life in and around NYC is insane

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Pit Stop

The Pit Stop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The first time I went to The Pit Stop was about five years ago, right after Guy Fieri featured it on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  I really liked the place, really liked my meal.  But for some reason, I never went back.  Until the other night.  And now I'm wondering why it took me so long to get back here.

The place looks like an old fashioned hamburger stand.  You order your food at the counter and bring your tray to a table.  But if you think you're limited to burgers and fries.... yes, they do have burgers,  but they also have so much more.

How about a quinoa burger?  Grilled mahi mahi sandwich?  Teriyaki glazed salmon salad?  A grilled shrimp wrap with black bean mango salsa?  Or their signature dish, spaghetti squash primavera?

I wasn't particularly imaginative when we were here the other night, I ordered a plain burger (pickles and ketchup) with a side of grilled vegetables instead of fries.  The food was cooked to order, the burger was fresh and juicy. The vegetables -- yellow squash, zucchini, bell peppers and eggplant --were perfectly cooked, soft but not mushy, and served with soy sauce for dipping. 

I think I'll be making more pit stops in the future....

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


The world has gone crazy. Yet another terrorist attack at a busy airport.

This time in Turkey.

I've been fascinated with Turkey since I wrote a research paper on that country in 6th grade. Drew is even more fascinated, the Sephardic branch of his family came from Greece and Turkey.

It's a hybrid, partially in Europe and partially in Asia. The seat of many empires over the centuries, it has a unique language and culture. It is a modern Western nation ...whose citizens are predominantly Muslim.

Modern, Westernized and Muslim.

And that's why ISIS hates the Turks.

Scary, scary world we live in.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 28

One of the weirdest, quirkiest aspects of my life is my relationship with Drew.

I mean, how many people do you know who go through a horrible divorce, only to rekindle their romance years later? 

But then, we  broke up twice before we eventually got engaged and married.

But then, Liz Taylor married Richard Burton twice, didn't she?

But then, Natalie Wood married Robert  Wagner ...well, that one didn't work out so well...

The weird thoughts are coming at me today.

We got married on June 28.

June 28, 1987, to be precise.  29 years ago.

The life I'm living right now is not exactly what I imagined for myself 29 years ago. 

So, do I acknowledge the anniversary of a failed marriage? 

Of a marriage that produced two wonderful children?

Of an event that happened with the man I'm with now, an event of our shared past?

It's a weird day in my very weird life.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The festival

So we headed up to Tarrytown for the Dark Shadowsfestival. The show premiered 50 years ago today, so this fan convention was a "special" one.

The reason this gathering of fans took place in Tarrytown? Lyndhurst.

Lyndhurst is a 19th century Gothic Revival mansion on the banks of the Hudson River. Beautiful historical site.

It was used as the set for two movies, House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows.

Two years ago the festival was held primarily on the grounds of the mansion. This year, most of the events were held at the Doubletree, just down the road from the mansion. The grand ballroom at the Doubletree is more comfortable than sitting in a tent on the grounds of the mansion, but you lose a bit of atmosphere, I think.

So the festival included an optional tour of Lyndhurst Friday afternoon, followed by various screenings, meetings, etc., in the ballroom Friday night and all day Saturday, culminating in a luncheon Sunday, with an optional tour of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery late Sunday afternoon.

We drove up from Long Island Saturday morning, drove home Saturday night, and returned on Sunday.

So we spent the day in the ballroom, hanging with friends and watching videos and listening to presentations by people who were involved in producing the show.

The best part of Saturday was when the surviving cast members took the stage to reminisce about the show. We saw David Selby, Lara Parker, Kathryn Leigh Scott, James Karlen ... There was also a fan costume contest and a skit prepared by fans. And then we saw a failed pilot from 2004, when producer Dan Curtis tried to revive the show.

But to be honest, most of it was boring.

I thought it was me. I mean, I like the show, but I'm not a huge fan. And because our plan to come to the festival was so last minute, I'd already made other plans for the weekend. And once I'd finished my lunch at the hotel restaurant (a decent but uninspiring turkey avocado wrap), there wasn't much else to do.

