life in and around NYC is insane

Monday, February 28, 2011

February, the shortest month of the year

This year it went by even faster than normal, we celebrated Drew's birthday and my birthday and Valentine's Day every weekend of the month!

Still, the weather being what it was this winter, I'm not sorry to see this month come to an end.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mixed emotions

When I was in my 20's, a newly minted lawyer still clinging to an idealistic world view, I started my very first full time job in lower Manhattan.

And that's when I started to encounter the homeless. The street people. The woman pushing all of her worldly possessions in an old shopping cart. The man wearing six layers of torn clothing in the middle of summer. The woman who counted out 50 pennies to pay for a cup of coffee. The man carrying on a conversation with the demons in his head. The one sleeping on the subway who smelled so awful he had the entire end of the car to himself.

And then there were the beggars. Very different group of people. Clean and neatly dressed but with a sob story. You'd find them sitting on a corner with a sign telling their life story. Or haranguing a crowd in a subway car. Or hanging out in Penn Station ... As soon as you bought yourself something to eat they'd be in your face, begging for money to buy food.

I gave a dollar to a young man one day. He had a sob story about not having the money for a subway ride home. A week later he was on the same corner with the very same story.

My idealism took quite a beating. The revulsion I felt around the homeless. The cynicism I experienced when I saw the beggars.

And then Rudy Giuliani became mayor...and all of that "disappeared ". I'm not foolish enough to believe he cured the problem ... Only that he made it invisible to the average New Yorker. So we didn't have to think about it.

In the almost 10 years since Bloomberg has been mayor, it has all come back. And since the recession it's come back in full force.

The other day on the PATH train...there were maybe 10 of us sitting in this one soon as the doors closed and the train began to move, a young man stood up and went into a speech about being unemployed and broke. Then he went up to each person on the train and made a personal plea for cash.

When he stood in front of me I buried myself in my book. I felt annoyed maybe even a bit angry that he was putting me on the spot. I was skeptical about his story ... Was he lying to us to get drug money? And I also felt embarrassed and ashamed for feeling this way ....
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

All that rain yesterday

And there's still a pile of snow on my lawn!
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Friday, February 25, 2011

gotta love this time of year!

You know Mardi Gras is approaching when the King Cake arrives!

We do a lot of business with firms in Louisiana, and some of those firms love to send King Cake to their clients all around the country.  For the enxt two weeks we will be inundated.

The cakes arrive with lots of Mardi Gras goodies, like beads and coins crowns and etc.And each cake comes with a plastic baby doll buried inside....whoever finds the baby is supposed to provide the next cake or host the next party.

It's not as good as actually being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, but it it a fun tradition.

Bring on the cake.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

violet & lychee

My new fragrance -- got body wash, lotion and spray from Avon....mmmmmmm

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

bonding with my daughters

Both girls were home last weekend.  It was good to have them home, even though they spent a good deal of time screaming "I hate you" at each other --- just before deciding to go to see the Justin Bieber movie together in a "my sister is my BFF" kind of way.

Jen and I made a little trip to the ER Sunday night. Nothing serious, as I mentioned earlier....but it gave us some time alone, away from the rest of our family, to chat...I told her all about how I gave new meaning to the words "business trip" one time, wound up in a soft cast on my foot for two weeks.   Strange how you can have a bonding moment while waiting for x-rays to come back. 

Becca and I had some "alone time" on Saturday.  She'd gone to lunch with a friend, then found her way into Barnes & Noble, where she'd bought herself a new game -- she loves to play "Scene It" and was excited to find the new Disney version of the game.  She came home and asked me to play -- she knows I'm a Disney fan, I've played other versions of "Scene It" and she thought we'd have some fun.  It's been a long time since we played any sort of game together.  Of course, she's much better at the game than I's been a long time since I've had to "let her win".    Whatever tasks remained undone that day, it was worth it to spend time with Becca like I used to....

The house is quiet again ...too quiet....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I don't think I'm done with winter ... I'm certain of it. Can't wait for spring to arrive. That brief taste of warm weather last week has me starving for more.

A trip to a warmer climate would really help so much right now. I am so sick of cold winds and snowy landscapes and ice crunching under my feet.

I used to think that moving to Florida or Arizona or California was not for me, that I'd miss the change of seasons we have in New York. Now I'm not so sure.... But ask me again in a month or two and expect to hear a very different answer.
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Monday, February 21, 2011


Nothing like a trip to the ER to complete a weekend.

