life in and around NYC is insane

Monday, November 30, 2015

Songbird Salutes the 70's: Donna Summer

Donna Summer has been described as "the Queen of Disco".   She dominated the charts with songs like "Love to Love You Baby",  "I Feel Love", "MacArthur Park", "Heaven Knows", "Hot Stuff", "Bad Girls", "Dim All the Lights", "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" (duet with Barbra Streisand), and "On the Radio".

So for our last disco hit of the month, I thought it would be appropriate to play this song:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Two houses

Neighborhood decorations are going up.

Every year we look forward to two houses, side by side.  One has a Christmas spirit.  The other has a wicked sense of humor. 

Showing you would be better than trying to explain the joke.

So here goes:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Another this and that

Successfully avoided Black Friday shopping. I ordered a few things on line because of decent discounts, but nothing amazing. Drew hit a few stores Thursday night, got a few deals. He needed a few things for Marvin. He saw Marvin yesterday, and now he has to go shopping again. I'm glad someone is paying attention to what Marvin needs.

I read that the outlet center where Becca used to work had unbelievable traffic jams. Drivers were complaining it took hours to leave the shopping center, even after the police brought in extra officers to help direct traffic. So glad Becca doesn't work there anymore.

Speaking of Becca, she hasn't said anything to me, but you don't have to be a detective to figure out she broke up with the boyfriend. He seemed nice enough, but I didn't think they were particularly well matched.

Jen is planning to spend Christmas Day at her boyfriend's house. I like her boyfriend, I think they make a nice couple. He took her to a Jets game for her birthday, he knows how to please my daughter.

We have a small get-together planned to night, celebrating a few birthdays at a Chinese restaurant. I did my birthday shopping before Thanksgiving. Should be a fun evening.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving redux

Recovering from a food coma ... and a hit of family drama ...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

We have quite a feast planned.

It's going to be a bit weird, though. The first holiday without my father.

Found myself thinking about him today, first while watching the parade on tv (he loved the Rockettes), and later, while I was picking up an order at the bakery and saw a cake I knew my father would love.

Still, the rest of us will gather around the table and overindulge. And be happy together.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, everyone..

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The 10th (Wo)man -- again

The phone rang around 8 PM. It was the Cantor. He needed a 10th for minyan.

With more than one shiva house, and the holiday approaching, it's hard to get a quorum.

But I was not the only one reciting Kaddish last night.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I'm just a Broadway baby...

So the other night we headed over to the Tilles Center to see a national touring company of The Producers.  I'd seen the original Mel Brooks movie from 1967, with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder.  But, can you believe it,  I'd never seen the Broadway musical or the movie musical with Nathan Lane and Mathew Broderick.  Touring companies offer a somewhat scaled-down experience, but nevertheless, it's live theater, can't complain. I'm hoping  a touring company of Spamalot will show up sooner or later, I wanted to see that show but never got around to it.

Next month we will be seeing the Roundabout's revival of Noises Off.  I saw the 2001 Broadway revivial , with Patti LuPone, Peter Gallagher,  and  Faith Prince. Wonderful farce, I loved the play-within-a-play.    And yes, Peter Gallagher really did touch my knee -- we were sitting in the front row, and Gallagher literally climbed over us to get onto the stage. I hope the current production will be just as good. 

Fiddler on the Roof is being revived this season.  Yes, again.  Fiddler was the very first Broadway show I ever saw, and I have always loved it.  I saw the Alfred Molina revival a few years ago, and I saw a road company at the Tilles Center.  I'm thinking I might like tickets for this production as well.

but what I really want to see?  Something Rotten.   Can you imagine?  A musical about Elizabethan England, with Shakespeare as a sort of rock star?  It's got to be entertaining, I'm sure.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Songbird Salutes the 70's: I Will Survive

A strong, independent woman telling a former lover to take a hike.  That's the theme of Gloria Gaynor's anthem, "I Will Survive".  The song helped me through some difficult times.  It was also my sister's signature song whenever she did karaoke.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mockingjay 2 (spoilers)

I was really looking forward to this movie. But now that I've seen it, I can say that while the movie was ok, it did not live up to expectations.

