Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Hallie's Happy Anniversary

HALLIE EPHRON: My husband Jerry (here's the two of us in our first apartment on New York's Upper West Side... rent $160/month) has many annoying habits.

He can spend hours... make that days working on a crossword puzzle. He never loses at Scrabble. He's
in charge of bills but has more of a piling system than a filing system.

And, as I've written many times, he loves yard sales. Most of his yard sale prizes find their way to our basement or garage or attic. A fair number never make it out of the trunk of his car, and end up riding around like Charlie on the MTA.

Fortunately, over the years he's raised the bar so that these days he comes home with nothing more than the thrill of the chase.  Or a pile of vinyl records to add to his teetering stacks. Or a bucket of dinosaurs for our grandson.


Who knew that in lockdown, it would turn out that the stuff that I've been complaining about all these years comes in mighty handy. When we needed hats for a silly song Facetime party with our kids and grands, Jerry found them in the basement. When we were running out of wine, you guessed it. Down in the basement where he found three... no it turned out there were five bottles of red wine that we'd forgotten all about. Nicely aged. When we were beset with cabin fever, in dire need of distraction, he dug up five excellent 500-piece puzzles for which he'd paid 15 cents apiece. We're finishing #4. The one remaining is a nude Ursula Andress, two-sided (her front, her back.) It remains to be seen(!) whether that one will get done. Seems pretty challenging. Think about it.

Monday was our wedding anniversary. Usually we go out to dinner, but of course not this year. But I did get my annual hand-drawn card.



Pretty sweet, yes? I completely love it, and laughed for about ten minutes. (Did I mention that he makes me laugh? See redeeming features.) I'm saving it, along with every other card he's ever drawn for me.

Don't tell him, but these days, I'm actually missing his yard sales.

And, on another topic, First Chapter Fun is an exciting new venture for Hank with Hannah Mary McKinnon. They're reading the first chapters of a new book every Tuesday and Thursday. Hank will be broadacasting live, reading Chapter 1 of CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, tomorrow (Thursday 5/14/2020 at 11:30 am ET) on First Chapter Fun's Facebook Group (www.facebook.com/groups/firstchapterfun). 

I'm so thrilled to have my work featured and I hope you'll tune in. 





91 comments:

  1. Happy Anniversary!

    First Chapter Fun sounds like a marvelous idea . . . I’ll plan to listen in . . . .

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    1. Joan! It is so much fun! Just one chapter—like a brief little story time . Just search for First Chapter Fun on Facebook and join the group!

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    2. https://www.facebook.com/groups/firstchapterfun/ And go now--to see the video I made for Hallie's book!

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    3. Nice!
      I've read Hallie's book, but I'm still looking forward to hearing it read tomorrow . . . .

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  2. Happy anniversary, Hallie!
    The hand-drawn anniversary card is adorable!

    And yes, thanks to Hank's invite, I joined First Chapter Fun last week. I listened to Hannah's reading yesterday and I look forward to hearing Hank read Careful What You Wish For tomorrow.

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  3. You got a keeper, all right! I'll check out the readings, too.

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    1. Yes, a keeper is just what he is. I got lucky the first time.

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  4. First Chapters sounds fun. I have got to listen!!!

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  5. WOW 51 years ! Happy Anniversary Hallie !
    I can understand that you keep your cards.

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    1. I never save anything except those cards... oh, and the cards I get from my grands and daughters.

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  6. Happy Anniversary, Hallie and Jerry! Very sweet card and very sweet husband! What was your card to him?

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    1. You got me there, Judi. I don't draw. My "card" to him is usually cooking something special. But for this anniversary we treated ourselves to takeout dinner from a wonderful local restaurant, because every meal we've had for the last 10 weeks has been cooked by me. I did make pecan raisin maple sticky buns this week... WITH YEAST! A friend saw my plaintive cry for some and brought over a container with about 4 ounces of the magical stuff (He'd inadvertently ordered 4 pounds of the stuff online!) Making bread is a transporting experience. I recommend it, if only for the fragrance of the yeast as the dough proofs.

