life in and around NYC is insane

Thursday, December 31, 2009

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NaBloPoMo redux

Trying this again for January.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

senior portrait

can you believe the photographers do senior portraits in the student's junior year?

Becca sat for her portrait at the end of April.  in November she got to choose which photo from that session will appear in the yearbook.


but believe it or not, we STILL haven't ordered the photos from the studio!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year's Eve in NYC

Times Square should be hopping thursday night.





You know they leave the ball in place all year long now.  You can see it on top of One times Square, along with the "2009" sign.  the new numbers arrived about a week ago, they've been on display at ground level.

2010...guess that means no more of those goofy glasses everyone wore starting in 2000....




anyhow, here's the update on the ball drop:



http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/12/28/2009-12-28_times_sq_new_years_eve_to_be_greener_more_global.html

The razzle-dazzle Times Square New Year's Eve celebration is going more green and global than ever.







The ball got a sparkling makeover Sunday, with the addition of new Waterford crystal triangles etched with ribbons, angel wings and flames to embody this year's theme: Let there be courage.






The ball's 288 crystals will be lit by 32,256 LED lights that can create a kaleidoscope of more than 16 million vivid colors.






The lights replace old halogen bulbs and will last three times longer. What's more is that they use about the same amount of energy it takes to fire up two traditional home ovens.






The New Year's Eve bash will be broadcast live on the Internet starting at 5:50 p.m. on Dec. 31.






The goal is to draw a worldwide audience that can log on to timessquareNYC.org and link up with revelers from their native country who are participating in the festivities in person.






Hardy souls who join the crowd in Times Square to see the ball drop can watch live entertainment on seven LED screens.






Look for screens at the Times Square hub and along Broadway at 43rd, 50th, 52nd and 54th Sts. Two more will be on Seventh Ave., at 43rd and 59th Sts.






"New Year's Eve is the time we look back, we look forward and we celebrate today," said Jeff Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment and co-organizer of Times Square New Year's Eve.






For those looking to cast off bad memories of 2009, there are shredders in Times Square for today's annual "good riddance" event. Everything is fair game, Straus said: "Pictures of ...ex-girlfriends, boyfriends, worthless stock certificates and oversized pants."






Revelers looking for a hope-filled start to the year can post wishes on a Wishing Wall at Broadway and 45th St. The notes will be shredded and used as confetti for the New Year's Eve gala.






"I want to be an actress," reads one post.






"A new job and a new place to find my soul mate," another person wrote.






Janet Pacas, 43, of Yonkers, jotted down her desire to own an El Salvadoran restaurant.






"It is a great feeling to have liberty in the United States," she said with help from her 14-year-old daughter, Jeannette, who translated from Spanish. "Times Square means the security, happiness. The colors, the people are happy and it makes me feel happy."






knelson@nydailynews.com











Friday, December 25, 2009

holiday music -- rare footage

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday greetings part 2




Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I am the mother of two perfect teenagers.

That's short and sweet.

If only it were true.

But that would be the makings of dull blog posts, wouldn't it?

I consider myself to be a very lenient, very tolerant mother.  But my younger daughter Becca, age 17, has truly tested my patience these last few days. Every attempt at conversation is met with hostility and disrespect. Her school grades, her plans for the evening, how she's getting to school in the morning, are "none of [my] business", I am a "terrible mother" who "doesn't care about [her] at all."  And so on. 

I let most of it slide.  Becca is very stressed right now. She's  taking a heavy academic program at school, she's active in extracurricular activities -- she's president of the Spanish club -- and she has a part time job. And if that wasn't enough....It's college application season.  Becca applied to one college "early decision", that's where the school promised to let her know their decision by December 15 and she promised to withdraw all of her other college applications if she were accepted.  Unfortunately for Becca, the school did not grant her admission, but deferred her application until their regular decision deadline.  Despite my urgings that she apply to a number of other schools, she didn't complete applications to any other schools  in October or November.  And now she's scrambling to complete applications to other schools.So she's worried about where she will be this time next year.

That doesn't justify using your mother as a verbal punching bag...but...yeah, I turned a blind eye to bad behavior.  Bit my tongue so often it started to bleed.

Well, tonight it erupted...screaming, door slamming, general mayhem.

At some point you cannot ignore the behavior.

I erupted as well.

She is without a cell phone, has lost driving privileges and she is grounded.  Right before Christmas vacation.

Monday, December 21, 2009

family legends

 What are some of yours?

One of ours involves the 1959 epic, Ben Hur.

