Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Movie Experience

A retired airline pilot friend wrote me today about seeing "Sully." In his email, he wrote about his granddaughters:

They would have preferred watching something else but it was the only 11:30  flick and they couldn’t resist the movie routine of pop corn,  electric reclining seats and extending footrests ( a far cry from the Spartan  RKO I knew 60+ years ago  on  230th  St.  and Broadway in Riverdale where a mean lady in a white dress patrolled with  a flashlight  and kept us in line ). The kids said they  preferred another theater  which had a button at every seat to summon  an attendant for  snacks but we told them they’d just have to rough it. 
and I responded with my own movie memories which I'll share... anything like yours?

I'm glad you saw it in such a plush theater. I had almost forgotten about the mean old ladies, and I remember them well. We called them "matrons" and basically our greatest sin was not having our two feet on the floor where they belong. I know I had the flashlight turned on me a few times, but I don't think the matron really had any power... never remember a kid being thrown out. When we would go to our cousins in Wisconsin in  the summer, they often had "35 cartoons!" as the feature which I thought was heaven. 

One of my favorite old lady stories to tell is how my father would give my sister and me a dollar to go to the movies. It was 35 cents each to get in which left us 30 cents. We would each buy one candy of our choice for ten cents leaving one last dime. We took that last dime and negotiated a candy to be shared. I can still picture my sister and me standing in front of the candy counter going back and forth on that third candy. 

Certain things make me feel old and the movie experience is one of them... sometimes I think I actually saw the newsreels which now seem so campy... and why can't we get a cartoon any more?And I date myself when I use the term "coming attractions." Can still smell the Oyster Bay theater where we went... every so often I smell that smell  and it's glorious... sort of a damp musty smell mixed with popcorn smell.  

Also, in those days, you just dropped the empty popcorn container and candy wrappings on the floor. Now you'd be arrested no doubt for that!  

I just dregged up another memory... there was an ancient ticket taker, an old man, sort of decrepit, in that Oyster Bay theater... and he would take your ticket and rip it in half... and he had these horrid long yellow fingernails which must have been on purpose to help him tear the tickets. And, of course, my parents sat in smoking, with us along, but the smoking section seats were bigger and plusher so we didn't mind. Velvet seats that I loved.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Milo's New Bed

Mary says:

In preparation for colder weather, i wanted to get Milo a bed that would help warm his arthritic joints. I found this one online that reflects his body heat back on him. He ignored it at first but now he seems to really like it. I think when it's cool but not freezing out I'll put in on the screened in porch for him.

A Feast Fit for the Queens We Are...

Barbara came over for our regular monthly luncheon and we splurged today; we abandoned Gracie's for a real restaurant and ordered LOBSTER ROLLS.

I gasped at the total, and Barbara said if I didn't want to spend that much, we could do something else. I said I was responding like an old woman to how prices have raised. I said I still expect to go to a diner, order a cheeseburger and soda... and Barbara said, "And pay under ten dollars." And she's right. So, I put my sticker shock aside -- OK, the total bill was $50 including tip but it was worth every cent.

I said to Barbara that at least this was delicious food for the price, and it really was... each component.

The lobster roll came with "hand cut" fries. Both of us thought they might be limp from being steamed in the delivery but they were actually crispy and delicious.

Nothing like fresh crunch cole slaw...

And the main course... lobster meat with celery salt, light mayo... other herbs and spices on toasted roll. It was worth the price!


Barbara told me that she played a game with herself... that if she passed Two Little Red Hens (the bakery) before 12:20 and there was no line that she would go in and buy cupcakes. Lucky for us, both conditions were met so for dessert, we had a carrot cake cupcake for her and a red velvet cupcake for me.

My red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting... as I said, we had a feast fit for the queens we are!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Mary says: These are delicious white peaches from the Orchard near Thurmont MD.  I though they weren't ripe because they're not soft but they are delicious. I bought a big basket, maybe 8 or more huge peaches, and they'll be gone soon. One if the best things about summer.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Barb's surprise birthday gift

Tickets to Hamilton!

Angelina snoozes...

Fran says she likes cuddling with sneakers....