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    2. I agree with you Hallie that the fragrance of proofing dough and bread baking is wonderful. I have been baking more bread and other goodies in the past 2 months than I have in years. It is very relaxing and rewarding in so many ways.

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    3. Also the smell of roasting granola.

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    4. Totally agree about bread making. Off to make some dilly casserole bread. No kneading but totally delicious!

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  7. Happy Anniversary! So far in isolation we've celebrated my husband's birthday with pineapple upside-down cake, Easter, and Mother's Day (flowers).

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    1. Pineapple upside-down cake is my all-time favorite! I make it using Duncan Hines pineapple cake mix and substituting the juice from a can of pineapple for the liquid. I do think my favorite food of all time is brown sugar.

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    2. I love it too, but my recipe is from scratch:)

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    3. I have made it from scratch Once... and yes it was a bit more delicious, texture and taste.

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    4. I love Lucy/Roberta's recipes! It's lovely that both you and Jenn put recipes at the end of your books.

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  8. Jerry is so fabulous—he’s also incredibly interesting. I love listening to him... he’s always thinking about fascinating things.
    Happy anniversary, you perfect couple!

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    1. When I can't sleep I ask him to talk to me. It works. ;-)

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  9. Happy 51 years Hallie and Jerry. I'm thinking it will last!

    I agree with you about making bread, although so far I've resisted sticky buns. Julie isn't big on sweet things, so I know who'd end up eating the whole batch. These days my weeks are arranged around bread making day and my days around Governor Cuomo. And Dr. Fauci.

    We have changed quite a few of our routines too. Daily temp checks are foremost. We've each had a video visit with our doctor, with direction for taking blood pressures and reporting them via text. We have both a pulse oximeter to check oxygen levels if either of us feels "off" and a Kardia mobile that allows us to run an ecg and send a copy off to our internist. I've started back with the PT exercises to strengthen my bum leg plus there's the daily walk with the dog, only one dog, sigh.

    I, who have avoided watching the news for four years now, have turned into a virus junkie, watching and reading every reliable source, the day being arranged around Governor Cuomo's press conference.

    Next month we will mark 24 years of cohabitation, never having got around to getting married. What can I say? So far it is working. What did you have for your anniversary dinner? We are thinking of doing the same thing, ordering something sinful from a local restaurant. Did it arrive hot enough to eat or did you have to reheat, and if so, how? Inquiring minds and all that.

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    1. Ann, we will count on you for letting us know any really big news? I've backed off except for notifications from the NYTimes and WaPo (that's not really cold turkey, is it?)

      Where did you get a pulse oximeter??

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    2. I ordered a pulse oximeter ages ago. Waiting. Waiting. I'm asthmatic so I figure if I get sick I'm going to need it. Hopefully it will get here and I won't need it.

      For our anniversary dinner: I had a fried chicken sandwich topped with pickles and kimchee and mayo that was absolutely fantastic. I'm a connoisseur of Southern fried chicken and have never made it to my own satisfaction. This piece of fried chicken was amazing. And the toppings and a brioche-sesame bun! Fabulous. I ordered a glass of prosecco thinking it owuld be a glass - turned out to be a bottle. So tonight we'll toast the barbecued ribs I'm going to make (Peapod order came yesterday - ribs too big to go in freezer.)

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    3. Lucy, it's well worth your while to listen to Andrew Cuomo a few times a week. You can find his daily news conferences on You Tube or on his web site. The pulse ox is available from Amazon, relatively cheap when I think of what these used to cost, in the thousands. Her's the one I have.https://www.amazon.com/Innovo-Fingertip-Oximeter-Plethysmograph-Perfusion/dp/B07YVGZPRZ/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=pulse+oximeter&qid=1589373377&sr=8-6

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    4. Some day, Hallie, I will fry chicken for you. I think it was the first thing my mother taught me to cook. I don't do it often, too messy, but for you, anything xox

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    5. Just tell me what the trick is?

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    6. Hallie, you do know how to keep the bubbles in leftover sparkling wine, right?

