I’m No Co-Signer

Carter’s future apartment co-signer lease arrived today. It needs to be signed notarized and sent back by next week. It is a simple form. Just wants the name and address of the co-signer as well as employer and salary. Turns out I am no help in this case. With no real salary and no good employer I would not help Carter qualify for her lease. Thank goodness for Russ.

When my mother was filling out an application for a retirement community she called me because they had a question about salary and she thought she was not going to qualify since neither she, nor my father have a salary or employer anymore. I told her that it was a silly question for retired people. She qualified without the salary.

I remember years ago when I was purchasing a house before I was married. I had a sales job, so my “salary” was not enough to qualify me for my mortgage. Most of my income was commission, but that was looked down upon by the bank. I had plenty of money in the bank and should have had no trouble qualifying. When the banker called with their concerns I had this discussion. “Why do you only care about someone’s salary? They could lose that job tomorrow and then have nothing. Why don’t you care about someone who is a good saver with a great record of earnings even though it wasn’t just salary?” I eventually “sold” the guy on giving me the loan.

That banker said the bank cared more about salary than actual cash on hand. Seems silly to me, but it w the eighties, hopefully that thinking has changed. Despite being a good saver I am not qualified to help my daughter out. At least no one else will ask me to help them. I’m no co-signer.


Cohen On TV

It’s seven thirty at night and my house is finally warm. The HVAC guys came at 9:15 this morning to install a new system and it took quite a while, but at last I have heat. I had Mah Jongg at my house to keep me entertained for the first half of the day while trapped here. Unfortunately no one was able to stay for lunch so I sat down to watch TV while I ate.

I hit the jackpot when I discovered the Micheal Cohen testimony was playing. I missed his opening remarks, but got many hours of watching his questioning by house members on the oversight committee. Since I had to stay home with the furnace guys I had the best excuse to binge watch this house circus.

It was long enough questioning that I felt like I got a feeling about Cohen. First I felt like he was fairly honest, for someone who had lied before Congress before. He owned his previous lying. He didn’t make excuses. He indicted the President on some things, but didn’t sound like he was out to get him. I say this because he defended the president on other things.

For example, he did say the President did lie about knowing a Russian mobster Felix Sater, who actually had an office in Trump Tower, NYC on the same floor at Trump himself. Cohen said that Trump did cheat on his taxes by giving lower valuations of properties. But when questioned about an alleged tape of Trump hitting Melania in an elevator, Cohen, said that tape didn’t exist and that he never could believe that Trump would hit Melania, that he was not like that. If Cohen was just out for a hatchet job, he could have let the “hitting Melania” rumor languish out there, he didn’t need to add that the Donald “wouldn’t do that.” Of course he did testify that Trump had him lie to Melania about paying off Playmates and porn stars. I almost rather would be hit than that.

The big thing I took away from his testimony is that Southern District Of New York is actively involved with investigating Trump. I can’t imagine that any good District Attorney can’t find lots of thing Trump did wrong as a real estate developer. The guy boasted about not paying taxes. There is something there. The question is will his children go to jail for his sins?

Of course the best investigating will be done by Mueller and that report has got to come out soon. But based on how most republicans on the house oversight committee defended Trump today I don’t think much will come of the report unless the ties to the Russians are indisputable. Trump being a liar, a cheat, adulterer, racist guy are not news. He has practically admitted to all those things. The question is will the country stand up for better values.

Since I am related to and friends with many Republicans I expect more from the party. Like why don’t you throw Trump out of the party and let him run independently since he really doesn’t embody the things that good old Republicans used to stand for. Get a backbone and stand up to the bully. At least learn from Micheal Cohen that standing by him will hurt you in the long run. Trump is not for you. Trump is only for Trump.


All Star Team Jeopardy

I love Jeopardy. It’s not the questions, or Alex as much as it is the strategy. If you are an aficionado of the show you will understand what I mean. For example, when someone is in third place during final Jeopardy they hardly have a chance of beating the other players if they all get the right answer. They have a much better chance if none of them get the right answer if they don’t bet any money, counting on the people in the number two and one positions who are forced to bet some dollar amount in order to win.

The other part of Jeopardy I love is following contestants who win multiple days in a row. Austin, the bartender from NYC, was my favorite contest of all time. He was not always the most knowledgeable, but always was the quirkiest.

Well, Jeopardy has come up with a brilliant new twist on the game, All Star games. Top players of the last decade are grouped into teams of three. Each time a team plays one of the team plays regular Jeopardy, one plays double and one plays final. The best part is the audience gets to see their strategy about who plays when. It is adding a big new layer to the game and the winning team gets a million dollars.

The championship started last week and continues through this week so you are not too late to get on watching this exciting show. It is going to make going back to regular Jeopardy a little dull, but then again we need a whole new group of champions for the next team game. I just hope we don’t have to wait ten years to have another.


