life in and around NYC is insane

Monday, July 31, 2017

Goals?

So, back in May, I set two goals:  participate in a walking challenge, and increase my spiritual practice.

I failed at both.

The walking challenge?  I did the walking, but stopped recording my progress, and never submitted the sheet to the sponsor. 

The spirituality practice?  I planned to spend more time meditating, and also engaged in more traditional prayer. 

Between getting swamped at work,  my volunteer activities, and traveling to Philly for Drew's surgery...well, I've been so very pressed for time.

Isn't it funny, the activity most likely to help me de-stress, is the one activity I haven't had time for.

I'm going to have to work on that.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Another this and that

So it's been crazy busy at work.  I know, I know, it's job security. But I've had many a frustrating moment these last few weeks.  I hope to reap the rewards in my performance review at the end of the year.  A little monetary appreciation would be nice, too.

Becca is excited about changes in her professional life.  She's not satisfied working as a paralegal, and plans to take a few business classes in the fall.  She just got her certification as a Pilates instructor -- not a bad side gig.

Jen is also changing direction.  She's leaving education as a career, but she's not sure where she's going.  She's interviewing in various places.  I'm hoping she finds something she likes, and that pays a decent salary.

I am deep into plannng the synagogue's annual Mitzvah Day.  We do all sorts of projects -- assemble toiletry kits for the homeless, making sandwiches for a soup kitchen, sending greeting cards to soldiers...

Mitzvah Day is in October.  So is the annual breast cancer walk sponsored by the American Cancer Society.  And I'm sure my Democratic Committee friends will keep me busy that month as we work towards the local elections. And I'm wondering what I have gotten myself into ...

Sigh.  If I weren't busy, I'd be bored, but sometimes ...

Saturday, July 29, 2017

My newest potted plant





Two benches on the porch and he has to sleep in the planter...

Friday, July 28, 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I love getting swag at a ballgame




And then Drew won tickets for another game.

He won tickets for August 9th.


We already have tickets for that game ....

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday HodgePodge

Once again, Joyce poses some interesting questions.





1. We've reached edition number 315 here in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So tell us, what were you doing at 3:15 yesterday? Is that typical? On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being low and 10 being high) what's your energy level usually like at 3:15 PM?

At 3:15 I am usually sitting at my desk, reading email, drafting reports, or speaking on the phone with attorneys or clients.  Just a typical workday.  My energy is starting to lag around that time, so I might be drinking a Diet Pepsi and eating a small snack while I work.



2. A frisbee, a tantrum, a towel, a party, a punch, or a curveball...which have you most recently thrown or had thrown at/for you? Elaborate.

A punch.  Definitely a punch.  The frustration of having to clean up after a former coworker...

3. What are three things that would help you right now. Tell us how or why.

That's easy.  A personal assistant at work, to handle all the mundane parts of my job.  A housekeeper.  And time.  More time to get everything done.



4. Do you think you're strong? Why or why not? What makes you strong?

I never thought of myself as strong, until I realized that others were looking to me for strength in difficult times.

5. Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? What's your favorite book set sometime in the past?

Anything by Philippa Gregory would be fine with me.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I really need to de-stress.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Think globally, act locally

So how did I spend my Sunday afternoon?

Canvassing with a local candidate.  She's running for a seat on our town board.

Walking the district is exhausting.  But that personal touch, when the voters get to meet the candidate up close and personal ... especially in an off year.

I volunteered to do it again next weekend.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Seen at Lincoln Center



Yes, that's a Dancing Hippo from Fantasia 

At the ballet

Guess where I was the other night?










If you guessed "Lincoln Center", you'd be right.

My friend B has had a subscription to the NYC Ballet since the 70's.  Occasionally I will go with her.


This is what we saw:



Every summer Lincoln Center presents a festival, with guest performers supplementing the presentations of the resident companies.  This year, the NYC Ballet was joined by the Paris Opera Ballet and the Bolshoi.  The three companies combined to present George Balanchine's Jewels.

Balanchine was a Russian dancer and choreographer, who later worker with the Paris Opera Ballet, and who immigrated and founded a ballet school and company that would become the NYC Ballet. 

