life in and around NYC is insane

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Waning Days of Summer

Labor Day weekend is coming up, and that means summer is over.

Yes, I know, the autumnal equinox isn't until the end of September, and around her, the warm weather lingers through early October. Though we've actually had a few chilly nights already...

Although ...while the astronomer measures the seasons by equinox and solstice, the meteorologist will tell you that autumn begins on September 1.

But Labor Day weekend means the school year is about to begin. And even though I am not a student, and my children are grown, I am governed by the school calendar because Drew is a teacher,

(I can't think of a time in my life when I wasn't governed by the school calendar ...my dad was a teacher and a principal, I was a student until I was 24, and I got involved with Drew when I was 25...)

I drive past the high school on my way to work, and it was a very busy place Tuesday, with football practice and freshman orientation...

I  The community pool is closed, the crowds have gone from the beach, but fall activities have not yet begun.

Halooween has already arrived at the garden centers and craft stores, and "fall flavors" showed up at Dunkin' Donuts  the other day, but I'm still craving watermelon and corn on the cob.

I guess you could say that September is a transitional month,

The summer has gone by way too fast.  I am not ready for fall.  Guess I need that transition time....

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Real men wear pink

Our destination that evening:




Yes, Bethpage Ballpark.  This time for "Breast Cancer Awareness Night".  So the ballpark was done up in pink ribbon, and various health organizations gave out pens, water bottles, nylon drawstring backpacks, stuff like that.

It was also fireworks night, which meant a burst of color during the National Anthem, a burst of color during the 7th inning stretch, and a burst of color during an incredible inside-the-park-home run that gave the Ducks the game.

It was a chilly night, more like late September than August, and I was glad I wore a sweatshirt.

Our guys were in pink jerseys.  At the end of the evening, the jerseys were auctioned off to benefit local charities.

















Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bil Maher

So...political humor.

Every Friday night at 10, we watch this insane genius talk about the world.

So when we heard that Bill Maher was bringing his comedy act to Long Island, we had to get tickets.

Just Bill, a microphone, and 90 minutes of incredible stand-up.  Politics, Trump, the Church, sex, social media, cell phones...

A young woman in the first row was texting during the show.  He asked her to put the phone away.  A few minutes later, he asked again.  A few minutes later, he took the phone away from her.  The audience applauded.

Great show.

As a side note...we had just arrived at the theater when I saw on my Facebook that a friend of mine was also headed to the show.  I didn't know she had tickets.   I said "We will have to look for her."

We didn't have to look very far.  She was sitting right next to us.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Tappan Zee

The Tappan Zee Bridge, for those unfamiliar with New York geography, links Westchester County, on the east side of the Hudson River, to Rockland County,  To those of us who grew up in the NYC/Long Island area, it was the gateway to upstate New York.  The Westchester side of the bridge is in Tarrytown, Washington Irving territory.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother would spend her summers in a bungalow colony in the Catskills.  We'd pick her up at her apartment in Queens, drive through the Bronx and Westchester...
when we'd see the castle at Tarrytown (once a millionaire's mansion, now a hotel), my aunt would say "That's where Cinderella lives."

Then we'd cross the Tappan Zee Bridge, and we'd feel like we were in the country!

I went to college in Albany, NY, so crossing the Tappan Zee from Rockland into Westchester always meant I was on my way home.

Last week, when we went to the Renaissance Faire, we may  have crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge for the last time.

The Tappan Zee is being replaced.  The new bridge has been built along side the old.  The new bridge opened this week to northbound traffic, the old bridge still serves southbound travelers.

As you drive up the Thruway towards Tarrytown, you see the new bridge first.



And then  there's the old bridge...




Sunday, August 27, 2017

Caterwaul!!!!!!

dictionary.com defines "caterwaul" as:

verb (used without object)
1. to utter long wailing cries, as cats in rutting time.
2. to utter a similar sound; howl or screech.
3. to quarrel like cats.
noun, Also, caterwauling
4. the cry of a cat in rutting time.
5. any similar sound.
  
I think the word was invented to describe this little miscreant:


Miss Duchess Cat, age 4. 

Duchess, as you will recall, found her forever home with Drew when she was just a few months old.  She is very much an indoor cat, having left the confines of Drew's house only on the occasion of her annual "well cat" visit with the veterinarian.

Drew told me that bringing Duchess to the vet was a very noisy activity, that she'd being to wail the moment she was forced into the cat carrier, that the volume would increase as the cat carrier was carried out of the house, and that it would reach a crescendo when the cat carrier was placed into his car.  He told me that once they arrived at the vet, Duchess would rather brave the attentions of the very large dogs in the waiting room than sit in the cat carrier.  That she was very cooperative when the vet examined her, but that the yowling would renew when it was time to get back into the cat carrier to go home.

Not that I doubted Drew's truthfulness, but ...Duchess?  Really?  She seldom meows, and when she does, it's at a soft, ladylike volume.    She is, after all, royalty. 

So he said to me:  "this year I'll make the appointment on a Saturday, so you can come with us and see (and hear) for yourself."

