life in and around NYC is insane

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ouch!

So my latest "medical crisis"?

My right knee.

I'm sure you'll appreciate the irony that the reason my knee hurts is that I decided to stop being a couch potato and that I've lost weight and become more physically active.

My knee doesn't hurt when I am walking.  But it hurts when I'm exercising, when I do squats, hamstring curls, lunges, anything that puts weight on my right leg while my knee is bent.

And sometimes, when I'm sitting or lying down, if I shift position, I'll hear a "pop", and I'll feel pain shooting through the knee.

The physician's assistant at my orthopedist's office tells me that the X rays and MRI show I have an old injury, that I likely tore my meniscus years ago, and that I aggravated the condition when I started to get active.

He prescribed a topical cream, an anti inflammatory, that I can use for temporary relief.  And he is requesting authorization from my insurance company to give me injections in my knee -- a gel that will replace the missing cartilage,  that will cushion the bones and lubricate the joint.

The gel lasts about 6 months - one year.  The only permanent solution is a knee replacement, and he's not recommending that for me.  The gel will give me relief, and  gel has few side effects, so if I have to repeat the procedure, that's what I'll do.

But isn't exercise supposed to make you feel better?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Manchester

An Ariana Grande concert.  An arena filled with 21,000 fans, mostly tweens and young teens and their parents.  The concert ends, the house lights go up, people start leaving the arena...

And then, terror.  An explosion.  Terror.

The all-too-familiar images pouring in from Manchester, England.  19 dead, 50 injured.

I'm sick to my stomach.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Purse accessories

I'm not into designer purses, my pocketbook is a utilitarian item designed to hold my gear.  Really, it's something to schlep around.

So the accessories I get for my bag tend to be functional rather than decorative.

Here's one of my favorite gadgets.

 

Drew and I dine out fairly often.  When we are seated in a restaurant, I use this gadget to hang my pocketbook from the table, so that I don't have to place it on the floor.

Here's another favorite.  I hook it to my keychain, and hang my keys from the side of the bag, so that I don't have to dig through all my stuff when I need the keys.

 

I bought both items at Amazon.  It's amazing what you can find there, isn't it?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Alien Covenant

Going to the movies these days is a different experience-- reserved seating, reclining seats, so civilized.  The theater where we saw Alien Covenant even has a liquor license and a full bar.  Drew ordered pretzel nuggets, and they brought his order to our seats.


Drew keeps reminding me that he took me to see the original Alien back in 1979.   So of course we had to let Ridley Scott scare the living daylights out of us again.

And yes, he did scare us.  

A sleeper ship headed for a colony planet experiences technical issues, causing the crew to wake prematurely.  The captain discovers what appears to be a habitable planet close by.  There they find David, the artificial life form from Prometheus.  Terror ensues. 

Thoroughly enjoyable.

We saw the movie in the late afternoon, then headed to our favorite seafood place, Southside Fish and Clam, for dinner -- I had a mini crab cake appetizer and Parmesan-crusted tilapia, Drew had lobster bisque and mini lobster tails over linguini.

And home in time for Dr. Who.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

New toys

Yes, I succumbed...


My new fidget cube.


 

It joins the spinner I bought a few weeks ago.


 


Desk toys for those of us stressed out at work.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Stewart's All American Grill

Stewart's All American Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 We're fairly frequent visitors to the Willow Wood Shoppes.   And when we found out that Stewart's planned to open a restaurant there, we were very excited.  We are fans of their root beer and black cherry soda, and we had heard good things about their other locations.

So of course we had dinner there shortly after the place opened.

The decor is very very orange, and suggestive of Stewart's carhop roots.  I was amused to see that the top shelf behind the bar was not occupied by beer or wine (though both are available), but rather, by bottles of Stewart's sodas.

The night we were there, we encountered numerous service issues.  Everyone was friendly and trying really hard, but they missed the mark.  I attribute that to the newness of the restaurant, I'm sure they'll work out the kinks as they get more experience.

