Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Farmer Girl Fran

Fran writes:

David and Fran today found thrills on Blueberry Hill (well, Butler's Orchard near Germantown, MD. We also picked black raspberries and then bought lots of fresh veggies in the farm store. Yum)

In last photo, David practises Italian aroma therapy by hanging fresh, fragrant basil from the rear view mirror. Ahhhh. He wisely put the fresh garlic bulbs in the trunk.

Playing with a Scammer

Just got my umpteenth call from India -- yes, from the Microsoft Technical Center -- telling me that not only is my computer being hacked, it is sending out viruses to everyone in my address book. Then he said, "Are you aware of this problem?" and I said, "Yes, but I have another problem."

He asked what it is, and I said, "The guy in India who is a scammer keeps calling me lying about my computer."


I think I'm so damn funny. Really enjoyed myself!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Telemarketer Hell

I have just received my third call from the New York City Department of Health wanting me to take a survey. The woman said I'd be paid $30... Hmmmm... how long does it take? And she said "35 minutes." Forget it.

Second call I said that I had already said no.
Now, with this third call, I said, "I've already said no twice to this." And she cops this attitude and says, "You don't even know why I am calling" and I said "Yes, I do. You're doing a survey and I'll get paid $30 and it takes 35 minutes."
She says something about how it could take as little as 20 minutes, but in a condescending way, and I said, "Hey, don't be snotty with me. I'd be the one doing you the favor if I said yes."
So she says, "This is a very important survey."  I ask what it's about. And she said "health practices and children."
I said, "I don't have any" and hung up.

You'd think if someone said no once, they'd take the name off the call list. You know, I might have really done this if she hadn't been so snotty but what went through my mind is that there could be some personal questions and I didn't feel like sharing personal info about myself with Miss Snotti VonAttitude.

PS an hour later: Picked up the phone to make a call and realized I had a message. Uh oh. Turns out it came in this morning when I was taking a shower... and it was the NYC Department of Health. They surely want my opinion. That makes four calls.

Sucker for Cute Pictures, I admit

This one was entitled TEAMWORK

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Anxiety Dream

Is there anything better than waking up from an anxiety dream and realizing it was just a dream? Last night, I had this long, long complicated dream that involved me and Melissa (although she never made an appearance in the dream) trying to fly from Kansas City (where Melissa used to live) to Philadelphia. Why Philly, I don't know. Melissa had gone ahead of me and first I was at a party and needed someone to drive me to the airport (which was actually a train station in the dream.) This fellow Melissa and I know (and Melissa will know who it was) didn't want to drive me, didn't want to leave the party and finally acquiesced.

I got to the airport cum train station and went to the United counter and bought a ticket which involved two legs. I remember later thinking you didn't even ask how much the ticket was and I had it in my hand and I didn't even want to look in case it was a thousand dollars or something. The woman at the counter told me to hurry as the flight was leaving. I asked her when the flight left and she said 3 o'clock and I said "what time is it now?" and she said "3 o'clock" and I thought, but didn't say anything, well, how can I make that flight?

But then I saw a clock that actually said 2:15 (maybe this was the sane part of me trying to intervene) but not for long as every clock I saw said a different time. Then I started thinking well maybe Melissa bought my ticket and I should have asked if Melissa was on the flight and then I saw an American Airlines counter and thought maybe Melissa was on that airline. I did think she and I would rendez vous finally in Philadelphia.

Then I started searching for my gate, up and now various escalators which led to dead ends... encountered various up escalators that didn't work so I had to walk up the escalator only to realize it was a dead end. Finally I found the right way...

So I had my gate and was going to make the flight... oh, wait... my luggage? Yes, I had left my luggage somewhere when I went to buy the ticket so I hurried back there to retrieve it... funny, but my "luggage" (and probably a shrink could have a field day with THAT word... luggage is what I'm lugging around!) anyway, my "luggage" was this old blue Samsonite hard sided suitcase that I had in college (in real life) -- and everyone had just in different colors. My older sister had olive green.

