Anything Can Happen Friday: Crosswords

Fun Fact: I do the New York Times crossword puzzle every day. I have a subscription and either at 10pm or 6pm, depending on the day, I receive a notification about the puzzle for the next day.

Monday and Tuesday puzzles are very easy- I finish them rather quickly. But the rest of the week can be any degree of challenging. Suffice to say, I tend to start the puzzles in the evening but finish sometime the next day.

This past week I was working on Sunday’s puzzle. For those of you who are not puzzle fans, in a weekly newspaper, Sunday is the biggest puzzle. So I had 3/4 of the puzzle completed, but I was struggling with the lower right corner. The central clue that I was struggling with was:

76 (across) Posted One’s Thoughts

I finally got 76 (down) Abacus Piece- BEAD

So I knew my word at 76 Across started with a B…

hmmmmmmmm- I thought…What is “posted one’s thoughts” that begins with a B????

BLOGGED

And then I was able to compete the puzzle…

A Plague on all your houses

Yet I have a trick
Of the old rage. Bear with me, I am sick;
I'll leave it by degrees. Soft, let us see:
Write 'Lord have mercy on us' on those three.
They are infected; in their hearts it lies;
They have the plague, and caught it of your eyes.
These lords are visited; you are not free,
For the Lord's tokens on you I do see.

Love's Labour's Lost- Act 5 Scene 2 as said by Berowne- Shakespeare



Leave it to Will to compare love to the plague.

Shakespeare lived through the plague, though he really doesn’t make it a main theme in his works. He does make some references, but for the most part, his work is plagueless. What do you think about his decision to limit discussion of the plague?

Personally, I don’t want to see, read or hear about our plague as a storyline. I am living through this: when I watch a movie or tv show or read a book, my goal is to escape the COVID storyline.

Newsflash: we all lived through this in one way or another. We are going to continue to live through this…While it is a sad fact of our daily lives, is it mentally healthy to keep reliving it over and over again?

Shakespeare, when he did speak of it, used the plague is a joking manner, or like the comparison to love I cited above. As stated by Steven Greenblatt in THE NEW YORKER- ” Plague constantly appears throughout Shakespeare’s works in the form of everyday exclamations. But this is a sign less of existential horror than of deep familiarity, the acceptance of plague as an inescapable feature of ordinary life.”

Is it wrong to make light of our current situation? Is it politically incorrect? Or is it just how some people need to get through this crisis?

What do you think about the future narratives and whether or not they should revolve around COVID?

Do you think it is insensitive to speak of it in a light manner?

How many of your daily conversations revolve around COVID?

I am trying to avoid COVID conversation as much as possible, even though it has wreaked havoc on my life, the life of my loved one’s and my mental health. I just can’t wrap my life around it any longer.

Do you think there should be a statute of limitations on COVID speak?

Tuna Salad

I call canned tuna with mayo “tuna salad”.

My Husband calls it “tuna”.

If we are ever to divorce, I can assure you this will be one of the reasons. My Husband becomes irrationally angry when he hears tuna with mayo called a salad. Seriously. It is his Number One Pet Peeve. I know very few things in life that make his angrier.

Though I know my husband BELIEVES THAT TUNA SHOULD JUST BE CALLED TUNA (seriously- he will not change his mind about this) what do all the rest of you think?

What do you call tuna when mixed with mayo?

If you add celery or onion along with the mayo, does your answer change?

Where do you stand on the uber important tuna/tuna salad debate?

It’s Nice

I don’t like lackluster words. In fact, when asked a question, I pretty much forbade my family from the use of the words boring, interesting and fine as acceptable answers when given without a qualifier. To me, these words lack substance and don’t really explain the way that you feel. While I sometimes use these words myself, I do try to avoid as often as possible. But of all the words that people use and I hate, the number one word on my list is:

NICE

How was the show? It was nice.

What’s your kids new significant other like? They’re nice.

How’s the food. It’s nice

What does the responder mean by any of these statements? And I don’t mean NICE said with any inflection or said as NOYCE, which is a common phrase these days…

I mean the actual word NICE.

So I looked up the etymology of the word NICE:

Thank you Oxford Languages for the following:

Latin origin- Nescire- definition- NOT KNOW

which evolved to:

Latin- nescius- IGNORANT

which evolved to:

Old French-nice- STUPID

Archaic Meaning- Fastidious or scrupulous

Is a word that took it’s meaning from stupid and ignorant really the word that you want to use to say something good about something else?

How was the show? Stupid. How’s the new girlfriend? Ignorant.

Obviously, the word nice has transformed itself over the years to mean:

Pleasant, agreeable, satisfactory

My first question is: If you actually mean to say pleasant, agreeable or satisfactory, why wouldn’t you use those much better words? When someone says pleasant, I can conjure up a mind picture. I know exactly what they mean. Same with satisfactory and agreeable. Word pictures.

