Friday, May 12, 2017

really not a good thing

I keep the confidences of my workplace. There are thing that are funny and things that are annoying and people I really enjoy. But we're not supposed to talk about it and I keep that promise.As I may have mentioned, I work in a day center for developmentally disabled adults. It has a lot of up and downs.

Here's a hypothetical from such a workplace: you're a counselor, in a van with 5 or 6 clients, and another counselor is driving. A few minutes into the ride, you notice the driver is texting while driving. You tell him to stop and he does. A few days later, you report this to the manager. You don't like the idea of ratting out this popular counselor, but neither do you want him endangering a van full of clients - or you, for that matter.

The manager asks for a lot of information: the day, time, destination. She promises she will speak to the counselor.

After a few days, it starts to look as if she hasn't spoken to him at all. It would have been clear to him who made the report, but he's friendly as ever to the reporting counselor. Doesn't talk to her about the incident or the report, greets her with the same smile as always. And he continues to drive his morning and afternoon routes and to take clients to activities.

A week later, he's named senior counselor, second in command to the manager. And still driving.

What can be made of this?

Friday, April 21, 2017

my buds

Had a get-together today with this interesting little posse I have, three guys who are in their twenties, my work pals. I don't want to say too much about them, because of what I am going to say, but I can say that we have fun as a group and that each of us has a good one-on-one connection with each of the others.

There is another woman who is also close with them; we were together with the group at someone else's house. I don't invite her to my house because she can be a bitch, which we all know and which isn't the worst thing; but she is the only person in the group who is condescending about my age and tries to make me feel bad about it. That is not my kind of bitch.

Two of the guys have helped me immeasurably by assembling my dinette set and both of my bookcases. They say they like doing it. I thank them profusely anyway. I can assemble fairly easy stuff, but those were a little above my pay grade.

They are all interesting and have some similarities and some differences. Two are ex-Orthodox. Two are ambitious. Two are gay. One is a great teacher. One is a natural businessman. Two keep tropical fish and are really pushing me to get a tank.

One of them said today that this apartment looks just like me, and this really pleases me. I don't even have anything on the walls yet. One of the other ones studied my plants and odd objects closely. One fell in love with my new vintage travel alarm clock. One fell in love with my secretary.

They're all kind of poor fellas (as I would be if I were living on my paycheck), so I don't talk closely about the pricey things, but I do talk about the cheap stuff; the travel alarm clock cost me about $8 or something.

I love my guys. They're sweethearts. They're interesting. They're good company. They're fun friends.

But no fish tank for me. I'm sticking with high-maintenance plants, and I'm naming them. Phoebe and Susan the African violets somehow became Phoebe and Carol. Both doing well - no pix yet.
Bella was just popping a third bloom when I took this (she had two when I got her), and now she's working on her fourth. She and Phoebe and Carol all seem pretty hearty, all popping new blooms.

But Stella and Clara the mini-violets, and Greta the mini-orchid, did not do well when I was away for four days a couple of weeks ago. Stella and Clara lost their blooms, but their leaves still look okay, so I'll keep caring for them. Greta is pot-bound and seems to have some rotting roots, and her stalk died, but I'm going to transplant her and take off the dead or sick stuff, and see if she comes back. She still has some good leaves.

Anyway, they are devoted herbalists, and always get me pretty floaty. Today was no exception.

It's too early to eat, and I'm not level-headed enough to do much housework. Luckily, I did laundry yesterday. I did just do as many of the dishes as I could, and when they dry, I'll do the rest. Dishes really have to be done twice a day, and if I fall behind even once, it sucks. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

book club!

I finally, finally got back to my book club tonight, after something like 4 or 5 months. Amazingly, all eight of us were there (some of the folks travel or live part-time elsewhere).

I was asked to join the club by someone I knew at PPSC; we got to know each other better after I left as Facebook friends, and she invited me to join maybe 9 months ago. They are a fabulous bunch: old lefties, five women and three men, mostly older than I am. They all either work in or retired from helping professions. All of the women wear arty jewelry.

