life in and around NYC is insane

Thursday, April 30, 2015


I am really loving Dig on the USA Network.  It's sort of like The DaVinci Code, a thriller involving ancient rituals, secret religious  societies, and conspiracy theories.

The protagonist is Peter Connelly (Jason Isaacs), an FBI agent assigned to the US Consulate inJerusalem His partner of sorts is Detective Golan Cohen (Ori Pfeffer) of the Israeli Police.  Anne Heche plays the role of Lynn Monahan, Connelly's boss.  Emma Wilson (Alison Sudol) is a young archeology student who stumbles upon a secret while working on a dig in Jerusalem.

The story revolves around ancient prophesies and Biblical treasures, and an attempt by religious extremists to change the course of human history.  It was filmed primarily in Jerusalem, and a lot of the dialogue is in Hebrew with English subtitles. 

I think my favorite character is Detective Cohen.  He's not what you might expect. 

10 episodes.  That's the entire season.  Tonight is episode 9, and the finale is next week.

I'm really enjoying this show, can't wait to see where the conspiracy goes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Olympic Diner

Olympic Diner on Urbanspoon

Still loving this place.  Lately we've been into salads, and they have a nice selection. 

I really enjoyed the Santa Fe salad --  grilled chicken, black beans, corn, tomato, red onion, jack and cheddar cheese  with BBQ ranch dressing.  It was served in a tortilla shell.  Very nice.

The favorite, of course, is the Doc's salad  -- a Greek salad topped with chicken breast, and the diner's house-made salad dressing.

You can actually buy a bottle of their salad dressing to use at home.  Yes, it's that good.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

On the Boardwalk

The beauty of Long Island is that it is, in fact, an island.  120 miles from Manhattan to Montauk, 20 miles at its widest point.  Lots of shoreline.  You're never too far from sand and surf.

And a significant portion of that sand and surf is public parkland owned by the State of New York or various local governments.  I spent two summers as seasonal help at Robert Moses State Park, on the tip of Fire Island.  I loved being outdoors all day, loved being able to take a swim in the ocean on my lunch break.

In keeping with my new resolve to be more active, I spent Sunday afternoon at Sunken Meadow State Park.  A North Shore park, it has a small, sandy beach on Long Island Sound, where the waters are calmer than at the ocean beaches on the South Shore.  And most days you can see across the Sound all the way to Connecticut.

And there's a boardwalk.  3/4 of a mile from end to end, it's perfect for a jog or a casual stroll. 

It was a lovely day for a stroll.  Warm but not too hot.  I walked from the middle to one end, then to the other end, then back to my starting point -- 1.5 miles, all told.  I had plenty of company, but it wasn't nearly as crowded as it will be in about a month or so.

I'm already planning a return visit.


Product review Walden Farms

I don't know how they do it.  It's salad dressing, it's thick and creamy, it tastes great.  It's all natural.  And it has no calories.  Seriously, this is good stuff.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Another this and that

Lately I seem to have a knack for "closing" restaurants.  I reviewed Mara's Too, and it closed.  I reviewed Chow Down Diner.  And it closed.  I reviewed the Carnegie Deli.  And they got caught stealing gas from Con Ed, and they're closed "indefinitely ".  Maybe I should stay out of restaurants for awhile.

My term as a trustee of the synagogue expires in June, and I told the nominating committee that I am not interested in another term.  I've been on the Board since 2006, it's time to make way for someone else.  Besides, the time commitment...

I was tired of running around, doing what a trustee is expected to do....

So why did I move on to another project?   (Drew thinks I'm crazy to take this one on, by the way.)  There was an incident in our community a few weeks ago, some high school students posted photos of themselves wearing t-shirts emblazoned with swastikas and the word "Auschwitz".  Very disturbing.  The Rabbi at the Chabad wants to form a task force to address our concerns vis a vis the public schools.  Guess who joined the task force?  Not only that, I volunteered to take the minutes.

Jen has gotten more serious about job and career lately.  She's working on some professional development courses, and she's asking Drew for advice and help.  It' s good to see them working together.  I wish Becca would come around, she and Drew are still at odds.  Maybe for Mother's Day?

