life in and around NYC is insane

Thursday, April 30, 2009

baby bunny is free at last

so this morning I found Mr. Kitty and Miss Daisy circling around the pet taxi as if they were hunting their next meal.

so I decided that someone has to be the grown up.

I took baby bunny out to the woods.

I am going to get hell when I get home tonight.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

killer, part II: it's a wild animal, set it free!

so Miss Daisy brought us a little present saturday night, I wrote about it here. it's not unusual for the felines to bring us presents, we live next to an 18 acre nature preserve, Lord knows what you can find in the woods.

as I said, we were able to rescue the baby bunny.

what I neglected to mention was ...what happened to the critter.

Daisy brought the poor thing into the house.

when it escaped, it hid in the laundry sisters looked all over that laundry room but couldn't find the critter.

until yesterday, Tuesday. both cats -- Mr. Kitty as well as Daisy -- developed a fascination for the area immediately under a chest of drawers that's been sitting in the laundry room since the dawn of time.

guess who was under the chest of drawers?

upon being discovered, the bunny made a beeline into the kitchen, and hid behind the refrigerator.

have you ever seen the dust and dirt that can accumulate behind a refrigerator? GROSS.

anyhow, late last night my sister was finaly able to get the bunny into a pet taxi.

when I came downstairs this morning, the pet taxi -- with its furry occupant -- was in the living room.

and so were two cats. gee, i wonder why?

herein lies the problem.

my sisters have grown quite fond of baby bunny. they fed the critter, several times, and have kept it in the pet taxi. the excuse proffered is that "if we release this bunny back into the wild, Daisy or Mr. Kitty will chase it again, maybe kill it this time."

for crying out loud...

it's a wild animal, it doesn't belong in our living room.

for crying out loud, walk through the back yard to the fence, and release baby bunny into the woods. simple, really.

my newest venture

I am now posting at All Voices:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lady Bountiful?

so last night as I was coming home I got a text message from Becca.

Could I please go to subweay and buy lunch for her for school today?

On sunday I spent $$$ at the deli counter in our local supermarket to make sure she'd be able to make herself a sandwich, so the request for Subway was...unexpected.

it seems one of her friends...his parents went to Europe to visit his older sister, who is studying abroad this year...they left him home alone (he's a high school junior and very responsible)...they're due back tonight or tomorrow morning...and he "didn't have anything to bring to school for lunch."

now, I know that my daughter's definition of "there's not food in the house" means she's looked at the bounty in the refrigerator, the freezer and the pantry but nothing appeals to her and she'd rather have take-out.

I also know that the school lunch lady will let you buy lunch on credit if you don't have the $2 in your pocket that day.

so I knew the kid wouldn't starve.

and I could have told her to make two sandwiches.

I bought two sandwiches and two bags of chips.

songbird salutes the 70's

anybody remember these guys?

or this toy?

did you have one of these?

or this?

and, of course, this iconic symbol was everywhere -- on t-shirts, rubber balls, pins, you name it:

Monday, April 27, 2009

never mind the planes buzzing the building....

as always, click to enlarge

now this a much better ship off lower Manhattan

they scared everyone on both sides of the Hudson half to death -- for a photo op?

first a little geography.

I work in Jersey City, NJ, in an office building right on the Hudson River. Due east from us, across the river, is lower Manhattan, more specifically, the World trade Center. from our 30th floor windows, if we look due south, we can see ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. If we look north, we see the Manhattan skyline to the east, including the Chrysler building and the Empire State building. on a clear day we can see all the way to the George Washington Bridge at the northern tip of Manhattan. when Captain sully landed his plane in the Hudson, we were able to watch the rescue from our office windows.

so you think someone might have realized that people in this neighborhood might be a wee low-flying planes?

ya think?

so you can well imagine the panic this morning....

here, I'll let the media tell what happened:,0,1126948.story
Low-flying Air Force One photo-op panics NYers

12:49 PM EDT, April 27, 2009

A Boeing 747 used by the president was escorted over lower Manhattan by two Air Force fighter jets Monday as part of a government photo opportunity, causing a brief panic among office workers near ground zero.

