Saturday, January 25, 2014

Modren? Maybe Not...

The hotel was described as “Discreet.”  Most hotels described as ‘discreet’ provide a place for illicit afternoon liaisons. No sign on the door. You either know it or you don’t.  Not the case here. Discreet means it is unmarked.  There is an address on the door but no other way to know if it is a hotel.  When you walk in there is a long narrow wooden table, behind which there may be a person. If not, you walk around the corner and perhaps, you will find an attractive, enthusiastic concierge, who explains that the hotel is quite unique in philosophy.  They want you to feel like it’s your home. Not my home for sure.  I have telephones in my home -- there is no phone in the room. Instead, they provide an iPad. In order to get anything, like water  (they had to go out and buy me some), or coffee, you need to Facetime with a stranger.  It’s is intrusive to the max. However, if you don’t want them to see you in your underwear, they tell you to cover the camera with your hand. (Duh!)  It’s the future. OK, we are old farts, but a phone and list of services works for me.  

Low and sleek...
Moving along. Let’s say you can get into your room.  You have to have stellar coordination to do this, because the key pad on the door goes from red to orange to green and you have to turn the door knob when it’s green, which lasts for about 1 second. Needless to say, there was no way I could get in to my room. Each time we tried to get inside, it was like “the Final Spin” on Wheel of Fortune.

If you do get into your room, here is what you will find.  Everything is very low to the ground.  It looks sleek, stark, and everything has clean lines. There is a  40” flatscreen TV in the living room, but when you walk around the corner to the bedroom, there is just a wall. In our home, we have a TV in the bedroom so we can watch and snuggle until we fall asleep.  Not that we can’t fall asleep without TV, but we prefer to have the option.  TCM? (Doesn’t that stand for Truly Cerebral Motionpictures?)    

 Store room? No, that's the bathtub.  Very handy if you are a 7'2" b-ball player
Continuing the tour... there is a bathroom. But the heavy frosted glass door to access it is so heavy that if you are not a weight lifter, it’s difficult to open it.  As was said previously, everything is low, long and sleek.  The tub is 100 feet long and two feet wide.  We tried to take a “together bath.” Elbows were flying, water was every where -- We  almost killed one another trying to stay in and get out.  The shower was not much better. It was impossible to take a shower without getting totally soaked.  That’s the point, you say.  Not exactly.  You might want to keep your hair dry; that can’t happen here.  The sink is long and flat, so when you brush your teeth and spit, the yuk remains in place like the cave paintings of Lascaux.   Not my choice of a visual.  We searched for an hour for a place which had both a mirror and an electrical outlet. 

The Vanity feature... mirror and electric all in one place

Bitch, bitch, bitch. Yes, I am... I do.  We are seasoned travelers. (Yes I did have my own room at the Embassy. Residence in Paris when Pam Harriman ruled the roost -- OK that’s showing off. Amazingly, other people used it when I wasn’t there), But for us, convenience is the priority.  In a hotel like this, they opt for visually pleasant instead of what makes sense.  I don’t want a hotel to be like my home.... If I did I would stay at some kind of “suites” hotel, where I have a fridge and coffee pot.  It’s like going into a newly renovated apartment house, where they have designed the kitchen to look clean, but there are no cabinets in which to put, pots, pans, dishes or glasses.  

And in conclusion ladies and germs, (there are no germs here), this is a hotel for young strong people who like the idea of having a “personal” chef... for many persons, and who can provide their own entertainment.  Me, I like a fitness facility, a bar, a place with action so I can people watch.  Some places are “not for me” places. But as my mother always said, “variety is the spice of life”. I have no idea why that relates to this blob, but I always like to mention Mom when I can.  Needless to say, we changed hotels.  We're just sayin'... Iris

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Gov, The Bridge, Yougottaproblemwiddat?

Once you are a Jersey Girl, you are always a Jersey Girl.  It doesn’t matter if you move to California, Massachusetts or Honduras. (Has anyone ever lived in Honduras?)  If you are from New Jersey, (and it doesn’t matter what exit off the Turnpike -- we don’t identify ourselves with an exit), having suffered endless teasing, you are always particularly protective about other people from New Jersey.  And the fact that you never have to pump your own gas at a service station.

That being said, I have been asking myself, (no one else cares, so I ask me a lot of questions), what do I think of Chris Christie and all the hoopla about lane closing and excessive advertising expenses.  

Let me say upfront, there are often high level staff people in any administration who try to be too smart, and too cute, with political decisions they make.  Anyone who has worked in politics has come face to face with these yahoo’s.  They think that they will win favor with their boss if they find a clever way to make a point.  Closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge is neither cute nor smart --- so let the investigations begin. 
There is hardly a person who has worked at a senior level in any Administration who doesn’t think, at some point, that they are smarter than the Principal.  They are usually wrong, and more importantly, when things don’t work, they might get fired, but they will inevitably really screw things up for the person to whom they answer. Staff doesn’t suffer serious consequences.  The loss of a job is just the way they will learn their lesson.

It’s a fact that I don’t agree with most of what Christie believes is the right direction for the State or the country.  But, I understand why staff people do stupid things.  Do I believe that the Governor didn’t know about what his staff was doing?  It doesn’t pass the laugh test. But what’s more important to me is that he went to the Mayor of Fort Lee and he apologized.  He has apologized again and again. Even in the State of the State.  That will make a big difference to the people who he represents. Jersey girls and boys alike.  Personally, I don’t care who knew what when. Other people will figure it out.  When you get seasoned, (not old), you just have a different perspective on political decisions.