We go to a restaurant once a month and discuss the book a bit, but mostly schmooze. There's a whole procedure in place for choosing the next month's book, and this seems more serious than discussing this month's book. Each person can propose up to two books (one of the men brings something he's written to promote his book choices), and then we can each vote (secret ballot) on two nominated books. One of the other guys always brings slips of paper and golf pencils for the vote. It's kind of cute.

Since we only meet once a month, it's been a little rough for me to keep track of everyone's names, how they're connected, what they do or used to do. I was terrified that I wouldn't remember a thing after all these months, but after a short time, I had all the names. We had been going for a while to a nice Szechuan restaurant on St. Mark's Place (on the site of the renowned Electric Circus, which later on hosted some grungy AA meetings). But that restaurant closed, so we went to Saigon Market tonight.

Everyone was so glad to see me again, which made me really happy, since I'm the new kid. With eight people around a round table, it's impossible to have just one conversation (though we do it for the brief book discussion). Everyone was concerned about my health and wanted to hear about the new apartment. I'm not super-close with anyone yet, although I did ride the subway partway with one woman and we got to have a nice chat. I feel very relaxed with them. It's such a good, good thing in my life.

I've been hella busy. I had been so crazy arranging the furniture delivery times that I thought both pieces were coming Saturday, when in fact they came yesterday. Good thing I had a slow start and hadn't yet gone out on many errands! The coffee table is great, and Lars himself delivered the small dresser. Lars himself is so lovely. He stuck around for a few minutes and admired the progress on the apartment.

Today was the big errand day. I went down near Kings Plaza and went into Gothic Cabinet (just in case they had a floor model of the wooden file cabinet that I love but think is too pricey); then into Bob's and Raymour & Flanagan to look at recliners. I remembered vaguely that I'd seen one I liked at one of those stores when I was pre-shopping. (It may have been in the couple of weeks between signing my lease and my accident.) I remembered it as being yellow and tweedy. Bob's had a lot of those big ugly leather recliners (some had electric up-and-down), and one push recliner that I liked, a nice blue fabric, but the wooden arms had an obvious and ugly veneer,

Then I went into R&F, let a sales guy show me a few recliners, and then I spotted the one I'd seen before - which was not yellow and tweedy, but a nice tan-ish print. And it's a push recliner, and doesn't look like a recliner - it looks like a nice accent chair. I tried it out for back comfort, and pulled the trigger. It will be delivered on Tuesday, Then I went into Kings Plaza, to browse a bit but mostly to pee, then took the bus down Avenue U a bit to check out a plant nursery I'd seen online, Came home with two big African violets, Phoebe and Susan, for five bucks each. Then back on the bus down Avenue U to pick up my prescriptions, then home.

I haven't managed to do much housework except for two loads of laundry, vacuuming the living room, and wet-Swiffering the bathroom. It'll all get done.

Tomorrow I have therapy in the city at 11, and I suspect a stop at Union Square on the way home. Sunday I have a long dental appointment: temporary bridge and I suspect some work on the crown (I never had a crown before, so I'm not sure what that entails). It's supposed to be a beautiful day so I may mosey on down to Coney Island. Monday has nothing scheduled yet, so I expect I'll be cleaning, maybe go to the Botanic Gardens if it's nice out or a movie if it isn't. Don't know yet when the chair will come on Tuesday.

Then back to work Wednesday.

When I came home, there was some sort of candlelight procession half a block from home. I asked one of the candle-carriers what it was for. He said, very seriously, "the resurrection of Christ." That's my reminder to call Mary on Sunday to wish her happy Easter.

Time to see if I have a copy of The Handmaid's Tale and then some TV - probably the new MST3K on Netflix.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

peace

"Peaceful" is a good word for living in my own home. There's quiet if I want it; any noise comes from me or my doings.I'm close to being unpacked but there's still furnishing and decorating to be done.

I was at Jannah's new house this weekend. It's a compact version of her old house, on one floor instead of two. There are still upper and lower outside decks, only now they face a little canal which is shut off one one end and leads to a bay on the other. She brought her furniture and decor, so it has much of the feeling of her old home. It is perfectly lovely and comfortable. Considering that she was in the old house 20+ years and so not a frequent mover, she did a very nice job. I also met a couple of really great women over the weekend, which was a big plus. I need to make new friends as I can.

