Monday, May 30, 2016

What I'm Reading

I bought this one used at Amazon, based on a recommendation from a Stephen King Tweet. He said the book scared him which is a fairly decent recommendation. So far -- and I'm about 150 pages in, it really isn't that scary, but maybe I'll eat my words.

Here's what Amazon says:

A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

Really NIce Story

Last Monday, Ana told me how she was going to her daughter Corina's college graduation on Friday so today I asked how it went, and she told me (eventually I figured out what she was tellig me) is that Corina graudated summa cum laude. The ceremony was at Madison Square Garden.

Whatever university official presented Cornia with the summa cum laude designation talked about her and then asked, "Where are the mother and the father?" and Ana and her husband stood up in Madison Square Garden (saw photos!) and got a standing ovation. Corina talked about how hard it was to work nights and then go to school at 8 am. and thanked her parents.

Their other daughter Vanessa has a master's degree in Accounting and works at Pfizer. She is married with an adorable little boy.

When Ana and I were looking at the photos on her phone, she started crying again -- she told me she cried for two days... Corina had told her parents she had a surprise for them, but didn't tell them what. I was getting misty-eyed myself thinking of this American Dream coming true. Two hard working parents who really did sacrifice for their kids to give them a better life... Mission Accomplished! I told Ana how proud she must be to have two such accomplished daughters. I am so happy for her.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Barbara's Paperweight Collection

We both collect paperweights, but different kinds. Barbara collects ones with real flowers... and they are pictured below. The other day I was looking at my paperweights and saw one I'd never seen before. It is about five inches high and looks like a real jellyfish is inside. I have zero memory of this paperweight or how I got it. All I can think of is maybe when I was in the hosptial someone gave it to me... if you did, it's beatiful... and funny that I never noticed it before. I don't believe I bought it, and I don't have a memory of it as a gift... and looking below, Barbara has more than I do!

Anyway, Barbara says:

This weekend I gathered, cleaned, and rearranged my paperweight collection and I thought you'd like a picture.  I have decided to really STOP, since the table is full.  (Of course this vow is being made by a collecting addict, so understand that it is one day at a time.)

Finally My Garden is Finished

I hired the same woman who did my garden last year, and she was about 80% finished. told me she'd return in 4 days, didn't, emailed her a reminder about a week later, no answer, then waited two weeks and sent her a terse email asking for a partial refund. Hmmmm... that got her attention. That was Friday and she came today all apologetic, how she's had a "crazy month" --- yeah, join the club. The good thing is that, by way of apology, I got (according to her) a little extra. The best new, though, is that I must say I really like her work -- her aeasthetic -- so I am as of right now a happy camper.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Totally Stupid Question

I'm watching Jeopardy and even though I'm by myself, I shout out the answers so I can show off to myself how smart I  am.

By coincidence,, a few times I said the answer simultaneously with the contestant... which reminded me as a girl when a friend and I said the same thing we'd lock pinky fingers, shake them like you shake hands, make a wish (silently) and then say:

What comes out of the chimney? Smoke!
Yours and my wish will never be broke.

Which brings me to another memory. Riding at night with a girlfriend and her siblings with parent driving, we saw an oncoming car with only one headlight and the kids (except me) shouting some word like "doodlebug" and the kids started punching each other (including me). Turned out that was a family traditon and they were surpirsed I had never heard of it.

Anything to add to either of these?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

What I'm Reading

I gave up on my Civil War women in Washington DC book by Cokie Roberts when I came to the conlcusion I was just reading and not enjoying it. The problem, as I diagnose it, is that the part about the actual women is very interesting, but in order to put them in context she goes into these long, not very interesting American Hisotry 101 explanations and she's really not good at that.

So I needed some trash reading... and found this on Amazon for one cent plus shipping.

Note that this is the author who wrote The First Wive's Club which I read years ago (but still love the movie.) It's about five people all working on their manuscripts trying to have a bestseller in the dog-eat-dog world of NY book publishing. Each chapter advances one of these author's storyline.

So yes, it's fun and interesting and trashy and I'm enjoying it -- am on about page 100.

Monday, May 16, 2016

One Last Birthday Photo... from Fran

Here is Mary and her birthday desert.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Barbara's Garden

She says:

This weekend spring has finally sprung in northwest CT.   In my garden the bleeding hearts are abloom, one of my favorite flowers.

Mary asks, "Could he get any closeer?"

This is Milo and Mary. Fran calls it the "feline choke hold."

Saturday, May 14, 2016


The other day, with commencement addresses in the news, graduations, etc., I was thinking about how my parents wanted me to go to a college other than American University where I went. That was not their first choice for me. Anyway, I went to where I wanted to go, which surprises me that I made that decision. But what I was thinking is that if I had not gone to AU, I would never have met Mary and I honestly and sincerely can't imagine my life without her.  So HappyBirthday Mary!!!!!!!!!!


Fran says this is Valentino's "Where's my food?" look.

Friday, May 13, 2016

But wait, there's more...

Washington DC has had 15 days staight of measurable rain... and today the sun came out. Fran sent this as evidence:

(It's raining again in NY. As I said to Mary last night, the positive side is we don't have to water!)

Two Exciting Events

My life is so dull that I'm excited that my bathroom tub drain got snaked today. No more showers with ankle deep water.

But wait, there's more:

Fran's shopping cart shows her conjoined twin carrots:

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Yes, I'm still alive...

Nothing of much consequence has happened lately, which is good. I'm still slogging my way through the Cokie Roberts book, waiting for spring to arrive. I had two people come to do my garden on Monday and I didn't take any photos since it's been rainy and cold all week, but hopefully I can take some tomorrow. It's a woman gardener who is kind of artsy fartsy, and I like her and she told me how this year (she did my garden last year too) is more "structural" -- I don't really know what that means. One thing I'm waiting for is she promised me jasmine... couldn't find any last year -- and I just love the smell... could just stick my face in the shrub and inhale... so she's going to stop by.

She and her male helper had arrived from Pennsylvania where they'd gone to a nursery and I told them they were free to use the restroom if they wanted. The man said, "I just may take you up on that." Thirty seconds later he came inside and I told him he'd have more privaccy in the bathroom downstairs (which Ana does keep clean since I don't use it these days) Well, he was down there for like 15 minutes and I'm thinking Ewwwww.

The other garden related event is that I had my yearly struggle with the building management to have the outside water spigot turned on. I called a week ago, then five days later and then when Marilyn came on Thursday I asked her what her strategy would be. She said "squeaky wheel" so I called the management company who employs the super (the first two calls had been to the super) and was really pretty aggressive and angry sounding. Said I pay $1500 a month maintenance and I have one request a year and this is it. So within an hour the water was turned on which sort of irritated me more... I'm not a nasty person and I feel like "just do your job --no more no less." It's getting me angry again remembering it.

So the first full sunny day I'll take some photos of my structural garden.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Ending the Weekend with Angelina

Fran says she is Angelina's favorite bed.