life in and around NYC is insane

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Premier Diner

Location, location, location.

This place is always busy, but what can you expect? It's on Commack Road right near the expressway, there's always been a restaurant here and they've always been busy.

They've got a very extensive menu, even for a diner.  Lots of choices, lots of options. Huge, and I mean enormous, portions of food. 

Your meal starts with complimentary beet salad.   I am not a fan of beets, but the salad was very nice. . . Not overpowering.

We ordered from the dinner menu.  Dinners come with soup or salad and dessert.  For an extra fee you can add an appetizer, but you really don't need that much food.  Unless you're sharing -- for $6 two people can share one dinner.  They ask you if you want bread before bringing a bread basket.

We both started with tossed salad, a very basic combo of iceburg lettuce, cucumber and tomato, dressing served on the side.

He had "land and sea",  three shrimp stuffed with crabmeat served alongside a strip steak.  Steak was tender, shrimp were tasty, french fries were hot and crispy, but he felt the spinach needed salt.

I ordered Yankee Pot Roast.  Tender beef in a thick brown gravy.  The accompanying potato pancake could have been a meal itself.  Crispy exterior, fluffy on the inside.  The cooked red cabbage -- something I had not eaten in a very long time -- had just the right amount of vinegar to give it some bite.

We ordered the desserts "to go" . . .

Premier Diner on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My grandmother

March 28 was the day my grandmother Dora  would celebrate her birthday.  Whether it was actually the anniversary of her birth is anyone's guess.  In small villages in Eastern Europe in 1902 they didn't keep accurate records.

Actually, 1902 is a guess, too.  It could have been 1901 or 1903. 

Dora was my mother's mother, and my only grandparent still living when I was born.

Basic outline of her life:  She was born in Galicia, in what is now Poland but was part of Austria at the time.  She was the eldest of five children.  She has to quit school at age 12 to support her mother and younger brother and sisters.  Her father had emigrated to America and was unable to send money home during World War I.

After the war her father began sending for family members.  Dora came here with her aunt and uncle and her younger sister Shirley.  Eventually her sister Florence and her brother Al came here as well.  Their mother was afraid to come to this country; she had a minor disability, a limp, and was afraid she'd be sent back. The youngest daughter stayed with her mother.  Both died during what Dora referred to as "the Hitler war."

Her life in this country was typical of immigrants of that era.  She worked in some of NYC's finest sweatshops.  Eventually she met and married Harry.  They lost one child, a son, at birth, but went on to have three daughters (including my mother).  She was widowed young -- Harry died in 1943 -- and she had to struggle to raise three young girls alone.

Although her early years were a struggle, my mother and my aunts saw to it that she lived her golden years in comfort.  She passed away on October 13, 1996, at the age of 94.

My grandmother loved to tell the stories of her life.  She'd tell the same stories over and over, until each of us knew them by heart.  I admit it could be frustrating at times, being cornered by my grandma and having to listen to the same tale I'd heard 100 times before.

But as I grow older I appreciate those stories.

There's a Yiddish word, "bubbameister".  It means "tall tale".  Intetestingly,  the word for "grandmother" is "bubba" or affectionately, "bubbie".  Over the next few weeks I shall present to you my "bubba's meisters", my grandmother's stories.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Historic day

Though I seldom discuss such topics in my blog, I am very political, I wear my opinions on my sleeve.

Today is different.

Today the US Supreme Court hears argument on a historic case, a decision that may change our society.

Marriage Equality.

The next step in civil rights.

No need for long paragraphs explaing my support.  Let me simply say I value human rights. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

more teen idols

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Teen Idols!

Wow, what a concert.

Mickey Dolenz, Peter Noone, David Cassidy.

My inner 10 year old was beside herself.

All three stars were on the stage together.  First Mickey sang Monkees hits, with Peter and David singing harmony and backup.  Then Peter sang Herman's Hermits hits, and after intermission David sang Partridge Family hits and hits from his solo career.

It was the first concert of the tour, and it was definitely under rehearsed  -- missed cues and blown lyrics were obvious.