The food?  Fries were pretty standard.  My patty melt -- hamburger patty, rye bread, grilled onions, cheese -- was juicy and tasty.  And the diet root beer, served in a frosted mug, was as good as I expected.

The ice cream menu was intriguing, but we were too full for dessert.  Next time we may just stop by for a root beer float.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

political rant

I am at a loss to explain it.

The American Jewish community is not a homogeneous group. Most American Jews lead a secular lifestyle, affiliate with religious organizations that are part of the Reform, Conservative or Reconstructionist movements, and tend to be liberal in their politics and vote Democratic.

About 10%  of the Jewish population identifies as Orthodox or ultra Orthodox.  They tend to lead a more insular lifestyle.  Politically they tend to be conservative, aligning with white Christian evangelicals on issues such as school vouchers, gay marriage, etc.

One of the key questions American Jews ask every time they head into the voting booth is "which candidate would be better for Israel?"

There are as many answers to that question as there are American Jewish voters...

Though to be honest, American foreign policy, as it relates to Israel, has been consistent no matter which party has held the White House.  When Obama, as a lame duck president, ordered that the US abstain from a disastrous anti-Israel vote in the UN Security Counsel, it was a departure from decades-old American foreign policy.  Until then, Obama's policies were always supportive of Israel (though not necessarily of the Israeli Prime Minister).

The majority of American Jews voted Democratic in the 2016 presidential election.  The majority of Orthodox Jews voted for Donald Trump.   One of the justifications for supporting Trump?  Obama's policies were "bad for Israel" and Hillary's would be just as bad, or even worse.

So what happened?

Obama's deal with Iran over nuclear capabilities, so strongly objected to by Bibi Netanyahu...Trump promised to undo that deal, but has not.

Trump promised to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem "on day one", but now he's saying that the move is merely "under consideration".  He's even said that Bibi asked him not to move the embassy, which Bibi denies.

And he openly criticized Israeli settlements in the West Bank (strongly supported by Bibi and Israel's right wing) as "not good for peace".

And then there's the fiasco with the Western Wall.  No sitting US President has ever visited the Wall, Judaism's holiest site.  Clinton, Obama and both Bushes visited the site as private citizens, either before or after their tenure as President, but not while in office.  The Wall, and all of East Jerusalem, were under Jordanian rule prior to the Six Day War, the Palestinians have asserted that East Jeruslaem is part of a Palestinian state, and every sitting president since the Johnson administration has recognized that an official visit to the Wall would be very controversial.  Trump is planning to visit the Wall when he's in Israel next week, but refused to have Bibi tag along.  Trump's people told Bibi "the Wall isn't in your territory."  Poor Nikki Haley had to mend some fences there.

And an Israeli spy, embedded with ISIS, is in danger of exposure and may lose his life, because Trump shared with the Russians classified information he received from Israeli intelligence.


Trump's Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is nowhere to be found.  Sheldon Adelson, who poured millions into Trump's campaign, is growing increasingly frustrated with Trump.

It's a nightmare.

And yet they continue to support him.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday HodgePodge

1. May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm...

Are you a pack rat? Even if you're not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what's yours.

We are a family of pack rats.  'Nuff said.

2. What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don't?

Sewing.  I've tried and tried to learn how to do it, but practice does not make perfect.

Crochet.  Ditto.

3. Do you crave sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? When dining out is dessert a given? Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.

I like my sweets.  I can never eat just one cookie.  

I take my coffee with milk or half and half, I never learned to put sugar in my coffee, because neither of my parents ever added sugar to theirs.  I can always tell when someone put sugar in my coffee, it tastes too sweet.

But until recently I always added sugar to my tea.  I've only recently learned to drink it plain.  

We go out to eat every weekend, and sometimes during the week as well.  Restaurant portions are so huge, I'm usually too full to order dessert.  And one of the reasons I gained so much weight on our cruise last October was that dessert was included with dinner in the ship's main dining room... 

