life in and around NYC is insane

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Peace, love and crabs redux

Last year we tried Joe's Crabshack, and I was in love.
But it's a pricey meal, and Oceanside is a  bit of a hike for us, so we never went back.
Until tonight, that is.  A year to the day since our first visit.
We arrived at dinner time and faced a very lengthy wait. Fortunately this restaurant uses an interesting system  to page patrons when their table is ready -- the hostess entered my cell phone number into her iPad, and I got a text message when our table was ready.
It was very cold inside the restaurant ( I'd hate to see their bill for air conditioning!)  Once again let me recommend a Chilly Jilly wrap -- I keep one in my pocketbook this time of year.
But the beach vibe is still there.  Loud music, line dancing, ti dyed shirts.  Could barely hear each other talk.
This time around, we skipped the appetizer and went straight for the steam pots.  I ordered the same steam pot as I had last year -- a whole Maine lobster, two crab legs, shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn, only this time, the server asked if I preferred extra shrimp in lieu of the sausage.  I  went with the shrimp.
Overall the food was excellent.  The lobster claws were succulent but the tail was a bit chewy.
We didn't order drinks from the bar -- we did far too much drinking on the cruise -- but the pina coladas looked very interesting, served in what looked like a real pineapple.
They're running a promotion right now.  If you donate to their charity -- to feed hungry kids -- you get a coupon for a free food item at your next visit.  The size of your donation determines the free item --  $1 gets you a kids meal, $5 is an appetizer,$10 is a bucket of crab.
We will have our free bucket of crab when they open the Westbury location.
Let's get cracking. Joe's Crab Shack on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's that time of year again

Time to gear up for the breast cancer walk.

Didn't do it last year, it conflicted with another event.  But I've walked at Jones Beach many times. 

I wil do it again this year.  It's such a feeling of accomplishment.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Full employment!

So this year Becca got a PAID internship with a public relations firm. 

And Jen just found a job with a day care/preschool.  Doesn't pay as much as sge made at the synagogue nursery school last year. But better than nothing, right?

Now I've got to get Becca's financial aide squared away (her school is driving me crazy) and Jen needs to figure out this semester's grad school.  Baby steps . . .

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back from our cruise

You can read all the details in my cruise blog.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Too funny

Monday, August 12, 2013

Songbird Salutes the 70's

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Olive Garden

This chain is unfairly disparaged by many "foodies".  Why go to a "faux Italian"  restaurant when there are so many "real" Italian restaurants on Long Island?
Yet the place is always crowded at dinnertime.
It's a family-friendly chain with a pleasant atmosphere and interesting and delicious dishes on the menu.
The food is pretty standard Italian.  Mostly pastas, with some chicken and seafood items rounding out the menu.
You have a choice -- soup or salad.  Since we both selected salad, it was served family style  -- Iceburg lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and an occasional pepper served with croutons and Italian dressing, and grated cheese added at the table.  Nice.  (And no unripened tomatoes!)
Salad was accompanied by their famous breadsticks -- actually closer to mini loaves of bread, soft inside but with a crunchy crust sprinkled with garlic.
We ordered an appetizer trio.  The calamari was lightly breaded and fried, and was not "chewy".  (Overcooked,chewy calamari is a kitchen crime.)  The stuffed mushrooms contained real pieces of clam.  The fried mozzarella was crispy outside and gooey inside.  There was enough on this plate to feed at least three, maybe four, diners.
You could easily make a meal out of the salad and appetizer.
But we did order entrees.  He had seafood alfredo, a variety of shellfish in a creamy sauce.  I ordered chicken parmesian -- two chicken cutlets, breaded and fried and topped with timato sauce and mozzarella, accompanied by spaghetti in marinara sauce.  We both brought home leftovers, of course.  Didn't order dessert, but we did enjoy the Andes candies delivered to our table -- they accompanied the bill for tonight's meal.
So yes, we do eat in "real" Italian restaurants.  But we also like this place.  Good food at a fair price in a pleasant atmosphere.   

Olive Garden on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 9, 2013

I forget sometimes

My office is in Jersey City, on the waterfront.  I look out the window and I see the new One World Trade Center rising above lower Manhattan.  My commute often takes me through the Trade Center.

I subconsciously note the progress made in building that magnificent tower, and I move on.  It's become part of my landscape.

But last week, as we were driving in the truck . . . As you come over the Veranzaro Bridge to Brooklyn and get onto the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, there's a moment when lower Manhattan looms before you, the shining tower of One World Trade Center dominating the skyline.

And Drew was looking at the tower as if he'd never seen it before.

And then I realized:  He'd never seen it before.

He has no reason to be in lower Manhattan these days, or any of the areas that have a view of downtown.  Sure, we go to the theater, but the Theater District is midtown.

So manypeople haven't seen the new tower in all its glory. 

Here are two pictures I took last summer.  The first was from Jersey City, when the Disney cruise ship was sailing by.  the second was from my little excursion on the Staten Island Ferry.


Now this photo I need to explain. I took it about a month ago, from Jersey City. the two rubber ducks in the foreground are "Boston Strong" ducks.  It's a facebook thing to show solidarity with Boston after the Marathon bombing last spring.    Bet you can't figure out why I posed my ducks in front of the World Trade Center....


