life in and around NYC is insane

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Plattduetsche Park Restaurant

Plattduetsche Park Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Part restaurant, part catering hall, part biergarten, Plattduetsche Park does it all. 

We were mostly interested in the food, so we chose to eat in the main dining room  -   a small but very bright and airy room behind the bar.  I loved the Hummels in the bay window.  Waitresses in dirndls.  Easy enough to get seating here on a Saturday night in summer, when most patrons were more interested in the outdoor activities. 

The breadbasket appeared on our table with amazing speed -- large rolls, both hearty wheat and pumpernickel.

We started our meal with the Little Bavarians  -  mini pretzel rolls filled with slices of bratwurst, bacon and Swiss cheese, served with two types of mustard.  I could easily have made a meal out of these sliders. 

I ordered the wiener schnitzel, a breaded and fried veal cutlet.  A very generous portion of veal, crispy on the outside, tender veal inside, not at all greasy.  It was served with lingonberries, sweet berries that had been cooked down to a a sauce like consistency; I was expecting something a bit more tart, like the lingonberry jam I buy at IKEA, but the sweetness of the berries contrasted nicely with the sourness of the red cabbage -- possibly the best red cabbage I've ever eaten.  The spaetzle were a bit bland, but otherwise OK. 

Drew ordered the Jaeger schniztel, pan seared veal with mushrooms.  He found the dish to be tender and tasty.  Since he does not care for red cabbage, he asked for sauerkraut instead.  I tasted the sauerkraut, and all I can say is this:  Any comparison between what was on that plate and the stuff you put on hot dogs is purely coincidental.  Yes, it was that good. 

As always, even with packing up a lot of leftovers, we were too full for dessert.  Pity, because the desserts looked amazing.  Maybe next time.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Another this and that

So today is the annual BBQ.  I'm looking forward to seeing all the friends.  Our little group is shrinking -- people move away, couples split up, people die... I just want to hug everyone close, cherish this time.

The family I talked about, the couple who lost their daughter...I found out what happened.  She was severely disabled, spent her entire adult life in a nursing home.  She wasn't expected to live nearly as long as she did.  Still heartbreaking, though. 

Haven't seen much of my own kids lately.   Jen's been spending a lot of time with her boyfriend, they tend to hang at his house.    Becca, of course, has her own apartment, and even when she's home, she spends a lot of time with David-who-is-not-her-boyfriend (but we all know better).  I'm glad they've got busy lives.  But I miss them.

Drew is counting the days until retirement, looking forward to the several celebrations that honor the retirees.  The next few weeks will be busy!

June 7, the last "Super Tuesday" of primary season, is little more than a week away.  I am so sick of the whining and ranting of Bernie Sanders, the false hope he's giving his followers that he could actually win the nomination.  I want it to be done already, so we can all turn our attention to defeating Trump in the general election. 

I am, however, looking forward to the Clinton-Trump debates.  The debates won't happen until the fall.  In the meantime, we've got to get through two conventions in July, see who becomes the VP pick of each candidate.  But the debates ....Some of the Berniebots insist that Clinton is scared of debating Trump, that she'll crumble under the pressure.   Those children do not remember First Lady Hillary Clinton's speech on Women's Rights in China.  Nor do they remember the debate against Rick Lazio when she ran for Senate the first time around.    Yeah, I lived in Congressman Lazio's district, thought he was a bit of a bubblehead even before he decided to run for the Senate.  When he literally got in Hillary's face -- walking across the stage to her podium, aggressively waving his arms, wagging his finger at her -- that's when he not only lost the debate, but the election itself.  Can't wait to see what Trump tries.  She's much more experienced at debate now...

But for the moment...let's just relax and enjoy this beautiful summer weather.  Cherish the moment.
 

In the end, all we have left are memories. Bits and pieces of the time we've spent together. No matter how long the time was. It'll never seem like enough... -- Maud Berben

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Guy Lombardo

So a few days ago I went to a party on the Nautical Mile in Freeport.  And found myself driving on Guy Lombardo Avenue.