David looked like he was having the time of his life.  Peter was the clown prince.  Mickey, who is usually so chatty with the audience, was a little subdued.

Loved Peter's imitation of Mick Jagger.  His story about landing at Newark Airport and making his way to Long Island was hysterical.  The best line, though:  "I'm an actor.  When I'm on stage I'm 17.  And it hurts  the next morning.

The highlight of the evening was David talking about Davy Jones.  Jones is the one who helped Cassidy make peace with his teen idol past, and they were supposed to tour together.  So of course David had to sing "Daydream Believer", with Mickey and Peter joining in.

I must say...all the 50-something and 60-something ladies around me turned into 12 year olds when David starting his set.  He invited one woman onto the stage, and she practically swooned at his feet.  Her husband had to drag her off the stage.

The evening ended with our three darlings singing "I Think I Love You", which David dedicated to the entire audience.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Penn Station/Madison Square Garden

Every day that I head to the company's offices I am reminded that Penn Station is not only a commuter hub and a major travel center, it is also located directly beneath Madison Square Garden.   So not only do you see the commuters, the weekenders headed to the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore, and the travelers about to board Amtrak trains to points unknown, you also know when there's an event at the Garden -- especially a Rangers game (when the station turns into a sea of blue jerseys), and to a lesser extent, a Knicks game.  (In the spring and summer, you'll also see lots of game day jerseys on Mets and Yankees fans, but they don't linger, they pass through Penn on their way to the Bronx or to Citi Field).

Other events at the Garden are not so obvious, especially since the circus went to Brooklyn this year (I the new Barclay Center yet).

but yesterday as I was about to walk into Penn, I spotted this:

March Madness has returned.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I am so done with winter

Monday, March 18, 2013

the dating game....

What a joy it must be 22, pretty and popular.  Jen has been "dating" several interesting young men. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Carnivore heaven

I think the first time I tried Brazilian food was in the late 1980's, when Drew introduced me to the woman who was at that time engaged to be married to his uncle.  Drew's Aunt "P" is Brazilian, born and raised in Rio.  So of course she introduced us to some of the best Brazilian food in NYC.  There was a restaurant on west 46th street . . .alas, it no longer exists.

So where is a girl going to get her "fix"?
No need to worry, churrasqueira restaurants have started popping up on Long Island!
"Churrasqueira" refers to grilled meats, which are usually served rodizio style -- the waiters walk around the restaurant with meat on the rotisserie, and stop at each table to serve portions to the diners.
So tonight we found ourselves in Bellmore, at Churresqueira Carvalhos. Warning -- it's a relatively small but very popular dining spot and tends to be crowded. We arrived before 6 PM and the place was already half full.  By the time we finished eating there was a considerable wait for a table.
We started our evening with sangria.  Drew ordered the red and I ordered the white.  It was served with small chunks of apple and orange.  Sweet, but not overpowering.
The breadbasket was accompanied by a dish of green and black olives.  Neither of us eats olives, but if you like them . . . The house salad, served family style, was very simple --  lettuce, tomato and onions in a mild vinegarette.
The side dishes, also served family style, included black beans, rice, some sort of salsa that we didn't try, fried bananas (coated in batter, I thought they'd be sweeter), sauteed collard greens and french fries.  Everything was very lightly seasoned, so as not to detract from the main event:  the meats.

So what can I say about the meats?

You have a choice between traditional entrees (such as a steak or half a chicken, or a fish dish), most of which are grilled, or rodizio. 
We chose rodizio, a/k/a carnivore heaven.
Steak, chicken, spare ribs, sausage, prime rib, smoked turkey . . .everything is boldly seasoned and cooked over a wood grill.  It's tender, juicy and flavorful but not "spicy" or "hot".  If you're hungry you can easily get your money's worth . . .
As usual we were too full for dessert. . .but the offerings looked so delicious that next time I think I'll go with a regular entree so I'll have room for that flan . . .
Because. . .yes, we WILL be back. . .

Churrasqueira Carvalhos Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 15, 2013

a pedicure emergency!

