life in and around NYC is insane

Thursday, September 29, 2016

National Coffee Day

Got my $.66 cup of coffee from Dunkin' Donuts.  Yeah!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

another this and that

As the MLB season comes to a close, the Mets are in first place in the race for the wild card, so it looks like we may see some October baseball....

Which is good news, considering the Ducks lost game 1 of their championship series to the Skeeters.

And it looks like we may need to wear our rain gear to the game Friday night. It's supposed to be rainy and windy all weekend.

I miss Jen.  Yes, we live in the same house, but we're both so busy lately that I hardly get to see her.  When I got home last night, she was getting ready for bed and was too tired to talk.  I hope she has fun this weekend in Baltimore -- a group of her friends are going there to see a Ravens' game.  I'm glad she's getting out of the house more often.

Drew and I will be taking Becca out to dinner soon.  He's never seen her apartment, and she wants to show it off a bit.

Sometimes it's hard to believe my babies are all grown up, with lives of their own.



So my friend who has spent the last few months in and out of the hospital is currently staying at a friend's house.  She can't go back to her own home, she lives in a basement apartment and cannot manage the stairs.  Her medical situation has not improved, and the doctor has suggested she consider amputation of her left foot.  That would be very much a life-altering experience, especially for her.  I've known others who have regained most, if not all, of their mobility while using a prosthetic foot or leg, but somehow I don't think my friend will be able to do that. Right now she needs an electric scooter to get around, and I'm afraid that will be a permanent change....I hope she can prove me wrong...

I start a yoga class tomorrow.  I've been using yoga videos for awhile now, but there's nothing like instruction from a real, live teacher.  I'm feeling strong  and healthy and anxious to take on this new activity.

Sully

It was one of those days you can never forget: January 15, 2009. 

I was sitting in my cubicle when someone said "There's  a plane down, it's in the Hudson!" 

I got up from my desk, walked over to the window, where a crowd had gathered, and looked at the river.

From our vantage point in Jersey City, 20 stories up, we could see the plane, we could see the ferries and the first responders in their boats.  But we were too far away to see any of the passengers.

Later that day, the plane drifted downriver, coming to rest at the World Financial Center, just across from my office. 

And there was Mayor Bloomberg, all over the TV, applauding the "Miracle On the Hudson".

So yes, of course I had to see the new Tom Hanks movie, Sully.

The movie begins after the crash, during the NTSB investigation.  We ultimately see the crash in flashback, during Sully's testimony before the board.

Watching a movie based on a real incident, one you remember, is an intense experience.  I was pulled in, involved, emotional.

Objectively, it's a decent movie.  Good characterizations, excellent acting (Tom Hanks is amazing), realistic special effects.    Definitely worth seeing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The news of the day

Well-prepared woman wipes the floor with misogynistic bully.

Dare we say "Madame President"?

Monday, September 26, 2016

September baseball

So...with a week to go in the season, the Mets (last year's National League champs) are chasing after a wild card spot.  Yesterday they played a real laugher against the Phillies -- final score 17-0. 

Tonight they play the Miami Marlins.  The mood in Miami will be somber -- yesterday the Marlins' ace, Jose Fernandez, was killed in a boating accident.    Fernandez was supposed to pitch against the Braves yesterday, but the manager decided to give him an extra day of rest and allow him to pitch against the Mets instead.  If he'd been expected to pitch Sunday afternoon, he would not have gone boating Saturday night/Sunday morning.  What a twist of fate...

But on the local front...how about them Ducks?

Because the Atlantic League is so small -- only 8 teams --how the playoffs and championship are decided is a bit different than in Major League Baseball.

The league is divided into two divisions, Liberty and Freedom.  The Ducks play in the Liberty Division.

Atlantic League divides its season into halves.  Whoever is in first place  at the All Star Break (yes, there is an Atlantic League All Star game) is the "first half champion" of their division. Winner of the first half  meets the winner of the second half in a "best of five" to win the division.  then the division winners meet in a "best of five" to determine the league championship.

The Ducks easily won the first half, securing a place in the playoffs, but played abysmally in the second half.    The first two playoff games would be "away" games, but games 3, 4 and 5 would be played on Long Island.   Drew was very skeptical they could succeed in the playoffs. We decided to buy tickets for game 3 anyhow, it would be a fun way to spend a Friday night.

So the first two games against the Somerset Patriots did not go well for the Ducks.  They returned home with an 0-2 deficit.  When we got to the ballpark Friday night, each of us was handed a "rally towel", which Drew quipped would likely become a "crying towel" by the end of the evening.

He was so wrong.


