Friday Five

1. The morning glories are in bloom. There are vines of them climbing a wrought iron trellis a few blocks from my place. The trellis is almost completely covered. I see them when Reggie and I take our morning constitutional.  Each day more and more buds are coming alive, so welcoming, and they remind me of…Cooperstown. That’s right the Baseball Hall of Fame. Isn’t it strange when two things seemingly unrelated are so linked in your mind? It’s a very personal thing. You, of course, probably do not think of Hank Aaron when you see a morning glory. In the fall many years ago a friend and I took a trip to Cooperstown, which, aside from being home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, is a lovely small town tucked into the mountains in upstate New York. I remember long morning glory vines winding their way up a stop sign, nearly engulfing the thing. I was taken with them. Maybe I’d never noticed this type of flower before, or they never grew in the places I’ve lived, but I loved the delicate little petals unfurling all along the vines. The flowers were bluish-purple, the exact shade as the flowers that I see on my morning walk and it takes me back to Cooperstown every time.

2. Speaking of unrelated things that are some how related…do you ever feel the universe is trying to tell you something but you’re not sure what? Every so often, something that was unknown to me or not in the forefront of my mind will pop into my life and then show up repeatedly. Case in point: A while ago, in the span of 3 days I saw as many references to Stanley Donen (director of all-time classic movies like Singing in the Rain [Gene Kelly], Royal Wedding [Fred Astaire], On the Town [Frank Sinatra], and Charade [Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn] to name a few.) First I saw an autobiography about Donen left on someone’s stoop. Then TCM was running a 24 hour Donen-a-thon.  Then he was prominently mentioned in a New York Times article. Coincidence? As Stephen Hawking said, there are no coincidences. (Okay, I’m simplifying it a bit.) Am I supposed to take something away from this? Sign up for dancing lessons? Go to film school to become a director? Netflix all of his films? Why, universe are you bringing Stanley Donen to my attention?

This week it was Amsterdam. I received a postcard in my mailbox from Amsterdam addressed to someone else. Then I stumbled on a Writer’s Studio website where they were offering retreats at their affiliate in, where else, Amsterdam. Just this morning I was emailed one of those Orbitz notices that flights from NYC to Amsterdam were on sale. Hmmm….

3. Last weekend I volunteered at the NYC Strut Your Mutt event. It was a fundraiser for local animal rescues and shelters. I got my butt out of bed at 4:30 a.m. and trekked to Pier 84 at 43rd Street and the West Side Highway, otherwise known as no man’s land. People brought their dogs from Yorkies to Great Danes out for a 2 mile walk along the Hudson. Armed with poop bags, my job was to stand along the route and make sure everyone stayed on the path. But then I got to join the festival on the pier. Pet supply stores set up booths with giveaways. There was doggie yoga and a pet psychic. (Really.) I had a great conversation with the folks in the “Ask the Trainers” booth. A few therapy dogs were on hand as part of the I Read to Animals program, where kids can, well, read to the animals. It makes reading fun and the dogs never judge. A great event ultimately bringing in more than $100,000 for NYC local shelters!

Butley likes to have kids read to him.

4. Standing in line for Starbucks one morning, I was debating about being there.

You shouldn’t be spending this money on coffee, I thought to myself.

It’s just a couple of dollars. Besides you brought your lunch.

Go into your office and get water from the cooler.

The pumpkin lattes are out for fall!

And so, because you can’t argue with the pumpkin latte, the battle was won. Then a woman sitting at the bar stools began crying. Not the subtle crying of having received  a call with some bad news, but the “I just took my last hit of crystal meth” crying. Pumpkin latte. Pumpkin latte. I remained strong.

Then a man turned to face me and said, “Gimme some change.” He motioned toward the register.

I got a little indignant and looked him right in the eye. “No,” I said. He didn’t blink. Neither did I. Now I’m all for helping someone out, but to fund your Starbucks habit?

Waaiit a minute. I really shouldn’t be funding my Starbucks habit. Crystal meth or pumpkin latte? The gray area was getting grayer. I bolted out of line and up to my office.

5. Have you watched Modern Family yet? They keep hitting it out of the park week after week. Hulu a couple of episodes and you’ll see what I mean. The gist: Jay (Ed O’Neill, formerly of Married with Children) is the patriarch of the family. He has remarried Columbian bombshell Gloria (Sofia Vergara) who has an 11-year-old son of her own.  Jay has two grown children: super controlling Claire, married to Phil with three kids, and gay Mitchell, married to Cameron with their adopted Vietnamese baby Lily. It’s one of the few shows I look forward to. Check it out Wednesday nights at 9 Eastern on ABC.


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