Category Archives: Life

The Lincoln Tunnel

I don’t use the Lincoln Tunnel on a daily basis, but for those of you who do, this might not surprise you. But believe me, it scared the living beejeebies out of me! Up until “tunnel time,” I was enjoying my day, looking forward to seeing a matinee show on Broadway followed by a four-inch-high pastrami sandwich at my favorite New York City deli.

Normally I have no problem with the tunnel. I’ve passed through it on many other occasions because I love NYC and I visit from PA often. So, on this particular day, I sat chatting with my friend while gazing out the window. I have no idea why I thought looking out the window was a good idea because the only thing you can see is wall–large expanses of wall. Now that’s not so bad if all you see isĀ wall but when you see leaking wall and you’re riding in a tunnel, it’s time to panic!

This is how the conversation inside the car sounded.

“Omigod this tunnel is leaking.”

“Stop smacking me. You want to get me into an accident?”

“In a minute it’s not going to matter because we’ll be crushed by the force of the river.”

My friend glanced over at my side of the tunnel wall. “Omigod the tunnel is leaking.”

“No kidding. Get us out of here.”

“Where do you think I can go? Maybe fly over all these cars?”

I took a moment to look inside some of those cars. No one seemed to be as terror-stricken as we were. Hadn’t they noticed the water? I wanted to scream. Then I looked out the window again to make sure the tunnel wasn’t cracking open. That’s when I saw the man and his mop. A few seconds later, I saw a man with a hose.

It took a minute to sink in, but I finally realized the tunnel was getting a bath.

How irritating! Couldn’t they put up a sign at the entrance telling travelers to expect to see water but to relax, it’s nothing to worry about? I could have had a heart attack. Worse still, my friend could’ve had one, then where would we be? Our car would’ve crashed into the wall of the tunnel and started a real honest-to-goodness leak.

Just think of the horror!

Philadelphia Airport

Have you ever been to the Philadelphia. Airport? It’s huge!

Can you believe I remember when it was a big (as opposed to huge) airport and there were rocking chairs on the roof so you could sit and watch the planes come in and take off? My friends, both guys and girls, would pile into a car, whichever one happened to have enough gas to get us to the airport and back, and when we got there, we’d buy a coke out of the vending machine (cokes came in green glass bottles) and head up to the roof. Summer and spring nights didn’t get much better than a night high up in the sky seeing the planes going and coming.

Another highlight of spending time at the airport–going down to watch the people who had just landed. You could get up close and personal back then. No terrorist threats. We’d try and guess which couples were crazy in love, which ones were married and who was probably coming for a visit.

It doesn’t sound like much, I know, but it was great fun.

Rocking chairs on the roof of the Philadelphia Airport! Can you believe it?

Clippy the Paperclip

Do you remember Clippy?

Jimmy Fallon mentioned him the other night in his monologue. And I got to wondering just when did Clippy disappear from Microsoft Word and from my life. Not that I’m complaining because he was nothing but a distraction.

Every time I started to type a letter, he’d pop up and ask “Do you want to type a letter?” Duh!? I ended up deleting him constantly until I figured out how to make him evaporate permanently. But like many things in life, once they are gone it’s too late to think maybe you sort of miss them–just a little.

Mmm, goodby forever, Clippy.

Croquet, The Wicked Version

For two glorious summers in the early 70s, every time I had a barbeque for friends, we got into the habit of setting up nine wickets and two stakes in my backyard and we played a wicked game of croquet. I say wicked, because that’s the only word I can think of to describe the mayhem. The USCA (United States Croquet Assoc.) would’ve never approved.

The truth is, I had the perfect yard to set up a croquet course. It was long, about 100 feet and about 50 feet wide–perfect for croquet, except for one small detail. Running completely across the width of the yard, was a rolling hill. I’m not too good with measurements, but I’d say it was a foot and a half high.

Trying to get a ball successfully up or down that hill while at the same time trying to aim your ball through a wicket was, as I mentioned, wicked. That first Saturday, when husbands and boyfriends, who were inside playing cards, heard the raucous commotion coming from the backyard and realized at once that the ladies weren’t playing an ordinary game of croquet, they issued the challenge–guys against gals. Once that happened, as you can imagine, the game became even crazier.

