life in and around NYC is insane

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sun, sand, scallops, shrimp and Stevie

So a few nights ago Drew called me and asked if we had anything scheduled for Friday night, because he just won two tickets to see Stevie Nicks in concert at Jones Beach.

Now, we had discussed buying tickets for this show but had passed (contrary to the position taken by their children, neither songbird nor Drew has a limitless supply of funds).   So when he told me he'd won, we were both excited.

Concerts at Jones Beach are held in an outdoor ampitheater currently known as the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater.  (We were at Jones Beach just a few weeks ago to see Neil Diamond.)  The show goes on regardless of weather conditions, unless there's thunder and lightning involved, so when you get your tickets you hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

The region is currently in the middle of a heat wave, but down at the beach a breeze was blowing.  By the time the gates opened and we could go into the theater it was actually comfortable.

When we were here a few weeks ago we discovered the clam shack only after we bought our burgers and fries, so this time around we knew we had to try the seafood.  They do clam strips, scallops and shrimp, all freshly breaded and fried while you wait, and served on a bed of thick-cut french fries.  They also offer lobster rolls as an option.  For the same price as two double cheeseburgers we were in seafood heaven -- we had lightly breaded shrimp served with cocktail sauce, and batter dipped scallops served with tarter sauce. 

Then it was time to find our seats.  There's no such thing as a bad seat when you get into the concert for free, but ours were, well, orchestra, row TT, towards the side of the theater, VERY GOOD seats.

I really feel sorry for opening acts in venues like this.  The theater may be half empty, people are coming in while you perform and some (like the two young women in the row behind us) may talk through the entire performance.  So it's hard to engage the audience.

Opening act was Marc Cohn.  Drew had heard of him, I had not.  When I posted to facebook, a friend asked if he sang "Silverbird" or "Walking to Memphis"? (He sang both.) So I guess he must have a following.  He was ok, his music very mellow in the twilight.  The sea gulls gliding overhead added just the perfect touch.

It was full dark when Stevie took the stage, with a quarter moon hanging in the hazy sky over the theater, and a strong breeze blowing the black and silver streamers that decorated her microphone stand.  And there she was, in her flowing skirts, long blonde hair flying, twirling around in those famous capes and shawls.  Mystic and gothic imagery, symbolic lyrics, all served up as rock and roll.  She looked like an enchantress conjuring up a magical evening for the audience.  She's promoting her latest album, so there was a lot of new material, but she was best when singing her classics - "Dreams", "Stand Back", "Rhiannon" (which she started as a ballad before amping it up), "Landslide", "Leather and Lace", "Edge of Seventeen".

I must say, this audience was a bit rude. I know some people want to beat the traffic out of parking lot, so they leave the theater between was is ostensibly the last song and before the performer takes the stage for the encore.  But last night those people started leaving while Stevie was still on the stage singing "Edge of Seventeen" and those poor doves were still flapping their white wings . . .ah, well, they missed the last song, a lovely ballad called "Love Is".

A mystical, magical night.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Street fair/street fare

Mini street fair outside my  office today. Handful of booths selling costume jewely - bought some nice "Murano" pieces -straw hats, scarves, sunglasses.

And food!

Wound up with sweet Italian sausage with pepppers and onions on a grilled bun.  And zeppole for dessert.

And a mild sunburn.

Mother Nature Was My Alarm Clock

Massive thunderstorm directly over my house this morning.  Woke up to the loudest crack of thunder.  Seriously, I felt the house shake.

The rain was over by the time I left the house, though, and the skies should clear by the time I get to work.

And then . . .


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mini vacation

Lunchtime, weather permitting, I sit outside on the pier.  My office is on the Jersey City waterfront, and the pier is on the Hudson River, right where the river meets New York Harbor.  You can see all the boats on the water, and you can hear the waves hitting the bulkhead.  The sun is warm, there are pigeons and seagulls.  Sometimes there are musical performances on the pier.

It feels like a one-hour vacation.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Movie review -- Brave

Lest you think I am entirely baseball-obsessed, this weekend we also saw a movie, the Disney/Pixar collaberation, Brave.  Medieval Scotland and a strong, brave heroine named Merida.  It's a much darker film than most Disney stories, no sense of whimsy, though there is comic relief in the form of King Fergus and Merida's three young brothers.  The witch is both creepy and comic.  I loved how one of the clans showed up with blue paint a la Mel Gibson in Braveheart.  Another favorite scene . . .when Fergus and the men use their kilts as a rope to climb down from the top of the Tower.

