Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More hot chocolate and chick movies

I think the men folks in our family are about to book a hotel and leave us.

My daughter and I have spent the last couple of days....enjoying cups of hot chocolate with whip cream in between chick flicks.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.....Saying Goodbye to Sarah Marshall....White Christmas....The Blind Side

Tonight I took her to the airport to send her back to Ohio.....a couple hours later I returned with her.

Her connecting flight from St. Louis to Ohio had been canceled because of the East Coast snowstorm a couple days ago and all other alternative routes were totally full....the official at the airport told her she would probably get home in a day or two.

Yikes....fortunately she has an understanding supervisor at work.

So....I'm about to head downstairs to make a cup of hot chocolate and pull out my last chick video in my collection.....Sleepless in Seattle.....one of our all time favorites.

I'm just "on hold" waiting for hub to return home with more whipped cream.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A dangerous combo.....

All the kids are home and the temp dipped down into the 30's.

My husband's comfort food gene was activated.

Before I could blink an eye....he had left over smoked turkey and potatoes simmering in a homemade broth.....and was making biscuits from scratch.

Viola....turkey and fresh hot biscuits.

I would hate to think what would happen if we lived up north....and we had snow plus cold weather plus the kids.....we would probably live in a starch-induced coma for months!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Nothing like a cat in a sweater.......LOL>>>

And for a 100 more dashing felines in knits.....press here.....x

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hard to Believe

Hard to believe my wild stray nervous kitty that hissed at the slightest provocation....is now the gentle comfortable lazy princess which curls herself up in my silk comforter and snoozes for hours....and demands to be combed each morning....and wants fresh water at least twice a day.

Hail silky preened queen of the house!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ahhh ...the solstice

It is a gorgeous day here in the South....and 70 degrees.

Spring feels like it must be just around the corner.

I know winter will come back...cause it's not through with us...but today...when the days start getting longer...it's easy to believe the earth's rebirth is near.

There have been some winter solstice's when you really have to work hard to believe in hope and spring....but not this one.

Wouldn't it be nice if it was just that easy this year?

Oh well I'll wait another 140 years....

Well..... I tried to watch the lunar eclipse.

It was cloudy here in the South....so I found a live webcam with a perfect picture of the moon.

At 1am...not much was happening....I set my phone for 330am ...at least I thought I did....but the night slipped by and so did the lunar eclipse.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's aint pretty but it's my hallway.......

Well we've started.

We are remodeling the second floor of the house.

I took everything from my parent's house and stored it in the garage....at least 200 boxes.

I then got stuck....how do we change out the bedroom carpets? install hardwood in some rooms? de-clutter and de-toy bedrooms that once held children and now hold young adults?

Spun my wheels for a while....then decided the only way to accomplish this was to work on one room at a time.....starting with my daughter's room and working around till we get to the master bedroom....then and only then hit the garage with all those boxes.

It took me a week to clean out her room and the carpet arrived over the weekend.

It's beautiful....but that leaves her closet her bathroom...the boys rooms....etc etc.

Looks like we are going to have to live a very cluttered life....with new mattresses waiting for new floors and Goodwill having a bonanza from old clothes and toys.

This spring after the literary festival and silent auction...I will tackle Ebay and figure out how to become a seller....for some reason I've been dreading the process....and then between Craig's list, Ebay and Goodwill....I hope to have a clean uncluttered life in about a year?

Then we have to make a decision about the kitchen. Oy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh my "Fannie May" get big with all this candy

Childhood chocolate......mmmmmmmmmmm.

Thank G-d I grew up in Chicago and my local confectionier was Fannie May Candies. A candy company started in 1920 in the Windy City.

From my earliest memories there were Fannie May Easter Bunnies in my basket, Santas and Reindeer covered in foil for Christmas and of course mint meltaways.....a staple in our house whenever there was something to celebrate.

A good grade? A little mint meltaway....my mom completes her taxes for the year....a box of mint meltaways.....going to a dinner or birthday party....well one box as a gift and one box to stay home....that's only fair.

Every time I went back to Chicago I would get a little candy. I grew of fond of Trinadads...a dark chocolate center with a little coconut. I liked the sloppy cherry cordials and of course, the milk chocolate covered toffee. Oh yes. Very very good.

And then....Fannie May disappeared....bought out by a corporation that went belly up....stores closed and the chocolate disappared. But it lingered in so many memories a candy company bought Fannie May and reopened the operation sticking true to the original formula (no substitutions with cheap ingredients) and the stores reopened and all us kids no matter what age smiled.

This time around....Fannie May is hip....and headed for the internet. When I discovered I could ship Fanny May out.....I did....CyberMonday after Thanksgiving became my Cyber Chocolate day and I happily sent boxes out to friends and family.....with a smile on my face....chocolate fits all sizes and tastes.

I even ordered myself a two pound box of chocolate with all my favorites.

My family is complaining they haven't seen the box yet....that's because I've hidden it in my daughter's old bedroom and each day....I go in there once ( or twice) and treat myself to a little chocolate....because I'm sure I'm on Santa's nice list and because I'm sure I deserve it...LOL>>

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa as Ben Hur

Santa as Ben Hur.....very wrong.
And what happened to the reindeer?
Gladiator meets Rudolph in the Colosseum?
Is that the Naughty and Nice book in Santa's hand?
What's Santa going to do....... a thumbs up or down for the little ones?
Bad Santa
Very Bad Santa

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A card for everything

I was hunting for a wedding card when I stumbled across the "troubled love/relationship/friendship" section.

