10017. My family is better than yours. No offense meant.

Yesterday Julie and I visited our cousin Barbara.

She’s really sad because her husband of a thousand years passed away recently.

Aside from being a great guy, a great husband, father, grandfather etc he was a really big deal.

I think you should look at this article from the Hollywood Reporter to see just how big a deal he was:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/philip-gips-designer-posters-alien-rosemarys-baby-downhill-racer-was-88-1245558

As any of you who have followed me here or on Facebook notice, I haven’t mentioned Phil until his passing.

I have however talked about my cousin Barbara who wrote the now iconic phrase, “In space no one can hear you scream”  incessantly.  Sometimes praising her and sometimes taking credit for her genius.

Here is the poster designed by Phil with Barbara’s immortal words on it

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For example I think she mentioned to me that she had written a phrase for the movie “Alien” that went  “In space it’s really quiet. Like no noise.”

I’m pretty sure I answered “Yeah, in space no one even can hear you scream”.

It went something like that I think.

Now if you looked at that Hollywood Reporter thing, (and I hope you did because you ain’t paying for this so if I ask you to do something you really should ) and if you’re wondering why I didn’t mention Phil more than I did it’s simply this.

Phil, though very much loved and made me laugh a million times. He once said that he had a walk in closet if you didn’t mind standing on shoes and getting hit in the head with hangers, he was not related to me by blood. Ergo he couldn’t give me a kidney.

My cousin Barbara, on the other hand, has offered me body parts many times through the years.

Hence I keep her in the loop.

I have to say that even though her health isn’t what it was and she’s really sad about losing Phil she is still one of the lucky ones.

She has loads of devoted children, grandchildren and a wonderful sister and nieces and nephews and cousins who adore her.

It was so great seeing her yesterday. She loves to laugh and we have so many people in common that we can trash together.

Oh I forgot to discuss with her our mother’s friend Dora who got caught stealing a can of tuna from Shopwell.

Next time.

 

1016. My country and my TV tis of thee.

To the shame and amusement of my family and friends I never miss a Bravo show.

They laughed on the other sides of their faces when Julie wrote her book on celebrity and she had to come to me for a description of some of the seamier reality shows so she could include them.

Well I’m watching something now that has left me without breath.  It’s Ken Burns’ epic on country music.

So much of it is important. A million thoughts are going through my head and in no particular order I’ll tell you some of them.

I have been following Rosanne Cash on Twitter. I’m even not talking about her music, I so love the things she cares about.

I’ve been a Johnny Cash fan for almost ever. I learned something so great about him in this series.

He was a man of conscience.  He hated the way Native Americans and other downtrodden groups were treated and worked hard to fight this.

He would be so proud of his daughter.

He loved all kinds of music. He and Bob Dylan were friends. To say I love Dylan would be an understatement but when he was included  in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame I thought it was ridiculous.

Seeing him included in this documentary makes so much more sense.

I’m at the period of 1968 to 1972 which is bringing to mind the Viet Nam war and the disparagement between my generation and the generation in power.

I couldn’t help but remember the feelings of togetherness at being surrounded by so many like minded people in Bryant Park.

Or the terror of standing with a huge line of policemen on horseback facing me in Central Park.   It was right after Kent State and any security of knowing I was on “God’s side” was crushed by the memory of that.

It brings to mind Greta Thunberg’s activism and the others who are demanding control of our planet and our guns..

Once again the youth is here to bring sanity to what is insane.  The millions of young people showing up to demonstrate that they will pick up the banners that we’ve dropped.

All I can say is thank you.

 

 

 

 

1015. How to select, feed and train your pet.

As many of you know (since I’ve been whining about it for 5 years) I am divorced, dropped like a hot potato, at liberty.

Although my finances are not terrible, they are not what they once were.

It is for that reason I’ve decided to go into my second act so to speak and add to the coffers.

What to do? What to do?

First where do my talents lie?

When I was a social worker in the South Bronx I once tap danced from the Intake section back to my desk to raves from my fellow workers. It’s been awhile but I could brush up on that.

