Saturday, August 29, 2009

Official BHB Reader Endorsement Poll: The Herd for the 33rd
[If you live in Brooklyn’s City Council district 33, like me, then place your vote today. For me, there is no other candidate than Doug Biviano, a real progressive Democrat.]

Friday, August 28, 2009


William Rivers Pitt Teddy
"Teddy was just a man, but ended his life as something far more than that. Teddy, now gone from us, has become an idea, a bulwark, a standard and a clarion call to service and national duty. He will no longer be in the Senate working for us, and it is impossible to believe someone will step forward to stand in his place. He was just a man, and he has finally paid that death we all owe in the end, so the rest is up to us all. The dream he spoke of can indeed end, and surely will, if we let it. He guarded it, tended it and enriched it for so long, but that is over. It is up to us now, just as he would want it to be."

Whole Foods Boycott Grows

Carol Peasley The Unfinished Agenda on Women's Equality Day
"Eighty-nine years ago today the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, finally giving women full voting rights. Thanks to Congresswoman Bella Abzug, since the early 1970s we have commemorated the anniversary as Women's Equality Day. It is indeed a day to step back and reflect on how far -- or not far -- women have come in achieving political equality over these nearly 90 years."

An Underground Railroad for Iraqi Women

Remembering Senator Kennedy

Re-Appointed Fed Chief Ben Bernanke Didn’t Get Us Out of the Economic Crisis, He Helped Cause It
William Greider, The Nation

10 More Advertisers Drop Glenn Beck
James Rucker, Color of Change
Over 170,000 people have now signed our petition to Glenn Beck’s advertisers, and it’s working.

[Duchess Note – I’ve proudly added my name to the above petition and have been anti-Fox News for a long, long time.]

BBC “Top 100” Book List
The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up? [ie: Duchess got 50 out of 100]

1 Pride and Prejudice - yes
2 The Lord of the Rings - yes
3 Jane Eyre - yes
4 Harry Potter series - yes
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - yes
6 The Bible - yes
7 Wuthering Heights - yes
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - yes
9 His Dark Materials - no
10 Great Expectations - yes
11 Little Women - yes
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - no
13 Catch 22 - no
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - no
15 Rebecca - no
16 The Hobbit - yes
17 Birdsong - no
18 Catcher in the Rye - yes
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - no
20 Middlemarch - no
21 Gone With The Wind - yes
22 The Great Gatsby - yes
23 Bleak House - yes
24 War and Peace - yes
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - no
26 Crime and Punishment - no
27 Grapes of Wrath - no
28 Alice in Wonderland - yes
29 The Wind in the Willows - no
30 Anna Karenina - yes
31 David Copperfield - yes
32 Chronicles of Narnia - yes
33 Emma - yes
34 Persuasion - yes
35 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - yes
36 The Kite Runner - yes
37 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - no
38 Memoirs of a Geisha - yes
39 Winnie the Pooh - yes
40 Animal Farm - yes
41 The Da Vinci Code - yes
42 One Hundred Years of Solitude - no
43 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - no
44 The Woman in White - no
45 Anne of Green Gables - no
46 Far From The Madding Crowd - no
47 The Handmaid’s Tale - yes
48 Lord of the Flies - no
49 Atonement - no
50 Life of Pi - no

51 Dune - yes
52 Cold Comfort Farm - no
53 Sense and Sensibility - yes
54 A Suitable Boy - no
55 The Shadow of the Wind - no
56 A Tale Of Two Cities - yes
57 Brave New World - yes
58 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - no
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - no
61 Of Mice and Men - yes
62 Lolita - yes
63 The Secret History - no
64 The Lovely Bones - no
65 Count of Monte Cristo - yes
66 On The Road - no
67 Jude the Obscure - yes
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - no
69 Midnight’s Children - no
70 Moby Dick - yes
71 Oliver Twist - yes
72 Dracula - yes
73 The Secret Garden - no
74 Notes From A Small Island - no
75 Ulysses - no
76 The Inferno - no
77 Swallows and Amazons - no
78 Germinal - no
79 Vanity Fair - yes
80 Possession - no
81 A Christmas Carol - yes
82 Cloud Atlas - no
83 The Color Purple - yes
84 The Remains of the Day - yes
85 Madame Bovary - yes
86 A Fine Balance - no
87 Charlotte’s Web - yes
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - no
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - yes
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - no
91 Heart of Darkness - no
92 The Little Prince - no
93 The Wasp Factory - no
94 Watership Down - no
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - no
96 A Town Like Alice - no
97 The Three Musketeers - yes
98 Hamlet - yes
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - no
100 Les Miserables - yes

