Monday, December 29, 2008

Drawings 5 and 6

Above is the Christmas present I drew for my daughter A.C. Her cats are her life!

I have killed two birds with one stone here, or rather four birds with two stones, because below is the portrait of my step-granddaughter that I did for her mom. These drawings also count toward my goal 65 (Make Christmas presents for everybody in the family). The jpg of the portrait came out rather rough. The actual rendering is much softer and more subtle. It was so subtle we had to use color "enhancing" options to get it to show up at all, which is what makes it look more cartoonish than it actually is.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
. The flying cloud, the frosty light:
. The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
. Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
. The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
. For those that here we see no more;
. Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
. And ancient forms of party strife;
. Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
. The faithless coldness of the times;
. Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
. The civic slander and the spite;
. Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
. Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
. Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
. The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
. Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Monday, December 22, 2008

Angels and Unicorns!!!

Goal 7 - Visit the Cloisters

I had the best of reasons for fulfilling my Cloisters goal: my daughter was in a highly acclaimed performance of the The Play of Daniel there this weekend. She was an angel! This is a picture of her that appeared in The New York Times today! This is a picture taken by a production member after I realized that I had dumbly put up a copyrighted picture. At least I realized it without being hauled off to jail first. You can see the really spectacular picture in the review link, below. (There was also another little one in the Times last Friday.) She had a small solo part toward the end where she foretells the birth of Jesus, but she was also in a lot of other singing and carrying on. The angel part was so great. She was pretty much front and center for the rest of the performance. (And in case you're wondering, those vaguely Oscar the Grouch figures are lions. They were the surprise hit of the show.) The review was a rave!

I also got the chance to walk around a little bit, though I had to get to a concert of my own later in the afternoon. I managed to snap a few pictures:

I knew the unicorn tapestries were there, so I made a beeline for that room. It's so dim in there because light is bad for the tapestries--but I snapped a blurry Treo picture just for proof.

I have to go back though, because I meant to go for a longer time and with ScottieDog. It is so beautiful! I'll bet in the spring it's like heaven, and we could walk around in the park. Agenda for a whole day, I expect.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Someone Understands!!!!

Get a load of this article:

So you think you can get along without your pinkie

Well, at least someone ELSE who understands. I've had at least a couple of sympathetic commenters/commiserators. (commiseraters? That doesn't look right.)

Though I have to say, the lady of the article really had it easy. I, unfortunately, had a comminuted fracture and TWO surgeries, and the metal in my finger is driving me crazy. The doctor said it may eventually be a good idea to take it out, though I'm not reacting to it as badly as I was before. It's just so uncomfortable. I can't stand anything touching my hand there. Which makes drawing quite a bit uncomfortable. So I have to wear a bandage all the time unless I want to risk accidentally brushing up against something.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I 'tooned a 'toon today, oh boy.

A Great Way to Spend December

I have been SO good this week, except for one day when I went way over my wine limit. As my yoga DVD says, tell yourself one healthful thing to keep in mind for the day. I keep telling myself "Enjoy the discipline!" And I think I am, actually.

My weight today was 143.6, down two pounds from last week. Of course WW goes "tsk,tsk" because they think that's too much to lose in a week. Screw them. I'm eating all my points per day, most days, and going over into my flex points. I used 22 flex points last week. And it is, after all, December, so the shrinking is bound to ease up a little.

I'm feeling pretty good about my food. THE KEY IS to keep that afternoon snack going. Got to have my piece of fruit. If I don't, when I get home I tend to fall upon whatever is most handy and devour it. The cats are starting to keep out of sight when I come in the door.

One other thing: I'm eating no "diet" food. I use regular salad dressing, and regular butter. And of course olive oil, all in moderate quantities.

I've been getting fairly good grades except for that one day (see above) when I got a D+. The hardest thing is to make sure I do enough hand therapy per day. Yesterday I went to the actual hand therapist so I got a good workout. And my hand is so much better! I saw the doctor this morning and she was very impressed!

Exercising is going great! If I don't get to the treadmill or a long walk, I can always fall back on my yoga DVD, which I'm starting to love! I ordered another one this week, and also an aerobic DVD from The Firm. We'll see how that works out.

I'm telling you, this is a great way to spend December. Much better than feeling all apprehensive about how much weight I'm going to put on over the holidays, and looking forward to a January of restraint. I recommend getting a jump on your New Year's fitness resolutions.

P.S. I'm also really excited about a couple of Christmas presents I'm making. More about that later, because I don't want the recipients reading about it in my blog.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Remember back when I was trying to get filing done, so I took big stacks of it to work? I decided to take all my tortuous hand therapy equipment to work with me and get some done there. I call that thinking outside the box! And hey!--my hand is really starting to improve!

The apparatus in the picture is my hated neuromuscular stimulator. You hook those electrodes up over the correct tendon and put on the splint, and when it gets going it gives you some low-level but nasty sustained shocks and makes you bend your finger. Actually both the little finger and the fourth finger bend, because they share a tendon. And you have to work really hard to try to bend it a little further. It makes my neck and shoulders really tired because I forget to relax everything else. But I can really tell the improvement!

Next time I'll post a picture of my putty! That'll be interesting, because it's green.

Anyway, my December of Discipline is moving right along. I've discovered that weekends and leisure time in general are the enemies of discipline. I get a lot more done when I've got a lot to do, if that makes any sense. Over the weekend I made a B- and a D+ (ack), but yesterday I got back on track with a good solid A! And I'm still 143.8 lbs.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

So far... good. I'm down from 147.4 to 143.8. Mostly bloat, no doubt.

Thursday I got a B and yesterday I got an A-. Averaging 1.5 glasses of chardonnay a day--not too bad for me. It's a strange thing about being on WW--I've noticed it before--that I don't really like drinking wine that much.

Hand therapy is not going so terribly well--I'm soaking and exercising but I haven't been able to hook up to the neuromuscular stimulator machine. I keep putting it off, it's so annoying. Tonight for sure.

Exercise is going okay. I wish I could do 2 points a day, but I've been too busy. Maybe today...

The thing with yesterday is, I was going to do my old VHS beginner workout, but I put it in the old TV and it promptly got ATE. Hm. So I got online to see if I could get one on DVD, and used up most of my exercise time trying to find something comparable. Does anybody have any favorites? For someone really kinda out of shape??