Singing? I could do that but I think the kids are into the rap so a hit record would be really hard since I mostly know celtic dirges. I do yodel though so I’ll keep that on the back burner.

Then I thought “Hey my niece Julie Klam has made quite a name for herself writing dog books, “You Had Me At Woof” etc.” and it hit me.

I can train dogs.

I know I have a knack for that and who’s to say that I couldn’t follow it up with a book or a video??

So my dear readers here are a few of the tips that I’ve picked up in owning many dogs and one cat some of which will be included in my teachings.

I had some birds too but one of them fell in the bathtub so I think the less said about that well…

  1. SELECTION

Get a pet that isn’t passive. You know one with a backbone.

I have found that saving them from being bullied can be embarrassing to the pet and yourself.

squish

disrespect

What you want is a pet that is assertive . One with chutzpah.

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My dog Debby showed the Super who’s boss while he fixed our sink.

 

2. STYLE

I’ve always found that if your pet is stylish the world is his/hers.

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3. BATHING

I’ve heard many people complain that it’s difficult to wash cats.  That may be true in the olden days but now we have modern conveniences,

dishwasher

Just remember to click on light wash.

4. INTELLIGENCE

There are animals that are more intelligent than others.  For example did you know that many cats can read?

computer

5 RELIGION

I’ve found that giving your pet a strong religious background can definitely be a plus.

yarmulke

I’m Jewish but you are free to raise your pet to follow whatever God you pray to.

5. EXCERCISE

Say you don’t feel like going out yet your dog looks at you like “Hey I need some sunshine”

I find that finding a sunny spot where they can get a tan and do some calisthenics can get them off your back.

stretch

6. FEEDING

They will let you know when they are hungry…

ray lunch

and if they are pleased or displeased with what you’re serving them.

mad dog

Dogs aren’t stupid. Give’m a bit of leeway and you’ll find that they can fend for themselves.

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To sum it all up. With a little thought and discipline you’ll end up with great watch dogs.

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See how good these two watch?

1014. Remember when I used to have a good personality?

Well I don’t any more.

I haven’t written for my blog for a long time because every time I try to I fall asleep because I’m so boring.

And it’s not because I haven’t been doing stuff.

Since I last wrote I went to Italy with my sister, had a shitload of visitors and worked on my tap dancing program for Thanksgiving.

The last  one  is a lie but see how desperate I am to sound interesting?

First my trip to Italy.

It was good (See?)

The most glaring thing about it was when I looked at my pictures It became clear that I have totally given up.

Here is a picture of my sister Marcia.

Every day she had on another matching beautiful outfit. Even her jewelry matched.

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Here I am on that very same day getting ready to share the fun with her.

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If you’re wondering where I got that gorgeous dress (I like to call it a dress) you can look on the animal rescue web site.  The cost barely crosses double digits.

I had some very famous visitors too.

Carmon and Kathy Deleone spent a long weekend with me. He is the conductor of the Cincinnati Ballet Company.

I’d like to note that he at least seems to know my worth as you’ll see what he wrote to me in the copy of the painting that hangs in the Music Hall in Cincinnati.

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Shit it came out backwards. See I’m not lyin’.  I’m a waste of space

They even took me to see “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” on Broadway. That made me happy.

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But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Carmon, or Maestro, as he likes to be called, is a little on the selfish side. I guess fancy people don’t need to share.

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I think I’ll include a picture of my dog helping the guys in my building take out some old chairs.  I already put it on Facebook but hey I’m running on empty.

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Talk to you later.

1013 I used to think I was “woke” but I realize at 75 that I wasn’t and I’m probably still not.

I marched in the 60’s

I went to The High School of Music and Art, an extremely liberal high school and the first time I went to school with students of color.

As a New Yorker I was shocked at the racism casually occurring in Tampa in my freshman year there.

I worked for the Department of Social Services for 10 years and used to proudly say that I didn’t see color when I was there.

If I was a little more sensitive I would have picked up on the fact that though I considered myself “color blind” that wasn’t true of my black friends. One of whom at my engagement party remarked that “You Jews always stick together” when she saw me give my ex roommate Marlene a rye bread to take home. I just thought she was drunk.

