Monday, June 26, 2017

50th Reunion Report

I could tell 100 different anecdotes about this weekend, but the bottom line is that I am glad I went and had a good time. The last reunion I went to was 15 years ago and I had some trouble recognizing people. My class wasn't that big -- 167 people. Everyone seemed grateful to be there and really basking in these lifelong friendships.

There was a sense that we grew up in a really special place, which is true in a stable community so that many of us were classmates from kindergarten on. At one event, a teacher who taught third grade showed up and it must be a very strange experience to see your former third graders as senior citizens. I didn't have her, but my younger sister did and adored this teacher-- and that's pretty much how everyone felt about her.

I have such random memories of individual kids (that's what I still call them) and at Saturday's dinner, this kid who I was never friends with was at my table... but I did have this memory of him that he had this lunchbox while the rest of us (and the table agreed) had to carry our lunch in a paperbag. Believe it or not, he remembered this lunch box -- it was a Davy Crockett lunch box and old Davy was an iconic figure of our youth, including a tv show... and he said that it was even cooler than the lunchbox... his uncle was a furrier and made him a REAL Davy Crockett hat.

Anyway, I did have a great time!

Here's what one day old looks like...

This is Baby Lily, Mary's latest great niece who was born last night. Mother and baby doing fine.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Senior Prom

This is my niece from her senior prom... didn't have a date-date, but she went with a group of kids which somehow seems more sensible than the Noah's Ark scene we endured. There was a girl in my class whose date stood her up (somebody's cousin from out of town) for the junior prom and she showed up with her father who was a policeman and he wore his uniform and they had their photo taken as if they were a couple. You may disagree, but I think that was not a good idea.

So here's Charlotte on the left:

And the group:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Celebraing Solstice

Barbara and I rang in the Solstice or whatever you do with it with a celebratory dinner of lobster rolls, "house-cut" fries and cole slaw. For some reason, it was especially good tonight and neither of us left a crumb.

So here's to a great summer.

On Friday, I'm going to my 50th high school reunion... I should have a few good stories from that.

Monday, June 19, 2017

History Lesson

Ate something that disagreed with me and was up for about two hours last night with multi-trips to the bathroom. Was telling Lane about it this morning and said, "At least I had a flush toilet. I always think of women who had to run to the outhouse or crouch over a chamber pot.." To which she replied, "Well what did they do for toilet paper?"

Silence and we both thought about that one...

An hour or so later, I received my history lesson from Lane...

Your misadventure did prompt me to research some of the history of toilet paper…

The greeks used pieces of stone and clay.

The Romans apparently used a sponge at the end of a stick — which was communally used by everyone. Yippee. Kept in a bucket of heavily salted seawater when not in use.

Earliest use of paper for the task was the chinese (of course) — 1391, the Emperor of the Song dynasty ordered 2’ x 3’ sheets of paper for his toilet purposes. But apparently, the Chinese before then were already using random sheets of paper.

Queen Elizabeth I’s godson invented the flush toilet in 1596, but not toilet paper to go with it.

In Colonial times here, the item of choice was corncobs. At some point, that switched to old magazines and newspapers. Apparently, the reason the Farmer’s Almanac had a hole in the upper left corner was so it could be hung in the outhouse after reading it, for “other uses.”

It wasn’t until 1857 that Joseph Gayety invented commercial toilet paper. “Gayety’s medicated paper" was available until the late 1920s, with his name watermarked on the sheets.

Imagine last night with clay, stones, or corn cobs. Makes the current set-up seem so civilized and comfy, doesn’t it?

Okay, school’s out for the day. Hope you feel better.

I have fully recovered thanks to a flush toilet and soft toilet paper.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mary's Hydrangeas

She's enjoying her new blooms this here. Here it's a rainy windy day -- really stormy.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Catching up with Price Increases

One area where I have not updated my mental image of what things cost is greeting cards. With the stupid and outrageous prices of greeting cards, I've taken to wrting notecards instead. But my niece is graduating from high school next week and today I asked Marilyn to buy a graduation card. I totally trust Marilyn with prices -- and, in fact, she has quite a knack for finding bargains for me -- but not with this card.

When she came back from errands, I looked at the card, which I really like, and it is something I'd pick out myself... It's a nice card, a big card, but it's not a musical card or something that has some amazing graphic or anything... When I flipped it over to look at the price, just out of curiosity, this darn card cost $5.79. Ridiculous. I said so to Marilyn, NOT in a blaming way to her but more of a I don't believe this, shaking my head way. She said that the price is in the mid-range -- there were cards more expensive than this one.

Anyway, I also had her buy a gift card for my niece and I told Marilyn that I have officially surrendered to gift cards... years ago, you'd give a high school grad a piece of jewelry or a fountain pen or something sentimental and permanent, but not these days. Oh well, it's easier to do the gift card.

Happy Birthday, Gwenyth

who is all of six years old today!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Computer Madnesss

Just now, out of the blue, my computer started making this large buzzing sound, the screen froze and I got the almost-blue screen of death. This one has a frowny face and says "Your computer has encountered a problem" -- it then goes to a screen that says something like 'we're checking; don't turn off your computer."

