life in and around NYC is insane

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.

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