When I stood on line at countless demonstrations to demand the end of the Viet Nam war and racial equality I equated the latter injustice to southern police with riot sticks and snarling dogs.

Two things have made me alert to how naive I was.

One was smart phones.

The other was Michelle Obama’s book.

With people photographing and putting on the internet the gross and small indignity that people of color suffered in their every day lives for the first time I saw things that I didn’t realize were happening.

And to my shock it wasn’t only in the stupid south it was here in my wonderful New York City.

I am one of 4 daughters, I adored my sisters.

When I’d try to say how I envisioned myself it it was as one of the sisters first, a New Yorker second and maybe a Jew.

Being white never even  made the list.

You see when I walked into a place no one said “I won’t follow you to make sure you belong here because you’re white.”

Or “Of course you can live in this neighborhood or buy this very expensive dress because I’m sure you have the money since you’re white

Even if you’re rich and famous and black this vulnerability is something you carry with you.

I watched “Comedians in Cars Drinking Coffee” and when a police car turned on it’s siren telling Jerry Seinfeld to pull over, he was annoyed. His passenger, Chris Rock, seemed way more uncomfortable.

The audio version of Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming” was very kindly given to me by a friend I only know on Facebook. 

I listen to it every time I get in my car.

It’s had a major effect on me. Not just because when she planned her future most of it was aimed at trying to improve the world. That only made me realize what a shit I was. But for the fact that her road had barriers that I actually never realized existed with someone of her obvious talents and worth.

Here was this beautiful, smart woman not quite comfortable when she went to Harvard until she made friends who looked like her.

I’m sure with all she has and would accomplish when she self identified being black was right up there.

I’ve been thinking and thinking about this for quite awhile.

I’ll try to keep thinking about it.

Maybe I’ll be “woke” when I’m 90.

 

112. Sometimes my blogs are boring but this one isn’t.

I got a call from my nephew Yitzhak (nee Eric) in Israel today.

He said “I usually keep up with what you’re doing by your blog but you haven’t been writing lately.”

So we talked about what is going on with our lives.

He told me a very interesting story. Actually a follow up to a story I’ve known for 25 years.

He has 10 children.

When his oldest daughter married a man from Brooklyn things happened and her husband severed her relationship with her family.

Now I must preface this by saying that we have a very close family. That is true with the Israeli family too so you can imagine the grief that my nephew, his wife and the other 9 brothers and sisters felt at being cut off from their sister/daughter.

That is why whenever they came to New York to visit me they tried to see their daughter.

One day Yitzhak was in his hotel room, it must have been Shabbas because during the week he stayed with me, there was a knock on the door. He opened it to 5 strong arm Hasidim (I know to us that sounds like an oxymoron) who pushed him around and told him he no longer has a daughter and to leave her alone and stop trying to contact her.

He was badly shaken up and his other children were horrified and very angry at their sister.

Now let me forward this to 25 years later, now.

Yitzhak’s son, Josh (It might have been Mordecai, I forgot to ask but he lives in London too,) was at a wedding and one of those men was there.

Mordecai/Josh spoke to him and said he would never get to heaven unless he got my nephew’s forgiveness. I, myself, didn’t know that Jews believed in heaven which shows where I stand on the good Jew ladder.

The man said he was very young then and had always been sorry and ashamed at what he had done.  He wanted Yitzhak’s phone number so that he could apologize.

Mordecai/Josh said that’s not good enough. You should face him.

Not too long ago my nephew is in his house when the doorbell rings.  It was the guy.

He said he was coming from some City (I forgot where) and on my way to another place and I made this side trip to Israel (no where near either place) to beg your forgiveness for what I did that night.

Yitzhak’s answer “I forgave you 25 years ago”

There was more talk. Yitz invited him in for coffee. The guy punched him and ran away.

Just kidding. The guy thanked him but said he had to get back to the airport.

Back to the phone call.

I asked him about the elections in Israel and what the story with Netanyahu was.

He said he’s like Trump but he’s done some good things.

He then asked what I thought about Pete Buttigieg.

He said that he was very impressed with him and found him mesmerizing.

