life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Ultimate Blog Challenge

I usually have a lot to say, usually blog every day.  But when you make a commitment to blog every day, there's pressure to meet the challenge...

Well, it's been a fun month.  I've written about literature, movies, music, nostalgia, food...

No challenge for February, I'm just going to do my own thing this month.


Wednesday HodgePodge

If it's Wednesday. it's time for HodgePodge with Joyce.

1. Speaking of your wit's end, at loose ends, a dead end, burn the candle at both ends, all's well that end's well, or no end in sight...which 'end' phrase might best be applied to your life lately? Explain.  

No end in has been busy, and no relief in sight.

2. What was a must have accessory when you were growing up? Did you own one? If so tell us what you remember about it.

I remember in junior high, a lot of girls had rabbit fur coats.  I really wanted one, but never got it.

3. Something that made you smile yesterday?

Apparently Alexa is programmed to tell the silliest jokes.  "Why did the egg get sent to the principal's office?  He cracked too many yolks."

4. January 30th is National Croissant Day. Do you like croissants? Sweet or savory? We're having chicken salad for lunch...would you rather have yours served on a croissant, a wrap, a bagel, bread, or a roll of some sort?

I love croissants, both sweet and savory.  Chocolate-filled are my favorites. But put my chicken salad on a bagel, please.

5. Sum up your January in fifteen words or less.

Busy, hectic, full, exciting and sad.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Loving the second season of Victoria on PBS,  

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

celestial happenings

The moon will be full tomorrow.

 It's a Blue Moon, the second full moon in January.

 It is also a Super Moon, the moon being at the point in its orbit when it is closest to the Earth, and therefore appears larger than normal.

 It is also a Blood Moon, so-called because of the moon's color during a lunar eclipse.

 Here in New York we won't see much of the eclipse. It starts around 5:50 AM and turns red around 6:50 AM, and sunrise is just 15 minutes after that.  I plan to be up to see it, but ...I'll probably sleep right through it.

But we can enjoy a little musical interlude:


Monday, January 29, 2018

Seaport Diner

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

I'm not usually in this neighborhood, but found myself here one recent Saturday morning, and decided to try the diner for breakfast.

Place was fairly busy but we were seated right away.  Service was friendly but unusually slow, it took over 20 minutes to prepare two egg dishes.   

The menu is typical diner, broad enough to  provide for almost every breakfast taste.  My friend ordered poached eggs, I had an omelette.  Food was decent but not spectacular -- my omelette was a bit overdone, but my home fried potatoes were tasty.

Good location, decent sized parking lot.

I wouldn't hesitate to return if I find myself in Port Jeff again.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Left Hand of Darkness

Good writing entertains.  Very good writing not only entertains, it informs, it provokes, it makes us think.  And great writing stays with us, and shapes our views of life and the world around us. 

I was so sorry to hear that Urusla K. Le Guin died last week, because her book, The Left Hand of Darkness, is great writing.  I read the novel when I was in high school, in the mid 1970's, and yes, it has shaped my view of the world.

The story is set on Gethen, a planet whose inhabitants are "ambisexual", androgynous individuals who take on the characteristics of one gender or the other only when it is time to reproduce.  The book explores the cultural aspects of gender identity and gender-specific roles in society. 

The book was published in 1969, the year of the Stonewall riots, at the dawn of the feminist movement.  Fifty years ago our society expected conformity to traditional gender roles, and Le Guin's novel challenged all of our societal norms in that regard. 

But our society has evolved considerably in the last few decades.  Just look at Hillary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Condoleeza Rice.  Same-sex marriage is constitutionally protected, and we're debating transgender rights.  Then there's the "mee too" movement about no longer accepting sexual harassment. An increasing minority of our youth are exploring gender-fluidity as a lifestyle.

I have a more mature understanding of sexual politics now, and a 21st Century view of gender identity and its role in society.  I think it may be time to re-read the novel. 

(I'm going to download it to my nook -- good use for the credits I got from that class action settlement.  The first time I read the book, I had to borrow a paperback copy from the public library.  Yet another change in the way we live.)