But then Drew said he thought a lot of it was "lame".

We stopped at the ElDorado Diner -- great food -- before heading home.

The luncheon Sunday was better. Food was ok -- we were all served chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, broccoli rabe and carrots, with a salad, dinner rolls, and a red velvet cupcake for dessert (they called it a "blood velvet" cupcake in keeping with the vampire theme). More presentations from cast members, a charity auction of memorabilia from the show (Drew successfully bid on a Barnabas Collins cape).

Overall it was fun, but I think that next time I'll let Drew go without me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Kasey's Kitchen

Kaseys American Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So I got invited to two parties, and both were held at Kasey's. 

I don't get to Rockville Centre often.  It seems like a very interesting area, with lots of shopping and restaurant choices, probably fun to explore.  But parking is abysmal at best, even with public lots available. 

Kasey's is cozy and casual.  Both parties were held in a separate party room, behind the bar. 

The first party was held on a weeknight, and the bar and restaurant were very busy.  The party room was set up to accommodate a DJ and dance floor -- seating was a bit cramped as a result.  There were passed  hors d'oeuvres during the cocktail hour.  I especially liked the caprese skewers -- cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and olives splashed with a balsamic vinaigrette -- and the buffalo chicken, which was hot and spicy but not overpowering.   The meal began with a nice salad. We were given a choice of four different entrees, some of which do not appear on Kasey's regular menu.  I enjoyed a shrimp dish. The sheet cake was good, but not spectacular -- to be honest, I don't remember what type of cake/filling/frosting.  Service was attentive, but a bit slow. 

The luncheon was about a week or so later.  This time, there was no DJ or dance floor, and much more space between the tables.  There was no cocktail hour, and lunch was served buffet style: penne a la vodka, rice pilaf, beef teriyaki, chicken cordon bleu and some sort of salmon dish, long with salad and dinner rolls. The cake, however -- chocolate cake with cannoli filling and whipped cream.  Heavenly.

I've never been to Kasey's except for these two parties, so I can't comment on the regular menu.  But given my two positive experiences at the parties, I'm sure that I'll keep Kasey's in mind the next time I'm in Rockville Centre.

Friday, June 24, 2016

So....about that convention...

As you may recall, Drew and I are fans of the 1960's Gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows.  Well, truth be told, he's the real fan, I merely like the show.  Two years ago, we spent a weekend at a Dark Shadows fan convention in Tarrytown, NY, listening to the actors reminisce, buying memorabilia, enjoying time with other fans of the show.  At that time, Drew told me he'd like to come back in 2016, for the convention that would honor the show's 1966 premiere.

Some friends of ours planned to go to this year's convention as well.  The plan was to get a couple of hotel rooms in  Tarrytown and spend the weekend. 

We sent in the money for this year's convention back in March.  Our friends received their tickets  a short time later.  But we received a refund, with a note explaining that the convention was sold out. 

Oh, well.

And then.... the guy who we planned to go to the convention with belongs to a Dark Shadows Facebook group.  A few days ago, he connected with one of the other group members, who has tickets but cannot go to the convention because of a family emergency. 

Guess who bought the tickets.

You guessed.

The plans have changed slightly.  We're not getting a hotel room in Tarrytown.  It's a 90 minute drive from Long Island to Tarrytown, we'll do the drive both days.

But yes, we're going to the convention after all.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Enough is Enough

We live in historic times.

I never imagined I would see a filibuster such as the one by Senator Murphy.

I never imagined a sit-in, led by a civil rights icon such as John Lewis, on the floor of the House of Representatives, with representatives singing "We Shall Overcome".

It's a story that knocked Donald Trump off the front page.

But the American people have had enough.

Enough of gun violence. Enough of a dysfunctional and divisive Congress. Enough of the NRA running our government, of policies opposed by 90% of the voting public.

It's time for sensible gun regulations. It's time to stop the carnage. It's time to catch up with the rest of the civilized world.

