754. Style thy name is Mattie

Liz was in NYC for a few hours yesterday and we did a bit of shopping for our trip to Italy. As I told you, Lizzie is meeting me and Marcia in Venice on our last night there.

As far as packing Marcia and I both determined that we weren’t bringing any fancy duds because I don’t have a husband to accompany me and Marcia’s husband would rather have lit cigarettes put out in his eyes than take this trip with us.

I was having cocktails with Liz and David last night. I knew that they’d prefer our cozy threesome to any time alone. What would they talk about?

Anyway Liz looked at my shoes and said “You aren’t bringing those Merrills are you?”


“Oh no no, that won’t do.”

She really talks like that. Now this is someone who has chosen for a life partner a guy who thinks that using the word “Hebe” is being politically correct but I guess love is blind, and deaf.

The truth is that I have never seen Liz in any item that wasn’t perfect. When my niece Cheryl comes to stay with me she delights in seeing what Liz wears just to hang around the house. Cheryl thinks Liz looks like Doris Day.

Cheryl tries but she’s a little more “devil may care” with her clothes choice.

She once mortified her daughters by picking them up at school with shoes that had soles that weren’t fully connected to the tops so one of them was flapping when she walked.

When her daughter complained Cheryl tried to get away with it by saying they were the latest thing,  Shandals, a combination of shoes and sandals. You can imagine how that went over.

Back to me.  As if the Merrills weren’t bad enough I really gave Liz the vapors when I said I was bringing a fanny pack.

The way I see it, I want my hands free so I can glad hand the people I meet in Pizza land. (I really must see less of David)

It might have been  a mistake mentioning it to her because I started packing and I can’t find my fanny pack anywhere. I wonder if  Miss Manners came over and hid it before she left.

It’s also possible that Elvis ate it.

753. The law according to David or the penalty for putting cucumber in my Peking duck when I specifically asked for scallions is death.

Miss Liz is stopping here for a day tomorrow on her way to Italy.

Happily my sister and I are leaving Tuesday for a week there too. In fact Lizzie is meeting us in Venice so we can all laugh and eat and drink and shop together.

 This morning David and I were having coffee. I said I’m sure that the first thing Liz will say when she gets here is “Where’s my cat?” She and Elvis have a real love affair going.

 David wondered why if Liz loves cats so much she doesn’t get one.

I reminded him that he shouldn’t encourage it since he hates that Liz brings her animals in the bed.

“Rupert doesn’t sleep in the bed any more. I put my foot down. I told Liz that when I’m in Santa Fe that little motherfucker isn’t getting in the bed with us.” Then he went on and on about how he can’t believe that “snarky little shit” is still alive.

“I was so sure that I was rid of him a few months ago when he had an operation for cancer. I was even nice to him for a few weeks thinking that he wasn’t going to be around much longer. The fucking dog is FIFTEEN. Not only was he cured, now he shits when he barks which is all the time. That little bastard will outlive me.”

He had that real stern look on his face that he makes when he’s describing what he’d do to some waiter or cab driver who doesn’t fulfill his duties to David’s satisfaction. No details but it’s always bloody and usually accompanied by a mime of him shooting the person in the head for his misdeeds.

This was pretty tough talk from a guy who a few minutes later winced when Elvis threw his fake mouse in the air and accidentally brushed his nails against the couch while he was reaching for it.

“Every time he scrapes stuff it’s me that gets in trouble.”

All I’m thinking is “Why don’t you mimic shooting him in the head you tough talking little pussy?”

But did I say it? No because I too am a tough talking little pussy.

752. My father in law died yesterday

I guess he was still my father in law. I didn’t divorce him.

He was one of the truly good people in the world. He was an intellectual.  He was a Methodist minister who practiced what he preached. That all sounds like platitudes so let me tell you how his daughter, Judy spoke of his last moments in the email she sent me last night.