Monday, August 24, 2009


This Isn’t Reform, It’s Robbery
Chris Hedges, Common Dreams

Refuting the Lies Pushed by HealthCare Reform Opponents
Mike Hall, AFL-CIO

Sunday, August 23, 2009

News Flash - If you live in New York City Council District 33 [Brooklyn], please, take a moment to help Doug Biviano win this online poll

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Congressman Dennis Kucinich

The masquerade is over! The "public option" is ... dead. Health care reform is now a private option: WHICH FOR PROFIT INSURANCE COMPANY DO YOU WANT? You have to choose. And you have to pay. If you have a low income, under HR3200 government will subsidize the private insurance companies and you will still have to pay premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

The Administration plan requires that everyone must have health insurance, so it is delivering tens of millions of new "customers" to the insurance companies. Health care? Not really. Insurance care! Absolutely. Cost controls? No chance.

You will next hear talk about "co-ops." The truth is that insurance company campaign contributions have co-opted the public interest.

I need your help to spread the word and rally the nation around true health care reform which covers everyone and maintains fiscal integrity without breaking our nation's bank! Your contribution will empower our efforts to continue to fight for the single-payer, not-for-profit health care bill, HR676 "Medicare for All," which I co-authored with Rep. John Conyers. The bill now has 85 sponsors in the House.

The hotly-debated HR3200, the so-called "health care reform" bill, is nothing less than corporate welfare in the guise of social welfare and reform. It is a convoluted mess. The real debate which we should be having is not occurring.

Removing the "public option" from a public bill paid for by public money is not in the public interest. What is left is a "private option" paid for with public money. Why should public money be spent on a private option which does not guarantee 100% coverage nor have any cost controls? A true public option would provide 30% savings immediately which would then cover the 1/3rd of the population who presently have no health care.

Unfortunately, under HR3200, the Government is choosing winners and losers in the private sector; proposing to spend public funds on subsidizing insurance companies who make money not providing health care. This process will insure only the expansion of profits. Gone is the debate over cost.

As a result of current negotiations, the Medicare Part D rip-off will continue for another decade, further fleecing senior citizens. Drug importation has been dropped, so no inexpensive drugs can be accessed from other nations.

Instead we are told the pharmaceutical companies will accept a 2% cut in the growth rate of their profits - they call this cost control!

If the matter were not so serious, it would be farcical: The executive branch pretends that the proposed health care reforms are something they are not. The legislation is being attacked for something it is not. Congressional leadership and the White House defend the legislation, pretending it actually is the very proposal that is being attacked. But it is not.

A commonsense government health care reform policy would insure that every single American has full access to health care by expanding Medicare to cover everyone under a Single Payer System. We are already paying for a universal standard of care, it is just we are not getting it.

I need your help to spread the word and rally the nation around true health care reform which covers everyone and maintains fiscal integrity without subsidizing insurance and pharmaceutical companies and breaking our nation's bank!

My voice in Congress will continue to challenge the special interests who do not want "single-payer" to succeed. I need you to join me in combating the special and corporate interests who spend millions to try to win this Congressional seat. With your help WE will win again. With your help I will continue to represent your concerns, be YOUR VOICE in the United States Congress, and be the voice for health care for all Americans!

With your help, we can accomplish ANYTHING in America. Persistence, dedication, truth and courage will lead the way and win out in the end.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Toasting Marshmallows

Battenkill in upstate NY

Cambridge Mansion

Holder Hall 5

Holder Hall 4

Sheila at Princeton

Holder Hall 2

Charlene at Holder Hall

Holder Hall 3


Marc Ash Fight for the Public Option
"As August comes to a close, one of the most important debates in American history will come to a point of decision making. Will Americans have the option to support their own health care system if they choose? It will not only be important as a political precedent or as policy statement; it will be a landmark moment socially. Will we as Americans care for Americans in illness and need? The conflict could not be more stark, the stakes any higher."

