life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

attacked by wild animals in my own kitchen!

the fierce cries! the sharp claws! the gnashing teeth! the brutality of it! I only managed to save myself by throwing a can of Bumblebee fancy white albacore at the brutes.

memo to self: don't forget to buy the Meow Mix on the way home tonight!

mmm....Greek food

I usually order some sort of souvlaki when I eat Greek, but ever since Suzanne made pastichio for dinner two weeks ago, I have been craving it.

craving satisfied, pastichio ordered from a local Greek place.

cinnamon makes such an interesting addition to a pasta dish, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year!

a little bit about the NYC celebration -- I've never been crazy stupid brave enough to go.

Countdown to euphoria
Monday, December 29th 2008, 10:45 PM
Related News
time to have a ball on New Year's

This is one celebration you can set
your watch by.
The annual New Year's Eve bash in Times Square peaks
with a worldwide television audience of 1 billion counting down the seconds
until 2009 arrives exactly at midnight.
With no room for error, organizers
spend the other 364 days of the year making sure everything runs like clockwork
when New
rings out the old and rings in the new.
"People think I only work
one day a year," said Countdown Entertainment head Jeff Straus. "Actually,
January is my second-busiest month."
Revelers will enjoy a new twist with
their "Auld Lang Syne" this year: A high-tech, supersize ball will drop down
from One Times Square, replacing the previous incarnation.
Live performances
in Times Square were planned by Ludacris, Taylor Swift, Lionel Richie and the Jonas
The bottom line: These are the numbers that add up to another
memorable New Year's celebration.

1: Ton of confetti dropped

40: Tons of trash collected last year

60: Seconds it
takes the New Year's Eve ball to descend

141: The height in feet
of the new mast holding the ball at One Times Square

1907: The
first year of the Times Square ball drop

1,875: Weight in pounds
of the New Year's Eve ball

2,668: Waterford
triangles on the ball

32,256: LEDs (light-emitting
diodes) on the ball, triple the number from last year.

revelers expected.

$24.5 million: Estimated economic boost in and
around Times Square.

If you want to read more about the Waterford ball, click here.

hitchcock would feel right at home

seen on the way to work this morning --- proof that not all birds fly south for the winter (click on photo to enlarge)

the crows I expected, but I especially like how the seagull rules the roost.

Monday, December 29, 2008

disboard bullies

just thought I'd get in on the action....

long time followers of Suzanne's blog will know her Webmaster Alex post.

I've been banned from the DIS more times than I can count...a few of them actually deserved, but for the most part....banned for being "songbird".

I wasn't blogging back in April, so let me say now...Alex, you're an idiot. you banned a lot of good peole for no reason at all. the "meanness" factor at the DIS hasn't changed, but the "stupidity" factor has increased dramatically since April.

is that any way to run a business?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

the tales of beadle the bard

my kidlets know how much I like harry potter...i had to buy 3 copies of deathly among my gifts this year was a copy of the new book...a charming and delightful book of fairy tales for the wizarding world...and we muggles enjoy them too.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

memories of Molly

for some reason tonight...I am thinking of my dog Molly.

Drew and I went to North Shore Animal League with the intention of adopting a puppy but wound up with a full-grown beagle named Molly.

she was the dumbest but the sweetest dog...

she liked to dig...I almost killed her when she used her digging skills on the foam cushions of my couch.

and who can forget when she escaped from our apartment and I wound up chasing her all through our Brooklyn neighborhood in my bathrobe? I never caught her...she ran around the block and then ran home.

but...she won a place in my heart forever...when Jen was a baby and learning to walk, she'd grab Molly's floppy ears and use the poor dog's head as leverage to bring herself to a standing position. and the dog allowed it...even slept under the crib at night to keep my little one safe.

Drew got custody of the dog in the divorce...the last time I saw her she was old...had cateracts and could barely see...but I think she recognized me...

Friday, December 26, 2008

wisdom teeth redux

so today my wisdom teeth and I parted company.

vicodin is our friend.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center

Call on your angels
Come down to the city
Crowd around the big tree
All you strangers who know me
Bring your compassion
Your understanding
Lord, ow we need it
On this New York City Christmas

Yeah I'm sending you a merry New York Christmas
and a prayer for peace on earth within our time
Hear the sidewalk angels echo halleluja
We understand more, now more than ever

So call on your angels
You're beaten and broken
It's time that we mended
So they don't fade with the season
Let our mercy be the gifts we lay
From Brooklyn and to Broadway
Celebrate each and every day
of this New York City Christmas

Yeah I'm sending you a merry New York Christmas
and a prayer for peace on earth within our time
Hear the sidewalk angels echo halleluja
We understand more, now more than ever
Merry New York Christmas

Call on your angels
Come down to the city
Let's Crowd around the big tree
All you strangers you know me
Bring your compassion
Bring your forgiveness
Lord how we need it
On this New York City Christmas

Yeah, I'm sending you a Merry New York Christmas
And a prayer for peace on Earth
It's not too late
Yeah the sidewalk angels echo hallelujah
We understand them
We understand them
Merry Christmas
Yes, a New York City Christmas
(Oh Christmas)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mandy's latest

I don't know why the feed from Mandy's blog doesn't update properly here, but I make it my business to check every so often for her words of wisdom. she found the best craigslist posting!

what makes me laugh even Becca, my darling 16-year-old "let's-go-see-what's-cute-at-Abercrombie-then-maybe-stop-at-Mecca-Sephora" shopaholic who just got her learner's permit wants an Xterra!

don't you think...

...that if the "check oil" light comes on, the driver might actually check the oil?

I've got Jen's Chevy today. I got into the car and saw the message on the dashboard.

asked her "how long has the light been on?"

"a couple of weeks."

granted, she only drives the car when she's home from college, so she's only driven it for a day or two since the light went on....

Monday, December 22, 2008


I've mentioned Becca's involvement with Key club and Spanish Club.

Now let me brag on Jen's involvement with Jumpstart. She plans to be an elementary school reacher and she's doing Jumpstart through her college.

Jumpstart college students serve in three different roles: Corps Member,
Volunteer Coordinator, or Team Leader.The Jumpstart Corps member
position is open to college students committed to Jumpstart’s mission to work
toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed and who
are able to serve 10-12 hours per week (for a total of at least 200 to 300
hours, depending on the site) during the school year. Corps members partner with
children from low-income backgrounds to help them build skills crucial to school
success. Responsibilities include participating in two two-hour Jumpstart
sessions each week with partner child and team, participating in two team
planning meetings each week, serving four to six hours each week in a preschool
classroom during the regular school day, communicating with partner child’s
family and sharing strategies for helping the child, participating in intensive
pre- and in-service training, and attending periodic service days, usually held
on Saturdays

Sunday, December 21, 2008

chanukah greetings

happy chanukah!

Happy Chanukah

home again, home again, jiggety jigg

so Becca went to the party after her boyfriend went home.

so I had to wait for both of them to come home.

it's going to be a loooong winter.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

mmmm....Chinese food

Becca's boyfriend is here for the evening. so we decided to order Chinese food. on the menu tonight: vegetable and bean curd soup, bbq spare ribs, imperial shrimp, sesame chicken and beef with Chinese vegetables.

I was going to pick up the food myself, really I was. but Jen has my car tonight...she asked if she could take mine because hers has no heat. and I just blew out my shouldeer tying to scrape ice off the windshield of Jen's Chevy (my de-icing spray is in my Corolla. which is at a party across town) so I ordered delivery. I will de-ice Jen's car tomorrow - provided we don't get more snow. (looks like Long Island will have a white Christmas this year.) makes perfect sense to a 16 year old to wear suede UGGS in the snow and complain that her feet are getting wet, but to laugh at Mom's snow boots as "fugugly". the last laugh is on you, Becca least MY feet are dry.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I am Minnie Mouse's mom

Jen has a job tomorrow. She will be playing the part of Minnie Mouse at some corporate Christmas party.

my two youngest sisters attended a performing arts high school. one of their dormer teachers runs a talent business. they provide talent to corporate functions. every year they provide cartoon characters to a corporate client's Christmas party. my sisters have been working the party for many, many years. when my kids were younger they would sometimes go to the party with their aunts.

but a few years agoone of my sisters gave up her role (though she still goes to the party) and let Jen take over.