It pretty much followed the book, lots of action as Katniss and her team invade the Capital. But the interpersonal relationships aren't as noticeable. President Coin's manipulation of Katniss, and her plan to become Snow's successor instead of a democratically elected leader are more obvious than in the book, while Gale's complicity in events that Katniss finds repugnant is downplayed.

Overall I enjoyed the movie, but in hindsight they would have done better if they didn't break this novel into two movies.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Shopping trip

My grocery haul today included sugar, brown sugar, canned pumpkin, unsweetened chocolate, chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.

Can't imagine why.

I also bought popcorn, jelly beans and Melba toast. Apparently we must emulate Peppermint Patty.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, November 20, 2015

another this and that

Well, I guess I'm not the only one obsessed with "dry skin season".  Yesterday I saw an article on the Daily News' website:  How To Protect The Skin During Cold Winter Months.  Basic rules:  (1) Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize; (2) Reduce length and temperature of showers; (3) Sunscreen isn't just for summer: (4) Protect yourself with petrolatum-based products; (5) Use moisturizing soaps and gentle cleansers instead of exfoliating washes; (6) Do It Yourself  humidifiers are your friend.  Common sense, really.

Good news!  A recent study says coffee is linked to a lower risk of dying form heart disease, stroke, diabetes, neurological diseases and suicide.  Now I can argue that my coffee habit is part of my health regimen!

It's blockbuster movie season again.  Two weeks ago Drew and I saw Spectre. Drew is a huge James Bond fan, but the only Bond films I've seen are Skyfall and Moonraker. I really enjoyed the film, but I'm sure I missed all the subtle salutes to the prior Bond movies. 

This weekend we plan to see Mockingjay Part 2.  Should be interesting.   I read the entire Hunger Games trilogy, Drew did not, and for once I know more than he does about what's going to happen in a movie.

And, of course, we're looking forward to the new Star Wars movie.

I'm starting to think of Jen as my "phantom child".  Really.  We live in the same house, but I haven't seen her in almost a week.  She is out when I am home, and she is home when I am out.  I'm glad she's living her life, but I miss her!

I've actually seen more of Becca than I have of Jen.  She was home last weekend.   She hasn't said anything to me, but I think she may have broken up with the most recent boyfriend.  I took her grocery shopping at Trader Joe's.  Have to make sure the poor kid has food to eat, after all. 

We are in the midst of planning our Thanksgiving feast.  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, homemade cranberry sauce, pies from Reinwald's, cookies and cannoli from Dortoni's...but it will be a very strange feeling on Thursday, our first holiday since my father passed away...

It looks like we have a plan for New Year's Eve.  Chinese food at one of our favorite restaurants.  Subject to change, of course, as the members of our happy group start griping and carping...I'd really rather go out alone with Drew...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

of death and dying

Spending time in the nursing home with Marvin the other night was difficult.  No, Marvin isn't difficult, but the atmosphere...over the last few years I've spent entirely too much time in hospitals and nursing home/rehab facilities, dealing with the needs of the octogenarians in my life. 

And when I go to the synagogue to say Kaddish for my father, I find myself in the company of people my own age, people  I know because their children are the same age as my daughters.  We shared our children's Hebrew school days.  And now we share saying Kaddish for our recently deceased parents.  I dread seeing the emails from my synagogue these days -- I am afraid there will be yet another announcement of a death. 

It's depressing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

eldercare update

I haven't mentioned Marvin recently.  He's been doing well in the nursing home, Drew visits him every so often to make sure he's OK.

Last night Drew, his uncle Les, Aunt Pi and I went to visit Marvin.  The nursing home hosted its annual Thanksgiving dinner for residents and their families.  While the nursing home will issue day passes to families who want to bring their loved one home for a holiday celebration, the truth of the matter is that many of the residents will be spending Thanksgiving Day at the facility.  This dinner is an opportunity for families to do some celebrating with their loved ones. 

The facility tries to make it festive.   There was live music in the lobby before dinner, and the musicians followed us into the dining room.  Real linen tablecloths on the tables, though everything else was disposable.  The food was ... institutional ...but included turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc.  And there was real wine available. 

Marvin was out of sorts at first..  But by the end of the dinner he was feeling better, and was glad for our company. 

