Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Past is a Different Country

     Well, I got down the cardboard box with the letters Norm had saved, from 1946 -- my senior year at college.  I was writing during class, which was held in a Quonset Hut.   Over the summer, the war just over, and the GI Bill promising to pay tuition and living expenses, Syracuse had promised to admit every returning veteran who applied.  Over the summer, enrollment had gone from 10,000 to 20,000 --
     hence the Quonset Huts.  I wrote that the side near the coal stove was warm, and I was wearing a mitten on the other hand.  
     There were men in class!  Not even boys -- men back from the South Pacific, from Europe, from the Battle of the Bulge -- and here's what I wrote --
     "The smoke in here is pretty thick -- seven cigarettes, one cigar and two pipes all going at once."
     The past certainly is a different country.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Can You Believe


Ran across this booklet in a bottom drawer -- I'd forgotten all about it.
In 1946 -- I seem to remember I was home for some school vacation -- I was contacted LONG-DISTANCE by the DEAN OF WOMEN -- would I, she asked, be interested in copy-editing and updating the (women's)
RULES AND REGULATIONS OF SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY?
I was so impressed to be speaking with that august individual -- in the daytime! before the rates changed! --  so flattered to be asked, that it never occurred to me to ask if there was any payment involved -- so there wasn't.
Of course I did the job, and in time for reprinting before the freshmen arrived that September.  Syracuse's Chancellor had promised to take any veteran who applied, and over the summer the student body went from 10,000 (mostly women) to 20,000.  Those new students were fresh from at Iwo Jima , the Battle of the Bulge,  the liberation of Auschwitz -- and they made short work of the long-standing tradition that new students wore Freshman Beanies for three months.
I have no memory of the work I did on that booklet, though I still have the letter the Dean sent expressing her gratitude.  But I came across the old one the other day. 
 It was dated 1941.  Evidently mine would be the first revision -- first reprint -- since The War.  Paper had been so scarce -- like most everything else.  I have no memory of what guidelines I used, what changes I made, but anyhow, I wanted to show you the sentence that greeted me on the first page I just opened it to --

There is no dancing or card playing in the dormitory living rooms on Sunday.

The rest of that page makes pretty interesting reading too.  Those telephones, for instance, were coin (nickel) wall phones down in the entrance halls -- none of us had individual phones, which were unavailable anyhow like so much else during The War. And while the rules mention leaving the house after 11 o'clock, I remember that freshman girls had 8 pm deadlines, and could sign out for no more than three 9 o'clocks during a semester.  As is now obvious from the rest of that booklet, the main concern of that Dean of Women's Office was to see that as few of us as possible, in the days before The Pill, ever showed up pregnant.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Finance Problem

For income in my old age I'd built a nice cozy group of municipal bonds -- they pay low interest rates, but they're pretty reliable and the dividends are free from income tax.  And I don't have to think about them, which is great these days when I seem to be a lot less capable of thinking.
Starting last January, though, some of those bonds are being called in, for some reason I don't even want to try to understand
-- and I'm left with cash to re-invest. 
When I ask for investment advice, the kids are no help at all. 
Well, full disclosure, actually I did get an opinion from my son in Vancouver, who says
"There's a good mutual fund that specializes in marijuana, but I'm afraid you can't buy it in The States."

*note: "to serve you better" my server has upgraded me and I can no longer figure out how to get pictures on this post.  I used Google to find some lovely ones -- the Canadian flag with its maple leaf replaced with a sprig of marijuana, for example -- but I can't post it.  If anyone out there feels helpful, it'd be much appreciated.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ain't he cute ?!!

So I just came out here to send the kids the usual "I survived the night" email, glanced out at the feeders and what to my wondering eyes did appear but this guy having a fine breakfast on $3.99 a pound peanuts from Wegmans.  Nice way to start the day.  Nothing I can do but watch from in here -- Companion not due till Friday afternoon.   

