is “the branch of mathematics dealing with the properties and manipulation of numbers.” That is – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Whereas mathematics is “a group of related sciences, including algebra, geometry, and calculus, concerned with the study of number, quantity, shape, and space and their interrelationships by using a specialized notation”  In the USA mathematics is shortened to ‘math’ but in other parts of the world it is ‘maths’ – with an S, pluralized.  Which, looking at the definitions as stated above, maths would seem to be correct.

And all of that is an example of my pinball brain. Because –

It is windy this morning and the first thing that came into my mind was “Who has seen the wind, Neither you nor I, But when the trees bow down their heads, The wind is passing by” (part of a poem by Christina Rossetti.)

And then I thought – “When I was in grammar school we had to memorize a poem a week, they don’t do that anymore” and then “I guess the only thing kids have to memorize these days is the multiplication tables because that’s the only way to learn them” and then “Multiplication is really just addition.”

And then I thought “Does everyone have bits and bobs of poetry and songs in their memory that just pop-up in reaction to whatever is going on?”

And then I thought “I don’t care for the Rossettis or Wordsworth, except for an odd line here and there that is stuck in my memory.”

And then the bit about the multiplication tables led me to writing this post with a heading of ‘Arithmetic’ because –

An observation of the windy day, led to a bit of poetry, Led to thinking of how much stuff is stuck in my head, Led to thinking how nice it is to have all these bits of poetry (and songs), led to wondering if other people react to their world this way, Led to thinking how sad that children are not asked to memorize poems anymore, or are they? Led to thinking the only thing kids memorize these days is the multiplication tables, Led me to thinking is there another way to learn the multiplication tables?

And now, looking at what I have written I am wondering, should the above paragraph use semicolons instead of commas? Or colons? Should I break that paragraph up? Is it too long and convoluted, will people follow it?  I then just capitalized the L –

I’m thinking – I’m overthinking. I write the way I talk. Perhaps that is my charm?

Oh sometimes it’s so hard to be kind…

but I keep my mouth shut and my fingers off the keyboard.  And after doing a whole lot of mental fulminating I sit back and laugh. At what I’ve just heard/read and my reaction to it.

Let it be, Let it go –

Am I the only person on the planet that hasn’t seen ‘Frozen’? Or heard the song in its entirety? That’s what comes of not having children around. At least one of my granddaughters is a ‘Frozen’ fan freak and indeed I sent her a Christmas card that had the princess in the blue dress on it and if you press the button it plays the Let It Go song or some part of it. Admittedly I only played it once to make sure the card worked and I honestly can’t remember the song.

Also, am I the only person of my generation who never thought the Beatles were all that (and a bag of chips)?  And that said, I wouldn’t mind watching the new documentary “Get Back” but it’s on Disney+, a streaming channel I surely do not have.

Speaking of music (you didn’t know we were did you? HA! I am always talking about music) – it seems some necessary purchases I made via Amazon resulted in me getting a few dollars in credits for digital material. Pfft – what will $2.50 buy me? I’ll tell ya what it bought me – Hurt Nobody and In Hell I’ll Be in Good Company.

One of these days I’ll put together a playlist on my computer and then transfer it to an mp3 player. I never get passed 10 or so songs before the whole process just starts to the bore the hell out of me. I’ve also got to download a whole bunch of cd’s onto my computer, which involves an external cd drive – so much easier when those things were part and parcel of the computer itself. Ah, yes – the old grumpy in the old days lament.

Today  is Sunday, right? Usually we have pizza on Sunday but today I cooked (or what passes for cooking these days),  screws up the whole “what day of the week is it? ” system. So that makes tomorrow Monday – laundry day! Means getting up at o’dark thirty to get that done and then…husband has a 10:10 doctors appointment – no lollygagging around for me, do the laundry, shower and dress all by 9:15 – Phooey. Maybe pizza for lunch on Monday then…

It’s been a mostly sleepless week…

Thursday night I didn’t get to sleep until Friday afternoon – so that was what – about 34 straight hours without sleep…not a record for me, I’ve gone longer without sleep. I’m usually operating on 3 to 5 hours sleep a night and no naps during the day.