4. What's a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can't imagine living without?

Difficult question...I love the internet, but I wasn't too keen on Facebook at first.  I enjoyed the relative anonymity of message boards and was a bit skittish about posting my stuff under my own name.

5. What's a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.


"Total Eclipse of the Heart".  Reminds me of a guy I dated in law school.  We went to a bar to celebrate a job offer he got.  The song was playing when he told me about the offer.    He took the job, went on to become a partner at that very successful firm.


6. Insert your own random thought here.

So glad the warm summery weather has finally arrived.  My favorite season!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

another this and that

Jen and Becca are headed to Walt Disney World on Thursday.  They've got a very nice trip planned, just the two of them.   At our Mother's Day dinner, we were reminiscing about the trips we took to Disney when the girls were little, and Becca put on the Minnie Mouse costume I'd bought for her when she was 8.  Yes, she could still get into the costume, but it does fit a bit differently now...

And she's decided to make a birthday party for herself.  She'll be 25 in July.  She was planning a vacation with her now-ex boyfriend to celebrate the milestone, but now she'l celebrate with all of her friends at some NYC bar.  I'm glad she has a lot of friends who want to celebrate with her.  And who knows, maybe by then she'll be on to her next romance.

Jen is winding down the school year.  She doesn't want to go back in September, but she doesn't have a different job/career in mind either. I've urged her to talk to the career counseling people at her college, I'm sure they have lots of resources for alums.

In the never-ending saga of my health woes, I'm trying to schedule an MRI of my knee.  Seems that losing weight and becoming more active has its own host of problems.  A sports injury!!!!!  My knee is a casualty of my weight loss efforts.

Though to be honest,   I'm not happy with my weight loss situation.  I weigh the same as I did 6 months ago, by now I'd hoped to have lost a bit more...But we went on the cruise in October, and I gained weight.  Lost the weight I gained just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Gained weight over the holidays, lost what I'd gained just in time for my birthday in February.  Lost the weight I'd gained celebrating my birthday just in time for Passover and our trip to Philadelphia.  See a pattern here?   Well, I over-indulged on Mother's Day, but now that summer is coming, I'm going to focus my efforts again.  I'd like to lose 8 pounds by Labor Day.  A modest goal.  Wish me luck.

I am finding it a bit difficult to believe that summer is coming.  It's been unseasonably cool for mid-May.  But Memorial Day weekend is just 10 days away, the official start of the summer season will soon be here.  As I mentioned last week, Drew is already preparing for his annual Memorial Day barbecue.

Summer, I think, is my favorite time of year, so full of promise.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Afternoon at the lake in Eisenhower Park

Eisenhower Park is a huge county facility in East Meadow, NY.  It started life as Salisbury Country Club in the jazz age, but went bankrupt during the Depression and became a county park.  It was renamed fir President Eisenhower in 1969, shortly after his death.  A statue of Eisenhower in his military uniform greets parkgoers at the main entrance on Hempstead Turnpike.

It's my favorite non-beach place to walk.  

I usually head over to the lake.  It's a man made lake, like a huge concrete pool. The water is very murky, so I'm not sure how deep it is, but at one time people were able to ride around the lake on small paddle boats.  The lake is home to the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater, an outdoor amphitheater that was supposed to host Chapin's concert the night he died, as well as the county's armed forces memorial and tribute to 9/11.

I usually find myself looking at the ducks and geese.

I spotted the fine family on one side of the lake, and later on the other.  I'm not sure how they moved from place to place -- do goslings that age swim?

 
    

There were only two ducks, no ducklings.  

 
  


I even found a turtle.

 
 

And some other birds.


   

I took a short walk over to the Rose Garden.  
 
   

Not much in bloom yet, but the garden will be lovely in a few weeks.

Such a nice walk.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Manicure/pedicure

 

Courtesy of my daughters, my nails and toes are now mint green.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sunken Meadow sunset

 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wednesday HodgePodge

1. Share a favorite memory of your mother or share a favorite something from your own life as a mother. If you're a mother (or stepmom) tell us how your experience as a mom differs from your own mother's experience.

