Monthly Archives: August 2011

Scanner Dan

If you have spent time in Madison, Wisconsin you would know Scanner Dan. He is sort of famous. He hangs on State Street, carrying a police scanner. He is a true character. He talks to himself and makes running commentary about the people that pass by. He is known to shout out sorority names as girls pass by, giving his opinion on their affiliation.

While I was in Madison last week, my Dan and I spotted him at an outdoor cafe table. I had to get this picture of Dan Squared.

My kids really are good sports, aren’t they?


Filed under absurdities, carry a camera, danny, humor

Hurricanes trump earthquakes… FU Irene

Ok, T minus who the hell knows how many hours till the storm hits the Island of Long. To all my east coast friends, sit tight, drink often and remember that if you have a coffee press you don’t need electricity.

For those who are worried about my parents, they are safely evacuated to my house and we are hunkering with plenty of alcohol (for me) and a puzzle. May AT&T stay live so my iPad remains working and may you all have an easy hurricane (sort of like an easy fast on Yom Kippur for my fellow tribesman).

BTW, bbm or text Jana if you can. She is stuck in this house with her parents and grandparents; yep she is pretty glad she graduated and is living home! (thank goodness she has the dog).

Two more sleeps and this damn thing will be over.


Filed under current events, weather

The earthquake wasn’t the weirdest part of my day

Things have been a bit off-kilter lately. Not sure if it is because I have had this miserable cold, sinus, cough thing or maybe the stars are just aligning in a weird way. Yesterday was so damn crazy even I, the ever famous MFTA, was surprised.

In my post Madison, flying with bad sinuses, I can hardly hear anymore stupor, I sat at my desk yesterday and started banging away at my list as if it were any other day. Of course my phones have not been working correctly since Verizon went on strike. A coincidence? I think not. For a couple of weeks I would get static and crossed lines, only from 1-5 PM. Yesterday they were pretty much unusable. There was constant static, calls dropping, lines crossing… pretty much a train wreck. So I used my cell and called it a day after Verizon finally gave me a repair date this week as opposed to the September 16th date they gave me last week.

Around 11:30 my doorbell rang. I opened the door to a police man:

Him: (sort of looking behind me) Mrs. Levinson, are you ok?

Me: Well, I have a bit of a cold and cough, but otherwise, I’m good. Why?

Him: You dialed 911 and when we called back all we got was static.

Me: Nope, not me. My phones are not working, all I have is static. Wait, did you guys think I dialed 911 and then my lines were cut? Yikes. Sorry, it appears my phones are randomly dialing out themselves!

Just as I said that ANOTHER cop car pulled up. I am guessing these guys were not all that thrilled with what could have been going on here. (CSI-PW?)

I sent them on their merry way, thanking them for their attentiveness and went back to work. Around 2:00 I was sitting at my desk when my chair started to vibrate. Hmmmm… nice feature but I don’t remember installing it. Then all the stuff on the bulletin board started to swing. I ran upstairs and the keychain lanyard was swinging on the hook. When I called Gary and told him I felt an earthquake he told me I was crazy and it was probably a big truck.

Indeed. We’ll see who’s crazy!

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Filed under humor, magnet for the absurd

College Move-in Fiasco (Time to Cry Tuesday)

Five years, two kids, hundreds of pounds of luggage and thousands of dollars at Bed Bath and Target and you would think I had this thing down pat already. Actually, the funny part is I really thought I did. Until of course I reached the rental car line at the Milwaukee airport and realized that somewhere between the security check at LGA and the very spot I was standing I had somehow…


Loud enough? I wrote that in caps because I want you all to understand the gravity of being 74 miles from Madison with upwards of 160 lbs of luggage, 150 lbs of boy and NO CAR. That’s right kiddies… almost 52 years old and I am still losing my license. I like to think of it as part of my charm. My son likes to think of it as one of my least endearing qualities.

After a few moments of OMG panic and what the hell are we going to do now behavior I figuratively slapped myself across the face and subscribed to my friend Jeanne’s famous theory, “Money is the answer, now tell me your problem”. Let me just interject with the fact that I do not really believe that, although outside of loss, health issues and affairs of the heart it is hard to argue the point that money can’t fix most things. It certainly fixed this problem.