Yes, that Guy Lombardo.  Famed Big Band leader, generations of Americans celebrated New Year's Eve with him and his Royal Canadians.  Even if you've never heard any of his other music, you've certainly heard his version of "Aud Lange Syne".

Lombardo moved to Freeport in the 1950's, and lived there until his death in 1977.  At one time he even owned a local restaurant. 

When Robert Moses built the Jones Beach Theater, he had Lombardo in mind.  The venue opened in 1952, and each summer through 1978 there would be a musical:  Showboat, South Pacific, Sound of Music. The stage sits in Zach's Bay, with seating on the beach, and in the early days  the stage was separated from the seating by a moat.  Lombardo and his orchestra would board a yacht and sail across the channel from Freeport to Zach's Bay, and during intermission they'd sail into the moat and play for the audience.

The venue changed its focus to concerts in the 80's, and the moat was filled in during a renovation in the early 90's.  But every time Drew and I see a concert at the beach, he's sure to remind me how Guy Lombardo used to sail into Zach's Bay.

Friday, May 27, 2016

summer!

It's Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the summer season,

The weather finally turned warm and sunny this week, just in time for the holiday.

We kick off the season with Drew's barbecue on Sunday.  It's a tradition.

We've been to a couple of baseball games already, we've got a few more scheduled.

No real vacation this summer, we've got a big vacation planned for October.  Maybe a few day trips?

But one thing I know we won't be doing:  concerts at Jones Beach Theater.

We love the venue, but there isn't anyone playing there this year who we'd like to see.

Well, Jimmy Buffett is coming back in August, but after last year's disaster, I just can't deal with the craziness.  Radio Margaritaville, here I come.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Do you see them?

There's a significant rabbit population in Drew's neighborhood.     I spotted this little guy on Drew's lawn:



But the ones I saw the other day were much harder to find.

Do you see them?


How about now?


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A fine family

Look who has taken up residence at my office:



Sad email

My synagogue sends all sorts of notices via email:  the schedule of services, meetings such as Men's Club and Sisterhood, fundraising requests....

And whenever one of our members has a death in their family, we all get notified.

Usually, if it's not a family I know, I read the notice and move on.

Not this time.

I didn't know the family, but the name sounded familiar.

The notice said that a young woman had died, that she was survived by her parents and two of her siblings, and was predeceased by another sibling.

Took me a few minutes, and a bit of Googling, but then I remembered.

Her brother had died in a car crash at age 27, on Mother's Day in 2004.  The story had been mentioned in a newspaper article profiling our synagogue.


I don't know what killed the young woman -- accident?  disease?  It doesn't matter.  Parents aren't supposed to bury their children.

They've been coming to morning services to say Kaddish for their daughter.

I can't begin to imagine the grief those parents must be feeling right now.

To lose one child is unimaginable.

To lose two ...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Captain America: Civil War (possible spoilers)

So OK, we usually see these blockbusters the weekend the open.  But this time around, we wanted IMAX/3D/reserved seating, and weren't able to come up with a theater that met all those criteria at a time that we could go to the movies.  So we settled for 3D and reserved seating -- gotta love those comfy reclining chairs!

So this is billed as a "Captain America" movie, but it's really an "Avengers" movie, with all of the major characters except  Thor and the Hulk.  The focus, though, is on Steve Rogers/Captain America, his relationship with Bucky/the Winter Soldier, Agent Carter, etc.   Politics and other circumstances has put Captain America at odds with Tony Stark/Ironman, and the rest of the Avengers line up behind one or the other.  Stark recruits Spider Man (yes, another reboot) and Rogers recruits Antman -- interesting crossovers. 

The movie is short on plot and very long on action/battle scenes.  There is humor along the way -- I loved Stan Lee's cameo. 

One of the best scenes, from a technology standpoint, is when Tony Stark plays the holographic images of his younger self with his parents.  Downey filmed the scene, and the special effects geniuses found images of Downey's face  from his early movies to superimpose over the older man's face.

