775. I can’t talk now. I’m too busy sucking the joy out of everything.

I so envy people that can just enjoy their pets.

I remember when I was a little girl and I had a basset hound named Jenny.  I was about 8 or 9. If jenny was sleeping in the room I was in, even if I had to go to the bathroom,  I waited until she woke up naturally because I knew if I got up she’d feel that she had to wake up and follow me.

I’ve written about this before but I think it bears repeating. My niece Stephanie and I were driving to Montauk and there was a woman in the next car trying to drive with her head all the way forward because her cat was laying on the back of her neck. Steph said “If you had a cat, that would be you.”

It’s these many years later and when I decided that I wanted a pet, forgetting Stephanie’s dire warning, I weighed all my options before making my choice.

I knew that a dog would take over my life. I wouldn’t want to leave him alone so my new found freedom would be jeopardized. Remember how I felt tortured when I left Liz’s dog Rupert alone and mostly I didn’t. That is why I decided on a cat. They are independent and don’t mind being left for short periods.

What I didn’t take into consideration is how crazy I am.

My home looks like cat Disneyland with toys, castles and little fake mice everywhere. I watch Elvis constantly worried that he’s bored or lonely which keeps me from leaving my house for any length of time.

I realized that I could never go away for even a weekend with someone only coming in once or twice a day to feed him so I asked my doorman if he would stay in my apartment if I had to go away which is a distinct possibility because as you know I’ve just been hired by Yahoo Travel to write about, shall we say, MY TRAVELS!!!!

Now my latest nightmare, my terrace. I have a terrace with about a 3 or 4 foot high brick wall and about another 4 feet of iron fence above it. Now that the weather is nice I sometimes sit out there. When I did this Elvis sat at the door watching me and last week I decided to let him out. Liz’s cat Puss used to go out on her terrace all the time.

Mostly Elvis walked around looking at stuff and then he’d find a shady spot and just curl up. When I’d go inside he’d usually follow me a short while later.

The other day I saw him walking on the brick wall, outside the fence (the fence has bars spaced far enough so that he can move back and forth easily). My heart stopped. I forced myself to stand there quietly so as to not startle him. He looked over the side, walked a short distance and came back onto the terrace.

That was it for me. No more going on the terrace for him. Then I started thinking about quality of life.

When people have outdoor cats they risk predators and cars and all kinds of things but they let the cats out anyway. Elvis spends a good part of his day looking out onto the terrace, either in front of the glass door or on the window sill.

Last night Julie was here and saw Elvis walking on the wall. She froze and said “You can’t let him out again” she added something about the damage I did to her heart to have her watch him do that wall thing.

I know she’s right. I’ll try to keep him inside but it will break my heart to watch him look longingly at the outside world. Remember I said I was crazy.

The truth is I just don’t know what to do. I know I’m opening myself up for a million horror cat/terrace stories but please don’t. They will only make me crazier.


774. Got hate mail? I’m your gal.

I don’t know if people that read my blog read the comments. I obviously read every one.

After my last post I received the following from one of my readers:

“Why did you title this, Jesus Hates Me? I like your writing, but I don’t read writers who are purposely offensive to God. So I am unfollowing you. I don’t wish you good luck. I wish you a soul and the humility to realize you are not God.  ”

One thing you may not know is that the first time I receive a comment from someone, I am given the choice of approving it for publishing at the bottom of my post or not.

When I read this I toyed with not approving it but the more I read it, the more I loved it. If she had stopped after “offensive to God” I would have disagreed (since I don’t feel that I was) but understood and actually felt bad that I hurt her.

The very beauty of speaking about God’s love and not wishing me good luck and claiming that I have no soul made this letter very dear to me.

I have always loved this kind of thing.

Many years ago dave wrote some disco songs, one of which was reviewed  by The Amsterdam News as sounding like a pornographic letter. dave and I kept that for years.

It also brought to mind a letter written in 1991 that I have kept on my wall over my desk until this very morning when I tried to scan it for you but it fell apart in the scanner so I’ll have to rewrite it .