Obama Picks Fight With Left on Health Reform
Ian Swanson, The Hill: "In backing away from its support for a public option in healthcare reform, the Obama administration is picking a fight with the liberal wing of the Democratic party. Liberal Democrats have insisted a public insurance option is necessary to ensure competition for private insurers. Just this week, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean predicted there could be Democratic primary challenges if a healthcare bill without a public option is approved by Congress."

[Duchess Note - The Insurance and Big Pharma lobbyists have been "working on" many in the Senate and Congress for years with bribes, and report huge lies to Americans. When it comes to Obama, just follow the campaign money trail and that will tell you the whole story on were his loyalities stand. (Yeah, he talk pretty, but those honey words cover up lies.) The DC Beltway never wanted "Single Payer" on the table, and its all about making things cosy for insurance and big pharma, at the expense of Americans health. Those like Conyers and Kucinich want Universal Healthcare for ALL Americans, but sadly they are in the minority on Capital Hill. "We the People" need to put constant pressure on our representatives and continually demand Universal Healthcare like other "democratic" countries have utilized for years. If we don't rise up as one, well, nothing will get done.]

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Tuesday, July 21st, I had a foot doctor appt for therapy and an ultra-sound on my left foot. The therapy was helping out only so much, and next plan of action was for minor surgery to rid it of the Neuroma. A date was set for July 31st at 11am, which I would take as a “sick day” from work. I also thought how ironic, as August 1st marked the one-year anniversary of my going to NY Methodist hospital emergency room. Afterwards I took the subway to the NYDoP “working” meeting at a new location, and it was quite productive, plus great seeing other members of the team. Later that evening I chatted with TJ on the phone and we talked about my upcoming surgery.

[Duchess Note: What is a Neuroma? A neuroma is a painful growth of nerve tissue in the foot, most often between the third and fourth toe bones. It forms when bones in the feet press together and irritate a nerve. This may be caused by wearing tight or poorly fitting shoes, or by repeated stress on the foot. Neuroma’s often form in women who wear high heels frequently. Injury or a foot deformity can also cause a neuroma. As a neuroma gets worse, it can cause a lot of pain and keep you from activities you enjoy, like volunteering for two acquaintances City Council campaigns. Fortunately, there are many treatments that provide relief, as well as minor surgery.]

Wednesday evening, July 22nd, I lent my skills as a Notary to the Skaller campaign in Park Slope.

Saturday afternoon, July 25th, I attended the annual Share International event at FIT on West 27th Street to hear Benjamin Crème give a lecture on Maitreya, world issues, etc. Always an interesting event and lecture by Mr. Crème, but what I enjoy most is hanging out with my friends Linda, Cielito, Max and Parimal. Afterwards Linda, Parimal and I went to dinner at a nice sushi place on 7th Avenue and talk was on the event, as well as politics. Overall a good day J

Next day, July 26th, I took the LIRR from Penn Station out to Port Jefferson for the Long Island Peace Fair and event, which was being held at Heritage Park. The LIDoP is an offshoot of the NYDoP and this event was headed by Pat Liano, who did a lovely job of organizing. Two of the main speakers at the event were Miranda Fisher from the Student Peace Alliance and Liz Gannon-Graydon of LIDoP/NYDoP. Miranda mostly spoke of her involvement with SPA and the Youth PROMISE Act bill in Congress at this time. The Youth PROMISE Act currently has over 250 co-sponsors, and this news was well received by those who attended the event. Many brought their children, who were busy making peace flags and other drawings with peace as the main topic. Liz touched on many topics, but mostly showed us the tremendous cost of domestic violence; we might realize it’s not that we can’t afford a Dept of Peace [HR808], but that we can’t afford NOT to have one. Our child and grandchildren’s lives depend on bringing about peace. The cost of continuous war puts our children’s live more and more into debt, hurts our national security, as well as destroying many lives of our brave USA soldiers.

