All posts by Dona

The Case of the Mysterious Musician

Here’s a mystery. Not a huge important one, but something that has me wondering. The photo below was among my mom’s things. At this point I have no idea where it actually came from — Grandma Green, maybe.

Mysterious Musician

Someone in my mom’s family seemed to adore Ray as indicated by the hearts over his shoulders. Ray played both the saxophone and is that a clarinet at his feet?

At first I thought Ray was a famous musician and this was a promotional photo, but the more I look at the photo I think it was just something someone snapped at home. The doily in the bottom corner of the room, just behind his chair, seems less than professional. In addition the lamps, especially the one on the left, just showing on the screen, seem odd for a promo shot. Also, the original photo is tiny — the size of annual high school photos you handed out to friends.

I cannot really tell when this was taken. Certainly before the 1960s I think. I think a clue is the foldable metal music stand. Professor Google is not very helpful when I ask about the history of music stands.

My next task for this mystery is to check my mom’s yearbook for orchestra members who played the sax and clarinet.

Stay tuned!

A Quiet but Not Uneventful Vacation

We were supposed to go to New Mexico the first week of May. Dean had a talk at the University of New Mexico and we were going to make a week of it — exploring Albuquerque, then heading to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge before visiting my childhood friend, Stephanie in Silver City (where Dan Bern also lives).

Well, New Mexico didn’t happen because they decided to make Dean’s talk virtual and he had reasons to stay in the DC area for that week. He still wanted to get away and we settled on going to Cape May, New Jersey instead. I booked a house at Cape May Point — away from the hustle and bustle of the actual town of Cape May and walking distance to the bird observatory.

We arrived at the cabin we rented Saturday evening, followed soon after by Andrew and Alex. We dined at a vegan/local seafood restaurant that night and I’d planned on having someone (not me) cook breakfast (I had the ingredients all ready to go). When I realized that the directions were missing (turns out they were not missing) I thought I’d cook breakfast anyway. Dean took off to check out the beach and I started prepping — the first thing was to zest the lemon. Unfortunately there was no zester in the house so I peeled the lemon and was in the process of mincing the peel (with a very sharp knife I’d brought from home) when I sliced through the first section of my pinky on my left hand. I swore loudly and Andrew, who’d just gotten up, rushed to me and asked, “Cut or burn?” I said, “Cut — and it’s bad” while I grabbed for a paper towel to catch the blood. Alex must have heard the commotion and came out to see what was going on. She calmly wrapped my finger in gauze that Andrew found in the bathroom and agreed with me that I’d need stitches. We had to wait until 8:30 to go to the local urgent care facility.

By the time we left for the urgent care facility, Dean had gotten back from his walk, but Andrew had already written a note.

At the urgent care place a nurse practitioner who resembled Tony Soprano more than Nurse Jackie sewed me up. I don’t think he did that good of a job, but what do I know?

We had a much better breakfast of delicious bagels than we would have if we’d cooked the pancakes I’d planed. After breakfast we did some shopping, then bid Andrew and Alex farewell back at the cabin.

Dean was really tired and took a nap before making dinner. He was also stuffed up and complained of a sore throat. Later that evening Alex called to say that she’d been exposed to Covid at school but tested negative that night.

The next day Andrew informed us that Alex tested positive for Covid. Dean slept longer than he’d slept in years so used one of the antigen tests I brought from home — it was negative. I thought I would wait until Thursday morning to test again.

On Tuesday Clare called to tell us she might not be able to move into the new rental she and Pete were scheduled to move to on May 28 because it was still a shambles. (Luckily this was all resolved on Saturday when the landlord actually saw the place). It was worrying that she might be temporally houseless.

So with the possibility of developing Covid and Clare’s news, we were understandably a little anxious. I was grumpy, fulling expecting that I would either get whatever Dean had or Covid or both! We both tested negative for Covid on Thursday morning. I still need to test again to be sure, but I have no symptoms — nor any symptoms of Dean’s nasty cold.

Maybe it was good that the weather was lousy — it made sticking around in the cabin less painful.

That said, we did to a few things…

Mothers and Daughters

For reasons I will keep to myself right now, I’ve been thinking lately about relationships between mothers and daughters. So much so that it seems to have subconsciously influenced what I’ve been reading and watching.

Some of these books were chosen for book group, so they shouldn’t factor into my subconscious book choices, but I’ll mention them anyway, because I definitely focused on the relationships.

  • In The Rose Code (bookgroup choice) three women with varying levels of closeness to their mothers become friends. One is born rich with a distracted and often absent mother, one is born poor with a mother who has more children than she can care for, and one whose mother is physically, verbally and emotionally abusive and beyond overprotective.
  • In We Were the Mulvaneys (bookgroup choice) the mother is so ashamed that her daughter has been raped, she doesn’t blink an eye when her husband sends the daughter away and never wants to see her again.
  • In Pieces of Her (my choice) a widowed mother and her daughter’s close relationship is threatened after they witness a mass shooting at a cafe in a mall and the daughter slowly learns that her mother is not who she thought she was. (I also watched the Netflix series based on this book)
  • In The Last Days of Night (bookgroup choice) an actress and professional singer and her seemingly domineering mother have a [necessarily once you learn their secret] close relationship.
  • In With Love from London (my choice) a daughter whose mother abandoned her at age 12 is surprised at age 35 when her mother dies and leaves her a bookstore in London.

The one book that I have not read that I should have read in February is You’re Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation. It might be too late, but I’ll add it to my must read books in this year’s reading challenge. It couldn’t hurt.