My dad died today at 2:45. I was there, told him it was ok to go, that we would
all be ok, thanked him, he could go be with Mother and that I loved him. I was
alone and it was a special time for us. The relaxing music that they had gotten
for me on the tv (with ocean pictures, etc.) was playing softly. I saw the signs
that he was going and the palliative nurse came in and confirmed it and left us
alone. So I just talked to him, held his hand and rubbed his head. I stayed with
him for a while watching the process…It wasn’t terrible like I always thought it
would be. I even kissed him when he was dead, which I thought I’d never do. It
was special. The visiting minister from church knocked on the door right in the
process and (since I don’t know him very well and don’t love him) I said “He’s
dying.” Then I motioned him away. (The person I live with thought that was
interesting since most people would want the minister in there at that time…but
I didn’t want an intruder whom I didn’t love…It was our time together and I
didn’t want it interrupted. I never saw the guy again…I wonder what he thought??
) So I kept holding his hand, feeling the warmth slowly go out of it and just
stayed there about 15 minutes until the nurse came in. I told her he was gone,
she checked his heart and agreed. Funny thing but on that music thing there were
several different sequences and after he died, Amazing Grace came on which I
thought was a nice touch! So I called Joe and Erin, packed up my things and
looked over at my dad and said,”I can’t believe you’re dead!” It hasn’t really
hit me yet. I’m still running on adrenaline I guess. I’m just so glad that I
was there. My religious friend said that God was good to him to take him fast.
I said He probably felt bad about what He did to my mother. I guess that wasn’t
so nice, but then I’m not always nice. I’ll go now. That’s the story. I can’t
believe this is me taking care of all this…It’s supposed to be our parents who
do all this stuff. How weird to be so far along through life and so soon it
seems. Love you!

I love you too Judy.

751. An asshole’s guide to good manners

I had a wonderful day yesterday.

Susan and I went up to Newtown to visit Stephanie. She made a lovely lunch and we all enjoyed ourselves. On the way  home we stopped and I bought plastic fencing for my terrace to keep Elvis from hurtling to his death. We’ll see how that works out.

I have it all planned. First I’ll put it up. Before I let Elvis out I’ll explain the dangers that could befall him if he climbs the fence. Then I’ll put a halter and leash on him and see how he does before giving him free reign.

Like that little prick will let me put a halter on him without cutting me to ribbons, but I’ll be firm, firm and bloody.

Anyway when Susan and I got back to the City (just as dave never gets a capital d, New York always gets a capital C). Her husband, Allan came over and we had cocktails. We decided to go out to eat and just as we were leaving David got off the elevator. He was exhausted because he had taken the red eye back from Santa Fe that morning. He went there to attend the memorial for Liz’ Dad, Dr. Rees. Anyway we asked him to join us and he did.

I always say that you must have a thick skin to have him for a friend.

We were all deep in conversation when without thinking about it I picked up a cucumber from my salad and ate it.

Never missing an opportunity to let me know that I’ve erred as a human being, David said, “There is silverware for that.”

I saw Susan look up in shock. She’s extremely sensitive and would have died if he had said that to her.

I think David noticed her expression and unlike any other kind person who would have tried to soften what he said he decided to prove that he’s not just a shit, he’s a know it all shit so he followed it with,

“Something that separates us from the lower orders is the proper use of cutlery and stemware.”

In addition to that, when the waiter went to take my salad away he admonished him, “Not yet, she may want another handful”.

I guess he thought that wound needed just a bit more salt.

750.My family knows how to have an intellectual discussion of films

Not all great minds think alike.

While my niece Cheryl (Klam) is in town hawking her new book “Elusion” (soon to be a motion picture at a theatre near you) co-written with her friend Claudia (Gabel) we have settled into somewhat of a routine.

At the end of the day we sit in my bedroom and download movies.

I’ve been pushing to see “Don Jon” since my other niece, Stephanie has recommended it so strongly but Cheryl resisted, “I don’t think I’d like it. It looks stupid”.

However after Cheryl made me watch “Kick Ass 2” the other night where the lead character was named “Motherfucker” she lost all credibility with me so she had no choice but to watch “Don Jon”.

I still haven’t heard the last of it.

“This is the worst movie I ever saw” was the nicest thing she had to say about it.

This morning Steph called to see how we liked the movie.

“Me? I liked it but Cheryl hated it”

Steph, never one to suffer fools gladly said “What???? Put her on!?”

I handed Cheryl the phone.

I could hear Steph screaming at her (I always talk on speaker phone so it wasn’t hard).

“What could you possible not like about that movie?”

“Are you kidding? For one thing no character development, but above that, all you see is someone jerking off over and over. How is that entertaining?”

Steph, not used to being contradicted, was forced to get a little cruel.  “Just because you do movies you think you know something about it but you know nothing”

That’s when Cheryl brought out the big guns, so to speak.

“Oh yeah? Well just the other day my 15 year old daughter came home demanding an explanation because while she was in school she found a picture of me on the internet from a movie with Sam Raimi squeezing my boobs. That’s right! The famous movie director, Sam Raimi wearing a fright wig with his hands on MY boobs.  And I spent the rest of the movie with bloody handprints on my tee shirt so I know a little about quality filmmaking. Plus I was a monster in “The Evil Dead.”

After a short silence Steph just said “I stand corrected”


749. Is that you, own drummer? I hear ya!

Brian and the girls went back to Annapolis. I hated seeing them leave even though when I was looking for my glass of water that was on the table in front of me Brian said “It’s right there you old coot”.  He also told me that I should think before I speak and if it’s a choice between mentioning my cat or keeping silent, mum’s the word.