Jen loves kids and she has a great time working the party.

interesting contest at work

I was asked to create a trivia quiz for our department. Each person was asked to give a piece of weird ifnormation about him or herself. For example, I once met Sarah Jessica Parker.Another example: This person gave new meaning to the words "business trip" (I used my business trip story). the person who gets the most answers correct wins a small prize. so far we've had some very interesting guesses.


never try a new recipe when you're baking for the company bake-off, you dont' get started in the kitchen until midnight and you have to leave for work by 7.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Life, the Universe and Everything

Suzanne is my inspiration tonight, though I did see one of my friends do this on facebook too.

SUPPOSEDLY if you've seen over 85 films, you have no life. Mark the ones you've seen. There are 239 films on this list. Copy this list, check which ones youve seen, paste this here.

(x) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean 2:Dead Man's Chest
()Boondock Saints
( ) Fight Club
( ) Starsky and Hutch
( ) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
(x ) Airplane
Total: 6

(x) The Princess Bride
( ) Anchorman
(x) Napoleon Dynamite
( ) Labyrinth
( ) Saw
( ) Saw II
( ) White Noise
( ) White Oleander
( ) Anger Management
() 50 First Dates
(x) The Princess Diaries
(x ) The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Total so far: 10

() Scream
( ) Scream 2
( ) Scream 3
( ) Scary Movie
( ) Scary Movie 2
() Scary Movie 3
( ) Scary Movie 4
( ) American Pie
( ) American Pie 2
( ) American Wedding
( ) American Pie Band Camp
Total so far: 10

( x) Harry Potter 1
(x) Harry Potter 2
(x ) Harry Potter 3
(x ) Harry Potter 4
( ) Resident Evil 1
( ) Resident Evil 2
(x) The Wedding Singer
( ) Little Black Book
( ) The Village
(x) Lilo & Stitch
Total so far: 16

() Finding Nemo
() Finding Neverland
() Signs
(x) The Grinch
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
() White Chicks
() Butterfly Effect
(x) 13 Going on 30
() I, Robot
( ) Robots
Total so far: 18

( ) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
( ) Universal Soldier
( ) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
( ) Along Came Polly
( ) Deep Impact
( ) KingPin
(x) Never Been Kissed
( ) Meet The Parents
( ) Meet the Fockers
( ) Eight Crazy Nights
( ) Joe Dirt
Total so far: 20

( ) A Cinderella Story
( ) The Terminal
( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
( ) Passport to Paris
() Dumb & Dumber
( ) Dumber & Dumberer
( ) Final Destination
( ) Final Destination 2
( ) Final Destination 3
( ) Halloween
() The Ring
( ) The Ring 2
() Surviving X-MAS
( x) Flubber
Total so far: 21

( ) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
(x) Practical Magic
(x) Chicago
( ) Ghost Ship
( ) From Hell
( ) Hellboy
( ) Secret Window
( ) I Am Sam
( ) The Whole Nine Yards
( ) The Whole Ten Yards
Total so far: 22

( ) The Day After Tomorrow
( ) Child's Play
( ) Seed of Chucky
( ) Bride of Chucky
( ) Ten Things I Hate About You
( ) Just Married
( ) Gothika
( ) Nightmare on Elm Street
(x) Sixteen Candles
() Remember the Titans
( ) Coach Carter
( ) The Grudge
( ) The Grudge 2
( ) The Mask
( ) Son Of The Mask
Total so far: 23

( ) Bad Boys
( ) Bad Boys 2
( ) Joy Ride
( ) Lucky Number Slevin
( ) Ocean's Eleven
(x) Ocean's Twelve
( ) Bourne Identity
( ) Bourne Supremecy
( ) Lone Star
( ) Bedazzled
( ) Predator I
( ) Predator II
( ) The Fog
(x) Ice Age
( ) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
( ) Curious George
Total so far:25

( ) Independence Day
( ) Cujo
( ) A Bronx Tale
( ) Darkness Falls
( ) Christine
(x) ET
( ) Children of the Corn
( ) My Bosses Daughter
(x) Maid in Manhattan
( ) War of the Worlds
( ) Rush Hour
( ) Rush Hour 2
Total so far: 27

( ) Best Bet
(x) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
( ) She's All That
( ) Calendar Girls
( ) Sideways
( ) Mars Attacks
( ) Event Horizon
( ) Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
( ) Big Trouble in Little China
(x) The Terminator
(x ) The Terminator 2
( ) The Terminator 3
Total so far: 32

( ) X-Men
( ) X-2
( ) X-3
(x) Spider-Man
( ) Spider-Man 2
( ) Sky High
() Jeepers Creepers
( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
( ) Catch Me If You Can
(x) The Little Mermaid
(x) Freaky Friday (both version, should I count this twice?)
( ) Reign of Fire
( ) The Skulls
() Cruel Intentions
( ) Cruel Intentions 2
( ) The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek
() Shrek 2
Total so far: 35

( ) Swimfan
(x) Miracle on 34th street
( ) Old School
() The Notebook
( ) K-Pax
( ) Krippendorf's Tribe
( ) A Walk to Remember
(x ) Ice Castles
( ) Boogeyman
(x) The 40-year-old Virgin
Total so far: 38

( ) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
( ) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
( ) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Total so far: 41

( ) Baseketball
( ) Hostel
( ) Waiting for Guffman
( ) House of 1000 Corpses
( ) Devils Rejects
( ) Elf
( ) Highlander
( ) Mothman Prophecies
( ) American History X
( ) Three
Total so Far: 41

( ) The Jacket
( ) Kung Fu Hustle
( ) Shaolin Soccer
( ) Night Watch
(x) Monsters Inc.
(x) Titanic
(x) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
( ) Shaun Of the Dead
( ) Willard
Total so far: 44

( ) High Tension
( ) Club Dread
( ) Hulk
() Dawn Of the Dead
(x) Hook
( ) Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
( ) 28 days later
( ) Orgazmo
( ) Phantasm
( ) Waterworld
Total so far: 45

( ) Kill Bill vol 1
( ) Kill Bill vol 2
( ) Mortal Kombat
( ) Wolf Creek
( ) Kingdom of Heaven
( ) the Hills Have Eyes
( ) I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
( ) The Last House on the Left
( ) Re-Animator
() Army of Darkness
Total so far: 45

(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(x) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(x) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
( ) Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
() Ewoks The Battle For Endor
Total so far: 51

() The Matrix
() The Matrix Reloaded
() The Matrix Revolutions
( ) Animatrix
( ) Evil Dead
( ) Evil Dead 2
() Team America: World Police
() Red Dragon
( x) Silence of the Lambs
() Hannibal

Total 51

Monday, December 15, 2008

I miss cheerleading

or rather, I miss watching the kidlets perform.

at various times my girls have been involved in dance, music, cheerleading, acting...activities where it was my obligation, sit in a theater or on the bleachers, for an eternity while other people's children perform, just for the pleasure of watching my kidlets do their thing for a few minutes.

now Jen is in college and busy with classes and volunteer work and her social life.

and Becca's high school interests have evolved from "performing" to "participating".

I am glad they're pursuing their interests.

but I miss seeing my kidlets "on stage".

what book am I?

not sure this is entirely accurate, but....

You're Ulysses!

by James Joyce

Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared
to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do
understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once
brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in
the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you
additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

the 10th man (or woman)

Rabbi is in Florida, and the Cantor is running services at the synagogue.

at 8 PM my phone rang - I am in the Cantor's speed dial - he needed me for a minyan (a quorum) for evening services. mourners cannot say Kaddish unless there are ten adults present.

it wasn't so very long ago - in my lifetime - that women did not count in the minyan.

it was my honor and my obligation to be number 10 tonight.

that cat is far too clever for her own good

so I am blogging from my cell phone...lying in bed, on my back...Daisy jumps up onto the bed, plants herself on my chest, wanting to be petted...and pushes the cell phone out of my hand!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

paying it forward, a holiday giveaway

from Suzanne

1. Be one of the first three bloggers to leave a comment on this post, where the first word in the comment is "Yes". By saying "Yes" as the first word, you signify you want to participate in this giveaway. Being one of the first three to say "Yes" will then entitle you to a handmade item from ME!
2. Winners must post this challenge on your blog, meaning that you then must Pay It Forward, creating a handmade gift for the first three bloggers
3. The gift that you send to your Three Friends can be from any price range and you have 365 days to make/ship your item. This means you should be willing to maintain your blog at least until you receive your gift and have shipped your gifts. And, remember: It’s the Spirit and the Thought That Count!
4. When you receive your gift, please feel free to blog about it, sharing appropriate Linky Love!
5. If you are not one of the Top Three Commentors on Today’s Post, you’re still a Winner in this Time of Grace and Giving. Please take this Symbol of the Seasonal Spirit and post it on your blog; start your own Pay It Forward Chain, and encourage your Bloggy Friends to do the same!