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Duck Update

     Okay, it's 4 pm on Tuesday, and here's a report for those who have been asking if the Misguided Mallards are still wasting their valuable nesting time in that shrinking puddle at the rear of this suburban back yard. 
     I hadn't seen either one for several days, and then just a few minutes ago there was the male alone, standing tall and absolutely still, watching the house.  Just standing stock-still.
     I couldn't figure out why -- and then, waddling back from the spilled birdseed under my window, came his mate.  They're both still with us! and he'd been watching her.
     By the time I got the camera out again, she'd made it almost all the way back -- and she's such a camouflaged dullness that you'll have trouble finding her.  Try for that little grey spot above the center there.  He, evidently reassured that she was obeying his summons, had already returned to the puddle--if there still is a puddle.  Hard to tell from here, and I can no longer walk to find out.
      If this actually results in ducklings, it'll be a first, in the more than 60 years I've been watching this backyard.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Breaking News from the Obits

     This morning's obits lists a man who "passed away on Friday...at the age of 60, surrounded by his family and friends."  Not right of course -- my kids are all older than that and they're still kids.
     But anyhow, what I started to tell you is that he is survived by "his wife Mary Ellen...his daughter Melissa...his son Brian..., daughters Naomi...and Michele..."   There's a story back of that, one suspects, but again I digress. 
      Nine grandchildren are listed, all with interesting names ----MacKenzie, Bethanie, Morgan, Cooper,... but anyhow, what I wanted to tell you is that 
     in addition to a long list of close friends, he is survived by
    
 
four dogs, a cat, and a rabbit.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wildlife Adventures

Assuming this program will operate as it should today -- you will remember I showed you the Mallard ducks that migrated in here Easter weekend -- as they do every year -- attracted by that strip of melting snow at the rear of this back yard. 




I think I told you they always move on, looking for a nice swamp to nest in, because that water dries up and disappears every year within a matter of days.
This afternoon, though, I found him still here, and what's more, chasing another male away, after which he flew out to the end of the back yard and landed with a --- omg!--- a splash.
Now here's the view of the yard from my desk, and these days that's all I've got to work with -- can no longer get back there to see what's going on, and even moving to another window is a big undertaking.
 
 So I got out the binoculars, and sure enough, there's a puddle still left back there, about the size of a manhole cover, and I'm afraid they're wasting their 2017 nesting opportunity, because I know -- if they don't -- that it'll be gone within a few days.
Okay -- he's in the middle of this picture, looking at you, and I've blown it up so you can see her more or less -- she's just to the right of that dandelion in front of him, beautifully camouflaged by Nature so that it's hard to see her...because, I'm afraid, she's sitting on eggs.  Or could that be a grey chick already, just to her right?  Wish I could get out there and find out.  
Only consolation is, come to think of it I haven't seen that feral cat around here lately.
Stay tuned!
 

Monday, April 24, 2017

ALTERNATIVE FACTS

DAMN, THIS PROGRAM ISN'T WORKING RIGHT.  I"VE BEEN TRYING TO GET THIS POST OUT FOR TWO DAYS AND I UNDERSTAND THE PICTURES DON'T COME THROUGH, NOR CAN I CHANGE THE SIZE OF THE TYPE.
TIME TO CALL THE COMPUTER HOSPITAL  -- I CAN NO LONGER TAKE IT IN BUT THEY MAKE HOUSE CALLS.
I GIVE UP.  RATHER THAN SPEND ANY MORE TIME ON THIS, I'LL JUST SKIP RIGHT TO THE POINT AND TELL YOU THAT THE TOPIC TO BE PRESENTED NEXT SEPTEMBER BY BILL HUTCHINGS IN BATH, ENGLAND CONCERNS ITSELF WITH

TRUTH AND FICTION: ALTERNATIVE FACTS IN JANE AUSTEN'S NORTHANGER ABBEY

and I finished the post off with a picture of Kellyann Conway, the originator of a phrase that's evidently made its way around the world at lightning speed.   Wikipedia tells me she first pronounced it fewer than four months ago.  Got to figure that invitation had to be printed in England, travel across the ocean, make its way to my house -- and it must have been some time earlier that Bill wrote the description of his talk, assuming even then that Brits reading it would recognize the phrase. 
- - -- -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This morning's post brought a mailing from the Jane Austen Society, the original one, in England.  It includes an invitation to a scholarly gathering planned for late summer in Bath.  

   Nice picture of the Royal Crescent, incidentally.  Norm and I once spent a night in the hotel that you'd never guess is discretely located in the center of that Crescent -- no  obtrusive sign allowed. But I digress.

   This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane's death.   Years ago I stood in the low-ceilinged room where she died -- yes, in Bath.  I don't believe one can visit it now-- sorry, digressing again. 

