Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sometimes a Project ……

…… doesn’t quite go the way you hoped.

I’ve had a project in mind for a couple of years. Today I decided to sit down and start it. I’m not going to say what it is, but it involves looking up lots of older pictures.
Pictures of Jim.

Last time I went to Houston I packed up a few external hard drives to bring to NY so that I could start.
This afternoon I started going through the pictures.
I didn’t get very far.

I’m really not sure why.
I’ve looked at pictures before.
But I guess, in retrospect, I haven’t really looked at them. The ones I’ve spent the most time looking at are those of Jim before I knew him.
Like his baby pictures, toddler pictures and teenage pictures.
I love them.
And I can look at them for quite a while.
So I didn’t think twice about looking at “our” pictures.

The feeling of sadness slowly draped over me. My nose started to tingle/burn as tears kept trying to form. I refused to let them come.
Instead, I stopped looking.

I was/am surprised by this reaction.
I’m hoping that this is just something that hit me today, and won’t hit me tomorrow.

I don’t like feeling sad …… feeling like I can’t control my reaction to something.
But, on the flip side, feeling like this right now …… makes me feel grateful that it only happens once in a while …… and not all day long, every single day, the way it used to.

I’ll try again tomorrow.
If it doesn’t work …… well, I guess this project has been on the back burner this long …… what difference does another year make?

Breaking News ……

…… or not.
It’s actually more like the Daily Demented, or the Certifiable Citizen, or maybe The National Enquirer.

Today, for the second time in my life, I received …… wait for it …… wait for it …… a proposal.
Here it is:

Will you marry me

See? How can one convey the love, the passion, nay …… the gravity of that question, but with …… “Regards”?

I’ve had a couple of hours to ponder this lunatic’s lovely man’s proposition, and I’m afraid I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not ready for marriage.
Who knows? Maybe if he asks again in 6 months, or 30 years, I might feel otherwise.
But for now, I’m humbled …… and laughing uncontrollably.

I was busy counting all of the “I want to know you more better” messages today, so this one caught me by surprise.

Do you see what I have to deal with???!!!

And you thought I was just kidding when I used the term “cray-cray”.
Now you know better.

In news unrelated to my dating/requests of marriage life …… I’m still hitting the barre, but it’s no longer kicking my butt …… most of the time. It still has its moments.
Today a woman who was next to me during the class, turned to me after it was over (and I was dripping with sweat), and asked me …… oh, so naively, “Does this ever get easier?!”. To which I replied, “No, not really.”
After seeing her crestfallen face I did clarify my answer and told her that she would get stronger and be able to hang in there better, but as for easier?
Not so much.

I went to Harlem today for my volunteer stint. Those kids (ages 3-5) are so freakin’ hilarious. Except for one. Who whines and cries at the drop of a hat.
Every single day.
All day long, according to his teachers.
Who, in my opinion, are saints.
I only have to deal with him for an hour. Which is really a good thing for him.
I don’t know what goes on at home, but he gets upset over the tiniest thing, and then points at what he wants and talks “baby talk”. And cries. Loudly.
That kid works on my last nerve.
Today I told him that, as long as he cried and talked like a baby, I couldn’t help him.
Which didn’t seem to matter to him …… for a minute or so.
Then he stopped crying, got a tissue and blew his nose (is “blew” even a word??), and then proceeded to try to tell me what he wanted.
I’ve never seen a preschooler act so helpless. Most of them are almost defiant in trying to do things themselves.
This kid is going to make some woman a miserable wife.

Tonight I went to see “Bullets Over Broadway”, which starred Zach Braff. You know, the guy from “Scrubs”.
Woody Allen wrote the play.
And the movie, which I remember seeing years ago, with Jim.
I didn’t care for it all that much.

So I didn’t have high hopes for the musical.
It was entertaining, I guess. But not a “I’ve GOT to see that!” show.
Even though I was in the second row.
So I was about 5 feet from Zach.
Thankfully he didn’t spit when he spoke.

It’s time for me to go to bed.
I have barre class again in the morning.
It’s definitely a love/hate relationship.
I hate having to drag myself there, but I love being done with it.
I’m truly conflicted.

I’m totally psyched for the weekend.
Because Saturday night I’m going with my friend Kelley to see Elayne Boosler!
Kelley is a friend of hers and Elayne gave her two tickets to the show. And she asked me to be her date. Whoop!!
If you’re too young to know who Elayne Boosler is, then I have to, once again, ask …..
what are you doing here?!!!

OK. I need to hit the hay.
And ponder how to gently let down the guy who proposed to me.

Oh, who am I kidding?! I’m not going to gently let him down!! I’ll probably just delete his message and pretend I never received it.
Or message him back with a, “Yes!! When and where??!!!”
That should make him think twice.
Or six times.

