life in and around NYC is insane

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunrise at Cocoa Beach

On vacation.

Friday, October 21, 2016

good news

A propos of what I've been discussing all week...

I had a follow up visit with my doctor yesterday.  He is pleased with me, with my weight loss, with my blood work.

He wants me to stop taking my blood pressure medication.  He wants me to come back next month, so he can see what effect, if any, that has on me.

I am so happy right now.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


I think one of the reasons my friend's medical situation has me so rattled is purely a selfish one.

Of course I am worried for her, I see her suffering, I heard the despair and despondency in her voice.  And I'm trying so hard to be supportive and upbeat and positive. 

But there's something else.

She's 10 years older than I am, morbidly obese, diabetic, and dealing with the results of ignoring her weight and her disease.

Looking at her, I see my future. 

A future I do not want.

And then I remind myself about the changes I've made.  How I'm eating healthier. How I have discovered a love of physical fitness. 

That I have lost almost  70 pounds.

I still have another 60-65 pounds to go until my goal weight.

But I feel strong and healthy.

I like this feeling. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


So last night I visited my friend, the one who has been in and out of the hospital for months.  When we planned our evening, it was supposed to be take out at her house.  Instead, I had a burger from the hospital coffee shop.

My friend is not doing well.  she has been dealing with the health issues for seven months now, and the planned treatment will take many more weeks.   She is lonely, despondent, fearful insecure, needy.  She's not sleeping well, and that's affecting her ability to concentrate and to think clearly.

Last night I helped her move from one part of the hospital to another, so that she can begin the next phase of her treatment.  the move set off a panic attack, the likes of which I have never seen. 

She told me she is convinced she will die in the hospital, that she'll bleed to death during surgery, and that she is resigned to dying, she's ready for it.

I stayed until another friend came to hold her hand.

I am so worried for her.  She's going through an unbelievable ordeal.  And she's not going to be OK for a long, long time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Looking skyward

“Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.” 
― Ptolemy

Sunday morning, I needed to be at the breast cancer walk by 6:30 AM, long before the sunrise.  As I left Drew's house, this is what I aw:

Yes, the full moon...the Hunter Moon.

And then last night...

I've always wanted to see a rocket launch, but I've never been in Florida when NASA had one planned.

But last night NASA launched a rocket, unmanned and loaded with supplies for the International Space Station, from Virginia.  And it was visible from Long Island.  I watched it rise in the south and head east.

The photos don't do it justice.

I'd love to see another launch, closer to the launch site.  But this will do for now.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Ritz Cafe

Ritz Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We had tickets to a production at the John W. Engeman Theater, and wanted to have dinner before the show. So we found ourselves  at the Ritz Cafe.

Small, cozy restaurant, maybe 10 tables total, the space is dominated by the bar.  We opted for a special prix fixe menu   -   appetizer, salad, entree.

Our meal began with crusty bread, served with  flavored olive oil, butter, and roasted garlic.

Eggplant rollatini was a casserole consisting of thin slices of eggplant, layered over ricotta and topped with melted mozzarella.  Baked clams was also served as a casserole, whole clams topped with seasoned bread crumbs.

Caesar salad (romaine, croutons, cheese and dressing) and house salad (mixed greens, cgrape tomatoes, cucumber, vinaigrette on the side) were fresh and flavorful.

We both ordered pasta.  His was scallops over angel hair pasta, mine was rigatoni bolognese.  Both were excellent, portions were large enough to be shared.

Service was cheerful and efficient.   Definitely worth a repeat visit.

Northport Harbor

 Back in March, Drew and I saw a productions of   1776 at City Center.  It was one of their Encore productions, done in modern dress with a minimalist stage, and the actors often carried their scripts. We loved it, of course.

So when we heard that a local theater was planning a full production, we had to get tickets.

The John W. Engeman Theater is in Northport, a quaint village on the north shore of Long Island.  The village features a lovely harbor, an eclectic mix of restaurants, interesting art galleries and other small businesses.  The theater was built in 1932 as a movie theater, but began producing live, Broadway-style theatrical productions in 2006.

Our first stop was the Ritz Cafe, a small but interesting restaurant near the harbor (review to follow).  Then we took a walk along the harbor.

On our walk to the theater, we found something interesting:

That's a 1965 police cruiser. The sign in the window says look but don't touch.  Yes, Northport has its own small police force.

