going to be a ..... ta dah!!! a TRADER JOE'S. Oh, I hope that's true. Also a Whole Foods is going in on Third Avenue between 87th and 88th. Finally, and this is sort of sad, but the building which houses Gracie's is being torn down for a big apartment building but as I mentioned earlier, Gracie's bought the coffee shop on 86th and Second and calls it Gracie's on Second.

Steve told me that Food Emporium still had the shelves and the cashiers in it, but today the store in entirely empty so whatever is coming is coming soon.

I have to say I will feel bad when the original Gracie's is torn down. I've had many a scrambled egg in that place and had such good times with people there.

Anyway, it is hot town, summer in the city today -- in the 90s.

Monday, June 16, 2014

PT Monday

Had PT at 10:30 this morning. We went outside, down the steps, down three buildings and back. My goal is to go a little farther each time. Steve comes back on Wednesday and I may try to make it all the way to the funeral home.

It was a gorgeous day today -- is supposed to get hotter and more humid tomorrow.

Fran's Orchid

I can't remember if this orchid plant is two or three years old, but I do remember Fran buying it at a farmers market... it must like its home with her. My orchid is still blooming -- not even wilted. Now it's been more than a month.

Fran says: Our Tilghman orchid is blooming. It's a double bloom. The adjacent bloom should burst forth any day now.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Two Heads are better than none...

Here are a dragon boat head from Mary's races this weekend, followed by a friend's son who got hit in the nose with his friends golf club. The kid who hit him felt bad, but I said it's really more the fault of the hittee for not standing back. I also commented the nose is cheaper than the teeth.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Finally stopped raining -- for now

When I was in Lenox Hill, someone sent me this orchid plant. When I was in ICU, I couldn't have flowers and so I only learned about the flowers I got by accident and that really annoyed me. I asked for them to at least bring me the cards, but I couldn't figure out what's what. Ana brought this orchid plant home and nurtured it. When I got home-home on May 17th, it was in full bloom as it is now. So beautiful. I think it must like the spot it's in. I had no idea the blooms would last this long.

And here are some random garden ones -- just taken from the door. Lane sent me a gardenia plant today that has lots of blooms on it... can't wait until I can smell those gardenias -- one of my favorite smells.


Happy Birthday, Fran!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, OLD (uh, in friendship tenure, not age) FRIEND!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Busy Thursday

I'm exhausted. Marilyn came today so I was busy with her. Then Steve the PT guy came and we went outside, down the steps, down the block and back. Just to make it more of a challenge, the super had just hosed down the steps and railing so it was wet. Hard to grasp a wet railing, but I did. Steve characterized it as good practice for real life. He thinks I'm doing well, right on schedule, and will be back on Monday for another trip down the block.

I am trying to think of my world as concentric circles that are getting bigger. I set the building two buildings down as my goad for today

** this was a Freudian typo -- I meant "goal" but it is true I was goading myself about it...

 and Monday  I'll get to the building three buildings down. Eventually I'll make it to the corner. I have a goal of going to the pizza place on the corner by myself for lunch.

Then the nurse practitioner came so I could renew my prescriptions. I really like this man. He took me off two prescriptions and one over the counter one (zinc something for wound care) which I was still taking. He thought I was doing well too -- heart, lungs, blood pressure (120 over 70), breathing, etc.

I have to say my legs hurt and I am tired, but I am trying to pay attention to incremental improvements. For example, last night I got up to close the garden door because it was getting chilly and I stepped outside for a few minutes -- spontaneously  -- which is a big deal... no planning it or worrying I'd get stuck out there or whatever.

So I'm getting there in baby steps.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Kindness of Strangers

So I tried the first drain guy again -- the one whose mailbox was full and got him. I told him (nicely) that his mailbox was full and he actually seemed concerned and said something to the effect that he'd take care of it.

He said he can come today, between 3 pm and 6 pm and he called me twice with updates. He called me when he was parked and one block away.

Jay did an amazing job. Almost too amazing. He wanted me to observe and explained step by step the drain and sewage system of Manhattan ("Think of the sewer as the trunk of the tree and all the drains are the branches...")

