life in and around NYC is insane

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The challenge of aging parents

Which is worse, the physical deterioration or the mental/emotional issues?

Even on a good day my father isn't "all there". He can sound almost normal at times, asking me what I did at work, how are things at Drew's house, and what is the lawyer doing about the accident? But then he will ask you to take him home, not realizing he's sitting in his own dining room. Mor he will start telling a story about the past, and you have to wonder if it's real or if it's something he only imagined.

On a bad day ... He's fight demons no one else can see.

My mother is also starting to decline. There are so many things she just does not remember. Not just details, but Important events and things, like when she broke her elbow. It's worse when she has had a glass or two of wine. The other night she actually forgot who I am ... She knew my name, but didn't realize she is my mother. I had to remind her who I am ...

My grandmother was in her 80's when dementia set in. At first we joked that grandma was watching a different movie than the rest of us. Eventually she reached a point where she needed care 24/7/365...but before my mother could make suitable arrangements, my grandmother became physically ill and passed away.

My grandmother's sister Shirley came to the funeral. She and my grandmother were like two peas in a pod, only Shirley was not affected by dementia ...

It occurred to me that I'd really lost my grandmother several years before her body died.

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sigh (part 2)

More drama with Drew's roommate.

Things have been going well between them, they're talking again, but it's clear something is bothering M.

So Drew's Thanksgiving celebration included his sister, his uncles and his aunt, as well as me and (very briefly) our daughters. M was invited, of course.

When it came time to eat ...M didn't come downstairs. He called Drew and told him "I got to the top of the stairs...but couldn't make myself go down ..."

Clearly a sign he needs professional help.

But has six million excuses why he can't go to a therapist.

If he really wanted the help, he'd work out the finances and logistics.

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Friday, November 28, 2014


Another stressful Thanksgiving.

It's hard to split time between two sets of relatives.

In 2010 and 2013, Jen and Becca and I had Thanksgiving lunch at Drew's and dinner at my parents'. In 2011 Drew made his dinner the day after Thanksgiving.


(No drama 2012, Drew was recovering from surgery for a hiatal hernia and didn't make a dinner.)

Drama this year, too. Drew kept insisting they come for lunch, my sisters kept insisting the girls were needed at home to help prepare the meal.

How did they deal with it?

By completely ignoring Drew. Two ostriches with their heads buried in the sand. Honestly, we didn't know if they'd show up at Drew's house until they walked through the door.

They stayed for about an hour.

Later, when I got back here, my sister H was nasty ... And Becca was rude and disrespectful.

I blame myself, in part. Some of the behaviors I allowed, or even encouraged, when the girls were growing up and the divorce proceedings were so acrimonious ...

But by the same token, we aren't talking about two children here...we are discussing the antics of two grown women, age 22 and 24. They are responsible for their own conduct.

We need to discuss this like rational adults next year, long before the holidays arrive.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

And welcome to yet another holiday season.

Tasty turkey, stuffing, tart cranberries and sweet potatoes beckon ...

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Taco Perfectos

Taco Perfectos on Urbanspoon

A new taco place has arrived in Levittown -- Taco Perfectos. A storefront/counter service restaurant located in a shopping center, buried in the corner next to the Five Guys and the Dunkin Donuts, it's easily missed, but definitely worth finding.

They offer many types of tacos and burritos, including chicken, steak and seafood varieties. You can order yours enchilada style -- with a sauce -- if you prefer. Empanadas are available -- something You don't usually see at a taco place. Appetizers include fried cheese, nachos, jalapeño poppers and wings. Sides such as rice, beans, corn, and French fries are available.

We arrived close to closing time, and decided we should do take out.

The fried cheese appetizer was interesting. Thick slabs of cheese, double breaded and fried, were still gooey when we got home. Mildly flavored, the wedges are served with guacamole, sour cream and fresh tomato salsa.

The tortilla platter was very good. I ordered mine with steak -- tender pieces of meat served on a bed of lettuce. Tasty black beans topped with melted cheese. Fresh tomato salsa. Three soft and warm flour tortillas. The rice was a bit dry, maybe because it was the end of the night. But overall it was a satisfying dish.

We didn't order dessert -- we seldom do -- but I think next time I'd like to try something. Flan, perhaps, or tres leches, or maybe the sopapillas. It all sounds so good.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

movie magic, part two

I found it on YouTube.

Movie magic!

