life in and around NYC is insane

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….

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