"Mom, can you give me money for a pedicure?  My feet are so nasty right now...when we were sitting on the couch watching tv, my boyfriend actually told me to keep those nasty things away from him!"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

proud of Jen

She's really nervous about grad school.  She signed up for one class so she could put her best foot forward.  first assignment in the class was a research paper.  She was so nervous!  She pulled an all-nighter to write it...

Professor handed the papers back yesterday. His comment was "Some of you did not get grades, you got feedback.  I want you to rewrite your paper for the grade you want..."

She was convinced she was in that group..wouldn't look at her paper in the classroom, waited until she was at her car....

...for her "A".

Monday, March 11, 2013

google is a treasure trove

found a trip report I posted on the DIS years ago.  I posted it in two parts, the first half on the Universal board, the second half on the Disney board.  I'll post both parts here:


   02-21-2001, 07:35 PM



Jewish American Princess

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Join Date: Aug 1999

Location: Long Island, NY USA

Posts: 3,698


Songbird and the chickadees:  the two-hotel, four park oddessy. Part I: Portofino Bay, Universal, Ci

Cast of Characters

Songbird -- single mother extraordinaire, celebrating yet another birthday by indulging her every whim

Tinkerbell  -- age 10, and "officially" an adult -- at least from a
theme park point of view (though at 4'2" you have to wonder "what were
they thinking?")

Cinderella -- a/k/a "Annie Warbucks" and "Eliza Thornberry", age 8.

Songbird and the chickadees have been Disneyworld fans since our first
trip there together in August 1998.  We have stayed at the Polynesian,
Dixie Landings and Boardwalk.    We've seen most of what Disney has to
offer.  So this time we decided to be a little more adventurous and see
what Universal was all about.  At first I was going to "just" do the
Universal parks, but as I started to plan this adventure I realized I
could not go all the way to Orlando and not see the Mouse.  Unlike the
previous trips, where the girls weren't in on the planning, this time I
told them we were going about 2 months before the trip, so they could
help me make decisions about how to spend our time.

Our trip began in the wee hours of Friday morning, february 16.  The
limo arrived at our house at 4:30 a.m.  It was a royal blue limo, and
the driver is a woman named Susan.  She told the girls that the limo we
were riding in had been used for a movie once.  We drove to LaGuardia
Airport.  As we passed Shea Stadium the girls cheered  -- I'm raising Mets fans, you know.

We had a quiet, uneventful flight.  Occasionally the woman seated across
 the ailse from me would make a comment to me about Florida or Universal
 (she was reading Kelly Monaghan's book).  When the plane landed, the
woman asked Tinkerbell "Do you know so-and-so?"  It seems that Lissa,
and her son Daniel, are friendly with a man who is also one of my
ex-husband's friends.  Small world.

As promised, Tiffany Towncar was waiting for us when we arrived.  Our
driver, Ian, is originally from Liverpool, England.  I love that accent!
  Ian drove us to Portofino Bay.  Wow.  Impressive hotel.  Cinderella
saw the fountain outside
 the main entrance and immediately thought about the fountains in Rome.
 Our room was ready, and we were expertly escorted upstairs by Janet. 
We were in the villa wing, kind of far from the main lobby and the
harbor, but close to the beach pool and the villa pool.    the room was
huge and had two queen beds -- my kids liked the fact that the beds were
 high off the floor, but I kept looking for a stepladder and felt like
Princess Winifred in Once Upon a Mattress
 every time I had to get into that bed.  The girls were very impressed
with the bathroom -- two sinks, a stall shower and a separate tub, and a
 shuttered window
 between the tub and the bedroom.  No balcony, but we did have a view of
 the lawn and the lake (and Universal Blvd. just past the lawn.)  Lots
of little "extras", like a make-up mirror, blow dryer, minibar (yes, we
did indulge -- frequently.)

We spent the afternoon at the beach pool.  The girls were very impressed
 with the castle slide, the beach, the rocks, the playground area. 
Cinderella earned the nickname "Annie Warbucks" by singing all the songs
 from Annie --she did "Hard Knock Life" while lugging a bucket of sand
across the beach.

