life in and around NYC is insane

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Thursday, December 29, 2011

From last winter

It sure looks lovely . . . From a distance!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Road trip

Stew Leonard's

Ever hear of it?

It's a food Mecca of sorts.

My friend Donna wanted to go yesterday, for the prepared foods - Donna is about to have surgery and needs easy meals in the house duting her recovery.

So a group of us went all the way from Long Island to Connecticut to go grocery shopping.

Have to admit, it's a fun concept.  Talking cows, singing butter, a parrot in the seafood section -- animatronics to keep you amused while you shop.  Lots of free samples - we tasted roast beef, fudge, cookies . . .

I don't think I'll be making the pilgrimage often. But if they actually build one here, I will be shopping fairly often.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

the difference between love and martyrdom

The other day A screamed at me that she and F gave my daughters love and that they were there for my kids when I was not. They were at my kids' school MORE than any parent. They were living vicariously through my girls. They had so much time on their hands that they could hang out at cheerleading or play rehearsal, etc. Kids began to call them the "red aunts" because of their long red hair. All the kids at school knew who the "red aunts" were. Many of the kids loved them. Some laughed at them behind their backs. They had no other responsibilities, no jobs, no other commitments. They "helped" around the house but didn't have the responsibility a SAHM would have. So of course they could hang out at school. I admit, I was a bit jealous at times. I was around for activities as much as any working parent, but I would have treasured the chance to be there more often. But bills don't pay themselves and I never got the chance to be a stay at home mother. There were kids who knew about the "red aunts" who didn't even know Jen and Becca. Yeah, make a career, make a life out of hovering over your nieces instead of getting a job and making a life for yourself. It's like living with four teenagers, only two of them are growing up. And the other two . . . 44 going on 14. Living off their parents, no idea what they will do with the rest of their lives. Nope, can't say I envy them now.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Started a new medication as a result of my sojourn at the hospital.  Looked up the possible side effectd the day I filled the prescription.

Sure enough . . .

Why, oh why, did I have to start a medication which leaves my hands and feet feeling cold - just as winter arrives?

New Year's Eve plans

So the plans are set. Nine of us at Drew's house. Catered food,nothing too fancy, champagne and a casual atmosphere. Becca will be hanging out with her boyfriend. Jen and a group of friends are talking about Times Square but my guess is they'll hang out at someone's house instead. My parents have tickets for the opera, early curtain, and should be out of the city long before the ball drops. A casual and fun New Year's for all.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Chinese food and a movie today - loved the new Sherlock Holmes.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas plans

Tonight will be spent at a friend's. She will cook dinner and her kids and mine will decorate the tree. Since it is still Chanukah, we will bring a menorah and light candles. A blending of traditions. Let us banish the darkness and let in the light of peace and understanding.

Friday, December 23, 2011

More about the twins

Well, I know why my sisters don't like me. They think I lack gratitude and that I am a "taker" with no appreciation for all they did for the girls. they won't recognize what they did which offended me. They have no clue how many times, during the crazy divorce years, how many times I had to defend their behavior. I own what I did . . . In trying to ruin Drew's relationship with the girls. Drew owns what he did, in trying to ruin their relationship with my family and me. We have both taken responsibility for it. I allowed the twins to do stuff, too, because it served my purposes at the time. But they refuse to acknowedge that what they did was wrong, that what they did caused me grief in court, that I had to defend their actions to the law guardian and to several judges. I was threatened, numerous times, with a change in custody if my sisters didn't stop "interfering". If that had happened . . .

Thursday, December 22, 2011

crying today

I am so done with everyone today. Drew, my sisters, my parents, my children. You can all take your drama somewhere else because none of you give a damn about me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The prisoner has been released!

Surgeon says I can "ease into" my normal activities but that I am not ready to go back to work.

I am fortunate to have very good short term disability benefits.

So it's time to relax and enjoy the time off.

It goes sour

Biggest mistake of my life . . . Pulling F and A into my inner circle, allowing them to co-parent with me.  At first they respected me, but there came a point when they decided they knew better than me and somehow forgot that I was the parent and they were the aunts.  Should have moved out of my parents' house as soon as that started to happen. When Jen was 11 and Becca 9 I said I'd hire someone to see to the girls  after school.  And was promptly told " We won't let them into the house."

Like I said, I should have moved out.  But I was doing battle with Drew at the time.

My concern at the time was twofold. Primarily it was my rights as a parent.  Good, bad or indifferent, it was my responsibility to raise my children.  Doesn't matter if someone else  can do a better job than I can.

And I had real concerns for my sisters. Neither of them has ever held a real job.  They're currently 44 years old with the life skills of teenagers, living off my parents.  No income, no health insurance, no prospects.  What will happen when my parents are gone?

One of the reasons I am public enemy number one is because I started raising this isdue 10 years ago.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

happy Hanukkah

We had an evening with latkes, the menorah,presents and gelt - my father was glowing because all four daughters and both granddaughters were home.

Monday, December 19, 2011


So today I saw my primary care physician. Showed up on time for my 10:00 appointment. Wasn't seen until 11:00. Was supposed to see the surgeon tomorrow. That's been postponed until Wednesday. Not happy.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

so about my sisters

It's a sad situation. I blame myself, in part, because I contributed to it,but the real blame goes to my parents, who indulged them, and to their own poor choices.

As I said, there are four of us. I am the oldest, my sister H is a year younger than I am. F and A are identical twins, born six years after H, when my parents (for various reasons) assumed there would be no more children.

My parents had very clear expectations for me and for H . . . Once you finish high school you either go to college or you go to work. I went to college, graduated, went to law school, graduated and found a job . . .and found myself on the road to adulthood. H went to college, dropped out and went to work, went back to school . . .ultimately finished school, started a career, went back to school. . .adulthood.

Not so with the twins.

They found a passion for theater early in life. They had considerable talent, and went to a
regional performing arts high school part time to develop that talent. Followed up with BFA degrees from a fine university with a wonderful program in musical theater. Did a lot of summer stock.

And then . . .

Came home to Long Island. Started going on auditions, etc. Couldn't.
get a foothold in the industry.

I think part of the problem was distance . . . They should have been in NYC not buried in the Suburbs. And they were very picky about what they wanted to do . . . They wanted to work together as a sister act.

So they had a few jobs here and there . . . But nothing long term.

And then I got divorced. And moved back home with two little girls.

F and A love my daughters and easily slipped into the role of nanny to my girls. My kids were 4 and 2 at the time, I was going through a hellish divorce, and I was glad to have he love and support of family. My sisters accuse me of not appreciating what they did for me and my girls . . . But back then, I was overwhelmed, and couldn't have managed at all without them. So how did it all go sour? I leave that tale for another day.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

the prisoner has been set free

I am posting this from Drew's house. Got tired of looking at my own four walls, decided to look at a different set of walls.

Actually I am starting to feel a lot better. Still have some discomfort from the surgery but I am on the mend.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

dysfunction junction

I have been blogging for several years now but I don't think I have mentioned the issues I have with two of my sisters.

I have three sisters. Let me be clear that I love all three of my sisters and am concerned about their welfare.

But the youngest two . . . Don't like them very much. I have a lot of hurt feelings about things they've done. And about things they continue to do.

I seem to be their punching bag. I am blamed for everything that's wrong in their lives, whether it has anything to do with me or not.

What gets to me the most is that they profess to love our parents and my daughters, but put their anger towards me ahead of their love for our family members.

I've decided I need to talk about it. I have kept silent far too long.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

home again, home again, jiggety jig

There's no place like home!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It galls me to say this

My gallbladder and I are about to part company.  I had a severe attack Thursday night and I've been in the hospital since Friday morning.

I had some issues back in April but was mostly OK during the summer.  Started having issues over the last few months.

So I'll be having surgery tomorrow.

Not my idea of holiday fun.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Another milestone of sorts

Jen has been summoned to jury duty.

I doubt she'll be picked.  We're still in the middle of the lawsuit from her car accident. So when the lawyers hear about it, they won't want her on the panel.

Still, being called is another sign she's growing up.

New Year's Eve plans

Looks like this year we won't be going out. Instead Drew is inviting a small group of friends to his house.

It makes more sense. We always have trouble finding a restaurant that suits everyone's budget and tastes.

Last year we wound up at a seafood restaurant. Food was great, band was boring and we were overdressed . . . We dressed for New Year's Eve and everyone else was wearing khakis and sweaters.

The previous year we went to a great Italian place with a good DJ, but all the food had red sauce and one member of the group is allergic to tomatoes. DJ was great but most of the group didn't get up to dance - what a waste.

I'm willing to spend a little more for a nice evening but some members of the group can't . . .Or won't spend what I am willing to spend.

So we're getting food from a local restaurant and having the party at his house. Should be fun.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


That sweet cross between a cookie and a cake, made famous by Proust in his writings on Paris.

I have never been to Paris. But I have been to Starbucks.

I'm not a Starbucks groupie but I do pop in occasionally. And when I'm there I usually buy their Madeleines.

