life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Rings" marathon

So I had unused vacation days in a "use them or lose them" environment, and Drew is off from school, we're both stressed and tired, so how are we spending our days off?

Well, with a "Lord of the Rings" marathon, of course.

I've mentioned, several times, that I read "The Hobbit" and the "Rings" trilogy back in high school, and while Drew and I have seen each of the "Hobbit" movies in the theater, I'd never seen any of the "Rings" films.

So we stayed home for two days and did nothing except watch DVD's -- all 11 hours of Hobbits and Wizards and a Elves and Dwarves, and the one true Ring to rule them all.

Wish I'd seen them sooner, the movies were wonderful.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Our annual Christmas in NYC

You know the routine by now,  We pick a day to take the train into the city, and then we walk...and walk.

This year we went on the day after Christmas, a Friday.  Weather was relatively warm and comfortable.  And very, very crowded.

We started at Macy's.  this year the marquis was decorated with SpongeBob.  The 34th Street windows have a "Yes, Virginia" theme (I miss "Miracle on 34th Street").  The Herald Square windows had Santa and some children travelling to all the planets in our solar system.

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We walked over the 5th Avenue and started  with Lord & Taylor.

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We stopped  for a snack.  I got a pretzel, Drew chose a hot dog.

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Then on to Bryant Park and the New York Public Library.  There are shops in the park.  We always stop at the chocolate shop for a free sample; the chocolate is so rich and creamy that you're not supposed to chew it, just let it melt in your mouth.

 photo PhotoGrid_1419688715365.jpg Had an interesting encounter with a Buddhist monk on the steps of the library.  He put a beaded bracelet on my wrist then tried to hit me up for $20.  I gave back the bracelet and gave him $2 for "peace and love".

Next up, Sax Fifth Avenue. Art Deco windows, traditional fairy tales done NYC style.

 photo PhotoGrid_1419688938188.jpg  photo 20141226_160928.jpg  photo 20141226_160928.jpg photo 20141226_160904.jpg photo 20141226_160925.jpg Over to Madison Avenue.  We passed a branch of Wells Fargo, and I noticed this inside the bank.

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(My earworm of the moment came from The Music Man..."The Wells Fargo Wagon is a'coming....")

Barney's always has some sort of modern, technology driven windows.   They also do live performances in the windows, but we didn't get a chance to see that.

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We walked back to 5th Avenue.  There's a giant menorah at Grand Army Plaza.  It's not lit up anymore, Chanukah is over.  We wanted to see it when we saw Eric Idle at Carnegie Hall, but it was raining that night.

 photo IMG_20141227_090914.jpg Of course there's the Snowflake hanging over 5th Avenue.

 photo IMG_20141227_091029.jpg Bergdorf Goodman's windows were dedicated to the arts.

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And then it was back down to Sax and Rockefeller Center. By now it was getting dark.

Then on to the tree.

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 photo IMG_20141227_091204.jpg We found ourselves in Times Square. 

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Then on to Chinatown and dinner at Wo Hop. 

One thing I've always liked about the city:  the music.  From the carolers outside the church on 5th Avenue to the hip hop dancers in Times Square to the saxophone player in the 42nd Street subway station to the guy in the Canal Street station playing some Chinese instrument I could never name, the city has a rhythm and a tone line no other place in the world.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Wild Ginger

I'm really beginning to appreciate Asian fusion.

We did takeout from Wild Ginger the other night. Very satisfied with our meal. As always, the sushi was fresh and flavorful. Shrimp Pad Thai was excellent, a generous amount of shrimp, the noodles had just the right "kick" without being too spicy. Sesame crusted salmon and wok grilled shrimp with garlic were perfect.

Glad we found this place.

Wild Ginger on Urbanspoon
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Friday, December 26, 2014

Seen last night

Seen last night

Christmas festivities

So we did our usual. Movie in the morning, Chinese food for dinner. Chen's buffet, a place we go to often, not much to say except it's a decent inexpensive buffet.

So ...

The movies. Our nearest AMC theater is in the midst of renovations. They're tearing out the conventional seating and replacing it ... With individual reclining chairs. Seriously, each patron gets his or her own recliner, you can sit, you can recline, you can put your feet up. Your seat is not attached to others in the row. There's plenty of room for others to walk past you to get to their own seats. And each chair has its own drink cup holder. This theater even gives you an assigned seat, like at a baseball game, a concert, etc.

