Friday, November 21, 2014


Yep. Another birthday is coming my way. The older you get, the less you pay attention to them. Well, your kids do, but all in all, I really keep my mouth shut about it. I mean, would I be bragging or complaining if I talked about it? If you weren't on Facebook with me (or reading this, which practically nobody does), only my children would know. I thought I even took it off my Facebook page, but someone (meaning my daughter) always says something and then we're off. Either that or Facebook, once it knows and no matter what you do, never forgets and sticks it up there at the top of the page.

Still, I never cared much about birthdays....everyone seems to get upset at the 0's...30, 40, 50 etc. I never did. Still don't. It's just another day. My ex hit the big 80 a couple weeks ago. We've remained on good terms, so I sent him a text. His response? "I feel like a spring chicken". Well good for him. That's the attitude to take and he doesn't give a damn about numbers either. He plays golf nearly every day. The thing is, we've both been blessed with good health. (Picture me knocking on wood here. You just never know.) What a difference that makes. My dad, who lived to his mid 90's got dressed (even put a tie on) and went to work every day until he was 92. So my words of wisdom are stay active, stay interested, stay busy. That's the ticket. Do something. Anything. And keep walking. Oddly, and this was a surprise to me, walking seems to be the one of the biggest problems as you age.

This isn't an "0" year for me anyway, but that one is creeping up really fast and I wonder how I'll feel about it. Probably the way my mother did in my very first post for this blog: "Who is that old woman in the mirror?"

Do you want to know my age? Do you have any idea what a skate key is?

I thought not. (That's my cousin on the ground....I probably pushed her. I was a little shit.)

And besides, my sister is 6 years older. hahahahahaha on her.

So.....Happy Birthday, me. 
Don't tell.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thank you, Google

When I hear people say: what did you do before cell phones? (back in the dark ages of my youth) my first response is: never mind cell phones, what did we do without Google? And yes, we had encyclopedias and dictionaries, but I did something yesterday that would have been impossible 50 years ago. While it brought me pleasure to solve a problem so easily, I realized we take turning to Google to solve problems for granted and the computer generations that follow don't know any other way.
So this post is a little thank you for all the pesky problems Google solves. Sometimes even big problems. (And please, let's not get into invasion of privacy issues right now.)

I replace my foodie blog header jpg as the fall seasons change and yesterday when I switched from Halloween pumpkins to turkeys, the white background turned pink. What's up with that? I've been doing this for several years and never had that happen. I decided to give it a day or two to pull itself together, but it didn't change. I tried everything I could think of and believe me, I'm no slouch in the computer department. (Yes, I tried re-installing. I even took it into Photoshop to dump more white in the background. No dice.)

OK, so I asked Google. Wording the question to get the right response is always a puzzler. After several tries, I must have hit on the right wording as I found a page of other people asking the same question. Don't you love those forums? They make you feel less an idiot (most of the time anyway) and it's always a relief to read someone else gets as annoyed as you are and just as helpless to solve the problem.
I read through the forum  questions and suggestions and finally found the answer.
The problem? Google +.  Who'd have thought? The solution? So simple. There it was. I did as suggested, went back, but alas, the photo was still pink. Then it occurred to me to do exactly what my old computer teacher always said to do: when in doubt, remove it entirely and reinstall. Voila! A white background.

Google, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Why do these simple little computer problems create such havoc? Why am I thinking about this at night? Why am I even bothering to blog about this silly thing?
World Peace. That's what I should be worrying about. Not pink backgrounds. Oh well.

(And in the event pink jpg backgrounds ever happen to you, here's the advice:)

"I was going to suggest that Image Enhance might be the cause. I will give you that information just in case.
The Image Enhance setting in is Google +. (It happens even if you do not have a Google + account.) To rectify the situation, log in to your Google + account and find the setting for Image Enhancement and answer it with a no. 

If you do not have Google +, you will have to create a Google + account just to correct this. 