So you can image my disappointment when I stopped by the day before Thanksgiving. . . .I love the peppermint hot chocolate this time of year. There were no Madelines!

Were they out of the cookies? Or did they discontinue them?

Just had to go back a week later to find out.

The Madeleines had returned.

What a relief!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

he likes croissant

Ever hear of a cat who likes croissant?

I had a croissant for breakfast yesterday. Mr. Kitty jumped onto the table, sat down beside me and put his paw on my arm. . .begging for a piece of my croissant.

I should have made him get down off the table.

I gave him a piece of the croissant.

He loved it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cats must be psychic

Redford is an unneutered male cat.  And apparently determined to stay that way.

He was supposed to go to the vet this afternoon.

My sister let him out late last night. Usually he'd have come home for breakfast.

But today . . . He seems to be enjoying his freedom.

Next time we will have to put him on house arrest.

who or what is on your bucket list?

The topic came up this weekend, because Drew bougiht tickets to see Neil Diamond in concert next summer, and his friend Marc said something to him about "Crossing it off your bucket list."

I never made a bucket list, a list of things to experience before I die. Not even when I was so sick 6 . . . almost 7 . . . years ago.

I guess it's because I am enjoying so many things now.

I suppose, if pressed, I'd probably put travel at the top of the list. There's so much of the world I haven't seen and want to explore.

I want to see Billy Joel in concert. I saw him perform at Citi Field during Paul McCartney's concert but I've never seen Billy in concert.

But what I really want . . .To dance at a wedding. Or rather, two weddings. I want to see my children with good careers, good friends and loving partners. I want to hokd my grandchildren in my arms.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

continuing our PBS phase

Today we saw the Boston Pops at the Tilles Center - the concert hall at CW Post College.

It was a holiday concert, they played selections from "The Nutcracker", popular music such as "Sleigh Ride", and with their guests Rockapella various Christmas songs. There was even a sing-along at the end of the show.

I love live performances, I get carried away by the music . . .

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Love Walt Handelsman


Love this site Gives reviews of local restaurants by critics, bloggers and ordinary patrons. Want a good restaurant for a romantic dinner? The best diner? A good burger? Try this site.

And if you look at the Long Island leaderboard . . . Yes that's me as one of the top contributors.

Can't help it. Drew and I like to go out, and I like to share.

Funniest Urbanspoon moment?

We ate in PF Chang's in March. I wrote a thorough review, described every dish we ordered. Talked about the mediocre service.

Six months later we went back. After dinner I logged onto Urbanspoon. Read my review and laughed. We had ordered the exact same dinner. And the service was mediocre. No need for an update.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Thursday, December 1, 2011

it's dead singers season!

Want immortality? Record a Christmas album and hope it becomes a classic.

I mean, you never hear Bing Crosby, Perry Como or Burl Ives on the radio anymore, except at Christmastime. (Almost included Andy Williams, but he's still alive . . . )

One day a few years ago, I was in a store, the radio was tuned to an oldies station, and a Carpenters song came on. A young woman, in her 20's, said to her friend "It sounds like Christmas!"

Sad that such good music is only heard once a year, isn't it?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Towering Inferno

Remember that movie? 1974 big budget disaster movie, released around the same as Airport, Earthquake and the like. Saw it on cable the other day.

Stars included Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Fred Astaire, Robert Wagner and Maureen McGovern singing yet another disaster movie theme song. And O.J. Simpson, if you can believe it.

Simple plot -- world's tallest building in flames. People trapped, elevators fail, stairways collapse. One woman falls out a window.

Watching this movie in 1974 . . . Pure imagination.

Watching in 2011 . . .very different.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

RIP Anne McCaffrey

One of my favorite authors -- I love the Pern series. I imagine myself as a dragonrider, in the weyr, visiting the harper hall . . .

The series will go one, I think. . .Her son wrote the last few novels.


Going to look for her at Barnes & Noble, maybe download some of the books to my tablet. Worth reading again.

Monday, November 28, 2011

He died on Thanksgiving Day

I didn't know the guy.  He was a VP at my company.   His department is on the same floor as mine, though, so I probably saw him around.  When I got to work this morning most of his department was waiting outside the building : the company hired cars to take them to the funeral.

He was 73 and about to retire.  He was a father and a grandfather.

Death comes in 3's, they say.  I paid a Shiva call on Wednesday because a friend's father died.   In synagogue on Saturday I ran into another friend who had just lost her mother in law.

And now this death.  The death of a stranger, actually.  Yet it hits me like a hammer.

I feel a sense of impending loss.  I look at my father, at his declining health, and I feel a gloom overtake me.

How much longer will he be among us,  I can't help but wonder.  Not that anyone is ever truly ready to say goodbye to a parent,  but I am not ready for this ...

parenting "adults"

Jen is 21 and legally an adult. That doesn't mean she's no longer a child. I look at her and see a lovely young woman but also the silly little girl who once got Silly Putty caught in her hair and also the tiny baby in the pink bunting . . .

Parenting these days is a very different world. I can offer advice but I cannot tell her what to do. Her decisions these days are the decisions of an adult, with adult consequences.

Alcohol seems to be a large part of her social world. She casually mentions drinking at a party or going out to a bar with friends. She celebrated her birthday at a casino in Connecticut.

So we've had several discussions about responsible drinking. And about not driving while impaired. And she tild me about taking her roommate to see a friend in the hospital - the friend was a passenger in a car and was injured in an accident which involved DWI.

She gives me all the right responses. How she won't drive if she's impaired. And I trust she's doing all the right things.

There's nothing else I can do except trust her . . .

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The joy of the season

Andre Rieu

Picture it. Nassau Coliseum, usually home to the NY Islanders, American Idol on Tour, Disney on Ice and that sort of thing. People are wearing dressy casual clothes instead of the usual jeans and hawkers are selling white zinfandel and chardonnay by the glass from a Bud Light tray. Because for one night this sports arena has become a classical music concert hall.

Andre Rieu, a Dutch violinist, performs a lighthearted, joyful and frequently humerous program featuring Strauss waltzes, Puccini arias, Broadway show tunes, and anything else he feels like playing.

We had floor seats, 14 rows back from the stage, a really good view of the entire orchestra.

Which meant that, during "Snow Waltz" we were in the blizzard zone -- tiny pieces of shredded plastic fell from the ceiling as "snow". During the "Skaters Waltz" the brass section and the back up singers pretended to skate -- and to pass a bottle.

The soloist who sang "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" . . . she was magnificent.

At one point people were waltzing in the aisles.

When Rieu says "This is our last piece for the evening," don't believe him. Handel's "Halleluja" was supposed to be the finale, and he played for an additional half an hour after that.

A lovely evening.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

shiva call

So on Monday I got an email from a friend, telling me her father died Sunday night. The funeral was Wednesday afternoon, and she'd be sitting shiva Wednesday night throught Sunday night.

I wasn't able to go to the funeral, but I paid a shiva call Wednesday night.

Our synagogue has minyan - an evening service - every night. When someone is sitting shiva, we move the service from the synagogue to the home of the mourners. We as a community come together to comfort the bereaved.

I recited the prayers and made conversation.

And cried. Cried for my friend, who lost her father.

And cried for myself, imagining myself in my friend's role.

Friday, November 25, 2011

a (relatively) drama free holiday

There were some arguments and tears before the guests arrived. But for the most part the holiday was fun rather than stressful.

My three sisters do all the cooking and my contribution is cake and pie from Reinwald's, the best bakery on Long Island.

At the table this year - my parents, my three sisters, Jen and Becca and our good friend Jenn and her three boys. Greg is 21, Matt is 17 and Ben is 14.

Matt is a high school senior, his band marched in the Philadelphia parade this morning. Very exciting.

These boys are the closest thing to cousins that my girls have. The five young people (two of them aren't teenagers anymore!) like to hang out in the living room and watch movies. This time around Matt spent a lot of time asking Becca about colleges.

The best moment of the night?

We were about to have dessert. Jen brought a can of Reddi Whip into the dining room. Just before she put it on the table, she squirted some into her mouth. . . Then acted very sheepish when Jenn said something about liking whipped cream like that. Then Jen squirted whipped cream into Matt's mouth. And Greg's.

We also sang happy birthday to Jen and to Jenn. Both have November birthdays.

Overall a great holiday.

And I get to do it all again at Drew's house tonight.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

movie review - Tower Heist

Saw this movie two weeks ago. Loved it!

It was shot on location in NYC and I enjoyed seeing familiar local land marks. They actually recreated the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (complete with a Matt Lauer cameo) for the pivotal scenes in the film.

Ben Stiller is wonderful as the central character, the manager of the fictitious "Tower" (really Trump Tower). Alan Alda is sufficientky evil as the Bernie Madoff type. Matthew Broderick plays the former Wall Street broker (Broderick is not aging well, I almost didn't recognize him.) But Eddie Murphy, as the petty criminal they hire to help them steal from Alda's penthouse, steals the movie.