You know the story.  It involves the life of the fictional Judah Ben Hur, a Prince of the Jews in 1st century Judea.

On February 15, 1960, my father, who was then a teacher, took his students to see the movie.  My very pregnant mother accompanied him.



My parents joked that the baby should be born in the theater, and if it were a boy they'd name him Ben Hur.

Of course, it didn't happen.  I was born 3 days later.

But the movie was magnificent, wasn't it?

Here's the chariot race:





Sunday, December 20, 2009

snow!!!!



 

 
 
 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New York at Christmastime

I showed you the Christmas windows at Macy's a few weeks ago.

tonight, as I am hibernating during the first blizzard of the season, I thought I'd hsare Rockefeller Center and the windows at Saks and Lord & Taylor.

After we saw Finian's Rainbow the other night, we walked over to Rockefeller Center to see the tree:



 
 
 

The tree is topped with a crystal star, and another similar star sits on the ground for people to see up close:


 

there are also 10 foot tall toy soldiers, and life sized angels in the plaza:




 

 

if you look at the wall of Saks 5th Avenue (the flagship store), you might get a special treat:




the windows at Saks tell the story of Twinkle, a star:




then we walked down 5th Avenue.  here's a shot of the Empire State building, blue and white for Chanukah:




the windows at Lord & Taylor have a Victorian theme:

 

 


 






Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How are things in Glocca Morra?

Is that little brook still leaping there?


As you may have guessed, we saw Finian's Rainbow on Broadway last night.

Of the three shows we've seen on Broadway, this one was clearly the best.    the story, while set in the 1940's, still has relevance.  The cast was wonderful.  The songs are beautiful.

The gentleman seated to our left, who overheard our intermission conversation and started to talk with us...wow, what an interesting man.  He's retired now, but spent 40 years backstage at the Metropolitan Opera working in wardrobe.  Now he indulges his passion for musical theater, has seen Rainbow 17 times since it opened.

Now, the young man seated to our left...I overheard his conversation with his friend, and was rolling my eyes.  He has no real appreciation for theter, no understanding of what he sees.  Before the show, he sat there counting the number of times the word "reprise" appeared in the playbill, and made some nasty crack about "laziness by the composer."

then he started to talk about Blood Brothers.  That's a British musical which was done on Broadway a few years ago, with David Cassidy and Sean Cassidy in the title roles, and Petula Clark in the role of the mother.    the show opens with a song "Marylin Monroe", which is reprised twice in Act 2.  the song is used -- quite effectively -- to contrast the mother's fantasy life with her reality. 

The young man in the theater last night obviously didn't get it, because he said  something along the lines of "I saw David and Sean in some show, I think it was called Stepbrothers or something like that, and the mother kept singing about Marilyn Monroe, i thought I was going to die if she sang that song one more time."


His loss.

anyhow, after the show we walked over to Rockefeller Center to see the tree.  I took lots of pictures with my new toy, the mini camcorder.  I haven't had time to upload them -- didn't get home until well after midnight -- but I will try to get them posted soon.

it was a great evening, but I am exhausted today.

talk about self-promotion!

Wish you a very merry, cherry cherry Christmas


and a holly holy holiday, too.

Underneath your tree may there always be

sounds of harmony, not a song sung blue.



Just a very merry, cherry cherry Christmas.

And if all of those who love you gather near,

you'll have a very merry, cherry cherry, holly holy,

rock and rolly Christmas this year.



When the snow drops on the treetops

it's a pretty amazing scene.

Hear the choir, light the fire.

Feels like pretty amazing grace if you know what I mean.



Oh yeah, it's Christmas time.



In a world of make-believe I'm a believer,

and I believe in things not always understood,

but the things you feel make believing real.

That's why Christmas feels so good, so good, so good.



When you imagine all the world as one great chorus,

you're gonna learn that every voice has got a song.

Let's raise a Christmas toast of red, red wine,

we'll even sing Sweet Caroline while the whole world sings along.



I hear music in the sound of children laughing.

It's a beautiful noise that fits you like a song.

Makes you wanna have a very merry, holly holy,

cherry cherry Christmas time the whole year long.



The whole year long...sing your Christmas song...the whole year long.

Cherry Christmas, Everyone!!!




Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Biggest Loser Tuesday

At last, the finale.

America chose Amanda over Liz.  Both looked good  though.

Jillian Mae is a great name for a baby!

All of the contestants look great.  the weigh-in is such an uplifting occasion, they all lost big time.

