Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dog Halloween

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Fran's Halloween

This creepy pumpkin head (manufactured, not a real pumpkin) guards a home on Ellicott Street.

Here's pumpkin head's grumpy twin. There are lights inside. I'll try to pass by tonight. Must be especially creepy at night.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Candy

Clicked on a link about Halloween candy from the 50s and 60s and read this:

Now that you're a fancy-shmancy adult, you may salivate over a bar of artisanal 77 percent dark chocolate with pink sea-salt hand-sifted by Tibetan monks, but we know when Halloween rolls around, you secretly crave the mass-produced, artificially flavored sugar-bombs from your past.

So here's their list and my commentary:

Candy Cigarettes: Of course! Both my parents smoked so here was our chance to get in on the action. Problem was the candy cigarettes didn't come in the same brand that my parent's smoked (Father: Salem; Mother: Marlboro) so we typically got stuck with Lucky Strikes. My Great Aunt Dorothy smoked Lucky Strikes (unfiltered) and I have a memory of her picking pieces of loose tobacco from her lipsticked lips. Also I thought the red "burning" tip of the candy cigarette was quite cool. Looked hot, but wasn't.

Bottle Caps: Don't know this one... here's a picture...

Button Candy: Not a big fan; remembering feeling as if I were eating bits of paper and glue along with the very boring candy. Looked fun; tasted not so fun.

Circus Peanuts: No, no, a thousand times no. Tasted like eating creamy styrofoam.

Good & Plenty: I am more of a fan of red licorice than black, but I enjoyed biting into this, biting the piece of G&P at its middle so the candy shell came off, chewing on that and then sucking on the black licorice.

Smarties: Again, not a fan. Aren't these bitter? I also have a vague memory of my little sister eating too many of these things repeatedly so that her lips started bleeding. I could be remembering that wrong...
*******medical update: I asked my brother in law to clear up this memory with my sister. He responded, "She says it was her tongue that bled. From too many giant Sweetarts!" So it was Sweetarts, not Smarties. I was close...lips, tongue... I was in the right area.

Candy Corn: Oh yes, a staple! How you eat a piece of candy corn is to bite off each color individually so you eat it in three bites.

Pez Cinnamon: Never liked anything cinnamon in candy, or spicy, or red hot. Cinnamon in coffee cakes/cookies is a whole 'nother story. Give me sweet all day.

Boston Baked Beans: Couldn't always find these, but I do have a positive memory of them.

Astropop: These came later so they were not in my prime time childhood, but I do remember them... really just a lollipop, which we called LOLLIPOPs and thought our Wisconsin cousins who called them SUCKERS were just plain wrong.

Jaw Breakers: Not really. I think I was too impatient to just suck on the damn thing and let it get smaller. I would try to bite it and I'm amazed I didn't break my jaw doing so.

Sugar Babies: Yes, but was a bigger fan of Sugar Daddys!

Bazooka Gum: Oh yeah... remember when it was a penny? I don't know if it's even for sale any more. What was that character's name with the red turtleneck in the comic that came with it. Nothing like a big piece of FRESH Bazooka in your mouth chomping away.

Fran's Fall Friday

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Celebration Continues

Fran said this is Angelina snorting coke in celebration of National Cat Day. Hope we don't have to stage an intervention!

National Cat Day

How could this blog let today go by without a nod to National Cat Day? With no cat of my own, I rely on Milo to help celebrate his special day with me.

Question to Mary: What is Milo going to be for Halloween?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Money, Money, Money, Money

One good money story; one bad money story.

First the bad. I received in the mail a catalog from a pecan farm that sold pecans and other nuts and I thought what a nice idea it would be for me to send some pecans or other nuts to my sister and her family in advance of my arrival for Thanksgiving.