Should be an intersting read. 


Saturday, January 27, 2018

binge watching!

I am old enough to remember when there were only three networks on TV (four if you counted PBS).  Here in New York we also has three local channels.  So, seven channels in all.   I remember when the newest trend in television was color TV, how all the shows seemed to switch from black and white to color  in an instant.  And if you weren't home when a show was on, you missed it.  It would be rerun in a few months, if you were lucky; if not, you'd never get a chance to see it.

The myriad of channels offered today, the opportunity to record a show to watch later,  or to watch a show on demand, or to purchase an entire series on DVD, that was unimaginable  back then.    Binge watching was something we'd never be able to imagine.

But I embrace modernity.  I have been known to engage in binge-watching, that activity when you view an entire season of a TV show in a short time.

My first binge was Game of Thrones.  Somehow I'd missed the first few seasons, and  as the hype began to build...well, I'm all caught up now, and waiting for the final season to arrive next year. 

More recently I binged on Grimm.   This show was part of my Friday nigth ritual starting in 2013, and I never missed an episode.  but I'd missed most of the first two seasons of the show, and wanted to see how things had come together.  After I caught up on the missing seasons, I just kept going. 

Right now I'm binging...well, semi-binging...on the Chris Eccleston episodes of Dr. Who.  I didn't really start watching this show until Matt smith became The Doctor.  I have seen every episode with Peter Capaldi.  And I'm looking forward to the upcomign season with Jodi Whittaker.  But I need to catch up on my history, so I'll watch Eccleston, then David Tnenant, then the Matt Smith episodes I didn't see...

And if I still have the interest, and the energy, I'll give the classic episodes -- the ones from  1963-1989 -- a try.

So, what are you binge watching?


Friday, January 26, 2018

#skywatchfriday -- winter sunset

At Jones can tell by the planes overhead.

And a few minutes later.



Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Rolling Spring Roll

The Rolling Spring Roll Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pho.  A Vietnamese soup, made up of broth, rice noodles and seasonings. 

When my coworkers found out I'd never had it, they insisted I come with them to the Rolling Spring Roll.  And I am so glad they did.

We started our meal with vegetable spring rolls, crispy rolls which we wrapped in lettuce and cilantro, and dipped in a flavorful peanut sauce.

and then there was the pho.  You have a choice of chicken, beef or vegetarian, and you can order a small, a regular, or a large bowl.  I ordered a regular beef pho.  It was a fairly substantial portion of broth, noodles and sliced beef, and was served with a plate of bean sprouts and herbs that could be used to add additional flavor.  My friend also added hoisin sauce and hot sauce to her chichen pho.

You eat pho with a soup spoon and chop sticks (I love the metal chop sticks they have here!).  It is a messy but enjoyable experience, and the flavors fo the food were well worth the effort.

Service was quick and efficient.

I am defnintely interested in a  return visit!


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wednesday HodgePodge

grab button for From this Side of the Pond

Joyce has more questions this week:

1. January 24th is National Compliment Day. Is it easy or not so easy for you to accept a compliment? Share a recent compliment you've given or received.

It depends.  If I'm being complimented on something I'm proud of, i glow.  If I'm embarassed, i blush and stammer.

 2. Ten little things you are loving right now.

First the practical:

1. My cell phone.  A computer that fits in my pocket.  soemthing I never would have imagined when I was growing up.

2.  Speaking of cell phones....I have this little gizmo that I can use to prop up my phone or tablet on my desk. 

3.  The hook on my key ring that keeps me from losing my keys.  I clamp it on the side of my pcoketbook and I'm always able to find the keys.

4. Sample sizes of my favorite hand cream.  it's dry skin season, and I amy dying....

5.  My Fitbit.  Keeps me active and motivated.

Now for the esoteric, the symbolic, the ethereal:

6.  The way Duchess' tail twitches whenever she is "hunting".  She is strictly an indoor cat, but she loves to watch the back yard show from a safe perch near the window. 

