life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, November 17, 2017

#SkywatchFriday -- autumn sunset


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hodgepodge

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Joyce always poses interesting questions.

 




1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?

What popped into my head when I saw this was ...athletics.  I’ve been a couch potato most of my life, only recently discovered a real interest in gym-based activity.  I’m not very good at it, but I’m trying.

2. Your least favorite spice?

Actually an herb, dill.  There’s a diner in the neighborhood that uses dill in the tzaziki, and it’s not my choice ...

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?

I’d like to be a bit less distracted and more on point.  Lately I find myself all over the place.

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?


I love history, I love visiting historical sites.  I loved the mansions in Newport, RI.  Of the homes listed here, I’ve seen only one, Mount Vernon.  I’d love to see all the others.  Hemingway’s house is supposed to be interesting.

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?

Cursive writing.  And I won’t miss it.  My own handwriting is awful.   And I’m in a paper-oriented business, where deciphering handwritten materials has not been fun.

A former coworker was born in Egypt and educated in Tel Aviv and London.  He was fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, English and French.    When you looked at his files, you’d have to ask if his handwritten notes were really in English, because his writing looked like Arabic.  When we went to an electronic note taking system, it made a huge difference.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.



Is it Friday yet?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

movies movies movies

So last weekend we saw Thor:Ragnarok.  We had seen every movie in the "Avengers" series, and were really looking forward to this one as well.  And we were not disappointed. the movie has everything we love about the series:  lots of action, lots of special effects, quirky humor, and an incredible soundtrack -- gotta love Zeppelin.  Do stay for the bonus scenes.  Both of them.

Last night we saw Murder On The Orient Express. I've always loved Agatha Christie, and I read the book a long time ago, but I've never seen the movie made in the 1970's, so I had nothing to compare this version to.   they changed the ethnicity of some of the characters, but pretty much stuck to the story line...until the end.  And I won't spoil it for you. but yeah, it kind of makes you think...

And we also watched a DVD.  We had not seen Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in the movie theater, though we had seen and loved all of the other POTC movies.  the reviews of the moive were not good, so we decided to wait.  Good decision.  It wasn't awful, but it just wasn't as good as the previous movies int eh series.  Though I did enjoy Paul McCartney's cameo.

A lot of blockbusters and a lot of serious movies are opening in the next few weeks.  Should be fun.


Friday, November 10, 2017

And a view from another bridge #skywatchfriday

The Philadelphia skyline as seen from the Betsy Ross Bridge






Thursday, November 9, 2017

more this and that

So...Election Day.  Good news in Virginia and New Jersey, electing Democrats to their states' highest office.  Locally, though...mixed results.  My candidate for county legislature won, but my candidates for town council and town supervisor lost.

The holiday season is approaching.  One of my neighbors literally replaced their Halloween decorations with christmas lights, completely bypassing Thanksgiving.  I'd like to bypass Thanksgiving, too, I think, rather than deal with the holiday drama that's brewing.  I used to love Thanksgiving, now I dread it.


Remember my friend L, the one with the health issues?  Last time I spoke to her, she was working hard in rehab, trying to regain her mobility so that she could get back to her life.  Well, the other day, L's daughter posted on Facebook about how L has had a serious setback, yet another medical issue has cropped up, and she's back in the hospital.  This is not going to end well, I fear.


I'm having some success with physical therapy for my knee.  I see improvement in flexibillity and endurance.  I'm also back on my weight loss plan, which is a struggle these days. But I am determined to remain as healthy and active as I can be.

The weather is getting cold.  It almost feels like we skipped autumn and went straight from summer into winter.  Winter is not my favorite season.  Sigh.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wednesday HodgePodge

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Joyce always poses interesting questions.

1.  In a rut, in a jam, in the groove, out of synch, off balance, out of touch...which saying best fits some area of your life currently (or recently)? Explain.

Off balance and in a jam.  I'm a bit overwhelmed at work lately and feeling the pressure.

 2. What is it about somebody else's style of work (coworker/employee/shared volunteer project/household chore) that makes you crazy? Why?

I used to have two coworkers who made the rest of us crazy.  We referred to them as "Loud and Louder".  When you work in a cube farm, it's hard to concentrate on your work when the person in the next cube is on the phone and speaks so loudly that she can be heard halfway down the hall.

 3. What's a tradition that always makes you feel at home?
I've got a bit of writer's block on this one.  Can't think of a good response.

 4. A favorite song with a girl's name in the title or lyrics? Any reason why this is a particular favorite?

"Help Me, Rhonda" by the Beach Boys.  My college roommate was named Rhonda.  I haven't spoken to her in a very long time, I think I may want to look her up and find out how her life turned out.

 5. Share a favorite quote, verse, or saying relating to gratitude or thanksgiving.

“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”
― Jon Stewart
 6. Insert your own random thought here.