So I'm paging through the catalog and I'm stunned by the prices. A tin (sort of the size of a pie tin; maybe 2 inches tall) of pecans was $50. Thinking I was in the high-price nut section, I kept turning the pages only to see equal and higher prices. Who knew nuts were that expensive? Also, the catalog was selling a pecan pie, one of my favorites, with a $50 price tag. I don't think a New York City bakery would charge that much.

So that catalog went into the recycling bin and maybe something else will come my way.

On the plus side, though, Marilyn came today and I had a coupon from the drug store that if I spent $25, I'd get $5 off. This was all from "earning points" and the coupon has a short live span and I was determined to get my five bucks off.

I made a list which I thought would total $25, but Marilyn found additional bargains. For some unknown reason (and Marilyn told me she thought it was mismarked), a large tube of Aim toothpaste was a dollar so she bought two. She also bought Tide laundry pods, dryer sheets (for a buy one, get one free), antacids and a deodorant. Total was $25.66. I think that's pretty good. I love admiring my receipts and seeing the great deal.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fran's Fall Part V

She writes:

Here's Mr. October aka Valentino and colorful mums getting some sun outside Safeway


Monday, October 26, 2015

Fran's Fall Part IV

I can see why this is Fran's favorite tree. She writes:

What a difference a day makes....this and photos are of the trees outside the Methodist Home. In one day, zero to 60mph to leaf-turning...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What I'm Reading

This is an odd one for me, and I have no memory of why or when I bought this book. It's not a book I would normally buy -- translated to English from Swedish... when I looked at Amazon, it has 4-1/2 stars so maybe I checked that out before I got it.

Here's the summary:

On a gray September day, on an island off the coast of Sweden, six -year -old Jens Davidsson ventured out of his backyard, walked out into a fog, and vanished….Now twenty years have passed, and in this magnificent debut novel of suspense—a runaway bestseller in Sweden—the boy’s mother returns to the place where her son disappeared, drawn by a chilling package sent in the mail… In it, lovingly wrapped, is one of Jens’ sandals—sandals Julia Davidsson put on her son’s feet that very last morning.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fran's Fall Part III

Fran says:

Ghouls reaching out from the grave, getting ready for Halloween. Seen on Ellicott Street today (Saturday)

Pat adds:
I don't know if I've told this story here, but years ago I went to see Carrie (the Stephen King movie) when it was first run with my younger sister. She must have been in her early 20s at the time. And there is a scene in Carrie after the chaos of the prom and all of a sudden the mood changes and Carrie is at a gravestone and sweet music is playing and she has a bouquet of flowers in her hand and you're lulled into thinking all is well... when all of a sudden, when Carrie bends over to put this bouquet of flowers on the grave, a hand reaches out of the ground and grabs her hand.

My little sister, despite being in her early 20s, literally (and I mean that in the literal sense!) jumped into my lap. It was a classic scary movie moment.

Pat's Fall

Here is fall on East 87th Street -- still some green lingerings of summer. And I've said this before, but God bless the folks back in the 1970s who planted trees all over the numbered street blocks in NYC.

More of Fran's Fall

Fran writes:
The trees are a'changin'. In today's first outing, I noticed  the big tree in the front grounds of the Methodist Home has indeed started changing colors. A couple of days ago, it was green green green. Two images of it are attached. (More tk --"My" weeping willow next to it is still green with tinges of yellow.) Also attached is a shot of the winter pansies planted outside my apt building. 

absolutely gorgeous; beautiful old tree

Friday, October 23, 2015

Milo missed Mary

Back from Philadelphia, Mary is trying to read as Milo shows he missed her.

Meanwhile, back to cats for a moment

Fran writes: profile of Lady Angelina,  and Valentino lovin' Angelina's whisperings in his ear 

Iconic NYC Sight

I love the dog walkers. I just love watching them, watching the little dogs trying to keep up with the big dogs (hey, just like real life!). In the summer they carry water for the dogs to drink. They have to stop once every block or so to unwind all the leashes as the ins and outs of the dogs get all tangled up. I've seen as many as four dog walkers with their dogs all together.