First a bit of background. My sister Phyllis and I were walking our dogs when Phyl fell and broke her knee. My sister had just recovered, we hoped, with her second bout of cancer and this was devastating to both of us. I was sitting on the ground with her holding both dogs and waiting for an ambulance when I did what I always did, I called dave. He was at his copyist Emile’s office.  Emile’s secretary, I won’t say his name, answered the phone.

I told him I had to speak to dave immediately. He started joking around. “Now let me see, is he here or isn’t he?”

“Get dave. This is important”. He kept joking around until I started screaming at him.

The rest, you’ll see, is in the letter dated 4/19/91.

It is in formalspeak. He even printed my name and address on the top. The letter is in all capitals. Here goes,






Now I won’t go into much detail about how little I cared about the admiration this little shit had for dave but this guy worked for Emile who made a great deal of money from dave and his job was to make dave and the other arrangers that were in that office happy.

I can see this letter is still pissing me off but not enough to throw it away. I’m going to tape it up and put it back on the wall.

And by the way my relations with this little weasel were never “JOVIAL”

773. Jesus hates me

I know that when it comes to animals I am crazy.

Remember I used to make excuses not to go places because I didn’t want to leave my neighbor’s dog alone.

So because I am aware of that trait in me when it came to getting a pet I knew a dog was out of the question. I would have to choose something independent and aloof so I could still enjoy a life of freedom but have some sort of companionship when I got home. After all dave did get himself a slut. I deserve something too.

Getting a cat was a no brainer, hence Elvis entered my life.

I never owned a cat so I knew nothing firsthand about them but I had heard plenty.

They can be indifferent. They are simply won’t give you what a dog can give you. etc etc. You can leave a cat alone for a weekend at a time.As long as they have food, water and clean litter they won’t care at all.

Since I am renting my house in Montauk as of next weekend I had to go out to make sure it was tenant ready. I decided that I would only go for one night since this would be the first time I was leaving Elvis alone. I had asked David and his son Graham if they could care for him but they were both going to Connecticut.

Still I was determined to live my life and never let an animal control me again so I prepared the house with bowls of wet and dry food, water and scattered treats. I left the TV on for company and with a heavy heart I went on my way.

I probably would have left Montauk the next morning at 6 a.m. but Julie was doing a reading way out on the island and I had promised to pick her up on the way back to the City which I did. Actually I was already letting her down because when she originally booked this I had told her I’d go with her.

We were driving home and Julie, being as sweet as she is, said “When we get back to town I’ll take the train to my house because there will be a lot of traffic”. Normally I would not have permitted this but I was anxious to get to my cat so I said okay.

When I opened my apartment door Elvis was right inside and he was crying.( Is “meow meow” crying?)

He was rubbing all up against me and saying that meow thing.

I immediately realized “Why would I think my cat would be like every other cat?” Haven’t I noticed his clingy tendencies? He follows me from room to room. He sleeps in my bed. He sits in front of my computer when I write. Even now I am peering around him to see the screen.

blog cat

Woe is me. I can never leave the house again. OOOOOYYYYY!

By the way I had a big fight with David last night because he didn’t go to Connecticut after all and he never looked in at Elvis. I was determined never to speak to him again until I spoke to Liz  and she asked me why I would blame a snake for being a snake. She said it would never occur to David to look in at Elvis since 1. He doesn’t care about Elvis and 2. He doesn’t care about Elvis.

I must say she’s right. Now I’m going to have to apologize to David for screaming at him.

This day couldn’t get any worse.



772.If I can educate while I entertain, I’ve done my job

My niece Julie and I take advantage of any opportunity to be together.

Last night her daughter had plans with a friend so Julie and I met for dinner. I took the bus over to her part of town since we had to pick up the kid after her play date.

