Monday, August 31, 2015

My Other Nephew

This is Nigel McClellan with his Christmas present from Aunt Pat  (can't remember if the toy is a fuzzy monkey or a fuzzy dog). Please no one say they see a family resemblance!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Guilty Pleasure TV

There's a show on soon which I really enjoy watching called "Catch a Contractor." It's a reality show on Spike TV (which I think is for young men) and Adam Corolla and this other experienced contractor get a family who have been totally screwed by a contractor. These are situations where middle class people have paid thousands of dollars and been left with crappy, unfinished, unsafe work.

So the guys use a private investigator, set up a sting to lure the bad contractor on the premise they need a quote for a job... and once he's in the "sting house," they confront him. I don't typically like gotcha things like this, always end up feeling sorry for the guy, but not in this case.

So the contractor is given the choice to pay back the money, redo the work, or get sued. So far they have always chosen to redo the work, with experienced contractors helping.

Last week there was a line that I swear made me giggle, and I laughed at it all week. They were showing the dumb contractor (and he really was dumb as a box of rocks) a blueprint they'd made and asked him sarcastically if he'd ever seen a blueprint... the contractor looked at the blueprint and Adam said, "You remind me of a pigeon looking at a Rubik's cube." I don't know why that struck me as so funny, but it did.

Other than that, it was a beautiful weekend with my AC on and off all weekend because it just wasn't that hot. That's suposed to change and I just heard a few minutes ago that it has started raining which is good. That means I don't have to hobble out to water the garden.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday Evening

Hadn't realized I haven't posted all week and basically I had nothing in particular to say. I did finish the Las Vegas book and really enjoyed it. Marilyn came on Wednesday and she cleaned off the top of my refrigerator -- I have a bad habit of just sticking things there, and now it's all clear. I also had her clean out the lint trap in my dryer and she got this wad of lint the size of a football. No wonder my clothes were taking two or three cycles to dry.

I thought this would be an easy week workwise, but just as you think that, the universe says, "oh really?" and slams you. So I'm glad tomorrow is Friday. The weather has been lovely -- haven't had the air conditioner on all day and it's just so pleasant to just have the garden door open and nice fresh air (well, as fresh as NYC air can be.)

Started reading "Mistress of Nothing" which is a very odd book, but I am enjoying it. Based on a true story, it's about a fancy woman and her lady's maid in the 1860s who go from England to Egypt because of the woman's health... she needs to be in a dry climate... and she leaves her family behind and they are living in Luxur, and the longer they're away, the more their strict roles and rules fall away. Now both of them have stopped wearing their English clothes and are dressing like Egyptians and calling each other by their first names.

Trouble is brewing however as the "spinster" lady's maid (she's only 30) has started her first relationship with a local man and she got pregnant by him and they don't know how to tell "my Lady." Unusual story and interesting.

Here's what Amazon says... spoiler alert on myself... guess the maid has the baby!

Based on the real Lady Duff Gordon's journey to Egypt with her maid in the mid-19th century, Pullinger's novel brings a broiling desert landscape to life through the eyes of the working classes. Maid Sally Naldrett jumps at the opportunity to travel to the Middle East with her lady, but her fairy tale grows even more exquisite when she falls in love with the lady's interpreter and guide, Omar. The blithe domestic scene takes a turn for the worse when Sally becomes pregnant, much to Lady Duff Gordon's disappointment. As Egypt's lower classes rise up against the tyrannical khedive, Sally's position grows tenuous, forcing her to fend for herself and her half-English, half-Egyptian child in Cairo, a budding tourist town quickly shedding its history. Incorporating actual quotes from the real Lady Duff Gordon's letters, and endowing Sally with tremendous character, Pullinger successfully imagines an ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

What I'm Reading

I do remember why and how I bought this book. Fran had given me a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card one year at Christmas which I put aside, somehow "saving" it for something. Fast forward to June and I unearthed the card by accident and thought it was high time to spend it. It turned out for the best as B&N was having this amazing on line sale where hundreds of paperbacks were reduced to one or two dollars. I think I ended up getting six books, plus free shipping. I love a deal!

So I had just seen a program on 20/20 or Dateline about this group of MIT students who had a system for winning in Vegas. Quite interesting and so this was one of my picks. And there it sat on the bookshelf...Now I've picked it up and am finally enjoying it. Thanks, Fran!