My rally towel got quite a workout.

The Ducks beat the Patriots by a score of 7-1.

On the way out of the ballpark, Drew said to me "If they win tomorrow night, would you want to see Game 5 on Sunday?" 

Of course I said yes.

They won Saturday night, score was 2-0.

We headed to the ballpark Sunday night for Game 5.

I now have a matched set of rally towels.

Attendance was low -- only about 2200 fans in a ballpark that can seat about 6,000 -- but those of us who were there are very devoted fans.

Starting in the bottom of the 1st, and continuing throughout the game, you could hear drumming from the Ducks' dugout.  One of the coaches was using an empty water jug as a war drum...instead of "Drums Along the Mohawk", we had "Drums Along the Great South Bay".

The Ducks scored early in the game, and never let go of the lead.  Going into the top of the 9th, the score was 5-1, and I said the champagne was going to flow in a little while.

Drew said "They're not going to be drinking champagne....they're going to drink Cold Duck."


Groan....

The Ducks now face the Sugarland Skeeters in a "best of five" for the league championship.  First two games are in Texas, with games 3, 4 and 5 here on Long Island Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We have tickets for Friday night.

They have to win the title  Friday or Saturday, I can't go to game 5 -- Sunday night is the first night of Rosh Hashanah.

LET'S GO DUCKS!!!!

 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Shun Lee

Shun Lee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We were in Lincoln Center, and wanted Chinese food.  We decided on Shun Lee.  Debated whether to go for the traditional restaurant or the dim sum cafĂ© next door.  Settled on the more traditional restaurant.    Decided to go for the traditional restaurant.

We were not disappointed. The place is a bit pricey -- but that's understandable, considering the location. 

We ordered two dishes, duck with vegetables and "Ants on a Tree".  The "Ants" turned out to be  cellophane noodles with bits of spicy beef served over greens.  Spicy but not overpowering.  The duck was served sliced, with bok choy, carrots and baby corn -- very flavorful and not at all greasy. The brown rice that accompanied the dishes was perfectly cooked.

Service was uneven.  My water glass was never left empty, but I had to remind the waiter to bring me my tea, and my friend was never asked if she'd like another ginger ale.    And sadly, my fortune cookie was stale. 

I think next time we'll do the dim sum...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

'Wichcraft

'Wichcraft Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We were headed to Lincoln Center for a performance, and wanted to grab a snack before the show. Starbucks just seemed too frenetic, so we decided to try 'Witchcraft instead.

Nice surroundings -- an atrium with plants growing on the walls, and soothing music piped in.   The place was fairly busy but not overly crowded, and we had no problem finding a table.  We ordered our sandwiches at the counter, and the food was brought to us a short time later. 

My sandwich was an interesting mix -- grilled ham and cheese, with cooked pears, on white.  I'd never tried fruit on a ham and cheese sandwich before, but I will definitely think about that combination again.  The pears were soft but not mushy, and gave a unique accent to an otherwise ordinary sandwich. 

The menu has many sandwich choices, an a nice selection of hot and cold beverages.  Nice place for a quick bite, I will be back.

Friday, September 23, 2016

At the ballet....

So a friend of mine has a subscription to the NYC Ballet.  She asked if I cared to join her for some of the shows this season. 

As a former dance mom, I should be ashamed, because I'm not well-versed in ballet.  But I love live performances....how could I resist?

So on Tuesday night we found ourselves in Lincoln Center, attending the ballet's Fall Gala, the event that opens the ballet's season.  Or rather, I should call it the "Fall Fashion Gala", because the costumes for the performance were all designed by major fashion designers, something the ballet company has been doing since 2011, when NYC's Fashion Week temporarily  moved to Lincoln Center.

The Gala is a major fundraiser for the company, and is well-attended by the glitterati. Those of us who sat upstairs,  didn't walk the red carpet or attend the pre-show and post performance parties, but then again, we didn't have to dress up in black tie or evening gowns either. 

We sat in the first row of the third ring, dead center.  Great view of the stage and the orchestra pit. 

The NYC Ballet tends to be very forward-thinking, modern, progressive, even edgy.  I could see elements of various other disciplines -- modern dance, jazz, lyrical, ballroom -- incorporated into the performances.   Each piece was introduced by a short film, in which the choreographer and fashion designer talked about how the costumes were created to fit the mood of the piece. 

The finale was a very traditional Tchaikovsky waltz, in costumes that were traditional but with a modern, high fashion twist -- black and white costumes with a splash of bright pink. 

Totally enjoyable evening, and I can't wait until we go back in February.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Welcome Fall

The change of season is official.

