Dec 28, 2017

*All Y'all

need to get this right...


Dec 20, 2017

One of the few photos I have (some of the cousins)

The backyard of the house we lived in, in the Bronx. (It was my maternal grandmother's house and when they all moved to California my grandmother sold all her NYC real estate and we  wound up moving into the projects.)

Little girl, lower left: Cousin Diane, youngest sister of my cousin Larry (the singah)
Older Girl behind her: Francine Adler. The Adler's lived next door. Francine's mother was my "Aunt" Bella, and from what I was told Aunt Bella was my staunch defender when I was little, little.  Francine sometimes babysat us even after we moved to Queens. Her boyfriend had the coolest car.
On Francine's lap: That's me, can't ya tell?
Boy in the center: Johnny-boy - my elder male sibling.
Brooding Boy on the right: Jimmy-boy. Older brother to Diane and younger brother to Larry (the singah).
(clicking on the photo will get you a bigger pic)

Dec 19, 2017

Maybe it's the season, or that I am getting old (getting?) or

just maybe because I am nosy and curious and love my research but I spent some time tracking down my cousins last night.  It was a cursory tracking, precipitated really by a song playing in the car-car yesterday. FB can be a wonderful way to stalk find people.  Of course one thing leads to another with me and I found the obituaries for several relatives, an Aunt, an Uncle (by marriage). The Aunt in question being the mother (and grandmother and great-grandmother) of the cousins who FB pages I scrolled through.

My mother was one of 4 sisters who had, as a group, 12 children. Aunt Mary had four; Aunt Jo had 4, Aunt Rose had 1 and my mother had three.  On the other side, my father was the only male with five sisters. Aunts Kate, Tess and Jean had no children; Aunt Florrie had two, Aunt Marie had three and my father had 3.

My Aunt Mary's kids had a boatload of kids, not sure about Aunt Jo's kids, or Aunt Rose's kid.  My elder male sibling had two daughters, my younger brother and I had no children. Aunt Florrie's daughter had no children and her son probably had one or two - have no clue about him. Aunt Marie's kids - no idea how they wound up but based on their childhood I'm guessing their lives did not turn out well but one can hope.

With the exception of Aunt Marie's kids, all the other cousins (except for Aunt Mary's two eldest two) were very close in age - in one case only a day apart, that would be John and Carol Joy. I am 9 months younger than Diane and 9 months older Linda; John and Jimmy are also 9 months apart, as are Skip and Bobby...with second cousin Joey (Camille's son) the same age as Skip.  Donna is maybe a year or so younger than Skip. Camille and Larry are much older than the rest of the group and Sallie Ann is much younger. But come to think of it Al, Jr may be very close in age to John and Jimmy.

And no, none of the cousins were close. My Aunt Jo and her family, my Aunt Rose and her family, and my maternal grandparents moved to California, en masse, around 1950.  We lived in the Bronx until I was 8 and then my father moved us to Queens. Aunt Florrie and Aunt Marie stayed in the Bronx with all the rest of my father's family.

Aunt Mary and her clan, as best I can recall, lived in Brooklyn and then they all migrated out to the island - Selden, Smithtown - like there. Eventually, much later, most of that clan,  moved on down to Florida.  When exactly I have no idea, certainly by the 1980's. Except for my cousin Diane who somehow wound up in New Jersey and Larry lived in Arizona for a while but eventually joined the clan in Florida.

California cousins, from what I can find, are still in the San Jose area.

Aunt Florrie's kids are still in Yonkers, at least the daughter is, living in the same two-family house Aunt Tess bought and shared with Aunt Florrie. Tess left the house to Donna, so Donna, now in her early 60's has been living in the same place for, oh, about 50 years.  Aunt Marie's kids are lost to history.

The nagging question I have had for years is why my father moved us to Queens. Getting from the Bronx to Queens is arduous, especially by public transportation. Getting to Brooklyn was no picnic either. While my father would drive us to the Bronx to visit his family, we had to take public transport to visit Aunt Mary in Brooklyn. It was buses and trains and hours.

So Pop, why Queens? Why so far away. We might as well been living in another country.

Anyway, the song that precipitated this meandering mishegoss was Runaround Sue by Dion and the Belmonts and this is my cousin Larry and the Bellhops - Larry is the lead singer in the center...