Later, Drew took inventory of Marvin's clothes.  A few things have gone missing in the laundry, a few items are starting to look worn and torn.  He needs some shirts, a cardigan sweater, a new winter coat. 

Marvin is getting excellent care now.  Drew made the right decision. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Eisenhower Park revisited

As the weather gets colder and the days  shorter, I find I have less time and opportunity to walk though a park.  The other day it occurred to me that I hadn't been to Eisenhower Park since the middle of the summer. 

It's a very different mood this time of year.  The tennis courts are gated and locked, the picnic tables in storage somewhere, the playgrounds nearly empty, the ball fields deserted. 

I started my walk by the lake.

 photo 20151113_143243.jpg photo 20151113_143247.jpg

Interesting patterns in the clouds, and sunlight on the water. photo 20151113_143347.jpg

And just a few minutes later, the skies are almost clear.  photo 20151113_143616.jpg

Yeah, I do like to see birds.  photo 20151113_143733.jpg photo 20151113_143748.jpg photo 20151113_143756.jpg

This is near the Rose Garden, don't know why I didn't see it before. photo 20151113_144917.jpg photo 20151113_144847.jpg photo 20151113_144856.jpg

There are still a few roses, even in November. photo 20151113_144945.jpg

But you can see the fall foliage is past peak.  photo 20151113_152232.jpg

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tempus fugit, but really ....

To follow up on the theme ....

When we were in the city Saturday night, I couldn't help but  how the Christmas decorations are already starting to appear, almost two weeks before Thanksgiving.   

Look at Little Italy and Chinatown:

 photo 20151114_222755.jpg photo 20151114_221933.jpg

Penn Station was decorated as well.  Macy's has its 34th Street windows done (the usual "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus") and is halfway to completing its Herald Square windows -- based on "A Charlie Brown Christmas".   

Santa is already entertaining the children at Roosevelt Field Mall. (Big controversy over there, the public didn't like the modern, innovative setting for Santa, so the mall had to re-do the area with a more traditional theme.) 

I went into Starbucks (land of the controversial red cup -- as if a coffee cup makes or breaks your holiday mood) because I wanted some of their instant coffee for my mother.  Couldn't find it on the shelves, they removed it to make room for the instant pumpkin spice latte and peppermint mocha.

It's a bit overwhelming...

Songbird Salutes the 70's: Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Disco has elements of punk, soul, pop and salsa.  Originally popular with African-American, Latino and Italian-American audiences, it expanded into the mainstream. 

Rod Stewart, primarily known as a rock star, recorded a number of disco hits in the late 70's. 

In this video, Rod looks like he's having a lot of fun...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

John Cleese

I was never much of a Monty Python fan, but Drew is a devotee.  So when he heard John Cleese would be appearing at NYU, he simply had to buy tickets.
This appearance wasn't a "performance" per se.  It was set up as an interview of sorts, giving Cleese the opportunity to tell jokes and funny stories.
Afterwards those of us with VIP tickets went to a meet-and-greet for a photo opportunity.  And we also received autographed copies of his book.
It was an entertaining evening of irreverent and politically incorrect humor. 
He told a joke about two Jewish men, Abraham and Solomon, who have heard that a local church will pay anyone $1,000 of they convert.  Solomon decides he wants the money.  So he goes into the church.
Later he tells Abraham that he did, indeed, convert.  So Abraham asks him "Did you get the money? "
Solomon replies, "That's all you people ever think of, isn't it?"
Cleese refrained from his usual French jokes because of what happened in Paris Friday night.  The real pain from the terrorist attacks trumps all.
You couldn't help but notice  the tributes to Paris all around the city.
Afterwards we went to Chinatown, to our favorite Wo Hop.
Overall a great evening.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Tempus fugit

Time flies.

I'm finding it hard to believe it's the middle of November already. The holiday season is fast approaching.

But then again ...

I've been using an app called Timehop. Timehop is all about memories.  You give Timehop permission to search your social media accounts -- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.  Every day Timehop searches your accounts for posts made on that date one year ago, two years ago, etc.

Not to be outdone, when Timehop started to be come popular,  Facebook launched a feature that allows you to see your Facebook memories.

So this week I was reminded that on Veteran's Day last year I posted a photo of my father, in his uniform, posing with his mother the day he returned home from serving in the US Army.  I had to share that post again, I am so proud of my father's military service, and I am very much missing him.

