Update on WordPress Tech Glitch

I get that software developers like to keep making things better. For me, if something works and satisfies my needs, I wish they’d leave well enough alone.

WordPress did something on their platform that inadvertently created my login problem. Alas, it’s not something they can fix by rebooting or whatever. Their developers have to invent a fix, or a workaround. I’m guessing the problem has affected more users than me.

Time line for the fix is indeterminate. I can still get into my site, using a different pathway. But it’s not working the way it did or, in my view, the way it should.

O ye of little faith user of the internet that I am, I’ll repeat my warning: if I’m suddenly off line, it’s almost certainly not me. It’s the software developers, trying yet again to re-invent the world. Stay tuned.

Budding Gardener: Who Knew Mulch Came In Kinds?

Home services in my former hometown of Rochester, NY, were less costly and more comprehensive than they are here in Seattle. I could tell Broccolo and Company that I wanted grass, trees, and shrubs healthy, weed free, trimmed, and green. I added that I wanted plants to add color three seasons of the year, a mix of annuals and perennials. I smiled sweetly and said I never wanted to touch the dirt — and voila! It was done.

Here in Seattle I do some, and the two different landscapers I use do some. My friend Nicki, a master gardener herself, does my pots as a birthday gift. Because no one here uses chemicals, only organic, some things — like chemical weed killer– aren’t done by anyone. We dig weeds out by hand. I have to say things look gorgeous — even though spring has been dry enough to qualify as a drought and I’m watering like mad.

I was out changing the sprinkler in front when the gym manager where I belong walked by. He stopped, enthralled by the garden, and asked what kind of mulch I use. Apparently as a second job he does the gardening at the condo building where he and his wife live.

Mulch comes in kinds?

I told him I’d talk to Gonzalo and find out.

I’m happy with my new skills, and am having quite a bit of fun exchanging gardening tips with friends who are long time and experienced gardeners. But when someone gets down to the fairly basic nitty gritty, like what kind of mulch I use, my status as a rank newbie is revealed. 🙂

Here are my birthday pots. Gorgeous, no?

Buying Tony Soprano’s House

HBO mob boss Tony Soprano ran his business out of Satriale’s Pork Store in Kearny, New Jersey, where I grew up, and out of strip club Bada Bing, an actual go-go bar named Satin Dolls on Route 17 in Lodi. But his TV show family — Carmela, Meadow and AJ — lived in tonier North Caldwell.

Now the real family that owns that house, and owned it when the HBO drama was on the air, is selling it — at a premium, given its storied history. Tony marching down the driveway in his white bathrobe to get the paper is one of the iconic images from the show.

This is a big house, 5600 square feet, and it’s going on the market for a “starting price” of 3.4 million. The owners, Patti and Victor Reccia, are hoping for a bidding war on their one-of-a-kind property. The owners are handling the sale themselves, so you need to demonstrate seriousness as a bidder and evidence of ability to pay in order to be in on the viewing. You can’t just appear and walk around, like the average open house.

The sale price is at least 2x the going rate for comparable homes in the area, so we’ll see how much cachet “Tony Soprano’s home” still carries.

Interested? 🙂


Tech Glitch with My WordPress Login

A glitch has developed in my access to my WordPress site, and I’m working with their tech support team to resolve it. Right now, they agree there’s a problem but clearly tech support doesn’t know exactly what it is or how to fix it. I can’t really kvetch, because I’ve been using the site for nine years largely without a spot of trouble.

If I suddenly disappear, it will mean that efforts to fix the problem have made it worse, and I’m temporarily locked out. Here now, and if locked out, back when I can.

Learning v. Coming to School

This article on whether students at a prestigious Montgomery County public high school need to attend classes in order to pass the course and graduate caught my eye, because it took me back to one of my very early jobs with the Rochester City School district when Jerry and I first moved to that city in 1971. I was a “mental health technician” for the Rochester City School District, charged with testing special ed students but also with helping the school psychologist and social worker with the travails of the large and diverse study body at urban Franklin High School.

My qualifications? A philosophy B.A. from the College of St. Elizabeth, plus two years in the Peace Corps. I had nary a special ed or psychology course to my name. I applied for the publicly posted job, met with the head of Student Services, and he thought I’d be great.

The early 1970’s were a troubled time, with many riots at the school which brought the Rochester Police Department crashing through the front doors in force, batons raised, to try and get students rampaging up and down the halls back in their classrooms without anyone being hurt.