Santa's helpers

Becca and her friend A.

Both girls are members of Key Club and officers of Spanish Club. today Key Club had a day at the local Sears, the members of the club had to help underprivileged children pick out new clothes.

later, the Spanish club hit Toys R Us and Bed Bath and Beyond, they'd raised almost $900 and decided to spend it on toys and bedding for underprivileged children. As President, Becca was in charge, and she had all the money -- the adviser trusted her to safeguard the cash. she and A have to bring the purchases to school on Monday.

I am proud that Becca is so involved in community service!

wisdom teeth

let's just say I wish I could make mine disappear right about now. I am not a happy camper.

I had one pulled 20 years was fully erupted but had rotated 180 degrees, so that the back of the tooth faced the front of my mouth. took me four days to recover enough to go back to work - and that was when I was young and healthy.

the other 3...the dentist said "watch and wait".

we had to revisit the issue today. one must be extracted. one is likely to need to be extracted. oh "joy".

I'm Mr. HEatmiser...

I have that song...and the Snowmeiser version...stuck in my head. wish I had my camera last night when Becca put on the red cowboy hat, picked up the cane (a candy cane prop from a long-ago dance pageant) and began to sing and dance to the music...for her boyfriend.

Friday, December 12, 2008

feline follies

I was standing in the kitchen this morning, trying to decide between the strawberry yogurt and the blueberry yogurt, when I heard a commotion on the stairs....

little miss Daisy cat, all of 6 pounds, racing down the stairs.

with Mr. Kitty, the 20-pounder, chasing her all the way down.

she ran into the living room and jumped up onto a chair.

and he stayed on the floor but tried to swat at her with one of his paws.

he's just playing, but she DOES NOT LIKE IT! not one little bit.

as the plaintive meowing proved.

of course I rescued her. I sent Mr. Kitty outside to terrorize the neighborhood squirrels. He's too fat to actually catch one, but he does like to chase after them.

commuter rant of the day

so guys, how about honoring a girl's personal space? I know we're called "straphangers", but when you're holding onto the bar over my head I would really appreciate it if you don't use my shoulder as an armrest. and I do NOT like the feel of your backpack or briefcase shoved into my spine!

but what happened today takes the cake.

Long Island Railroad cars are not meant for comfort, but c'mon, did you really have to...?

Picture it: a bench of three seats facing a second bench of three, so that six people can be accomodated (barely), three people with their knees rubbing up against the knees of three total strangers. picture sitting in one of three seats on an airplane, with the row in front of you turned around to face you.

so this morning I found myself sharing this configuration with three men....I had an aisle seat facing one of the men, and the other two men sat near the window, leaving themiddle seats unoccupied. As I sat down, the guy facing me decided he needed to stretch out his legs...and literally put one leg between my two feet. and didn't take the hint as I struggled to get comfortable, i had to actually ASK him to remove his foot from my personal space!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I don't care whether you are selling soap or salvation

Do you really think you're going to successfully sell it by haranging a captive audience on a moving subway car? today I had a full 15 minutes of someone loudly describing how he knows with all certainty that my fellow passengers and I are going to Hell because we don't "believe". train was full to overflowing, so moving to another car wasn't really an option. I was so glad that this train made A LOT of noise as it travelled between stations. I am sure the preacher is sincere in his belief. but please don't infringe on my relative peace and quiet as I read my newspaper on the way to work!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Eve plans

My sister's best friend, J, has become a member of our family. Every year J and her 3 boys invite us to spend eithe rChristmas Eve or Christmas Day at their house (it depends which holiday J's sons are spending with their father).

this year we are invited for Christmas Eve, which also happens to be the 4th night of Chanukah. J always has a tiny Menorah in her house, her late father was Jewish, but it's too small to actually use for lighting candles. So I guess we will be bringing one of ours.

another meme

I got it from Suzanne, who got it from Saffa.

What you do is highlight the things you've done. Italicize the things you want to do, and leave the ones you don't in plain text.

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii. (I will get there, someday)
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland. (I've been to Disney in florida more times than I can count, but never the one in California)
8. Climbed a mountain. (does driving count?)
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo. (I had a very brief solo as Aunt Eller in Oklahoma. and an even briefer one as a chorus member in Plain and Fancy)
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. from the beach-very cool
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables. once -- not very successfully, though.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise. cruised to the Bahamas on my honeymoon.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language. tried, but didn't succeed.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater. used to go when I was a kid, my sister and I would fall asleep in the back of the station wagon while the parents watched the movie.
55. Been in a movie. no, but the kidlet was in a TV commercial once.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.I got my gallon pin a long time ago.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. on the to-do list.
67. Bounced a check. not intentionally, though
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem. also on the to-do list
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House. August, 1974, three days before Nixon resigned -- we went to the White House but didn't go inside.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life. saved my then-3-year-old sister from drowning
90. Sat on a jury. (no, but I sat in the jury pool -- got disqualified because I'm a lawyer)
91. Met someone famous. several, actually -- my sister went to high school with Ralph Maccio, I've met several celebrities, including Sarah jessica Parker
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit. I'm a lawyer, also a litigant.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

the wind is HOWLING!

I can live with cold, I can tolerate snow, but the howling wind....too much.

Chanukah event at temple today

we have a party for the children -- we hire a magician -- and we also sponsor a crafts fair. I was afriad we'd have a low turnout today because of the snow, but we had a nice sized crowd.

my job today -- the social action committee is collecting money for toys -- every year Rabbi goes to Jerusalem and brings Legos, which he gives to children in hospitals. we also collect clothes and etc. for a local social services organization and for a local outreach center. we had a succesful day, $250 for the Legos and a lot of nice things ofr the outreach program.

though I wasn't happy about being at the center of the latest drama -- being aTrustee on the board means I have to deal with the bickering and politicking. groan....


Saturday, December 6, 2008


I had a delightful afternoon shopping with Becca. Normally I dread shopping during Christmastime, there's no place to park, the crowds are rude and the salesclerks ar harried, but today was not bad at all.

the day began with whining. Becca. a/k/a the shopaholic, wanted to add to her copious wardrobe, but I didn't have the cash to indulge her addiction.

remember how I had to go to social security to replace our missing cards? the new ones arrived in today's mail. when Becca went to put hers in her drawer, she discovered that she had several gifts cards....they were given to her at her sweet 16 last summer, and she'd forgotten about them. she had cards for Bloomie's, abercrombie & Fitch and sephora.

so off we went to the mall.

my plan was to park near Bloomingdale's, so I started searching for a spot in that lot. eventually I saw a car about to pull out from a spot as far away from the store as you could be and still be at the mall, and I pulled up...only to realize another car was also waiting for that spot, and he'd been there first. I was in the better position, I could have blocked his way and "stolen" the spot, but Becca and I agreed that we should do "the right thing" and let him have the spot.

so I kept hunting. finally found a spot at the other end of the mall -- right near Macy's. in fact, if I were any closer to the door, i would have been inside the mall.

our first stop was Abercrombie & fitch. Now, I was really surprised Becca still had her gift cards from this store -- when Becca had her party last June, Jen was still working for Abercrombie and had an employee discount, and I assumed Becca would have taken advantage of that. apparently not. anyhow, the cashier today was a classmate of jen's and asked how she's enjoying college.

next we went to Bloomie's. Becca really likes Juicy Couture (who doesn't?), but the stuff is prohibitively expensive. today everything Juicy was on sale, and bloomie's was also running a promotion -- for every $100 you spend today or tomorrow, you get a $15 gift certificate good anytime monday or later.

then we walked to the middle of the mall, where Santa holds court, and there was a woman from Godiva handing out coupons for free truffles.

so we made an unscheduled stop in godiva. now, we could have just taken our free truffles and gone, but I'm not comfortable doing we bought a box of chocolates -- and got a fre bar of dark chocolate as well.

next was sephora -- Becca's version of the promised land. she's a member of their rewards club, so when she went to pay for her eyeliner, the girl behind the counter told her she'd earned enough rewards points for a free gift.

then, on to macy's. Becca realized she had a card for macy's, too, but wouldn't have gone into the store today if we hadn't parked where we did. Becca like expensive perfumes, but that's the kind of thing I reserve for special occasions. yet she had a card for the store, so she indulged herself with a small bottle of Dior. and got a cute Dior bag as a free gift.

by the time we picked up our sandwiches at Panera, Becca was telling me "this was the best day of my life," and attributing our good fortune to karma for doing the right thing in the parking lot.