Adios, Peeps.
Have a great weekend.

How to Spot a Dating Site Scammer ……

…… in one easy lesson post.

In the last 24 hours I have received about 6 “Hello” messages on OK Cupid. At least four of them are from fakers/scammers/people who most likely do not live in this country.
But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

I will tell you, with some knowledge, that this is getting very tiresome.
But, on the bright side, I thought I’d choose two of them to post as examples of what to look for …… should you ever, EVER find yourself on a free dating site.
The old adage, “You get what you pay for” never rang so true.

Here is Example #1.
(You might want to have a barf bag handy.)

Wow you look very radiant like the morning sky,i really appreciate God for a wonderful creature like are like a gift from God , seeing you has really made me to forget to ask how u are doing. Well let me not be carried away by your beauty, I must tell you the truth you are among the wonders of God’s creature.i will be very glad if i can get to know you more better.Meeting with you will be my first joy, please it will gladden my heart by giving me a response. please do include your email address or cell phone number, when reply so we could start by chatting…You are beautiful, Cheers up till i hear from

Yep, that’s how it ended. I didn’t crop anything.
(I’d like to crop something, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.)

I know what you’re thinking.
How could this guy know, from just my picture, that I am among the wonders of God’s creature?
It must have been all the radiance shining through that picture of me, on the top of a mountain in Oregon, wearing sunglasses and standing far from the camera.
My radiance is hard to contain.
It’s a gift.
And a curse.

When you’re done with your gagging/retching/spit-takes, you may proceed to Example #2:

Hello how are you doing ,I just saw your profile and i couldn’t resist to send you a message am so sorry if this got you upset, will i just did some criteria search for singles Women and felt your photo was interesting and profile,i will really be happy if you can write me back on my Cell Phone to know my hope in you thanks >>>>>>>XXX) XXX)-XXXX.

This guy’s hope in me is going to be dashed.
And please note that I’m not totally heartless …… I put X’s where his phone number was (but I didn’t take out the parentheses or the 8 or so greater than symbols).
Don’t ask.
I have no idea.

I’m really struggling to not delete my info from this web site.
I am getting very tired of having to wade through these types of messages,
but you guys …… this is comedy/blog gold! I’m really going to have to incorporate this into a stand up routine.
I’ll keep you posted.

In the mean time …… I interrupt this program for a moment of advertising. I can do that because it’s my blog. 🙂
If you or anyone you know would be interested in purchasing this:

or this:

let me know.
The first picture is, as you can see, a pool table, but it’s also an air hockey table and it’s VERY heavy duty.
Emphasis on heavy.
It’s not one of those cheap tables.

The second picture is of a NordicTrak E500.
It’s in perfect condition and is a great all-in-one workout item.
I won’t have room for them in a smaller house.

Speaking of a smaller house, things are proceeding. The inspections are done and most of the paperwork is signed and in place. Of course, nothing is truly settled until every T is crossed on closing day, so I’m still in a “we shall see” mode.
I’ve found that a pretty good place to be most of the time.

That’s it for today.
I’ll keep mining for comedy/blog gold …… just to keep you all entertained.
And as always …… you’re welcome.

Optimism or ……

…… a little cray-cray.
I’ll let you decide.

This picture shows the sidewalk area of three restaurants in a row:
See all of the outdoor tables set up for customers?

Now look at this picture, which was taken right after the above picture:
If you click on it you can see that it shows the temperature as 34.
Who’s going to sit at sidewalk tables when it’s a flippin’ THIRTY FOUR DEGREES outside?!
I’ll tell you who …… NO ONE!

Say what you will about New Yorkers and their strength, perseverance, and optimism …..
I’m telling you that whoever decided to set up those tables (and each restaurant who followed suit) is indeed, a whole lotta crazy.
Especially when you notice that the time was 4:55 p.m.
(And it was in the low 20’s this morning.)
So yeah, they were getting ready for the dinner crowd. Which, I have no doubt, was going to crowd up inside these restaurants.
Sometimes I just shake my head.
And smile.

Speaking of smiling, I took these pictures from the airplane last week as we were descending into LaGuardia:






That sight never fails to make me smile.
And no complaining. I took a lot of pictures.
You’re lucky that I only showed you seven.

This past weekend I went to NJ to attend/help out with my friend Beth’s fundraiser that her family/community holds each year in honor/memory of her husband, who was a high school teacher and basketball coach there. This was their 6th year to host this event and my first one to attend.
It was very fun, successful and exhausting. Which means I had a great time. I met a lot of people, her friends and family, and I saw how much community support her family has received these past 6 years. It was amazing and so very nice.
And …… I won two raffle items. One package was the last 3 Batman movies (I think I put one ticket into that one) and the other was a necklace that I really like. I may have put about 6 tickets into that one.
I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed to not win the margarita basket, into which I probably put at least 20 tickets.
And yes, I do know that I could’ve gone out and bought everything in that basket for less than I put into it, but that’s not the point.
If you’ve never put tickets into a raffle you cannot judge.
It’s the thrill of the moment.
And the lure of a great margarita.

