Thursday, June 29, 2017

Reunion Photo

This is Saturday night dinner at the reunion. The woman on my left is Jayne who I was friends with in high school, through college and we worked together in the summers of college. I was in her wedding and she is still married to the same man who I still think of as a college kid. The woman behind me I was also friends with and her mother was our Girl Scout leader.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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.