Drew is dealing with a lot right now.  His job, his health concerns, Marc. And now that he's handling Marvin's affairs, he's the one they call when Marvin has a health issue...

Drew didn't really want to do this, he kind of got pulled in because he wants what's best for Marvin. but Shelley doesn't see it that way.  She told Uncle Les "I may never speak to my brother again."  Sad, isn't it?

So I re-joined Weight Watchers, this time as an on line subscriber.  I'm having moderate success, it's hard getting back into the program.  The Fitbit is helping a lot, it makes me more accountable, I can't "fudge" exercise.

So I felt really cheated that day I ordered lunch from Panera.  I had enough points to be able to indulge in soup, salad and some of their yummy French bread.  But when I got back to my office, there was no bread in the bag!

It was a good night at T.G.I. Friday's, though.  Had a couple of gift cards that were burning a hole in my pocket, and those warm pretzels with beer cheese dip were calling my name. (Thank goodness for Weekly Points on Weight Watchers).

While we were sitting there, Drew noticed this poster.  How many errors can you spot?

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Sunday, April 26, 2015


What do the following buildings all have in common?

Radio City Music Hall, NYC
United States Embassy, New Delhi, India
World Trade Center of New Orleans, Louisiana
State University of New York at Albany
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC
Busch Memorial Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
Florida State Capitol, Tallahassee

They were all designed by the noted architect Edward Durell Stone.

Why is this of interest to me?

Well, aside from recent visits to MoMA and Radio City, I am a SUNY Albany alum, graduated from that fine institution in May 1981.  I first heard Stone's name in the fall of 1978, when the ASP (the Albany Student Press) ran his obituary.

The campus architecture was one of the reasons I chose Albany instead of another school in the SUNY system. Modern, almost futuristic, inspiring.

To quote Wikipedia:

Designed in 1961-1962 by noted American architect Edward Durell Stone and constructed from 1963-1964, the campus bears Stone's signature style of bold unified design, expressed by its towers, domes, fountains, soaring colonnades and sweeping canopy.

The campus exemplifies the style Stone used in his major projects between 1953 and 1970, including the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India; the Hotel Phoenicia in Beirut, Lebanon; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; 2 Columbus Circle in Manhattan, New York; and the Aon Center, originally the Standard Oil Building, in Chicago. The campus was a filming location for the 1981 movie Rollover with Kris Kristofferson and Jane Fonda because of the resemblance to modern Middle Eastern architecture.

At the hub of the Uptown Campus is the rectangular "Academic Podium," featuring 13 three-story buildings under a single overhanging canopy roof. The Podium's showpiece is a central pool with fountains and an off-center circular bell tower, or "Carillon", which also serves as a water storage reservoir.

The domed Main Library, the Performing Arts Center, and Campus Center face the pool from the west, east and south, respectively. To the north is a grand entrance, which welcomes visitors by way of a "great lawn" (Collins Circle) and the University's Entry Plaza. Four residential quadrangles are located adjacent to the four corners of the academic podium. Each quad consists of a 23-story high-rise dormitory surrounded by a square of low-rise buildings.,_SUNY#Notable_alumni_and_faculty

And yes, I was there when the movie was filmed. Spring 1981. They also filmed in downtown Albany, at the State Legislative Office Building. 

To give you an idea of the magnificence of the architecture, here are a few photos of the campus:

"Uptown Campus" by UAlbany - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.  

"University at Albany Fountain - Project Renderings" by UAlbany - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

"UAlbany Podium" by UAlbany - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

That fountain, by the way, is about knee-deep.  Since the fountain is in the middle of the academic podium, in nice weather the students hang out at the fountain between classes, and often wade in the water.

But that column and canopy system...Stone designed it to protect students from rain or snow when they walked from one academic building to the other.  What happened, however, was that the column structure became a wind tunnel -- great during a hot, humid summer day, but not good in the harsh Albany winter.  And the stark white walls can seem gray and depressing in January. 

Urban legend, clearly untrue but firmly believed by almost every SUNY Albany student, was that Stone designed the campus for a warmer climate, like Arizona or South Carolina.  When Stone died, the joke was "He went to Hell, because he always did design for a warmer climate."

