Friday, May 30, 2014

Hail Athena

My first great-grandchild came into the world yesterday morning! My son phoned from the hospital, and an email went out right away to the whole family.  We even received a picture of Athena in her grandmother's arms -- surely they didn't allow us that kind of access to a newborn years ago? 

Back when Athena's mother -- our first grandchild -- was born, again we heard by phone, and I kept a log of the excited telephone calls that day -- me to my sister, Norm to his brother, my mother to my aunt, Jeanette to Betty ("how come Jeanette heard first?").  I just tried to find that log so I could take a picture to show you, a long sheet from a yellow legal paid, completely crammed with calls. 

Only this morning did I realize that when I got the news yesterday and the family had been notified with the touch of a single key, it didn't occur to me to spread the news anywhere else.  Norm is gone, my sister is gone (but Athena's middle name is Esther!), Jeanette and Betty are gone. Understand,  I have a wonderful, supportive loving family etc. etc.   But I didn't even notice that I don't have a single friend I need to tell about this little girl.

So anyhow I'm telling you.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Follow up

As yet no one has bothered the bird bath again and we have a very happy Robin.
                                                  A very clean one, too.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Midnight Marauders

Picture not perfect, I admit.  Maybe the camera focused on the window pane instead of on the bird beyond? -- but I couldn’t resist yesterday when this Mourning Dove posed motionless in front of my desk after scrubbing its armpits in the bird bath. 

And then this morning – nothing but a solitary robin, looking in vain for what Samuel Pepys called “my morning draught” – tho Sam’s was usually draft ale, not slow drips into what I must admit was slightly muddy water.
My first thought was, could deer have done this?  Raccoons couldn’t, could they?  And then when I saw the woodpile tumbled, the reluctant conclusion that it was simply Bad Boys.  There are some, on the street behind us, justifiably angry about the damage a young visitor of mine did to Their Fort last year.
Hardly justifies calling the cops – and these days the security system protects against the intruder who used to enter after midnight and do nothing but empty our wallets and leave -- (the cops once set up a camera and caught him in our laundry room – but that’s all they ever caught.)

So I went out front and hijacked a strange man to come around back and help me lift the thing up into place.  And I guess from now on I’ll leave the backyard light on at night – for what that’s worth. 
             Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Just Ask

     Shocked to find in today’s mail a bill from the cardiologist's office  for $50, listed as  “No show appointment fee...requires 24 hour notice for cancellation.”  I wasn't too shocked, though, to notice that “24 hour”  should have been hyphenated.
     Yes,  I simply forgot.  Yes, it’s written on the calendar, but lately it can be hard to remember what day it is.  Yes, I must have wasted the doctor’s valuable time, though when I finally did see him, a few days after that, it was for all of one-and-a-half minutes.  (Should that have been hyphenated?  I'm not sure.  It'd be safer to make it two minutes.  But I digress.)
     Yes, I approve of  moving every bit of the job down to the least paid person who can handle it, and I have no quarrel with the nice physician’s assistant.  Yes, things are just fine, come back in six months. 
     But if I had a $50 charge every time I forgot something these days, I’d be bankrupt before the end of the month. 
     So I started to write a check, muttering to the cleaning lady, who happened to run the vacuum cleaner into the office right then.  “Oh, that happened to me,” she said happily.  “I just called them up and asked were they trying to teach me a lesson or what, and they dropped the fee.”
     So wotthehell, I called Them up myself.  After all, now that I’m old I feel Entitled.  To everything.
     “If you think you have a way to make me remember things,” I said on the phone, “you could make a fortune.”  And she, whoever she was, just laughed and said “I’ll take it off your record.”  She didn’t sound a bit surprised. I got the impression she expects the call.  I guess it's part of the ritual.
     I mention this in case it is useful to you some day.  For that matter, here’s another one:  I was unhappy – horrified may be the better word – with this month's  Time Warner cable bill.  Of those hundreds of channels I watch about a dozen -- news, public television, and any movie with no commercials.  So why didn't I think of calling them before?  Now I still have all those useless channels but my monthly charge has somehow been cut in half.  “This month’s already been paid,” said the nice gentleman whose goal in life is to keep callers from transferring to Dish TV.  “But I’ll give you a credit; it’ll show up on your bill."
     I'll check it out.  And I'll get back to the doctor in six months.
     If I remember.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fine Sunday Morning

Flash floods all around here this week, Erie Canal over its banks, people evacuated, schools closed, roads closed.  Nothing about it on national TV; California hogs the headlines just because it’s going up in flames. But this morning, though
everything’s wet outside, the rain finally stopped and the sun is shining.