Thursday evening, July 30th, I joined other volunteers from the Josh Skaller city council campaign in canvassing the Cobble Hill area of Brooklyn. I also got to meet with Major Owens son Chris at Skaller HQ, as he is assisting the campaign with his experience and skills. His father used to be a Congressional representative in Brooklyn for many years, and was a co-sponsor of the Dept of Peace legislation.

Next morning, July 31st, I woke up at 6am, and from 7am to 10am I completed many errands in the hood, as well as things around my humble abode. Then took car service to my doctors office in lower Manhattan, were I was scheduled to have minor foot surgery at 11am for Neuroma. I brought my cellphone with me to make calls before and after the surgery. TJ cleared his calendar that day and would arrive at the office around 12:30pm to be with me. Before my surgery I had to fill out paperwork, and then went into the operating room for the prep work. I was being put out for an hour even though the surgery lasts all of 15 minutes. I did NOT want a local … no way! Put me out; as I don’t want to know, hear, see or feel a darn thing. They even asked when my last period was and I told them … Thanksgiving weekend 2008. They asked again and I repeated my reply. They asked if I was preggers … to which I replied “Do I look pregnant?!?” The two doctors were clueless and couldn’t figure out how it could be otherwise, so I told them I’ve been in menopause for 2 ½ years. Duh!! Maybe I should feel flattered that they didn’t think I was old enough to be going through the “change”. Whatever … the last thing I remember before zonking out was looking at the clock and it said 11:25am. When I come out of it the nurse was adjusting the “bootie” on my foot. I asked what time it was, as I was feeling abit fuzzy to even contemplate opening my eyeballs, and she [ie: Joanne] said 12:20pm. I asked if TJ had shown up yet and she went to check. He came in 5 minutes later and held my hand, plus asked how I felt. [I felt very comforted having him there.] I replied my foot was numb, my head abit fuzzy and other than that I was okay. Dr Glass said the surgery went very well and was glad to hear it. When I did open my eyes TJ was sitting down, and I called Mom on my cellphone to let her know all was okay. I’d forgotten I had my hair down with a cushy neck roll for support during the surgery. Both TJ and Joanne remarked on how nice they liked my hair that way. A short time later TJ and Joanne assisted me into a wheelchair, and then brought me to another room to fully recover. I hadn’t eaten anything since 10:30pm the night before and was feeling very hungry. Around 1:30pm my doctor said I could sip some water and eat a few crackers. This I did and it helped to curb the hunger pains abit. TJ and I left the doctor’s office around 2pm and rode in car service back to my place in Brooklyn. Throughout all this TJ was so kind, helpful and supportive. I’m an independent gal and can be stubborn, but having a gent help out can be quite nice. Once settled into my abode TJ called for Chinese take-out and we happily noshed on it around 3pm. My stomach was finally appeased and I felt much better. Sigh! TJ helped with the dishes and a wee bit of grocery shopping for me. Then we relaxed in my living room, chatted about many things and indulged in tasty ice cream. Yum! Around 6pm he had to head home, via two subways and a bus, to his own abode in NJ. We shared a tender moment and then I was on my own for the rest of the weekend. I spent most of that time in the living room with my foot elevated and reading, crocheting, watching DVDs, talking with friends on cellphone, napping, nibbling on food, etc.

Tuesday after work, August 4th, I had an appt with my foot doctor. They changed the bandages on my foot, cleaned it with peroxide, examined it and applied fresh bandage. Said it was progressing nicely and I had to continue with the bootie.

August 6th / 7th – I had to take two “sick days” from work due to serious inflammation in my left foot. I spent most of that time sitting on my butt with my foot elevated. Icing it twice a day and taking Aleve. I finished reading “The Kite Runner”, worked on crocheting/knitting projects, chat with friends on cellphone, napped, nibble on food, plus watched several DVDs [ie: Chariots of Fire, National Treasure, LOTRs trilogy, and The Aviator].

Monday, August 10th, I had another foot doctor appt and they took out 3 of the 6 stitches, plus cleaned the foot and re-bandaged it. Dr Glass is pleased with the recovery progress and said I can start wearing sneakers or Crocs on August 15th. The rest of the stitches come out on August 17th. Hurray!