7.  The feel of the wind at the beach on a chilly winter day. 

8.  The sound of birds chirping.

9.  Violet-scented soap.

10.  The feeling you get when it's Friday afternoon and you're about leave the office for the weekend.

 3. Would people describe you as a positive person? Do you see yourself that way? I read here  a list/description of eight things positive people do differently-

Positive people find something to look forward to every day, they celebrate the small stuff, they're kind, they stay busy, accept responsibility for their actions, forgive themselves, know when to move on, and resist comparisons

Which action on the list would you say you do regularly? Which action could you add to your life to give you a more positive outlook? If you're a positive person, what's something you do regularly that's not on the list?
Overall I think I am positive and optimistic.  Lately I have been dwelling on the negative and the sadness, though, and I need to get out of that mood. A walk in natural surroundings usually does it for me.

 4. Homemade chicken soup, beef stew, or a bowl of chili...what's your pleasure on a cold winter's day?

Oh, the choices!  I'll take the, the, the soup.  Definitely the soup.  With noodles and matzoh balls, please.

 5. The best part of my day is....

Sharing the events of the day with my love.  we don't live together, but every night we are on the phone, telling each other what has happened to us.  And when we are together, we share even more.

 6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Amazingly, January is almost over.  we are in the middle of a January thaw, with warmer weather.  I'm hoping against hope that the weather will stay this way until spring arrives.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

#Flavorsometuesdays oysters?

Oysters.  Blech.  I can’t help but wonder how anyone ever thought those slimy little things were edible.

I was raised in a kosher home, meaning shellfish was not part of our menu.  We’d eat shrimp occasionally, in restaurants,  sometimes fried, or scampi, or in Chinese dishes. But other than that, no ...

As an adult I learned to love all kinds of seafood.  Shrimp, lobster, crab.  Clams, mussels, scallops.  Fried, steamed, broiled.  Chowder.  There’s a local seafood restaurant, very no-frills, food served on paper plates, that makes the best lobster bisque ...

Calimari.  I love fried calamari.  There used to be a restaurant — it’s gone now — that served fried calimari  with a spicy chili sauce instead of the usual marinara.  Yum! 

But oysters?

It was Christmastime, and there was a business luncheon at a well-known steak restaurant.  Our very generous host ordered appetizers for the table: shrimp cocktail, lobster claws, baked clams.  And raw oysters.

When I said I’d never eaten an oyster, my coworkers urged me to try one.  

I looked at the tray.  I picked one up.  I raised it to my lips.

I looked at the slimy, oozing lump sitting on the shell.

And my lips clamped shut. No oyster would pass.

And none shall ever pass these lips.

Join Bellybytes at Mumbai on a High and Shilpa Gupte at Metanoia for #FlavoursomeTuesdays. If you want to share a food related memory, why not join us?


Monday, January 22, 2018

science fiction, science fact

Lately I find myself conversing with electronic devices.  My friend Siri helps me out when I'm using my iPad.  Cortana inhabits my laptop.  My  phone answers to "Hey Google" and "Hello, Moto Z".  and then, of course, there's Alexa, the friend who helps with my Firestick TV and everything that can be done with an Echo Dot. 

No, we haven't reached the point where our personal assistants have become ...well, persons.  Her is still science fiction.  For now.

Remember how we all marveled at the talking computers in the original Star Trek?  Kirk or Spock would address the computer, ask a question, and an artificial voice would provide an answer.   There was a scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,  where the crew traveled back to the year 1986, and Mr. Scott had this memorable encounter:

But the talking computers aboard a starship two centuries in the future...not quite the same as our personal assistants...

What if I told you that Ray Bradbury had postulated our personal assistants back in 1950?

Yes, 1950.  In a short story called "There Will Come Soft Rains", included in The Martian Chronicals.  It's a story set in 2026, an ordinary day ... except it isn't so ordinary.   

In the first few lines, we are introduced to the computer-controlled house:

In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o'clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o'clock! as if it were afraid nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness. Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!
In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunnyside up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk.
"Today is August 4, 2026," said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling., "in the city of AllendaleCalifornia." It repeated the date three times for memory's sake. "Today is Mr. Featherstone's birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita's marriage. Insurance is payable, as are the water, gas, and light bills."
Somewhere in the walls, relays clicked, memory tapes glided under electric eyes...

