442. You can train an old dog new tricks

When you have a family as big as mine Thanksgiving is more than a one day affair.

This year we’re having a particularly large crowd, at last count 28 people and 4 dogs.

Since my niece Cheryl called “Forever Dibs” on my guest room for this holiday and I think all family affairs, she, Brian,  their two girls and their dog Bert usually come a day early and stay a day or two after the holiday so they can experience the City’s sights and sales.

This year I was expecting them on Tuesday but Cheryl called on Monday to tell me that the oncoming storm might get in the way of their arrival.

“So you’ll come on Wednesday?”

“Of course not. We’re coming today”

They arrived later that night.

With the oncoming storm the first order of business was to teach Bert that he could make on the terrace.

Bert is a giant golden retriever who spends his life being good and hiding from his enemies, which could be a loud noise or a paper bag.

We were on the elevator when a young woman who was obviously up to no good got on with us. Luckily Bert was able to hide behind his mother’s legs in time but he did peek out so if more aggressive escape measures would become necessary he could act.

It’s the being good part that made training him to do something contrary to what he considers proper behavior, the terrace thing, difficult.

Every time we put him outside he’d just stand by the door staring at us. We tried everything. One of the girls even put on his leash and walked him around the terrace with no effect.

I  had the brilliant idea of bringing whatever gift he left out on the street back up to the house and putting it on the terrace to “prime the pump” so to speak.

It kind of worked. He’s willing to pee on the terrace now.

Baby steps.



441.There are a million stories in the Naked City. Unfortunately none of them are mine.

You all know how I love buses but there can always be too much of a good thing.

Last night Julie and I were invited to dinner at our good friend Brenda’s house. Out of consideration for me Julie found a bus route that would take us almost to Brenda’s door.

Unfortunately the ride took one and a half hours.

Since I had had a cocktail with David before I left I didn’t think it was that bad and I chatted amiably throughout the trip. Julie, unfortunately, wasn’t as lucky. She had come right from a hair appointment and hadn’t had anything to eat since seven that morning.

This made her less than an ideal companion on a long ride. About 55 minutes in she suggested that we keep the chatter to a minimum. Since I was the only one speaking I got the message and except when I forgot I mostly kept my own council for much of the rest of the trip.

Brenda lives in a beautiful apartment with views of the George Washington Bridge or the Empire State Building from every window.

The evening was wonderful. Fabulous wine and food and laughs and laughs.

When it was time to go home I decided that a car service was the only way to go since the ride up was so long and it had snowed while we were there. Brenda called one for us and said the car would be there in three minutes. Since our other friend, Claudia lived on the way we all left together.

Once outside the building what looked like an ordinary car drove up and Julie asked if he were the car service. He was talking on the phone so he only nodded. We piled in.

Only after he pulled away did I suggest that maybe he wasn’t a car service at all. I did ask him if he was in fact a killer or a cab driver but since english wasn’t his first language he either didn’t understand the question or he chose not to answer.

Either way I decided that since we didn’t do due diligence before entering the cab/car, in our defense it was very cold, I was going to leave some clues so if he threw our bodies down some ravine he’d get his just dessert.

I took 2 or 3 photos of the back of his head and emailed them to my sister. Julie told me this morning that I might have done better if I had photographed his hack license that was on the back of the seat but I’m not Sherlock Holmes.

We were hysterically laughing during all of this. Did I tell you the wine was delicious?

I have been told that the reason a memoir written by me wouldn’t be successful is because there is no finale. I haven’t found the man of my dreams or won the lottery, I just go on.

Pretty much like this cab story. The guy took us all home safely, didn’t over charge us and the night pretty much just ended.

No murder or even a little choking just a regular cab ride with three hysterically laughing drunks.

Son of a bitch. I can’t catch a break.

440. Twitter technicalities and a BTW

I was having dinner with my nieces Julie and Cheryl when in conversation Julie mentioned that the fact that I follow more people on Twitter than follow me makes me look like a loser.

“Well I can’t force people to follow me.”

“So prune through the ones you follow and get rid of the excess baggage”

I stayed silent while we reverted to our previous conversation, peace in the middle east and whether Katy Perry isn’t foolish to think she can make a life with John Mayer, while I mulled over Julie’s suggestion.

When I got home I immediately went to Twitter. My numbers were pretty pathetic. I followed 291 people and only 271 follow me. Let me put this in perspective. Julie has like 10,000 followers.

I could get more than 271 people to pay attention to me if I cut into the line at the supermarket.

I decided I have to be proactive.

First I would get rid of the dead weight.

All of the Housewives have to go, even Atlanta. This won’t be easy on me what with Porsha insinuating that her husband is gay and Nene back as a regular but what has to be has to be.

And I don’t have to know every little thought that Johnny Depp sees fit to tweet about. It’ll be a little harder cutting off Ice T because nobody likes to be unfollowed and he’s a hothead who may seek vengeance.