Pumpkin bread and apple cider, anyone?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cruising!

So, awhile back, Drew and I were invited to go on a cruise with some friends  of ours.  We decided that the cruise they picked wasn't for us.

 But the idea of another cruise...well, we're going at the end of October.  A week on a Royal Caribbean ship, making port in Jamaica, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Labadee, the cruise line's "private island".  We're going to see Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza and Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica, enjoy some beach time  in Labadee, walk around Georgetown in Grand Cayman.  Should be fun.

And then...we're talking about a possible European vacation in late 2017 or early 2018.    We're not even in the real planning stage for that one yet, but I'm starting to get excited...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

RenFaire Redux

We had such a good time at the Faire in August that we decided to go back last weekend.  The free tickets helped, of course.

We focused on entertainment that we didn't see last month.  No knife throwers, no living chess game...but we did see three ladies who do swordplay while reciting Shakespeare, a witty gentleman  who conducted a kangaroo court, and a puppeteer/insult comic (can't call him a ventriloquist when he wears a mask over his face).

But we did see the joust again.  And it was a bit different this time around.  The Faire was filming the event, so instead of the usual four knights, there were six knights on the field. 

Overall, another fun day.  Can't wait until next year.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Chelsea

So...a pipe bomb exploded on the Jersey Shore Saturday, just moments before a charity race was to begin.  No one was hurt, thank G-d, but it was truly scary ...echoes of the Boston Marathon bombing.

And then Saturday night...a bomb went off in Chelsea.  Thank G-d no one died, but 29 people were hurt.  Another bomb was found, before it went off,  just a few blocks away.

On Sunday we learned that another bomb was found, this time near the train station in Elizabeth, NJ. It exploded while the robot was disarming it.    And that a car was pulled over on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and the five people inside the vehicle were taken into custody by the FBI.

And today there's a wanted poster, a 28 year old man, considered armed and dangerous.

Scary world.

Friday, September 16, 2016

walk, interrupted

So the other night, after work, I headed over to Sunken Meadow.  It was a sunny afternoon,, with no rain in the forecast, perfect for a walk on the boardwalk.

In the 20 minutes it took for me to drive to the park, the weather began to change.  A little cloudy, but yeah, I thought I could get a good walk in....

I got to the park and headed to the boardwalk. I always park at the main bathhouse, in the middle of the boardwalk.  Then I'll walk to the eastern end of the boardwalk, then to the western end, and finish in the middle. By the time I reached the boardwalk,    dark clouds hovered over the Sound, but I could still see the Connecticut shoreline in the distance. Overhead was gray, not threatening at all.  I started to walk.

When I reached the eastern end of the boardwalk  --I'd been walking about 15 minutes --, I saw a lightning strike.  A bolt of lightning hit the open water.  A little scary, don't you think?  I don't mind being at the beach in the wind and the rain, so long as I'm wearing a raincoat, but lightning?  No.

It was definitely time to walk back towards my car...

The skies grew darker, the wind picked up.  Sand was blowing, and some poor guy was chasing after his beach umbrella; the umbrella moved too fast, and eventually he gave up. 

Park employees were clearing the beach, telling people that the beach wouldn't be safe in a thunderstorm.  Yet people were reluctant to leave, and a few new arrivals were disappointed that they weren't allowed onto the sand.  A few jet ski riders were fooling around in the water, when they should have been heading to shore.

By the time I reached the main bathhouse, even the seagulls were  having hysterics.

The first raindrops hit as I got into my car.  It was pouring by the time I pulled out of the parking lot.

Glad I avoide a soaking, but I wish I'd been able to finish the walk.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Holiday Inn

Now playing on Broadway, Holiday Inn, a musical based on the1942  Bing Crosby-Fred Astaire movie.

We had a chance to see it the other night. 

The movie, as you'll recall, had a thin plot designed as a framework for Irving Berlin's holiday songs.   Expanded to a stage musical, plot and character become far more important.  The basic storyline is the same -- Jim Hardy, his girlfriend Lila Dixon and his buddy Ted Hanover are performers, bringing their song and dance act around the country.  Jim quits to become a farmer, Lila dumps him for Ted.  when farming doesn't work, with the help of his new girlfriend Linda Mason,  he turns his farmhouse into an inn where shows are presented on each holiday.  When Lila dumps Ted, Ted shows up at the inn, and seeks out Linda as his new dance partner.  There are changes to the details, of course, and songs some songs have been dropped, others added.

The Irving Berlin music is, of course, spectacular.  the dancing is energetic and enthusiastic.  I especially enjoyed the Christmas number, where the dancers were using garlands as jump ropes.  The 4th of July number -- where Astaire danced with firecrackers -- has been lovingly recreated on the stage. 