I also spent way too much time trying to figure out my new iPod, but no doubt all the studying will pay off in the end. I don't know why I can't get it to understand that I don't want it to copy every single dingle thing on my computer iTunes. So irritating. (I have a lot of "work" stuff on there.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

December of Discipline, Gol-durnit!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

I had two Thanksgivings, one here at home on Wednesday night and another with my extended family in Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. This is NOT such a good idea if you're trying to lose weight. I gained five pounds. :-P

It's a shame Thanksgiving and Christmas come so close together (not to mention Halloween, though I'm not too big on sweets) because it puts the people trying to pursue fitness at a double-whammy disadvantage. No wonder New Year's diet resolutions are so popular. SO, I decided that on all the days this month that I'm not partying, I'm going to be observing as much discipline as I can. It would be great if I could start the New Year a little better off instead of worse off!

I started WeightWatchers flex program again, because I feel good on it, and I won't drink so much, and it encourages me to exercise (so I get to eat more).

I'm hoping to reach Goal 47 (drink <2 glasses of wine a day for one week) and Goal 96 (practice voice 5 times in one week), and work on 45 (lose weight), 56 (exercise 3 times a week), 57 (hand therapy), and 65 (make Christmas presents).

My Rules: I'm going to grade myself each day on how well I do. I will have to 1) stick to diet, 2) not drink too much, 3) exercise, and 4) hand therapy -- all four in order to get an A for the day. And obviously continue to whack away at what other goals I can manage.

We'll see, I guess, whether I've got the right stuff...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Internet Withdrawal

Well, our DSL modem is down. What a bummer! It's severely cramping my blogging style.

So this is just to say that I will be a bit sporadic in posting. We're going to take a trip to KY to see my family over Thanksgiving as well, so I probably won't be posting until we get back next week.

But just so you know, I'm reading away at The Brothers Karamazov, and so far it's pretty fascinating except for a spell where the Elder went on for pages healing and preaching--not that there's anything wrong with that, and I think all that is going to have some bearing later on down the road. Right now where I am in the book the father and son are vigorously arguing and creating scandal. So that's all right.

I have also managed to hang on to my New Habit of not leaving my shoes all over the house.

I haven't done so well exercising, but after all I did have surgery and the aftermath has been a little harrowing. I did buy this DVD:

And I'm really loving it when I can remember to find time to do it. I've been trying to do it right when I get home instead of just coming in, throwing things down and pouring the cocktail. When I do 20 minutes in the morning, with a Sun Salutation set, I feel so great. My whole body feels different all day.

Some of my other goals/new habits suffered a bit, but I'm back on track now, more or less. When I get back from KY I will renew my efforts!! Hope I don't pork out...

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Goal 61 - Read all the books on my reading list

Founding Brothers
Joseph J. Ellis

I finished the first book on my reading list! (Ahem.)

Interesting facts:

1. The author of this book looks a little bit like Gerald Ford and a little bit like Jimmy Carter.

2. Founding Brothers won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 2001.

3. Joseph Ellis got into trouble right after he won the Pulitzer for exaggerating his participation in the Vietnam War (he was in uniform but served in America, not Vietnam as he claimed to students and media), and as a result was suspended from teaching history for a year among other punitive actions. Rather ironic.

4. Washington and his vice-president, John Adams, considered the vice-presidency as a legislative office based in the Senate.

I think it’s a fascinating book. Disclosure: I was a graduate student in history once, with a special interest in the Early Republic. Still, I think any person reasonably interested in history would also find it fascinating, especially in light of the many constitutional crises of the past seven years. Frequently passages are poundingly resonant with current times. The book is fairly well written and easily comprehended (though I caught some misspellings (apart from the weird free-style spelling of the 1700s) and one strange phrase: “shades of light.” ??)

Ellis concentrates on the personal dynamics that roiled the politics of the Founding and the early Republic. The personal stories and interactions of this "band of brothers" are what makes the book a compelling read.

Ellis admits to taking a “disarmingly old-fashioned” approach to this history, instead of following a modern trend which focuses on “recover[ing] lost voices” and “ignoring mainstream politics.” He writes:

In my opinion, the central events and achievements of the revolutionary era and the early republic were political. These events and achievements are historically significant because they shaped the subsequent history of the United States, including our own time. The central players in the drama were not the marginal or peripheral figures, whose lives are more typical, but rather the political leaders at the center of the national story who wielded power.

The book is cleverly organized into six segments, each following a particular story or vignette:

1. The Duel – A riveting account of the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, and an illuminating “back story.”

2. The Dinner – The pact that Jefferson facilitated over dinner in June of 1790 at his lodgings at 57 Maiden Lane in New York City (right around the corner from where I’m writing this, in fact). The other partygoers were James Madison and Alexander Hamilton (who by the way is buried in the churchyard just down the street). Jefferson manipulated the other two into coming to terms about federal assumption of state debts. This was a controversial issue because some of the states had already paid their own, and other states had humongous amounts owing, and it was of course not fair. But Hamilton (treasury secretary at the time, as you well know) was desperately determined to repair the public credit, and the whole thing was in congressional deadlock. By bringing the two prime movers and antagonists together and making them come to terms, Jefferson extracted the condition that the new capital of the new country would eventually settle in what was to become Washington, D.C.

3. The Silence – A heartbreaker…the “silence” referred to in the chapter title actually descended after the events of this chapter, the debate over slavery at the Constitutional Convention.

4. The Farewell – Eight words: George Washington was the Father of our Country. This account is also illuminating and heartbreaking at times. I wish he were alive today.

5. The Collaborators – More of the machinations of Thomas Jefferson. The chapter starts off as though it’s going to be about John Adams and Jefferson, the president and vice-president at the time, but it ends up being about Jefferson and Madison and their undermining of the Adams presidency (to vastly oversimplify--and in their defense they thought they were saving the Republic.)

6. The Friendship – This is my favorite chapter, I think. It brings the book to an appropriate climax and summation by exploring the personal relationship between Adams and Jefferson, the bitter rift that grew between them, and the repair of the relationship in their old age. The story of this friendship encompasses the whole of the Founding, and the enmity between the two illustrates nothing less than the birth pangs of the country. The ending is priceless.

Obviously from the chapter titles, the book doesn’t follow chronological order. Each event is placed in the context of the larger story of the founding, and the impact of the event on history, which makes each chapter a little history in itself. I sometimes felt that even within the chapter narrative, backward and forward jumps in time got a little confusing. But that’s a minor complaint.