Getting rid of Target and Rabbi Shmuly was a no brainer.

So the number I followed  went from 291 to 271, equal to the number of people that follow me, still not good enough.

I was just about to (oy) eliminate Nick Jonas when a miracle happened.

As a result of a Tweet that Julie sent out asking her followers to make up a few phony accounts to get me more followers with the hashtag  #itsembarrassingtothewholefamily, my followers shot up to 309.

I was so happy until I realized that the polite thing would be when someone follows you that you follow them back but if I do I’ll be back where I started, a loser.

Speaking of being a loser, dave and I were emailing back and forth this morning about his upcoming tour and I realized how much I miss having him as a friend.

Here’s the loser part. I told him.

439. Stupid is as stupid does

Okay. This is a solemn time for all of us.

We are grieving for the loss of a wonderful man. No attacks should be made during this time of mourning.

That is unless you are forced to take someone to task for being stupid so you have no choice.

I spent all morning writing my heartfelt memories of Dr.Tom .

Miss Liz called and said she liked it and asked if I had read David’s comment.

I hadn’t but I looked at it while she was on the phone.

It said “WTF no mention of me or Rupert?”

That alone would be fine only he followed it with his email address, his home phone number and 1/2 my blog.

When I told Liz she said “Please get it off, please” She’s constantly yelling at him for putting his private stuff on all his comments.

Here’s a personal message to David:

In answer to your question, since you and Liz are engaged, you were included when I made reference to his children and as for Rupert, I forgot.  Also when will you learn that if someone can’t even make their own TV work they should stay away from social media because it will only bite them in the ass?

BTW even though you are a terrible person I love you so much for being so strong for Liz during this time.

Oh yeah and for buying me that chinese meal.

438. We were lucky to have had him at all.

Dr Thomas Rees died yesterday.

He died peacefully in his home with his children and his dog by his side.

There will be much written about this man.  He was handsome and witty and generous of spirit. He was an incredible plastic surgeon who could have rested on his very successful laurels but chose not to.

He and his wife Nan co-founded and worked tirelessly for the Flying Doctors of East Africa, a division of what is now the African Medical Research and Education Foundation (AMREF), which is based in Nairobi, Kenya, and which is the largest NGO in healthcare and development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Tom lost his beloved wife a year and a half ago. This was a romance of the ages. Everyone wondered how Dr Tom could ever go on without her.

But he wasn’t alone. This loving man was loved in return. His daughter, Liz spent much of the past year and a half helping him through the loss that they both felt.

It was wonderful seeing them together. They were inseparable.

As time passed and Dr.Tom became a bit more frail, Liz felt his needs before he saw them himself and made sure that the path he followed was softer than it might have been without her.

This time was a gift to both of them. They got to know and count on each other in a way that fathers and daughters rarely do.

Liz was tireless in the support and love she gave Dr. Tom and grateful in the way he returned that love.

Although Dr Tom is with his beloved Nan now, the world is a little less bright without them.





437. Two peas in a pod except one married a goy and is going to hell.

Every year at this time my nephew Yitzhak, nee Eric, comes from Israel to visit me and the rest of the family and to pray at his mother’s grave.

Yitz and I are alike in many ways. We look alike, we have exactly the same sense of humor and we both love to be together.

There is a hierarchy in this relationship. Even though I am only 11 years older than he is I am still the Aunt.

There’s another difference between us. He really loves God. I mean REALLY loves him. I’m more of an “I’ll talk to you when I need you” kind of girl but for the most part we (me and God) are merely acquaintances.

But I do love Yitzhak and I live by his rules when he’s here. Even that crazy one about not eating nuts that aren’t kosher because he isn’t allowed to eat worms, which happen to be a mainstay of my diet, worms, I mean.

I have a huge black bag that I keep behind my couch filled with kosher pots and knives and bowls. I take them out each year when he comes and put them back when he leaves.

How did they get koshered? My friend Susan and I went to a Grocery store in Brooklyn where on the outside of the store they had a brick wall with a hole in it and a basket that you would put the items in and then lower it into some water that I assume had been blessed by a rabbi, you know, holy water. Voila! Kosher.

Usually when Yitz comes to NYC, his brothers come into the City and we all go out to a Glatt Kosher restaurant. This time I thought it would be more fun if we brought food into my house.

Not trusting me not  to buy stuff that wouldn’t turn him into a goy at the first bite he decided to bring back food from Brooklyn where he went each morning to pray.

He carried a box as big as a coffin and twice as heavy (Jews must always make sure that everyone can have seconds) on two trains so that when his two brothers and my sister came we could all have a lovely dinner.

Unfortunately when he went to take a nap I took the three chickens out of their packaging and put them in a disposable aluminum pan so I could heat them in the oven.

I say unfortunately because he almost burst out crying when he saw what I had done. It seems that my oven is so full of cooties that for him to eat anything that had been warmed in it meant the Jewish equivalent of rabies.