Balachine's Jewels, presented in 1967, was the first "plotless" full length ballet, and saluted his mixed-heritage roots as a dancer and choreographer.

Emeralds, which was performed by the French dancers, is lush and romantic, danced to the music of Faure.  The American dancers performed Rubies, a quick-paced number using a Stravinsky score, and incorporating elements of jazz and musical theater into the performance.  The final dance, Diamonds, done to a piece by Tchaikovsky, is elegant, classic and majestic.

I was able to get a few pictures during the curtain call.  They're not very good -- I was in the third ring, after all, and the stage lights were very bright, but ...






The French dancers.  Loved the tulle skirts.  So pretty.





The Americans.  Cute little dance dresses with flutter skirts. And while you can barely see the dancers in the last photo, those are the Russians. She's wearing a classic tutu.




The bows.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dunkirk

As historical events go, Dunkirk was a tragic triumph.  After horrific defeats in France and Belgium in 1940, the British Army had to be evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk.  Civilian boats were pressed into service, and over 300,000 troops were brought home to England.

Dunkirk is an amazing movie.  It has a "you are there" feel, as we follow the story of a young soldier on the beach, three Spitfire pilots, and the crew of one of the civilian craft on its way to rescue the troops.  Terse,tense and packed with action. 

A definite "must see".

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Not a bad spot to have dinner



It was after work one night.  I didn't feel like heading home.  Brought a salad and a drink.  The finest in al fresco dining.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Take me with you! #skywatchfriday




#skywatchfriday

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The healing power of baseball

We'd purchased tickets to the July 17 Ducks game months ago, long before Drew scheduled his surgery for July 13.  I thought we'd have to trade in the tickets for another game, but Drew insisted he was well enough to go to the game.

It was Irish heritage night.




Good game, the Ducks and Bees kept things interesting.

And guess who fulfilled a childhood dream?  Yes, he caught a foul ball!




And the Ducks won, which is always a good thing.

By the end of the evening, Drew was exhausted, and grateful that I wouldn't let him drive.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Once again I turn to Joyce for the Hodgepodge.




1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

The only grandparent I knew was my maternal grandmother.  My maternal grandfather and paternal grandparents died before I was born.  My sisters and I were her only grandchildren.  And yes, we were close.  She loved to tell stories about her childhood in a small town in Europe, and about her early experiences as an immigrant to the US.  I've lost count how many times she told us about the day she became an American citizen.  when I visited Ellis Island, it was her voice I heard in my head.

2. What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

I remember a toy horse, a stuffed animal that had my name on it.  I loved that horse.  No idea what happened to it, though.

3. When you look out your window do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

I live in a wooded area, I see trees from my window. There's a forest behind the house.  Very lovely.

But what you're really asking, do I see the big picture or am I lost in the details.  I do tend to be a big picture type, though I understand that details are important, too.

4. Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed below would you say is your favorite?

grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats 

Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?

Yes, I like sour candy, but no, I've never eaten a kumquat.  I don't like grapefruit, never tried buttermilk,  I like everything else on the list.  Nothing beats a hot dog with sauerkraut!

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.

It's been an interesting year so far, some things expected. some surprises. Not bad overall.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

The summer is flying by far to quickly.  wish I could slow things down!

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Philadelphia Story

So, we are back from Philadelphia, and Drew is recovering from surgery.  He's doing well.

This time around we took my Prius C instead of his Caravan.  His car is far more comfortable, of course, but he's not permitted to drive as he recovers...and my car gets incredible gas mileage.  I made it to Philly and back on a single tank of gas, and the car has a 9 gallon tank.  Can't complain.  And may I say again how much I love EZ-Pass?    Though the traffic in Brooklyn I could do without.

We stayed at the same hotel as when we were there in April.  But now it's summer, more tourists.  There were three family reunions going on this weekend, which meant mobs of people ...the one time I wanted to use the pool I felt like I was intruding on a private party.

Walking through the Old City ... I saw three different Boy Scout troops, each being led about by a man in full colonial garb.