I had mixed feelings when I saw these "greetings."

Part of me thought....it was a cop out. If you were in love with someone and were "troubled" you should talk to them. If you had a relationship with someone and you were ending it...you should talk to them.

But that is before our lives went digital....and now you can simply email or tweet "The End" to someone without ever having to talk to them or see their face or face their sorrow/dismay/hurt.

I suppose, on the other hand, sending a card could be seen as a door opener to conversation.

The sent card signifies there's a problem, a concern, trouble and the recipient will likely have a response.

"Go to Hell" ... "Let's have lunch" ..."I'm not sure what's going on"...a thousand other phrases are possible.

Maybe cards for troubled relationships bother me because I'm female....and women seem, in general, more willing to talk ....more desirous to clear the air. Isn't that what the famous "Men are from Mars Women are from Venus" book was about? Women would be happy to sit on a rock and talk and talk and talk.....while men would rather find a cave in a big rock and retreat to read a book or watch TV.

Hmmmm perhaps a for a man buying a card is really progress.....because a man is attempting.... through Hallmark.....to start the ball rolling even though it's a ball he would sometimes prefer not to catch or throw.

Well...nothing to worry about.....I was there for a wedding card....which meant most likely the couple was doing okay and were happy to get together.....I guess they can find their own "troubled-let's talk" card when the time comes.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Not Your Typical Holiday Meat and Greet Nativity Scene

An acquaintance of mine runs a restaurant in Mississippi and posted this pic to his Facebook account.

Talk about an interesting meat and greet......interesting meat and an interesting greeting for your traditional Christmas holiday guests....and all displayed on a nice fluffy bed of sauerkraut.

All I can say is TUMS come in a variety of holiday colors to compliment any meal.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Inappropriate spandex

The government of Singapore declared the new swimsuits worn by its team during a competitive meet inappropriate. The suits used elements of the Singapore flag in the design.

What can I say? Looks fine to me.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A viral love letter

So the story is a guy in band is separated from the woman he loves....and made this video without telling his former lover...hoping that it was good enough to get lots of hits and buzz...and she would discover it "organically" or just on her own.

Hope it reaches her........

Monday, November 29, 2010

Do I?

I was ordering a skinny latte at the local coffee shop ....ready to start an informal meeting...when the cashier....a young woman ....looked up at me and said....do you know you look like Meryl Streep?

Really? I said.....

Strange...in the last month....two people have mentioned this to me.

My hair is long enough to wear up now....and I've been wearing it more often piled up in a loose bun.

Perhaps? I favor her?

I looked at Meryl-with-her-hair-up-images and thought I'd post it.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Eve

Hub is knocking around the turkey...chopping ....dicing...stirring......making lots of racket with the pots and pans.

Here's my job tonight.....place champagne in fridge.

I think I got the better deal....lol

Videos I haven't seen with millions of hit on You Tube

Monday, November 22, 2010

Today.....a date.

I was a little embarrassed in class when people started clapping.

Today, my two teachers in Hebrew class announced that I will become a bat mitzvah student.

They asked me my date.

Oct. 20th, 2012.

I could feel my heart jump and my stomach clench.

This spring....after the silent auction....after the literary festival....I will pare my life down to study, my daughter's wedding and going through the last of my parents estate. No more big volunteer projects.....no more studying when I get a chance.....but devoting specific blocks of time to study.

I am actually looking forward to working with my tutors....I'm happy to unlock the prayers....to read the script...to debate and talk about what it means with my Rabbi....and I'm happy to aim towards a particular type of competency in the faith I have adopted and which has adopted me.

I never expected my life to change so much.....I never expected to be given so much by a group of people and a community.....this is ....in a way....my effort ....to show my respect for the traditions and rituals I now embrace.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Trip to the Delta

I needed dining room chairs.

For almost two decades, my grandmother's Jacobean table...with thick dark oak legs, was graced with large ornate cherry Queen Anne chairs.

In other words....for 20 years my dining room table and chairs looked odd and out-of-sync.

I loved my grandmother's dining room table and chairs....I had sat around the table as a kid....devouring hearty Lithuanian meals....drank tea and "medicine" (whisky and honey) when I was older. When my grandmother entered a nursing home ....I begged my parents not to give the dining room set away. I knew my mother disliked old furniture and beautiful cedar chests and bedroom sets exited both sides of my family in a blink of an eye.

My father saved the table but not before my mother gave the chairs to Goodwill or some other charity. I was devastated. How could she have given those beautiful perfectly matched chairs away? I never knew why she did....but one day the dining room table arrived courtesy of a moving truck. I ran my hands over the smooth surface and loved it....thinking of my small spirited Lithuanian grandma.

I didn't know much about furniture styles when the table arrived...but I knew I wanted to use the table...and that meant having chairs to sit around it.