For a nice Jewish girl I am terribly obsessed with

Christmas ornaments and outdoor decorations.

I've discovered I like taking photos of Christmas displays. n they're all so pretty, aren't they?

but I'm not the one who has to clean up the pine needles< am I?

why is it

that cats with white fur wlll only rub against your leg when you're wearing BLACK PANTS?

Friday, December 5, 2008

more music from the underground

as seen in Penn Station....

the Wall Street tree

(last year's photo, but I can assure you, it's the very same decor this year)

new favorite hand cream

there's a woman in my office who sells Avon. I buy a few things from her occasionally.

Last year at Christmas she gave me a small "customer appreciation" gift, a small tube of Moisture therapy Intesive Hand Cream for Extremely Dry Skin.

I never opened it, I threw it into the desk drawer and forgot about it.

until today.

I don't have "extremely dry skin", but I do like hand creme.

this stuff is amazing. my hands feel so soft and smooth, it's like I spent a small fortune at the nail salon.

Santa's g-mail box

(stolen from a friend)

(click to enlarge if you don't see the whole image)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

the more things change, the more they stay the same

my father is a retired school principal.students in his junior high feared him.

one technique he loved to use...when a student was sent to his office because of some misbehavior, he'd sit the child down, give him the "look" (I once met a former student of my father,as an adult he still remembered that "look"), hand the child the telephone and say "call your mother." the student would become upset. he'd repeat, "call your mother and tell her what you did." by that point the tears would begin to flow. that's when he'd walk the kid back to class, and everyone else would wonder "what did he DO to you?"

well, myy sister's best friend -- actually she's almost a member of this nutso family -- is a high school teacher. she has looked to my father as a mentor. she uses 21st century technology to achieve the same result....

she has studnets who will sleep in her class. she whips out her cell phone, snaps a picture of the offender, then threatens to send it via e-mail to the offender's mother.

bad mommy moment from the past

All this talk of Christmas ornaments reminds me of a "bad mommy" moment I had when Jen was 2 years old.

we had a Christmas party at my office, and everyone was encouraged to bring their children. Becca was only 6 months old, so I decided to leave her home with her father while I took Jen to the party. She had a great time, running around the cubicles and playing with the other kids.

and then "it" happened.

I'd received a gift from one of our vendors, a centerpiece from the florist, evergreens decorated with a few glass ornaments. I'm Jewish, what do I know from Christmas ornaments? I didn't realize the ornaments were made of glass until Jen started playing with them, and one broke and she cut her hand.

I don't know who cried more -- Jen from the pain of that cut, or me because I was a horrible mommy that day.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

escalator insanity

every day my commute to the office takes me through the Exchange Place Station (Jersey City) on the PATH train that connects New York with various points in New Jersey. the PATH is like a subway, but runs under the Hudson and is mostly a commuter line.

if you get off a train in Jersey and think you've been here before -- you may have seen that old Law & Order: SVU episode where the PATH station stood in for a NYC subway station.

the station is six stories below street level and is accessed via escalator. the escalator is decorated with these incredible light sculptures.

looking down while riding:

looking up from the bottom:

you can see from the photo that there are 3 escalators flanked by 2 staircases, all the equivalent of 6 flights of stairs. you can also see that one escalator is currently out of service. and this is where the insanity lies.

normally, it's understood -- like an unwritten rule -- that people who want to just stand and ride the escalator will do so on the right, while those who want to walk on the escalator will do so on the left. it generally works out.

but yesterday the PATH employees were in the station, telling folks "don't walk down the escalator, either ride one person per step or use the stairs." guess they were afraid the escalator would break.

did folks listen?

of course not.

as promised, the ornaments in the lobby

this is what hangs over our heads. literally.

NYC at Christmas

I was a little disappointed today, I went into Manhattan for a training class, and neither the tree in Liberty Park (or whatever they are calling it now) nor the tree in front of the stock exchange were lit. the lights were in place, but not illuminated. guess it's a bit too early in the season. so here's a photo from last year, this is the tree in the park on Liberty Street, across from Ground Zero.

a picture from last spring

took this with the camera in my phone (I love my Voyager!) last spring. those goslings must be fully grown by now.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

the lobby of my office building is now decorated for Christmas

in addition to the usual trees, fake gifts, poinsettias, etc., this year they've added something -- glass ornaments that hang from the ceiling, each of them probably 2 feet tall. if I can take a photo later I will post it, but in the meantime, here are ornaments similar to what's hanging over my head every time I walk through the lobby:

ads on this site -- too funny

ever notice that the ads on this blog seem to coordinate with the topics being discussed. marvelous technology, that...

one ad that keeps popping up is for something called


gee, I wonder why a site with the name "songbird" keeps popping up!


Becca is thinking of running track this spring.

apparently spring track is a "walk-on" at Becca's school. her best friend is a member of the team.

it means she'd have to go to practice...and I'd have to go to the meets whenever I can.

but she can always use another varsity letter -- she got one letter for her two years of dance team (dance and cheerleading are "stepchildren" of the athletic department, no matter how long you're on the varsity team you earn only one letter). and she could win a scholar-athlete award (dance team wasn't eligible for this award, though most of the dance team girls would have qualified if eligible)

and if she actually joins the team, I would love to go to the spring sports awards and smile at the dance team bitch coach.

Monday, December 1, 2008

well, well, well

genderanalyzer has changed its tune:

We think is written by a woman (76%).

song stuck in my head today

Dancing bears, Painted wings,
Things I almost remember,
And a song someone sings,
Once upon a December
Someone holds me safe and warm,
Horses prance through a silver storm,
Figures dancing gracefully across my memory...
Someone holds me safe and warm,
Horses prance through a silver storm,
Figures dancing gracefully across my memory...
Far away, long ago
Glowing dim as an ember,
Things my heart used to know,
Things it yearns to remember.
And a song someone sings,
Once upon a December

Sunday, November 30, 2008

facebook issue/question

ok, I confess my ignorance, I am not on facebook.

my 16 year old is hysterically crying right now.

she got a text message from a friend..."what happened to your facebook? I click on your name and nothing happens."

I assume the hyperlink is broken.

and she can't log in to her account. right now she's wailing "\acebook is my life" and "it took me 2 years to get my facebook the way I want it."

back when she used MySpace her page was hacked, the administrators were not helpful and she had to recreate her whole page.

is there any hope for her facebook page, or is she starting all over?

Friday, November 28, 2008

I have been tagged by Suzanne

The Rules:1. Link to the person who tagged you Suzanne
2. Post the rules on your blog (this is what you are now reading).
3. List 6 random things about yourself.
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.

Six random things about me:

1. I secretly fantasize about being on Jeopardy!. Honestly, I don't think I'd be a great player, I do like trivia but I'm not very quick on the buzzer. But it's nice to dream.

2. For many years I was a Trekkie, knew all sorts of obscure details about the show, read every cheap Star Trek novel, even went to conventions and bought all sorts of junk. Stood outside, in the cold, for hours waiting to get into the movies to see the first Star Trek movie on opening night.

3. Peter Gallagher once touched my knee. There's a long story behind that remark, but I'm not about to share it - today.

4. I am such a kid when I get to amusement parks I love the rides (well, not the scary ones) and I adore being photographed with characters.

