life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Looking Skyward redux

So there was supposed to be a rocket launch Monday. Unmanned, headed for the international space station. Launched from Virginia. VISIBLE IN NEW YORK!!!


Delayed until Tuesday.

And then ...

It blew up on the launching pad.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Corrective lenses

Boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses.

What complete and utter nonsense!

It’s really nothing serious, but to hear my daughter talk about it…you’d think it was a major tragedy. A turning point in her life, so to speak.

She must have been 6 or 7 when the ophthalmologist told me she had an astigmatism and needed glasses. I dutifully filled the prescription, had her fitted for pretty frames.

She almost never wore her glasses.

The next year, the doctor told me “Don’t worry about it, she doesn’t need them anymore.”

So we forgot about it. Every year we’d see the doctor, and he’d tell me her eyes were fine.

She was 16 when she got her learner’s permit. No problem passing the vision test at the DMV.

The first sign of trouble came3 years ago, when she was still in college. She needed to renew her driver’s license. She could do it by mail, but she’d have to go to an optometrist and have him send in the results of a vision test.

He told her she needed glasses!

She freaked.

Came running home, went to our ophthalmologist. He siad, “You’re fine. If you want to make driving at night a bit easier, you can wear glasses at night, a very mild prescription.

She never bothered.

But now…

She needs glasses. She needs to wear them all the time or she can’t see. Contacts are out of the question because of the astygmatism. But the good news is, she is a good candidate for lasik or some similar procedure.

It’s my fault, you know. It’s all in the genes. Or so she said.


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

And the cycle is complete

I stopped by the Dunkin' Donuts on Fulton Street to get my morning coffee.

And there on the shelf, a perfect seasonal decoration...

A glass cookie jar, shaped like a pumpkin.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Five Guys

You know I love a good burger.

It had been a looong time since our last visit to Five Guys, which was really kind of sad, considering I drive past the place at least once a week.

The decor is retro burger joint, gleaming white. Counter service. A handful of tables.

Warning: if you have peanut allergies, STAY AWAY!!!

Not only is the food cooked in peanut oil, but ...

There are bags and bags of peanuts. You help yourself to as many peanuts as you care to eat while waiting for your food.

Menu is pretty straightforward. Burgers, hot dogs, fries, a few sandwiches, even a vegetarian option. You order your burger, choose your toppings, and wait while they prepare your food.

Burgers are hot and juicy.

But the fries ....

Order a regular size fries to go ... They fill the cup, put it in your bag, then throw more fries into the bag...and a few more ... And a few more ...


They have a Freestyle Coke machine at this location. Loved my Cherry Coke Zero.

Definitely a keeper.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Haunting We Will Go

See, I told you we were going to do something Halloweenish!

Saturday night we went to the Chamber of Horrors .

Like most haunted houses around here, this is an interactive experience. You walk through a maze filled with scary and gory props. The lights are turned very low, though sometimes you may encounter strobe lighting for a special effect. Costumed characters talk to you, scream at you, chase you ... But are not allowed to touch you.
This haunting is set up at what by day serves as a gym/sports center, so the maze is all on one level -- easier to maneuver in the dark. We arrived before opening, and were there when the zombies reported for duty.

Well laid out, well performed, decent effects, lots of fun.

I think we were the only patrons there over the age of 18.

So I'm reliving my youth.

At least I'm having fun!

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Saturday, October 25, 2014


I don't know how it's done in churches, but Bible readings in synagogue follow a calendar established hundreds of years ago, so that we are all literally on the same page.

Today's reading is about Noah and the Ark.

Considering the truism that "it never rains on the High Holy Days", but it rained on Rosh Hashanah AND on Yom Kippur, and that it rained for three days in a row this week, reading about Noah today is a little ...disconcerting.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Observations from the "mommy" front (20-somethings edition)

Darling daughter, yes I know I have eyes in the back of my head, but after all this time you should realize that I am not a mind reader. I wouldn't have parked behind you if I had known you were leaving first.

I guess boyfriends are special, you never bake chocolate chip cookies for us.

And while we're on the subject...I know young love is wonderful, but your sister is still getting over her breakup, can you be a little kinder to her and stop shouting about how you have a boyfriend?

Ladies, there was a reason we agreed on a morning schedule for the bathroom.

I'm glad you can wear each other's clothes, but please, no fighting. Don't take your sister's shirt/sweater/raincoat without asking.