Monday, August 25, 2014


My daughter and I have traveled internationally quite a bit together. For me, it started back in the early 80's when she took a job in Paris. I went once a year for a month and we took short trips here and there so I was fortunate enough to see a lot of Europe. The last trip I took to Europe was in 2008 when I took my granddaughter to see Paris, London and Venice over her spring break. An interesting trip, as she was ill for more than half of it! But that's another story for another day.

Now my daughter works and lives in NYC and while she travels a great deal for her job, twice a year the two of us still do something fun together. Mostly it's the Caribbean as she loves to scuba dive, we both love beaches and warm weather and it's easy access from Miami.

No doubt you hear this from everyone my actually USED to be fun. It really did. Not anymore. You know as well as I do all the annoyances so I won't go into lost luggage, canceled flights, TSA searches (my hip replacement causes all sorts of problems there) and all the other crap you have to put up with now.

What this rant is about is U.S. Customs. Getting back INTO the country. Rather an ironic rant considering what's happening on our southern border, right? So many don't seem to have any problems coming into the U.S.
Well. I was born here, I'm pushing 80, do not have a criminal record and have traveled a lot. The only problem with customs I ever had was many years ago I kept getting tagged because a felon happened to be using the same name (not the same passport number) so there was a flag on my name....she was way younger and one glance at my passport cleared up any problems, but it continued, so eventually I called and it was finally cleared up.

Last year Miami instituted a new process in customs...kiosks. You press your passport in a machine, it scans, takes your photo and shoots out a paper with the info and your photo on it. The first year it was speedy and the only problem was my piece of paper had a big X on it above my photo. That meant I had to wait in the regular passport check line....we're talking LONG LINE here. So fine.....I waited (my daughter didn't have the X and she had to wait for me.), was passed and all was well.

Last week we were in Miami customs again. There are more kiosks now, but unfortunately there are also lines and the wait is nearly as long for a kiosk as the old passport lines. We finally got to one, the paper spits out and guess which of us has an X? So I had to wait in another long line to go through the old fashioned way.This time I decided to ask the agent: why does this keep happening to me? You won't believe his answer: I have a common name. Call me dumbfounded. Thanks Mom and Dad.

Later, we talked about it. My daughter's name is nearly as common as mine, but she passes on through. We decided it was because she applied for the Global Entry Pass. As yet, she has NOT gone for the interview, keeps putting it off because she has to go to JFK in  NYC which is a pain, but still, merely applying for this and passing the first stages must count for something as she never gets stopped and always is prechecked.
I went to the site, looked at the info and aside from a detailed form, it's really pricey. $229!
You can also apply for TSA Precheck which is somewhat cheaper ($209), but you still have to go for an interview.
I don't it worth ridding myself of this annoyance for two or three times a year?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Petty Surgery

Amid dire warnings from friends about pain, scars and a long rehab, I went ahead with the outpatient surgery for my torn meniscus, a complaint I posted about in Petty Injuries. Only one lone voice said: "it's a snap. One day of your knee swelling up and that's about it. Oh, and BTW: the recumbent bike is the best rehab." Guess what? She was right.

Yesterday was my one week post surgery check-up and even the doctor, as he handed me photos of the knee during surgery (and explained what was going on in there), admitted this surgery has changed drastically in recent years. Are these photos amazing or what?

What once involved large scars and painful rehab, has been reduced to two teeny scars, very little pain and easy rehab. Although the first night, there was enough pain for me to take two Advil. They shoot the knee full of novocaine the day of surgery which lasts 7-8 hours, so you can walk right out under your own steam. Honest. I couldn't believe it. But when the novocaine wears off that first night, well, Advil helped. But I never took it again. Within 6 days of surgery, I was on the recumbent bike AND took a weight class the next day.