   So -- Austen scholars are concentrating, right now, on the two of her novels published that same year, 1817 -- Northanger Abbey and Persuasion


The list of speakers for this planned assemblage is impressive -- Bill Hutchings, for instance, is Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, co-editor of The Cowper and Newton Journal, a National Teaching Fellow (whatever that is), and the author most recently of Living Poetry and Living Fiction. 

Here is the lecture you could hear him deliver, late morning next September 25




















and finally, here is the bit that brought me up short:

 
IT'S PASSED INTO THE LANGUAGE!
INTERNATIONALLY!
YOU CAN EVEN FIND IT IN WIKIPEDIA!


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Have a Nice Day


 After skipping several monthly tests, yesterday I finally remembered to make a routine check of  the panic button I wear around my neck. 



Remembering how loud the other alarm -- the door/window thingie -- is,





I scooted not too close to that little speaker box in the living-room, pressed my button, and was rewarded with an immediate “EMERGENCY EMERGENCY” from the little box.


 



Then I scooted up next to it, waiting for a human voice to come on and ask what was the matter.  And just at the instant when that happened, I had – for the first time in more than a year –

 a sudden spasm of the larynx.

Unable to breathe, unable to speak.

In the past there’s been instant panic thinking I’d die, but this time it was instant panic thinking I couldn't answer. I pictured firemen breaking down my front door.  Thought if I did die at least they would find me.

Meanwhile for some reason the Voice went away, total silence.  I struggled for air and then the Voice came back and asked again.  By that time I was able to whisper “I’m okay”.  Couldn’t believe the Voice would hear it, but It said something along the lines of “Have a nice day” and vanished.  By which time I was breathing again.

Not all that much drama in life lately, but you’ve got to admit there’s excitement every now and then.

 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

This clunky AOL server doesn’t always bring up emails I sent in the past few days, but I think I told the kids, in Monday’s good-morning-I’m-still-here note, that I was expecting the podiatrist for a house call that afternoon.  Cleaning lady on Tuesday.  Hairdresser house call on Wednesday.  Think I slated that email Aging in Place but of course not too sure about anything these days.
At any rate, yesterday I was expecting the podiatrist after her office hours.  First time at my house – she had assured me it would still be covered.  Her name was down on my calendar – an old-fashioned cardboard calendar – right here in the basket of the scooter.
 

Decided, as the afternoon wore on, that she’d probably want to clip those toenails in the kitchen, so I figured out a way to prop myself safely at the sink and tackled several days’ mess. 

Just at I finished, the doorbell rang.  Flurry to get back in the scooter, reminding myself that falls happen during hasty transfers – scooted to the front door thinking that can’t be the cleaning lady, I don’t think she’s coming today, opened the door and there was a woman who seemed familiar but definitely not the cleaning lady.  I must have looked as bewildered as I felt.  She said “What’s the matter, didn’t they phone to tell you I was coming?”  I’d seen her before but I was pretty sure that wasn’t the cleaning lady….pause. 

End of story.  You know who it was, and so did I, after perhaps two minutes, maybe not even that long.  Probably  due to that white stuff on the surface of my brain, in the MRI the neurologist showed me when I had the TIA.

Tomorrow I'll also have a visitor from the senior residence I applied to.   Seems they require a "15-minute-cognitive test."  I'll bet the first question will be "What year is it?" (I'll report to you) and I definitely know 1984 came and went.  Even if I'm only operating with maybe 70%, that's still passing, right? 

Now I'm not so sure.

Aging in Place.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Duck Duck Easter

                                                  Well, that's a relief! 
I worried last week when the Passover Mallards failed to show up.  But I guess they just got confused by those liturgical calendars -- some years Easter and Passover fall at the same time; this year they didn't. 
At any rate, here's what's outside my desk window right now.  This year they're evidently Easter Mallards.
  As always, they'll plod hopefully around the soggy back yard for a few days, grazing under the birdfeeders on bits knocked down by the songbirds. 
 Then they'll face facts, accept that this place is drying up, and depart to find some nice gooey marsh for nesting.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

They're Baaack!!!