With such large and noisy problems to solve, nobody much noticed one agoraphobic white kid smart enough to know exactly when he needed to show up — to get the syllabus, books, and class assignments, and to sit for tests — in order to pass the course. Other than those specific points, he never came to school. Finally, the attendance officer noticed the boy’s shockingly bad attendance record, and I was in on the meeting about what to do.

The kid was clearly very bright. He was doing very well in his subjects.  He just wasn’t coming to class except when he absolutely had to because Franklin was a scary place under the best conditions and this kid had trouble leaving home for anything. During the meeting he didn’t try to conceal his non-attendance, or make up stories about why he wasn’t in school. He simply said leaving home was hard for him, and he learned better by himself, alone with his books and study assignments. This was the early 1970’s, before things like home schooling, or on line education were options. If you were in high school, you were supposed to show up.  This boy unintentionally offended everyone’s sensibilities by passing with flying colors despite hardly ever darkening the door of the building.

I remember how shocked everyone was when the attendance information was finally laid out, and it was clear how little school this kid was attending. That said, nobody was clear on what to do. He was performing academically beyond grade level, and carefully managing his attendance within the limits of his agoraphobia.

If I recall correctly, the outcome of the meeting was to send me for a home visit to talk with the kid and his family about whether his attendance might be improved. Other than that, there was a tacit agreement to leave the kid alone, and focus on the school’s larger problems.

My guess is that this kid learned enough in high school to do just fine and move on to the next stage of his life. And the system, for once, did the sensible thing.


Xfinity/Comcast and the Art of the Deal

I don’t really need a new TV/internet plan every year or every two years, but Xfinity/Comcast is structured to make you at least think about it, with the goal of having you consider upgrading to more services. They get you into contracts that expire, then your monthly fee jumps way up. You then have to call or go online to consider a new plan.

I really hate the process, because I don’t have a grasp of the basic info I need to make a good decision. I was looking at a plan with internet speed quoted in “Mbss.” I texted Matt to ask if what I was looking at was sufficient to upload pics to my blog, and he responded “Is it MBP’s or total total MB per month?”

Well, I hadn’t a clue. He went online and found what I was looking at, and was able to point me in the right direction.

Then I have to get a new router, either renting theirs or buying my own equipment. Buying is more cost effective, so I went on Amazon and found what I needed. Now I have to get Matt to help me install.

I also get Netflix with this new package, and wasn’t able to access without a window that asked me to pay a monthly fee. I’ll wait to get my new router up and running, then solve the Netflix problem. Then I can go back to watching Frankie and Grace, which I used to follow but dropped when I dropped paid Netflix.

Xfinity/Comcast really, really wants you to bundle services and buy their home security system and voice, neither of which I would use. It’s cheaper, I suppose, to take the bundled services and just disregard what I don’t want, but I really dislike buying things for which I have no use.

Seems like a lot of commotion for the little TV I watch, but the things I like don’t easily bundle into a package: NBC Sports for Tour de France, Showtime for Billions, CNN, and Sundance for old re-runs of Criminal Minds or Law and Order that I watch when I need something mindless and soothing.

I refuse to fill out their “give us feedback on your recent transaction” surveys, because I’m not a fan of their whole biz model. I’d be happy with what I have indefinitely, but will be back again in a year or two looking at something new.


Conscious Aging: My Inner Gardener

Both Nicki and Tia Phyllis have been encouraging me to establish an herb garden. Voila! Here it is. Just planted, so nothing sprouting yet. I’m hopeful. 🙂

The box is inside overnight now, as it still gets a bit chilly, but will stay outside when it’s consistently warmer.


Your Additions to “Iconic Film Roles”

In the post about the death of the actor, Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca the Wookie, I invited readers to add to my list of iconic film roles. Not all of you read the Comments, and some additions came via email. Here they are:

Tom Hanks and Gary Sinise in Forrest Gump; Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie and Kramer v. Kramer and so many more; Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot; Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting; Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs; Vivian Leigh in Gone with the Wind; Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada and so many more; Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and so many more; Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People; Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf; Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird; Sally Field in Norma Ray; Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire.

[For my friend B. who contributed that list, track down a film called The Fisher King, in which Robin Williams stars with Jeff Bridges and Mercedes Ruehl. ]

James Earl Jones as Mufafa in the Lion King; Rosalind Russell as Auntie Mame.

Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

Come on readers, I know there are more movie buffs out there. And more iconic roles that we all know and recognize…. I’m loving your contributions!