Friday, August 21, 2015

When did I turn into a cat blogger?


Mary writes:

First is Milo next to me. You can see how restless he is in his sleep, probably because he worries about being a burden to me.  The other one is what Milo does when I leave my lunch dishes on the porch to take a phone call.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Where did the week go?

I don't know why some weeks speed by, like this one... and I don't have much to report. Yesterday I tackled three procrastination items:

1. I signed up for the Medicare supplemental plans which you'd have to be a genius to understand. There is no way any average person could grasp all the nuances and ins and outs of these plans, but I had a helpful person and think I chose correctly.
2. I made out a new check to pay for my apartment maintenance since the first check never arrived and I got a letter I was in arrears. Rather than calling the management company, which I thought would just annoy me, and my only motivation would be to plead that I'm not a deadbeat. So I just wrote a new check to mail today. However, first thing this morning, I got a routine email from Citibank saying this check had cleared (I get alerts when a check I write clears.) So luckily I didn't mail the second one.
3. I did more research over this "found money" that I got a notice about... I can't even go into the dozens of frustrating phone calls, phone trees, unreturned calls etc about this money and I am now about 95% sure that I already rolled this money over into my SEP. I got this really helpful person who really went the extra mile for me.

Now that I write these out, it doesn't seem like much, but these are the things I berate myself about when I get up at night to go to the bathroom. Somehow they all seem more serious at 3 am than they do in the morning. Mary had written me how she had tackled her procrastination items so it motivated me to tackle my own.

So our mini-heatwave is passed, hallelujah... but we're waiting for rain.

And, from Fran, she sends this along:

Spotted Mr. Bunny on Albemarle Street today. Thought he was a statue, then he twitched and moved.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fran Says Valentino Will Have Me

Even though Holly the cat may have rejected me, Fran assures me that I have a friend in Valentino. She writes:

 I enjoyed your reaching out to other species. No two cats are alike. So don't feel rejected. Just want you to know that Valentino would let you touch his paw, but only if you first rub his belly.
Notice his mane...ain't he cool?

Saturday with the Family

Rented a car and drove out to Long Island... first I took a sentimental journey looking at old haunts, which mostly didn't exist any more or were gated and locked up. I kept thinking of that line, :"You can't go home again."

But then it was to my sister's house where we talked, then looked at hundreds of photographs and scrapbooks, followed by Chinese food, followed by a game of Tabu (Charlotte and I won) and then ice cream. Bad thing was I left too late to turn the car back in so I'll pay for it (literally) tomorrow, including overnight parking. Just lost track of time.

So on with the photos:

This is Charlie, a rescue dog, who barks but also talks. He's also a great licker. That was my welcome as I sat there and he licked my hands.
Louisa with the Christmas rescue kitty which has grown. This is Holly who is pretty skittish. Only wants to be touched by certain people, not me, and when I touched her paw, she made it clear I was not to do that again.

Clark with the other Christmas rescue kitty named Oliver. This one is more friendly. Also, when I went to use the (ahem) powder room, I had left the door partly open because it was in an empty part of the house and I look up from my seated position to see Oliver staring at me. Turns out he likes to watch people use the toilet, and I was no exception. 

Me and the twins, Louisa and Clark

Me and Charlotte who will be going into 11th grade... she took part in a summer program for three weeks at Woods Hole (marine biology place in Mass) since she wants to be a marine biologist.

Louisa reading a letter to us that she got from a friend at summer camp about hauntings and ghosts and the camp.

And one last photo of Charlotte.

Friday, August 14, 2015

When Things Work...

This morning I realized some of my prescriptions were about to run out, so I called the number on the prescription bottle and went through the auto-press to renew five prescriptions. Requested delivery. All went well. Then at 5 pm, my buzzer rang... could it be?

Yes, I opened the front door and got a whiff of lavender (body spray of the delivery woman) with my five prescriptions all ready and delivered to my front door. This shouldn't be an amazing story, but it is to me. Sometimes things work the way they are supposed to.

On other topics, I am really enjoying my true crime book... I really love being engrossed in a book that is so well written. Nothing better.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What I'm Reading

I am on a mission to read every book I bought but never read. A few years back I read a quote that was something like, "When we buy a book, we are actually buying the time to read that book." I must have felt that way as I still have many books I have bought and not read, but I'm getting there.