Knowing how the Hassidim think about homosexuality, I was really surprised by this answer.

He said “I think he could possibly win. From what I see of all the hates in America homosexuality seems to be becoming much more acceptable.

I said there is a lot more Jew hating here than before.

He said he knows.

Which is why readers I am changing my name to Mary Catherine.

My nephew Yitzhak and 3 of his children. I love them so much.

yitz

 

 

 

 

1011. If you want a job right you must hire the best people

As some of you know I have this house in Montauk New York that I rent out every summer.  dave and I share the expenses and income from it but I do all the work.

Not that I’m patting myself on the back because as you know that’s the last thing I would do.

My niece Laura Rose and her husband Mark went out there a few months ago and told me it really needed some fixing up.

“What?” said I to myself “Mark is just finicky because he has a snow house he rents and he’s thinks he knows stuff”

Montauk has become a happinin’ place. I’ve rented it for the last few years to the same group of young people.

The renter from last year called a few months ago and said she and her friends wanted to rent it again this year so I wasn’t worried.

I had asked the maid who cleaned it at the end of the season what the condition was and she said it looked ok to her so I returned their security and didn’t give it another thought.

About a week ago the renter let me know that they no longer wanted to rent the house.

This was not good.

It meant that the house had to be shown to strangers who might be a little more picky that a bunch of drunk 20 somethings.

I started thinking that I might have to give some credence to what Laura and Mark said about the condition of the house.

So I jumped into action.

I remembered Laura saying that some of the rugs needed to be replaced, many of the curtains were down, there was a sweatshirt used to keep the sun out of one of the bedrooms and the place looked like it needed a little TLC.

I realized that I’d need some muscle.  I myself am weak as a fish. In fact I’m having a cocktail right now and I can barely lift the glass.

I therefore requested the aid of my sister and brother in law.

True they are 81 and 84 but they’re practically hill folk in the strength department.  And if I was going to have to lift beds to put down new rugs well we’d need strength.

IMG_2619

I also decided that bringing Debbie would be counter productive so I hired top grade dog trainers to care for at home.

It was my super’s son who I knew would use the time to train her to be a the obedient show dog I thought I was getting when I got her from the ASPCA.

Here they are training her.

anthony

So we go out there.

The beds were all pushed against the wall so they could make room for the 10,000 blow up beds they’d need.

Forget any curtains and there were wires hanging from the ceiling in the front hall where they had pulled off the smoke alarm. I guess it needed a new battery and that was too much for them to handle.

There were missing lamps and at least one night table was in pieces.

Plus we had no wifi because someone stole the router.

So we had to buy new stuff, lift the beds for the new rugs and move all the furniture where it belonged.

So I got my staff moving.

At one point they said something about wanting naps but I didn’t have a year to fix the place up so I told them they’d get plenty of sleep when they got home.

Unfortunately I didn’t take before pictures but here are a few after shots.

 

 

If you want to hire my staff I’m sure they’re available but if you let them they’ll take a lot of breaks.

 

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1011. You must hire the right people to get a job done well.

As some of you know I have this house in Montauk New York that I rent out every summer.  dave and I share the expenses and income from it but I do all the work.

Not that I’m patting myself on the back because as you know that’s the last thing I would do.

My niece Laura Rose and her husband Mark went out there a few months ago and told me it really needed some fixing up.

“What?” said I to myself “Mark is just finicky because he has a snow house he rents and he’s thinks he knows stuff”

Montauk has become a happinin’ place. I’ve rented it for the last few years to the same group of young people.

The renter from last year called a few months ago and said she and her friends wanted to rent it again this year so I wasn’t worried.

I had asked the maid who cleaned it at the end of the season what the condition was and she said it looked ok to her so I returned their security and didn’t give it another thought.

About a week ago the renter let me know that they no longer wanted to rent the house.

This was not good.

It meant that the house had to be shown to strangers who might be a little more picky that a bunch of drunk 20 somethings.

I started thinking that I might have to give some credence to what Laura and Mark said about the condition of the house.

So I jumped into action.