Where to eat? Where to eat? We walked up  Amsterdam Avenue trying to decide. Julie suggested Sarabeth’s. “Nah” I said. “Too snooty”. I could go on and on but I’ll just say we finally settled on a restaurant, kinda like a burger/ sushi place. (Note to self: If they can’t decide whether their burgers or their raw fish are their signature dishes, they are lacking in culinary direction and should be passed on)

The good part about this place was that drinks were $5. I had the artichoke and the salmon, Julie had a salad and a burger. She also had a puss on all during the meal. the salad was little and the burger that was supposed to be the restaurant’s piece de resistance was lacking in size and flavor. When I saw her long face I asked what I could do to make it better. “I’m still hungry”. Now she’s a skinny drink of water so I didn’t take this lightly. I ordered her some fried shrimp.

She did eat them but that smile that I live for never returned to her pretty face. She didn’t get any happier when we passed people eating at the outside tables of Sarabeth’s and I mentioned that the food looked way better than the crap that we ate.

This morning when I spoke to my sister, Marcia, Julie’s mother, the first thing she said was “I hear you and Julie had a bad meal last night”.

It is at this point I will move from the secular to the sacred. If you learn this you will know everything you need to know about religion,

Jews remember and resent every bad meal they’ve ever eaten.

I can only give you examples from my own family.

First, the “Day of the Jelly Sandwiches”, named after the time they boiled a man all night in the book “Shogun” and called it the “Night of the Screams”. It was when my sister Iris took me out on her boat when I was about 11 and the lunch she packed was jelly sandwiches on packaged rye bread, not peanut butter and jelly or cream cheese and jelly, but just JELLY. I know it was a Tuesday because I remember crying out to her in dismay “You know I always take a hot lunch on Tuesday!”.

I have to pull myself together, I’m getting all upset again. I hate reliving that because I love my sister Iris and I want to remember the good things about her rather than dwelling on that dark day.

Then there’s the time dave and I took my niece Stephanie out for a Japanese meal that she considered below par and as we dropped her off at Grand Central Station, she turned to dave and said “Thanks for the slim pickin’s ”

The land of Japan has cause my family no end of  bitterness. Another time dave, who was always very generous to my family, took Julie out to a really fancy Japanese restaurant that cost a bundle. She was a teenager and not that adventurous an eater so she was forced to tell her uncle that she couldn’t see her way clear in giving him credit for a dinner out because it stunk.

Even this morning my sister, when reminding me of Julie’s disappointment last night was forced to tell me for the 400th time about the time she didn’t fill up on the soup served at a friends house because she considered it an introduction to the main dish but almost cried when she was offered dessert and coffee as her next course.

“Oh the humanity!!!”

Am I getting too intellectual? I know you don’t expect to learn stuff when you read my writings but I can’t keep my brain quiet.

If I can leave you with one thought let it be:

If you should invite me to dinner serve pie in some form and you won’t have to be talked about the next day.


771. Talk about a close call

Last night Liz’s childhood friend, Andrea was visiting with David.

This morning David told me that while she was there the people from the third apartment on the floor came over and invited all of us to a party that they were having the next night, tonight.

David said he wasn’t anxious to go but he might stop by for a drink “to be neighborly” and to ” spread his charm”. I said I had no interest in going mainly because the only contact I’ve ever have with the wife is when she runs screaming down the hall every time she sees me carrying Elvis over to David’s.

That pretty much tabled it until Andrea sent an email to me and David “Anybody feel like going to that party?”

David answered “WTF sure”

I wrote back that I’d be uncomfortable going because they never invited me personally. Andrea wrote back “They definitely did. I saw them knocking on your door but you weren’t home. Anyway they clearly invited me and I’m bringing my two friends.”

My response “I don’t know if I’m going but come on over and you, me and David will have cocktails and we can decide then”

“Okay but if we’ll have to bring wine or something so I can pick it up on my way over”

“Don’t bother, I must have some third rate vino we can bring.” (I’m getting pretty attractive as a guest now huh?)

Then David chimes in that we can’t bring cheap wine because it reflects on him. Like the fact that he calls them Amish when they’re french doesn’t.

There were 6 or 7 more emails on the subject but then we settled on getting together at 6:30.

A little later David called and said he was going to Home Depot, did I want to come with him. I had mentioned earlier that I’d like to go.