That two years ago, texting gloves were all the rage.

That three years ago we were still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

That in 2010 I went to a friend's birthday party at a local Mexican restaurant.  She didn't have a party this year, I'll have to take her out to lunch or dinner.

That in 2009 I had a week-long battle with an adjuster at another insurance company, where the adjuster insisted on treating me like I didn't know how to do my job, and where I wound up calling the adjuster's supervisor to set matters straight.

It occurs to me that I've been writing this blog for over 7 years now...My very first post was October 17, 2008.  Feels like yesterday.

Except ...when I started this blog, Becca was still in high school, and Jen was a college freshman.  Now they're both adults, college graduates with full time jobs. 

Tempus fugit.

Friday, November 13, 2015





or tallit, or tallis
[Ashkenazic Hebrew, English tah-lis; Sephardic Hebrew tah-leet]
noun, plural tallithim, tallitim, tallisim
[Ashkenazic Hebrew, English tah-lee-sim, -ley-, tah-luh-sim; Sephardic Hebrew tah-lee-teem] (Show IPA).
a shawllike garment of wool, silk, or the like, with fringes, or zizith, at the four corners, worn around the shoulders by Orthodox and Conservative (sometimes also Reform) Jews, as during the morning service.
It's been worn by Jewish men for centuries, to honor the Biblical commandment to wear fringes on one's garment.  A man would don the tallit to say morning prayers, on weekdays as well as on the Sabbath.  It's powerful imagery, to see a man in his tallit, to see him wrap himself in the shawl as he begins his prayers.  He is literally wrapping himself in one of G-d's commandments.  At times he will pull the tallit over his head, to create a quiet cocoon for his prayers.  At other times, he might put his arm around his wife and children, wrapping them in the same spiritual embrace as he draws them under the folds of cloth. Eventually he will be buried with a tallit wrapped around his shoulders.
Traditionally women did not wear a tallit.
But then again, women did not sit with men in the synagogue.  They sat in a separate section, often the balcony, and prayed quietly among themselves, careful that their voices not overpower the voices of the men.  No honors were bestowed upon women during the service.
When I was a child and a teenager, in the early 1970's, feminism was the "new thing", women were shouting for equality with men.  Conservative and Reform synagogues began to expand the role of women, to allow them to participate more fully in the synagogue rituals.  I went to Hebrew school, I learned to read Hebrew and how to recite prayers.  But I was told that women did not count in the minyan (the quorum needed for prayer). 
And the big difference came when we all turned 13.  A boy would celebrate his bar mitzvah on a Saturday morning.  He would don a tallit, he would read from the Torah (the Five Books of Moses) and also the Haftarah (another Biblical passage, from the Prophets). 
A girl, however, would celebrate her bat mitzvah on Friday night.  She would not be called to the Torah, but would read only Haftarah.  No need for a tallit on Friday night. 
I suppose it was a compromise, to give women some, but not all, of the same rights and obligations as men.
The world my daughters found themselves in was very different.  Most Conservative and Reform congregations had become egalitarian.  Women count in the minyan, men and women receive the same honors during the service.  Women are ordained as Rabbis and Cantors. 
Boys and girls received the same education, with the same expectation of reading Torah during the service celebrating their bar/bat mitzvah.
And so, when Jen turned 13 and we celebrated her bat mitzvah, I bought her a tallit.  And I had the pleasure of hearing her read her Torah portion, all about three men who visit Abraham and predict that Sarah will have a son.
And I was so proud to see her wear it.
Two years later, Becca read from the Torah -- her portion involved Moses giving instruction to the Hebrews  as they were about to enter the land of Israel.  And I bought a tallit for her.
But I did not buy a tallit for myself.  For all my feminist ideals, some part of me was still linked to the past...and I wasn't comfortable with the idea of wearing one.  It was great for other women, but for me...
And then I found myself in the synagogue on an almost-daily basis.
And I did not want to be the only one at morning minyan  with no fringe...
I've worn shawls before, for warmth, for fashion.  But this is different.

I was hesitant.  I was uncertain.

