life in and around NYC is insane

Monday, August 31, 2015

And so it goes...

Another month gone, and summer coming to a close.  Labor Day is just a week away.  One more baseball game, one more barbecue, and then we move towards autumn.

Notice I didn't say into autumn.  September is sort of a transitional month, isn't it?  At  least around here.  Summer is over, but it's still warm and sunny.  The weather doesn't really change until October, it's just our social calendars that have moved into the next phase.

I'm not quite ready for fall.  I still want to hold on to summer.  I guess September gives me a chance to hold on to a piece of summer for just awhile longer.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Monkees redux

I may need to correct something I said in yesterday's blog. I really don't remember it, but Drew says he and I saw The Monkees at Jones Beach in 1986. That was the 20th anniversary tour, and all four members of the band performed.

I do remember seeing Davy, Mickey and Peter. And then, later, seeing Mickey, Peter and Mike. I don't remember the Jones Beach show.

Last night, of course, was just Mickey and Peter.

The first half of the show was all about The Monkees, they sang hits while video of the old TV show played. One of the best clips from the show -- Mike pretending to be an inept folk singer, totally wrecking "A Different Drum", a song made popular by Linda Ronstadt. Inside joke -- Mike wrote that song.

But the second half ...showed off their talents in a different way. Alternate arrangements of Monkees songs. An interesting, jazzy version of "Sugar, Sugar", a song which they turned down before it was recorded by The Archies. A folk song performed with backup singer Coco Dolenz (Mickey's sister) --the three had performed as a folk trio (Dolenz, Dolenz and Tork) in the 70's.

Of course there was the audience sing-along of "Daydream Believer", a memorial to Davy Jones. One audience member performed Davy's entire dance sequence in the aisle. And they finished with "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and "I'm A Believer".

The Monkees often get dismissed as a "made for TV" band. As Mickey reminded us last night, all they provided to the first two albums was the vocals -- the music was all written for them, and performed by studio musicians. But they fought for the right to create their own music (all four wrote songs for the band), and what they created...well, the music lasts the test of time. Overall, a fun evening.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hey, Hey We're the Monkees -- or are we?

It was 1966, and a new sitcom was on TV.  It was about four young men, musicians in a struggling rock band.  Slapstick comedy mixed with groovy clothes and, most importantly, the music.  The four young men in this TV-created band were supposed to be an American response to the Beatles.  And did I mention that one of them even had a British accent?

Everyone knew Mickey Dolenz, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork.

The shows were fun, the music stands the test of time; after all, some of the best songwriters of the day wrote  Monkees hits -- Boyce and Hart, Carol King, Neil Diamond all contributed material.  Tork wrote for the band, and  Nesmith turned out to be a prolific songwriter as well.

The Monkees exceeded their TV origins to become one of the most popular bands of the era.  The band broke up in 1971, but the band revived when MTV ran a marathon of the shows in 1986.   The format of the TV shows ultimately led to the creation of the music video, after all.

Dolenz, Jones and Tork toured together frequently in the 1990's and 2000's, with Nesmith joining the others on rare occasions.

Drew and I saw the Monkees in concert several times, but never with all four  performers.  Mickey, Peter and Davy would talk about Mike, of course, but he was off pursuing other interests and was not performing with the band.  Still, we loved to see the concerts. 

And then came that day, 3 1/2 years ago, when I heard the terrible news that Davy Jones had died.

And then came the next tour, with Mickey, Peter and Mike.  Yes, Mike.  So exciting.  We saw them at the Beacon Theater.  Very different show, with much more emphasis on the songs Mike wrote and/or performed, songs I hadn't heard in awhile. It was almost like watching a different band.  Of course, they acknowledged Davy Jones -- even had a sing-along with the audience for "Daydream Believer".

We're going to a concert tonight, were seeing "The Monkees".  But it's only Mickey and Peter.  I'm not sure what they'll do, what they'll sing.  I'm sure it will be a fun evening, but...I'm not sure they can really call themselves "The Monkees".  Maybe "the Half Monkees"?

Friday, August 28, 2015

three bean salad

Think I found what I want to make for next week's barbecue.