Nothing serious. Jen was at a friend's house. A couple of the kids decided to sit on a marble table. The table was not designed to hold the weight of two college students. When it collapsed the othe kid was able to get out of the way. But the marble table top landed on Jen's foot. It's just bruised - they sent her home with an ice pack, an ace bandage and crutches.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winter returns

A couple of spring like days have me spoiled ... Can't wait for the real deal ...
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

We're going to Disneyworld!

Just booked our trip! So excited!
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Friday, February 18, 2011

family traditions

It was always a tradition in our family ...

You'd put candles on the birthday cake, dim the lights and sing

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, dear [celebrant's name],
Happy Birthday to you!

The celebrant would make a wish and blow out the candles.

We'd turn on the lights, take the candles off the cake...and then do our own special thing.  Each person would be handed one of the candles from the cake, we'd light the candles again and dim the lights.  We'd sing our own special birthday song.  As we sang, each person in the room would blow out his or her own candle, so at the end of the song the only candle that would remain lit would be the one held by the celebrant.  He or she would blow out the remaining candle after the song ended.

Our special song was sung to the tune of "The Merry Widow Waltz".  We never knew where the lyrics came from, I think we assumed someone in our family put words to the music.

The words we sang were:

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday,
Just for you!
Happy birthday and may all your dreams come true.
As we blow out the candles one light stands aglow.
It's the sunshine of your smile where'ere you go.

I grew up thinking that this was our special song, that no one else in the entire world knew this song. And then one day, when my children were little, we went to a birthday party.  the hostess put on a "Barney the Dinosaur" birthday album...and there was Barney, singing "our" birthday song!

Well, the words were slightly different, but nevertheless...

Turns out several artists have recorded this song on children's albums.  Including one of my favorites, Tom Chapin:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

coming up for air

Don't you just love a crisis at work, where you have to do a months' worth of stuff in a matter of days?

I've been "in the zone" for the past two days...finally coming up for air.....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

birthday disaster....oh my!

It must have been Jen's 11th birthday, or maybe her 12th....There was an entertainment company, their primary business was providing DJ services at bar/bat mitzvahs, but they'd turned some unused space in their offices/warehouse into a casual party room....For a small fee, you could do a kids' party, two hours of a DJ/MC entertaining the kids, plus pizza and soda and a helper to serve the food. Parents were expected to provide the birthday cake. When I made a party there (and I made several), I also provided chips, goodie bags and my sisters' home-baked cookies.

Anyhow, for this particular party, I'd ordered a sheet cake from my favorite local bakery. The bakery was a good 20-30 minute ride from the party place. The cake was absolutely gorgeous, all pink and flowery and perfect. I carried it gingerly to my car, and drove as if I had raw eggs on the back seat and was afraid to break them. Handed the cake to the young lady who was to serve the food, and she put it in the back room.

About halfway through the party, the young lady approached me with a scared, sad look on her face and asked me to come into the back room.

It seems that the refrigerator in the back room was about 4 1/2 feet tall. She'd placed the cake on top of the refrigerator. And when she opened the refrigerator door to get the soda, the cake box (with the cake still inside!) flipped over.... The cake was still edible, of course, since it was in the box, but it certainly wasn't pretty anymore.

I had to bring Jen to the back room and show her the cake, because I didn't want her to get an unppleasant surprise when we sang "Happy Birthday". She took it surprisingly well.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


This time last year I was on a boat, sailing the palm trees for me this year....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Sunday, February 13, 2011

warped minds think alike

So Drew and I went out for Valentine's Day last night.  He took me out for lobster. 

And some time between the salad and the lobster he handed me a card.

It read:

I'm not interested in a nice, normal relationship.  I like ours better.

Well, of course I laughed.

But not just because the card was funny.

My card for Drew was sitting in the back seat of my car.

It was the exact same card.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spa day

Finally got a chance to use a gift card to a local day spa... Facial and aromatherapy body treatment ... aaaahhhhh

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Friday, February 11, 2011

never thought I'd say this but

lately I've been TOO BUSY to blog!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

birthday plans!

Drew's birthday was Monday.  We're going out witha  group of friends on Sunday to celebrate this occasion.

I ordered a cake from Reinwald's Bakery - the best German bakery on Long Island.  Yellow cake, two fillings -- vanilla custard and strawberries -- and whipped cream frosting.  Yum!

I cannot wait until Sunday!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's that time of year again

FAFSA season!!!!