“I don’t think so. I was going to take a shower.”

“They aren’t mutually exclusive you know. You could do both”

“Okay I’ll come”

I know this is really boring but hang in there.

At Home Depot I noticed that he was buying  lots of heavy things. “Why didn’t you say you were getting all that. We could have brought a cart.”

“Why do you think I asked you to come with me”

We lug all his shit home and as we get off the elevator at our floor we see the woman from the party apartment and we give her a very friendly wave.

She walks over and says “I hope my husband told you. We’re having some friends over tonight and I hope we don’t disturb you.”

“No problem, no problem” we both mumble and close David’s door behind us.

We just stared at each other thinking of their faces when the three of us walked into their sit down dinner, wine in hand, all dressed up.

And just to show that there was no miscommunication, after waiting for our neighbor to go inside I slunk (?)back to my house only to find the following on my door


I was planning on wearing my good black.




770. Happy Muthas Day

The phone rang just now. Caller ID said Bahamas. As you might remember I have a friend in the Bahamas, Captain Hugh.

He watched over our 31 foot sailboat about 15 years ago when we left it in the Bahamas for about a year. When I say watched over I mean he slept on it and entertained his friends in it. He also made sure it was safe from storms and renegades.

He must be in his 80’s or 90’s now and in very poor health but whenever a holiday comes around he calls to say hi and I send him some money via Western Union.

When I picked up the phone I have to admit that my first thought was that it was a member of his family informing me that he had passed on. He had long ago been too weak to travel to Freeport to pick up his money and I had been sending it in care of his nephew for the past 2 or 3 years.

But no it was my  man Hugh in his faint voice wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day.

That guy must have the most detailed calendar around. The fact that I am neither his mother nor a mother at all didn’t phase him a bit. I even expect to hear from him on National Soup Day.

Now to be fair dave got custody of the boat in the divorce. Doesn’t it stand to reason that he should get Captain Hugh too? That wouldn’t be in the Captain’s best interest though. When dave lived here, if he answered the phone when Hugh called and wished him a Merry Christmas or a Happy Groundhog day, dave would just give him a “back atcha” and hang up. He’d have to call 2 or 3 times until he got me and I’d ask how he’s doing (not so good Mattie) and could I send him something? ( That would be nice).

Fuck dave, Captain Hugh is mine and will remain mine.

My sister slept over last night because Violet was in a talent show.

Every time I spend time with someone who still has their husband I realize that being alone isn’t the worst thing in the world.

My phone is always on speaker so when my brother in law Paul made his morning call to Marcia I couldn’t help but hear.

His opening line was “You know how much I love my morning oatmeal”.

A look of concern came over her face because clearly she did. “What happened?”

I made the God damn oatmeal and I added all the stuff , raisins, sunflower seeds, applesauce but when I sat down to eat it it tasted like shit.

Somebody put fuckin’ peas in the bag of fuckin’ sunflower seeds. I had peas in my oatmeal.

Even when I liked dave I don’t think this would have gotten any more of a reaction from me than “So eat a bagel”

But not my sister who is the sweetest person in the family (which may be why she’s still married) .

She said “Honey, you’re so tired (remember they just got a puppy who keeps them up at night) or you’d never have thought that peas were sunflower seeds. My brother in law who’s kind of a hot head even when he’s not sleep deprived shouted “They’re both green!”

This went on for a little while longer while Paul tried to blame Marcia for the mishap since she bought the peas but I lost interest.

I just felt so happy that I only had myself to worry about now.

Gotta go, I just saw Elvis looking out the window. I think he may be depressed.

769. Intellectual pursuits, that’s my forte.

David is always sending out group emails to me and all his right wing whacko friends.  They consist of either racially insensitive jokes or some “absolute proof” that President Obama is solely responsible for the downfall of the economy. Come to think of it the two are usually one and the same.

There’s always some feedback from his nitwits. I used to respond but since my arguments were never greeted with anything but insults now the most I do is put down their mothers or tell them to shut their pie holes.