So a friend gave me a furniture catalogue from a company in High Point North Carolina. I found a picture, placed an order and weeks later a huge truck pulled up in front of my California home and deposited 6 huge cherry chairs. I looked at them in disbelief. This was what I ordered? I looked back at the picture and realized my grandmother's dainty table was in stark contrast to the huge photogenic rectangle the chairs hugged.

The chairs did fit under the table ....but just barely. The weight of the wood which the catalogue highlighted as a sign of quality proved also to be a sign of my folly..... as one could barely move the chairs. Children were stuck in place....unable....despite swinging their legs and squirming and pushing with all their might... to free themselves. Adults groaned and strained trying to move them.

And so we fought with the chairs every time we sat at the table...to get in them and out of them......plus the Queen Anne legs bowed out and scraped the neighbor's chairs. Every year I shook my head and wondered why I purchased them.

One day, when I was prep-ing for my parent's estate sale in Chicago, I realized this was the perfect opportunity to finally free myself from the dining room chairs and other pieces of unused furniture stored in our house. It was hard to just sell 6 dining room chairs without a table...but at an estate sale someone would surely be eager to buy them. So I packed them on a truck...and waved goodbye to my big bulky never-did-fit chairs.

Of course, now I had a dining room table without chairs.

We had a party...we asked people to bring extra folding chairs. We had another party ....we asked people to bring extra folding chairs....we hauled the kitchen chairs into the dining room for family events....we asked people to bring extra folding chairs again.

With the holidays approaching, I decided it was TIME. I had to find chairs somewhere in my state.

So I drove two hours to an antique warehouse in the foothills. Tons of chairs...mostly European...mostly needing lots of repairs.

My husband liked a set of chairs from Germany. Each chair had two guys carved into the back of each chair ....fighting each other with one hand..... and holding a beer mug in the other.

I don't think so.

So last week I set off to the Delta....alone......to a famous antique warehouse. I was surprised how quickly the landscape changed...in less than an hour....I was driving on uber flat roads through cotton fields reduced to stubble.

This time....no fighting guys with beer mugs....but many beautiful chairs....in excellent shape and in styles that might compliment grandma's table.

Within an hour, I had a three chairs wrapped in blankets and in my car....ready to go home for a trial.

10 minutes down the road....I braked.

I saw a shack off to the side of the road....and recognized the town's name.

I was passing by one of the most famous hamburger joints in the state. So I pulled into parking lot next to a rather worn looking building ....sitting on stilts above a bayou.

Lunch was over in 10 minutes and the place was nearly empty. The waitress sized me up and laughed. "You think you can finish off one of our big burgers?"

The burgers were supposed to be as big as hub caps.

"I doubt I could eat half....but I 'll take a normal-sized burger and three hub caps to go."

I smiled at how happy my men folks would be seeing those burgers for dinner.

A rather large hamburger arrived with a heaping side of fries. It was good....and I ate slowly...savoring the famous burger.

Afterwards, in the warm late afternoon sun, I drove around for a while....looking at houses....and feeling the river land. Lots of places deserted.....lots of places....on stilts or cement blocks....waiting for the next flood.

Finally, the angle of the sun warned me it was getting late and I better hustle home.

I hoisted the chairs into the house and placed them around the dining room table.... it was like Goldilocks....one was too big....one was too small....and one was just right.

I packed the not-rights back in the car and made one more trip out to the Delta.

Now I have 6 old modest chairs.....they look like they actually like the table.

They are fancier than my grandmother's original chairs....but not too much.

There's room between the chairs....and you don't have to be a steroid user to move them. The seat cushions need to be replaced....but you can still sit on them....even though the seat cushions are funky blue and almost flat.

Finally....finally ...a place to sit that is just right. Grandma would approve.

Small house in the Delta

Monday, November 15, 2010

Who Knew....Maru?

Late on this bandwagon...Maru has been getting 500,000 to 2million hits on You Tube for at least a year now. Here one of the latest and a devilish one to follow.

Who Knew?

One big Kitty

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fall has arrived in the South

The house is quiet....the cats and dogs are all snoozing on this gray yet colorful day.

I took out a small step stool and placed it in my closet so I could fetch my soft old sweatshirts from the top shelf. It felt snug and comforting to push my arms through the worn long sleeves.

Fall is finally here and the leaves turned just a few days ago.

Fall in the South is luscious....there's just no other words to describe the chilly nights and the warm sunny days. 78 degrees during the days.....50 degrees at night.....the early morning chill of the house often replaced by blue sky sunny warmth. The humidity is gone....which is still a little surprising....soon you forget about damp...until spring when it returns and surprises you again.

My cats and animals all seem snoozy this week. They find shafts of sunlight on the oriental rug or a block of sun by a window and stretch out to purr or dream with their little feet running and skipping after something in their dreams.

In our congregation we had several deaths this week and just yesterday I learned that my friend's mother died.....it's almost as if the very ill have taken their cues from the leaves outside......and are just letting go. It somehow seems appropriate.

I wish too I could relax in the sun.....and just slow down....but my two big events....the literary fest and the silent auction are in gear....and I have a thousand emails, letters and drafts to do this weekend it seems.

But I think I will do that later....I think I'll warm up the HoneyCrisp apple cider I just bought the other day at the store....and sit with one of the cats or dogs....and just dream in color.....even if its for only a little while.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Any box will do

Fancypants quickly jumped into an old tax box from my parents which I just emptied.