Sunday, September 18, 2016

further on hopscotch

Barbara sent me this...

By the way, I asked my sister Susan if we had a name for the hopscotch stone, because she has an incredible memory for everything.  She said WE did not have any special name, but she said that my mother played a slightly different game as a child in NYC where they called it a "potsy".  

I started googling hopscotch... potsy sounds closer, but I don't think that was it. Most of the sites just called it a "marker" which I know we didn't call it. I learned that hopscotch started with Roman soldiers who jumped while carrying heavy weights, and that hopscotch is played all over the world and most countries have their own name for it and variations of the hopscotch board. In France, kids call it "escargot."

I just emailed a friend from kindergarten who has an amazing memory. She'll tell me, for example, who sat next to me in 5th period English class in 9th grade.

Barbara's pics

Along with her captions....

Picture #1:  My Beanster! I think his personality is visible in this picture.

Picture #2:  The new abstract sculpture in the yard. This was made by the son of an antique dealer friend.  What does it look like to you?  (I think it looks like it could be a visitor from another planet.)

Pat says: My first impression on seeing this is that the circle at the top reminded me of a magnifying glass so maybe you look through it and see the world in microcosm???

Picture #3:  The anemones are riotous this year.

someewhat shamefully, I admit

... I binge read my trash book. Stayed up until 2 last night reading and read abbout two hours today and finished. What can I say? It was a junky junk pageturner!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

What I'm Reading

This is really sort of a junk book/beach read, but so far it's entertaining... very light reading.

Here's what Amazon says:

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable.
Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows.
Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

And now back to New Zealand

...where Amy says:

Consider this a postcard from below the 46th parallel. Certainly as far south as I ever need to go! We walked along a roaring coast through a primordial forest and watched the waves crashing on shore straight from Antarctica. And it was about 70 F and sunny. Fantastic.

Much love from Invercargill! (Want to know the town? Watch Anthony Hopkins in The World's Fastest Indian).


Mary says, :"Go figure cats"

"I was lying on the sofa reading and he was snuggled around my shoulder and neck.  He got up and turned in a circle and ended up like this."

Outside in DC

Mary says:

Here is proof that kids still play hopscotch. The color had faded so hope you can make it out.  The other pictures are the morning glories on my deck.  They are a deep blue this year and have wandered from one wood support to the other. It is gloriously cool today!!!

Pat says:

I played hopscotch a lot... and I am thinking we had a name for the stone you threw in the hopscotch box... a special name for it. It was so cool in NY today that I had already turned off the A/C but then I closed the garden door too. Just now studying the hopscotch board, ours only went up to 8 in this format


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Weird Status Update

Nothing has happened in the last few days -- no buzzer, no knocks on the door, nothing odd -- so hopefully this is a closed chapter.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Another weird happening -- solved

Today I found, out of the blue, that my dishwasher wouldn't close by about 1/2 inch. I fiddled and fiddled and rehung the shelves and moveD the dishes and finally after about 10 minutes of trying the same things over and over I gave up.

Went back to work, fearing I'd have to hire a repair guy when about an hour later I had a brain flash... maybe it's not the racks; maybe it's the latch on the door.So I tried it and sure enough the latch was jammed and I easily fixed it and now... PROBLEM SOLVED.

Weird Happening on the Homefront

Unless I am expecting someone or a delivery, I don't answer the outdoor buzzer. Over the past few days, I had noticed that my buzzer was ringing at off times, like Saturday night at 11:30. So today I happened to be walking past the intercom when the buzzer rang and so I said "who is it?" and the person said it was "Gene from downstairs" (there's an apartment in the basement) and how he was given a front door key that didn't work and could I buzz him in.

So I did. Note to non-New Yorkers/non-apartment: this is very against what you're supposed to do. You are never supposed to buzz someone in who you don't know.

About two hours later, my doorbell rang... not the buzzer, but my acutal front door to my apartment. I didnt open it, but it was "Gene from downstairs" asking me to loan him my front door key so he could have a key made and how he would return it to me quickly. I didn't feel comfortable doing that, and told him so, and he got the very slightest bit angry and said, "Come on, Pat, I've known you for years" --news to me. So I told him to go to the management company which is less than 10 blocks away or see the super (who lives in the neighborhood).