I bought one that is decidedly feminine. White with a pink stripe, and a matching yarmulke to cover my head.
I put the shawl on and I am wrapped in tradition.  I am wrapped in continuity, l'dor vador, from generation to generation.
It is empowering.
Prayer is keeping me centered, and the wearing the tallit is keeping me focused.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

dry skin season part 3: oh, the irony

I am blessed with an abundance of hair.  The woman who owns the salon calls my hair a "lion's mane".  I am thankful to have my "mane".

My stylist does an excellent job hiding it...and please don't tell anyone....but there's a lot of gray in that mane.

And in winter dry skin season, my hair can easily turn to straw.

Another of my favorite products:

Marvelous Oil Deep Nourish

I pour a small amount into my palm, rub my hands together, and work the oil through my hair. Or sometimes I'll put a little onto my hairbrush.

The website offers these suggestions for use as well:

Marvelous Oil can be used in any of 5 ways! Try a different use each day.

1. Pre-Shampoo Treatment: Apply to hair (wet or dry) before shampooing to help prime hair locks for gentle cleaning.
2. Boost Conditioning: Add 1 or 2 drops to your conditioner to help get rid of pesky knots and tangles.
3. Blow-Dry Protector: Apply to damp to help protect when blow drying.
4. Finish With Hi-Watt Shine: Apply to damp or dry ends to help smooth split ends and tame flyaways.
5. Treat Hair Overnight: To restore softness while you sleep, work into wet or dry hair and leave in overnight.

I think I might try #2. 

So I was working the oil through my hair the other night, and I started to laugh.

There was a time when my hair produced its own oil.  A lot of oil. So much oil that I joked about curing the energy crisis/oil shortage with just the oil from my hair.    Back then, I scanned the drugstore shelves for products that would remove excess oil from my hair. 

I wouldn't want to repeat my teen years, but...could I have some of that oil back now?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

an emotional high

It's been a good week.

I re-joined Weight Watchers back in March, and I bought a Fitbit. 

I've followed the plan, I've done the walking.

It's paying off.  I've lost 36 pounds. People are starting to notice.

I still have a long way to go. 

It's scary.  I lost a lot of weight on Weight Watchers a few years ago, but gained it all back, 

This time I'm determined to lose even more, and to keep it off.

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Songbird Salutes the 70's: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Taking a short break from our disco theme....going back to another favorite 70's genre, the singer-songwriter, the storyteller.

The SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank on November 10, 1975.  I don't remember the incident.  But in 1976 Gordon Lightfoot wrote a ballad about the ship sinking.  Although he took some license with the facts (and corrected some of his lyrics later on), he pretty accurately described how the ship went down. 

This time of year I obsess a little over that song. 

So here it is:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Songbird Salutes the 70's: The Hustle

For many of us, our first introduction to the disco sound came from records like "The Hustle". Primarily an instrumental, with occasional vocals exhorting us to "Do the Hustle", it sparked an international dance craze in 1975.  .  We learned how to do the  line dance at parties and school dances, and we thought we were so cool.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

dry skin season, part 2

The problem with conventional body lotion is the mess.  You apply lotion, and then you have to wait until it is absorbed before you can get dressed.  Otherwise  the lotion gets all over your clothes. 

This is what I've been using all summer:

 photo 20151029_000726.jpg

It sprays on and absorbs quickly. The instructions tell you to rub it in, but I didn't always have to do that.  A quick spray and I was all set.

It leaves your skin lightly moisturized, soft and smooth.

It's not a product I can use in winter dry skin season.  I prefer something a little heavier this time of year.  But heavier body lotion, as I said, is a tad bit inconvenient.

That's why I like Olay's in-shower body lotion..

The hype:

Replace your ordinary lotion with a revolutionary rinse-off body lotion! Ultra Moisture In-Shower Body Lotion works with the warmth and humidity of your shower to reveal soft, smooth skin after just one use.

You use it in the shower. The idea is that your wet  skin will absorb  the moisturizers more quickly, and you don't have to wait to get dressed.  You cleans your skin, then use the in-shower body lotion, then rinse off. 

This is the newest version of a product Olay has been making for years.   Does it work better than a conventional body lotion?  No, but it feels good and it's very effective.

 olay photo IMG_0311.jpg

The problem is, I haven't always been able to find the Olay in-shower body lotion. I never understood why no one made a competing product.