I do not envy Paul Ryan. He cannot win this battle.

#noflynobuy #nobillnobreak

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 ...

First a filibuster, now a sit-in.

Thank you, Rep. Lewis. 

Cheer coach redux

So you may remember that Jen was a varsity cheerleader in high school. She didn't cheer in college, but did maintain a relationship with her high school team.

She graduated from college and took a job with a local nursery school. So when the junior varsity cheer team at her old high school needed a coach, she was able to take the job. The girls on the team loved her, and she was a very effective coach -- she took her team to competition, and came home with a trophy.

The following year she got a job as a paraprofessional in our school district. And she was promoted to varsity cheer coach. She loved coaching, loved the girls on her team.

Did not love the drama from a school administrator who refused to treat her like a professional, or a j.v. coach who wanted her job and tried to undermine her at every opportunity. So the following year, she resigned. (And watched the j.v. coach singlehandedly destroy the cheer program. Needless to say, the district hired someone else after that.)

Well, Jen got a better job in another school district, she's a teaching assistant in the middle school. The woman who has been coaching the middle school team can't do it anymore. So Jen has been hired to be the coach!

She's excited, of course. She loves cheer. She needs to complete her certification -- now that cheerleading is recognized as an official sport, coaches must be properly certified.

I'm remembering from when Jen was a cheerleader and Becca was on dance team that the district where Jen works always did well in competitive dance, but not on cheer competitions. Jen tells me that the team she will be coaching hasn't done competitions. She plans to build the team in 2016-2017, and then decide if she wants to compete the following year.

Still, it's good to have Coach Jen back. I'm sure she will have a great year.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


When I was a little girl, my father supplemented his income as a teacher by working in a day camp every summer. One of the perks of his summer employment was that my sisters and I got to go to camp all summer. And one of the best parts of camp was that we went to the pool twice a day, sometimes for lessons and sometimes for recreational swimming.

When I was a teenager, my parents installed a pool in the back yard. Heaven.

My father got sick a few years ago, and we didn't open the pool that summer. Or any summer since then.

And I really missed it.

Last summer Drew got a pool pass for his community pool. He's not much of a swimmer, but he knew I'd like it.

I loved it. So he got a pass for this summer.

I went swimming on Saturday, first time this season.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 20, 2016

The summer solstice and the strawberry moon

Happy first day of summer!

Today is the summer solstice. The longest day of the year. Hours and hours of daylight.

It is also a full moon. The strawberry moon, because we're in the middle of the strawberry harvest. Also known as the Rose Moon.

Many ancient, pagan cultures celebrated the solstice. Go to Stonehenge today and you will find a festival in progress, an echo of the past ...

Ancient cultures were also preoccupied with the lunar cycle, particularly the new moon and the full moon.

So when the full moon coincides with the summer solstice...

Some might say there is magic in the air.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day

Father. Papa. Dad. Daddy. Whatever name you call him by ... He's one of the most important people in your life.

And when he's gone, a huge part of who you are goes with him.

It's the first Father's Day since my father passed away.

Jen and Becca and I will take Drew to brunch, as we have done every Father's Day.

But then ...

Last year we had a family dinner to honor my father.

This year dinner will be bittersweet.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 17, 2016

songbird salutes the 70's: Meat Loaf

The news today: Meat Loaf collapsed on stage during a performance in Canada, he's n the hospital but doing well.

Marvin Lee Aday, better known as Meat Loaf, first came to our attention in a featured role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  When he sang "Hot Patootie -- Bless My Soul", we all paid attention.

but it wasn't until 1977's "Bat Out of Hell" album that Meat Loaf became a star. 

Teenage angst, young love, sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Theatrical storytelling.  Powerful ballads. That distinctive Jim Steinman sound.  And incredible cover art.

The album was released in October 1977, during my senior year of high school, and the songs dominated the radio the following summer. The melancholy and cynical  "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad".  The raunchy "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" with the play-by-play done by none other than Yankee great Phil Rizzuto.  And the title track, in which the hero literally crashes and burns.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bless you, Senator Murphy

History is being made. Feels a bit like a Jimmy Stewart movie.