Interesting tidbit.  The show is presented in Studio 54, a theater without an orchestra pit.  The orchestra is housed in what would otherwise be box seats on either side of the stage, in full view of the audience.  I love to see the musicians. 

  Decent production, great music, wonderful dance sequences.  Familiar plot, some humor, some tender moments.  Overall I'd give the show a B+.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (spoiler alert)

Took me awhile, but I finally read all four acts of the play.

First thought:  reading the play is not at all like reading the novels.  Rowlings' distinctive, magical prose is nowhere to be found. Well, I shouldn't say "nowhere", but for the most part, the set descriptions and stage directions are very straightforward and practical.

Becca, one of the biggest Harry Potter fans on the planet, didn't like Cursed Child.  She  felt that the characters in the play were not the same people she grew to love in the novels and the movies.  She felt the Rowlings' collaborators drifted away from her original concepts.

I disagree with her assessment.  But I look at the story from a very different viewpoint than my daughter does.

First of all, I am more familiar with the literary treatment of time travel and alternate realities.  I mean, we've all seen It's a Wonderful Life, how everyone's situation changed because George Bailey was never born.  And then, of course, there are the Back To The Future movies. I have read a lot of science fiction, I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Dark Shadows, and more recently, Dr. Who.  When people read Prisoner of Askeban  and asked "If they could go back in time and save Sirius and Buckbeak, why couldn't they rescue Lily and James Potter?", I was filling in the gaps, thinking about that Star Trek episode "City on the Edge of Forever", I was hearing Voyager's Captain Janeway complain that time travel gives her a headache.

As for the characters...

When Becca was in college, she fulfilled one of her philosophy requirements by taking a class where major philosophical ideas were discussed in the context of the Harry Potter novels.  One of her assignments was to write an essay about love, using illustrations from the novels.   She allowed me to read the essay.  Her focus was on the love between Harry and Ron and Hermione, the love between Harry and ginny, etc.  She "got" the whole "Lilly saves Harry through love" aspect of the story, but her focus was clearly on the younger characters. 

My mind went straight to Molly Weasley and her children.  But I'm an adult, a mother.  My real-life focus is very different than Becca's.  I don't think she was happy to see her favorites all grown up, thinking and acting like adults.

So when I see Harry having a difficult relationship with Albus -- the crux of the story in Cursed Child -- I can relate.  I have also had difficult moments with my children, I've also said things to them I wish I hadn't said.  Harry as the parent of a teenager isn't really that different from Harry as a teenager.    The self-doubt, the angst, it hasn't gone away, it's just been refocused. 

The play is written in two parts/four acts, and I had most of it figured out by the middle of the second act.  The events of Goblet of Fire are pivotal to the Harry Potter story, and changing the outcome of those events results in major changes to the present, none of them for the better.  Through it all, love and friendship endure.  And redemption comes, not just to the Potters, but to the Malfoys as well. I am really fond of Scorpius Malfoy, Draco's son is everything Draco was not.

The climax of the play takes place in Godric's Hollow in 1981.  If you want to change the timeline, you have to go back to the very beginning, after all. 

Overall I thought it was an interesting play, but part of me wishes Rowlings would have just left  off with Deathly Hallows....

Monday, September 12, 2016

Yoga? YES!

So I've been playing around with yoga and mindfulness for awhile, using DVD's and apps to explore the topics.

It's time to take the next step. 

I have always been nervous about taking a formal exercise class.  The reason I like Planet Fitness is because I can move at my own pace.  And yes, I am a klutz.

But on one of my recent trips to the beach, I noticed a yoga class, they had their mats spread out on the sand.  And none of them were amazingly graceful.  they were just there to enjoy themselves.

Our local high school offers several continuing education courses that re fitness-oriented:  power walking, Zumba, ballroom dancing.

And two classes that sounded so very interesting. 

Class #1, "Yoga", meets at 6:00 PM on Thursdays.  This Yoga class will provide physical benefits by creating a toned, flexible and strong body while improving respiration, energy and vitality.  This classical form of Yoga will also help you relax, quiet your mind and handle stressful situations more easily, as well as learn positive thoughts and self-acceptance in a non-competitive environment.  This class is suitable for the beginner student, as well as the advanced student, and will consider the individual needs of each.