Well, actually, they have.

 photo 20151029_000756.jpg

I found this in the drug store, and couldn't wait to try it.  You use it the same way you use the Olay product. 

The ad says:

Helps revolutionize the daily skincare routine with a different take on moisturizing. The three In-Shower body lotions will moisturize your skin right in the shower, leaving you with soft and smooth skin, without the sticky lotion feel.

Well, not quite "revolutionize", Olay's been doing it for years.

But the product?

It's creamy, it feels good going on, and it rinses off cleanly. It left my skin feeling soft and smooth. Comparable to the Olay version, definitely worth buying.

And then there's this: 

 photo 20151029_000743.jpg 

The Jergens product is a bit different.  It's meant to be used in the shower, right after you cleanse, but you don't rinse it off.

Why would you need this product, as opposed to  any other Jergen's body lotion?  They're trying to latch on to the gimmick of using the product in the shower, but it's not the same type of product as the ones made by Olay and Nivea.  You don't rinse off after using it.  You have to let the product absorb before you can get dressed.

Still, I had to try it.

Sorry, but I didn't like it. It's oil-infused, it didn't absorb well, and it left an oily sheen on my skin. It smelled nice, though. I didn't hate it, but it's not a product I'm likely to buy again.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Happy Birthday

It's Jen's birthday.  She's 25 today.

A quarter of a century.  Wow.  Seems like yesterday.

The day we brought her home from the hospital, I cried.  I was emotionally overwhelmed, so scared, wondering what I'd gotten myself into and how was I going to fare as a mother.

But eventually I got the hang of it. 

25 years later, I am amazed at the beautiful, smart, compassionate, graceful young woman she has become.  I cannot imagine my life without her. 

Happy birthday, Jen.  I love you.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Taco Bell

Taco Bell Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taco Bell is not very high on my list of favorite fast food restaurants, I prefer Chipotle or Salsarita's if I want fast food Mexican style.  But Taco Bell's crunchy tacos...well, I was introduced to tacos in my college cafeteria (one of the few meals they prepared well),   every now and then I get a craving, and the crunchy tacos at Taco Bell remind me of the ones I ate in college.

I did not have a good experience at this location.  I made the mistake of parking my car and walking into the restaurant to order my food, when I should have stayed in my car and done the drive-through.  There were a handful of customers inside the restaurant, and each of us had the same unpleasant experience -- a 20 minute wait from the time we ordered or meals until the time our food was brought to the counter.  Meanwhile, drive-through customers  received their food within 2 minutes of placing their orders -- when you're waiting at the counter for your food, you have a clear view of the drive-through window, and especially of the timer located above the window.

An employee had to be asked to refill the napkin dispenser, and he did not refill any other supplies.  Tables needed to be bussed. 

So next time I will use the drive-through.  Or better yet, go somewhere else.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

dry skin season returns

Cold weather = increased need for moisturizer

One of my chief complaints:  lip balm isn't as effective as it should be when my lips are dry and chapped.

But here's my new favorite product:

elf photo 20151029_000642.jpg

You apply it like lipstick, gently rub it in, remove with a wet cotton ball, then finish with your favorite lip balm.  Leaves my lips smooth and soft, much better than just the balm alone.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Jones Beach again

I was able to make a trip out there last week.  It's so different in the autumn, when there aren't huge crowds.

The day was fairly warm, but the water was very choppy. 

When I was at the beach for the breast cancer walk a few weeks ago, I parked my car at Field 4, near Central Mall, and I noticed that there were interesting mosaics in the pavement.  So on my most recent trip, I had to see the mosaics again.

 photo 20151030_155939.jpg photo 20151030_155947.jpg photo 20151030_160014.jpg photo 20151030_160025.jpg

I also noticed a 9/11 memorial.

 photo 20151030_160251.jpg photo 20151030_160315.jpg photo 20151030_160222.jpg

For some reason, the seagulls and the pigeons caught my attention.

 photo 20151030_154815.jpg photo 20151030_153858.jpg photo 20151030_145132.jpg photo 20151030_144834.jpg photo 20151030_144818.jpg

Down by Field 6, there were a lot of birds on the roof of the bathhouse.

 photo 20151030_144643.jpg photo 20151030_144522.jpg photo 20151030_144521.jpg

After I'd photographed the birds, I turned to take a few pictures of the high surf.

 photo 20151030_144628.jpg

Something must have startled the birds.

 photo 20151030_144633.jpg

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

another this and that

Halloween has come and gone, and I can't help but wonder how the month of October disappeared.

