Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The thrill of buying a new car - Meeting up again with Tommy Williams aka Latif

 Scott is getting ready to turn in his car.
He loved his 1994 Ford Escort Stick Shift which he got at a great price when he worked as a mechanic at Hopkins Ford. Love those old passive restraints, which are now forbidden. Something about when you crash your car you'll get..... use your imagination.

94,000 miles. Gave him very little trouble - it's got a Mazda engine - but now the transmission is going.

Beverly Maisie was our salesperson at Sussman Honda.

Scott knew he wanted the Honda Fit

b/c you can fold down the back seats and FIT lots of stuff back there, like our bicycles.

In fact, today - the day after he bought the car - we rode our bikes at Lorimer Park.

It was blazing hot today but when we rode past this rock shelf it was 10 degrees cooler. Can you hear the former railroad train chugging over the railroad tracks?

Why is Jason McPeak lying on my kitchen floor?

My refrigerator stopped working. The compressor blew to the tune of over $400. Dave's Appliances, which employs 20, sent Jason out right away.

Jason, 22, goes fishing with his dad. He has a boat in the marina of LBI. He's saving his money so he can achieve his dream of moving to S C and working in a marina.

You remember Tommy Williams - Latif - don't you? 

My article about him in the Compass 2014 - Twenty Years a Prisoner - was one of the most interesting I've ever done.

Tommy has had a dream of becoming a four-star chef ever since he was a kid.

His role model is Scottish chef Gordon Ramsey

Gordon Ramsay.jpg

Tommy Williams is already to enter The Restaurant School of Walnut Grove in Philadelphia.

$27,000 a year. He's gotten several scholarships already, including one for former inmates.  He's waiting to hear about a grant to pay for his kitchen knives and uniforms.

He works PT now at a restaurant in Broomall, where his boss gave him an excellent review.

The review packet was sitting with us at Barnes and Noble where I wrote him a glowing review. Ad libbing it with Tommy, I wrote in all down in my not-so-great handwriting. 

"My friendship with Thomas Williams," I wrote, "began in the year 2000, but then we lost touch."

That's b/c he was behind bars. 

I concluded by saying Tommy is an extraordinarily determined and ambitious man who you'll all be proud of at your wonderful culinary school.

While I was at Barnes & Noble, I learned that this store has a 'publishing machine' which will print out copies of books.Can't find it online.

Also ordered a book for Grace's fourth birthday. 

The book will be shipped directly to her house. She will love it.

I've never read it ... my library doesn't carry it ... so I'll go out back and read the book to myself. We all become innocent children when we read children's books.

Which reminds me, I'm gonna email Obama now and ask him to send in the troops to find the missing Nigerian school girls. It's been 100 days.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mom holds court as her nephew David Brian Begis and family arrive from Texas

 Haven't seen my first cousin David Begis, 50, since he was three years old. His wife LeeAnn is a high school teacher.

David owns his own childcare facility for kids ages 6 weeks old to fifth grade. He and his mom, Mary, were debating whether to buy the land in Frisco, TX, upon which to build the school. It was a dirt road surrounded by nothing.

View Heritage Learning Center.   

It's right near Plano, TX, just north of Dallas, which is home to major companies, many of which moved here from California. It's in a safe affluent neighborhood.

Companies include Toyota, Dr Pepper, JC Penney, Hewlett Packard and Frito-Lay, where David's younger brother by 2 years, Cooper Begis, works.

Read about Plano here.

140 kids attend the facility including 84 in the summer camp methinks. They go on day trips. Who plans them, I asked.

David does: baseball games, amusement parks, museums. They ride in a bus. David is one of the drivers. Quelle responsibility!

He also maintains their website, I learned at our last supper, I mean, breakfast at Ben and Irv's. 

LeeAnn and David have two kids. Both are athletes. Ashlee attends University of North Texas at Denton.
She's studying to be a history teacher.

Brandon is a junior in high school. He plays soccer and is the goalie. We learned about the importance of goalies in the recent World Cup, which of course Brandon watched on his smartphone.

In college, Brandon plans to go into the medical field. Sports medicine. I told him about my former physical therapist Larry Paster in Glenside.

