life in and around NYC is insane

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

eldercare update

I don't know how Drew's sister ever thought she was actually capable of taking care of Marvin anymore.

He was back in the hospital again, this time for a scheduled procedure.  He had to stay an extra day due to complications.  Now he's back at the nursing facility.  The facility is working on this Medicaid issue -- he was receiving one form of Medicaid, but needs a different program in order to be a permanent resident of a nursing facility.  Because yes, he is now officially a resident of the facility.

Drew and I aren't crazy about the facility, we think there are other nursing homes where he'd be happier.  So we're doing a little research, to determine if he can be transferred to a different facility.
So I came across the Facebook page of the facility where Marvin currently resides.    And there was a post from Drew's sister, moaning and groaning that the nurses had Marvin in a wheelchair and that he wasn't getting his physical therapy.  The post was from March.  You know, back when he was confined to his room because he had nothing to wear except a hospital gown, back when she refused to bring him clean clothes and Drew and I had to go to her house to get some of Marvin's things. 

What she wrote made me very angry.  I wanted to post a reply, but didn't see how that would accomplish anything.

Drew is planning to visit Marvin tomorrow.  He wanted to get a day pass for Marvin on Saturday, so that Marvin could come to the barbecue, but that doesn't seem feasible in light of Marvin's current condition.


Five months of NaBloPoMo.  Five months of blogging every single day. Every. Single. Day.

It's a good form of self discipline.  Of introspection.  Of making sure the creative juices continue to flow.

but it's also exhausting.  And it takes away spontaneity.

I've seen too many of my fellow bloggers break discipline, they skip blogging for awhile and then never get back into it.

That's never been my problem.

So the question of the day is:  should I sign up for July's NaBloPoMo?

Check back tomorrow and you'll see.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Historic times

I tend to keep my politics out of this blog. I don't know why, since I tend to wear my political heart on my sleeve, in real life and in many other Internet forums.

But I could not let this month come to a close without discussing the two stories that have dominated our news. Two stories of love and hate, of our bitter past and our bright future, of flags and symbols ...

The first was the horrific shooting in the Mother Emmanuel Church. When I heard the story, I could not help but wonder if we had stepped back in time to 1965 - a white supremacist killing 9 African Americans in a church. It shocked me, it horrified me.

And yet, the grace of the families of the victims, the strength of that community in the face of such tragedy, is something to be admired.

And then, out of such sadness...we are looking, really looking, at race relations in this country. Ferguson, Baltimore and now Charleston have made us aware that even with an African-American POTUS, we do not live in a post-racist society. We can do better. We must do better.

But at least the flag of the Confederacy is coming down. Yes, I know, for some people, that flag is merely a symbol of Southern pride. But for far too many, it symbolizes racial hatred and oppression. As the president said, it belongs in a museum, not flying over the South Carolina Statehouse.

But rainbow flags abound. My Facebook feed is dripping with happy rainbows.

This weekend we observed the anniversary of Stonewall. On 6/28/1969, the police raided the Stonewall Inn merely because it was a "gay bar". In 1969, homosexuality was considered a psychiatric disorder and homosexual acts were classified as crimes. But as of 6/26/2015, marriage equality is the law of the land. #LoveWins

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 28, 1987

I've been lately thinking
About my life's time
All the things I've done
And how its been
And I can't help believing
In my own mind
I know I'm gonna hate to see it end
  -- John Denver

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all
  --  Lennon-McCartney

We dated, we broke up.  We tried it again, we broke up.  Third time around, we got married.  Had two children.  Got divorced.  Dated other people.  Got back together.

28 years ago today, Drew and I got married.  The anniversary always puts me in a contemplative mood.  The choices I've made over the course of my life.  How things might have turned out if I'd made other decisions.

Last week Jen asked me some very probing questions about the divorce.  She was just shy of her 4th birthday when we split up, she has very little memory, if any, of that time.

You cannot go back and change the past (except in science fiction, of course).  The decisions you made yesterday shape who you are, who you have become, and how you approach your future.  I read a lot of science fiction, so I can't help but wonder what, if given the chance, I would change about my past, and what effect it would have on the present and on my future.