Murphy finally said "Enough!"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Orlando redux

It's been a very tough week in Orange County, Florida.

The huge headlines, of course, belong to the mass shooting at Pulse.  We are shocked, angry, horrified, mournful. 

The news of the mass shooting in a nightclub almost made me forget about the previous night's events.  A singer named Christina Grimmie, a rising star with a huge following on YouTube, who'd been a moderately successful contestant on the TV show "The Voice", was shot and killed by a deranged fan while signing autographs after her show. 

The theater where Grimmie was killed is about 2 miles away from Pulse.

And then last night, more horrifying news. 

A family of five -- father, mother and three young children -- on vacation at Disneyworld.  They're at the Grand Floridian Hotel, hanging out on the beach during outdoor movie night.  Father and two year old son go down to the water's edge.  The sign says "no swimming", but they're not swimming, they're wading in water that's less than a foot deep.

The boy's splashing attracts attention.  The wrong kind of attention.  The boy is attacked by an alligator and dragged away.

I can easily put myself in the shoes of those parents.  How many times, when Jen and Becca were little, did we go to Disney? How many times, when we stayed at the Polynesian -- right next door to the Grand Floridian -- did I let them play on the beach?    The thought that an alligator might be lurking in those waters never occurred to me. 

I cannot imagine the horror those parents witnessed last night.  I cannot imagine the grief, anger, self blame they must be feeling. 

It's a scary world.  Hug your children.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Spire Activity Tracker

So yes, in a bit of self indulgence, I bought myself a Spire.  I've been using it for about 10 days now. 

I've been a Fitbit girl for about 15 months now.  I bought a Fitbit activity monitor when I decided I needed to lose weight and get healthy.  My device of choice is the Fitbit Charge HR, a device worn on the wrist, which monitors heart rate, steps, calories burned, sleep quality...very useful device for someone just starting out on a fitness plan, good feedback.   When I was still a member of Weight Watchers, I linked my Weight Watchers online account with my Fitbit account, so that my "activity points" would be calculated automatically.  Now that I'm using My Fitness Pal as a food diary instead of Weight Watchers, I linked Fitbit and My Fitness Pal, so that the calories I burn from exercise show up in my diary at My Fitness Pal.

But the Spire ... Yes, it's an activity tracker.  And no, I don't need it to track steps/calories. Fitbit clearly has that covered.

The Spire's focus is on breathing.  Are you calm?  Tense?  Focused?   Spire will alert you to breathing patterns. 

We're all familiar with Dr. Lamaze and his breathing exercises to relieve pain during childbirth.  Breathing exercises are also useful in stress management.  Researchers are now developing similar techniques for chronic pain management, as a way to avoid opiate painkillers.  And there is evidence that breathing techniques can even help lower blood sugar levels in diabetes patients. 

The only other tracker that concerns itself with breathing patterns, Bellabeat's Leaf,  tracks breathing during guided stress management exercises.  Spire, on the other hand, tracks breathing throughout the day.  You can set the device to vibrate when you're tense, focused, calm.  The device can be programmed to remind you to get up and move, or to take a deep breath.

But Spire goes beyond simple breathing exercises.  Spire is also part of the "mindfulness" trend.  The app is pre-loaded with a series of mediations and lessons on what "mindfulness" is.  As a newbie to the concept of mindfulness, I'm finding the lesson to be interesting and enlightening.  The guided meditations are similar to what I've found on the website/app Stop, Breathe and Think -- a gentle voice guides you into closer observation of your surroundings, assessing your feelings, calming your mind. 

I found several free apps that guide you through breathing exercises and mindfulness training.  So no, I don't really need a Spire.  But it is making me more aware of my emotional state.  No, I didn't really need the Spire to tell me that I was tense during the climatic battle scene in the X-Men movie.  But overall I am finding the feedback useful in discovering my stress triggers. 