The holiday drama has already begun around here, and I'm so tired of it.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

happy birthday!

27 years ago ...

Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday...



Happy birthday to my first born.  Love you, Jen.






Monday, November 6, 2017

another this and that

Another mass shooting, this time in a church in Texas.   SSDD.  What's the point of complaining about it, when the NRA has ccontrol of Congress and nothing ever changes?  Our country is headed towards bad times, and I feel powerless....

So today I'm focusing on the small things, the little ways I can improve the world around me.

Tonight I'm going to a meeting, it's an interfaith council that plans several events throughout the year.  Last month we had a panel discussion on how faith and religion address the issue of immigrants in our communities.  In January we're planning an interfaith prayer service to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. We've got a Congressman lined up as guest speaker.

Tomorrow is Election Day, and there are a few local contests, in our town and county governments.  I've been working towards electing two candidates, a woman running for Town Supervisor, and a woman running for a seat on the Town Council.  I'm also supporting a woman who is running for County Legislature.  I am pleased to see so many strong, qualified women seeking office.

I've also been very active at the synagogue.  I'm a member of the Social Action Committee, we have many activities aimed at improving the lives of others.  Last month we had "Mitzvah Day", in which we made sandwiches for a soup kitchen, collected nonperishables for a food pantry, crocheted blanket for hospital patients, created toiletry kits for residents of homeless shelters...For Chanukah we're planning a toy drive for indigent families, and we will have another food drive in February.  I feel good helping our community.

Our Social Action programs are well-funded, in part because of the generosity of the synagogue's Sisterhood.  Sisterhood runs social programs for the enjoyment of its members, but those programs are also fundraisers.  Some of the money goes to improving the synagogue and enhancing its programs, but some is given to Social Action to support our work.

So when I go to a Sisterhood program, I'm glad to participate in whatever raffles they conduct.  And last week I actually won something!







That's a Mexican-themed basket.  Inside I found gift cards to three different local Mexican restaurants, a jar of salsa, two bags of tortilla chips  (one regular, one sweet potato) and a bottle of coffee liquer.

It was nice to win, and nice to know that the money I paid for the raffle tickets will be put to good use.

I can't control the big things, but at least with the small things...I'm trying.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Bored on the Belt



The screen shot from Waze tells the story.  Rush hour traffic on the Belt Parkway.  No fun.


So I, the passenger, start playing with the cell phone camera.

Large ships are headed towards New York Harbor:






You can see Coney Island:













A little autumn color along the road:











But don't forget you're actually driving through Brooklyn and Queens.  I love this shot, plane was landing at JFK:















Friday, November 3, 2017

A view from a bridge. #skywatchfriday

#skywatchfriday

From the Verrazano Narrows Bridge




And a close up




Thursday, November 2, 2017

Another surreal image from Hugh Kretschmer


I've only just discovered him, but I'm a bit obsessed.


Hair

And the backstory.

the image was meant to illustrate an article about growth.

I love how she has such long, shiny hair.

but that cigarette.  Oh my!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

another this and that

So it's November.  Another new month stretches before me. Time is flying by so quickly lately.

I made it through the Ultimate Blog challenge, I posted on this blog every day throughout the month of October.  I migjht do it again, but for now I'll just be posting when I feel like it.

I heard on the radio yesterday that October 2017 is officially the warmest October on record.  Funny, I thought that was October 1990, the month before Jen was born...

Hard to believe she's going to be 27 years old next week.  Yes, I have an almost-27-year-old daughter.  She's going out on Saturday night to celebrate -- just Jen, Becca, Jen's boyfriend and a handful of friends at an Italian restaurant.  I hope they have a great time.

Becca starts a new job today.  Instead of working as a paralegal in a very large law firm, she'll be working in the marketing department of an even larger law firm.  She says this is the direction she wants to go, that she's thinking of taking a graduate degree in business.

I had a follow-up visit with my primary care physician yesterday.  Got my flu shot, so I'm ready for winter. Also found out that the medication I'm taking for my knee has known side effects that concern my doctor, he wants me to stop taking the medication on a daily basis.  I've ben taking this medication for six months.  Oh, joy.

Tonight is the annual sisterhood membersihp dinner at my synagogue.  We get together for cocktails and dinner, raffles, gossip, etc.  This year they're going with a Mexican theme.  Should be fun.

It's November.  And the fall weather has finally arrived.  Looking forward to the challenges and joys this month will bring.






Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween fun

Welcome to my Halloween party.  Let's have some fun! Let's start with the "Monster Mash".









How about a little "Twilight Zone"?



Time to do some ghost busting.





It's not a Halloween party without the Divine Miss M.





And finally ...