Don't think I'm back to normal though. There are some signs of arthritis in that knee (no doubt both knees), although I've never had knee pain. Kind of normal for my age. It's still slightly swollen, I certainly can't kneel and no torquing that knee. Big no-no. While I'm doing well, the doctor suggested at least one session with a physical therapist, which I scheduled.

So don't believe every ghastly thing your friends and family tell you...check it out with the doctor AND someone who's had the same surgery recently.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Warning Bells

I am extremely frightened about two things I read this morning:

1. First lady Michele Obama thinks kids should report their parents for their private thoughts


2. A number of college students think warning labels should to be applied to classic books — The Great Gatsby (for misogyny and violence), Huck Finn (for racism), Things Fall Apart (for colonialism and religious persecution), Mrs. Dalloway (for suicide), Shakespeare (for ... you name it).

Sound at all familiar? Is history going to repeat itself? Have we learned nothing?
Do these two things ring any warning bells for you? They do for me.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Two Book Groups

We're avid readers in my family, but I'm the only one with the leisure to belong to a book group. My daughter, who lives in Manhattan, has one of those marvelous little book stores nearby, run by someone who knows her subject and always has great suggestions. I'm unhappy with the disappearance of these wonderful little stores...we certainly don't have a one left here, ours was taken over by Barnes and Noble, who in turn is being taken over by Amazon. I have mixed feelings about Amazon. And yes, I have a Kindle. When traveling, it is a Godsend. But still..... first book group was 30 some years ago. Through the Junior League and I'm still a member of this group. Our League has grown in size and, I'm proud to say, we now have 4 book groups in the one organization. I'm in Book Group Two and to the other three groups, I understand we have the rep for reading  "difficult"  books, whatever that means. I guess because we don't read best sellers. Well, hardly ever, I think The Goldfinch is going to be our first book next fall. Each month, one member hosts (we have lunch) and another member reviews a book and the author.

Recently I moved and decided to meet new people in my neighborhood by joining a book group here as well as remaining in my other long standing one. This new book group has a waiting list and also has the rep of reading books weightier than the best seller list.

Two groups. And quite a difference. The neighborhood book group meets at night and has a facilitator. (Costs me $30 a year) It's a new experience for me and I confess, she's excellent. What's interesting about this book group is this: I may be the only Republican and I'm definitely the only Christian. It's also an older group, I am probably the youngest. No drinks served when we arrive and the review starts promptly at 7 PM and ends at 8. The hostess then offers coffee, fruit and cookies. And there is actually one man in the night group.
In the Junior League book group, it starts at 12 noon, there is lunch and a mix of political parties and religions, but no men. And I am nearly the oldest.

I confess, I truly like the books chosen in both groups, for the main anyway. There are always books that disappoint, no matter what the critics say...and I did not like ending the JL year with The Yellow Birds, it was depressing and sad. Would rather have ended on an upbeat. (Someone told me to read Matterhorn, which is the same subject [war] as the other, but better written.) Only once last year did the two groups choose the same book, The Round House.

According to the facilitator in the new book group, the best book of last season was Harvest. I agreed, but oddly, only two others liked it as well as I did. She has already made her choice for our first book next fall (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena), but gave us a list to choose the other 5.
We have input in the JL group (I suggested Harvest) and one of us is the organizer.....I don't envy her.....and in the end, it's pretty much up to her what we read. I also like the idea of each of us taking turns doing the keeps us on our toes. But there's something to be said for the facilitator too. She's originally from New York (and can't help but be shocked to find herself in small town USA) and certainly well educated, but is determined put a political or environmental slant on most of the books and frankly, I didn't care for her gratuitous knocks at Bush and Romney  frequently this year when they have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the book. I am fair-minded, but it annoyed and at times, even angered me as it was unnecessary. I bit my tongue.
This is not the case in the other book group, but then I've known these girls for many more years and perhaps when we review, we are more cautious with any political opinions. I cringe to think what would have happened if Yellow Birds had been reviewed by the facilitator.