Once she claims a box....she sits in it for a day or two....then on day three she starts tearing it apart with her teeth.......she whittles the box down into a million shredded pieces then patiently waits for another box to appear in her domain...so she can claim it....squatter's rights.

Yikes.....She's got me trained......lol

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Why the Rally?

Ever since I came home from my trip.....people have been asking me about the Sanity Rally.
Mostly, they want to know why I went.....was I a rabid fan of Jon Stewart? A fierce flaming liberal? An angry anti-Tea Party-er.

I find it difficult to succinctly explain why I was driven (but actually flew and train-ed) to the Rally.

Last night, I finally found an analogy that expressed part of my feelings.

Did you ever see the movie.....Close Encounters of the Third Kind?

In this old popular movie from the 70's, several people have an experience which draws them.....actually compels them to find their way to Devil's Tower....a tall squarish lump of rock in the middle of nowhere, Wyoming.

Richard Dreyfus, one of the stars of the movie, sees lights, a potential UFO, and from that point on....he discovers he's fascinated by a strange image....drawn to a squarish lump of something which he paints...draws.....and even sculpts his mashed potatoes into. He sees a picture of Devil's Tower in Wyoming, realizes the Tower matches his images....and decides that is where he must go. He faces incredible challenges to get there. His reward? He's selected to enter the Mother ship.....a huge alien UFO which lands on the top of the tower.

Although I didn't sculpt the likeness of Jon Stewart into my mashed potatoes....in some way....several things triggered me.....to feel like I had to go to The Mall to gather with folks and make some kind of statement.

The negativity about our President plus the personal insults (I consider questioning the man for the 1000th time about his birth certificate an insult)......the business of negative which makes money for people and shows that often stray from the truth....the dismissal of reason, sanity and intelligence ...as having a place in politics....where all trigger points.

And like Richard Dreyfus....after all these trigger points where touched.....I felt the need to go....felt the need to somehow stand up and say.....all this exaggeration and mud slinging isn't going to get us anywhere.....

I believe also....because I have worked as a project manager in a hospital plus worked on several community projects....that people are totally underestimating how long things take to plan and organize. No matter if the President was a Republican or a Democrat....you can not possibly turn an economy around in less than two years....you can hardly plan a literary festival in a year...a wedding in 6 months....and people consider it reasonable that in less than 2 years....10 million jobs would be recreated? Hardly....things do not move that quickly in life especially if you have a diverse group of people which see different ways to get to the goals.

And so I decided a few minutes after Jon Stewart announced the rally....that I needed to go....I believe in reason...and intelligence and discourse and team efforts....things which I don't see happening in our society....any time you start demonizing opponents/people....you create roadblocks towards progress. You can't even organize a pot luck if half the group is angry and combative.....

So off I went.....and when I arrived there and talked to people....I met people who where in the same boat that I was.....there wasn't one sentence that described exactly why they came...it was a feeling....a need.....a plea for people to think about cooperation and reason.

Current estimates put the rally around 200,000 people.....nothing sinister happened....people picked up their litter.....they left quietly.....no one was angry or shouting or spitting....signs where pleasant...amusing....clever......it was done.....it was said.....thousands of people got along on a warm fall day on the Mall in Washington DC.

It was encouraging...a small light....in a lot of chaos...and I am glad I was a part of it.

Great signs and shirts

Basically.....the Rally was about this.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

We made the rally !!!!!

We did the rally!

How fabulous.

We got there just in time to get a small patch of grass in front if a tv screen.
People from all over. 150,000???? As far as your eye could see.... Sane reasonable
funny people!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Washington DC day before the rally.

In DC now....after a sleepy ready train ride from NYC.....checked out the Sanity Rally site and happy to see such a cross section of people here....gray haired retired folks....young folks and those of us in between.

Deciding right now our plans for tomorrow. I don't think we have any chance of getting near the stage unless we get off at dawn...which we won't.

Happy to be here.....happy to feel the energy of so many people....happy to feel there is a choice.

Checking out the Rally Site in DC

NYC eats

About the size of a horseshoe, this almond macaroon cookie must have
been the original manna from heaven.

Eats in NYC

The famous Carnegie Deli pastrami sandwich....my son looked at me and said...."How do I eat this?"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fun night

Son Tom joined me this evening in NYC and we headed off for The Pee
Wee Herman show.....so fun. The show opened this week. The
original Ms Ivan and Jambee were in the show too.

Pee Wee looks
exactly the same.... Still fits in the same little suit.

Sent from my iPhone

Pee wee goes weeeeeeeeees

I couldn't resist after the show....to give Pee Wee a bit of a tickle...lol

A good day in NYC

My big city mojo is back and I had a great day in the city.....
Starting with an omelette at the Carniege deli (but don't get juice
here 5 bucks for a small glass ...did they hand carry the carton from
Florida ?)

Then...a trip to the Diamond district where I haggled and at least
felt comfortable with the deal... I got on a small gift I needed. The
diamond district is pretty amazing...and comprises dozens of merchants
in about two solid blocks of the midcity. Sometimes there are
individual stores but most of the time it's stores inside of stores as
you walk inside and confront dozens of booths owned by individual
families. Traditionally the families have been Jewish and many times
Hasidic Jews who are very conservative and walk around with black
hats, long topcoats and sport curls in the side if their face.