Some of them don't even look like the same  people,

Coach Moe is incredible.

Abby looks amazing.  Her story still makes me cry.  She lost 100 pounds!


Tracy looks good, but she's still a witch.  she lost 118 pounds and moves into the lead...and I hope she doesn't win!

She still has a long way to go to bet to her goal weight, but she looks so much better!  Love what the doctor said to her and Daniel,

Shay weighs in...she lost 172 !!!!  not enough to take the lead but still wonderful.

Rebecca went blonde?  she lost 139 and takes the lead!!!!

it's down to Rebecca or Liz for the at-home prize, $100,000.

and the winner is...Rebecca,

and then...Shay...has been invited back to next season's finale...for every pound she loses Subway will pay her $1000 --can't wait to see what happens when she comes back in May.

Antoine proposed to Alexandra!  OMG! I'm crying too!



Now it's time for the 3 finalists.  first we see their stories -  Rudy, then Danny and finally Amanda.

Then we see the finalists.  Rudy looks great.  so does Danny -- totally unrecognizable.  and we've already seen Amanda, she looks beautiful,


a sneak peak at next season's  contestants...the focus  seems to be on love/romance.  the season begins January 5.

Dany chooses weigh-in  order -- Amanda, Rudy and Danny.

so who will get the $259K prize.

Amanda went from 250 to 163, 87 pounds, a  34.8% weight loss.

Rudy went from 442 to 208, a loss of 234 pounds, 52.94% loss.    over half his obdy weight.

finally it's Danny's turn. he needs to have lost more than 227 pounds to beat Rudy.

Danny went from 430 to 191, he lost 239 and WON!  he is the Biggest Loser  he lost 55.58% of his body weight, amazing.


see you in January.

application....deferred

and with those words Becca's world comes to a grinding halt.



they didn't say "no" but they didn't say "yes".

she was convinced she'd be accepted.  and now she's got to rethink her plans.

she wanted to stay home from school today, pull the covers over her head and wallow in self-pity.  I wouldn't let her.  In fact I am pushing her -- a bit hard, I must admit -- to apply to a number of other schools.

I want her to find a good fit, a school she can get into and one that she will love.

if she doesn't get her acto together she'll wind up at community college next year.  not a totally terrible thing, if she does well she can transfer out as a sophomore into a variety of really good schools.  but that's not the best plan for her.

the child who was always self movtivated now needs a major push from mom to get her act togehter.

I can't wait for the acceptance letters to arrive in the spring....can't wait to put down a deposit so that she can attend the college of her choice.

Lord give me strength through this process.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

cousin's bat mitzvah

we  went to my cousin's bat mitzvah yesterday.

it's bittersweet, we don't see most of the family except for lifecycle events.  but I'm glad we went.

the service was at a small temple near my cousin's home -- very relaxed and casual, very different from my own synagogue.  the bat mitzvah girl was very emotional, cried through the whole service, had the Rabbi read her thank-you speech.

the party was great.  my favorite moments include my parents slow dancing, Jen and Becca swing dancing and singing Bon Jovi at the top of their lungs, and my bumping into Becca twice while trying to remember how to do 70's line dances.  I embarassed my girls a bit by partying hard.  but later we all posed for a photo ghat I will treasure.

and I had to laugh -- two young men spent the whole night staring at my girls, but didn't get up the courage to talk to them until the end of the party.

can't wait for the next party...in about 2 years.

more waiting, more worrying

D-Day is tuesday.

and it doesn't help that some of the Ivy League schools did their early decision announcements this weekend.  two of Becca's best friends have been accepted at very fine schools, and several more of her classmates have gotten good news as well,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday greetings part 1

plea bargain -- he's guilty

Teh big scandal last winter at Becca's high school -- the social studies teacher who was arrested as a sex offender.  Becca never had him as a classroom teacher, but she was in Key Club and he was one of the club advisers.  the teacher is also an alum of the school, with deep roots in our community.  it disturbs me that this happened in my daughter's school and invovled a teacher my daughter knew.

It involved a 15-year-old boy.  The boy met the teacher -- a single man in his 30's -- in an online chatroom, and was pursuaded to go to the teacher's apartment.  He was not a student at Becca's school. Not that it truly matters...but at least the victim isn't being subjected to further embarassment as "the guy who got [teacher] fired."

the local papers had articles about the case when teacher was arrested last February, but haven't published an update since then.  However, New York courts have a website where, if you know the name of a defendant in a criminal matter, you can get a history of the case on line. 

so today I had a few moments, and decided to check the progress of the case.  and discovered that teacher pled guilty at his last court appearance in November,   He pled to one D felony, a handful of E felonies and one misdemeanor. 

