Previous month:
February 2022
Next month:
April 2022

March 2022

Round and Round She Goes

It was an almost-spring-blue-skyed morning at the Fresh Pond Reservoir. I was walking with an old friend I hadn’t seen in months,   so there was a lot to catch up on.  The path is two-plus miles and I have walked it countless times.

Shortly after we got started, we felt a rush of wind as a tall, slim figure flew past us and disappeared in the distance.  We noticed her long blond hair, pulled back, and that she was running as gracefully as a gazelle.

We continue our “stroll,” and within moments she passed us again.  I decided she was probably training for the Boston Marathon. 

The third time she passed us, I could feel myself becoming annoyed.  What right does she have to be so fast, so beautiful (from the back anyway) and such a show-off!

The fourth time she passed us…I felt an immediate need to sit down.

Who was that mysterious woman?  We’ll never know.

Clementine Celebration

 My “baby” turned fifty on Thursday. How could that possibly be?  Wasn’t I just fifty yesterday? We “celebrated” my fiftieth by leaving town on a little family vacation because I did not want to publicly announce that I had lived for half a century.

Well, my “baby” didn’t want to hide this milestone.  Instead, he invited friends from every phase of his life to participate in his Second Annual Zoom Clementine-Eating Contest.

Fifty-one people showed up. The youngest was about ten; the oldest was surely me.  And I had the honor of running the stopwatch as well as participating.

Each participant had to show on camera his/her unopened 3-lb bag of clementines.  After the signal by me, the first person to finish the entire bag would be the winner. Our winner ate his entire bag in slightly over five minutes. At that instant, having eaten six, I still had eleven clementines left in my bag. 

There was some post-competition chatter and an off-key rendering of Happy Birthday. 

Best birthday ever, according to Jeremy.


How likely is this? Two brothers, ages almost 50 and almost 52 hanging out together in the elder’s Jackson Heights, Queens living room and doing Facetime with their mother!

When Jeremy realized that he was the only one in his family with two days off for his school’s spring break, he decided to visit his brother in New York City. Not sure what they did other than eat, rather graze, through the City, go to Seth’s favorite comedian’s live show somewhere in New Jersey and film a video about suburb vs. city for Seth’s Amigo Gringo channel.

We laughed about a rather silly lamp in Seth’s living room that came from Jeremy’s bedroom more than thirty years ago. And a lot of other things.

You “had to be there,” but it got one (very) empty-nester’s day off to a great start.

To watch a short video about Seth and Jeremy in New York, mostly in English, click here

P.S.  Thanks to all who wrote to introduce themselves.  I loved reading your stories, and I will answer them as time permits.

Who are You?

For over fourteen years (1,482 posts), I have been sharing my thoughts-- my fears, my bad news and my triumphs with you.  I have posted photos of all sorts.  I have recommended readings and sent links.  You know a lot about Judy Kugel.

Now it’s my turn. I would be so happy to “meet” you.  Will you send me a picture and a few words about where you are in your life?  I promise not to re-publish anything.  Ask questions, make suggestions, just write.

It’s [email protected].

Neti and Friend

Brazilians often shower more than once a day, according to our son Seth, who spends about half of each year in Brazil.  They understand clean.

In greater Boston, Brazilians have a lock on the housecleaning business.  When our Brazilian cleaning person had a baby recently, she arranged for two friends to clean in her place.

Neti and friend are a fierce team.  They cruise through the apartment like a speedboat, chatting in Portuguese about I don’t know what.

I can say “how’s it going” and “thank you” in Portuguese.  Neti and her friend are a bit lacking in English, but we manage to communicate.

All good. 

Except that they don’t miss a thing, and they want me to know it.  So every picture on every wall is leaning a slightly different way after they clean.  One day I couldn’t find the bathroom scale because they had moved it.

This week after they were here, one metal leg of the bathroom sink fell off while I was brushing my teeth.  They had worked too hard cleaning it, I suppose. Luckily, I was able to screw the leg back in.

When they leave, the apartment is sparkling clean.  That’s what matters

Conversation in Silver Spring

I flew to Washington, DC last weekend for a memorial service. Sad, but there was a bonus because I stayed with Jeremy and his family in nearby Silver Spring where the following conversation took place:

Jeremy:  Remember that great blueberry pie you used to make with the graham cracker crust, cranberry jelly and sour cream frosting?

Me:  Yeah, I loved that pie, but gluten-free graham crackers don’t work very well for pie crust.

Grady, age 15 (and 6’3” tall):  But you could use gluten-free ginger snaps instead of graham crackers.

Me:  Great idea.  You sure are smart!

Grady:  Well, I learned from my father who learned from his mother.

Love that kid.

Hanging Out With Seth


My sons have been great about keeping in touch since Peter died.  Nothing eases his loss, but it’s great that they have “keep in touch with Mom” on their to-do lists. 

Seth visited for three nights a week ago.  He always brings lots of equipment for his video-making and takes up quite a lot of space.

I love it.

This time he made two short videos featuring me. One was about the objects I love in my condo—items from my grandparents, my favorite fern, my climber sculpture, etc., thus giving his Brazilian followers some new English vocabulary. The other video followed our visit to Cambridge's best (and only) Brazilian restaurant.

We also took a long walk to North Cambridge, and I showed him where I lived when I met Peter.  (See photo above). 

As always, his visit went too fast.*

*You can follow Seth on Instagram @seuamigogringo (if you understand Portuguese or maybe even Spanish)

Too Many People Dying

It is no longer shocking when my contemporaries die. Last month, a friend who lived next door growing up, a post-college roommate, and a former Cambridge neighbor all passed away.

When three close friends died in their forties, each was a heartbreaking loss, a life cut off way too early.  These latest deaths are easier to accept, yet remind us of our own mortality.

I don’t know the people dying needlessly in the Ukraine.  But I honor their bravery and their willingness to sacrifice their lives to save their country’s freedom.

All deaths are sad, but the loss of life in the Ukraine is a tragedy.

Urgent Plant Care

When we relocated to Washington, DC in 2017, the movers told us that they can’t move plants across state lines.  So, my favorite fern moved to DC in the back seat of our car.

It did fine when we returned to Cambridge until we moved to a corner apartment with very cold winter windows. Too late, I realized my fern was suffering.

I moved it away from the cold corner.  I apologized to it daily.  I cut back the dead fronds and added some fresh organic soil.  And while examining it on Saturday, I spied two new green heads peeking out of the soil.

I’ve set aside a corner of my apartment for plant urgent care.  In it now are a very sad basil plant that smells wonderful, despite its minute leaves and a post-blooming orchid that might just possibly come back.

And we thought raising children was hard…