I was looking for something small and simple so I bypassed all the
rows upon rows of diamonds and gems and settled on working with David
who had a large supply of small interesting charms. I had passed his
shop the previous day and he gave me a quick quote of 80 dollars on a
charm I was interested in. When I greeted him the first thing he said

I've been thinking about you. Yesterday I gave you a bad quote.

I was happy ....thinking the price was too high.

Yes, yes, he said....the price should have been 90 dollars.

15 more dollars just because I came back? I exclaimed....and so the
dance began...I walked away he called me back...and eventually I paid
50 dollars for the baubles which I thought was fair... But I sure had
to work for it!!

I headed for the seaport afterwards to look at old NYC photos then
took a bus uptown. Hmmm it was an express bus and I ended up at the
United Nations which was not where I wanted to go but hey I never saw
the UN before....lol

I love this town ... It's always something .

Rubber ad in Times Square

Okay a condom ad....a really big condom ad.... Lol

Monday, October 25, 2010

End of a good day

I'm in my hotel room nursing the good ache of someone who walked many
NYC blocks today.

After a delicious lunch ( ending with a good cup of coffee and
tiramasu)... I headed over to the Jewish Heritage museum.

I was worried it would be death-centered but instead it had a level on
Jewish culture, level on the Holocaust and a level on Jewish culture
today. All nicely done including a sculpture garden where I sat on a
stone bench quietly for some time. I had such a nice time at Battery
Park and found a sweet spot un the sun and engaged in more people
watching and listening. I say listening because there was a group of
4 older black nannies who were sitting in a bench not far from me who
were laughing and teasing each other. They sat with big strollers
parked in front of themselves and a small tribe of gleeful children of
various colors and ethnicities.

Their laughter was rich and good-natured and musical. It gave a
Sound to the view....It gave story to the view.

I reluctantly left my seat and headed to the subway and to my next
destination...the diamond district.

A friend gave me some names and told me to check out the district. I
was totally unprepared for the experience. Many of the stores have
multiple booths inside tended by different families and businesses.
As sio. As I walked in men and women started waving me over ... Look
at this...look at this.... Very good price. Best price ever.

After my calm morning ....I couldn't change gears very well and left
the stores to window shop. But there was no peace there
either ....because many shopkeepers make eye contact with you while
you are outside and beckon you in. I just laughed and shook my head.
I did spot a beautiful old charm that a friend if mine would love
but....I am planning to go back first thing in the morning after a
strong coffee and good breakfast. Maybe then I can haggle with a
little success.


I am in NYC ..on day 2.

Arrived yesterday and what was I thinking?

Took a shuttle instead of a cab and bumped through the city an hour
before getting to my hotel. And my room is just okay not exactly what
I like....I even asked to change it once already.

But today it is sunny and I've navigated the subway down to the
Battery Park all by myself with no problems and changed my sons flight
status so he doesn't have to fly through storms and I feel at ease.

It's going to be a good day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What can I say?

"I want to go," I said to my husband.

He didn't even bat an eyelid....this type of informational request/statement was how I started my trips to Bali, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Africa.

"I want to go," this time I pointed to Jon Stewart.

My hub seemed relieved.....at least I wasn't suggesting a trip to Mongolia (not yet at least.)

"Go," he said....shrugging his shoulders...as if it was inevitable...aren't all wives asking all husbands for a trip to Washington D.C. at this moment?

So I ran upstairs to my computer and 5 minutes after "The Daily Show" ended I booked a hotel room close to the White House and The Mall...and the Rally.

Good thing....in the morning I was going to upgrade my room but the Hilton and every hotel nearby was booked solid.

So I was going to Washington D. C. to do something.....walk/be with/ stand up for people who aren't shouting....who aren't wringing their hands that the end is near....but saying....we need to be civil and sane...and have conversations about where the country is going....and let's use facts too....real facts....versus political facts.

Then I told me son....who said...."Can I come?"

"You would go with your mother to see Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert in DC?"

"Sure" he said....shrugging his shoulders. (The men in my family specialize in shoulder-shrugging)


Then I was thinking....Geez...New York City is just a hop and skip away and its been so long since I've been there and just walked around solo.....and enjoyed myself...went out to eat...went to art galleries...maybe shopped a bit.

So now I was going to DC and spending a few days in NYC.

So I mentioned to my son I would go on ahead of him for a few days....and he could fly into Baltimore and catch the train to DC and meet me.

He looked funny.

Then....I remembered he is young and not quite a world traveler.

"So you want to fly into NYC and go down with me?"

"Sure." More shoulder shrugging.

"Do you want to spend a day in NYC before we go down and look around?"

Sure...(you guessed it) shrug.

But now I lost my quiet time in NYC.....so I decided I better go to NYC a few days ahead of the days I originally planned.

Looking at the flight schedule I realized Southwest had changed their flight times...and I would always arrive late in the day......so I hunted around and discovered a solution.

I would fly to Chicago...check on my dad's headstone, visit my "Auntie" then take an early flight out of Chicago to NYC.....therefore arriving before noon....and getting a good start on the city.

So that's how it came to be....I'll be leaving for Chicago on Saturday, going to NYC, going to DC ....it's all very logical and I thank Jon Stewart for his help in putting this together.

