Monday, October 20, 2014

It Is My Sad Duty...

to report the demise of my dear friend, Courtesy. He died after a long and debilitating illness.

This was the scene at the time of Courtesy's demise.
Courtesy passed away at approximately 5:50 P.M. Eastern daylight time, somewhere just outside of Providence, R.I. He breathed his last when a tall young man, standing next to a much shorter, much older woman, watched her struggle getting her luggage into the overhead compartment on an Amtrak train. The young man appeared peeved that the woman wanted one of the few available seats in the car and he was forced to stand so that she could get into her seat. The young man -- old enough to know better -- sat in the aisle seat hoping that he would have two seats and had draped his computer equipment and endless extension cords on the "spare" seat. 
The pain of the incident struck at Courtesy's heart and he breathed his last. I was there with him and I was grateful that I could be there for him, though his condition was beyond any resuscitation. Our beloved Courtesy was gone.
He is survived by his father, The Social Contract and his mother, The Golden Rule. He also leaves a sister, Kindness and a brother, Thoughtfulness. His half-brother, Chivalry, passed away a number of years ago. Courtesy is mourned by millions.
Courtesy, you were quiet and most self-effacing, but you made the world a better place. We will miss you every day.  
In tribute to Courtesy, regular programming is suspended. The world is a sadder place.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pumpkin Time

It's been a great weekend -- time with family, friends, fabulous foliage and beautiful scenery. There will be at least one other post this week with more pictures. This post is all about pumpkins, especially when they're sold in one of the prettiest settings I know, Barrington, Rhode Island. This is the annual pumpkin patch at St. John's Episcopal Church in Barrington.

Overnight the weather has gone from late summer to real Autumn in New England, which means more great foliage ahead. We are meeting family for breakfast in a little while and I'll be on the lookout for more Autumn leaves.

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great Sunday.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy 100th, Mom

I think I've always enjoyed all things historical, even before the first time I heard the word history. I'm not sure when that was, but I probably wasn't even in school yet. My parents liked visiting historic sites and we started with Sunday afternoon car trips in Connecticut. So it's no wonder that I like to write about historic commemorations, whether it's the 350th anniversary of New York last month or the 150th anniversary of the Ringstrasse in my last post.

But this commemoration is intensely personal. My mother's 100th birthday would have been last week on October 11th. My mother will have been gone twenty five years next February, but October 11 is still very special to me. There are things my mother made me do -- go to Hebrew School, wear my braces and get flu shots every year -- and things she encouraged me to do -- say prayers ever night, read for fun and try things even when I was scared to do them. I am grateful for all of these things and a thousand more. Thanks, Mom, and happy birthday. You were the best!

Buttercup and Mom, winter of 1951

I've got some other great pictures of my mother and I hope to start scanning them in as soon as I get my new printer up and going. It arrived yesterday and I unpacked it, but today was too busy to spend the time I needed to get it set up. I've found that doing anything setting up the computer doesn't take twice as long as I thought it would, but three or four times as long. Slowly I seem to be getting where I need to be with my new equipment and I hope to have everything done that I need to do by the end of October. 

I had a terrific time at the 150th anniversary of the Ringstrasse and I will post the photos next week. I leave for Providence tomorrow morning, but I hope to do a few posts with my phone over the weekend. I'm so hoping for some great New England foliage. The leaves here are starting to fall of the trees, but there's not much bright color to be seen. Rhode Island, please don't let me down. 

Busy day today. I had my two-week followup with my coach at the gym, had my hair cut and my nails done and a dozen other little errands. Now I've got to get packing. I leave for the train at 7:30 and my retiree schedule isn't used to early rising. 

As always, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vienna in My Dreams

In what seems like a not quite parallel universe, in seventh grade my favorite subject was social studies. It was a little bit of elementary school and almost high school history. There was some history, some geography, and "current events." We weren't typing essays yet and I got to indulge one of my favorite parts of school, making a scrapbook of pictures. I had no idea that fifty years later we would do this with a computer and call it "blogging."

My big social studies project in 1962 was a study of Austria, with a focus on Vienna. My memory of these projects is somewhat hazy, but I was a great collector of travel brochures and I'm sure there were several visits to one of the big travel agencies in downtown Hartford for brochures. A flurry of construction paper and glue must have followed, as well as sitting at the kitchen table for hours composing the text that would go with the pictures. The project has long vanished and I don't remember the grade I received, but the memory of Vienna has stayed with me.

Vienna of my Dreams, (c) WienTourismus, Christian Stemper

When I looked at this beautiful picture I realized why the memory of Vienna and the desire to visit has stayed with me over fifty years. I haven't made the trip YET, but it's definitely on my "to-see" list. Though it won't take the place of actually seeing and being in Vienna I am delighted to join the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Ringstrasse taking place at Grand Central Station today and tomorrow. The Ringstrasse is the boulevard winding through Vienna lined with palaces, parks, stately buildings and gardens. I'm looking forward to more great photographs, a webcam with the fabulous Cafe Central in Vienna, some Viennese treats and the chance to win a trip to Vienna. I will be back with more pictures to share from my Grand Central Station fun. 

I'm also delighted to let Ida, at Wishes, Dreams and Other Things, know that she is the winner of "Lucky Harbor." Ida, I'll be in touch to get your address and send your book to you. 

I'm off in a little while for my Grand Central Station Vienna adventure and tonight there's a new member dinner at our synagogue. I may try and make it to the gym, too, but that may have to wait until tomorrow. I've got a list of errands before I leave for Providence on Friday morning and a few of them are calling. 