Want to learn more about SUNY Albany's architecture?  Read about it here. There's a great video, and you can see many more photos here.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


It was the weekend, and Becca was driving home from the gym. She was still wearing workout clothes, no makeup, hair in a ponytail.

A police officer pulled her over, asked for her driver's license. He looked at the license and asked if it was hers, quizzed her on her age and home address.

She's annoyed that the officer thought she was too young to drive, "I'm almost 23!"

If someone thought I looked 5 years younger than I really am, I'd be flattered.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, April 24, 2015

Product review -- Hawaiian Punch Water enhancer

Found this in a recent supermarket run.  I really need to drink more water and less diet soda, so I decided to give it a try.

The product is very easy to use.  It's a liquid.  You squeeze the container and add as much, or as little, of the product to your water as you like.  The container is very small and portable, and does not require refrigeration.  In this regard, it compares favorably to powders, which are premeasured for a 16 oz water bottle.

More important, though, is the taste.

I poured a glass of water, added a squirt of Hawaiian Punch berry blue, tasted my water, added another small squeeze ...

... And was transported back to childhood.  Yes, my water tasted exactly like Hawaiian Punch.

Mission accomplished.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

genetic testing

It's been in the news again recently, when Angelina Jolie wrote about her most recent surgery to prevent cancer.

Normally I am very, very proud of my Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.  But it does come with certain genetic risk factors.  And my doctor was concerned enough to send me over to the hospital to speak with a counselor.

The test itself is simple.  You swish some  mouthwash and spit into a tube.  The tube is sent to the lab, where your DNA is extracted from the mouthwash and analyzed.

The more difficult part is making the decision to be tested, and what do you do with the results.

I'm the "knowledge is power" type.  If you tell me that my family history and medical history are indications that I should be tested, I'm there.  Even if the news is bad, I want that information.  So yes, I spit into that tube.

What I'll do with that information, though...that's not so easy. 

I've been to hell and back, and I don't want to go there again.  But what am I willing to do to keep myself healthy and sane?

And how much information should I share?  And with whom?

Radio City and Chinatown

What a difference ten days can make!

When we came into the city on April 8, it felt like February. Cold and wet and windy.

On April 18, you would have sworn it was June. Daytime high of 77. We both brought jackets, thinking it would be chillier at night. Never needed them.

A lovely walk from Penn Station to Rockefeller Center. We stopped at Bryant Park for hot dogs -- mine with ketchup and onions, Drew's with mustard and sauerkraut.

We arrived at Radio City Music Hall way too early, so I ran into Duane Reade for a couple of bottles of water.

Radio City Music Hall, the Art Deco palace with seating for 6,000, designed by Edward Durell Stone, home of the famed Rockettes. In the glory days, you could come here for a movie and a stage show. These days, it's mostly concerts and stage shows, including the Christmas Spectacular, which we loved.

This year, the Rockettes did a spring show. Actually it was planned for 2014, but cancelled at the last minute because management felt it needed to be revised and improved. We had tickets for the cancelled show and were very disappointed. Bought tickets as soon as the current show was announced, long before we knew Derek Hough and Laura Benanti would be starring in it.

Our seats were in the first mezzanine, front row center. We chose that location because you can see the dancers' formations, the patterns of the choreography. It's also an interesting vantage point for watching the orchestra seats, and all the cell phones in use before the performance began.

The show? It uses the same formula as the Christmas show, a thin plot that links each song and dance together. The story involves a NYC tour guide named Bernie, a business woman named Jenna (Benanti) who wants to replace Bernie with a virtual reality tour, and an angel named Jack (Hough) whose mission is to save Bernie's job. So of course we get a tour of the city -- Grand Central Station, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Broadway/Times Square, Fashion Week, the sports world of Madison Square Garden/ MetLife Stadium/Yankee Stadium, the Empire State Building, the New York Public Library, and (of course) Radio City Music Hall.