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    7. Hallie, when frying chicken, I dredge each piece in flour, then in milk, then in flour again. The flour is seasoned with salt and pepper. Then I fry just a few pieces at a time in hot oil with a dollop of lard for flavor. The trick is to leave some space between the pieces. Can be bone in skin on to boneless skinless, doesn’t matter. Fry until golden brown on all sides. Bon appetit!

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  10. Congratulations Jerry and Hallie! You're a match made in heaven and I adore that card! xoxo

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    1. Thanks, Lucy dear! I know you're someone who appreciates a good marriage.

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  11. What a great card, Hallie! And clearly, Jerry is a great husband. Good choosing 51 years ago.

    I'm going to check out the First Chapter Fun on FB; last Saturday's Absence of Malice online event was great fun even though I missed it live. I a caught it via the link and really enjoyed seeing the authors and hearing their stories. All the online options being dreamed up are a shiny silver lining in the pandemic cloud, aren't they?

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    1. I do find it hard to tune in from home on time - and the great thing is being able to rerun it!

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    2. https://www.facebook.com/groups/firstchapterfun/ ! Check it out--and look today to see the video I made for Hallie's book!

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  12. Happy Anniversary, Hallie! I love the photo you shared, you two look adorable and happy. The card is amazing, clever and loving. I'd be framing them, I think. Irwin and I celebrated 39 years in February and it is special to be with someone you love for a long time. When we married we promised to grow short together and that is slowly taking place although neither of us was tall to begin with.
    Last week, I tuned into First Chapter Fun, loved it and will definitely watch Hank read tomorrow. I'm pretty excited about hearing her voice and your story. I am not doing many of these invitations to watch on line, and not really watching tv much either. All I've been in the mood for is books, and I've got plenty. I think, since this started, that Amazon and Barnes and Noble's stock went up just from my purchases of reading material.
    Hallie, it sounds like your friend got a similar deal on Amazon, buying a pound of yeast for an exorbitant amount and getting 3 pounds when the package arrived. Two are in the freezer. My kitchen is seriously loaded with yeast.
    Once again, Happy Anniversary! I'd love to hear a "how we met" story about you and Jerry.

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    1. If I framed Jerry's cards, I could cover a wall with them.
      We met in college - fixed up by his roommate, a very crazy poet whom I'd briefly dated. Our first date: a Cornell hockey game at Madison Square Garden. He was smitten by the first dinner I made for him a few weeks later at my sister's apartment on Xmas break (crab dip, steak, mushroom potatoes (Yay, Campbells mushroom soup), salad, and strawberries with whipped cream.)

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    2. That is a great story. I think a wall full of his cards would be nice.

      Wow, that is one very enticing menu for a college student. Seems you always knew the direct way to his heart! Love it!

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  13. Congratulations and Best wishes to both of you. A job very well done. May the days ahead be as joyful as the best of days you remember.

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  14. Happy Anniversary! How sweet is that card!

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  15. Awww, how sweet! Happy anniversary, Hallie!

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  16. Such a bright note of happiness for a sun-sparkling day! Thanks, Hallie for sharing. I agree, you two look adorable and bravely facing this whole new 'what-have-we-got-ourselves-into' life in the first photo. And Jerry's cards are wonderful! I think it's hilarious how he's pulling all these 'got-ya-covered' moments out of his yard sale stashes! And the online author events are fab!

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    1. The good news is we're not going to catch Covid-19 in our basement!

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  17. What a wonderful card. Thank you for sharing Jerry's creations with us, Hallie! I always enjoy them.

    And happy 51st! How is that possible? Time, it is a-fleein'.

    I meant to thank Hank for inviting me to First Chapters--thank you, Hank! What a great idea, a little tease for new books.

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  18. Happy Anniversary! What a delightful card ~

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  19. Happy Anniversary Hallie and Jerry! All those years together is quite an accomplishment!