The purpose of the trip, of course, was to see the production of 1776.  We were not disappointed.  The show is an interesting mix of political philosophy, political pragmatism, music, dancing and even humor.  Decent cast -- most are Equity members -- good costuming and set design. Very enjoyable show.  Overall a lovely evening.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A sea of pink

They say if you make it past 5 years, you'll be OK.  But that's not really true.  the scars may heal, the emotional baggage may be boxed up and packed away in the far recesses of your mind, but you're never going to be OK again.  Your body betrayed you...will it betray you again?

It will be 12 years in January, 12 years since the phone call that changed my life.  My doctor's voice was shaking when she told me...pathology report...biopsy...cancer...oncologist.  A year of

That's why Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is so important to me. I didn't have breast cancer, mine was elsewhere, but I got amazing support from the American Cancer Society throughout my ordeal.

I'd originally planned to walk this year, but about a week ago I was asked to be a volunteer at the registration tent.    So there I was, at 6:30 this morning, shivering under a tent in the Jones beach parking lot.  Most of the registration is done on line, of course, but we are there to check people in and collect any cash or checks they may have brought with them.

Some friends of mine usually work the registration tent, and they usually go out to lucnh afterwards.  But for some reason neither of them was at the walk this year.  So when I was no longer needed in the registration tent, I decided to make my Fitbit happy.

The route runs from Field 5 to the very western end of the boardwalk at West End 1, and back again.   My usual route, when I walk for myself, is from Field 6 (the easternmost field) to west End 1, so I knew I'd be able to do the walk without a problem.  It's been a few weeks, though, so I am a little sore now.

But today's walk is so different from the usual...all those people...teams from offices and hospitals, school groups, individuals, most in pink in support of the cause.  I spotted pink tutus, boas, angel wings....and that was on men!

A wonderful morning.  Can't wait to do it again next year.

Friday, October 14, 2016 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food court sushi?

Yes, food court sushi!

We were at the Broadway Mall, we'd just seen a movie, and figured we'd grab a quick bite in the food court.  And there, as a welcome alternative to the various sandwich shops that now dominate the food court, was a full-service sushi/Japanese restaurant:

You wouldn't expect a broad menu at a counter-service restaurant in a food court, but...surprise!  The menu features numerous entrees, including various udon, teriyaki and katsu dishes.  Appetizers and sides  include shumai, edamame, tempura, miso soup and seaweed salad.  You can even get ice cream for dessert.

But the star of the menu is the sushi.  Regular rolls, hand rolls, special roils, sushi nigiri ...prepared to order by a sushi chef while you wait. 

I was a bit nervous about the quality of the food -- it is, after all, a food court -- so I chose something relatively safe; I need not have worried, the food was excellent. 

I ordered the "Cobra special".  This includes one California roll and one "Cobra roll, with your choice of miso soup or a soda.  The California roll was standard.  The Cobra roll -- shrimp tempura, crab salad, avocado, cucumber and a sweet brown sauce -- was outstanding. 

Clearly not a "destination" restaurant, but if you're in the mall and cheesesteak isn't doing it for you, give this place a try.

Interesting side note.  Although they've called this restaurant "", they do not, as yet, have an internet presence.  In fact, the website is  a search engine designed to help you find Japanese food/sushi in your neighborhood, and this restaurant isn't listed on that search site.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Deepwater Horizon

Yet another movie based on real events.

Full disclosure time.  I spent 12 years in the environmental claims department of a major insurance company, I had a lot of oil industry claims venued in Louisiana and Texas, and yes, my office did have a role in the clean up after the Deepwater Horizon incident.  So I do have a real-life link, albeit tenuous, to the Deepwater Horizon event.

So the movie puts the blame on the BP executives who were annoyed that the project was behind schedule and therefore cut corners.  I know that there were a lot of subcontractors on the site who share in the blame.  But that's not the heart of the story.

Instead the story focuses on a handful of workers who are assigned to to the rig and their activities the day of the blowout.  We watch as they leave their families and travel to the oil rig, and we see the steps they take to ensure that the well and drilling equipment are functioning safely.

And all the while we wait as the tension builds, and we move closer and closer to the disaster we know is coming.

And when it comes...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Birth of a Nation

In 1915, D. W. Griffith produced a groundbreaking motion picture, a movie that would set the tone for Hollywood for decades to come.

It was also one of the most racist movies ever produced.  It portrays black men as sexually aggressive and people to be feared.  It glorifies the Ku Klux Klan.

And in 2016, Nate Parker appropriated the title to make a startling movie about a slave, Nat turner and the uprising he led in the 1830's.

Of course we saw The Birth of a Nation.

Although not nearly as graphic as Twelve Years a Slave, it nevertheless addresses the real horrors of slavery.  