I was forced to remind him that when he was a toddler, he and I were in the car when he started jumping up and down and crying because he had to go to the bathroom. I didn’t want him to be upset so I  told him he could pee on the floor of my brand new car. Even after all these years I can still see him stopping his rant,  looking at me in surprise and with a slight smile on his face he began to pee. Maybe he should remember that when he thinks about being fresh to me.

That shut him up. He said nothing as I showed the girls photos I’d taken of Elvis eating my curtains.


Cheryl’s still here doing her book things for “Elusion”,  soon to be a motion picture at a theatre near you.

Since Cheryl and her co writer Claudia did much of the writing of this best seller in my apartment, she and I have developed a comfortable living arrangement.

We watch the same TV programs ( That’s a lie. I have to watch all reality TV while she’s sleeping). Well we watch lots of things together . We just get along very well.

On each of her visits we have at least one dinner with David. Cheryl finds him endlessly entertaining and is not even offended at his introducing her as the only person in the family that was perfect until we (the Jews) turned her.

Today she’s out hawking her book while I prepare for a meeting with my accountant. I have to give him the final numbers for my taxes.

I’m thinking he might also appreciate a framed picture of Elvis eating my glasses. In spite of what Brian says, who wouldn’t want that?


748. Excuse me, I have a headache. Pass the leeches.

I don’t usually do this but I’m going to give you a test.

Question: What are the signs that show that you’re old?

If you say grey hair, wrinkles, moves a little slower you are only partially right. You’d get a B.

I’ll explain.

My family is in town.

My niece Cheryl and her co-author Claudia are doing a reading tomorrow night to celebrate the release of their book, “Elusion”, soon to be a motion picture at a theater near you.

Cheryl and Brian and their two girls, Sadie and Lily, and their dog Bert (don’t ask how Elvis is dealing with this) are all staying at my house which is why last night I made dinner and Julie and Violet came over so the cousins could all be together.

Now a little back story. Only Cheryl was supposed to come yesterday.  Brian and the girls were to come later. A huge snowstorm where they live in Annapolis forced them to come earlier.

I should note that a huge snowstorm in Maryland is 1 to 5 inches. In New York we wouldn’t even put coats on for that.

Since I wasn’t expecting them I didn’t clear the table where I was preparing my tax stuff .

During the evening Violet walked over to my calculator and said “What’s this? A receipt machine?”

Now she’s 10 so though I was a little surprised that she didn’t know what it was I wasn’t as shocked as I was when Sadie age 15 and Lily age 14 joined in with puzzlement written all over their faces.

“It’s a calculator”

Lily, “What do you use it for?”

“To add up numbers. Haven’t you ever seen a calculator before?”

“Not alone. Why wouldn’t you use your Iphone?”

It was if I had left a butter churn in the middle of the living room.

“Because I have a calculator.”

“Wait, I have to try this” Lily started to pick up the calculator and started to scream with laughter. “IT’S PLUGGED IN!” Her sister, cousin, aunt and parents joined in. It was a real laugh fest.

Even now I don’t know what was so fuckin’ funny.

But if your answer to the question on the test was “You  have a calculator, one connected to electricity” you got an A.

747. You know that book and cover thing? So true.

I don’t want to turn this into a cat blog but I writes what I lives.

Did anyone ever see the movie “The Bad Seed”?

This beautiful little girl, Patty McCormick, shows the world a sweet, loving, “purring” (if you’ll permit me)  exterior but her inside is quite different. She kills a bunch of people and the story goes on.

When Elvis first came here he eyed the place and decided that this was a good spot to set up shop. But first he’d have to make himself attractive to the old bitch that runs it. Read the entries talking about when he first came. The little bastard knows what he’s doing.

He purred and rubbed himself  against her until she was putty in his claws, I mean , paws (the claws came later).

He even endeared himself to her neighbors and that couldn’t have been easy. Liz was a piece of cake. She misses her cat Puss and was easy game for him but David would have been more difficult.

Maybe to some cats,  but he’s wily. All he had to do was pretend to like him, a new feeling for David, nobody likes David. But a few rubs and purrs and David was toast.

Now that he feels secure his real self is out. He does shit just for spite. He walks past something on a table and he just whacks it off. Why? Because he can.

I’m never drinking a glass of water when he doesn’t walk over, stick his head in, take a few laps and keep walking. Not because he’s thirsty. He’s got bowls of water in two rooms. He just wants me to know that there is nothing in this house that is off limits to him.

He’s even started training me to move at hand signals. He smacks his bag of treats and I immediately take a handful and throw them on the floor ( he likes to gather them)

My hands are so cut up that it’s a good thing I’m not married any more. It would really hurt to wear a wedding ring. I have to admit that’s my fault though. Sometimes in my sleep I move them.