So on Sunday Drew and I caught "Kiss Me Kate" on TNT. We both love old movie musicals, and this movie -- with music by Cole Porter, starring Howard Keel, Kathyrn Grayson and Ann Miller -- was just what we were looking for. We'd both seen it before, of course, but it's one of those films you can watch more than once.

So Drew tells me that the reason the actors throw things at the camera -- it was shot in 3D, but by the time it was released in 1953 the fad was over, and the film was released in 2D.

And then we find another interesting bit of trivia. The movie was choreographed by Hermes Pan, BUT ...there's a young dancer in the cast named Bob Fosse, an up and comer in a featured role. Towards the end of the movie, there's a 68 second dance sequence where Fosse dances with another rising star, Carol Haney. For 68 seconds Fosse and Haney are the only dancers on the screen. Pan didn't choreograph that sequence, Fosse did. The whole style of the dance is very different from the rest of the movie, so very much the distinct style that Fosse would later make famous.

When the sequence came up, we were transfixed.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Are You A Cat Person?

There are currently three felines in my life.

I've told many stories in this blog about my feline loves. But I never get tired of talking about my furry friends.

First there's Mr. Kitty, also known as the Kittyman. He's a white cat with gray markings. He joined our family as a kitten, in 2001. Tiny little fluff ball back then, he's a bit larger now, like 25 pounds or so. He doesn't walk, he waddles. He equates food with love, and he needs a lot of both. How many cats do you know who will beg for tables scraps like a dog?

Mr. Kitty holds court from the center cushion of the couch, and if you choose to sit beside him, be forewarned that you are in the "pet me" seat.

I like to say that Mr. Kitty is a self- rescued cat. There's a pond about half a mile down the road where people dump unwanted cats and kittens. I've seen a few cats there that are clearly the Kittyman's relatives, so I am certain he was dumped. Somehow he wandered up to our house, where three cats were then in residence. When we first saw him, we mistook him for our cat Daisy, who had similar markings. My mother said three cats were more than enough, she didn't want a fourth...but somehow he stayed.

This is what Daisy looked like. See the resemblance?

Then, of course, there's Redford. He's a ginger cat, orange with white. I'm sure he's at least part Manx, he has very powerful hind legs, and a short, flat, bobbed tail - hence the name Bob Redford.

It was the winter of 2011. By then, Mr. Kitty and Daisy were our only cats, Maggie and Felix having crossed the rainbow bridge. It was a bitter winter, lots of snow. My sister found an orange cat crying under our neighbor's window. A full-grown Tom, between 2 and 4 years old. Of course she took him into our house and fed him. Once you feed them, they're yours.

When Daisy was still around, she ruled the house with an iron paw. We lost her in the fall of 2011. The relationship between the boys changed after she was gone.

These days they play together, they groom each other, they wrestle. Mr. Kitty is the alpha male, but Redford manages to hold his own.

My newest feline love is Drew's cat Duchess. Drew and I went to the animal shelter last year and chose the cutest gray kitten...she's grown into an aristocratic but energetic young cat. When they say "Dogs have owners, cats have staff", they're talking about Duchess. She will supervise when you prepare her dinner, watching carefully as you fill her bowl.

She surveys her realm from above, as you can see. She's affectionate with her people, when she wants to be, and quick to bat you with her paw when she doesn't want to be bothered.

She marks me as her own, rubbing against my legs, when she knows I'm about to go home to my other loves.

So yes, I can certainly say I'm a cat person.

--Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mockingjay Part 1. (Possible spoilers)

Having read the book, I wasn't sure that there was enough material for two movies. And I had heard that the movie was lacking in action.

Wrong on both counts.

The film starts with Katniss hiding somewhere in the depths of District 13, trying to deal with the emotional trauma and psychological aftermath of the Quarter Quell. It takes her to the destroyed landscape of District 12, and ultimately to her decision to become the Mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion. The battle lines are clearly drawn after a visit to a hospital in District 8, tensions building for the final confrontation, coming in the second movie.

There are a few minor changes to the plot, including a confrontation Katniss has with President Snow. Nothing that changes the substance of the story.

I think the biggest problem with the movie...the first two movies put Katniss and Petah in an arena, where they had to survive not only against the other Tributes, but also against everything the Capital threw at them. There's no "arena" in Mockingjay Part 1, no climatic struggle as Katniss and Petah defeat each opponent to survive.

The movie ends with a cliffhanger, more or less where I expected it to, and there's an interesting piece of animation after all the credits have rolled.