Last night David and I were having cocktails when I referred to an email that Liz had sent us with an article from the New York Times or as David refers to it “The Communist Manifesto” , declaring that the issue of human-induced climate change had “moved firmly into
the present,” a major study found that water shortages, torrential rains, heat waves and wildfires were worsening.

“How come you didn’t send that information around to your dopes?”

“Because there is no proof that global warming exists.”

“Do you want to know why you’re stupid, David?” I didn’t wait for an answer because why wouldn’t he want that information? “Because you are closed minded. You never openself to the opposing point of view so you’ll never grow”

Do I know how to get under his skin or do I know how to get under his skin? But that didn’t stop him from responding.

“I don’t open my mind to your point of view because you get your information…. hell I don’t know where you get your information. I’ve never seen you read anything but “People”. Did one of the Kardashians tell you that global warming is a fact?”

I was able to counter his assault with the time honored “Sticks and stones” thing.

It was about 7:30 by then so he responded with “Do you want go to that italian restaurant that Graham and I went to the other night?”


768. Gwyneth, I feel for you. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea either.

Since I’ve been on Yahoo Travel more people are following my blog.

Every day I get an email or two saying someone else will be notified each time I post. These emails scare the shit out of me. I am never happy when one comes.

When I first started my blog the only people that read it knew me. After awhile my niece Julie Klam who has a huge following tweeted about me and I got more followers, all of them loved Julie and therefore looked kindly on me. The same thing happened when Tammy Gordon from AARP noticed me and told her followers about it. They were people in the same place in life as I was and they too were encouraging. After Gail Dosik AKA @thetoughcookie came upon me, I think from Julie, I got loads of people who bake in my corner. You can’t be a baker and be a meanie.

I know this is boring but bear with me.

Now these people who think I’m a world traveler are reading my stuff and they expect me to have something valuable to say.  You people who have been with me for a long time know the lame crap I can go on and on about. They are bound to be disappointed and when they are disappointed they can get mean.

Julie told me not to read the comments on my Yahoo Travel piece. I made the mistake of ignoring her, something I won’t do again. One person said I got dumped because I’m dumpy. Another called me an ugly American. Listen, I never pretended I was comfortable in foreign lands. I’m a person who loves the familiar but I’m excited that I’ve gotten so much braver since I’m on my own and I’m pushing myself in ways that I never thought I could and yes, no one could ever mistake me for anyone but an American, to be more specific a New Yorker.

It’s been three years since I stood at my stove making my husband dave eggs when he shocked me by saying I’m in love with a Japanese woman”.

I thought my life was over then. I’m surprised that that wasn’t the case. In fact it’s been better than ever, certainly more exciting, and I have this blog to thank.

Here’s something that will enrage all the people that love me. Even after three years when I finish a post I always hope that dave will read it. At first so he knew how much he hurt me and now so he knows how well I’m doing.

Also I want him to go fuck himself.

767. Neither rain, nor sleet ……

I don’t think anyone loves email more than I do. In fact I love all mail and all phone calls.

I’m obviously in the minority. With caller ID everyone I know only answers calls from people they know. I would never do that.

In fact there is a Chinese restaurant in Spanish Harlem that has almost the same number that I have and I get at least 2 calls a night, sometimes really late, asking for delivery. I never fail to answer and tell them to dial again.

dave used to try and talk me into taking their order.  Only a real prick who prefers drinking to eating would do something like that. Just the thought of Maria Lopez waiting for moo shu chicken that was never going to come makes me want to break out into sobs.

And when all of AOL was getting spammed I was delighted to see that I had over 37 emails every morning. I used every self control muscle I have to keep from finding out if Viagra really is cheaper in Canada.

I’ve always been this way. I remember when I was a little girl my mother, never one to watch her words, told me I had a letter in the box. I ran to the mailbox. I was so excited because I thought I had mail when all I had was my pants sticking up my ass.

Now why am I going on about all this? When I sat down I planned on discussing the economy.

I guess that will have to be for another day. I’ll keep you posted.