Thursday, October 31, 2013

Can't Resist

Angela sent me this Halloween photo -- made me smile:

Terminally Cute

OMG! I'm getting to be a sap in my old age... these are so darn cute -- they are white lion cubs.

Happy Halloween!

I want a handfull of candy corn, a Snickers or two, a Butterfinger.... Hmmmm... some M&Ms (peanut and plain)...a Mr. Goodbar... some caramels... and (dental work be damned) some Bonomo's Turkish Taffy!

And you?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Just Another Tuesday

Either my life is dull or I haven't had anything annoy me recently -- am just checking in to say I'm alive and well in NYC.  The weather has turned cool, there's something about the change of seasons -- this happens every year -- from the warm to cold weather -- that makes me tired. Must be some ancient DNA left over from cavewoman days. I feel like hibernating.

Let's see if I can find at least one interesting picture to pass along. I'll go and check Twitter:

Here's one I liked -- it's a rainy night in Paris. Ir looks like a painting.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mary's Annual Memory Walk

Here's Mary and Matt on the Mall, note the under-construction Washington Monument, for the annual Alzeheimer's Memory Walk with the sign Fran made, I believe now in its third year of use. The names on the sign are Mary's mother and grandmothers.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Firefighter Saves Kitty

Kitty was just rescued. Kitty looks relieved and grateful.

Soothing Photo

Next time I get annoyed, I'm going to imagine myself here, sitting crosslegged, by myself meditating. This beach cave is in Algarve, Portugal.

Fran's Orchid is Blooming

This is the orchid Fran bought at a farmer's market when we rented a house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. This orchid must love living with Fran as they have now been roommates for three years and it routinely blooms.

Garrett, the Schooldog

This is Garrett, a friend of Fran's, who is learning how to be a guidedog.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Success! (Part 2 of Ticketmaster)

I literally had the phone in my hand when I heard the click of an incoming email, and there was my new password -- a long string of numbers. So I went back to the site.

My only complaint is that I find the Ticketmaster's fees exhorbitant. There's a $3.50 handling charge, a $1.50 per ticket facility charge -- what the hell does that even mean? -- and a $8.35 PER TICKET service charge. That's how a $49 ticket turns into a $60 ticket. I'd rather just be told $60.

And the Cranky Beat Goes on...

I was trying to get in a better mood. When I go to DC for my usual Christmas festivities at Mary's, we have often gone to the Birchmere, the music hall venue. This year, Blood Sweat & Tears is playing and Fran and Mary agreed they'd enjoy seeing them. I also invited Lane who has recently moved to DC to join us for a foursome.

Everyone was in on the tickets a few weeks bac and rather than asking everyone again, I thought I'd just go to the site and buy them. Something to look forward to. The site takes you to Ticketmaster and I found everything and made all my choices and then when I went to pay, you had to set up an account. I didn't want one, but you had to.

I fill in all the blanks and press ENTER... only to be told I already have an account and to log in. You know what happened next. I put in my email address as user name (the site asked for that so I knew that part was right) and then a password. I basically have two passwords, one with numbers and one without. I tried the number one... no go. I tried the other go. I don't have anything left to try.

So I click on "forgot password?" and was told I would be emailed a password reset. Meanwhile, there's a timer on the site, clicking down since Ticketmaster only gives you a finite amount of time to make up your mind.

The email never came (and still hasn't) and the page timed out along with some snarky comment about how I should have acted faster or something. F you.

So now I'm going to annoy myself further and call Ticketmaster's 800- number.

Getting Crankier by the Minute

I had arranged for a temp/hostess for a client at a convention in Las Vegas through a temp agency. Everybody is very picky but this guy really is. I found an agency, went through all the hoops, and felt I got a good temp. Today is the second of two days for the temp. Got a call from the client: "It's 9:18 and the temp isn't here." Was supposed to be there at 9. He said he didn't know if he should call the temp agency, which I had written out for him, along with all other details and contact info as he "didn't want to get her in trouble."

Oh yes, that used to be me. I can't tell you how many times I used that reasoning, and I'm just tired of it. I said, "Well, I do want to get her in trouble." I'll add that he called her cellphone and got voice mail.

I called the temp agency and they said they'd try to get in touch with her. In the meantime, the temp wanders in (ok, now I'm being sarcastic) at 9:25 claiming "traffic." Really? That's unusual... traffic during rush hour...

I am angry because it reflects on me, as of course I reassured this guy that all would be well.

So back to work and I get an email from a catalog company I buy from -- with an amazing announcement that the entire site is 50% off. In retrospect, I should have known better. I am good at looking for the fine print, but I wasn't good enough this time.

I was not buying any clothes these days, but I thought for half-off the whole site, it was worth taking a look. I shopped and bought (well, was going to buy) a pair of shoes, two pairs of socks and a lounger. I probably spent about 30 minutes shopping and picking. When I went to check out, it told me that by clicking on the email, my 50% discount had already been applied.

