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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cat Sitting

While I'm relaxing on the high seas I've left Crash and Burn in the care of my friend. We trade cat sitting - when she and her husband go away I take care of Dali and when I go away, she takes care of Crash and Burn.

It's a wonderful arrangement. It's so good not to have to try and figure out who will be home and able to take care of my beasts. I think I have the easier cat sitting job this year. They only went away once this year and I have two trips planned.

Moving to this community was the best move I could have made. I've made some wonderful friends and most of them are cat lovers which is good.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Green" Bulbs

At one time I decided to try the new eco-friendly bulbs. They're supposed to last a really long time and save you money on your electric bill.

Wanting to save some money and be "green", I invested in those new bulbs and changed most of the bulbs in my old house. I didn't see any change in my electric bill, plus, the bulbs took so long to reach maximum brightness that I'd be finished in a room before the bulb was operating at maximum power.

I understand that the newer bulbs reach brightness more quickly. Maybe I'll give them another chance although I doubt they'll help my electric bill.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Travel

I'm getting ready for a short cruise to Canada and just realized how complicated life has become.

Besides the assortment of clothes - warm weather, cool weather, casual and dress. There are the shoes for any occasion - sneakers for walking, sandals for lounging, low heeled shoes for dress wear. Then the jewelry, simple earrings, fancy earrings, watch, ring, etc.

Of course I need to take most of my electronics. I need my cell phone and its charger, then my I-pod and its charger. I have three cameras - one to keep in my pocketbook, another for simple pictures and a third for really special pictures on tours. Along with these cameras I need a charger for one and a supply of batteries for the others. My good camera eats the batteries, probably because it has an excellent zoom and I use that feature a lot. I'm not taking my computer because my arm and shoulder have been hurting from too much computer use. If I were taking that, it would mean another charger.

Then there's what I like to call my "lab". It's really just my cosmetics - make-up, moisturizer, special shampoo and conditioner, soap, face cleaner. It just seems to take more supplies and get harder to achieve that youthful natural look as the years go by.

I really wish I were able to be a more efficient packer and not a just-in-case packer.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Procrastination

The more I look around my house, the more simple chores that I simply hate to do and ignore until I've reached the point that they must be done.

The first is the dishwasher. I don't know why, but for some reason, I hate to empty the dishwasher. I will go days handwashing my plates and cups rather than empty the dishwasher. I know that it takes less than 5 minutes to empty and put everything away, but I avoid it like the plague.

The next is laundry. I have no problem washing and drying. When I empty the dryer, everything just sits in the basket for a week or so. Last week I had to go to the laundry room every day to get something to wear. Again, if I fold when dry it would take maybe 10 minutes, but no I have to procrastinate.

The worst procrastination has to do with light bulbs. I hate to change them. I let them go until there are many to be changed. Until then, sometimes I'm fumbling around in the dim light to find things or see if dinner is ready.

When I mentioned these little idiosyncrasies to a friend, she said I needed therapy. Maybe she's right.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lost and Found

I like to buy multi-use jewelry, that is one piece with interchangeable parts. I had a lovely pair of earrings that were a wire with a series of diferent colored balls that could be attached to change the appearance.

Several months ago I dropped the wires in my closet. I looked everywhere, but I couldn't find them, they seemed to blend in with the floor. I kept promising myself that I would take everything off the floor of the closet and sweep to find the earrings. I never got around to it.

Today, I was checking out a tray that I use for my jewelry at the end of the day. There was an assortment of earrings, some coins and then I spotted them. There, sitting on the tray was the pair of wires that I thought had been lost. They were very dull, so I washed them and now they look as good as new.

I'd really like to know how they got there. 'tis a puzzlement.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Holiday Tradition

The other day at our Creative Writing meeting I was reading my selection when everyone interrupted me asking if it was true, was I making it up. I told them it was true and I was not making it up. No one had heard of this before. I thought maybe it was a regional thing restricted to a few sections of Queens and Brooklyn.