Of course, I spent far too much time at Temple University Hospital.  Great doctors, great nurses, everyone was wonderful, and took good care of Drew.  

Hopefully the surgery produces the results we want.

Time will tell.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Songbird salutes the seventies

I'm sitting here listening to Amazon Prime,  the Harry Chapin channel.  And they play a Chapin song, then a Jim Croce song, then a John Denver song.

Three of the best singer-songwriters of the seventies.  All of them gone too soon.

I was in Eisenhower Park July 16, 1981, at the Lakeside Theater, waiting for a concert to begin.  The concert never happened, Harry Chapin died on the Long Island Expressway en route to the concert.

Hard to believe that was 36 years ago.

The station plays James Taylor.  Gordon Lightfoot.  Neil Young.  

21st Century technology, I'm streaming music on my laptop.  Technology I could never have imagined when these artists were at their peak.

So long ago ...

Friday, July 14, 2017

#skywatchfriday Sea and Sky

#skywatchfriday

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

This week's questions from  Joyce



 1. When was the last time you chatted with a neighbor? About what? (sharing that last bit is optional) 

Honestly, I can't remember the last time I spoke with any of my neighbors.  People in my neighborhood tend to keep to themselves.

 2. River, lake, ocean, or waterfall...which one are you most like and why? 

I think I"m like a lake.  Cool and placid on the outside, but a lot happening beneath the surface.

 3. July 13 is National Delaware Day. Ever been to Delaware? Delaware is called 'the first state' because it was the first to declare independence from the British. What's your state's nickname and does that moniker make sense to you? If you were in charge, what nickname would you give your home state? 

I've driven through Delaware many times, on my way to somewhere else.  But I never stopped, except maybe to buy gas for the car.


 4. What dish did you contribute to the last pot luck meal you attended? Do you have a go-to recipe for pot luck suppers? 

I don't really do pot lucks.  But my favorite dish to prepare for a crowd  is a caprese salad.  Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and a balsamic vinaigrette.

 5. What is your number one tip for a brand new parent? 

Don't be afraid to ask for help if you're feeling overwhelmed.


 6. Insert your own random thought here.

Crazy busy at work these days.  Whoever said that things slow down in the summer is totally clueless.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bored in Brooklyn

Road trip yesterday, we drove to Philadelphia for Drew's pre-surgical testing.  The surgery is scheduled for Thursday.

Drove home in rush hour traffic.

Got bored as we crossed the Verranzano Narrows Bridge.

Got a few interesting shots of ships waiting to enter the harbor.






This one looks like it's creeping through the beach grass.

Then it was time to count airplanes approaching JFK.











Monday, July 10, 2017

Photobucket woes

This blog is (surprise, surprise) heavy on photography.

Sometimes I will upload photos directly to Blogger.  Blogger is a Google platform, and photos that I upload to Blogger are hosted by Google.

But sometimes I upload my pictures to Photobucket, and use a link to display them on the blog.

And therein lies the problem.

Photobucket has made a huge, huge change to its services.

Photobucket always allowed customers to have a free account, which included photo storage and third party hosting.  For a small monthly fee, you could increase your storage space.  I opted for the nominal fee, $2.99 a month.

A new policy went into effect two weeks ago.  No third party hosting unless you pay for the most expensive storage plan, at a cost of $400 a year.

My friends with free accounts were told of the change the night before it went into effect.

As a paying customer, I've been "grandfathered in", I get to keep my third party hosting until a December 2018.  After that, I have to upgrade my account if I want to keep my ability to link my photos to other sites.

Not cool, Photobucket.

Looks like I've got to go through 9 years of blog posts to download and upload photos ...

Sunday, July 9, 2017

NYC art!

Business meeting in midtown the other day.    Got off the subway at West 53rd and 7th.  You get a nice view of Times Square.




Some interesting artwork in the neighborhood.













But considering where I was ... yeah, there's MOMA.






And I found something interesting, something I never knew about ... right between 6th and 7th, there's an alley ...