Let’s think on this for a moment: If you said your son’s new person was “satisfactory” what does that actually mean about your possible future in law?

So when you say something is nice…what do you really mean? Pleasant, agreeable or satisfactory? See how NICE becomes a non descript word? When you refer to someone/something as nice, I don’t know if you mean pleasant or satisfactory- and there is a world of difference between those two word choices. The only thing I do know is that I probably won’t see a show, eat a meal or expect much of a person when they are labeled as NICE.

With the plethora of gorgeous and explicit words in our lexicon, why do we overuse the same tired words?

Have we gotten lazy while we are speaking?

Let’s revitalize our conversations and word choice…

After all, we don’t want to be ignorant or stupid…

Oops- I meant NICE…

I Hate People

People exhaust me.

This is the real curse of being an introvert: too many people for too long a period of time starts to jangle my nerves.

And yes. I am an introvert.

A few months ago we spend a Saturday visiting my Husbands Uncle. Seven people, not including my husband and I. Seven people for five hours. And hour each way with the father in law and his girlfriend. I had a headache in by the time we got to our destination. The rest of the afternoon just added to it…

I love to talk.

I love to hear my own voice.

However, after a little bit I am done. I’m better at being a comedian- run in, do my eight minute set, flash the lights, and I’m off…

There’s only so many questions I can ask other people who give one word answers…there’s only so many times I can hear the question “Why didn’t your daughter come today?” (why is it assumed that adult children are going to attend something with their parents?) There’s only so many times I can listen to the same loop of conversation traipsing around the room. Nine people in a room is like speed dating: two people have a conversation and then each goes to another person, and starts the same conversation over again. It starts to become a TV show where the main character keeps hearing the same dialogue over and over again… A bad TV show I might add…

On this particular weekend we were set to see friends on Sunday. This time it was only four others, but the cumulative effect is the same…Same one word answers to questions, same polite chit chat in a spin cycle…

By Sunday night I was mentally drained.

Seriously- I got home, donned a heated eye mask and put Enya on my headphones…I petted the dog with my right hand and the cat with my left. It was my own sort of pod to crawl into…

People exhaust me. Conversation exhausts me. As an eavesdropper, having different conversations around me exhausts me.

This is why I am an introvert. I need solitude to survive.

What Inspired Me: October 17

Egypt- Permanent Collection- Met

  • Back to Broadway- Caroline or Change is a wonderful, thought provoking musical. Being in a Broadway theater again. Priceless.
  • Can you say Carnegie Hall!!! Yes- also returned to live music!! Lang Lang doing the Goldberg Variations. Brilliant- both the pianist and the work- Plus- I really did get inspired with an idea for a fiction work that I’m already 1000 words in on
  • Remember I said that Oktoberfest is the least objectionable holiday? So we celebrated at a Pop Up behind the Schaller and Weber German Grocery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. We had some Wiener Schnitzel and a Sausage Platter, plus a side of potato pancakes. Of course I had a stein of Weizenbier. Now, I’m not a big fan of beer- however- this was delicious!! Food, drink and little patio garden were all awesome!!

Housekeeping Note: I’m changing the days that are included in my Sunday wrap up. I used to do Sunday to Saturday, but now I’m doing Friday to Thursday. This really means nothing except less pictures today, and way too many next week.

Gratitude Saturday: October 16

I am grateful that the three people in my household are all registered voters.

However, does my household need to receive THREE voter guides. Three 80 page guides.

While I get that everyone should be respected as an individual, and therefore should receive their own guide…is it ecologically responsible to print out these guides and send us three separate ones? Is it economically feasible to spend the money printing and mailing them?

Is my daughter, who put in for an absentee ballot going to now receive a voter guide at her temporary address?

Does anyone actually read the Voter Guides?

Isn’t this something that should be available online only? Or is there some sort of prejudice to that?

Can I vote for no more money spent on mailing me anything political?

I would be eternally grateful to any politico who can stop the madness.

Anything Can Happen Friday: Pillows

I posed this question to my BFF’s a few week ago, and as you are all my friends, and this is an important question, I figured I would reach out to all of you as well:

Ready?

How many pillows to you keep on your bed?

If you have more than just sleeping pillows on the bed, where do you put the excess pillows when you go to sleep at night?

I mean, the Property Brothers never show what the sanctuary looks like at night before you actually go to sleep… You just see a beautifully made bed with a plethora of pillows…Is there a special place to put the fifteen or so additional pillows that our beds seem to require?

Discuss:

A Day in the Life

Once upon a time, I wrote in a blog that I bought my cat litter off Amazon. Someone snidely commented:

What? They don’t sell cat litter in supermarkets in New York City? he he he (Ok- I just added the villainous he he he…)

To which I replied-

“No. Space is at a premium in Manhattan. Cat litter is too bulky for most markets to carry it. They’d rather stock food. I would need to go to a pet store which is a fifteen minute walk, and carrying home twenty pounds of litter is just a little too much for me.”