1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 ounce) can green beans, drained and rinsed

4 green onions, chopped

1 stalk celery, sliced

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August in NYC

In Manhattan today. Can't imagine why this song comes to mind.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

shocking story on the news - on-air shooting

So...a moral/ethical dilemma for debate.

This morning I watched two truly shocking, horrible, frightening videos.

 You've probably seen the news reports of the two journalists shot and killed on the air in Virginia this morning. The reporter is in the middle of an interview about tourism in the area when shots ring out. You hear screams, and after the camera falls to the ground, you see a brief glimpse of the shooter. Then the video cuts to the studio, where the anchor has a shocked look on her face.

You may or may not have seen the second video. The shooter posted it to his social media accounts, and although his accounts have been shut down, the video continues to circulate in various forums. It has not, to my knowledge, been shown by any news agency. He shot the video as he stalked the two victims, you can see the gun, you can see the reporter being shot. It's chilling.

So the question for debate. Should either of these videos be broadcast on the news? Should either be suppressed? Why or why not?

And then ...

So my father spent four days in the hospital. Not fun.

And then, when I came home the other night, my daughter told me that my mother was in the ER.

There's a single step leading from the driveway to the front porch. She lost her balance while trying to step up to the porch, and took a bad fall. Landed on her left arm. Hurt herself so badly that she's wearing a lot of bandages and a sling.

At least the ER doctor didn't feel the need to admit her.

The "joys" of octogenarian parents.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

eldercare update: ceasefire

After much arguing and exchange of emails, it looks like  the family feud is moving into the ceasefire/truce stage. 

Shelley apparently found someone to help her pack up Marvin's possessions, and she will be bringing everything to Drew's house later in the week.

Drew said to me, "But what if there's stuff she doesn't pack and bring?" And I said, "Let it go, just take whatever she brings and don't worry about what may be missing."

I don't think Marvin bought himself anything new to wear in years.  Drew plans to go through the clothes to see what should be thrown out (the winter coat, for example, needs to be replaced).  He'll take the rest to the laundromat and have them wash, dry and fold it. And then he'll buy some new things for Marvin.

It occurred to Drew that Marvin's car is still parked on Shelley's driveway.  Marvin stopped driving a few years ago.  The car is well over ten years old and needs an expensive repair to be drivable.  Not worth the cost to fix it.  For now, the car will remain where it is.  At some point, if Shelley needs to have it moved, Drew will donate it to KarsforKids or some similar organization.

So now,all that's left to do is to wait for Marvin's Medicaid status to change and relocate him to a nursing facility that will better suit his needs.

Monday, August 24, 2015

NaBloPoMo prompt: Tell us one thing you remember learning in school as a kid

Or, in my case, NOT learning it in school.

In that pre-digital world, the only way to tell time was by reading the hands on a clock.   So the lessons in how to tell time were very, very important.  I think I must have been in first grade when the skill was taught.  We spent a good deal of time meticulously tracing a circle, placing numbers on the clock face, then drawing in the hands to show the hours and minutes. 

Problem was, I already knew how to tell time, and the endless repetition of the lessons became very boring.  I rushed through the exercise, hastily drawing my circles freehand (and I'm no artist), quickly numbering the clock face, drawing in the hands...each drawing accurately depicted the correct time -- 12:00, 3:15, 5:20, whatever -- but the work was very, very sloppy.

So sloppy, in fact, that the teacher thought I had some sort of visual impairment, that I wasn't able to see what I was doing.  She told my mother to have my eyesight checked!

My mother, of course, figured out what was really going on.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Holding on to summer

So Drew and I went to the movies Friday night. Nothing spectacular, we saw "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.", which was merely OK. But when we walked into the mall, I couldn't help but notice the Halloween store. It's not open yet, but they are setting everything up and will open very soon.

We were in Poughkeepsie yesterday, visiting friends. When we left their house last night, the air was cool and crisp. I should have brought a sweater or a light jacket. Granted, Poughkeepsie is in mountain territory, and it was much warmer when we got back to Long Island, but still ...

Baseball season is starting to wind down, the sportscasters all talk about pennant races. (The Mets and the Yankees are still in it!) Preseason football has hit the airwaves.

The Labor Day barbecue will be two weeks from today.