Now, I'm asking you if any of you have heard of this, or done this. Maybe the custom moved past NY.

When I was a child, every Thanksgiving morning I and all the children on my block would dress in our oldest, worn-out clothes and dirty our faces. We would then visit our neighbors and ask if they had anything for Thanksgiving. They would give us pennies, fruit or nuts. This was a common practice in my neighborhood until the 50s.

Did any of you do this? I know I'm not making this up because some of my school friends remember doing this. I find it hard to believe that only a few small sections of the City had raggamuffins, as my mother called us.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Church and the Mosque

There was a church in the shadow of the World Trade Center. It was destroyed when one of the towers fell on September 11. The parishioners of St. Nicholas Church, a Greek Orthodox church have so far raised about four million dollars to rebuild. Today, almost nine years later, there is still no church. The parishioners would like to rebuild on or near the original site but the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey which owns 16 acres of the WTC site has not approved a final plan to rebuild.

And yet, plans are going ahead for the building of Cordoba House/Park 51. I wonder why this is so. It seems the only thing holding this project up is the lack of sufficient funds. They have received all clearances to build.

I decided to some research into this project. The Imam in charge was the Imam in charge of a mosque 12 blocks from Ground Zero for the last 27 years. Why can't he expand this mosque for his "community center"? Why MUST he build so close to Ground Zero? Some people who approve of this mosque claim that it's not that close. IT IS THAT CLOSE. IT'S TWO BLOCKS AWAY. That's close enough that the building was damaged by landing gear of one of the planes that attacked the WTC. I was about eight blocks away and my building shook when the second plane attacked. Two blocks in downtown Manhattan is not like two blocks elsewhere.

Contrary to the opinions of several politicians, it's not about religion. It's about sensitivity and consideration for the feelings of others.

The Imam has shown his insensitivity to the families of 9/11 victims by insisting on building on that particular block. He has further shown insensitivity by not meeting with New York Governor Paterson who has suggested such a meeting to discuss another site. The Governor has even suggested finding state land for such a project.

We're still waiting to hear from the Imam. Oh wait, he can't make the meeting. He's very busy visiting his friends in the middle east not fundraising.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Spreading the Jobs

I'm finally learning. To delegate that is.

I don't know if I mentioned that I'm the editor of our community newspaper. When asked to do it, I thought why not. Then I realized my basic problem. I find it very hard to delegate, after all no one can do the job as well as I. As an example of this attitude, when my son was 11 months old, my husband and I went to Washington DC for 2 1/2 days. My mother came over to the house to stay with the baby.

My mother had raised two children with no problems, she never had to visit an emergency room. But, I felt it necessary to give her four sheets of handwritten instructions on the care of her grandchild who she saw on a weekly basis. I find it that hard to give up control and delegate jobs.

Today's meeting was different. As I went through the upcoming events, I asked who would be covering it. When someone suggested a subject for an article, I told her to do the article. I actually assigned most of the articles to someone else and kept just one for myself.

I think I'm actually learning to delegate. It feels so good.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Cemetery

I really have to pay more attention to my surroundings when I take my morning walk.

One of the claims to fame of our community is that we seem to be the only senior community with our own cemetery. Actually, it's an old revolutionary war family cemetery, not for us. Ever since I moved in here I've heard about this cemetery, that it was on a hill on the other side of our community, but I had never gone to visit.

This morning when I was taking my 1.4 mile walk (just bragging), I looked to my left and saw a hill. Then at the top of the hill I saw it. There it was, the cemetery. I didn't walk up to it, but now I know where it is. I must have walked right by it at least a dozen times, but never noticed. I did see the hill, but since there is still a lot of construction going on, I thought that it was just a pile of dirt that had started growing grass.