The seats were seriously comfortable. So far the price of the movie hasn't really changed, but when you lose half of your capacity...

Anyhow, the movie we saw...Into The Woods.

No surprise there.

After all, I've seen the original Broadway production and the revival, I have both cast albums on CD somewhere, and I love Sondheim.

And this film delivers. Sondheim's music and lyrics are as magnificent as always.

It's a mashup of various Grimm fairy tales. The Baker and his Wife are living under a curse, a curse placed by the Witch who lives next door. To break the curse they must gather ingredients for a potion -- a cape as red as blood, a cow as white as milk, a slipper as pure as gold and hair as yellow as corn. They must go into the woods.

Also in the woods are Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack of beanstalk fame. Their stories are all intertwined.

There was a bit of concern about what might be cut from the film, based on some comments Sondheim made. Some of the elements of the plot are not very "fairytale", after all. Would Disney sanitize the story? Rest assured, all of those "moments" are in the film. Well, except for one.

Spoiler alert.

Yes, you will see the Wolf sing the sexually-tinged "Hello, Little Girl". And yes, the Baker's Wife does have an encounter with Cinderella's Prince. Toned down a bit, but the infidelity is there nevertheless. It's a PG movie, after all.

But Disney did not want to kill off Rapunzel. She does not get crushed by the giant. She simply fades out of the storyline after telling off the witch.

Several songs were cut from Act II. Nothing I really noticed until I looked at the cast album ... with one exception.

Cinderella's Prince and Rapunzel's Prince have a duet in Act I, a song called "Agony". Very funny song about longing for the girl who must be pursued. In Act II there is a reprise of the song, cut from the movie. Too bad, it was also very funny -- now that each Prince has caught the elusive girl, attention has wandered ... to Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.

There was supposed to be a new song so that the movie could qualify for a Best Song Oscar. If it was there, I didn't hear it.

Meryl Streep was perfect as the Witch. Christine Baransky was simply evil as Cinderella's Stepmother. Johnny Depp was lascivious as the Wolf.

Can't wait for the DVD.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

I must be the only person in America who has not seen "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which is really weird, especially since I read and loved the Tolkein books in high school.

"The Hobbit" was so light and fluffy, the three "Rings" books so dark and mysterious.

So when I heard they were planning to turn "The Hobbit" into a trilogy, I had to wonder how they'd stretch it into three movies.

December 2012 we saw "The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey". December 2013 we saw "The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug". And this year we saw "The a Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies".

Now, having seen all three movies ...the tone of the movies is very much a prequel for the "Rings" trilogy. A lot of the material in the Hobbit movies doesn't come from the book, but rather, the subplots are created to set us up for what is to come.

The third movie is focused on action, there's very little in plot, most of the movie involves the battle that was set up by the first two films. And with dropping tidbits about the future of Middle Earth.

It's well crafted and enjoyable. And truly enhanced by IMAX 3D.

And after the movie, we headed to Denny's. But alas, unlike previous years, this time around Denny's does not have a Hobbit-inspired menu.

And now I really must find the Rings DVD's...

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Another this and that

Christmas week and all is quiet in the office. Looking forward to a few days off.

Though I am worried about our administrative assistant. She's out sick with something long term and serious. The last time I saw her, she looked like death warmed over. Her brother told our project manager that she will be out of the office for awhile.

Funny how a 20-something adult can instantly revert to helpless teen. I got the "mom, what do I do?" call on Sunday -- Jen had a flat tire. And she needed to get it fixed ASAP so she could drive to Rhode Island with her boyfriend on Monday.

Yes, Jen is the one running around with a boyfriend these days. And he must really rate, if she took him up to Rhode Island.

Becca, on the other hand, is spending a lot of time with her friends, girls she's known since kindergarten. She's also apartment hunting, with plans to move into the city within the next few months.

The work on my parents' house progresses. We are living in chaos as workers rip and tear apart the walls that have housed us for 45 years. Ultimately we will have something wonderful, but for now ...