Monday, October 30, 2017

Bewitched, The Munsters, The Addams Family and Dark Shadows

Our society has always been fascinated with the weird, the creepy, the occult.

Halloween has me thinking about creepy shows I watched as a kid. My introduction to the supernatural genre came from 1960’s television.  Fantasy, horror, and camp.

My favorite show of the time, my introduction to the genre, was Bewitched.   It turned the scary -- witches and witchcraft -- into the mundane and ordinary.    Samantha Stevens was a typical suburban housewife, who also happened to be a witch. The humor came from her zany relatives, from spells gone awry, and from Samantha's need to hide her supernatural status from ordinary mortals.   The show ran from 1964-1971, but lives on forever in reruns.



Two other  shows that premiered in 1964 expertly combined horror and camp into a sitcom format.  

 The Addams Family, based on drawings Charles Addams did for The New Yorker, focused on the weird extended family of Gomez and Morticia Addams, and their taste for the macabre.  Uncle Fester, Thing, Cousin It, Lurch...weird characters all. The humor came from a culture clash, Gomez and Morticia think the rest of the world share their values.




Similarly, The Munsters was a parody of a typical American family. Herman and Lily Munster and their family are firmly rooted in our concept of traditional horror movies.  Herman is Frankenstein’s monster, Grandpa is a vampire, Eddie is a werewolf, and poor Marilyn ...




The humor in The Munsters was a bit broader, but came from the same culture clash as The Addams Family.  Gomez Addams was wealthy, Herman Munster was a grave digger, but both found themselves at odds with what we consider “normal”.

A Munsters-Addams Family crossover would have been awesome.  Can you imagine Eddie Munster dating Wednesday Addams?

Both shows finished their runs in 1966.

1966, the year Dark Shadows premiered.




Dark Shadows started out as Gothic soap opera.  Victoria Winters travels to Collinsport, Maine, to be governess to a disturbed young boy named David Collins.  The show did not become successful until a year later, when a vampire named Barnabas Collins returns to his home at Collinwood.  Over the next few years viewers were treated to seances, ghosts, werewolves, witches,  time travel, alternate realities...

The show was meant to be scary, and to its target audience (children and teens who’d race home from school to see it), it was terrifying.  So very different from the humorous shows I watched before.

The “camp” came from overacting and from low production values.  The show was shot in a single take, flubbed lines and all.  Boom mikes and technicians could be seen in the background.  Doors stuck, cardboard shrubbery and tombstones got knocked over, actors called each other by their real names instead of by the character’s name ...

All of these series were revived, with new casts, as movies, with varying degrees of success.  But I prefer the originals.

My daughters' views of the supernatural were shaped by...other forces.  Very different from what I experienced, but just as spooky and weird and mysterious.

Give you one clue:







Sunday, October 29, 2017

Hunkered down

Horrible storm out there today, they say we will get gale force winds and buckets of rain.

It’s never a good time for that type of storm.

But today of all days?

Five years ago today were were hunkered down and riding out Superstorm Sandy.

It was a horrible, horrible time for the region.  We’re still dealing with the devastation.

A friend who has been trying to get her house rebuilt for five long years has finally made the hard decision to walk away.

Today’s storm is supposed to be just an ordinary storm.  But still, it’s bringing back unhappy memories.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Anthony’s Lucky Duck

Lucky Duck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’m always on the lookout for a good Italian restaurant.

And the Lucky Duck fits the bill.  (Yes, I know, very punny,)

It’s a casual spot,  very cozy — brick walls and dark wood paneling, and a huge mirror to make the place look larger.

Staff is friendly and eager to please, and very knowledgeable about the menu.

The wine list is very limited, but we were satisfied with our White Zinfandel.

The bread basket contained Italian bread and garlicky flat bread.  A good sign.

Our appetizer?  Fried calamari was tender and flavorful, served with a spicy marinara — the sauce had a nice zing, but the level of spice was not overwhelming.  Very shareable portion size.

He had the veal Marsala, tender veal in a rich wine sauce, served with green beans and a side of rigatoni marinara.  I ordered the eggplant parm:  thin slices of eggplant, breaded and fried, topped with but not buried by mozzarella cheese, also accompanied by rigatoni.

I seldom order dessert, but I caved in to temptation and ordered the warm apple fritters.  A truly shareable dessert, there were four fritters  -- an apple ring dipped in batter and then fried to perfection -- and a huge portion of vanilla ice cream.

An incredible meal, with lots of leftovers.  We will be back.

Friday, October 27, 2017

#skywatchfriday Autumn Leaves




#skywatchfriday

Thursday, October 26, 2017

a magical moment

Yesterday, while I was driving to work, I was listening to Scott Shannon on the radio. 

And he was talking about the World Series.  I'm not really paying much attention to the Series this year, there's no New York team in the competition. I'm not rooting for either of the contenders.