My mom was a married, stay at home mom until my sisters and I were older, when she went back to work, then back to school.  I got divorced when my kids were very young, and I always worked outside the home.  So yes, my experience as a mother is very different from my mom's.

2. In May we celebrate teachers (May 9) and nurses (May 6) both. Most every family has at least one in their midst, so tell us something (or a few things) you appreciate about the teacher or nurse on your family tree.

It's no wonder my Jen wanted to be a teacher, my dad was a principal and my mom was a teacher before she went back to school to become a lawyer, and Drew is a teacher.  Teachers work so hard....

My high school Social Studies teacher inspired me to major in history in college, and to become a lawyer.  

3. Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad...which would you go for if all three were on the menu? On bread or a bed of lettuce? If you answered bread, what kind of bread would make it the perfect sandwich?

Chicken salad on toasted white bread, with lettuce and tomato please.

4. Do you have a desk? Is it organized? If so, share your secret to keeping it that way. If you don't have a desk, where in your home do you take care of family paperwork and business? Where do you normally sit to blog?

You do not want to see my desk....

I blog anywhere and everywhere.  I have an app on the iPad, so I can blog wherever I find myself.

5. When I was nine years old....

My 4th grade teacher loved science.  We had a number of live animals in our classroom, and she taught us about those animals.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm thinking I may go back to the beach after work, I really like walking there.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The night sky

Do you look up at the sky? At night?

I've always been fascinated by the night sky. I guess it's because of all those trips to the planetarium -- the high school in my district has a wonderful planetarium, and the elementary school students are frequent visitors.  It sparks a child's imagination.




Last night I saw the moon, near full, and a single star, through a break in the clouds.

Beautiful, isn't it?

Monday, May 8, 2017

another this and that

Well, the people of France can officially say that they are smarter than Americans...their new president will do them proud.

We did not have Mexican takeout for Cinco de Mayo,  Instead, we waited until Saturday and went to one of our favorites, Margarita's, because besides excellent food, they also have live mariachi music.    We had queso fundido (can't go wrong with melted cheese), Drew had paella and I had fajitas.  I'm not crazy about tequila, so we drank sangria instead.

So our Friday takeout was from the deli.  Jewish soul food -- pastrami, corned beef, knishes, pierogi, kasha varnishkes ...

Yeah, Guardians of the Galaxy lived up to the hype.  Very funny and enjoyable movie.  The original was on TV last night, I turned it on, but fell asleep halfway through.

The weather has been unseasonably cool for the last few days.  Hard to believe that Memorial Day and the start of the summer season is just three weeks away.  Over the weekend I reminded Drew that he should pick up his pool pass so that we can use the community pool again this summer.

He's already stocking up for the annual Memorial Day barbecue.  Looking forward to it.

Conversation with Jen yesterday:

Me:  Becca still hasn't told me what happened between her and her boyfriend...

Jen:  She doesn't want to talk about it.

Me:  I guess all I really need to know is that he hurt my baby and I want to kill him.

Jen:  That about sums it up.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Challenges check

Walk at least a mile a day?  Yeah, I got this.

Record progress in the walking challenge record?  I record my results every 3-5 days or so, guess that's an improvement.

Meditation?  Yes, every day, thanks to the Zen 31 challenge.

Conventional prayer?  Got an app on my phone, I look at it almost every day,

Synagogue attendance?

No, not happening.  Though I did go to a Kabbalah meditation program at the synagogue.

Kabbalah is all about balance, about opposing forces being interconnected, like Yin and Yang in  Chinese philosophy.   It's about an awareness of conscious from the ordinary, terrestrial world in which wevlive all the way up to the celestial sphere where G-d is found, and about the light pouring down from the heavens and filling our world.  While a yogi might speak of feeling connected to the universe, a Kabbalist speaks of a connection to G-d.

Our teacher said what we were practicing was "Kabbalah mindfulness", and the techniques she used were Buddhist-inspired.  She even sat in the lotus position and directed us to use mudras -- symbolic hand placement.