Definitely worth the price of admission!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

stressed out college student

Came home ranting and raving about crazy professors and dumb grad students who don't know how to teach and OMG she has SO much work to do . . .

"sophomore" = "wise fool"

Though she's probably right -- there's at least one prof that's certifyable.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Home for the holidayd

Two college students will arrive home tonight.

Can't wait to see my girls!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Laundered money

I never check the pockets of my jeans before I wash them, because I never put anything in my pocjets.

Never say "never".

Opened the dryer last night and found a freshly laundered dollar bill.

A Fiddler on the Roof . . .

You know Fiddler is one of my favorite musicals, the first one I'd ever seen live on a Broadway stage, the one with cultural significance for my family. I blogged about it here

Yesterday Drew and I were discussing all the events we planned for the next few months and he said "You forgot about Fiddler."

We have tickets to see a touring company of the show at a local college.

And I completely forgot!

I should maybe cancel my membership in the Tevye fan club.

Saw the movie again yesterday on TMC.

Still wonderful.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

dinner at Red Lobster

So last night Drew decided that after the emotionally exhausting week he had he wanted, no, he DESERVED a lobster dinner. Since we are Long Islanders, lobster is readily available in a variety of places and prices ranges, from the supermarket up to the fanciest seafood restaurant on the North Shore.

Last night we wound up in Red Lobster. Yeah, it's a chain, but the food is actually pretty good.

We shared an appetizer - mushroom stuffed with lobster and crab - lots of butter and cheese in that dish. Salad and their famous cheddar biscuits. Drew had a lobster bake - lobster tails and assorted shellfish over linguini. I did the "create your own" with fried shrimp, a steak and garlic grilled shrimp. Brought half of it home for tonight's dinner.

Wasn't happy with the service last night. The four people at the hostess station were so involved in conversation that they left us standing for an eternity before greeting us and taking our name for a table. The 25 minute wait turned into 40. The kitchen was so slow we got our salad before our appetizer, then had to wait a very long time for the entree. Our waitress even got confused and offered us dessert and coffee before she served the meal.

I do like the place, though, so I am sure we will go back.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving plans

the cute app on my tablet tells me it's 4 days 14 hours and40 minutes until Thanksgiving.

As if I need an app for that.

I love Thanksgiving. And this year I get to celebrate twice.

At my parents' house on Thursday all the food will be home made "from scratch". On Friday at Drew's house instant mashed potatoes and Stovetop Stuffing will rule the day.

Both feasts will be wonderful.

Let the countdown begin.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nablopomo prompt - describe a favorite place. Focus on how that place affects your sense of taste, touch, sight, sound, or smell.

Times Square. The crossroads of the world. Always crowded, always vibrating with excitement. You can feel the city pulse and surge around you. The soaring buildings, the myriad of over sized billboards and bright lights, the news zippers by ABC News and on One Times Square(where you can still see the New Year's Eve ball), the yellow cabs and pedi cabs...have your picture taken with Sponge Bob or Elmo or the Statue of Liberty, or New York's own Naked Cowboy. Close your eyes and listen to the street musician playing the sax, the hawkers offering tickets for the comedy clubs, the peddlers selling "I Love New York" tee shirts and "designer" bags for $10 ...The car exhaust mixes with the earthier aroma of something a police horse left behind...Get a burger at Hard Rock, a pizza at John's (whole pie only, they do not sell slices) or a Reuben at Ellen's Stardust Diner. Treat yourself to something sweet at the Hershey Store or buy a clever candy dish at the M&M store...then see the show at the Marquis Theater...

But if you want the true Big Apple a hot dog or a pretzel from the cart on the corner of Broadway and West 44th Street...

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Suzanne likes Shellac and gels.

I'm a bit more traditional in method but not in execution.

I am a Sally Hanson fan.

Blue Streak Insta-Dri topped with Vintage Violet Crackle.

elder care

I am fortunate, at my age, to still have both of my parents. But life with my aging parents. . . Well, it is difficult to watch the physical and mental deterioration. Last night my sister Honey and I had a frank talk about how to take charge and what needs to be done to maintain our parents' home, all the tasks my mother is no longer capable of performing. stuff like getting the bills paid on time, calling a plumber or repairman, picking up meds at the pharmacy. The "good" news of the evening is that my dad actually asked us to get him a handicapped parking permit, which will make his life so much easier.

And while I am dealing with this . . .Drew is in Florida attending to his father. Drew's father is a widower, currently living in a nursing home. He had life-altering surgery last week and Drew flew down to make sure all is well . . .Or rather, as well as can be expected.

Drew has been his father's caregiver for several years now, handles his father's finances, etc. Wants to bring his father back to New York but can't figure out how to do it.

And now he's got issues with his uncle -- his father's brother. Uncle never had children of his own and it's falling to Drew to see to his uncle.

They call us the sandwich generation ....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

and nobody noticed!

You know I love earrings, I've posted about them before. I've had pierced ears most of my adult life. Pretty, dangling earrings kept me sane at a bad time in my life.

Back in September, purely on impulse, I stopped at Piercing Pagoda on my way home from work, and added a second hole in each ear. So for the last two months I've been walking around wearing two pairs of earrings.



I mean, I know my hair is long enough to cover my ears. But still . . .

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christmas in NYC . . . already?

So on Saturday we took the train into Manhattan and walked up to Radio City Music Hall.

It's not even Thanksgiving yet but the city is already starting to look like Christmas . The tree has arrived in Rockefeller Center but it isn't decorated or lit. Macy's is decorated, but the Herald Square windows won't be revealed until next week. Though I was disappointed to see that "Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus" now occupies the 34th Street windows instead od "Miracle on 34th St."

But inside Radio City, Christmas has arrived. You know what to expect from this show. Santa, precision dancing from the Rockettes including lots of high kicks, a teddy bear version of "The Nutcracker", the parade of wooden soldiers and the living Nativity. I like the Central Park scene with real figure skaters.

And you even get to hear the famed organ playing Christmas music.

Afterwards we walked up to 57th Street for dinner at Jekyll & Hyde . . . Where it is always Halloween. Seriously it's like eating dinner in a haunted mansion. Actors provide the creepy entertainment. All in good fun.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cinderella's parking lot?

So every morning I drive to the train station to begin my long commute.

The commuter parking lot is huge. It wraps around a small strip mall. Rather than trudge through the commuter lot if you park at the very back of the commuter lot it's faster to take a shortcut through the shopping center.

There are three storefront restaurants here, selling pizza, Chinese and West Indian food. I suspect the neighborhood teens hang out here, since the parking lot is often littered with food containers and soda cans.

But there's something else . . .

One day last summer, as I was making my way to the train, I saw it. A green flip flop. Not a pair of flip flops, mind you. Just a single green sandal. It sat there for about a week, and then it was gone.

A few weeks later, I spotted a single sneaker.

Last week it was a high heeled pump, brown suede, with an ankle strap.

There's always one shoe, never a pair, and never another article of clothing.

And the shoe disappears after a few days.

If it's not some Cinderella fantasy being played out I have no idea what's going on.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

mmm . . . Mallomars!

Nabisco first introduced this sweet treat in 1913 and sold them in West Hoboken, NJ. Even now over 70% of all the Mallomars produced are sold in the NYC area.

A plain cookie . . . Topped with marshmallow . . .Covered in rich dark chocolate. So simple yet so wonderful.

I think part of the mystique is that they're taken off the market every summer, to return in the fall. This was a necessity in the days before refrigeration. Now it's just a tradition.

Mmmm . . .Mallomars . . .

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The time is out of joint

No, this isn't a review of Hamlet. Though I do have a passion for Shakespeare.

It's just that, for the last few weeks, time has been "off".

It started at the beginning of October.

The Jewish holidays came "late" this year. The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar, so Jewish holidays don't neatly coincide with secular dates. Rosh Hashanah can be early in September or at the end of the month. Yom Kippur,10 days later, can sometimes occur in October. And that's what happened this year.

So there I was, on a Saturday morning in early October, participating in a solemn, introspective ritual.

And that night we went to the Bayville Scream Park. We love to visit this place, but usually go towards the end of October. It's a very Halloween-oriented activity. But this year we went early because we went with friends.Which left us nothing "Halloweenish" to do when the holiday actually arrived. A bit anti-climatic.

Then there were the things I couldn't control. Mother Nature, for one. I love October because of the fall foliage. It usually reaches its peak right around Halloween -- there's actually a picture of me taken in early November 1990, taken in my parents' yard, just days before Jen was born, and behind me the fall foliage was in all its glory. But this year the foliage was "late". i/e/. we were still in the "some color" stage on October 29, when we got hit with a freak winter storm...we actually got snow. Leaves on the trees were still green, and we got snow...

And let me rant a bit about daylight savings time. We turned the clocks back on November 6th this year, later than ever before. Really upset my rhythm.

So it's the middle of November now, we've just observed Veteran's Day, we're planning what to serve for Thanksgiving...

So guess where Drew and I are going tonight?

We've got tickets to see the Rockettes. Yes, we're going to Radio city to see the Christmas Show.