But then Scott started talking about when he first came to New York city, and he was fortunate to be given two tickets to Game six of the 1986 World Series, October 25, 1986. Scott's tickets were way out, in left field.  but to be anywhere at Shea that night....


You know what happened in Game Six, after all.

Baseball magic.  The kind of magic that just doesn't happen in other sports.

The Red Sox led the series 3-2, and were poised to win their first World Series title in 68 years.  They scored twice in the top of the 10th inning, and the champagne was cooling in the visiting team locker room.

In the bottom of the 10th, the wee hours of October 26 actually...

Backman flied out.  Hernandez flied out.  It seemed the game was over.

And then....

Carter singled to left.  Mitchell singled.  Knight singled, Carter scored, Mitchell to third. 

Mookie Wilson came to bat. 

Mitchell scored on a wild pitch, Knight to second. 

And then, with a 3-2 count, Wilson hit a blooper up the first base line.

The ball went through Bill Buckner's legs.

Knight scored, and the Mets won!

Game seven, played two days later (thanks to a rain storm)...well, the Mets won handily. 

Drew and I and his buddy Marc watched that game in the basement of Drew's parents' house.  After the Red sox scored in the top of the 10th, we were sure the Red Sox were headed to the championship.  By the time Knight came to bat, we were on our feet, cheering and screaming as if we were at Shea. 

Vin Scully's epic call of wilson's at-bat, a magical moment that will live forever in baseball history.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge



As always, Joyce has some interesting questions.

1. What's surprised you most about your life or life in general? 

Where I wound up is far different from where I expected to be.

2.  Sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, a baked sweet potato, a bowl of butternut squash soup, a caramel apple or a slice of pumpkin pie...you have to order one thing on this list right now. Which one do you go for?

The casserole sounds very nice right about now.


3. What's a famous book set in your home state? Have you read it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 is fantastic) how many stars does it rate?


I live in New York, kind of hard to narrow it down.  So I will go with my father's favorite, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. It was set in the neighborhood where he grew up.

4. There are 60 days until Christmas...have you started your shopping? How do you stay organized for the holidays?

I'm Jewish, so Christmas isn't a big deal for me.  And no, I haven't started shopping yet.

5. October 26th is National Tennessee Day. Have you ever lived or spent any time in Tennessee? Is this a state you'd like to visit one day? The top rated tourist attractions in Tennessee are-

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Gatlinburg area), Elvis's Graceland (Memphis), Birth of the Music Biz (Memphis and Nashville), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge), Tennessee's Military Heritage (many battlefields), The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home), The Parthenon (Nashville), Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy, Chattagnooa and the Tennessee Valley Railroad, Downtown Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, The Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge), The Museum of Appalachia (Clinton), and The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)

How many on this list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?


I've never been to Tennessee.  Sounds interesting, though.


6.  Insert your own random thought here.


the apple cider donuts at Stew Leonard's are to die for.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Wasabi Sushi & Bento

Wasabi Sushi & Bento Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Fast food sushi!



This chain, originally from Britain, offers a variety of sushi in a counter service restaurant.



You can choose a prepared platter, or opt for sushi by the piece.  Salads, including seaweed salad, are available as well.  I opted to buy separate pieces, and thoroughly enjoyed choosing each piece.  The fish is fresh and tasty.  I loved the spicy mayo, but soy sauce in a foil packet was a turn off.

There are hot food offerings as well, including chicken teriyaki — a substantial portion of chicken served over thick Japanese noodles instead of rice.

The dining area is clean and bright, but a bit small.  Staff was friendly and efficient.

I think I’ve found a new lunch spot.

Monday, October 23, 2017

New York on a Friday afternoon

I used to work in NYC.  I don’t anymore, I work on Long Island, just ten minutes from home.

I don’t miss the commute.  But I do miss being in the city.

So when business took me into Manhattan on a recent Friday, I was happy to go.

My business meeting was in the Times Square area.  Lots of tourists in the area, enjoying the sites and snapping selfies.  Costumed characters trying to make a living by posing for pictures with the tourists.  Street peddlers selling “pashmina” scarves and designer-knockoff handbags.  Hawkers trying to convince tourists to ride a double decker tour bus or visit Madam Toussard’s.  Street musicians playing classical violin, jazz sax, even steel drums. Pushcarts selling hot dogs, or felafel, or chicken biryani.

It’s a walking city.  I forget sometimes how easy it is to meet, or exceed, my step goal while just getting from point A to point B,

I thought about getting lunch from a pushcart, but instead opted for lunch at Wasabi Sushi & Bento (review coming).

My business meeting was somewhat disappointing.  But I really enjoyed my afternoon.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Reformed Liar

Photography is art.  Like painting or sculpture, the creative images produced by a photographer enrich our world and our understanding of the human condition.