I would like to thank my new BFF Jodi, from Step Ahead Services in Madison, WI who jumped in her town car and rescued me from winning the Loser Mother of the Year Award. If you are ever in the Milwaukee/Madison area please consider using their services. Not only did she drop everything and get to us as fast as humanly possible, she agreed to take us to Bed Bath/Target, stop at my hotel to drop my bags, a restaurant to pick up Danny’s keys from his roomies and ultimately to his apartment – all at no extra charge.

While waiting for Jodi I ran around the airport reporting the lost license to the airport sherrif’s department, where I met the lovely Officer James who had a hard time understanding my NY accent along with the brewing laryngitis from the plague I have been suffering. Then there was the fabulous Luce at the AirTran lost and found and of course the ever sympathetic crowd at the Enterprise office who were praying that I did not start to cry while begging them to rent me a car to an 18 year old. (no go, btw). Almost got them to drive us to Madison for the price of my rental.

The saga continued and yes I was able to fly back thanks to the fact that I have lost my license before and had a spare one that was not expired in my house (hold the comments on pattern of behavior, please). My hero Jimmy G just happened to be flying back to Madtown from Equifunk on Sunday and promptly delivered it to my hotel… indebted to that boy for life. AND of course my dear friends Linda and Richie made sure to rescue me to the bar that first night and help me see the humor in the situation.

All in all a lesson learned.

Don’t lose your damn license when you are traveling!



Filed under danny, humor, travel

Kettle Ho


This one comes to us from Uncle Neal. Today was a big day for submissions. Sue sent another great one which I will use tomorrow. I love when I am sent blog fodder and I don’t have to come up with anything clever on my own.

This particular sign is just too good to be true – Kettle Ho. There is of course the kettle and the hoe… but then why drop the ‘e’ on hoe. And the mermaid? I hate to be crass but are mermaids anatomically correct to be able to fulfill the ho requirement?

Now it gets better. This place, in Cotuit, MA (how do you pronounce that?), is also the home of Mycock Real Estate.

So Neal, what did they serve there?

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Filed under humor, signage

Time to Cry Tuesday – Ants, Leaks and Static on the Phones

It would seem that I have been having a smackdown with my house of late. And I am losing horribly.

For the past few weeks, along with the help of my exterminator, I have been battling a never-ending war with ants. They are determined to taunt me. Everywhere. In the bottom of the (ancient) dishwasher. In the corners of the bathroom. All over the buffet area in the dining room (thankfully after I served brunch). The last one was of horror movie proportions.

Sunday morning I, like many of my fellow Northeasterners, awoke to a deluge that could not under any circumstances end well. There was the usual water in the sump pump – almost overflowing before we were able to drain it out. Then the requisite spots in the basement that no french drain could hold. But the living room couch?! As my daughter said, “This is a two story house, how could the ceiling on the first floor be leaking?” (some weird gutter physics I do not care to go into).

And then there were the phones. Yes folks, my two lines are crossing and the static is unbearable. The online check from Verizon told me it is not on their lines (yeh, right) and lucky me… they are on strike! They would be happy to schedule me for service…

on September 16th!

But none of this really matters all that much. For Sunday morning, as I jumped between killing ants and chasing leaks, I was preparing to have my whole family at my table for brunch. Brother, sister-in-law, nephews, (and a girlfriend), cousin dog, husband, daughter, son, mother and father.

Honestly, who really cares about a house that taunts you when you can have a day like that?

A friend read me a line from a book the other day and told me she was sure I could have written it. I loved it so much I started to read the book. (Three Stages of Amazementby Carol Edgarian – if you are interested) This was the line, “It was life, this crazy life, and if you didn’t laugh it broke you. It broke you anyway, but it was better if you laughed. 

Sort of sounds like the original premise of this blog, doesn’t it?

BTW, if you need to reach, me try my cell. And if you are wondering what to buy me for my birthday, a nice big can of Raid and a wetvac would be lovely.




Filed under homeowner, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Happy Birthday to the World’s Best Mom

No, not me! I would never be that self-serving. I am talking about MY mom.

This weekend we celebrated a very special birthday with my mother. Through some miracle and lots of corralling of 3 generations of cats, we were able to get the entire family together. Even Danny made it – fresh off the camp bus.