As always, thanks for visiting and enjoy this sweet autumn weather. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Saturday

It's time for this week's Pink Saturday post. While the look is still Pretty-in-Pink, the focus is on a serious topic, Breast Cancer Awareness. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I like to think of this as breast cancer awareness and prayers for a cure month.

During a visit to Macy's last week I found the ultimate Pretty-in-Pink sneakers, complete with pink ribbons. They are part of a collection that benefits Christina Applegate's Right Action for Women. This group helps provide screening assistance to women who are at increased risk for breast cancer.

I loved the look of these running shoes, as well as the knowledge that a donation will be made to a great cause. Alas, they didn't fit my complicated feet. 

Though they are not part of the breast cancer awareness program I liked the look of these sneakers, too. 

Pretty in pink and orange, too.

The high point of this weekend has been seeing Love Letters with Carol Burnett and Brian Dennehy. It was sweet, touching and sad and I enjoyed it a lot. Each month the cast changes and next month Alan Alda and Candice Bergen are featured. I'd love to see how they interpret the parts and will be on the lookout for discount tickets. Yes, I liked it that much. 

   Next month, Alan Alda and Candice Bergen 

Wishing my Canadian friends a very happy Thanksgiving and wishes, too, for everyone in America enjoying a long weekend. 

As always thanks for visiting and take good care.   

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Latte Foodie Friday Meets Random Five Friday

As much as I've been enjoying writing about something foodie on Fridays, I've been missing Random 5 Friday. I really enjoyed the roundup of items on Fridays and especially miss my blogger buddy, Nancy, who hosted it. This week I'm going to do a mix-up of both and start with one of the most talked about autumn foodie items, the pumpkin spice latte.

1) I was walking home last night after seven. It was already dark and it was cold. Actually it was sixty degrees out, but it felt cold, and I was going to pass one of America's most famous coffee shops. I don't think a name is needed. It felt like pumpkin spice latte weather and I had my first one -- maybe last one -- of the season. I know people wait for them and start drinking pumpkin lattes in August, but I'm not ready until a night like last night. My drink was good and the first sip was especially delicious, but at almost five dollars for a small cup (!) my next specialty drink might be a peppermint mocha in December.

1A) I'm actually thinking of saving $5.00 every week I don't have a pumpkin latte/peppermint mocha and buying something special in December. We'll call it the Treat Fund. I've been thinking about a new camera or coffee maker. I'll keep you posted.

2) I've got Bible Study group this afternoon and tonight I have theater tickets to see Carol Burnett and Brian Dennehy. The reviews have been great and I'm so looking forward to it.

3) The next few weeks are busy with long awaited events. Next weekend I will be in Providence for a long scheduled family weekend and just ten days later I'll be joining friends for our annual autumn trip. Last year we were in New Orleans -- what a fabulous time! -- and this year we are visiting Savannah. I've been to Savannah a number of times, but I am always happy for another visit. If anyone is in the Savannah area, please let me know. I would love to try and get together.

4) I'm enjoying my new computer and I'm still amazed that I set it up. Yesterday I bought a printer, which will be delivered next week and an external hard drive. I am going to make every effort to do regular back ups. I did a quick tutorial at the store and I am optimistic that I will be able to do the backup myself.

5) On a different note, one of the groups I work with requires Google Analytics. I installed it, but it's not working right. I've been looking at YouTube videos and reading websites and I still can't get it to work correctly. I'd appreciate any suggestions that might help.

Another autumn in New York picture, Central Park at West 59th Street
As always, thanks for visiting and take good care!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Get by With a Little Help from my (Geek Squad) Friends

I had three goals for the summer. The first was to start physical therapy. Check. The second was to join a gym and get into a good exercise habit. Check. The third was to buy a computer. This last issue put me into a complete tailspin.

Should I buy a PC? Should I buy a Mac? Could I set up the Mac? Could I learn to use it? I went back and forth a thousand times. I visited the Apple store and Best Buy a dozen times. I read articles and talked with friends. Everyone had a different opinion. The more I researched the more confused I became. At the same time my desktop computer was freezing more and more. I knew I had to do something before it crashed completely and I was in a difficult situation of my own making.

Last Friday I walked into Best Buy for the nth time "just to look," and I walked out with a new computer. It's an all-in-one, sort of a combination tablet and pc. It has the capability to be a desktop and it has the capability to be a touch screen. There's still a lot I have to learn, but I am happy to say I am typing this post on my new computer.

I am also working at my dining room table. My new computer just needs WiFi and to be plugged in to an outlet, and with one exception I was able to do the set up. I initially wasn't able to get the keyboard and the mouse working, but after 43 minutes with customer service I was told to go back to the store and make sure there were no problems with the keyboard, mouse or batteries. There was a problem. I had put the batteries into the mouse batteries incorrectly.  But the Geek Squad staff person couldn't have been nicer and the diagram for the battery installation was teeny-tiny. I'm now very happily typing and mousing.

My next goal is to get a new printer and an external hard drive to store my photographs. I plan to do both next week and then I will devote my former computer space to a craft area. It will be great to have a place to make cards that isn't my dining room table. This has been a goal for the last year and I am thrilled to be so close.

I had a lot of plans for today and top of the list was setting up my computer. It took most of the day, but I will move ahead on everything else tomorrow.

As always thanks for visiting and take good care.