Dec 17, 2017

Dec 13, 2017

A little self-soothing

BB and Miss Frankie get mushy food for breakfast.  Over the years Frankie has never shown much interest in it, only licking whatever juice there was and leaving the actual food behind. BB prefers chicken but will force himself to eat fish. He's never happy about the fish, but, you know, food - so he eats it.

I recently had to change food because their usual brand discontinued the pate version. It is always tricky changing a cat's food. Our recent foray into salmon did pique Frankie's interest just a tiny bit, not much.

So when I offered the new food to BB, he sniffed and walked away. Miss Frankie took a sniff and DEVOURED an entire can. Say what? Miss Frankie eating mushy food? No way! WAY. Chicken - sure thing, she said. Salmon - even better she said.

In the old days, pre-new food, BB would get his half of the can served on the floor, and Frankie would get hers on the counter, after she had her water from the Brita pitcher. Once Frankie jumped down off the counter her dish was put on the floor for BB to finish, which was usually the whole portion. So, BB has basically been eating an entire 3 ounce can of food for breakfast every day - for years.

With this new food Frankie pretty much eats all of hers, and will even check out BB's dish to see if he left any behind. BB is not happy with the situation. He can no longer eat his first dish leisurely and then come back for seconds, and he is not getting a third helping from Frankie's leftovers.

BB is not a happy cat. The other morning he was so dejected, he dragged himself into the living room, and decided to self-soothe with his catnip filled kicker...

Dec 12, 2017

"You have a weird brain"

said my husband when I recounted this story this morning.

Last night, in a semi-state of consciousness (settling back into sleep after a bathroom break) this conversation happened in my head:

First voice: "What language do they speak in Greenland?"
Second voice:  "Why Finnish, of course! But wait, before we talk about that let me tell you about..."

The, boom, back into a deep sleep. Yet this morning, as I moved slowly from sleep to consciousness, that conversation replayed itself in my head and I wondered what the hell that was about.

I made a mental note to check Wikipedia (I specifically mentioned Wikipedia in my mental note) and you can read all about Greenland here, if you are so inclined.

And BTW - they speak Danish and Greenlandic in Greenland.

Dec 7, 2017

Let's see now...

You may have noticed that there haven't been any Thursday Grocery Rants in quite a while, well here you go then...It was looneytoon city at the store this morning. A store full of people being vague and moving slower than molasses going up a hill on a rainy day.  One dude had his shopping cart crosswise like a barrier wall in an aisle, he was yapping away to someone and I started to move the cart, he turns around and says "Oh is that blocking your way?" I bit my tongue, and only said "Yes..." that's it, just "yes" not some flippy sarcastic remark. I'm very proud of myself.  Our favorite cashier wasn't there, so we had to chose amongst the slow and the bitchy. We chose the slow one.

Our final grocery bill came out to $104 and change and that included a big bag of canned goods for the food bank collection box in our lobby.  We had racked up over $30 in store savings and another $5.35 for our Senior Discount.  Then there was my prescription, a month's supply of meds for a whopping 17 cents! I wonder why they even make us pay that, they should just comp it.  If I ever get teeth I know the grocery bill will go up a lot but for the past 6 months we've been spending so little in the grocery store I often wonder why we bother to go at all.

Yesterday I posted on FB that I had caught a glimpse of myself in a mirrored wall and was shocked at how skinny my legs are. I wear leggings everyday now and they are baggy. Baggy leggings, seriously? This morning as we were leaving the apartment my husband said, in wonderment "Your legs are so skinny" .

No matter how fat I may have been at any point in my life I have always had skinny legs. I told my husband, when I was a fat teenager my father said "You look like a barrel on toothpicks"  My husband said "Oh now that was a not a nice thing to say" I replied "Well, you know my family - how many 13 year olds have a mother who encourages them to commit suicide?"  My husband, bless his heart, made a noise of disgust and said, Yeah, she wasn't exactly the maternal type." Y'all know what a charmer my mother was and I do wonder, on occasion, if she is still alive.

I've lived years of my life being fat, and years of my life being ridiculously skinny and only a few being a normal weight.  Right now I am not exactly fat but not exactly normal but through it all I have always had skinny legs!

Nov 30, 2017

A sweet song for those of us of a certain age..