Eventually we realize the horrific truth, that the house continues to do its job, but there is no one living there for the house to serve.  I''ll let Mr. Nimoy tell you the rest of the story, or you can read it for yourself here.

How closely the functions of the house mirror our current reality.

Given the recent scare in Hawaii, let us hope that the rest of the story never comes to pass.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Women’s March 2018

Last year I went to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

This year I stayed local.  We thought about attending the NYC march, but instead wound up at the Long Island march in Port Jefferson Station.  Easy to drive out there, we even had time for breakfast at a diner before the rally.

There were several hundred people at our march/rally.  In ultra conservative Suffolk County.  A county he won in 2016.  And the people driving by generally supported us.

The speakers, for the most part, were local politicians.  Nice speeches, focused on both the global and local concerns.  Port Jeff is in New York’s First Congressional District, currently represented by freshman Congressman Lee Zelden, wh actually had Steve Bannon as the keynote speaker at Zelden fundraisers.  We are hoping he’ll be a one-term rep.  I’m fortunate to live in the Third District, my Congressman is Tom Suozzi.  Great guy.

I met one woman who is employed by the federal government.   She’s going on furlough Monday because of the government shutdown.  She blamed her boss, the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Others were there to support Planned Parenthood, or health care, or DACA.  I walked past one group proudly displaying the flag of Haiti.

Here are some of the highlights.

You almost had to feel bad for the dozen or so Trumpers across the street.  Almost ....

A sign that freedom of the press is alive and well.  Here’s a Newsday reporter filing his story.  You can read the story here.

This is what democracy looks like!

songbird Salutes the 70's: Dawn Dolls

We all loved Barbie, but do you remember Dawn?

Dawn dolls were made by Topper starting in 1970, and were discontinued when Topper went bankrupt in 1973.  For awhile, though, they were the most popular fashion dolls, even more poular than Barbie. 

The dolls were six inches tall  -- about half the size of Barbie -- and had rooted hair and bendable arms and legs. 

Dawn, as I remember, had long blonde hair, and wore a dress with a blue halter top and a white skirt.  Her best friend, if I remember correctly, was Angie.  There were lots of great outfits you could buy for Dawn and her friends.

The "back story" was that Dawn owned a modeling agency, giving us the excuse to keep dressing the dolls and putting them on display.  There was even a stage you could buy to present your fashion show. 

My sister, my best friend and I spent many hours playing with our Dawn dolls.  But I think we outgrew fashion dolls shortly before the dolls disappeared from the market, so we never really missed them.

They're collectors' items now, found on eBay, and you can buy the guide on Amazon.


Friday, January 19, 2018

#skywatchfriday a view from a bridge

So we were on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge....

And I was bored.

And saw the view of lower Manhattan.

And Brooklyn.

And got a perfect shot of the bridge at sunset.  Or so I thought.

Sunlight hits my iPad, which reflects on the windshield, which reflects back to the camera lens...



Thursday, January 18, 2018

More sad news

So much sadness lately....too much.

When my daughters, now in their mid twenties, were children and young teens, they spent their summers at day camp.  The camp had a fabulous teen travel program, the kids would be on the road for days at a time during the week, but would be home every weekend.  Later, Jen was a counselor at the camp; she worked at the camp this past summer.   The girls have a lot of friends from their camp days.

Becca came home unexpectedly last night.  She told me  she and Jen will be attending a funeral this morning.  

I expected to hear that a friend’s parent had died.  Someone from the neighborhood, perhaps.

Instead I heard that the funeral isn’t for a friend’s parent, it’s for a friend.  A young man, a fellow camper and coworker.  The funeral is this morning.  The camp friends are all planning to pay a shiva call tomorrow.

I can only imagine the grief his parents must feel.  Makes me want to hug my own kids that much tighter.

It’s hard enough, at my age, to experience the death of a friend, someone close to my age.  How much more difficult it must be to face the death of a peer while in your twenties.