Definitely a fun movie.  And do stay for the credits, there's a bonus scenes mid credits and a second bonus scene after the credits end -- setting us up for a new Spiderman movie and a new Black Panther movie.

Can't wait.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Denny's

Denny's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So on Sunday morning we decided we wanted to go out to breakfast.  And we found ourselves at Denny's.

We'd been to this location about a year ago, and were totally unimpressed.  This being a chain restaurant, the food is exactly as you would expect.  The problem we had last year was the level of service.  And judging by the reviews, we were not the only ones to feel service was unacceptable.

Apparently the management has taken the criticisms to heart.  We sere seated promptly, greeted by our server, and received our order quickly.  Our server checked on us several times  to make sure we were satisfied.

What I like about Denny's is the interesting options for breakfast -- decadent skillets, pancakes, French toast, fit fare, whatever you want.   The option to "build your own slam" gives you flexibility to choose healthier options. 

I built my own slam -- scrambled eggs, a buttermilk biscuit, bacon and seasonal fruit.  I don't know what they do to the eggs to make them so stiff, I like my scrambled eggs light and fluffy, so next time I'll probably get my eggs over easy.  Bacon was crisp.  Biscuit was so light and flakey that it fell apart when I tried to butter it.  Seasonal fruit -- grapes, cantaloupe, and both sweet and tart apples -- was fresh and sweet. 

So yeah, I guess Denny's is back on our list.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Weight loss issues

So yesterday, I got on the scale, noted my weight, and logged it in my Fitbit app.

I've linked my Fitbit account to my account at My Fitness Pal, so the data syncs between the two.

So when I opened My Fitness Pal later that morning, I was greeted with  "songbird has lost 60 pounds so far".

60 pounds.  A milestone. 

I still have a lot to go.

But where am I going?


Well, let's start with the short term goal, that's a lot easier.


Drew and I are planning a Caribbean cruise in October.  It will be our first vacation that isn't tied to the school calendar, it's in celebration of his retirement.  (Or rather, semi retirement.  He plans to work as a substitute teacher, which means he works when he wants, and can take off time at his discretion.)

So the short term goal is to lose weight before the cruise.  I've set a goal of 15 pounds.  Very doable, I think. 

I haven't decided how I will handle food  -- will I track my calories or not -- but I am planning to be active on the cruise.  We like to go sightseeing, which involves a lot of walking.  I'm sure to visit the beach and/or use the pool.  And the ship has a modern, state of the arts fitness center.  I'm actually looking forward to checking out the fitness center.  Who would ever have believed it?

But long term goal?

Last year, when I joined Weight Watchers, I was given a chart -- you look up your height, and the chart shows a healthy weight range.  I'm 5 feet tall.  the range on that chart was ...well, Jen is an inch shorter than I am, she's healthy and at a good weight, and she weighs more than what the chart told me I should weigh. Becca is two inches taller than me, she's naturally very thin, and she weighs more than what the chart told me I should weigh.   Not going to happen.

So I guess I'll have to rely on my doctors to tell me what' a healthy weight for a person of my height and age. 

Only problem is, the doctors don't agree. 

Last year, when I consulted the bariatric surgeon, he told me he'd get me down to ...what I weighed when I was 13.  And yes, I'd reached my adult height at 13.  I looked cute at 13.

But one of my other doctors, who has been treating me for years, suggested I'd be happiest at what I weighed  when I got married in 1987.  I was 30 pounds heavier in 1987 than I was when I was 13.  I wasn't happy with my weight in 1987. 

I am a middle aged woman, not a teenager.  I  don't need to look like a fashion model.  I just want to be healthy and active. 

So I guess I'm aiming form something in the middle, something less than what weighed on my wedding day, but more than what I weighed in my teens. 

We'll see how it goes.




Thursday, May 19, 2016

an honor

So this morning at services, the Rabbi looked at me and said "[songbird] will carry the Torah." And then, as an aside, he said "Don't worry, it's the small one."

The Torah, the Five Books of Moses, the holiest writings in Judaism. 

