Melania Trump’s Dress

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(photo: Daily Mail)

All that you really need to know about last night is that Melania wore a beautiful dress by London-based Serbian designer Roksanda Ilinic that cost $2,190. It sold out minutes after she gave her campaign speech at the Republican National Convention. Way to go, Melania! Get Americans shopping again so the terrorists don’t win. Let’s not talk about her speech, that may have been plagiarized, echoing passages from Michelle Obama’s speech before the DNC in 2008. Fashion trumps substance!

Speaking of fashion and substance, did you catch former Calvin Klein underwear model  and soap opera actor Antonio Sabato Jr.’s speech? He moved from Rome to the U.S. in 1985 and became a naturalized citizen in 2006. He believes that Obama is a Muslim and told ABC News that Obama is “with the bad guys.” At least he looks good in underwear.

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(google image)

I’ll admit to only having watched Antonio Sabato Jr. (kept hoping he would strip down to those undershorts) and the guy who came after him who was rather dour. Last night’s theme was “Make America Safe Again”–neither as catchy nor as bold as “Make America Great Again.” I wonder what tonight’s theme / motto will be.

I missed out on purchasing Melania’s dress like so many other women had the fortune to do. To be truthful, it’s more than I can afford to pay for a dress. Not sure I’d ever spend that much on a dress, but never say never. Isn’t it more important that we have the privilege to emulate celebrities, models (including underwear models) and those above our station, and imagine ourselves as rich and glamorous as they are? Ah, we can dream. Can’t we?

A Waiting Room with a View

HSS waiting room

This is the view from the Hospital for Special Surgery’s (“HSS”) Radiology Department waiting room. A waiting room with a view.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, HSS is ranked the best hospital for orthopedics in the U.S. Luckily one of the doctors there takes my insurance too.

The radiologist who x-rayed my knee had matinee-idol good looks, like Ricardo Montalbán. My first thought was, Why isn’t he in the movies?

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(google image – Ricardo Montalbán) 

He was a tall, clean-shaven Latino with salt and pepper hair and a winning smile and sense of humor. What more could a girl ask for at 8:30 in the morning in a striped hospital gown?

He asked what was wrong with my knee.

“Seems I have no cartilage,” I said.

“Ah ha. My mother’s coming here for a knee replacement soon,” he said.

“That’s probably what I’ll need. I’ve never been to this hospital before, but my friend told me it’s the best for orthopedics,” I said.

“She’s right. I bring all my family here.”

“Luckily I found a doctor who takes my insurance.”

He laughed. “Some of the doctors don’t take our insurance either, but we’re supposed to get a discount.”

For one of the final x-rays, when the machine wasn’t cooperating, he said, “This machine is very sentimental.” I think he meant “sensitive.” Or maybe he meant “sentimental.”

Who knows, maybe the machines are sentimental. Who’s to say they don’t recall past patients and absorb some of their discomforts and pain after years of photographing injured parts.

He said from the control room, “It should be working. It’s new.”

And finally, it did.

“Okay, you’re all done,” he said.

On my way out, he said, “You look like that actress. Uh, let me think . . .  . It’ll come to me later.”

“Okay, see you later then.  Thank you.”

I went into the dressing room to get changed.

After I saw the PA and the orthopedist, a guy named Buzz who was in charge of shuttling patients to and from exam rooms, said, “You remind me of a young Ellen Barkin. Has anyone ever told you that?”

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(google image – Ellen Barkin)

“Yes, they used to tell me all the time,” I said. “She’s from Queens, I think, like me. I grew up mostly in Jackson Heights.”

“Oh, yeah?”

Buzz was a charming and speedy 60-something who sported a red vest and almost lost me on the way to the exam room.

He said, “Dr. W, he’s a good one.”

“Thanks,” I said. “Good to know.”

It may sound odd, but there was a homey vibe to the hospital. Like people worked well together and the pieces fit.

Not a bad way to spend the morning.

 

 

 

 

 

High Anxiety

You visit
without warning
unlike a gentleman
come to call

my heart races
with terror
when you wend my way
you can make
the mightiest fall

I wish I could stop the
flutter in my chest,
the fear from things
unseen

Anxiety,
I don’t like you
please pack up your bags
And leave!

Quincy and the Bowl of Balls

Quincy and the Bowl of Balls

Hello. My name is Quincy.

I have a confession to make.

I like balls. To be precise, I like the bowl of balls Mom brought home yesterday. Not sure why she got them, but I like them very much.

In this photograph, you can see I am trying to act nonchalant so she doesn’t suspect I’m going to go after them again. I stood on my hind legs and knocked one out of the bowl onto the floor. I didn’t make a sound, but somehow, she found out. I only had a few minutes to bat it around. Then she put it back in the bowl.

Next time, I knocked out a ball and a stick. She must have gotten this bowl of balls and sticks for us to play with. I think she got them for me because I was so well-behaved for the doctor. I didn’t hiss at her even once. She said now that I’m bigger I can see better out of my one good eye even though I’m mostly blind. She said it was like looking out of dirty glasses.