I have recently discovered the works of a photographer named Hugh Kretschmer.  His images are surreal and intriguing.

His works are all copyrighted, so I’ll just have to give you a link to my favorite image:  Reformed Liar

It’s a fascinating image.  A mask, hanging on a wall.  The face is all innocence, except for the long nose,  like Pinnochio.  The owner of the mask has abandoned his lying ways, showing his true face to the world.

Here’s how it was created:  popular photography

Saturday, October 21, 2017

So he deleted everything I said ....

Lesson of the day:  don’t try to help someone who refuses to listen.


Yes, I know I’m being a bit vague...

But when a lawyer gives you free legal advice, even if you don’t take it, the response should be “Thank you for your concern.”

It should NOT be “I deleted all her comments from my blog because I’m tired of the negativity.”

Lord help him if those chickens come home to roost.

I’m sure he will find a way to blame me.

Friday, October 20, 2017

#skywatchfriday Sea and Sky




Thursday, October 19, 2017

from mourning to rejoicing

So, as I mentioned, my father passed away two years ago this month.

In Jewish tradition, the anniversary of a loved one's death is called a yartzeit. As in, my father's yartzeit is in October. My father's yartzeit is the day after a joyous holiday, Simchat Torah. (Yes, it's calculated according to the Hebrew calendar, not the secular calendar.) Very easy to remember.

There are two traditions associated with observing the anniversary of a loved one's death.

The first takes place at home --  lighting a yartzeit lamp.  If you go to the kosher foods section of the supermarket, you will see votive candles, glass tumblers filled with about 3 ounces of wax, that are designed to burn for 24 hours.  Those are yartzeit lamps.  There is no special ritual, you simply light the canlde and medidate on your loved one's life.

The second tradition takes place in the synagogue, with the recitation of the Kaddish. Kaddish is one of the prayers that requires a minyan, a quorum of ten adults. I think part of the reason forthat requirement is so that the community can comfort the bereaved.

Kaddish is said at the funeral, then every day during the period of mourning (a year if the deceased is your parent, 30 days for all other relatives), and then once a year on the yartzeit of your loved one's death.

My father's yartzeit was on Saturday, but I wasn't able to go to synagogue that day.  I planned to go on Monday, weekday services are short and sweet.  But when it came time to leave for the synagogue, I couldn't find my keys.  They fell behind my dresser, and by the time I found them...well, I had to reschedule.

So I found myself in synagogue this morning. 

And there was a bat mitzvah.  Or rather, a b'not mitzvah.  Two girls.  I don't know if they were twins, or merely sisters close in age, but they were celebrating the occasion together.  (The children in our synagogue get to celebrate twice, first on a weekday morning, then a much bigger celebration on Saturday.)

And then an image popped into my head, of my father, the proud grandfather, dancing at Jen's bat mitzvah.  And dancing at Becca's bat mitzvah two years later. He reveled in being a grandfather, he loved my daughters so much.

Sweet, sweet memories.

Miss you, Dad.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I can't even...

My father has been on my mind lately.  Maybe it's because  he passed away two years ago this month.

I remember when we were planning the funeral, the funeral director asked if we wanted military honors.  And we said yes, of course we did.

At age 18, my father did what every able-bodied man of his generation did: he entered military service, donned the uniform of his country, and proudly served.  It wasn't his choice to join the Army, he did so at the behest of the draft board, but he served willingly, and with honor.

And 70 years later, the United States Army sent an honor guard to his funeral.  Two soldiers, in full dress uniform, who took the flag that draped my father's coffin and carefully folded it, then presented that flag to my mother, along with the condolences of the President of the United States and a grateful nation.

Proud tears rolled down my cheeks.

My heart goes out to the young widow, whose husband died in the service of our country, who was reduced to tears by the hurtful words of the current occupant of the White House.  Your job, sir, is to comfort the families of those who willingly give their lives to protect us, not to cause them additional pain.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Jones Beach after all

I didn’t get down to the beach for the breast cancer walk.  But I did manage a visit on my own.

Saw three friends:




A bit of autumn color:






And the changing dunes:







Interesting incursion of the sea, this “creek” runs parallel to the shoreline:



Pigeons on the lawn.






Whoops, I startled them!




That was close:





And away they flew.




Monday, October 16, 2017

Pink out ... not

I was supposed to go to the breast cancer walk at Jones Beach yesterday.  

I woke up in pain.  I hate sciatica.  I could barely move.

I feel terrible.

I expected to post photos showing a sea of pink today.  

Instead...

I went back to the Halloween house, this time in the afternoon.

I found out the house is owned by ...get this ... a taxidermist.  He’s got a shingle out, and it’s not part of the holiday decor.  

But the decor is ... interesting.