My bookshelves (one in the bedroom, one in the living room) are assembled and already have books and tchochkes (Yiddish for knick-knacks) on them. Also plants. I decided that since I can't have a pet, I'd get some high-maintenance plants and name them. The two mini-African violets, Clara and Stella, live in the living room. Clara did not do that well over the long weekend; I run the humidifier when I'm home. The mini-orchid, Greta, also did not do well; I suspect she needs to be transplanted. A new full-sized orchid, Bella, joined us yesterday, and she is about to pop a new bloom.She is about the prettiest thing I've ever seen.

Since I get a LOT of dry steam heat here, I bought humidifiers for the bedroom and living room - initially just for me, but both the violets and the orchids like humidity. I've moved my secretary to the living room, since I did not want to have a desk chair in the bedroom. Works better out here, though I still need the desk chair.

I'm adjusting to using my first-ever laptop. I've figured out how to use it as a "media server" so I can watch movies from my hard drive on my smart TV. (The TV is ever-so-smart.) I am much in favor of cord-cutting, and the Sharp/Roku TV has made it much easier. Between wi-fi, Sling TV, Hulu and Netflix, HBO and Showtime, I pay around $100 a month. I have more channels than I can possibly watch, and I watch a lot less TV. There is too much puttering to be done around here.

I am off from work this week and Monday and Tuesday next week for Passover. (The Jewish holidays are one of the best things about my job.) It's ended up being a busy time: I was at Jannah's from Friday night until Tuesday morning (had the first Seder there), went to the second Seder at Elise's on Tuesdays night (wasn't sure I'd be invited since my separation, but I was indeed included). Yesterday, Howard and Tina (my uncle and aunt, who live near Princeton, NJ) came into town, and we had lunch near Union Square (Blue Water Grill - yum!), and walked around the Greenmarket and a few stores nearby. (Got Bella at the Greenmarket.)

Today and tomorrow will involve the last of the unpacking, housecleaning and laundry, getting my hair trimmed and picking up prescriptions, and going down by Kings Plaza to look at recliners in the furniture stores. Tomorrow night is my book club. Saturday I have therapy at noon (my therapist finally has an office in Manhattan - we've been having Skype sessions for months), then I rush home to get furniture deliveries. I have a walnut coffee table coming, and also a lingerie chest from Lars. (Have I mentioned Lars, my wonderful Danish mid-century furniture guy, from Lanoba?) Sunday I have the dentist at 11, and no plans yet for Monday or Tuesday. Probably whatever cleaning I didn't get to, maybe a trip to Doody (home center) for a new pot for Greta, and some orchid soil.



I still have to plug my phone into my laptop to retrieve some photos; I still haven't figured out how to get it done wirelessly.

My dental work is entering the home stretch. I've already gotten two bridges to replace the protruding "vampire teeth" I had in front. Next is a bridge and a crown on the right side of my mouth. Then I'm done. After a number of years with this dentist, he and I are accustomed to each other so I'm not afraid he'll hurt me. I have a sensitive mouth. My mouth will soon be quite nice.

My dad has not been well. He went into kidney failure a number of weeks back. He's home now, but going to dialysis three times a week. He's finally starting to adjust a bit and is no longer exhausted all the time. But he still doesn't want visits. Between the dialysis and dad's new special diet, Mary is running herself ragged...but doesn't want any help. I can only respect their wishes. It's also driving Howard and Tina nuts (Howard is dad's younger brother).

Time to do some dishes and make breakfast. More to come/

Thursday, March 23, 2017

on my own

I respected Barry's wishes not to post anything here or to Facebook until it was a done deal. It's a done deal. We have been separated for a little over a week. The beautiful new apartment is mine, not ours.

I realized about eight months or so ago that I no longer wanted to be married to him, but I was a little too chickenshit to say so to him. So we went to three sessions of marriage counseling with two different counselors. The first counselor was too chatty on our dime, and seemed to be invested in saving the marriage. The second one was really straightforward, asked correct and direct questions, and it was decided.

