Archive for September 2014

Cheer up New York, Derek Lives   2 comments

Dear Yankee Fans

This is not a letter of condolence although judging by your long faces, one would think Oh Captain, Your Captain had passed away. The media coverage didn’t help, did it. I lost count of how many times the morning news flashed this live shot last Thursday –

  • during weather reports, when the forecaster fretted over the possibility of rain,
  • during the sports segment when the commentator reminded us this would be the last time Oh Captain, Your Captain would be playing in pinstripes;
  • when they went to the live reporter in front of the stadium a good twelve hours before that dreaded last home game would begin.

jeter flag

Please notice, the flags are not at half-staff.

But if I was drowning in Derek Jeter stories the morning of the last pinstripe home  woe ’tis me,  the  morning after found me washed up on shore. But at least you were all happy. One of my most rabid Yankee fan co-workers greeted me with a beaming smile as he rhapsodized  “Can you  think of a better way to end a career?’

You probably are saying, aw, she’s just another Yankee hater, and that’s not true – it’s the fans….oops, let’s not go there.

What I’m saying is Choose to be happy.

Derek had a long career. He’d dreamed of being a Yankee since his first little league game. He’s said many times it was a dream come true. And if that’s not enough to put a song in your heart –  He’s a multi-millionaire. He has a castle in Florida. He has a long life ahead of him with women lining up  to share it with him. So come on, smile – you can do it.

Besides, I have a funny feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of him.




Jeter ad2

Jeter ad1

Now if you excuse me, I have to psych myself for my team’s playoff game Thursday  all on my lonesome……



The Only Living Detroit Tigers Fan in New York City

Housewarming Deja Vu   2 comments


Summer has come and gone but it’s left a treasure trove of memories. Remember the MacDonald’s parking lot I showed you where they hold a weekly classic cars show?



Well, it’s just a McDonald’s parking lot again.




And now, my deck is quiet except for the chairs who vie for my attention, each Saturday and Sunday morning, whispering, “sit here sit here ” as I set down my coffee and paper.


You may see an empty deck but if I linger long enough I see the gossamer memories of friends and loved ones sitting, talking, and enjoying each other’s company at my barbecues.

Yes, barbecues, as in four. You see, The House of Mars, being what it is, strains at the seams if I have more than eight people for a sit-down dinner. So rather than repeat the weeks of stress I went through the summer I had  gala BBQ of twenty people, the daily visits to for long term forecasts, all the obsessing over what I’d do if it rained, I broke it up into several small gatherings that can fit around the dining room table of Mother Nature wants it that way. Yes, it can be hectic for a lone hostess but it’s worth it.

perfect hostess

This all reminds me of the meaning of a housewarming party. When I was in the process of getting divorced I dreaded the prospect of moving into the apartment I’d found.  Although I loved the apartment, and looked forward to starting a new life, the idea of entering an empty space where not even the heartbeat of a cat would be there to warm it was a chilling thought. But then I had  a dinner party,  and friends began dropping in, and before  I knew it, the apartment felt as comfy as a robe and bedroom slippers.

So now, while I do not look forward to a long cold winter, at least I won’t be quite so cold as I shovel the snow off the deck. I’ll be warmed by the memories of fifteen years of BBQs and all those who made them possible – human, feline, and canine.


Posted September 16, 2014 by virginiafair in memories

Tagged with , , ,

Yes, You Read it Right   3 comments

Back in the early ’90’s when I was teaching first grade, Fridays were Cooking Day. I had a convection oven in the class room, (don’t  ask  how I got it!) and the class and I would prepare and cook a snack that went along with whatever unit I was teaching. At Halloween time we toasted the pumpkin seeds we’d scraped from our class jack-o-lanterns. When learning fractions we made pizza and sliced it.

When we did a week’s worth of projects centered around the picture book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, we made – what else but cookies.


For frosting, there was vanilla icing and red, blue, and yellow food coloring.  I went around with three bottles of food coloring, one each of red, yellow, and blue. The children were given a choice of one drop from each of any two, which they then mixed into the white icing to come up with either orange, green, or purple icing

I like to believe there are about twenty-five 30-year olds walking around San Jose who never forgot their primary and secondary colors.