I didn't think the bathroom sink was a problem, but he did snake that too. Then he snaked the bathtub, removed the hardware... and I learned that the overflow drain and the drain-drain are two separate drains. He was snaking away, pulling up disgusting gobs of that horrid hair, and then poured this stuff called Zap which cleans the pipes. He tested the drains three full times -- filled the tub, filled the sink, let the water run for about 10 minutes and it would go right down the drain.

At the end, he said he cleared three drains and charged me $150 which I was happy to pay -- really -- and he cleaned up after himself, everything back in place, the bathtub looks as clean as when he started -- well, probably cleaner.

Then he went to the kitchen ("Don't worry; I won't charge you") because he wanted to see if the kitchen sink was OK which it is. All in all, I would rate Jay an A+

Meanwhile, he is an Italian, raised in Little Itatly, married to an Israeli (who is really beautiful -- yes, there were phone pictures shown to me). His wife wanted to live in Little Italy so they still live there. I asked him for a restaurant recommendation and he said that honestly, there are no good mom and pop Italian restaurants left. Sad really.

He said the reason is that Mexicans do all the cooking (and nothing against Mexicans; they do all the cooking everywhere). He said, "If you brought an Italian from the old country, he'd spit the food on the floor." He said that the Mexicans just don't "have the taste that Mama had." And that makes sense. If you never tasted the real thing, how would you know you're doing it right?

I had also asked him how many messages he had, and he said 40. I said there is no shortage of work for people who are honest and do what they say they are going to do. I told him that I either have incredible luck with Craigslist or never get a response. He said that's because people run ads and then try to farm the work out and if they get no takers, they don't bother responding. That makes sense (well, except for the customers.)

If you have a slow drain in the New York metropolitan area, I would definitely and without reservation recommend Jay.

Next: My slow dryer.

PS: I just glanced at the title which reminded me -- when Jay called me he wanted to make sure I was home and I told him I was temporarily housebound. In each call, he offered to pick me up something ("Do you want a sandwich?") and then when he was leaving, he said that now that I have his number I should call him if I need anything -- and he made the point "Not just drains" because he is "always in the city."

Slow Drain

Now that the water is turned on, I turned my attention to another home problem -- the shower/tub that I'm using has a very slow drain -- ankle-deep water by the end of the shower.

The same thing had happened a number of years ago in my other bathroom and after repeated, semi-monthly drano treatments that went on for too long, I finally paid someone to snake the drain and I haven't had a problem since.

So I go to Craigslist, find the drain snakers -- oh good, this is easy -- here's one -- $49.50 and he says in his ad that he is always on time and the work is guaranteed so I call him and get a voice mail saying his mail box is full. OK.

On to the next ad, sounds good, a bit cheaper, but there is absolutely no contact info -- no phone, no email, no automatic craigslist response.

How bright can you be if you run an ad with no means of responding? Guess I'll wait for the first guy to empty his mailbox.


The water is turned on. Only took three months and 20 phone calls.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hell is hot

On my drive to my client in Ohio, I pass this agricultural field with a sign that has the 10 commandments and also a big sign that says HELL IS REAL.

Today my client sent me this photo --- he was behind this guy on his way to work this morning and was wondering if this might be the same guy.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


On Thursday night, flipping around, I came to the very beginning of "All the President's Men" and I decided to watch it. Hadn't seen it in a number of years. What struck me this time, moreso than in the past, was how technology is so different. When Woodward and Bernstein came upon a new name, they'd have to ask around to see who knew the person. I just wonder how much easier it would have been if they could just Google the name and what information they would have/could have gotten from the Internet.

It was weird to see dial phones, typewriters, no computers, no cellphones, etc. At the time this was happening in real life, I was working across the street from the Washington Post building. It's still a great movie, a great plot, well worth watching every few years.

Friday, June 6, 2014

No Water Yet

The saga continues...

I called the real estate management company every day this week. Promised calls back, but nothing. Today when I called and the receptionist said the conpany name, I started in with, "What would you do to get your water turned on?"

Who is this? she said.

My physical therapist came this morning and we ventured out into the garden, down the steps and he wanted to see if I could sit down and get up from all the various chairs which I could. While out there, I personally tested the water. Ana and Marilyn had previuusly done that, while I watched, I believed them, but now I saw it for myself.