After that, Drew and Jen will both return to work. The community pool will close for the season. I'll be able to go walking at Jones Beach without paying the parking fee.

And I will have to acknowledge that summer is over. The warm weather will linger on for awhile, of course. But summer will be gone.

I'm not ready to let go just yet.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Another this and that

So my dad is home from the hospital.  He's feeling OK.  I'm glad this turned out to be something relatively minor.  He always does better mentally and emotionally when he's home.

Seeing him in that hospital gown, though....I could really see how frail he's become. 

So now I can focus on the whole Marvin situation, it's erupting as predicted.  Drew now has control of Marvin's finances; he had to sort out what was Marvin's and what was Shelley's --  she commingled funds -- but there shouldn't be a  problem with APS or Medicaid.   He's trying to get Shelley to give him Marvin's clothes and personal belongings, but she won't tell him when she will be home so that he can empty out Marvin's room.  She's screaming that Marvin still has to pay rent, at least for September, and that Drew needs to remove Marvin's very large, broken, TV from the house so that Shelley can get a new roommate.  Oh, and Drew and I are terrible, horrible people who've done awful things, and we are now dead to her.  Sigh.

It's funny how Drew relies on me for all things Jewish.   My synagogue has a wine tasting event every March, just before Passover.  When I told Drew about the event, he told me he'd like to visit some old friends, a couple who are fairly observant and keep a kosher home, and he asked me to select a bottle of wine to bring with us.  We'll be visiting them today.  I liked the wine I picked, I hope they will like it, too.

Becca is gearing up for the big move.  She's exploring the new neighborhood, buying things she'll need for her apartment.  She's so excited. 

Jen and her boyfriend are in Virginia Beach this weekend, visiting one of Jen's friends from college.  It's a nice way to cap off the summer.

Drew is planning the annual Labor Day barbecue, of course. He likes to have everyone over  on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.   I'm trying to decide what to prepare this time around.  the gossips will be out in force, but we've decided that talk about Shelley will be limited, and we will do our best to move on to other topics of conversation. 

I'm not really ready to move on to autumn just yet.  I'd like to hold on to summer for just a bit longer.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Jewish soul food

Pastrami Plus =  nirvana.   It's not much to look at, just a counter, a few tables, a board advertising the menu. In fact, we usually do take out.   But the food?  Loved my pastrami on rye. No, it's not an overstuffed sandwich like you'd find in a famous deli, but it's not an overpriced sandwich either.   Loved my kasha varnishes, the sautéed onions on top gave it a nice punch.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Jimmy Buffett!!!!! the good, the bad and the ugly ...

I've been writing a lot about Jones Beach, the crown jewel in the state parks system here on Long Island. 

Jones Beach is located on a sandbar.  The southern side of the sandbar faces the ocean -- sandy beaches serviced by several bathhouses, all connected by a boardwalk.  There are numerous parking fields, each associated with a bathhouse.  You've seen the photos from my walks along the boardwalk.  The north side of the sandbar faces back to Long Island, and features a fishing pier, marina, etc.  Bay Parkway runs along the north side of the sandbar, Ocean Parkway runs along the south side.

One of the nice features of the park is the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, a 15,000 seat amphitheater, which serves as an incredible concert venue.   It's located on Zach's Bay, an inlet on the north side of the sandbar.  When I say it's on Zach's Bay, I mean that quite literally. The stage is located in the bay, the stands are on land and look out at the bay. When the theater was first built, in the 1950's, a moat separated the stage from the seats.  Guy Lombardo, who was in charge of the theatrical productions presented at the time (shows like South Pacific and Sound of Music) would arrive via boat from his home in Freeport, across the bay.  Drew and I usually see 2-4 concerts at Jones Beach each summer, it's a great venue for a concert. 

There's a small  VIP parking lot immediately adjacent to the theater, but most concertgoers will park in Parking Field 5.  This is a huge lot that sits between Bay Parkway and Ocean Parkway.  It serves the beach and bathhouse located on Zach's Bay, and if you walk through the tunnel under Ocean Parkway you can access the oceanfront beach and boardwalk.  Even on a hot day, most beach patrons leave before the concert goers arrive, so parking for a concert isn't really an issue.