The focus of the movie is Merida's relationship with her mother, Elinor.  Though the two were once close, their relationship has become strained as Elinor tries to mold her daughter for the leadership role she will someday take, and Merida rebels and asserts her right to choose her own future.  This was something I could relate to, both as a daughter and as the mother of two daughters.

Merida's recklessness causes problems she never anticipated.  But Merida takes responsibility and cleans up her own mess.

By the end of the movie, when Merida fears she will lose her mother forever, I was sobbing.

Overall, a good effort by Disney and Pixar.

More baseball

So a few years ago they tore down Shea Stadium and built Citi Field.  Rather than honor the rich history that is the Mets' legacy, the building salutes a team that abandoned New York over 50 years ago.  Really, the place looks like Ebbets Field reincarnate.  I mean, the Jackie Robinson Rotunda?  That huge "42"?  I admire Robinson, of course, but he never played in Queens.

We are frequent visitors, having enjoyed a fantastic Paul McCartney concert as well as numerous Mets games.

We found ourselves there last night, with Jen and her friend Dave and Becca and her boyfriend David.  Interleague play was introduced a few years ago, and so every year we have the subway series -- the Mets play 3 games at Yankee Stadium and the Yanks play 3 games at Citi Field.  Last night at Citi Field was the last game of the series. 

Usually when we go to the ballpark, Drew and I like to get there early.  We park in Drew's favorite lot on Roosevelt Avenue, leisurely stroll across the street to the ballpark.  We take a few minutes to quietly salute the Shea Stadium Home Run Apple, now on display just outside the main gates of Citi Field (they built a new home run apple for the new park).  We spend a few minutes in the rotunda with number 42.  Maybe we stop in the team shop, though we have yet to visit the Mets Museum.  Then we go in search of food - in addition to the numerous food stands all around the stadium, there's a terrific food court behind the  center field score board.  We find our seats after we eat, and we watch the planes take off from La Guardia for awhile before the national anthem begins. Drew buys a program and score card, and keeps score during the game.

None of that happened last night.

Drew and I hit so much traffic on the highway that we got to Flushing Meadow much later than we planned, wound up parking in Flushing Meadow Park.    Serious hike to the ballpark from there, they actually run a shuttlebus from the parking field to the LIRR station. 

By the time we got to the ballpark our plan was to buy food and bring it back to our seats.  So we went looking for the place that sells the hot dogs cooked in beer.  Sadly, that place no longer exists.  Sigh.

So we were on the Shea Bridge -- the one that looks like the Koscuizsko Bridge (conbecting Brooklyn and Queens)-- on our way to the food court, when we heard the opening notes of "The Star Spangled Banner".  Quickly got food -- Nathan's hot dogs -- and headed for our seats.  I managed to get ketchup on my shirt before I even took one bite of my food.

Game had already started by the time we sat down.  ( The kids weren't there yet, the four of them came in David's car and didn't arrive until the second inning.)

Because this was an outing with my synagogue, Drew and I didn't pick our seats.  Our group tickets were for Promenade Level, the upoermost deck in the park, and pretty high up at that.  Fortunately we were behind home plate.    Downstairs where the season ticket holders live might have been different, but up in nosebleed territory the crowd was pretty evenly divided -- I saw just as many  Yankees jerseys as Mets jerseys. Heck, even my own party of six was evenly divided.  Jen, Becca and David are Yankees fans -- Jen wore her Derek Jeter t-shirt and pink Yankees baseball cap to the game.  Drew and I joke that we tried to raise our daughters right but they succumbed to peer pressure.  Oh, well.

It was a good game, an exciting game.  The pitchers' duel -- R. A. Dickey vs.  C. C. Sabathia -- fizzled.  Yanks took an early 5-0 lead, but the Mets tied it up, and kept it interesting all the way to the end of the game ( they lost, 6-5). 

Yankees fans and Mets fans spent the night trying to out-yell each other, each "Let's Go Yankees" was answered by "Let"s Go Mets".

Seventh inning stretch.  "God Bless America" was performed by a singer from the FDNY.   And for a brief moment we weren't Mets fans or Yankees fans, we were New Yorkers and Americans.  By the time "Take Me Out To The Balk Game" faded into "Lazy Mary", however, the rivalries were back in play.  In fact, during the top of the 8th . . .everyone up in nosebleed territory was more interested in the fight between the Mets fan and the Yankees fan -- two girls -- that had turned physical.  I couldn't see any of it, but Drew and Jen say there was scratching and hair pulling as well as punching going on.