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  20. Happy Anniversary! John makes me cards sometimes too. Not as skillfully but it’s the thought that counts
    And I’ve discovered that I’m pathetic at jigsaws! I’m dying to see Ursula Andrews’s bottom

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  21. Happy Anniversary. One has to get creative while celebrating during these times of social distancing, but I know you’ll find a way. My husband and I got all dressed up, with no where to go, drove around the block, then returned to a formal dinner I sat on the dining room table.

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    1. Ha ha ha! I love the idea of getting all dressed up and driving around the block. If it were a short story, something would happen before you could get back...

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    2. Write it, Hallie! That's a great idea!

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  22. Great card. I remember my grandparents 50th, all those years ago, they had a huge celebration. I like your husband's card more, much more personal. I'm gonna have to catch First Chapter in the rerun because of work. I did have a great time last Saturday watching Malice. Champagne and ribs sounds fabulous, your extending your celebration, even if you are doing the cooking this time. He can set the table and wash up.

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    1. The good thing about doing your own cooking is you get to eat exactly what YOU like. Our 50th was a trip. I think it was Alaska.

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  23. Love Jerry's card, Hallie! And his stash of jigsaws! Happy anniversary to you both.

    Ours is tomorrow, 26 years. But we've know each other almost as long as you and Jerry. LOVE the pic! Is your hair getting that long again:-)? We may order take-out from the nice local restaurant where we've celebrated many anniversaries.

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    1. My hair is getting ridiculous! Definitely, take out!

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  24. PS So excited about First Chapter Fun tomorrow!! I've got it on my calendar!

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    1. https://www.facebook.com/groups/firstchapterfun/ And go now--to see the video I made for Hallie's book!

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  25. Happy Anniversary. I love Jerry's card. How fabulous..

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  26. Hallie, Happy Anniversary! Love these photos! Such a fun post about yard sales. Now you have time to go through all the stuff, right? During the shelter in place, I have been catching up on my reading, finally!

    Diana

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    1. p.s. love the hand-drawn cards...

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    2. *I* go through his stuff... surely you jest. This marriage has only survived because I would never presume to *go through* his stuff. That's why it's all i the basement/garage/attic... less temptation.

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    3. Ha! I thought you and your husband would look at the stuff from the yard sales?

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  27. Oh gosh! Love it to pieces! Happy Anniversary to you both!

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  28. Hallie, you got a gem when you married Jerry. Much love and wishes for many, many more happy anniversaries!

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  29. Happy Anniversary Hallie and I love the card your husband gave you!

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  30. LOL - I love the card. Congratulations! Now, I feel a little, just a little, bad about making my people do the spark joy thing with all their stuff. Can't wait to listen to First Chapter Fun tomorrow!!!

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    1. https://www.facebook.com/groups/firstchapterfun/ And go now--to see the video I made for Hallie's book!

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  31. Happy Anniversary to you and your husband, Hallie! I love the cards he makes for you. What unique treasures. This one is so hilarious and on point. Mothers should always make sure that their children know how important a sense of humor is in one's life mate.

    The First Chapter Fun is a brilliant idea, Hank. It reminds me of having listened to the beginning of books on Audible to see if I thought I'd like them, but your idea of the first chapters twice a week is perfect. I missed yesterday's, but I want to catch tomorrow's, even though I've already read Hallie's amazing book. How do you and Hannah choose the books from which to read? Do you entertain suggestions?

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  32. Hallie, I wonder about the motivation required to do the two-sided puzzle! Isn't it wonderful to have a partner who can give such joy and laughter? Tim was a professional artist and every year for my birthday and for Valentine's Day, he gave me a lovely ink and watercolor wash card with a sweet message of love. Happy anniversary. I hope we get to do a class together some day.

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    1. I hope we do, too... Guessing two-sided is a marketing gimmick! Esp when it comes to Ursula Andress.

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  33. Before Steve and I were married and he lived three hours away up 395, he wrote me letters, once a day, every day, and sometimes twice even on the weekends when he'd drive down to L.A. to be with me. He would call me, too and write another letter about how great it was to talk with me. We were married 50 years. His death was more than shocking, despite knowing how sick he was. The beauty and love in his letters keep me going.

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  34. Happy anniversary, Hallie! I think you've got a keeper, there!

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