Epiphany

Two Turtle-doves

It is the new year. People want to put the old one behind them. This includes Christmas. I’ve seen trees tossed to the curb. One unfortunate had even been leaf blown over, so that it looked camouflaged, like an extra big pile of leaves. They weren’t fooling anyone, least of all the guys tasked to collect this stuff. I mean, whatever happened to the twelve days of Christmas? If you do the math, they don’t end until the sixth, Epiphany. I mean, what’s the rush? Are we really that anxious to see February? Even the serfs got all twelve off. I’m not arguing a fighting withdrawal in the war on Christmas. It just so happens that I’ve come into a treasure trove of holiday pictures. They are all of seasonal decorations at the botanical gardens and I want to use this full holiday season to share them with you. I certainly don’t want to have to wait until next year.

Joanie graciously invited us to accompany her on the garden’s last night of their Glow-fest. Unlike in past years, it wasn’t freaking cold. New for us this year was the model train exhibit, but you’ll have to wait for that. I’d spent the better part of the afternoon re-culling our 2018 photo archive for a few more acceptable pics to post. In my humble opinion, the cupboard is beginning to look bare and it is not even Lent yet. That’s why I intend to milk this new trove.

After the gardens, we adjourned to the City Diner for a late sup. We’ve eaten there often, but always for breakfast. Walking in I wondered what I would order. As it turned out, a hamburger and fries was at their limit. The service was slow, but once delivered the offered mustard and ketchup never arrived, at least in time. Nor were we asked about ordering additional drinks or even offered water refills, let alone the obligatory ask about how’s your meal, which never occurred. Confronted, the waitress complained that they were short-staffed.

Meanwhile, the next table that was seated after us, was already leaving. In anger, I stiffed her on her tip. I almost never do this and can remember when I did it last. There the waitress just ignored us in favor of more lucrative tables, in a very busy restaurant. The staff from this evening’s outing had no such excuse. The number of empty tables increased exponentially, while we sat there and it wasn’t half full when we entered. Still, I feel bad for stiffing her. She tried, just didn’t succeed. Anne had earlier asked me, what I wanted to do in this new year. I offered kind of a lame answer. Maybe, I should try to be kinder to others. It’s an epiphany that I wish had come sooner and it is in the Christmas spirit.

Orange Aphelandra

Orange Aphelandra

I had lunch today, with the Perma-Bear. My former coworker is still on the job, even as more of our colleagues depart. Some like me have retired, while others move on to greener pastures and a better job. He filled me in on who has left.

We both updated each other on the doings of our respective families. I got to regale him with my travels. We both skated close to, but neither of us ventured into the abyss that separates our two sets of different political views. This duel self reserve combined to produce quite a pleasant luncheon. It was good seeing him again.

After lunch, I swung by the store to buy lottery tickets. On Saturday, when the Mega Millions’ jackpot hit a billion, I bought my first ticket of the year. No one won that drawing, so today I doubled down. I bought another Mega Millions that now has a jackpot of $1.6 billion and a Powerball ticket that has a jackpot of $620 million. These two lotteries have a combined payoff of $2.2 billion. Winning both games would make one, one of the richest Americans, #368 on the Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans. Near the bottom, but still on the list, but it doesn’t really work like that. After a lump sum payout and taxes the cash that you would receive is about half. I hope that someone wins this time. I’m getting tired of buying tickets. 

Cycad

Cycad

Stanley was back on the job today. He was hobbling and hadn’t been at work since May, but he was there today. Stanley is the checker in the U-scan lines at our local grocery store. He has a melodious and deep baritone voice that he frequently exercises while at work. He mainly sings gospel, but his repertoire also includes popular songs. I think that tunes played on the store’s audio system sometimes inspire him. As I said, he limped when he walked. He is going to get knee surgery next month, but until then he will just have to work through the pain. I was so taken with his appearance that I forgot and left my seltzer water on the scales. I didn’t realize this until I had gotten home and had to go back to the store to retrieve it. It was still sitting on the scale, where I had left it. I had brought my receipt, just in case, but it was unnecessary. Stanley called me over to his kiosk and affixed a store sticker to the package and I was on my way. 

Anthurium Fire Red

Anthurium Fire Red

Anne finished her latest long term substitute gig last week. Well, finished is a bit too presumptive. She still has report cards and parent-teacher conferences to do and then there’s the quilt, don’t forget the quilt. So, she is not quite done, but with no more classroom duties she is way ahead on the grades then all of her other teamies. It is nice to have her home again, even if her head is still in the game. 

Her school work papers litter the house and her mealtime conversation is still well rooted in the third grade, but I’ll ween her off of all that soon enough. We have a trip planned. We are going to go visit the boys. We’ll fly into La Guardia and stay with Dan at his new Crown Heights apartment. To that end, we’re hauling our sleeping bags and mini camp cots (some assembly required) for our camping trip to his living room. He now has a Brooklyn library card that should allow us entry into all of our favorite attractions. We would like to connect with Ashlan and Allen too. I think that they are in Queens now.

We’ll take the train to Boston. Dave’s lodgings are not quite so commodious as Dan’s, so we are going to Air B&B in Cambridge while there. This will be our first time trying that. We’ve both been to Boston before, but it has been years. It should be quite the adventure, with lots of new to us old stuff to see. I’ve got a little list, a very little list of way too many things to see. Both boys have to work, so we’ll have time with them and time on our own. I wonder if the Red Sox will still be playing? I wonder if we’ll get to meet Dave’s girlfriend? Eventually, we’ll fly home again from Logan.

After she has tidied up all of her loose ends, I have asked Anne not to take any jobs at the Early Childhood Center, at least until after this trip. Also-known-as plague central, by avoiding ECC, I am hoping to also avoid a repeat of a past trip to NYC. It’s been almost ten-years, but she got sick as we were flying there. She was a trooper, but it didn’t help that it was also at the height of the SARS epidemic. I can still remember the looks that she got from all those surgically masked fellow passengers. “Don’t worry folks, it’s just a cold…”

Yew Berries

Yew Berries

Don’t go out tonight, it’s bound to take your life, there’s a bathroom on the right. We were lunching in Café Mochi, a new to us Vietnamese sushi bar on South Grand, when Credence Clearwater’s Bad Moon Rising came across the audio system. At the time, Anne mentioned this song’s above misquoted lyrics, which apparently is a thing. Who knew? South Grand was featuring a chalk walk, where artists of varyingly skill levels were plying their sidewalk talents. We applied our drawing talents on a chalk truck. This truck was painted in a very flat paint that looked close to chalkboard black.

Previously, we had visited the gardens. I expected to see more flowers than we did, but apparently the gardeners had been turning the flower beds long before the weather had finally turned. There were still plenty of flowers, but many of the garden’s beds had already been turned for winter. As the above yew berries show, there was fruit in abundance. Though the berries are harmless, the seed within is highly toxic. Unbroken it will pass through without being digested but if the seed is chewed poisoning can occur with as few as three berries.