Bottom of the 9th we moved inside and watched on a t.v. monitor near a hot dog stand --  as much to position ourselves to leave the park as to get out of the rain.  It stopped raining just as the game ended, but started again while we were hiking back to the car.

Overall a fun evening.  But when Drew and I go back in August, we will try to stick to the script.

My phone's been kind of weird lately, and the camera didn't work.  Pulled a few stock photos of Citi Field, and one of the Koscuizsko Bridge, for your enjoyment.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


My NYC baseball pedigree is extensive.  My dad grew up in Brooklyn and to this day has unkind words for Walter O'Malley.  My mom is a Bronx girl who says she grew up in the shadow of Yankee Stadium.  Although they'd known each other for some time, their first "official"  date was to see Joe DiMaggio play.

I understand about crosstown rivalries, but I never felt liking the Mets meant hating the Yankees, or visa versa.  I have always rooted for both teams.  In1973 it was the Mets, of course.  In the late 70's the Yankees dominated.  I remember the shock I felt when Thurman Munson died.  Freshman year of college the fire alarms would go off in the middle of the night, and I'd know the Yanks won another playoff game.

And who could forget the 86 Mets,  and Mookie Wilson, and the ball rolling through Bill Buckner's legs?  I was working downtown then, and had to go to the ticker tape parade.

The Yankees are the dynasty, the powerhouse.  The Mets are the team with heart, the little engine that could.

In the late 90's the Yankees were unstoppable, winning World Series after World Series.  Ticker tape flew like crazy.  Mayor Guiliani presided over pep rallies and parades.  I loved it.

Then came the year 2000, and both teams were really hot . . .I rooted for both teams during the playoffs . . .was totally beside myself over the thought of a World Series where both teams were from New York . . .

And then it became reality.  A Subway Series.  Games at Shea, games in the Bronx.  The mayor in a baseball cap with divided loyalties.

And the Mets went down in flames.  I was crushed.  Couldn't bring myself to go to the ticker tape parade.  Guess I found out where my loyalties lie.

And then, a year later . . . September 21, 2001.  The first post-9/11 game in NYC . . .Shea was packed.  The Mets wore the caps of NYPD, FDNY and the like. And Mike Piazza hit a home run . . .And we knew that things would never be the same, but we'd go on and eventually things would be better . . .the Yanks went on to play in the World Series again . . .but it was that home run that won our hearts . . .

So now I unabashedly declare myself:  I am a Mets fan!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day, part deux

A bittersweet occasion, with the man of the hour a guest in his own home.

J and her three boys -- they call my oarwnts grandma and grandpa -- came over to the house, of coyrse.

My sisters kept it simple, we actually ate at a reasonable hour.  Jen made tacos, and H grilled burgers and hot dogs.  We also had calamari, baked clams and mussels from the takeout place near J's house.  My sister F's pasta salad.  A veritable feast.  (And I only heard about the cake twice, a couple of subtle digs I chose to ignore.)

My dad was in all his glory.  Yet he was weak and tired, and almost happy to be going back to rehab.

What will Father's Day be like next year, I wonder.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday brunch

Sometimes I think organizing a get-together with my kids is like organizing the invasion on Normandy. So it seems appropriate that this year we wound up doing Father's Day brunch at the 56th Fighter Group restaurant.

According to the website " A visit to the 56th Fighter Group will transport you back to an era of Big Band music and unparalleled patriotism. This charming 1917 French Style Allied Headquarters Farmhouse sits on the site where the P47 fighter aircraft was built during WWII. The rustic timbered ceilings and cozy dining rooms boast seven fireplaces and a romantic view of the runway of Republic Airport in the heart of Long Island. You can enjoy an extensive collection of aviation and WWII memorabilia as you dine in the museum-type atmosphere. "

The atmosphere lives up to expectations. Sunday brunch is served buffet style, with food located in one room and tables in various rooms. Our table was located in a room with huge picture windows looking out at WWII-era vehicles and the small modern planes at the airport. That meant we had to walk past the hostess station to get to the room with the food. But then, those sitting in the room where food was laid out did not have much of a view. All things considered, I prefer the view.