Until Jimmy Buffett comes to town.

Parrotheads like to tailgate.  They arrive at a concert venue early in the morning, set up camp and party all day.    Even at Jones Beach, which has a beautiful, sandy beach, they set up camp in the parking lot. 

On a normal day, you must park in a marked stall, one stall per vehicle.  On a normal day, you must not bring alcohol to the beach.  On a normal day, you cannot light a cooking fire anywhere except in the designated picnic areas.  None of these rules are enforced during a Jimmy Buffett tailgate. 

The first time Drew and I saw Buffett in concert was in November 2009, at Madison Square Garden.  Obviously tailgating wasn't happening at that venue, there are no parking lots at the Garden.  I'd won the tickets.  Floor seats!  An amazing show.  That was just before our first Caribbean cruise, and it really fit our mood.

So when tickets went on sale for his Jones Beach concert in 2010, we went.  And with the exception of 2013 (when we were on a Caribbean cruise) we've gone to see him every summer since.  We don't do the tailgating, but that first year we walked around the parking lot in amazement at how elaborate some of the camps were.

Each year, the tailgating gets crazier and crazier.  Fun for the tailgaters, not so much fun for the rest of us.  One year, we wound up parking at the East Bathhouse, about a mile away from the theater.  The walk to the theater was OK, the walk back -- on Ocean Parkway in total darkness -- was horrible.  The following year, I sprung for the VIP parking pass....

When Drew and I looked at the Jones Beach concert schedule for 2015, we were very disappointed.  There weren't any concerts we really wanted to see.  We weren't even sure we wanted to see Buffett, after last summer.  Except that...well, Huey Lewis and the News were scheduled to open for Buffett.    I bought my tickets directly from Live Nation -- horrible seats at the very top of the amphitheater -- because that's the only way I could secure a parking pass for the VIP lot.  I usually buy more expensive seats on Stub Hub ands sell my original tickets, but I never got around to doing that this year.

So we ventured out Tuesday afternoon, secure in the knowledge that we could bypass the tailgaters and could park at the theater.    Except that we're in the middle of a heat wave, which meant many, many ordinary beach patrons in addition to the tailgating Parrotheads.  Which meant that most of the parking lots were full at 4:00 in the afternoon.  We spent a frustrating 45 minutes trying to get from Ocean Parkway to Bay Parkway and the VIP lot, until some very frazzled but very nice park employee allowed us to cut through Field 5. 

The show was scheduled to start at 7:00, which meant the gates opened at 6.  Drew and I always like to get to a concert when the gates open, it gives us time to visit the concession stand, browse through the t-shirts and souvenirs, and settle into our seats long before the show begins.

We grabbed some burgers from a new concession stand -- one operated under the name of Guy Fieri.   We were very pleased to see Fieri at Jones Beach; last year the concessions stands were so bad that we wound up bringing sandwiches and eating in the parking lot (I guess that does make us tailgaters after all).    Fieri's burgers are expensive -- all the food at Jones Beach is outrageously priced -- but yes, he does make a great burger.   Huge burger, brioche bun, lots of lettuce and tomato, dripping with sauce.  What could be bad?

So our seats, as I said, were in nosebleed territory.  The very last row of the amphitheater, we took the elevator to get there.  A great view of the park, I must say, but so high up that we felt a bit disconnected from the concert. 

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We started to make our way to our seats at about 6:50, only to find out that Huey Lewis had already taken the stage and begun to perform!  Can you believe that?  According to the set list I saw posted on Wednesday morning, we were seated during his second song.  Yes, we missed "Heart of Rock and Roll".

I wasn't overly impressed with Huey Lewis.  Maybe it was that I was already annoyed when I sat down.  Maybe it was the disconnect, or that he was playing to a half empty stadium.  But while he wasn't bad, he wasn't captivating either. 

And then there was Jimmy.  A great set list. I loved how during "Margaritaville" he included a reference to his cameo in Jurassic World  -- yes, he did save the margaritas from those wild animals.  I laughed at his jokes, danced and sang.  The people up the  cheap seats were, for the most part, better behaved than the losers we sat with in the orchestra last year. 