Saturday, July 8, 2017

25 years ago today

We welcomed our younger child into the world.

Happy birthday Becca!

Friday, July 7, 2017

#skywatchfriday storm rolling in

#skywatchfriday

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Baseball on the 4th of July

So we went to a Ducks game on the 4th.

They wore special uniforms.



Y

Yeah, that's Bud Harrelson. Former NY Mets shortstop and part owner of the team.


There was a patriotic display.





And a great game.





Even the MC got into the spirit of things.








During the last few innings we could see fireworks in the distance.





After the game (yes, the Ducks won) we were treated to a fireworks show in the ballpark.





Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Joyce had some interesting questions this week.



1. When and where were the best fireworks you've ever seen? Speaking of fireworks...do you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/do to set you off? When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons?

I really love fireworks.  No trip to Disney World would be complete without at least one viewing of the fireworks over Cinderella's Castle. Same goes for every amusement park I've ever visited.  When we went to Niagara Falls a few years ago, we made sure to see the fireworks over the falls.

In all the years I've lived in or around NYC, I've never seen the Macy's fireworks, except on TV.  The viewing areas along the river get very crowded, you have to claim your spot very early in the day.  I had an opportunity, in 1992...the show was over the Hudson that year (sometimes they do the fireworks over the East River).  The company I worked for back then had offices in Jersey City.  Our 13th floor windows looked out to the river, and the company offered employees the opportunity to view the fireworks from inside the office.  I couldn't go, because I was very, very pregnant, with a due date of July 4, and no desire to be on the wrong side of the Hudson in the event I needed to get to my obstetrician on Long Island. Drew and I watched the neighborhood fireworks from our balcony that year (I'm sure we saw some of Gotti's stuff -- he used to do a show in his neighborhood every year.)  Four days later we welcomed Rebecca into the world.

As for what gets me going...I'd rather not say.  I've spent a long, long time learning how to hold my temper, how to let things go.    I still have a lot of work to do in that regard, but I am making progress.

2. Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Attended any? What makes for a great outdoor party?

Drew likes to host barbecues in the back yard.  He does at least three every summer, on Memorial Day weekend, 4th of July and Labor Day.  I make my famous caprese salad, and there are seldom any leftovers.

3. What does freedom mean to you?

Whoa, heavy question for a hot summer day.

I'm not in the mood for political philosophy today.  Wait a day or two and you're likely to see my next political rant.

4. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month...what annoys you most about people's cell phone habits?

Why, in the name of all that's decent and sane and rational, would you ever want to carry on  a cell phone conversation while you're in a public restroom??????

5. What's your current summer anthem?



6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I'm writing this on the 4th of July, while drinking a Diet Cherry Pepsi and skimming through Istagram photos of Jen and Becca enjoying their holiday weekend. Tonight we're going to a Ducks game, and it's fireworks night.  Days like this make you forget all your problems.


How to join the Hodgepodge

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

How my evening ended



Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy 150th, Canada!

My turn to jump on the bandwagon and wish our neighbors to the north a "Happy Canada Day"!

I've been to Canada twice.

First time was when I was in college. I went to the State University of New York at Albany, close to the Canadian border.  A friend of mine was a member of the French club, and she invited me to go with her when the club arranged for a weekend in Montreal.  The two of us spent a lot of time shopping, and a lot of time visiting the apartment of her friend who was a student at McGill.  Our time in the city was very short, and she had no interest in the cultural or historical sites I would have liked to have seen.   Maybe someday I'll get back there.

Though I still laugh about watching Star Trek dubbed into French.

In the summer of 2010, Drew and I vacationed in Niagara Falls.  You can have a great time in Niagara Falls, NY, without ever crossing the border, but since we had passports, we ventured over to the Canadian side.  It was well worth the trip.

Here's the link to my blog post from that portion of our trip.


What I found most interesting was our visit to the Canadian fort.  The fort was in use during the War of 1812, when Canada was aligned with the British and opposing American interests.  The perspective of viewing Americans as the enemy ...

Anyhow, happy birthday Canada!

If you want to read about the rest of our Niagara vacation, here are the links:




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