Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,

June is blogging out all over

As of last Friday, my nephew Joel is a high school graduate, headed for Muhlenberg College in the fall. I'm freaking out thinking my own graduation from Great Neck North will be 40 years ago on June 26. For those doing the math, subtract a year for skipping kindergarten.

Someone keeps sneaking in in the middle of the night and adding at-home puzzles to the "to be done" pile. Well, not really, but it seems that way. I'm still plowing through. If you're out there solving, please think of the poor grader who has to decipher your handwriting. And no, pencil and black pen do not sufficiently contrast for after-time-limit entries. Thanks!

My bathtub did one of its periodic refusals to drain. The water was emptying a little slowly, then it took 12 hours, then it just sat indefinitely. I pulled out and plunged some gunk, but the water still wouldn't go down. I called the office on a Wednesday but they couldn't come until Friday, so I had to take Thursday's shower standing in water hoping I didn't use enough to overflow.

Usually I coordinate repairs with my neighbor who shares the plumbing, but she didn't respond to my note and the situation was getting desperate so I proceeded without her. Turns out she was away for 2 weeks and missed all the fun (her tub was working just fine when she returned). Anyway, the guy came and used a machine whose name I can't think of (electric snake?) and all's well again.

A side benefit of the water sitting there so long was that it loosened the seemingly unremovable marks on the bottom of the tub, and I was able to scrape it clean. The side walls still have some soap scum, but I made progress getting that off (I recharged the Black & Decker ScumBuster and put it back into service). The tub is cleaner than it's been in years and I'm scouring it daily to keep it that way (as opposed to half-heartedly spraying the area with Lysol all-purpose cleaner). One minus is that the clean tub bottom can be slippery, so I need to be careful not to fall.

I've been lax about using my Sirius subscription, but wanted to listen to Lynn Samuels on the iBook in the kitchen. I got the error message, "The playlist format is not recognized" and the FAQ said I needed to upgrade Flip4Mac WMV. I did this and tried again, and Safari crashed even though my oldish OS was within the minimum standard. Further research suggested I should use the second-most current version of Flip4Mac, so I downloaded that, held my breath, and it worked. We'll be upgrading my OS at the Times soon to handle their new puzzle templates, so that may solve any future problems.

I saw a concert (Thursday) at Philharmonic Hall. The seat was in First Tier Box 25, which didn't seem to exist, and turned out to be a small box in the back corner with 2 movable cushioned chairs as opposed to the usual row of auditorium seats. The other lady in the box moved over to a regular seat, but I was fine (it was on the left, with the all-important view of the piano keys). I had taken Contemporary (classical) Music in college, and this program was a perfect adjunct, including Debussy's "La Mer" (still sounds like mush to me), Bartok's 2nd piano concerto (a little jarring, reminded me of "Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta" which we studied), and "The Rite of Spring" (which we also studied, but the second half didn't sound familiar. Oh well, that was in 1972). There was a post-concert lecture, but it was in another building and it was late so I headed home instead. Walked all the way, undoing the benefits of the exercise by getting an H&H (which recently had a temporary closing - oh no!) bagel which I finished by 86th St.

My credit card had a promotion for an "Up" screening last Thursday for up to 4 people, so M, L and J came along. They gave us 3-D glasses and coupons for free popcorn and beverage. Even better, it wasn't super-crowded and there were 2 empty seats in front of me so I had a great view of the spectacular 3-D effects. The story was sweet and satisfying, other than the excess of dogs and other animals. We went across the street to Ollie's afterward for dim sum, and I walked home. There's a new yogurt place in the 90s I'll have to check out.

Several books:

"Dream Babies" by James Fritzhand - Hollywood kids of the rich and famous. Didn't grab me.

"The Washingtonienne" by Jessica Cutler - If this novel is based on truth, our taxpayer dollars fund Capitol Hill workers who goof around all day on the Internet, take long lunch hours to have sex with married men, and heavily drink and drug. I may not approve of the Washingtonienne's behavior, but it sure was fun to read about.

"Truth & Beauty: A Friendship" by Ann Patchett - I heard Lucy Grealy talk about her book "Autobiography of a Face" on NPR, and later read a New York Magazine article by Ann Patchett about Lucy's descent into drugs (which killed her). This book is a much expanded version of that article, detailing the writers' long friendship dating back to college. Grealy did not have an easy life and could be irresponsible, needy, selfish and narcissistic, but Patchett was always there for her.

"The Last of Her Kind" by Sigrid Nunez - The author was a year ahead of me at Barnard and perfectly captures the mood of those times (I'd forgotten how we called the row of basement vending machines "fat alley"). Georgette and Ann are roommates, with George wanting to overcome her less-than-privileged background and Ann ashamed of her privileged one. The story moves to hippies, murder and jail, with a detour to an older-man relationship that made me go "ewww."

"Big Secrets" by William Poundstone - Various secrets are revealed, like what Roschach blots are supposed to mean, the formula for KFC, hidden song lyrics, and was Walt Disney really frozen? This 1983 book seems a bit dated.

Someone left a Kakuro magazine on the laundry room shelf, with the puzzles undone. Whee!

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