life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The waning days of summer

The autumn equinox isn't until September 21, the weather in September is generally warm and sunny.  Yet when Labor Day arrives, we all turn our calendars to "Fall".  

Drew went back to work this week, Jen goes back next week. The community pool is about to close for the season, the fall TV shows are about to premiere.  My mailbox is stuffed with catalogues featuring the new fall fashions. 

I went to Sunken Meadow after work yesterday.  Can't tell you how many high school sports teams were there, taking a run on the boardwalk. 

I took a 3 mile walk, and it felt so good.  But by the time I finished walking, the sun had set, and the park employees were beginning to move people off the sand -- the park closes at dusk.  In a few short weeks I won't be able to go for a walk here...

I guess that's why I haven't been to the gym in the last few weeks.  I've wanted to be outside, to squeeze in as much summer as I can ...

Monday, August 29, 2016

The thing about local baseball...

Last night was "Jewish Heritage Night" at Bethpage Ballpark.

The first 1500 fans to enter the ballpark each received a "L'Chaim Cup":

The flag of Israel flew beneath the American flag, and Hatikvah was played:

"The Star Spangled Banner" was sung by a synagogue choir. 

And the scoreboard, the cards introducing the players were altered to fit the night's theme:

I wanted a photo of the pitcher's introduction  card -- he was #18.  By the time I got my camera out, his card was gone, never to return -- they use the DH in Atlantic League baseball,   "18" is chai, and that means life -- but there was no life in the pitcher, he couldn't seem to find the strike zone.

We stayed until the bitter score 5-2. 

Our next Ducks game will be a playoff game, at the end of September.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Thomas's Ham 'n' Eggery

Thomas's Ham 'N' Eggery Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

One of the best breakfasts I've had.

Thomas's is a stand-alone diner that looks much the same as it did when the place opened in 1946.  You'll usually find a line out the door during breakfast hours.  Not only must you wait for a table, you must wait to sit at the counter.

We chose the counter, and had an excellent view of the magnets that the owner's family collected over the years:

The breakfast menu is extensive, and features pancakes, waffles and French toast.  But their signature dishes are all egg-based: omelettes, fritattas and scrambles.Egg dishes are served in an individual skillet, along with home fires and toast. For my first experience I chose something basic, a Texan scramble -- 3 eggs, bacon, sausage, onion, pepper and cheddar cheese.

The onion was wilted but not caramelized, the green peppers were still crisp, and the cheese didn't overpower the rest of the dish.  The potatoes were crispy, not greasy.  I didn't really taste the bacon, but I didn't miss it -- the sausage was mild but flavorful.

I'm thinking next time I'll try the fontina and pancetta frittata, or maybe the nutella-filled French toast.

Service was quick and efficient.  Parking lot is very. very small.  And they don't take credit cards, so bring cash.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The human sponge

What they don't tell you about platelet donation:  SODIUM!!!!!!

The Red Cross explains the donation process as follows:

During a platelet donation, a small portion of your blood (about 1/4 pint at a time), is drawn from your arm and passed through a sophisticated cell-separating machine. The machine collects the platelets and safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back to you. After the donation you can resume your normal activities, avoiding heavy lifting or strenuous exercise that day.

And guess what they use as an anti coagulant while they're processing your blood?

Sodium citrate. 

And when the donation is over, the nurse asks you to drink some juice and eat some very salty food, like pretzels. 

And then I ate Chinese take out...and we went out for burgers...

I donated platelets on Friday, and by Monday, I'd gained over 5 pounds.

It was  frustrating to see that number on the scale.  I was almost ready to throw in the towel on my weight loss efforts.

But my feet were rings were tight...

Yes, water retention.

By Wednesday I'd dropped 5 pounds.

I felt a little bit wrung out (yes, I went there), but much , much happier.

Friday, August 26, 2016

save a life and you have saved the world

The first time was in college.  I had never done it before, but everyone else was doing it.  I admit, I was both curious and fearful. Curiosity won the day. So I  let the vampire remove a pint of the precious red substance, my lifeblood.