Thursday evening, August 13th, I attended the annual “yarn swap” at the Park Slope Knitters meetup, which was held at Sweet Melissa’s. I brought several skeins of yarn I did not want and received 5 points for it all. Everyone else brings in their yarn and gets points for it. When the skeins are tagged and bagged on several tables, we go up in small groups for viewings. When your name is called you go to the tables and pick up skeins of yarn you like, and since I only had 5 points, I could only obtain 5 points worth of yarn. While all this is going on we sit around tables in the back area eating and socializing, plus admire latest knit projects. It’s an enjoyable evening and I took car service home to give my foot a rest.

[Duchess Note: Speaking of recent healthcare, and the troubles that many experience in this country, due to lack of it. Here is an interesting article called "The Brutal Truth About America’s Healthcare" by Guy Adams in the UK. Click onto to read more ... "They came in their thousands, queuing through the night to secure one of the coveted wristbands offering entry into a strange parallel universe where medical care is a free and basic right and not an expensive luxury. Some of these Americans had walked miles simply to have their blood pressure checked, some had slept in their cars in the hope of getting an eye-test or a mammogram, others had brought their children for immunisations that could end up saving their life. In the week that Britain's National Health Service was held aloft by Republicans as an 'evil and Orwellian' example of everything that is wrong with free healthcare, these extraordinary scenes in Inglewood, California yesterday provided a sobering reminder of exactly why President Barack Obama is trying to reform the US system."]


Why You Should Boycott Whole Foods
Russell Mokhiber, CounterPunch
The company’s CEO has just launched a major campaign to defeat a single payer national health insurance system

15 Horrifying Reasons to Never Let Anyone You Love Near a McDonalds
Sarah Irani, EcoSalon

The Sky Isn’t Falling: It Turns Out Gay Marriage Has Not Destroyed the Institution for Heteros
M.V. Lee Badgett, NYU Press

7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Treat
Sara Robinson, Campaign for America’s Future

Rape Victims Charged Up to $1,200 for Rape Kits
Ben Protess & Emily Witt, Huffington Post Investigative Fund

The Health Insurers Have Already Won
How UnitedHealth and rival carriers, maneuvering behind the scenes in Washington, shaped health-care reform for their own benefit
Chad Terhune & Keith Epstein, Business Week

Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways in White House Deal with Big Pharma
Ryan Grim, Huffington Post

Poll: Canadians 'Flat Out Reject' American-Style Health System

Out Now! The Guns of August and Afghanistan

Wake-Up Wal-Mart: Calls on Walmart to Pull Ads, Stop Supporting Hate Speech

[Duchess Note - Many thanks to Carol and Judith for their contributions.]

Friday, August 14, 2009

Commentary on American TV News
by Andrew Bayuk

Truly the so-called "news" on TV has hit an all time low. Driven by primarily ad sponsors and corporate lobbying, the news we see on TV is little better than tabloid journalism. All day long we hear supposed "news" reports that might as well begin, "rumor has it that...". These particles of gossip are then endlessly speculated upon, editorialized and peppered with inexpert personal opinion as the stories weave their way through the broken 24-hour news cycle. This negates a check and balance that journalism used to have on our political system.

The day of responsible journalism, which checks its sources, verifies and substantiates initial reports, are all but over. In its place we have interest driven propaganda. Some so-called news sources purposefully slant the news; such as Fox and MSNBC, but the rest have been become little more than uninteresting talk shows. It's very difficult to get to the meat of any real story, we have to watch a story be launched in a hyperbolic hyped rumor style, and then over the course of many days or weeks get distilled down to its real substance.

Personally, I am to the point where I can't even watch TV news anymore, and I have to get my news online where I can get a little closer to reading the actual story. Still an imperfect system, but I don’t have to hear the inane babbling that includes inappropriate emotional reaction and hand wringing to horrible crisis and trauma.

I challenge any TV Station or Network to step up and provide a real news alternative, one that follows the true rules of responsible journalism, with proper verification and vetting of news reports. Any news program that does that will gain a large audience once the word gets out. The program may not constantly be "scooping" all the other news programs, but it will be trusted and be an American Treasure, instead of an American Disgrace....