The reality is, I cannot go back, I cannot undo what has been done.  I own every decision I made, for good or for bad. 

Learn. Grow.  Shape the future.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bonwit Inn

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We seem to find ourselves at the Bonwit Inn once a year, on Father's Day.  Probably not the best day to evaluate their weekly Sunday brunch, but nevertheless....

It's an all-you-can-eat buffet brunch.     The salad selections, the omelet station and the carving station are in the large dining room, the breads and desserts are in an area just off the lobby, and the serve-yourself hot dishes are in the passageway that connects the dining room to the lobby.  (There is a second  dining room on the other side of the lobby, but I do not know if any food is laid out in that room, we've never been seated there.)

for the most part, the food is laid out attractively.  Although the desserts are fine by the lobby, I think the bread items should be closer to the salad bar.  And the area here the serve-yourself items was located tends to be very crowded -- our table was located in this area, and at times it was difficult to maneuver back to our table.

The reason we keep coming back here for brunch, of course, is the food.  The salad bar contained fresh fruit, several prepared salads, cheese, peel and eat shrimp, and two different salmon dishes.  Breakfast items included omelets, waffles scrambled eggs ,eggs benedict,  bacon, sausage and potatoes.  Lunch items included chicken francaise, eggplant rollatini and calamari, penne a la vodka.   Desserts included cookies, pastries and crème brulee. 

Trays were kept full and at the proper temperature.  Service was friendly and efficient.   We loved the complimentary mimosas.

It's a very nice brunch, lots of choices, and everything tasted good.  It's why we keep coming back.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday ...

Why is it that the weekend seems to take forever to arrive?  Especially in the summer, when the weather is nice?

This is the time of year when I check WeatherBug and frequently, to see if the nice weather will hold for the weekend.

And now, with my slavery to the Fitbit  newfound love of walking, the weather is becoming even more important.  I'm not crazy enough to insist on walking in the rain.    I've got DVD's with walking workouts you can do at home, and I've found a few similar workouts on YouTube.  But I'd really prefer to be outside, in the sun.

There's a long walk in my future today, weather permitting.  And if Drew remembered to buy propane, dinner will be cooked on the grill. 

Such simple pleasures.  But oh so important.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Chipotle Mexican Grill

I used to think this place was the be-all and end-all of Mexican fast food, then I had a disappointing experience at the Chipotle in the Financial District. But I had some time to kill while getting my car serviced, so I decided to give this location a try.

Chipotle is assembly-line dining. When you get to the counter you choose a taco, a burrito, a bowl, and then you move along the line as meat, beans and toppings are added to your dish. You can get a side of chips with salsa or guacamole. Standard self-serve Coke machine, but an interesting variety of bottled drinks.

The restaurant is small and crowded, but this time of year they offer a few tables outside.

The restaurant was clean, service was efficient. Food was fresh and tasty. I'd be happy to eat here again.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

San Andreas

Our local AMC theater offers a civilized moviegoing experience. Individual recliners and assigned seating, and aisles wide enough so that you don't have to stand up to let someone walk past your seat. Unless we want to see a movie in IMAX, we choose to see movies in this theater.

San Andreas is a disaster movie, an excuse to blow things up and knock things down. The plot centers on Ray (a search and rescue pilot for Los Angeles County), his soon to be ex wife Emma, and their daughter Blake. Ray is supposed to drive Blake back to college, but has to cancel when he's called in to work as a result of an earthquake in Nevada -- we get to see the Hoover Dam fall apart. Emma's boyfriend Daniel offers to bring Blake back to school after a stopover in his San Francisco office. Blake is in San Francisco and her parents are in Los Angeles when the big one hits. The parents head for San Francisco, determined to rescue their daughter. There is also an interesting subplot involving a CalTech seismologist.

The family drama is interesting, but the special effects are the star of the show. Buildings crumble, people scream and run, debris goes flying. Typical disaster movie, check your brain at the door. But very enjoyable.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

you never stop being a mom ...