As a student of history, it didn’t come as any surprise that Thomas Jefferson was a devious bastard, but anyone coming to the book with a typical high school/general studies view of the Founding Fathers might find his Machiavellian approach to politics a big surprise. Get this:

[Jefferson’s] conduct in providing clandestine instructions to Adams’s cabinet undermined the constitutional authority of the executive branch in ways that would have landed him in jail in modern times.

[I’m moved to recount some personal description of Jefferson that struck me as a student: he had a very soft voice (they called his second Inaugural Address the “Second Inaudible Address), he would hardly look anyone in the eye, and he padded around the White House in bedroom slippers. He was also described by contemporaries as having immense personal charm. Go figure.]

I was very gratified, however, to learn more about John Adams, who I’ve never really delved into much because he has seemed an unsympathetic character. It’s great to get below the surface of his reputation and find an immensely passionate, brilliant but erratic, and funny person. I think he might just be the funniest of the founders.

The last chapter brilliantly explores the building of the Narrative of the Founding—something Jefferson excelled at. Speaking of the words he penned for the 50th anniversary of independence (incidentally, the day he died, and Adams as well), Ellis writes:

[This] uniquely Jeffersonian message…was inherently rhetorical in character—that is, it framed the issues at a rarefied altitude, where all answers were self-evident and no real choices had to be made. And that was the ultimate source of its beguiling charm. The Jeffersonian vision floated. It functioned at inspirational levels above the bedeviling particularities, like a big bang theory of the American Revolution…

Jefferson was positively Reaganesque in his ability to package himself and the Founding in glowing idealism, while Adams insisted on the down-and-dirty “bedeviling particularities.” It irked him no end that Jefferson was going to go down in history (oh yes, Adams knew he would) as the iconic figure that he spun himself, and that he, Adams, would end up as the irascible, faintly ridiculous figure that he knew he was (big ego or no big ego).

Here are some choice random quotes from Founding Brothers:

Adams on ideology:

Adams claimed to be fascinated by the new word “upon the Common Principle of delight in every Thing We cannot understand.” What was an “ideology”? he asked playfully: “Does it mean Idiotism? The Science of Non Compos Menticism. The Science of Lunacy? The Theory of Delerium? [sic]” As Adams explained it, the French philosophes had invented the word, which became a central part of their utopian style of thinking and a major tenet in their “school of folly.” It referred to a set of ideals and hopes, like human perfection or social equality, that philosophers mistakenly believed could be implemented in the world because it existed in their heads. Jefferson himself thought in this French fashion, Adams claimed, confusing the seductive prospects envisioned in his imagination with the more limited possibilities history permitted.

Jefferson on political parties:

“In the present situation of the United States, divided as they are between two parties, which mutually accuse each other of perfidy and treason…this exalted station [the presidency] is surrounded with dangerous rocks, and the most eminent abilities will not be sufficient to steer clear of them all.” Whereas Washington had been able to levitate above the partisan factions, “the next president of the United States will only be the president of a party.”

On Washington’s military strategy in the Revolutionary War:

…By 1778 he had reached an elemental understanding…namely, that captured ground—what he termed “a war of posts” –was virtually meaningless. The strategic key was the Continental Army. If it remained intact as an effective fighting force, the American Revolution remained alive. The British army could occupy Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, and it did. The British navy could blockade and bombard American seaports with impunity, and it did. The Continental Congress could be driven from one location to another like a covey of pigeons, and it was. But as long as Washington held the Continental Army together, the British could not win the war, which in turn meant that they would eventually lose it.


Next up: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. (By the way, I think it’s really weird that there’s a cruise ship named the MS Fyodor Dostoevsky. Don’t you?)

Goal 26 - Clean out coat closet

Woo hoo, I totally did it! And I didn't even mean to. Of course I forgot to take a "before" picture, but here is the after picture:

I mean I'm so excited, you can totally see the floor!! (Even if it does have these weird stains on it that have been there ever since we moved in and I have no idea what they are.)

So, the story is, I got this great new iMac for my 60th birthday, and it's AWESOME. I still love my sunflower mac, but still. This is really awesome!!!

I got up today determined to get my new iMac in gear, so as to make room in my office area, so I plunged into (I think) Goal 31 -- Get papers filed, which has really languished of late, and I made really great headway, until I realized I was going to have to clean out the coat closet in order to store the boxes of papers I was creating. So that's how I ended up fulfilling Goal 26. It was an accident.

However, in the process, I discovered that we had 13 winter scarves, 10 baseball caps, and four complete pairs of gloves. I was getting ready to go buy a new pair for the winter. I threw away at least eight odd gloves and one baseball cap and several scarves that were beyond the pale.

I SO made such great headway in the papers. I unloaded all my mother-in-law's stuff AND "filed" it, meaning I put it in her file cabinet in no particular order. (This is from the boxes that they've been in ever since the move from Florida, so I mean "in the order they were in in the boxes".) AND I purged all the stuff that didn't have any relevance whatsoever, like advertisements and brochures and clipped articles she will never use now.

So our little home office looks a lot more sane now, and ScottieDog put up my new iMac when he got home. We transferred everything from the old iMac and it is working great!

I am posting pictures of all the trash and stuff that I generated, just for evidence. It's still not all done yet...whew! But hey! We can now move around in our little office area! I am SO proud of myself. It's really going to get done!

This is stuff that has to be trashed but also has to be shredded.

This stuff is just trash. The rest I "filed."

And this is me watching the transfer of the old iMac data to the new iMac!! THRILLER!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Now We Are Six-ty

Birthday greetings to all of you from me! Because it's my birthday. Well, it was yesterday, but the celebration is going to continue for a while.

You'll be glad to know that turning 60 actually feels pretty good! My sister went there before me a couple of years ago, and that's what she said at the time. I was somewhat dubious. She was right, though.

We had a nice family dinner out last night which was fun and delicious! I got an iPod Nano, which means now I can REALLY put together an exercise mix and not have to carry my clunky Treo downstairs to the treadmill. I also got a copy of the new NYTimes HUGE coffee table book of all the front pages from 1851 to 2008! It's fascinating--and oddly enough I had just been salivating over it in the NYTimes advertisement that morning. AND later this week a new iMac will be arriving.