He finally went away and I started thinking about it -- if someone gave me a key and it didn't work, I'd go back to the person who gave me that key.

I ended up calling the maagement company who took this situation very seriosly. They have no tenant named Gene and said there are cameras in the hall (which I had noticed a few weeks ago for the first time) and that if he came to my door again I should tell him to go away and if he didn't to call the police. Then I should call them so they can look at the film.

I told them I didn't know if it was someone's abusive boyfriend or a tenant that had been evicted or whatever.... despite all this, I do believe this guy lives here and is just too lazy to go through the proper channels to get a key. I can't say I'm afraid, but I just find the whole thing annoying.

And as I've been writing this, my buzzer rang again and I ignored it. Maybe I can train him to buzz someone else, not me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Angelina's Sleeping Position

Fran says:

Sometimes it's hard to tell which end is up. Hint: the top of Angelina's head is on my thigh.

Monday, September 5, 2016

What I'm Reading

I'm about half way through this and I am enjoying it. The chapters alternate between a woman writing about the 1930s as a record of her life and a present day woman. I always like those type of books with more than one point of view.

Here's what Amazon says:

A stunning debut novel that examines the price of loyalty, the burden of regret, the meaning of salvation, and the sacrifices we make for those we love, told in the voices of two unforgettable women linked by a decades-old family mystery at a picturesque lake house.

In 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys the family—her father commits suicide, and her mother and two older sisters spend the rest of their lives at the lake house, keeping a decades-long vigil for the lost child.

Sixty years later, Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before her death, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person who might care: her grandniece, Justine. For Justine, the lake house offers freedom and stability—a way to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the home she never had. But the long Minnesota winter is just beginning. The house is cold and dilapidated. The dark, silent lake is isolated and eerie. Her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more about the summer of 1935 than he’s telling.

Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives to steal her inheritance, and the man she left launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house haunted by the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.

Pat again: Ok, so I'm at the point where the mother has arrived...

My Beef for Labor Day

I don't use Skype although I have nothing against it. I had to use it once in August for a client and somehow set up a monthly recurring charge... so I paid in August, then got the notice that I was charged in September and wanted to put a stop to it. I had just read in Money how much people lose a year by having recurring payments for stuff they don't use. I'm pretty good at it, even though I did have to pay a second monthly charge of $6.95 this time for Skype.

So I go to Skype to cancel the subscription/recurring payment and it's like finding a needle in a haystack. I've had this problem before on other sites. Somehow, years ago, I had an electronic sub to the Wall St Journal and then when I went to cancel, you couldn't unless you did it in WRITING VIA SMAIL MAIL.

I hunt and hunt, and finally figure out that I have to go to Paypal to cancel (since that's how I was paying)... another big hunt, but I finally did it. What should have taken me 90 seconds ended up ... really... I'd say 20 minutes. Pisses me off. I honestly believe that they want you to just give up which I was tempted to do -- told myself I could come back later and figure it out, but I'm glad I stuck it out.

I Got Off Cheap... in Retrospect....

When I was coming back into NYC from Vermont in July, two major highways merged at the toll booths for the Triborough Bridge into Manhattan. I was in the far left lane and the "cash" (as opposed to EZ Pass) booths were in the far right. There was no way for me to cross those lanes of traffic to  the cash lane -- I tried, but blaring horns told me to give it up.

The rental car has E Z Passs  on it, and as I pulled it to one of the EZ Pass lanes, there was a toll booth worker and I told him my problem and asked him if I could pay him in cash. Mumble, mumble so I gave up, knowing that I'd be paying for it. At the time, I thought the rule was that even if you used the EZ Pass once, you would charged a daily rate for each day of the rental.

I soothed myself by saying, better to pay that than to have an accident.

So today I opened my American Express bill and I saw the charge for $19.85. Not bad, and better than I thought it would be.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Catoctin Orchard

This is a farm stand where Mary typically stops on her way home from Pennsylvania.