Isn't it amazing how "but mom, it's not a lot of money" becomes "I can't believe how expensive it is!" when you have to pay for it out of your own salary.

It's much easier for me to help you fill out financial forms if I can actually see the form.  We live in the same house, After all, so why do you wait until I'm at work and then call my office with your questions?

A grown woman should not be carrying on like a scared child about getting a flu shot, especially when she never carried on like that about vaccines when she was actually a child. I really didn't find that act amusing. At least you brought your sister for "emotional support". Glad it's done now, I really don't want any of us bringing the flu home to Grandpa.

And can we try to be a little more patient with Grandma?

Yes, I get it, you can't meet that cute boy who you see on the train if you're sitting with your mom.  Yeah, you told me it was  a group of "friends", but I know better.  I've got my iPad, go ahead and sit near him. But you can come over here and sit with me if he doesn't show up.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Julep plié wand

So when your site is devoted primarily to nail polish, of course you're going to offer tools and toys to use with your product.

I'd been eying the plié wand for weeks before I finally succumbed.

The object of this wand is to improve your control when you polish your nails, to keep polish off of your cuticles, etc. I usually wind up using my Sally Hansen No More Mistakes corrector pen, so you can see the allure of the plié wand.

The wand comes in two pieces, a brush and a handle. The brush fits into your bottle of nail polish, then magnetically attaches to the handle, which pivots.

I've used the wand once. It was not a success. Maybe I need more practice. But in the meantime, I'm not throwing out my Sally Hansen corrector.

I also ordered a $5 mystery add-on. Surprise, surprise -- it was nail polish. I didn't really need any more polish, but each bottle retails for a lot more than $5, so it's a bargain.

The colors are very bold, not at all conventional.

Yes, I'm going to experiment with color.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More astronomy

So yesterday we were supposed to have a spectacular meteor shower. Instead we had cloudy skies. Again.

Tomorrow evening there will be a partial solar eclipse at sunset.

Assuming the weather cooperates this time.

Which is doubtful.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another this and that

The weather has turned markedly colder, I actually had to break out a heavy jacket yesterday. Guess winter is right around the corner. I hope it's not as nasty as last year!

Halloween is coming! Looks like I will still be working In the city, we are supposed to move to the island first week of November. So I will have to give some thought to what we plan to do that night.

Wondering what do do about New Year's Eve. Always drama there, and not the good kind. Elton John is doing a show at the Barclay Center. I've never seen him live. The tickets available on StubHub are reasonably priced for the type of event, but still kind of expensive ....but if Drew and I go to the concert, we won't get caught up in the drama ...

Don't even get me started on the Thanksgiving drama ... It used to be my favorite holiday.

So yesterday I did a really ditsy thing. I'd gone to the trouble of packing lunch. Took it out of the refrigerator and put the lunch bag next to my tote bag. But somehow in the rush to leave for work I managed to leave my lunch on the kitchen table. I didn't realize it until Becca and I were on the train. Fortunately Jen was still at home when I texted her, and she put the food back into the fridge.

Of course, that left me without lunch and no idea what I wanted to eat.

I found myself on John Street, at the Subway sandwich shop. That location has a daily deal -- if you order the 'sub of the day" you get a six inch sub for $3. The sub of the day is different every day.

You're going to laugh when I tell you which sandwich is Monday's sub of the day.

Yes, I finally got my meatball sub.😃😃b

And I even got coupons for next time.

But can anyone tell me -- when is 11/31/14?

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Betty Buckley

Betty Buckley. Martha  Jefferson in 1776. Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Grizabella the Glamour Cat.

If you only know her from her TV roles, you have no idea of the power of her voice.

We saw her one-hour cabaret show Saturday night. Interestingly, most of the songs she chose were written for male characters. My chief complaint was that the show was too short.

Truly an enjoyable evening.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

The color of the day: pink

Spent the day at Jones a Beach with 60,000 of my nearest and dearest.

Yes, it was the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Jones a Beach.

This year I opted to do something different. Instead of walking -- which I did for several years -- I chose to be a volunteer. A group of my friends volunteer every year. We worked the registration tent, making sure walkers turned in their paperwork and collecting donations. With online registration and online fundraising, the tent isn't as busy as it used to be. Still, we had plenty to do.

We had warm, almost summery weather Friday and Saturday, but temperatures plummeted Saturday night. We had a cold, windy morning. Layers worked.

But still they came. Cancer survivors. Health care professionals. College frats. High school cheerleaders. Motorcycle clubs. Everyone has been touched by the dreaded disease.