And then there’s this. Remember when I showed you the pictures of the pigeon that was hanging around my gate at the Newark airport? Well, I forgot to tell you that when I returned from Tampa, into Newark, and was walking past that same gate, a pigeon flew past me and into that gate area.
I kid you not.
It was the strangest thing.

But even more strange, was this …… at the Port Authority bus terminal, where I was waiting to get on the bus to Jersey:

If I was a big “signs” believer, I’d tell you that these pigeons were a sign.
And that maybe it was Jim, showing himself to me.
But I’m not, which is probably a good thing because how pissed off would he be to know that I thought he was a rat with wings?!
Pretty dang pissed off.
And rightfully so.
But just between you and me (because I don’t think he reads my blog) …… I’m going to pay a little bit more attention to pigeons from now on.

I came home Sunday afternoon, in time for me to make a barre class.
I was beyond exhausted after the weekend and riding a bus 2 1/2 hours back into the city. But I put on my big girl tights and went anyway.
And holy cow.
I only thought I was beyond exhausted before that class.
And in what I can only imagine was a moment of complete insanity brought on by said exhaustion, I signed up for three classes in a row.
Three days in a row.
So this morning, at about 10 minutes into the second in-a-row-class, I was cursing the exhausted me who signed me up for that.
I have no doubt that there will be even more cursing tomorrow morning.

After I got home from Sunday’s class, I heard a lot of car horns going off. And for me to notice that here in this city, means that it really was A LOT!
So I looked out the window to see what was going on and found this:



It was an anti-Putin/pro Ukraine demonstration. And these pictures show only a very small amount of the cars involved. They must’ve gone on for close to a mile.
Never a dull moment around here.

And now I shall leave you with this, which is probably going to start “coloring” many of my posts …… something from OK Cupid.
I really wasn’t going to share much from this “experiment” here, but I’m finding it way too tempting. I just can’t help myself.
Hopefully you’ll understand why.
This is an excerpt from a “match’s” profile (honestly, I could NOT make this stuff up, even if I tried):

My self-summary
Caring, thoughtful, intelligent, well educated, fit guy, in search of a good friend as well as a wonderful lover…. My ideal partner is sweet, intelligent, creative, and seeking the same sort of substantive connection as I am. I have no desire to be possessive, but I do want to be filled with desire when a favorite image of you comes to mind, bringing a smile to my lips, a thrill to my heart, and a charge to my loins….

A “charge to my loins”?!!???! What the hell????
Is there a woman, anywhere on this planet, who would find that enticing??! Because, really? That received a quick and strong DELETE.
And a whole lotta gagging.

Again, don’t be jealous.
We can’t all live this kind of life.
And it can’t be all fun and games, and theatre.
Evidently God feels that there should be some nausea thrown in.
At regular intervals.

And no, I haven’t noticed that I’m getting “more attractive” men.
Sigh ……

There now.
Don’t you feel better about your life?
You’re welcome.

A Totally Hilarious, Yet Also Horrifying ……

…… boost to my ego.
Kind of.

But more about that later.

Thank you so much for the comments here and on Facebook about my last post. Thank you for your kind words, thoughts and prayers, and most of all, love.
I am so grateful that I am surrounded by so much love.
Reading that post still makes me cry, but life moves forward.
And the kids and I will continue to take it one day at a time.

Speaking of life moving forward …… those of you who are involved in Soaring Spirits, or who went to Camp Widow East and attended the workshop Arnie and I led, know that I have gone back on line …… to try out the whole dating thing …… again.
Excuse me while I gag.

I hated it the first time I tried it.
I hated it after meeting a colossal fraud/scammer/widow-hunter.
I hated it when I was asked to co-lead a workshop about it.
But I decided to go back to it, so that I could perhaps be a bit more …… balanced in the workshop.
I still hated it.

I am currently on two dating sites. One that charges a fee (E-Harmony) and one that is free (OK Cupid).
I decided to stay on them for a bit longer because the workshop seemed to be a big hit and we may be doing it at Camp Widow West in July.
And maybe I’d have more to report.

Word, do I have more to report.
And it’s only been about 2 weeks since Camp.
I may have to lead a week-long seminar.

Here’s what I have to say about MY experience with E-Harmony:
It sucks.
Totally and 100%.
Now, I have to tell you that I know of a number of widows (my dear friends) who met their current husbands on that site.
Evidently, E-Harmony hates me.
The feeling is mutual.