My most embarassing moment -- I overheard a young woman tell her friend
"I only want one child because then he or she won't have someone to
fight with" as she was looking right at the chickadees fighting with each other.
  We did have quite a bit of sibling disagreement this trip, and it got
on mom's nerves quite a bit.  We also had a lot of whining and carrying
on, more so than in previous trips, but we did have an good time overall
 (and we'll work on our behavior now that we're home again.)

Lunch from the poolside snack shop was great.  A staff member took our
order and brought the food down to the pool for us.  I had grilled
chicken, Tink had a hot dog and Cinderella had chicken fingers.  We made
 the decision not to go to the park that night, but to start fresh in
the morning. 

I stopped at the concierge to buy our tickets and make reservations for
dinner later in the weekend.  And I asked about Cousin Brucie.  Bruce
Morrow, a/k/a "Cousin Brucie", is a fixture on New York Radio.  I've
been listening to him since I was Tink's age.  On Wednesday, 2/14, he
announced on his show that he'd been braodcasting from the Hard Rock
Hotel on 2/16.  So I asked the concierge at Portofino for information. 
The concierge called the concierge at Hard Rock, then told me:  "Yes,
he's broadcasting from the Hard Rock pool, but it's supposed to be hush
hush."  LOL, he told 1/2 of New York City where to find him!

For dinner, we took the boat over to Citiwalk, did some shopping and
found our way into Nascar Cafe. They weren't honoring priority seating
for hotel guests because of the upcoming race but our wait was only 30
minutes --- not bad for a holiday weekend.  We played in the arcade
until it was time to go upstairs.  We sat right under one of the cars. 
 The chickadees even got to start the "race".

Alas, by the time we finished eating, the chickadees were too tired to
indulge mom with a trip over to Hard Rock (some other time, Cousin
Brucie), so we went back to Portofino and to bed.  the girls were amazed
 at the "turn-down service".  Nice hotel.

On Saturday we ordered room service for breakfast, then headed out to
the boat.  the smell of smoke was heavy that morning due to the brush
fires -- in fact I-4 was closed most of the time we were in Orlando
because of the fires -- though after the first day I only smelled the
smoke once or twice.  (It's sad that those fires are burning out of
control -- a bit of hard reality in an area that's devoted to fantasy.)

Our destination that morning was  Islands of Adventure.  Our frame of
reference is WDW, and we couldn't help but draw comparisons.  IOA is
hipper, edgier, more exciting and adult than the Magic Kingdom (and the
same can be said about Universal and MGM).  We found the Universal parks
 to be just as much fun as Disney, but in a slightly different way --
anyone who has been to both will know what I mean.  When we first went
into the park, we saw the Hulk roller coaster.  It seems to dominate the
 skyline.  Cinderella was disappointed that she's not tall enough to
ride -- until she actually saw the coaster.  Tinkerbell hated the idea
of the coaster from the moment I told her it has inversions -- and was
even more frightened of it when she saw it.  Cinderella wants to go back
 when she's older to ride Hulk and Dueling Dragons, but I doubt Tink
will ever want to ride either coaster.

Our first stop was Popeye's barges.  the girls were wearing bathing
suits, and it was a good thing -- when they tell you that you will get
soaking wet on the ride, BELIEVE THEM!  You go so fast you hardly see
the theming.  The drop was hardly noticeable.

Next, since we were already wet, we did Dudley Do-Right.  Cinderella
loved making a joke out of Dudley's dressing room a/k/a the broom
closet.  We found this ride to be much like splash mountain but cornier
and faster.

Next we saw characters.  Rocky and Bulwinkle were going back stage, so
we didn't get aphoto with them, but we did take pictures with Bluto,
Popeye and Olive Oyl.

The day was a bit cool (temps in the low 70's) so the girls changed into
 dry clothes, but decided to wear their slide-on sandals instead of
sneakers.  This was how Cinderella got her nickname -- for the rest of
the trip, she kept sliding out of her sandals, and we'd have to stop and
 wait for her to put her shoe back on.