Not only were these lessons wonderful for demonstrating that food requires preparation of ingredients but were also great hands-on, non-language-based experiences  for a class made up of children whose parents had emigrated from Vietnam, China, Thailand, India, and the Philippines. I was teaching what was called Structured English to children, most of whom were  born here, but while functional in speaking English, it was not their first language, and who often got by faking that they understood more than they actually did.

For the teacher, it was a well-earned “down day” to end the week.,

I bring this up because lately I’ve been hearing how today’s computer-connected, microwave children are disconnected to food production, and really have no idea where fruits and vegetables were before they were frozen or canned. Several urban schools are conducting pilot programs where the children tend a vegetable patch in a rooftop garden or some reclaimed corner of a concrete playground to gain firsthand knowledge.

I’ve also been seeing proof of this need at the checkout of my local supermarket. I can’t count how many times high school and college-aged clerks, when faced with entering the code of  a bunch of fresh spinach, turn to me blank-faced and  ask  “What is this?”

But yesterday  proof stared me in the face as I entered the store. Right there, just  inside the door, in the section that touts local produce, AND MAINTAINED BY PRODUCE CLERKS, I came across this.



That’s right, in case you couldn’t read the sign, here it is again



OMG, how can you work in produce, and not know the difference between a  radish and a beet!!!!!

I would have laughed if  it weren’t so sad.

Now,  if you’ll excuse me , I have to go and take  an anti-fussiness pill.

A Rambling Mind at The Beach   3 comments

Is it really September? While running this morning, I came upon a walker who’s a high school teacher. I asked her when the first day of school was, and she said “Tomorrow.” Having been there and done that as a teacher, I quipped “I’m sorry.” Her response? “It had to happen some day.

I guess I should take that to heart. I succeeded in wringing every moment out of summer but now that it’s labor Day + 2,  I have to agree with her. It happened. Summer’s over, and to add insult to injury, I’d been really banking on spending the whole 3-day weekend at the lake, but @#!&* !! it was a rainy weekend .

It gets worse, today was the type of day I’d been waiting for in vain all summer – 90 degrees and extremely humid. And I had to work! So I’m finding solace remembering a day at Jones Beach a couple of weeks ago ————–

I decided to take a break from baking in the sun so I excused myself from friends to take a solitary walk and be with myself. That was all self needed to ramble on. Being a captive audience I had no choice but to listen.

First thing we came upon was a flag up by the bath house. In some kind of weird synapse intersection my mind said “Where’s the bear?”

I realized a deja vu moment had collided with reality, and for a moment I was seeing  the district office of Oak Grove School District in San Jose where I used to teach, and where the state flag of California was always waving in the breeze.

California state fkag

The shapes of the buildings were similar, as were the colors plus the flat landscape……. then my focus popped into gear and I wondered if the connection wasn’t even more circuitous …



This is the flag that started it all.  It’s flying over the First Aid station.  Put a hyphen in the middle  and you get  Medi-Cal which is California’s state Medicaid program.

(No one ever said my mind works like other people’s – especially where words are involved.)

Now that the California state flag was on my mind I wondered “Where the heck is the  New York state flag – after all, this is a New York State Park”

I set off in search. I decided to walk along the boardwalk. I used to walk on it with my family many moons ago but back then it was a soft wood board walk – as in SPLINTERS,  and it gave off a damp tar-like smell


But between  Superstorm Sandy and medical research, the  nostalgic feel of the boardwalk and the smell live only in my memory. Sandy demolished most of the boardwalk, and creosote, the wood preservative substance responsible for the smell, was found to be cancerous. So the new boardwalk built last year is made of ipe bethebera, a Brazilian hardwood that is so hard, nails will not penetrate. The boards have to be screwed in

(Editorial commeny: Speaking of screwed. Brazilian hardwood? Is New York screwing up the rainforest !)


Deciding to visit the bathroom as long as I was here, I came upon this sign.


Is this term a blast from the past or what? But I guess it says it all, doesn’t it?

With all the free-form rambling my mind was doing, it forgot what it was looking for in the first place, but my eyes find it – the New York State flag!


But then, as I head back to my friends on the beach, my eyes find something I wish they didn’t.

DSCN1618At the bleep bleep beach? what the bleep?


 Since this blog is rated PG, my mind’s ramblings had to be cut by the censor!