Samson doesn’t seem interested in the balls. You can see him sitting in the background of this photograph on the small sofa.

Mom keeps cleaning and moving things around which bothers us cats: we don’t like change.  She keeps putting new toys on the table, like these orange mats and cloth things to put on them. The best part is not the things inside, but the giant plastic bags they are contained in. I love to chew and lick them. I don’t know why.

Anyway, Mom is at work now, so I have plenty of time to retrieve more balls and sticks and play with them.

Life is good.

Bed, Bath & Trauma

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(google)

Christmas Tree Shops is/are one of my favorite stores. I haven’t figured out if the store name is considered singular–as it would be for a collective noun like “family” or plural since “Shops” is plural. Any guesses? For now, I’m going to assume it is plural.

Christmas Tree Shops’ (“CTS”) parent company is Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Although the former has a better selection of products than CTS, I tend to prefer CTS for the prices–much cheaper. That being said, a co-worker informed me yesterday that there was a Bed, Bath Beyond / Barnes & Noble / Whole Foods store complex (not exactly a mall) near our new office space on Vesey Street, so I had to venture forth. I knew it was raining, but I wasn’t expecting the blustering winds, spray and cold. It didn’t feel like early June. I was wearing a jean jacket over my blouse and had my mini urban umbrella, which wasn’t cutting it.

I was on a mission to continue looking for small items to spruce up our home. We are in the process of doing a short sale and our realtor’s photographer is expected at our house early next week; after the photos are done, our house will be listed. Last weekend I got coasters, a throw pillow, a couple candles and a glass jar with beach glass (or at the least the package said it was) in the shape of fish at CTS. Having done more online research about pre-sale home staging, I decided I needed more throw pillows for the master bedroom, a bowl of balls like they have in corporate apartments (see Better Call Saul episode 6, season 2, “Bali Ha’i”) or fake fruit  for the dining room table, and other sundries.

The Bed, Bath & Beyond on Greenwich Street was smaller than the one I normally go to in Paramus, NJ, claustrophobic, even. No ball of balls to be found and the throw pillows I liked were all around $34.99 (too expensive for a short sale). I ended up with two plush gray-blue bath towels and a hand towel–both on sale.

Determined to find that bowl of balls or anything else, I kept repeating the circuit: around and around, from BATH section to BRIDAL section to BEDDING section with overpriced DK sheets and pillow shams to KITCHEN section to SCENT section to OUTDOOR DINING section and over and over. I couldn’t stop, as if possessed. Then I started to feel dizzy. I looked at my watch: 1:35, still 25 minutes to get back to work, and the walk was 10 minutes. Around and around I went. I was lightheaded, and my hands were shaking, and I desperately wanted to find the cashier but he/she was not in sight. Oh my God, what’s going on, I thought. Trapped in Bed, Bath and Beyond! Now I knew what the “Beyond” was for.

Finally I saw an “EXIT’ sign, which I assumed would lead to the cashier. At last, a kindly cashier beckoned me. He was smiling, which helped a great deal, as I was trapped inside the maws of a full-blown panic attack. I smiled at him, or at least I thought I was smiling. Perhaps I looked manic or even insane. I didn’t know. All I knew is that I wanted to purchase the murky blue towels and get the hell out of there.

“Did you find everything you were looking for?” he asked, cheerfully.

“Well, I was looking for a bowl for the dining room or living room, and I couldn’t find it.” I was hoping this made sense.

“Oh, you mean to use as a centerpiece?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, we don’t have many of those; this store is smaller than most of them.”

“Yes, that’s what I thought. I wondered if I had missed something.”

I inserted my chip card, my eyes not focusing well.

I thanked him and left.

I found it difficult to put one foot in front of the other; my hands were still shaking. I was pulling in enormous gulps of air, audibly. It felt weird.

On the downward escalator, I scanned for seating downstairs, but there was none. I took a mild sedative, and faced the tempest.

It was colder and more blustery than before, or so it felt.

My knees felt like blocks of steel; my feet were partially numb. When I entered Brookfield Place, I plopped my soggy corpus onto one of the uncomfortable benches, vaguely watching shoppers popping in and out of J. Crew and the other chi-chi stores. It was 1:50 p.m.

After a few minutes, I dragged myself to the escalator, then took the elevator to my floor. Eating a sandwich at my desk was a gift from God. I felt like I had experienced a shock, a trauma of some kind. But it was all within myself.

No more Bed, Bath & Beyond for me. At least not for a while.

 

 

 

The Power of the Oculus Compels Me

Oculus 1 Oculus 2

Twelve years and $4 billion of public funds (Port Authority) later, the Oculus has reared its lovely (?) head and stegosaurus body for the world to see. Why commuters need such a monstrosity as a transportation hub seems to be a moot point, as it will be housing multiple high-end retail shops and is surely benefiting someone. Why the $4 billion wasn’t earmarked to rejuvenate the decrepit Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street which has not been rehauled in 40 years and filter-feeds about 250,000 commuters daily, never ceases to amaze me. Having spent the last nine years commuting in and out of this bus station from New Jersey, I can tell you that it leaves much to be desired both aesthetically and otherwise.