It is so darn hard to sit there and not try to turn off the computer, press ESC or do anything. The same "we're checking" screen was on for about five minutes... then it started doing updates, then it started again with updates and I was literally sitting on my hands so I wouldn't try to speed up the process. I was able to just sit there while it slowly worked its way through whatever it was. Then I had the slowest restart ever... but man, there is no better sight than how your screen is supposed to look when all is well.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Getting harder and harder to keep up

Here's what I learned today: the meaning of breadcrumbing

I asked a friend if he knew what it meant and he thought for a few seconds and then quietly answered: Not getting lost in the woods?

So I received a spam email about how to deal with breadcrumbing... (a vacuum cleaner?) but here's what it is:

If you’re active in social media circles and in the online dating game, you’ve probably ran into issues with breadcrumbing—the act of sending flirtatious, but non-committal messages (breadcrumbs) that end with you never meeting the person in real life. This new social media and online dating trend is both annoying and frustrating for the person being breadcrumbed. Think of it as the new ghosting.

I had heard of ghosting because I watch MTV's "Catfish" --ghosting is when the person simply disappears with no explanation.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Don't cough...

I was activating a new ATM card just now and it was all automated and easy and just as I was finished I made the mistake of coughing -- just once. That activated the auto-voice to go nuts with options ("I'm sorry, I didn't understand what you said...") and I would have hung up, but I wasn't sure if my card was actually activated or if there were one final step... so that eventually led me to being connected to a live person where I had to go through all the security questions only to be told that yes, my card had been activated.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Don't tell Milo...

Mary is at her sister's house and says that Buddy has temporarily replaced Milo as a CNN-watching companion.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Happy Birthday to Clark and Louisa

Today was my niece and nephew's 16th birthday and I had a long talk with Louisa. I told her that I think these are the most difficult years of your life as you're becoming your own person but you still live under your parents' rule. I think it's a tough time to be a kid. She also told me her arguments with Trump-supporters at school and how she gets into verbal battles with them and how they have no arguments back other than telling her she has no sense of humor.

Meanwhile I asked my sister if she has memories of today 16 years ago and she remembers having to stop to use the toilet on the way to the hospital, but both kids arrived at 12:35 pm (afternoon). Louisa also told me she grew up thinking of Obama as a "second father" so you can imagine her (and our) disappointment.

The sense of humor accusation came when kids were talking about racist and homophobic memes they thought were funny -- "come on, this is funny" and she doesn't think so... these memes are from an app call iFunny and I strongly supported her on that. It makes me sad that kids still think that crap is funny.

I told her this story about her grandmother and grandfather (my parents) from when I was in college. My father was being fitted for new business suits and the tailor was really gay and was measuring him and commented favorably about the muscles in my father's legs in a flirty way and my mother, who was standing there, thought it was sweet and funny and was teasing him about it and I remember my father just shaking his head and smiling... and that's how you grow up not thinking that kind of stuff is funny.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Feeling Powerless

Today Ana presented me with a problem she needed help with. She sent a package to someone in Spain but it was misdirected to Mexico and she couldn't get any farther than that. Luckily she had insured it for $200 and had all the paperwork.

She went in person to the post office several times, was told she'd have to talk to a supervisor, but each time was told the supervisor was "busy." She said to me in a way I understood to mean that she was disrespected because she doesn't speak English well -- which I am sure is true.

So I attempted to solve it... called all the 800-numbers I could find with the most annoying phone trees... I could get as far as inputting the tracking # only to be told automatically that the package had cleared customs in Mexico on a certain time and date... followed by "Is there anything else I can help you with?"

I tried every trick I knew to get a live person to no avail. Finally I was lucky enough to find an actual non-800 number for the local post office where she had mailed the package. In the meantime I tried to "file a claim" on line only to be prompted to enter my username and password. I let the phone ring at East 85th St post office for about five minutes -- really - I wasn't giving up.

I got a woman who basically told me there was nothing she could do. She said that the package must have been coded wrong leaving East 85th St facility and she tracked it along the way, all the way to Mexico customs, where the tracking ended.

She told me "my friend" should come to the post office in person and I said that had already happened a few times and how she had been told the supervisor was busy and how my friend felt as if she wasn't take seriously because she didn't speak English well. I said this all matter of factly.


I was then told in no uncertain terms that they are under no obligation to have a Spanish-speaking clerk at any window and that "your friend really should speak English."

It infuriated me. And what's funny is that I really don't feel that strongly about bi-lingualism... maybe because it never affected me. Beside the horrid attitude about how Ana "really should" speak English, the bottom line is that no one cares about this package. The woman kept trying to get me to go to the website, call another number, etc.

So now Ana has given up on finding the package and will file a claim and maybe when they have to pay they'll look into it more. Luckily she has all the paperwork.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Milo Kicks off Summer...

... with his favorite food...

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Mary Resists

Mary took part in the Rally for Truth today in DC and I emailed her that I heard the people were spelling out "Investigate Trump" with their bodies, and she responded:

Yes, they did. There were too many people for the letters so I ended up with the crowd forming a circle around the whole thing.  I should be in the middle, a couple rows back, with a straw hat and a blue tee shirt.