And what makes things even more unnerving... Dementia patients thrive on routine, on sameness ... The chaos in our home leaves my father, and to a lesser extent my mother, feeling lost and confused.

It so hard dealing with my parents these days, with their ailments and disabilities. But having gone to yet another funeral last weekend, I realize how lucky I am to still have parents to complain about.

As for me and Drew ... We are both dealing with doctor's appointments, medical tests ... It's stressful and uncomfortable. Drew had major meltdown the other day over a seemingly minor situation -- it was the straw that broke the camel's back, the catalyst for acting out over his fears and worries about the bigger picture. And I am struggling to not get sucked into the abyss of "what ifs", preferring to find out "what is" so that I can focus on treating whatever it is.

But our social plans for this holiday week are starting to really come together. I am looking forward to a lot of fun over the next week or so.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

The darkest day

She sends me a message on Tuesday via Facebook. There's nothing more the doctors can do for my mother. I'm flying in tomorrow. Please let everyone know.

In my mind's eye I see her throwing both passports into her backpack as she heads to Ben Gurion. I wish her safe travels.

And then Friday I get another message. My mother just died. The funeral is Sunday. Services in Queens, burial at New Montifiore.

And so, on the shortest day of the year, we find ourselves bracing the cold and damp. The darkness of the day, the darkness in our hearts...

I am the only one amount the group of friends with two living parents. The others are all orphans...though calling them "orphans" when they are all in their 50's and 60's...but they've all been in her shoes, they know ...her mother was 98...

Drew can't find the yarmulke he usually keeps in the car. One of the other mourners has a spare.

The Rabbi reminds us that certain prayers cannot be said because it is Chanukah. And I think to myself, She will always have to light a yartzheit candle on the third night of Chanukah...

We gather for prayer, the men in front, the women to the side and behind.

I watch the Rabbi daven , bowing over and over as he recites the prayers. The brim of his black hat flaps as he bobs up and down, up and down, caught in the ancient rhythm. Her brother says Kaddish for their mother. I see her reciting the prayer, too, so very quietly.

She hugs me and says. "We don't count in the minyan here."

"We count in my shul." I tell her.

"I said Kaddish for my mother anyhow."

"I know," I tell her.

They will be sitting shiva in Queens for a few days before heading to her sister's house in Maryland for the rest of the mourning period. She'll be back in New York for a week or so before flying home to Jerusalem. She may come to visit us before she leaves.

I hug her again. "When you come visit, I'll take you to my shul. You can say Kaddish for your mother."

She hugs me tight, not wanting to let go.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Brio Tuscan Grille

Lunch with a group of my coworkers, and we wound up at Brio Tuscan Grille at Walt Whitman Shops.

I hadn't been to that shopping center in ages ... When it was still called Walt Whitman Mall ... Must say I am impressed with the upgrades.

But I had forgotten about songbird's rules for parking at Whitman at Christmastime.

Rule number one: Don't. Just don't.

Rule number two: If you must break rule number one, park at the very outskirts of the mall.

Brio is located at the center of the mall. I tried to park nearby, but after fruitless circling, I wound up parking in a distant part of the lot, near Bloomingdales, and hiking back to the restaurant.

It was worth the hike.

We shared a variety of appetizers. The fried calamari was tender and flavorful. Shrimp with eggplant was excellent. Spinach artichoke dip was smooth and creamy. I had bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella -- like eating caprese salad on the most delectable bread.

For my entree, I decided to move out of my comfort zone. I ordered campanelle carbonara, bell shaped pasta in a rich cream sauce, with bacon and grilled chicken. It was served with freshly grated Parmesan. I thought the sauce a bit heavy on the bacon taste, but otherwise very good. The pasta a la vodka and chicken piccata with mashed potatoes both looked very appealing.

And yes, we ordered dessert. Most of us got "dolchinos", small portions of dessert served in a parfait glass. I had "key lime pie", a layer of graham cracker crumbs, key lime custard and whipped cream. Perfectly sized and absolutely delicious.

Definitely worth another visit.

Brio Tuscan Grille on Urbanspoon

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This is getting old

The bomb threat made news again.  Tuesday's newspaper carried the story of an arrest made Monday - a 17 year old junior at the school charged with a misdemeanor for "unauthorized use of a computer" in October.    He wasn't charged with making the threats.  That might happen eventually.