We're hoping to have a big home turkey dinner soon for everyone here in New York, because we're going to Kentucky for the actual Thanksgiving holiday. Yay, I get to see my mom and dad! And Sylvia! Sylvia's trip to NASA for the shuttle launch was one of my best 60th birthday presents! She has some souvenirs for me, too.

(I have more pictures from last night but for some reason I can't upload them from this computer. Later.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shuttle Launch!!

My sweet "middle" daughter Sylvia is watching/reporting on the launch of the Endeavor tonight! She wangled her way into the press corps and is having the time of her life! You can read all about it at her blog: Fun with Hypergols!

I am one excited mom!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Beggars of New York

[I wrote this essay for my blog, but I thought I'd copy it to here for those of you who don't read OpenSalon.]

I moved to New York ten years ago with my youngest daughter A.C., who was then fifteen, thinking if we could make it here, we could make it anywhere. Though we come from a long line of diffident Southern Belles, we bravely put on the armor of enterprise and plunged into the raging current that is big city life.

We had been in New York City before under the protective wing of a talent agency (showbiz tryout stuff), but had never done anything then so nitty-gritty as ride the subway. We saw that it wasn’t that bad and learned to navigate nicely, though the NYC subway admittedly is a mighty, mighty strange place. I made A.C. interpret the maps and signs while I was with her, and she soon picked it up and was able to travel on her own. Not that the whole thing wasn’t a culture shock. Venturing off the tourist track, we saw a good deal more of the peculiar and astounding character of NYC than we were prepared for.

I remember particularly walking down Sixth Avenue, when A.C. suddenly sidled close up to me and said in a shocked voice, “Mommy, that lady is wearing garbage bags!” Sure enough, sitting on the sidewalk up against the side of a building in the shade was a withered woman clad in a couple of black plastic garbage bag knotted together. Despite what I had heard for years about the plight of The Homeless, this was the first time I was right up against it. It was an eye-opener.

We took to carrying change in our pockets to give to the beggars who asked, and for the street and subway performers who worked for the money (some harder than others). We soon learned to stop being afraid of them. One day A.C. confessed she was worried about giving money (however little) to people who might use it for alcohol and drugs, or for people who were only pretending they were hard up.

My response to her was that it wasn’t our job to determine those things. Our job was to give away our excess money to people who asked for it, not so much for their benefit as for our own. I don’t actually believe that the love of money is the number one root of all evil, but it’s got to be right far up there. I told A.C. that it was simply letting the coins fall from our hands that was the point. That seemed to make sense to her.

That being said, I have looked the other way lots of times. I don’t as a rule give money to people riding the subway, because I don’t want to encourage them to be lawbreakers. Twice I gave money to performers on the train because I really enjoyed their work, one a group of South American Indian guitar players and singers, and the other an outgoing group of drummers. (Usually the drummers annoy the hell out of me, but these guys were really entertaining and not too loud. I even took a video of them with my Treo.)

I’m used to the beggars by now, and truth be told, they do get a little tiresome after a while. As time went on I got to where I would just give all the change in my pocket to whoever asked first, and the rest of them were out of luck that day.

Once around Christmastime a rather belligerent guy came up to me at the 125th Street station where I was waiting for the A train, and asked me if I would give him twenty dollars. He wasn’t very nice about it, and I didn’t have it to spare, so I said, “No.” He went away not bothering to hide his disgust. I wonder if he ever got it.


Rarely do I give very much money, only spare change or a dollar at most. I’m not an even half-way rich person. Once for several months, I was pretty well off, or thought that I was. One snowy day in that auspicious time, I was walking not two blocks from Fifth Avenue where the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was winding down. I had just passed several pipers in full regalia coming down the sidewalk, when I noticed huddled against the railing of St. Ignatius Loyola Church was a family, a short sweet-faced woman with a young boy, a small teen-age girl and a baby in a stroller protected with a plastic cover—all very decently dressed and presentable—and they looked to be miserably cold.

The woman reached out to me and began to plead for help. They had just been evicted from their apartment in Queens because her husband had lost his job. She didn’t want to take the children to the shelter because it was so dangerous and horrible there—she began to cry. She had just come from the 92nd Street Y, where she was told they could all be housed for the night with meals for $93, but they didn’t have enough money. I chewed my lip, and finally I gave her $20, which was pretty much all I had on me. Then she and the girl both still pleaded for further help; they acted as though I were the only person that had paid them any heed and were reluctant to part with me. I told them I was out of cash and out of time almost; I had somewhere to be. Then because they looked so distressed and were sobbing, I told them to stay there, I would be right back. I ran to an ATM, drew out some cash, ran back to them and gave her $100. I figured that would be enough for them for one night at least. I told them not to cry any more that day.

That’s the most I’ve ever given anybody. I worried about it, though, like my daughter had before: “What if they were con artists?” I talked myself down by reasoning that if they had that kind of Oscar-level talent, they wouldn’t be out on the street. And if they were scammers, they did such a creative and first-class job that they deserved the money. What a way to make a living, though, if so. I guess I always feel that if someone is so desperate that, for whatever crazy reason, they come up to people on the street asking for change, then they probably need it in some sense. I try not to judge; I just let the coins go.


There is this division in the population of people in NYC who ask you for your money: on one side is the group I classify as real beggars, because they don’t give anything in return, and on the other side are workers—performers of some kind. There’s also a gray area where it’s hard to say which they are.

Some of the beggars hardly beg at all; like the pitiful garbage bag lady, they lie or sit listlessly with a handwritten sign: “Please Help.” Others are the “brother can you spare a dime” (or a twenty) sort. Then there are those who make an effort at quid pro quo, like the elderly man who hunkered down at the subway tunnel at 175th, playing his boombox for the edification of passersby.

The George Washington Bridge subway station at 175th has a longish pedestrian tunnel from the train to the terminal, and it is a popular site for those hitting up the crowd with varying degrees of success. These denizens encompass a wide range of functioning—from the poor guy who generally just sleeps, covered by blankets and cardboard (out of sight of the booth) with a battered paper cup sitting out for any coins that might fall his way—to the gray-bearded saxophone player—everybody calls him “Sax”—who is so well-known he’s had his picture in The New York Times playing in the subway tunnel, sitting on his milk crate, always in sunglasses, skinny legs crossed. Sax is a fabulous musician, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a decent amount sitting there. You wouldn’t believe how long he can hold a note. I sometimes think he must have a playing job somewhere and that he just fills up the rest of his time making some on the side off the commuters. Probably not, though.