Called the management company, got the useless Erica. She had me hang on while she called the super. The super finally made an appearance. I could hear him tinkering, turning on the water and gurgle, gurlge, splash, splash... what do you know? The pipe was NEVER fixed. The super told me he had hired a plumber/welder and the guy evidently never tested to see if his plumbing/welding fixed the thing. I watched while he called the plumber/welder who is now saying he'll come Monday.

The super told me I should have called him. Kind of like, come on, we're friends. Typically that would resonate with me but I just said, "I did and my friends did and you ignored it. You said it was fixed, abnd it wasn't,"

So now we'll see what happens on Monday. The super said how nice the garden looks, how everything is growing by way of pointing out no damage has been done, and I said yes, everything is being watered by hand,

Enough on this topic!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday Night

Getting the water turned on/Part 59

Finally got through to a human being and I got so angry my hands were shaking and my heart was pounding. This woman was curt, brusque, and started, 'What can I help you with' as if this were the first phone call I had made. She later claimed that she doesn't listen to voice mail. That's the comment that put me over the top. She puts me on hold for a few minutes and comes back to claim that the water is turned on and wanted to know when is the last time I checked it. I told her yesterday, although it was actually Monday when Ana was here.

I decided I did not want to go outside by myself in my angry state, navigating the steps, turning on the water, possibly slipping so will have Marilyn check who is coming tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my 12-year old niece called me tonight to tell me about this ghostly experience she has. They live in a house that goes back to the 1700s -- parts of it do -- and also borders an old cemetery. I listened to her story and then mentioned to her that I had sent her an email -- which her father answered.  I remember being told that the father gets copies of all emails. So she is very sweet, really, but said to me in the most patient voice, 'Aunt Pat, people of my generation don't respond to emails.'
She then told me that if I wanted a response I should text her, and she promises an answer within five seconds.

Meanwhile, her birthday is Friday where she becomes a real teenager. Plans call -- of course -- for a sleepover party where you stay up all night. I know;  I feel ancient -- can't think of anything worse that purposely staying up all night. Her twin brother is having a sleepover at another date and the boys are going to sleep outside.

One good thing is that my sister's children's birthdays are easy to remember -- the oldest girl, who will be 16 has a birthday of 12/12 and the twins' birthday is 6/6. Very convenient.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dinner with Barbara

Barbara came over for dinner tonight and, after a brief discussion over Chinese vs pizza vs Sotto Cinque vs anything else, we went with the old standby: Gracie's. She had a BLT on rye toast and I had a cheeseburger and we split an order of French fires. Lemonade to drink.

Busy workday -- am proofreading a 95-page annual report so I'm sort of going crosseyed. I did find one "good" mistake -- they had distill spelled with one L at the end: Distil -- oh, I'm glad things just look wrong to me, but I did have to check it. Also, I always wrongly want to put a double N in inauguration.

Sunny day, rainy tonight, cooled everything off.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday, again

My day began with physical therapy whereby I walked to the front door of my building, down the steps, down the block a bit and back. It felt good to be out in the world. I get impatient sometimes with the  pace of progress and even though the rational side of me knows I've made leaps and bounds (ok, not literally), I'm tired of being not 100%. I really do like my physical therapist and he has five more insurance-paid for visits.

Just for annoyance, I am still trying to get the faucet in my garden turned on. It's only been two months, a half dozen phone calls to the super, two phone calls to building management company and then today I got angry. It takes a lot to get me that way, but I just plain don't know what else to do.

Brad was telling me today about ordering a dining room table that came with four chairs, and they ordered two extras which were supposed to come in 10 to 12 weeks. You know, you believe them, you say OK, you say OK, I can wait, but that time has come and gone with all the BS promises of "Oh, any day now" or "Your chairs are on the truck" blah blah blah. He went to the store on Sunday and forced them to admit they have no idea whatsoever when the chairs may be here. He asked, "Is that your final position?" and they said yes, and he asked for that in writing. Meanwhile, another customer who had spent way more money was having the same problem.

I don't know what the takeaway is -- don't believe anything a store tells you? We decided that we should check the store out before making a purchase, for when he Googled it, he found a bunch of customers in various phases of litigation. Why does this all have to be so tedious and difficult?

Anyway, today was a gorgeous early summer (late spring??) day and I am happy to be alive and well and living in New York City.