I was stressed, couldn’t get my brain to shut off and shut up – which is usually the situation. No, nothing works until exhaustion finally settles in.

Thursday we finally got our booster shots. Originally we got the J&J so for the booster we got the Moderna. According to my husband that is the best booster for the J&J. Normally I wouldn’t put too much stock into what my husband recommends but according to World News Tonight the Moderna is the most effective. Okey-dokey then. No side effects other than a sore arm for a day or so. Today is Saturday and sore arm is no longer sore.

This morning my husband and I were talking about Miss Frankie – again. We talk about her a lot. She still hangs around; I still hear her sometimes in the litter box, the one that isn’t there anymore because we have no more cats. We miss living with a cat but we are too old to have another – wouldn’t want the cat outliving us and there is always the issue of my husband’s balance/vertigo. A cat in the house might prove fatal for him – a tripping and falling hazard.

We also talked about how much work a cat is – you don’t realize it until you don’t have to vacuum every other day and sweep the days you don’t vacuum. Or the extra laundry because you are always washing blankets and bathroom rugs because of the cat hair. Scooping the litter box several times a day, dumping old kitty litter and washing the litter box once a week. It all adds up. Now we can actually go two weeks without vacuuming. When they came and changed the air filters this Fall they were pretty much clean instead of being clogged up with cat hair and debris.

Still – I’d rather have a cat.

We also talked about June not having put in an appearance. The woman died May of 2020 and I have not “heard” a peep out of her. I’m hoping it stays that way; that she is just too embarrassed to show up. I wonder if she and my father have crossed paths yet – that would be a hoot.

There is a toy collection bin in the lobby and I bought a bunch of books – maybe not what anyone expects but – BOOKS!

Speaking of which – Everyone knows how much I like Elizabeth Strout and how much I was looking forward to her newest book (which my darling Miss Lisa sent me). Well, I’ve had the book almost 2 months now and I am dragging my ass through it. Where the hell was her editor on this? And I know she has a REAL editor.

The thing about her writing style is reading her books is like sitting down with an old friend and just talking – in “Oh, William” she is constantly saying ‘Well that is what I thought” or “That was what I was feeling”. These phrases, or something similar are repeated over and over, time and again – it’s driving me crazy.  I’m not loving this book. I guess you can’t win them all. I didn’t like her novel The Burgess Boys but My Name is Lucy Barton, Olive Kitteridge and Olive Again are just brilliant.

Ooo – it’s getting late. I’ve got this peddle thing – pretty much like using a stationary bike – and I’ve been pedaling 7 or 8 miles a day at approximately 15 miles per hour. Go Me! But I haven’t pedaled since Thursday so I gotta go do that…I’ll pedal like the devil, have a cup of tea and read – multitasking like a champ.

Early in the day

I’m writing this at 6:39am. I woke up at 4am and got out of bed at 4:30am. I’ve had 2.5 cups of coffee and my breakfast (BelVita breakfast biscuits). I’m about ready to go back to bed. Maybe.

Today’s Washington Post was another special expanded edition (which I explained about HERE.) that I opted out of receiving and paying for but received anyway.

Since today is Wednesday the normal special section is ‘Food’ and it featured cookie recipes – all of which made me gag.  I’m not much of a cookie fan, and I do love sweet potatoes but sweet potato and walnut cookies? And those were the least objectionable. There was a shortbread cookie recipe that had 20 steps. 20! Good luck with that.

The food sections of newspapers always make me laugh – sarcastically. Who has the time or the money to make any of these meals? Oh yeah, I’m so going to grind sesame seeds (white) to make a coating for chicken cutlets. After all, I keep bags of sesame seeds(white) in my pantry, don’t you? This was an easy 30 minute dinner recipe with pantry staples. Actually the prepping and cooking of the meal was simple, aside from grinding sesame seeds, which is not really an onerous task with a mini-chopper.