It's a multimedia tour. There's a full orchestra, singers, dancers, even a couple of aerialists. Special effects on stage: for example, statues (Central Park's Alice in Wonderland, Patience and Fortitude at the Library, The Statue of Liberty) come to life. And lots of film: clips from old movies about NYC, as well as a 3D animated short made for this production, and more than a few celebrity cameos. In addition to our 3D glasses (the old fashioned paper kind!), each of us was given a wrist band, which lit up at various times during the show.

Despite all of this, I thought the show was merely "ok". It was interesting to see the Rockettes dancing with hockey sticks and basketballs. But their best numbers were more traditional dances -- "Singin' in the Rain" (in yellow raincoats, boots and striped umbrellas) and "New York, New York" (top hats and tails, of course).

Afterwards we took the subway to Canal Street -- Chinatown. Our favorite hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant, Wo Hop, at 17 Mott Street. There was a line to get in, of course -- an interesting mix of tourists and locals who've been coming to this restaurant for decades. Alas, this time around, the couple who were on line ahead of us were seated at "our" table. We shared an order of steamed dumplings. Drew had his usual -- wonton egg drop soup and 4D lo mein. I had hot and sour soup and chicken in garlic sauce -- broke my own rule about sticking to the Cantonese dishes, but I was very pleased with my order. As always, we brought home lots of leftovers.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day

"Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet."   -- Carl Sagan

Once again, it's Earth Day.  A time to be aware of our environment.  To treasure and protect our natural resources. 

On Earth Day, a plea for support of one of my favorite charities, The Jewish National Fund.

They're the folks who plant trees in Israel.

But they do so much more:  community building, water renewal, aid to individuals with special needs...

They're "doing something". 

Yes I am lazy

But this is so much easier than washing, peeling and slicing an apple. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chow Down Diner

Our first visit to the Chow Down Diner was right after it opened. The wait to get in was horrible, the lines were practically out the door. Everyone wanted to try something "different". With items like truffle macaroni and cheese, this place was definitely "different."

We hadn't been back in a long time, but on a recent Friday night ... Well, this place is no longer so very "different", it's gone from "chic and avant garde" to "upscale diner with a twist". Not so very crowded anymore, but fairly busy.

And the food?

Very good.  Not so remarkable, but still worth a visit.

Last time I was here, I ordered the meatloaf -- an individual loaf with a sweet chili glaze, served on a bed of mashed potatoes.  This time I ordered the more mundane  meatloaf dinner -- three slices of moist and tender meatloaf, served with mashed potatoes, broccoli and a very nice wild mushroom gravy. Portions were generous but not ridiculous. House salad was very basic -- iceberg lettuce, chopped tomato and chopped cucumber, but the ingredients were fresh and tasty. Drew liked his sandwich -- grilled mozzarella with bacon.

Service was excellent. Our waiter was very attentive and efficient.

So while it's not the same special diner anymore, I think this place is here to stay.

Chow Down Diner on Urbanspoon

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Manhasset Bay

I was in Gatsby territory the other day.  Some photos of Manhasset Bay.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Southside Fish and Clam

There's nothing quite like fresh seafood from a local restaurant. I mean, I don't have a problem with crab or lobster from a chain restaurant, but local places have special character.

So on a recent Saturday night we made a return trip to Southside.

Order your food at the counter, grab a table, and wait for your number to be called so you can retrieve your order on a tray. Food is served on disposable plates with plastic knives and forks, very casual. Get a drink from the bar if you like.

We both started with the lobster bisque, creamy and rich soup, served with saltine crackers. Garden salad was a nice blend of lettuce, carrots, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, dressing on the side. Garlic bread was made with real garlic, not garlic powder, and had a nice bite.

I had shrimp marinara -- sautéed shrimp served over linguini in marinara sauce. He had one of the evening's "specials" -- lobster tail meat in scampi sauce over linguini. Both were delicious, the fish fresh and well seasoned. Each dish contained a decent portion of fish and a very generous serving of pasta.

My one complaint -- when we walked into the dining area, it was clear that the cleaning staff cannot keep up, it was hard to find a seat because several tables needed to be bussed.

We love this place and plan to be back.

Southside Fish & Clam on Urbanspoon

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

playing hooky, part 3 -- It's Only a Play

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So, as you know, we love the Broadway theater. This time around we chose a comedy, It's Only a Play.