Physically, the Torah is a scroll, a series of parchments sewn together, with a wooden shaft at either end of the scroll.  When not in use, the scroll is covered with a mantle and adorned with a silver crown.  Most Torah scrolls weigh about 20-25 pounds.  (You can find a full description of the Torah and its accessories on the Chabad website).

The Torah is read on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  There is an elaborate ritual for reading the Torah, which includes parading the scroll through the sanctuary.    Members of the congregation show reverence for the Torah by touching it with their prayer shawls or prayer books, then kissing the shawl or book.

It is an honor to be asked to carry the Torah. 

But the Torah is heavy!

Good thing I've been working out at Planet Fitness.  No worries that I might accidentally drop th Torah -- that would be unbelievably horrible. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ugh

Bernie Sanders needs to stop feeding his young supporters a line that he can still win the nomination.  Hillary won more states than he did, she won more open primaries than he did, she has 3 million more votes than he does, she has more pledged delegates, and the super delegates (who are mostly supporting her)  have no reason to reverse the will of the voters and choose Sanders.

She needs 92 delegates to clinch the nomination.  She'll get those delegates on June 7, even if she loses every primary that day.  And it's not likely that she'll lose in New Jersey and California,  the two biggest states voting that day.

He needs to take leadership here and quell any future violent outbursts like the one that rocked the Nevada convention, or this summer in Philly we could see a repeat of Chicago 1968.

The whole purpose of this run for the nomination was to gain political clout, to be able to influence the direction of the Democratic Party.

If he pushes too hard, if he damages Clinton, he's going to be a very lonely man when he returns to Capitol Hill.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My civic duty

"All politics is local."  -- Tip O'Neill

We tend to think of politics in broad, national terms.  Especially in a presidential election year, our focus is on the big picture -- the White House and Congress.

We tend to forget the huge impact local political issues can have on our lives. 

This morning, on my way to work, I took the time to do my civic duty.  I stopped at the high school and voted in the school board election.

No, I no longer have children in the public school system.  But I support public school education, and I want to see my local school district thrive.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Take me out to the ball game...

Welcome to beautiful Bethpage Ballpark.  No, the ballpark is NOT located in Bethpage.  It's actually in Central Islip.  The county sold the naming rights to the Bethpage Federal Credit Union, hence the confusion.

It's a 6,000 seat arena, home to the famed Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.  It's a small ballpark, almost all of the seats are field level.  The upper deck consists of a few luxury suites, and a sit down restaurant called "The Duck Club", behind home plate.  "club level" seating means the upper deck seats in front of the restaurant.

Independent  leagues have become very popular, and why not?  For the cost of a movie you can see a baseball game, root for the home team, get some fresh air.   Making the pilgrimage to Flushing costs and arm and a leg, but driving over to Central Islip...Well, Drew and I have become Long Island Ducks fans.

There are 8 teams in the Atlantic League, in two divisions.  Last summer we bought tickets for 7 games, so that we could see the Ducks play each team in the league at least once.  And we chose games where there was either a promotional giveaway or a fireworks presentation. 

We have the same goal this year.  Our first game was Saturday night, when the Ducks played the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.  For this game we paid the extra fee for club level seating. 

So we ate in the Duck Club.  I had a pulled pork sandwich (it comes from a local BBQ restaurant, Smokin' Al's) and Drew had roast beef.   Both sandwiches came with thick cut French fries. 

Here's the view from our seats:
















It's small and cozy, isn't it?  And thy fill up the seats, in part by inviting every local school, youth group, scout troop, etc. to either sing the national anthem or act as color guard; if the kids are performing, the parents show up to watch, and they all stay for the game.

And, of course, we got to see Quakerjack, the team mascot.





Later, when it rained, the mascot put on a poncho:



It was a great game.  The Ducks dined on Blue Crab.  The Ducks hit three home runs, and they were helped a lot by a Maryland second baseman who made the same throwing error twice.   Final score Ducks 9, Blue Crabs 2. 


It was also  Grucci fireworks night.  So...when the singers got to "and the rockets' red glare", we saw a brief moment of  red fireworks. And each time a Ducks player hit a home run, we saw red fireworks. After the game, we saw a short but wonderful fireworks display.  Nice way to end an evening.