Of course my luggage was nowhere to be seen and I realized someone had stolen it; naturally if you leave your luggage sitting there, I couldn't expect it to be there when I returned. My dilemma was do I just get on the flight? Or look for my luggage and miss the flight?

And that is when I woke up and was oh so glad I wasn't trying to get to Philadelphia even if I would see Melissa when I got there!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

What I'm Reading

I really did NOT like my time travel book. This woman went to 1918, 1941 and the present in 1985. It was the same people (husband, gay brother, lover, aunt) in all three lives and it was just boring. They even all had the same names.

Anyway, now I'm reading something I am enjoying. It's the memoirs of the Gilded Age by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan. She wrote it in 1954 and I've gotten through her childhood, her deb days and now she's just gotten married in an arranged marriage to a man she doesn't love.

The title comes from "all that glitters is not gold." She's a good writer, a bit stilted and old-fashioned, obviously since it was first published in 1954, but it's a fascinating account of her life.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Along with your McDonald's lunch....crica 1975

IBM 5100, advertisement for the first “ultra portable” computer, 1975. CPU: IBM proprietary, 1.9MHz. RAM: 16K

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Judy's Corsage

A while back, I had written about the birthday corsages we used to make in high school. There was a corsage component for each year. Like 16 years was sugar cubes... From what we gather, this was mainly an East Coast/New York-New Jersey thing.

Well Brooklyn Girl Fran made a birthday corsage for Judy, and here's what it looks like:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bette Midler Fans

Mary went to a Bette Midler concert last night and photographed these fans afterward:

Monday, June 22, 2015

Signs of Age

One of the first signs I had that I was ageing was getting a manicure and this Hispanic woman was massaging my hands and I noted she did it in a really loving way -- beyond the mechanical massage of a manicurist. She has this smile on her face, this dreamy look, as she continued to massage. Finally she said, "Oh your hands are just like my mother's."


I hadn't thought about our ages before then... I would have said we were about the same age, but of course we weren't.

And now, this has happened to Mary who writes:

I told the physical therapist's assistant that Barb and I are going to see Bette Midler tonight and she said "My grandfather is going to see her! He's so excited. My dad bought him a ticket".

At least Mary could afford her own ticket!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I know the feeling...



In Honor of the First Day of Summer

Here is part of my lunch... it's a great ear of corn and I take the stick of butter and rub it on which really just gives it a glaze and less butter than if you did it via a pat... anyway, then I added fresh dill, wrapped it in foil and baked it for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Wonderful and a great way to launch the season.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Texas Crepe Myrtle

Melissa reports:

Besides breaking the drought, all the rain in South Texas has done wonders for the crepe myrtle trees this year.  Although I think we have had enough!  

Home Remedy for a Fungus Amongus

I have gone my whole life without nail fungus, but developed it in my one foot, on three toes. When I saw a podiatrist, he told me that the over the counter stuff really doesn't work and the prescription stuff is too dangerous as it could cause liver damage. He thought fungus was a better alternative to liver damage. So do I.

However, he said, there is a home remedy that works... Ok...what is it?

He said that you can apply Vicks Vaporub to your fungus nails. Somehow the Vicks makes an inhospitable home for the fungus. I was intrigued, and so I googled it, and sure enough, loads of people were curing their fungus with Vicks.

So I got some. On Wednesday, it will be two full weeks since I began the Vicks cure... I just take a glob on my finger and put some on each nail every morning after my shower. I do take a bath brush to my toes in the shower to remove old Vicks. When I apply the new stuff, I don't rub it in or anything.

I have to say that on the scale of: Is it getting better? Is it getting worse? Is it staying the same? I have to say it's getting better. On my big toe, I would say the fungus has been reduced about 40%. One of the online reports I read said that in three weeks her fungus was almost gone. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Pop Quiz

Mary says that one of the creatures in this photo is comfortable... which one is it?