But Drew was grumpy and frazzled and moody, and complained he felt sick after someone 2-3 seats away from us smoked a cigarette.

Next year I think we will tailgate in Drew's back yard and stream the concert on Margaritaville TV.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

the photo

This is the digital age.  We take photos almost as often as we breathe.  You don't even need a camera.  Just point your smartphone, click the shutter button.  Upload dozens of images to Facebook or Photobucket or the site of your choice.  So many pictures...

Posing for a photo was a much more formal event decades ago.  You had to load film into the camera, and since you didn't want to be wasteful, you tried to get everything just right before you pressed the shutter.

I was visiting my father in the hospital.  My father has dementia.  When he's awake and alert I try to keep him engaged in conversation.  So I pulled out my iPad and started showing him family photos, pictures of my mother, my sisters, my children, other relatives.

And as I was scrolling through my account to find more photos to discuss, I hit pay dirt.

Three photos, taken during World War II.  My father in his Army uniform, home on leave before being shipped out to Italy.  One photo sowed my father, his parents and his sister Sonia.  A second showed my father with his sister Eva and her two daughters.  The last photo showed my father with his mother.  I'd scanned the three photos about 3 or 4 years ago, posted them to Facebook for the enjoyment of my cousins.  The originals are in my mother's bedroom closet.

My father took one look at the photo of himself and his mother, and said "That's me with my mother.  I've been looking for this photo for 14 years." He didn't want to let go of my iPad.

Guess I'm going to have to make a few prints of that picture.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Take me to the faire!

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The Renaissance Faire, that is!

Once again, Drew and I made our way up to Tuxedo, NY.  This time it was just us, no friends.

These days, when I go to the faire, I don't wear a costume per se, but I do wear ...well, a few chosen garments from the Pyramid Collection and/or Holy Clothing, two lines that feature a lot of boho, romantic, renaissance pieces  Brown skirt with lots of ribbons and laces, white peasant blouse, lace up green vest.  When worn together ... "costume".

We stopped at the Orange Top Diner, that throwback to the 1970's.  Seriously, when was the last time you saw a restaurant cooled by a wall unit air conditioner and a couple of ceiling fans?  We dined on bacon, eggs and home fries, then made our way to the faire.

The faire has a lot of entertainment -- strolling musicians and actors doing improv with the crowds, stage shows featuring comedians, musicians, magicians and the like, fortune tellers, games of skill (such as archery), rides for the children, and, of course, food, drink and souvenir shops.  The entertainment begins even before the gates open, as you are welcomed to the Shire of Sterling, greeted by no less of a personage than the Mayor, his lady wife, and the Sheriff of Nottingham. 

There are two ongoing stories, one involving the Queen and her Court, the other involving Robin Hood.  Throughout the day there are scenes around the faire that bring the stories to life. Often the two stories combine, such as during the Living Chess Game and the Joust (two of our favorite shows).

We love Stewart and Arnold, a father and son knife-throwing act.  Then there's Ded Bob -- a puppeteer (I won't say ventriloquist, he wears a veil over his face); the puppet is a skeleton named Bob, who is sarcastic and tells PG-13 jokes.  Drew's favorite is Andre Dupin, a mime/juggler/magician with a very sarcastic tone.  And, of course, there's Hey Nunnie Nunnie, a comedy act.

It was market weekend, which meant that if you spend a certain amount of money on souvenirs and etc., you could take your receipts to the information booth and obtain two free tickets to come back another weekend.  We have the free tickets, we're thinking we might go back next month.

In the meantime, here's a video I found:

Monday, August 17, 2015

and at the other end of the eldercare spectrum....

My dad is in the hospital again.  No surprise there, given his age (88) and his ongoing medical issues.  My sisters are a bit over the top when it comes to my father's care, i.e., they'll spend the whole night at my father's bedside if the staff permits.  My father has always hated hospitals, and now that his Parkinson's-related dementia has progressed, being away from familiar surroundings scares him.  and since he's lost so much of his mobility, he relies on my sisters more and more.