Small complaint -- some of the buffet stations were not fully manned, and some of the dishes were not immediately replenished. But overall the food was excellent. Drew and Jen chose mostly breakfast foods - omelets, pancakes, french toast, bacon, sausage. Becca and I chose lunch foods -- I started with fresh fruit, a pasta salad, tomato salad, seafood salad, peel and eat shrimp. Next plate was roast beef and turkey from the carving station and rice pilaf. Becca really liked the roast beef, after she finished her own, she finished off mine. She also had some mac and cheese from the kids' station.

Dessert? We stuck with the cannoli, which was excellent. I saw lots of other cakes. The problem with a buffet - even if you stick to very small portions, you simply can't taste everything. But what we had was yummy.

The over-21 members of our party had mimosas (and yes, they did check Jen's ID), and Becca had tea. Overall a satisfying experience. I hadn't been there in decades, but now I am anxious to go back and see their dinner menu.

56th Fighter Group Restaurant on Urbanspoon

More crazy mixed up family BS

My father is coming home for a visit today, for Father's Day.   So we will have a special dinner tonight. 

So how does this happy occasion turn into drama?


My three sisters do all the cooking, of course.  So putting dinner on the table becomes an all-day affair.    Don't ask how it becomes such a drawn-out process, I am not a participant in the process.  At their choice.

So today I was asked to pick up, and pay for, two cakes that were ordered from our favorite bakery.  I wouldn't have had a problem with this, except . . .and here's where the drama begins . . .

Drew and I are having brunch with Jen and Becca at 12:30.  Becca was in the city last night, and had to take a train home this morning.  Jen went to a party last night and slept at her friend Jill's, and had to pick up Becca at the train station at 11:30.  Drew and I went to the Ducks game last night, and I slept at his house.

The first time I heard about the cake was at 11 this morning, right after I got out of the shower and before I had a chance to get dressed. Meaning, I don't have time to pick it up before brunch, and that I might not have time after brunch because the bakery closes at 3 and the restaurant is a good 30 minutes away from the bakery.  If we are seated at 12:30 we will likely be done in time, but if we have to wait . . .

If I had known yesterday,  I would have planned to be up earlier so that I could get the cake and still be on time for brunch.  The cake was ordered several days ago, it would have been easy. . .

But the passive aggressive BS plan was to stress me out, ruin the brunch and then be able to say that "songbird never does anything to help. "

Sisters dear, I know you've been consuming the groceries I bought for my children, so you need to stop it now . . .

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Duck, crab, hot dogs and fireworks

Tonight found us at Bethpage Ballpark, which, counter-intuitively, is NOT in Bethpage.  The ballpark is in Central Islip, a good 20 minute ride east of Bethpage - if you take the parkway, that is. This little oddity occurred because the Bethpage Federal Credit Union bought the naming rights to the ballpark when Citibank gave up those rights -- I suppose Citibank didn't want any confusion between a 6,000 seat minor league ballpark and its 40,000 seat stadium in Queens.

Bethpage is the home of the Long Island Ducks, an Atlantic League team. The Atlantic League is an independent league, not part of the farm team system of Major League baseball.  There are 8 teams in two divisions.  The Ducks currently hold first place in their division.  The team mascot is Quackerjack.

Now you know I love the Mets. I have fond memories of games at Shea and Citi Field.  But Ducks games are fun in a different way.   You see a lot if families with young kids -- it's less expensive than a major league game, and there's a lot of fun and games, and prize giveaways, between innings.  Usually you will see Brownie or Cub Scout troops, or elementary schools, singing the National Anthem or "God Bless America". It's more intimate, more kitschy, more home spun.  You will see contestants answering trivia questions, or kids racing tricycles, or guys kicking a football.  The best one is when they ask contestants to make themselves dizzy by leaning on a baseball bat and rotating around in circles, then trying to run. And the hot dog race -- three guys dressed in costumes -- is hysterical.

When we got to the ballpark, the Wise Man and Frank (on-air personalities from our local oldies station, B-103) were doing giveaways in the parking lot.  We walked past the Waddle-In shop to the stadium entrance and found our seats right behind third base.  (Last year we sat on the first base line, and I found myself looking at the back of the first base coach all night -- that would be former Met Bud Harrelson, by the way. . . )

We examined all the food choices -- chicken tenders, burgers, pizza, even pulled pork from Smokin' Al's, but wound up with hot dogs and fries.

Tonight the Ducks hosted the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.  Exciting game.  The Crabs scored first, but the Ducks tied it up, and went into the bottom of the 9th with a score of 1-1.  Drew was thinking "extra innings?"  But . . .with two out and men on second and third, the Crabs pitcher threw a wild pitch, a run scored and the Ducks won the game.