Workers from several office buildings poured out onto the streets before they learned that the flights were innocuous.

John Leitner, a floor trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange Building, said about 1,000 people "went into a total panic" and ran out of the building around 10 a.m. after seeing the planes whiz by their building, near the World Trade Center site.

"Apparently, nobody in the building was informed that this was going to happen," he said. "Everyone panicked, as you can certainly understand."

He said the workers gathered along the Hudson River esplanade until a security officer with a bullhorn told them it was a planned exercise.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the government was conducting a photo op involving two Air Force F-16 jets and the larger airplane, a Defense Department version of the 747 that is called Air Force One when the president is aboard. It said it notified city law enforcement about the mission.

The NYPD said the flight "was authorized by the FAA for the vicinity of the Statue of Liberty, with directives to local authorities not to disclose information about it, but to direct all inquiries to the FAA."

Among the workers who left their buildings were some at The Wall Street Journal.

Kathleen Seagriff, a staff assistant in the news rooms, said workers heard the roar of the planes and then saw them from their windows.

"They went down the Hudson, turned around and came back by the building," she said. "It was a scary scene, especially for those of us who were there on 9/11."

Some staffers, who thought they made out an American flag on one of the planes, stayed behind. But she said most didn't want to take the chance.

Copyright © 2009, Newsday Inc.

Our building security people were right on top of things, we didn't leave because they found out ASAP that it was just a "military exercise" and kept us from panic as we watched all the other office buildings in the neighborhood evacuate...

just another reason why life in and around NYC is insane.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

is this the face of a killer?


Miss Daisy brought home a "present" last night...a baby bunny.

Forntunately we were able to rescue the critter.

Friday, April 24, 2009

today's lunch spot

click to enlarge -- that 's the Empire State building across the river.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

National Honor Society Induction

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New York World's Fair 1964-1965

the Fair opened April 22, 1964. 45 years ago today.

I was 4 years old when the Fair opened. I remember going twice, once in 1964 and a second time in 1965. somewhere in my mom's closet there's a box of slides showing the whole family at various places around the Fair. I don't think we have any snapshots, and we haven't looked at the slides in years.

I remember the Unisphere:

Sinclair Oil's Dinoland:

and, of course, Disney's "It's a Small World":

I had a "45" with the "Small World" song, which I played on my portable record player until the vinyl wore out, and I had a book that showed how the dolls were made for the ride -- very innovative technology in 1964.

After the Fair was over...well, the Disney exhibits all made their way to disneyland, of course. My ex and I had to see "Small World" and "Carousel of Progress" on our Disneyworld honeymoon in 1987. Dinoland made a reappearance at Roosevelt Field shopping Center (before it was a mall) in 1966, I think -- I remember visiting the dinosaurs there. and there are remnants of the fair still found in Flushing Meadow Park -- the Unisphere, of course, the New York Hall of science,

the Queens Museum, which houses a World's Fair exhibit (my ex and I went to see the Exhibit years ago, it covered both the 1939-1940 and 1964-1965 Fairs)

and the New York State Pavillion:

"Men in black" fans will remember these towers, part of the Pavillion:

Do you see those funky streetlights at the bottom of the photo? I'm not sure where they wound up, but for many years after the Fair closed, a bunch of thse streetlights were in a parking lot right off the Long Island Expressway, we used to see them whenever my parents took us into Queens to visit my grandma.

my ex...well, he's two years older than I am, and his parents took him to the Fair many, many times, so he can tell you all about exhibits at the Fair that I have long since forgotten, about souvenirs, and food, and all the things that went into the Fair.

my memories are not nearly as complete.

but the Fair made a huge impression on me. it's a memory I will cherish always.

Monday, April 20, 2009

warning, warning, Will Robinson

it's called KNIFE for a reason.

says the woman who sliced open her thumb this morning.

good thing I'm not squeamish about blood.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

songbird salutes the 70's

Billy Joel's breakthrough album, released in 1977.