A huge thank you and hugs forever to the Chef love of my life, Don, for making this meal over the top amazing. Big plug for Valentino’s on the Green (might I highly recommend EVERYTHING on the menu)

As my mom put it so eloquently in her little speech after dins, having everyone all together in one place made turning this rather strange number worth it.

Here’s to my mom, the bravest woman I know. Wishing you the best birthday ever. May you always feel the love that surrounded you tonight, and know that we are all blessed to have you in our lives.

Now, if all you readers would be so kind as to come out of the woodwork, please wish mom a happy birthday.


Filed under aging parents, family, holidays


Is it me? Tell me that no one else sees these things on a regular basis. It is uncanny how they present themselves to me; and so often in the early hours of the morning when Mel and I are walking (note her little paw in the bottom right corner of the photo).

The owner of this van was about to get into it when I stopped him and asked if I could please photograph his license plate (yes I actually asked this time). He sort of smiled sheepishly and told me that women love this. I asked who ordered it, him or his wife and he gave me a sweet little evasive smile.

I sent it to Gary. This was our conversation later in the day:

Me: Did you get my email?

Gary: Yeh.

Me: Funny, right?

Gary: Did you ask the guy if his wife was carrying his penis around in her pocket all day?

Gotta love my husband. Or should I say LUVMYHUSBAND.


Filed under absurdities, carry a camera, gary, license plates

More Great Garbage

I know what many of you are thinking, “she is becoming some sort of creepy stalker taking pics of her neighbors’ garbage all the time”.

Yeh, so what? Admit that you, too, take some unexplained pleasure in the oddities that I find lying out by the curb on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

This one comes from my favorite house. These are the same people that brought us The Dog and Kandinsky , The Headless Garbage, and the ever famous VanGogh Vodka with frames. I don’t know who these people are but I really would like to be friends with them.

For today’s shot I had to get off the phone to take the picture with my godforsaken Blackberry. As much as I cannot wait for the iPhone5 to arrive with its dazzling 8 megapixal camera, there is something fabulous about how this shot came out, don’t you think?

How to Become CEO and Getting Married… both in the garbage. So, do you think they have achieved both goals or have given up?


Filed under absurdities, carry a camera, garbage

Time to Cry Tuesday – Put me in coach

Last week I received an email from the famous Thread. If you are not familiar with these fabulous friends of mine you can read about them here. If you are not inclined to read more than one post from me today, in a nutshell, these are my college friends. And let’s just say I am way out of college! But they have remained my friends forever and we share our lives on an email thread that has been going for years.

Last week, one of our own hit the heights of paternal joy. Not many get to experience this one, and we are all happy to live vicariously through him.

After the email went out I am pretty sure I heard a collective parental gasp and sigh all around the country. Thanks, Uncle Neal (no, I do not know why we call him that) for sharing the joy of one of your oldest friends with us. It went something like this:

Congrats to David Goldschmidt (Goldy). His son, Paul, was called up to play in his first Major League game for the Diamondbacks last night in SF. (He and his wife were there). He is 24 and got married last year to his college sweetheart. I have met him over the years and he has grown into a really fine man. Google him. He is quite impressive.

Wishing him all the best of luck and success in the big leagues. His dad was pretty good in Little League, too.

By the way, the kid had a hit in his first big league at bat! Not too shabby!!

As if that were not thrilling enough, the next night he HIT A HOME RUN!

After all the congrats were sent and the proud dad sent us a quick note telling us What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been, Uncle Neal caused yet another cross-nation tear-jerker with this one:

Goldy, I still get to call you Goldy, right? Ernie, (Dave’s father or as I affectionately call him, Mr. G) must be out of his mind. I remember, in your old house in Natick, your dad had a photo of Ted Williams hanging in the den above the TV. Who knew that 40 years later, you would have a son that would deserve to have his photo up on that wall!

Look, I am not a big baseball fan. And I (sadly) have lost touch with this friend over the years. But last week we were all family again. And one of our own had hit the bigs. All of us parents who drove carpools to sporting events, spent late nights in the ER with sprained ankles (and worse), raced home from work to catch games that ultimately were rained out or our kids were benched, knew the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat if only on the Varsity level… we all watched as our friend got the biggest payoff of all times.





And there is nothing better than sitting in those stands watching your child realize his dream.


Filed under sports, Time to Cry Tuesdays