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.