But the language she used in directing our meditation was full of Kabbalistic imagery.

We want to have her run another program for us next year.  I'd sign up if she came back.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

awesome mix!

Star Lord, your mother had excellent taste in music.

Yeah, I have Guardians of the Galaxy on my mind.  Loved the first movie, can't wait to see the sequel tonight.

One of the best parts of the first movie was the music.  Star Lord's most prized possession is his Walkman and the awesome mix tape his mother made for him. It keeps him connected to his mother, and to his home on Earth.

The music on the mix tape is all from the 1960's and 1970's.  The music from my childhood and teen years!  Blue Swede's "Hooked On A Feeling".   The Raspberries' "Go All The Way".  The Runaways' "Cherry Bomb".  And, of course, "The Pina Colada Song".

All heavenly sounds right there on my iPod.

At the end of the movie, as you may recall, Star Lord opens the last gift his mother gave him, and finds another awesome mix tape.

The second awesome mix tape became available on iTunes this week.  You know I had to, simply had to, download it.

Looking Glass, "Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)".  The Sweet, "Fox On The Run".  Fleetwood Mac, "The Chain".  Cheap Trick, "Surrender".  Glen Campbell, "Southern Nights".

Wow.

Brought my iPod with me when I went over to the high school to walk on the track the other night.

I didn't walk...I strutted.  Caught the beat of the music, and off I went.

I can't wait to see the movie.

And hear this song:


Friday, May 5, 2017

Feliz Cinco de Mayo

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday, observed to commemorate the Mexican Army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. Here in the US, it's become so much more -- a celebration of Mexican culture.

Feels weird to be celebrating it this year, given the political climate, the current administration's bigotry towards Mexican immigrants and the desire to build a border wall.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook:

You're not allowed to celebrate Cinco de Mayo if you've been chanting "build the wall".

She's got a point, don't you think?

We're not making a big deal of the holiday, but I'd like to go to that mom-and-pop Mexican takeout place we like so much, maybe get some tacos or enchiladas.

To celebrate the day ...

I was looking for a video of Richie Valens.  the best I could do was Lou Diamond Phillips as  Valens in La Bamba (the vocals are by Los Lobos).  




Thursday, May 4, 2017

yesterday's adventure

I still have those @#$%& stitches in my arm, so no yoga class for me last night.

The weather was decent, so I went here:







Yes, Sunken Meadow State Park, my second favorite place to walk.

Jones Beach is a barrier beach island.  Sunken Meadow is a big green park with a small but interesting beach. It's on Long Island's north shore, on Long Island Sound.  The boardwalk is 3/4 mile from end to end.  I usually park at the main bathhouse, which is in the middle of the boardwalk, then walk to one end of the boardwalk, turn and walk to the other end, and return to the middle -- a total of 1 1/2 miles.  If I feel ambitious, I will repeat the circuit.

It's a pretty beach.



Nice view.



Look across the water and you can see Connecticut.


The patterns in the sand were caused by waves, the tide must have come all the way up to the boardwalk.





The jetty seems to be wearing down, there are more gaps in the stones this year than I remember.




I was there just before sunset.


Trees and plants along the boardwalk.






A tern.



And yes, I bought the parking pass.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Wednesday Hodgepodge

Thanks to Denise for introducing me to Joyce and From This Side of the Pond.

My answers to the Wednesday Hodgepodge:

1. Can you tell I'm embracing a Cinco de Mayo theme here this week? Do you like Mexican food? What's your favorite dish? How about on the side-black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, rice? What about heat-mild, medium, hot? Will you celebrate with Mexican food and drink on May 5th aka Cinco de Mayo?

I love Mexican food.  We usually do take-out on Friday nights, so we will probably go to that mom-and-pop Mexican place.  I usually get beef tacos or chicken tacos, Mexican rice, black beans, and occasionally chips and salsa or guacamole.

