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Friday, December 31, 2010

Greetings

As my new years resolution, I will try to stop complaining about our politicians and the state of the country. Let's see how long I last.

Now, I wish you all a very Happy and Safe New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Tale of Two Cities/Mayors

Here's my last complaint about a politician this year.

I'm sure you've all heard about the blizzard we on the East Coast had on Sunday. Even though the plow missed my house and I was snowed in for two days, I thought it was beautiful.

Unfortunately, the mayor of New York City dropped the ball. If you lived in Manhattan everything was fine. The other boroughs didn't fare too well. Mayor Bloomberg has done a worse job of clearing the snow than Mayor Lindsey did back in 1969. Back then, Mayor Lindsey only neglected the people and streets of Queens, Mayor Bloomberg managed to ignore Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx.

On Monday evening he actually suggested that New Yorkers should carry on as usual, maybe even take in a Broadway show. The only problem with that is that only those living in Manhattan would have been able to get to a show. The buses and subway were barely operating. He seemed to have no idea of the problems of the outer boroughs.

Ambulances couldn't get through. In some cases, the EMT's left their ambulance and walked to their patient. In spite of the efforts of the EMT's, two people died.

There was no reason for these problems. The mayor was aware there would be a storm, he should have been better prepared. When he saw the snow on Sunday, he should have declared a state of emergency immediately. Instead, he stood aside and claimed that everything was OK even though a train with passengers was stalled on frozen tracks for several hours.

Only now is he starting to take responsibility for the problems in the outer boroughs.

Contrast that with Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, NJ. Granted, Newark is smaller than NYC, but Mr. Booker has gotten involved with the clean-up. He is using Twitter to find areas or people who need help. He has helped dig out a stuck car. He even brought diapers to new parents who couldn't get out. If someone tweeted him about an unplowed street, he either sent the plows or went himself to shovel some snow.

I really don't expect the mayor to actually shovel the snow or dig out stalled cars, but it is nice to know that he got personally involved in getting his city working.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas. My son is visiting for a week so we went visiting relatives on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It's so great having him here. Unfortunately, I usually wait until the last minute, so he was out there in the snow covering my patio table and chairs.

If I had thought of it Thursday or Friday, it would have been much easier. Instead, here is the Son of Procrastination. My philosophy seems to be, never do today what you can put off till tomorrow.

By the way, we're under a blizzard warning and they expect up to 20 inches of snow before the storm ends. It's hard to tell how much we have since there is so much drifting. There are dry patches on the ground and a few feet away, there seems to be 8 to 10 inches.

By the way, today is the 53rd anniversary of the famous blizzard of '47 in the New York area. At the time, there was a prediction of snow flurries, we got 28" of flurries. We kids had a wonderful time that year, no school and lots of snow for sledding and snowball fights. Wonder if I'll have as much fun this time.

I was invited to a Blizzard Party, but couldn't make it. I'm sure there will be more.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Presents

Every time I see someone on a TV show shaking a present, I want to scream at them. That shaking may be the biggest mistake they can make.

When I was about 12 years old all the presents were under the tree for several days before Christmas. I was overtaken by curiosity and shook a present meant for me. It made a little noise and for days I shook it trying to guess. What was it. It was a small, square box.

Finally, the big day arrived and I opened my presents. There in the box that I had been checking out for many days was a watch. This was a very nice Swiss watch, gold in color, just what a young girl would want. My joy was short lived though.

About two days after Christmas my beautiful new watch stopped working. I had to give it up so it would be repaired. After the repair I had many years of faithful service from this watch.

But, I will never know if my curiosity caused the problem or if it would have stopped anyway. I do know that I have never, and will never again, take a chance. I don't shake Christmas presents, I'm content to wait until the Big Day, Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Good Boss

Today I read an article in The Wall Street Journal by Ralph Gardner, Jr. He was talking about the movie "A Christmas Story" which always appears this time of year.

Mr. Gardner was a fan of Jean Shepherd who wrote the movie about Christmas in the '40s. My husband introduced me to Jean Shepherd's radio show. We used to listen every night.

In the mid '60s I worked for a patent lawyer who, one day, told me about this great humorist he had heard on the radio. We talked about this show for a while and I told him how much I enjoyed it. One Monday I came to work and there was a tape and dictaphone on my desk. Since he rarely used this method of dictation, I questioned him. He told me that I was probably busy on Saturday night and hadn't heard the show. Len had taped it for me.