Larry Paster. But where is his dog Dooley?

Helloo Dooby, you adorable English Springer Spaniel!

Brandon and his mom recently traveled to Colorado. And last month Ashled and her mom returned from a week in Paris, where they walked to the top of Notre Dame Cathedral but didn't see Quasimodo.

Also went to the Louvre. They stood in line to get in both places. The weather was great, unlike last November when Sarah and I ran into rain nearly every day in Paris.

Thanks Ashlee and Brandon for the Netflix tip:  Arrow and Lost.

Watched three episodes of Lost last nite, blocking my laptop screen with my hands b/c it was scarey!

We have home movies of young David Begis, the platinum blond on the right, and his younger brother Cooper. Click to enlarge. Grandmother Jill, who just passed away in her 90s, is on the steps of Uncle Donny's apartment in New Jersey.

Uncle Don passed away from esoph. cancer at age 65. Born in 1930, he was 8 years younger than my mom.

The Lindbergh Baby

On March 1, 1932, Uncle Don was 2 years old and Mom, 8.

Holding her brother's hand, Mom walked her blond little brother in the neighborhood when a woman came up to mom and accused her of having the Lindbergh baby.

She protested and the woman went away. The antisemite Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly nonstop across the Atlantic, was implicated in the murder plot tho he did not kill his son, who, sadly was found dead.

Mom looks great! She made a delicious dinner, but there wasn't enuf of it. She thought her granddaughter Nikki was coming in from Jersey and bringing food with her, but Nikki cancelled.

Mom told me the sad news that our former next-door neighbor Ceil Savino died. Mom thought she had just passed, but not according to the Courier Times.

Her former house is in foreclosure. I told mom it'll take four years before it's sold. That's what happened in our neighborhood.  

 Delicious meat loaf make with turkey meat. Ellen made a wonderful quiche. I was so hungry I had two heaping mounds of meatloaf.
Today is the first day of Scott's vacation. He mowed his lawn and weeded our garden. We'll probly be rained out from visiting Ocean City, NJ, but will go on day trips here.

The Begis family drove in today from three days in DC. They were anticipating waiting in long lines but the city was shockingly deserted.

They visited the various Smithsonians, including the Air and Space, the Archives and Library of Congress.

 Two years ago, the entire Begis clan rented a house in Jamestown, RI. House is owned by a realtor and rented out during holiday season.
 David showing Mom his "notebook" with photos. We wanna get my mom a notebook but by the time we finish procrastinating....
 Lily is the daughter of Jill and Mike of Boise, Idaho. Jill is a follower of the Grateful Dead. My first cuz Ray Sewell used to be the chef for the Dead.
Nice family, whoever they are.

 The entire Begis clan. Originally from Russia, the Jewish Begis family immigrated to Cleveland. We believe the name used to be Beginsky before it was truncated at Ellis Island.

Mom was saying how much Uncle Don loved all of us kids, esp. my sister Donna. He was very playful and funny.

My Aunt Ethel and Uncle Dave paid for Donny to go to college. He graduated from Ohio State University in Columbus, where he was a member of ZBT.

Zeta Beta Tau.

Remember that huge wooden paddle with the letters on it, I asked mom.

She did. She was disappointed Aunt Ethel didn't pay for her to go to college. Dave and Ethel had money as they owned Majestic Specialties, Inc., where mom worked and met my dad. She told us the story of how Eleanor Spoerke set them up. Gotta remember this.
 David, his mom Mary, daughter Jill of Boise, and Cooper, bald like his late father.
This cloisonne vase - one of two - is 80 years old. It was a wedding gift for my mom and dad. I was thrilled that mom gave it to David and LeeAnn.

 Ellen brought in this gorgeous handbag that once belonged to my late Aunt Marion. I told mom to put it on display it's so beautiful.

When Sarah and Ethan were in Amsterdam, they visited the Museum of Bags and Purses.
Getting ready to say good night.

The morrow, the Begis family will drive to NYC and surrender their rented car. They have tix to Wicked and The Lion King they bot back in Feb.

David, a photographer, will visit the famous B & H Photo Shop that I've never heard of, but Ellen has.