Thursday, August 8, 2013

bubba meinster

My grandfather, Harry, came from a part of Poland that was under Russian control.  He wasn't able to get a visa to enter the US, so he went to Canada, then came to the US under the Canadian quota.

My grandmother didn't speak about him much, he died when my mother was still a child.  So I don't know where they met, etc.  But I do know that after they got engaged, Harry was reluctant to set a date.  Ultimately they wound up at City Hall, with two of Harry's cousins as witnesses. 

My grandmother acknowledged that she lied about her age on the marriage license, because she didn't want the cousins to know how old she really was.

My great grandfather wouldn't let her live with Harry, though, until they had a religious ceremony.  That happened about a month later.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


More crazy mixed up family stuff.

My sister H, who has been unemployed for over three years, is moving back to the family home. My mom can't continue to pay her rent...

My dad is coming home from rehab, we hope, but with even more limitations than he had before he was hospitalized, so we have to make modifications around the house.  Even with the confusion that comes with dementia, he's still  managing to manipulate my sisters.

Drew is dealing with issues with his father and his uncle.His father is in the hospital and not doing well.  His uncle...a story for another day.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bowing to the inevitable

True confessions time.

I am  a reformed nail biter.  I was engaged in that bad habit until I was 36 years old.

Consequently, my long nails are a source of personal pride.  They're not just a beautification of my hands.  They're a symbol of perseverence and willpower.

But for some reason, I have never gotten into the habit of a weekly manicure.  I should do it, should arrange a standing appointment at my favorite salon. . .

I broke 3, count them, 3 nails in the past two days.

My nails don't break off at the tips.  No, it's much more insideous than that.   My nails  . . .I'll see a hairline fracture on the side of the nail, running parallel to the nail bed, all across the top of the affected finger.  You can't file something like that.  I can try to glue it down or wrap it, and that brings temporary relief.

But the crack creeps inexorably from one side of the nail to the other.  Until I am left with two choices:  let nature take its course, until the nail catches on something and is forceably ripped from my finger, or . . .get the nail clippers.

It's not fair.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


"Lovely" encounter with a neighbor this morning.

Background:  my parents' house is 90 feet back from the street.  There are trees and shrubs in the center of the lawn, which provide some privacy -- you can't really see the front of the house from the street.

This morning I had an early meeting at the synagogue.  It must have been about 11:30 when I drove home.

There was a woman walking her dog on my lawn!  She and the poodle were on the grass, halfway between the trees and the curb.  And the dog was in a very familiar pose.

I stopped the car, rolled down my window and asked why she was on my lawn.

She assured me she had baggies with her and would clean up after the dog.

In all the years I had dogs, I never would have let mine do its business on tge neighbor's lawn! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

The final day

Grabbed some muffins from the hotel's continental breakfast, packed up the truck and hit the road.

As we drove through Baltimore we could see Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas in port -- getting excited for our upcoming cruise.

Grabbed a quick lunch on the New Jersey Turnpike.

And then to the last leg of the trip --from Jersey to Staten Island to Brooklyn. The worst part of the trip, the part that actually made me hate being in the truck, was the drive on the BQE to the LIE and then home -- NYC traffic is the worst. 

So our little adventure is over. Now we have to unload the truck and return it.  Drew is putting everything in storage here, so he has time to figure out what to keep, what to sell, etc.

It was an interesting trip.  I'd do it again.  But not in a truck.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Some photos from Fredericksburg

Our Civil  War adventure

Civil War

So we're in Virginia, driving up towards Fredericksburg, and we see a sign:  Stonewall Jackson Shrine.

You know we are history buffs.  And Drew loves the Civik War.

So of course we had to stop.

It was late in the day and the museum was closed,  but we were able to see the outdoot exhibits.

Last night we stayed at the Candlewood Suites in Fredericksburg.  Ate at Steak N Shake -- good food, mediocre service.

Today we took a break from driving, and instead we decided to spend more time exploring Civil War battlefields.  The National Parks Service runs the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Military Park, which is made up of four battlefields that were significant during the Civil War.  Fredericksburg, in 1862, was a decisive Confederate victory, but when Union troops destroyed the town, the tone of the war changed.  Chancellorsville, in 1863, where Lee won the battle but lost Stonewall Jackson.   Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House, 1864 stalemates that ultimately lead to Grant's success at Richmond and later Appomattox.

The best part of tour -- the visitor's center at Fredericksburg and the one at Chancellorsville.  Interesting films and good collections of artifacts.  I would have liked to have taken the walking tour with the park ranger in Fredericksburg, but it was raining the whole time we were there.  We didn't buy the CD you can play as you tour the battlefields -- no CD player -- but there's not much to see on the battlefields.  Lovely drive/walk through the woods.  I'd skip Wilderness and Spotsylvania next time.

Then back on the road, and right into rush hour traffic.  We planned to go past Baltimore before stopping, but the traffic. . .
We stopped in Jessup, at the Sleep Inn.  Ate at a Mexican chain, Don Pablo.

Tomorrow we head home.

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