After we changed we headed over to Seuss Landing, easily our favorite
part of the park.  Until this point we hadn't used Front of the Line
Access, because the lines were short, but now the park was getting
crowded, so out came the Portofino room key.  Now I'm really spoiled,
because we didn't have to wait on lines for almost all the rides!  First
 we rode the Caro-seuss-el (I love the animals -- so Dr. Seuss!)  and
then visited the Cat in the Hat.  This is very much like the Pooh ride
in Magic Kingdom, only bouncier and with more spin.  It shows the story
with charm and humor.  After that was One fish Two Fish, sort of like
Dumbo but water skirts out at the riders.    (No FOTL access for that
ride, alas.)

Next we wandered into the Lost Continent, where I dragged the girls onto
 Poseidon.  this was not a success.  the girls felt it was too dark and
ominous, and kept telling me they were scared the whole time we were in
the attraction.    Next Cinderella wanted to ride the Flying Unicorn,
but it started to rain just as we were walking over there.  We decided
to call it a day.  It stopped raining a few minutes later, and we walked
 back to Seuss landing.  Stood on line and got great photos of the girls
 with the Grinch and with the Cat in the Hat.  Proof that Songbird is
not shy:  just as the chickadees were about to see the Cat, a woman with
 3 kids in tow tried to cut the line -- but Songbird made the woman go
wait her turn.

It started to rain again when we were on the boat back to the hotel, but
 stopped just as we arrived.  We hadn't had lunch, so we arodered an
early dinner from room service and spent the evening watching t.v.

Sunday was my birthday.  the day began on a sour note, since our wake up
 call never came (though we got up early anyhow.)  A short time later
John, the manager on duty, called and apologized, and offered us free
breakfast for Monday morning.  They do try hard to please you at
Portofino.  We ate cereal in the room and headed out to Universal.  Our
first ride of the day was ET.  The girls were a bit nervous but
absolutely loved the ride!  Next it was photos with Scooby Do and Yogi
Bear and Woody Woodpecker and his girlfriend, all wearing Mardi Gras
beads.  We had an early lunch at Mel's diner  - hot dogs for the girls, a
 chilidog for me.  Love the 1950's atmosphere -- especially the music. 
Then the girls got their faces painted (adorable!)and then it was on to
the Woody Woodpecker roller coaster   -- the girls loved it so much they
 rode it twice.  Next was Men in Black, which the girls decided was
"cooler" than Buzz Lightyear "because the aliens shoot back!"  We lost,
but enjoyed the ride anyhow.  Next I convinced the girls to ride Back to
 the Future (one of my favorite movies!)  they were scared, but a girl
their own age told them it wasn't too scary.  Still, Tink closed her
eyes when the dinosaur appeared.  After that the girls got hair wraps. 
they looked so cool!

As we walked towards Nickolodeon Studios we came across a mini parade --
 the Marx Brothers and Marilyn Monroe -- and they were throwing Mardi
Gras beads.  the girls were entranced.

What can I say about our tour of Nick? Seems my girls knew the name of
every show, the answer to every question the tour guide asked.  I think
they watch too much Nick!  Anyhow, when we went to the game room,
Cinderella was chosen to be one of the players.  she had to dress like
Eliza Thornberry (orange pigtail wig) and I had to dress like Eliza's
sidekick Darwin (a monkey) and catch what she threw at me.  We had fun,
but Tink's nose was out of joint because when the mc asked Cinderella
"who are you with?" she replied "my mom" and forgot to say "and my

After that, we walked over to IOA and headed for Seuss Landing once
more.  We rode the carrousel and Cat in the Hat, then headed over to the
 Flying Unicorn -- which the girls decided was better than Woody
Woodpecker.  We walked trhough Jurrasic Park but didn't stop -- the
girls don't like scary dinosaurs.  Cinderella rode Dudley again. She
wore a bathing suit and got very wet.   Afterwards she was so cold that I
 had to buy a Betty Boop towel for her so that she could dry off before
putting on her clothes again.

Until now I had not been able to convince the girls to ride Spiderman. 
But someone at dudley told cinderella that Spiderman was the best ride
in the park.  So we walked over to spderman, but the ride was "down." 
Oh, well.  We ate dinner at Hard Rock, then walked back to Universal
just in time for the Mardi Gras Parade.  I didn't catch a thing, but the
 girls caught a lof of beads.