Although I have had a few stray thoughts cross my mind....that going to this rally is absolutely insane...and there could be thousands of people there...and we'll never see anything....and this could be a crowded nightmare.

Oh well.

Shrug shoulders.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Girl's Alright.....

She's alright.

We were supposed to get lab results last week...but an emergency surgery at the Vet changed her appointment till today.

Her surgery was canceled a couple of weeks ago....because of a very low platelet and white blood cell count. The Vet worried she might have had a rare form of feline leukemia.

But today he sounded happy.......her platelets were normal...her white blood cell count almost normal.

"Just keep doing whatever you're doing for another couple weeks."

I scratched her ear then her belly....then kissed her on the head.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

The salad that wasn't so innocent.

It's always nice to know no matter how smart you are....or how cognizant you are of your time or lack of it....you can always overextend yourself with no way out.

Meet the new chairman of a major Silent Auction.

How did this happen?

I was taken to lunch by an wonderful woman....and somewhere between my 26th and 27th bite of salad....I think she asked me to chair the auction....how wonderful if I would say yes....how easy it would be for me because I had good organizational skills.

I know I must have paused....but somehow....before the salad was gone....I had said yes.

Now I feel like I'm walking around with a sword hanging over my I head. I have to gather 100 "interesting" items. This is a major fundraising event for a very good and deserving non-profit organization...so it's important to get a wide variety of items that would excite people to open their checkbooks.

I just started ....I have a committee.....and I have 14 items....that means I have 86 items to go. 86 interesting items or donated services.

The sword above my head goes poke poke poke.

The auction isn't till Feb....but no matter....I feel the need to harvest the stuff all now.

Preferably by tomorrow at noon....which ain't gonna happen.

What was in that salad....that made me think I could do this?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another milestone

My daughter is getting married next fall and decided to tone down the wedding and the glitz....and use a good chunk of the wedding budget as a down payment on a sweet little house in Columbus, Ohio.

I was thrilled she was being so practical.....the house is neat and tidy and had been well loved by the previous owners. It is a little dated....there's pink tile in the kitchen and a very funky orangey pink bathtub and toilet on the first floor.... but all that can be changed with time. Structurally it was sound.....and had a functional and comfortable layout.

This week....after my trip to Chicago....I drove to Columbus to meet up with my hub and son to work on the house for a week after the loan closed..... buying a few new fixtures.....caulking.....washing windows....and of course...putting up new curtain rods and drapes.

I had seen pictures of the home...but when I arrived late in the evening....I stopped the car in the driveway and just smiled at how cute and almost gingerbread-like the house was...with it's awnings and detached garage and funky awnings.

The first day went well....my hub put up a new ceiling fan and fixture in the kitchen...and I attacked some dusty windows on the second floor. The second day we still had a busy chore list but now there was a problem.....I had tossed and turned all night ....and realized that my daughter was building her first permanent nest in a city 750 miles away from where I live.

My heart went into a full blown ouch.

Of course she had gone to college in Ohio.....and of course she had a job in Ohio after school....but somehow it still felt like she was living with us... just gone off for a while. Hauling her furniture....her yearbooks.....her mementos up here....meant that she was leaving our house for good.

Leaving our house for good.

There's a lot written about Kindergarten blues...when you drop your child off for the first day of school....and then there's going-off-to-college blues.....but why was I so unprepared for the first-nest-away-from home blues?

It caught me totally off-guard....especially since I had known about and followed the purchase of this house for a couple of months.

Yet the ouch was big....and although I kept working I was in a total funk. So much of a funk...I neglected some work I had to do on two volunteer projects and must now shame-faced send out a bunch of data to a whole committee of people almost two weeks late.

But I just couldn't get moving.....my mind was stuck....my willpower felt wimpy....and all I could do is feel the pain of yet another life stage upon me. Oh yes...of course....this is a happy moment...and I smiled and laughed and hugged her a lot.....but inside....inside I just felt this sense of loss....this sense that she has parted from me permanently....that she is a young woman with her own life now.

My mom harped on me to come home after college and I remember how crazy I thought she was....wanting me to live in Chicago and pass up a job in Seattle.....now....I understand.

When your children move far away.....there are no Sunday suppers....or quick shopping trips together....or a dash over to borrow something. Of course we will see her....and now Columbus, Ohio is on my calender for spring...for summer to plan the wedding....and probably for the holidays.

But despite all the entries on the calender.....I still feel a the empty spot in my heart.

To counter this feeling which I'm still struggling with now that we are home ....I remember the image of my daughter I saw while sitting on her front steps.

She didn't realize I was there because of the tall thick bushes which line the front of her house......she bent over and brushed some mulch back into place...then stood up....cocked her head...and smiled at her house. Her eyes sparkled....I could sense her excitement....her pleasure....her determination to make this first little house a warm and loving nest.

And this she will do....

and this is what I must do....let go....and be supportive and happy for her.

But ouch.....ouch ouch ouch....

and I'm now envious of families who live close to each other.....and have the chance to drop by and say hello....and do something together....it's a complete reversal of what I felt like when I was her age...when my only thoughts were of independence and living someplace interesting and far away from my parents.