It wasn't.

So then I see "click here and we'll apply the 50%" and I did. Again. Again. Again. No go.

Then I notice "live chat" and fill out the darn form, have my chat, only to be told there are certain exclusions -- among them shoes and lingerie. Of course socks and the lounger are considered "lingerie" -- which is laughable... yeah, big thick white socks are lingerie.

So I write back what I wanted to buy and questioned socks as lingerie and she then asks for the product number of the socks and she'll check them. I wrote back saying no, I'd already spent enough time on this. Emptied the cart. I guess my budget will appreciate this.

I go back to the email that lured me there, and yes, there is an asterisk but even my trained eye, trained to notice asterisks, didn't notice this one. It looks like a spec -- you can barely make out that it's an asterisk.

Ok, enough of my crankiness for now.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In Praise of Employees with Brains

For the past two months or so, I've been ordering my groceries from Peapod. Love the prices. Love the selection, but I've had routine problems with delivery. The past two times, the delivery was made an hour beyond the two- or three-hour time slot. It took phone calls to figure out where my delivery was. Both times I was given a $10 credit, which I have to say I'll take, but that's not the point. During the last call with customer service, I asked the rep if there's one time slot or one day that's better than another as I am flexible as to when I get the delivery.

This was like asking for the impossible. Oh no, there's no difference -- they're all the same -- this of course was just an anomaly and we really care and are on time.

No, you're not.

So today I was getting a delivery between 4 pm and 6 pm. It's Tuesday. The driver called me at 3:45 asking if he could come early. He was a nice guy and I asked him the same question about one slot over another.


He thinks about it... and cocks his head... and his brain starts working and he tells me to not do Sundays as there are two shifts on Sundays and if the morning shift runs late then the afternoon shift starts late and stays late... The last two times my slot was Sunday afternoon. So he said that a mid-week day is really better so I'll stick to Tuesdays. He also told me that it sounds odd but that traffic is sometimes worse on Sundays than during the week. So we joked about Sunday drivers.

I was thinking later that a lower level person like a driver knows reality -- at least this one did -- and gave me a logical answer.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Another Nice Dog Story

I'm not doing a dog vs cats thing here -- really! But this touched me.

Back to the Future

This is a friend of mine's father with his 1980s cellphone. I just look at it and laugh and how cool we thought this was -- I remember my first cellphone and how it barely fit in my purse. The good thing was you could reach in the purse when it was ringing and not have to hunt for it!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Yesterday's Sunset

Someone I follow on Twitter tweeted, totally out of character from his usual serious messages, a photo of yesterday's spectacular sunset in Washington DC. Then Fran sent me one. Out of curiosity just now, I did a search of 'DC SUNSET' and here are some I found... funny to see the variety of people, famous and just regular people, who were moved by this sight from locations all over town.

I could go on and on -- there were dozens of them, but here's Fran's:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Marketing Florida Style

Amy's sister is an orthodontist in Florida, and she used this pumpkin patch as a way to gain visibility for her practice. Notice the teeth on the scarecrow... I know you've never seen a scarecrow getting his teeth straightened. These are wonderful pumpkins -- I like the Florida babe in the front with the sunglasses. Who's making a jack-0-lantern?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Let's Hear it for Dogs

This is a photo someone twittered showing a dog who had saved this box of kittens from a burning home. One of the people responded "Do you think a cat would save a box of puppies? Just sayin'"

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fran's Feline Fluffiness

Fran sent along this to continue the fluffy awwww animal thread. She says:

Here's Valentino (left) and Angelina(right) waking from a long night's cat nap.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mary's Travel Pictures

Ok, who can guess what city this is? Mary so admires my travel shots that now she is doing her own 70 mph drive by photos...

The answer is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. And if you were paying attention to state capitals in school, you'd remember that Harrisburg is the captial of Pennsylvania, NOT Philadelphia as many think.

Mary says:

I love driving along the river in Harrisburg.  There wasn't a place to stop to photograph the islands I love, but here's the skyline with the capitol in the middle.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sucker for Cute Animals

So I am also one of those idiots who goes oooh and ahhh over cute animal photos on the Internet. This is a mix of a husky and a golden retriever and I want to hold it!! This little puppy just looks like it's as soft as a cloud.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Random Act of Kindness

I was the recipient of a random act of kindness today. When I went outside to go meet Barbara for lunch, it was sort of misty rainy, but not enough to make me go back inside to get an umbrella. I easily got a cab and about halfway to the restaurant, it began raining very hard. I said to the driver, "I guess I should have brought an umbrella."

He said, "I'll give you mine."

I felt as if I had misunderstood him, and asked him to repeat it which he did.