I remembered Laura saying that some of the rugs needed to be replaced, many of the curtains were down, there was a sweatshirt used to keep the sun out of one of the bedrooms and the place looked like it needed a little TLC.

I realized that I’d need some muscle.  I myself am weak as a fish. In fact I’m having a cocktail right now and I can barely lift the glass.

I therefore requested the aid of my sister and brother in law.

True they are 81 and 84 but they’re practically hill folk in the strength department.  And if I was going to have to lift beds to put down new rugs well we’d need strength.

IMG_2619

I also decided that bringing Debbie would be counter productive so I hired top grade dog trainers to care for at home.

It was my super’s son who I knew would use the time to train her to be a the obedient show dog I thought I was getting when I got her from the ASPCA.

Here they are training her.

anthony

So we go out there.

The beds were all pushed against the wall so they could make room for the 10,000 blow up beds they’d need.

Forget any curtains and there were wires hanging from the ceiling in the front hall where they had pulled off the smoke alarm. I guess it needed a new battery and that was too much for them to handle.

There were missing lamps and at least one night table was in pieces.

Plus we had no wifi because someone stole the router.

So we had to buy new stuff, lift the beds for the new rugs and move all the furniture where it belonged.

So I got my staff moving.

At one point they said something about wanting naps but I didn’t have a year to fix the place up so I told them they’d get plenty of sleep when they got home.

Unfortunately I didn’t take before pictures but here are a few after shots.

 

 

If you want to hire my staff I’m sure they’re available but if you let them they’ll take a lot of breaks.

 

1010. I’ve decided to accept old age.

Here’s the bummer about getting old. You forget things. I was talking to Julie this morning and I couldn’t remember someone’s name or the name of a show I was watching.

It’s been bothering me even though my shrink says it’s normal and I’m only as batty as any other 75 year old person.

Just in case she’s wrong I have been watching Jeopardy every night and doing the New York Times crossword puzzles every day.

I ace the Monday and Tuesday but we shall not speak of Friday or Saturday.

All this in an effort to stretch my brain because I am anxious about this.

The this morning while talking to Julie I had an epiphany. Remember when I used to have a lot of those? Now they’re few and far between.

But here it is….

I’m not a surgeon or an astrophysicist.  Who cares what I say?

With Julie’s approval I’ve decided to chill.

From now on if I can’t think of a word I’ll just insert any word I do think of.

I’m in kind of a hurry now because I have to walk my couch and then I have an appointment with my lipstick.

1009. I know you people look at me as an intellectual icon but…

I was going through my monthly issue of US, you know to keep my toe in on the issues, when something happened that made me realize that you’re going to have to look elsewhere for the up to date news.

There was a picture of Blythe Danner and in parenthesis after her name it said “Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom!”

It was the exclamation point that put me over the edge, like SURPRISE!

So dear readers, now that I’m too old to function properly you’re going to have to do your own political and timely fact finding.

Remember when I used to let you know what a dope potus was and kept you on  point with all the facts I had picked up on Twitter and Facebook?

I don’t trust myself any more. For all I know the guy’s a genius.

My giant brain isn’t the only thing that’s failing.

I picked up Julie and Wisteria to take her home from the Animal Medical Center because I didn’t want her to deal with rush hour traffic.

Wisteria is a miracle dog. Three years ago she was given a few months to live.  Here she is now being beautiful, fat and a champion of chewing.

The doctor was almost crying at how great she looks.

Here also is a picture of her lounging around and looking like a million bucks.

wisteria

Anyway I digress. Driving home at twilight is not as easy as it once was now that I’m 75. I won’t say that Julie was nervous but I thought she was made of stronger stuff.

On the same topic I was talking to my friend Susan and I mentioned that I may have to drive out to my rental house in Montauk to get it ready to show.

I thought it would be great if I could do it in one day. She said she’d love to come with me but added that would mean that I would have to drive at night coming home.

“No problem babe. I can see the road okay and if you’re there to shout at me if anyone wearing dark clothing  walks in front of my car we’ll be solid.”

In other news I’m going to have to get a cloth muzzle for Debbie so when I walk her it will be more difficult for her to bite passersby.

I haven’t told her yet so keep it under your hat.