Yes, I've been donating blood since I was in college.  I am a proud member of the Gallon Club. 

Last week I tried something different.  Platelet donation.

It's a more complicated process than a whole blood donation, and requires a longer time commitment.  It was a bit uncomfortable, but not painful.  I wasn't sure I would agree to do it again...

Until the nurse/phlebotomist told we "We have enough for two doses.  You've saved two lives today."

Thursday, August 25, 2016

To boldly go...

Last summer, Drew and I spent a day at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.  The Intrepid, as you may recall, was an aircraft carrier, known primarily for its missions during WW II and the Vietnam War.  It's a museum now, permanently docked at Pier 86.  You can read about last year's visit here

Well, Drew so thoroughly enjoyed last year's visit that he decided to become a member of the museum.  And that's how we were invited to an after-hours "open house" for museum members.  Most of the exhibits were open, and there were special tours and talks for the members.  We had a chance to view the Vietnam section of the hanger deck, which was under construction when we were at the museum last summer.  We had the opportunity to view memorabilia found on the ship or  donated by various sailors, such as survival kits, cigarette lighters, log books, etc.,  which are not on public display.  And we took an in-depth tour of the space shuttle Enterprise.

But what I liked most was a temporary exhibit.

What does a TV show like Star Trek have to do with a history and science museum?

Simple, really.  The space shuttle Enterprise was so-named because of the influence of Star Trek fans.   And NASA used actress Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura in the original series, to actively recruit astronauts for the shuttle program, to bring women and minorities into the space program. 

So...the experience

"Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek at the Intrepid Museum— the first venue in the United States to host this immersive “Trek Tech” experience, spanning 12,000 square feet on Pier 86. Become a cadet at the Starfleet Academy, and embark on an interactive journey with Leap Motion, projection mapping, holograms and other Star Trek technologies.  After student orientation, you’ll visit nine zones focusing on the Academy’s special training in language, medicine, engineering, navigation, command and science. Complete your training to learn your specialty. In addition to Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience, the Museum will feature special Star Trek–themed programs and tours."

If you're not a Star Trek fan, you can stop reading here.

The premise is that you are a recruit, seeking admission into Star Fleet Academy.  Your interactions with the exhibits will determine whether you are admitted into the Academy, and what course of study you will pursue.  When you enter the exhibit, you are issued a wrist band, which, when activated, allows you to interact with many of the exhibits.  You'll be asked to furnish an email address, because at the end of the tour you'll receive your results.

The first thing you will see is a model of the Enterprise: 

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There are costumes on display:

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The bridge of the Kobiyashi Maru:

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Yes, you actually sit on the bridge and try to rescue personnel from a dying spacecraft.

You also get to use a transporter:

Over at the Space Shuttle exhibit, you'll find this prop from the TV show:

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For those of us who have loved the show since forever, it was a wonderful experience. Wish I could do it again!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Yes, it's that time of year.  Time to sign up for the annual breast cancer walk at Jones Beach.

I try to do the walk every year.  It's my way of giving back for all the kindness and support I received when I was sick 11 years ago.  Except for the year I worked the registration tent, and the two  years when I signed up to walk but didn't go to the beach, I've always done the walk.   You start at Field 5, walk to the West End bathhouse, turn around at the tribute fence, and come back to Field 5.

(I'm a little confused, though.  The route hasn't changed, but apparently the distance has.  When I first started doing the walk, the website and promotional materials said it was a "five mile walk".  In later years,  the promotion materials said it was a "five kilometer walk".  This year the website says, once again, that the walk is five miles. Five kilometers is just over three miles, so that's a huge difference, isn't it? )

When I first started doing the walk, I could barely finish it.  I'd walk to the tribute fence without a problem, but  then I'd have drag myself back to the starting point.  But since I've started walking for fun and exercise...well, last year the walk was not difficult at all, and this year I'm sure it will be much easier.

I'm really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Rennaisance Faire

We travelled up to Tuxedo this weekend for another delightful day at the Renaissance Faire.

