life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, March 30, 2018


For the Christian world, today is Good Friday, a mournful day, an observance of the Crucifixion, leading up to the joy of Easter on Sunday.

But for the Jewish community, tonight is a joyful occasion.  At sunset tonight we begin the observance of Passover, the festival commemorating the Exodus from Egypt. this year I will observe the first Seder at my mother's house, and Drew is hosting a Seder tomorrow night. 

And yes, at my mother's house, we will use the "museum piece".

I still marvel that something my grandfather bought back in the 1920's is considered worthy of display in not one, but two different museums. 

It's time to observe the ancient traditions, time to gather with family and friends and create new traditions. 

May your holiday -- whichever holiday or holidays  you choose to celebrate this time of year -- be filled with warmth and joy and love.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Word came early this morning that Rusty Staub has died.

Staub was one of the heroes of the 1973 Mets, helped the team win the National League pennant, and also played for the team in the early 1980’s.

Staub was also a philanthropist, most notably a supporter of the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Childrens Benefit Fund.

Staub had been hospitalized for many weeks.

There’s an element of poetry here, that he died on Opening Day.

Hope springs eternal

It's Opening Day at Citifield, Thor is on the mound, and all is right with the world.  Let's Go Mets!

On Opening Day, everyone believes their team is a contender for the World Series.  it's a long, long way to October, but right now, when the season is bright and shiny and new, we can all have our dreams.

The Long Island Ducks, our local independent league team, don't begin their season until the end of April, but Drew is already looking at their schedule and choosing our seats for the games we want to see. 

I am that rare Mets fan who also likes the NY Yankees.  I come by it honestly, my mom was raised in the Bronx.  

My late father was a Brooklyn boy, born in the shadow of Ebbets Field, a loyal Dodgers fan, but for his first official date with my mom, they went to Yankee Stadium to see DiMaggio play.  He must have really wanted to impress her, to venture into enemy territory like that.  (They were married on March 29, 1959, 59 years ago today.)

Despite having spent their early years  just a stone's throw from the late Shea Stadium,  my daughters are Yankees fans -- it kills their father when he sees them rooting for that team.

Yes, it's spring...

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wednesday HodgePodge

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 346

I will refrain from mentioning here how I haven't been on my blog since last week's Hodgepodge. Consider it unmentioned. Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to share answers with all your peeps.

From this Side of the Pond
Joyce always has good questions.

1. What's a word that describes your life? A word you wish described your life?

Lately it's been stressful.  I wish it were more interesting.

2. Back in my day we___________________________________?

did interesting things that you couldn't really do now.  Remember road rallies?  You'd get really weird instructions.  For example, instead of telling you to "make a left turn onto Sparrow Lane", you'd be told "make a left when you see the bird".  Half the drivers would get lost...

3. When it comes to takeout are you more likely to opt for Italian, Mexican, or Chinese food? Does a typical week at your house include takeout?

Drew and I do takeout every Friday.  One week might be pizza, the next shrimp tempura.  I think my favorite, though, is Greek --souvlaki, moussaka, gyros, anything with tzatziki.

4. Think about the people you most respect. What is it about them that earned your respect?

I respect confidence. Poise and confidence. I feel like such a poser sometimes...

5. What's something your friends might see and say is 'so you'?

Purple clothes.  Purple is my favorite color.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I think I've figured out what my mind map is going to include.  I gained back a significant amount of weight, and I don't feel good about it. And I haven't been able to locate my focus or motivation.  But the times, they are a'changin'.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Another this and that

So they estimate that the crowd at Farmingdale on Saturday was 1,500 strong.  The total number of marchers, across the nation and the world, must have been upwards of 1 million.  The cry of "enough is enough" continues to echo...

During the rally, my friend J told me that she's drafting me to be a member of our town's Democratic Committee.  Committee members are responsible for obtaining signatures on a candidate's nominating petitions to be filed with the board of elections; they work on the campaigns by walking with candidates, stuffing envelopes, etc.; and, most important. the committee designates who will be the party's nominees for local office.  She said that I do more for the cause than half of the committee members, that I might as well have the title, and the ability to vote at committee meetings.

What a world we live in, when the biggest story on 60 Minutes is an interview with a porn star about her affair with the President of the United States. He is such a sleaze.

Passover is coming, the first Seder is Friday night.  I have to remember to pick up my wine order.  Wine is an essential element of the Passover Seder.  Our synagogue does a fundraiser every year, a wine tasting event where you can sample kosher wines and order them for your Seder table.

Oh, wow...just heard my father's voice in my head, reading the story of Passover to us, as he did at the Seder every year when he was alive.  Funny how those things stay with you.