As I write this, we just got back from the vet.

Duchess was very cooperative during the exam, despite the assaults on her dignity as she was poked and prodded, weighed, and had her temperature taken.  She endured two vaccinations without a whimper.  She is a young and healthy cat.

With very strong vocal cords.

See, or rather, listen, for yourself:










Saturday, August 26, 2017

Renaissance faire collected posts

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2017/08/renfaire.html

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2016/08/rennaisance-faire.html

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2014/08/renaissance-faire.html

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2012/08/lol-moment-at-renaissance-faire.html

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2012/08/renaissance-faire-washing-well-wenches.html

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2012/08/renaissance-faire-dead-bob.html

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2012/08/renaissance-faire-living-chess-game.html

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2012/08/renaissance-faire-queen-signs-peace.html

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2012/08/renaissance-faire-stewart-and-arnold.html

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2012/08/renaissance-faire-queen-arrival.html

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2012/08/huzzah.html

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2010/10/rennaisance-faire.html

http://songbirdscrazyworld.blogspot.com/2009/08/renaissance-faire.html

Renfaire!!!

It's that time again.  The New York Renaissance Faire is celebrating its 40th season this year.  Drew likes to tell everyone that he's been to 36 of the 40 faires.  I cannot boast that kind of attendance record, but I'm no slouch either.

The faire tends to be 1/3 authentic living history, 1/3 creative anachronism, and 1/3 pure fantasy.  The backstory is that you are in the Shire of Sterling, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I has come to visit.  Equally important is the Robin Hood-Maid Marian story being played out all around the faire. Occasionally the two stories intersect.

When you first enter the fairgrounds, you walk through the crafts fair and marketplace area, Spendpenny Lane.






This fine gentleman reminded us that there is a pub crawl through the faire:



The Queen and her court were on parade:




One of our favorite acts is Hey Nunnie Nunnie.  Sister Philomena and Mother Redempta.   They tell jokes, sing silly songs, etc.


Here's a video I took of them a few years ago.  the act hasn't changed much, but it's still a delight.




We came across "Sister Philomena" later in the day, as she was walking from one part of the faire to another.  She took the time to sit and talk with us about the show.

Another favorite is Stewart & Arnold.  They're knife-throwers.







One of the highlights of the day is the Living Chess Game, highly choreographed combat sequences.






New to the faire this year was Cirque du Sewer.  They perform with rats and cats.  Adorable.









Another highlight is the joust. We paid a small fee for VIP seating, and got up close and personal with the horses and riders.











Drew likes to shop for weapons and armor.  This year he didn't find anything he really liked.  And he was so disappointed that Siege the Day wasn't around, he loves their catapults.

And now for my tale of woe.  I like to dress up for the faire.  I don't wear a costume per se, but rather, I have several items in my wardrobe that are rather bohemian, that individually I might wear on a weekend, but when worn together have a costume-like effect (and no, there are no photos...)  This includes a lot of costume jewelry from Medieval Metal.

I love their ear wrap sets.  You get two pieces, an ear wrap and a matching earring.  Two years ago I bought this item:

I broke one of the charms off the wrap portion, so last year I bought the same set, but in purple:

I broke the purple earring.

So I wore the purple wrap with the clear earring.

And lost the earring.

I think I'll stay away from fairies for awhile.

My posts about previous faires:

renfaire!


City Diner

City Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


A business meeting brought me back to Jersey City, my old stomping grounds.  We needed a place to grab some lunch while preparing for the meeting, and found ourselves in City Diner.

With it sleek, modern decor and eclectic menu of salads and sandwiches, this place did not feel like a traditional diner.  Our waitress was friendly, efficient and very attentive.

Food was fresh and tasty.  My perfectly-portioned Asian Chicken Salad consisted of a teriyaki-glazed chicken breast over a bed of lightly-dressed crunchy vegetables (cabbage and carrots).  The sesame ginger dressing was tasty but not overpowering, The peanuts and toasted wontons gave the dish just enough crunch to satisfy.  Definitely a winner.

Not worth a special trip, but if I find myself in Jersey City again, I will certainly have lunch here again.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Eclipse -- #skywatchfriday

So...the eclipse. Long Island was not along the path of totality.  But we had 70% coverage and a nice day, so a lot of people went outside to see the sun.

Armed with eclipse glasses and an old point-and-shoot (I was told not to use my phone lest I burn  out the camera), I took a few photos.

For some of these, I simply pointed my camera at the sky.  for others, I put the safety glasses over the camera's lens and closed my eyes. I had no idea what images I captured.

What I saw through the safety glasses was an orange disc, with the dark moon perfectly outlined as it crossed the face of the sun.  What I caught with my camera was...something else.
























skywatchfriday

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A semi-authentic New England clambake

So no, I wasn't in New England.  But I could see Connecticut across the Sound.  And this part of Long Island was, in fact, settled by New Englanders. And yes, it's a long, rocky beach ...

I love to go to a Sunken Meadow after work to walk on the boardwalk.    It's a beautiful beach, and at 3/4 of a mile end to end, the boardwalk is a nice place for a walk.  I sometimes do 1 1/2 miles,  or 3 miles if I'm feeling ambitious.  