Ashlee will go to the Nike store. She loves her Nike sneakers. 

Mom's sense of humor reigned supreme during their visit.

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna eat my

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Steve Tobin Sculptures at Michener - I meet Dora Leder orig from Budapest

 What a shock it was that James Garner died in his Los Angeles home at age 86. Scott and I LOVE The Rockford Files.

In fact, I wrote a short story about a woman who wants to buy a 1977 copper-colored Pontiac Firebird


Am waiting for the story to be rejected. At least the two stories below have been published online.

"The Nap" is a true story. Read it here. It had been rejected at least four times until Mused took it.

"Good Morning Mrs Washington" was also rejected. But the editor of Mused wrote me back with some suggestions to make the story better. I worked on it and she accepted it. Read it here.

The story is based on what happened to one of the many receptionists at Einstein Medical Center Kidney Klink. Would love her to read it - her first name is Bernice - but I don't want her to get mad about my utilizing her story. I made up everything - her husband, her kids, her job as hairdresser.

In fact I just woke up from a short nap here on the Red Couch. I had such a busy day, beginning with a walk in the Pennypack with Scott and a couple members from the support group.

Steve Tobin, 57. works in new formats every two years. He majored in Math at Tulane University and became an artist. As a stained glass artist, he worked in Florence with glass masters. We watched a video about his work.

 Above is by a woman. It's called Flirting.
 Most of Tobin's sculptures are unnamed.
 Romeo and Juliet.
 Up close. I went up and felt the metal. All the metal he buys comes with a story.

 Nice arrangement of ornamental grasses in the Sculpture Garden.
 New glass mural in the hall of Michener
 Indoor Tobins.
Made of bullet casings.

We visited old friends like these twins. Could their papa be this man with the shiny bald head who crawled out of the picture.
His hand looks strange, doesn't it? Is it a real hand?
Some of Steve's stained glass.

 Loved the above painting. Then I figured out how to turn off my flash.
 Edward Hicks: Columbus Landing in the New World.

 Hicks painted the famous Peaceable Kingdom, which is not at the Michener

You can barely see the detail on the woman's dress above
Some sort of furniture by the great Robert Whitlock, a local furniture maker, who is in his 90s
 Tobin's stained glass. In the video it said that the furnace is so terribly hot that some workers can't stand the heat. Tobin learned how to let the heat flow thru his body. He had a red mark on his face and I wondered.... a burn?
Bubble bubble toil and trouble.... this not molten liquid. Well, it used to be, but it dried. Sun dried? Oven dried? Air dried.

A Tobin against the wall of the museum, which used to be a prison.

 I thought of spending the night in this nest-like sculpture but began feeling hungry. Scott and I drove to Main Street Doylestown and found Cafe Alessio, where we lunched.
 Quesidilla, filled with cheese n shrimp. The salsa was too hot to eat. Cough cough cough!
 Scott had a huge salad.
Our waiter Tony is studying kinesthesiology / physical therapy at Fresno State in Calif. He drove east with his room mate to drive him home to this area. Tomorrow Tony and his roommate will eat at Fred's, a members-only restaurant in New Hope.

Fred's Breakfast! New Hope, PA

I suggested Tony check out the Michener Museum. He'd never heard of the writer James Michener. I told him to save money and just see the Sculpture Garden.

 Doylestown has some beautiful old buildings. I photographed em while walking back to our car. We parked on Broad and Mechanics Street. Easy to remember, I told Scott. You're a mechanic and I'm a broad.
 This Sheriff truck by the Courthouse reminded me of one of my fave TV shows LONGMIRE. He's the sheriff of a small town in Montana. All the episodes are finished for the season and I'm panting for more.
 Terrible photo of a truly spectacular building.
Dora Leder liked it. She and I met and exchanged phone numbers.

Are you an artist? I asked her.

 Yes, she said. I'm an illustrator.

My heart leapt.

"I've illustrated over 78 books and magazines."

She also had CATARACT SURGERY a couple weeks ago. Like me, she felt the pain.

Off to Scott's. We'll watch some Rockford Files on Netflix.