So here's my conundrum: I debated resigning from this second group this spring, but decided to stay one more year and see if it got any better. Do I dare open my mouth? Will the other members ask me what on earth I'm talking about? Remember, my problem is with the facilitator, not the members. For all I know, they may agree with me, but I'm still a comparatively new member and don't feel I can ask.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Road to Savannah

Last month, four of us went to the Savannah Tour of Homes. It wasn't our first time, but it's been a while. We've also done the Charleston Tour of Homes, but not only is it farther away (which we didn't want to deal with car-wise) but in Charleston, they pretty much lock you in each room and bombard you with information you already know, or really don't give a damn about, while you stand totally bored for 15 minutes. But in Savannah, you just walk in, look at everything in each room, taking all the time you want, ask questions if you like and walk out. Besides, there's a difference in the ambiance of these two cities. Charleston is traditional and rather snobby. Savannah is eccentric and friendly. No choice, in my mind.

So we drove off in a cloud of hen dirt (as my grandmother used to say) at 7 AM, one of us armed with a cane, another with a thyroid disorder, the third with macular degeneration and me, with my gimpy knee, which proved to be stellar what with the cortisone shot the week before. After some stops at various Cracker Barrels (What? Doesn't everyone?), we got to Savannah late afternoon and checked in, dithered about our room locations, unpacked, changed and made our way to Elizabeth's On 37th for dinner. And a stiff drink. Or two. I was pleased I wasn't the driver not only for that reason, but another: parking. If you've been to Savannah, you know what I'm talking about. Elizabeth's is always good low country food, but this night, unexceptional.

We had signed up for a home tour in the morning and much to our dismay, discovered Savannah has turned into Charleston. Doors slam shut behind your group while guides give the most tedious lecture ever in each and every room, upstairs and down. And in the event you haven't figured it out, this results in long lines outside the homes. We waited 45 minutes at the first one, only slightly less at the second and so forth through 7 homes, with lengthy walks in between. The tour only lasts three the math, people in charge, it's not possible. So, I personally complained to everyone in authority I could find, compared this unfavorably to Charleston and informed them I'd never return. I'm sure they were all shaking in their boots. And we paid $40 pp for the privilege. (But oh! Would you look at these porch steps!)

We also signed up for a couple side events (always chancy...the failure of a ghost tour in Santa Fe comes to mind), both a waste of time and the one on General Lafayette was so ridiculous and amateurish that I could barely keep a straight face. It appears he gave a speech to the citizens of Savannah in 1825 and much was being made of it. They shouldn't have bothered.

Lunch the first day was another of the side tour events which proved to be mistake...Lady and Sons. Aside from Mrs.Wilkes Boarding House lunch, an experience too funny to be missed, this was the only other lunch event we signed on for. Not in their restaurant (which was disappointing in appearance, but then, I've never cared for Paula's food anyway), but stuck off in a brick walled room with a buffet table set up in the rear, steaming away and turning decent vegetables into a mass of overcooked green stuff and truly the most pitiful salad bar I've ever been exposed to. Turns out Lady and Sons restaurant itself is much the same. (No wonder I never went.) You'll not be surprised to read who walked in during lunch:  Jamie Deen. He was there to plug, sell and sign his new cookbook. Every table was doing selfies with him, except ours. I give us high marks for good there were 6 other fun women at our table...and we were the only ones eating (the chicken wasn't all that bad, but there was a hoe cake on the side I thought inedible and gauging from the leftovers at our table, everyone agreed) and not fawning. I also was aware he ignored our table, deservedly. Here's a photo of  Jamie. Yes, I admit it, I couldn't resist, but at least it wasn't a selfie.
Anyway, another $40 down the drain.