I was supposed to move a couple of weeks after my accident, but I was laid up for quite a while. I returned after eight weeks, made it through 3-1/2 days, and then spent another two and a half weeks at home and in physical therapy. So I finally moved last Monday,

The sorting and packing was horrendous, but starting to live on my own again was easy. My sophomore year at SUNY-Binghamton, I got my own apartment; I knew after one semester on campus that roommates were not for me.When I moved back from Binghamton in 1980, I lived with my mother and stepfather for a year, then got my own place, then moved in with a boyfriend for about a year. So I mostly lived alone for 20 years, lived with Barry for about 19 years, and here I am by myself again.

It helped that I was moving into a great place: great apartment, great building, great neighborhood. I slept like a baby my first night in my new queen-sized bed, new mattress, new sheets, new comforter and duvet cover. Set up my wi-fi and new TV right away (I bought a smart TV, and am now an official cord-cutter). Everything is basically new except my mother's ancient beat-to-shit cedar chest, which I may sell.

I never bought either of those chairs, but I did buy two identical bookcases (a wood-tone one for the living room, and a blue one for the bedroom), and a TV stand (all yet to be assembled). Real oak shades in the living room windows, and blue vinyl mini-blinds for my bedroom (put up by my outstanding super, Reggie). There's a small trash chute and recycling bins on my floor, and a laundry room on the lobby floor (the laundry machines are quite new and the laundry room, like the lobby and hallways, is spotless).

I also bought an oak secretary and a small teak mirror (both vintage) from my pal Lars at Lenoba.

The kitchen and bathroom are both a little smaller than I like, but the bedroom and the living room are big, and I love the dinette to pieces. And did I mention the five closets? Two huge, two small, and a small linen closet.

Most of the apartments I've had never really felt like a long-time home, so I never really nested. I lived among cartons. I was very afraid that I'd be lazy and live among cartons again, but I'd say I'm about 3/4 unpacked by now. It helps a lot that I had good storage space, that I pared down my belongings before moving, and that I had the money to furnish from scratch. And that I love this apartment and can see staying here for a very long time.

I'm located a block and a half from Kings Highway in Brooklyn, about 3-1/2 blocks from the B/Q station at Kings Highway. It takes me 15-20 minutes to get to work. KH has all kinds of good shopping: greengrocers and delis and Russian gourmet stores, a dry cleaner and a housewares store and a hardware store. Within the ten or so blocks of KH between Ocean Avenue and Coney Island Avenue, there's a TJ Maxx and a few boutiques and shoe stores, a Rite-Aid and a Duane Reade and a Walgreens, numerous banks (including mine), some restaurants (Turkish, Russian, and a Chipotle to boot), two  Dunkin' Donuts and a Starbucks. All that's missing is a supermarket and a movie theater. (The Walgreens used to be the Kingsway Theater; I shop at a good supermarket across the street from my job and have it all delivered.)

I still need two chairs for the living room (I was going to pull the trigger on the first chair in my last post, but it had already sold). I need a microwave stand for the kitchen and a garbage can. I may ditch the TV stand and get a wall mount. I need at least one end table and a plant stand and plants. (My friend Charles had been making ultra-cool planters and lamps, and I will get at least one planter from him.)

Two of my wonderful work friends assembled the dining table and chairs. I am good friends with three middle-twenties guys at work; we occasionally get together and avail ourselves of herbal remedies on Fridays, when we get out of work at 2. There are a few women who are close to Charles, who is the social butterfly of the group and usually arranges the parties, but they are drinkers rather than herbalists and like to go to bars. One of them sometimes joins us, but she's actually the only one I don't care for. She's the only one of the entire group who treats me like I'm too old. Charles' roommate often joins us. Next get-together is here, a week from Friday, and will also include a co-worker of Barry's, who is friends with one of the other guys, lately friendly with me, and fits right in. My three closest friends, my guys, are a great mix: one black and gay, one ex-Orthodox and gay, and one ex-Lubovich California boy. (The Lubovichers are an Orthodox sect who actively recruit non-religious Jews.)