Stunning Lauren Bacall

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What I'm Reading

I finished my true crime book -- did a lot of reading over the rainy weekend -- and there is one unusual suspect, but the murders of these young women goes unsolved.

So now it's on to a novel -- this time a time travel novel:

I haven't started it yet, but here's what Amazon says:

Greer cleverly reinvents that always popular staple: the time-travel novel. The story opens in 1985 as a severely depressed Greta Wells undergoes electroshock therapy in order to cope with the death of her beloved twin brother and a devastating personal betrayal by her long-term significant other. With each treatment, she is whisked back and forth through three different lives, landing in 1918, 1941, or 1985. As the eras change, she carries her circle of family and friends with her, and the setting—New York’s charming West Village—remains a paradoxically evolving constant. Despite the fact that she is essentially the same person in every life, her choices, dictated as much by time and place as by personality and free will, are radically dissimilar. Philosophically intriguing as well as gorgeously imagined and executed, this novel will catch fire with the same audience that propelled Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003) to the top of the best-seller list.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Meredith's and Dave's Excellent Adventure

Meredith's mom (Michelle) says this makes her tired just reading it. I say I'll do the hike if you get me a golf cart.

So I'll hand the mike over to Meredith who says:

Dave and I have had a great trip time on our California road trip. We've done a lot of hiking, driving, and eating lots of good food. Here are a few pictures from the trip...

Nancy lives near Big Trees State Park, so we went to see the sequoias:

After two nights in Arnold, we went on to Yosemite for a day. The park was beautiful and had lots to do.  We decided to do the popular hike to the top of Yosemite falls.

Pat says: this looks like a postcard or a jigsaw puzzle!

On the way up...

Finally at the top. It was like being on the stairmaster for 2.5 hours to get up there. It was not as fun as some of the other hikes we've done, and the views were actually better on the way than actually up at the top.

Then we headed to Big Sur for two days, which definitely lived up to expectations in terms of scenery.

McWay falls:

And this afternoon we made it to Morro Bay. We're here for two days and then on to Santa Barbara and LA.

Meredith concludes: We're probably going to do a little less hiking now, and spend some time relaxing on the beach. We are thinking of going kayaking though - apparently you can get close to seals and sea otters that way.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Two more birthday Pics...

Here's Mary and one of Baby Fran...

Fran's Birthday Dinner

Mary and Fran went out for dinner, and Mary writes:

Here we are celebrating Fran tonight. We both started with a delicious seafood chowder (I think they called it a bisque but it was full of chunks of crab, lobster and shrimp). Then  Fran had scallops and I had a cold combo of shrimp, crabmeat and lobster.  Each meal could have easily served 2 or 3 so we both have leftovers for tomorrow.  Then they brought Fran a slice of cake with a candle.  What a nice night!

Happy birthday Fran! Thanks for moving to DC.

Pat adds: Wow... those are big portions!

The birthday girl and her chowder

I counted 15-16 scallops where normally you get 6 or 8. 

This looks so good too...love that big lobster claw!

Happy Birthday, Fran!

In honor of Fran's birthday, I am including one of her favorites -- and mine -- the St. Francis prayer.  Whatever regligious belief you have, or none at all, I've always loved the sentiment expressed here.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Barbara's Garden

Here are the captions from Barbara ... about the peonies, I think I read somewhere that they can take up to seven years to bloom the first time.

 Picture #1 - The peonies by my swing finally bloomed today -- it might not seem very impressive, but it's only their second year so I consider it lucky to have any flowers at all.  Also, with a little encouragement, the native virginia creeper has been taking over the tree to my delight.  #2 - The dogwood tree is in full bloom, this picture is from the top of the deck stairs.  #3 - Lots of lush green in the garden, soon there will be astilbe flowers.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

John Denver on PBS

As I putter around, I have this PBS documentary on John Denver on... I've seen it before, but it's good background... I was stunned (don't know why) that the station is running this show because it would have been John Denver's 70th birthday.