A gray ocean, beige sand. And a sea of pink along the shore.

A wonderful day.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dining on nostalgia

So usually at Ben's I'll order pastrami on rye.  But I just wasn't feeling it tonight.  Had to do something different.
Hmmmm. ..stuffed cabbage?  Haven't had that in years.  My grandmother used to make it, but that was a long time ago.  A very long time ago.
So they brought out a plate so full it could easily feed two people,  maybe even three.  Two huge rolls, seasoned ground beef with a bit of rice to bind it, wrapped in tender leaves of cabbage, swimming in a rich sauce.  There were raisins in the sauce,  a nice touch.
You get a choice of potatoes with your entree.  My selection was potato pancake -- a single pancake the size of Montana,  crispy but not greasy on the outside, moist and tasty inside.  It was accompanied by applesauce.
You also get a vegetable.   I chose zucchini,  which was combined with cooked tomatoes.   That's something else I haven't had in years -- my mother used to buy canned zucchini and tomatoes when I was a little girl.
The bread basket contained slices of their famous rye with "Smart Balance", a vegan butter substitute (no dairy in this kosher restaurant! )
Yet another reason to love Ben's.

Ben's on Urbanspoon}

Friday, October 17, 2014

It's that time of year again

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rosella's Pizzaria

I was actually on my way to somewhere else when the smell of marinara enticed me into Rosella's. A real hole in the wall kind of place, no decor to speak of. Just a huge counter, a pizza oven, a handful of tables and a kitchen in the back.

Got on line and started contemplating all the different types of pizza. Buffalo chicken. Meat lovers. Pepperoni. Sausage.

And went with the classic -- New York style pizza, thin crust, topped with sauce and cheese. Simply perfect.

One minor complaint. The refrigerator has bottles of Snapple, but if you want a coke, it seems your options are limited to fountain drinks. Not practicable when I ordered my pizza "to go", and had to walk back to my office.

I think I'll be back soon, maybe for a meatball hero.

  • Rosella Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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The Glass Jar

A few years ago, I told the story of The Glass Jar

My kids were babies, we were living in Queens, and Dunkin' Donuts was running a promotion. Spend a certain amount of money and you could buy a pumpkin shaped cookie jar, clear glass so you could see the contents. Every morning I'd drop the kids off at day care, and stop in Dunkin' Donuts for coffee on my way to the subway. But the jars proved very popular, so every time I walked into the store... They were out of jars. Very frustrating. Until one day, when I scored a glass jar. I was so happy!

A few years later, after I'd moved into my parents' house, somehow the lid of the jar got broken. Very disappointing, considering the effort I made to actually find the thing.

A few years ago, the jars started popping up on the internet. I was so happy! A small thing, this glass jar, but I was a bit obsessed ... Amazon ran out of the jars right after I bought one.

So you can imagine my reaction when I walked through KMart the other day and saw this display:

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Poor customer service at Potbelly

I don't know why, but lately I find myself lacking in patience and understanding.

Potbelly is a simple concept, based on tried and true assembly line principles. The person who takes your order assembles the ingredients of your sandwich and places them in the toaster. When the toasted sandwich emerges, a second employee dresses your sandwich with your selected toppings and wraps your sandwich. A cashier bags your order -sandwich, drink, etc. - and completes your financial transaction.

Simple, really.

Or perhaps not.

I walked into Potbelly, waited my turn on line, and placed an order for a meatball sandwich.

All of the customers ahead of me had received their sandwiches. The young lady behind the counter asked me "Which sandwich?"

I told her.

She looked in the toaster. No meatball sandwich. "It will just be a minute."

So she helped the next customer. And the next customer after that.

And then the young man behind the counter asked me "Which sandwich?"


He looked at the toaster, then looked at me as if he wasn't sure he heard me correctly. The acoustics are horrible in that place.

So I raised my voice a bit and repeated "Meatball."

You would have thought I was speaking a foreign language.

So I said "Meatball. You know, the sandwich I ordered before all these other people came into the shop."

At that point he was looking at me as if I had two heads. And he hadn't said a word to me, nothing like "It looks like we had a problem with your sandwich," or "I'm sorry there was a delay." Not a single word.

I have no patience for this.

My lunch today came from Long Island Bagel Cafe.

  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon

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Lynbrook Diner

We've been coming here, off and on, for several years, whenever we find ourselves in Lynbrook. It's a diner, not a destination restaurant, but we always enjoy our meals here. Friendly staff, decent food and a reasonable price, just what you would expect at at diner.