We didn't feel like waiting for the boat, so we walked back to Portofino Bay.

Here'a the link to the second half of the report:


[This message was edited by songbird on 02-21-01 at 10:58 PM.]

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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Long Island, NY USA
Posts: 3,698

Songbird and the chickadees: the two-hotel, four park oddessy. Part II: Beach Club, MGM and Magic

Cast of Characters

Songbird -- single mother extraordinaire, celebrating yet another birthday by indulging her every whim

Tinkerbell -- age 10, and "officially" an adult -- at least from a theme park point of view (though at 4'2" you have to wonder "what were they thinking?")

Cinderella -- a/k/a "Annie Warbucks" and "Eliza Thornberry", age 8.

Songbird and the chickadees have been Disneyworld fans since our first trip there together in August 1998. We have stayed at the Polynesian, Dixie Landings and Boardwalk. We've seen most of what Disney has to offer. So this time we decided to be a little more adventurous and see what Universal was all about. At first I was going to "just" do the Universal parks, but as I started to plan this adventure I realized I could not go all the way to Orlando and not see the Mouse. Unlike the previous trips, where the girls weren't in on the planning, this time I told them we were going about 2 months before the trip, so they could help me make decisions about how to spend our time.

Here's a link to Part I:

We had room service waffles for breakfast, courtesy of the Portofino Bay management. Next we called bell services and headed downstairs, where our Tiffany Towncar was waiting. Our driver Jack took us to Disney's Beach club. Now, we had had a wonderful time at Universal, but someohow you just know when you're on disney property --everything is more magical somehow. We checked into the hotel -- the room wasn't ready. So we left our bags with bell services and took the boat to MGM.

Our first attraction was Muppets 3D. Cinderella didn't care for it the first time she saw it, 2 1/2 years ago, but now it's become one of her favorites. Next we walked over to Great Movie Ride and observed the construction -- is that really going to be Sorcerer Mickey? The line was well over 30 minutes long, so we decided to head over to our lunch reservation, evne though we'd be 1/2 an hour early. for some reason, even though Sci fi was crowded, we were seated right away. the girls loved the car, the B movies and cartoons on the screen, etc. stick to the basics here -- I had a decent cheeseburger, tink had grilled cheese and Cinderella had chicken fingers, and it was all ok. Not fantastic, but not bad.

After lunch it was back to GMR, with a much shorter line now. We sat in the first row of the first car -- one of the best views (sat in the back row once and hated it!) Next it was Doug Live. I could have done without this show (it's very good, but we've seen it several times) but the girls keep hoping one of them will be picked for Quail Kid. Alas, no. then we walked over to Rock 'N' roller coaster. Cinderella thinks it's cool, but Tink won't ride, so we left her sitting outside while we rode. when I got off the ride, Castmemeber Marta approached me -- seems tink had to use the ladies room, and when she got back she began to think she'd missed us coming off the ride, so she told the CM, who found girl, my Tink. We saw Clopin and Belle on
Sunset Blvd. We had to make a stop in the Villains store -- Tink loves villains. the girls bought pirate stuff -- earrings, eye patches, etc. they played at being pirates as we took the boat back to Beach club. We saw one of the water taxis broken down in the lake between Beach Club and Boardwalk -- later I saw the boat being pushed by another boat -- guess they couldn't get it started.

We checked into our room. our room was close to the elevators. It was a lovely room -- two queen beds (lower to the gorund than the ones at Portofino) and a day bed, with a seahorse motif. the bathroom was very small, but the sinks were in the dressing room. even though we were on the second floor, we had a balcony -- which overlooked the construction area for the new Beachclub Villas (I told the girls about the DVC and now they want me to join.) We headed out to the beach to play until dinner. We ate a Cape May -- great buffet. we drew all over the "table cloth". at the end of the meal, the staff sang "Happy Birthday" to me (I hadn't had a birthday celebration the day before.)

we decided to walk to the Boardwalk. but first we stopped in the video arcade and played a few games. then we walked over to the Boardwalk and played the arcade games -- you know, the ones with the prizes. Cinderella won a prize by knocking over dolls with baseballs. Tink won a prize by shooting baskets. we saw the fireworks from Illuminations. we noticed a lot of surrey bikes, and the girls wanted to ride, but I don't do biking, and besides, they rode one with their aunts last summer. next was a stop in the sweet shop, and then we caught a performance of the Boardwalk buskers. they did magic tricks and juggling. Cinderella was entranced. we were getting tired by now, so we walked back to Beach Club.