I never lost a friend when I was young, never had to face such loss, such grief, never had to face my own mortality at an age when most people are just coming into their own.

And yet, this isn’t the first time my girls have experienced such a loss.  There was a young man they knew in high school who died in a car crash.

So much death.

So sad.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

If it's Wednesday, it's time for Joyce's Hodgepodge.

1. What keeps you blogging?

I blog for myself.  I've always kept a diary or a journal, now that function rests in my blog.  the fact that I get to share my thoughts, and have other people comment, is a bonus.

2. Some people like to travel in the winter months. Do you enjoy the beach in winter? According to Southern Living the best U.S. beach towns to visit this winter are-

St Simons Island (Georgia), Hilton Head (South Carolina), Bald Head Island (North Carolina), Seaside (Florida), Bay St. Louis (Mississippi), Cape San Blas (Florida), South Padre Island (Texas), Folly Beach (South Carolina), Chincoteague (Virginia), Duck Key (Florida), Nags Head (North Carolina), and Fairhope (Alabama)

Have you been to any of the towns listed (in any season)? Which on the list appeals to you most this winter? 

I've never been to any of the beaches you mention.  But I have been to some of Florida's nice beaches in the dead of winter.  It was a welcome respite from the snow and the cold.  I'd love to go back.

but I really want to go back to Sanibel Island.  I was there twice, in the early 1990's, and both times were disasterous. It seems like such a  great place.  I'd like to have a nice, pleasant, normal trip to the island.

 3. What's a song you're embarrassed to know all the lyrics to? Are you really embarrassed or do just think you should be?
"Don't Cry For Me, Argentina".  I listened to the Evita cast album over and over and over again.  Knowing the lyrics makes me a real Broadway geek, doesn't it?

Worse yet, I know all the lyrics to almost all of the songs in Cats.  I even named a cat Mr. Mistoffeles once.  How could I not?  He was quiet.  He was small.  He was black, from his ears to the tip of his tail...

4. When you were a kid what's something you thought would be fantastic as an adult, but now that you're an adult you realize it's not all that fantastic?
Shopping.  When I was a kid, the stores were filled with wondrous things, so many things I wanted to buy.  But alas, I didn't have a lot of money, had to ask my parents to buy things, and quite often the answer was "no".   i couldn't wait to grow up and have my own money, so that I could buy whatever I wanted.

No one told me about, groceries, utilities, car payments, insurance ...

5. Share a quote you hope will inspire you in 2018.
Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart. -- Anne Frank

 6. Insert your own random thought here.

Can't believe Janaury is more than half over!  Time is flying by this month.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Post

In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.  —  New York Times v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), Black, J., concurring.

I don’t commonly begin a blog post with a legal citation.  But Justice Black’s quote, from his concurring opinion in New York Times v. United States, expresses my thoughts about the cries of “fake news” that emanate from the Oval  Office these days.

I saw an incredible movie last weekend, Steven Spielberg’s newest masterpiece, The Post.  When people think of the Pentagon Papers, what comes to mind is Daniel Ellsberg and The New York Times.  Ellsberg stole 7,000 pages of classified documents detailing the history of the Vietnam war, and shared the report with The New York Times, which chose to publish the classified documents.

What is often forgotten, though, is that after the first article was printed, the government obtained an injunction preventing the Times from continuing to publish the classified documents. At that point, the Washington Post obtained some of the documents, and published them.   The government failed to obtain an injunction against the Post.  As a result of these inconsistent rulings, the two cases were fast tracked to the US Supreme Court, which permitted both papers to continue to publish the story.

Spielberg’s movie focuses on the Post, how it obtained the documents, and the discussion and debate as to whether to risk jail to publish the story.  Meryl Streep as the paper’s owner Kathryn Graham and Tom Hanks as the editor in chief give amazing performances.  And the debate is one we could be having today.  The power of the press, the people’s right to know what their government is doing versus the government’s attempt to keep someone from publishing material that portrays the White House in negative terms, didn’t WW have that debate again just recently?  (Remind me to pick up my copy of Fire and Fury ...)