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(all photos by E. Herd)

I guess it all comes down to perception. Now that my office has moved to the Financial District, I have been blessed with the opportunity to behold, I mean, worship, the Oculus on a daily basis. I have yet to step within its glistening turkey carcass chambers. I am waiting for the right moment. Not sure when that will be.

As John Keats said, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

Remember in 2001: A Space Odyssey how the monkeys went wild over the monolith? Well, now we have our modern-day monolith. I haven’t seen any monkeys banging at it yet.

Bernie – Too Sexy for His Fur

Bernie cover modelBernie 2Bernie 3

This is Bernie, whom many of you have already heard about. He is the latest member of our “pride.” We adopted him through S.T.A.R.T. (Save the Animals Rescue Team) in New Jersey. He was at a pound in Paterson–apparently his owner had died–and brought to PetSmart in Paramus for adoption. He resided there for about two months: everyone loved him but they were concerned about his weight–24 pounds. I guess that made him hard to adopt, and the fact he wasn’t a kitten; he’s five years old. We are keeping him on the lower calorie food he was accustomed to eating, Hill Science Diet “Perfect Weight.” He seems to have lost some weight, mainly from being uncaged and playing with the other cats and going up and down the stairs.  I also think he was depressed, but he isn’t showing any signs of that now. All good!

As you can see he is quite the looker and loves to pose for a photograph. This song is in honor of Bernie. He’s too sexy for his fur, wouldn’t you agree?

Henri, the Existential Cat

Let me introduce you to Henri, the Existential Cat.

Compare him, if you will. to Sylvester.

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Sylvester, in his cat carrier, aka “prison no. 1”

Both suffer, at times, from ennui.

Sylvester does not have a cat door, so his suffering is double that of Henri, as he must wait for his caretaker to walk him on the odious harness. All because his ear was bitten by another cat. “Moron,” says Sylvester, of this cat. “I was protecting our property.”

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Prison / torture chamber no. 2: the cat bag

Sylvester recalls being placed in this straightjacket/torture chamber when the veterinarian injected him with needles, and later, when the caretakers applied medicine to his eye and ear. “Is there no end to the indignities?” he asks.

Something Sylvester has learned: “Go along with the ways of the humans as long as it is bearable. Whenever possible, run out the back door and act contrite when they find you. It is all part of a fruitless, demeaning game.”

Bernie, Ankle Biter

Bernie on the stairs

They put me on a diet
that I don’t like one bit
Mom and Pop want me to slim down
they want me to be fit

Karl lets me eat his food
if they put us together
since they started to feed us separately
I’ve been in quite a lather!

I meow at the top of the stairs
to let Mom know I need food
She ignores my pleas, I rub her legs
how can she be so cruel?

She walks to the human litter box room
why don’t they use ours?
I lunge and nip her ankle
as she goes to take a shower

She turns to look, I run away
She says, “What was that?”
Why, silly, it’s predator vs. prey
A game well-known to cats

Of course, I’d never eat her
She’s much too big for me
but if she thinks I can
I might get more of those treats

Being There

Now that the die has been cast, and the “presumptive” GOP nominee–in the guise of Donald Trump–has been anointed, I’m going to offer up my picks for a preferred nominee. I was moved to write this after learning that artist Illma Gore, who created a nude portrait of Trump,  was assaulted by a group of his followers. She has also received death threats and is unable to show this piece in the United States, but it has been displayed at the Maddox Gallery in London. priced at $1.87 million.

illma gore

(google – Ilma Gore / “Make America Great Again”)

My picks:

(1)  Chance, the protagonist from the film (based on the Jerzy Kosinski novel) Being There, brilliantly portrayed by Peter Sellers.

Chance is a simple-minded gardener who tends the garden of a wealthy old man in Washington, DC. When the old man dies, Chance is forced to leave the old man’s house and makes his way into the “real” world for the first time, ending up at the home of an elderly business mogul who is also a confidant and adviser to the president of the United States. Chance unwittingly becomes enmeshed in politics but has no real awareness of what is going on around him.

I think Chance would be a better Republican nominee for the simple reason he has no malice or guile, and could do no harm.

(2) Bernie the Cat.

Bernie 1

Bernie is a five-year-old domestic shorthair feline. He believes in equal rights for all, particularly the abused, homeless and disenfranchised  (very un-Republican) and is fervently against fat-shaming. He himself weighs 24 pounds and is currently on a diet. He feels the abuse suffered by the overweight in our society is cruel and not based on science. He would like his future constituents to read this New York Times article on the plight of the obese, citing former contestants from the TV show The Biggest Loser who regained much of the weight they lost after leaving the show.

(3)  Your next-door neighbor who is not a psycho.

I’m certain that many of you have neighbors who are hard-working, decent people grounded in reality. I know it would be a sacrifice for them, but perhaps we can ask our neighbors to run for office. Being independently wealthy or having lots of wealthy friends would help.

(4)  Lucy.

We need more female warriors.

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(google)

Who are your picks?