I was 17 years old. I bought this album and must have played it a thousand times.

The Stranger...Scenes From an Italian Restaurant....Movin' Out....


and that was the year I had a teacher who actually knew Billy Joel.

Seems my teacher was a graduate of Hicksville High School, attended that school at the same time as Billy was enrolled there. Barely knew him, though --- he would cut school to hang out in Oyster Bay or Cold Spring Harbor.

I was very impressed, of course.

though this was before I met my now-ex husband. he and his older sister also "knew" Billy -- they used to hang out in some candy shop in Hicksville back in the day...and billy would hang out there sometimes, too.

I suppose every Long Islander of a certain age has a Billy Joel story like this.

anyhow, Billy Joel became one of my favorites back then, and I am still a fan to this day.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

prom season!

Miss Rebecca Alexis has advised me that she is invited to not one, but two proms this spring.

Our school district has done away with "junior prom". They have a semi formal "junior outing" instead, a casual dinner-dance on a party boat that cruises the Great South Bay. the kids don't "pair up" for the outing like they'd do at prom, there are no limos, no formal "after prom" parties.

but that doesn't mean parents of juniors can avoid prom. Especially parents of junior girls. Becca has been invited to junior prom at another school -- a boy she met while working at camp last summer -- and she's been invited to one of the senior proms in our district (we've got 2 high schools, and they both hold prom on the Friday night before graduation).

so we're getting swept up in the dress-hair-makeup scene. and the "mom, I need 2 dresses, I can't wear the same dress to both proms because everyone posts their prom pictures on facebook. but don't worry, mom, there's a Betsey Johnson OUTLET at the new Tanger...."

sigh. Jen bought a dres for the prom she attended in her junior year, wore that dress to Becca's sweet 16. but the dress she bought for her own sennior prom...well, it's never been worn again.

here's Jen in the junior-year prom dress:

and here she is dressed for her own prom:

yes, pink is her favorite color, how on earth did you ever guess?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

testing...does my mobile device work?

tax day

ut's the middle of the night -- actually 1:30 in the morning -- and Ms. Procrastinator finally finished her tax returns. at least I get to mail them at lunchtime, not at 11:59 PM.

though I suspect I will be making a run to the post office late in the evening -- my parents are still working on their returns.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I know I'm being bitchy, but I feel vindicated

Becca has long since gotten over being cut from the dance team, but I haven't.

Not after what the coach told me. after she cut my daughter, coach told me she was "raising the bar" because she wanted to do more national comeptitions, and what was "good enough" in the past was not going to work anymore.

I took it very personally.

I followed the team this year. It's not hard to do, the various organizations that run the competitions post their schedules and results on line.

two years ago, the team won the Long Island championships in jazz and hip hop (they don't do kick or pom). they did 2 national competitions, in florida and in Myrtle Beach, with mediocre results. they didn't place at all in florida, and they got 3rd place awards in jazz and hip hop in Mryrtle Beach, and nothing for modern or lyrical.

last year they couldn't compete in the Long island championships because it was held on the same day as one of the national events. they did 3 different nationals. once again they came away empty-handed in florida, but won championships in NYC and Myrtle Beach, placing in every category and taking 1st in several categories.

this year -- nothing in florida. in NYC they had a 3rd place in lyrical and a 3rd place in modern, nothing in jazz or hip hop, not great but not pathetic either. in Myrtle Beach...nothing in jazz or hip hop, a 2nd place in lyrical (there were only 2 teams in the category)and a 1st in modern -- BUT THEY WERE THE ONLY TEAM IN THE CATEGORY. can you really call it "winning a championship" when you don't have any opponents?

what must have really burned, though it seeing a hated rival -- another team from Long Island -- in their first trip to Myrtle Beach -- winning 1st in kick, 2nd in pom, an award for "most creative kick sequence" and an overall grand championship award.

but my daugher wasn't "good enough" for this new, "elite" team.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

quiet around here

Becca left with her father around 2 PM, he's taking her to DC for ca tour of colleges. Jen left around 6, headed back to college, the final 3 weeks of the semester.

the house is already too quiet.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

songbird salutes the 70's

Remember this?