Bottom line?  It's a toy, but a useful toy.  I 'm enjoying playing with my Spire. 

Practical matters:   You wear the Spire clipped to your waistband or bra (I prefer the latter, it feels more secure).  The devise pairs with an IOS app (the manufacturer indicates an Android app is in development), and the app is necessary for the full use of Spire's features.  I have an Android phone, so I've had to pair my Spire with my iPad mini.  A little bit inconvenient, especially since Spire can only hold 6 hours of data.  And no, the data does not back up to a Spire website. Battery is rechargeable, a charge lasts about 7 days.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


When I think of Orlando, I think of vacations. Of happy times. The thrill of landing at MCO, the excitement of traveling to Disneyworld, to Universal/Islands of Adventure, To Seaworld. My first visit, in 1987, we drove to Cape Canaveral, took a cruise to the Bahamas, then drove back to Orlando for some time at Disney. How many times have I vacationed in Central Florida? I can plan a vacation like that in my sleep.

Orlando should be about Mickey Mouse.

Not about the worst mass shooting in our country's history.

Hate crime? Terrorism? Insanity?

Does it really matter?

The shooter used an assault rifle. A weapon designed for one purpose: to kill people.

A weapon he most likely bought legally.

Why does anyone except a soldier need an assault rifle?

50 people dead. 53 injured, many in critical condition.

Why? Why?

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Saturday, June 11, 2016


Alana had to take down a tree that was threatening her house.

It reminded me of how my mom got the skylight she wanted.

My parents bought a new house when I was 8 years old.  Or, actually, they bought a plot of land and had a house built. The chose a two-story colonial.

One of the reasons my parents chose this particular plot was that it was in a wooded area, lots of trees.  In fact, there were several oak trees that were taller than the house!

What you must also understand is that the den/family room extends out from the back of the house.  the second floor does not extend over the den.

One wall is brick, and contains a fireplace.  The original decor of the room included dark paneling on the other three walls, heavy wood beams across the ceiling, and a deep red carpet.  I think my mother was going for a Tudor look.

It made the room very dark.  My mother was not happy,   She wanted to put in a skylight, to brighten up the room.

It was my senior year of high school, and we were having a horrible, horrible winter.

There was a particularly bad storm one night, howling winds, and ice that would coat the trees.  In the middle of the night we heard a crack! And a crash!

And when we ran downstairs....

One of the oak trees had dropped a branch...a branch as thick as many trees ...onto the roof of the den.  It landed dead broke through the roof and through the ceiling...

Right where my mother wanted the skylight.

It was a bad storm, we lost electricity for a week.  But when it was over, and repairs were made ...well, my mother got her skylight.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

we live in historic times

I love the sound of a glass ceiling shattering. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Another election day....

While it's true that the District of Columbia, with its 20 delegates at stake, doesn't vote until June 14, essentially the Democratic primary ends tonight. 

California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana and North and South Dakota vote today.   The big races are New Jersey, where Clinton has an enormous lead, and California, where she leads by a slim margin.

Then there was the news that super delegate Obama is waiting until tomorrow, when he will announce his support for Hillary.

And then last night came the news:  after her big win in Puerto Rico over the weekend, and with new a report by the Associated Press that super delegates flocking to her cause,   Hillary Clinton has clinched the nomination for President.

Hillary Clinton, the first female nominee of a major party.

I can't wait until it becomes official tonight.

And I can't wait until she wins it all in November.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Another this and that

So my friend in the hospital was bored to tears, and posted on Facebook, asking people to come visit her.  How could I refuse and invitation like that?  I spent a couple of hours with her.  She's nervous and uncomfortable, but determined to regain her health and return to her very full life.

She asked about my mother.  My mom is 83, and doing OK.  but she does have her "issues", and of course I worry.

Haven't seen much of Jen lately.  It's summer, which means her boyfriend is tending bar every weekend on Fire Island.  Which means she's seeing more of him during the week.