Usually I wear a skirt and blouse, things from my closet that, when put together, have a Renaissance "look".  This year I wore an actual costume (sorry, I didn't pose for any pictures).  I hadn't done that in years.  I think it's good to  exercise your imagination every once in awhile. (There was an episode of the original Star Trek series all about how the more advanced a society becomes, the bigger the need to "play"...)

Drew likes to shop for armor and weapons -- last year he bought a spear, this year he was looking for a shield.  I like to look at all the other crafts -- jewelry, clothes, decorative pieces.  I collect pewter figurines -- dragons, castles, unicorns and the like.  Didn't buy anything new this year, but it was fun to look.

There's an interesting variety of food stands at the Faire.  this year I was able to buy chicken pad thai for lunch.  But it was annoying that the food stand didn't sell bottled water or soda, and that I had to go to another stand to purchase my drink.

It's impossible to see all the performances in one day, but we saw a lot -- jugglers, magicians, acrobats, knife throwers.  We never miss the Living Chess Game  -- hand-to-had combat -- and we never miss the joust at the end of the day.

This year the Faire is offering a new experience at the joust.  They've redesigned the theater where the joust is held, creating a VIP viewing area.  For $5 you sit in grandstands that face out towards the rest of the audience, sort of like the nobility facing the peasantry ... interesting perspective, you can see the jousting but not the Queen or her court.

Our champion was Sir Ulrich, who wears green and gold:

Four knights do battle.  And here's the moment of truth: -- you can see the lances actually splinter as targets are hit.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Orange Top Diner

Orange Top Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Back to the Rennaisance Faire again this year, and back to Orange Top.  Comforting to know some things never change.  We were seated promptly, served coffee immediately.  Eggs, hash browns, toast, bacon and sausage were placed in front of us quickly and efficiently.  We'll be back next year.

Friday, August 19, 2016

get up and move

So I went to visit my friend in the hospital.  Things are worse than I thought.  I hope I was able to cheer her up a bit.   Our visit left me more worried about her than I was before I saw her.

We were talking about Sunken Meadow.  She told me that she and her daughter went to the park and sat on the boardwalk, how it reminded her of when she was younger and she'd go to Sunken Meadow to swim. 

And I told her how I go up to Sunken Meadow occasionally to walk the boardwalk.

And then she asked me how old I am.  And when I told her -- I'm ten years younger than she is -- she said something about how great it is that I am still so active at my age, when she was my age she was beginning to "wind down". 

I am going to assume that what she meant by "wind down" is exclusively about physical activity.  I've known this woman for probably about 6 or 7 years, and she leads a very busy and rewarding life.  She loves her music and she loves her students.  And she needs to get well and get back to that life.

But her comment sparked a memory.

Flashback to Memorial Day weekend, 1990.  Drew and I and a group of friends went to Lake Gorge for the long  weekend.  One of the highlights of that trip was Ausable Chasm, billed as "the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks."  We took a basic walking tour of the chasm.  And one of our friends marveled at how I was able to do the tour, how I was able to keep up the pace, considering that I was in the second trimester of pregnancy.  It hadn't occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to do a simple walking tour.  I mean, it's not like we rappelled down the canyon walls....

I guess it's all a matter of perspective.  I've never been much of an athlete, I've always been an overweight couch potato.  My love for physical activity is a very recent thing.  If I'm a role model, an example of "being active", we are in a sorry state indeed.

But yes, I'll keep moving. The lternative is unacceptable.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Songbird loves the 80's: CATS

Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and based on poetry by T.S. Elliot, Cats opened in London in 1981, and on Broadway in 1982. In 1997 it became the longest-running show on Broadway. When it closed in September 2000, it had run 7,485 performances. Nominated for 11, it was awarded 7 Tonys.

Those yellow eyes stared at you from the marquee of the Wintergarden Theater for years.  And long after the show closed, I'd find myself looking for those eyes every time I walked near that theater. 

I had two cast albums, the original London cast and the Broadway cast, I had the Broadway album memorized, and I could tell you, in glorious detail, what was changed when the show came across the pond.