Now, let’s briefly talk about the excessive payment for the advertising agency.  First of all, payments to all advertising agencies, are excessive.  Of course the Gov was in the commercials, hey, He’s the Governor!  And did the commercials give people an upbeat sense that the future of the State and all those devastated areas was on the mend? Yes.  And did most of the people in New Jersey feel comforted by the Governor’s involvement? Yes.  Christie is a no bullshit communicator.  All you have to remember is “get the hell off the beaches!”

I do not mean to be too forgiving, but we just need to keep this country and New Jersey, moving forward.  I remain a very wised-up Democrat, who maintains my sense of self and humor.  We’re just sayin’... Iris

Monday, January 13, 2014

the Pervert Bridge

At my college Reunion, it doesn’t matter which one,  we were reminiscing about 100 Beacon Street, which was ours, and the main dorm at Emerson College in Boston.  It was a colorful place to live – with a great view of the Charles River.  There were two pay phones – which we all had to use to receive and make phone calls – (obviously there were no cell phones), and none of us had enough money to make long distance calls home. That is until we learned to hot wire the phones. This enabled us to call home and spend about two minutes to fill our parents in on whatever we had done.  
It was a very different time.  Parents did not need to be in touch with their children every minute of every day.  In fact, when we called home for just a few brief minutes, our parents did not need any updating, they were simply happy to know we were alive.   And they pretty much assumed we’d make it another week till we called again.
In addition to making a few phone calls, we received endless calls from perverts. Perverts provided us with endless hours of entertainment.  When they called the dorm, we played a game called “get the pervert to hang up first.” You can only imagine a bevy of 18 and 19 year old girls, on the phone in the hall, grossing out the pervert of the day.  We had many laughs figuring out what would gross out a pervert. (I will not get into detail about what was said, but when I think about it now, I can’t do so without blushing.)

Back to the college Reunion.  We stayed in a hotel that had a big map of Back Bay in the lower lobby. And at some point we started to talk about things that happened at the dorm. One of the things we loved was when the house mother (Agnes) would get on the intercom and say,  “Under no circumstances should anyone in the dorm, (which was all girls), go to the back of the dorm and look out the windows.”  Of course, everyone in the dorm would immediately race to the back rooms to see what we knew didn’t want us to see – the.... 

Pervert on the bridge over the esplanade, with his fly open and his shlong hanging out. 

So, there we were in front of the lower level map and I realized that there was nothing on the map about what we called, the Pervert Bridge.  With Pen in hand, I remedied the absence of that important location. Afterall, some people thought about the location as where the Boston Pops played, and the local residents could think of nothing other than the perverts.
Here it is years later. 100 Beacon Street is an upscale condo, and there is no one who lives in that historic building who will remember the college lore about the bridge. Nothing remains the same. A close friend of mine, who lives in Omaha, has an uncle who lives in the top two floors of 100 Beacon, and they didn’t even know it had once been a college dormitory.  So, mostly, only the memories of just a few former college students remain. But, if you want to visit the Pervert Bridge, go to the rear of 100 Beacon Street, facing the Charles. And if you’re still not sure, visit the former Hyatt on Washington Street, and look at the map.  We’re just sayin’... Iris

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Noo Yeaz Eve -- Plus Thirty

Team "We're Just Sayin'..."   circa 1983

Sure, last night was New Years Eve, but more importantly, the Were Just Sayin team celebrated the 30th anniversary of the day we got engaged.  30 years, who would ever have believed that we would last 30 years.  David asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate this momentus ocassion. When we lived in Virginia, we would have gone out for dim sum with as many friends as possible.  And thats what I wanted to do. (We have no friends in Newburgh, just family and that works very well.   I apologize, David may have friends here, he, like our puppy, wants to meet and find some good, everywhere he goes). But thats not what I want to blob about. So we went to Washington and although we didnt tell anyone, we had a secret (it was our secret)  anniversary party with our friends, at our favorite Dim Sum restaurant. We knew that not all our dear friends would be able to make it so we made separate stops to see them.

We had been together and apart for five years prior to that night. Its unclear what happened that made him ask me to marry him, (except at Germaines suggestion I took everything that he had left at my house, and dropped it off at his one of his good friends. I usually say that I packed it up and threw it out on the street. And while that sounds much more dramatic, I lived near Dupont Circle and in those days it wasnt as upscale as it is today.  For example, I paid the drunks who hung out at the corner liquor store to watch Seth when he crossed the street to go to McDonalds. 

Anyway, I thought that was the end of a long and tumultuous five years. But not so fast, Fanny. (No idea where I came up with Fannyit just sounded poetic.)  He was away on one of those Days in a Life…” books. I think it was a Day in the Life of Hawaii.  Maybe he spent too much time in the sun, because when he came back, he took me to Georgetown and proposed there was no diamond exchanged, that came later.

That evening we had a New Years party at Germaines restaurant.  David had made some 3X5 cards, on which he announced our engagement. He handed the cards to Dave Kennerly and said, Im going to say whatever is on those cards in Japanese, (no he doesnt speak Japanese, so you can only imagine), and you read the translation in English.   Yes it was hilarious, but no one, including Kennerly had any idea of what was to come. On the last card he said that I had accepted his proposal of marriage.  Heres whats important, we were not kids and we knew if we waited to get married for more than 3 weeks, we would talk ourselves out of it.  But the third weekend was the Superbowl so we actually had to wait 4 weeks. Getting married was an excellent decision.

Last night (New Years Eve), we had dinner with family and reenacted the proposal. Yes, David spoke -- or didnt speak -- Japanese, and everyone enjoyed the presentationI hope.

"Happy New Year"  is something people just say when the year changes. It is a nicety. What of instead of "Happy New Year" we said something a little more substantive, like, "this year I intend to make your life happier by (fill in the blank).

 It's just a thought.  Now I have to make a plan about how to do that.  Were just sayin’…Iris