Our next game isn't until June 17, but I'm already looking forward to it.

Friday, May 13, 2016

A walk in the woods



This was my view yesterday.

I didn't go to a famous park or a tourist destination for my walk.  Instead I headed to a local park about 5 minutes from my home.

The park has a golf course, a public pool, and the nature trail.  I think the last time I walked the trail was a good 16 years ago.  But having tackled the nature trail at Sagamore Hill a couple of weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to take another walk in the woods.

The path is about 2 miles long, and skirts the park perimeter.  You're never more than a few steps away from parking lot or pavement.  I didn't complete the loop this time, I bailed out when I reached the grassy area between the pool parking lot and the golf course, and walked back to my car on the park's main road.


But there are times, as you walk, where you feel like you're deep in the woods.  A quiet, contemplative walk.   I ran into other walkers a couple of times, but for the most part I was alone.

 Bringing my iPod would have felt sacrilegious.

But next time I'll bring some Off!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Hope

So I try to get to morning services 2-3 times a week, to say Kaddish for my father.  Mourning, as I've said, is a year-long process, and I am observing (as best I can) the proper rituals for mourning.

In the 7 months since my father passed (7 months, can you believe it?) I've observed numerous holidays and life cycle events.

Today we celebrated Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day.  14 May 1948/5 Iyar 5708. The establishment of the State of Israel, the fulfillment of 2,000 years of hoping and dreaming. 

Who else but the Jewish people have so successfully forged an identity by combining religious devotion, shared culture and nationalistic fervor?   A modern, secular state is the embodiment of a wish made two millennia ago, a dream incorporated into every prayer book, the hope of a persecuted minority.

So, we display the Israeli flag in our synagogue.  Our prayer book contains a special prayer for the State of Israel. 

And, in horo fo what my Rabbi referred to as our "miracle on the Mediterranean", today we concluded our services with the singing of Israel's national anthem, HaTikvah.



the power of social media

No, not something large scale and dramatic.

Just a small story.

A lost dog story from my neighbor..  A relative came to visit from out of state, she brought her dog, and somehow the dog got out of the house.  They posted flyers throughout the neighborhood.  And they posted a copy of the flyer on Facebook.

When you see something like that on Facebook, you share it so your local friends will see it, too.

A few days later, another neighbor, a few blocks away, posted "Did anyone lose a dog?"  And describe a dog she'd seen running on her street.

Same dog.

Dog and owner have now been reunited.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

So...politics

The GOP has actually picked Donald Trump.  And the party is literally unraveling as a result.

Bernie won West Virginia yesterday.  That was expected.  The numbers were a bit higher than I thought they'd be, but it's an open primary and I think that, since the  Republicans no longer had a race, they voted for Sanders.

No big deal.  Hillary has 1,716 pledged delegates now and 523 super delegates.  That's 144 short of the nomination. Bernie has 1,430 pledged delegates and 39 super delegates.  She's ahead by 286 pledged delegates and 770 overall delegates. 

It looks like Bernie is going to take his campaign through the primaries in June.  There aren't enough delegates at stake in the next few primaries to put Hillary over the top.  June 7th will be another "Super Tuesday".   Hillary is very likely to win in the two biggest states voting that day, California and New Jersey.  Even if she loses, though, delegates are awarded proportionately, and she will win enough delegates to clinch the nomination on the 7th.   The last primary, DC on the 14th, will be meaningless, but I think Bernie will continue on until the last vote is cast.

So it really looks like Hillary and Trump will face off in the fall.

It's going to be a very interesting election.

Ancient Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Taco Joe's

Taco Joe's  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Local chain, newest location. It's similar to Chipotle, which is just down the street, or Moe's Grill.  You assemble your taco or burrito from a variety of prepared ingredients.  They also serve sandwiches, nachos, quesadillas, etc.

My burrito was huge, so large that the server had difficulty folding it. Inside was a tasty combination of steak, rice, black beans, shredded cheese. Quesadillas had a decent amount of cheese.  Chips were crisp and light.

