783. In Vino Hottus Under the Collarus

So I get into bed last night. Ray jumps in before me and spreads out in the only place that will make it impossible for me to lie down in one piece.

I start mumbling to myself something about having rights too when I have one of my epiphanies.

I could ask him to move. In fact he’s a little dog. I could move him.

So I picked him up and put him over to the other side of the bed while explaining the concept of coexistence, something that he obviously flatly refused to embrace because he just went back to his original space.

You know it’s very comfortable sleeping across the top of the bed where the pillows usually go.

If you people have ever read my niece Julie’s book “Please Excuse My Daughter” (and if you haven’t go right out and get it because it’s a laugh riot) you know about the unfortunate relationship she had with an ex con (nothing violent, just a bank robber) who took her for thousands of dollars.

I say “took her” when in fact she lent it to him to rescue a member of his family or something. Considering the fact that in her early twenties she and I spent years playing cards and watching “Judge Judy” I can’t tell you how disappointed I was in her for being so stupid.

But I digress. Every once in awhile she must regret both her dopiness and the loss of money that she could really use now. I was proven right when she called me the other night at about 8 p.m.

It seems that Violet was visiting her father and Julie was working on her new book while  sipping wine (I’m guessing) when she too got an epiphany (we get a lot of them in our family).

I answer the phone, no hello, no nothing, “I have a plan”

“And it is?”

“Let’s go to Brooklyn and get my money back from that fucker”

“Sounds good, when?”


“I like it but maybe tomorrow would be better”

“Right, bye”


When I spoke to her the next morning she wasn’t sure of the details but she did recall phoning her friend Jancee when I didn’t deliver.

When Jancee saw Julie’s name on the caller id she was alarmed.

“Are you alright?”

“Sure, why?”

“It’s 8 o’clock”

Jancee is a very close friend and she knew Julie’s limits. When Jancee worked for Rolling Stone she’d hire Julie to interview celebrities but it had to be before her, Julie’s, bedtime or else she’d go in her pajamas with a coat over them.

The point of this story?

I can’t imagine how much wine I’d have to drink before I’d call my Aunt Iola to include her in rounding up a posse.

782. The geography of sweetness

I think that I only really understand people from New York. Not just Jews because an Irish guy from the Bronx is more familiar to me than a Rabbi from Oklahoma. Are there Rabbis in Oklahoma?

Anyway that could be one reason why I didn’t see my marriage breaking up. dave was from Kentucky and you know how wily people from Kentucky are.

I had an interesting evening yesterday.

David’s son Graham is moving to Atlanta. I had offered to drive him and his father and Graham’s clothes up to Connecticut since he would be renting a van from there to make the drive to his new home.

The plan was that we would all go up and have dinner with their longtime friends, Donna and Robert then David and I would drive home without Graham.

But as luck would have it, David called and said he would take the train because as usual he was in “deep shit” at work and he had to straighten it out before he could leave.

When I heard that I realized that he wouldn’t be coming up until late and I’d have to drive home in the dark so I decided to drop Graham off and get out before David got there because he’d never let me leave at a reasonable hour.

But first we, Graham, Donna And Robert and I sat down on their patio and enjoyed a glass of wine.

Let me describe Donna and Robert. They are both extremely good looking people and they appear to be very well suited even though they couldn’t be more different.

Donna is from Atlanta. She’s very pretty and she’s very tiny and never stops moving. She talks very fast and seems to skip from one subject to another without a pause. Here’s something I’ve never said about a grown woman. She’s so cute and not in a yucky way. I kept wanting to hug her.

Now because I know about her from David I don’t just dismiss her as a sweet southern belle. The woman has a mind like a steel trap. She’s a brilliant business woman who does something with money or futures or pork bellies.

Her husband, who is also a looker, just sat there smiling fondly while she talked. He’s a minister and couldn’t be calmer if he had just downed six valium. I don’t know where he’s from but I would guess another land other than NYC.