Certainly not the best in the series, Mockingjay Part 1 sets us up for what is to come. I am looking forward to seeing Part 2 next summer.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Five Guys

I've been enjoying Five Guys for awhile, but not at this location until last week.  

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

Came around dinner hour, and it seemed kind of empty, even for a weeknight, despite the hustle and bustle in the shopping center parking lot.  But by the time I finished my meal and left, the crowd had picked up.

What I like about Five Guys is that they cook your burger to order.  This means you have to wait a bit, but you can enjoy noshing on the free peanuts.  (Yes, they do post allergy warnings at the door).

I ordered a "little" bacon cheeseburger -- that means one patty instead of two - with a small order of fries and a drink.  As always they filled up the fries cup to overflowing,  then added even more fries to the bag.    Burger was hot and juicy, fries were crispy outside, soft inside and had real potato taste.  Definitely enough food to satisfy.  And I do like the freestyle Coke machine.

Kudos to the staff here, they take an extra step to make the customer happy.  I was offered extra fries.  Another customer was unhappy with her burger, and they remade it. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Julep redux

So yesterday I finally got the rest of my November box.
I give the company 3 out of 4 stars for customer service.  They sent the item but forgot to email me to let me know it shipped.   Better that way than the reverse -- remember IPSY?
So -- mascara.  Basic black, nice brush, adds nice texture to my lashes.  A keeper.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wantable accessories box - done

Well, it happened again.

The veneer has started to wear off yet another Wantable accessory. The silver toned ring that came in the April box is showing signs of wear. The base metal color is leaking through.

You can see a bit of it in the photo. It's worse in person.

You know what they say, three's the charm?

The earrings, the stretch ring, and now this ring. Speaks volumes about the quality f the product.

Overall I liked buying from this company. Customer service was excellent. And I got to try things I'd probably never consider for myself.

Many of the items delighted me, a few disappointed me.

But it's time to move on.

I'm keeping the Wantable makeup subscription, though. So far it's been great.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

well, so much for that idea

I wanted to avoid drama for New Year's Eve.

Wishful thinking.

The plan is for the usual cast of characters to celebrate at Drew's house.  Drew will order food and buy beverages, and we will all share in the costs.  He's planning to order way more food than we can reasonably eat in an evening, so he'll be sending everyone home with leftovers.

Let the complaining begin!!!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Songbird salutes the 70's -- computer technology

As I was driving past my old high school this evening, it occurred to me that there was more computing power on the front seat of my car, in the form of my smart phone and tablet, than there was in that entire building circa 1978.

Do you remember what computers were like back then?  The "computer room" was full of strange and mysterious equipment.  Keypunch operators fed punch cards into the machine.  Ultimately the computer would print out report cards or school schedules. or whatever was required. 

I took a computer programming class my senior year.  We prepared flow charts and wrote instructions in "Basic". We sat at a terminal and typed instructions onto a roll of paper, then waited for the computer to respond.  It was considered remarkable when the computer was able to "draw" a picture using dots and dashes to form an image.

My smartphone, a device I can hold in one hand, can:  make a phone call or a video call, tell me who is calling, serve as an answering machine if I don't answer the call, send and receive text messages and emails, store all my contacts, act as my datebook/calendar, allow me to read books, magazines and newspapers, listen to radio stations or my own music, let me watch movies and TV shows and other videos, play games, monitor my diet, exercise and health statistics, serve as a calculator, draft documents, map out a route and give me a traffic report, remind me where  I parked the car, fetch a train schedule and tell me if my flight is on time, act as an alarm clock, give me a weather report, let me shop for almost anything, take a picture or shoot a video...and I'm sure there are many things I can do that I haven't even thought of.


Monday, November 17, 2014


So I started a new job at the end of June. I am a "consultant" now. Project is for a client located in lower Manhattan. Initially the team reported to the client's office.

But now I will be working from a remote location. I'll be in my company's office. Ten minutes from home.

Huge difference in the commute. Major difference in he office atmosphere, a small suburban setting. I'll miss the excitement of being downtown.

Once a week, though, I need face time with the client.

Best. Of both worlds.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pancho Villa's

This restaurant has been in Huntington since forever. I've always enjoyed my meals here, but my most recent experience was less than satisfying.

There were two problems. The first issue was service.

We were a very large group, over 15 people, celebrating a special event. I don't think the waitstaff was adequately trained to handle a group this size. We did not arrive together, with some people arriving after others had already placed drink orders. So it's understandable that the waiter never asked me for my drink order, and that I had to flag him down to get my piña colada.