Apparently when he was picked up by the police a couple of weeks ago, he was not arrested, but merely questioned.  The rumor mill got it wrong.

The article wasn't very detailed, but my guess is that the young man hacked into someone's computer (the school's?) in order to send the threats.

There is speculation that he had an accomplice.

There was another threat Tuesday night, but the police were apparently aware that the threat was going to be made.

Very eerie driving past the school and seeing such a heavy police presence.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dairy Queen?

I am told that I had a deprived childhood because I never ate at  Dairy Queen. 

Well, that was recently remedied.  Dairy Queen just opened a DQ Grill &  Chill in Levittown, and we  had to try it out.

Nice sized restaurant, the parking lot is a bit small and cramped.  Typical fast food style seating, but that a fireplace along the wall?  A real fireplace?  Wow...

Menu is typical fast food, too.  Burgers, chicken, hot dogs, fries.  You order at the counter, you're handed a number, you go find a seat, and the server will bring your food to your table.  Very nice touch.

I ordered a chicken tenders basket.  (I used to love the chicken tenders at McDonald's, and was sorry to see them eliminated from the menu; chicken nuggets just don't have the same oomph.)  Six chicken tenders, served with fries, buttered toast (!) and BBQ sauce.  Good meal for the price, probably a bit better than most fast food places.  I love choosing my beverage at the Freestyle Coke machine. 

Drew ordered a burger, and his favorite -- Orange Julius.    Not something that appeals to me, but Drew says it's like an orange slurpee, very sweet. 

Our table was directly under the signs that give you a history of Dairy Queen and a history of Orange Julius, and even information about when the two companies merged.  Interesting reading.

I seldom order dessert, but this being Dairy Queen, I simply had to have a Blizzard.  This month's special is a Candy Cane Chill -- peppermint candy cane pieces and choco chunks blended with creamy vanilla soft serve.  It looked so pink and frothy!    I loved my dessert, even though the pieces of candy cane stuck to my teeth.

Drew didn't order an ice cream treat, but tasted mine.  Drew didn't really care for it.  He would have chosen different mix-ins for his Blizzard. 

So now I have been initiated into the joys of DQ.  And I know we will be back.

Dairy Queen on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 19, 2014

OMG, Billy Joel!

So back in January we saw Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden.  Great concert.  Loved every minute of it.

My only disappointment of the night was the lousy seats, up in nosebleed territory.

Couldn't wait to do it again.  Which is easy, because he's taken up residency there, booked one show each month for the foreseeable future. 

So this time I bought the tickets from Stub Hub, Section 113.  That's rear stage, but only 9 rows back, a better view than some of the floor seats.  Much better than last itme.

Although for concerts, I suppose you shouldn't really call them "seats".  Their more like "here's your assigned place to stand and dance, with a chair for you to leave your stuff on while you do."

Better food choices at that level, I discovered.  We had hamburgers and French fries.  The burgers were amazing, perfectly cooked, with a yummy cheese sauce.  Fries were decent.  And Drew was pleased, because he saved $10 by using his Chase credit card to buy the food -- Chase is the Garden's sponsor.

Opening act was Jamie Cullum, a British singer/piano player who was obviously influenced by Joel -- his performance style reminds me of Joel back in the 1980's.  Very interesting jazzy/blues cover of Rhianna's "Please Don't Stop the Music".

And then it was time for Billy to take the stage.

Some of his patter was the same as what we heard the last concert...he looked at his image on the screen and said "hi Dad" because he looks just like his father now.

Loved his comment about the lyrics to "The Entertainer". 

Here's the lyric:

But I know the game, you'll forget my name
I won't be here in another year
If I don't stay on the charts

He told the audience "I haven't had a hit in 17 years, and you're still here.  Thank you."

The set list was different from what he played in January.  He's got so many hits he can't play them all, and he also likes to do songs that weren't hits...

Part of his shtick these days is to allow the audience to choose which songs he will play.  He gave us that option three times.  We chose "Vienna", "The Stranger" and "the Entertainer".

This being the Christmas season, his set list was expanded to include a few Christmas songs, including "O come All Ye Faithful", "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and (in the middle of "River of Dreams") "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".  He even donned a Santa hat for awhile.