My mother's behavior has changed a lot in the last few months, also because of neurological impairments.  She is like a toddler these days.  You'll tell her something and think she understands, but she never fully processed it.  Or she will understand, but forget a few minutes later.  She has to be told what to wear, and she needs to be supervised as she wanders around the house  - if she tries to "help" with the housework, it's inevitable that she will create a larger mess. She wanted to go for a walk Sunday afternoon.  I would not let her leave the house by herself. 

for it's one, two, three strikes, you're out ...

So the goal this summer was to see our Ducks play each of the other 7 teams in the Atlantic League.  and with a game against the Maryland Blue Crabs, we achieved our goal.

It was an interesting evening. A local medical group sponsored the game. The promotional giveaway, to the first 1500 fans, was a t shirt featuring the team mascot, Quackerjack, suited up as a doctor. Dr. Quackerjack, I presume?

So of course we got there before the gates opened. And while I was waiting to be admitted to the park, I had a lovely conversation with another fan, showed her my photos from Cooperstown.

Rep. Peter King, a member of the Long Island delegation to Congress, was at the ballpark to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Bud Harrelson. I saw King and Harrelson playing catch beforehand -- rank has its privileges.

The Ducks took an early lead, scored twice in the first inning. Final score 4-1.

I thought this would be our last Ducks game of the season. But Drew decided to give the prize wheel a shot, and won two tickets to the September 3 game against the Bluefish.

I'm so loving this.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Eldercare update - it's going to hit the fan

We've battened down the hatches and are hunkering down for the storm Shelley is about to release.

Drew is Marvin's Health Care Proxy.  Marvin signed that document months ago, when he was first admitted to the nursing facility, because the social worker at the facility asked him to do so.   Shelley was very upset at the time.  I know she gave Marvin a hard time about it.  She has a friend who works in a nursing home, and she asked that friend to give her a Health Care Proxy form.  She planned to visit Marvin and have him sign the new form, replacing Drew as Marvin's proxy.  The friend never gave her the form.

She's going to be even more upset about what happened this week.

One of the reasons Drew felt he had to step in with respect to Marvin was because of money. 

Marvin doesn't have a pension, his sole income is Social Security.  Awhile back, he gave Shelley a Power of Attorney, and allowed her to handle his meager finances. 

Later, when Adult Protective Services got involved with Marvin's living situation, they took control of his finances.  They receive his monthly check, pay his rent and give him an allowance.  Last winter, they  stopped giving the allowance check to Shelley because she can't produce receipts showing that she spent the money on Marvin.  Since Marvin's been in the rehab center, the APS social worker has been giving Marvin's allowance to Drew, and Drew has used it to buy clothes and other necessities for Marvin.  Of course he has the receipts.

So Drew asked me to draft a Power of Attorney for Marvin's signature, to revoke the prior authority he gave Shelley and to designate Drew as Marvin's agent.  Drew brought the forms to the nursing home and left them with the facility's social worker.  Marvin signed the document a few days ago, and the social worker gave the forms to Drew when he visited Marvin.

Now Drew is in a better position to discuss money with the APS.  Marvin may have to do a spend-down soon to preserve his Medicaid eligibility (yes, there's money in his bank account, Shelley put some of her money there to hide it from her creditors), and Drew wants to make sure it's done correctly.

And then Drew will start working on a plan for Marvin's long-term care.  Right now Marvin is officially listed as a rehab patient, with a care goal of returning home.  But that's not going to happen.

The sad part is, Shelley seems to think this was done to hurt her.  It wasn't.  Drew never wanted to take over Marvin's care.  He just felt he had to do something because Shelley wasn't capable of handling any of this.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

shooting star

Meteor showers happen 2-3 times a year.  But I'd never seen one.

Until now.

I'd heard that this year's Perseid showers would be magnificent.  I decided that I needed to see the show.

40 years ago my neighborhood was all farmlands and woods.  These days it's a suburb pretending to be rural.  So it's fairly dark at night, you can see a lot of stars. 

So a couple of nights ago I stayed up past midnight, and then went outside.  It was a cool, comfortable night.  the crickets were chirping and the tree frogs were singing, and in the distance I could hear an owl hooting. 

I looked up at the stars and I tried to spot a meteor.  I tried really, really hard.  And all I saw were the stars getting blurry.

When I decided to relax and just enjoy the stars....