Friday, November 11, 2011

on the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year

The called it the war to end all wars, but it didn't....

Today is Veterans Day. The day we honor those men and women who've proudly worn the uniform of their country.

I've mentioned before that my father is a WW II veteran, served in Italy. reason enough to celebrate.

But this year we have even more reason to celebrate.

After nearly 9 years, the Iraq War will soon be over. The American forces are coming home.

May true peace come to all of us.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On this day in 1975

the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior.

You know I like the Gordon Lightfoot song

Every year around this time I become a bit obsessed with it.

I don't remember hearing about the wreck on the news, didn't know back then that the song was based on a real event. Only recently have I made the effort to learn about the actual ship, not the ship as portrayed by Lightfooot.

He did take some license, but for the most part he stuck to the facts.

Love the poetry of the song though....the witch of November come stealing....the waves turn the minutes to hours....and farther below Lake Ontario takes in what Lake Erie can send her....

And despite the confusing lyrics...gthe church bell chimbed 29 times, one time for each man on board the ship,

Good music endures.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

at least I got a dinner out of it . . .

The saga of the debit card continues.

So Becca's new card arrived in the mail, and on Tuesday I brought it to her. Bought her dinner, stopped in Duane Reade for shampoo and laundry detergent . . .

On Wednesday she called me and told me the new card was defective. The bank is sending another one.

I think this time she's coming home to get her card.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

movie review -- in honor of Election Day

I recently saw The Ides of March. I was a little disappointed, I thought it was a George Clooney movie. While Clooney produced and directed it, his character is a supporting role . . . The movie belongs to Ryan Gosling.

As for the merits . . . It's very talky, builds way too slowly towards the climax. It's about idealusm vs. "dirty politics."

It isn't the least bit subtle and events are telegraphed to the audience before they occur; there are no surprises here.

Though I did live Cloobey as the candidate. He has injected his personal political viewpoint ibto the story, and I felt myself wishing he was a real candidate, not a character in a movie.

Overall I liked it, but my friend did not.

Monday, November 7, 2011

21 years ago today

My first born child came into this world.

You hold your child in your arms, you can't believe such tiny perfection is actually yours.

You try to imagine what she'll be like in 5 years...10...15.

And you blink your eyes....and here she is, a woman grown.

I remember the day she was born as if it was yesterday. Where did all those years go?

Happy birthday, Jen. I am so proud of you!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mitzvah Day . . . again

It's an annual event at the synagogue. It's a time to teach our kids the importance of doing for others.

My project is to make sandwiches. Cream cheese and jelly sandwiches (we don't do peanut butter - allergies) which will be delivered to an outreach center. Some will be used in their after school program, the rest in their soup kitchen.

We collect cell phones. The company that recycles their parts donates the proceeds for calling cards for soldiers serving in war zones overseas.

A local salon owner comes to cut hair for Locks of Love. This year he may also do those feather extensions . . .supporting the American Cancer Society.

Of course we have the blood drive.

And the kids can make toiletry kits for families in homeless shelters - a decorated paper bag with sample sizes of shampoo, soap,toothpaste . . .

Books for Israel . . .The public schools in that country need books written in English, so we send paperbacks.

So many projects . . . And so many more we could do . . .

The poverty I see these days overwhelms me. And it's getting worse.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

blogging for bloggings sake

That's this month's NaBloPoMo theme.

Are you blogging for a reason? Or just because you want to do it?

As a tween and teen, even into my 20's, I kept a diary or journal. Filled many notebooks with my scribblings.

And then I . . .Stopped. I won't go into the reasons now . . . There were a few abortive attempts to start again, some half-filled notebooks. But once the pattern was broken I couldn't get it back.

And then I discovered the internet. And then I discovered blogging.

And rediscovered what I thought I'd left behind.

Jotting down my thoughts gives me pleasure. Having an audience is icing on the cake.

Friday, November 4, 2011

guilty pleasures -- reality TV

My latest guilty pleasure -- Bridezillas.

The girls are all trashy, self-centered, egotistical witches. Most of them are broke, and the ones with money think the world revolves around them because they have a few dollars in their pockets.

I think some of them are putting on a show for the camera, but some of them....well, you wonder if they have any idea how bad they look.

Really, it's like watching a train wreck. You just can't turn away. the more outrageous the behavior, the more entertaining the show...

and then, when I've had enough of their bratty behavior....

I watch My Fair Wedding. The brides on that show are so grateful and so gracious.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

RIP Daisy cat

songbird's rescue mission

So the same weekend Jen had the crisis with her car, Becca had a crisis too.

She called me from Philly, where she was visiting a friend. She was half hysterical.

Seems she got a phone call from her bank's fraud department.Someone used her debit card to make an online purchase, $300 worth of software.

She'd taken care of all the necessary stuff with the bank before she called me. And fortunately she already had her bus ticket back to NYC.

But she had a problem. The bank is sending her new debit card to her permanent address, and she was told it takes 5-7 business days to replace the card. She wasn't able to get to her bank to make a withdrawal, and she had about $8 in her wallet.

So on a Sunday night I found myself on the train, headed into the city to meet up with Becca, to give her some cash to tide her over until the bank situation is fully resolved.

I felt a bit guilty running into the city to rescue Becca just two days after telling Jen I was tapped out...but the circumstances are very different, aren't they?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lord knows I love her dearly, but sometimes . . .

So when Jen was home last weekend (and yes, she does need glasses, but only for driving at night), she took her car over to the dealer for an oil change.

Her car. The one she cannot afford but thinks I'm speaking Greek when I say so.

To be fair, she came up with the down payment. And even though my mother signed the loan papers, Jen has made (almost) every monthly payment.

But I pay the insurance, and the monthly premium is twice what the loan payment is.

So while she was there, the mechanic told her she needed two new tires and new brake pads, the rear brakes were shot. She told him to go ahead and do the work.

And only after it was done did she ask if I could pick up the tab.

Well, no, I'm a bit tapped out -- I paid the insurance, I paid for her trip last summer and I just gave her a chunk of money to indulge herself on her upcoming birthday. I couldn't give her the money even if I wanted to.

And more importantly, she didn't discuss the repairs with me before authorizing them (Drew says she could have saved a huge amount if she'd gone elsewhere), she acted first then expected me to pay for it -- a pattern she's falling into. and when I asked her exactly what work was done to the car, she couldn't expalin it to me. When you own a car you should have a real idea of what the mechanic is telling you.

Drew told her he'd give her some of the money she needed, but she'd have to go by his house and see him. She found half a dozen reasons why it was too inconvenient.

Ultimately my mother paid for the repairs....

Rolling my eyes here just a bit.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NabloPoMo redux

Once again I take the proverbial pen in hand (which is much more poetic than saying my fingers are hitting the keyboard) and join NaBloPoMo.

All you have to do is write a blog post every day for an entire month.

Sounds easy.

It isn't.

You have to be disciplined and you have to feel the creative juices flowing, or you will be hopelessly lost.

So here it goes.

And this time around I'll be cross posting my best stuff on the NaBloPoMo site.

Wish me luck.

Monday, October 31, 2011

poor cat

She has a mass in her abdomen. He prescribed drops for the eye infection and sent her home.

Sigh. . .

Still dealing with the sadness from Drew's cat Cookie . . .

And right now my sisters are at the vet with our cat Daisy.

Daisy is 16.  She has always been tiny, but strong and healthy.

She hasn't really been eating or drinking much lately and now she's skin and bones.  And lethargic. And it looks like she has some sort of infection in her eyes.  I picjed her up this morning and started to cry.

I think I already know what the vet is going to say.

Mr. Kitty just spent a few days at the animal hospital, he had a very treatable infection. He's home now and doing fine. I think my sisters are hoping the vet can treat Daisy and she'll be ok, too.

I am not so optimistic.

So true!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another lesson in the rituals of mourning

As if my children needed additional "lessons" . . .

Both girls were upset when Drew told them about Cookie.  She was their cat, they picked her out at the animal shelter, they chose her name.

Drew decided to have the cat cremated, and he wants to spread the ashes in the back yard.  Cookie was an indoor cat, she never left the house, but she loved to sit on the window sill and look at all the activity in the yard.

He'll get the ashes in 2 weeks.  And when the girls come for Thanksgiving we will have a little ceremony to say goodbye.


A sweet ginger cat who loved her human family unconditionally.  Drew got her 11 years ago, when she was just a kitten.  He took Jen and Becca to the animal shelter to pick out a cat.

Drew is devastated.  And I'm trying to figure out how to tell the girls.

RIP Cookie

Monday, October 24, 2011

The tablet ate my blog post

Love my new tablet.

I have an app for blogger.  Lets me type pists and save them to the tablet if I don't want to publish immediately.

Spent 20 minutes during lunch typing a post.

Tablet lost its 3G connection.

And I lost my post.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

OMG -- too funny!