Every parent of college students knows what FAFSA season means....filling out endless government forms in hopes of obtaining financial aid to help defray the cost of school.

It means I have to gather my tax forms together and enter the morass of the government's website.  List my income and assets, Jen's (non-exisitent) income and assets, where she goes to school....

And then I have to do it all over again for Becca.

And even better, Becca's school requires a supplemental form available only a the College Board website.  for a fee, of course.

You can see the joy with which I approach this time of year.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mary Poppins!

So the reason we were in the city, the reason we ate at Lansky's Saturday to Mary Poppins.

We ate first, then took the subway down to the Theater District.  We spent a few minutes in the new Disney Store in times Square - lots of stuffed animals and dolls, but unless you're 6 years old you won't find any clothing in this version of the store.  Walked by the Marriott marquis and saw this fellow:

He's there fairly frequently, he's promoting something about a sculptor named Matthias Alfen.

Also got to see the Naked Cowboy. funny how all these years he's been running around I've never seen him ... except once from a moving car.

As for the show....

Well, Mary Poppins was the very first movie I ever saw in a movie theater, so it has a psecial place in my heart.  I supposed I would have liked the show better if I hadn't loved the movie so much.

Not that it was fact, it was excellent.  but oh so different from the movie.

Monday, February 7, 2011

as seen on TV, part 3

so we're watching Outrageous Food, and they do a segment on Lansky's.

Neither of us had ever been there, but it looked good.

tried it out Saturday.  Drew had a tongue sandwich.  I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup with kreplach and half of a pastrami sandwich.  Didn't care for the pastrami, but everything else was good.  Nothing spectacular, though, I've eaten in many other Jewish delis.

still, if you're on the Upper West Side...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

as seen on TV, part 2

So one day last week I see an article in Newsday that a local restaurant is going to be featured on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives."    Well, that's one of Drew's favorite shows, so I call him up find out that he eats at this place frequently, he stops there on his way home from work.  The daughter of one of his friends used to work there.

So I watch Guy Fieri enjoy himself at The Pit Stop.  And of course I want to go!

 The place looks like an old fashioned fast food stop.  You order your food at the counter and try to find a table.

But the food....

Well, any comparison of this place to McDonald's or burger King should be outlawed.

Drew and I each had the steak and cheese panini, combo with fries and a drink.  Drew's friend had the "hot dog all the way", with so many toppings I lost count.

the table we found was right under this picture:

 definitely a place worth visiting!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

as seen on TV

So awhile back, Drew decided to take me to this great Italian restaurant, Ciao Baby.  Nice place, it has a sort of a "rat-pack" vibe, as if Frank and Dino and Sammy are going to drop in at any second.  Oversized portions of great food, the idea is that somone's little old Italian grandma is in the kitchen cooking for her family.  If you don't see it on the menu, just ask, and they'll make it special for you.

We were watching TV a few weeks ago and an episode of "Man vs. Food" came on.  And much to our surprise, one of the restaurants they visited was Ciao Baby.

So last weekend we went back.  The meal began with hunks of Italian bread and olive oil for dipping.  We split an order of baked clams oreganata  -- twelve little neck clams, each adorned with bread crumbs and a tangy sauce.

Drew ordered veal marsala (not on the menu) and I ordered a pasta dish from the menu -- gemelli pasta in a creamy tomato sauce with sausage and broccoli rabe -- I had two additional meals from the leftovers.  We split a dessert -- red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.  It was served with fresh whipped cream.  the hunk of cake was so large that we each had a piece and brought enough home for two additional servings.

Can't wait to go back again!

Friday, February 4, 2011

wearing my heart on my sleeve

Or rather, my cause.  Literally.

I am wearing red today. A pretty red sweater.


It's National Wear Red Day.

Make it your mission to fight heart disease in women!.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ice ice baby!

Icicles from roof to deck! I love the way the light reflects. Maybe I should call this "fire and ice "!
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The day the music died

Funny how something that happened before you were born can capture your attention.

On this day on 1959 Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens died on a plane crash.

I grew up hearing their music on the radio. Wish I could have seen Holly perform. Must have been something.
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

a word to the Groundhog

Please, please, let's make sure you don't see your shadow today.

I really, really, really need an early spring. I am so beat down by this winter weather!
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011 last

New month, clean slate, right?

January was a PITA. Nothing tragic, but a lot of little nusance issues -- the weather, the commute,losing my ID card, car troubles, stuff like that.

Hopefully this month will be better.

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