So I haven't seen that photo yet, but it would be quite cool to be able to pick her out.


She posted this to her Facebook:

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Fun Lunch

Mary and Barb came over for lunch today. Mary was in town to go see Bette Middler in Hello Dolly (with Barb) and they didn't have enough superlatives to describe the show. I saw it years ago -- I think during college -- and Carol Channing played Dolly.

So they stopped at Tal Bagels... and we all had absolutely delicious bagel sandwiches. We all commented on how wonderful truly fresh food is... from the bagels to the meat and lettuce... all good. And we had hamantaschen for dessert. Here's what Bon Apetit says about them:

Jewish pastries are often dry. They are often stale. And they often involve poppy seeds for no discernible reason. And yet, despite often suffering from all of these afflictions simultaneously, hamantaschen retain some charm, because they are fun to fold and are meant to resemble little hats. Who doesn't love little hats?

Then they stuck around to watch Trump in the Rose Garden which I thought might be fun to watch with two friends, but it wasn't. We were all just pissed off. So Mary took the train home, has now arrived safely, with bagels in tow for Fran... and Milo was happy to see her.

Monday, May 29, 2017

One Military Relative

This Memorial Day seems more solemn than others have to me. Many people are naming specific relatives who died in military service. This is something I put together for another reason but thought I'd share the story of my great Uncle John:

My maternal grandmother’s sister, Dorothea, was a widow by the time I met her. Her husband, John, served in World War I and was mustard-gassed. When he came home from the war, he worked as a plumber, but the effects of the mustard gas eventually killed him in the 1930s. 

When I knew Aunt Dorothea, she lived in La Porte, Indiana, and she was one independent woman. She had worked her way up to a supervisor at the telephone company, which was one of the few places that would hire and promote women. She also owned her own home which is quite an accomplishment for a single woman in the 1950s. I remember her as smoking Lucky Strikes, just a funny, vibrant, outspoken woman. She introduced me to tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches on white bread. 

When we would visit, there were no toys and I would amuse myself by sitting on her enclosed sun porch in the front of her house, in one of those green wicker chairs looking through her stacks of Readers Digests. I never read the articles, just the little bits of jokes and anecdotes.

But back to her husband John.   
She had a framed photo on this little table outside the bathroom door, on a crocheted doily, of her sitting on a swing and Uncle John pushing her. I was fascinated by that photo. I got up my courage once and asked her why she didn’t get married again, and she just laughed as if that were a really stupid question and told me she already had the best husband she could have had and didn’t want or need another.

Ezra growing up fast

Barb says:

He is finally walking and all of a sudden he looks like such a big boy...

Garden on a gloomy Monday

It's only in the 50s, raining on and off, but here's my garden...

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Now I have a beautiful garden

Guilermo was due at noon today to garden. He called to say he was on his way and arrived around 11 which was fine with me. He brought a helper. They did a beautiful job, and I couldn't be happier. Really. I was thinking how great it is to have someone show up, do what they're supposed to do in a way that pleases me. He even took all the empty containers/garbage with him. He even brought his own broom and swept. I'll post photos tomorrow.

Friday, May 26, 2017

News Flash: My sister and I are related!

I had given my sister and her husband DNA kits from for Christmas and they just now got the results. On my sister's, it told her that she was related to me (since I'm in their DNA datapool). I didn't have any doubt, of course, but it's fascinating to me that science can determine that.

Meanwhile her husband was adopted and he didn't have any surprises either...but it's interesting to know from whence you sprang.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Q&A on Words

Barbara has her PhD in linguistics so when a word question comes up, such as today, I ask her.

My question:

in regard to the montana incident, I saw a tweet that said something like "he really wailed on that guy" and I thought no, it's WALED and no definitions meaning "beat up" or "walloped" appeared for either spelling... then I checked WHALED and that wasn't it either.
do you know which one it is?

Her answer:

In my trusty Webster's 2nd, "whale" can mean to thrash, and it gives "wale" as another spelling -- maybe because when you lash someone with a whip, you make stripes on them that look like wide wale corduroy.  To me, saying "he really whaled/waled on that guy"  can also be just extremely screaming at someone, doesn't have to be physical.   I think it might be cognate with welt, too.

"Buffalo Babies"

That was the subject line of the first email I opened this morning... scanned the list and I picked that one. We all have different commutes to work. Marilyn came this morning (late) because she was stuck on the subway for an hour not moving... due to a fight where the police were called... luckily she had a seat -- others were standing and we were able to communicate so I knew of the delay.

But on the brighter side of commuting... this is from a friend in Denver who wrote me:

Every morning on my way to work I take a little detour through a small mountain park we have near the house. I call it my "serenity drive" and I've been doing it every morning for years - as it kind of clears my head before diving into the craziness of the day.