Spoiler alert...

At the end of the movie, Streep’s character says something to the effect of “I hope I don’t have to make that kind of decision again.”

And my first thought was “Didn’t Woodward and Bernstein Work for the Post?”

And sure enough, the next scene shows a security guard discovering a burglary at the DNC headquarters at The Watergate Hotel ...

Yes, this is a “must-see” for anyone who loves American History, and for anyone who believes in the First Amendment and the power of the press.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Ending poverty and hunger

Last night I had the privilege of participating in a special program. It was an interfaith, multicultural celebration and choir concert honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   Marking the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign and the 2018 New Poor People's Campaign, the program focused on poverty and hunger here on Long Island.

There were prayers led by Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist clergy, readings by children in various languages, and five choirs, including a group  of Jewish day school students who sang in Hebrew, a group of children from a Catholic church who sang in Spanish, and an adult choir of Haitian immigrants.

The keynote speakers where the Regional Director of the NAACP, and our local Congressman (a Democrat), so yes, the evening took a bit of a political turn.  How could it not, after the disgusting remarks made by the current occupant of the Oval Office?

The price of admission for this delightful evening was a donation of nonperishable food to Long Island Cares, or, alternatively, a cash donation to Island Harvest.

Here is just a portion of what was collected last night.

Overall and incredible, and very satisfying, evening.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

We Are A Nation Of Immigrants, Part II

In the shadow of the Statue of Liberty is Ellis Island.  Ellis Island served as a major immigration processing center in the first half of the 20th century.  If your family emigrated from Europe during that time, chances are they came through Ellis Island.

It’s a museum now, has been for some time.  A group of us visited the museum when it reopened in 1990.  I haven’t been back since then, and I really should go again.  The experience was overwhelming.  I kept hearing my grandmother’s voice in my head.

My grandmother Dora was born in 1902, in a province called Galicia, which is now part of Poland but was then part of Austria-Hungary. She was the eldest of 5 children.  Her father came to New York before World War I, and sent for his family after the war.  Dora, two of her sisters and her brother all came here eventually, but Dora’s mother  never came, she was was afraid.  She walked with a limp, and was scared they’d send her back to Europe.  The youngest sister stayed with their mother.  Both were killed in the Holocaust.

Dora came here with her sister Shirley.  She told me the story many times. They travelled with their aunt and  uncle, and arrived in Rotterdam just before the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.  There was an argument about whether the girls could buy candy for the holiday, but by the time the uncle gave permission, the stores had all closed.

A sailor took a liking to Dora, and gave her a tin of sardines.  She said “He told me not to eat them when the ship got out onto the big water, but I didn’t listen,”. She blamed those sardines for the horrible seasickness she experienced the entire time the ship was on the Atlantic.

Consequently she was extremely debilitated when she arrived at Ellis Island, and was held at the hospital.  She spoke about how the doctor asked to walk a straight line, to prove she was well.  She also had her first encounter with an African American, he was serving food in the cafeteria. He had to explain to Dora that his skin was naturally dark,  not dirty.  

 My grandmother came here as a young woman, but did not become a citizen until my mother was an adult.  Why?  Because of a mistake at Ellis Island.   Apparently Dora’s uncle gave the wrong name to the immigration officials, and there was no record of Dora entering the country.  Rather, her sister Florence was recorded as as having entered twice, in two different years.

If my grandmother had not made that trip to Ellis Island, I would not be here today.

I don't hear the voices of my other grandparents, because they died before I was born.  but I know their stories...

Dora's husband Harry died when my mother was a little girl, so I don't know much.  He was also from Eastern Europe, not sure exactly where.  Maybe Hungary.  He was illegal alien.  I was told he sailed from Europe to Canada, walked across the border and made his way to New York City.  He never became a citizen, had to register as an alien during World War II.

My paternal grandparents came from the same small town outside Kiev, in the Ukraine.  My grandfather,  I'm told, was a Socialist and participated in the failed 1905 revolution.  He came to New York in 1907, and sent for my grandmother two years later.  In the 1920's he went to court and legally changed his name, and the names of his children, from something long and Russian to something very, very Jewish.