I saw the show three times during its record-breaking run.  I loved the video production that was done in 1998. 

I actually named my cat "Mr. Mistoffelees".

I am pleased to know that the revival is coming to Broadway in the fall.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

worried ....

As I mentioned yesterday, my friend is back in the hospital.

She was supposed to be heading to Florida for a vacation with her family.  Instead she's sitting in a hospital with her foot propped up, hoping to finally get it to heal.  If her foot doesn't heal, she may have to face some unpleasant choices, some nasty consequences...

I am so worried for her.  This has been going on since April.  I keep hoping she'll get better, but I am so afraid that this situation is not going to end well.

She's in good hands, I hope they can help.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Vacation All I ever wanted....

My friend -- the one who spent most of the spring in the hospital -- just had to cancel her Disney vacation. She's back in the hospital, her foot still hasn't healed.

So it seems Jen went away for the weekend, up to Connecticut to hang with her friends from college. 

Becca is planning a short getaway to Hershey.  I love that place, took the girls there several times.

And the girls are talking about a trip together, a few days in Washington, DC.

Meanwhile Drew and I are planning our October trip.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mi Casa Dominican restaurant

Mi Casa Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We wanted something a little different. Drew suggested Mi Casa Dominican-- he'd eaten here before, with friends. I'm always interested in something new.

A storefront restaurant in a strip mall, it's a large, airy, pleasant room.  I believe this place is family-owned.  And we were the only customers not fluent in Spanish. 

We were served garlic bread with our drink order.  Nice touch. It was a bit drier than the garlic bread you'd get in an Italian restaurant, but very tasty.

We started with the Picedera Tipica, a sampler platter for two people.  The menu describes it as a platter of fried beef, pork shrimp, cheese, fried  plantains and yucca fries.   The platter designed for two can easily feed four people, I can't imagine the size of the platter meant for four. I enjoyed the platter, for the most part.  The plantains were very good.  But I didn't care for the sausage.  And there was disappointment:  we had  one -- count it, one -- fried shrimp on the entire platter. 

Salads wee very basic -- lettuce topped with slices of tomato and cucumber, served with a mild vinaigrette on the side. 

Drew's entrée was Rabo -- oxtail. I believe the meat was stewed, there was gravy on the plate.

I ordered the Mi Casa Chicken, an interesting  combination of chicken breast filet, ham and pineapple topped with melted Swiss cheese.  It reminded me of a Cuban sandwich. 

Each entrée comes with your choice of potatoes and vegetable or rice and beans. We ordered rice and beans, and the waitress asked if we meant white rice and black beans.  She never informed us that there were other options.  The menu says that entrees are also served with tostones -- sweet plantains -- but we didn't get any plantain with our entrees.  Didn't miss them, either, there was so much food on our plates.

I don't usually order dessert, but I love yes, I ordered the flan.  Smooth, firm, creamy custard topped with a caramel sauce that was sweet without being overpowering.  The dessert was plated with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.  Heaven. 

Lots of leftovers, of course.  Which isn't a bad thing, I'll be eating Dominican cuisine for lunch...

A few missteps, but overall, a nice dining experience. Maybe next time I'll try the mofungo.

Political violence

This article says everything I've been trying to say.

Political violence is no joke


William Kennedy Smith and Jean Kennedy Smith are the nephew and sister of President John. F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated on June 6, 1968.

On April 4, 1968, the day the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed, Robert Kennedy was campaigning for the presidency in Indianapolis. Bobby conveyed the news of King’s death to a shattered, mostly black audience. He took pains to remind those whose first instinct may have been toward violence that President John F. Kennedy had also been shot and killed. Bobby went on, “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”
That speech has crystallized into the single most enduring portrait of Bobby’s candidacy. Because it was extemporaneous, it conveyed directly, and with raw emotion, his own vulnerability, his aspirations for his country and a deep compassion for the suffering of others. Bobby concluded his remarks that night by urging those listening to return home and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Those words mattered. While there were riots in cities across the nation that night, Indianapolis did not burn.