This morning, the buffalo herd was down from their winter pasture, and they had a raft of new babies. They were so cute and peaceful - and thought you might enjoy seeing them too.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Arrived in the Mail

After seeing Martin Short on TV recently, I went to Amazon and bought a used copy of his memoirs called "I Must Say" -- after his Ed Grimley character. I read the first few pages where he talks about how Ed came to be. When he and his wife had a fight, she would ask to speak to Ed who was the kinder, wiser version of Martin. He would talk to her as Ed and they'd sort out their problem and the character built from there. It was a very sweet story.

The other surprising thing is when I opened the book, it's autographed by Martin. There is a bookplate in there with his signature on it... all that from a used Amazon copy! I bet no one noticed.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Trying (successfully) to make me jealous

Those two mean girls, Fran and Mary, felt obliged to make me jealous by bragging about their beauty routine followed by Red Lobster. God, do I want a lobster taco!

Fran says:

Not only are we beautiful with plucked eyebrows lips and chins, but we are at Red Lobster. I'm now trying to snatch a  warm cheddar biscuit from Mary, who obviously plans to eat all of them before her lobster taco lunch..

So far, so good

Guillermo the gardener was due here at 11-30. He called at 11:32 to say he was on his way and would be there in 10 minutes, which he was. He checked everything out, gave me a reasonable quote, asked me if there were any colors I didn't want (orange -- I tend to go for pinks and purples) and he's coming back on Saturday at noon to do the job.

No word from gardener #1.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Critical Updates

Despite Barbara's advice (see comment in previous post) which I actually hadn't seen, I posted to Thumbtack which is where Marilyn gets her clients. I decided I want a place where you can give feedback. So I posted the job last night, was told by email I'd get 3-5 quotes, got one, and I just called the guy-- Guillermo -- who is coming to take a look tomorrow at 11:30.

Book: I'm about 100 pages in, really enjoying it, but one problem is the book is so small and thick it's hard to hold in one hand... but the story is engrossing.

Madoff Obsession: I'm watching the second special on HBO starring Robert DeNiro as Madoff.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Is this now normal?

This happens to me way too often it seems so I'm wondering maybe this is the norm these days. I contacted a gardener to come do winter clean up and plant in my garden. Contacted him last weekend and he responded... told me he was too busy all week to come, but he could come on Saturday. Fine... we selected a time of between 1 and 2 pm today... and, of course, he was a no-show. No word from him.

I haven't yet decided if I contact him and give him another chance... such a tough call. I remember complaining once about a handyman and my friend said, "Well, at least you got someone to show up." I don't get why they advertise if they don't really want the business.

Right now, I'm leaning toward not contact him and moving on with someone else. I had the same woman two years in a row who I liked, but last year, she did 1/2 of the job and then disappeared... radio silence for 3-4 weeks... finally I emailed her and said I was going to contact my credit card company to dispute the charge and she contacted me with some sob story that I don't even remember... no, it wasn't like someone died... just hectic this and crazy that... so she came to finish the job and claimed she gave me "extra" because of her screw up but I didn't want to go through that again.

Sigh, sigh, sigh... ok, I know this is a First World Problem that my gardener didn't show up, but still...

Friday, May 19, 2017

What I'm Reading

Based on a Twitter recommendation by Stephen King, I bought the first book in a trilogy... this is called Natchez Burning and it's a suspense novel about a murder. When it arrived -- Barbara came for lunch and she brought in my mail which included this book -- and the package looked like two books but I knew I'd only bought one... and it's three inches thick in paperback.

It reminded me of my snobby childhood reaction to kids complaining how many pages exactly a book was that they had to read... and as an avid reader, I always thought the longer the better... so I had to check and this one is 865 pages. A cover blurb by Stephen King says once you start, you can't put it down -- I hope that's the case.

As for lunch, Barbara and I rarely depart from certain set menus -- scrambled eggs and bacon is one; lobster rolls is one; burgers is one. Today we went medium cheeseburgers with cheddar cheese and a shared order of fries. Yum. Hadn't had a burger in weeks.

Oh, I forgot -- we have a fourth menu choice: BLTs, hers on rye toast, mine on white toast.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

My Little Anecdote of the Day

Today a client asked me how a certain process was going that we'd set up. I typed "easy flow from my end" and thought "this sounds as if I have diarrhea" so I deleted and wrote it another way.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Watching Bernie Madoff

Last night and tonight I watched a repeat of the Richard Dreyfuss (playing Bernie) and Blythe Danner (playing his wife) two-part show. I am somewhat obsessed with this story as it really hits home about the security I feel about my nest egg. So hard to imagine its being gone.

At the time Madoff was exposed, I read a piece in Huffington Post from a woman who had lost all her money and she reminded me so much of myself, right down to having worked in the magazine publishing business. What struck me is that some highers up at Conde Nast "got her into" Bernie's funds because they liked her and thought they were doing her this big favor. She was so pleased that she had the same investment person as Si Newhouse, etc.

Well, that struck home because years ago, in my 20s, I needed a tax accountant for the first time and I was introduced to an accounting firm which specialized in working with people in publishing and advertising and I felt so good that I was using the same accountant as the bigwigs at the company I was working.