Just the talent on the stage alone -- Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing, Matthew Broderick, F. Murray Abraham....

The play is set in the townhouse of Julia Budder (Katie Finneran), and the story takes place in her bedroom. It is opening night  for a play called "The Golden Egg", written by Peter Austin (Matthew Broderick), starring Virginia Noyes (Stockard Channing), and directed by Frank Finger (T. R. Knight).    Also in attendance are James Wicker (Nathan Lane), a television star who is Austin's best friend, Ira Drew (F. Murray Abraham), a theater critic, and Gus P. Head (Micah Stock), a wannabe actor hired to take coats at the party.  The opening night party is in full swing downstairs, but up in Julia's bedroom  they are anxiously awaiting the reviews, especially the comments from Ben Brantley of the New York Times.

The play lampoons Broadway, American theater and the entertainment industry.   The humor comes mostly from the dialogue, from the name-dropping and Broadway insider jokes. 

Hysterically funny.  I especially loved Nathan Lane.  He and Broderick have real chemistry together. 

Given that they're lampooning Ben Brantley, I simply had to read Brantley's review of the play.   Brantley loved the performances, but felt the play runs a bit too long.  I disagree, the time just flew by.

Another successful evening of theater.

Friday, April 17, 2015

playing hooky, part 2 -- The Carnegie Deli

This was our second visit to the Carnegie Deli.

Carnegie Deli on Urbanspoon

As I said last time, the space is small and cramped, and even though we arrived fairly early this time, we found ourselves waiting outside, on line, for a good 45 minutes.  (Interesting what you can learn while waiting, though -- we found out that the restaurant used to be much larger, but lost their lease for a portion of the premises.)  Once inside, service was fairly quick and efficient.

You sit at shared tables, under the photos of celebrities who've dined here.  There's no such thing as private dinner conversation.  I guess that's part of the "old New York" charm.

This time around, most of our fellow diners were clearly tourists.  The foursome from New Orleans talking about how roses were blooming in their gardens.  The two gentlemen who usually eat their brisket barbecued, not smothered in gravy.  The couple enjoying their matzo ball soup and speculating (incorrectly) how matzo balls are made. the family sharing one slice of oversized chocolate cream pie.

Drew had his usual -- tongue on rye with Russian dressing.  A sandwich piled so high with meat it was practically falling apart.

I wanted something different this time around.  I ordered the chicken dinner -- a beautifully roasted 1/2 chicken, served on a bed of stuffing, accompanied by a choice of potato and a vegetable -- I wound up with a baked potato and broccoli.  Delicious. 

So yes, it's touristy, and yes, it's a bit pricey, even for Manhattan.  But yes, the food is good, and yes, we will be back.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


More octogenarian problems.

My parents are not able to take care of themselves. My sisters are good caregivers, for the most part.

But there are some tasks that are just not in their wheelhouse.

But they often wait until the last minute ...

Which is why I found myself in our local post office at 10:00 last night, affixing time-stamped postage to an envelope addressed to the IRS.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

playing hooky part 1 - MoMA

So last week Drew asked me if I wanted to play hooky take  a vacation day and do the  tourist thing in the City.  Of course I said yes.

So off we went on the LIRR, headed to a glorious spring day in New York.

Well, a glorious day.  Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that it's springtime, it was so cold and raw that I actually had to wear gloves.

Our first destination was MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, located on 53rd between 6th and 5th.   Drew has a museum membership, but I had never been to MoMA.  How did I ever let that happen?

I must admit, I'm not very knowledgeable about art.  But  I know what I like.  My favorite painters are Van Gogh, Chagall, college, instead of posters,  I had unframed prints of some of their work adorning the walls of my dorm room.  A framed print of "Starry Night" currently hangs in my bedroom. 

We decided to start on the 5th floor and work our way down.  My favorite gallery is on the 5th floor, the artists I like most ae featured there.

My absolute favorite:  photo 20150408_135513.jpg

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There is an entire room devoted to Monet's "Water Lilies"
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Wyeth -- Christina's World
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I always thought that painting symbolized a tortured soul, one who wanted to leave but was afraid.