Sigh.  It's hard to deal with the fact that my "babies" are grown up young women.

My latest worries:

Becca just got a  double whammy. 

Remember her former friend, the girl who was supposed to be her roommate but backed out of the arrangement the day they were supposed to sign the lease?  Former friend found another victim roommate, and they're moving into an apartment.  Move-in day is (get this) Becca's birthday.  Meanwhile, although Becca finally found another roommate, she's still looking for a suitable apartment.  It's frustrating.

And she broke up with the guy she's been dating for about six months.  She tells me it's "no big deal", but I know better.  Still, it's not as traumatic as last summer's breakup with the guy she'd been dating since high school.

At least things are going well for her at work.  Her supervisor loves her.  And she gets to take it easy these days, she delegates to the summer interns -- though she did ask my advice on how to handle an issue with said interns.  (A rare moment when I opened my mouth and my father popped out...)

Jen will NOT be working at a camp this summer.  She got an offer to work in the summer school program.  Summer school is easier than working at the camp.  And pay scale -- she'll earn the same amount in six weeks of summer school as she would have earned over eight weeks of camp.  Easy decision.

But the long term decisions are more difficult.  Overall she isn't happy with the earning power of a teaching assistant/paraprofessional.  I'm also tired of hearing her complain that she's always broke, and that she'll "never" be able to afford to move out of my parents' house. I'm glad that  she's  revisiting her options.  She won't ask my opinion, of course, I'm only her mother, but at least she's giving it some thought.

That her boyfriend is tending bar on Fire Island every weekend is really putting a crimp in Jen's social life.  But the relationship seems to be on solid footing.
Still, she's making jokes about Mr. Kitty being her "boyfriend", and even joked about a recent snapshot being her "engagement photo".


Monday, June 22, 2015

Product review --Starkist Tuna Salad

Tuna salad is easy to make.  But if you're in a hurry, or you need something that's easily portable, a single serve packet of ready-to-eat tuna salad  has some allure.

It's just the kind of thing I can keep at my desk, in case I can't get out at lunchtime.

I tried two varieties, the basic Tuna Salad and Mediterranean Style Tuna.

Starkist's basic version is composed of light tuna, pickle relish and a soy-oil based dressing.  The packet contains a three ounce portion, just enough for one sandwich -- if your sandwich also includes lettuce and tomato.  Alone, the salad seems a bit skimpy. Bumblebee packages a similar sized portion of tuna salad as a "snack".

 I prefer fancy white albacore tuna. It just tastes better than light tuna. But the tuna tasted fresh -- Bumblebees' version comes in a can and sometimes has a metallic aftertaste.  I liked the basic tuna salad, and will likely buy it again.

But I'm not likely to buy the Mediterranean Style Tuna again.  the ingredients include light tuna and sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, but I couldn't taste the tomatoes.  There's nothing to bind it together, and there was far too much oil involved -- it made a very messy sandwich, and I wound up eating the tuna with a fork.  Perhaps this product should be marketed as a salad topper, not a sandwich filling. 


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

I shall spend part of the day with the father of my children, and part of the day with my father.

Spending time with my father is bittersweet.  I cannot help but remember the man he used to be, before age and illness overtook him.  The last three years have been especially rough on him.

The man I want to remember today is the man who wanted to be a writer but became an English teacher instead.  The man who instilled a loved of literature in me.  The man who loved Shakespeare and Broadway musicals and everything live theater had to offer.  Who would ask me to download the synopsis of an opera before he'd go to see it.  Who delighted in seeing the Rockettes dancing on TV.

The man who loved cooking shows and who, upon his retirement, bought a wok and signed up for a class on Chinese cooking. Who made clipping coupons and supermarket shopping a game.  Who played pinochle with his friends at the JCC. 

The man who yearned to travel, and who finally got his chance to travel through parts of Europe as well as Israel.

The man who joked about wanting a son while taking so much delight in his four daughters.  And who teased me about producing granddaughters instead of grandsons -- but thought of his granddaughters as the light of his life.

the man who, during some of the worst times of my life, was there to make me feel like everything will be all right.

