Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner

Sunday dinner, the expression twirls around my mind with memories; mingled with fancy dresses that hid crinolines. Mary Jane’s and cuffed white nylon socks decorated our feet. After Sunday Mass, we returned home with jelly donuts and a thick Daily News. Later in the day, some of us watched football while the others played tag outdoors. Dinner was late afternoon. A wooden ironing board placed across two chairs provided additional seating when we had guests. The guests were family who traveled the 40 minutes from the Bronx to Long Island for roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

More recently, Sunday dinner triggers thoughts of Tony Soprano and Sunday gravy. I have the Soprano’s cook book and have made many of the recipes. Some of you may recall my post, The Not Really Italian Bolognese Sauce.

The new movie, The Many Saints of Newark will be released this October. The young Tony Soprano is played by Michael Gandolfini, James Gandolfini son. Michael is twenty-two years old and I’m looking forward to the movie. David Chase lamented when interviewed on CBS Sunday that people are not tired of this story!

This Sunday I made Ziti al Forno (Baked Ziti with Little Meatballs). Vegetable Lasagna and Caesar Salad. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the guests seated around the table enjoying the food. We had a great time.

I miss Sunday dinners. Do you?

* * * just saying

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The Remote Problem

 

 Today’s the Day

Today is the day! I’m going to solve the remote problem. I have six remotes in my home. Only one works. It’s a long story, so I’ll try to make it short.

It was an ordinary day when the bedroom remote stopped working. Spectrum responded quickly and mailed a new remote. After using a magnifier to read the instructions I thought it best to phone and talk to a live representative. She was extremely helpful and concluded, since none of the ten LG television codes worked I needed a different, aka another, remote.   

In closing she asked, “Can you change the channels?”

“Yes, with the living room remote.” I responded and did.

However, when I returned to the living room and changed the channel, the guide went wacky. Yes, I tried rebooting and lots of other stuff. Nothing helped.      

“Described wacky,” said the next customer representative.

“When I press channel number 1060, 1103 appears and a prompt to subscribe or cancel” 

He sent me two more remotes before I could explain one was already on the way.

In the morning the television was magically restored form wacky to normal. I could change channels on both televisions successfully.

Until that evening, when wacky channel suffering returned.

Now I was yelling, “Do not send me a remote.”

After what felt like eternity this representative restored the old remote to normal in the living room and threatened to send a new box.

“Please don’t,” I pleaded.

“Why not?” he asked.

“The last time they replaced the box they had to rewire inside and outside my house.”

That was one week ago and we’re able to watch both TV’s by borrowing.

The first remote is working, the second remote stopped working, the third wouldn’t work and the next three may work if I can find the courage to try.

* * * just saying

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What’s A Podcast?

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A Favorite Thing

Podcasts are my new favorite thing, well not that new. I started listening to the Serial Podcast several years ago. Serial, hosted by Sarah Koenig, is nonfiction stories told in multiple episodes. Season one investigated the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, an 18-year-old high school student in Baltimore.

Wikipedia defines a podcast “as an episodic series of spoken word digital audio files that a user can downloaded to a personal device for easy listening. Streaming applications and podcasting services provide a convenient and integrated way to manage a personal consumption queue across many podcast sources and playback devices.”

That is a mouth full.

A podcast, for me, is like turning on the radio and always getting good reception. I download podcasts to my cell phone and listen usually when walking. It makes the time fly bye and podcasts are free! I’ve never paid for a podcast, although when asked to subscribe question if it is really free?

Yes, so let’s clarify the free aspect. Spotify offers a free service but also a premium service that is promoted as free for a month. Read carefully, the basic service is free. If you have a iphone, the Apple podcast is free, however you can also download any podcast free to an iphone.

Speaking of free, CCleaner a service/download to clean trackers, cookies and the junk that slows your computer down, similarly is free but also offers a premium service free for a month. I have used the basic free service for years.

According to Podcast Insight “There are over 43 million podcasts as of January 2021.”

The industry is growing rapidly. I could have a podcast attached to my blog with WordPress, but don’t (not yet anyway).

Currently in my podcast library

  • Florida Writers Podcast hosted by Alison Nissin
  • CBS The Morning Show
  • Lori & Julia
  • Clear & Vivid with Alan Alda
  • My Brain is on Pause by Michael J. Fox

This morning I listened to Alan Alda interview with Goldie Hawn She’s Got Your Brain on Her Mind. “The celebrated and beloved actress on her successful mission to help schoolkids use their brains better.” It was extremely interesting and I’ll talk about it next time.

. . . just saying

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Cranky, Crabby and Cantankerous

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Cranky, Crabby and Cantankerous

Cranky, crabby and cantankerous

I have the coronavirus blues

What’s a person to do?