So how did “The Bad Seed” end?

(Spoiler alert) The mother finds out that her daughter is a killer and poisons them both.

Unfortunately the mother dies and the kid lives.

So if in the near future, one of my relatives offers you a sweet orphan cat, one that purrs and purrs (not for nuthin but that purring can really get old) RUN.

746. Do I know how to par-tay or what?

I enter the party to celebrate Lew Soloff’s birthday (you can google him).

My eyes darted around searching for someone I know.

I stop darting because I know plenty of people.

I spot the birthday boy talking to his friend Paul Shaffer (who is one of the hosts of the party)

I walk over , kiss them, give Lew his birthday present and try to pull off a joke that lies there like a lox.

(I gotta stop here. When you tell a joke that isn’t funny AND HAS A PROP (in this case a box of cereal but that’s all I’m going to tell you about that) in front of David Letterman’s sidekick the rest of the evening can only improve.

Paul and Lew , being kind, replaced the puzzled looks on their faces with smiles so I could slither away with some of my pride intact. At least that’s what I told myself.

The party was great. My two closest friends, Susan and Ronnie were there and loads of musicians I hadn’t seen in a long time.

We had cocktails, yapped and listened to the band.

Out of the corner of my eye I see Paul talking to Donatella Versace. You’re saying to yourself, “Why would Donatella Versace be at a musician’s party?  She doesn’t play anything.

The answer? Beats me but she was. I spent the next 40 minutes trying to get a picture of her without her knowing it.

It turns out I wasn’t able to which was ok because later someone told me that she was in fact not Donatella but the wife of someone from Lewie’s shul.

I had had 2 drinks by then which is a lot for me. I wasn’t drunk by any means but I was feeling happy.

Then Emile Charlap and his wife Diane came in.

You can google Emile too if you want but I’ll tell you a little about him.

For as long as I can remember, little or no music was done in New York without going through Emile’s office. Emile was New York music.  He’s 96 now and still goes into his office most days.

Oh yeah and he was the best man at my wedding.

I hadn’t seen either of them since dave and I broke up and I assumed it would be awkward if I did. I should have known  that I could handle it in a calm dignified way and it would be fine.

As soon as I saw him I put my arms around him and burst into sobs that went on way too long.


We all sat around talking and laughing until I decided to go home since I was fairly sure that I was going blind.

I only found out why this morning when Ronnie sent me a picture of some of us and I realized that I was wearing sun glasses.


745. What’s in a name

Last night on one of our  frequent Saturday night dates, Julie asked me an interesting question.

Since I named Elvis before I met him, am I still happy with that choice of a name?

I chose that name because I had never had a cat before. I knew nothing about cats but when  my niece Randy sent me videos of the sweet little ball of fur purring in her arms my heart skipped a beat. There was a mystery about this new pet. Knowing him would open a door to something different in my life, something somewhat strange and scary but it was an adventure I was willing to move into.

This was very much the way I felt when I first saw Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show at 12 years old. I took my allowance and bought Elvis’ LP (long playing record, an album, if you will) and carried it around until my father took pity on me and bought me a stereo.

I still can bring back the feeling I felt listening to Elvis singing;

“I’d live deep in the jungle and sleep up in a tree, and let the rest of the world go by, if you were there with me”

Well maybe looking at a kitten wasn’t exactly like that but you get the idea. Elvis Presley was my first love and I knew I would love this little strange guy in a way I hadn’t known before.

I was right. It was a new kind of love. Elvis is not like any dog I’ve ever had. Let me try and think of some of the adjectives that come to mind when I think of my little kitty.

The first one has got to be “vindictive”.

You playfully rub that little bastard’s tummy and you’ll wish you hadn’t. Immediately your hand is in a death grip with his needle like claws holding you in place. And somewhat like fish hooks, if you pull away they just rip more of your skin, so you are forced to move forward into those razor like teeth.

The next is “persistence”.

If  you  had a dog that enjoyed sitting on your desk in front of you while you’re at your computer, dancing on the keys and slapping the screen, You’d only have to tell him once that it wasn’t appreciated. This little fucker could care less . Jumping back up 13 times is nothing to him.

I’d have to put “misrepresentation of attitude” in there too.

He climbs up on your shoulder and purrs in your ear while rubbing himself against you. I can’t describe the affection and warmth I feel when he does that. It is short lived though because he clearly takes my feeling of pleasure as a sign of weakness . He invariably uses that opportunity to see if I do in fact have a jugular.

So would I still name him Elvis?

waterWhat difference does it make? He does what he wants and he doesn’t come when I call him anyway.