We are usually there for a quick meal, either burgers, sandwiches or breakfast items. I've never been disappointed.

On a recent visit, I ordered a pizza burger and discovered, to my delight, that waffle fries are now an option. My burger was served with gooey melted mozzarella and enough sauce to be tasty but not overpowering. The fries were crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy inside, so good I didn't bother with ketchup.

And I should mention -- order a "cherry coke" and you will find real maraschino cherries in your glass. Nice touch.

  • Lynbrook Diner on Urbanspoon

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Supermarket workout redux

Yeah, shopping for 8 people and 2 cats...

I park the car, grab a wagon and open the app on my phone ... The shopping list is in the app. First stop is the kiosk where I place my deli order. Sliced turkey, American cheese, prepared salads. If I want a rotisserie chicken or a custom made sandwich, I get them after I place the deli order. Staples like Gabila's knishes and pecorino romano cheese are near the deli counter.

Produce time. Onions, potatoes and bananas seem to be on the list every week. Fruit in season, salad greens, peppers, corn ...

From the store bakery I get Italian bread, muffins, cornbread ... Maybe some special cookies for my dad.

Next up is chicken tenders, ground turkey, occasionally hamburgers...we don't eat a lot of red meat...

I usually buy my health and beauty stuff in the drugstore, but occasionally I'll pick something up in the supermarket -- we go through gallons of hand soap!

Time for the aisles. Soda is a huge "must", you'd think we owned stock in the Coca Cola Company...

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but ...

Typically we need Premium crackers (unsalted tops), breakfast cereal, snack foods like pretzels and Orville Reddenbocker Smartpop, and this time of year we love Mallomars. Sweet mixed pickles, canned pumpkin, tomato purée or sauce or crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, pasta, if I see the no-salt seasoned breadcrumbs I have to grab them ... Must have candy, like Hershey miniatures, my dad has a sweet tooth and these days we indulge it ...

Paper towels, plastic bags, foil wrap ...

Sandwich roles, sliced bread, frozen veggies...

Cat food. Redford will eat anything, but Mr. Kitty needs a special formula ...

Orange juice, eggs, butter, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, cream...

Ice cream!

Back across the store to pick up the deli order and any items I forgot ...

Why is it everything fits in the cart while I'm shopping but not after it's totaled up and bagged?

I love seeing how much I saved by using my rewards card.

Hard to load it all into my car, at least I'll have help unloading it when I get home.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

The View

Yesterday we went into the city for another dinner at The View.

Interesting to be in the city yesterday. What a mix of people in Penn Station -- disappointed Jets fans headed home, happy Rangers fans headed to the game, costumed Comicon patrons. And on 34th Street, Hasidim with a Lulav and Etrog looking for Jews to celebrate Sukkot.

Closer to Times Square you get more tourists, more homeless, and lots of street vendors -- "designer" bags, t shirts, scarves, artwork, caricatures. The costumed characters here are hustling tourists, pose for a photo and pay a tip. Guys handing out coupons for tourist bus rides and admission to the comedy clubs. Preachers sharing their version of the Gospel and how we must all repent.

The View is in the Marriott Marquis. You ride a glass elevator through the hotel atrium to the 48th floor. The lounge/bar is on 48, the restaurant on 47. Both rotate to provide incredible views of the city as you dine.

We started our evening with cocktails -- the signature drink is called the Fizz, a fruity concoction of rum and juice, with strawberries and blueberries. Very nice.

It's a prix fixe dinner, appetizer, entree and dessert. I started with jumbo prawns, Drew had scallops. I had tenderloin, which was plated with roasted potatoes, glazed baby carrots, and a glazed onion. Drew had a skirt steak with bernaise sauce, paired with a lobster, and fingerling potatoes. We added asparagus and mixed roasted vegetables. Way too much food! But oh so delicious.

Dessert -- New York cheesecake, of course. Served with strawberries and whipped cream. Heaven.

It's an expensive evening, definitely a "special occasion" restaurant. And one we will definitely revisit.

  • View Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

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The Hunger Games Trilogy (spoilers)

As I mentioned a few posts back, my guilty pleasure this month has been to read the Hunger Games trilogy. Of course, as an adult reader who cut her teeth on George Orwell, Ayn Rand, Aldous Huxley and the like, I bring a different understanding to the work than the targeted audience might have.

I think I'm reverting to my college self, the English major who must analyze a book.