5. One of my biggest regrets is that I did not go to the Simon and Garfunkel concert in Central Park in September 1981. I was recovering from mono at the time and I was told by my doctor that it wasn't a good idea. goody two shoes followed the doctor's advice. Sigh.

6. I have a print of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" hanging over my bed.

tag, you're it:

Christina -- we moms of teen have to stick together

Grandy -- I love, love, love her blog

Janet -- I can relate

Mandy -- for some reason her Kitkat post from 2007 keeps popping up for me, and boy, can I relate!

Amy -- because I stole a meme from her.

Dens -- just because.

watch out, world

Becca is now the proud owner of an official NYS learner's permit.

her birthday was back in July,but this was the first opportunity we had to go to the DMV.

it was almost a disaster. we got to the DMV this morning and Becca presented her birth certificate and passport. but she didn't have her social security card...somehow I misplaced her card (and my own). they wouldn't let her apply for the permit without the card.

you cannot imagine the tears.

so we drove over to social security and filled out the paperwork for replacement cards. we should get the new cards in about a week. but wedid get a print out saying that Becca's number is (her number) and that she applied for a new card.

back at the DMV they were glad to accept the letter in lieu of the card. so she took the written test and the vision test, and had her photo taken. and I paid a fee. she got her temporary permit and should have the picture one in about a week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the 8th Avenue subway revisted

this morning I saw...rats.
this afternoon I
The Garden of Circus Delights/Eric Fischl
lovely mosaic under the city streets.

Here are a few photos. you can find the whole album here
click on the photos to enlarge

add a new role to my "mother" job description

In my 18 years of motherhood I have performed many job functions: cook, housekeeper, chauffeur, tutor, entertainment committee, social secretary, ATM...

but yesterday I added a new one to the list: GPS device.

yesterday jen and a friend drove home (to Long Island) from their college in Rhode Island.

so around 3:30 she sends me a text: "when we get off the Throgs Neck Bridge, we take the Cross Island south, right?"

when i confrimed that, she sent a follow up text: "so how do we get to to the Throgs Neck?"

a little cart-before-the-horse, don't you think?

well, anyhow, she arrived home safe and sound.


At least two of them, possibly more.

Memo to the NYCTA: you need better pest control at the 34th Street Subway Station.


the 34th Street Station has two tracks headed uptown and two headed downtown, separated by a platform for A train riders. E train riders have platforms on either side of the station. so when you're waiting for the E train, you look across the tracks to passengers waiting for the A train looking back at you.

I was standing on the platform waiting for the E train this morning, when what should I happen to spot crawling around on the tracks but....a baby rat. It was it was slender and lithe and almost...cute. It scurried about for a few minutes, then headed uptown.

a few minutes later I spotted its older brother. Not so cute.It, too, scurried about the tracks for a few minutes, then headed downtown. then the A train pulled in on the opposite track, and I lost sight of older brother....and saw him again (or possibly a third member of the family) a few minutes later, when the A train pulled out.

At least this time the rats stayed on the tracks.

a few weeks ago I was standing on the E train platform and saw a rat on the A train platform! He was sitting right under a sign, you know the one -- it has a picture of a rat and a warning about rat poison on the tracks.

And I swear he was grinning.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

don't know why I'm so nervous...

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I am a member of the Board of Trustees of my synagogue. We're the governing body of the synagogue.

At our synagogue, when a child celebrates his/her bar/bat mitzvah, a member of the board of Trustees will present that child with a gift from the Board. The designated trustee makes a short speech about the chuld (based on information supplied by the parents).

I've only been on the board since March, I've never done a bar/bat mitzvah presentaiton.

There are two boys celebrating their b'nai mitzvah on Saturday, and I am the trustee who will make the presentation.

I am soooo nervous.

I'm an attorney, I've had courtroom experience, I've addressed judges and adversaries in front of a room full of poeple. but this is different. these aren't total strangers I'll be talking to, it's members of the congregation.

and the funny thing is, I"m not obsessing over what to say. I wrote out a little speech and sent it to the Rabbi for feedback.

no, I am obsessing over what to wear. the knee length black skirt or the one that hits mid calf? black blouse or white blouse? do I wear the hot pink jacket? how about my hair? I'm growing it out right now and it's a mess, should I pin it up or let it hang down? maybe I should just hide it under a hat.

Give me strength.


saw a very...interesting...foreign film last night. in Hebrew with English subtitles. Beaufort was a Crusader fotress built on a mountain in Lebanon. in 1982 the Israeli forces in Lebanon set up an outpost at the fortress. the Israelis withdrew from Lebanon 18 years later. the film is set in the last few days before the troops were evacuated. it's a powerful statement about the futility of war.

Monday, November 24, 2008

bonding over hot chocolate

this mother-daughter stuff is hard! you'd think after 18 years I'd get the hang of it. you'd be wrong.

had a knock-down drag-out with Becca this weekend. no need to go into the details, all you need to know is that she's 16, i.e., she's supposed to fight with her mother.

well, the fight was over Saturday. sunday morning she went out to breakfast with the boyfriend. I picked her up at his house afterwards and drove her to her best friend's house so that the two girls could work on their English project.

but before we went to the girl's house, she said we had to go to Starbucks for some peppermint hot chocolate. she and I are the only two people in our house who like peppermint hot chocolate. I guess that was her way of reaffirming her bond with me.

FYI I love the comic strip Zits. they really have teenagers pegged. (if you can't see the whole strip, click on it to enlarge)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Do you have a favorite item of jewelry?

these are mine:

I just love these earrings. they're long and dangling and they even touch my shoulders when I wear them. I wear a lot of black, so these earrings go with many of my outfits.

but more important is that these earrings bring back a pleasant memory.

I bought them in "Morocco", or rather, the Morocco pavillion at EPCOT. ( Wouldn't you know we're riding on the Marrakesh Express, Wouldn't you know we're riding on the Marrakesh Express,They're taking me to Marrakesh, All aboard the train, all aboard the train )

we'd stopped at the Tangierine Cafe for schwarma and other Middle Eastern delights. not that I need to go to Disneyworld for good hummus, I get plenty of that right here in NYC,but the food at Tangierine was top notch. and the whole atmosphere of "Morocco" was wonderful - evocative of the Tales of Arabian Nights (Arabian nights, Like Arabian days, More often than not Are hotter than hot, In a lot of good ways) -- in fact, I did see Jasmine and Aladdin and the Genie posing for pictures. And I half-expected to see Sidney Greenstreet in a fez strolling through the plaza on his way to Rick's (You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh...) Or Bob, Bing, Dorothy and a camel (We're off on the road to Morocco...Like Webster's Dictionary we're Morocco bound)

and after we ate I browsed the shops -- full of merchandise imported from Morocco, made me want to visit the actual country. Exotic clothes, jewelry, tea sets, carpets, baskets, wind chimes, glass lanterns...

I was wearing this:

that is a hamsa (that's Hebrew, pronounced with the same gutteral sound as "chutzpah" and "Chanukah"), a symbolic representation of the Hand of G-d. Mine was crafted in Jerusalem. When the sales person at the register saw my necklace, we had a very interesting discussion about Jews and Arabs and symbolism (the Arabs also use this symbol, they call it the Hand of Fatima or the Eye of Fatima), and about the Jewish community in Morocco. A Moroccan man and an American Jewish woman found common ground that afternoon. Perhaps the rest of the world can follow suit.

another one-word meme, this one stolen from Amy

How You Live: one word. Meme via Amy

1. What wakes you: alarm clock
2. Your initial look in the mirror reveals: bleary-eyed
3. You usually first put on: make-up
4. Your closet: stuffed
5. Your mood before 11am: hectic
6. The first thing you look at online after email: blog
7. Something you tend to snack on: anything
8. What you see out your front door: trees
9. Your takeout menus: scattered
10. Number of boxes of tissue out in your home right now: two
11. The way you sneeze would read: 'choo
12. Number of times a day you probably brush your hair: 4
13. The most predominant thing in your pantry: pasta
14. A smell commonly coming from your kitchen: garlic
15. How you sort your books: random
16. The way you keep your place in a book: dog-ear
17. Something you hide when people come over: clutter
18. Number of people normally at your table during dinner: three
19. Something you put on your nightstand before bed: water
20. How high you pull the covers when you go to sleep: neck

sleepy Lester in Penn Station

road runner, the coyote's after you

for some reason I can't seem to get that tune out of my head today. don't know why.


