Monday, May 22, 2017

Trying (successfully) to make me jealous

Those two mean girls, Fran and Mary, felt obliged to make me jealous by bragging about their beauty routine followed by Red Lobster. God, do I want a lobster taco!

Fran says:

Not only are we beautiful with plucked eyebrows lips and chins, but we are at Red Lobster. I'm now trying to snatch a  warm cheddar biscuit from Mary, who obviously plans to eat all of them before her lobster taco lunch..


So far, so good

Guillermo the gardener was due here at 11-30. He called at 11:32 to say he was on his way and would be there in 10 minutes, which he was. He checked everything out, gave me a reasonable quote, asked me if there were any colors I didn't want (orange -- I tend to go for pinks and purples) and he's coming back on Saturday at noon to do the job.

No word from gardener #1.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Critical Updates

Despite Barbara's advice (see comment in previous post) which I actually hadn't seen, I posted to Thumbtack which is where Marilyn gets her clients. I decided I want a place where you can give feedback. So I posted the job last night, was told by email I'd get 3-5 quotes, got one, and I just called the guy-- Guillermo -- who is coming to take a look tomorrow at 11:30.

Book: I'm about 100 pages in, really enjoying it, but one problem is the book is so small and thick it's hard to hold in one hand... but the story is engrossing.

Madoff Obsession: I'm watching the second special on HBO starring Robert DeNiro as Madoff.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Is this now normal?

This happens to me way too often it seems so I'm wondering maybe this is the norm these days. I contacted a gardener to come do winter clean up and plant in my garden. Contacted him last weekend and he responded... told me he was too busy all week to come, but he could come on Saturday. Fine... we selected a time of between 1 and 2 pm today... and, of course, he was a no-show. No word from him.

I haven't yet decided if I contact him and give him another chance... such a tough call. I remember complaining once about a handyman and my friend said, "Well, at least you got someone to show up." I don't get why they advertise if they don't really want the business.

Right now, I'm leaning toward not contact him and moving on with someone else. I had the same woman two years in a row who I liked, but last year, she did 1/2 of the job and then disappeared... radio silence for 3-4 weeks... finally I emailed her and said I was going to contact my credit card company to dispute the charge and she contacted me with some sob story that I don't even remember... no, it wasn't like someone died... just hectic this and crazy that... so she came to finish the job and claimed she gave me "extra" because of her screw up but I didn't want to go through that again.

Sigh, sigh, sigh... ok, I know this is a First World Problem that my gardener didn't show up, but still...

Friday, May 19, 2017

What I'm Reading

Based on a Twitter recommendation by Stephen King, I bought the first book in a trilogy... this is called Natchez Burning and it's a suspense novel about a murder. When it arrived -- Barbara came for lunch and she brought in my mail which included this book -- and the package looked like two books but I knew I'd only bought one... and it's three inches thick in paperback.

It reminded me of my snobby childhood reaction to kids complaining how many pages exactly a book was that they had to read... and as an avid reader, I always thought the longer the better... so I had to check and this one is 865 pages. A cover blurb by Stephen King says once you start, you can't put it down -- I hope that's the case.


As for lunch, Barbara and I rarely depart from certain set menus -- scrambled eggs and bacon is one; lobster rolls is one; burgers is one. Today we went medium cheeseburgers with cheddar cheese and a shared order of fries. Yum. Hadn't had a burger in weeks.

Oh, I forgot -- we have a fourth menu choice: BLTs, hers on rye toast, mine on white toast.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

My Little Anecdote of the Day

Today a client asked me how a certain process was going that we'd set up. I typed "easy flow from my end" and thought "this sounds as if I have diarrhea" so I deleted and wrote it another way.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Watching Bernie Madoff

Last night and tonight I watched a repeat of the Richard Dreyfuss (playing Bernie) and Blythe Danner (playing his wife) two-part show. I am somewhat obsessed with this story as it really hits home about the security I feel about my nest egg. So hard to imagine its being gone.

At the time Madoff was exposed, I read a piece in Huffington Post from a woman who had lost all her money and she reminded me so much of myself, right down to having worked in the magazine publishing business. What struck me is that some highers up at Conde Nast "got her into" Bernie's funds because they liked her and thought they were doing her this big favor. She was so pleased that she had the same investment person as Si Newhouse, etc.

Well, that struck home because years ago, in my 20s, I needed a tax accountant for the first time and I was introduced to an accounting firm which specialized in working with people in publishing and advertising and I felt so good that I was using the same accountant as the bigwigs at the company I was working.

I remember at the time also calling my investment firm and asking straight out "how do I know you're not like Bernie Madoff?" and the company had this presentation ready, including the fact that there is insurance for the first $500,000 and after that the company bought "private insurance" for the rest. It's really not much of a reassuring thing... I remember thinking well, now what? Ask them to send me the insurance papers so I can see for myself? And those papers could easily be forged. I didn't really seriously believe that this firm was like Bernie, but then I'd think well, neither did the people scammed by him.

Two Sundays ago, I saw a woman on Oprah's Sunday show who had lost all her money with Madoff and she called her best friend who told her "Nothing of value has been lost." Hint: Don't say that to me. I get it that I would still be alive and kicking and even this woman said she said to her friend, "This is not the time to be spiritual" -- too early.

And now of course she thinks it was a great thing that happened to her, and I thought "Yeah, if you have a best-selling book and are on Oprah and have recouped most of your money." But most people weren't that lucky. And yes, I believe luck plays a big part there.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Spring in DC

Mary says:

These are in my neighbor's yard. It's a gorgeous but cool day, and the sun made everything open up and shine. I think the second picture is foxglove but Fran is going to fact check me.


Catching up

So I haven't been posting much for no particular reason. I think I'm caught in a "nothing much happening" time and there really isn't. Spring really hasn't come; still wearing winter type clothes and haven't done anything with my garden.

However this coming week it's supposed to get warm. I contacted a gardener via Craigslist and he actually responded so he'll be coming to check things out and do the work.

Yesterday Nancy came over for lunch and she stopped at Tal Bagels. We each had smoked turkey and swiss (with mayo!) -- hers on a sesame bagel and mine on an everything bagel and we both commented that there is nothing like a great sandwich. The bagels were super fresh, the meat was shaved thin and good cheese... can't beat it.  And of course we talked non-stop and later I was thinking that one of the qualities all my friends have is good conversationalists and I don't appreciate that really until I'm with someone with no opinions, no insights and no gift of the gab.

Let's see... what else? My 50th high school reunion (YIKES!) is held next month and one of the projects I'm involved in is classmates writing essays about their grandparents. Such interesting stories from very wealthy grandparents and constantly-cooking Italian grandma to the storybook perfect grandparents to the alcoholic dysfunctional nasty grandmother. I am formatting the stories and doing very light copyediting. I really enjoy reading all of them, and enjoyed writing my own.

So I'll try to be more faithful in posting... we'll see.

Three Little Kittensq

These are Mary's great-nieces who had "Hello Kitty" faces painted at a fundraising event.