Becca has been spending a lot of time with David-who-is-not-her-boyfriend.  I am pretty sure he has been, or will shortly be, returned to "boyfriend" status,

Drew is literally counting the days until the end of school and the beginning of summer vacation  his retirement.  He plans to be a substitute teacher next year, which is less stressful --  no meetings or paperwork or stuff like that.  the retirement parties have already begun.

I am also looking forward to summer.  I've started taking walks on the boardwalk again.  going to the gym is a great workout, but a trip to the boardwalk exercises my body while feeding my soul.

Drew is going to get a pass for his community pool, and then I can add swimming to my exercise routine.  I love swimming.

Healthy lifestyle, healthy body.  Calm and focused mind.  Nourished soul.  I want to live my life to the fullest.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

X-Men:Apocalypse -- possible spoilers

Yes, there is a Stan Lee cameo.  Yes, there is an Easter egg after the credits.  And yes, there is an uncredited cameo that fans will see coming a mile away.

I heard the reviews of the  movie were so-so, but I am a fan and I enjoyed the movie.

It's set in 1986, and the pop culture of that era is evident -- the music, a character playing Ms. Pacman, a debate about the three Star Wars movies.  There's also a nice salute to the original Star Trek series.

An ancient and powerful mutant has awakened, and wants to lead the mutants in subduing humanity, so that mutants will rule the world as demigods.  Charles Xavier and company oppose him, of course. Lots of action, lots of great special effects -- especially in 3D -- and we get to find out how Charles lost his hair.

The Magnito back story -- his childhood in Auschwitz -- fascinates me.  He's a complex character, more wounded than evil.  His background becomes very important in this movie.  the destruction of Auschwitz is a powerful piece of cinema, something usually beyond the scope of a super heroes action movie.

A fun movie, worth seeing.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Heckscher Park

No, not the big state park on the South Shore.

I am talking about a small but historic park in Huntington village. 

Huntington is on the  North Shore.  The town very proud of its colonial-era heritage.  It is also a thriving modern community; the village area features upscale restaurants and very nice shops.

Heckscher Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.  It is a small community park, and so much more.  It contains tennis courts, a baseball field, a outdoor theater...a beautifully landscaped art museum.   

Yes, an art museum. The Heckscher Museum of Art was founded by August Heckscher in 1920.  It currently houses over 2,000 works, primarily of 19th and 20th Century American artists. 

I used to go to Heckscher Park for arts festivals and to see some of the local entertainment that graces the outdoor stage, but I hadn't been there in a long time.  And it occurred to me that Heckscher Park would be an interesting place for a walk.

The park sits on Main Street, right behind the Old First Church.  If you look up the hill towards the street, you get excellent views of this historic church:

There's a beautiful footpath all around the pond, home to geese and swans.  Watch your footing, especially on the southeast side of the pond, the geese are very much at home here. 



I confess that I have never been inside the art museum, but it does look interesting:

Those steel beams in front of the museum are part of the 9/11 memorial. 

And the memorial:

If you walk through the columns of steel, at the end you will find the waterfall:

I love the gazebo:

There are small monuments and artwork throughout the park:

The fountain is lovely:


The theater:

Yes, the theater is named for Harry Chapin.  He lived in Huntington for many years.  His wife is still very active in the local arts council.  

In fact, Heckscher Park is part of my personal history with Chapin.  It was here, during an appearance at the arts festival,  that he gave me an autographed Frisbee and kissed my cheek. 

Overall a very nice park, a pleasant place to take a walk. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Hey, Hey We're the Monkeess

Yes, you know I am a fan. 

So when the Monkees announced a 50th anniversary tour, I was right there.  Drew and I bought tickets for a concert in NYC.   

I didn't know, at the time, that they'd also be promoting a new album, Good Times.  Or that they'd actually have a single, "She Makes Me Laugh", on the charts.

So Wednesday night we headed over to Town Hall -- a small venue on West 43rd, it seats about 1,500 -- for the anniversary concert. 

This time around, it was just Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork.  Though Mike Nesmith literally phoned in a performance.  And the presence of the late Davy Jones was felt. 