This is rather long, so I won't feel bad if you opt out ...

The story is set in the dystopian future world of Panem. We are told that in the distant past, ecological disasters and wars over dwindling resources have destroyed the countries of North America, leaving in their place a country called Panem (Pan-America?), comprised of thirteen districts and a Capitol to rule them.

The distant past is of little concern to the people of Panem. Of more concern is the recent past, an unsuccessful rebellion by the districts against the Capitol 75 years ago, which resulted in harsh, repressive measures against the people of the districts.

Although the phrase "panem et circenses" ("bread and circuses") is not uttered until the third book (Mockingjay), the analogy to Ancient Rome is evident early on. All roads lead to the Capitol, a city of excesses -- food, fashion and fun. It is an amoral society, unconcerned with matters outside its borders. The Capitol has created a servant class, the Avox (voiceless ones), whose tongues are cut out -- a punishment popular during the time of the Roman Empire. There is even a scene involving a vomitorium, based on the legend that ancient Romans would disgorge the contents of their stomachs so as to be able to consume additional delicacies at a feast. The citizens of the Capitol are shallow and superficial, caring only for their own pleasures.

By contrast, life in the districts, under the authoritarian regime of the Capitol, is harsh. The districts exist solely to service the needs of the Capitol. The people of the districts are regarded as little more than slaves, their lives of no value except in the service of the Capitol. They produce goods for the benefit of the Capitol while living at a subsistence level.

The focus of the story, at least initially, is the Hunger Games. Just as Ancient Rome had its gladiators, Panem has the spectacle of the Hunger Games. The combatants meet in an elaborate arena, where they must battle each other as well as the elements. Only one combatant will emerge as victor. It is a battle to the death. It is a battle among teenagers, usually considered to be a protected class.

The amoral society of the Capitol enjoys the pageantry and spectacle of the Games without giving thought to the consequences for the participants. A slave's life has no value; once he or she has fulfilled his/her role for the Capitol, the slave is of no further use to the populace and therefore of no interest to them. No one considers the ethics of sending adolescents into the arena to die for the amusement of others. Any pangs of conscience are quickly buried -- killing tributes in the arena is the lesser of two evils, better than crushing the population of an entire district.

But those who hold the power in the Capitol truly understand the nature of the Games. An adult slave, employed in the mines or or factory or field, has value to the workforce. Adolescents are expendable. And what better way to keep the rebels in line than to threaten that which they hold most dear: their children.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is District 13. Thought by most of Panem to have been destroyed in the rebellion 75 years earlier, District 13 is both literally and figuratively under ground. Interestingly, 13 is not portrayed as a utopian society. Life in 13 is very regimented, controlled with military precision. It is also "communistic". Each member of the society is entitled to the same level of food, clothing etc., and each must serve a role in providing for the community. Where excess is part of life in the Capitol, wasting resources is a crime in 13.

Life is considered valuable in 13, especially the lives of children -- we are told that the residents of 13 need an influx of immigrants from the other districts to remain a viable community, as many residents of 13 are sterile, unable to have children.

District 13 is the center of the rebellion against the Capitol. Yet little time is spent on what the rebels hope to achieve once the Capitol is overthrown. There is some speculation that a republic "like our ancestors had" will replace the authoritarian regime, but detailed plans are never discussed.

Our protagonist is Katniss Everdeen, and the story is told through her eyes. Katniss is a 16 year old girl from District 12. Although others see Katniss as intelligent, strong, self reliant, resourceful, loyal and caring, Katniss sees herself as a loner, unlikeable, selfish, aloof. As Peeta says, she has no idea the affect she has on people.

Katniss wants nothing more than to protect and provide for her mother and younger sister Prim. Since her father's death, she has been illegally hunting iwith her friend Gale in the woods outside the District, selling game on the black market to obtain necessities for her family. Others may express rebel views, but Katniss is too wrapped up in her own concerns to care about the broader picture.

Yet it is Katniss who wins the audience as a tribute in the Games, Katniss who defies the Capitol, Katniss who becomes the Mockingjay, the very symbol of the rebel cause. An interesting symbol, the Mockingjay is a genetic mutation of a mockingbird, able to reproduce the songs it hears. And all of Panem soon hears Katniss' song.

Katniss becomes the political pawn of both sides, first as a tribute in the arena during the Games, and later as a soldier in the larger "arena" of the Capitol. We see her grow from nervous tribute to hardened soldier, ever protective of the people in her life, determined to assure their safety. We see her eventual realization about how she has been manipulated by both sides, and her determination follow her own agenda to achieve her ends.