1976, America's Bicentennial, and we were all crazy for red, white and blue. everyone painted buildings in our colors, displayed flags, showed their patriotism.

wherever you looked, there were images of the flag, images of Colonial America.

my mom even bought a set of Bicentennial placemats -- we still have them, buried somewhere in the garage.

even our money saluted the occasion. remember the bicentennial quarter?

it was the year of Operation Sail, tall ships in NY Harbor on the 4th of July. and Queen elizabeth visiting the United States.

there were other things going on that year...

people were listening to a variety of music, from Queen to Donny and Marie to Tony Orlando to Elton John to John Denver to Heart to Engelbert Humperdink...

at the movies we cheered for Rocky (saw that at the 76 cent theater), got mad as hell during Network, and screamed at Carrie.on TV there was Saturday Night Live ("I'm chevy chase and you're not."), Laverne & Shirley, Charlie's Angels, Baretta, Welcome Back Kotter, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, and, of course, Johnny Carson.

but the best, of course, were those "Bicentennial Minutes", celebrety-narrated moments on TV discussing events in our history.

no, I'm kidding about that...

but we did make a big fuss over the country's 200th birthday, didn't we?

Friday, April 10, 2009

deja vu

because my girls are so close in age, I barely have time to recover from participating in the rights of passage for my older daughter, when I find myself doing the same with the younger daughter.

I feel like we just went to Jen's graduation, it's hard to believe she will finish her first year of college in just a few weeks.

Becca is a junior this year, which means she's been taking college entrance exams and visiting college campuses. in a few weeks she will sit for her formal senior portrait, and shortly after that we will receive the "proofs" -- and I will see my baby in cap and gown.

and then she will go to the junior outing,a semi formal held in lieu of a junior prom (which does not involve all those after=prom issues!)

and today she informed me that one of her friends, a boy who goes to the other high school in our district, has invited her to senior prom.

the worst homecoming ever

I think one of the reasons I can't sleep at night when I know Jen is driving around...I am haunted by the memory of Homecoming 2006.

Jen was a junior, and on the varsity cheerleading team. Becca, a freshman, was on dance team and in the freshman class skit. my day was spent trying to juggle my responsibilities as a dance team mom (we had a fundraiser, the moms were selling refreshments) with my interest in watching my kids perform.

our school's homecoming isn't very elaborate. I mean, we don't even do a dance after the game, just a day of fun for the kids, a chance to show their school spirit.

the night before the game, there's a pep rally in the gym. the cheerleaders and dance team perform, the marching band plays, and the members of the homecoming court (all graduating seniors) perform funny skits.

the main action is on the football field the following day.

first there's a parade, where each of the four classes marches with a float they've built. the members of the homecoming court ride the parade route in convertibles. our school band marches, accompanied by the dance team and the cheerleaders. the band/cheerleaders/dance team from the other high school in our district also march (and our school band marches in their homecoming parade), as do the bands from both middle schools. and there's participation from our local volunteer fire departments as well. the parade route is maybe a mile long.

at the end of the parade, the three guest bands perform on the football field. our band doesn't perform, because they will do their presentation at halftime, right before presentation of the homecoming court. the king and queen are not announced, however, until after the football game is over.

after the parade the four classes present their skits, each class trying to be witty and funny and entertaining. the winning class will be announced after the game.

what we moms did not know...was that the President of the Student Executive Council, a very popular student named Jeff, was supposed to serve as master of ceremonies during the class skits, but never showed up, and one of the other members of the council had to fill that role.

the skits are usually over by 11:30, and the game doesn't start until 1:00, but a lot of the kids hang out at the school during the lull.

it was during the lull that the dance moms began to notice...some of the kids were very, very upset. as in, not your usual teen drama upset, but completely and totally devastated.

the football game was already under way when we moms found out why everyone was so upset, and why Jeff hadn't shown up that morning.