[Duchess Note: Absolutely! I totally agree with Andrew’s commentary 100%. The only “news” I deem worthy of listening to is WBAI, Democracy Now, BBC World News and occasionally Air America. Though the latter has become more disappointing over the years, as they seem to becoming “centrist”, plus I read my news “online”, and can’t stand newspapers. Yes, “real” new can be boring at times, but at least one is obtaining more “truth” than the crap on Fox News and MSNBC. The latter two deal more in rumors, lies, hate and scare-mongering. If we really want to change TV news and America in general, then we have to be united. A united force, we the people, has so much power it’s amazing. Many have forgotten how to utilize it properly, or believe the continued “lies” on TV news. We can make a difference … big time.]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Thursday, June 25, I attended an event at the Church Center for the United Nations called “Stand Up for Peace!” This was hosted by Sallie Elkordy and the main guest speaker was Cindy Sheehan, whom I got to speak with briefly before the event started. Also, Marianne Perez spoke on behalf of “New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace”. Other speakers at this inspiring event were Sister Sandy Robinson, Molly Klopot, Jennifer Thomas, Joan Wile, Vinie Burrows, Father Frank Morales, Elaine Browser, Barbara Harris, Hugh Bruce, Edwin Schantz, Cesar Fuentes, Debra Sweet and Edward Daniels II. To learn more on what Cindy Sheehan has been up to lately, go to ...

Early Friday evening, June 26th, I assisted Doug Biviano in petitioning around Williamsburg. Doug is running for City Council in District 33, and as I type this he has garnered plenty of votes to be on ballot for the Sept 15th primary. If you live in NY City Council district 33, please, vote for a true progressive Democrat on the 15th, vote for Doug Biviano.

On Saturday afternoon, June 27th, I joined other members of TGTSNBN for the monthly Quidditch match at Riverside Park. I assisted with keeping score and taking digital pix of the games with Jonathan’s camera. Afterwards I took the subway down to Union Square to volunteer with City Harvest at the farmers market. Like many of the days in June, at one point it’s bound to rain and it did for about 10 minutes or so. This month had to be one of the coolest and wettest in YEARS and had everyone wondering when will summer show up.

Next day, June 28th, I assisted Doug Biviano [ie: City Council candidate for District 33] in petitioning and campaigning around Carroll Gardens and Park Slope.

July 2nd through 6th – I spent most of the long, leisurely July 4th holiday weekend with family in upstate NY.

On Tuesday evening, July 7th, I participated in two conference calls regarding “Dept of Peace” campaign. During the first call, I joined Kevin and Joe [ie: NYDoP CCR Team] at 8:30pm to strategize on our next steps regarding NYC Resolution 627 and getting it into a hearing. When that call was completed, I jumped on monthly The Peace Alliance call and it was mostly about the “Youth PROMISE Act”. Many Congressional co-sponsors are onboard for this bill, which is very heartening news.

After work on Thursday, July 9th, I joined Angela and Daniel from City Harvest, plus other volunteers at the MeBar in the La Quinta Inn for drinks. The MeBar is a really cool roof garden setup with views of midtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building.

The next evening, July 10th, I joined other volunteers at Doug Biviano’s campaign office in Brooklyn Heights for a get-together and noshing on pizza.

On Saturday afternoon, July 11th, I learned via email that an acquaintance from my hometown committed suicide on Thursday, July 9th, over criminal charges [ie: rape of a minor] in MA. This news was abit of a shock and I spoke with Mom and good friend Katherine on the phone about it. The “acquaintance” was the brother of an ex-friend of mine. As I said to Mom and Katherine, my deepest sympathies go out to her, as she’d also lost her father a few weeks before this tragic event. Shortly after this I joined my friend Jackie in having dinner at Fiddlesticks Pub in Greenwich Village. We caught up on alot of news and gossip, as we leisurely ate dinner and sipped wine. Afterwards we strolled around the Village and stopped at Barnes & Noble to see if anything caught our eye. From there we headed down to Bleaker Street and noshed on some awesome frozen yogurt at “Red Mango”. I highly recommend this establishment. Then we ended up at Astor Place and took subways to our respective homes. And yes, it started to rain again. Seems to do that alot over this summer.