Yes< I know ...those two weeks were surreal...

I've been fairly consistent about going to synagogue to say Kaddish.  The morning prayer service lasts about 30 minutes, the leader usually speed reads through most of the Hebrew and I can' t really follow along.  It gives me a chance to clear my mind, though.  A few moments to pause and reflect, to prepare myself for the day ahead. It keeps me centered, focused, grounded.

The World Series is over, and the Mets went down in flames.  Sigh.  At least they put on a good show at Citi Field -- Tony Bennett, Demi Lovato and (of course) Billy Joel.  Celebrities in the stands included Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, John Leguizamo, Dennis Miller, Matt Dillon.  They may have won the baseball games, but we won the star power.

It's candy season at my office.  It started with a few Mounds and Almond Joys in a dish in the reception area.  Then there were the Halloween leftovers in the break room.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming...If I start eating candy, I may not be able to stop.  the other night Drew had a ton of candy left over, there were only a few trick-or-treaters at his door, and I dove into the leftovers head first...made him put the bag in another room....

Though I have kept up on exercise.  I even managed a trip to Jones Beach the other day.  I'm not sure I want to join a gym.  I'm doing well with workout videos, I'm working at my own pace and feeling good.  I don't know if I'd be comfortable in a gym right now.    Though if I join the JCC, I'll have access to the pool...recreational swimming (I'm not ready to do real lap swimming)...let me give it some thought.

It's Election Day, an off year, just town and county contests.  What did Tip O'Neill say?  "All politics is local."  I think he meant that a candidate must address the concerns of his constituents.  But really, local politics have a larger influence on the average person's life than all that stuff going on in D.C., right?  Of course I will be voting. 

Looking forward to next year, of course.  I'm wondering how the primaries will play out, who will win the nomination of each party.   

Monday, November 2, 2015

Songbird Salutes the 70's: Disco

Last month my musical posts were right off a "classic rock" playlist.  This month I'd like to explore the other side of 70's music:  disco. 

A lot of people didn't like disco.  Some radio stations even sponsored "Disco Sucks" campaigns, where listeners were encouraged to destroy vinyl records containing the latest disco hits.  Obviously I wasn't part of that crowd.

Nor was  I t one of those disco types who spent every weekend dancing in a club.  But I liked the beat, I liked the sound, I liked to dance.  I have fond memories of The Rafters, a dance club I'd visit occasionally while in college.

The big movie of 1977 was Saturday Night Fever.  Starring John Travolta and featuring a score composed by the Bee Gees, it explored the disco phenomenon.    The music from the movie dominated the Billboard charts.

The movie poster featured Travolta, all black shirt and white suit, in an iconic dance floor pose. 

"Saturday night fever movie poster". Via Wikipedia -

It was the first "R" rated movie I'd ever seen.  It made an impression.

And I can't help but think of the movie every time I drive across the Verrazano Bridge.

Sadly, the sequel was awful.  And the recent stage version...not so good. 

But here it is, the opening sequence, featuring Travolta's famous strut and the incredible vocals of the Bee Gees:

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy November!

So -- NaBloPoMo.

I've been participating in this challenge for awhile now. The objective is to write a blog post every single day of the month.   I joined the challenge in February and have participated every single month since then.  I didn't succeed in October -- I managed to write over 31 posts, but I missed a few days of blogging.   Overall I've enjoyed the discipline of having to produce something every day.

November is the big month for NaBloPoMo, the month with the most participants, the month where they give out actual prizes to some bloggers who  meet the challenge.

There's no theme this month.  I've free to choose my own theme, my own topics. 

There's so much to talk about.  Blockbuster movies. Broadway shows.  Baseball.  1970's nostalgia. Music.  Novels.  Current affairs.

Restaurant reviews.  New products I've tried. 

Day trips and vacations.


My family, my relationships. 

So here we go ...

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