I wonder what kind of plea  bargain he made.  he pled guilty to every count in the indictment, and will be sentenced in January.

The penalty applicable to a class D felony is imprisonment of no more than five years, and a fine of at
least $500 but not more than $7,500.  Punishment for a class E  felony  is imprisonmnet up to 4 years. 
 
he's out of bail right now, but I can't imagine he won't have to do some time....and when he gets out....well, obviously he will have to find a new career path, won't he?
 
what kind of idiot does something like this?  did he really think he wasn't going to get caught? 
 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

College application season

Right now Becca is in the throes of torture the college application process.

I've been down this road before -- or at least a similar road-- with Jen just two years ago.

Though as I think about it, I've come to realize Becca's road is very different from the one Jen travelled. I suppose each child must find his or her own road to college.

Our high school is very academically oriented - 97% of the graduates go on to some sort of post secondary education, either 2-year or 4-year college programs. The guidance department is very active in assisting students in the whole process, from the moment they sit for the PSAT until the day they send in that deposit to the college or university of their choice.

Still, Jen had very little interest in the process until her senior year of high school. I think by the middle of her junior year she had a firm idea of what she wanted to do with the rest of her life, but no idea or interest in the four years of education she would need in order to get there. She was adrift in a sea of options, without a direction.

In fact, if you had asked me during Jen's junior year, "Where do you think she will wind up going?", my answer would have been very different from where she actually enrolled. Two years ago Jen told me she didn't want to go far from home, that she planned to go to one of the colleges within a 45-minute drive of our home so that she could live on campus during the week and spend her weekends at home. I could not get her interested in taking a tour of any college, not even our local ones, until the beginning of her senior year. Ultimately she was accepted by, and chose to attend, a university in another state, some 3 1/2 hours away. Now in her sophomore year of college, Jen is deeply entrenched in university life and is well on her way to becoming the independent, confident, productive individual I hope she will become.

Becca, on the other hand, has always been academically oriented and very self motivated. I think she began to take a real interest in college almost from the day she set foot on her high school campus. Early in her hgih school career she was able to discuss, with confidence, what type of college experience she hoped to have and where she might apply. Last year, when she was a junior, she was the one who urged me to take her on various college campus tours, she was the one who researched the colleges and made arrangements for us to visit the schools where she thought she might apply.

She has a t-shirt or sweatshirt from every college she visited and from every college Jen visited. She truly wants to be a "college girl". 

The irony of it all is that on her college applications she has listed her major as "undecided".  While Jen had a goal and had to figure out the way to get there, Becca has figured out how to travel the road but still does not have a destination in mind.

Not that there's anything wrong in Becca's approach.  College offers many opportunities to explore different disciplines, and it's hard at 17 to know what you might want to be doing when you're 47.

The application process itself is much easier than it was when I was a student.  No more sending away for a paper application and carefully filling it out, now you use the "common application" and apply on-line, and submit your ACT and/or SAT scores by filling out a form on line at each testing agency's website.  click, click, click, you've applied to a dozen different schools.  thus far Becca has applied to 6 or 7 schools, and there are another 6 or 7 on her list.  And no more waiting for the "fat envelope", schools post their admission decisions on line as well, to the prosepctive student's web account at that school.

But after tons of research Becca came to the conclusion that there's one school she prefers above all the rest.  She submitted her application to that school "early decison" -- which means if she is accepted to that college, she is committed to attending that school and she must withdraw her applications for every other college.

Decison day is Decebmer 15, next Tuesday.   We will either be popping the cork on the champagne bottle Tuesday night...or working on plan B Wednesday morning.

The next five days promise to be long and tense.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I wish Ringo Starr a long and happy life

but does anyone else here get the irony if Paul winds up being the last surviving Beatle?



remember the "Paul is Dead" hoax?

I remember finding out about it when I was about 10, we went to visit my parents' friends, and their son -- who was a few years older than me -- showed me a newspaper article detailing all of the "clues" that supposedly proved Paul died in 1966.  The rumor  started in 1969, some 3 years after the "death", and quickly spread.

 The clues included how Paul was portrayed on the cover of the Abbey Road album, and that John allegedly said "I buried Paul" at the end of the song "Strawberry Fields" (he actually said "cranberry sauce").  there are references to an auto accident in "A Day in the Life" that supposedly describe Paul's death as well.