I got it from Suzanne, who got it from Amy. The genderanalyzer, that is.

it said:

We think is written by a man (61%).

too funny!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

why is it...

that something you thought was absolutely horrible when it happened turns out to be for the best?

Jen spent four fabulous years on the high school cheer team. she wasn't always happy -- she didn't move up from JV to varisty as quickly as she would have liked, she didn't get a spot on the competition team until her junior year, and she was not named captain even though she felt she'd be a good leader for the team. but overall, cheer was a positive experience for her, she learned to work hard to move up, and the coaches encouraged sportsmanship, teamwork and a positive outlook -- and would not put up with drama queens.

Becca, on the other hand, thought the dance team was where she wanted to be. dance team is one small squad, not divided into JV or varsity. very different atmosphere, the coach is all about "winning". I couldn't believe some of the sentiments I heard come out of my own child's mouth --- 2nd place was considered "losing". girls who would "sit out" at practice, not show up for fundraisers, etc., got a "free pass" if they could dance well, and girls who put in the effort but weren't as technically proficient were not rewarded for their efforts. Becca was constantly stressed about the practices and comeptitions, sometimes because of the drama, sometimes because she was afraid of making a msitake, sometimes because the hours interfered with study.

freshman year, the moms were all "grounded" and treid to disspate some of the BS. sophomore year, a lot of the moms of the new members bought into the hype, and were just as bad as -- or maybe worse than -- their daughters.

Becca got cut from the team in the spring, and she was devastated.

the coach did her a favor.

she's a lot less stressed this year. she has more time for study, and she's pursing other interests...she's president of the Spanish club, something she wouldn't have odne if she had that huge time commitment to dance.

sigh...I miss watching her perform, but overall...

one week until my favorite holiday

Can't wait for the turkey, the gravy, the mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the cranberry sauce....but especially the stuffing. There never seems to be a lot of stuffing left over, and that's what I truly want the most of....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

watch the parade next Thursday, especially the Hess float

Long Island's own Push Play will be riding the Hess float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

Now, why is songbird, 48 year old full-time attorney and part-time blogger, interested in a band that can only be described as "teen wonders"?

because not only is songbird the mother of two darling teenage daughters, songbird has actually met the young man who is the lead singer of this band.

CJ went to day camp with my older daughter Jen, back when they were in 4th or 5th grade, and the two became friends. they are still friends today, at the ripe old age of 18, though not as close as they were when they were kids. When Jen takes her girlfriends to a Push Play show, she's a bit of a celebrity herself because she knows CJ.

that young man's career is about to take off, and Jen will be able to say "she knew him when..."

He came back!

Pizza for Lunch!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

scenes from the city

that slice of pizza...that's my lunch walking away....

here's a guy playing harmoinica in Penn Station -- the call him "sleepy Lester"

Monday, November 17, 2008

another meme from grandy

one word answers only:

Where is your cell phone? pocketbook
Where is your significant other? MIA
Your hair color? blonde
Your mother? expressway
Your father? expressway
Your favorite thing? music
Your dream last night? None
Your dream/goal? Health
The room you’re in? office
Your hobby? reading
Your fear? multiple
Where do you want to be in 6 years? alive
Where were you last night? home
What you’re not? cool
One of your wish-list items? car
Where you grew up? here
The last thing you did? commuted
What are you wearing? red
Your TV? home
Your pet? felines
Your computer? Lifeline
Your mood? Tired
Missing someone? Always
Your car? ancient
Something you’re not wearing? ring
Favorite store? Book
Your summer? work
Love someone? always
Your favorite color? Purple
When is the last time you laughed? Today
Last time you cried? yesterday

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nelson DeMille's "the GateHouse"

it's his latest book, a sequel to "The Gold Coast".

I've read every novel he's written under his real name (he wrote a few under a pen name but they're out of print).

My favorites are the stories set in NYC and Long island, with sarcastic leading men and lots of local color. for some reason those stories ring true for me.

I've never seen the Naked Cowboy....

There he is, in all his glory, parading around Times Square.

In all the years I've lived/worked/played in NYC, I've never seen him. A group of my friends ran into him once, I was supposed to be with them but had to cancel out. So I've never seen him.

I've seen lots of "living statues", you know, people dressed like the Statue of Liberty -- or something similar -- who perform on the street. One time I ran into "Spongebob Squarepants" outside the Toys R Us on 44th Street. And several years ago I saw a group of roller skaters dressed up as butterflies to promots MSN,

But the Naked Cowboy...never.

Friday, November 14, 2008

a little excitement on a Friday afternoon

My office is on the 20th floor of a 40-story building.

there was an "incident" on the 33rd floor about 20 minutes ago. the fire alarm went off, and the building fire warden told everyone on 32, 33 and 34 to evacuate their floors and walk down to the lobby. the rest of us were directed to stay where we are.

it's a little scary hearing the alarms over your head, and the entire local fire department driving up to your building.

got the all clear about 10 minutes after the first alarm went off.

but people do take these things quite seriously these days.

after all, we're in jersey city. all we have to do is look out our window at the Manhattan skyline to realize why we need to take the alarm seriously.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

business "trip"

So today I got to suit up at head over to corporate headquarters for an all-day training class in negotiation skills and techniques. You'd think, after 20+years in this business, i may have already developed a few negotiation techniques...but whatever, I don't mind spending a day in the Wall Street office. And if you want to give me CE credit for my various and sundry adjusters' licenses, that's fine with me -- extra fine if you also include some CLE for my law license.

so we did a little role playing in order to perfect our techniques and I was cast in the role of irate claimant with a twisted ankle who desperately wants a monetary settlement with the insurance company.

and afterwards, the guy who played the insurance adjuster told me I was terrific in the part of the claimant. and I explained: method acting.

back in 1995, I was on a business trip to Philly, I was there to attend mediation sessions and to settle cases I was working on. Since I would be there for several days, the company booked a room for me at a lovely hotel downtown, not too far from the Liberty Bell. the hotel is built on a hill, and the lobby is slightly below street level. when you come in from the sidewalk there's a single step down. the gift shop is at street level, with one entrance from the sidewalk and a second entrance from the lobby, with a single step up to the store.

well, I must have stepped up when I entered the store, but after I purchased souvenirs for the kidlets I was distracted, and completely forgot about the step when I went back down to the lobby.

and got up close and personal with the white marble floor.

my first thought: what on earth just happened?

my second thought: I hope no one saw me make a fool of myself.

I kept telling them I was fine as they helped me to the chair. it wasn't until my right foot hit the bucket of ice that I realized I'd killed my ankle.

so the manager came over to fill out the accident report. and I noticed, for the first time, that there was a door separating the gift shop from the lobby. there was a sign on the door that said "please watch your step." the sign could not be seen because the door was propped open. I said to the manager, "the door is open, I didn't see the sign."

and he told the salesperson in the store to CLOSE THE DOOR!!!!

and then I said "I feel so embarrassed, I can't believe I did this."

and he said "don't worry, ma'am, several other people have done the very same thing."

that's when I felt the gears shift from "humiliated" to "I am about to earn my law school tuition."

never, never, NEVER tell a lawyer tha you had prior notice of a dangerous and defective condition at your premises.

I limped all over Philly for two days, did my job, and got back on the Amtrak to come back to NY. didn't go home, went to my chiropractor instead, because all that limping did a number on my herniated disc. Joe took one look at my purple foot and then we walked (or rather, he walked and I limped) aoross the hall to his colleague the podiatrist. the podiatrist put my foot in a soft cast for two weeks. and I had to wear an ace bandage for two months.

I hd a friend in Philly, a lawyer who had been a podiatrist before he came over to the dark side. I asked his advice.

and I used the settlement to take my kidlets to Disneyworld.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

chapped lips -- ugh!