I have not met one single person on that site.
Oh sure, they send me “matches” every day or so, but not once has anyone contacted me.
I feel completely invisible on that site.
And I’ve gone out of my comfort zone and sent “smiles” to several men (excuse me while I hurl.)
Yes, I’ve made the first move several times.
E-Harmony is dead to me.

And then there’s OK Cupid.
Where I’ve not only recognized, but reported and scared off 2 (TWO) scammers.
Oh, yeah …… I’m the Immigration of OK Cupid.

In all fairness, I have to tell you that it’s not that difficult to spot most scammers. All it takes is a mediocre grasp of the English language. Like verb tenses. And a few participles.
Because these scammers have no grip on them at all.

So scammer #1 sent me quite a few messages, along with a couple of pictures. He claimed to be an American-born, and NY bred, military man. With a couple of kids.
His use of the English language was something more akin to someone born in a third world country.
So I reverse searched his pictures on Google Images.
And found that the poor guy in the pictures was indeed real, but his pictures have been stolen and used over and over and over again on dating sites to scam women.
I immediately reported scammer #1.

Scammer #2? I toyed with him for about a week.
And enjoyed every moment of it.

He, of course, wanted my email address so that he could send me more pictures and I could send him some (red flag #2, after the broken English red flag). I demurred, stating that since I was so new on this site, I preferred to keep all communication there.
He went along with it, as far as I could tell, with his limited English.
After a few messages I asked him where he was born.
He said, “Ireland.”
But he grew up in NY.
Because most Irish-born people don’t know how to use the word “the” in a sentence. Give me a break.

Then he asked me what I was looking for on that site.
This is what I told him:
“I’m looking for an honest man. A man who won’t pretend that he’s someone he’s not and won’t use someone else’s pictures to try and scam a woman.”
To which he replied, “What do you mean? I do not understand what you say.”
I know.
So I replied, “There are men on this site who use a false name and post false pictures to try to meet women. It’s wrong and it’s illegal (I have no idea if it’s really illegal, but I didn’t care at that point).”
Then I asked, so innocently, “So … how long have you lived in America and do you like it?” (Add a flutter of the eyelashes here.)
Here’s his reply: “Are you one of these people? I have not hear of this. You know much about this.”
This morning, when I saw that last reply, I went on line, trying to think of an amazing come-back. But alas, I found that his picture was gone.
And his account had been deleted.
I know!!!
I totally rocked on that. 🙂

In other OK Cupid news, I went on a date Thursday night.
There will be no second.
I knew that the moment I was telling him about my hip surgery. I can’t remember how that topic came up, but it did. He asked when it had happened. I used one of my major time frame references and said, “It was two years after my husband died.” He then stopped me abruptly by saying, “Wait. Wait. That’s the second time that you’ve said “My husband died”. You don’t need to say it again.”

He left to go to the restroom and I fought myself, biting my cheek and digging my fingernails into my palms, to not cry and not throw something in fury.
In a minute amount of fairness, during our previous phone calls, he had said that he didn’t date widows because the one time he had, the woman had spent the whole time saying, “My husband and I ate there. That’s where my husband proposed to me. My husband worked there. My husband and I used to go there a lot.”
And I get that. I really do.
That woman was not ready to date.
But I didn’t do that.
To me, Jim’s death is a total time reference. Much the way the births of my children are.
After he said that I did ask him if he was threatened by a dead husband. I said that, yes, I had a husband who I loved, but he’s not in competition with anyone. He’s dead. DEAD.
That’s when he went to the rest room.
And that’s when I knew there wouldn’t be a second date.
He texted me today and I answered him curtly.
He’s not totally stupid.
He hasn’t texted or called again.

So there you go.
Don’t be jealous.

And now, as for the title of this post …… I’m mostly speechless.

I received an email last night from OK Cupid.
I was so speechless that I took a screen shot of it.
Which I now share with you.
Buckle your seat belt.
Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 6.11.29 PM

I know …… it’s too small for you to read.  You can click on it and then read it …… or you can read this:

We just detected that you’re now among the most attractive people on OkCupid.

We learned this from clicks to your profile and reactions to you in Quickmatch and Quiver. Did you get a new haircut or something?
Well, it’s working!

To celebrate, we’ve adjusted your OkCupid experience:

You’ll see more attractive people in your match results.

This won’t affect your match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match’s answers. But we’ll recommend more attractive people to you. You’ll also appear more often to other attractive people.

Sign in to see your newly-shuffled matches. Have fun, and don’t let this go to your head.

Ummmm, yeah. Hilarious. Ego-boosting. And horrifying.
All at the same time.