Anyway, my 45-minute writing alarm went off, which means it's time to do some more work here. I promise to post more photos as soon as I can figure out how to get my phone to talk to my computer.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

mending quite nicely

I'm on the brink of re-entering my life, which is a happy place and also a little scary. I'm starting physical therapy today and going back to work on Monday. And of course, I have to start getting ready to move.

The packing is not so onerous, but the throwing-away is. I am determined not to have clutter, I will certainly have boxes of cluttering stuff stowed away in my many closets (box of family photos, yarn, jewelry materials), but a lot needs to be thrown out on this end.

I arranged some time back for my good friend John to pick up all books, CDs, DVDs and clothing that we don't want, and that was done a couple of weeks before I fell. The clothing has been donated, and John will keep the rest for his occasional garage sales. John may be pressed into duty again, as the kitchen counter I've decided on is from Ikea, which will require a car and a cool head. I always hear that shopping at Ikea is a horror, but maybe going to buy one thing and one thing alone will make it easier.

A lot of essential things are already in place at the new apartment. I have two rugs (one still needs to be rolled out), my bed and mattress and dresser, and a dining table and chairs that still need to be assembled. Barry arranged for some larger items to be brought over there: my blender and microwave, TV, and my dishes, flatware, comforter, sheets and towels, and shower curtain. That's a lot of what I'll need to get started.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've bought some more things online, like a sink drainer, kitchen canisters, ice cube trays, a salad spinner and such, Shopping is so much easier than packing!

I have my laptop and have to go on Carbonite and get my files downloaded to it. It's my first-ever laptop, which is pretty exciting. My tech plan is to cut the cable, get wifi and stream everything to the TV; I did a little research and got a Sharp-Roku TV. Barry bought one for himself (he's renting a room, and wanted a new TV for it), which we set up here, so I've been able to get acquainted with it. I'm figuring on doing Sling TV, HBO and Showtime, and I already have Netflix and Hulu. At some point, I'll buy some speakers for playing music, which is almost entirely on my hard drive. (I'm looking forward to getting the music and photo files onto my laptop, and deleting all of Barry's stuff.)

Somewhere along the way, I bought a new phone, upgrading from a refurbished Galaxy S4 to a brand new Galaxy S7. It's my first-ever brand-new top-of-the-line smartphone. I got a pretty cheap price buying it from Samsung instead of from my carrier. I had been dithering about it for a couple of months, but began to realize that, since I had the money to do it, I ought to spend as much on my phone as I did on my laptop and my TV - I use the phone just as much as the other electronics, probably more. (I am a fierce online bargain shopper, and each of those items cost me a little over $500.)  I am in love with my phone - it's the first one I've fond to be really well-organized and intuitive. And it's so fast!

And speaking of dithering...I've had a really hard time pulling the trigger on any high-ticket items. The first one was my bed, which is why it didn't arrive until around three weeks after my original move date. The bed and the mattress were quite expensive, but I knew for sure that this was one place not to go cheap. (My dining set was really cheap.) The second pricey item that was killing me was a sofa. I've never bought one before.

Once I decided on a color scheme for the living room (earth tones), I started looking at mid-century-styled sofas. I was trying to keep it under $1,000, and was having a bitch of a time trying to find a style I liked in a color I liked in that price range. I decided to relax the minimum price a bit, and found some I liked more. I had fifty sofas on my Pinterest, and looked at them over and over. I even requested a fabric swatch for one, but it seemed too scratchy. I thought if I was going to buy online, I'd either need to buy velvet or chenille, or else get swatches. (When I was a little kid, we had a great sofa that was scratchy. It didn't make any sense to me to buy a brand-new sofa and then have to put a throw on it because the fabric was uncomfortable.)