This time of year the beach is open for swimming, so you tend to see a lot of people camped out on the sand.   The areas that aren't under a lifeguard's supervision are open to fishing.    

And on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings,the snack bar stays open late, with special menus in addition to the usual burgers and fries.  There's live music, and many people bring a picnic and sit on the boardwalk to enjoy the show.

Most of the time I just walk.  

But last night I succumbed to the lure of the seafood fest.

The lobster platter comes with steamed lobster, steamed clams and mussels, boiled potatoes, corn on the cob, shrimp cocktail, and garlic bread.  How could I resist?  

Eating seafood at the beach...one of the simple joys of summer.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesday HodgePodge

Joyce has interesting questions this week.




1. Did you watch the solar eclipse? Your thoughts? Sun Chips, Moon Pies, Starburst candies, a Blue Moon beer, a Sunkist orange, or a Milky Way candy bar...what's your favorite eclipse related snack on this list?


Yes, I watched the eclipse.  Here on Long Island we only got a partial eclipse, but I still found myself in awe of the heavens.

Food choice?  Milky way, of course.  Gotta satisfy the sweet tooth.

2. What are you 'over the moon' about these days? What's something you enjoy doing every 'once in a blue moon'?

Can't really think about what I'm "over the moon" about these days...but the "once in a  blue moon"?

Every now and then I let my inner bohemian geek fly.  When we go to the Renaissance faire, I dress up.  This year I wore purple -- a long skirt and a peasant blouse -- and lots of costume jewelry.  I wore my dragons to last year's faire, my unicorns to the faire before that, so this year I went with fairies.



3. Tell us about something in the realm of science that interests you. How do you feed that interest?


Astronomy.  I'm not well versed in it, but I've always had an interest.  I was fortunate to attend elementary school in a district that had its own planetarium, and I had early exposure to the beauty of the stars.

4. What are a few things you remember about going back to school as a child?

I really liked going back to school.  I was a good student and loved to learn.  
  Or it  One memory...I must have been in first or second grade, and back then I wasn't allowed to wear pants to school.  My parents took me and my sister shopping for back to school dresses, and I remember trying on dress after dress after dress...

5. I've seen several versions of this around the net so let's make one of our own...share with us five words that touch your soul and briefly tell us why.

That's way too deep for me when my brain is all mushy and stressed out from work. Or rather, it was.  Until I was driving home and a Bon Jovi song came on the radio.   Lyrics always move me.  His lyrics tonight?  "I'll be there for you, these five words I swear to you."  Such a simple phrase, such a deep and binding promise.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Summer is ending way too soon.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Flynn's Fire Island

Flynn's Restaurant & Marina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


We came on a Tuesday for the all-you-can-eat buffet.  We had a lovely ride on The Moonchaser, then walked along a very, very narrow pier to get to the restaurant.  (I heard one woman ask her boyfriend to "please don't let me fall off the dock".)

The dining room is cavernous and noisy.  The buffet is set up in the bar area.  I was a bit disappointed that the music from the bar area was not piped into the dining room.

The manager greeted us, and was very attentive, especially to my friend who had special dietary requests.Waitstaff and busboys were, for the most part, friendly and efficient, though our waitress did forget about us at one point.

Drink orders, bread and butter, and later dessert, are brought to the table; everything else is on the buffet.  Appetizers include tossed salad, fruit cup, baked clams, and shrimp cocktail.  Entrees and sides  include chicken marsala, pasta with vegetables, bbq ribs, corn on the cob, flounder, and the well-advertised prime rib and lobster.

(I heard a bit of grumbling from some of the customers because the staff will serve you only 1/2 lobster at a time.  But you can go back to the buffet table as many times as you like.)

I enjoyed my meal, I thought the bbq  ribs were excellent, the lobster and prime rib were very good.  the rest of the meal was merely OK.

Dessert turned out to be chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Not the best buffet in the world, but certainly enjoyable, and  I'd definitely go again.

dinner cruise to Fire Island

So, since we're not going on vacation this year, Drew and I are trying to do vacation-like things in our area.

Last week we did a dinner cruise to fire island aboard the The Moonchaser.  It's a package deal, a ferry ride to Fire Island and dinner at Flynn's, a restaurant on Fire Island, for an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring prime rib and lobster.

The night we went was the same night Jimmy Buffett played Jones Beach.  I would have loved to have seen Jimmy again, but the tailgating has gotten so out of hand ...

So instead of listening to Jimmy sing about sailing on the ocean, we sailed across the Great South Bay.

We started at the boat basin at Captree:






Our ride:





Our destination:






There's a bar on the boat. vodka and coke anyone?



We saw the Fire Island Lighthouse:





And the shoreline:





It was overcast that evening, but that meant  --  a rainbow!





When the boat arrives, you have to walk along a very narrow dock to get to the restaurant.

It looks so...beachy ...doesn't it?




After dinner, we sailed back to Captree.  the lights on the shore were so pretty.



and I even got some video of the lighthouse in action:



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