So tonight Drew and I went to the movies . . . Saw the latest incarnation of "The Three Musketeers" in 3D (can you imagine Orlando Bloom as a villain?)  movie was ok, kind of fun to watch the fight sequences in slow motion and 3D.

Afterwards he surprised me with reservations at PF Chang's.  We were there last winter . . . I even wrote a detailed review for Urbanspoon . . .and it was time to go back.

So we ordered from the prix fixe menu.  Dinner for two includes two bowls of soup, one appetizer, two entrees and either two mini desserts or one larger dessert to share.

So he had the egg drop soup and I had the hot and sour.  We ordered steamed pork dumplings. Cridpy honeyed shrimp and Mongolian beef.  He had the cheesecake and I had "The Great Wall of Chocolate."  food was good, service was mediocre.

We finished dinner and went out to the car.  I took out my phone and opened my Urbanspoon app to see if I wanted to update ny review.

So first I had to read my review from last March.

And I started to laugh.

Tonight' s menu was identical to what we ordered back in March.  And the service was just as lacking.

No need to update the review . . .

Thursday, October 20, 2011


It's time for Jen to renew her driver's license.  Can't believe she's been driving for four years!

Anyhow, she didn't think she'd need a vision test.  The DMV recently dropped the rule.  But then the governor reinstated the rule.  She could go to the DMV to do the test, but she's away at school. . . So she went to an optometrist.

Who told her she has an astigmatism in each eye and needs glasses to drive.

Jen wore glasses for an astigmatism for a brief time in elementary school, but her opthamolgist decided she didn't need them anymore . . .

Her father wears glasses.  I wear glasses.

So we were not surprised.

But Jen was shocked.

So tomorrow she' s going to the opthamologist.  Who is also a family friend.

I think she's hoping he'll tell her the optometrist was mistaken.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Once again I have participated in this very important event.

Every year I swear I'll get up early and beat the traffic to Jones Beach.  And every year I wind up in a traffic jam trying to get into the parking lot.

But eventually I park, and make my way to the registration tent. . . You can see the penants flying long before you reach the tent.

When I first started walking, Jen walked with her cheer team and Becca walked with Key Club, so my time wasn't my own.  But now I can visit the Survivor's tent and take my time talking with other survivors.  I can collect my pink t-shirt and other badges of my status.

The weather was warm today, I took off my sweatshirt even before I hit the boardwalk.  But it was windy, I had to use bobby pins to keep my baseball cap from flying off.

I love to see all the walkers . . .school groups, unions, corporate teams, local hospital employees, friends of cancer patients. . .today I saw a group of fire fighters in dress uniform.  Most walkers wear pink. . .many wear slogans like "Fight Like a Girl" or "Hope Starts With Me."

Volunteers are positioned along the path to hand out bottled water and cheer on the walkers . . . Today I was high-fived just for being a survivor.

It's so strange to see the boardwalk so crowded you can barely move, and almost no one on the beach itself.  Though today I did see a group of cheerleaders stunting on the beach today.

You walk 2 1/2 miles along the boardwalk and turn around and walk back.  There's a memorial on the fence at the turnaround point.  It gives me immense satisfaction to add my contribution to the fence every year.  It's proof I'm still here!

And today . . . Senator Schumer was there, at the starting point of the walk, to greet all the walkers. . .I am a political junkie and a fan of the Senator, and was thrilled when he posed for a photo with me.

All in all, a great day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The song was released 40 years ago today.

Some things are ageless.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Writers block

For some reason I cannot think of anything to blog about!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bayville Scream Park!

From the ridiculous to the sublime ... Or visa versa.

Spent Saturday morning in synagogue, observing Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year.

Saturday night...Bayville Scream Park.

Bayville is a small community on Long Island Sound, not far from Oyster Bay (we drove past the Teddy Roosevelt statue ong our way).  When you stand on the beach in Bayville you look across the water to Westchester - my GPS actually placed me in Rye.  No wonder they wanted to build a bridge here!

The bayville adventure park is right across the street from the public beach. During the summer there's miniature golf, bumper boats, a video game arcade...

But after Labor Day the park is transformed.  There's a toned down version for young kids during the day ...

But at night ... Creepy!

There are five haunted attractions.  Creepy decorations, fog machines, strobe lights, lots of atmosphere. 

The actors talk to you, scream at you, follow you...but they're not allowed to touch you.

Drew and I have been going for a few years now, but this year we brought friends with us.

We have a great time playing along with the actors and watching the teen girls' reactions -last year Drew had a bunch of girls screaming before they even got into one of the haunted attractions just by banging on a wall and doing a maniacal laugh.

Each of the five attractions has a back story and a theme of its own.

First up was Bloodworth Manor, a Gold Coast mansion with a dark secret.  Very gory.

Next was Temple of Doom, a maze with a theme right out of "The Mummy".

Evil in the Woods is at the back of the park and actually feels isolated.

Uncle Needles Fun House.  Clowns gone bad.

And last but not least, Zombie Pirates.  Tortured Drew a little by singing the pirates song from POTC ...we got stuck on the ride at Disney for 25 minutes last summer.  Yo ho yo ho a pirate's life for me.

We ended the evening next door at Ship Wreck Tavern ...a nautical themed restaurant with and outdoor tiki bar.  There's a huge fish tank behind the bar.  A second tznk is home to two huge Moray eels.  We sat next to the eel tank and watched theme while we ate.  Hot wings and shipwreck burgers.

Can't wait to go back next year!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

the solemnity of the day

Hear our prayer
We have sinned before Thee
Have compassion upon us and upon our children
Help us bring an end to pestilence, war, and famine
Cause all hate and oppression to vanish from the earth
Inscribe us for blessing in the Book Of Life
Let the new year be a good year for us

Friday, October 7, 2011

New toy!

Just got a tablet - a Samsung Galaxy7.  No it's not an iPad but it's still great fun.

Yom Kippur...again

Yom Kippur, a Day of Remembrance.

We fast and pray, separate ourselves from the physical world and seek the spiritual. We record the passage of time.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Of wanderlust and travelogues

As my 50th birthday approached (can you believe it's almost two years ago?) I knew I needed to celebrate in a big way, and began planning a Caribbean cruise. I, go someplace where I'd never been before, to see unfamiliar parts of the world.Just about the time we were planning the trip, I won two tickets to a Jimmy Buffett concert. Jimmy's music was perfect, it set the tone for the partying that followed on the ship. I'd never really been a fan of his before, but after that concert I was hooked. A true Parrothead.

And so I read his books....Tales From Margaritaville, A Salty Piece of Land, Swine Not, and his autobiography, A Pirate Looks at Fifty, the last being a bit of a travelogue, describing the special trip he took to Central America to celebrate his 50th birthday. Gee, why would that hit home?

Jimmy's themes of growing older but not up, of life being an adventure, of the need to party and have fun, synced perfectly with my mood as I planned my birthday trip.

A few months ago I visited San Diego on business. I'd never been to the West coast before, and Southern California was so different from anywhere I'd been before -- my travels until then were limited to the East Coast, Canada and the Caribbean. The 6 hour flight across the country, and the dramatic differences in the landscape there, made me realize just how little of the world I've actually seen.

Around this time I heard that On The Road is about to be made into a movie. And I realized I'd never read Kerouac's masterpiece, or for that matter, anything he'd written. So I downloaded it to my nook. Struggled through it. The writing style is brilliant -- he writes as if he's having a conversation with the reader, as if he's talking about mutual friends the reader is presumed to know. I was pulled into the book early on, by the beautiful descriptions of the glorious landscape of our country. But the Beatnik lifestyle, so shocking to the readership of the 1950's, is ready quite commonplace to 21st century eyes. And ultimately the plot leads to disillusionment and despair.

but how well I understand the wanderlust!

The last book I want to mention is John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley. I read this book in my teens, before I read The Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice and Men, before I knew who Steinbeck really was. It was a paperback I found in my parents' basement, with Steinbeck and his poodle staring out at the reader from the book's cover. The book romanticizes travel around the country...early on, Steinbeck relates that as he was preparing his vehicle (a truck with a cabin mounted on it), the neighbor boy is jealous and wants to go...anywhere...with Steinbeck.
And so did I...

Although the themes of On the Road are so very very different than Steinbeck's story, reading Kerouac made me nostalgic for Charley. So I downloaded it to my nook. I wonder what Steinbeck, who lamented the homogenized, technologically advanced society he discovered on his trip in 1960, would think of a device that does away with paper and the printed word...

The book was written in 1960, the year I was born, and I first read it in 1975 or so. Reading it now, in 2011, is an interesting experience. I see so much now that my younger eyes weren't able to capture...Steinbeck was 58 when he wrote the book, and although he doesn't elaborate on it, he was seriously ill, and he knew this would be his last chance to see the country.

But the love of travel and the joy of seeing new landscapes...that still rings out from Steinbeck's prose.

And yes, I can understand the wanderlust.

and yes, I want to go....anywhere...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

the ebb and flow .....

Time and tide wait for no man.
Geoffrey Chaucer

A single breaker may recede; but the tide is evidently coming in.
Thomas B. Macaulay

Jen called me yesterday using her friend Andy's phone.