I did not care for the crispy fish taco.  A fried fish fillet served in a taco shell, with your choice of lettuce or slaw, topped with tarter or chipotle or lime.  Would have been ok if the fish hadn't been sitting on the steam table for so long.  Not something I'm likely to order again.

What makes this place a bit different is that it shares space with Yogurt & Such.  Yogurt & Such offers salads, wraps and (of course) frozen yogurt.  Salads are assembled to order in the same manner as the Taco Joe's foods.  The ingredients looked fresh, and I may give the salad a try the next time we're in that restaurant.

Drew thought the food here was better than similar products offered at Chipotle.  I thought the two were more or less the same in terms of quality and value.

But I think the mom and pop Mexican takeout places in the area are a better choice for us.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Another this and that

So Drew and I are still playing catch up with Game of Thrones.  While everyone else is watching season six, we're still on season three.  This weekend we finally saw "The Red Wedding", where Rob Stark and his wife and mother are killed in a bloodbath.  I knew what was coming, but still...Maybe we'll catch up in time to watch the last two seasons in real time, so no one will accidentally spoil it for us.

Had our typical Mother's Day celebration yesterday.  My sisters cooked, and we had cake from Reinwlads and cookies from Dortoni's for dessert.  My daughters treated me to a manicure at their new favorite salon.  I tried a gel manicure for the first time.  What do you think of it?

 


The weather has been cold and rainy  for almost a week. I thought it was the beginning of April, not early May.  But that changed today, the sun is out, and I can't wait to hit the jogging path at lunchtime. I need to get the exercise, I ate far too much yesterday and I'm feeling sluggish. 

Speaking of overeating...Drew's Memorial Day barbecue is less than three weeks away.  It's going to be a smaller than normal group this year. Drew's aunt and uncle will be visiting her family in Brazil.    His sister still isn't speaking to him.  We've had one couple break up a few weeks ago.  Other friends have moved away.  It's sad.  But those of us who will be there are sure to have a good time.

First world problem:  when to see Captain America: Civil War.  The movie opened this weekend, but we couldn't get the right tickets.  We want to see it in IMAX 3D, but only in an IMAX theater with the comfy chairs and reserved seating.  And we can't go this coming Saturday, we've got tickets to see a Ducks game.  Sigh.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

songbird loves the 80's: video arcades

So I was in a local store a few days ago, and I spotted it:  a video arcade machine, "Donkey Kong" displayed on its screen.  The machine described the game as a "classic".

Yes, the video games from the 1980's are now "classics". 

Arcades had been around for awhile, but in the 80's the video arcade took hold.  In addition to offering traditional games like pin ball, these new arcades offered up "Donkey Kong", "Asteroids", "Space Invaders", "Centipede", and several different versions of "Pacman".   Back then, home systems, like Atari, were very expensive, so the video arcade was the only option for most people. You'd bring quarters and kill time playing countless hours of your favorite games.

The phenomenon was so widespread that they even wrote a song about it:




 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

From a town known as Oyster Bay, Long Island...

Another chapter in the saga of "Songbird plays tourist in her own back yard". 

Long Island is filled with historical sites.  Not just places of local interest, but sites of historical significance for the country, and the world.

Located on a spit of land that separates Oyster Bay from Cold Spring Harbor, Sagamore Hill was the family home of our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt.  TR bought the property just outside the town of Oyster Bay in order to build a home for himself and his first wife, Alice, but she died before the house was built.  Eventually TR built a home for his  second wife and his children.  When TR became President, the house at Sagamore Hill became the summer White House. 

The house and grounds are now under the auspices of the National Park Service, which is fitting, as TR was the father of our national parks system.    The house can be seen by guided tour only, and visitors should reserve their tickets in advance, since "day of" tickets tend to sell out by early morning.  Also on the grounds is the Old Orchard House, built by the President's son, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., in 1937, which now houses a museum documenting the life and career of President Roosevelt. 

