Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year -- Seth and Eric's 2008 in Review

Happy New Year, plus a belated Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas

Hi everyone! We hope you have enjoyed the holidays are all enjoying the holidays. Despite the ups and downs of the year, it is finally ending on a nice note. The Bookey Family gathered in Great Neck for our annual consumption of Aunt Elaine's latkes and pot roast, and on Christmas Day, Eric and I made our annual pilgrimage to visit his parents and brother, and to celebrate the holiday by gorging ourselves on the bounty of the Borgata Buffet.

But it wasn't all just overeating in 2008! Let's look at the Year in Eric and Seth...

The biggest news of the year was Ma Bookey's stroke, which has caused her left side to be permanently paralyzed. Luckily, she is not in any pain and she can talk, and her dementia keeps her from fully realizing how horrible her physical situation is. She is at Sands Point Nursing Home and has had several trips to the hospital. Her underlying health is pretty good, so she has gotten out of the hospital without getting worse each time. Her sense of humor is also sort of there. She was saying that Seth's father was a great guy. When Seth asked, "What about me?" She said, "You're nice too, to some extent." She does think Eric is terrific.


The other big news is that Seth moved into his childhood home in Great Neck, due to his Mom moving into a nursing home. The home will soon enjoy Mom's income, so two incomes cannot support three homes. Seth is currently subletting his flat to a fellow genealogist. Eric and Seth spent many weekends packing boxes and moving things to Great Neck. It is amazing how much stuff one can accumulate in 19 years.

The house in Great Neck is about 80 years old and needed a lot of work. Between January and June, the gutters were replaced, the rotting garage extension was fixed, the sagging, cracked support beam was jacked up and the floor is level again.

The house now has modern, water- and energy-efficient appliances the likes of which Mom never would have been able to figger out.

Seth also discovered just how lucky he and his Mom have been to have good neighbors, who helped look after the house a bit between Mom's stroke in January and the time Seth moved into it in September.


Seth's Library at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society closed and gave its collection to the New York Public Library. While he was supposed to be laid off in September, he is still there, indexing a 7000-page manuscript. Things could be worse. He has also been working part time at ABC News, working on a fact-checking project for a video-on-the-Web project.

Seth was able to help a lot of people find a lot of genealogical data before the NYG&B shut down the databases. It's amazing what's out there.

Seth has also been job hunting and interviewing since March. It has not been easy.

Eric is still working at Dow Jones Customer Service, and he is working from home. Sometimes, he works from Seth's home in Great Neck. Eric is also going to be working alternate Sundays as a reference librarian for the Clarence Dillon Public Library in Bedminster (NJ) starting Jan. 4. Thanks to Google Calendars, we can keep everything straight.

Seth and Eric also worked together on a project for earlier in the year.

Work-related, but not work: Seth and Eric have been getting involved with the Special Libraries Association (SLA). Eric is the co-convener of the GLBT Caucus, and is President of the SLA New Jersey Chapter. Seth has been going to some of the networking events held by the SLA NY chapter.


Seth and Eric went to Seattle in June for SLA 2008, staying in a very nice suite at a hotel near the convention center. We got to see a lot of people we know in the information world, and meet new people. We also visited with cousins in Seattle, and we met Eric's Aunt Dorothy and cousin Barbara and her family in Portland, Oregon. The Cascades train from Seattle to Portland and back was quite lovely, with views of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Hood on one side, and Puget Sound on the other.

Eric and Seth have also criss-crossed the tri-state region, and in keeping with the Depression 2.0 times, we have been turning the basement into a canned-goods warehouse and having fun doing more cooking at home. Thanksgiving in Great Neck turned out pretty well.


Eric went to his 20th high school reunion on Black Friday and had a great time, once he found the Greate Bay Country Club and later, Stumpo's bar and karaoke hangout, both in Somers Point, N.J.

You can see him cutting a rug with his Holy Spirit classmates on Facebook and here with his lovely dance partner, Lesley Mottola.

Speaking of Facebook, both of us have had online reunions with a variety of people, from old classmates to hitherto unmet cousins. It's all sort of amazing.


For the first time in years, Nero has had to learn to use the stairs. The old boy is 14 and has enjoyed a year of perfect health, tolerating the daily insulin shot around which Seth's whole world now revolves.

In June, Nero flipped out on a visit to the vet, so for the move to Great Neck, he was tranquilized, and eventually wobbled around to discover that life is now bigger than a studio apartment on the Upper East Side. He has a new routine to wake Seth up at ungodly hours to get fed.

Nero got into the basement only once and freaked out. He also is skittish when it comes to visits from Theo and Melody. But he has his special snoozing spots and remains ever-loving. However, he now has a Facebook page and seems quite sassy there.


We celebrated both Chanukah and the birthday of Sandy (Seth's brother) on Dec. 21. In one photo Sandy is cutting his cake while Aunt Elaine and the kids look on.

The other photo shows the fully lit menorah on the eighth day of the Festival of Lights, Dec. 28.

In the middle of Chanukah this year was Christmas. Seth and Eric and the Schwarzes (parents Claire and Eddie, and Eric's brother, Frankie) celebrated with a feast at the Borgata and a visit to the home of Gigi and Frankie in Brigantine. (Gigi is Frankie's canine friend.)

And that's the year that was. We're not sure what 2009 will bring, but having President Obama's inauguration ahead is a bright spot. Until then, we're following Suze Orman's advice and stockpiling canned goods.

Philly-nomenal Library News

Eleven libraries in Philadelphia will not have to close starting Jan. 1 after all. Mayor Michael Nutter had proposed the closings because of budget reasons, but the Court of Common Pleas overruled the decision.

Read the WCAU-TV 10 report. Or the story, legal analysis and editorial from