Oh, to relive those sunny afternoons when icy beers flowed, and the burgers and hot dogs tasted so, so good.

Dead Body in the Living Room

Mrs. Dollarton’s body was in the living room. She was my friend, or rather, she was my friend Bobby’s mother.

It was the 50s. I used to knock on their door and ask if Bobby was going to come out. On days when he was running an errand, like walking to the grocery store or something, Mrs. Dollarton would stop whatever she was doing and sit with me on the top step of the porch. She talked to me like I was a grown-up. I guess that’s what I liked best of all about her. But she was awfully pretty, too.

Then suddenly she was dead. Her body was laid out in Bobby’s living room. That’s what they did back in the 50s, can you believe it? And I went to see her one last time.

There were so many people milling around. No one noticed me come in and walk up to her casket. I kind-of remember her reddish hair, but time may have skewed my memory. Anyway, I wanted to touch her, but I wasn’t sure if you were allowed, so I just stood and looked at her and wished her alive. I don’t know how long I stared at her, mesmerized how alive she looked, but I knew she would never sit up and smile at me ever again.

I walked back to my house and climbed the stairs to my bedroom. I picked up the pillow on my bed and used it to muffle my hysterical cries.

I don’t remember if I said, “Sorry” to my friend, Bobby.

Eight Of My Favorite Diet Breakfasts

I’ve never been much for eating breakfast. Even as a kid, I could take it or leave it. But all the nutritionists agree, it’s an important meal. So I’ve adapted. I even have a few favorites.

  1. If you’re on-the-go, grab one of those six packs of crackers. I like Lance brand the best and most of them are only 130 calories.
  2. Since summer is right around the corner, I like to eat cantaloupe and cottage cheese.
  3. Any other time of the year, you can eat one of those Cottage Doubles that Breakstone sells in the dairy section of your supermarket. They’re only 100 calories. I spread the mixture on 3 or 4 saltines or graham crackers.
  4. I also like peanut butter and sliced banana on rice cakes or whole wheat toast, but remember if you’re trying to keep your fruit per day down to 2, then a whole banana counts as 2 fruit. Your daily intake is done for the day, but if you like peanuts and bananas, it’s worth it.
  5. 1/2 large bagel (or a small one that you can find in the supermarket freezer) with cream cheese. Go for a little zing and use some fruity cream cheese. I love the strawberry. Plus this is a pretty filling breakfast. Or you can forget the traditional cream cheese and exchange it for a slice of Swiss cheese and warm it in a toaster oven.
  6. Another good idea is to keep frozen fruit in your freezer i.e. blueberries, bing cherries, pineapples. Throw a couple of them into a packet of Instant Quaker Oatmeal, add water and microwave. You’ll be surprised how wonderful oatmeal tastes with plump cherries. Try a different fruit each morning. It’s addictive.
  7. On the weekend, when you have a little more time, spoil yourself and prepare an egg, some turkey sausage and a slice of toast.
  8. My one last suggestion to you is to keep a supply of fresh vegetables in your freezer. They’re every bit as important to have as the fruit. I always have chopped onions, scallions, bell peppers and chives in my freezer. I chop them when I bring them home from the supermarket. The beauty of having them handy is, you can whip up a really great breakfast with them. Scramble 1 large egg and 1 egg white with any or all of the above veggies mentioned. Serve over a toasted English Muffin or bread of your choice. You won’t feel deprived at all.

Each of the breakfasts above can be topped off with a cup of tea or coffee. Personally, I forego fruit juice because I don’t like to drink my calories, but if that’s your passion, go for it. Just remember if you have apple juice in the morning, you can’t have that apple in the afternoon.

The other thing you’ll find missing from my list is cold cereal. That’s because I like all the “wrong” kinds of cereals–all those sugary flakes and stuff like that. My best defense is to leave them on the shelves at the supermarket.

My final word of caution–if you’d prefer to grab a granola bar in the morning, check the calories. Some of them are deadly.

Diet – 2012 New Tricks

The most popular New Year’s Resolution year after year? Try to lose weight.