Afterwards there was a special treat, a ten-minute fireworks show by the Gruccis, another Long Island institution.  I am a sucker for fireworks.

We're going again in August.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The scene of the crime

That is the north bound light rail train.   The SUV was driving where the train is.   He didn't see the cop because of the building.   Cop saw him, though.  ;-)


So my dad remains in rehab.    He's coming home for a visit Sunday (Father's Day) but I don't know when he will be home for good.

My mom and my sisters have been spending a lot of time at the rehab.  My father certainly does not lack for company.  In fact, he has more company, more often, than any other resident at the rehab.  F and A have told me that I am the selfish, unreliable one because I haven't put my life on hold for a month.  Loved F's Freudian slip.  She meant to say "It's not for us.  It's for Daddy."  What she actually said was "It's not just for us . . ."  Those two thought it was cool to scream at me in stereo while I was trying to eat my dinner . . .

My days lately . . .I leave the house by 7 AM for that lovely 2-hour commute from the Island to godforesaken Jersey City, put in a full day of work, have a lovely commute home . . .get off the train and head over to rehab.   I get to rehab around 7:15-7:45, depending on the train and the traffic.  The idea is to spend an hour or so with my dad, go home, have dinner and get ready for the next day.

That's how it's supposed to work, anyhow.

Tuesday night I left rehab and went to CVS to pick up a few things for myself and for the girls.  OK, no problem.  Wednesday night I found myself in the supermarket - we desperately needed a few things ($100 later . . .)  OK, not a problem.

Last night, THAT was a problem.

H and my mom were at the rehab when I got there.  Dad was asleep.  H told me Dad was having a bad time of it, he was agitated and anxious all day.   She asked me to stay and watch him while she took Mom home, and either she ir F and A would be back shortly.  I asked her to be back before 9, there were things I needed to do at home and that I was exhausted.

So I watched my dad sleep, and it was clear he was having a bad time of it.  It's normal for him to talk and move about while he's dreaming.  Last night his words and gestures conveyed his continuing agitation.  But what really concerned me was that he was trying to get out of bed, and I was afraid he would fall.  I told the RN on duty about my concern, but I didn't want to leave while he was in that state until my sisters were back.

Well, p.s., I didn't get home until 10. 

And this morning I was so frazzled . . .I had a letter in my tote bag, planned to go to the post office at lunch to mail it, but when I got to work it was gone.   I am hoping that the letter - and my Chilly Jilly wrap - are in the car, I am hoping I didn't lose them on the train.

And I am overjoyed that today is FRIDAY!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

OMG - arrogance and stupidity get their comeuppance

Sometimes there are no words.
Today I saw a stupid/arrogant/dangerous situation involving an SUV.

Let me see if I can properly set the scene.

Jersey City waterfront.  Hudson Street  runs north/south, parallel to the Hudson River.  The neighborhood is also serviced by a light rail system (operated by New Jersey Transit),  the tracks are on the eastern side of Hudson Street, so that the trains travel alongside motor vehicle traffic.

Hudson Street accomodates two-way traffic, with one glaring exception.  For one blick, from Montgomery Street to York Street, you can drive southbound but not northbound.  Where the northbound lanes would be is occuppied by the light rail station.  Two platforms - northbound, and a central platform servicing trains in both directions. Southbound tracks are separated from the street by a high curb.

Very busy light rail station, it's across the street from the PATH station and the PATH trains into the World Trade Center.

So I was standing on the corner of Hudson and Montgomery, waiting to cross the street.  Had to wait because of a northbound light rail train pulling out of the station.    Directly behind the train was an SUV.  The motor vehicle was travelling northbound, on the train tracks, between the station platforms.  The driver was smiling the whole time.

Did I mention that the Jersey City Police, the Port Authority Police and the New Jersey Transit Police (three separate police departments) all like to park in front of the PATH station?  On a normal day you have a 50-50 shot at seeing a police vehicle in front of the station.  Today, with the POTUS visiting the WTC, the odds of seeing a police vehicle in front of the PATH rose dramatically.

No sooner did the SUV emerge from the train station, than the officer's lights went on.  I couldn't help but laugh when the SUV was pulled over.  I am sure the ticket was huge.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Second chances

So back in April I spent a "lovely" Saturday night in the hospital while Drew went to a concert, and our friend Bonnie went with him in my place.  I really wanted to see the Moody Blues, but fate (and my doctor) had other plans.