Also, while I was walking I met a fairly new neighbor. We had a nice chat. She's also single, likes to travel. She'd make a wonderful travel companion. She doesn't like to share a room, just wants to know someone else on a trip, share a meal, discuss tours, etc. Looks like I'll be going away a lot next year.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Today, our Fine Arts Group and I went to an art show for seniors. There's a lot of talent out there. There were several categories - oil, acrylic, craft, drawing, mixed media, pastel, sulpture, watercolor and photography. Members of our group exhibited their work. I had thought about submitting something in the photography category until I realized that I could only submit one. I couldn't decide on one photograph. Hopefully next year.

We had two winners.

Self-portrait - 66 Years Later in pastel came in 2nd.

And, Eternal Sunrise took an honorable mention in the acrylic category.


Here are some of the other submissions. This is a drawing of Stone Steps Leading to Ancient Burial Crypt in Jerusalem

Unfortunately, I don't remember the media for this. I love the sky on this.


Again, I don't remember the media for these two. The top picture took first place and the next took second place in the same category. I really think the prizes should have been reversed. But, what do I know?



If I remember correctly, this took first place in the photography category. It's called Empty Nest Syndrome.

Here's another. I don't think it took any ribbon, but I like it. I like anything about nature.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pets

I just got home from our homeowners association meeting. It was packed, very unusual for this community. I guess they all came to see if it would turn out like the last meeting.

At our last meeting, some of the dog owners were very outspoken about the new regulations concerning the dogs and the clean-up. It seems some owners are picking up after their dogs, but instead of bringing the bag home for their own garbage can, they are dropping it down the sewers or into one of the ponds. Some also don't see anything wrong in letting their dogs go on someone else's lawn. That meeting almost ended in a riot. I'm surprised that no punches were thrown.

Tonight's meeting went much better. We got committee reports and then there were some questions addressed. There was one question that almost started everything up again. One person suggested that there be a prohibition against dogs for new residents. She generously said that the existing ones could stay. How thoughtful.

I'm not a dog person, mainly because I'm lazy. I look out my window on these hot days and am so thankful that I have cats. I never have to walk them. They use their litter box, they are quiet for the most part. Because I don't have to walk them in cold, rain, heat, I am of the opinion that cats make better pets. My cats are as affectionate as any dog.

But that doesn't mean that I begrudge anyone's having a dog. As far as the few lazy and inconsiderate residents are concerned, we should levy fines whenever they dispose of the waste in an inappropriate manner. True dog lovers shouldn't be punished because of a few inconsiderate, selfish people.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

SOAPBOX TIME

It's soapbox time again. That pesky soapbox just won't stay put away. Before anyone thinks that I'm a "johnny come lately" or picking on the president, let me say that I am now, and have always been a conservative. I don't want to say how long, but I do remember the John Birch Society. Are they still around?

I don't know which topic to address today - our latest apology or the downtown Manhattan imam's free trip (on our dime) to the middle East. I think I have to do more research on our apology to Japan for Hiroshima which prevented the deaths of many, many Americans.

It looks like the imam wins again in more ways than one. According to the state department, the imam will be forbidden to do any fund raising while on this tour. How sad, he won't be able to ask his friends for money, but, if they happen to offer, then that's OK. From things I've heard and read, he has many well connected friends who would be glad to expand islam.

I'm not against their building a mosque, but there are many other areas of NYC that would be just as good and would not be rubbing salt in the wounds of the survivors and the families of victims of that horrific day. I'm sure there's land or buildings available near Mayor Bloomberg's home.

I did hear one encouraging thought. There are some construction workers who have vowed that they will not take any job on this construction site. Good for them! I hope more of the construction unions follow suit. Then, they would have to hire non-union workers and we all know who that will go over in NYC.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Vacation

For the longest time I've been talking about my vacation at the end of August. I'm taking a cruise to Canada. It's considered a Canada/New England cruise, but we make no stops in New England.

Once I signed on for this trip, it seemed such a long time away. I can't believe that it's almost here. I've started making a list of clothes to take and already it's too long. I always pack too much. I can justify it this time since I have to consider the weather, it's probably cooler in Canada than here.

I really wish I could be one of those people who can make several outfits out of four pieces. I need different outfits for every day. Of course, I'll need a change of clothes for dinner.