Thrown into the mix is her confusion about a Gale and Peeta, about love and her awakening passions. There are no neat answers in this romantic triangle, no easy resolution. Her emotions are all jumbled up, she has feelings for both men.

What is most interesting is the development of the characters. The psychological wounds and scars caused by living under an authoritarian regime, of being a tribute in the Games, of combat situations -- the characters are damaged by the brutality of their situation. Haymitch becomes an alcoholic, Joanna turns to drugs, Finnick and Katniss suffer breakdowns. The psychological wounds may heal eventually. Even Peeta, who was subjected to mental torture, somehow finds his way back. But no one will ever be whole again, there will always be scars.

For Katniss, the scars run very deep. The very thing she feared most -- her sister's death -- comes to pass, and she is almost destroyed by it. She finds her healing by returning to the remnants of District 12 with the other survivors, by rebuilding her community and her own corner of the world.

Throughout the story, Katniss tells us that she will never have children, that the world she lives in is too dangerous a place. And yet, in the epilogue, we find that she has become the mother of two, that Peeta has convinced her Panem is now a safe place to raise a family. We are left with a vague understanding that conditions in Panem have improved, that Katniss and Peeta have built a good life.

I really enjoyed these books, and I am looking forward to the Mockingjay movie next month. The first two movies pretty much followed the books. They're making two movies from the third book, and I'm curious as to where they will end the first movie. Now that I've read the book, I can speculate ....

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gone Girl (Spoilers)

We saw Gone Girl last night. Very strange movie.

The story starts out with a husband, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) coming home on his wedding anniversary to discover his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) is missing under very suspicious circumstances. At first it all seems so straightforward, husband looking for missing wife, cops thinking he killed his wife.

Their romance and marriage is reviewed in flashbacks, and it all seems so normal. Two writers meet in NYC, fall in love ... Suffer some setbacks when both are laid off, move back to Missouri to care for his dying mother...she is brilliant but bored...He cheats on her ...

His portrait of a blissful marriage starts to unravel under media scrutiny ...

And then comes the weirdness, the plot twist that you never saw coming .

Though after Nick talks to the ex boyfriend, perhaps we should have realized ...

She staged it. She found out about the affair and decided to punish him.

And it gets weirder from there ...

The scenes with Desi, her high school lover (Neil Patrick Harris) are positively creepy.

I really liked Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt, Nick's flashy, media-savvy attorney. So very like the late Johnnie Cochran.

As I said, very weird movie. There were a few parts that dragged, but overall very well done. Worth seeing.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Greek food and TV night

Long day at work. Long week at work. Long train ride back to the island. Long drive from the train station to Drew's house.

One very tired songbird.

So we opted for takeout and television. Police dramas -- Hawaii 5-0 and some new show called Blue Blood - Tom Selleck as the NYC police commissioner.

And food from Souvlaki Stop.

Everyone needs a good Greek place where you can get a decent meal for a decent price. I had my usual, the lamb platter -- chunks of tender lamb served with rice pilaf, a warm, chewy pita bread and Greek salad. And good, garlicky tzaziki sauce. Drew's platter was a special request, a combo of beef and gyro meat.

Plenty of leftovers to enjoy for lunch, of course.

This being primarily a takeout place, the menu is somewhat limited. But the food is excellent, a good value for the money. Guess that's why we keep going back.

  • Souvlaki Stop on Urbanspoon

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Looking Skyward

You may have noticed that astronomical events fascinate me. Not that I'm any sort of astronomer, but I do like to observe eclipses and meteors and, of course, the stars.

I was nine years old when Neil Armstrong took that one giant leap for mankind. No one who grew up in that era could be indifferent to the heavens and the concept of outer space.

But more important, I think, were all those trips to the planetarium.

My high school actually had a planetarium! All through my elementary school years there would be field trips to the high school planetarium. We'd board a bus for the short ride down the road, and soon we would find ourselves sitting in the dark, gazing skyward. The high school teacher would tell us how to find the North Star or where to look for Orion's Belt. We would discuss the Earth's rotation and its orbit around the a Sun. How the ancients called the planets "wanderers" because they travel through the sky. About longitude and latitude, and how sailors navigate by the stars.

The field trips stopped once I entered junior high, and I never took a formal class in astronomy.

But if I'm out and about on a clear night, I find my gaze turning upward...