I remember at the time also calling my investment firm and asking straight out "how do I know you're not like Bernie Madoff?" and the company had this presentation ready, including the fact that there is insurance for the first $500,000 and after that the company bought "private insurance" for the rest. It's really not much of a reassuring thing... I remember thinking well, now what? Ask them to send me the insurance papers so I can see for myself? And those papers could easily be forged. I didn't really seriously believe that this firm was like Bernie, but then I'd think well, neither did the people scammed by him.

Two Sundays ago, I saw a woman on Oprah's Sunday show who had lost all her money with Madoff and she called her best friend who told her "Nothing of value has been lost." Hint: Don't say that to me. I get it that I would still be alive and kicking and even this woman said she said to her friend, "This is not the time to be spiritual" -- too early.

And now of course she thinks it was a great thing that happened to her, and I thought "Yeah, if you have a best-selling book and are on Oprah and have recouped most of your money." But most people weren't that lucky. And yes, I believe luck plays a big part there.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Spring in DC

Mary says:

These are in my neighbor's yard. It's a gorgeous but cool day, and the sun made everything open up and shine. I think the second picture is foxglove but Fran is going to fact check me.

Catching up

So I haven't been posting much for no particular reason. I think I'm caught in a "nothing much happening" time and there really isn't. Spring really hasn't come; still wearing winter type clothes and haven't done anything with my garden.

However this coming week it's supposed to get warm. I contacted a gardener via Craigslist and he actually responded so he'll be coming to check things out and do the work.

Yesterday Nancy came over for lunch and she stopped at Tal Bagels. We each had smoked turkey and swiss (with mayo!) -- hers on a sesame bagel and mine on an everything bagel and we both commented that there is nothing like a great sandwich. The bagels were super fresh, the meat was shaved thin and good cheese... can't beat it.  And of course we talked non-stop and later I was thinking that one of the qualities all my friends have is good conversationalists and I don't appreciate that really until I'm with someone with no opinions, no insights and no gift of the gab.

Let's see... what else? My 50th high school reunion (YIKES!) is held next month and one of the projects I'm involved in is classmates writing essays about their grandparents. Such interesting stories from very wealthy grandparents and constantly-cooking Italian grandma to the storybook perfect grandparents to the alcoholic dysfunctional nasty grandmother. I am formatting the stories and doing very light copyediting. I really enjoy reading all of them, and enjoyed writing my own.

So I'll try to be more faithful in posting... we'll see.

Three Little Kittensq

These are Mary's great-nieces who had "Hello Kitty" faces painted at a fundraising event.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Teddy's Latest

Reaping what you sow

Barbara says:

I no longer have to be jealous of your friends in kinder latitudes... spring finally has arrived in northwest CT, and that cold day last fall when I took the trouble to plant bulbs has beautifully paid off, as you can see in the picture.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Barb's grandson

Here's Ezra...

Mary's flowers

I think I have mentioned before that Mary's cleaning woman, Eneida, is a beautiful flower arranger and leaves Mary with not only a clean house but frequently makes an arrangement out of plants and flowers in Mary's yard... so here's today's lovely gift:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Night

Didn't take any photos, but I had a really pleasant day on Long Island at my sister's house. They had a bunch of really interesting guests (as usual) and we had lamb which Scott made on the grill, baked chicken, little roasted potatoes, corn pudding, green beans and asparagus. Lots of lively conversation about all sorts of stuff.

It got to the mid 80s today but it's supposed to cool off again and back to seasonal type temps this week. Hope everyone had a great Easter.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Now I know what/where Madikwe is

Got an email from Tom (Michelle's husband) that only said "Greetings from Madikwe." Turns out it's a game reserve in South Africa, and here's at least one animal they saw:

Friday Ramblings

Barbara came over for lunch and we had our feast fit for the queens we are... lobster rolls with the crunchy french fries and great cole slaw, followed by cupakes from Little Red Hen -- carrot cake for her and red velvet for me.

As usual, we talked about everything. I had copyedited something yesterday, changing "plaid complexion" to "pallid complexion" (which the author agreed with) and I said I never use the word pallid and she said she didn't either. We also wondered why it has two L's, when squalid, valid and others only have one.

We talked about those dreadful ASPCA commercials and I asked her, that as an animal person, if they touch her. Neither of us like them but she told me that the one with the mournful woman singing has topped all donation records.

Speaking of commercials, there's one that makes me go EWWWW and turn my head away. It starts out with the family eating pizza, looking delicious, gooey stringy cheese, but then the kid dips the pizza slice in ranch dressing. Yuk. I can't imagine that tasting good.

Still early spring here, in the 40s, it stopped raining, but after a cool weekend, it's supposed to be in the 70s next week. That will be great.

By the way, I am really enjoying my man Bennett Cerf's book. He knew everyone. Took Theodore Dreiser to a Yankee game, was friends with Eugene O'Neill, Gertrude Stein, Irwin Shaw, every author you can think of with all these great stories. He talked about publishing Eugene O'Neill's play called "The Hairy Ape" and yesterday, going down Park Avenue in a cab, I see at the Armory these banners for "The Hairy Ape" and it's being performed there. Also learned that when Bennett wanted to publish an anthology of plays, George Bernard Shaw told him his work was too good to be in an anthology so they worked out a deal where Shaw would get double the pay that the other authors were getting. Just lots of interesting gossipy bits about classic authors.