Then there are those in between, a well-meaning elderly singer-guitarist (also with sunglasses) with only one volume (loud), one chord and only two sentences to his lyrics: “Oh yeah, it’s all right. It’s gonna be all right,” he wails.

One of the stand-outs of the in-betweeners is a young man who calls out to commuters in a mellifluous voice, giving them compliments and blessings as they pass (“Beautiful sister…how lovely you look…have a wonderful morning”) only occasionally asking very specifically for “a quarter, if you have it…” Come to think of it, I haven’t seen him for quite a while. I wonder if he’s okay.

Several years ago a thin, pleasant-looking, spectacled black man appeared, always sitting on a crate just above the stairs coming out of the platform. “Can anyone help me out?” was his line. He became the person who benefited from my “first asker” policy more often than not. I would see him, and I would empty out my pocket in his palm. This happened so often that he began to greet me when I came up with “Hi, how are you?” and would wish me a good day. These social niceties eventually gave way to actual short conversations. The weather was bad, his glasses broke, no, he didn’t like the screeching from the platform emergency exit because people would go out that way even if they weren’t supposed to (my pet peeve), but he was more annoyed by having to listen to the same songs over and over by musicians further up the tunnel. He met my husband a good many times, was alarmed at my breaking my right hand last spring, always asks about my recovery (it’s been a good six months, with two surgeries, so there’s been plenty to talk about).

One particular day I asked him how he was, and he replied that it was a great day for him. He had given up a vice, he said, and he was awfully happy about that. I don’t know what he meant, and didn’t want to pry, but he did look awfully happy.


This is one of the most rewarding things about New York City. Really. Living in the middle of the so-called “heartland,” I never, that I can recall, came into contact with anybody remotely near the lowest level of the social strata. Now I almost literally bump into them every day. I see them on the subway. I sit next to immigrants of every skin color, as well as upscale types (also of every skin color) on their way to midtown offices or Wall Street. Languages—Spanish, German, French, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Polish, Czech, Dutch, and some others I haven’t been able to identify—flow constantly like the Tower of Babel. Everybody is mixed up with everybody. It’s an amazing, everyday scene. This kind of perspective is almost impossible to acquire if you live in “real” America.

I suppose it would be possible to hermetically seal oneself off from this broad spectrum of humanity in New York City if you rode around in limos and only frequented the Upper East Side and the Hamptons accompanied by bodyguards who protected you from anything untoward. (Does anybody think this would be a good idea?) My guess, though, is that even Donald Trump has had run-ins with the beggars of New York. And Mayor Bloomberg rides the Lexington Avenue subway.

Tough times are coming. I broke my rule just yesterday by giving money to a beggar on the subway, because I had a pocketful handy, and I guess I’m just extra worried about the economic crisis. Food pantries are running out of food, shelters are overflowing, charitable giving is down. I don’t know where they’re all going to go for help, this city’s poor, and their ranks are swelling.

Winter is coming. “Oh yeah, it’s all right. It’s gonna be all right,” the man sings. The coins drop, a few at a time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Laid off! Hah!

I managed to knock out a 'toon today! My hand is still a little averse to being set down on a sheet of paper, but if I keep activity short and simple it's okay.

Now I think I should have put "FIRED" on the elephant instead of "LAID OFF", but whatever. I have a bunch more I'm thinking of...

UPDATE: this 'toon got Editor's Pick today on!!! Yay! I love when that happens!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Goal 50 - Try pomegranate juice

Been there, done that. It's pretty good! Kinda grapey, kinda cranberry-ish, and (as my youngest says) with pumpkinish overtones. It's very strong, not as sweet as I expected, and it leaves a dry aftertaste. I guess I could get used to it.

UPDATE: Hey check THIS out: Pomegranates in Afghanistan

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kidnapping Update

Yes, my mother-in-law is on her way home and should be arriving early this evening. In the same clothes she had on when she left--she's been wearing them the whole time.

UPDATE: She's at her home now, and in the clean clothes I brought over for her. This is ScottieDog, Mom, and Big Brother, all of whom are very much relieved.

Scottiedog was advised by a psychiatrist at his work (who was formerly a lawyer) to call the FBI (though I thought it would be fruitless), and they ended up taking over the whole rescue mission. They also called up a Chicago PD squad car, since "Sarah" has been known to lose her temper pretty aggressively.

Turned out "Sarah" was at home, so it was great they got involved!! (Otherwise, poor big brother!!) She was not at all pleased, but apparently felt it would be fruitless to try to stop them from taking Mom, so everything went pretty easily. Big brother got Mom out right away, leaving the FBI agents there, and when we got an update from them, they said "Sarah" just refused to talk to them. Which is a lot better than being aggressive.

No charges are being brought. The FBI definitely considers this a kidnapping, but they say when it is inter-family, the prosecutors tend not to prosecute because it's usually not a winning case. HOWEVER, they felt it was their duty to help resolve it so no one got hurt. Hooray for the FBI!!--I'm so impressed!

(Now back to getting on with my own life!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bizarro World, abductions, and other lame excuses

Well, you won't believe what happened to intrude on my plans for getting back to my fitness regime now that the election is over. My mother-in-law was kidnapped.

Yes, indeedy, she was; it was an inside job. Her rather, shall we say, "mal-adjusted" daughter, who lives in Chicago, (We'll call her "Sarah" but that's not really her name) arrived unannounced (in a stretch limo, no less) at her assisted living residence in Edgewater, NJ on election day, proclaimed that she was going to take Mom to vote (she's not even registered) and to dinner and that they would be right back. Then Sarah put her on a plane and took her back to Chicago with her.

Last night Sarah called the assisted living residence and told them that my mother-in-law was going to live with her now, and that she (Mom) wouldn't be coming back, and would they please send Mom's cat.

We found out about it yesterday morning when the home called me just as I was dipping into The New York Times and told me what had happened and that they were worried she hadn't come back, and they thought they ought to let us know. I promptly hyperventilated, told them to call the police, and then called ScottieDog at work who promptly hyperventilated, and so the whole day yesterday was an ordeal like you wouldn't believe. It took us hours to find out even where they were, with help from a network of friends all over the country.

(And needless to say I was extremely disappointed not to get to savor the election results.)