So I guess I’ve been getting the dregs of their matches.
Until now.
Now that I’m incredibly popular.
Which, for me, begs the question: How horrible are the rest of the women on this site??!!!!!??

And no, I don’t think I’m a total dog, but I hold no illusions about the facts of age and gravity and their impact on a 50+ year old woman.

All that to say, if you’re a single, semi-attractive woman under the age of 45 or so, you should TOTALLY be on this site!!!! You will own it!!!

I’ll leave you with that.
I’m tired.
And I have to get up for barre class in the morning.
And maybe dream about all of the “attractive matches” I’m now going to receive.
Excuse me while I gag, hurl and laugh hysterically.
All at the same time.


An Emotional Day ……

…… on many levels.

My dad and his wife came to spend the night and to buy my Mustang. The car Jim surprised me with on my 40th birthday.
It looked like this:
And I loved it a lot.
I’ve had it for 13 years.
Go ahead …… do the math. I don’t really care all that much.

That car has been with me through some really great times.
And through some of the worst times anyone should have to experience.
But for the last 6 years, it has mostly sat in the garage. I drove it once in a while, and it was good to have as an extra car when Son #2 needed some wheels. But mostly, it sat.
And I thought it deserved better.

So I called my dad, who had asked about buying it a few years ago.
Before I was ready.
But now, I was.
Until he drove it out of the driveway.
And tears poured down.
Because I should not have to be selling that car.
Jim should not be dead.
But there you go.
Another chapter closed.
It doesn’t get easier.

A couple of days ago, I fell in love with a house. A smaller house, but a beautiful one.
So I put an offer on it.
After a day and a half, they countered.
And today, I looked at another house, and then re-countered.
And they said yes.

It’s hard to believe.
On the one hand, I am beyond thrilled to get this house. To start over with something that’s me and what will be, rather than what was, and what will never be.
I’m excited to move into this house and make it my home. My Houston home.

But I’m also beyond sad.
I wish that I weren’t having to make this decision.
I wish that I still loved the house I’m in because Jim is in it with me.
But he’s not.
And never will.
The closing of yet another chapter.
A very long, and mostly wonderful, chapter.

Too many chapters have closed in my life.

And then there’s this:
Daughter #1 has been trying to make an appointment for a CT scan. The scan that the cardiac surgeon told me my children will need to get, every year for the rest of their lives, after he told me that Jim had died.

Unfortunately, her health insurance company doesn’t agree. (Thank you, Obama). They say that it’s not necessary.
Easy for them to say. They didn’t have a father die of an aortic dissection.

She asked me to look up her records and see if I could find anything that gave the surgeon’s instructions about getting regular CT scans.
Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, I have no records from 2008 or 2009. At that time I used a CPA firm that Jim had used to do our taxes. And then they folded. And took our records with them, I guess.

Also unfortunately, a very good friend (at that point in time) was in charge of the medical records for the kids. She was an amazing woman who helped me with all of the scheduling of the CT scans and all of the research into what might lie ahead for them. She also got them involved in a study for aortic dissections.
But we never learned anything from that study. Mostly, they just used the word “inconclusive” a lot. And I don’t have any of those records. She had them, and I’m guessing that she still has them.
But she is no longer a person I can contact for help.
That has been made perfectly clear.

So I spent the morning searching on line to see if I could remember/recognize the surgeon who came out to talk to me on December 18, 2007, at about 2:00 a.m.
But I couldn’t.
So I pulled out his death certificate to see if that dr. was listed.
It was the first time I really perused that piece of paper.
And I actually felt more and more light-headed as I read it.
I hate that piece of paper.
And I hate where it takes me.

But it didn’t give me the information I sought.
So I told Daughter #1 to call the hospital’s cardiac unit and talk to them about what happened and ask for their recommendation.
And then I sent an email to Jim’s aunt and uncle.
I asked them if they knew what his mom/Jim’s mom’s mom had died of.
After Jim died, his mom told me that her mother had died of an aneurism, but she didn’t know what type.

It was the first time that I really saw red and wanted to hurt someone.
As Jim sat in that hospital room, waiting for surgery, the doctors and nurses kept quizzing me on what could possibly have caused it.
Was he hit in the chest?
Was he in a car accident (like Princess Diana?).
Had he had high blood pressure?
There was nothing, anywhere, to indicate there could be a problem.
No family history of anyone dropping dead from an aneurism?
No, not as far as I knew.

Would that knowledge have helped Jim, in the end?
No, I don’t believe so.
But it sure would’ve been good to know before then.
So that he could’ve included that on his health records.
It might have saved his life.

Maybe. Should’ve. Would’ve. Could’ve.
Wasteful words.

But it still pisses me off that his family didn’t openly discuss things like that.
Secrets do a lot of harm.
A whole lot of harm.