The green thing on the roof ....





And the yard:

















Sunday, October 15, 2017

weighty issue

So...it's time to talk about a weighty issue.  Specifically, my weight.  From March 2015 until October 2016, I lost a significant amount of weight, 75 pounds. I felt a lot better, I was a lot more active.   And then, even though I had a lot more weight to lose, my weight loss efforts stalled.  I guess I got a bit sloppy about monitoring what I ate.  First it was vacation, then the holidays, then my birthday... I figured that as long as I was maintaining my weight, I was OK.

And then I hurt my knee....

And in the last few weeks, I've started to gain a bit of weight, and I am not happy.  And the holidays are approaching.

Well, I can't use my knee as an excuse anymore. 
 


I started physical therapy this week.  It involves a lot of stretching my legs.  But the therapist also had me doing exercises -- squats, heel lifts, toe lifts.  And then he had me use an exercise machine.  A seated elliptical. 

I had been afraid to use any sort of elliptical because I thought it would hurt my knee.   

My fears were unfounded.  I actually enjoyed using the machine.  It's much better than using the recumbent bikes in the fitness center at the JCC. 

And then I realized where I'd seen a seated elliptical before.

The building where my office is located has a small gym,  employees have access to a small gym in the basement.  I use that gym when I'm too lazy to drive all the way to the JCC.  The gym has a few treadmills, two standard elliptical machines, and a seated elliptical. 

No excuses.  I've got this.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

another this and that

Well, we've had a couple of days of cool, autmnal weather, but it's supposed to get warm again this week.  Climate change is real, folks.

Jen is settling into her new job.  She loves the office environment. She's still exploring other career options, still trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.  She's got plenty of time to explore ---neither she nor her boyfriend (he's a full time student) are ready to settle down.

Becca is excited about her new job.  She gave notice to her current employer, and she will start the new job November 1.  She's moving towards what she wants to do with her career.  She's also talking about taking a few business classes at one of the CUNY schools -- cheap tuition and interesting academic offerings on the graduate level.

Things are still crazy busy at my office.  I'm thinking this may be a permanent condition.  Busy is good.  Busy is job security.

Tomorrow is the breast cancer walk, and I will be at the registration tent again.  later I'll be stuffing envelopes for a local candidate, Election Day i s coming.  On Thursday my Congressman is having yet another of his town hall meetings, this one at my JCC, and I suspect I'll be asked to work the sign-in table.  I'm chairing a charity program at my synagogue on the 22nd.  And then, on the 25th, I'm working the sign-in table at an event hosted by an interfaith council, a panel discussion on immigration.  Busy is good.

But let's not neglect the fun stuff.  Tonight Drew and I will probably get some take-out and watch an old movie -- he's got an incredible DVD collection.  Just a relaxing, no-pressure, Saturday night.

Friday, October 13, 2017

#skywatchfriday -- shine on, harvest moon

What is that behind the tree????


 

The harvest moon, of course.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

two years

The alert popped up on my Google calendar this morning: say Yizkor.

Yizkor is a memorial prayer, said on certain Jewish holidays, in memory of deceased loved ones.

You're expected to say the prayer for a parent, a sibling, a spouse, or a child.  You may say the prayer for other deceased relatives, for Jewish martyrs, etc., but it's not required.  When you say the prayer, you use the Yiddish or Hebrew name of the deceased, and the name of the deceased's father. 

There's a superstition that if your parents are still alive, you should not be in the sanctuary when the prayer is said.  For many years I left the sanctuary when it was time for Yizkor; but more recently, when the Rabbi encouraged everyone to stay, I did.

And then, two years ago, I became someone who was expected to say Yizkor.

Sometimes it seems like my father has been gone from us forever, sometimes I come home expecting to see him there. 

So now I say Yizkor for my father:



May the L-rd remember
the soul of my father, my teacher, Labe Bear ben Feivel haKohen
who has gone on to his world,
because, without making a vow, I shall give to charity on his behalf.
As reward for this,
may his soul be bound in the Bond of Life,
together with the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;
Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah;
and together with the other righteous men and women in the Garden of Eden.
Now let us respond: Amen.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Joyce has done it again.



From this Side of the Pond
1. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your sense of direction? 1=can't find my way out of a paper bag and 10=if I've been somewhere once I can find it blindfolded ten years later.

When was the last time you looked at/used a map you could hold in your hand? (phones don't count!) 

back east, down south, out west, up north

Choose one of these directional expressions and tell us why you chose it.


I can't remember the last time I used a paper map.  Waze is our friend.

"Out west" comes to mind because this morning the news was dominated by California wild fire.

2. Did you do more talking or listening yesterday? Is that typical? Describe your yesterday in one word.

Listening, I think.  I was receiving reports from various people.