Here's today's report, and I have fruit and vegetable envy. I'd envy the "sweets" too if I knew more about them. I've been thinking today of my grandmother's rhubarb pie and how much I loved it and tried a few times to eat the rhubarb raw, not realizing the pie is like one part rhubarb to three parts sugar.

Mary says:

 I've gotten used to buying extra.  I gave a few to Jill and Fran promised to take some off my hands. Peaches, tomatoes and corn, my favorite summer foods, pretty little sweet peppers, some "old fashioned sand tart cookies", some streusel cakes.  Tonight I'm having a tomato sandwich with corn on the cob and a big peach for dessert. The sweets are going in the freezer (ate one on the way home). Boy that place smells like heaven.

LATER THAT SAME DAY, here's Mary's dinner:

My Mother Theresa Story

Yes, I have a Mother Theresa story. A number of years ago, there was a homeless guy who hung out on my block. He was incredibly mean and would yell at people. I had a dinner guest once and when he arrived the homeless guy was sitting on the steps of my building and my guest took pity on him and said we should bring him out food so I put together this nice bag of food, including HOMEMADE WARM SOUP and we brought it out to him and he snarled at us and cursed us out.

That was enough for me... my chartiable ntoions about him were done.

Fast forward a few months and it was the day that Mother Theresa died... I'm walking home from somewhere, am on my block, and I see this guy. I thought Ok, in honor of Mother Theresa, I'm going to reach out to this guy, be nice to him, and so I bent over and said something like "Hi, how are you?"

This guy starts yelling, "Get away from me you god damned c-word!" Except he didn't say "c-word" -- he said the word.  As I walked away from him, he continued to yell after me that I was "nothing but a c-word" -- and I thought, "Even Mother Theresa would want to smack this guy!"

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Birthday Party

Mary says:
Birthday girl Laney in the pink tutu and tiara  and her cousin Gwenyth.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Meanwhile, back in New Zealand

Amy says:

Had a day on the Cormandel peninsula with the legend Doug "Kiwi" Dundee. Just wonderful. Looks like a primordial version of northern California. The weather has been perfect for touring and the air is so fresh. Just loving it.

Meanwhile I had asked Amy about the earthquake in New Zealand and if she were near the site of it and she said:

Yeah far enough away so that we never felt it, though we did see a tiny 30 cm tsunami raise the water level in the bay. Thing is there were about 30 aftershocks yesterday and we never felt those either.

That's the news from this little town of 400 permanent residents.

Taco Kitty

With all the jokes about a taco truck on every corner...

Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Feminist Beef

Today I was looking through the new offerings of the Literary Guild (which took over the Book of the Month Club) and this book caught my eye:

In 1942, social worker Irena Sendler was granted access to the Warsaw ghetto as a public health specialist, and began to understand the fate that awaited the Jews who were trapped there. At staggering personal risk, she began smuggling children out of the district, convincing friends and neighbors to hide them. Irena ultimately smuggled thousands of children past the Nazis—but she also kept a secret list buried in a friend’s garden containing their names, so their families could find them after the war. She could not have known that more than ninety percent of their relatives would perish.

Ok, so far so good. I always like reading about brave women who did remarkable things, but the little description concludes with:

Irena’s Children recounts the incredible story of the “female Oskar Schindler” and her heroic tale of survival, resilience, and redemption.

So here's my beef: why do women always have to be described in relation to a man? There was some Olympic medal winner who was described by (I think) the LA Times in a headline as "Wife of NFL Player Wins Gold."  I get that maybe it was an easy way to describe Irena... but I think we get it... she saved people. So I am changing this to Oskar Schindler being "the male Irena Sendler."

Drop me a Line

I used this expression the other day with a client, and he said he uses it, but his wife recently had said she'd never heard of it and didn't know what it meant. So he and I discussed what it could mean, its origin, and thought maybe it was a telephone line or a telegram... but we were both wrong.

Just now checked, and this is a very old idiom:

drop a line. Correspond, write a short letter or note. For example, I hope you'll drop me a line soon. This idiom uses line in the sense of “a few words in writing,” a usage first recorded in 1647.