Make someone else miserable, too?

I bought some flowers

It wasn’t a cure

Just the best I could do

For the coronavirus blues

I’ve mastered Sudoku, Celebrity Cipher

The crossword. . .

Well, I can answer a few

I’ve read Becoming, a good book, and tried writing one too

How about you?

Do you have the coronavirus blues?

You know the symptoms

Cranky, crabby, cantankerous, grumpy, grouchy and . . .

Grateful. . .

For this time in our lives

To make wrongs right

Learn how to fight. . . fair

Disagree, clear the air

Everyone’s life matters

Don’t dare use color as an excuse for human abuse.

I bought some flowers

It wasn’t a cure

Just the best I could do.

Do you have the coronavirus blues?

You know the symptoms

Cranky, crabby cantankerous, grumpy, grouchy and

Hopeful . . . things will be different.

     . . . . just saying

 

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Perturbed

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     When I overheard someone say the word perturbed recently, the word danced around in my head until I put pen to paper and wrote this vignette.
 

Perturbed

The police station hugs the railroad tracks in this rural New Jersey town. I contemplate retirement most mornings and especially today, as I skip over rain puddles to the precinct door. When I climb the steps, an umbrella pokes my neck. Inside I turn around and observe a woman hiding a closed umbrella in a corner. Then she walks toward me, her hand extended and says, “I’m Dolores.”

Usually, I am not quick to shake hands, but do so automatically and introduce myself.  “Officer Hawkins. How can I help you?”

“My husband went missing last night.”

Her voice is raspy. Her long jet-black hair parted on the side, frames the opposite eye. I wish I had gotten a haircut, or at least trimmed my mustache.

I respond. “Standard procedure is to wait twenty-four hours,” then stomp my feet on a rug, “your guy will probably show up before that.”

“Officer Hawkins, it’s so unlike Steven.” Her doe like brown eyes fill with tears.

“Well, file a missing person’s report if you want.”

I walk behind my desk, and search for the appropriate form. Dolores eases into an interview chair uninvited, and slips off her raincoat, to reveal; what my ex-wife called, a sweater dress.  She trembles at the sight of the paper work, reacting as though it is a hot potato.

Reluctantly, I complete the form for her. She describes Steven as tall, dark, and handsome. Then quickly produces his wallet. The contents spill out. She gathers the singles and worn scrapes of paper with her hands and almost perfectly manicured red nails. The index finger nail is broken.

I say, “Tell me what happened last night.” Her lips purse together before she responds.

“I was perturbed.”

Her pronunciation; emphasis on the first syllable without ignoring the rest, grabs my attention. I confirm her intent. “Perturbed. . . As in annoyed, agitated, or troubled.”

“Yes,” she studies the ceiling, “so. . . I took the dog for a walk,” she pulls nervously at a sleeve, “when I got back, Steven wasn’t there.” She tugs repeatedly at the dress to cover her knees. “I was perturbed.”

I mimic what she says, “You were perturbed?”

Now her doe eyes light with anger as she contains her passion. “Yes, perturbed,” she slips into her coat and stands, “what don’t you understand? Surely you’ve been perturbed, Officer Hawkins.”

She is guilty. But of what, I do not know . . . yet.

I watch her leave the building perturbed.

. . . . just saying

 

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What Are You Thinking?

 

Bings Landing, Hammock Florida

A friend phoned to invite me out today, I declined saying I was hoping to have a thought, something to write about, as Sunday is my day to post. I had not had one yet, and explained that these days I have to jumpstart my brain, and in addition, my sister had been visiting and we had been sightseeing. The pictures above were taken at Bings Landing where we had lunch at The Captains BBQ and enjoyed the view.  

The conversation caused me to think about thinking, or my failure to. I take that back, I think but not quickly and grab paper and pencil to write down my thoughts, so I do not forget. It didn’t used to be this way.

Before turning 70 years of age, I could keep a thought or idea in my head to be retrieved later. It occurred to me that maybe there is no more room in my head for new thoughts and perhaps the reason we keep thinking old thoughts, i.e., when I was young milk was 25 cents a gallon is because we have accumulated too many thoughts, many of which are dated.

Is there a way to get rid of old thoughts? Head concussions and strokes cause memory loss although these measures would be drastic. Perhaps we can delete or compress some thoughts to make space for new thoughts by viewing old thoughts from a new perspective. For example, can stale bread be made into bread pudding?

The Daytona Beach News-Journal article, ‘Luckiest guy in the world’ reported on the 100th Birthday celebration for Howard Turner a volunteer ambassador at Daytona Beach Airport. When asked about aging he said, “I’m lucky to be walking around. I don’t have a cane. I’m not in a wheelchair, I’m the luckiest guy in the world.” Who could argue with him. He did not talk about memory loss and says he looks to the future, perhaps that is his delete button.