2. Ever been to Mexico? For work or holiday? Love it or no? If you haven't been is this a place you'd like to visit? Can you speak Spanish?

I've been to Mexico twice.  Both occasions were shore excursions in Cozumel during a cruise.  The first time, we did a beach day.  The second time, we went to Chichen Itza.  That meant we took the ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen, then took a bus to the ruins. We were the first people off the ship and the last to return,  we didn't have a lot of time at Chichen Itza and no time at all to explore  Playa del Carmen, but for us, it was definitely worth it. 

Spanish?

Hablo un poquito de espanol.  Hace muchos anos que estudio espanol y no recuerdo mucho.

3. What's one thing you may accomplish this month?

Getting my head above water at work.  New projects, new opportunities, but I'm swamped.

4. If you were mayor of your village, city, or town, what's one thing you'd like to see changed, done away with, revamped, or accomplished? Is serving in public office something you've ever seriously considered?

I am very political, and I am interested in local issues, but no, I don't think I'd ever run for office -- too much for me to handle.

One local issue I'm concerned about -- contamination of our groundwater supply. Long Island is wholly dependent on its groundwater, and if our aquifers get destroyed ... the plume of contamination in Bethpage, where the Grumman plant was located, is a real problem right now.

5. What's something that may be popular, but that you just don't get?

Two TV shows, and they are related.

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.  Too weird.


6. Can't let this week slip by without mentioning Thursday May 4th is Star Wars Day. As in 'May the 4th be with you' ahem. Are you a fan of the Star Wars series? Exactly how much of a fan are you? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being 'I've seen every film, own the action figures, might have dressed as Darth Vader for Halloween one year', and 1 being, 'what's a Vader?' -where do you land?


I was 17 when the first Star Wars movie came out, and I was in love.  Saw it many times.   In the days before VCR's and cable, you had to actually go to the movie theater to see  a movie over and over again, and I had that one memorized.  

I can't say I hate the three prequels, but I don't love them either.  I do like the two most recent movies, though.

7. Scroll back through your blog posts and in three sentences or less tell us the general theme of your fourth blog post. Does it still ring true today? Is it a topic you re-visit on your blog from time to time?

My fourth post was about our cat Daisy.  We no longer have Daisy, but I do talk about my family cat  Redford and Drew's cat Duchess  from time to time.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm glad the weather is nice today, I was so tired of the rain.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Lost City of Z

Ever hear of an explorer named Percy Fawcett?  He disappeared in the Amazon in 1925.  Fawcett believed that the indigenous population of the region was descended from an advanced civilization, and was searching for archaeological evidence of that lost civilization when he disappeared.

The Lost City of Z is a movie about Fawcett's exploits. It's a quiet, serious movie, and it dragged a little in spots.

But overall, it was an interesting movie.  It captured Fawcett's enthusiasm for exploration, the wonder of discovery.  While Fawcett was a man of his time, he had respect for the indigenous people of the Amazon and wanted to preserve their culture.

A thoughtful movie, worth seeing.

Monday, May 1, 2017

May!

A new month, full of new opportunities.

Two projects this month.

I am still participating in The Great Walk Challenge.  I made the commitment to walk at least one mile each day from April 5 until July 13.  As fitness challenges go, it's a fairly easy one, and I've been consistent in my walking efforts, less so in recording the results on the form for the contest.  I'm going to try to keep better records.

The second involves my spiritual and emotional well being.

I like conventional prayer, and I also enjoy meditation.  I find that the two activities address different spiritual needs.

I've been neglecting both.  And I can feel it.

When I was saying Kaddish for my father, I was in synagogue 3 or 4 days a week.  Kaddish is recited for 11 months after a parent dies.  Since I finished my 11 months of mourning, I've only gone to synagogue 2 or 3 times.  Goal for the month: go to services at least once a week. and open the prayer book at home every morning that I'm not in synagogue.

And then, there's the Zen 31 Daily Meditation Challenge. A new mantra every day, with insights into the meditation process.  Sounds like a plan.

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