He looked really animated for a man whose been dead  over 40 years when I saw him at Citi Field last July.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Strawberry Fields forever

John Lennon
9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980


Biggest Loser Tuesday

Don't bother to ask me about Weight Watchers, we'll resume that discussion in January.

Presidential address tonight messed up everyone's schedule. When Brian Williams finished talking to McCain, we switched over to The Biggest Loser....to the end of last week's episode, just as everyone was about to reveal their votes. so we got to say goodbye to Allen again.


And then it was time for this week's episode, the final four.

Watch the final four lose all that weight in a matter of minutes.

Now they're being sent home for 60 days and then they will come back to face the scale one more time.

They all get the celebrity treatment when they arrive home.

We get some insight into their lives before the show, Rudy talking about his dead sister, Liz and her husband, Danny and his kids, Amanda and her parents. Encouragement from Bob and Jillian.

and it's announced they will do a marathon, just like last season.

the veggie chili looked yummy.

Bob and Jillian make surprise visits to the final four. kind of boring, actually.

and then it's time for the marathon. and they can earn money for charity by running.


and Tara shows up during the marathon! she encourages Liz and Danny. then Rudy's old partner (Alexandra?) shows up to encourage him.

Brian shows up to push Amanda.

Danny has knee problems and Liz has hip problems, and they're both struggling.

Tara shows up to help Amanda.


the miles drag on, and the finalists are walking, not running. they're all hurting but they keep going.

Rudy finishes!


Amanda finishes....and she's thinking about running that first mile on the first day of the show, is it really the same beach?


Mile 16 and Danny is ready to quit -- and they cut to commercial.

back from commercial and Liz and Danny are still at it....

and they both finish. together.




weigh-in time!!!

the final weigh-in on campus.

the two people with the highest percentage of weigh-in go to the finals.

the other two will fall below the yellow line, and the third finalist will be chosen by America's vote. the results of the vote will be announced at the finale next week.

Liz is up first. she's lost 16 pounds since the last weigh-in. she's lost a total of 85 pounds.



Amanda remembers having to plead her case to America to get onto the show. she gets onto the scale needing to have lost more than 15 pounds to beat Liz. she has lost 16, gives her a slim margin above Liz.

Danny's turn is next. he weighed 430 at the beginning of the show. he needs a 24 pound loss to be safe. he weighs 229 and has lost 59 pounds!!!! he's lost 201 lbs since he started at the ranch.

so Liz falls blow the yellow line.

Rudy's turn. he needs to have lost more than 25 pounds to be safe. he's lost 43 pounds!

so Amanda is below the yellow line.

My decision? It was close. Liz and I are the same age. but in the end, I voted for Amanda.

can't wait for the finale.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

¿sıɥʇ pɐǝɹ noʎ uɐɔ

¡¡¡¡¡pןɹoʍ uʍop ǝpısdn ʎzɐɹɔ ɐ s,ʇı

Bye Bye Birdie

Saw this on Broadway last night. Not the best show I've ever seen, but truly entertaining. Also tried a new (to us) burger restaurant, HB -- they brew their own beers and their own sodas! I had a diet chocolate soda and a kobe beef burger. We would ahve walked over to Rockefeller Center to see the Tree, but it was raining...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

no holiday celebration would be complete without this!

Dr. Elmo made this in his living room in 1983. It played on MTV for 18+ years. Written by Randy Brooks and performed by Dr. Elmo.


Biggest Loser Tuesday

It's the middle of the holiday season, I've given up on any pretense that I'm going to lose weight ... back on the wagon in January.

Didn't watch the show tuesday night ...was at the Jimmy Buffett concert (free tix!!)

.

thank goodnes for the DVR.   Allen won the challenge and the prize package -- good for him. Danny's song wasn't great, but it was sweet and heartfelt. Danny and Rudy did great in the weigh-in, Danny won the prize but Rudy broke the record. Allen and Liz are below the yellow line.  Allen got sent home, and the final four are Danny, Liz, Amanda and Rudy.  I will be rooting for Amanda, she got off to a slow start but blossomed at the ranch.

and then on Wednesday was the special about past contestants....

show was a bit boring, but it was great to see how many of them kept the weight off. and it was nice to see all the people who found a spouse on the show -- I am by nature a romantic.


and then there's the contestant who gained back all the weight.... good to have him invited back to this season's finale after he loses it all again.

without the element of competition....not so exciting.

looking forward to the final four of the current season.

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