He spent most of the night at the piano, which rotates so the whole audience can see him.

No guest stars this time around (he had Mellencamp in the November concert), but we did get a performance from his roadie Chainsaw, who sand AC/DC's "Highway to Hell".  Interesting.  Billy accompanied on the guitar.

Billy stood up for  "Uptown Girl" and "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me", twirling the microphone stand like a pro.  But when he walked across the stage, you could see he was limping...

A great evening.  I would love to do it again.

Of course, everyone in the audience whips out their phones to take fuzzy pictures and video.  Here are my fuzzy pictures of the night:

The view from our seats:


And, of course, Billy Joel:

The set list:

Miami 2017
The Entertainer
The Stranger
Movin' Out
Where's the Orchestra?
She's Right On Time
New York State of Mind
Highway to Hell
My Life
Sometimes a Fantasy
Don't Ask Me Why
The River of Dreams
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
Piano Man

Uptown Girl
It's Still Rock and Roll to Me
You May Be Right
Only The Good Die Young

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

I think the plans have finally come together. 

Since we're such a small group, and since no one wants to spend gobs of money, we will be partying at Drew's house.  The plan is to order Chinese takeout for dinner from one of the local restaurants.  And everyone will throw in a couple of dollars to buy chips, appetizers and soda.  Drew has the champagne for a midnight toast, none of us are really big drinkers anymore so we don't need any other wine/beer/cocktails.

I feel like I'm back in my college days.

but then again, those days were fun.

And I've got a killer recipe for cocktail meatballs, haven't made it in years, but just might try it again....

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Carnegie Part 2

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?


An old joke, but a revered institution.

So how come the only times I've been inside those hallowed halls involve humor?

Seriously, the first time I saw a performance at Carnegie Hall, it was PDQ Bach, Peter Schickele's wonderful parody of classical music. That has to have been 25 years ago. Drew is a big fan ...

And here we are, years later, attending an oratorio called "Not the Messiah" by a relatively unknown composer named Eric Idle. Two nights only, we saw it on Tuesday night.

I apparently had a deprived youth, because I was not Monty Python fan until recently, and I've never seen Life of Brian.  I'm sure I missed a lot, but I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. 

I mean, you're in Carnegie Hall, there is a full orchestra, the women in black formals, the men in white tie and tails. There is a huge chorus, the men in tuxedos, the women in black. The first violin tunes the orchestra, the conductor takes the stage ...and then you hear the familiar strains of the Monty Python theme song. You just know it's going to be an interesting evening. Four soloists (from Broadway and/or opera backgrounds) join Idle on the stage, and for the next two hours you are treated to a mixture of pop, rock, flamenco, Gilbert & Sullivan ... as the story unfolds.

Some of the best moments --

-- a girl dressed as a Judean shepherd takes the stage with three "sheep" (puppets) as Idle sings some naughty lyrics about sheep.

-- Idle's song about wanting to be a girl is hysterical.

-- at the end of the first act, the entire company is singing about how Brian is "the One". Several people are waving candles. The shepherd shows up, waving a Chanukah menorah (well, it was the first night of Chanukah!)

-- Idle's Dylan impression is spot on.

-- Brian and Judith have a very, interesting, duet.

-- Loved the hats on the mariachi band.

Of course, the evening ends with "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life", which becomes an audience participation number.

Guess I have to find a DVD of the movie now.

Just as an aside -- Carnegie Hall contains a small museum with exhibits describing how it was built, how it was almost demolished when Lincoln Center was built, how Isaac Stern convinced the powers that be to preserve such an important site, and all the famous folk who performed at Carnegie Hall. Not a very elaborate museum, the entire display fits in one room, but very interesting.

If you want to read more about the oratorio, here is the  NY Times review.

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Carnegie Part 1

Who eats together at the Carnegie Deli? (With apologies to Adam Sandler) the answer is NOT Bowser from Sha Na Na and Arthur Fonzarelli.

Two delis opened in NYC in 1937. -- the now-closed Stage Deli, located on 7th Avenue near 54th Street, and the Carnegie Deli, located on 7th and 57th. The rivals were known for oversized sandwiches named for celebrities, Jewish delicacies such as matzoh ball soup, and cheesecake. All the things that I am genetically programmed to seek out.