3. Time, money, water-power-resources, opportunity...which one on the list are you most guilty of wasting? What might you do to change that?

Time.  Definitely time.  Get rid of my iPad ....


4. Did  your family take regular vacations when you were a kid? Tell us something you remember about a family roadtrip from your own childhood.

No, we only took three real vacations when I was a child.  All were to historically significant places:  Washington, DC, Lake George, NY and Williamsburg, VA.  Guess I get my love of history from my parents.

5. If you could grow anything you wanted, what would you grow? Why?

I'm torn here, I have no real skills as a gardener.  I think I'd grow tulips and daffodils, the harbingers of spring.

6. Insert your own random thought here.


Becca starts a new job next month, she's moving in a different direction in her career, and she's so excited.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Just a little reminder ....



Halloween is coming.

Monday, October 9, 2017

family histories

It's funny how different pieces of family history get handed down, or not...

My father was the youngest of five children, and the only boy.  His sisters married young and had children right away; he became an uncle at the age of 8.  My father, on the other hand, didn't marry until he was 32 years old.  I was born the day after his 33rd birthday. 

I have 11 first cousins, all of whom are older than me.  Some even have children my age. 

Most of my first cousins remember our grandparents, can tell stories about them.  I cannot, my paternal grandparent died before I was born.  There are huge chunks of our family history that I simply do not know.

And yet...

I knew something they didn't know.

My grandparents grew up in the same shtetl, a small village in the Ukraine, outside of Kiev.  My grandfather immigrated to America in 1907, and sent for my grandmother in 1909.  They were married shortly after her arrival. 

My grandparents had a very common, very Jewish, surname.

My cousins always assumed that our grandfather used the same surname in the Ukraine.  When my cousin was trying to flesh out her family tree, she looked for his immigration records using the name she knew him by.  And found nothing.

Because my granfather legally changed his name in the mid-1920's, shortly before my father was born.

I've seen the court documents.  He filed a petition in Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Kings, seeking to change his name and the names of his daughters.  for some reason my grandmother wasn't listed in the petition -- I don't know if she filed a separate petition, or if her name changed automatically when his changed.  The original name was something long and almost unpronouncable.  His reasoning was that "I don't want a name some Cossack gave my grandfather.  I'm Jewish, I want a name that identifies who I really am." 

My cousins all knew the man, but not the story.  I knew the story, but had never met the man.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Musical Memory

A song popped into my head the other day, an old memory.  Something my grandmother used to sing.

She learned the song at a summer camp on the East End of Long Island.

It must have been an adult camping experience,  my grandmother grew up in a small village in Poland, and immigrated to America as an adult.

It was one of the few songs she'd sing in English, most of the time she would sing in Yiddish, her native tongue.

But she had a wonderful time at the camp.

And I think she could relate to the title character in the story that this song tells.

I'd always thought it was a folk song.  Turns out, the song was written in 1907.  There have been several popular recordings of the song on the country charts.  And it's even made an appearance in a couple of John Wayne movies.

But I also think of it as my grandmother's song.



Found it on YouTube ...



Saturday, October 7, 2017

Another this and that

It's the middle of October, but you wouldn't know it from the weather.  It feels like summer out there.  I'm not happy, I can't wear my new sweater dress until the cooler weather arrives.

Though as far as fall foliage is concerned, we are officially in "some color".  We reach peak at the end of October or early in November. I love the autumn colors.

Saw Blade Runner 2049 this afternoon. Great movie, true to the original.  Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford work well together.  We picked up Mexican food on the way home. Steak fajita tacos, tortilla chips, black beans and rice, yum.

Still crazy busy at work. No rest for the weary. I guess that's a good thing.




Friday, October 6, 2017

#skywatchfriday




From April 2016, the World Trade Center.


#skywatchfriday

Thursday, October 5, 2017

feeling old

It's just a song, right?  Just a song on the radio.  I haven't heard it for awhile, but it's still familiar.  I know all the words, I start to sing along.  I'm enjoying myself.

And then...the lightning bolt.

I am listening to the "oldies" station.  Not the "adult contemporary" station.  And this song is from 1999.



Yes, 1999

"Oldies" used to mean the 1950's (before I was born) and the 1960's.  Eventually the music from the 70's was added to the playlist.  And when the 50's disappeared and music from the 80's began to show up on the "oldies" station, well...ok, that's to be expected, I suppose. 

But 1999?

In 1999 my children were in elementary school.    The song I heard on the radio this morning was something that they listened to all the time.  I may still have the CD in the house somewhere. 

When did I get so old that the music my children listened to has joined the ranks of "Oldies"?

So let's travel back in time to the pre-iPod world, to the era of boom box and Discman, when we all thought Y2K would fry our computers ... and listen to the song that made me feel ancient this morning:


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

I voted!