My sisters have, of necessity, become practical nurses, and my father is well taken care of.  But his world has become so small.    This is not what he wanted for himself.

I'm remembering what happened 20 years ago.  My maternal grandmother Dora -- I've written a lot about her in this blog -- as in her 90's when she died.  She had been suffering from dementia for several years. I remember that her younger sister  Shirley came up from Maryland -- not sure whether that was for  the funeral or the unveiling a few months later.  Shirley and Dora were like two peas in a pod, and listening to Shirley talk made me realize that I'd really lost my grandmother long before her physical death. 

I'm starting to feel the same way about my father.  All the things he was are slipping away...

I will spend the time with my father.  We will dine, we will celebrate, we will hold onto this moment.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Songbird Salutes the 70's: Jaws

Well, this is not a boat accident! And it wasn't any propeller; and it wasn't any coral reef; and it wasn't Jack the Ripper! It was a shark.

I just found out, that a girl got killed here last week, and you knew it! You knew there was a shark out there! You knew it was dangerous! But you let people go swimming anyway? You knew all those things! But still my boy is dead now. And there's nothing you can do about it. My boy is dead. I wanted you to know that.

Larry, the summer is over. You're the mayor of "shark city". These people think you want the beaches open.

 I'm not going to waste my time arguing with a man who's lining up to be a hot lunch.

Martin, it's all psychological. You yell barracuda, everybody says, "Huh? What?" You yell shark, we've got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.

Mr. Vaughn, what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It's really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim and eat and make little sharks, and that's all.

Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain. For we've received orders for to sail back to Boston. And so never more shall we see you again.

The movie Jaws was released 40 years ago today, thus beginning the tradition of the summer blockbuster. It spawned three sequels, numerous parodies, and even a theme park ride.  The music from the movie is so familiar...everyone knows what to expect when they hear those opening notes.  It's such a part of our pop culture that it was a joke in Back To The Future II -- remember the marquee advertising Jaws 19?  Or the scene in Airplane! where the plane's fin breaks through the clouds to that familiar music?

I was 15 when the movie came out.  I'd read the Peter Benchley novel and was ready for a good scare.  And I was not disappointed.

One summer, I think it was a couple of years after the initial movie came out, my sister Andrea tortured my sister Felice .  Andrea told Felice that a shark lived in our swimming pool, under the liner.  Felice refused to put so much as a toe in the water for days.

When Drew and I visited Orlando in 2011, we had to go to Universal, and we had to ride Jaws.  It was campy, it was fun, not the least bit's gone now, cleared away for an expanded Harry Potter exhibit.  Maybe that's for the best -- the news is full of serious shark attacks this summer, an all too real horror story.

The best moment of the movie:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Take me out to the ballgame

So...Atlantic League baseball.

Professional baseball, but separate and apart from Major League Baseball and its affiliates.  Eight teams, including our own Long Island Ducks. Whereas a trip to Citi Field or Yankee Stadium is a major expense, a night at Bethpage Ballpark (which is NOT in Bethpage, by the way -- the naming rights to the Central Islip ballpark belong to Bethpage Federal Credit Union) costs roughly the same as going to the movies.  Which is one of the reasons you see a lot of families at the ballpark.  (The other, of course, is that the Ducks invite scores of school groups, scout troops, etc. to sing the national anthem or carry the flags onto the field.)

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that Drew and I have been Ducks fans for a few years now, we really enjoy the games.  We've been to regular season games and playoff games, in good weather and in bad.  We usually buy tickets along the first base line, or the third base line, a row or two behind the dugout.  But sometimes we use the tickets we get from Drew's friend Joe -- behind home plate, but so high up that they're under the upper tier of the ballpark, a great place to sit if there's a rain delay.

And that this year, our plan is to see the Ducks play at least one game against each of the other teams in the league.