Jackson Polluck
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Music and art combine:
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And in the contemporary gallery, a mural I found provocative and disturbing:

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And, of course, my souvenir:
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And to close things out:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

eldercare update, again


The meeting about Marvin's future....

Drew and Marvin met with the facility's social worker, and the social worker from Adult Protective Services.  Shelley was invited, but didn't show up.  Drew was very surprised at that. 

Drew was very businesslike at the meeting, and the social workers were very happy to be dealing with a calm, rational adult. 

It became abundantly clear to everyone at the meeting that the best place for Marvin is in a skilled nursing facility. The decision wasn't finalized, however.  Marvin is competent to make his own decisions, and the social workers felt it was best to let him get used to the idea of permanent placement in a nursing home before finalizing any plans. 

Drew is now the contact person if anything happens to Marvin.  APS has been handling Marvin's finances for awhile, and they will continue to do so.  But the APS social worker handed Drew a check for $75, payable to Marvin and endorsed over to Drew, so that Drew can take care of some of Marvin's day-to-day needs. 

Marvin needs sneakers.  And the only clothes he has with him are the items  Drew retrieved from Shelley's house that first time we went to the nursing home a few weeks ago.  He needs more clothes, especially shirts he can wear in the spring and summer.  Drew isn't sure he'll be able to get any of Marvin's things from Shelley, so a shopping trip is in order.  Marvin's brother Les said he'd pay for anything Marvin needs.

As for Shelley...

Well, the APS social worker said "Shelley called my supervisor, asked to have me pulled from the case, and said she was going to 'sue APS'.  As you can see, I'm still here."

Shelley told a mutual friend that she didn't go to the meeting because  she didn't want to deal with "that horrible APS lady."

Meanwhile, she asked her friend, the one who works in a nursing home, for health care proxy forms.   Apparently she thinks that if Marvin designates her his health care proxy, she can take him out of the facility and bring him back to her house, regardless of what he wants or what's in his best interest.    she had the same misconceptions about Power of Attorney, that somehow  she was "in charge" of Marvin, and that she could do whatever she wanted, without being accountable for her actions.  That's why APS took over his finances.

Sigh.  Shelley thinks Drew is doing  all of this to spite her.  Drew really didn't want to be dealing with any of this.  He did this for his father, and hoped he wouldn't have to step in to d it for Marvin. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Candle in the Wind

Funny how music can bring you back to a time and place, how it can evoke strong memories, how it can tear at your emotions.

A song came on the radio the other day, one I had not heard in a long, long time.

In 1997, Elton John rewrote the lyrics of his classic hit, "Candle in the Wind", to honor the late Princess Diana, and he sang it at her funeral.  This version was later released as a single. 

The oldies stations tend to play the original, which was about Marilyn Monroe.  So I was caught off guard when, instead of the more familiar opening line,  "Goodbye Norma Jean", I heard Elton sing "Goodbye England's Rose..."

And I was transported back to 1997.  I remembered the news reports, the auto accident in Paris, the procession at the funeral, the two orphaned princes.  And the sadness I felt at Diana's passing welled up in me.  And I cried.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

ladies who lunch

I've found a few good places for salad or sandwiches.

Let's start with Firehouse Subs.  this chain is somewhat new to Long Island.  Kind of gimmicky for a storefront sub shop.  the decorations are all relate to  (of course) a fire house.

They serve a variety of hot and cold subs, with salads as an alternate choice.  There are numerous items under 500 calories if that is a concern.  The only "sides" are bagged chips, but there's a Freestyle Coke Machine.  I ordered the Hook and Ladder Light -- Hot smoked turkey breast, Virginia honey ham, Monterrey Jack, lettuce, tomato, onion, deli mustard and light mayo on a light wheat roll.  It was served with a kosher pickle spear.  The food was fresh and tasty, the sandwich very filling.

Firehouse Subs on Urbanspoon,

Next up, Panera Bread.  this has been one of my  "go-to" chains for awhile.  A variety of soups, salads and sandwiches, pastries, and even breakfast items.Eat-in or take-out.  Free wifi.  My favorites include broccoli cheddar soup, mac and cheese, Bacon Turkey Bravo sandwich.  