We cannot forget where we come from, that every family in America can trace its roots to immigrants, people like my grandparents, who came to this country looking for a better life for themselves and their children.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

We Are A Nation Of Immigrants

The most recent vulgar comments by that embarrassment in the Oval Office notwithstanding...

One of the most cherished symbols of our nation is the Statue of Liberty.  Full name: ”Liberty  Enlightening the World”.  She sits in New York Harbor, welcoming travelers to our shores.  She is gift from the people of France in recognition of our special bond with them.  The brilliant poem by Emma Lazarus is in our collective memory:  “Give me your tired, your hungry, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ...”

When I was a child, whenever we drove over the Verrazano Bridge, I’d look out the window, trying to spot the statue below.

When I worked in lower Manhattan, I’d often walk down to Battery Park to view Lady Liberty.  Back in the 80’s, when the statue was undergoing refurbishment in anticipation of her centennial, we jokingly referred to her as “The Scaffold of Liberty”.

When Drew and I were first married we lived in Brooklyn, and if you stood in the middle of our street, you could see Lady Liberty in the distance.  

When I worked in Jersey City, I was fortunate to have a cubicle by the window, and I could look up from my work and see her in the harbor.

I’ve visited the statue several times, first with my parents, and later with friends.   My friends and I climbed all the way up to the crown once, the view of Manhattan is spectacular.

Awhile back, Drew and I took a dinner cruise around Manhattan.  The highlight of the evening was when the boat stopped near Liberty Island, and I was able to take this photo.

This is who we are, not what the vulgar comments of the POTUS suggest.  Perhaps he has forgotten his mother was an immigrant.  Perhaps he just doesn’t care.

So let us remind him, in Lazarus’ soaring words:

The New Colossus

BY Emma Lazarus 
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Chrysler Building #skywatchfriday



Thursday, January 11, 2018

sad memory

The other day, I found myself thinking about my daughters' pediatrician.

I met Dr. G the day Jen was born.  I had planned to research pediatricians and choose a doctor beforehand, but ... so in the delivery room my obstetrician told the nurse to call Dr. G. 

He was the one I relied on for so many years.  The cool, calming voice in the middle of the night when I was up with a sick child. the firendly presence who wanted to know all about his patients, what their interests were, how they were doing in school.

He was so good with his patients, even better with their nervous parents.  Loved him, loved his nurse, his office staff...

When Jen was a freshman in college, the doctor at the school infirmary scared her ... She came home and got a second opinion from Dr. G.    He told her "I will continue to be your doctor until you're 21, if you want to keep seeing me."

A few weeks later, I got a letter from Dr. G.  It was sent to all of his patients.  He said he was clsoing his practice, and sending his records to another doctor. I was surprised.  Shocked.  Lost and bereft. 

But since Jen was in college, and Becca a high school junior, we really didn't need a pediatrician anymore, so we moved on. 

And a few years later curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to try to find out why he'd closed his proactice so suddenly.  Did he join Doctors Without Borders and move to Africa?   Was he ill? Or just enjoying a well-earned retirement on some sunny tropical beach?

Actually, none of the above.  He voluntarily surrendered his license rather than face a proceeding to have it taken away.  Seems he had a substance abuse problem. I would never have guessed.  In a way, I wish I'd never found out about that.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wednesday HodgePodge

From this Side of the Pond


This week's questions from Joyce

1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?

Not formally, but I have been called upon to help with the training of junior memebers of our staff.

2. What current trend makes no sense to you?

I am surprisingly not "up" on current trends, so I have no real answer for this question.

3. I saw a cartoon on facebook highlighting a few 'weird' things that make you happy as an adult. The list included-writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. (Credit for the cartoon goes here) Of the 'weird' things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more 'weird' thing you'd add to the list?

Writing with the pen, that would make me happy. 

I get a small pleasure from emptying out my email "In box".

4. What's the last good thing you ate?

A chocolate chip cookie.