We liked the late Stage Deli, we ate there several times. It was very upsetting when the place closed in 2012.  A piece of Old Nw York was gone.

But fear not, the legacy lives on at the Carnegie.

Neither of us had ever been there before. But with tickets to an event at Carnegie Hall (more about that later) and without any other ideas for dinner, we figured we'd give it a try.

The crowded, cramped room with celebrity photos covering the walls seemed familiar. If you're claustrophobic you might want to skip this place, the tables are thisclose together.

But the food ... A bit overpriced (as expected), but we were not disappointed. I had my usual pastrami on rye -- so much meat piled on the bread that the sandwich threatened to fall apart when I picked it up.  The pastrami was tender and tasty. Drew ordered tongue, which he said was much leaner than at other delis. It being the first night of Chanukah, we also ordered potato pancakes -- three enormous pancakes served with sour cream and applesauce. I liked them, but Drew said they were a little greasy -- an overabundance of the "miracle of the oil".

In most delis you will be served pickles and cole slaw while you wait for your order. Here there is no cole slaw. But the pickles -- very sour, very garlicky, very good.

Alas, no room for dessert. Iguess we will have to come back for some cheesecake.

Carnegie Deli on Urbanspoon

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The treasures in the closet

I mentioned that we're having major work done at the house.  Part of that is a complete renovation of the kitchen.  As in, we are tearing out the cabinets, the appliances,  even the floor. 
My parents bought the house in 1968, and while they did occasional updates (the avocado green appliances are long gone), they never did a complete renovation until now.
So we had to empty out all the cabinets.
And we have discovered many things that we forgot we had.  A 60 year old blender.  A juicer from the 1960's.  A crockpot from the 1980's.
Depression glass.
Back in the 1930's, it was common for movie theater owners to give away dishes and glassware in order to encourage customers to come.    My father used to love to talk about getting dishes at the movies.
Someone in my family collected pieces of Ruby Red glasses, and those pieces wound up in my mother's possession. I remember using the juice glasses when I was a little girl, but when we moved to this house, the glasses were placed in the back of a cabinet and never seen again.
This being the 21st century,  I looked on the Internet to determine the value of the glassware.  The monetary value isn't significant.
But the sentimental value ...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday celebrations

So Friday night we went to a party sponsored by Drew's sister's union. There was a program about all the different celebrations held this time of year -- Christmas, Three Kings Day, Chanukah, Kwanzaa. They also recognized the Muslim Eids, although neither of those celebrations take place in December this year. Lots of food and good cheer.

Saturday night was community theater time. Our local Gilbert & Sullivan group does a version of "A Christmas Carol", marrying the Dickens classic story with some of Sullivan's best music, including tunes recycled from "The Mikado", "H.M.S. Pinafore" and "Pirates of Penzance". A fun way to spend an evening.

Sunday we went to the movies. We like to see classic movies at the movie theater, even if we've seen them so often on TV that we can recite dialogue by heart. You see things in a movie theater that you might have missed on TV. Our choice Sunday was "White Christmas" starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

And New Year's Eve is starting to come together...

So maybe I am starting to feel the holiday spirit ...

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Carle Place Diner

You know you found a good diner when they bring you cole slaw, pickles and chickpea salad to start your meal. I really liked the chickpea salad -- lots of good, garlicky chickpeas.

Both of our entrees were well prepared. He had an open faced sliced steak sandwich, I had Philly cheesesteak. The accompanying fries were hot and crisp -- I ate all of the fries and half a sandwich, and felt very full. I'm looking forward to the other half sandwich. Should have asked them to wrap up the rest of the chickpeas too.

Carle Place Diner on Urbanspoon

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Another meteor shower last night ...

...and too cloudy to see a thing.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014


The New Year's Eve argument ...err, discussion...continues.

Yesterday Drew suggested that he and I go out alone, and let everyone else worry about their own plans.

Stay tuned for breaking developments.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

testing, testing, 1,2,3

So I got the test results from my's time for more tests.

Isn't it always like a doctor, they scare you half to death when they try to be reassuring.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Golden Express

My new lunchtime hangout. Typical storefront Chinese takeout, it's very busy at lunchtime, even on rainy days. A handful of tables, no atmosphere whatsoever, mostly takeout.  There's a lot of clutter  along one wall of the storefront -- no storage area, apparently -- but the kitchen area and the seating area look clean.