We were up at dawn Tuesday morning and on a Magic Kingdom bus by 7:15 for our 8:00 breakfast at the castle. This time our waitress was Tina, but David -- who'd been our waiter in August -- was still there, and I think he recognized us. the characters were Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Aurora (sleeping Beauty) and Jasmine. We asked why there were no princes, and were told that Prince Charming was at WDW that day, but "was putting a glass slipper on Rosie's foot."

After breakfast we went down to the lobby and took a picture with the Fairy godmother. We walked out of the restaurant and were present for rope drop at Fantasyland. The CM's told us to avoid one side of the carrousel "because they're shooting a movie." Later I found out the "movie" was a commercial for Rosie O'Donnell's show -- rosie rode the carrousel. but we didn't bother to investigate -- we had a date with the pixies!

I'd had an event with Jane and the pixies in 2/2000, and decided to have a birthday event again this year. only, since it's my birthday, I decided to let Jane surprise me. Jane and one of her pixies planned out a treasure hunt for us. I won't go into the details, in case she wants to use it again, but it involved villains and following clues, and riding Peter Pan and Snow white. she'd also planned on us riding haunted Mansion, but the ride was down that morning (my girls don't care for that ride anyhow). good job, Jane! you really gave us a good time!

after the treasure hunt, we got a fastpass for Pooh, then rode the Indy 500 -- and Tink was ecstatic because she actually made the height requirement to ride alone! I had to ride with Cinderella, but I let her drive. the we rode Pooh, and Small World (the first time I rode Small World was at the 1964 World's Fair in NYC). we saw Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, then walked over to tomorrowland and rode the TTA -- which I still think is a lot better than the NYCTA. Next was Carrousel of Progress (another relic from 1964)(the rude people next to me wouldn't turn off their two-way radio and it made an awful noise during the show). then it was back to the Beach Club for a swim in Stormalong Bay and lunch at Hurricane Hanna's. Tink's one complaint was that the slide is an enclosed tube -- she doesn't like that kind of slide.

Minor complaint -- housekeeping didn't get ot our room until afternoon, so when we came back from the park the room hadn't been made up. but when we came back from the pool the room was clean, and the stuffed animals were arranged on the bed -- Cinderella's puppy was "chewing" on her blankie.

we headed back to Magic Kingdom sometime after 5. got our e night bracelets as soon as we came into the park. we walked over to Adventureland and headed to the Tiki Room -- the atmosphere of the park at night adds to the effect. next was Pirates of the Caribbean -- a walk-on, since most people were lining up for the parade at this point. then it was Jungle Cruise -- a ride which is much better at night.

We walked from Adventureland into Frontierland -- andright into the Main Street Electrical Parade. We'd seen it last year. we watched a few of the floats -- from cinderella's to Peteand his dragon. tink especially loved the Peter Pan float -- Tink is going to be tinerbell in her school play in april, so anything having to do with Tinkerbell or Peter Pan captures her attention these days.