I started to see ...something...with my peripheral vision.  Not sure what I saw, I think I just sensed some movement, but when I turned to look...nothing.

And then I saw it.

A small pinpoint of light, travelling across the night sky, leaving just a thin wisp of a trail behind it.


Friday, August 14, 2015

if they don't win it's a shame...

Another fine evening at  Bethpage Ballpark.  This time, the Ducks took on the Camden Riversharks.  (Riversharks?  Really?)

This time, instead of our usual spot behind the first base dugout, we sat in what's known as the "Club Seats".  These are, I believe, the most expensive seats in the ballpark (exclusive of the luxury suites), in the upper deck, behind home plate.    (It's really not that much to brag about, the Club Seats at Bethpage are cheaper than the cheapest seat at Citi Field, even less expensive than some movie tickets)  The Club Seats have access to the sit down restaurant/bar known as "The Duck Club", and there's also a hostess who will fetch anything you want from the concession stand.    The view of the field is amazing.

And yes, we did eat in the restaurant.  Drew had a French dip, I had pulled pork.  Pulled pork from Smokin' Al's, the best BBQ on Long Island.  Well worth the extra calories I had to work off.

The game...well....the Ducks played like amateurs in the early innings.  Got their act together  later in the game, but ultimately they lost 5-4. 

The view:

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Quack of the bat:

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The pitch (yeah, I know, he was just warming up...):

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And, of course, the pyrotechnics.  Much better show than the last time they did fireworks, and we loved the show that time too.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Butterfly garden

I don't know if this is something new, or if it's been there al the time and I just didn't see it.
I was up at Sunken Meadow the other night, had a lovely stroll on the Boardwalk.   And as I was headed back to the parking lot, I saw a butterfly garden.  Lovely flowers, but alas, butterflies are elusive.   

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Another this and that

It almost doesn't pay to go on vacation, because when you get back to the office, you're going to get slammed.

Still, I had a great time.  We did a lot of fun and interesting things -- Howe Caverns, Cooperstown, the Cloisters, the Intrepid.    I've got a few ideas now for day trips for the rest of the year.  I'm thinking a winery tour is in order.

but since I've gone back to work...oy.

Good news for Becca!  She found an apartment.    She's so excited.  Considering the disaster she had back in February, and that the almost-roommate moved into an apartment in July, the fact that she finally found a place she loves is wonderful.

So grown up ...but when she's knocked out by a bad head cold, she reverts to a little girl who needs mommy to make it better.

Jen and one of her friends, who was a gymnast in high school, found a great gymnastics class for adults.  They had a great time, but...Jen got hurt.  She has a torn ligament in her knee, she's limping around with a knee brace.  They're trying physical therapy first, but she's afraid she might need surgery.

Drew has been running to doctor's appointments, too.  He's got a few issues going on.  Nothing life threatening, but ...we've reached an age where half of our contacts list begins with the same word:  doctor.

But we did find time to see Mission:Impossible - Rogue Nation.  Mindless escapism, but really a lot of fun.  And the previews for Man From U.N.C.L.E. and the new James Bond film, Spectre, were interesting.

The eldercare wars continue.  Shelley still thinks she's in charge, that she's the one who will be making the decisions about Marvin.  She is convinced that "Drew is trying to take Marvin away from her" and that Drew is acting out of spite.    Drew never wanted to be responsible for Marvin's care, but felt he had to step up because his sister is totally incapable of seeing to Marvin's needs.   There may be some interesting updates soon, followed by fireworks.

My parents are doing OK.  My sisters decided that my parents needed to get out of the house, so last week they drove out to the East End and took a tour of a winery.  I'm told they had a wonderful time.  They used to love to travel.

I'm still doing my walks at the beach.  I go up to Sunken Meadow once or twice a week.  Kind of crowded up there these days.  I almost wish Labor Day would come and the crowds would go away.  ButI like summer weather way too much, I hate to see it end.

I have to start thinking about how I'm going to keep up my walking when the weather gets too cold to go to the beach.  I'm thinking of rejoining the JCC, they have a pool, an indoor track and a fitness center. A little more expensive than joining a gym, but probably worth it.  I have time to think about it, outdoor walking is still an option in the early fall.