But what happened with the entrees was not so easily dismissed. The waitstaff arrived at our table with all but two of our entrees. (Bet you can't guess whose entree he didn't bring.). When to,d he was short by two, he had an extensive conversation with the other diner whose meal he forgot, went back into the kitchen, and came out with guessed it ... one dinner.. Then, without so much as an "I'm sorry" to me, he went to service another table.

So that's when I got up to look for the manager. It was only after I said something to the gentleman at the front desk that my meal was served. Totally unacceptable. And no one offered an apology, either.

And I wish I could say the meal was worth the wait, but sadly, I cannot.

I ordered two enchiladas with rice and beans. I usually order this dish with ground beef, but decided to try something new this time -- shredded beef. The beef was bland and flavorless. Not up to the usual standards of this place. The rest of the dish was fine, though.

This is a very traditional Mexican restaurant, with traditional decor and a pretty standard menu. You come here, rather than to some of the more modern and innovative Mexican places in Huntington and elsewhere, because you know what to expect. And when they don't deliver, it's disappointing. I'm sure I will be back eventually, but this time around was not a good experience.

A word about parking. The lot is very small, very crowded. If you want to avoid the nightmare, park in one of the municipal lots -- there are two within walking distance, and Huntington is a pretty town.

Pancho Villa's on Urbanspoon

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Blast from the past?

This is a phone book, an honest-to-goodness phone book, printed and distributed by Verizon, delivered just last week.  I have to wonder if anyone even uses a phone book anymore,  we all know how to Google.  But I guess Verizon thinks there's a need for it.

Interestingly, the books were distributed throughout the neighborhood, not just to Verizon customers. Those who get telephone service from other providers, and those who rely exclusively on their cell phones, received phone books.

Long gone are the days when there was a single phone company, and the best way to get a phone number was to use the phone book.   Remember what a big deal it was when you could actually choose your long distance carrier?

Believe it or not, I still see pay phones on the streets of NYC?

How long before they disappear?

Friday, November 14, 2014


There are two types of science fiction movie.

There's the fun kind of movie, like Star Wars, full of action and gadgets and battles.

Then there's the serious kind of science fiction movie, like "2001:A Space Odessy", the kind of movie designed to make you think.

Interstellar is designed to make you think.

The movie takes place in the not-too-distant future, in a time where the Earth has been ravaged by ecological disasters. Farming has become the primary occupation of most of the world, as farmers struggle to feed everyone while blight and dust storms are killing the crops.

Our protagonist, Cooper, is a former engineer and pilot, now a farmer and a single father of two children. He undertakes a super secret mission to travel through a wormhole to seek out a planet suitable for human colonization.

Through the mission, and through Cooper's relationship with his daughter Murph, the movie explores life, death, ecology, truth vs lies, survival of the species, and the human cost as we strive to move forward. Time and space and relativity are at the core.

There are beautiful backgrounds of space and stars and black holes and exotic planets. There are spaceships and wormholes and talking robots. We saw it in RPX (Regal's own variation on IMAX), and the format definitely enhanced the visuals.

A movie definitely worth seeing at the theater,

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

They landed on a comet!!!

When I was a little girl and the Space Race was new, we all expected that space exploration in the 21st century would be much further advanced than it actually is.

Yesterday the European Space Agency successfully landed an unmanned spacecraft on a speeding comet. A historical first.

It lacks the glamour and excitement of an Apollo mission, but it's a step in the right direction.

Keep exploring!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Excitement at lunchtime

Scaffolding accident at One World Trade Center today.  Two window washers were left stranded and had to be rescued.

These photos were taken on John Street.

Au Bon Pain

When I worked in Jersey City, my go-to lunch place was Au Bon Pain. There weren't very many other options, and Au Bon Pain was in the lobby of the building where I worked.

Frankly I was getting a bit bored its Au Bon Pain. Then I changed jobs and started working in lower Manhattan.

I've walked by the Au Bon Pain on Fulton Street many times over the last few months, but until recently I wasn't motivated to go inside.

What brought me back?

After trying a Dunkin Donuts croissant donut, I had a craving for a Crobun.

Craving satisfied, barriers breached, and once again Au Bon Pain is back on my list of lunch spots.

This location has a large selling area at the front of the store, with tables in the back. It's well laid out, makes choosing food items very convenient. Free wifi is offered, or so I'm told, but I don't stay long enough to use that service.