Passover is supposed to be a spring holiday.  Right now there is still snow on the ground, leftovers from last week's storm.  I'm hoping it will all be gone by Friday.

The Mets play their first home game of the season on Thursday.  Yet another hopeful sign.

Working on my focus and vision board in the new planner.  I'm not sure if  I feel comfortable sharing what I wrote there.

I need to start planning for the warmer weather. I already bought my pass for the state parks. I got a bargain!  Last year the decal  for your car window was $65.  If you wanted a card for your wallet, one that can be used with more than one vehicle, it cost $85.  But this year they eliminated the window decal, and because I bought it so early, I got the wallet card for the price K paid for the decal last year.

Now i just need nicer weather so I can head for the park.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

March For Our Lives

Anyone who knows me did not have to guess where I would be on March 24. With over 800 events nationwide, 9 of which were on Long Island, the only mystery is which event I attended.

Drew and I went to Farmingdale State College, an event sponsored by three members of Congress:  Tom Suozzi (D), Kathy Rice (D) and Peter King (R). Yes, a bipartisan effort.  But the real stars, of course, were the students who organized the event.

I was very impressed with the bright, articulate student leaders who made their way to the stage. One young woman read a letter from a Parkland survivor, another told of how her cousin was killed in gun violence. And a young man asked us to sign the petition to Congress asking for sensible gun legislation.

And then there was a Kevin McCarthey.

Back in December 1993, a lunatic shot up a Long Island Railroad train.  He killed 6 people and wounded many others. McCarthey’s father died in the attack, and Kevin was shot in the head.    Kevin’s mother Carolyn became an advocate for gun control, and eventually served a few terms in Congress.

Here is Kevin’s speech.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

So I succumbed...

I used to keep a datebook, listing all my appointments within its pages. And there’d be a desk calendar at work, with all my meetings and assignments.

And then Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar came along.  My calendar lives in my phone and on my iPad, I back up my data in the Cloud, I will never lose it.and I’ll never struggle to decipher my own handwriting.

But then ...

I heard on the radio, if you write something by hand, you’re more likely to remember it.

And so many people are raving about their planners.  More than date books, these planners have space for goals and projects and lists.

Maybe it could help me focus, stay organized. That’s always been an issue for me.

But who wants to spend $50 - $60 on a fancy planner?

So when I saw “The Simple Elephant” planner on Amazon...

$20 for a datebook/agenda/planner seems a lot more reasonable, doesn’t it?

Here’s what I got:

When I opened the box, I found

The stickers are cool.

And the planner itself

That blue ribbon is elastic,  want to hold the book closed when not in use.

The first pages are dedicated to your focus.

Next is your mind map and vision board.  

Then you have a monthly calendar, undated so you can start using it at any time.

And a more detailed calendar/agenda

Finally, blank pages

There’s a folder on the inside cover, and a place to stash a pen.

It’s small and light, very portable.

My Saturday afternoon project...

Friday, March 23, 2018

#skywatchfriday -- British Airways

Our view from the Belt Parkway, near JFK.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Whine .....

I have an announcement.

I am so sick of snow.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge


This week's questions from Joyce.

1. On this first official day of spring tell us something (besides the weather) you're looking forward to in this season of the year.

Spring means outdoor walks, blooming flowers and songbirds.  A change of wardrobe.  It means baseball season has begun.  The spring holidays.  And no snow.

2. When it comes to spring cleaning would you rather wash windows or wash baseboards? Clean out closets or clean out the garage? Dust ceiling fans or dust bookcases? Wipe down the patio furniture outside or wipe down the light fixtures inside? Any of these tasks recently completed?

Sorry, I am not inot housework, and refuse to discuss it unless you want to hear moaning and groaning.

3. Your favorite thing to make/eat that calls for cream cheese? Sour cream? Whipped cream?

Cream cheese?  Straight up on a bagel, or as a base for a good cheesecake.  Sour cream?  that goes on a baked potato.  Whipped cream?  Almost any way you can serve it.  I even like Redii whip straight out of the can.

4. I read here a list of commonly mispronounced words. What is a word that gives you trouble when it comes to pronunciation?

There are a lot of words I don't know how ot pronounce. In the old days that meant having to lug out the dictionary.  Now I just Google it.

5. What's a song you love with the word 'rain' in the title or lyrics?

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Hunkering down for yet another nor'easter is no fun. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Well, he did promise me adventures...

So yes, Drew and I had a little adventure last week, and not the kind I’d want to repeat.

The weather forecast called for a nor’easter on Tuesday, with significant snowfall.  So on Monday my boss made the decision to close the office during the storm, so that we’d all work from home.  I took my laptop to Drew’s house Monday evening, my plan being to work from his house.