But I digress.
So I poured over the death certificate, and once I started feeling light headed and nauseous, I stopped.
And then I received the email that told me what had happened to his maternal grandmother.
She had, indeed, died of an abdominal aneurism. It led to kidney complications, which also contributed to her death.
I read that …… and I felt numb.
It was hard to breathe.
And then I cried.
And cried.
And cried.

I cried for what could’ve been.
I cried for what could be.
I cried for the senseless loss of the other half of myself.
I cried for the senseless loss of my children’s father.
And I cried for the unknown future of my six precious and very loved children.
Because two weakened aortas, does not bode well for them.

And yes, I know that this information could help save their lives, help them get pre-emptive medical help, help their doctors discover the first hint of a problem before it becomes a life or death issue.
In a couple of days …….I’ll be able to be grateful for that.

But today …… today I am sad, depressed, and angry. Very, very angry.
My kids have been through enough shit in these past 6 years. They really don’t need this crappy sword hanging over their heads.
But there it is.
And it makes me sick.
And tired.
And beyond angry.
I hate this.
I resent it.
I wish I could take it away.
I wish I could take it upon myself.
And once again, I’m pissed at God.

It wasn’t enough for us to lose Jim.
Now we all get to wonder, for the rest of our lives, if one of them will be next.
Or if one of them will get to have open heart surgery to avoid death.

So there you go.
An emotional day.

They never seem to end.

Pray as you feel led.
Pray for those of us who can’t …… at the moment.

Thank you.
Very much.

Catching Up ……

…… via pictures.

I’m hoping that this post won’t be a short novel. Or even a short story.
But I can’t make any promises.
I’m trying to catch you up.
Because I care.
And because you expect great things from me.
Or at least fun things.

So, here are some more pics from Tampa. These are from Sunday, post Camp Widow, as we took the trolley through town and then walked around a bit.
Here’s what you need to know about this part of Tampa:
Starbucks on every corner?
Tattoo shops on every corner?
You bet.  (I apologize for not realizing that my camera was set in some strange color setting.  For a while I thought it was just my eye sight.  See?  It’s not all fun and games being me.)


Tattoo parlors …. 3 in less than 3 blocks.  And these were ONLY 3 out of many.



I just thought this was humorous.  I mean, I’ve never pictured the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office as having “customers”.  Detainees?  Yes.  Customers?  Not so much.
A rose by any other name ……

You have to take a good look at this picture to understand why I found it of interest.  And no, we didn’t go in.

I don’t remember who this guy was.  I could totally make up something, but I don’t have the energy at the moment.  Use your imagination.

And this …… well, this bordered on insulting.  Because really?  A stripper version of the Statue of Liberty?
Someone needs to get punched.
Maybe that’s just the New Yorker in me.

And this is self-explanatory:

This was a cruise ship with a couple of awesome-looking water slides. It was very, very tempting. But we kept going:

Sunday evening all of the people from the board who were still in town went to dinner.
We were pretty tired.  Which mostly explains the second picture:


I left for NY on Tuesday.  I got in at around 12:30, got to the the apartment around 2:00, left at 2:30 to go to my volunteer job in Harlem, got home around 5:00, and left with Daughter #3 to go to the Tenement Museum with the Manhattan Women’s Club.  We toured one of the apartments and then had a tasting dinner from several local ethnic restaurants.  It was a lot of fun and very informative.  I love learning stuff like that …… about the history of an area.         We had a really good time.IMG_4411IMG_4413IMG_4416IMG_4417

The next day I went to our book club meeting, did laundry, packed and left for the airport at 5:00 in the afternoon.  My flight left at 7:00 and I got into Houston at 10:00.
It was a very long day.

Yesterday I went to the orthodontist, where I finally got those dang rough bumps taken off of my teeth (kind of “sanded” off …… not that much fun), had impressions made for final retainers to wear at night, and then told that I’m done with wearing anything during the day now.  WHOOP and DOUBLE WHOOP!!!  My teeth feel so much better now that those bumps aren’t rubbing against my cheeks or the inside of my mouth.  And I’m SO glad to be out of the Invisaligns!!

After that I went house hunting.
It was a good hunt.

Then I went to the Houston Symphony with my friend Lori. We went to dinner at a “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant, which was located in a very sketchy area.
And no, I’m not being dramatic.
Here’s the entry to the restaurant:
And yes, you really do have to knock …… and wait.
Kind of like a speak easy.
But without the thrill of doing something illegal.
Or so I imagine.

Here’s a picture of the outside.
Oh, and the food was very good.

Then we went here:
We had a great time.  Steve Tyrell was the host of the evening and he sang a lot of old, wonderful songs, accompanied by the excellent Houston Symphony.
And then there was intermission.
He came back, sang a song, and then everything went dark.
Very, very dark.
We thought it was part of the show. It was not.
Oh, and the sound went out …… along with the lights.
And they stayed out.