Among my favorites are the soups, especially the chicken noodle, along with a soft, chewy breadstick. You can get a pre made salad or sandwich here, or have them prepare yours to order. They offer snack sized containers of cheese and crackers (I love the Brie) or hummus.

The other day I tried wheat berry Waldorf salad -- wheat berries, walnuts, apples, and cranberries in a citrus vinegarette, topped with arugula. Different. Interesting. Will likely be ordered again.

The macaroni and cheese is very rich and gooey. A little goes a long way -- I can't even finish a medium sized serving.

Most of the pastries are good. Except the cupcakes -- they tend to be dry and heavy.

Yes, lunch at Au Bon Pain.

Au Bon Pain on Urbanspoon

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day

When my father has his more lucid moments, if you ask the right questions, he will talk about his past -- his real past, not the mixed up goop that his jumbled mind puts together.

Last night the conversation turned to Veteran's Day.

My father suffered St. Vitus  Dance (Sydenham's chorea), a neurological manifestation of rheumatic fever, when he was a little boy, and the doctors told his parents he had a heart condition and should not be overly active.  He was never to participate in gym class.

He got his draft notice shortly after his 18th birthday.  Went to his physical thinking he'd be classified unfit for military service.

When he came home and told his mother that he was going into the Army, she didn't believe it.  All the neighbors were incredulous.

He made it through basic training in Georgia.  Most of his unit was sent to Japan, but because he was given leave to observe a Jewish holiday at home, he was sent to Italy instead.

Today we honor our Veterans.  Today I honor my dad.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Au Bon Pain Crobun

The famed Cronut, I'm told, is croissant dough which has been fried, rolled in sugar, filled with creme and glazed. There's only on flavor available at a time, and the flavor is changed every month.

The Dunkin Donuts croissant donut is a stripped down version of the famed pastry.

The Au Bon Pain Crobun, however, is rich. Very, very rich.

But it's not fried, and it's not glazed.

Three pull-apart sections of dough are placed into a muffin tin and baked. A sweet bun covered with a flakey croissant muffin top. Each is filled with either sweet cheese or double chocolate creme, and finished with confectioners sugar.

It's a lot like a different concoction they used to sell, the creme de fleurs. Loved the creme de fleurs, knew I would lived the Crobun. Sweet and dense and very satisfying.

You don't want to know the calorie count.

This will be a rare indulgence.

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bomb threat!

Back when Jen was in 6th grade, in her first year of middle school, I went to a PTA meeting. The principal was there to talk about a lot of things. He said:

"Years ago, if I saw 'I'm going to blow up the school' written on the bathroom wall, I'd call the custodian. Now I have to call the police. They come with their bomb-sniffing dogs, but all they ever find is some pot in the 8th graders' lockers."

In this post Columbine, post Sandy Hook world, you have to take these threats seriously, even though most of the threats are not real.

I live in a district with two high schools. My alma mater is High School East. Jen and Becca are alums of High School West.

East made the news again last week.

Wednesday night, there were two emails, one to the school district and the other to the police. The author threatened to blow up East on Thursday morning.

The cops came to school. They searched. There was an evacuation drill. They investigated.


The marking period was supposed to end Friday. School officials decided to extend it to Monday, and move all tests and quizzes to Monday, just to be safe. All after school programs were cancelled, and both high schools were locked up at 6 PM.

Thursday night the district got another email, threatening an event on Friday.

The panic that ensued among the parents ....

"Should I send my child to school?"

"Why aren't the school administrators telling us more about what's happening?"

"Do you know that you can walk into the building at night without security challenging you for ID?"

"I want to know everything the police know about this!"

You can well understand, it's been kind of tense around here this year. A few weeks ago there was an incident in the parking lot at East, an altercation after a football game where one young man stabbed another.

Last week a middle school student brought shotgun shells to school. (Yes, the school where Jen works.). At least it wasn't the gun itself!

And two weeks ago there was a bomb threat at West. It raised some concerns, but didn't become a media event -- rumor is that the threat was made during a conversation on Twitter, the kid who made the threat was quickly identified, it was just talk.

When Becca was a senior, there was a bomb threat at West. Some kid wrote a threat on another student's scientific calculator, and left it in a classroom for a teacher to find. It was all a big joke -- but Becca and a lot of her classmates stayed home from school.

This seems different, it was a real attempt to disrupt the workings of the school.