Then there are the shoes. Of course I need sneakers for walking, sandals for lounging on the deck of the ship and dress shoes for the evening and slippers for walking around the cabin. I don't like to walk barefoot.

Then there's the jewelry. I can't wear the same earrings every day. And I have a reputation to maintain. I wear a lot of jewelry. I like jewelry. Of course it's all costume, nothing real. Some of my friends look forward to seeing what I'm wearing. I wouldn't want to disappoint them.

I haven't even mentioned my cosmetics yet. I don't wear much make-up, but there are all the lotions - moisturizer, hand cream, foot cream, shampoo, cream rinse, liquid soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, large round hair brush, small round hair brush, headbands, etc. The list just goes on and on.

I'm hoping to get buy with a carry-on size bag and large tote. After all, this is only a five day trip. Wish me luck with paring my list of "must haves" down to a reasonable size.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cooking

Many years ago when I was a teenager and learning to cook and bake, my timer and I were inseparable. If a recipe said to cook for 10 minutes, that's what I did. Not 9, not 11 minutes, 10 minutes exactly. My mother saw that I was a slave to the timer and said that she never timed cooking or baking. She used her nose. When she started to smell the food, she knew it was done. Her cakes always came out perfectly done.

I didn't pay too much attention to her and kept being a slave to the timer. Lately, I've noticed that I'm beginning to know when food is done by the aroma. A few weeks ago I got distracted while cooking and didn't pay any attention to the time. Suddenly I got a whiff of my meal. It was done and it was the best I had ever cooked that meal. I have no idea how long it was in the oven.

Today, I smelled the toast at the time it was perfectly done. Maybe my mother had something there.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Mosque at Ground Zero

Well, it seems to be a done deal. The muslims will be allowed to build to build their 13 or 15 story mosque just blocks away from Ground Zero. The current building whose roof was destroyed by the landing gear of one of the planes that attacked the World Trade Center will be demolished to make way for this mosque.

The imam in charge claims that this will be a center of tolerance and education with conference rooms, classrooms and a swimming pool. Of course, no mosque would be complete without a swimming pool.

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal had an opinion piece that brought to mind the controversey in the 80s when the Carmelite nuns moved into an abandoned building on the edge of the former Nazi death camp in Auschwitz. At the time, I couldn't understand why so many people were upset. After all, the Carmelites are a cloistered order who spend their time praying. And, the Naziis did kill a great many catholics. I do see things differently now.

At the time, Pope John Paul II waited, prayed and spoke to the nuns. He saw that their presence was doing more harm than the good that was intended. He knew that his suggestion would be difficult for the sisters, but he asked them to accept it while continuing to pursue their mission in that same city. He asked the sisters to move their convent that had been built for them, which they did.

The Pope realized that, for Jews, Auschwitz is a symbol of the Holocaust and the presence of the convent looked like an effort to Christianize a place of Jewish suffering. If only the muslims would realize that Ground Zero is the site of a radical islamic attack on our nation and have the common decency to move the mosque to a more neutral site. The city is certainly large enough.

Shame on the elected officials of NY for allowing this desecration of our sacred site.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Poor Burnie

I'm going to get off my soapbox now.

Today I went to dinner at a friend's house. Unfortunately, I forgot to give Crash and Burn their afternoon snack before I left. Of course, they were both at the door waiting for me and barely gave me time to put my purse down before they were yelling for their snack.

I give them each half of a 3 oz can of cat food. I did the same today. About two minutes later I came back into the kitchen and saw that Burnie's dish was empty. It didn't even look as if there had been any food there. And there was Burnie sitting right next to Crash who was busy eating her snack. Burnie watched Crash so closely, I thought he might dive right into the dish. Crash must have been hungry too because she usually gives up her food if Burnie gets too close.

I'm trying to control how much food they get since Crash is getting so fat that her belly sways when she runs and Burnie isn't too far behind her where the weight is concerned.

Sorry Burnie, you'll have to wait until tomorrow morning at breakfast time.