I think I am single-handedly keeping the chapstick company in business today....I have so much chapstick on it's a wonder my lips don't slide right off my face...but even with a ton of petrolatum on my lips they still feel rough and winter misery is just beginning.

how many days until spring?

tagged again

grandy had once again tagged everyone.

this time we must all tell 7 things about ourselves in high school.

so here goes:

1. When you say "high school" I say "which one?" because our district had two high schools, and I attended both. In those days, high school was grades 10-12 (9th graders were in junior high). In all the years I'd lived in our town, the school district had only one high school, and when you said "the high school" everyone knew what you meant. but when I was in 9th grade, the district built a second building, about a mile away from the high school, and told us that "the high school" would now be called "High School east" and the new building would be called "High School West." 1oth graders would attend West and upperclassmen would attend East. Wehn I started at West, we were stumbling over construction crews on our way to class. (I still live in the same town, and now both high schools are full, 4- year schools).

2. Senior year, my locker was behind the west gym. theat was a real no-man's-land. teachers were terrified of that hallway and avoided it like the plague. back then kids were allowed to smoke [cigarettes] on school grounds, but not inside the building, but in the cold weather the kids would cluster around the doorways in no-man's-land. every time I went to my locker I could either hold my breath or get a contact high.

3. I was too geeky to even think about playing sports. I joined the drama club, the school newspaper, the creative writing club, Spanish club and some service organization called Helping Hands. My best time in drama club was in 10th grade, playing Aunt Eller in "Oklahoma!". Didn't have another speaking part until I did that Woody Allen play in college, when I played a Jewish American Princess (talk about type casting!). It's hard to play a lead in the spring musical when you can't really sing.

4. I still have the button from I bought at Homecoming during my senior year. It's red and white, has the school mascot (a thunderbird) and says "class of '78". that was the only football game I went to in 3 years of high school. the only reasn I went was because I was part of the senior class Homecoming presentation.

5. senior year, I drove my mom's 72 buick electra to school. the only thing mom asked in exchange was that I also drive my younger sister to school -- but she went to the other high school. by the time I'd get to my school, there'd be no place to park and I'd wind up parking at the public library across the street.

6. I took a class in computer science. the computer took up an entire room, and we talked to it on terminals using a language called "basic". and the comouter would respond by typing its answer on rolls of paper. little did I realize back then what computers would be able to do now!

7. I met my first real boyfriend while I was in high school. Scott was a college man with a car of his own, and we dated all throughout my senior year. Except for that brief rah-rah thing at Homecoming, I thought I was "too cool" for high school and couldn't wait to get to college. didnt' even go to the prom. Scott took me to the mvoies instead.

I'm kind of clos to my high shcool memories because I still live in the same town. My older daughter Jen just graduated from High School west and my younger daughter Becca is a student there. Becca took my old high school yearbooks to school one day last year to share with her sociology teacher. He couldn't believe that some of the teachers in my old yearbooks were still teaching in the school!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

He held a brick in his hand, dropped it into the trash can...and

and the breaking glass shattered the silence.

so began our synagogue's commemoration of Kristallnacht.

70 years ago ont his night, the Nazis turned from discrimination to violence. synagogues burned, Jewish businesses were destroyed, Jewish citizens were assaulted and arrested and deported to camps.

We stood at sunset, with Yartzeit lamps flickering in the wind.

we read recollections of that horrible night.

we heard from a survivor.

we sang sonds of peace and hope.

we heard from our invited guest, a minister from a neighboring church

we talked abou the signs of hatred and bigorty still exitant in our community. the grafitti on the walls of our synagogue. on the walls of a church, on the walls of a school. the cross burned on a lawn in New Jersey.

and we vowed:

Never again.

Friday, November 7, 2008

teenage girls

won't go into details, but may I just bang my head against the wall for a few minutes?

there, i feel a bit better.

now, if my blood pressure would only drop a few points....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

kidlet coming home tonight

and I wish I could say I was happy about it. but she's coming home because tomorrow night she has to go to a wake, her good friend's mother died last thursday.

still, my baby will be home tonorrow, on her birthday. her 18th birthday.

can you believe she's actually going to be 18? where has the time gone?

she was born on a Wednesday, the day after Election Day. my due date was 11/8, and my last day of work had been on Friday the 3rd. I thought "first babies are always late" and that I'd ahve a few days home alone to get ready for this incredible new role in my life. famous last words.

tuesday night, I made a steak dinner, and Drew and I settled onto the couch to watch a Madonna concert on HBO. at first I was not sure I was feeling real labor pains, but eventually the truth dawned on me. we dropped off the keys at my Aunt eileen's (she lived 4 blocks from us, and we wanted her to take care of the cat and dog), and we headed for the hospital.

I had an easy labor and delivery. at first the hospital wouldn't admit me, I wasn't far enough along in my labor, so we walked around the hospital lobby. and walked. and walked. at 1:00 AM I made them admit me, even though they thought I wasn't progressing...there was no labor room, so they set me up in the recovery room...after the epidural took effect I actually fell asleep.

around 5:30 they moved me to a labor room.

around 6-ish Dr. Seidman told Drew we'd be there awhile, and that he could go grab some breakfast. at 6 there wwas only cold food, he waited until the cook arrived at 6:30 so he could get hot food --- and nearly missed his daughter being born.

I think they brought me to the delivery room around 7.

and at 7:32, my Jennifer was born. 6 pounds 6 ounces, 19 inches long, and absolutely perfect.

and she still is.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Day...history in the making

this is the button I have:

this is the one I wish I'd gotten:

tomorrow night I will watch the should be an interesting night!!!

bittersweet weekend

So it was Parents’ Weekend at URI….Lord knows why they chose to have parents’ weekend on Halloween, but who am I do question why? So the kidlet says she’s “going to a Halloween party Friday night, came you please come up Saturday morning?”

So the ex shows up at 7 AM Saturday. Drew and I have a pretty good relationship these days…we’re remembering what we liked each other before we hated each other – after 14 years of battling it out, the war is finally over. It’s just the two of us, Becca has opted to stay home. We load up with van with such staples as Arizona iced tea and Orville Reddenbacher, as well as Jen’s winter coat and a few things she left home the last time she was here. Drew was all set to just hop onto the expressway after that, but I can’t function without my carbs and caffeine, so we made a brief stop at the local bagel place.

Got up to Kingston around 10:30-ish, and on the drive from I-95 to the school we saw lots of farm country – including real live cows and sheep!

Got to the school and (will wonders ever cease?) actually found a place to park at Jen’s dorm. Called her – she was barely awake – then headed up to her dorm room. Now, the vision I had in my head…Jen and her two room mates moved into the dorm Labor Day weekend, the parents helped the kids move into that room. Three girls in a dorm room meant for two girls, a tight fit. The room looked gorgeous.

It won’t look gorgeous again until the day they all move out.

I won’t go so far as to say it was a disaster, but that room will never grace the pages of House Beautiful.

And the kidlet is sitting there, bleary-eyed, in pajama pants and a sweatshirt. Don’t you know how late those frat parties go?

So we took a walk over to the student union and let the kidlet pull herself together.

Then we headed over to the stadium to watch the slaughter….uh, football game. URI vs. U Mass. URI’s colors are blue and white, and the mascot is Rhody the Ram. Jen says he “scares her” – and in truth the Ram costume is a bit creepy. U Mass -- the “Minutemen” -- their colors are maroon and white, and their mascot wears Colonial garb and a tricorn hat. Jen says she “cries a little” each time she sees the URI cheerleaders, but the truth is I think she’s gotten over not making the team.

Jen points out three guys in Colonial costumes standing next to a cannon. At first I think they’re part of the U Mass entourage, but she says no, they’re part of the URI crew, they shoot off the cannon every time the Rams score a touchdown. Drew is a Social Studies teach and an American History buff, and he collects model cannons, so he’s anxious for the Rams to score.

And sadly disappointed. When we left in the 3rd quarter, the score was something like 45-0 …I found out later that the final score was 49-0. No cannon fire that day! Jen says the team “sucks…but we beat Brown, because they suck even more than we do.”

But we did get a chance to sit in the sun for a couple of hours (it was so warm we didn’t need jackets), we ate lunch in the stands (I had sausage and peppers and Drew had a burger, and Jen ate popcorn and potato chips.), and Jen’s friend Mike C. told her that the basketball team is phenomenal and she’ll love going to the basketball games.