Today, almost 50 years later, words still matter. They shape who we are as a people and who we wish to be as a nation. In the white-hot cauldron of a presidential campaign, it is still the words delivered extemporaneously, off the cuff, in the raw pressure of the moment that matter most. They say most directly what is in a candidate’s heart. So it was with a real sense of sadness and revulsion that we listened to Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, as he referred to the options available to “Second Amendment people,” a remark widely, and we believe correctly, interpreted as a thinly veiled reference or “joke” about the possibility of political assassination.
Political violence is a terrible inherent risk to any free society. Dictators and strongmen like Vladimir Putin have an answer. They are surrounded and shielded by force at all times. They do not brook dissent. In democracies, we expect our leaders to be accessible and, by and large, they want to be. Inevitably, that makes them vulnerable and the loss of a leader at a crucial time impacts family, country and even the world, for generations. Anyone who loves politics, the open competition of ideas and public participation in a free society, knows that political violence is the greatest of all civic sins. It is not to be encouraged. It is not funny. It is not a joke.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Abraham, Martin and John

I am too young to remember the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  My mother tells me that I saw Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald, but I really don't remember.

I have vague childhood memories of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and then, a few months later, of Bobby Kennedy.  I remember Kennedy's funeral. 

I remember the turmoil, the civic unrest, that followed their deaths.

Words matter.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I am a wild woman!

So I'm cruising down the highway in my cute Prius. I'm just keeping up with the traffic.  And I glance at the speedometer.

I'm doing 102!

102 kilometers per hour, that is.  I must have pressed the wrong button on the steering wheel. 

Of course I need to switch it back to miles per hour.  Seeing that "102" is a bit disconcerting.

So I look in the Owner's Manual, no help at all.
Drew tried to figure it out, no luck.

Google led me to YouTube.  Problem resolved.

Ronald Reagan and James Brady

John Hinckley being released from the mental hospital that has been his home since 1981.  The professionals have determined that he is no longer a threat to himself or others.

Do you remember March 30, 1981? 

I was 21 years old, a college student, enjoying an internship in the New York State Assembly. I learned a lot about politics and the political process that semester.

And on that cold March day, I learned fear...

Hinckley did it to impress actress Jodie  Foster. 

He was obsessed with the movie Taxi Driver, in which Foster appeared, where the main character plots to kill a presidential candidate.

Words matter.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Mouse Trap Survivor Cheese Commercial

So last night we were at (yet another) Ducks game. Bottom of the 9th and the ducks are down 7-4.  And there, on the scoreboard, is a video...

I couldn't stop laughing.

Turns out the video is from a cheese commercial...

Gabby Giffords

Gabby Giffords is an incredibly brave and beautiful woman.  I had the pleasure of hearing her speak in April. 

Gabby Giffords was doing her job, out greeting her constituents, when she (along with several others) was shot.

Just a few months earlier, Sarah Palin posted a graphic on line, targeting members of Congress who supported the Affordable Care Act.  She literally put Giffords, among others, in the cross hairs of a gunsight...

Words matter.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Yigal Amir

Yigal Amir.

Remember him?

November 4, 1995 ring any bells?

What if I said Yitzhak Rabin?

Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir on November 4, 1995.

In 1993 Rabin met with President Bill Clinton and Yassir Arafat, in hopes of establishing peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He and Arafat were awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for their roles in creating the Oslo Accords.

Amir was a right wing extremist who believed Rabin was a traitor to the Jewish people.

The political atmosphere in Israel ...there were rallies opposing the Oslo Accords, rallies portraying Rabin as a traitor, as a Nazi...

Words matter.

When Trump and his supporters call Hillary "the devil", proclaim she is "the founder of ISIS", scream "lock her up..."  When he calls for her assassination...

It takes just one crazy to do it...

Words matter.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N in the summer sun

Called Becca last week, I want to go into the city and meet her for dinner.  She was too busy, she was working late because she had to cover for vacationing coworkers.