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Another this and that

Still loving my job, really loving working in the Financial District. There's something so ... vital ... about being in lower Manhattan. The crowds, the people watching, the food can be very exciting.

The file I'm focusing on this week, though...a real groaner. Mishandled for years, I have to create order out of chaos.

Looking forward to a three day weekend. I can't remember the last time I had the day off on Columbus Day. Insurance companies and insurance law firms tend to stay open for Columbus Day and Veteran's Day, and instead choose to close on the day after Thanksgiving. Special circumstances this year ...

The leaves are starting to turn. It's early this year. Most years we don't hit peak color until late October or even early November. Somewhere there is a picture of me, just a few days before Jen was born (her birthday is November 7), in my parents' back yard, surrounded by fall foliage at its peak. I do love the changing colors this time of year.

Sigh. Right now Jen is going through rough times. She needs to get back on track vis a vis her career and education. Wish I could help her ...

Becca, on the other hand, seems to have that very much under control. Loving her job but hating the commute. Planning to go to grad school in 2-3 years.

Sigh. She's still upset about the breakup, they were going out since high school. It sounds like she's moving on, though.

But Jen is seeing more of that guy she met over the summer.

The ups and downs of having daughters, I guess.

Now that the a High Holy Days are over, it's time to start thinking about Halloween. It's on a Friday this year. I have to work, of course, but I'm sure I'll have a bit of whimsy in my day . . .and possibly some spooky activity that night. I'm sure Drew and I can come up with something interesting.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Another disappointment

There was a lunar eclipse this morning.   An unusual one, too, happening just before sunrise.    These days I'm up before sunrise anyhow, I'm getting myself together so that I can go to work.  So I was really looking forward to the eclipse.

Alas, all I saw was rainclouds,  the remnants of a storm that swept through here in the wee hours.

The next lunar eclipse is in April.   Maybe...

Wantable makeup box

Two different eye shadows, lip gloss and nail polish. An interesting box.

Eddie Funkhouser Hyperreal Eye Color Palette Ultimate Smokey Eye:

Tarina Tarantino Jasper/Agate Eye Dream Highlight Duo:

I think the second eyeshadow is prettier, more likely to be used.

Vincent Longo Li La Bella Lip Gloss:

Very pretty, but very similar to what I got from Julep.

Speaking of which ...

Liberty a Republic Premonition:

It promises to be "gel like" and last for up to two weeks. We shall see.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Wantable Accessories box

I've been disappointed with Wantable lately, the plate wearing off my ring and earrings was not amusing. And a few of the pieces just haven't worked for me.

But this month's box is delightful.

The Georgia earrings are geometric studs featuring brushed gold tone and angular, turquoise colored stones.

The Jocylin ring features a shiny geometric design in trendy rose gold tone, I'm nervous about large rings because my hands are relatively small. But I think I can wear this one.

It's a stretch ring, by the way. Very comfortable.

The Maura necklace is a delicate multi tone piece featuring three chains with glimmering charms -- a crescent moon, stars, a feather, and a beautiful little piece of druzy.

Most of the necklaces have been chunky statement pieces, so this is a welcome change.

The Kaitlin earrings are shimmering studs featuring center opalescent stones surrounded by rhinestones. I think they're my favorite piece in the box.

Let's hope the pieces all hold up.

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Julep Maven

I truly intended to drop my Julep subscription, but never got around to it. Consequently I did not get a chance to swap one nail polish color for another, and my October box contains exactly what Julep chose for me.

Here's the box:

Candy corn! Yes, real candy.


Seems like a pretty, autumn color.


I probably would have swapped that one out. Not sure if I really like it.

There was also a lip gloss, "Polished". Pretty color.

Overall, nice selection. I am pleased with this box.

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Leaves are starting to turn

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Another Wantable disappointment.

The earrings I got in May, the small gold colored disk resting on the larger silver toned disk?

The "gold" plating has completely worn off. Both disks are now silver toned. And I've only worn the earrings a few times.

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

true confessions time

I have a confession to make:  I still read Young Adult fiction.

Of course, I read other types of books as well.  I minored in English in college, had to read all sorts of great works of literature.

I shouldn’t say “had to read”.  I should say I “got to read”.  Ibsen, Shakespeare, Dickens, Bronte, Poe…

I loved to read when I was a child.  Books, magazines, newspapers – you’d always find me with reading material at hand.  You could usually find me curled up on my bed, lost in whatever story I had discovered.  Or sometimes, in good weather, you’d find me reading on the porch.    I could spend an hour in our basement, looking through the treasure trove of books my parents had purchased and loved.  Or perhaps a trip to the library…that was always fun.