Heard this last night on Ballykissangel...

Nov 14, 2017

Lap nap usurped

Morning nap time is approximately 8:30am. The cats and my husband are usually up at 4am so 8:30 is a good nap time.  Well actually BB usually starts his morning nap around 4:30am and it lasts about 5 or 6 hours but...

You've seen a zillion photos of Frankie and my husband napping in the recliner but this morning that routine was disrupted because my husband went into his office and didn't get home until around 10am.  I was at my desk and Frankie decided if she couldn't nap with Dad she would hang out with me...plus there was a whole of noisy activity going on in the parking lot...
By the time Frankie got bored with me and the noise, and wandered back to the living room, morning napping in the recliner had commenced and *gasp* horror of horrors BB was in the coveted napping spot.  What's a girl to do?

Nov 3, 2017

Hovering

Of all the many things that annoy me, hovering may be the one that not only annoys me but makes my skin crawl.  And hovering is that one thing that I experience on daily basis - the dreaded husband hoverer.

My husband carries the laundry to and from the laundry room for me. The 'to' portion is fine, he drops the basket and leaves but the 'from' portion drives me nuts. I'll tell him - "Give me at least 20 minutes..." and does he? No. There I am happily folding laundry, a chore I like, and then there he is - standing there - hovering - while I fold.  So I start to fold faster, and I get itchy.  I get twitchy. I get annoyed.

If I'm in the kitchen doing something, anything, he comes in and - hovers. "Is there something you want?" I ask. "No" he says "Can't I just stand here and look at you?" "NO" I say. "Go stand somewhere else. Go look at something else. Go away. Stop hovering!"

More than once, during job interviews, I was asked what trait in a boss did I not like. My answer was always "hovering".  I don't like someone standing behind me, hanging over my shoulder.  I don't like people just hanging around watching me - do anything.

I sometimes wonder how I survived living in New York City for 44 years and riding the subway. I hate crowds and I hate hovering. And I hate being touched by people I don't know; hell, there are times when I am not all that crazy about being touched by people I do know, and please do not hug me. I don't do hugs. I hate hugs. I'll hold your hand, I like holding hands, but not hugs.

Wow, that is a boatload of aitches - not being Cockney, I won't drop them.


Oct 25, 2017

Finally...

a book I actually finished reading! "Young Jane Young" by Gabrielle Zevin. Good book, definitely different from her previous "The Storied Life of A.J. Firky"  Ms. Zevin has written more YA books than adult books and I am almost tempted to read her YA books except - no.

I was lucky enough to get The Storied Life of A.J. Firky as a free ebook from Prime Reading, and I waited about 6 weeks to borrow Young Jane Young from the public library and it was worth the wait. Both books are worthy of your attention.

A list of books I have NOT finished in the past 2 months:

The Child by Fiona Barton
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks by William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac
The Templars by Michael Haag
When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (not a Temperance Brennan novel)
Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

I believe there were a few more unfinished books that I downloaded as free books from one of the many ebook apps I have...I could look them up but honestly I doubt they are worth the effort.

The view from my desk at 5:22pm on this Wednesday evening...


Oct 21, 2017

Nobody wants to look at my pumpkins

so maybe you'll look at my cat...


Click to biggify - if you dare!

Sep 23, 2017

Jul 19, 2017

Just a list

of books I have not finished lately.

The Girl Before - JP Delaney - Not badly written or edited but what's the point?

Flesh and Blood - Patricia Cornwell - If you have insomnia, try this. When did this series become such a snore and a bore?

Until Proven Guilty - J.A. Jance - I just read the synopsis I linked to and I don't remember this book at all and it was less than a month ago that I attempted to read it. Enough said.

Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson - What's the definition of insane - Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Why do I torture myself with attempting to read anything this woman writes. Who says I'm not an optimist. This is a Jackson Brody book and I liked the first one and then it all went down hill.

Mercies in Disguise - Gina Kolata - Non-fiction, a rarity for me. Read probably the first third, scanned through to the end.  Why I took this out of the library I have no idea.

The Chinese Shawl - Patricia Wentworth - I've read the first two books in this series and now I just cannot read any more books set in Great Britain in the early 20th Century featuring a plucky young woman. Stick a fork in me, I am done!

Lonely Hearts - John Harvey - Meh. Just didn't care; didn't even read the end to find out who dunnit.