after pep rally the night before, Jeff and some of the other seniors went out to the diner for a bite to eat. the story I heard was that they stayed out late, because they were re-working the script for the senior class skit. Jeff drove three other kids home, but never made it home himself.

he was driving home along the service road of the Long Island Expressway, when he apparently lost control of his car and crashed into a tree. he did not survive. he was only 17.

his poor mother didn't realize he was missing until she got up the next morning. she called all of his friends, but no one knew where he was. it was awhile before he was found, because the car was hidden by the foliage along the roadway.

at half time, the school principal got on the loud speaker. you could have heard a pin drop as he asked for silence so that he could make that awful announcement.

the remaining festivities were postponed to another day. I left after the announcement, but I'm told the second half of the game was played in stunned silence.

700 students went to the funeral.

2 1/2 years later, they still haven't painted over Jeff's parking space -- members of the student executive council are entitled to a reserved space in the student parking lot, and they get to paint their space with their name and any other designs they care to add.

when Jen is on the road at night, I think of Jeff's mother....and I can't sleep until I hear Jen's car in the driveway and I hear her come through that door.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It was a miracle! It was a miracle!

(sings) wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles...

we had our family Seder last night, and the only drama was what we found in the Hagaddah.

The story of the Exodus from Egypt is drama enough for one night, we don't need the family histrionics to add to the tension.

Enjoying a quiet day at home today.

Happy Passover, everyone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

wow...I didn't know this!


Jews celebrate the sun as they prepare for Passover


As observant Jews prepare for the beginning of the eight-day Passover celebration tonight, some will pause this morning to recite the least frequently spoken prayer in Judaism.

It is a ritual that comes around only once every 28 years, one that commemorates the sun's return to the place in the firmament where, according to the Book of Genesis, God created it on the fourth day.

This year's confluence of Passover and the sun's commemoration is particularly rare - marking only the 12th occurrence in the 5,769-year-old Jewish calendar.

"There is something special about celebrating the beginning of the Jewish people coming out of Egypt and the Wednesday of the sun's creation," said Rabbi Anchelle Perl, of Congregation Beth Shalom Chabad, in Mineola.

"It adds meaning to Passover," he said. "This is one more thing we have to give thanks for, a physical thing to help us understand that God gave us a world to fulfill our purpose in life."

The commemoration of the sun, known as Birkat Hachama, happens so infrequently that several individuals could remember distinctly what they were doing during its last occurrence, 28 years ago.

Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, director of the Jewish Academy of Suffolk County in Commack, recalls being in Tucson, Ariz., for the funeral of his grandfather.

Perl and his wife were attending a ceremony at the epicenter of Lubavich Judaism, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

"It's an occurrence that happens only three or four times in a person's life," said Rabbi Rafe Konikov, of Chabad of Southampton Jewish Center. "Certainly it is momentous, because it is a reminder to give thanks for what God has given us."

Perl's congregation intends to mark the sun's return to its origins by burying a time capsule on the grounds of the synagogue.

Perl said this year's commemoration comes at a time in which Wall Street scandals and Ponzi schemes have inflicted broad economic hardship.

"We've seen so many examples of taking and being self-centered and the greediness of the world," Perl said. "Hopefully, in 28 years it will be a kinder, gentler world than it is today."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

an evening of theater

live theater is my passion, but lately I haven't had much chance to indulge that passion.

went to the theater Friday night. dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant, Pongs Ri -- I had the Thai salad with peanut dressing and the Bangkok chicken -- deep fried white meat with a sweet-spicy chili sauce.

then we saw Next to Normal. The Wiki entry:

Next to Normal is a musical with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt. Its story concerns a mother who struggles with worsening bipolar disorder and the effect that her illness has on her family. The play also addresses such issues as grieving a loss, suicide, drug abuse, ethics in modern psychiatry, and suburban life.
if I tell you the show's a bit...weird...