Oh...wisdom has such a heavy price.

Friday, October 01, 2010

A bit off.....

So I'm here at a hotel in my parents' old neighborhood.

I arrived in Chicago on Wednesday morning and everything has been a bit off.

I stayed the first night in a Westin Hotel near a mall and the first thing that happened when I arrived there....was a tuff with the doorman. The hotel has a classic U shaped driveway and I parked off to the side to register. The doorman stopped and wanted my keys. I tried to explain I was just checking in....but he insisted that an emergency vehicle might come swooping by and he might need my keys. Remembering I had my money, camera and all my valuable up on the passenger seat....I declined to give him the keys.....and he started to stamp his big fat foot at me...so I took off ...parked the car......and walked in. Oh suddenly he was all sweetness and nice probably because he was worried I would say something at the desk.....which I didn't...but it seemed like a thoroughly stupid exchange.

I went shopping....and couldn't find a dress....I always come home with a dress.....but not this time.

I visited my parent's graves.....and discovered my dad's stone lacked the picture and the engraving.....i.e. they hadn't done any work on it....I was angry since they sent me a bill asking for the balance....so a visit and a few phone calls and things were straightened out....but still I felt bad things were not completed for my dad.

The City of Chicago is throwing in its iffy charm too....every major road in my parent's suburb is under construction.....so where ever you go....you sit in long traffic lines and ride over strange exposed pavement.

The piece de resistance today was .....losing my cellphone....I drove all the way into my old neighborhood to get a picture of a home my grandparents had rented before they moved into their house. I stopped at the corner coffee shop and apparently.....left my cell phone on the counter......ugh....my son called me when I was back at my hotel to tell me my phone had been found in Bridgeport....so got in the car.....drove through Friday afternoon traffic back.

Now I'm tired and grumpy....and still trying to digest the thought that my parents, who lived a few blocks away from this hotel, are both gone. That I really don't have anyone in this town anymore......it makes my little city in the south feel sweet and charming.....makes me realize my little city is now home.

Tomorrow morning I have an appointment with a translator who will hopefully read my mysterious grandfather's birth certificate.....or at least the part of the certificate I have.

Perhaps the news will be interesting....I hope it's not like the trip has been....a bit off.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is this really a good idea?

On the road to Chicago and stopped for the night. Reading the local
paper in my hotel room and came across this ad.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cat thoughts

What are you staring at me for?

You put this marble bowl on the floor ....and now it's part of my domain.

I shall now take a nap in my new bowl.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'll pass on the Spotted Dick...or Why I hate my new grocery store

I almost lost my mind yesterday.....just trying to buy some milk and some veggie burgers.

It used to be easy to shop for groceries.

I drove to my modest-sized store where I always complained about the lack of variety and quality of the items.....picked out my items along boring shelves....found my car and viola....I was finished.

Now....they've replaced my store and you would think I would be a happy woman.....but that's not true.

They built a brand new mega grocery which is confusing....too large....and takes forever to buy a few things.

It's like a warehouse...with miles of furniture....pillows....and aisles and aisles of food.....which now carry things like Spotted Dick or Israeli hummus.......but can you find the regular normal items you need? No.......and did the quality of the items improve? No......they just threw in a bunch of weird stuff....and tons of the same old stuff.

Take for example....my search for a good quality butter. I like President's Butter ...a butter I discovered in France.....but does this new mile long store carry President's butter??....No.

They added a Irish butter....and brought in more of their mediocre name brand butter....but still no French butter....which means when I go to Chicago I carry a cooler....buy 12 bricks.....and drive them home and freeze them.

The new grocery store is also so flashy for our area....everyone and his brother, cousin, and grandma are shopping there. So I'm faced with a new phenomenon....I loose my car.

I drive a black car....do you know how many crazy Southerners drive black cars? More than is sane down here....and so consequently .....even when I have found the milk and the bread and my veggie burger......I exit the store and can't find my car....which is now sandwiched in between a thousand other cars.

Oh I wish I could complain about my boring store again.....I wish I could shake my head at the "backwards" grocery business in my city......and move quickly and effortless down the aisles....now they've given me a store with Spotted Dick and towels.....and an in-store grill which belches smoke......and it's still not right.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


My kitty was set to go to surgery today....but the vet called.

They will not spay her today....her platelets are very low, her white blood cells count low also.

Although she tested negative for leukemia....she may be infected.

Now it's a one month-6week wait.....to retest and see if she has cancer or not.

60/40% odds and the 60% is in favor of her having leukemia.

So my new little lovebug is home.....and guess we will just love her up and wait and see what happens.

Ouch ouch ouch.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I don't mean to get all emo on my new kitty but.....

I'm studying Old Testament/Biblical Hebrew and every time I pull out my workbook....Fancypants settles next to me...closes her eyes...and just listens to me....this pose was so darn cute....I had to snap a picture. Maybe she is a reincarnation of some old soul....lol

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Happy New Year or The Day You Keep Kissing

I am worn out.

I think I have kissed a couple hundred people then kissed them all again this morning.

Today is Rosh Shoshana....the Jewish New Year.

Services were held both last night and this morning....and there is one more ceremony this afternoon.....where folks gather near a stream....and toss breadcrumbs into the moving water....symbolically casting off your sins...thus starting the New Year off ...fresh.