Fast forward to last Sunday.  Drew is reading the newspaper and comes across a full page ad:  the Moody Blues are coming back to Long Island for two concerts Thanksgiving weekend.  Of course we are planning to go.

One of my coworkers is an Avon lady.  I occcasionally buy from her.  In May I placed an order for some cosmetics and for a pretty denim tote bag.  I planned to use the bag when we went to Jen's graduation.  But when my order came in . . .no bag.  The order form said the item was no longer available.

Today my Avon lady emailed me that my order had arrived.  I didn't remember ordering anything.  Guess what?  It was the tote bag.  I plan to use it next month when we go to Virginia.

These things usually come in threes.  Can't imagine what may be next!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Diamonds are a girl's best friend

Or rather, a Diamond. Neil Diamond, to be precise. Saw him at Jones Beach Friday night. Feasted on cheeseburgers and fries from the snack bar before the show . . .major league expensive but very tasty. But I now know just how large a puddle a $9 soda leaves when knocked over . . .It was cool and windy down by the water, but the wind died down just before Neil took the stage. He's 71 now, and still looks and sounds good. He sang for two hours, concentrating on hits from the 60's and early 70's, not his later songs. Of course he did Sweet Caroline and Cherry Cherry. And of course he did I'm a Believer. Loved it.

Tonight we saw Prometheus, the Alien prequel.Drew still jokes about my reaction to the first movie, says I nearly pulled his arm right out of its socket. "In space no one can hear you scream." This movie was not quite as good simply because you could anticipate what was about ti happen, but it does work.

Wound up at Denny's after the movie. No wait for a table at that hour, but even at 10 PM the place was busy. Wanted a meatball sub, but they were out. Had a "super bird" instead - turkey, bacon, melted cheese and tomato on toasted sourdough. Nice sandwich. First time I had anything other than breakfast or a burger. It's now on my list of "likes". Someday I may actually leave room for dessert - the dessert menu looked interesting. As we were leaving I saw someone else being served chocolate chip pancakes smothered in whipped cream - looked so good that I may have to try it next time. Denny's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Space. The final frontier.

Star Trek was so popular that NASA named the prototype space shuttle "Enterprise".  Enterprise will have a permanent home on the deck of the Intrepid on NYC. 

One of the perks of working on the Jersey City water front - when they flew the shuttle into NY on the back of a jet, we saw it. And this iswhat we saw yesterday:

Oh, my.

The scourge of chipmunk-kind is introducing his bad habits to Mr. Kitty.  Redford captures them and brings them up onto the deck, where both cats are entertained by the new "toy".  The Kittyman is a 20-pounder, I doubt he could catch a chipmunk on his own . . .

In the photos, that's Red on the hood of my car.  Jen is holding Mr. Kitty.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dance mom redux

So I went to the rehab facility yesterday and my dad was at an activity.  One of the local dance studios brought a number of students to the facility for a short performance.

Well, I am a dance mom (retired).  Both girls took dance class at a local studio from preschool until high school.  Jen dropped dance when she joined cheerleading (yes, I am also a cheer mom) and Becca dropped classes at the studio when she made dance team.

So it was quite nostalgic for me to watch these girls.  The little ones are so cute!  The older ones . . .some have huge personalities, some are really good dancers.  Some are awkward and trying so hard to keep up.

It all felt so familiar.  Even down to the point where I felt the show ran about 15 minutes too long. But it was fun to revisit the past, if only for an hour.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A soul satisfying meal

Ben's Kosher Deli. One of my favorites. I think I am genetically programmed to yearn for such delicacies as matzo ball soup, chopped liver, brisket . . . A huge dish of cole slaw and a bucket of pickles (both sour and half sour) was placed on our table even before we ordered our meal. We all ordered sandwiches -- mine was pastrami on rye of course. Cold cuts are piled high. Gold's yellow mustard is on the table, russian dressing available if you ask for it. The guys ordered knishes -- Ben's makes their own round knishes (baked, like my grandma used to make), but you can get the square Coney Island type if you prefer. I ordered kasha varnishkes -- that's buckwheat and bowtie pasta. Gravy is served on the side -- a good thing because I didn't care for it, too thick. Remember, this is a kosher restaurant. They can't serve dairy and won't serve fake stuff like soy cheese, so don't expect sour cream with your latkes. Ben's is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, so all the waitresses were wearing silly hats to honor the occasion. Of course we brought home leftovers. And of course we were too full for coffee and dessert. Definitely one of my favorites. Ben's Kosher Deli & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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