Saturday, December 27, 2014

Traveling Much in Rochester

     "I have traveled much," says Thoreau, "in Concord."  And it seems I'm traveling much right now, simply sitting in this desk chair.  Just now, a couple of days after I posted about my skype visits in New York and California, Ben calls again from Los Angeles.  It's the first time I've ever had anyone Skype from outdoors (can one do it from a cell phone?)  and I'm in a position to report there's blue sky in LA right now, and lots of sunshine. 
     They're at the weekly soccer game.  I watch Nathan kicking the ball manfully, I'm introduced as "my grandmother" to Ben's teammate Freddy, and I see half a dozen spectators on the bench.  This morning those include Freddy's visiting father, the Queen's first cousin Prince Michael. 
      I didn't take a picture of the bench, so I'll show you instead one of Freddy's father with some of his other relatives.


Friday, December 26, 2014

Register for the draft before your 18th birthday.

Still almost all women, few men back from the war yet.
In yesterday's obituaries, a 91-year-old woman about whom it says she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Syracuse University School of Journalism in 1944 and “was editor of the school paper, the Daily Orange.”  I find myself offended by “school paper”, which somehow trivializes that impressive publication.  Besides, I don’t recognize her name,  though I was already working on that newspaper by 1944.  I’ll bet she was simply a junior editor.  I was that myself, never mind the cum laude and Phi Bete, and I’ll bet my kids would never think of putting any of that in my death notice.  But she had no children.  I wonder if she wrote the obit herself.  These days I not only read the obits, I find myself looking at the list of survivors and trying to picture the person who wrote the notice.

I am reminded of the morning after my sister Esther died.  I had taken over  a proposed obit.  Cousin Betty came in (with a casserole of course) and I was just telling her how complicated it was, trying to get the job done in a house full of writers, when Martha came over, gave me a worried look, and said “I don’t want to interrupt, Aunt Edith, but why did you use a semi-colon here instead of a comma?”

Monday, December 22, 2014

Coast to Coast

I think of my grandparents, who left for America knowing they were cutting themselves off forever -- they'd never see their parents again, never hear their voices.  And now -- look what happened just yesterday.  In the morning Ben skyped from Los Angeles, whole family, Nathan wanted me to show him some snow. 

 And in the evening, someone set up a laptop and I was there in Manhattan, watching Dov and Connie arrive from Vancouver, joining in the brochas over the candles (that's the picture I should have taken; it was lovely) and then virtually (meaning of that word has changed btw) sitting at the dinner table.

  The conversation was a lot more lively than this snap of my screen looks (I show up as the ghostly bit up in the corner.)  The kids will take all this for granted, but I'll never cease being amazed at what a world we live in.  No problem that I couldn't actually eat -- I don't really like latkes anyhow.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Exciting Adventure!

My winter coat had a loose button this morning, and it needed tightening.  It needed mending -- and that's when I realized it's been a great many years since I've even sewed on a button.  The process was downright exciting, opening that jumbled drawer with all those spools of thread, and the cute little scissors, and yes, a thimble.  Even a pincushion.  If you'd asked me, did I own a pincushion, I wouldn't have known.  But I do, I do!
Hard to believe, but long ago I used all that stuff -- to sew merit badges on boy scout sashes, to hem something we bought one size too big so (s)he could grow into it.  The whole exercise triggered a trip into the way way past.  Today I wasn't sure I'd be able to thread the needle, but I did! I could!
I still can!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Melmac Memories

How could I have forgotten?  Story in the current New Yorker brings back memories –  1950s,  house full of boomer babies,  and in the kitchen – MELMAC !!  We were so lucky to live in exciting modern times, when you could actually buy sturdy colorful dishes that the kids couldn’t break!

In a web site for Melmac collectors (yes, of course there are Melmac collectors) I just found this -- it looks almost like what we bought 60 years ago -- but we had tumblers as well, and I think we bought two sets.  Our neighbors did the same,  and then we cleverly swapped.  They took all the yellow and orange ones, we took the turquoise and grey.  Hard to believe I felt good about that, but I did.

As the years went on and the kids got older, eating off dull turquoise plates – and drinking from grey 'glasses' -- lost its appeal.  We replaced it with blue-and-white Johnson Brothers china, and I gave the Melmac set, still intact, to -- ???  Maybe to my sister?   At any rate, I do recall that whoever had it next complained to me one day that the damn stuff wouldn’t break.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Not a post -- just an update.  Definitely snowbound.  But I don't need to go anywhere anyhow, and for your viewing pleasure, here are a couple of birds that just stopped at the feeders by my desk window.   

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

So We Need Help

So I start reading this review of "So We Read On" and then I decide to save it instead -- it'll be more interesting if I read the book first. 

So I get the book from the library, start to read it and then decide to save it instead -- it'll be more interesting if I go back and re-read "The Great Gatsby" first.
But it seems there's no longer a copy of Gatsby in this house, so I find it on the Internet.  The University in Adelaide opines that it's no longer copyrighted in Australia, and their screen is most attractive.
But my back hurts sitting at the desk.  It'd be great to finish the remaining chapters lying down. 
So I dig out the Kindle I haven't opened in a year or two.  But I've forgotten how to download onto the Kindle. 
I already have the novel on my desk computer...or am I just signing on to that web site when I read?  How do I get the novel on to the Kindle? 
Someone's attention to this matter would be greatly appreciated. 
Then I could go back and read the library book. Then I could go back and read the review. 
          Which is where we started. 
          Thanking you in advance, 
                               I remain.

Friday, December 5, 2014

L'Avant-Midi d'Une Old Lady

Wake early as usual, turn off security system and bring in newspaper – for what it’s worth.  It weighs four ounces these days.

Not-quite-breakfast: apple and a chunk of cheese. 

Back to bed, read paper.

Turn on bedroom tv and the movie is the Romeo and Juliet that Zefferelli made in the 1960s.


Immediate memory of Dottie, BF (we bought houses next door to each other) but sadly, not F.  They saw that movie before we did, and I can still remember her report:

“The theatre was full of 14-year-old girls and they were all crying.  I was crying too and hoping that somehow it would have a different ending this time.”

Roger Tory Peterson signed our bird books!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Is Nowhere Safe?

I thought it a bit excessive when the Chevy I bought last February received its third recall this year.  But it seems danger lurks everywhere -- this just in:  
Greetings from
We have learned of a potential issue regarding certain product(s) that our records indicate you purchased through the website:

Screaming Meanie Timer and Alarm Clock with 120 dB Alarm - assorted colors
For more details on what you should do, please contact Pacific Cornetta at
If you purchased this item for someone else, please notify the recipient immediately and provide them with the information concerning these issues.
We regret any inconvenience this may cause you but trust you will understand that the safety and satisfaction of our customers is our highest priority.
Thanks for shopping at

Some of my Thanksgiving visitors took that alarm clock (still in original package) because their son has trouble waking up. This is terrible!!  What if something horrible happens to my grandson and it's all my fault for buying that Screaming Meanie???!!!  As Amazon cautions: please notify the recipient immediately and provide them with the information  I won't rest until  you GET IN TOUCH WITH SIMON AND WARN HIM!!!

Good thing they went home by train.  At an airport they might have been arrested for trying to hijack a plane with an alarm clock.