Up for breakfast, looked out the kitchen window, and there were all these people running up our suburban street. I’d forgotten about the Lilac 10K.  Do I have a vague memory of some of my kids out front one year, offering paper cups of water? 
I suspect it was too late to catch the pack of fast runners.  By the time I finished a well-balanced breakfast (frozen biscuit warm from the oven, scrambled egg, real orange juice) some were pushing strollers, some runners were walking, and some -- maybe  you can make them out -- were carrying their kids.
So I went back to bed,  where “Tootsie” was showing on the bedroom tv.  Good movie. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Loco Parentis p. s.

      I don't know about you, but on my screen comments don't come up automatically.  So I'll bring you up to date on an exchange about yesterday's post.  A. Marie, who evidently took a good look at that list of dorm rules my roommate and I had broken in the course of one month, asks what a proctor was -- the list says we "entertained while proctoring" -- definitely against the rules.
     Our dorm's front door was locked at 8 pm, and we took stints serving as evening proctor -- sitting at the front hall desk, unlocking for students and making sure they listed the time when they signed back in.
The proctor answered the wall telephone  in the hall, hit a code on the buzzer, and if no girl came rushing down, made an entry in the message book 
          "Joan-- Ted at 9:10, nm, wcb."
              no message, will call back

No one had a private phone in a dorm room --  wartime shortages lasted for years.  Five years later, when Norm and I bought a house in  Rochester, the best we could get was a party line, and I believe we had to wait in line for that.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Alma Mater In Loco Parentis

     To my granddaughters (assuming they read this blog) here’s a glimpse at what it was like in a university dorm – this looks like my junior year, 1946, the war over, the men back. Understand, kids, I’m not talking about a fancy finishing school – this was a large university.    
     I just found an old sheet of notebook paper headed  “Rules We Have Broken as of being here a month” – single check if one of us broke the rule, two checks if both did.  “Both” includes my roommate.  She ended up with Alzheimers, dead now.   We had a guest staying overnight, definitely against the rules.  I expect it was Hilda – she’s dead too.  “Smoking in room” --yes, that had to be Hilda. Looks like we  sneaked her in to the dining hall too.
     “Both feet off the floor” – oops! Two checks – looks like both of us broke the both-feet-on-the-floor rule, which applied in the living room, the only place men were allowed in the dorm.  And “Man in the house in the morning”.  How do you suppose we managed that? – the dangerous creatures were supposed to be there only during evening hours.
     Here are things we did illegally after lights-out at 11 p.m. – took shower, took bath, kept lights on, used typewriter.  Ours was a co-op dorm; students did much of the cleaning.  In those days floors were supposed to be waxed every week -- but evidently we didn’t.
     We sat outside the student section at games, wore pajamas on the first floor, left wash things in the (two-on-each-floor) bathroom, left our beds unmade after noon, took food from the dining hall, came in late without a yellow slip.   In our bedroom we had an illegal hotplate and (only one of us and I think it was me) an illegal phonograph.  Why on earth would a phonograph be forbidden?  I know we were allowed radios. 
     Unfortunately I have no further information on one intriguing line – and there’s only one check so which one of us was it? -- “Breaking state law.” 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

22" Computer

I’m asking you for help with the first note there for tomorrow, Friday, May 9.  Above the eye appointment, to the right of the haircut and the cleaning woman, the 9 not yet scratched out (that helps me remember what week we’re in, never mind what day).
                22” computer.
What can it possibly mean?  Why on earth is it there, and in my handwriting too?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Road to Romance

Spring catalogs are flooding the mailbox, and the young ladies in the one that arrived yesterday are cheerful as can be, not only because they’re wearing these perky new items,  but also because they’re engaged!  They’re all engaged!  They're all posed to show you that left hand!  And as it happens, they’re all engaged with the same ring! 
Here’s a closeup – you’ll notice it’s a bit loose on our cover girl.  Looks like the photographer carries a generous size to make sure it’ll slip over the appropriate finger of every model at the shoot.  The message is subliminal, but hey --   every little bit helps.   


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Solidarity Forever

Disclaimer first – I am not now nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party -- nor have I seen the movie.  But in honor of May Day, for a moving rendition of the Internationale I recommend this film clip:

It shows “The Release of General Raditch” – who or what or why or where he is I have no idea.  But stick with it -- the song starts at one minute 43 seconds in.  Meanwhile you get to see the US President held hostage in Air Force One, and a glimpse of Glenn Close as a worried Vice-President.