Dinner that night was at 700 Drayton. Yum. I must say, our dinners were the highlights of the trip. But hardly worth the drive from South Florida just to eat great dinners and pay the fare at our Inn, one we've always chosen, but which I won't go into as it's gone downhill since we were last there. One other little thing I must mention: I can no longer hoist myself up onto their four poster beds. Lordy, I've shrunk since I was last here. I used to be tall, really. If I took a running leap...perhaps, but not with this knee. So used their little step stools. Huh. I've come down in the world, literally.

Still, we were all holding up pretty darn well for grannies and we made note of the fact we were among the oldest on the tours, kudos to us. But I am encouraged to find this kind of event is appealing to the younger set..we saw lots of couples in their 20's and 30's.
Shopping is fun and funky, which we mixed in with various events of the tour. I think my griping paid off (along with everyone else's) as the next day, there were no lines outside the homes on tour and nobody gave any speeches. That day, I praised everyone I met and told them what a pleasure it was to self guide through the homes. Never say I don't praise when deserved.

Our final dinner was a comparatively new restaurant, Local 11 Ten. The best I've been to in ages...a farm to table type, unusual menu and the food was divine. You must go if you're in the area.

Yeah, we did pretty darn well for our ages and infirmities, had fun together, ate well and shopped til we dropped. My feet hurt, but not my knee. How weird is that?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Petty Injuries

Really, I do hate to complain. As you age and get together with friends, the conversation invariably turns to health. Such a bore. I have a friend who announces: five minutes on health issues and we're done for the evening. Impressive, as she has more problems than most. Anyway, we stick to her edict, pretty much.

So that leaves me with this blog. Who else am I going to complain to? My kids? They are aware and certainly loving, but busy, busy. My ex? Well, he's a good guy and called when he heard, but still. It's such a minor thing and as I look around at my friends, there are so many serious problems...cancer, heart...the list goes on. So I'll dump my petty injury complaints right here. On you.

It all started in December on St. Lucia. We've been going for 20 years or more and have become friends with the owners of Anse Chastanet. I've written about it several times, but the post most pertinent is HERE, if you care to read it. You won't be surprised to hear I am now the owner of a torn meniscus and if you've read the above, you'll understand. When my youngest son (now 54, ye Gods) suggested he would worry about me on those steps, I was insulted. Me? The workout queen?
I tell you, it's not the going up, it's the going down. I commented to my daughter: I think I'm getting arthritis in my knee. And then thought not another thing about it, proud of myself for going up and down that damn mountain several times a day without having to notify St. Lucian EMS...even if there was such a thing.

So a couple months pass. I'm back on schedule. The knee is annoying, but tolerable. Still thinking arthritis, I ignore it with an Advil or two. Then one day at the gym...pain strikes. Can't walk kind of pain.

I think it's a torn meniscus, says the doctor, nothing is showing in the xray. Let's try the conservative method first. (Which is no more aerobic workouts, no long walks, ice and elevate.) During this time, I suffered painfully through a trip with grandkids to Atlantis. If you've ever been there, you'll know....walk, slide and swim...ouch. Couldn't do it. My DIL actually said: how about a wheelchair? What?! What did she say???? Uh, uh. No way.
So when they left for Michigan, back to the doctor. My life is over, I said. I'm aging just sitting here. I feel it creeping up on DIL suggested a wheelchair. He laughed. Let's try a cortisone shot, he said.
Well, that struck fear in my memory, of an old tennis elbow problem and the shot that followed. Agonizing. A couple close friends had also warned me: cortisone is next for your knee, be prepared. I broke out in a sweat just thinking about it.
I'd worked myself up into such a fervor about the stupid shot that I was amazed how simple it was and damn near painless. It was over before I knew it.
So here I am, a week later. Some improvement, but any kind of torque on that knee is not good. There's a trip to Savannah next week. Lots of walking. On cobblestones. Please, just let me get through that, then I'll face the eventual music: an MRI and some outpatient surgery. Not too bad as I understand it, but I'll keep you apprised.
You won't mind my petty complaining.