If you are in need of a laugh then you should check out the NY Times Food section, also a Wednesday feature section. Isn’t it interesting that newspapers all have a weekly Food Section on Wednesday. You know why? Because Wednesday is when supermarkets start their weekly specials and stuff your newspaper with ads.

The NY Times holiday cookie round-up is much more palatable and even includes my very most favorite cookies in the whole wide world – Italian Rainbow Cookies , which are really cake.  My Aunt Mary used to make these for me all the time, not just as Christmas treats, bless her heart. I made them just once, a lot of work but oh so delicious.

It’s now 7:20am and the temperature is a balmy 39 degrees. The forecast for the rest of the day is: “Snow likely, mainly between 10am and 1pm. Cloudy, with a high near 42. Light and variable wind becoming southeast around 6 mph in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.” The total predicted snowfall for the entire Winter is 12-14 inches. I can live with that.

The rest of the week the temperatures will creep up to a predicted 71 degrees on Saturday. I can live with that too.

I think that’s it for today…Enjoy your day as best you can, find something to laugh about because when all is said and done, laughter makes everything better.

I forget my name

Oh no not because of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease but because I just don’t relate to them – my surnames.

I got married when I was 44 and I changed my last name from my father’s to my husband’s.  At the time I did it a trifle unwillingly but since my husband’s ex-wife reverted to her maiden name, (maiden name – isn’t that quaint?) keeping my maiden name would have confused so many issues since my husband’s children were quite young at the time. It probably isn’t so much of a problem now but back in 1990 – 3 adults with 3 different last names responsible for the children – not gonna fly well.

Each of my surnames has caused me a lot problems. A person does get tired of having to spell/explain/correct people when giving their name.

My maiden name is Torre. Simple, right? No. My last name is Italian. I was told it was the “Smith” of Naples ie: very common. But in the United States, and particularly New York City people just slap an S on the end and start talking in Spanish. I would spell it out – T O R R E, no S. Italian not Spanish.

Two examples of what I went through just about every time I gave my name:

I took some clothes to the dry cleaner and when asked my name for the receipt, I said Torre and then spelled it. The counter guy said you mean “Torres”. I said “No, I don’t. I mean Torre, no S, I know my own name” Guy says: “I never heard of that name” and wrote “Torres”. I picked up my clothes and walked out.

In college: First night of class, professor is reading through the registration cards, gets to my name, says “Torres”? I don’t answer, not my name. He’s reading off a printed card, of which I have a duplicate and my name is spelled correctly.  He finishes the roll call, looks at me and says “Are you registered? What’s your name?” I say “Grace Torre”. He says “I called your name” I say “No, you didn’t. He looks at the card and says “It’s right here, Grace Torres” I say: Look at it again, what does it say?” We did this 3 times. I say “Don’t they teach English professor to read English?” I walked out and dropped the class.

When Joe Torre became manager of the NY Mets it was a little easier – I would say “Torre – like Joe Torre of the Mets” People would say “Oh you related to him?” “No” I would say “we just have the same last name.”

My husband’s last name is St. Clair, that is pronounced Saint Clair . Unless of course you are in Britain, or any country that was ever a part of the British Empire, then the name is pronounced Sinclair.  And here we go again – no I don’t respond because my name isn’t Sinclair!!!

Or better, because no one pays attention – being called from the reception room of just about anywhere – “Claire??” Anyone here named Claire?” And yes, they do add an E, you can’t hear it but that’s how they write it – St. Claire with an E.  The first time that happened I didn’t tip to it so I sat waiting to be called. I finally went up to the desk and inquired how much longer I would have to wait, I was told “But Claire, your name was called” I had to explain my name wasn’t “Claire” but Grace St. Clair. 

I got used to that.