I've been choosing the lunchtime special -- a lunch sized portion served over fried rice. The chicken in garlic sauce (sliced white meat chicken with peppers, pea pods, carrots and water chestnuts) was excellent. The pepper steak with onions was ok, a nice dish but nothing spectacular. I'm looking forward to trying other dishes.

The restaurant is in a strip mall, alongside a dry cleaners, a pizza place and Starbucks. Be forewarned, parking here is abysmal. But you can get a decent meal for a decent price, so this place is definitely a "keeper".

Golden Express Chinese Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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So last Friday I went to my doctor about an issue I'm having. He drew blood to run some tests and told me he'd call me either Monday or Tuesday with the results.

So I waited...and waited ...and waited...

The nurse practitioner called me at 4:45 Tuesday afternoon. Started giving me the test results...except for the test that addresses my issue. She didn't know what happened.

She called me yesterday morning. Apparently the lab wasn't able to run the test (I never did get a complete explanation of that) and I'd have to come back to the doctor's office so they could draw more blood.

Just what I wanted to do on my lunch hour. In the rain.

So here I sit, almost a week later, still waiting.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Another this and that

Trying to survive a nor'easter ... The rain is bad enough, but the wind! I fully expected Miss Gulch on her bicycle to fly by as she morphed into the Wicked Witch ...

Stopped by Dortoni's Monday night, bought a pound of rainbow cookies...very popular around this house. My sisters used to make them from scratch, but it's very labor intensive, so what I buy in the bakery will have to suffice.

Jen and Becca were fortunate to have tickets for Monday night's Nets game. My kids were impressed that Jay Z and Beyoncé were there --until Will and Kate showed up.

And the media reports that there were lots of protesters outside. The country is still reeling from the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths.

Another Wantable disappointment -- one of my favorite necklaces broke. The clasp fell apart as I was taking it off.

Newest pet peeve: women who chat on their cell phones while in a public restroom. I felt very uncomfortable.

We're having some work done on the house this week. Major work. Lots of turmoil. I'm taking refuge at Drew's.

Still no resolution of the New Year's Eve issue. Drama, discussion ... continues.

Maybe I'll win Elton John tickets, one of the radio stations is having a contest. That will resolve the "discussions".

Cause right now I'm really not feeling the holiday spirit.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Beach party!!!!

Joe's Crab Shack on Urbanspoon

No, not really, but if you're eating at Joe's Crab Shack, you can be forgiven for thinking you're at a beach party. 

We'd been to the location in Oceanside a few times, and were delighted to find the Westbury location, closer to home.  It's a smaller, less cavernous space than the Oceanside location, but just as much fun to visit.

Very casual atmosphere, the wait staff is all dressed in tie dye.  Your table is set with a big bucket (for the shells), a smaller bucket for eating utensils, and a roll of paper towels instead of napkins. 

The menu has many offerings -- shrimp dishes, fried seafood platters, salads, crab cakes, burgers, even steak and chicken. 

But the stars of the menu, as I've said before, are the steam pots. The steam pots/buckets of crab can be a bit pricey, but many of the other entrees are less expensive.

I ordered my favorite -- the Artic.  It includes Queen crab, shrimp, a whole lobster and smoked sausage all boiled in a garlic bath and topped with Old Bay Seasoning, as well as an ear of corn and two small potatoes.    I'd forgotten that I don't care for the sausage -- last time I had this steam pot I asked for extra shrimp instead -- so I wound up giving the sausage to Drew.  

Very little conversation while we were eating, we were too busy cracking shells. 

There were no leftovers.  I actually considered ordering dessert...

Adding to the fun atmosphere, periodically the wait staff will drop what they're doing and line dance.  Customers are encouraged to join them.

And right now they're doing a raffle.  You can win prizes from their merchandise shop.  The money they raise helps pay the cost of the staff uniforms, so that the waiters don't have to buy their own tie dye.  Drew decided to buy a few raffle tickets, and wound up winning a t shirt.

A fun evening and a good meal.  What more could you ask for?

Sleeves up, let's get cracking.

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