There are lots of bizarre details that I won't go into, but suffice it to say that ScottieDog's brother is on his way in a car to Chicago, where as I write Mom is sitting all by herself in Sarah's apartment, anxious, confused and sad. (Mom has moderate Alzheimer's, by the way--AND she has none of her medications.) [UPDATE: She now has some medicine because her residence staff put together some doses and we FedExed them last night. Scott phoned earlier today and confirmed that she'd received them.]

The plan is for Big Brother to get there before Sarah comes home from work, put Mom in the car, and bring her back. Ta da!!! I sure hope this works. My sister-in-law, who by the way I've never met, is a somewhat difficult person and tends toward violent behavior if thwarted.

Now we're shopping for lawyers who specialize in elder/domestic issues.

Not your average procrastination excuse, but it'll have to do.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!!!! Omigod, the FBI and Chicago police got involved!!! They escorted Big Brother to the apartment and confronted the Big Sister, and all is well, and mom is now in the car with Big Brother and they are on their way home!!! WHEW!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Poem of the Month

Sometimes things don't go, after all, from bad to worse.
Some years, muscadel faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail.
Sometimes a man aims high and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war.
A people sometimes elect an honest man.
Sometimes decide they care enough that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Sometimes some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best efforts do not go amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow that seemed hard frozen.
May it happen for you.

[The author of this poem has asked that her name not be published with any copy of the poem. Apparently she thinks it's corny. How weird is that?][PSST: but you can google the first line and find out the name of the author anyway.]

Monday, November 3, 2008


Hey all you 'muricans, time to gird your loins for the democratic process. Go O!

I went as Sarah Palin for Halloween (we have a big party here every year for all us vocal musicians--I was aiming at Scariest Costume, but they didn't have that category, just Best) and I won SECOND PLACE!!! Hoo-hah. It almost makes up for the weirdness of being Sarah Palin for the night--you wouldn't believe the looks I got.

I thought there'd be at least 10 other Palins, but no, there was a hockey mom (player) and a pig in lipstick, but I was the only real impersonation. What's perturbing is that people keep telling me I look like her even though I'm not wearing the makeup and glasses any more. (I colored my hair darker for versimilitude; I think that's it.)

See what you think (you have to just imagine the really high heels I was wearing all night; nobody got a picture of them):

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Miss the Bloggery!

Hey all,

I'm still here. I have been exerting myself. To wit:

*I bought a bottle of pomegranate juice. It's sitting in the fridge.

*I bought two books on my list: The Brothers Karamasov and The Picture of Dorian Gray.

*I bought three items of clothing yesterday, (in an actual physical store), only one of which is black. (Because you can't have too many pairs of black pants.) This doesn't actually apply to my goal of going shopping with somebody who knows about fashion, but I still feel like it was a big accomplishment.

*I drew a picture of my friend Eileen for her 50th birthday. The actual picture looks more like her than this jpg, but it's still more of a "drawing" than a "portrait."

About the hand: not so good. It is somewhat less painful, off and on, and I think it looks a little better, but I don't know how much better the doc thinks it ought to be. I'm hoping to do a few cartoons this last campaign week. Most of the good ones I thought up are already stale, and the campaign is getting less and less funny. (Though I supposed a political cartoon doesn't actually have to be funny.)

I sure hope things perk up soon, because I miss whacking away at my goals list. It's such a good antidepressant.

Thanks to all of you who are checking up on me!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Goal 57 - Get Right Hand Back into Shape (groan)

Sorry to be such a slacker here lately. Times have been rough!

This is my hand right before the surgery. Note the way the pinkie is definitely oriented toward the west. If that's not an oxymoron.

This is my right hand today. (Not very clear, sorry.) You can sort of see that the pinkie is now "facing" up, looking at the nail, however the swelling is pretty bad and is pushing the finger out away from the hand. I sure hope that goes down soon. I wish I'd taken a photo a week or so ago, because it looked so much better!!

I had kind of a bad week because, as I think you can see in the photo, there's some kind of reaction going on, and the site of the surgery is getting very red and swollen. It doesn't look like infection, though the doctor put me on antibiotics--it looks more like an allergic reaction. She shot me full of cortisone right in the hand, and it hurt like a ************. I sure hope nobody ever does that again. There is some concern that the reaction is from the titanium that's holding the finger together. (aarrgghh)

The doctor said I had to suspend hand therapy until this resolves.

So things are kind of....meh.... And I'm getting absolutely nothing done.

[WILL Melissa pull herself together this coming week??? WILL the right hand simmer down and act right??? Check back for the thrilling conclusion!!!!]

Monday, October 13, 2008

Scottiedog: Once, Present and Future King of Husbands

I sort of dropped off the face of blogger earth there for a bit. I forgot what an utter pain the hand therapy was, especially at the beginning. It takes so much time and effort and my hand hurts like the dickens, which kind of saps my energy and will to get anything done, like blogging, drawing, or cleaning.

I do want to give props to Scottiedog right now, before any more time goes by, for his excellent care while I was (briefly) down. Here he is bringing me supper in bed!! (N.B. the curious Ivy at the left of the picture, trying to score a sniff.)

And this is the delicious supper: steak, veggie melange saute, and creamed spinach. This represents a terrific effort, because he hates cooking vegetables (or eating them). (This picture is kind of weird and dark. When I get home I'll see if I can perk it up a little.)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Veep Debate

This one is way overworked, but I and my hand are feeling too blah to edit it down. Like when Groucho Marx said "sorry this letter was so long but I didn't have time to make it shorter."

I know I haven't chipped away at my Goals List much here lately, but I've been bogged down in No. 57.

I had the stitches out yesterday and IT LIKE TO KILT ME. Oog. I totally wasn't expecting that.

Cheers to all!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again!

Thanks again to all my well-wishers! It's a bit ouchy, but I think my drawing hand is already better than it was before!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cast Off!!

So much for cartooning left-handed! I cannot believe I'm already typing, with nine fingers.

All you well-wishers out there, I can only say you must have sent out some sterling wishes and some really efficacious prayers! I went in yesterday to have some tingling and numbness checked out, and they cut the cast off and did x-rays, and Dr. Kang said, "Wow, it's really starting to heal up already!" So she put a little tiny splint on, and wants me to start therapy next week!

I can now sign my name! Like I used to! So I must be able to draw--now I have to get my brain back into gear, thinking of some graphics.