It's made me want to devote my summer reading to classics, but I have not had good luck with most of them. I valiantly try to pick one up and plow through, but all the time wishing I was reading about a serial killer stalking Manhattan instead. Of the so-called classics, I do love Sinclair Lewis, genuinely so... maybe I should reread those... and I did love Steinbeck's Cannery Row, but could not get into East of Eden. Could not get past 20 pages of Madame Bovary... anybody have any suggestions for classics that are just plain good reading?

Monday, April 3, 2017

What I'm Reading

First a confession: I have a crush on a dead man... Bennett Cerf, the co-founder of Random House who died in 1971. I have recently come to admire him when I discovered this obscure cable channel called Buzzr (no e) that plays old game shows from the 50s-80s. I love What's My Line? since I remember watching it only on Sundays where there was no school the next day as it was on at 10:30. I always remember how sophisticated the panelists were and sometimes they'd come in evening wear and tuxedos since they'd been to the theater. And the moderator calls the panelists Miss and Mr. and it's so old-fahsioned and so dull that it's entertaining.

Anyway, I have a crush on Bennett so I went to Amazon to search for his autobiography that I was able to get for a few dollars and have started reading and enjoying it.

Isn't my crush a handsome guy? And he's so witty and clever and urbane.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Springtime in DC

Mary's signs of spring in and around her house:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Is it Spring where you are?

Melissa says it's spring in Texas and that means bluebonnets...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Happy Birthday to Teddy

Who is now one year old. Barb has had him with her for nine months now.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring must be coming...

Fran found these brave pansies:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Barbara's New Cat

She says:

We adopted a 9-month old kitten from the Humane Society a week ago and named him Sly. He hid for the first few days, but now purrs, plays, explores, and most importantly in a little apartment, uses the same litter box as the other cat.  

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Got flowers today

This was an unexpected surprise... flowers from my client... and a nice gift on a very wintry day.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Made it Home...

...all in one piece, safe and sound. Marilyn met me and we whizzed through unpacking and the stack of mail. Now she's out doing errands and I'm loving being home. I called Ana to tell her I was home since she was getting my mail and she's always telling me to go out more and today she said, "Patricia, you stay home now" which is exactly my plan.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Almost Home

Am in a room in NJ for my last very short leg home...will be so glad to see Marilyn and be in charge of my own destiny again.

Monday, March 6, 2017

I'm officially a stupid senior citizen...

So I made it to Richmond (tomorrow NJ; Wed Home Sweet Home) and I've had so many burgers I couldn't face another. Sometimes I'm tempted to go to a restaurant and I would maybe if someone was with me, but I typically just want to get to my room and take my bra off.

So Red Roof Inn lists three places that deliver... a Pizza Hut (sick of pizza too) and two chinese places. I google the chinese places and both got great reviews... one is called China Garden and one is called Top's China... I decided that China Garden was too unoriginal so I go with Top's.  I study the menu, make my notes and call. The woman who answered was like Miss Interrogator. Typically it's enough to say that you're in the such and such hotel, but she needed an exact street address and I had to google it... then she needed the phone of the hotel.... then all this other stuff... so now it's time for my order... I say I want the butterfly shrimp and she says "we don't have that" so I made a quick switch to "roast pork lo mein" and she says "we don't have that; this is pizza hut"

I said "I am so sorry I wasted your time. Really" -- I hate to be "that person" who is an idiot... and it was totally my mistake, reading the wrong #... so I call Top's China and the call wouldn't go through and finally some operator (recorded) said "we can help you find a similar business" and I hung up and sure enough I checked the Internet some more and my place closed.

So then it was back to China Garden and I successfully (I hope) placed an order for sesame shrimp and wonton soup.I shouldn't have to work this hard for dinner.

More later.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

checking in from SC

I'll eventually get in all the long boring stories of my trip, but I had a successful departure from Disney and made it to SC... tomorrow to Richmond... tuesdaqy to NJ... and then Wed home to be met by Marilyn.

This has been the bad luck trip... but I am not complaining... could have had worse luck... but on Saturday I lost this purple cloth pouch (Barbara knows it) that had all my cash in it -- about $ was supposed to be in this canvas New Yorker magazine bag and it wasn't and I even emptied out the bag. I was willing to let go of the money but I definitely needed cash for tips when I checked out and i had seen an ATM in registration but that was a long way off. We had been assigned a volunteer in the media room and it was only him and me and i asked him to look under the (draped) table thinking maybe it fell out.  No luck... he said he'd go find an ATM for me and I said no, no, no that he wasn't here to do personal errands but he said he'd rather have something to do so I trusted him with my PIN and ATM card and he got $200... good guy and a pilot at a regional airline so I just put my trust in him.