Next day, July 12th, I put in a few hours of volunteering at Biviano’s campaign office to assist with “cleaning up” petitions. Afterwards I headed into Manhattan for an enjoyable date with TJ. We met up at Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village, and from there we leisurely strolled around the Village and I told him about the suicide incident. We ended up at a charming outdoor cafe and partake of a yummy dinner; while we touched on several topics, sipped on vanilla milkshakes and people watch. Afterwards we ended up on West 8th Street heading towards Washington Square Park. Weather was warm and NO rain. Lots of folk milling about in Washington Square Park on a balmy Sunday evening. TJ and I stopped to watch twin brothers perform their act for a good size crowd. It was such fun and very entertaining. It also gave me a chance to sit on a bench and rest my left foot. Then we found ourselves near St Marks Place and strolling around the East Village, all the while we were chatting about all types of things and having a lovely time. Let me tell you the East Village is a happening scene and has changed in many ways since I first viewed it back in the late 1980s. Around 10pm TJ and I hugged several times and parted company to head to our respective abodes.

Monday, July 13th, I took a sick day from the office to attend several doctor and dentist appointments.

On Wednesday, July 15th, it was opening day of the new Harry Potter film and I went to see it at Regal E-Walk Cinema on West 42nd Street. Reviews, for the most part, have been mixed. I had purchased my tix a day or two before that [online] for the 7pm showing. I wanted to go to the 7:30pm showing with other TGTSNBN members, but it was sold out. Darn! Around 6pm I briefly hung out with members [ie: Deborah, Jonathan, Chris, Ariel, Paul, etc] of TGTSNBN outside the cinema. Many were dressed in costume and I placed my order for Luna Lovegood shades with Paul in the color pink. Regarding the film I have to admit that visually it was terrific and there were some stellar performances by Alan Rickman, Jim Broadbent and Tom Felton. I enjoyed the scene and visuals inside the Weasley twins joke shop in Diagon Alley. Must be honest and confess I was disappointed with the ending of the film during the last 10 to 15 minutes. On a positive note, the two lads who played the younger Lord Voldermort were brilliant. If you haven’t seen the film, well, I won’t say anymore and spoil it for you. Also, if you haven’t read the books, I think you’ll enjoy the film and not be so critical.

Thursday evening, July 16th, I joined other members of the Park Slope Knit meetup at Loki Lounge. Its been about a month since I attended the last meetup and it was great seeing everyone. One of the gals I was sitting next to was working on a Dr Who scarf [ie: Tom Baker style] for her hubby. I was close to finishing a baby blanket for a friend’s daughter, who was expecting her first child in early August.

On Saturday, July 18th, I visited my friend Sheila in NJ. After noshing on a tasty lite brunch at her lovely home, and catching up on news, we drove into Princeton. I love this university town and can’t get enough of it. This is my 4th visit since 2007 and we’ve been fortunate in good weather every time. This time we mostly toured around Holder Hall, both inside and out, and I took many pix. [Will post many of these pix soon – stay tuned.] From there we strolled over to “Pins & Needles” to do some shopping, and then we leisurely strolled down Nassau Street towards “Thomas’ Sweets” for the best ice cream in Princeton. Freshly made and blended together for a decadent creaminess. Back at Sheila’s neighborhood community center we lounged around the swimming pool in the shade, and occasionally put our feet in the cool water. All the while touching on assorted topics or just observing the folk at the pool. Then it was back in the car for a drive over to the lovely, charming town of Cranbury, NJ. We had a delicious meal at the local Italian restaurant in the outdoor section and got to “people watch”. The pace in this town is laid back and you feel like you’re in a small VT town. Afterwards we strolled around the main street to work off abit of dinner and then sat at a bench near picturesque Brainerd Lake. Briefly feeling at peace and content before jumping on the bus to head back to the bustling metropolis we call NYC. Overall it was a most enjoyable day.

Next day, July 19th, I attended the monthly Quidditch match at Riverside Park with other members of TGTSNBN. I assisted with keeping score and taking digital pix of the games utilizing Jonathan’s camera, plus I paid for and received the Luna Lovegood shades from Paul. These I wore throughout most of the games, and I might add, there was a great turnout of Quidditch participants and spectators.

[Duchess Note: Photos from July 4th weekend and visit to Princeton University will be uploaded soon. Stay tuned.............]