Old Lady Spot Heating

Russ left the house at 5:00AM to go on a business trip. when I got up a bit later I thought our bedroom was a little cold. True to form the furnace was out. Even more predictably I need to replace the whole HVAC. The reason it is predictable is yesterday I signed a contract to replace the rest of our roof and fix our chimney. Our new roof has continued to leak, something it never did before it was replaced. Needless to say I am going with a different roofing contractor, but all this rain is not helping my ceilings, or the roofing calendar.

Thankfully my other HVAC unit is on so I have heat in half my house, just not the half that holds my bedroom. I could go sleep in Carter’s room, but I really want to watch the DVR in my bedroom so I set up a heater. I feel like a little old lady who only heats right where she lives. OK, I’m not little, but I am feeling old. Taking care of all these house issues is aging me.


Happy Smell Memory

I passed through my kitchen this afternoon and suddenly I was transported back to being an eight year old girl. Growing up in Connecticut we had a meandering stream that flowed over rocks down a sloping hill to our big pond. After long cold Yankee winters the happiest time of year was when the thousands of daffodils that naturally propagated all along the stream and up the banks grew and bloomed. The sunny yellow faces and bright green foliage gave hope that winter was over, but the best part was the fresh smell that filled the air.

Those daffodils had been planted years before by a previous owners of our house. Since my parents did not plant them they never fussed at me when I would go and cut some to take to my favorite teachers at school. I could hardly make a dent in those flowers, but I was always careful to cut one flower from each grouping so that I could enjoy the hundreds of bunches of bulbs peppering the natural area of our property.

Carrying those beautiful smelling flowers on the school bus made that long ride not just bearable but memorable. So here I am almost fifty years later and as I catch the whiff of my jonquils I feel eight years old again, and happy! There is nothing better than a good smell memory.


Simply Great

As a real cook I don’t often use recipes. By now I have built up a collective knowledge of culinary information that I just cook. Throwing different things together and tasting is my modus operandi. Baking is a different story. I have learned that to be a successful baker I need to use a recipe and measure.

Although I may not cook from recipes I do appreciate reading them. Sometimes I read something so complicated that interested me that I actually follow the recipe. There are certain food writers who are better at writing recipes than others. Ina Garten is always reliable to write a good recipe, but most of what she writes about or cooks I already know.

A few years ago Russ gave me a cookbook called Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israeli chef living and working in London. It quickly became my favorite cookbook when I wanted to make something new and exotic. His middle eastern flare was a refreshing take on vegetables, as the book was all about vegetables. The recipes were often complicated and included many hard to source ingredients, yet I still persisted in cooking his dishes.

Over the years Russ would give me all his cook books and I often would just read them for inspiration as they all were equally educational. This Christmas Russ gave me his latest book Ottolenghi Simple. At first it seemed like a step backwards, like learning the Hebrew alphabet after you already were fluent in Hebrew.

Tonight we had our friends Dave and Cynthia for dinner as their kitchen is being remodeled. I decided to look for dinner ideas in the Simple Book. Although the recipes are quicker than those in previous books, they are no less delicious. I did use them as a starting point from which I tweaked and added my own twists. So Lamb meatballs with pistachios, feta and arugula, green lentils with roast eggplant and cherry tomatoes, and beets with preserved lemons and red onions made a tasty dinner that hardly took me anytime to prep.

If you have never tried anything from Ottolenghi start with Simple. It won’t disappoint you and most certainly will introduce you to a whole new flavor palate. If you like it move quickly to Plenty More, still my favorite cookbook of all time.


Biblical Rain

Since our government is no longer concerned with the actual science of climate change perhaps we should put what is going on in biblical terms. Minnesota has had record snows this year. So breaking a record in a snowy state is something, perhaps not surprising, but it snowed in Hawaii and LA. That is biblical. I am not sure what the biblical term is for unexpected snow since it rarely snowed in The Middle East and I can’t think of any bible stories around snow. There should be.

But we have had unprecedented rain this year in North Carolina and I feel like it has been way more than 40 days and 40 nights. Does anyone in the federal government remember a little guy named Noah? At some point we need science to be embraced and help us understand how we are going to survive all this rain. I am in no mood to learn to build a boat.

Shay would have been one of those animals clamoring to get on the ark. She hates the rain. Normally if it is raining out she stands in the front door and refuses to go out to potty even though she knows she needs to. Having day after day of endless rain can not be good for her bladder and kidneys. Today she stayed up on my bed the whole day, moping.

I don’t blame her. I too am sick of rain. The front yard is a lake, the driveway a river. My three different rain coats hardly dry out despite rotating wearing them. Apparently we are going to have a whole weekend of continued rain. I suggest we all start praying for a dove with an olive branch. Actually I would prefer a federal worker with a science budget.