The guy playing the trumpet started playing after several mysterious and funny minutes, when we all realized this was not supposed to be happening. And so the singing started again. With the pianist using a borrowed cell phone for light.
And the orchestra just sitting there, twiddling their thumbs.
Or so I suppose.
The light that you see here is light from the first row …… and their cell phones. They turned them on and pointed them at him so that he could see …… and we could see him.
It was a riot.
For some strange reason the darkness made the audience feel free to sing along. For the rest of the songs, which I’m guessing were fewer than we would’ve had, had there been light.
And working microphones.
It was a very interesting evening.  I told Lori that I was certain this would not have happened, had she not brought me.  Because that’s just how my life rolls.                                                 Right?

I played tennis this morning and it was glorious.  The weather was cool, the sky was blue and the sun was shining.
We played three sets and I’d love to tell you that I played gloriously, but …… not so much.
However, on the bright side, I didn’t suck as much as I anticipated …… for someone who hasn’t played tennis since the first of November.
So there’s that.

Tonight I went to dinner with two of my lovely Circle friends and Daughter #2, who drove in from Waco today. Son #1 is also driving in this weekend.
It was a fun night.

I’m now sitting here with D#2’s dog, RG. He’s pretty relaxed.
Which is a rare thing. You can usually find him bouncing all over the house.
He bounces higher than a kangaroo.
Or at least a small kangaroo.
Photo on 3-14-14 at 9.46 PM

Photo on 3-14-14 at 9.47 PM

Photo on 3-14-14 at 9.47 PM #2

I think that catches you up.
At least as much as I want to catch you up.

And now I shall leave you with some really cool pictures that I took from the plane on the way to Houston. We were up above the clouds and the sun was setting.
And I couldn’t stop taking pictures.
I hope you enjoy them.






Camp Widow East ……

…… is over for 2014.
It was a great weekend.

When last I left you it was Tuesday.
And now it’s Tuesday again.
So much has happened in one short week.

I left a cold NY for a warm, humid Tampa on Wednesday. I happened to fly out of Newark that day.
You know, as in …… Newark, New Jersey.
Now, I’ve flown out of that airport many, many times. And other than the morning after the-snowstorm-from-hell (where I thought I might be killed in the security line, where hundreds of people were waiting to pass on to their gates), there hasn’t been that much worth writing about.
But this time I discovered something new about the Newark airport.
I had just arrived at my gate and settled in with my Kindle to continue reading the Divergent series (I’m on book 3), when, out of the corner of my eye, I spied this guy:
Yep, that’s a pigeon. A rat with wings.
Walking underneath the rows of seats.
I looked up in surprise, looked at him, and then looked at the girl next to me.
She said, “I know, right?!”
He walked several several rows past mine and then headed back my way.
That’s when I noticed something.
He didn’t really have feet. One leg ended with no webbed foot at all, and the other one ended with something that looked like a clubbed foot.
I know.
But he walked around quite well.
And then he enjoyed sharing some french fries with me.
I’m a sucker for a club-footed pigeon.
(I’m wondering if he’s like, Newark’s mascot or something.)

Jim’s aunt and uncle picked me up at the airport in Tampa.
It was nice to spend some time with them.
They took me to their house so that I could change out of my winter clothes and put on something that would make me sweat a bit less.
Just between you and me …… there’s not many clothing items these days that make me sweat less.
I’m just sayin’.

After that we drove to Tarpon Springs, which is a small Gulf-side town founded by people of Greek descent. It almost felt like being in Greece.

Not only are there lot of Greek families there …… there are a TON of sponges.
Yes, sponges.
I’ve never seen so many sponges in my life.
Nor had I seen a sponge museum.
Until Wednesday.


Yes, you read that right …… it was a SPONGE-O-RAMA!!
And yes, we did indeed get to watch a sponge movie.

Here are more pics from the area outside of the museum.
A sponge-collecting boat (for want of a better name …… I guess I didn’t pay THAT much attention in the museum) 🙂


There were a lot of pelicans eating around this fishing boat. They were cool. (And I saw huge pelicans in Tampa, flying above, and diving into, the water for dinner.)

This is a well-known Spanish restaurant in Tampa … supposedly the oldest and largest in the country. All I know is that it had very good food.

And then there was Camp.