So I protested oh no, no... and he rummages around on the front passenger seat and holds up the typical what I call street umbrella... one you duck into a store to buy when you're caught in the rain.

I then said something unfortunate. I said "Oh someone left this in the cab... their loss is my gain."

He then said that it WAS his umbrella. So I said I couldn't take his umbrella and he said he had two.

So I took it. When we were arriving at the restaurant, I thought I should tip him well, but then I didn't want to give a tip that looked like I was paying for the umbrella which I thought would take the giftiness out of it.

The fare was $9 and I would typically give a $2 tip so I gave him $3 for a tip.

People who have never lived in big cities think we all go around mugging each other. I have always maintained that helping someone in a big city means more than helping someone in a small town because you are not helping Susan's son or Bert's cousin -- you're helping a total stranger.

Then when I arrived at lunch, Barbara brought me a book from an author we're both enjoying. When I got home (and it stopped raining), I sat on my steps for a while, photographed my loot and enjoyed the afternoon.

Book, Umbrella and even a little shopping bag.
Doesn't look too autumny on my block yet.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Flowers from Lane

It was a gloomy day outside today, but the flowers Lane sent made it feel like spring!

As delivered with a pink ribbon too!

As unwrapped - roses, star lillies, tiny red flowers and a bunch of other stuff.

Happy Birthday to me (and Stephanie)

Below is the first time I downloaded a YouTube video. I'm proud of myself, but couldn't figure out how to add my own text and I couldn't even add a comma between Birthday and Stephanie which bothers me -- but I like the sound of their voices.

Mary sent me a e-card this morning that turned out to be funny. It was very  um... romantic which was odd to me, but I thought maybe she was feeling sentimental. Turns out I got sent the wrong card! The right card was those little critters from Despicable Me which was more along the lines of what I would expect. Very cute.

And now Fran has sent me a card with this text which I will (modestly) share as she requests. Thank you for the kind sentiments, and I happy to be alive and well on Planet Earth today.

Birthday Ode to Pat - How Do I Love Thee? let me count some of the ways (You always count them for friends on their B.D.s. Our turn! - please post on your blog)
Honesty in all things, even when assessing her actions. Trustworthiness. Generosity. Non-judgmental-ness. Sense of humor. Gift of listening, really listening. Quest for truth and accuracy. Sense of fairness. Expresses appreciation and gratitude for life's gifts.
Happy Birthday, my friend.

Happy Birthday Stephanie (Birthday Song!)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Knowing Mary

On Sunday night I was thinking how surprised I was that Mary likes Long Island Medium. This is a reality TV show about a housewife type on Long Island who communicates with departed loved ones. She really is a likable person. I had learned when we were in the Outer Banks that Mary watched this show, and so I reminded her on Sunday that the season premiere was on that night.

Mary is not a huge fan of reality shows, and also not a huge fan of spooky-wooky kinds of things. I was thinking about how well I know Mary, as well as anyone, but yet I didn't really have an explanation for why she liked this show which led to my thinking about how well can we ever know anyone blah blah blah.

Fast forward to Monday and I see an email from Mary in my email queue and the subject line reads: Thinking about Christ.

It made me laugh because I knew the subject line had been shortened in the queue and I knew for certain that the full line was no doubt "Thinking about Christmas" -- I was right -- and we're already into event planning and menus for our annual Christmas get-together. (Is annual and Christmas redundant? I think it is).

So I may not know that Mary would like a show called Long Island Medium, but I do know for sure that she is not going to send me a pensive email entitled "Thinking about Christ."

Monday, October 7, 2013

What I'm Reading

This is my time to read books about marriage. Just finished "The Wife" which I really enjoyed. Meg Wolitzer is an amazing writer and I found on several occasions her describing things that had occurred to me but I never put words to it. Really a good book, a thought-provoking book, a quick read, easy to get into.

I have not started reading this one yet. What drew me to it is the premise that a long-married wife one day finds an envelope from her husband that says it should only be opened on the occasion of his death -- but she goes ahead and opens it anyway -- he's still alive and they're still married -- and it turns her world upside down. I have no idea what the secret is.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Two Pics from Fran


Fran says:
One of sunrise this morning at Longmere Lake, Alaska.
Plane belongs to former USAF pilot buddy of my colleague Dave.
Other image is of beautiful lighting/cloud formation which greeted me
as I left the office Friday night.


My Silly Life

I had to laugh at myself this morning -- and was glad no one was videotaping me. I got in the shower and I was aware that the clear safety mat was messed up. I didn't really pay much attention to it, kept trying to nonchalantly straighten it out while I washed my hair.

Finally I gave up and looked down and everything looked right. I lifted one foot and the mat came with it... turns out I had put the mat in upside down, or rather wrong side down, so the sticky sucker things were on top.