Different Class - Joanne Harris I simply did not care - not a whit. No more books that take place in any part of Great Britain during the middle of the 20th Century!

The Lace Reader - Brunonia Barry I should have liked this book, I didn't. I like supernatural type stuff; I like mysteries and haunted houses and all of that but this one was too girly for me. Too romance-y.

The Solitary House - Lynn Shepard I kinda like the beginning of this book and then - Yawn! I also took out the next book in this series A Fatal Likeness which I never even opened. What did I say about books set in England in the 20th Century - let's now include books set in Great Britain in the 19th century as well.

Were there any books I've cracked open (so to speak) over the last two months that I enjoyed? Yes. There were one or two, and aside from The Poisoner's Handbook - Deborah Blum, they were free ebooks of little or no literary import or interest and I probably scrolled through most of them BUT at least I finished them.

I am currently dragging myself through "Every Dead Thing" by John Connolly. I don't think I am going to make it to the end.

(The links are mostly reviews and they should open in a new tab or page, depending on how you have your browser configured.)


Mar 12, 2017

The smartest things I've ever done...

is a very short list.

This morning as I was doing a major kitchen cleaning, just like every Sunday morning, I was washing the tray that the cats dishes sit in and I thought "This is the smartest thing I've ever done" and then I thought "Hmm - this may be the only 'smartest thing' I've ever done"

Trying hard to think of other 'smart' decisions I've made, and while the list is long, they don't qualify as 'smartest' because they are things that were done too late; after the damage had been done.

I was told that for the first 2+ years of my life my vocabulary consisted of four words - Ma, Pa, John and No. I was told that the first sentence I ever uttered was "No, I don't want to. Make John do it" and then I walked out and slammed the door. Go me!

Unfortunately the ability to say no didn't stick with me. I re-learned that skill sometime in my late 30's, after 3 years of therapy. But, there is always a but, I did not fully embrace it. I will probably never get back what appears to be my innate tendency to stand-up for myself.

What is that old saying "ve get too soon oldt undt too late schmart" - well, I've gotten old, but still not smart.

Mar 7, 2017

More

miscellany, because that's all I've got.

I finally finished another Anita Brookner book and that woman had a definite preference for the word prelapsarian. I'll leave you to click the link and discover it's meaning. It certainly is not a word, or even concept, that one encounters on a regular basis. I have in the past derided ebooks but my situation being what it is, that is pretty much the only kind of book I read, the upside of which is that I can quickly look up a new word. I like that.

Penultimate is another word I like. I'm not sure when I learned it's meaning but I'm always delighted when I see it. It came up in the tv listings this morning - the penultimate episode of "This is Us" will be on tonight; we will watch it tomorrow.

I've written about words for as long as I have written. Somewhere in my stash of juvenilia I have an essay I wrote about them - or really not an essay per se but just something I wrote in what we would now call a journal. Back in those days I don't think we called it anything in particular - diary maybe?

My fascination with words is not so much in their meanings but in their sounds and how they feel in your mouth when you say them. I remember as kid loving words like plethora and superfluous.  There is another word which I was crazy about as a kid and at the moment it escapes my memory, but I really loved the way it felt in my mouth.

The other thing I love about words is their connotation - I shall just refer you back to a post I wrote  on the subject.  A fun and interesting read - back when I was fun and interesting.

I've noticed I am not commenting on many blogs lately and that's because I don't relate. Nor do I wish to be contentious. I read, I just don't relate. My reactions are "how nice for you" or, well, or nothing. Not that I don't enjoy reading what people write, but it has nothing to do with me (It's not all about you, Grace - and you're right, it's not. Only my life is all about me, yours, not so much, or even at all.)

There are blogs I read that give me pause for thought but blog comments are not the place for deep philosophical discussion (tawkin' about you David.) And then there are blogs where my reaction is inappropriate - oh, wait I said that already - or nosy. I always want details; I have questions.

I just took a break from writing to take a bunch of pics of Frankie and a little video - and that's another thing - I see fabulous photos, and sometimes I post fabulous photos, but what can you say besides "Fabulous photo" - and do people really want, or need, to hear that 15 times? I do like to know that at least people dropped by even if they have nothing to say and that's what stat counters are for, I guess.