A group of teachers from Drew's school planned to visit the site as part of their professional development, and Drew decided to join the group.  He hadn't been there in about 16 years, and I hadn't been there since a 4th grade field trip.

We started with a tour of the house.  The Roosevelts were "old money", the house is not as grand or elaborate as the Gold Coast mansions built by neighboring captains of industry.  Yet every inch of that house shows TR's personality.  All of the public rooms have trophies from his days of big game hunting.  His other passions were books and bronze statues.  You can see a sharp difference between the rooms decorated by TR and those decorated by his wife Edith. 

Afterwards we went to the Old Orchard House, to see the museum that documents TR's life and times.  What a fascinating man!  Cattle rancher, big game hunter, Rough Rider war hero, flamboyant politician.  A true progressive, pro union, trust buster, anti corruption politician, he was not well liked by his party establishment.  The New York party bosses so disliked him as Governor that they nominated him to be Vice President just to get him out of New York; no one would have imagined that McKinley would be assassinated, or that TR would become one of our most successful Presidents.  The treaty that ended the Russian-Japanese war of 1905, the treaty that won TR the Nobel Peace Prize, was signed in TR's library at Sagamore Hill. 

There is a nature trail behind the museum, a .7 mile long loop that takes you down a steep hill, through the woods, to a short boardwalk.  the boardwalk goes over a creek and leads you to a rocky beach on Cold Spring Harbor. 

Yes, the hill is steep, but the view of the harbor is magnificent.

You can take pictures all around the grounds, and in the Old Orchard museum, but not in inside the Roosevelt home itself.

You see the house, sitting on the hill, as you drive up the road:






Here's the view as  you walk up the path from the Visitor's Center:







And when you stand in front of the house:


The landscaping is beautiful:


This tree was planted by TR's children:


The view from TR's porch:



By the flagpole:



Edith had a quiet little arbor set aside as a retreat:





The flagpole marks the spot where TR would stand to address the crowds that sometimes gathered on his front lawn.  It's where he was standing when he found out he'd been nominated to run for Governor of New York.



The Roosevelt family motto.  It means., "He who plants, preserves."



The Old Orchard House:



Cold Spring Harbor:






Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Let's Go Mets!

Yeah, we had a great time last night, as always.

We have the routine down -- drive into Queens, drive through Flushing Meadow Park, park in the same lot on Roosevelt Avenue.  We cross the street to the stadium by walking upstairs to the station for the #7 train, then walking back down.  Then we're at Citi Field, and we walk passed the Shea Stadium Home Run Apple to get to our entrance gate.

Last night, right after we passed the Apple, we met up with one of our favorite celebrities:



You can't really see it, but the shirt I'm wearing is the souvenir from last summer's trip to Cooperstown -- it has the team logo on the front, and on the back is a list of every NY Mets player who made it to the Hall of Fame.  The hat was a promotional item from a game 5 years ago, it salutes the 1986 World Series team.

Our tickets allowed us to use the Foxwoods Club, an indoor restaurant and bar.  This club has large picture windows, and you can see the NYC skyline and some of Flushing Meadow Park.    Last night was too hazy for a decent picture of the skyline, but I did take one of the tennis stadium -- that's the construction for the new stadium rising up behind the old one, they hope to have the new one built in time for the Open at the end of the summer.


I had an incredible dinner -- sausage and peppers hero, served with marinara sauce, a few dabs of ricotta and real shaved parmesan cheese.  Drew had meatballs with a side of ciabatta bread. 

Our seats were in left field.  I joked that if we were any further into left field, we'd be sitting in Flushing Bay.  But in reality, the view wasn't bad at all.



The "Pepsi Porch" is gone, it's now the "Coke Corner".


 


And yes, we were kind of close to the Home Run Apple:


The stadium was only half full last night.  But it was a Monday night, the weather wasn't great, and the opposing team....well, let's be nice and say it's a "rebuilding year" for the Atlanta Braves.