Jen will be done with summer school this week, and then she has a few weeks off until school starts again in September.  I'm not sure if she has any plans.  She and her boyfriend took a mini vacation, more like a long weekend, on the East End; some friends got married at one of the North Fork vineyards. 

No summer vacation for me this year.    Drew and I are planning a trip in October.  I'm excited about the trip.  But right now I'd like to be doing something fun ...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Cafe Society

Originally we planned to see Suicide Squad, a take on all the recent superhero movies.  But then we decided to be grown ups, to see something a bit more intellectual:  Café Society.

Woody Allen's latest is a sentimental, nostalgic romance set in the 1930's. 

The main character, Bobby, is (unsurprisingly) a nebbish,  who grew up in a neurotic Jewish family in the Bronx.  He heads to California to work for his uncle Phil, a Hollywood agent.  He meets Vonnie, an unconventional Midewesterner.  He falls in love with Vonnie, and Vonnie turns to him when her married boyfriend dumps her.

If you're looking for a happy romance...look elsewhere.  Ultimately Bobby returns to New York, becomes a successful nightclub operator, and marries someone else.

It's a wistful romance punctuated by comedic bits involving the neurotic Jewish relatives.  It's certainly not on par with movies like Sleeper, Annie Hall or Manhattan. But it was definitely worthwhile.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Lay's Tikka Masala

To put it bluntly -- don't bother. They were "spicy" but not really flavorful.  Indistinguishable from any other "hot and spicy" chip I've ever tasted. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Another this and that

Weight Watchers reported its 2nd quarter earnings on Thursday.  They did not meet expectations, their revenue was lower than anticipated.  The price of their stock fell, of course.  I'm not surprised.

I'm back to following the Weight Watchers plan....the old one, Points Plus, that I loved.  It's a much better plan than what they offer now.  I downloaded an app called iTrackBites.  I'm still tracking calories on My Fitness Plan, I love the nutritional feedback you get from that app.  I'm finding that  doing Points Plus encourages me to eat more fruits and vegetables than I was eating when I was simply counting calories.

Not to mention, I've used that app consistently since I started the process in March 2015, so I can see exactly how I'm doing on this weight loss journey.

Although my official weigh in day is Monday, I got on the scale this morning.  And saw a number I haven't seen since before Becca was born. 

Total weight loss since I joined My Fitness Pal?  68 pounds.

I have a mini goal, a weight I want to reach before Drew and I go on our cruise in October.  I'm five pounds away from meeting my mini goal.  If I hit that number in before the end of September, I may have to adjust the goal,  and that's not a bad thing. 

So I haven't been going to the gym as frequently as I planned.  The weather's been too nice, I'm finding myself walking at the beach or park instead.  And trying to get to the community pool when I can.  I'm really enjoying getting my exercise outdoors.  I'm not a natural athlete like my daughters, but I'm doing OK.  The exercise is paying off.  I feel good.  I feel strong.  I feel healthy. 

I'm worried about Drew, though.  He's become very "high maintenance".  I joke that he's got lots of new friends, all with the same first name: doctor.  But the truth of the matter is, he has some serious stuff going on right now and it's making him miserable.  I'm hoping things will get better soon. 

My mom seems to be doing ok after that short stint in the hospital.  She's got great doctors, she'll be fine. 

My friend is back on her feet, literally and figuratively.  In fact, she's on vacation this week, attending a music festival.  she goes to this festival every year, and it would have been horrible if she'd had to miss the festival due to poor health.

Yes, I think you can say my friend's misfortunes have inspired me.

Never take good health for granted. 

And on that note, I wish you all continued good health.

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Olympics

The Olympics begin tonight.

Is Rio ready?  We've heard all the usual delayed construction stories, as well as a few new to this venue -- polluted waterways, the Zika virus.  We've already seen athletes and reporters headed for Ipanema and Copacabana. preparing for the games.

I didn't watch very much of the London games four years ago.  I think the highlight, for me, was seeing Ali Raisman perform her floor routine to "Hava Nagila", and the bold statement she made about the Israeli athletes lost at Munich in 1972.