I've recently discovered the Asian Sesame Chicken Salad -- chicken, romaine lettuce, fresh cilantro,
sliced almonds, sesame seeds and crispy wonton strips in a sesame vinaigrette.  A half order with French bread was very filling -- you can also get chips or an apple as your side, but the bread is so soft and fresh and delicious.

Panera Bread on Urbanspoon,

And then, there's Gemini Deli.  Local deli, not a chain.  I've been ordering a lot of salads -- they have prepared salads as well as "build your own."  Nice variety of toppings for your salad, lots of choices for dressing.  A bit on the expensive side, but the food is fresh.  Parking lot is a bit crazy, but even during a busy lunch hour you don't have to wait long for your food.

Gemini Deli on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 11, 2015

National Pet Day

Me: Drew, did you know it's National Pet Day? Oops, I shouldn't have said that in front of Duchess, now she'll be expecting a celebration.

Drew: no she won't. She doesn't think of herself as a pet. She thinks she's mistress of this house.

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boys will be boys

Over the years we've had several cats, both male and female. At one time we had four cats in residence.  But not until Redford and Mr. Kitty came along did we have actual cat fights.

No, they're not really fighting, they're playing.  A moment ago thy were curled up together at the foot of the bed.

But Mr. Kitty is clearly the alpha male....

that's funny, actually.  Because when there was a female cat in the house, she was clearly the boss.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Product review: Dove Deep Moisture Bodywash

The sample came in the mail.

I've used Dove Bodywash before, and I wanted to try this variety.  The package  promises "softer and smoother skin after one shower."  That's a lot to promise a customer.

The product is thick and creamy, but nevertheless pours easily out of the bottle.  It lathers well, and felt soft on my skin.  Although not "fragrance free", there's no discernible odor.  It left my skin feeling clean, soft and well moisturized.

I didn't fall in love with this product, but I liked it.  I'm most likely to buy it again in the winter, when my skin gets very dry.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

and yet another eldercare update

The meeting at the rehab facility was supposed to be on Tuesday, but was postponed, and is now set for tomorrow. 

Shelley told a mutual friend that "Drew is trying to take Marvin away from me," as if we were talking about a puppy, or a toy, not an old man who needs to be taken care of.

Drew told Shelley that "Marvin is 88 and not in good health, you have to plan out what you're going to do if he can't come back to your house.  You also have to consider what  you're going to do when he dies."

Her response?  "I don't want to hear this, I don't want to think about this."

Well, at least she's consistent. 

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the summer of 1990.  At the time, my in-laws were living on Long Island, but were in the middle of a move to Florida.  They had been planning their Florida retirement for years.  They finally  moved to the Gulf Coast in November of 1990, just before Thanksgiving.  They had four years together in Florida, until my mother-in-law passed away in June 1994. 

Drew and I visited several times, we brought Jen and Becca to see their grandparents. 

But what about Shelley? 

Not once in four years.  Not once.  It was as if she decided, in her head, that if she couldn't see her mother's illness, it didn't really exist.

She finally came to Florida after her mother died.

It was so awkward when I, the daughter-in-law, had to show her, the daughter, where her mother kept the pots and pans, the dishes and silverware....

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mara's Homemade

Like Southern cooking?  Try Mara's Homemade.

We'd previously tried, and loved, Mara's Too , so we felt we should try the original. 

Located in a strip mall, the long, narrow space is dominated by the bar, and the seating area is a bit cramped. 

But the food?

Loved it. We started with fried pickles  --dill pickles dusted with seasoned cornmeal, fried crisp and served with a thick remoulade. 

For my entrée I selected something from the Arkansas BBQ menu -- food is dry rubbed and smoked, then served with two different barbecue sauces at the table.  I chose a combo of St. Louis ribs and chicken -- the ribs were "falling off the bone" tender, the chicken moist and juicy.  The sides I chose were sweet potato casserole (which was seasoned with bourbon and topped with a marshmallow) and red beans and rice.  The jalapeno cornbread has just enough kick to be tasty but not overwhelming. 

Overall a satisfying meal.  Too full for dessert, as always. 

Mara's Homemade on Urbanspoon

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