Thursday, August 27, 2015

Remembering Dorothy

I got a phone call today that I have been dreading. I knew this day would come eventually, but when it did, I was still unprepared.

My dear friend, Dorothy, a woman I've known for 30 years, has died. She had a zest for life that, to this day, is unmatched by anyone else I've ever met. Until recently, I had no idea how old she actually was--she was always so vibrant and strong and a force to be reckoned with. When the friend who is handling her affairs called and told me she had passed away earlier this month, I was shocked, despite the fact that I knew she was 97 years old.

I worked for Dorothy in the law library at Fordham Law School, when I was an undergraduate student, as part of the work-study program. She was the Acquisitions Librarian, and the best boss I ever had.  She was SO intelligent, with a razor-sharp wit and wicked sense of humor. She was strong and independent and didn't take crap from anyone.  She loved to laugh, and cherished her friends. She was a woman without guile, without pretense: you always knew where you stood with her, good or bad.

She used to bring in a bottle of wine on Fridays in the summer time, and after we cashed our weekly paychecks at the bank, we'd share a liquid lunch and head home early to start the weekend.

When she went on vacation, I stayed at her beautiful NYC apartment in Greenwich Village to babysit her cat.  I was only 19 years old, still living with my parents and commuting to school every day, and those precious days gave me a glimpse of what her life was like: unmarried, untethered, able to come and go as she pleased, living in the best city in the world.

The thing I remember most about Dorothy was her laugh--it was a loud, cackling sound that reverberated through the office, making it impossible not to join in.  She loved calling her friends at work and telling the receptionist in a low, almost growling tone, "Yes, I'd like to speak to Mitzi please. It's Faye Dunaway calling."  She also did a fine Elizabeth Taylor.

Dorothy's gift was being able to listen to a problem or issue that I was having, immediately assess the big picture, and zero in on the best course of action. She minded her own business, but she knew how to choose her moments, and when she did offer advice, I always listened.  And she was always right.

We kept in touch over the years, through my graduation, on through my various full-time jobs in my chosen career. We met up for lunch now and again, catching up right where we'd left off, polishing off a bottle of wine and laughing the entire time.

Eventually, I got married, moved to the suburbs, had children, but still, my relationship with Dorothy endured. We saw each other less and less as the years went on, but always called each other for birthdays and holidays. Sometimes, a thought of her would pop into my head, completely unbidden, and sure enough, within a day or two, she would call.  We had some sort of telepathic connection that cannot be explained.

The last couple of times I spoke with her--for her birthday, and then again on my own birthday--she sounded tired.  I knew I needed to go and see her again, and very soon.  We had plans to get together in September, when the weather was a bit cooler and she might be able to go outside for a few hours (the humid dog days of a NYC summer were a little much for her these days).  Instead, I'll be attending her memorial service next month.

I'm so sad that she's gone, but I'm even happier that I had the gift of knowing her, and the privilege of calling her my friend.  I miss her so much already, and it pains me deeply to think that I will never hear her voice--or her laugh--again.

Rest in peace, dear Dorothy. You lived a long and full life, and this world was a better place for having you in it.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


One of the most painful parts of watching Josh & Anna Duggar's wedding special on TLC was when Josh serenaded his new bride with "The Loyalty Song".  (see the lyrics, above)

And now, given recent events--the revelation of prior child molestation accusations against Josh, and now his being named as having an Ashley Madison account AND an OK Cupid account, all just weeks after Anna gave birth to their 4th child--his hypocrisy has reached epic proportions.

I'm not angry or outraged, I take no joy in how the Duggar's fame is unraveling...all I feel is sad.  Anna Duggar is a real person. Going through something like this would be devastating for anyone, but to have it exposed and debated so publicly is even worse than I can imagine.  My thoughts are with her and her kids.  I hope she has someone in her life who will advocate for HER, and her only, and help her get out of what is an increasingly bad situation.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Warning to iPhone Users: Are Your Frequent Locations Being Tracked?

A friend re-posted this video on Facebook, and I'm sharing the link to it here as a public service:

The original poster is Angel Smith Ruder, and I thank her for sounding the alarm about this latest privacy concern on the iPhone.

I'm always so careful about what permissions I give to apps, and yet, when I checked my settings, my past locations were listed, just like the video warns.  PLEASE go to Settings on your iPhone, go to Privacy, Location Services, scroll down to System Services, and scroll to the bottom where you'll see Frequent Locations.  If it says "On", you can click and see all of the places you've recently been, including the exact GPS location of your Home address.

I did NOT choose to put Frequent Locations "On", so I suspect it means this is the default setting, and that you have to go out of your way to change it.  It's up to you if you do or not, but at least now you know about it and can decide for yourself.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Inspirational posters are annoying...

But I'm making an exception for this one:

Sunday, August 2, 2015 When "Delivered" doesn't always mean "Arrived"

Usually, is pretty good about delivering their packages on the expected delivery date--at least, they were until recently.

Last month, in an effort to "improve" their delivery service times, they opened a satellite facility just a few towns away from where I live.  Now, instead of my packages going to the main processing center, they end up at this satellite location.

Ever since, the reliability of Amazon's package tracking has gone completely downhill.  I've had packages say "Out for delivery for arrival by 8pm tonight" that didn't actually arrive until two days later.   And, when they do show up, it's in a sketchy-looking unmarked van driven by someone I've never seen before, rather than my usual mail carrier.

The latest debacle involved a package that said "Out for Delivery" for arrival yesterday, and then said, "Delivered."  Except--we didn't receive the package yet, and no one else on my street signed for it.  The shipment is most definitely not delivered, my husband logged onto his account to find out what's going on, and that's when Amazon explains that "delivered" doesn't always mean "arrived at your house when we said it was going to."   In fact, on their Customer Service page, they advise waiting 36 hours before you contact the company and report the package missing, because there can be a THREE DAY lag between when the Amazon system says "delivered" and when the package actually hits your doorstep:

If this is what "improved service" looks like, no thanks--I'd rather have my stuff routed through the central processing center, where at least I could rely on the tracking information being truthful.