I realized that many of his songs I never get tired of hearing no matter how many dozens and dozens of times I've heard them.... some of my favorites like Leaving on a Jet Plane (which I forgot that he wrote) and Country Roads... how can you NOT sing along to that?

So Happy Birthday, John, wherever you are and thanks for the great music.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bad combo

I like pizza (of course) and I'll admit to liking hot dogs (it's my American blood!) but I don't like them together... this is a new offering from Pizza Hut.

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from Twitter... this sums it up for me, too.

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Speaking of Computers...

Just got my umpeenth call from some deadbeat criminal loser in India who was calling from "Microsoft" -- I interrupted him and said, "Let me guess... my computer's been hacked and you are calling to help me."


Oh, was it something I said?

from Twitter

Ok, so the 1980s doesn't seem like THAT long ago! I'm trying to remember when computers first made their appearance in the office where I worked...

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What I'm Reading

Ok, so I finished the weird novel at lunch, all 500 pages. I was determined to finish, but was unimpressed with the big reveal at the end.

So now I've moved from weird novel to true crime. If you can't tell, this photo shows police looking on the ocean beach where they'd found a number of the murder victims:

Here's what Amazon says:

Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island, and presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of online escorts, where making a living is easier than ever and the dangers remain all too real. A triumph of reporting, a riveting narrative, and "a lashing critique of how society and the police let five young women down" (Dwight Garner, New York Times), Lost Girls is a portrait of unsolved murders in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Melissa's Lillies

She writes: I don't really know what kind of lilies these are in my garden, but I always love when they bloom about this time of year. 

How perverted are you?

This is from my NYC Alerts twitter... and I know this happens, and a friend recently told me a story about a guy grabbing her... and I remember, years ago, being rubbed up against on the subway which totally grossed me out, even wearing a winter coat -- but I did get the last laugh by taking one small step backward and putting all my weight on his instep and calling him out.

But really, what kind of sick man goes around grabbing women? I don't get it. What is this man like? I hope they catch him, and this is one reason I do like smartphones. Hope his face is plastered all over and people who know him/work with him see what a perv he is.

For those unfamiliar with NYC, 5th Avenue and 14th Street is a totally safe, busy, normal, shopping area, populated part of town.

Manhattan: West 14th St & 5th Ave, this man is wanted for grabbing the buttocks of a 24y/o female

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Explain this to me.

I am slowly plowing my way through my current book. It's a tough read. I don't like the main character. I don't really like anything about the book, and yet, I keep reading. Almost compulsively. There is a difference between a book I don't like and just put it down and pass it on to someone else and a book I don't really enjoy reading, but I keep reading. I couldn't absolutely recommend this book to anyone, and yet here I go, reading it. What is going on?


Today is my twin niece and nephew's birthday -- they are 14, going into 9th grade. I have thanked my sister for giving birth on days easy to remember. The twins were born on 6/6 and her older daughter was born on 12/12.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The World is divided into...

two groups: people who do x and people who do y.

Barbara was here last night and she put ice in glasses for our drinks. When I went to get ice this morning, I saw that the ice cube tray looked something like this:

When I use ice, I ALWAYS refill the ice cube tray all the way before putting it back in the freezer, but I know (from Barbara) and also from other peoples houses that they don't do that -- they use all the ice before refilling.

The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who refill the ice cube tray immediately and those who use all cubes before refilling.

Which are you?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mmmmmmmmm..... cheesecake!

Barbara came over for dinner tonight. We called Gracie's. B had a BLT and I had grilled american cheese. We split "well-done" fries.

For dessert, she brought two pieces of cheesecake: plain for her and cherries for me. OMG, this is good cheesecake:

The cherries were flavorful and tart, and the bottom crust which is like a sweet graham cracker crust is so tasty, unlike most crusts. The cheesecake is light and airy. Oh, it was good!

Come visit, but go to Little Red Hen on your way!