The odyssey began last night, with the Ducks taking on the Sugarland Skeeters.    The plan was for me to drive to Central Islip right after work, and to meet Drew at the ballpark. So when I left the house yesterday morning, I packed my Ducks t-shirt, Ducks baseball cap and (because the forecast called for showers or light rain) the rain poncho I bought in Disneyworld a few years back.

It was Stony Brook Children's Hospital night, which meant hospital-related giveaways -- a small backpack, sunscreen, pens, awater bottle, measuring cup, first aid kit ...  The hospital is linked to Stony Brook University, so the university mascot, Wolfie, came to the park to hang out with Quackerjack, the Ducks' mascot.

The Ducks have a great marketing tool.  Invite as many children as possible to participate in pre game ceremonies, and their parents will buy tickets to the game.  An elementary school chorus sang, a Cub Scout pack carried the flags, and a boys' baseball team was also invited to be on the field.

The ballpark is very small.  The sponsors are mainly local businesses-- I saw a billboard promoting the company that hauls my garbage ...

I had a hot dog, Drew had a burger, and then it was time for the game.  They play a very aggressive game, lots of running, stolen bases, players getting caught in a rundown.  The Ducks won on a two-run homer.

Lots of silly games and prize giveaways between innings.  And no, it didn't rain, thank goodness.

The worst part of the evening -- all the kids want to buy "quackers", a kazoo-like device that quacks like a duck when you blow into it.  So annoying.

All in all, a good evening.

Some photos from the evening:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

eldercare -- update to the update

Just got some interesting information.

Not usre if this is true, but we need to find out.

We've been told Marvin does have Medicaid, but that he's required to fill out renewal forms to show he remains eligible.

That's a lot easier than enrolling, you just have to show that nothing has changed sinc ethe last time you filled out the paperwork.

Not so grim after all.

Eldercare update

Marvin gave us quite a scare last week, when he took a fall in the bathroom.  The nurses sent him over to the hospital as a precaution, but he wasn't admitted, and now he's back at the nursing home.

For the moment.

I'm not sure what's going to happen.

Back in March, when Drew first got involved, the issue was "what does Marvin want to do?"  Right after surgery, Marvin told the staff at the hospital that he didn't want to see Shelley and that he didn't want to go back to Shelley's house.    By the time he got to rehab, he was vacillating. 

Drew felt Marvin would be better off as a permanent resident of a nursing facility, and had extensive discussions with the social worker about how to make that happen.  Later, there was talk of Marvin going back to Shelley's house, but with a home health care aide.  The aide would assist him during the day, and he'd have to rely on Shelley at night.

In light of recent events, we don't think its feasible for Marvin to live with Shelley, even with an aide. 

But there's the problem:

One of the quirks of Medicare is the limitation it places on rehabilitative care.  If you're sent to a nursing home for rehab, your coverage runs out 90 days after you are admitted to the facility.  Today is day 90 for Marvin.

Marvin's income is limited to his Social Security check, and he has no assets.  Drew had assumed that Marvin was receiving Medicaid benefits, but recently found out that Marvin isn't enrolled in Medicaid. 

That's a huge problem, as Drew found out when he brought his father up to New York, and wound up paying for his father's nursing home care for 5 months until the Medicaid kicked in. 

Marvin's finances are a disaster.  Marvin gave Shelley a power of attorney, and she handled everything for him, but never kept a receipt.  She also put a lot of her own money into Marvin's bank account to hide it from her creditors.  Last year, Adult Protective Services took over Marvin's account because they saw Shelley making a lot of withdrawals from the account, and thought she might be stealing from him.  She cannot prove that the money is hers, so ...he's going to have to do a "spend down", i.e.., that money will either be used to pay for his care or to prepay his funeral.

Getting Marvin enrolled in Medicaid is going to be a nightmare.

But that's nothing compared to the nightmare of dealing with Shelley when she finds out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Yummy China Buffet

I had heard that this was an excellent buffet. So when we got a flyer with coupons, we had to try it.

A storefront located on busy Merrick Avenue, the restaurant has ample parking in a lot behind the building. The restaurant is relatively small for an all-you-can-eat buffet, but at 8:00 on a Friday night there were only a few customers, and no wait to be seated.