As soon as I realized the unfamiliar number in the caller ID was Jen, I had to ask what happened to her phone.....

Seems she and Andy went to the beach's just a short walk from the house she's renting....and left their things on the sand while they waded into the water.

She didn't realize the tide was coming in....

At least she backed up all her data....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Time to whine

If whining and long descriptions of symptoms turn you off, stop reading this and move on to something more pleasant.

My greatest health challenge: cold and flu season.

Mind you, I am a cancer survivor. But when you are in treatment for cancer, it's a battle. No matter how ill you feel, you're in the fight for your life. So you put on your armor and engage in the struggle.

I have many friends who deal with chronic, debilitating illness. Having a cold or the flu is nothing compared to that, I'm sure.

But it's cold and flu season, so let me be a little self-indulgent for the moment.

Because I can't stand having a cold.

You know where it hits me the hardest? My ears.

You would think, after two bouts of bronchitis and a case of pneumonia that put me in the hospital for four days, that my lungs would be the most vulnerable to the germs making the rounds. You'd be wrong.

Spring 2004. Bad cold, major congestion in my sinuses. It felt as though my head was wrapped in cotton, everything filtering through the congestion. Sudafed wasn't helping and was making my heart race and bloodpressure skyrocket.

And then I realized I couldn't hear out of my right ear.

Finally gave in and went to the doctor. And heard those words "bilateral otitis media".

I knew what that was, I'd seen the pediatrician write it in Becca's chart countless times.

An ear infection. In BOTH ears.

In fact the doctor hadn't seen eardrums that badly blistered in .... Well, he couldn't remember when.

It took three weeks of antibiotics and Flonase to clear everything up.

Yesterday I felt it ... scratchy throat, a few sneezes ... and then that burning, itchy sensation in my right ear, the feeling that my ear is draining into my throat ...

All hail Dayquil, that miracle of modern science.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I know it sounds a bit bizarre...

Saw Camelot done at a regional theater today. One of my favorite musicals!

Ejoy this clip from the movie:

35 days

I think she can manage for 35 days. ;-)

Frustrated text message from Jen: "I hate that you had me so late in the year!"

Seems she is the youngest among her friends. They've all turned 21. And like all newly-minted "adults" they are enjoying their new-found status by socializing in the local college bars.

Where Jen cannot go because she is not yet 21.

Her birthday is in 35 days.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, September 25, 2011

hold on to a man who cooks!

Drew makes breakfast for me every Sunday morning. he can make scrambled eggs, french toast, pancakes, bacon, sausage ... and he recently added a waffle iron to his repertoire.

now I have to go buy him a Keurig so he'll stop making that horrid instant coffee.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

inspired by recent events

of boys and friends and boyfriends

did I mention that Becca broke up with her boyfriend in mid August?  His idea, not hers.  and did I mention they got back together a few weeks later?  Don't feel bad if you can't keep up, I didn't know about the reconciliation until last week, when I took her out to dinner and she casually mentioned she'd spent the previous weekend at his college in Pennsylvania.

poor Jen.  about halfway through the summer she stopped hanging with a certain group of friends and I didn't know why.  turns out she she had a falling out with her friend Sara.  since Sara was always with that group of friends, Jen chose to hang out with other friends instead.   you guessed it, the disagreement was over a boy ....someone Jen liked but the boy asked Sara out...and Sara didn't tell Jen and when Jen found out ...

but the funniest part of this post is the email I got from Drew's sister.   seems auntie has a friend whose grandson is 26 and in medical school....grandma wants grandson to meet a nice Jewish girl....and auntie is trying to play matchmaker....Jen has reached the age where well-meaning relatives are trying to fix her up,,,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

a hush falls over Collinwood....

I first heard about Johnny Depp's Dark Shadows 2 years ago

The movie is scheduled to open in May 2012.

we've now seen a glimpse of what the movie will be like:

Depp sinks teeth into 'Dark Shadows' role

Actor Johnny Depp at a photo call for For those  who remember running home from school in the 1960s and '70s to watch the soap opera, "Dark Shadows,"  there's a film version on the way with actor Johnny Depp starring as the vampire, Barnabas Collins.
The website has just released first photos from the set of Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" adaptation. Johnny Depp looks like a typical, creepy, colorful, Burton character as he takes his turn as Barnabas, famously played in the television series by actor Jonathan Frid.
The soap opera, which aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971, is centered around the Collins family and its run-ins with the supernatural and Halloween-like creatures.
The film, set to be released in 2012, is currently in production in the United Kingdom and will also star Burton's wife and muse, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Moretz, Eva Green and Michelle Pfeiffer.
The official film synopsis from Warner Bros. Pictures reads:
"In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son, Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England, to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued the family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet -- or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine.
As the master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy, "until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death -- turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive.
"Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring his or her own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), to help with her family troubles."

Monday, September 19, 2011

visiting the cemetery

So yesterday I talked about Jewish custom and the purpose of our trip to the cemetery.  Looking at the post, it was so businesslike....

Today I'll be more emotional about it.

My mother's family is buried in United Hebrew, a small Jewish cemetery in Staten Island.  My father's family is at Beth David, in Elmont, here on Long Island.  When I was a child it would be a major event to visit United Hebrew -- my parents would pick up my grandmother and my aunts and we'd make a day of it.  Often there'd be other relatives along for the visit, too.    Young rabbinical students used to try to earn a few dollars by reciting prayers over each grave in Hebrew.  After we'd say prayers at the graves of the dearly departed, we'd gather at a local diner and the living would catch up with family business.

I was less familiar with Beth David, it being easy for my father to pay his respects without the entourage. 

I think my parents stopped dragging us on the yearly pilgrimage when I was in my teens. 

I never went to family funerals when I was a child or teenager, I think my parents wanted to shield us from such raw grief.  We'd go to the shiva house afterwards, we'd go to the unveiling, but not to the funeral itself.

I was a grown woman, recently married, the first time I went to a family funeral.  for that matter, it was the first time I'd been to anyone's funeral.  I wasn't very close to my Aunt Annie, my father's older sister, but I remember how upset my cousin Adrienne was...Beth David in the rain, and Adrienne talking to the family members buried there, telling them who was coming to join them....

There have been all too many funerals since then, all too many trips to the cemetery...

Last year, when my Aunt Bernice died, my daughters came to the funeral.  It was their first family funeral, though not the first funeral either had attended  -- that would have been the funeral of the senior class president, who died the night before homecoming the year Jen was a junior and Becca a freshman.  They hadn't been to United Hebrew since the unveiling for my grandmother, who died in 1996.  After the service we took them to see the graves of other family members.  They didn't have all those years of the annual visit to the graves of relatives they'd never me. And I realized that they were missing an important connection, and that they sought it out the day of the funeral.

Yesterday's trip to United Hebrew was bittersweet.  A cool, autumnal day, perfect for wandering in an open field...I'm the one who organized the excursion, I'm the one who drove to Staten Island.  My mother kept saying that she would have driven there herself, but we won't let her....she keeps her driving to local roads near home these days.  It's a small cemetery, but she couldn't remember the location of the family graves...we drove around for about 15-20 minutes before I finally figured it out.  My father was so frail I had to help him get out of the car and walk to the graves.  And I was the one who read the father couldn't remember the Hebrew, so I said a prayer in English.

It was the first time in my adult life that I was there for a visit, not a funeral or unveiling.  I got a chance to really look at the grandmother, my grandfather, my Aunt Eileen, who died when Jen was a baby.  My mother's aunts and uncles, her cousins...Bernice's grave, just aching for a headstone.  My mother says her grandfather is buried in a different section of the cemetery, across the road from everyone else...and there is an infant, buried near the trees, my grandmother's firstborn who died at birth...though we didn't visit those graves, my mother felt the need to mention that they're there.

After we prayed, my mother went to each of the graves and spoke to her relatives briefly....we couldn't find any rocks or pebbles to mark our visit, but my mother said it didn't matter, because she "left a piece of her heart" at each grave....

Live and be well, we will be back at United Hebrew soon for an unveiling.  But what was also on my mind....this is the place where my parents have chosen to be buried.  And I shudder to think when that might be.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The rituals of mourning ... again

It is incumbent upon Jews to remember the souls of our dearly departed. Long after the funeral and the official period of mourning there are ways in which we remember. Each year on the anniversary of a loved one's death (their yartzeit ) we light a candle that will burn for 24 hours. And the Kaddish - the mourners' prayer - is recited in the synagogue.

Several times during the year - most notably at Yom Kippur - there is a special service called Yizkor. During the service we remember our loved ones.

And then there's the custom of visiting the cemetery. The custom is to make a visit in the weeks before Rosh HaShanah. You visit each grave, leaving a pebble on the headstone so others will know you've been there. You recite prayers - Kaddish if you have a minyan (quorum ), other prayers if you do not.

So today I took my parents to the cemetery where my mother's family is buried. My mother needed to fulfill the rituals. And I wanted to see my grandfather's grave.