Then yesterday, lo and behold, I went to the Gothic Cabinet website (which was where I bought my bed). They don't have a lot of upholstered furniture, but they did have a comfy-looking dark brown leather sofa reduced to $599. I ordered it almost immediately. It's not a mid-century style, but the apartment certainly will not me all mid-century modern, and this sofa will certainly never be too precious-looking. Like the bed, the sofa must be comfy and well-made. So I'll have my sofa in 5-6 weeks. Choosing chairs should be less traumatic.

The dresser was a whole other story. It was the first piece of furniture I bought. I spent a lot of time looking at the website chairish.com, which has a ton of actual vintage mid-century stuff. I spotted a Danish teak dresser, dead simple, and it kind of put me in a trance...I just jumped on it. Chairish, something like eBay or Etsy, has items sold by individuals, so you pair through Chairish but end up dealing with the individual seller as far as delivery and shipping. They have stuff all over the country so you can end up paying hundreds of dollars for shipping. But you can also sort it by city, so I was able to look only at NYC-area items. My dresser was in New Jersey, owned by an actual Danish person named Lars, and he couldn't have been nicer to deal with. When the dresser came, Lars had included some information about the piece, a bottle of oil and instructions about oiling the piece, and a tin of Danish butter cookies for good measure. This is where you can find Lars' Lovely Danish Modern furmiture: Lanoba

The dresser:
And here are some more pictures. This is the bedroom rug - the bedroom will feature blue.

It's a fake faded Oriental. The sheets and duvet cover are dark blue.

Living room rug:
Also new and not expensive.

The sofa:
Two crazy vintage chairs I'm considering for the living room:


These are both vintage and I'll probably get one or the other. I love the second one, though not the metal legs. The first one looks like it sits very low, so I'll have to double-check the measurements.

Dining table and chairs - the actual chairs I ordered are white, not blue:


For china, I'd had my heart set on vintage Iroquois Informal, Garland pattern, designed by Ben Seibel. I've actually owned four bread plates and the sugar and creamer for some years now. Here's Garland:

But the pattern was simply too hard to find. The dinner plates were impossible.

I was thinking of doing a mash-up of different Ben Seibel Iroquois Informal patterns, but then I discovered - Canonsberg Temporama! Still vintage, still mid-century modern, but way cheaper and more available. So I bought plates and shallow bowls and deep bowls:

It's hard to see the detail from this photo. Here's another:
Last picture is of bathroom towels. I decided to do the bathroom in green.
So things are starting to shape up.

I'm still trying to decide where a few things will go. I want a desk and file cabinet for my bedroom, and possibly also a reading chair. I'm hoping to finish the living room with two chairs, a coffee table and probably an end table or two, maybe an ottoman; some sort of credenza or cabinet for the TV (and to store DVDs etc.), and a bookcase (for books and also various vases and tchochkes). One of the chairs will certainly be a recliner.

There is a dinette right in front of the kitchen, but a table and chairs there may hinder access to the kitchen! So there's a chance that the dining area may be in a corner of the living room. Barry has offered a suggestion that I put the desk in the dinette, but I kind of hate that. Still, it may end up there, or in the living room (if the dining table lands in the dinette). I think I'd prefer to having the bedroom double as a den, with the desk and a chair with reading lamp. (A reading lamp sounds a little weird, considering that I do 95% of my reading on a tablet, but I like the idea anyway.)

I still need shades. I am dithering about shades. I think I want wood or faux-wood blinds for the living room, and lightish blue mini-blinds for the bedroom. I have not been able to find blue mini-blinds anywhere, even though I had them when I lived in Brighton Beach. And installing them seems a daunting task, although I guess that's a job for the super, or a friend with a drill.

And the kitchen - not enough counter space, needs an island. And I'm buying as much kitchenware in red as possible. I have a red microwave and blender and dishtowels and a dish rack and canisters. The kitchen will eventually have little red curtains and a hanging pot of herbs.

The reason I'm thinking about blinds is that I want to be able to have some privacy but also light for plants. I'm thinking hard about orchids for the bedroom (Robin suggested yellow, as an accent for the blue). Since I have good light, I may try cacti for the living room, and/or African violets.

So this is the state of home decor. Lots of ideas, many good purchases so far, still some head-scratching.

But first, I need to sort, throw away, and pack.