I usually start with sushi. There wasn't much of a selection laid out, but the chef offered to make up any roll on the menu. Drew likes hibachi, and found that the combination prepared for him was tasty.

As for the rest -- there are only two small buffet servers, not a lot of selection, and very few vegetables. The food is not kept as hot as I would have liked. I enjoyed the chicken in garlic sauce, the coconut shrimp and the boneless ribs. I didn't see any beef dishes, which was disappointing. Fried rice was decent but not fantastic.

 Drew said the crawfish needed seasoning. The only condiments at our table were sugar and sugar substitute. Some, but not all, of the tables had hot sauce. Soy sauce, salt, pepper, etc. could be found on the buffet servers -- very inconvenient, if you decide to add salt to your food after you've tasted it.

Overall, it wasn't a bad experience. But given the multitude of Asian buffet restaurants in the area, I doubt we will go back to this one.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jurassic World

Big summer blockbuster?  We're there.  Tickets purchased days in advance.  Arrive an hour or more before show time, obtain 3D glasses, get on line at the Imax theater so we can choose our seats. Obtain popcorn, drinks.  And then movie magic begins.

Our choice this weekend was obvious:  Jurassic World.

I saw the original Jurassic Park, but never saw  The Lost World or Jurassic Park III.  No matter, you can enjoy the current film without having seen any of the prior movies, though there are numerous references to the first film.

The plot of the film is simple:  22 years after the events in Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar is now a fully functional dinosaur theme park and resort.  Brothers Zach and Gray Mitchell are sent there to visit their aunt, Claire Dearing, the park's operations manager.  InGen's geneticists have created a new genetically modified dinosaur called Indominus rex , which Claire and the rest of the park's management are promoting as a way to increase declining attendance at the park. The new dinosaur escapes, and ...well, you can probably guess the rest. 

The cast features Chris Pratt (who I loved in Guardians of the Galaxy) as the dinosaur trainer Owen, Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson as the cute kids, Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron's daughter, and she looks like him) as Claire, Vincent D'Onofrio (another of my favorites) as Hoskins, and B. D. Wong as Dr. Wu.  Great cast.  I loved Jimmy Fallon's cameo, too. 

Drew calls this  a "popcorn movie", where you check your brain at the door. While the film is primarily an action/adventure story, there are nods to scientific ethics, corporate sponsorship and corporate greed.    See how many products and businesses you can spot during the movie -- I saw Coke, Pandora, and Ben & Jerry's, to name a few.

And Parrotheads, take note:  There is a Margaritaville on Isla Nublar.  Jimmy Buffett wrote a song for this movie, "The Ever Elusive Future".  And yes, Buffett has a cameo -- though it's not as obvious as Fallon's, but if you pay attention, you'll see him.

A fun movie with great special effects, and the Imax 3D really enhances the experience.  Definitely worth seeing.

Monday, June 15, 2015


Back in April, the NaBloPoMo theme was "grow".

My April 1st  post outlined some ways in which I wanted to grow.

I talked about several things.  Walking?  Good follow-through on that.  But then again, I am a slave to my Fitbit.

Yoga?  Tried to do it once.  My problem was with the floor exercises.  It was fairly easy to get down onto the floor, not so easy to get back up again. .I have to work on my flexibility.

Meditation?  Tried it a few times, liked it, but haven't done it in awhile.  I'm going to start again.

That book on Kabbalah?  Still haven't finished it.

In fact, I've noticed that I don't spend a lot of time reading for pleasure anymore.  I'm spending far too much time chatting on Facebook, playing video games and watching TV.  I was always a reader, I love literature, I minored in English.

So, instead of reading on the iPad, where there are so many other distractions, I'm going to charge up my first-generation nook, and get back into the habit.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

horror at the beach

Back to Sunken Meadow earlier this week.

 Got to see some interesting wildlife.

But there was  something else at the beach that night,  Something that haunted my nightmares.

I will spare you the image.  But it was horrible.  Truly horrible.