My grandfather died in 1943. I've seen the grave countless times. But today I wanted a picture of the headstone.

I want my Rabbi to read the Hebrew inscription.

Inscribed on a gravestone is the deceased's name and the name of his or her father. We're working on my aunt's headstone right now and I want to make sure they get everything right. Easier to correct a blueprint than an engraving...

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rennaisance Faire

We usually go in August, but this year we never found the time. I think I like it better in cooler weather .... but by the end of the day I was actually shivering.

We like the funny stuff .... the nuns who sing silly songs, the knife throwers with their comedic patter, the juggler/magician / mime who can make an audience laugh with just a look. Must sees include the living chess board and the joust.

Next year I plan to go in costume.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Feline politics

Living with three cats can be ... interesting.

I've written about my sweet, delicate Daisy. 16 years old, weighs all of six pounds, prefers the company of humans to that of other cats. She is a real princess ... but with excellent hunting skills. A great communicator, she will stand and meow at you until you realize what she wants.

Mr. Kitty is a roly poly boy. He weighs about 20 pounds. Very laid back, he can often be found sleeping on the floor, belly exposed, paws in the air. He was a starving kitty when he came here. He equates food with love and he needs a lot of both. He's a perfect little brother -- he likes to pester Daisy, chase after her, steal her food.

Now we add Redford into the mix. While Daisy and Mr. Kitty were kittens when they arrived here, Redford was a full grown tomcat when he joined our family last winter. He's really great with people, not so much with other cats. He gets along ok with the other cats in our house, But he fights with other cats in the neighborhood ... Pick him up and realize he's all muscle. He's playful at home, chases Mr. Kitty ( I think the Kittyman likes being chased) and poor little Daisy, who would rather be an only cat.

Drew's cat, Cookie, is an only cat. If Daisy had a clue she'd want to trade places...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 -- again

it's been 10 years.

the media in inundating us with remembrances.  as if anyone could forget.

I've written about it before:

I was driving to work, listening to WPLJ, and Scott and Todd were interviewing  a guy who'd seen the first plane hit the WTC.  The second plane hit during the interview.  I will never forget the shock in that man's voice. 

At work we huddled around the small TV in the gym.  that is, when we weren't phone trying to find family members, friends and coworkers.  Our firm had an office in lower Manhattan, and many of the lawyers in the Long Island office had court appearances in the city.Later I learned that one of our secretaries lost her firefighter husband that day.  At the wake she told us she was grateful to have a body to bury.

My daughters were at school,  Jen was two months shy of her 11th birthday, a newly minted 6th grader in her first year of middle school.  One of the teachers at the middle school later told me that they found out about what happened from 8th grade students  who were using their cell phones.  the principal asked students whose parents worked in the city to come to the auditorium --- he wanted to make sure they were going home to a living parent. 

Becca was in 4th grade.  the school district sent a teacher to ride on each school bus to make sure every kid had a place to go.  the 4th grade social studies curriculum is all about New York State, and her textbook featured a very prominent photo of the Twin Towers, a picture she really didn't want to look at.

one thing I can remember from the days music.  none of the local stations played music, they were all devoted to pubic information.  Scott and Todd fielded calls from relatives looking for the missing, from people who wanted to help the rescue/recovery mission, stuff like that.  the newswoman, Patty, actually broke down in tears while on the air.    when radio eventually returned to music, there were a lot of patriotic songs in the mix -- "God bless the USA" was the most popular choice.

today I will spend time at my synagogue. I'll be learning how to crochet lap blankets for cancer patients.

a fitting way to spend such a solemn day.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Don't you just love it?

Disney trip report part 2

Universal/IOA: My one complaint is that people here are more likely to ignore the "designated smoking area". Saw one young woman walking up the main street of the park, cigarette in hand. She was wearing short shorts -- so short that I could see the tattoo on her butt cheek. If I'd been her mother, she'd be dead.

As hotel guests, we were able to go into IOA an hour before the park opened just for the Harry Potter area -- you don't get front of the line access for Forbidden Journey. On Saturday we did Harry Potter first, then worked our way around IOA and then went to Universal. On Sunday we did Harry Potter, then went over to Universal so the pirate king could ride the Hollywood rip rocket (no front of the line access for that one, either), and ended our day in IOA.

The rides here tend to be darker and edgier, and we loved them. Forbidden Journey is clearly the best ride in Central Florida. Loved Spiderman and Revenge of the Mummy. Jaws is pure camp and the Simpsons ride is the funniest flight simulator -- love the smell of baby powder....

I won't ride the Dragon Challenge, the Hulk, Doctor Doom's Freefall or Hollywood Rip Rocket. The king loved the coasters, but felt Tower of Terror was a better ride than Dr. Doom. On the other hand, Disaster is much better than Disney's Backlot tour, especially now that there's no audience participation at Disney.

I was not particularly impressed with the fast food in the parks -- ate at Blondie's sandwich shop one day and at the International Festival the next. Adequate but not spectacular. We ate one dinner at the Islands restaurant at the hotel -- nice stir fry experience. Loved my shrimp in Margaritaville, but we were sitting upstairs and didn't really get to experience the "party" -- though this parrothead was happy to hear Jimmy's music! We had dinner at the Latin Club one night, and I thought the food was better than at Bongos; I had arroz con pollo is both restaurants. The king thought Citywalk was nicer than downtown Disney.

And did I mention the local fauna? As we arrived at the Royal Pacific, I told the king "I didn't see any lizards at coronado springs." I remembered seeing lizards at ohter hotels. No sooner did I say it than I saw lizards at Royal Pacific. but what really got to us was the little black snake that crossed our path!

People DO notice your t-shirt, by the way. the king wore a t-shirt from the old TV show "dark shadows" and spent the day telling people about the new movie version starring Johnny depp. I wore an old t-shirt to Hollywood Studios, one that I bought after riding Rock N roller Coaster 10 years ago, and it was quite a conversation starter. And the day we went to IOA I wore a shirt I'd bought in the Warner Brothers Studio Store, one that bears the Dark Lord's name -- you should have seen reactions to that.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Disney Trip report part 1

As you may know, after many years of being divorced, my ex husband and I have reconciled and have done some traveling together recently. We honeymooned in Disneyworld in 1987, and though I've been to Disney and Universal many times since, my ex (who I'll call "the pirate king" for this trip report) had never been back.

So when we decided to go, he let me do most of the planning. I think I did OK.

Rather than give you a day by day itinerary, I think that what I'll do is give comments on various topics.

The weather: Just as we were leaving for the airport, the pirate king's buddy asked us "do you guys have insurance? Hurricane Irene is in the Caribbean and it's aiming towards Florida." Ironically, while Irene dominated the news the entire time we were in Central Florida, the storm posed more of a danger to our friends and family back home on Long island than it did to us. In fact, although we were not directly affected by the storm, we had to book car service to take us home from the airport at the end of the trip because the friend who was supposed to pick us up got stranded in Las Vegas.

We also missed the excitement of an earthquake. Instead, we got typical "Florida in the summertime" weather -- very hot, very humid, with short periods of rain almost every day.

Accommodations: We spent one night in a budget motel inKissimmee , 4 nights at Disney's Coronado Springs and 3 nights at Loew's Royal Pacific. first, the budget motel -- Studio 6 Orlando - Kissimmee . Not bad for the money. We had a lovely room, could have comfortably stayed here the whole trip if need be. There was a living room, a kitchenette with table and chairs, a decent bathroom with the sink in a separate area, and a bedroom with king sized bed.

Coronado Springs. I've stayed in deluxe resorts, value resorts and moderates, so I knew what to expect. I loved the Mexican theming. We checked in at 7 AM and our room was ready. Even better, the upgrade fairy struck, and we got a water view when we'd booked a garden view! We were in Cabanas, and our view was of a smaller lake behind the buildings. Since we did the parks commando style, we never saw much of the resort, but what we did see what gorgeous.

Royal Pacific: I'd stayed at Portofino Bay several years ago, so I knew that this hotel would be beautiful, too. The theme here is a combination of Polynesia and Indonesia. the staff wear leis and greet you with "aloha". but the decor...well, I expected Dorothy Lamour in her sarong and Hope and Crosby in their "Road to Bali" costumes to show up at any minute. by the time we got here we were exhausted, and so we spent some time relaxing at the resort instead of dashing around the parks. The pool area is well themed, you'd think you really were in Bali if you didn't see the top of Dr. Doom over the tops of the palm trees. Great activities for the kids -- games all day and a movie at night -- but I would have liked the option of a quiet pool a la Disney.
we had a garden view room, and all we could see was foiliage!

The parks: both parks managed to entertain us and hold our interest. Disney is clearly more "magical", Universal clearly edgier. We loved them both.