Later got back to my room and looked and looked and finally gave up... I was taking stuff out of the canvas bag to do work and I had two spiral notebooks in there, and the friggin pouch (which laid flat) was in between the two notebooks. I had always taken both out together. Problem solved.
So then in the middle of the night, I'm wearing my c-pap machine as I have for two years and somehow I stuck my thumb through the hose making a hole where air can escape and did. I pathetically held it together with my hand and dozed back to sleeep

this morning I tried to get tape to fix it (temporarily --I have a new hose at home) and that was too big a request for the magical folks at Disney -- but the crummy Red Roof Inn sent this old Pakistani man to my room with two kinds of tape and he took the task personally and now it's fixed, not pretty, but fixed.

So tomorrow it's on to Richmond (I sound like a civil war general!)

Friday, March 3, 2017

just checkiing in

Everything is going well, busy and tired. More later.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Day four in Orlando

I made it to my destination safe and sound and before I start whining I'll be positive. Marilyn came and undid the deadbolt and I told Ana via hotel room phone and so that problem is solved. Upon hearing of my smartphone plight, Amy (bless her!!!) is coming to my rescue with a spare she has which she'll bring with her for tomorrow. She is going to BestBuy to get a sim card and putting $20 on it. I feel so much better having a phone for the trip home, especially for rendez-vousing with Marilyn next Wednesday who will unload the car for me and stay to get me organized again. She's an unpacking, laundry-starting, mail sorting star. I really have sincere gratitude for the people in my life. And Nancy volunteered to trade rooms with me if my room is closer to where we'll be working, but I'll do OK.

Ok, now that's out of the way. I hate Disney. I really do. It's a big machine. We're actually at a Disney resort which is so effing big. When you pull in to the "gated community" style gate, the security guard who looks at your photo ID says, "Welcome Home!" No, this is not my home. I have a home and this isn't it. Does anybody who hears that think "Oh yeah, I'm home!"

Then the fakely cheerful officious registration guy who is out of central casting. Photo ID again and you get a prisoner's bracelet to wear which doubles as your room key and you have to make up a PIN... I don't know for what, but I did.... then to the bell station, then back to my car... then wait for a bellperson.

Here I'll stop whining and say I got the most lovely bellwoman named Maria. She asked me what I did and I said "I'm a writer" which is the easiest explanation, and she said I should write about her life. I had to follow her in my car behind her golf cart, to parking, to unloading my car into her golf cart and then I had to get in the golf cart which was high, but I did it on the first try and away we went. I'll never find my car again... but then we went as far as the golf cart can go and I'm sweating and hot and puffing and now we're off on foot. The Iditarod takes less energy than getting to your room.

Meanwhile, I hear that she came here from Chile when she was 17 by herself. Has worked for Disney for 35 years. Served Princess Diana who she describes as "beautiful and humble." Married and had kids with a bad man (Hmmm... seems to be a lot of that going around) and when they were divorced, he got the kids because the judge was racist. The husband was Anglo and a drug addict and she was an immigrant. She fled Chile because of Pinochet who had burned her father's business and to answer my question she knew "very many people" who disappeared and were killed.

That was a coincidence because in the drive today I was thinking about that Jack Lemmon/Sissy Spacek movie (was it called Missing?) about that time period.

Her life had a happy ending... her kids want nothing to do with their bio-dad and have returned to her as adults and they are a happy family. She was just a beautiful person who offered to get me ice (I said yes, please) and she bought me a bottle of water... and yes, I tipped her appropriately and she earned every penny.

When I had to stop to rest in the trek to my room, she told me that she'd go put my stuff in my room and come back and push me in my walker. And she would have... but I made it OK and caught up with her.

So the moral of today is "I get by with a little help from my friends!"

Monday, February 27, 2017

Judy and Rob's New Dog

Here's Rob and Buddy who is a pug/lab mix and a 3-year old rescue dog.

Day 3 - My horrible, terrible, no good and whatever else day

I'm OK, the car is OK and I think I got up on the right side of the bed this morning, but evidently that's where it ended.

I got ready to go, looked at email, had a client email to call him and I wanted to get on my way so I packed up the car and then sat there still in my parking space and thought I don't want to drive and talk and so I'll call him now. Which I did. Put the phone down, got on my way, decided to call my landline voice mail and then stopped because the speed limit is 70 mph on I95 and people are zooming by and I want to concentrate on driving.

Later when I reached for something on the passenger seat, I heard a thud and realized my phone had fallen off the seat -- or so I thought.

Stopped for gas and couldn't find the phone on the floor... kept going and then when I stopped to use the restroom, I went around to the passenger side, thinking the phone had fallen between the seat and the passenger door, but no. I looked under the seat, in the back, etc. Gave up.

Stopped again later and did a more thorough search...lifted the carpet... nothing. I decided when I got to the hotel I'd ask if a maintenance man could go look for me. Which I did.

This guy was really nice, spent about 20 minutes looking while I sat in the lobby. I knew the longer the time went, the unlikelier it is that the phone was there. The front desk woman said she lost her phone in her car and her 4-year old found it by accident a week later so she went out and looked too. Nothing

The maintenance man then called my phone and said since it went to voice mail that it meant it was turned on. So he went back to the car and called again. Nothing.