We know the body slows down and the mind becomes stale with aging, but should we throw the loaf of bread out or make bread pudding?

I am thinking of standing on my head, it is just a thought.

What are you thinking?

. . . . just saying

 

It’s a Cray, Cray World

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It is a crazy, crazy world and I believe the reason for my deep frying corn fritters to bring to our community gathering. The invitation or flyer called the event a cocktail party for neighbors, and please bring an appetizer for the sharing table, your own chair, and BYOB. I wanted an appetizer that would hold up under Florida’s afternoon sun. The event was from 3 to 5PM.

Corn fritters were a staple in my childhood household and one I occasionally prepared for my family, more like a pancake drizzled with maple syrup and served with breakfast sausage and applesauce.

It is a crazy, crazy world. I was in search of some sanity after reading; the House passed a 700-page bill to make registering to vote easier. How can it be easier if it is 700 pages long? My brain stuck on the word easier started to spin, however I continued reading. An amendment requiring states to make it possible for 16 and 17 year olds to preregister for federal elections passed and has me befuddled, and evidently, there was an attempt to lower the voting age to 16 years of age that did not pass.

That is when I decided on corn fritters, and rather than search on line for a recipe  grabbed my well used Lafayette Cook Book and easily found a simple recipe submitted by Joan Smith. The cookbook, “a nostalgic look at Lafayette, New Jersey, through recipes, pictures, and stories was a fundraiser for their Preservation Foundation in 1989.  

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I followed the recipe, frying them and sprinkling with confectioner sugar, thinking.

It is a crazy, crazy world. Almost all Members of the House (407) voted to condemn religious, racial bigotry and hatred rather than remove Rep. Omar from her committee assignments implying that only 23 House Members believe we can say whatever we want, regardless of who is offended in America.

The spread of food at the party was colorful and delicious;  toothpicks filled with tortellini, olives and cherry tomatoes, taco pie, red and green jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese, Swedish meatballs, and lasagna, made by lining muffin tins with the noodles, the filling inside, and of course, pigs in a blanket.

We had a good time and leaving grabbed my plate with three remaining  corn fritters.  

It is a crazy, crazy world. This morning a photograph of President Trump signing a Bible was featured in our local newspaper, an article discussing mixed opinions about his nonchalance as well as the fact that other presidents have signed Bibles, accompanied the photo. I wonder, who is manipulating who? Or is it whom?

What the heck, it is a cray, cray world and I will just eat the last of the corn fritters.

. . . . just saying

 

Dude, It’s Cool!

 

sunset view of mountains

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I was the last to arrive and quickly slid into the remaining seat on the bus. The driver closed the door, checked both side mirrors for traffic then pulled away from the building of Betty’s Shuttle Bus Service. The van was eight-passenger, but there were seven of us. The man behind me took up two seats and I wondered if he had paid for two, making the fifty-mile trip to the airport express, or if we would be stopping along the way to pick up a final passenger.

The girl next to him, a Laura Dern lookalike, squirmed in her thin body staring out the window.

Way in the back was a teenager dressed in shorts and a Feed the Hungry t-shirt, plugged into his cell with an almost empty backpack on his lap. Along side of him sat either his girlfriend or sister. They pushed against each other with their arms in a familiar but not happy way. The significantly older passengers in the middle seat; a man and woman about my age, looked like each other; but could be a couple. It was hard to tell.

No one spoke as the radio blared Kenny Rogers’ song, “Know When to Hold Them.”

At 6:35 AM, the sun was just rising and promised a hot day.

However, heads began to shake disapprovingly with the top of the news report of President Donald Trump’s latest tweet and lead in; Trump lashes out again at  . . . . .

The elderly man in the middle seat removed his Yankee baseball cap, scratched his head, and turned to the woman along side of him, “What is wrong with that man?” he asked.

She crossed her arms around her thick waist and gave her breasts a supportive boost, “I don’t even know what a tweet is, but I’m embarrassed for him.”

“He’s a bully!” The Laura Dern lookalike stated emphatically.

The man taking up two seats wiped beads of sweat from his brow with a dirty handkerchief without comment.

The kid in the way back removed his ear buds and called out, “Dudes, Trump’s cool, that’s what people do, no worries.”

I rummaged through my tote bag looking for nothing.

Remember the days of white wonder bread, spread with margarine and sprinkled with real sugar? That was an after school snack to enjoy once changed into play clothes; my play clothes were: woolen Jamaica shorts, argyle socks and white Ked sneakers.