Interesting movie, it shows Turner's evolution from a relatively happy and comfortable slave into the leader of a doomed rebellion.  As a young boy he is taught to read the Bible, and then to preach.  Later, his preaching skills are used to quell rebellious feelings among the slave population.

Not the best movie, but certainly worth seeing.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Bizzaro World

That's where I thought I was when watching the latest election news.  Bragging about sexually assaulting women?  Threatening to jail your political opponent?  A candidate for President of the United States?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

oh, deer!

My community is a busy suburb pretending to be a sleepy farm hamlet.  It really was a sleepy farm hamlet until the housing boom of the mid 1960's.  My parents bought their house in 1968, and we watched the house being built in what had once been woods.  My father actually took us hiking in the woods once, so that we would appreciate  the beautiful surroundings of our new home.

You can still see remnants of the sleepy farm hamlet throughout the area.  Most of the farms are gone, of course, but there are a few famstands/"agritainment" businesses around.

For example, immediately behind my house there's an 18-acre plot of undeveloped woodlands. When my neighbors sold their house, they advertised that their backyard bordered on an "18 acre nature preserve". It's a long, thin strip of land that separates one housing development from another.  Originally it was supposed to be part of a road that was planned in the late 1960's but never built.  And now it's a landlocked strip that cannot be successfully developed -- no one has figured out how to comply with the local zoning laws for this strip of land and still make a profit. I'm not sure who owns it now, but they must be using it as a tax write-off.

Down the street, across from the synagogue, there is a real  nature preserve, a small park owned by the town.  Follow either of the trails into the woods, and you will come to a small pond.  When I was there the other day, I saw two large turtles -- they must have been at least 18 inches long -- swimming in the pond.

Over the years we've seen many small animals -- possums, raccoons, bats, chipmunks, foxes.  Whatever you'd expect to find in the woods of Long Island.

But not deer. 

I was told that there were deer in the woods before all the houses were built, but that the deer moved east as our community grew and developed.

Apparently they are back.

The other day, I ran an errand very early in the morning.  Came home about 8:00 AM.  As I was driving up the street towards my house, I saw "something" in the middle of the road.  As I got a little closer, I realized that "something" was...three deer.

Yes, three deer standing in the middle of the road, right in front of my house.

I wish I'd been able to take a picture, but as soon as they saw my car, they ran down my next-door neighbor's driveway and into the woods behind our houses. my back yard...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On Rosh Hashanah it is written...

Dress, ballet flats, sweater.  Necessities in the red tote bag.  The morning air is cool.  The leaves have begun to turn, early this year because of the drought.   Leaves crunch beneath my feet as I walk.  Is it really October?   So soon?  Where did the summer go?

The path to the synagogue is oh so familiar.  Half a mile, up and down two hills.   I don't walk out of religious conviction per se, but rather, because parking is impossible and I'd feel guilty taking up a space that someone else might need. 

I walk alone:  my mother and sisters have never been interested in synagogue services, my daughters stopped attending by the time they reached college age.  My father loved to go to shul on the High Holy Days.  He used to walk with me. 

An exchange of greetings...L'Shanah Tovah, have a happy new year. I claim a prayer book, find my seat, don my tallit. Immerse my self in the ancient rituals. 

The High Holy Days, a time of reflection and introspection, a time to examine our souls...

And then I see the prayer book....

May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.

And the tears well up.  I wasn't expecting them, I thought my crying moment had come and gone Sunday afternoon, sobbing in the car between the liquor store and the bakery. 

There is light and love in the house this holiday.  Laughter and singing and brisket and gefilte fish. So different from last year, where we gathered in a hospital room.  Where the kind chabadnik rabbi gave us apples and packets of honey and offered to say healing prayers.  .Where I sat in this synagogue and prayed that the Almighty would take him already, end his suffering.

He died on October 7, the day after Simchat Torah. The quirkiness of the Jewish calendar means we won't observe his yartzeit until the end of the month.  But yes, I am feeling his absence now...

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October baseball?

Well, the Mets still have playoff hopes.

But the Ducks?  Sadly, their season is over.

Last night, Drew and I and 3300 other crazy lunatics loyal fans braved the cold, wet weather to see game three of the championship series against the Skeeters.  The Ducks lost the first two games in Texas, so last night was a "must win".  And while they played well, and kept it exciting all he way to the bottom of the 9th, in the end they just couldn't pull off another upset. Congrats to the Skeeters, the 2016 league champs.

Well, now I have three 2016 rally towels.  Drew has the foul ball he caught last week ( a boyhood dream fulfilled).  And Drew won the 50-50 raffle last night, $151 that he is going to enjoy spending.

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