Now I've gone from semi-classy classic Edith Wharton back to my true crime. I had followed this murder when it was ongoing -- many tv shows like 48 Hours, Dateline, etc. about it... so I think I avoided this book because I "already knew" about it. But this author is good, extremely detailed and I've learned a lot I didn't know.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"I'm not that poor."

Today Marilyn told me she's going to make me a sign that says, "I'm not that poor" because I say it a lot. I am the first to declutter, but not without a struggle sometimes.

For example, I had this pair of perfectly good sheets -- only problem was the elastic of the fitted sheet bit the dust so the bottom sheet always came out at night and I'd end up having to remake the bed as if I had changed the sheets all the time... but the sheets were still "good" -- no holes, rips, stains, etc. and I finally said "I'm not that poor" and put them in a shopping bag of sheets, towels etc that go to the animal shelter.

Today Marilyn was here and I have this large frying pan where the teflon coating on the bottom was flaking up and I'd still use it... heck, it still fried... and I told myself I'm giving myself some horrid disease and said, "I'm not that poor" and had Marilyn buy me a new one. She was teasing me, and I said, "Look, I didn't ask you to make the old one into a planter or anything" and she agreed there are people who would do that.

My parents survived the Great Depression and their thrifty habits rubbed off on me. My father would turn the ketchup bottle upside down to get the last bit, and I do that with shampoo, conditioner, etc. I still couldn't throw away shampoo if I could get one more wash out of it. Same with toothpaste. I squeeze that tube within an inch of its life.

So I'm not that poor. That's my mantra for today.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cool Guy Sun

Fran writes:

You gotta love children's sidewalk's a sunglassed Mr. Sun, who is very wise to protect his eyes from UV rays. (Seen on Harrison St.) 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

50 Years of Friendship

Not only have I started getting emails about my 50 year high school reunion (summer of 2017) -- yes, all I can say is YIKES I AM OLD... but September 2017 will also be the 50th anniversary of my meeting Mary and Michelle. Yes, it was September of 1967 and I was 16 years old. I always like saying that to rub in what a child prodigy I was... but as I'm sure I've mentioned, the three of us all lived next door to each other in the dormitory...with other roommates... I had two roommates: one was a cheerleader type, one was this nasty old thing. Michelle who was the sophisticated sophomore was rooming with a friend... and Mary, as a freshman, also had two roommates... one was a semi wildchild from Florida and one was just plain weird.

This weird one was an early adapter to being a vampire and I don't know what else to say other than she had "issues."

So the three of us have remained fast friends. I thought it would be fun to have some sort of celebration and go to a fancy restaurant for dinner in DC... a real splurge... which morphed into going to a place where we used to go as college girls, but we couldn't find one restaurant (or business) for that matter that was still open.

Then I found an article in the Washington Post about DC restaurants that have been around for more than 50 years so we'll pick one of those.

Today, the man who is always the high school reunion leader sent out a list of kids who were dead. It was quite sobering to read it -- some of them I had been quite close to in high school... for 49 years, there's "only" about a dozen people on the list which isn't too bad.

It did make me grateful that my name wasn't on that list. Makes my aches and pains seem not so terrible!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What I'm Reading

I'm about halfway through this. I can't say I am loving it -- the prose gets kind of labored at times, but every so often she crafts an amazing sentence.

And my Sherlock Holmes book arrived today.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Birthday Year of 1961

Today is my little sister's birthday. As a coincidence, she was born on the same day and the same year as President Obama. July 30th was also Lane's birthday and I asked her today how old she is and when she told me, I said that she must have been born in 1961, the same year as my sister.

So what's special about the year 1961? Lane didn't know so I told her... way back then, I was 11 years old and read that 1961 was a year that looked the same right side up as upside down. Before that, the last year with that characteristic was 1881.

I told Lane it was my first glimpse of mortality... as I remember reading that the next year that reads the same upside down as it does right side up is 6009. I knew I wouldn't be around in 6009 and I was like "wow, I'm gonna die before then."  Quite surprising for an 11-year old to think about.

My friends have the best looking kids!

This is Sofie, Barb D's granddaughter, who will be a big sister to a new baby brother who is arriving in January.