Everyone thought I was very busy that Monday and for many Mondays after. What they didn't know was that I was actually listening to a recorded radio show.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

City Lights

This has been my most socially busy Christmas season in a very long time. I'm so glad I moved to this community, I've met a wonderful group of friends.

Last week we had a bus trip into the City. Our first stop was for a delicious lunch in Little Italy. Then we got back on the bus for a look at the windows of Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue. They were very nice, the theme was Christmas past and my favorite Christmases.

Then we went to Bryant Park which is just behind the NY Public Library. They had kiosks selling all kinds of things like jewelry, scarves, pictures, etc. I was very good and didn't buy anything. Then I was surprised to find out that they now have an ice skating rink set up in the middle of the park, which is very small. It was a cold night, but there were many skaters.

There was even a tree in the park.



Bryant Park is the size of a city block, right in the heart of the City. It was strange to see the skating rink completely surrounded by skyscrapers. That's New York!

We drove around past the Rockefeller Center tree, but because of the traffic and crush of people, we couldn't stop. We did, however, stop at the Time Warner Building near Central Park. They had about 24 stars hanging from the ceiling which was three stories high. These stars were lighted and synchronized to Christmas Carols. They changed color in time with the music.

Because I was shooting from inside the building, some of the stars were reflected in the glass front of the building. It made for some interesting photos. Here's just a sample of all the pictures I took of them. Enjoy! I wish I had taken my other camera then I could have gotten a video of the show.




















Monday, December 13, 2010

The Trouble with Cats...

Black cats that is.

This just happened and I'm laughing so hard, it's hard to type. I just came into my office to check on a test email I recently sent. I guess I should add that my chair is black.

I backed into the chair and tried to sit down. I felt something on the seat, there wasn't room enough for me and the chair which is on wheels started rolling backwards. I couldn't stop myself or the chair and down I went. Fortunately it was a soft landing and I didn't get hurt.

I looked at the chair and there was Burnie shaking his head and trying to figure out what had happened to him. He was sleeping in the chair so peacefully when suddenly he went for a ride. I was sitting on the floor laughing hysterically.

I finally got up and Burnie realized what happened and went to find a safer place to sleep.

I got a good laugh out of it and I hope you did too.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pearl Harbor

I'm ashamed, I let myself get too busy and I didn't pay much attention to the dates this week.

This year I've been signing up for anything going on in the community. Tuesday, I was shocked to realize that on Wednesday I would be taking a trip into the City for the various store windows and lights. I planned a family party for Saturday, forgetting that our Wine Club's Christmas party is Friday night. I've been rushing around all week decorating, cleaning, planning Saturday's menu and shopping. I really have to enter dates in my calendar and then, I have to look at the calendar.

Next week looks just as busy.

Because I was so busy thinking about myself, I neglected to make any mention of December 7, the day of infamy - Pearl Harbor. There was a little mention of it on the TV, but I never made the connection. I didn't hear about any ceremony at Pearl Harbor itself. Since 9/11 I have a better appreciation of what those people went through. December 7 is a day we should never forget.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Decorating with Memories

Shortly after I moved into this house five years ago I spend a few days with my cousin who was very artistic and a wonderful decorator. While she had a lot of furniture and knick knacks around the house, it didn't look cluttered or "busy". How I wish I could achieve that look. Her sister once said that Rita could hang a branch on a wall and everyone would say it looked lovely, she would do the same thing and those same people would wonder what she was thinking. Art and decorating seemed to come naturally to Rita.

We were talking about Christmas and she suggested that that since I was starting new in a new house I should get a new tree and decorate in only two colors. That seemed like a great idea, so I went out and bought deep red and silver balls and ribbon for hanging. I mixed the red balls with silver ribbon and vice versa. I was really into this new look. I even bought candles and wreaths in this new color scheme.

Then it became time to set everything up. The candles came first, they looked great. Then I opened the boxes of my old ornaments. As I looked at them, the memories came flooding back. There were the plaster ornaments that the boys painted one year, the Hummel types that were a Christening give for my younger son, the ornaments my husband and I bought for our first Christmas, the ones my parents gave us for our first Christmas, even the ones that had hung on Christmas trees from my childhood. And all the other decorations and ornaments collected through the years.

How could I possibly leave all those memories packed away in a box for the sake of a fancy two-color schemed Christmas tree. I couldn't. I still have those red and silver balls and they are on my tree (and the ones in the bedrooms), but they share the space with all my memories of Christmas' and people gone by.

Here's my tree from last year.


It's not fancy, it's a hodge podge, but it's my hodge podge full of my memories.