Here’s the newest suggestion that has come down the pike for the year 2012 and I’m going to give it a whirl since it has to do with carbohydrates. And I love my carbs.

Eat your three meals, as usual, but don’t eat any carbohydrates with your dinner. That means you can eat a sandwich for lunch with actual bread and you can have a slice of toast for breakfast with an egg or two.

At dinner, fill up on proteins and veggies. If you start with a salad or a vegetable beef soup, for instance, you will feel quite full without potatoes, etc. with your main meal.

For your sweet tooth, later in the evening, raid the freezer and munch on a sugarless fudgesicle.

If it’s salt you crave, crank up the microwave and pop a single serving of popcorn. I know technically that’s considered a carbohydrate, but what harm can an itty-bit of popcorn do if it assuages your hunger?

Of course, one of the other ways to lose weight that’s being touted loudly these days is to eat five or six small meals throughout the day. Maybe that works for some people, but personally, that means I’d have to think about food all day long. To tell you the truth, I get busy and forget to eat all those tiny meals, so that doesn’t work for me.

The bottom line–there’s no panacea. It’s still about eating less and exercising more, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try new ways of taking off the weight.

Royal Wedding

She would be so proud.

I wished throughout the entire regal wedding ceremony that Diana could have been there. It was hard not to think about her while watching her two handsome sons do her proud.

Kate was beautiful as she made her entrance and walked down the aisle. One can only hope that she and Prince William will enjoy many happy years together.

Diana, you did a fabulous job making your sons approachable, yet dignified and dedicated individuals. Your legacy lives on.

10 Men I Like — A Lot

I haven’t listed any American presidents, politicians or religious leaders. That’s an entirely different list. My list is random. Although the names are numbered, no ranking is intended.

  1. Prince William – He has done his mother proud.
  2. Anwar Sadat – His death was a tragic loss to his country.
  3. Joseph, Chief of the Nez Perce tribe – His ill-fated retreat of more than 1,000 miles from federal troops is legendary.
  4. Martin Luther King – He had a dream. We’re still working at it.
  5. George Carlin – He’s probably my all-time favorite comedian.
  6. Paul Newman – A good man.
  7. Danny Thomas – He was much more than met the eye. Visit the St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis to see what I mean.
  8. John J. Audubon – I’m a birder, so Audubon makes my list. He spent 50 years painting and describing the birds of America.
  9. Norman Rockwell – He shared the spirit of America through his paintings. I grew up enjoying his artistry on the covers of The Saturday Evening Post.
  10. Thomas Edison – Every time there is a power outage, I wonder what people did before the light bulb.

These are the first ten names that popped into my mind. I probably missed a few of your favorites.

Animal Lover

For years, I used to carry gardening gloves in the trunk of my car, in case I ever had to rescue an injured animal.

Don’t laugh too hard. I knew a fellow who carried a long, heavy rope in his trunk, in case he ever had to rescue someone from drowning.

See–my gardening gloves don’t seem so strange now, do they?

Anyway, as it happens, I have moved a turtle or two out of the middle of the road to safety wearing those gloves. But this is a story about a bird.

Many years ago, I was driving on a narrow two-lane street when a Mourning Dove swooped down and I hit it with my car. It lie limp in the road. I wasn’t sure if it was dead or not.

With tears pouring down my face, I pulled my gloves out of the trunk and had just slipped them on when a man, driving on the opposite side of the road, stopped his car.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“I ran into a bird.”

He laughed hysterically. When he looked at my gloved hands, he sneered, “Are you going to operate?”

Then he drove off.

I couldn’t stop crying. The idea of killing a bird horrified me. I walked over to it. I’m sure it was dead, although people have since informed me that birds go into shock and the dove may have been perfectly okay later. I didn’t believe them then and I don’t believe it now. At any rate, I carried the bird to the side of the road and placed it under a bush.

Over the years, I’ve actually saved a lot of birds who went into shock for one reason or another. They fly through badminton nets and into windows. Birds are simply not always equipped to handle human obstacles.

But no matter how many I’ve rehabilitated, I’ve never been able to forget that poor dove, or that guy’s repulsive, insensitive mocking.