It was ...dare I say it?  It was  a gypsy moth caterpillar.

You might wonder what horrors are associated with a little black caterpillar.

One of those furry black things is...controllable.  When he brings along a million of his nearest and dearest, however....

In the early 1980's Long Island was overrun by gypsy moth caterpillars.  For several weeks each spring, the trees were heavy with caterpillars.  Those hungry little critters could strip a tree bare.

And they didn't just crawl through trees.  The infestation spread to patios and decks and all sorts of outdoor structures.  Our white garage doors were so full of caterpillars that they appeared black.

Really, from the time the larvae hatched until the caterpillars cocooned, it was almost impossible to use our yard.  We had to keep the dog and cat in the house.    I wouldn't venture out without a hat.

And lucky me, I had a sensitivity to their droppings.  Gave me a rash.

But thanks to those horrid little caterpillars, I had my 15 minutes of fame.  The local cable news station, then in its infancy, came to my neighborhood and interviewed a few of us about the horrors of the gypsy moth caterpillar infestation.  Yes, I was on TV, talking about those horrid creepy crawlers....

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Another this and that

I'm really hating the pollen count/allergy season stuff lately.  I've been taking Claritin, but I'm still getting symptoms.  Not really pleasant.  As yes, I've been known to whine about it.

Marvin went back to the nursing home.  Considering what we heard at the hospital last week, I wasn't sure that was ever going to happen.  Then he gave us a real scare yesterday, took a fall in the bathroom, and was sent back to the hospital for a CAT scan. He's back at the nursing home, but it's clear he cannot manage on his own.  The argument between Drew and Shelley may be moot, I'm not sure Marvin will ever be well enough to leave the nursing facility, even with a home health care aide.  Shelley, of course, is totally unprepared to hear this  or to deal with it.

Becca is back to looking at apartments, this time with a different roommate.  So far they haven't found anything they like.    I hope they find something suitable very soon. I've been driving her to the train  a lot lately, the commuter lots are very full and she can't find a decent place to park.

The school year is winding down.  Jen has a camp job lined up for the summer, she's already had to go to the camp for orientation.  She'll be working the rock climbing wall and the zip line, as she did in the other camp last summer.  This camp pays better and is closer to home.

Drew, on the other hand, has no interest in a summer job.  He has too much personal stuff going on. 

I've been spending a lot of time walking.  Sunken Meadow is becoming one of my favorite places.  But it's so very different "in season".  Even on a weeknight after 5:00.  You'll see a lot of blankets spread out on the sand, especially near the lifeguard stations.  And a lot of people bringing beach chairs to sit on the boardwalk.  The main snack bar has a "seafood feast" dinner every Wednesday night , which includes live entertainment --a small rock band, standing on the boardwalk and playing for the crowd.  It's much quieter, though,  at either end of the boardwalk, away from the crowds.

I signed up for both breast cancer walks.  I'll walk at Dowling, I'll work the tent at Jones Beach. 

We're planning to see Jurassic World tonight. In IMAX 3D, of course, which means getting to the theater very early and camping out on line to get good seats.  I'm really starting to appreciate the other multiplex, the one with the fully reclining seats, with assigned seat numbers.

Looking forward to our first Long Island Ducks game of the season on Thursday. This year we plan to see at least 7 games.  There are 8 teams in the Atlantic League, including the Ducks, and we plan to see the Ducks play every other team in the league.  Thursday's game is against the Sugarland Skeeters.

Yes, summer is getting off to a great start.

Friday, June 12, 2015


I've always had a passion for history.  It was my undergraduate major, I spent my college years exploring past civilizations. 

The famous quote comes to mind:

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" -- George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy),  philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist.