Wegman's supermarket is suddenly full of Easter candy, with Peeps in all sorts of configurations -- surely there were not this many variations in earlier years?  For my birthday I received a pack of three large orange ones "DIPPED in decadent orange fudge" and trust me -- there's a reason we never heard of decadent orange fudge before.  Possibly the worst candy ever devised.  The remaining packet is up on the counter where visiting teenagers will absently browse on anything in sight.
And thank heaven, I also received some decent old-fashioned run-of-the-mill Peeps -- they were even the yellow ones.  I stabbed their cellophane and practiced restraint till they seasoned properly, and I can't show you a picture because they're all gone.
But the exciting news at Wegmans is that the Cadbury creme eggs are finally back -- been waiting months for them.  Sugar sugar sugar in its most delightful configuration. 
So Dannie, here's this year's very first effort.  I know -- the red is a bit torn down there next to the chick, but I couldn't help that -- the creme had oozed a bit and it was stuck to the chocolate there.
 I promise I'll practice diligently -- will try to do better right through to Easter.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Visa Secret Revealed

Just got my Visa bill, realized I didn't make a payment in January. 
 So I called the phone number, finally got to say "representative", which brought up a  live person -- her name was Tiffany so we know she was young --
 "What can I do for you?"
 "Well, I always pay my bill promptly, but it looks like I forgot in January.  There's a late fee and interest here.  Do I really have to pay them?"
"No ma'am you certainly don't.  I'll take those off right now."

I think (never sure about anything these days) that They are legally (?) required by law to give you one free slip-up a year or something like that. 
I post this information as a public service.
You're welcome.

 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Na Zdorovie!!

 I still read the obits every morning, and I always check the first words
 "died peacefully in her sleep"--
 (how do they know it wasn't terrifying?) 
 Sometimes it's "at home surrounded by his loved ones"
(a consummation devoutly to be wished, btw ..)
 And then yesterday this one... If you can't read it on your cell phone, I expect there's some way you can enlarge it.  
 
 
 anyhow, it starts --" Rochester:  (1947-2017) Released to the next adventure ..."  That birth date is an alert right there -- he was in his teens through much of the 1960s.  It was an exciting time to be a teenager but a pretty hard time to be a parent --trust me, I was there.
  Between them our boys drove Abbie Hoffman, marched on Washington with MLK,  hitch-hiked to the moonshot and heard Arlo Guthrie at the Newport Festival, registered for the draft and debated fleeing to New Zealand or Canada -- and then they turned middle-aged with good marriages and respectable careers. 
 I was curious to read what became of Charles, but judging from this obit, he was a living fossil -- true to his era right to the end.  Anyhow, what I started out to tell you is that someone thought it worth including in his obituary that he
WENT TO WOODSTOCK WITH A PURCHASED TICKET.
YES!  Our Dov went to Woodstock (driving his friends in our station wagon after dawn because his junior license didn't allow driving at night)  And YES! he'd PURCHASED A TICKET, only to find that as Woodstock developed, the fences were thrown down and the gates opened.
Na Zdorovie!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Here's a First!

Could it have been half a century ago that Anna made paint-by-number portraits of The Beatles?
 I guess if you live long enough (and I have) what goes around comes around.
At any rate, here's what the magazine from Cornell Ornithology looked like in the mailbox yesterday --
 
and when the outside cover was removed -- 
 
 
So I'm curious -- is this indeed a first, or has anyone already received a magazine with this kind of embellishment for your coloring pleasure?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Balanced -- and a Bargain!

      As a public service, today's post is all about a perfectly balanced bargain meal --and  one that can be eaten without having to leave the driver's seat.  For your reading pleasure I append a McDonald's check and here's your script:
      First, you drive up and order a "small cheeseburger".  Right there is your dairy and your protein. 
     Then you ask for a "senior coke".  (I know, I know, but I need the caffeine these days and I don't drink coffee.)
Besides, I want to alert those of a respectable age -- did you know you can get a full-size drink for 79 cents?... or even 69 cents? (read on)  You just have to ask.
    Then, because the chopped onions on that cheeseburger don't really provide enough fruit-and-vegetable component -- and because I've eliminated the pickle and the ketchup, which you may remember Reagan (was it?) classified as a school lunch vegetable...
   ...it's prudent to end the meal with a hot apple pie.
   Yes, this nicely balanced meal can be had for just three dollars,
   BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!!
   If you go to store #32511 instead of store # 4789, you save a penny on the cheeseburger, the coke is ten cents less, the pie is a real bargain and the tax becomes only twenty cents.  