Act one was too long, I kep waiting for the crisis to happen so we could get to the intermission. Act two was much better. the music is great, the plot weird, and very thought-provoking. I found myself getting sucked into the story.

not for the casual theatergoer, but it was an ...interesting...evening.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

it's starting again

I think every parent understands the worry abject fear the parents of newly-minted drivers live with.

in our town, there is no such thig as public transportation, the only way to get anywhere is by auto. younger teens must rely on mom or dad or the carpool to go anywhere, and parents have at least a semblance of control over their children's whereabouts and safety.

as Jen's friends began to turn 17, trading inthose restrictive junior licenses for a regular license and adult privileges, the dialogue became "who is driving? how long have they had a license? where are you going? what time will you be home? text me when you get there and when you're leaving..."

and then you hope and pray that your child has common sense and a sense of self preservation....

when Jen finally got her license, that first time she took my car out for the evening....I think I sat here the whole night NOT BREATHING. couldn't sleep until I heard the car on the driveway and she came through the door.

I stillcan't sleep when she's out for the evening. she laughs at me. "but Mom, when I'm away at school, you have no idea where I am or what time I come in."

true. so true. and the sense of worry, though ever-present, is different when I'm not physically waiting for her to come home. but still, when she's not at school, I can't sleep until she's safely through that door.

Becca is 16, almost 17, and learning to drive. her friends are starting to turn 17. she's out tonight with a friend who drives.

I will not be able to sleep until I hear her come thorugh that door.

driver's ed can be dangerous!

Becca missed her driver's ed class this morning because she had to take the ACT exam.

so as I drove her over to the school, we both wondered if "mailbox boy" would show up for class today, and if his driving has improved any since last week.

the driver's ed class has been meeting since mid February. there are supposed to be 4 students in the car. but there have been only 3 in Becca's car.

until last week, that is, when "mailbox boy" showed up for the first time. he'd never driven a car before that class.

[FYI we have rural-style mail boxes in this neighborhood, you put your box on a post at the entrance to your driveway]

Becca said: "The 3 of us in the back seat were clutching each other the whole time he was driving. we made double sure our seat belts were buckled. he was driving way too fast, he wasn't listening to the instructor. he almost hit a tree. and then he did hit a mailbox, and it flew up into the air and hit the windshield, and the insrructor got all bent out of shape."

Bad enough I have to worry about my own kid learning how to drive, now I have to worry about someone else's kid learning, too?

Friday, April 3, 2009

looks like it's going to be a child-free zone again

so Jen is coming home Wednesday for Passover (yay!), and will return to school on Easter Sunday. I'll have her home for 4 full days.

Becca is on spring break thurday and Friday of next week, and then the whole week after Easter. she's using the time wisely -- on Easter sunday she's going with her fahter to Washington, DC, they will spend 3 + days in DC looking at colleges.

I am trying so hard to get used to the comings and goings. the child-free house is an occasional thing now, a rare occurrence when both girls are away from home. but the reality is, as Jen becomes more and more involved in her college life, she will return home less and less often. and while the theme for Becca right now is "exploring your options", by this time next year the dialogue will change to "narrowing your choices" -- and then she will be gone.

that portion of my life devoted to day-to-day parenting tasks will be gone.

the "parenting" itslef doesn't stop, it's the focus that will shift.

Becca will sit for her formal senior portrait in about 3 weeks -- it's done during the junior year, so that the portraits can be used in the yearbook. and when I see her in that red cap and gown, I wwill cry. a phase of my life is coming to an end, and a new adventure beckons my daughter.

and new possibilities open up for me as well.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

songbird salutes the 70's

"Liza With A Z"

anyone remember it?

a tv special based on Minelli's limited-run Broadway show.

directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse - when his still was new and fresh. now it's classic....

Showtime has been running it lately. there's Liza in her prime, in spectacular Halston costumes, singing and dancing.

watching it 30+ years

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

children DO get the message

text from my child, about 2:30 this afternoon:

"mom, can you please stop at subway on your way home and buy me lunch for tomorrow?"

complete words and everything!

yes, I'll be stopping for that $5 footlong....

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