Donna was telling us that her mother, who lives in Atlanta, is moving from her huge home to transitional living and she had been down there helping her dispose of the things she wouldn’t be taking with her.

“She wants me to have some of her things. It’s very important to her. She particularly wants me to take her sideboard. I like my sideboard better but I don’t want to hurt her so I’m going to take it.”

“No problem” I say  “Just shove it in the garage”

“Oh I couldn’t do that. She’d be devastated if she came here and saw that I wasn’t using it. What I’m planning to do is put my sideboard in storage and use her sideboard until she dies and then take my sideboard back. Do you think that’s too mean?”

At first I thought she was only kidding. Too mean? Here’s where the geographical disconnect is and it starts with the term “too mean”.

“How is that mean?”

“Well I’d be deceiving her”

“So? Let me give you an example of too mean. If someone cuts in line in front of me at Whole Foods and I pull out  a shiv, though my reaction is warranted, some might say it’s an over reaction and if I actually cut the person others might consider it too mean.”

From the looks on their faces I could see that they weren’t getting me any more than I was getting them.

I left soon after and didn’t feel comfortable until I got on the FDR Drive and someone gave me the finger for not changing lanes fast enough.

781. Dog Day Afternoon

My most recent anxiety stemmed from whether Raymond will get along with Stephanie’s dogs.

I had a few clues that that wouldn’t be the case because when I walk him and another dog passes he flies through the air snarling at that dog. Only the leash keeps him from doing twenty to life.

Another thing about going to Steph’s is that Ray doesn’t particularly like me. Maybe that’s a bit too strong. He doesn’t dislike me, I’m just not number one on his list. I’m afraid that if I let him out at her house he won’t come back to me.

It wasn’t a promising start. When we got to the garage he didn’t want to get in the car and he cried the whole way up.

I was talking to my sister telling her that he doesn’t seem like a happy dog. I feel like he’s always waiting for me to take him home. I was a case worker in the South Bronx for many years and I know that even kids that were ignored or abused still preferred their own homes to the best foster care.

Marcia said maybe I just got a dog that keeps muttering “Woe is me”. That just could be his way.

I just wanted him to bond to me.

We got to Steph’s and I let him out of the car. I could go over how the dogs sniffed each other and even growled but eventually played together and it’s true but I don’t want to get another comment from David saying how boring I’m getting.

I will say this though. When it was time to leave Raymond ran ahead of me and jumped in the car.

I guess he knows I’m his after all.

780. Kind of Blue

Being a single mother isn’t easy. If I had a husband like that Duggar dame I wouldn’t complain about having too many kids but me alone and with 2 different species, that’s no picnic.

One guy wants to get on the bed, the other guy says something to the tune of “Try it and you’ll have only one buggy eye instead of two”.

They eventually both do hop up but they stay as far from each other as possible. Oh why can’t they act like brothers???


In addition to this I’m a working mother. At twenty five cents a word I’ve got to spit out the equivalent word count of the Declaration of Independence once a month just to afford the band aids that I have to put on number one son’s emphasis points on my arms.

Today I sent in my first payment request. It  came back 3 times. I’m beginning to think it’s some kind of scam.

Now that I think of it, I’ve never been to a Yahoo. Do I know for a fact that there’s really any such thing? Just askin’

It finally went through. Maybe Yahoo does exist.

Last night I had sleep over company. Julie and Violet and Violet’s friend Janelle were my guests.

While we awaited Janelle’s arrival I noticed that Violet had brought her record player and LP’s with her.

All I gotta say is that when I was 10 the only music I listened to was the music of the day, Frankie Avalon, Elvis etc.

I know that Violet marches to her own drummer but I figured the chance of two of them being that odd were almost nil so in an effort to save her from some heartbreak,  I posed the following:

“Say Vi, do you think that Janelle will enjoy listening to Miles and Thelonious Monk?”

She didn’t even look up. “She will by the end of the visit.”

I was wondering if I was ever that confident. I was never a trend setter. I always wanted to fit in.