This is the second Rosh Shoshana I have celebrated and I'm beginning to get a feel for what the service attempts to accomplish and what it means. I downloaded an iPhone app of the shofar's(ram's horn) different melodies so I could identify them during the service.

Perhaps I have had one too many apple slices dipped in honey (a tradition on this day) but I am fuzzy and sleepy right now...and not sure whether or not I will take up an invitation to have a sweet dessert at an open house (and kiss everyone again!).....I still have to rummage around my pantry and see if I can find some bread crumbs for the ceremony later on.

Someone told me you can just tear up a slice of bread to use during the ceremony....but I think I'd rather find some breadcrumbs.....as people crumbs drift by I don't want my big hunky pieces of bread to stand out....Folks may wonder exactly what I have been up to this year....lol

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Fancypants update

My new cat, the little stray I took in....is doing great.

She's settling in so nicely....she's starting to be helpful.

Today, I'm cleaning out a closet.....and Fancypants has captured a stray hanger.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

What you don't know

I was staring at a picture of Stephen Hawkins this evening.

His new book is coming out in a week.

It's difficult to believe the grim twisted body of this little man holds genius.

It's something I've been thinking about all week....genius in unexpected people...because Mort died last week.

Mort was a small thin man with white hair and blue eyes. He smelled a bit greasy...old man greasy.

When I first started attending services....I noticed Mort right away.

He shuffled into the temple and immediately headed for the goodies on the Oneg table....a small table set up with appetizers. He rarely moved from the spot by the hummus dip and chips.

Mort never talked to many people he just hovered over his chip and dip.... so many people didn't interact with him.

One day, I walked up to him and said, "Hello I'm Gina" and kissed him on the cheek-a gesture which is customary before services. He looked up, smiled just a bit, and said, "I'm Mort."

That's it......and when services started he sat in the aisle seat in the first row and pulled out a large magnifying glass out of his pocket to follow along in the prayer book.

After services.....he was shuttled off by a driver.

So it was my custom to say hello and kiss Mort every week.

Sometimes when he wore a suit jacket.....I would say, "Mort you look dapper tonight." He'd chuckle and nod.

That was the extent of our conversation.

I asked people about Mort and was told he was a physician, in his 80's, retired and married. I never saw his wife. I expected her to be in her 80's too and probably too infirm to attend services.

When I received the email announcing Mort had died....I was stunned.

I saw him three days ago and he looked fine....correction....he looked like Mort always did....frail but resilient.

I attended the Memorial Service a couple of days ago.

I needed a chin strap.....

The family passed out a memorial pamphlet with a picture of him in his Navy uniform in World War II plus a biography of his life.

I was stunned.

He was New Yorker....Harvard educated....a leader in his specialty. He joined a practice with his brother who was described as very type A.....Mort took all the patients that needed extra time and patience. Most interesting was after her first marriage ended.....Mort started courting a woman 20 years younger than he was....he wrote her Shakespearean-type sonnets....stunning in their beauty and depth and skill with the English language.

On and on .....family members talked about his accomplishments....how he suffered a stroke 10 years ago and was told he would never walk or talk again.....well he wasn't a huge conversationalist but he walked unaided.....and he spoke plainly.

Perhaps not a genius.....but close to it....he had been a vibrant scientist in his community....but he looked like a little old man....and people treated him that way.....and I'm not sure how many people knew the near genius that lurked behind this old man exterior.

I'm not sure anyone asked......

If you saw Stephen Hawking in a hospital corridor....covered with a blanket without attendants....how many of us would withdraw and shudder a bit at the sight of this shriveled man....what could he contribute to the world?

Just theories about quantum gravity and black holes, string mechanics and the Big Bang Theory...to name a few.....

All that from a little shriveled deformed man......

I am not sure I can lay out what procedures or advances Mort specifically advanced....but I am a bit ashamed I wrote him off so easily....I'm a bit ashamed I didn't take more time to talk to him versus tease him about his sport coats.....what we see is not always what is there.

It is such a common lessons and one that is very hard to learn.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fancypants aces her tests.

The vet pulled the scanner out...and I took a deep breath....she had already estimated Fancypants was a year or two old.....and now we would see if she was lost pet.

We both bent over to look at the digital readings.....but nothing came up.

Fancypants, the stray that wandered into our life, passed test one.

Fancypants had been absolutely terrified riding in the cat kennel in the car. She howled...and peed in the box.....and howled some more. After she was scanned, she decided she had enough of us. She turned towards us and gave us one robust hiss.

The Vet's assistant quickly grabbed her by the scruff of her neck and we proceeded on to step 2. Blood drawing. To live in our house she would have to be both AIDS free and Feline Leukemia free because of our other pets. Her eyes widened to the size of dinner plates when the needle went in her leg for blood...but the assistant had her tight and she couldn't move.

Now we sat on a bench in the office and wondered what the results would be. We packed her up into the kennel ...and the Vet felt her belly again.....there's a chance she could be in the early stages of pregnancy.....and we waited.

20 minutes later, Dr. Cathy walked in with a smile.

"She's yours."

My son and I laughed.....

Full house again.....two cats...two dogs.

We just can't seem to break the cycle.

Welcome to the family...Fancypants.