So today, because I was bored, I compiled a short list of historic events which occurred on June 12 (courtesy of

1665- New Amsterdam legally becomes British and renamed New York after English Duke of York

1859 - Comstock Silver Lode in Nevada discovered

1909 - "Shine On, Harvest Moon" by Ada Jones & Billy Murray hits #1

1920 - 52nd Belmont: Clarence Kummer aboard Man o' War wins in 2:14.2

1923 - Harry Houdini frees himself from a straight jacket while suspended upside down, 40 feet (12 m) above ground in NYC

1942 - Anne Frank gets her diary as a birthday present (Amsterdam)

1954 - Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" is originally released

1965 - Sonny & Cher make their 1st TV appearance in "American Bandstand"

1967 - Israel wins 6 day war

1978 - David Berkowitz sentenced in NY Supreme Court to 25 years to life

1981 - "Raiders Of The Lost Ark", the 1st  Indiana Jones film directed by Stephen Spielberg, produced by George Lucas and starring Harrison Ford premieres

2010 - "Toy Story 3", directed by Lee Unkrich, starring Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, premieres at the Taormina Film Fest in Italy - 1st animated film to earn 1 billion

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Product review -- Kellogg's Raisn Bran with Cranberries

I will start by saying how excited I was to see this product in the supermarket. I love raisins, I love cranberries, and this seemed like a wonderful idea. It's been a long time since I bought a box of raisin bran, so I thought I would give it a try.

I am  very disappointed with this product.

Remember the old jingle "Two scoops of raisins in a package of Kellogg's Raisin Bran"? It still says so on the box--- but I don't believe them.

Who knows?  Maybe the fruit all sank to the bottom of the box.  What I've eaten these last two days has been a lot of bran flakes with the occasional raisin or cranberry to break up the monotony.

the bran flakes are tasty -- I stir them into my container of Greek yogurt -- but I bought the product for the fruit.  And I'm not really seeing any fruit here.

Bottom line:  I'll buy a different cereal and add my own fruit.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Eisenhower Park, part 3

And then I discovered a "hidden gem".  Tudor-style buildings, now used as parks department offices.    I suspect these buildings date back to the Salisbury Country Club days.  And a rose maintained in honor of  Long Island Transplant Recipients International Organization’s (LITRIO).  So pretty, you can imagine yourself in the English Countryside

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And one final word about Eisenhower Park. You may be thinking: what about Eisenhower? they named the park after him, why isn't there a statue in his honor?

Well, actually, there is.

He stands at the main entrance to the park, facing Hempstead Turnpike.  Beautiful statue, but the area is totally inaccessible to pedestrians.  I was able to get a few photos from my car, as I was leaving the park, while waiting for the light to change:

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Eisenhower Park, part 2


Across the lake from the war memorial is the 9/11 Memorial.  Nassau County, being a suburb of NYC, was hit hard by the events of 9/11.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Eisenhower Park

In light of my newfound love of long walks, I am now looking for interesting places to explore.

Which led me to Eisenhower Park.

If Jones Beach is the jewel of Long Island's state parks, Eisenhower Park is the jewel of Nassau County's park system.  It's a huge park, larger than NYC's Central Park, with a golf course, ball fields, picnic areas, tennis courts, playgrounds, an aquatics center...huge park, designed for all sorts of recreation.

I remember when the place used to be called Salisbury Park.  It was renamed in memory of President Eisenhower in 1969.  But what I did not know until recently was that the park was originally part of the Salisbury Country Club, quite famous back in the 1920's, but that the land became county property when the club couldn't pay taxes  during the Great Depression.

We drive through the park frequently to avoid traffic, but the last time I used any of the park's facilities had to have been in 1981.  We went to a concert at the Lakeside Theater.  Or rather, it was our intent to see a concert that night.  The concert was was the night Harry Chapin died.

So my first foray into the park took me past playgrounds and tennis courts.  Nothing terribly exciting, I suppose.  But the second time I walked in the park, I decided to explore the area by the lake.  I knew I'd see the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater.  But what I found at the lake was so much more.

Here's the theater:

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While walking towards the lake, I saw a sign that said "war memorial", and I just had to follow. Turns out that the area surrounding the war memorial is a place for the county to memorialize almost any good cause.

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This one is close to my heart:
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The veterans' memorial:
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Of special interest to me, the Jewish veterans' memorial
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The memorial:
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To be continued....

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