With the advent of the whole world being computerised having a 2-word last name which includes a period – well, you know what fun that has been.

My passport and state ID has my last name as ST (space) CLAIR. Just about everywhere else the two words are just run together Stclair.  Of course one time I got a robo reminder call from a doctor’s office that addressed me as Ms. Street – get it? St. being an abbreviation for street.

So in this weird world of no one paying attention my first name is: Grace. My middle name is ST and my last name is Clair (often with an e).

And sometimes my first name is Claire.

And sometimes my last name is Sinclair.

And sometimes my last name is Stclair (often with an E – don’t forget that damn E, much like that damn S that doesn’t belong on my name.)

(More confusion? I use ‘Torre’ as my middle name. So my middle initial is T – play with that whole mess for a while.)

Anyway, yesterday I had to write out some checks (I know, who writes checks any more, right?) and as I was signing the checks I couldn’t remember my last name!

But my real point is: The name Torre doesn’t mean anything to me anymore, it’s not who I am anymore. And the name St. Clair, well that was never MY name to begin with.

Just like I came to the realization some time ago that I don’t have a home, I’m beginning to feel that my only name is Grace. Those other names? Just words, just sounds, not me.

Grace – that’s who I am, that’s my name. Just the one. Just me.

Damn birds…

This is a cedar waxwing.  I took this picture through a window, so not bad, eh?

My friend Lisa is a fantabulous, super talented outdoor/landscape/wildlife photographer. She lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania and has hot shot professional cameras and just got a honking big lens to she can photograph the birds in her ‘yard’ (where she has set up lots and lots of feeders.)

She just posted about 50 photos of cedar waxwings that have descended on her ‘yard’ – and they are, of course, fabulous photos, just smashing but personally I hate these little buggers.

There is a 6-story tall holly tree outside my by bedroom windows and since we moved here back in 2012 that tree has been home to so many birds, I used to take dozens of photos of the birds that called that tree home. Not so much anymore because of these damn cedar waxwings.

Back in April of 2018 a flock of these damn birds descended on that holly tree and chased all the other birds away. They then ate every single berry off that tree – every single one! When there were no more berries to be had they flew off never to be seen again.


The birds (and squirrels) who used to live in that tree never really came back, at least not in the numbers and diversity that had been there before the cedar waxwings moved in.

Pretty as these birds might be to me they are just greedy little bullies.

Sure, sure – I see some robins, hear the mourning doves, or did, they seemed to have moved on. There is an occasional cardinal, not in my tree but on my neighbors balcony, and just this morning, a bluejay was flitting around BUT there used to be masses of birds; tons of birds; lots and lots of birds, until those cedar waxwings blew into town. That was 3 years ago, they never came back and neither did the birds they chased away – bastids!


How sad when your world has gotten so small

that you dream about a blog post.

Last night I dreamt that I was reading a blog post that kept referring to me – part of it read “I keep referring to Grace (and my name was a clickable link to this blog) but I can’t help it. One of the best things about her is that she is always the first to admit when she is wrong

Now there’s the kicker “...she is always the first to admit when she is wrong” What in heaven’s name does that mean?

In the dream I see myself sitting at my desk reading the blog post on my computer. I can even tell you what the blog looks like. I keep scrolling through the post and I keep seeing my name as a clickable link but that sentence is the only one that I remember.

In the dream I am trying to find out whose blog it is and I discover the blog belongs to – an actor, whose name I can’t recall but whose face I can clearly see. This actor is in an old British tv series we are watching on Acorn – I know the name of the character he plays but not the name of the actor. He’s an old guy in the series and would be even older now since the series stopped filming 7 or 8 years ago.

Of all my traits, good and bad, why is this one so important? What is it about this trait that makes it stand out in my mind? Because it is my mind that is creating this dream, about this subject. What has happened recently that my being able to admit when I am wrong is of any importance or it being something to remark upon? What is it in my subconscious that wants attention?

It’s something to wonder about.