I still remember when I was in the sixth grade and my friend and I got the same shirts. My friend was built like Bridget Bardot and I was still wearing undershirts in the shape of bras.

Luckily I had sisters. They advised me to pick another girl to twin up with if I was going out in public.

I know you think that was harsh but though I may have been a joiner  I was also smart. I immediately saw the reality in that and never wore that shirt again.

In case you’re interested both girls were listening to Monk and Miles well into the night.

Never in a million years would I have hung out with those two dorks when I was their age.


779 Gratitude thy name ain’t Raymond

I know I said I got a dog for Elvis and I did. But I got it for me too.

When I first brought Raymond home he , like his brother, Elvis, acted like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.

Let me tell you this, after living here for 3 days I’ve found out that it would. Another thing that would melt in his mouth is the parmesan cheese that was in my bag of groceries that I carelessly  left by the door.

It’s still usable though. I’ll put it out for cocktails and say that really good parmesan cheese frequently has what appears like (but isn’t) tooth marks.

Here’s another unbearable thing about Ray. HE ADORES DAVID.

This morning I was taking him out and he ran to David and Liz’ door and started crying. He only met them last night. What’s the big draw?

It’s not like David is even nice to him. He calls him Colonel Parker, not Raymond because he thinks it goes better with Elvis. How is this fair? Did David save him from the chair? Does David sleep sideways in his bed so Ray can stretch out? I think you all  know the answer to that.

David hugging Ray

Speaking of Elvis, he’s sleep deprived because he has to make sure that Ray doesn’t touch any of his stuff. Sometimes I see him sitting up with his eyes closed.

Back to David and Ray. To add insult to injury, when David isn’t there Ray sits in his chair.

leather chair ray

778. I have an announcement…TA-Dum

You all know how I have been trying to decide whether to get another cat to keep Elvis company.

I’ve been back and forth on this. I feel that Elvis is bored. He needs someone of his own.

That is why I am announcing now that I have gotten Elvis a dog.

He is an 11 year old boston terrier who was on death row. He had no time left so I spoke to Elvis.

“Look E, I know this isn’t perfect. He can’t meow and leap as beautifully as you but he’s company and because we are saving him he should be grateful and do what you tell him to.”

I think he nodded

He was rescued by my niece Julie. She brought him home but her dogs attacked him so I took him to my house.  I call him “Him” because I’m having a bit of trouble choosing a name.

I originally decided on Raymond but one of my doormen is named Raymond and I think he may not like that.

I was thinking of Jake but it doesn’t sit well, neither does Dylan, even though he’s my next favorite singer.

My nephew Brian, who has given horrible names to every animal in the family,has chosen Charney who were friends that my parents insisted on inviting whenever we visited them in Florida.

The truth is that whatever I name him, Brian will call him Charney because he’s very persistent and continues to call my sister’s dog Sally, Meriweather because that’s the name he had chosen for her.

I kind of like Larry but I keep going back to Ray. I guess Raymond is it. I can call him Charney whenever I’m around my doorman.

Let me tell you a few things about Ray. He’s housebroken, he’s sweet,he sleeps under the covers and he gives Elvis a wide  berth so there is no possibility of conflict.

Elvis, on the other hand, seems to love him. He stares at him all the time and keeps going closer and closer to him, something that Ray tries very hard to ignore.

Even though I’ve had him for 2 days I wasn’t going to say anything in case I panicked which was very likely. I am after all crazy and I don’t know how to not let an animal take over my life but the choice is no longer mine. He’s my dog as well as Elvis’. So as soon as the rescue people say it’s okay his last name will be Matthews


ray chairray:elvis

777.Elvis is not a nice cat.

Well I’m almost ready to leave Elvis alone overnight again since I’m going to Montauk.

I have arranged for my super’s son to come in tonight and tomorrow morning. After I spoke to him yesterday, his name is Anthony, and he’s the sweetest kid I ever met, he comforted me by saying he wouldn’t just feed Elvis, he’d hang with him.

Elvis being very social will appreciate that.