In high school I read everything.  Not just the assignments from my English teacher, but also science fiction (Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury, Clarke), mysteries (I loved Perry Mason and anything by Agatha Christie), fantasy (Tolkien)…I read War and Peace and Anna Karenina just for the pleasure of it.  Leon Uris was also one of my favorites.

I read many types of works, many genres.  Historical novels, such as the type Philippa Gregory writes.  Nelson DeMille – I love his John Corey series.  Escapist stories by Jimmy Buffett.  The Betty White biography is sitting on my nook.  So are three cookbooks, a guidebook to Colonial Williamsburg (purchased just before our trip a few years ago), three magazines, The Great Gatsby, and the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series.

But Young Adult fiction is a fun, easy read. No reason why an adult shouldn’t read them.  I loved all of the Harry Potter novels.  Every time a new Harry Potter came out, I’d have to buy multiple copies because Jen, Becca and I all wanted to be the first to read the new book.  And Becca introduced me to the Percy Jackson books.

So right now I’m reading the Hunger Games Trilogy.  No surprise there, actually.  I loved the first two movies, and the third movie is due out next month.  A dystopian society, a strong heroine, lots of action – what’s not to like?  No, it’s not great literature full of deep, dark meaning.  But I’m enjoying the ride, and can’t wait to see how it all ends.

Friday, October 3, 2014

On Rosh Hashanah it is written. On Yom Kippur it is sealed.

Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement. A day of reflection, to ask the Almighty to forgive our sins, to seek to become better Jews, better human beings. We fast and pray. We deny ourselves most earthly pleasures.

I generally walk to and from the synagogue on the High Holy Days. It’s not out of religious conviction. Parking near the synagogue on the High Holy days is crazy. Unless you arrive very early, there’s a good chance you could be parking as far as a quarter of a mile away from the building. I live less than half a mile from the synagogue, so it didn’t make sense to fight the crowds for a parking spot when I could just as easily walk.

And it’s a pleasant walk, down a hilly, tree-lined street. I do some of my best thinking on the walk home from services. And I kind of need the exercise, after sitting in the sanctuary for over two hours.

This year, it rained on Rosh Hashanah, and I wound up driving to services. I really missed the walk.

Tomorrow’s forecast calls for rain… I am so hoping the forecasters are wrong.
Interesting bit of information I picked up from the Israeli news. The juxtaposition of two holidays….

Eid al-Adha begins tomorrow night. As the Jewish Holy Day comes to an end, the Muslim feast begins.

And both involve a story from Genesis.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, Abraham is told by the Almighty to sacrifice his son Isaac. At the last minute, he is stopped from doing so, and miraculously a ram is provided to sacrifice instead. This is one of the seminal events of the Torah, so important that the story is read in synagogue on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.
On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, we read the story of Abraham’s wife Sarah, and how she compelled Abraham to banish is concubine Hagar and her son Ishmael.

The Quran tells the same story, but does not mention the name of the child to be sacrificed. In Islamic tradition, it is Ishmael, the son of Abraham’s t wife Hagar, who is designated to be sacrificed.

Isaac became the Patriarch of the Jewish people. Ishmael became the ancestor of the Ishmaelites. The Ishmaelites are believed to be the ancestors of the Arab people, and Islamic tradition is that Ishmael was the forefather of Muhammad.

Interesting, how similar we are, and yet how different.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Food Fair!

One of the rewards for hauling myself to work in NYC:  Dine Around Downtown.
This was an outdoor food fair,  which took place the other day at Chase Plaza.  But unlike the typical street fair, this event was sponsored by some of the finest restaurants in lower Manhattan.   Each participant had a small tent offering incredible food at reasonable prices.
I had pepperoni pizza from Adrienne ' s Pizzabar and incredible grilled lamb chops with cumin - citrus sauce from Harry ' s Cafe and Steak.  Wanted to try the crab mac and cheese from Bobby Van's Steakhouse,  but the line was too long.  The shrimp and grits from Route 66  Smokehouse also sounded intriguing.
Ultimately I chose to get some dessert to bring back to the office.  Incredible,  rich French pastry from Financier Pattiserie.  Yummy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Roommate redux

So now the hermit crab has emerged. There was some yelling and screaming. And then he turned into a sad, lost and confused soul.

Drew has no idea where this is going.

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