I know the phone was in the car. I know I didn't take it into a restaurant, restroom, etc. It disappeared.

At this point, all I can think is that I had a fast food bag that had a hamburger box and a french fry box, no cup, maybe some napkins which I threw away at the gas station and maybe the phone fell in there and I threw the bag away. It seems so unlikely to me since I think I would have felt the weight of the bag and it also means that the phone somehow got put in that bag (which was leftover from yesterday, not even today's).

I am really discouraged about this.

But wait, there's more.

So I use the hotel room phone to call my landline and I have three messages from my cleaning woman to call her. Turns out I had asked Marilyn to be sure to lock my door (she had packed the car for me and went back inside) and she locked the deadbolt and Ana's key wouldn't work.

I called Ana and then called Marilyn asking her if she would go unlock the deadbolt.  And then tell me and I'll tell Ana.

But wait, there's more.

The phone call was from an ad agency I do some work with and they asked me to arrange a press conf at two big air shows. I wrote the Oshkosh one only to get a sort of impatient response that I'm the second person to ask him about this today and who's in charge? It made me look stupid. And my guy who asked me to do it had no idea so he was blindsided too.
But wait, there's more.

After telling myself it's "just things" I see a menu slid under my door. So I go get it, order a pizza and two cans of soda. It arrives in an OK time. I open the bag which I think is the soda and see there's garlic bread.. oh does that come with pizza? Then I take out a salad...oh does that come with pizza?
And then I see a foil dish of some kind of pasta, and I knew that didn't come with pizza and there's no soda. There's still a pizza box which I didn't look at and I called the place back and they were all apologetic and said they'd come back. Well they did, 20 minutes later and I just wanted to make the most of it... but by this time the pizza was cold... well, it wasn't hot and I ate one piece and that's allI wanted.

I arrive at my destination tomorrow. I have to say I have done this all but it is difficult sometimes to walk with the cane and pull a suitcase etc etc but I've done it so shouldn't I be getting a break somewhere about now?

Please send some positive vibes my way.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Day Two - Florence, SC

Much easier day... only two predicaments with the car ... first one is when you shut it off, the two side mirrors automatically turn in. I had previously adjusted them so I know how to do it but that was doing nothing... finally I accidentallyfound a button that "unlocked" the mirrors for adjustment. Then when I put gas in the car, I knew it didn't have a locked gas tank, and when you press down on the little door it opens and there's no gas cap and I thought... this is great, but the damn gas would not go in and I didn't know if it was the car or the pump and I always feel I'm the only person on Planet Earth who is having trouble at a self-serve pump and again, just by accident, I found this little button near where you put the pump in that somehow allows the gas in so I did it.

Beautiful sunny day the whole way, some wildflowers growing, lots of flowering trees, only one major construction back up about 10 minutes from the hotel... it was bridge construction so three lanes narrowed to one and then all this construction and when I mentioned it in passing when I checked in the woman had no idea what I was talking about which reminds me of how many times locals can't give directions and/or are oblivious to something in their immediate surroundings.

Just reread that paragraph and I do sound like a crabby old lady, but it's true... come on, now... how many times have you asked for local directions and the person had no idea?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

In case I need another reason to feel 100 years old.. I remember these prices!

Day One -- Richmond VA

So my trip was not off to a fun start. Spring temps in NY. Marilyn came to help load the car (Ok, "help" is not quite accurate; she packed while I directed); the rental car guy Martin was really nice. Got one of those fancy modern touch screnn cars and I got all buckled in, adjusted the mirrors, and reached for an invisible gear shift... it's all touch screen and I felt like a fool.. oh yeah, trust me with this fancy car that I can't even figure out how to put in DRIVE. My mother always used to say at the beginning of a trip "Off we go like a herd of turtles" and that was me.

Figured out the car for the most part... why the hell can't you just turn on an airconditioner? This one was touch screen, but I've said that and just too  many choices of temp, speed, direction, blah blah. But I hit a brick wall (not literally) when it came time to eject the first CD out of my book on CD. Got to the CD portion of the touchscreen and nothing... kept pressing everything to no avail and I gave up.

After a while when my choices were local yokel Rush Limbaugh wannebees or Christian broadcasting I thought I WILL FIGURE THIS OUT so I could get back to my book.

Turns out the eject button is actually one of the radio I felt triumphant. It reminded me of figuring out something on the computer -- where you've tried every obvious, logical thing to no avail so you do un-obvious, illogical things and one of them works.

Terrible storms, deluge of rain, bumper to bumper for miles... and then my reward was a spectacular huge rainbow. Since it was still raining and people were zoomiing by at 8o mph, I didn't want to risk photographing it... so I'll hold the memory in my head instead.

All is well, safe and sound.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Teddy's Playmates

This is Okie (the white dog) with whom Teddy plays in Central Park.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My far-flung friends

James the airline pilot says:

Was in Cadiz Spain today figured I'd send you a pic or two. Think Columbus left on his third voyage from here and it was a Phoenician sp outpost.