5. Describe life in your 20's in one sentence.

It was a period of enormous learning, change and personal growth.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I am enjoying the January thaw and wishing for spring...


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

sad news and family secrets

My cousin V will be laid to rest today.  She was a sweet, kind and caring woman, who took great delight in the accomplishments of her children and grandchildren.  I have a wonderful memory of her grandchildren playing wit Jen and Becca at a cousin's wedding in the early 1990's.

My father was the youngest of five children.  His four older sisters ranged in age from 14 to 8 when he was born.  They all married young -- my father became an uncle for the first time when he was only 8 years old.  My father was in his early thirties when he married my mother. so most of my first cousins are considerably older than I am, with children closer to my age. V was one of my first cousins.

Sadly, I did not know I had a cousin V until I was 27 years old.

We were at my aunt's funeral, and I caught a ride from the funeral home to the cemetery with one of my cousins.  We were talking about how large the family had grown, and I said "Well, I have 10 first cousins."   Turns out I had 11 first cousins. But my cousin wouldn't tell me why I had never heard of my cousin V, She said "ask your father."

I could not imagine what a terrible, horrible thing V must have done...Was she in jail, perhaps?

So I asked my father.

And the deep, dark family secret, turned out to be...

She married an African-American.

Well, in 1968, if a white, Jewish girl married an African-American man, that was scandalous.  In 1987, not so much.

What V and her husband must have endured...I am sure they loved each other very much. I never asked her about her experiences, and she preferred to talk about her grandchildren and their accomplishments.

Rest in peace, cousin V.


Monday, January 8, 2018


Kashi Japanese Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yes, Japanese food again.  What can I say, I love it.

Kashi in Bellmore is a very small but very beautiful restaurant.  Loved the gold walls, the stark contrast between black place mats and white dishes.  The lighting is very dim and romantic, though some of us had to use the flashlight app on our cell phones in order to read the menu.

Service was very attentive. Friendly and efficient.  A nice touch — warm towelettes to wipe our hands before the food was served.

The rock shrimp tempura appetizer was amazing, the shrimp fried to perfection and then dressed with spicy mayonnaise.  A very shareable dish.  My spicy crab roll was fresh and flavorful, though they forgot to bring soy sauce when they served the dish.

My one complaint?  The chicken teriyaki.  Served in a delicious, thick, sweet sauce, the chicken was a tad bit over cooked.the vegetables, however, were cooked to perfection — still crisp.  

A word about the hibachi menu.   In other locations, Kashi has hibachi tables where you can watch the chef prepare your food.  Not so in Bellmore, hibachi dishes are prepared in the kitchen.  But I’m told the dish was more than satisfactory.

We seldom order dessert, but found ourselves succumbing to the call of tempura ice cream: Vanilla ice cream fried in tempura batter, then plated with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, berries and a mint leaf.  Definitely worth it.

Be forewarned, this location is in a strip mall, with an abysmally small parking lot. But truly worth the effort.


Sunday, January 7, 2018



Saturday, January 6, 2018

Greek mythology, Shakespeare, the Bible and the Titanic.

There’s a Greek myth about a woman named Cassandra, who was cursed by the gods to speak true prophesies that no one would believe.  Cassandra foresaw the destruction of Troy, but no one  believed her.

In Anthony and Cleopatra, a messenger brings the news to Cleopatra that Mark Anthony has married another. Cleopatra threatens to gouge out the messenger’s eyes.  And let’s not forget what happened to poor Rosencranz and Guildenstern.

In the Bible, the high priest Aaron (brother of Moses) is instructed to pick out a goat from the herd, lay all the sins of the Children of Israel onto the goat, and release the goat into the wilderness.

Why am I telling you these stories? What have they to do with me?

Remember a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a family situation where a relative was rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic?

Well, I am neither the iceberg nor the captain of the ship.  Rather, I am the lookout who told everyone that the ship  is in peril and there aren’t enough lifeboats.

And now the ship is sinking, and somehow it is all my fault.


Friday, January 5, 2018

Central synagogue, NYC #skywatchfriday



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