  A third MacDonald's had even different pricing, but I can't seem to find the check.  At any rate -- here's your well-balanced meal for
LESS THAN THREE DOLLARS.

       We're Lovin It!

 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bigger than the Carnegie Deli

After at least a decade I still remember the address of the Carnegie Deli -- 56th street between 5th and 6th.
Last time we were there, Norm wanted to buy a half-pound of pastrami to take home-- and the guy behind the counter said "It's cheaper if you just order a sandwich."
So we took a sandwich home.
Just as well he isn't here
to know it's not.
Meanwhile --

Monday, January 9, 2017

Holiday Leftovers

 It's way below freezing out today. 
 Way past noon.  I'm still in furry slippers and cozy bathrobe, with every intention of staying that way till bedtime. 
The house is pretty well back to normal after the Holidays and the family Visitors, with just a couple of leftover mysteries:
Whose is the red apron?  I suspect Maria.
 
And who left the impressive paperback Hamlet and Oedipus?
Julie just finished a course that involved Greek drama, so I suspect her, but yet -- look at the price in the northeast corner of that cover:
 -- that's got to be a generation or two earlier.  Maybe Julie got it while they were visiting Anna, who has a nice collection of drama stuff from her Equity days.
But anyhow -- the big mystery is
 What Ever Happened to the Bathmat That Got Soaked When the Fancy Shower Leaked?
I have looked high and low. 
Come to think of it, that's a figure of speech. 
I can no longer look either  High or Low.
                        Any information will be appreciated.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Plus ca change









...plus le meme chose. 

In the day-by-day emails of the greatest diary ever written, we're up to December 1663 now, and Sam Pepys writes that in the Coffeehouse the discussion was about

"the great evil of discouraging our natural manufacture of England ... by suffering the Swede to bring in three times more than ever they did and our owne Ironworks be lost..."



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Life Before Google

Reading those old DOS journals, I find this. 
Kids, here's what life was like Before Google.
                  
                  July 8, 1993
Anna r. on TV 1990s
  Anna opens at the theatre in New Hope,Pennsylvania tonight.  Bet it's hot as hell down there. [Must have been before we air-conditioned the house.]  She plays a psychologist who counsels a talking dog, so of course we want to send flowers.
  I look for the name of the theatre in the flyer she sent us.  It isn't there, but she's at the New Hope Performing Arts Festival.  
  I get out the atlas.  New Hope is near Philadelphia. 
  Buster sits on the atlas.
Buster visiting bathtub
  I check the phone book.  There are 12 area codes for Pennsylvania. 
  I remove Buster from the phone book. Philadelphia's area code is 215.
  Theatres usually have the phone numbers of florists handy, so I call Philadelphia information at 1-215-555-1212 and ask for the phone number of the New Hope Performing Arts Festival.It's 215-862-5880.
  I call 215-862-5880.  I get a tape reminding me that the play opens tonight.
  I call Information again.  They can't look up a number without the name of the florist.  I explain my quest.  They find the New Hope Flower Shop, 215-862-3169.
  I call 215-862-3169.  I get a crackling noise. 
  I think perhaps it's because Buster walked on the phone.
  I call it again.  I get a crackling noise.
     I call it a third time.  I get a dial tone.
  I call the operator and explain my problem.  She calls the number.  She gets a busy signal ­and­ a crackling noise. She tries again, and says it's out of order.
  I call Philadelphia information. They can't read the yellow pages but they'll transfer me to the service people who can.
   The service people find a number in the yellow pages for Tiffany's Florist, 215-862-1200.
  I call 215-862-1200.  "The number you have called, 862-1200, has been disconnected.  Repeat:  the number you called..."
   I consider Flowers by Wire.  But if I can't get through, how could they?  And how would I know in time if they failed?
 I call Philadelphia information and ask to be transferred to a service person.  No, not about a faulty line.  No, not about new service. I want the people who can read the yellow pages.  Reprovingly:   "That is just a courtesy we provide...I'll switch you over."  I get a dial tone.
  I call Philadelphia information again asking for the yellow pages service.  "Certainly, I'll connect you."
  I get a dial tone.
  I call again, pleading not to be cut off.  "Yes, I'll stay with you until you're transferred, but I'll put you on hold, don't get worried."
  I get a silent line.
  I get the yellow pages people!!
  I ask "Have you got time to hear my problem?"  "Yes, if it's not too long."  I summarize the morning so far.  I ask if there's a newspaper in New Hope.  "I can read the yellow pages for you, but there is a service center in New Hope.  Would you like that?" 
 That would be great, perfect. 
 Buster sits on the page I'm taking notes on.
  I call the New Hope center at 215-862-5880.  It's busy.  I put my automatic re-dialer on and it calls every 30 seconds for ten minutes.  Still busy.
  I try the automatic re-dial for another ten minutes.  I decide everything in New Hope has been washed out by a heat wave.
  So much time has elapsed that perhaps the box office is open, so I call the theatre again.  A tape reminds me that the play opens
tonight.
  I call Philadelphia information.  I'm put right through to the yellow pages.  This time I get all the rest of the New Hope florists: the Pod Shop and Boxwood Gardens.
  Boxwood Gardens sounds like a garden store, so I call the Pod Shop at 215-862-2037.  A young woman answers immediately.  Roses are $60 a dozen.  We settle on assorted summer flowers.  I mention my morning's adventures. She laughs and says "We're all the same florist anyhow."
  Break a leg, Anna!
Watching Cat TV with Norm
 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Appreciate it!