I'm sure the author of those emails is laughing, enjoying how he has manipulated an entire school district.

The ones who really plan to do harm, they don't usually telegraph their plans.

A 16 year old boy, a high school sophomore, was arrested in Maryland last week. Cops were investigating him in connection with some burglaries -- someone was breaking into parked cars and stealing anything of value. Turns out the kid also stole his father's gun, and brought it to school on a Friday with the intent to shoot classmates. He didn't go through with it because he was too drunk, and because he "forgot to bring the bombs" he allegedly made. He was planning to bring the gun back on Monday, but the cops caught him over the weekend.

Don't get all wrapped up in the drama, but take every threat seriously.

Here's hoping this week will be more peaceful.

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dunkin Donut's Croissant Donut

Last year Dominique Ansel created something called a Cronut, a cross between a croissant and a donut. It became a NYC sensation, people lined up outside the bakery for the chance to buy the remarkable pastry.

This year, Dunkin Donuts has come out with their version, a croissant donut.

It's nothing more than croissant dough, shaped like a donut. Flakey like a croissant, but kind of heavy. No cream in the middle, like you'd get with the Cronut. And the glaze tends to be overpowering.

Not worth the effort. A regular glazed donut is so much better.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

On 11/07/1990

At 7:32 AM ....

Jen made her entrance into this world.

Happy birthday to my firstborn.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wantable Accessories Box - November

Four items. The Celia Ring, the Alexandria Earrings, the Lucy Earrings and the Olivia necklace.


The Celia Ring. A gold adjustable ring with an oval criss cross design.

Maybe a bit overwhelming for my small hand. I told the stylist my hands are small...

The Lucy Earrings. Silver hoops with rhinestones.

Very nice.

The Alexandria Earrings. Gold multi hoop earrings,

Also nice.

The Olivia necklace. Gold chain with ombré effect of maroon, red and pink ribbon.

It really does make a statement, doesn't it? Not sure if it's a statement I want to make.

I really like both pair of earrings, but the ring and the necklace ... Not so much.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wantable makeup box - November

Concealer, cheekbone highlighter, lip gloss and (oh the irony) nail lacquer.

Surratt beauty Concealer Medium. They suggest using it under the eyes.

POA Beauty Lip Gloss Bella. Pretty color.

Fora Cheeky Cheekbone Enhancer. To be worn over blush.

Liberty Public Spellbound Nail Laquer in Voodoo. I do like the color.

But to be honest, no 'wow" factor.

Maybe I'm getting a bit bored.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Julep Box --November

So Julep tells you what's in your box before it ships, and you have an opportunity to swap items. I was going to cancel my Julep subscription because I really don't need that much nail polish. But I was able to swap out my nail polish for lip gloss and mascara, two item I use every day.

So I chose a lip gloss and selected a mascara.

And then I got the email.

Apparently the mascara wasn't ready to go when the boxes were put together. I'll get it eventually. As a consolation I was awarded 950 "Jules" -- reward points.

So when the box arrived, I knew what to expect. Just a lonely little lip gloss and two pieces of candy -- caramels. Still, it was a letdown.

Pretty color, though. And now I have enough Jules for a free box next month.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

St. Vincent

We saw St. Vincent. Saturday night.

Vincent (Bill Murray) is retired and living in Brooklyn. He drinks too much, gambles too much, and has an ongoing relationship with a pregnant prostitute (Naomi Watts). He is always short of money.

Along come new neighbors Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) and Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). Maggie is in the midst of a divorce, coping with long hours at a new job. Oliver is coping with a transfer to a new school, a parochial school, where he feels out of place. Out of necessity, or perhaps desperation, Maggie hires Vincent to provide after school care for Oliver.

Who is a saint? What qualities do we consider saintly? Through an assignment given to Oliver's class, movie explores this concept by viewing the relationships of the characters. As the relationships develop, we learn more about Vincent's past as well as hidden parts of his current life.

While the characters grow and learn, there are no magical transformations. So why is Vincent a "saint"? Or is he? You'll have to see the movie to understand.

There is buzz that Murray will be nominated for an Oscar for this film. His performance is outstanding, making Vincent a real person, not a caricature. But what I really liked was Melissa McCarthy's performance as the harried single mother; it was interesting to see her in a role that requires something more than a talent for crude comedy.

Definitely worth seeing.

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Autumn color


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Trying to decide

Is green my color?

Am I being trendy?

Or am I too old for this?

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