So we left the game early and walked Jen back to the dorm, and then Drew asked Jen to give him a tour of the campus, since he didn’t come with us when she and I came up to school for orientation, and he didn’t get much of a tour when we moved her into the dorm. I didn’t feel like doing the walking tour – it was hard enough to walk up the hill from the football field to the dorm – so I decided to stay behind and sit in Drew’s car. They were gone about 30 seconds, and came back because Jen realized some idiot at the game spilled ketchup on her jeans and boots. The tour resumed after she changed her clothes.

So Drew and I drove up to Coventry (about 20-30 minutes north of the campus, straight up I-95) to check into our hotel. What can I say about the Hamptons Inn? The Grand Floridian it is NOT. But for $245, we got two clean, comfortable rooms, and what more can you ask for? My room came equipped with two queen beds, a desk and chair, internet access (too bad I didn’t have the laptop with me), a refrigerator, a coffeemaker (brews one cup at a time) and a hairdryer, and a lovely view of Cracker Barrel and Applebees. Drew’s room was identical to mine, except for some reason he had a microwave in his room, but his view was of an old warehouse. The hotel has a fitness center, an indoor pool and a business center, but we didn’t use any of the amenities.

Took a short nap, and then it was time to get back in the car and go back to the campus to get Jen and head out to dinner. And with all the fine restaurants in South County, she picks…Applebees. Not the one in Coventry, thank goodness, there’s one in Kingston, about 5 miles from the school. We weren’t alone, the waitress told us that the place had been mobbed all afternoon with URI students and their families. Whatever. She had the chicken fingers, and Drew and I each had a steak.

The basketball arena at URI is called “the Ryan Center”, and it plays host to a variety of entertainment. The headliner on Saturday was none other than….Jay Leno. I love Jay. I watch “the tonight Show” almost every night. He did 125 minutes of monologue …and I actually heard Jen laughing at his jokes, I didn’t know if she’d really like him.

We were all kind of tired after the show, so we took Jen back to her dorm, then Drew and I went back to the hotel. Got there in time to watch the evening news and then see McCain acting in an SNL skit with Tina Fey (I love Tina Fey, I think she’s brilliant).

Sunday morning. Daylight Savings time ended, so we got an extra hour of sleep. I got up around 7:30 – it felt like 8:30 – and went down to the lobby to get coffee and a muffin. There wasn’t much on the free breakfast bar – the breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express in Warwick is better – but we planned to go out to brunch, so it didn’t really matter much.
Picked up Jen around 11-ish. A woman at the information booth in the student union gave me the name of a local restaurant for brunch, Phil's Restaurant in Wakefield (they have a second location in Narragansett). (Jen loves to say the word “Narragansett”).However, she gave me very bad directions, and I had to use the GPS in my phone to find the place. The place is quaint and old-fashioned, and very crowded – for good reason. It was after noon by the time we were seated, so Jen opted for a grilled cheese sandwich and fries, while Drew and I each ordered pancakes. Yummy!

After brunch she said she needed a few things in CVS…I asked if there was anywhere else she wanted to shop, and she said no. So we took her back to the dorm and said goodbye.

I don’t know if it was easier, or more difficult, to leave her this time. When we left her in September, I cried, because my baby was leaving home – little did I realize how often she’d be back to visit.

This time…well, she’s grown up so much in just a few short months. She’s built a life for herself at school, she’s involved with classes, friends, volunteer work. We talked about her classes, her program for next semester, her plans for the summer. We talked about roommates and boyfriends and frat parties and the crazy things people do. We talked, quite literally, about life and death. In one breath she can move from calm, rational adult to crazy, “dumb college kid”. and watching the transformation brings up a whole host of fears, and the realization that she’ll be 18 in a few short days and must now stand on her own, as an adult, in so many ways.

So the weekend was bittersweet, with “Sunrise, Sunset” lyrics running through my head…and someone else’s tragedy superimposed on the experience. Jen has a friend from high school, a girl named Kim, whose mother died of a heart attack Thursday night. So Jen spent a good deal of time on Saturday talking and texting with Crystal and Mike C. and several other friends of Kim, to get the details of the wake and funeral. The wake is Friday night, the funeral is (I think) on Saturday. Which poses a major dilemma for Jen – her 18th birthday is Friday, she had big plans to celebrate at school, she even arranged for her boyfriend to come up for a visit. She didn’t want to change those plans, but she wanted so much to come home and “be there” for Kim. Mike C. is probably driving home Thursday night, and I suspect Jen will come home with him, and do her birthday celebrating after the wake. Sigh….

Friday, October 31, 2008

I am a terrible mother

I am a terrible mother, i just failed a very important test.

Jen was in her early childhood education class this afternoon, and they had a discussion involving parents' memories. Jen sent me a text message. she asked me "how long was I and what did I weigh when I was born?" I replied "19 inches, 6 pounds 8 ounces."she told me "no, it was 6 pounds 6 ounces."

when Jen was born, my aunt made a needlepoint for her, a cute teddy bear that hangs over her bed at home. on the needlepoint my aunt embroidered her height and weight the day she was born. Jen sent a text to my sister and asked her to go look at the needlepoint.

Jen was right. I was WRONG.


Halloween quiz

1. They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re altogether hooky. Who are they?
2. In which horror movie series does “the Jigsaw Killer” set elaborate traps for his victims?
3. The premise of this current Disney channel show features three siblings with magical powers involved in a competition to determine which one of them will keep his/her powers as an adult. Name the series. .

4. In Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost, the main characters of this popular children’s series destroy a wax statute of Squidward, and, believing they have killed him, mistake the real Squidward for a ghost. Name the series.

5. Spooky Island, a monster-based theme park, is the setting for which of these movies: (a) Scooby Doo; (b) Monsters Inc., (c) Beetlejuice; (d) The Mummy.
6. According to legend, tattoos, hairy palms, a unibrow and a long middle finger are all signs of what?
7. In Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, which famous House of Wax star does the voice over at the end of the song?

8. The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade was first presented in what year?

9. Which horror movie parody features a dance called “The Time Warp”?
10. This Stephen King novel is set in The Overlook, an isolated resort in Colorado, where the Jack Torrence, his wife and son are spending the winter as caretakers. Name the novel.
11. John Travolta had a role in which of these movies? (a) Scream; (b) I Know What You Did Last Summer; (c) Carrie; (d) The Blair Witch Project.
12. According to the song lyric, when there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you are going to call?

13. Bodies that are wrapped in cloth and stored in tombs are known as what?

14. The first jack-o’lanterns were made of what?

15. In It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Linus spends the whole night in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin. Who or what shows up instead?

16. “You start to play it and it's like somebody's nightmare. And then this woman comes on, smiling at you, right? Seeing you... through the screen. Then when it's over, your phone rings, someone knows you watched the tape... and what they say is, ‘You will die in seven days’". Name the movie.

17. This movie, starring Eddie Murphy, is based on a Disneyworld ride. The Haunted Mansion
18. Rick Moranis starred in the movie musical Little Shop of Horrors, but Steve Martin had a cameo role who sings about his job. What was his profession?
19. According to the song, in what city would you expect to see a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand?
20. Jack Skellington is a character in which movie (a) Corpse Bride (b) Nightmare on Elm Street (c) Nightmare Before Christmas (d) the Mask.
21. Transylvania is known as the home of Dracula and other vampires. It’s a region in which country?
22. Sabrina the Teenaged Witch is a spin off from which comic book series?
23. Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker star as witches in what movie?
24. This cartoon character is referred to as “the friendly ghost”. Caspar
25. Who are Prue, Piper and Phoebe?
26. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, what happens to Mrs. Norris on Halloween night?
27. Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, and Dianne Wiest starred in this movie about two witches who kill an abusive boyfriend and then try to bring him back to life. Name the movie.
28. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what food do you use to repel vampires?
29. Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell starred in this 2005 movie version of a 1960’s television show.
30. This classic1974 Mel Brooks parody of horror films, starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman and Teri Garr, is the basis for which Broadway musical?

Tiebreaker: In the classic short story “the Tell-Tale heart”, a murderer is haunted by the sound of his victim’s beating heart. Who wrote the story?

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