These days when I see someone hurrying in to the post office I stoop harder over the rollator and bite my tongue not to call after them -- "Do you appreciate the fact that you're walking?  Be sure to realize that you can walk!"
   It seems such a counter-intuitive thing -- all that height, that weight, that muscle, balanced on two small feet.  Yet babies pull themselves up almost automatically -- and what a triumphant look the first time they achieve it! 
   You can see by the spots on the knees and the toes of those white shoes that up until then he'd been crawling -- this was in my in-law's living-room in Montreal.  Fine moment.  


So anyhow -- my other son showed me how to access those DOS journals I kept on floppy disks after 1983 ('moved the typewriter off the desk today')  and I am delighted to find this entry in July of 1990:

Sometimes when I'm walking I am very conscious of the fact that I'm walking.  I can walk!  If I can't in the future, I'll never have to say "I should have appreciated it while I could..." because I do appreciate it. 
 

 





Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Couldn't Be Beat

Last week's festivities -- 29 here for a fine feast, some who came spur-of-the-moment from London, woodfire burning constantly, and we used up five bags of marshmallows.  I did nothing but sit around while the people I still think of as The Kids did everything including the list-making.
               This picture was taken before all the homemade pies arrived. 
We had plenty of drama all week:
The garage door opener wouldn't shut. 
The microwave fan wouldn't go off.  
The disposal wouldn't dispose -- Avi said we wouldn't need a plumber, that when the eye surgeon arrived for Thanksgiving dinner he'd take the pipe apart and fix it -- and that's exactly what happened. 
This general dissolution was evidently contagious -- our overflow who stayed at a nearby b&b came back to borrow a plunger at one point.
We had an 89-year spread of ages -- great-granddaughter Athena spent most of her time in a big carton, obligingly left in the living-room by the applance guy.  Grandsons Nathan and Aaron each chose sets of Jane Austen from The Collection.  The London contingent furnished two young boys who kept the mini pinball machine in pretty constant use.  I have fine pictures of all these goings-on, forwarded from various attendees, but they just won't transfer to this screen.  That's why this post is so late -- I've been trying, giving up in frustration and then trying again the next day.
So I'll just tell you a bit about what I've been doing since:



I forgot to mention -- the washing machine stopped washing also -- and this during a  week involving one way and another nine house guests including a toddler.  I ordered a new washer, asking for the simplest replacement, but this new control panel seems to offer 42 choices ...  I was reduced to reading the manual. 
All's well that ends well.  For your viewing pleasure, here's a Before and After of every bath towel I own.  That bottle in Before is an unopened Beaujolais left from The Feast.  I'm not a drinker, and all I know about wine is that Beaujolais doesn't keep -- it's supposed to be drunk promptly.
Hmmm.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