While we were waiting for the game to begin, Drew took a walk.  He was in search of a  team logo sweatshirt. He didn't find one he liked, but he came back with a couple of hot dogs.  Not just ordinary hot dogs, but hot dogs cooked in beer.  There's only one place you can get those dogs  -- behind right field, near the Shea Bridge.    And yes, they are worth the walk.

Later, when it got colder, I had a cup of hot chocolate to warm myself up.   And yes, I shall have to do penance at the gym today.

.

To honor America:


The starting line up:


The pennants:


 
 
Colon on the mound:


The main scoreboard:



Great game.  Colon pitched well through 8 innings.  Wright, Duda and Cespides all homered in the first inning.

Final score 4-1, another Mets victory. 

Color me happy.

Indiana wants me...

Today is the Indiana primary. 

Today is Ted Cruz' last stand.  If Ted doesn't pull out a win today, he's done, and the GOP nominee will be [shudder] Donald Trump.  Frankly I don't know who is scarier, Cruz or Trump. 

Today is yet another "Groundhog Day" experience for us Democrats.  You remember the movie, "Groundhog Day", where Bill Murray relives the same day over and over and over? 

In April Hillary Clinton won decisive victories in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut.  She's now won in every part of the country, she succeeds with almost every demographic that makes up the Democratic Party.  Despite Bernie's ability to attract huge crowds to his rallies and to bring in small donations from large numbers of contributors, he has not been able to translate his popularity into large numbers of votes.

2,383 delegates are required to win the nomination.  There are  4,051  pledged delegates available through primaries and caucuses, and 712 super delegates, who can vote their own conscience.

According to the NY Times, Hillary now has 1,663 pledged delegates.  Bernie has 1,367.   Hillary has 520 super delegates, Bernie has 39.  She leads him 2,183 to 1,406, with only 1,016 delegates remaining in the May and June primaries. 

Since all delegates are awarded proportionally, both candidates will take a share of the remaining delegates in each primary in May and June.

Technically he has not been mathematically eliminated, but it's getting very, very close to that point.  He can't simply win the next few primaries, he has to have serious blow outs, he has to get over 65% of the remaining delegates to close the gap. 

And it doesn't look like he's going to be able to pull off that miracle.  In the three states with the most delegates, Clinton is far ahead.  Clinton is up by about 9 points in Indiana, 10 points in New Jersey and 9 points in California.

And what does Bernie have to say?  I guess it depends on the day. 

One day he's telling us that he'll stay in the race in order to let everyone have their chance to vote, and to amass delegates to give him clout at the convention, so that he can get his policies incorporated into the party platform. 

The next day he's telling his supporters that he's still a viable candidate, he's in it to win it, he plans to make it a contested convention.

And the rest of us just want to tell him to please stop giving his supporters false hope, that it's time to concede gracefully, and that it's time to unify the party to face the bigger enemy:  Donald trump.

Monday, May 2, 2016

I'm talking baseball...

So the baseball season is in full swing.  tonight Drew and I will make our first trip of the season to Citi Field.  Seats aren't great, but you can't complain when the tickets were free.  And we always have a good time at a Mets game.  And considering how hot the team is ...did you see that 12 run inning against the Giants Friday night?

Drew and I lived in Queen for a few years, back when our children were babies.  The joke was that if we were watching a Mets game and it started to rain at Shea, we'd run to close our windows.  I used to put the kids in the double stroller and walk around the neighborhood, there was an overpass over the Van Wyck  where I could stand and look north and see that familiar bright blue and orange stadium.

Alas,  though I tried to raise them right, my kids ....became Yankees fans.  Last weekend Jen organized a trip with her boyfriend Matt and a group of their friends, they went up to the Bronx to watch the Yankees lose to Tampa Bay.

And a few days before that, Becca was at a Yankees game with David-who-is-not-her-boyfriend.

but they come by it honestly, I guess.  My mother was born and raised in the Bronx.  Her first official date with my dad was to Yankee Stadium to see DiMaggio play.  I think my dad knew she was "the one" even then -- how else would you get a Brooklyn boy, a born-in-the-shadow-of-Ebbets-Field fan into Yankee Stadium???

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