Disney: We visited all 4 theme parks from Monday-Friday. Crowds were moderate, we toured "commando style", made good use of extra magic hours, fastpass and single rider lines. We focused on rides and generally skipped shows, and consequently managed to see everything a lot faster than I'd planned. the only time we had to wait more than 20 minutes for a ride was during extra magic hours at EPCOT, when our wait for Soarin' was over an hour.

that was also the night I encountered the incredibly rude parents. the young boy was a bit rambunctious and accidentally kicked me, hard enough to leave a bruise. Mom told him to behave, but never told him to apologize to me.

Monday morning was Animal Kingdom, Monday afternoon and evening EPCOT. Tuesday morning was EPCOT, then Magic Kingdom in the afternoon and EPCOT again in the evening (extra magic hours). Wednesday was Magic Kingdom, Thursday was Hollywood Studios and we finished on Friday with Animal Kingdom.

Favorite rides: Expedition Everest, Rockin' Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Space Mountain. Most disappointing ride: Kali River Rapids. Not only was the Popeye ride in Islands of Adventure better, the version at our local Six Flags was superior. The theming was good, but the ride was too short and not exciting enough. Hated the Enchanted Tiki Room -- very retro, very sweet, very dull. Nice place for a nap. Loved the updates to Star Tours (same simulator, new video and special effects) and the Haunted Mansion. Mission space -- I chickened out of the Orange team and rode Green, and the king rode Orange -- told me I made a wise decision. Loved toy Story Mania. Loved watching the pirate king's reaction on the Great Movie Ride, as he realized why we saw certain movie trailers during the pre-show.

I think I prefer Spectromagic to the Main Street Electrical Parade, but I love the current version of Wishes. I'm not crazy about Illuminations, but Fantasmic is always fantastic -- and I like how you can see some of the Illuminatins fireworks from the Fantasmic amphitheater.

A funny thing happened while we were on the Small World ride. (We HAVE to ride IASW, we both saw this ride at the 1964 World's fair). We were sitting in the boat, waiting to dock at the end of the ride, when we saw a squirrel running around on the floor near the water's edge. Poor thing looked terrified! He wound up in the water. yes, squirrels do know how to swim.

The 15 year old girl we saw on line at Peter Pan. She was wearing a skimpy blue and white striped camisole top.She was wearing a very wide white patent leather belt around her waist. the effect was to pulll the neckline down so low that her ample cleavage was very much on display. Unfortunately, in the ack -- her entire bra was visible. and it wasn't a cute little number from Victoria's Secret, it was a heavy-duty Platex 18 hour bra.

We rode Pirates of the Caribbean during a thunderstorm, and the ride went down. Got stuck on the ride for 25 minutes! they actually killed the soundtrack for awhile. Never did see the Jack Sparrow street performer outside the ride -- he was so good when I was there in 2008.

For the most part we traveled around the World in our rental car. (The king was our pilot, and I navigated with the GPS in my Droid.) That's how I managed for find $60 (three $20 bills) in a half-empty parking lot after the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Took the monorail from EPCOT to Magic Kingdom, but wound up on a bus back to EPCOT later that evening because of mechanical troubles on the monorail. We were 30 minutes late for our ADR at San Angel, but we were seated anyhow. In fact, the only time we had to wait for a table in a sit down restaurant was in Sci-Fi Dine In, when we arrived 10 minutes early and were not seated until 20 minutes after our ADR time.

And as for the food: We did the dining plan, but wouldn't do it again . Sometimes I'd rather have an appetizer than dessert, but the plan has no flexibility. Loved San Angel and Restaurant Marrakesh -- though I was so disappointed in Marrakesh when the musicians started their break right after we ordered dinner and didn't start playing again until we finished dessert. Sci-Fi was fun, and Tony's -- well, I've got a soft spot for "Lady and the Tramp". Counter service meals -- Flame Tree was good, but it was better when I ate there in 2008. The burgers at Electric Umbrella were disappointing. Cosmic Ray's is always fun, and we liked the pizza at Pizza Planet. But only in Disney can a bottle of Dasani water be considered a "snack".

Loved our breakfast at Chef Mickey's -- only place in Disney where we actually posed with characters.

We did spend some time at Downtown Disney, the night we arrived in Florida and the day we left. Bongos was OK for dinner, but our lunch at Rainforest Cafe was much better. With the live fish in the tank and the animatronic elephants and gorillas, you can see why they are part of Disney.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This is a drill ... this is only a drill ...

Still, it's a little disconcerting to see the hazmat truck right outside your office as you're leaving for the day ... especially when you work in an environmental claims department!
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Autumn in New York

So, OK, both kids went back to college and the Labor Day BBQ is but a memory.  I woke up yesterday to a cold, wet rainy day...a precursor for autumn. 

Much as I love summer, I think I'm actually looking forward to the cool, crisp days, the falling leaves, etc.  I'm ready for a change of pace.  Different weather, different clothes, different foods. 

The only problem I have with the that winter inevitably follows.

Monday, September 5, 2011


As seen from Hogsmeade
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Playing with a new app

This isn't an oil painting ... it's a photo
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Summer is officially over

Becca went back to school earlier this week and Jen leaves for school this morning.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

thinking about a book I read when I was a kid

Nobody Listens to Andrew

When his family and friends finally get around to listening to Andrew, they find he really does have something important to say.
It's out of print now...but it was a great little book.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

remember the story of Cassandra?

She looked at the Trojan horse and knew the Greeks would destroy the city of Troy.  But no one would heed her warnings.

Some days I feel like Cassandra.

Friday, August 19, 2011

if you like horror movies

go see Fright Night.

We saw a neak preview of the movie last night.  Really enjoyed it. 

There was a thunderstorm overhead during the movie, and the power went out briefly in the multiplex.  the crowd took it in stride. 

Drew reminded me that we saw the original Fright Night together way back in 1985.  I had forgotten, but now that he reminded me....I remember that I really enjoyed that version, too.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

mini trip report

So last night we went to see the revival of Sondheim’s Follies. You know how I love live theater!

Our evening began, as it frequently does, in Ellen’s Stardust Diner. We love this place! You go for the atmosphere, not for the food.  This is not a place for quiet conversation..

Ellen’s, as I’ve probably mentioned before, is a salute to the pop culture of the 1950’s, the outside designed to look like an old subway car, and inside  you’ll find old fashioned diner tables, video screens showing scenes from I Love Lucy and real vinyl records and album covers (from artists like Johnny Mathis and Elvis Presley) on the walls.  It’s also the home of the singing wait staff, where the person who just took your order is the next person to grab the mike and sing.

The wait staff used to be very 1950’s as well.  The guys would wear red bowling shirts and paper soda jerk hats.  The girls would be in poodle skirts, red t shirts and little scarves tied around their necks.   It was very disconcerting to see two girls in poodle skirts singing the latest Lady Gaga song!

Well, they’ve updated the place a bit.  They took away the toy train that used to circle around the edge of the balcony and they’ve added a few neon accent lights.  The costumes have changed, too.  Everyone’s wearing blue or green bowling shirts, with a panel of silver lame down the front.  The guys are in black pants and the girls are in short, tight black skirts and black tights. 

Well, last night was a bit of an “off” night.  Though I did like the young lady who was wearing a foam Statute of Liberty Crown.  And the trio who sang an Abba medley inspired jokes – Ellen’s is right next to the Winter Garden Theater, where Mama Mia is playing (though I still look for the Cats eyes on the marquis….) Best performance of the evening was the guy who sang “Shout” and did the worm right on the diner floor – Drew and I smiled, remembering how they played that song at our wedding and how Drew got down on the floor …..

After dinner we walked from Ellen’s – on
51st Street
– to the Marriot Marquis Theater at
44th Street
to see the show, and after the show we walked down to Penn Station (
34th Street
) to catch a train home.  I love the sights and sounds of Times Square on a summer evening!  Lots of tourists around now, so the streets were very crowded.  (Folks, it’s called a side WALK not a side-stand-around-and-block-traffic!).  Lots of interesting things to see.  In front of toys R US we saw “Elmo” and “The Cookie Monster” from
Sesame Street
.  A woman dressed as a stewardess circa 1965 was handing out flyers for Catch Me If You Can near Duffy’s Square.  We also saw a guy dressed as Mr. Reeses Peanut Butter Cup – a refugee from Hersheypark.  Two pedal cabs crashed into each other, and the drivers got into an argument – and one tourist whipped out his cell phone to videotape the whole thing.  Sidewalk vendors selling hot dogs and t-shirts and sunglasses, street musicians, hawkers trying to drum up business for tour companies and comedy clubs. 

But the most interesting thing was … the singing Cow Girl.

Now, many people have heard about The Singing Cowboy.  He runs around Times Square in his underwear, a cowboy hat and boots, carrying a guitar and posing for pictures.  I’ve seen him a couple of times; I think I posted a picture in this blog…. Well, anyhow, there are copycats out there.  The cowgirl carries a guitar, wears a cowboy hat and boots, a bikini bottom, and two large, strategically placed stars. 

Only in New York.

So…the show.  Bernadette Peters was brilliant, as always.  Love the Sondheim music, the deep psychological storyline, the beautiful singing and graceful dancing…a perfect evening of theater.

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