Scottiedog never got to blog for me--but he did take pictures! Here's me looking as bad as I ever look:

And here's a picture of me recuperating with the little book-end cats on guard:

I just can't believe how fast it's all gone--I was in AGONY for four weeks last time!

So mucho thanks to all! More later!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Guest Poster -- ScottieDog

Godspeed all, I am shutting up shop for the nonce, and the obsessive cartooning will cease--unless I can figure out how to do it left-handed.

Surgery is tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. ScottieDog will be posting updates for me, and as soon as I can function, I'll be poking around on the laptop trying to find all of you!

Thanks to all of you for your good wishes!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Throw That Elephant Overboard!!

One more day to draw, then my right hand will be shut down for renovations.

P.S. I decided to experiment with dialogue balloons. I think they can be very expressive.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Goal 9 - Attend The Daily Show

Melissa waiting in line at The Daily Show

Us old people have to sit down. You have to wait in line for two hours.

So ScottieDog and I went last night, and we saw Tony Blair!! We saw Tony Blair sweat!! Jon Stewart is just beautiful. He was merciless with Blair, though funny. After the end of the taping, he was asking us if he had been too much of a dickhead (his word), and we said "no." Blair is really likeable and such a gentleman, so we cheered him anyway, even though he wasn't giving up much.

We were too tired last night to watch it (be warned that it's quite an ordeal to go through a taping--you have to participate! And it's LOUD!!) but we definitely want to catch the early rerun tonight so we can see it up close. We did have big monitors to look at, but who wants to look at TV when Tony Blair is sitting right there in front of you? (And JS?)

John Oliver had an annoying bit at the beginning--I wanted to hear Jon Stewart, and Oliver was just muscling in being a jerk. Then the Blair interview went way long, so they taped the beginning of the show again without the Oliver bit. Don't know which one they'll use.

ScottieDog asked the best question! (Jon likes to have a Q&A as warm-up.) He asked what date Sarah Palin would be on. Heh heh. JS of course said in a very gentlemanly way that she had been invited and would be welcome any time, though the Palin group had not RSVP'd. Of course.

Here's ScottieDog waiting in line with some light reading.

And below, some other very nice people with light reading! (ScottieDog went around being photographer and interviewer.)

These nice ladies are Margaret Ikeda (The Rest Is Noise) and Jenika Gallon (In Defense of Globalization).

And these nice ladies are Karin Wagner (I think she's the one with Food Matters), Charlotte Gill, and a friend. I'm not sure who is who!

It is duly noted that ScottieDog only interviewed

The thing I like about the one of the hot dog vendors is the banners of JS hovering over them. And I love the one with the heavenly rays descending!

Cheers to all! (Surgery in five days--:-P)

Monday, September 15, 2008

A New Veep Candidate?

Whew, my latest addition to my portfolio. I worked my butt off all day at my day job and couldn't get around to drawing until 7:30 pm, and then I couldn't get it to look right, because I was in too much of a hurry. I'm always terrified somebody will have my idea already before I can draw mine. If I make myself clear.

UPDATE: Just upgraded the image.

Other than my obsessive cartooning here lately, and my working my buns off all day long (like heavy lifting for six hours, really), and my being really dog-assed tired, things have been pretty okay.

Well, okay, no, I'm stressed out that hand surgery is only a week away. But hey, at least I'll get to slack off for a while.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sheesh! Another one already...

It has forcibly occurred to me over the last day that in just a little over a week I WILL NO LONG BE ABLE TO DRAW. Not for at least two months.

For some reason I thought drawing 10 pictures would be a reasonable goal, but now that I've started I've become a little obsessed.

And hey, people are paying attention. My Miss Piggy picture was an Editor's Pick yesterday on, and I got a request from TheZoo to post my work along with their other nationally syndicated cartoonists! Maybe I should look into syndication.

Howsoever, cartoons weren't the kind of drawings I had in mind when I made that goal. So I'll count one of them, but I'm saving the other eight for more traditional work. We'll see how that goes.

So here's the latest one: I woke up at 2:00 in the morning with an idea, and couldn't get back to sleep so I just got up and scribbled it down. Cleaned it up a little this afternoon and fired it off! I think I can draw a better caricature of Palin than this, but it still works, I think.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Building Surrounded by Newspeople this A.M.

Well, it's 9/11, and I wish I'd remembered before I traipsed off to work. I usually meander in about 10:30 or so, later today because I was trying to fix the toilet, so I was able to get into the building by going around to the Broadway entrance. Some were complaining that at 9:00 a.m. they couldn't get in at all. (I should explain I work in One Liberty Plaza across from WTC.) I guess Obama and McCain were around there somewhere, but I was feeling too irritable to gawk.

One of the attorneys I work for (in my day job) refuses to come to work on 9/11. Now that I think of it, I do think it should be a national holiday. I mean not a holiday but a day off.

So I consoled myself by drawing another picture. Love to all.

UPDATE: Wow, this cartoon got Editor's Pick on today!!! And another site asked if they could post my work! Yay! I love making people happy.

UPDATE 2: This cartoon was ALSO picked up by TheZoo! Check it out! TheZoo

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Politics makes me sick.

I have to put myself on another news blackout. Does anybody else get so stressed that they stay awake at night? And have chest pains?

I'm thinking I might make some t-shirts with my cartoon on it! There's a very cool site where you can upload your art and see what your shirt looks like before you order. The internet is so great.

Now I have two drawings down, eight to go.

UPDATE: This cartoon was picked up by a major political blog, TheZoo. Check it out at TheZoo

Monday, September 8, 2008

So far so good...

As promised, I have awarded myself a goal for breaking a bad habit (leaving my shoes all over the house). Yes I know I said I back-slid a bit last week, but I renewed my efforts, and it's been over a month, so I'm claiming it.

(Hey, these are actually the shoes I bought to wear to my daughter's wedding. They are currently up on the closet shelf in a box. They are a lot sexier in person.)

I also renewed my exercising efforts. Yesterday I had to get on the elliptical because for some reason the treadmills wouldn't start up. I discovered that a lot of my workout mix that hadn't meshed too well with my walking works just fine on the elliptical! I think I'm going to need two mixes, a fast one for walking and a slower one for the elliptical.