London Lease

 My friend Ben has moved to London, where he's rented a house for his family.  It seems their landlady could not take two pet hens to her retirement residence, and of course Ben's boys clamored for him to keep them.  But, he asked,  would he be responsible if a hawk got one of them? So the Land Agent or whatever they call it there wrote a 49th provision into the lease:
Chickens
49.1 The Landlord gives consent to the Tenant to keep the Landlord’s two chickens and coup in the garden. In consideration of this the Tenant must ensure that these chickens do not cause any difficulty or damage or nuisance either to the Premises and or the fixtures or fittings or to any neighbour. If that should occur the Landlord and/or the Landlords Agent reserves the right to terminate this consent and to require that these pets leave the Premises immediately.
 49.2 The Tenant agrees to remove all mess from the garden or other outside areas of the Premises both during the Tenancy, particularly prior to any visit from the gardener, and prior
to the end or earlier termination of the Tenancy.
 49.3 For the avoidance of doubt the chickens and their eggs will belong to the Tenant and the Tenant will be responsible for any costs associated with the keeping of the chickens.
 49.4 The Tenant agrees to return the land at the end of the Tenancy in the same condition as stated in the inventory and schedule of condition at the commencement of the Tenancy unless the Landlord gives written confirmation he would like to retain any additions or
changes that the Tenant has made, with no compensation payable to the Tenant at the end or earlier termination of the tenancy.
 49.5 The Landlord shall have no responsibility or liability for any claims whatsoever (including 3rd party claims) arising from the condition of the fields or fences due to any chickens being
kept by the tenant.
 49.6 It is further agreed that in the event any of the chickens shall die then the landlord will not be responsible for replacing or compensating the tenant for such loss.
I'm not sure what 49.4 has to do with chickens, but it's pretty much  what I used to teach in those real estate courses.  Just the same, if I had been on the Premises I would have given Ben the usual advice: have your own solicitor look the lease over before you sign.
I don't know what the other 48 provisions of that lease were, but in the Chickens section I still don't see any answer to the original question:  Is Ben responsible if one of the hens dies?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Rains Came

P. S. to yesterday's post -- a friend sends me pictures she took after dark in Mt. Hope Cemetery.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Restores Your Faith

     I've just spent  a wonderful afternoon. Three hours in Mt. Hope Cemetery here, never had to get out of the car, spoke to lots of people. 
     My opening gambit out the car window was  "I cast my first vote for Harry S Truman"* and everyone wanted to talk. When I told one man I had nearly voted, in 1948, for the third party candidate whose name I'd forgotten but he had been Secretary of Agriculture, the response was "Henry Wallace, I'm just reading a book about him."  That kind of afternoon, that kind of crowd.
     The older Victorian section of the cemetery is all glacial mounds and dips, big old trees, wonderful fall colors.  Wish I'd taken the camera.   And --
     an amazing spontaneous gathering, thousands of people in a two-hour waiting line carrying flowers, flags, little girls and "I VOTED" stickers to the modest gravestone of Susan B. Anthony, the suffragette leader who went on trial in 1872 because she had registered and voted. 
       I believe the web site Anna sent is a morning feed,

https://www.facebook.com/News8WROC/videos/10155360574159386/

but when I left the cemetery gates at 6pm, more cars were  pulling in.  The city? the cemetery? someone? was firing up floodlights at the grave site, and folks were getting flashlights out of their cars. 
       After all the stress of the past few months, I'd pretty much forgotten there could still exist so many patient smiling happy people. 
        It was wonderful.          

.*No period after the S, it was "S for nothing."

No cell phones, no tv, no portable radios, no computers, no results

      You had to be 21 to vote in those days, and I was already married, living in Penn Yan in our honeymoon cottage on North Main Street (rent $50 a month, but Norm would later risk going into business for himself and by the time Avi was born we had moved to an unheated still-after-the-war- rent-controlled-$18.75-a month apartment also on North Main Street)-- but I digress.
      So I cast my first vote at some polling place just where the hill starts on Liberty Street.  Had not registered as a Democrat -- that'd be as much as your life was worth in Yates County (smallest county in New York State, btw.)
     I went into that booth  with every intention of voting for Henry Wallace, third-party candidate who had been Secretary of Agriculture, and whose rallies back at college had featured country music with guitars.  I can still see my hand poised to pull the lever for him -- and then I moved my hand up and voted for Truman.
    But here's the interesting part -- I remember being at the wheel of a car the next day, and the car was stopped in the middle of the quad at Syracuse University.  I must have driven my Mother there and we must have been visiting my sister, who would have been a freshman.
    What I remember is that we put the car radio on loud, and students were cramming around and poking their heads in the windows to hear the noon news, because no one knew yet if Dewey or Truman had won. 
THAT'S A TRIUMPHANT TRUMAN