But yes, Labor Day is coming...and Drew is doing the annual Labor Day barbecue.  Have to start thinking about what I plan to make this  time, I'm bored with the usual.

But if I think about Labor Day I have to think about autumn, and I'm not ready.  I want to hold on to summer for just a bit longer.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

USS Intrepid

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is definitely worth a visit.

We'd both been to The Intrepid, but not recently.  I've wanted to go back for awhile now, since April 2012.

April 27, 2012 -- the USS Enterprise Space Shuttle was flown on the back of a jet from Washington, DC to NYC.  Those of us on the 30th floor of a certain office building in Jersey City were lucky enough to see the flyby, and lucky enough to see the Enterprise floating on the Hudson River on a barge on its way to the Intrepid a few weeks later.

The Enterprise is housed in a pavilion on the flight deck.  There's a photo display saluting the cast of Star Trek -- fans of the show were influential in having the shuttle named, and the cast was invited to the ship's christening.  There are displays about the whole shuttle program, and there's a display about the Hubble telescope -- some truly incredible photos.

Drew took a tour of the Growler, a submarine, but it was too claustrophobic for me.

We spent a lot of time on the Hangar Deck, lots off  hands-on exhibits about the ship its history and functions.  We also checked out the 4D theater one of the many simulators on board -- this one simulates a roller coaster ride.  Lots of fun.

The best part of the museum is the flight deck, with its display of airplanes and helicopters.  /drew ventured up to the ship's bridge.

We ended our day with a visit to the Concorde, housed on the pier.   Pity they're not flying anymore.
Here's the Concorde:  photo S5033282.jpg photo S5033284.jpg photo S5033283.jpg this one's Israeli photo S5033281.jpg A few more  photo S5033280.jpg photo S5033276.jpg photo S5033272.jpg photo S5033273.jpgThe ship's bridge photo S5033269.jpgJersey City in the distance  photo S5033263.jpgTheEnterprise photo S5033261.jpg photo S5033259.jpg photo S5033254.jpg photo S5033255.jpg photo S5033253.jpg photo S5033252.jpg photo S5033244.jpg Lego model of the ship photo S5033235.jpg photo S5033234.jpg photo S5033237.jpg photo S5033236.jpg

Monday, August 10, 2015

Cradle of Aviation Museum

A couple of months ago, Drew and I spent a Saturday morning at  the American Airpower Museum.  That's a small museum in Farmingdale, on the grounds of a Republic Airport.  American Airpower Museum focuses on the planes made by Republic Aviation, but gives a nice overview of aviation history and its connection to Long Island.

When Drew heard that I had never been to The Cradle of Aviation Museum, he suggested we go.

The Aviation Museum is part of a complex which includes a Firefighters Museum, a Children's Museum and Nunkey's Carrousel -- Nunley's was a small amusement park, and when the park closed, the county acquired the antique carrousel.  All of the museums are hands-on, very good for children, but Aviation has a lot to offer adults as well.

Hempstead Plains, located in central Nassau County, was known as "The Cradle of Aviation" because so much of early aviation history happened there.  The museum celebrates Ling Island's role in aviation, from early development through the Golden Age, from WWII through the development of jets, and the space program, of course.  Long Island was home to Republic Aviation and Grumman.  The lunar module for the Apollo missions was developed here.

The collection is considerable for a local museum.

In addition to the galleries filled with aircraft and artifacts, the museum houses an IMAX theater, a planetarium and a flight simulator.   The flight simulator is like an amusement park ride -- the theater is a small vehicle that moves about, you watch a film while you shift up, down etc.

A fun afternoon, it's definitely an experience I'd recommend.

A few of the treasures here

 photo S5033065.jpg photo S5033066.jpg photo S5033067.jpg photo S5033068.jpg photo S5033069.jpg photo S5033071.jpg photo S5033086.jpg photo S5033087.jpg photo S5033088.jpg photo S5033089.jpg photo S5033090.jpg photo S5033107.jpg photo S5033108.jpg photo S5033121.jpg photo S5033123.jpg photo S5033124.jpg photo S5033127.jpg photo S5033130.jpg photo S5033132.jpg photo S5033134.jpg photo S5033140.jpg photo S5033141.jpg

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