And I need HELP with this. I know hardly anything about rock/pop music. The songs I have currently (my daughter AC put a mix together for me) that I really groove to are "Let's Dance" (Bowie) and "Cocaine" (Clapton). I think I'll have much more incentive to exercise if I have some really fabulous, driving, fun-to-listen-to music, preferably not too bubble-gummy. Any suggestions???

ALSO, I have pretty much settled on another virtuous habit: establishing a flossing routine again. I was doing pretty well until a couple of years ago when a series of accidents put a real cramp in my style. At one time I had both hands in braces, from falling down and hurting my wrists. And I also broke a rib. Not that time, another time. And now I have this hand thing going on.

I'm not going to put off developing the habit until after surgery--I'm going to try to cope with dental hygiene right through the recovery period. My dentist sold me a nice Water-Pik, AND I have another new ally in my quest: I only discovered this brand lately because my stepdaughter left it behind when she moved out. What a revelation. My teeth are really close together and really hard to floss. This stuff makes it easy!!! And fast! (Please don't tell me it doesn't do as good a job as the regular floss.) And yes, it is more expensive, but it makes it so much less onerous a task. In fact hardly onerous at all.

My first product review! (*simper*)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Slacking off...

Well, I have been very bad the last couple of days.

I went out yesterday without all my makeup on and packed no lunch. So I had to buy lunch with all the paper and plastic that that entails. (In my defense I had to be at work way early.) And I didn't exercise this morning as I had planned.

AND I left my shoes out a couple of times this week. I think it was Wednesday morning ScottieDog woke me up and said my sneakers were on the bed! I remembered that I had been going to put them on the night before but changed my mind. I think that's a first--sleeping with my sneakers.

Eighteen (18) days until surgery. :-P

(UPDATED with link)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Goal 54 Done!!! (Whew)

So if you voted DENTIST, you win. Gosh I should have had something to give away to the winners--I supposed there's always the contents of my goodie bag.

I meant to take a picture of some kind, but I was so wigged out I forgot.

When I first asked the assistant about the gas, she said she didn't think I'd need it, they would be very careful not to hurt me at all, so I started to cry. Little do they know. I mean it's not really the pain that does it. The nice dentist (I really like him better than my last one even) took one tiny poke at a tooth with that metal pick and I let out a shriek--

So I ended up gassed into oblivion as always. Had to pay $100 out of pocket for it, too. Insurance doesn't cover weenies. There is NO WAY I could have had that cleaning without benefit of drugs. Maybe next time! And yes, I DO have another appointment already made for my next checkup in March.

I also left with a new Water Pik which they said would help me when I have my hand surgery. No way I'm going to be able to floss!

I know Andy over at Bloginyourface has a thing about dentists too. Anybody else??

Sunday, August 31, 2008

One Summer Down, Two to Go

For a while there I didn't think Goal 63 was going to come to fruition, but the weather warmed up finally. ScottieDog and I went down to the pool this afternoon. It was GREAT!!!! The water was perfect!

The thing is, we pay a lot of money in rent, and it has recently occurred to me that we pay for a lot of things we don't use, like the pool and the gym. I've only swum in this pool twice in the ten years I've lived here. How silly is that?

ScottieDog got a lot of pictures of me looking like a white whale, but I'm not going to post them here now. Maybe later, if I reach Goal 45. They're definitely good "before" pictures!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

From ScottieDog!!!

Here is my beloved husband, who has something to say:

Hi All,

Melissa has always encouraged me to sing. Since she has taken up the gauntlet of 101 in 1001, I have been stupefied by her dedication and determination. ( I have to live with her for God's sake.) She talks incessantly about where she is on her goals and what is the next task. I have never been so impressed nor inspired. I have found her more energetic, happy and I sure love going on a date with her (goal # 85). I wonder if there is a dream I have left to live.

My father died shortly after I got divorced in the early 90's and my mother and I healed some together. I told my Mom to write down 10 dreams she wanted to live (she took up painting, as one, in a big way and is very good). Shortly thereafter I realized I should do the same. I wanted to sing a solo of any kind of music anywhere anyone would listen. (I was told in high school I couldn't sing--very important point here). I did my solo 8 years later at St. Michael's church in Lexington, KY. and was asked afterward where I had studied music (I never studied music, I'm a Social Worker).

I have sung rarely since I moved here 9 years ago after Melissa and I got married. I still get reasonable reviews when I do. Melissa has now encouraged me to start singing again and I am willing to make the commitment. Under her tutelage I pledge to take her as my voice teacher, practice and audition for any NYC chorus that will hear me.

My dream is now to sing in a major venue in NYC in any capacity. Part of my fear is I may end up in an emergency room with a nice psychiatrist who tells me I might need to be hospitalized "for just a few days" in order to assess my delusional condition.

If Melissa is willing to live her dreams I am willing to try too.



Sarah Palin???

I have to say I can think of,000 women I'd rather see as vice president. (Not to mention the men.) WTF???? (Not that I would consider voting Red in the first place.)

BTW, does anybody think it's weird (especially given the heating up of the old Cold War adversaries) that the Republican Party is Red??? (Apologies to any Reps that read my blog!)

Goal 52 - Walk home from the Library every work day for a week Get off at the Library bus stop instead of at home (habit)

My new bus stop - Main Street, across from the Library

This turned out to be such an unchallenging goal that I changed it! I was so tired and weak back when I was making my list, it seemed like a lot, I guess. Now that I'm exercising regularly, well, pfft.

The Library stop is like a block and a half away, and there's a zone change between that stop and the one in front of my building, so it costs 75 cents just to turn the corner onto my street. I started getting off at the Library last week, and so much enjoyed stretching my legs on the way home, even though I was really tired and it's uphill. Also it was really hot in the bus, and it's been quite cool outside here lately.

I decided to make it my default m.o. instead! Why not save 75 cents a trip? Especially since they keep raising the fares. (I should also make it a habit every week to count up the days and put that amount in savings.)

I would only break the rule for really bad weather, sickness, or late night. Or being in a mad rush to get home.

Speaking of being cool here lately--hey, it's August!!! Where's the heat??? I'm trying my best to get down to the pool (Goal 63 Swim in the pool every summer), but I can't swim in this weather; I can't stand being cold and wet. Fortunately the forecast is for it to warm up this weekend. Should be 87 on Sunday. That's going to have to be the day, because they close the pool after Labor Day. (My luck it will get suffocatingly hot then.)