It was a time of hot dogs, English muffin pizza, Bologna sandwiches, Kool-Aid, powdered milk, and the introduction of frozen vegetables and no real worries.

. . . . Just Saying

Errands, Errants or Creative Excursions

 

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The other day after announcing I was going out to get a few things, my husband inquired, “Where are you going?” I drew upon my friend Claire’s wisdom and answered, “To do some errands,” and was out the door before he could ask, “When will you be back? Did you make a list?”

His questions were simple, and deserved simple answers, however, it seemed tedious to explain; I was going to deposit empty egg cartons and a wad of plastic bags in Publix Market’s recycling bin, then instead of having a colonoscopy was dropping a stool sample off at the lab, swinging by the hospital to leave dated issues of Southern Living Magazine in a waiting room and probably get gas, to which he would have responded, “You can’t get gas at the hospital.” 

A discussion as to why I was not discarding Styrofoam cartons, plastic and old magazines in our recycling, and why not have a colonoscopy, it had been ten years, would have been lengthy, and besides he would predict I would be back in an hour, leading to another explanation as to why that was not necessarily so. That would lead to a discussion of the differences between us, and how we manage to stay married, neither one of us knows.

Eventually, it would have come out that I might possibly check out the Hospital Gift Shop because you never know; get coffee, and walk on the beach, or stop at an antique store, a small table would be nice in the guest room. I was not just going out to do errands.

Which got me thinking about the difference in errand and errant; an errand is a task, duty, chore or job; a short trip somewhere to do something on behalf of somebody else and an errant is wandering from an intended course, not reaching an intended destination, looking for adventure; wayward, sinful, naughty, misbehaving, delinquent.

Therefore, the difference in errand and errant is bigger than d or t and in the hope of maintaining a happy marriage, now will be called a creative excursion because although my going out is task orientated I an still looking for adventure.

. . . . just saying

Take The D Train

The D Train is part of the New York City Subway System and runs from Coney Island in Brooklyn to 205th Street in the Bronx. When my friend and I discussed a meeting place The Bronx Botanical Gardens was ideal, there was an Orchid Exhibition. The pictures below show the beautiful flowers and perfect sunny day we enjoyed. We decide, she would drive in from New Jersey. I was visiting my daughter in Brooklyn and would take the D Train.

It was a ride down memory lane for me; I was born in the Bronx.

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There are five boroughs comprising New York City; Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and The Bronx. Jerry Seinfeld uses humor to emphasize the mystery of why The Bronx is the only borough with that prefix, and the truth is no one knows, you simply say, The Bronx.

20160311_112654My Friend, Betsy

I was born in The Bronx,  moved to Long Island at a young age, and spent my teenage years in Hensonville, New York, but returned as a newlywed to a fifth floor walk-up apartment across the street from where I was born, on Hull Avenue in The Bronx.

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I miss The Bronx.

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The D Train leaves Brooklyn by crossing the East River via the Manhattan bridge; travels along Sixth Ave on the east side of Central Park stops at 59th Street and Columbus Circle, next stop Harlem at 125th Street, and down the Grand Concourse; Yankee Stadium at 161st, Kingsbridge Avenue, then Fordham Road, next to the last stop 203rd  is on the Concourse, then the train crosses Bedford Park to the final stop; 205th & Bainbridge Avenue. It is a short walk from there to the entrance to the Botanical Gardens.

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Bainbridge Avenue is  where my grandmother lived and when visiting her we would take the D Train to Radio City Music Hall wearing a green winter coat with a black velvet collar, a white fur rabbit muff to keep my hands warm and Mary Jane shoes.

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My Aunt lived at 3042 Grand Concourse the 203rd Street stop. The street was Grand not only for its size ( four lanes with a divide) but for its elegance. Aunt Carol had a Baby Grand Piano in her apartment. We traveled down town to Broadway Theatre Shows wearing cardigan sweaters and white kid gloves. Now the Concourse is not so grand with bedding hanging out apartment windows, I  guess to dry.

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I  miss The Bronx and wearing mini- skirts to work at the Plaza Hotel, before Trump owned the landmark hotel. The year was 1968 and I took the D Train to 59th Street then walked five blocks to the Plaza to work as a file clerk, earning sixty dollars a week. Subway tokens were twenty cents each. On pay day, I would buy a roll of ten and save the rest to return to college, which I did after purchasing a gold crepe blouse and matching bell bottom pants at Alexander’s on Fordham Road.

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I still miss The Bronx and our fifth floor walk-up apartment. We took our kids on the D Train to Radio City Music Hall, the Bronx Zoo every Tuesday, the free day and of course a Sunday walk through the Botanical Gardens.

. . . . just saying