We left the parade after that, and ran into one of Tink's Hebrew School friends in Adventureland. travelled 1500 miles to meet up with friends from back home, LOL. then the girls and I headed to Main Street for the fireworks. we'd seen the fireworks several times from the Polynesian, and once from inside the castel, but we had never seen Tinkerbell's flight. my girls were amazed and enchanted.

we walked over to tomorrowloand after the fireworks, but it was 45 minutes until e night would begin, and the lines for Buzz and Space Mountain were too long. we rode TTA again. then we went through the gift shops to see if I could find AngieBelle. I'd met Angela when she came to NYC in December, but she hadn't met the chickadees. we found her in one of the shops, and had a lovely talk. she told me "it's a shame you're leaving tomorrow, because I have the day off." a shame, because I would have loved to spend a day at Disney with a cast member!

we rode Buzz Lightyear, then Cinderella rode Space Mountain (I skipped it because my back was acting up, and Tink was too tired -- but I think she would have ridden if I'd gone on). We walked across the park and rode Big thunder. Cinderella wanted to ride splash Mountain, but Tink and I were too tired. even though e night was only 1/2 over, we headed back to the hotel.

this morning Ian of Tiffany Towncar picked us up, and took us to Orlando airport. our vacation was over.

wish I were still in Florida!


Grrrr.... I hate when this happens

Last year, Becca called me from Philadelphia, where she was visiting a friend.  "Mom, my bank just called.  They saw fraudulent activity on my debit card, so they cancelled my card...I have enough cash to get home..."

Then in January, she was in Washington, and "Mom, it happened again..."

On Saturday, Jen said to me "Mom, there are four transactions pending on my bank account that aren't mine..I'm headed over to the bank..."

Friday, March 8, 2013

Oz The Great and Powerful

Every now and then Drew and I are able to get sneak preview tickets, to see a movie before it opens.  Last night we were among the 500 lucky fans who got to see Oz The Great and Powerful, which opens today.

We were anxious to see this movie and really wanted to like it.  After all, The Wizard of Oz is iconic, and I'm also a big fan of the musical Wicked.  We've been seeing previews of Oz for months now, almost every time we've gone to the movies.

The plot is set up in 1905 and follows a Kansas con man/traveling magician and his escapades in Oz, which set up the events of the 1939 classic movie.

So...if you were expecting greatness, you won't find it here, but it's a charming and fun movie.  It pays homage to the classic in many ways -- starting with the black and white Kansas scenes and the way we transition to Oz.  That there's a minor character in Kansas named Frank Baum -- interesting salute.  There's a lot of humor.  The scary scenes aren't bad...

Certainly not a blockbuster, but it's a fun movie.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

remember this meme?

There were many thing I indicated I'd like to do.

4 1/2 years later, I've done only two of the items on my list -- seen Niagara Falls and eaten caviar.

At first it seemed a little sad...

But since this wasn't my bucket list, and since I've done so many other things, it's not so sad after all.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

cats are like kids

My family loves cats.  We have always had at least one cat, sometimes as many as four, living in our house.  Currently in residence are two feline members of our family, Redford and Mr. Kitty.

Both boys are what I call "self rescued" kitties.  there's a pond about half a mile from our house with a large feral cat population.  People have been known to dump unwanted pets at the pond, resulting in a growing feline community...

Mr. Kitty was a kitten when he was abandoned at the pond.  It was September,  almost 12 years ago.  Redford, on the other hand, was a full grown tom when he found his way to our house, two years ago. We think he's about 4-5 years old.

What I saw the other morning from the top of the stairs... I looked down to see Redford on his back, and Mr. Kitty was batting at him with his paw.  Then they wrestled a bit.  But as soon as they realized I was watching them...they went their separate ways.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Deja vu

Yes, I am a Fanilow.

Fanilow, as in "fan of Barry Manilow".

Remember this post?

We saw Barry in concert last year.  He was scheduled to do a few concerts at Radio City in February 2012, and we bought tickets.  Then he postponed the concerts until May.

We ate dinner at the Brooklyn Diner and headed up to Radio City, where we had the best time!

So when we heard he was doing a one-man show on Broadway....

His show at the St. James is sort of a "scaled down" version of what we saw at Radio City last year.  It's a smaller stage, a smaller theater, but essentially the same show.  Including the glow sticks handed out by the ushers. Because it's Broadway, you get a Playbill with Barry's face on the cover.

And OMG, I don't know how he did this, but Drew managed to get us seats three rows back from the stage.

And we were allowed to take pictures.

Overall another great evening.

And the "laugh out loud" moment?

I'd forgotten where we ate when we saw the show last may.  Last night we wound up guessed it...the Brooklyn Diner.

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