To show my gratitude I assured Anthony that if he wants to bring his girlfriend with him and smoke pot and drink that would be A-OK with me.

I’m sure he won’t be having sex because he’s 17 and that’s way too young to think about that.

I slept easy last night knowing that I had set up everything to perfection. Even if Anthony lets me down, which he won’t, I’ve left enough food and water around for a week.

I had the feeling that Elvis knew I was leaving though. He’s been giving me the side eye all morning and now he’s pretending to be asleep but I know he’s just planning a way to fuck up my trip. He’ll vomit or say “Meow” or something.

I just can’t get a break.

776. The rich really do fart through silk

The other day I went to the memorial service for Liz’s father, Dr. Thomas Rees M.D.

Dr Tom was a force to be reckoned with. He was not only a brilliant plastic surgeon to regular people, really famous celebrities and politicians but as a young man he was in Africa on vacation, helped a Masai Warrior who was gored by a rhino and with two friends started the Flying Doctors bringing medical care to people who had never seen a doctor.

As a result of that the charity, AMREF exists today carrying on that wonderful work. It was truly inspiring hearing speakers who had been close to him and his wife, Nan, talk about how impressive he was as a man. I should add that Dr Tom and I were thick as thieves. He even slept at my house.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to discuss the Metropolitan Club where the memorial took place.

When you go to their website and click on “History”, the story starts with:
On the evening of February 20, 1891, a group of distinguished gentlemen, prominent in the civic, commercial, financial, and social life of the City gathered together for an important purpose at the invitation of William Watts Sherman at the Knickerbocker Club – then at 319 Fifth Avenue, the northeast corner of 32nd Street. At this dinner were present Messrs. Samuel D. Babcock, George S. Bowdoin, Robert Goelet, George G. Haven, H. A. C. Tylor, William K. Vanderbilt, and William C. Whitney.

After dinner they were joined by Messrs. John L. Cadwalader, Charles Lanier, Cornelius Vanderbilt, James M. Waterbury, and proxies were on hand from the Messrs. Ogden Goelet, Louis L. Lorillard, J. Pierpont Morgan, James A. Roosevelt and Frank K. Sturgis. A meeting ensued at which the Articles of Affiliation were signed and the first officers duly elected, and The Metropolitan Club was formed – with J. Pierpont Morgan becoming the first President.

See any Goldbergs there?. No.

Which is why I spent a great deal of time selecting my outfit for this. Since I knew I’d have to “represent” I threw on my mother’s diamond earrings and other stuff thinking that they were sure to impress.

I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent here. During my songwriting days, my co writer, Terry Silverlight and I wrote several what I thought were really good country songs. We sent them out to a load of Nashville people and nothing happened . The only singers who bought and recorded them were Japanese.

Then I started thinking that when I watch English TV shows that have an Englishman playing an American, it never sounds quite right which is probably why Travis Tritt didn’t like “The Girl In My Song” or “Last Call”

What I’m trying to say is that at that fancy ass club I was the only one dripping in diamonds and those women were really rich.

What that place lacked in jewelry it made up in snazz. Now this surprised me because through Liz I’ve been exposed to a lot of high toned places and was always surprised at how crappy they were.

When Liz took me to the beach club in Quogue I was shocked that it looked like the rec room in Camp Highmount whereas my parents beach club had fountains and sconces up the ass.

Not so this place. My man J.Pierpont knew how to load on the glitz. Except for when my nephew Matt took me to the White House I never saw a more ornate and beautiful setting and  the White House paled next to this.

I’m thinking that if Julie decides to give Violet a Bat Mitzvah, this might be  a nice place to plan the shindig after the service at the shul.

Of course you have to know someone who’s a member but that shouldn’t be a problem. I took names the other day and sidled up to a few of them  bigwigs and made their acquaintance. I’m thinking that when I call them on the horn and invite them to put on the feedbag ON ME they’ll be sure to grease the path to my family throwing a little business their way.

After all “Money Talks” as they say.