Mickey and Peter performed in front of a large video screen, footage of the Monkees in their heyday was displayed on the screen:


They sang two cuts from the new album, but for the most part stayed with the big hits of the 60's.    They made good use of modern technology, though, singing along with vocal tracks recorded by Davy back in the day.

And when I say Mike literally phoned in a performance, I mean it:

Yes, Skype.  Very tinny, but that wasn't a problem for the audience. 

I always expect to get a bit emotional when Mickey and Peter lead the audience in "daydream Believer", a song so thoroughly identified with Davy.  Davy Jones was my first celebrity crush. 

But what "got" me this time?  They sang "that Was Then, This Is Now", the song that charted in the 1980's.  That was back when the Monkees were experiencing a revival thanks to MTV.

I'm used to seeing the footage from the 60's, when they were young men in their 20's.  But the footage from the 80's, when they were all mature men, when I was no longer a child but a young woman....that kind of set me off balance. 

Overall a great concert and a nice evening.  Glad we went.  Drew thinks this may be the last tour, that after 50 years they're going to call it a career and move on. 

But the music lives on.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

mindfulness and meditation

Transcendental meditation was a big thing when I was teenager, back in the 70's.  It was an outgrowth of the hippie movement.  Find a guru and chant your mantra.  The mainstream made fun of it...

I always sort of had an interest in meditation, but never really pursued it.  

But now...

In addition to my visits to Planet Fitness, my walks in the park, my "walk at home" DVD's, I've discovered I like yoga.  Not just the physical aspect of it, the stretching and strengthening of muscles and bones, though I do enjoy that a lot.  But the calmness, the quiet appreciation of natural surroundings, the feeling of being at peace...

My interest in yoga leads to an interest in mindful mediation.
Mindfulness, I'm told, is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad, just to be aware of them. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment, actively being there,  and awakening to experience.  Mindfulness meditation is supposed to help you focus, become more aware of yourself and your surroundings, reduce stress and increase contentment. 

This being the 21st Century, there's an app for that...or rather, several apps to help you develop the habit of meditation.  It takes just a few minutes a day.  Breathe, relax, calm yourself... I've been practicing. 

I think it helps. 

And today...

My Spire will arrive.

Spire is an activity monitor, but with a difference. When you're active, it measures steps and calories.  when you're not moving, however ...  It measures breathing, tells you when you're stressed so you can figure out your stress triggers.   It comes with a CD of guided mindfulness meditations. 

Not that I need another activity tracker, I love my Fitbit Charge HR.  It's a very helpful tool.

But I've been lusting after a Spire for awhile now.

I've known for a long time that psychology is an important factor  when it comes to self improvement, such as breaking a bad habit or losing weight.  What's going on in your head is just as important as what you're putting on your plate.  Maybe more important.  I tend to eat my emotions.  If mindfulness and meditation help me recognize and deal with my emotions, it can't be a bad thing.    Another tool to help me get to goal.

And it was on sale.  Save 30%.  Can't beat that argument.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

worried for a friend -- update

At the beginning of April, I posted some fears I have for a good friend of mine.  You can read the original post here.

To recap:  delightful woman, full of life, but extremely obese, a diabetic,  and not doing anything to work towards a healthier lifestyle. 

Back in April, she was admitted to the hospital with a foot ulcer -- a very very serious complication for anyone with diabetes.  She had surgery and a lengthy hospital stay, followed by a stint in a rehab, and was eventually sent home with IV antibiotics. 

That was around the middle of May.  A week or so later, she posted on Facebook that she would be getting hyperbaric treatments at a different hospital, because the foot wound wasn't  healing properly.  But don't worry, she told me, she'd be at the Memorial Day barbecue. 

A few days later, she posted on Facebook that she was being rushed to the hospital, the one with the hyperbaric chamber.   And then she posted that she was in a private room at that hospital.

She hasn't said much else, either publically or privately, other than how much she missed coming to the barbecue.

But I know how to read between the lines.  And I am very, very worried about her. 

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