Ok, so this is where it got comical -- I couldn't get the sucker things to stop sticking to my feet. I'd lift one foot up and then the other and the mat would come with it. I must have looked ridiculous, and I was also getting nervous that I was going to fall.

Eventually I worked it off and flipped the mat, and had to laugh at the ridiculousness of it.

Never Mind...

On vacation, Mary gave me a bunch of L'Occitain samples she didn't want, and I've been enjoying them. Yesterday I tried this one called Divine Cream which is a facial cream that I really liked. I liked it so much that I thought I might buy some. Just went to Amazon and 1.7 ounces costs $123 -- and that's on Amazon.

Guess I won't be using Divine Cream.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Most Depressing Email of The Day

Somehow word has gotten to the spammers that I'm no spring chicken. I continually get walk-in bathtub spams, those things you sit on and ride around if you can't walk spams, social security benefit scams --- all reminding me my golden years are calling.

But this is too much. Just got an email with the subject line:

Look for affordable burial insurance

I'm not ready to go yet, folks!

While I snoozed...

I believe Mary got up at 5:30 this morning. She was rewarded with this sight which she has called
"Sunrise on the Schuylkill" -- that's the river she'll paddle on today.

She's ever cheerful at that ungodly hour and writes:

It's going to be a great day for dragon boat racing

What about those Mummers?

Before this morning if someone asked me about Mummers, I would say that it is a men's group that dresses up in funny costumes and has a parade. I would also guess that they do some charitable work as part of being members of this group.

Mary sent me this photo as she is in Philadelphia this weekend:

I looked up Mummers on Wikipedia and their own website, and their history is very complicated -- Being a Mummer goes back to the 17th century -- part of it is a Swedish tradition which somehow got melded with African-Americans as part of plantation life. What's odd is that even though it's African-American tradition, Mummers are almost exclusively white. In fact, they used to do black face, but no more.

I really hunted for any charity work -- like some Mummers hospital somewhere, but if there is, I couldn't find it. The entire purpose seems to be the yearly parade and dressing up like clowns.

What a can of worms -- I wanted to make sure I was being fair and went further into Google. It seems some bad Mummers have poisoned the waters with a local sex scandal two years ago involving prostitutes. Plus the parade seems to involve lots of alcohol with locals along the parade route complaining of drunks peeing in their yards. (I can appreciate this complaint based on my own experience with my neighborhood being the end point of the St Patrick's Day parade.) Mummers respond by talking about their charity work which seems mostly to be entertaining at hospitals and that sort of thing.

Another argument raging is who should pay for the police presence and other city expenses incurred by the parade. It's an interesting debate.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Michelle!



Pumpkin Spice Coffee Taste Test

I'd skip the pumpkin spice coffee. Tried it yesterday and drunk black it tastes like coffee that's been run through a bowl of potpourri. The man who gave me the k-cups said he thinks I might like it better with milk. So I added milk and it tastes like coffee with milk that's been run through a bowl of potpourri.

I like spice; I like gingerbread. I love pumpkin pie. I even like the smell of spice potpourri. I noticed on my trip that McDonald's had pumpkin spice milkshakes -- and that didn't appeal to me either. So my vote is thumbs down on pumpkin spice coffee.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Nostalgic Photos

My friend from kindergarten days sent me a collection of nostalgic photos -- one of those groups that make the rounds with "Do you remember this??"

Here are the ones that resonate with me:

I remember what a treat ... now I can't remember the name of this -- I was going to say Jolly Time,
but that's not it. I know: Jiffy Pop. Loved it along with the steam burn I always got opening it.

I remember asking my father to pull the lever back
when I was too little to do it.

It took me a second or two to figure out what this was -- but
it's caps... and my sister and I would hit them with a rock to
make them go off. I'm sure it was very safe... I remember
enjoying that gunsmoke smell.

To this day, I miss Woolworth's! I still have a decorative
flower pot in my garden from Woolworth's. We had a big one a
few blocks from here and I've never gotten over its closing.

I know to some people this photo would be like looking at women
with bustles and long dresses, but this doesn't seem that
long ago to me.

This is just a pleasant memory. Remember when you discovered some
cool song on the B side of a hit record?

I was thinking on vacation how weird it is to not have film, or to
buy film or flashbulbs. It seems so odd to think how long we'd wait to
get our photos developed! And then share them by buying doubles.

Of all of them, this brings back the most memories. I think I had this exact model.
I also remember in college Mary going to sleep with the dryer going on her rolled hair.
And remember that the air intake was a nail dryer??

We had a milkman, and my memory is having to take the milk in quickly
in the summer months, and if you didn't, it would sour. And if you
didn't take it in quickly enough in the winter, the milk would
freeze and the glass bottles would break. I also just remembered you'd
put the clean empty bottles back in the milkbox.