Oh, and the other thing - I'm into slightly cynical sayings this week. I'll be posting them on my facebook page. You should go and check them out - they amuse me.

I guess I'll sign off and play with the Frankie photos...

Feb 21, 2017

The fabulous and the meh (long book review post)

Starting with the meh - and didn't like, sorta liked and I'm a masochist...

The Other Child - Charlotte Link - Not necessarily a bad book, just not memorable in any way. Read the review, decide whether you want to read it or not.

GBH - Ted Lewis - As the review says - not for the faint of heart. Couldn't get past the violence, torture etc in the first few pages. Closed it with a shudder. It may well be a fabulous crime novel, I will never know.

A God in Ruins - Kate Atkinson - Companion novel, so they say, to Atkinson's Life After Life ( a book I think I already reviewed and which I didn't care for at all). This one I sort of started but I was so disheartened by "Life After Life" that I probably didn't give it a fair chance. Bad me. Who cares.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards - It was okay. Not great, not horrible. I believe there is a movie version, never seen, no plans to.  It held my attention for a while but my interest flagged about half way through. Flipped through the back half, read the end. And I barely remember anything about it.

The Lake of Dreams - Kim Edwards I must have taken these two Kim Edwards books out at the same time because I can't imagine, having read one of them, I would ever have sought out another book by this woman or; I am more of an optimist than any of us imagine.  They aren't bad books you understand, they're just not, um, interesting? Memorable? Engaging? They're girly books? It may be they are your style and taste. Check out the reviews.

The Likeness - Tana French - This is the second in the Dublin Murder Squad series. I like the first one "In the Woods" very much, this one, not so much. Not so much in that I didn't really finish it. Skipped around, read the end. That was that. Yet - I will read the third in the series if my library has it. I may have just hit 'The Likeness' at a bad time in my reading life.

Memory Man - David Baldacci - My husband reads David Baldacci, this was a first for me and I rather liked it. I liked the protagonist, Amos Decker and I particularly liked his neurological condition - ' “an acquired savant with hyperthymesia and synesthesia abilities.” Now if you have to have a neurological condition, synesthesia is the coolest one. The plot is very convoluted, sometimes not always easy to follow; the characters are likable, I didn't mind spending time with them at all but that said - I skipped huge chunks of the book, most in the last third, read the ending and yes, this is a series and I will read the next one.

Case Histories - Kate Atkinson - Another Kate Atkinson book? Yes, and after trashing the first two of hers that I read you must think I am mad. But honestly, while this book does not belong in the 'fabulous, must read' category, it was pretty darn good. This woman does have a passion for going back and forth in time, a plot device that drives me 'effing bonkers, but it kinda sorta works here.  I can recommend this with reservations. Read the review make your own decision.

And now for the fabulous -

Life After Life - Jill McCorkle - Please do NOT mix this book up with Kate Atkinson's book of the same title. Both were published within a month of each! How does that happen? A huge disservice to Jill McCorkle.

This is a must-read for anyone with a heart and soul. And a sense of humor. I have read it twice already, I may even buy a copy so I can read it again...and again, tho the ending really bothered me. I did not think that death was necessary at all.

This book should make you think, make you feel and yes, make you laugh. It's real; these people, for the most part, are lovely. You will not regret one moment you spend with them and you will go back and visit with them again. This book grabbed my heart and mind.

Brief Lives - Anita Brookner - Can't say exactly why this is fabulous but it is. I loved it. If you are looking for an easy, plot driven book, this is not for you.  One of the good things about reading this as an ebook was the dictionary function. I must say, Miss Brookner has an amazing vocabulary. Her writing can be dense and yet - I read it through almost without stopping. I got involved, with the story and the people, even the not-so-nice ones. I liked Fay Langdon.  I want to read more books by Anita Brookner - and I will.

Whew - long list and I left out some fluffy books I enjoyed. I'll get to them next time. I know it's a pain in the patootie to have to click links but the links do open in a new tab (or page, however you have your browser setup). The reviews give you a better idea of what the book is about, far better than I ever could. So, get a cuppa, settle in, click and review. You should find something worthwhile on this list. Definitely, DEFINITELY, read the Jill McCorkle book. Please. (And don't get it mixed up with the Kate Atkinson book of the same name. Remember - Jill McCorkle.)