I plan to record tonight's Opening Ceremony so I can fast forward through all the boring parts.  I'll probably watch the gymnastics, maybe some of the swimming.  And the closing ceremonies, of course.  But the rest?  Probably not.

For the next two weeks we will get an endless stream of Olympic news, so at least we get a break from Donald Trump's mouth.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sunken Meadow redux

The weather was absolutely perfect yesterday.  Not too hot, not too cold, not too humid, not too windy.  A perfect summer day.

I headed for the beach after work. 

I'm really loving the walks on the boardwalk. 

Sunken Meadow's boardwalk is 3/4 of a mile end-to-end.  Most people congregate at the middle of the boardwalk, because that's where the main bathhouse, the park office, the lifeguards,  and refreshment stand are located.  It's much quieter at either end of the boardwalk.

I always start at the main bathhouse, and walk east as far as I can go.  There's a refreshment stand at the eastern end of the boardwalk, but I've never seen it open during the week.  I wonder if they open it on weekends, when the park is busier.

I turn around and walk west as far as I can.  There's a building on the western end of the boardwalk, it used to be a refreshment stand, but now it's a catering facility.  I've seen weddings and other parties being held at the western end.

And then I walk back to the middle.  By now I've walked 1.5 miles.  There were a lot of people gathered on the boardwalk last night.  Every Wednesday throughout the summer,  the refreshment stand stays open for dinner, for a seafood festival, which includes live music. 

I was feeling really good yesterday, so when I got to the middle, I decided to do another complete lap.  In other words, I did a 3 mile walk last night. 

Can't wait to go back tonight.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Every summer, Lay's comes out with four new flavors of potato chips, limited editions that can either be wonderful  or horrible. 

This year's flavors are Chinese Szechuan Chicken, Brazilian Picanha, Wavy Greek Tzatziki and Kettle Cooked Indian Tikka Masala.  I think this year's offerings are supposed to spark interest in the Olympics and/or international travel. 

I have no interest in the Chinese or Brazilian flavors -- the idea of a potato chip flavored to resemble meat just doesn't appeal to me.

But given that I am a sucker for Greek food, I had to try the Greek Tzatziki chips.  I also bought the Tikka Masala chips, but haven't tried them yet.

Tzatziki makes sense as a chip flavor.  I guess that's because it's a dip. I mean, we all eat potato chips flavored with sour cream and onion, after all.  Tzatziki has a slightly different taste, it's yogurt and garlic and herbs.  If you like sour cream and onion flavored chips, you'll probably like these, too.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Pit Stop redux

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

So we went to The Pit Stop about a month ago, and I enjoyed the experience so much that I was determined to come back and try something else.

Listed on the menu as a "signature dish" is The Pit Stop's "spaghetti squash primavera".  It's the dish the owner prepared for Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

I had to try it. 

Spaghetti squash, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower...marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese.

The dish was served in a bowl, not in the shell from the spaghetti squash, and with less mozzarella than you see depicted  in the cooking segment.  But ...oh, wow.  A completely vegetarian dish, relative low calorie, and incredibly rich and satisfying. 

This dyed-in-the-wool carnivore never missed the meat. 

I'd ordered a side dish of grilled mixed vegetables.  I took the grilled vegetables home, I was too full after the spaghetti squash. 

Yes, this place is definitely going to be one of my "go-to" restaurants.

Monday, August 1, 2016

high school reunion

Drew is a member of the class of '76.  Yes, he graduated from high school during the Bicentennial.  Hard to believe it was 40 years ago.

So Saturday night found us at a local hotel for the 40th reunion.  Open bar, buffet dinner, DJ and dancing. 

There were 500 people in his graduating class.  Only 65-75 people showed up for the reunion.  Some have moved away and couldn't get back to Long Island, some have passed away, and some just didn't have the interest...

(Two years from now, when my class has a reunion, you can put me in the "didn't have the interest" category.)

I really didn't know anyone at the reunion.  I ate, I danced, I made small talk with people I don't know and will likely never see again.  Not a great evening, but not a bad one either.

It was Drew's night to have fun, and he did.

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