That reader stopped reading my blog after that…

But it basically underscores a point: as an urbanite without use of a car, my day to day life is probably quite different than most.

One of my friends always wondered how I actually do my errands…So today, I’m going to give you a glimpse into how I do the normal things that most people get into a car and do.

I food shop at least four days a week. I consider myself very French when I head to the farmers market to look for the produce that looks nice. My local green market is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I try to get there on those days- it’s a fifteen minute walk from my house, so this is often the first walk that Betty and I take on those days. I only buy what can fit in one reusable shopping bag. It used to be two, but as I now have a hernia, I decided it was best to carry less… I do try to buy as much as possible from the farmer’s market.

When the green market is abundant, like now, I only visit the supermarket once a week. I normally pick up beef, chicken, pork or fish that can be put in my freezer. I also try to get staples like oil, flour etc., but I don’t buy more than one really heavy item at a time- just too heavy. Less stuff at green market means additional trips to supermarket- fifteen minute walk which I can’t bring Betty.

I buy almost nothing in boxes, cans or frozen. My exceptions to this are frozen peas and fruit, canned tomatoes, canned tuna, some canned beans and condiments. this is twofold: I don’t like to eat processed food and I don’t have the space to keep things. I have two shelves in which to keep things that are not condiments/staples like sugar, flour etc.

I do not buy things like laundry detergent at the market. First off- too heavy to carry with groceries. Secondly- they probably cost twice as much as the supermarket. I do separate trips to pick up these items at stores like Harmon or Target. Living in the city means knowing which items are overpriced and where you can get cheaper. The moisturizer I use is seven dollars cheaper in one store as opposed to another. On an item that costs less than twenty dollars, this is a substantial difference in price.

I usually order my pet supplies on line. Litter and bags of food are heavy. Though these days there have been shortages of pet food, so I’m grabbing it when I see it.

My dry cleaner is across the street. Shoe repair down the block (though business has been slow so I don’t know how long that lasts) Post office is across the street. Having these things within a block of my house is a life saver.

I tend to build my errands into my daily routine- walk the dog to Target and Farmers. Hit the market on the way home from someplace else, etc. As I walk everywhere and don’t have the ability to put things in a trunk, I need to plan out my route and when I can get things.

I am not really a shopper of other things though- I rarely hit a store to make a purchase that isn’t household related. I do admit to bookstore and stationary store browsing however. They are places I just love to wander, with little intention to actually purchase.

My errands are set into my planner. I need to think about what I need and how much I can carry and if the dog is allowed somewhere and what the hours are. I do not want to be one of those people who relies on 24 hour delivery services to get things like advil. While you can do that, it’s not how I choose to live. I choose to support my local businesses, both small and large, as much as I can.

I know the way I do my day to day life seems odd to many, but it’s how I’ve learned to operate. This is your day to ask me any questions about living in a city…

Mad Metrocard

I needed to refill my metrocard (the card needed to get on mass transit in NYC)

Normally, this is not difficult. Most subway stations have at least three machines with which you can refill your card.

One day I descend into the subway. I see that there is a train two minutes away, and the next train is fifteen minutes after that. If I don’t make the first train I will never make it on time to where I am meeting my friend.

This shouldn’t be an issue, as really, it only takes about thirty seconds to put money on the card…

First machine- the screen isn’t working so I can’t type in my billing zip code…

Second machine- eats my metrocard

Third machine- I. Can’t. Get. It. To. Work. It’s taking forever to process BUY NEW METROCARD…I see those flashing dots meaning its still thinking…

At this point I can see the lights illuminating the track on the other side of the turnstyle, I am BEYOND FRUSTRATED at this point…

As the train lumbers into the station, I think about how my daughter gets into the subway: she taps her apple watch onto a screen on the turnstyle. Now I don’t have an apple watch, but I do have a credit card with the “TAP” feature…which I pull out and scan on the machine…

BEEP

It allows me to get through the turnstyle and onto the train…

So what was the purpose of telling you this story?

I was so frustrated with things that were out of my control, I wasn’t considering what was in my control. True, you can’t be in charge of every single thing in your life, no matter how well you plan and coordinate, but running around cursing is probably not going to solve any situation.

Sometimes emotions get the better of us. This is not usually a good thing. When you are beginning to get frustrated, you have to take a breath, even if your train is coming in two minutes…Over reacting is almost never going to lead to a viable solution.

Am I going to handle all the events in my life with calm and grace?

What do you think?

But…

I am going to actively try to take a breath when I feel my blood pressure rise…

FYI- If anyone says that mass transit should be free, I want you to spend an hour googling what mass transit in NYC entails, and then we’ll have a discussion about it…