Class #2, an hour later and taught by the same instructor, is called "Relaxation and Breathing Techniques".  The description of the class:  How often do you take time to relax?  Like most of us, probably not enough time.  Here is a great opportunity to treat yourself to a mini vacation of letting go into a state of deep relaxation.  We will start class with breathing techniques to clear stress in the mind and tension in the body, followed by guided relaxation techniques that teach you to reach  a state of rest and rejuvenation.  We cultivate a comfortable atmosphere using relaxing music, lighting and auto suggestion that supports your transformation.

I mailed the registration materials and my check this morning.  First class is September 29.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 years

The students in this year's high school freshman class weren't even born when it happened. To them, it's part of history, not something that happened to them.

For the rest of us ...

Where were you 15 years ago today? On that bright, sunny Tuesday when everything changed?

I'd spent most of my professional life in lower Manhattan and Jersey City. On 2/26/1993 I'd watched the fire in the Twin Towers from across the Hudson. But on 9/11/2001 my office was on Long Island. Even so, my boss was in Manhattan that day, for a court appearance at 60 Centre Street, a case that he could easily have assigned to me. It was pure luck that I wasn't in Manhattan that day. Pure luck that I didn't see the planes hit the towers, that I didn't see the horrors that followed, that I didn't have to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to get to safety.

I watched the events unfold on TV, watched the chaos take place on familiar streets from the security of our office break room.

I'm an insurance attorney. On Wednesday, while most of the country was still recovering from the shock, I was fielding coverage questions.

On Friday I had an appearance in federal court in Brooklyn. I took the railroad to Brooklyn that day, and oh how I wanted to believe that the reason I couldn't see the Twin Towers from the train was because it was raining ...

And after I took care of court business, I walked to the Promenade and took my first look at post-attack Manhattan, shrouded in smoke. Oseh shalom bimromav hu ya aseh shalom aleinu  l'al kol Yisroel v'imru amen . I prayed for peace.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

the construction site next door

So our long-time neighbors became empty nesters, put their house on the market and moved away.  the house sat empty for a few months, and finally a young couple with a three year old son bought the house.

They haven't moved in yet.  Instead, they've decided on a massive project to alter and redesign the house and property.    The house they bought was virtually identical to ours -- a traditional center hall colonial built in the late 1960's.  They've gutted the interior and taken off all the siding and shingles, they plan an expansion upstairs.  they're regrading the property, cutting down trees, and have plans to put in a pool.

And right now there's a port-a-potty sitting in the middle of their front lawn. Just lovely. 

So they're having work done, we all have to grin and bear it...

Except that the town enforcement officials have been here a few times already. They didn't have the proper permits to re-grade the land or to cut down trees -- and that affects the adjacent properties. (We had flooding problems a few years ago  after our neighbor across the street re-graded their lot and cut down a bunch of trees.) And the town had to tell them they couldn't do construction work on Saturdays.

Not exactly a way to endear yourselves to your new neighbors.

Sigh.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

another this and that

So, with Labor Day behind us, we've turned the page, it's "fall".

It's cloudy today, a bit  windy, with a chance of rain.  the remnants of Hurricane Hermine, the storm that wasn't.  The storm was supposed to hit us in the middle of the weekend, but fortunately it blew out to sea.

My biggest storm concern was about Jen and her boyfriend.  Matt had a summer job, tending bar on Fire Island every weekend.  I had visions of a hurricane party on a deserted Fire Island, but no...Jen and some of her friends went over to the bar Saturday, but came home Saturday night.  Matt decided to honor the voluntary evacuation, and came home before the ferries stopped running. 

Drew's barbecue was fun. A very small group this year, and way too much food, but we all enjoyed. 

My mom's birthday was Sunday.  We had a family dinner -- my sister cooked, there were flowers on the table, we had cake from Reinwald's and cookies and pastries from Dortoni.  Mom wore a tiara.  It was a good day.

Felice and Andrea celebrate their birthday tomorrow. I'm not sure what the plans are.

I'm disappointed in my weight loss efforts.  My weight has gone up and down these last few weeks  I weigh the same today as I did on August 1.  It's time to get back on track.  Back to the gym tonight.   I need to lose 7.5 pounds before October 22 if I want to meet my mini goal. 

The mini goal is to reach a certain weight before my Caribbean cruise.  Drew and I will be sailing to the Western Caribbean, making port at Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Cozumel and Royal Caribbean's private island.  After the cruise we're spending a few days with friends who live in Tampa.  Yes, I'm a bit excited.

I'd better get busy...

Friday, September 2, 2016

Labor Day weekend

Thank goodness the BBQ will be tomorrow.  The weather will be nice tomorrow.

The rest of the weekend is going to be a washout.  Hemine is no longer a hurricane, it's now a tropical storm, but it's headed our way.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Welcome September

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