Luckily he was able to catch it before I actually put it in said oven. He did mention under his breath about 500 times that he wished I had asked him before throwing away the packaging.

The visit went very well. When I took him to the airport this morning we did our usual bickering with him looking at his phone and telling me that the route I had chosen was 9 minutes longer than the way his app preferred.

After a few “Why are you turning here’s” he finally put his phone away because as he said “He was using up his battery and I wasn’t listening to him anyway”.

We continued the trip happily with me reassuring him that though when I die he’ll probably regret making such a big fucking deal about the chicken packaging, I wanted him to know that eventually I’d probably forgive him for that so no need to beat himself up about it.

With that little guilt trip and lots of hugs and kisses, I saw him off. I am my mother’s daughter.


436. A fog story or why this is too boring to read.

During the night, my sleep machine went off.

I pressed the button to turn it on again and nothing.

I tell myself that it’s nothing to worry about. I’ll call them in the morning and tell them it’s broken.

Of course they’ll blame me and say I’m going to have to pay for it which I can’t possibly afford so I’ll have to do without it.

That can’t be good. Since I live my life like I have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel I’m sure that the loss of the sleep machine will definitely be the final nail in my fluffy coffin. I never get a headache. It’s always a brain tumor.

I finally fall back into a restless sleep.

I wake up a few hours later and look at the clock. Nothing. Also the cable light is off.

I went into the kitchen to check the fuse box. It’s fine but there are no lights in the kitchen either.

It must be a blackout.

Then I look in the hallway and it’s lit up. Maybe the building has an emergency generator.

By this time I know that  it’s 5 a.m. thanks to my iPad.

Since David is away visiting Liz I let myself into his apartment to see if he has lights. He does. While I was there I made myself some coffee (what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him) and went back home in a tizzy.

There could only be one solution. I live in a rent stabilized apartment and obviously the landlord wants me out so he can get a lot more rent. This is the first step in his reign of terror.

Woe is me. This couldn’t happen at a worse time. My nephew Eric (Yizhak) is coming from Israel today and his brothers are coming down to have dinner with him tomorrow. Then my niece Cheryl is coming to do all kinds of meetings for her new book and to hug and kiss me. After that my niece Randy who will be in town for one night.  I never get to spend one on one time with Randy so I’m really looking forward to it.

Then it will be Thanksgiving. I have 28 people and 6 dogs coming.

How can I do all that by candle light? Yitzhak will be easy. I’ll just tell him we celebrate a long Shabbas here but the others?

I’m walking around the house practically in tears.

Even though I know it’s useless, I call down to the doorman to tell him I have no electricity.

“You too?”

dave used to say that all sailor’s fog stories are the same, first they couldn’t see and then they could. That’s why they’re so boring.

Well first I didn’t have electricity and then I did.

435. “You can catch more bees with honey” and other life lessons.

I know it seems as if I write about everything  but I don’t.

If it’s something that will hurt someone I love or will make them mad at me I let it lie.

I was explaining that to David this morning when he was encouraging me to write about something that had happened.

Naturally he took the high road.

“Why don’t you write about it, put it in your safe deposit box and if something happens to you, I’ll launch it.”

“David, you’re ignoring the whole “hurt someone” thing.”

“No I’m not. I’m extremely sensitive. In fact there’s a horrific animal story that I’ve never told you.”

Me: “There’s got to be more to this than you’re saying”

“Well Liz did say that if I ever let it slip to you that that would be it for me. I will say though if Liz ever leaves me, the first thing I”m going to do is tell it to you”

That’s my boy.

Last night David, our friend Andrea and I met for dinner. It was an interesting evening in WASPedness.

I’ve always said that I have no gift for small talk. Andrea is like Liz. She can chat it up with anyone. Actually David is like that too.

I sat there slurping my wine in silence while the two of them yapped and yapped. Andrea asking David about his business trip to one of the M states and if he had accomplished what he wanted. And David regaled her with crap about whatever while asking her about what she’s doing.

I suddenly realized what the secret to engaging people in conversation is. You have to be willing to listen to stuff you couldn’t care less about.

I may be wrong about this. Maybe these two were really interested in what they were saying.

As for me, My mind was wandering all over the place. I noticed that Andrea is still quite young and very attractive and I’m sure she is dating which reminded me of something that I had been mulling over for a few months, that pussy waxing thing. So when there was a lull in the conversation I asked her about it.

“Do you wax your hooch?”

You’d think I threw up on the table.

David started screaming at me “What the hell is the matter with you?”

“She doesn’t have to answer, for God’s sake. Chill why don’t you”

He had to know that this subject had to be more interesting than how many miles he’s logged”

I guess Andrea was as bored as I was because she had no trouble answering me even adding when David went to the men’s room, that she had been told that she “tasted like honey”

This little story shows why I both should and shouldn’t be invited to cocktail parties.