Nobody pays attention to library board votes, do they?  I mean, so long as the library is open regularly and there are books on the shelves, no one really cares.

I mean, the only reason I even know who is on our library board is because a friend of mine served on the board for a number of years.

No one pays attention at all.

Until something controversial happens.


Our  library board wants to tear down the existing building and replace it with a new, modern facility.

Naysayers objected to the cost and the inconvenience during construction.

Almost 2,000 voters showed up to vote on the issue.  That's twice as many people as voted in the most recent school board election.

But there are 15,000 households in the district.

So I guess it was important.  But not nearly important enough. 

But still...

We're getting a new library!  Yessss!!!!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Mass shooting in Las Vegas = Business As Usual In 21st Century America

Sad but true.

And I am so tired of praying for  a city, of sending  my good thoughts to the victims.

And I am beyond frustrated that we as a society can't get our collective act together to stop this insanity.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Frustration ...and finally, relief

Remember back in May, I wrote about my right knee and my visit to an orthopedist?

Well, things didn't go exactly as planned.

I'd been experiencing pain in my right knee for months when I finally saw the doctor in May. He did a physical exam, took x-rays, and ordered an  MRI.  

He told me that my best treatment option was a gel injection.  He told me that the gel would have to be special-ordered, that it would take some time.   In the interim, he gave me a topical cream to ease the pain.

When the topical cream proved ineffective, he prescribed an oral anti inflammatory instead.

The pill provided some relief ...

In early July the specialty pharmacy called me.  The gel had arrived, but they could not dispense it because they were waiting for authorization from my insurance company. And the insurance company was waiting for information from my doctor.

And that's when things started to go south.

Part of it was my own fault, I guess,  but ... I spent most of the summer calling the pharmacy, hoping the authorization arrived.  They'd tell me that the insurance company was still waiting for information from the doctor.  So I'd contact the doctor, and they'd reassure me they'd take care of it.

Meanwhile my knee was getting worse.

Finally I called the insurance company myself.  Should have done that earlier.

24 hours later, the insurance company made its decision.

The answer was "no".

My insurance company won't authorize the gel injection until I've tried at least two of three alternate therapies-- anti inflammatories, physical therapy and/or cortisone shots.

Wish I'd known that back in May.  I could have been treating the problem instead of getting more and more frustrated.

Needless to say, that doctor does not want me to fill out any kind of patient satisfaction survey.

On Friday I saw my new doctor. He read the radiology reports from May, took x-rays and did an exam. 

Treatment options?  Well, he knew that my insurance company wasn't going to approve the gel injection even before I told him what my experience has been.   He thinks it may be an option eventually.  But his treatment plan includes all three alternate treatments.  I'm to continue with the anti inflammatory, I'm going to physical therapy, and he gave me a cortisone injection.

I feel better already.

Another chapter in how to be a proactive patient.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Welcome October

Another new month, with new possibilities.

This month I have committed to the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  I'll be blogging every day this month.  I've done similar challenges in the past.  It's good discipline.

And I need the discipline right now. Several aspects of my life are starting to get away from me lately, and I need to get things under control.

Its going to be an interesting month, I'm sure. I've got a lot planned.   My office continues to be crazy busy.  I've got a few projects going for charity -- the breast cancer walk, an event at my synagogue, and I've just joined an interfaith council.  And with just over a month until Election Day, I'll be canvassing with my candidate several times.

Social life is going to be moderately busy, too.  There are a few movies opening this month that are on our "must see" list.  And we have plans to visit a haunted house at the end of the month.

Should be an interesting month.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Pink carpet evening

So thanks to a friend who has an annual subscription, I am discovering a love for the ballet.

Last week we went to the gala, the opening of the season for the New York City Ballet.  It's a huge fundraiser for the company, the glitterati of NYC society pay upwards of $1,000 to attend a cocktail reception before the performance and a benefit dinner afterwards.  And those of us who sit in the theater's upper rings get to watch them party.

Welcome to Lincoln Center.  The Metropolitan Opera House dominates the scene.  When I see the opera house I think of that scene in Moonstruck.




The glitterati on the pink carpet enjoyed an outdoor cocktail reception.








Look who was hanging out on the theater balcony.











Apparently the New York Philharmonic has a program featuring the music from Star Wars.

The party continued in the upper lobby of the theater.  






You can't take pictures inside the theater during the performance.  It's better that way, you can focus on the dance. There were four pieces.  The first three were a bit edgy, incorporating elements of modern dance into the choreography.   The final piece was more traditional, with Stravinsky music, strictly ballet movement, and classic harlequin costumes.  I think it was my favorite performance of the evening.

Yes, NYC, where you can find art and culture.

Even in the subway.  Look at the murals on the subway walk.








We have tickets for another ballet in February.  I can hardly wait.

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