Barb's friend took this photo inside Central Park.

Fran's Fall

Fran writes: No spectacular foliage shots avail yet. trees still green and starting to turn. Sending a few autumn-themed shots taken over past few weeks (a "tree life cycle" shot showing a  brown leaf and a green leaf resting on fallen acorns, all possible mighty oaks); pumpkins/squash on display at American Plant, and a bug on a leaf preparing for winter. 

Barb's Fall

This is the view from Barb's apartment at 81st and Columbus. When I first moved to NYC when the surface of the earth was cooling, I lived at 80th and Columbus. The grassy wooded area in this picture is actually the site of the Hayden Planetarium and the Museum of Natural History.

Milo's Fall

Milo sent me this selfie.

Barbara's Fall

Barbara sent this photo with the following description:

I took this last weekend in CT.  It's the view from my dining room window.  (This is why I'm so glad to have a window there where there used to be a wall!) 

Weekend Fall Photo Round Up

This is Mary's suggestion. Please send me one (or more!) fall photos to post. If you do, and I hope you do, tell me what the photo depicts, where you are, etc. I'll even try to get one myself and we can see Fall from all different angles.

Mary has started the ball rolling on this festive project with these three photos taken from an Amtrak train, heading to DC. These are close to BWI Airport (that's Baltimore-Washington). It's fall!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tour of Philly

Mary and Judy went on an open air bus tour of Philadelphia today... what? No Reading Market? And here are the sites they saw; yes, they did get off the bus at various locations. I always thought one of these bus tours is a great way to see a city, and I'd never been  bothered about looking like a tourist, because I *am* a tourist and want to see everything.

Mary writes:

Judy bought us tickets for a tour and it was a beautiful day. First, the arch donated by Philadelphia's sister city in China (don't remember the city), Betsy Ross's house, the monument to religious liberty outside the Jewish museum, the Bourse, and this three building optical illusion. All three buildings are the same size.

and here are the photos. Let's see if I can match them up correctly.

This one is easy; this must be the three-building optical illusion.

I'm quite sure this is the Betsy Ross house because I've been there. Although the house history maintains (or at least it did when I was there a number of years ago), supposedly it's American mythology that Betsy sewed the first flag. 

I beliee this is the Bourse Building, which sounded familiar to me, and then way back in my memory I recalled that I used to make a sales call to this building when I sold ad space... an ad agency was located in this building.

This looks like a monument to religous liberty.

And the Chinese arch.

This trip brings up memories of making sales calls in Philly, and I would take the train from NYC and in the Philly Amtrak station there used to be this huge (and I mean huge; football field size) used book store that, if I remember correctly, benefited the library system in Philadelphia. Stacks and stacks and rows and rows of books. You could get lost. And I'd always take a later train and spend time in this bookstore, and the books would be 25 cents and a dollar and I'd come home with a stack. Of course, that closed a long time ago, and I miss it. It's probably some food court now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Lunch with Old Friends

Had a long, lovely, talkative lunch with Mary and Judy who came from Philadelphia on the train and Barb who came from the West Side. They stopped at Tal Bagel and then came here with the goodies. Ate and talked and ate and laughed and had a great time talking about everything and anything. Really great conversation.

So here's Mary:

and Judy:

I didn't get a photo of Barb -- I think because she was sitting to my side, but that's her smartphone and coffee mug there on the right lower corner. You can see the garden door was open (and still is going on 10 pm) as it's very mild today.

And the treat at the end of lunch were the Linzer Torte... two shortbread like cookies with raspberry jam in the middle and powdered sugar on top from Tal. The other splotch on the paper, to the left, is the excess jam that stuck to the paper.

Dessert update: Barb just emailed and said for the next lunch we're having hammantaschen for dessert. If you want to know more about them, read here:

This is what they look like... the ones at Tal are all apricot preserves.