I returned to a very warm and lovely New York today. Fortunately I’m getting the hell out of Dodge before the next snow storm hits here on Thursday.
I’m flying to Houston tomorrow.
Where I’ll go to the ortho to get impressions done for my upcoming retainers (which means I’m just about done with these braces!), check out a couple of houses that are on the market, play some tennis, go out to dinner with several friends, spend some time with Son #2, spend the weekend visiting with Son #1 and Daughter #2, who will be driving in, and spend some of the weekend with my dad, who will be leaving with my Mustang.
The Mustang Jim bought me for my 40th birthday.
I have loved that car.
But it needs to be driven and not sitting in a garage all of the time.
Even if I cry as it’s being driven away.

But I’m not going to leave you on that note.
Instead, I’m leaving you with me …… doing my Miley Cyrus impression as “Wrecking Ball” was being played Saturday night.
And you’re welcome.

A Very, Very ……

…… full day.

I know that you’ve all been on pins and needles waiting for this post …… or at least those of you who are Face Book friends with me (so sorry for the rest of you, who had no idea).
Today was a busy, fun, wonderful day.

First off, just to keep you up to date, it is now Restaurant Week in NY. The interesting thing is …… the word “week” would seem to involve 5 to 7 days, right? But here in NY, “week” evidently means fourteen or more days.
Go figure.

But here’s the good part: Restaurant Week means that you get to go to a lot of restaurants that you’d never, ever get to dine in on a regular day/evening. Restaurants like Le Cirque, where “regular people” like us, don’t stand a snowballs chance in hell of getting in at any other time of the year.
Needless to say (which begs the question, “Why am I saying it?”) …… I snagged a reservation at this oh-so-fancy-and-impossible-to-get-in-to restaurant.
For lunch.

My friend Suzanne and I met there at noon. We were one of the first tables to arrive for lunch. In less than 30 minutes or so, the place was packed.
Now, restaurant week means that you get to go to lunch (at restaurants who participate) for $25. It’s a prix fixed menu … 3 courses. The same applies to dinner, but it’s $35.
Most of the restaurants, like Le Cirque, give you a few choices for your 3 course meal.

Sometimes, they add something to the menu that will add an additional cost to to the menu. Like the risotto in a truffle cream sauce, for an extra $10, which, of course, I chose. And oh-my-word I’m glad I chose it.

Here’s where I need to butt in to tell you that a glass of wine at Le Cirque costs upwards of $18. Seriously. Can you believe that??!
So Suzanne and I decided to go with a bottle of wine because:
1. It was $55, which we figured would be a much better deal in the long run (and it was) … and …
2. If we bought a bottle we’d be able to sit there longer …… and we did. 🙂

The food was very, very good. I loved the risotto, and the pork dish that I chose, and the chocolate mousse.
Suzanne chose a gnocchi, a fish dish that I can’t recall the name of …. and creme brûlée.
She seemed happy with her choices.

Neither one of us recognized any famous people in the restaurant, but both of us kind of suck at recognizing people, so there you go.

I wanted to take a picture (or two) so that I could show you guys what it looked like, but I felt that taking pics there wouldn’t be socially acceptable.
So here’s what you get:
Yes, that’s a picture of the toilet paper roll in the restroom.
You get what you get.
Don’t complain.

After a couple of hours at Le Cirque, we headed out to Rockefeller Center to attend the Tonight Show’s monologue rehearsal.
That sounds much easier than it proved to be.
Can I just tell you that I hate …… abhor …… GPS systems on cell phones?! You put in the address for where you want to go …… and it tells you how to get there, without telling you how to get to the first step!
So we spent about 20 minutes or so being completely lost and going in the wrong direction of 30 Rock.
It was embarrassing.

But we finally realized where we were …… and where we needed to be, and we made it.
We attended Jimmy Fallon’s monologue rehearsal and he was pretty dang funny.
Except when he wasn’t.
And so we, the audience, had control over which jokes he told tonight.
And which he didn’t.
We rocked.



Then Suzanne and I came back to the apartment so that we could just relax and hang out for a couple of hours before we headed out to “Rock of Ages”.
I have to preface this by saying that I knew this show wasn’t going to be “great theatre”. And I was perfectly ok with that.
Because I knew it would be entertaining ….. and fun.
And it was.


So there you go.
A fun day in NY.
In just a few hours I’m heading to Tampa and to Camp Widow.

It’s going to be a great weekend.

Ten Newly Discovered ……

…… great things about living where it’s cold in the winter.
Like, freezing cold.

1. You never have to worry about putting ice in your water bottle. The water gets very cold, very fast as you
walk outside.
2. Hot flashes don’t last nearly as long in 20-degree weather.
3. Cute sweaters!
4. There are very few people standing outside smoking.
5. No disgusting humidity.
6. Cute boots!
7. Your sinuses tend to stay clearer when your nose runs.
8. Hot chocolate/apple cider.
9. Cute scarves!

And the number 10 great thing about living where it’s freezing cold in the winter:

10. Snow angels!!!!!!