But the plan changed when I got to Drew’s house.  He was clearly very sick, feverish, not doing well.  I told him I was taking him to the urgent care —there’s one around the corner from his house — and he didn’t even argue with me.

The doctor at the urgent care told me that Drew was much worse than we thought, that he needed to go to the ER for IV antibiotics.  She sent us there in an ambulance.

The ER doctor told me that she planned to treat the infection with a couple of rounds of IV antibiotics and fluids, and send him home with oral medication.

And then he spiked a fever of 105.

Trust me, you never want to see someone with a fever that high. It was scary, and I had to keep myself from freaking out so that I could keep Drew from freaking out.

Four days in the big, scary county hospital... He got excellent medical care, but ...

Well, he’s home now, feeling weak, but well on the road to recovery.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The view from the 11th floor

So Drew gave us all a real scare, and wound up spending four days as a guest of Nassau University Medical Center.  Don’t worry, he’s fine.  But it was a miserable four days.

NUMC is a huge county hospital, it’s a tall tower that dominates the local suburban landscape.

And the views from the 11th floor ...

Suburban sprawl.

And look closely at the next photo.  Those two structures on the distant horizon, the round one is the Jones Beach Theater, the tall one is the water tower at Jones Beach.

And then there’s this view:

Yes, that’s the Manhattan skyline in the distance.  The group of buildings on your right are in midtown, the group on your left are lower Manhattan.

Friday, March 16, 2018

#skywatchfriday -- the Verrazano

I hope this version of the bridge is OK. At least I don't have any unwelcome reflections this time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday HodgePodge

grab button for From this Side of the Pond

Mid-March Hodgepodge from Joyce.

1. Best place you've been lately?

A Japanese restaurant with an all-you-can-eat menu, mostly sushi but also a lot ofkitchen dishes like gyoza, ribs, teriyaki...incredible.

 2. What's something you should say yes to today? Or this week? Or even this year?

I never took  a vacation in 2017, and I missed  it.  This year I must plan some sort of summer recreation, even a staycation would be OK.

 3. Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any way, shape, or form? If so tell us how. In Western cultures the color green is typically associated with jealousy, nature, good luck, and growth. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word 'green'?

I'm not Irish, but it is said that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.  This year we plan to go to a local Irish restaurant for dinner and entertainment -- a folk singer and some bagpipes players.

As for green...I spent a good deal of my career handling environmental lawsuits, claning up Superfund sites, etc.  So "go geeen", i.e., be kind to the environment, is wha tpops into my head.

 4. What's a product or service you love so much you'd happily be their spokesperson? Tell us what makes you such a fan.

Eos hand lotion.  Great product.  You can buy it in the drugstore or Walmart or Target or even Kohl's. It's small enough to carry in your pocket or purse.  And it really does the job, my hands feel so good after I use the product.  And they smell nice, too, there ar enymerous fragrances to choose from.

 5. March 14th is Pi Day. How are your math skills? What's the last thing you did that required math of any kind? And most importantly do you like pie? What's your favorite kind? With ice cream, whipped cream, or please hold the cream?

Ah, yes, math.  English and Social Studies and foreign language came easy to me.  Algebra, geometry and trigonometry did not.  I had to work hard ot get decent grades.  Pre-calculus did me in.  It was a great relief when I got to college and found I didn't have a math requirement.

As for pie...right now I could go for some apple pie, right out of the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I am so sick of winter.  Why can't it be spring?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Hitchcock’s “The Birds”

So it was Sunday morning, and Drew and I were eating breakfast, and the TV was on.  And we were flipping through the channels, trying to find something to watch.

And there it was:  Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”.  An iconic movie, a cultural touchstone.

And though we are both Hitchcock fans, neither of us had seen the whole movie from start to finish.

We’d both seen bits and pieces, of course.  And parodies (Mel Brooks comes to mind).

Of course we had to watch.  And of course we enjoyed every minute of it.

The best horror movies are about the ordinary turning inexplicably horrifying. And that’s exactly what Hitchcock did in this movie.

My favorite scene was when the gas station blew up, and the seagulls showed up oh so casually to witness the aftermath.

You know how much I love birds ...but this movie truly scared me.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

the saga continues.

So you may remember what I wrote on Valentine's Day in response to Joyce's HodgePodge questions, and what I wrote the following day about the electric and gas company visit to our house.

Let me refresh your recollection.  On the 14th I wrote:

Heart failure?  That's an easy one.  I had some errands to run after work yesterday, so I didn't get home until about 9 PM.  As I drove up my street I could see a huge truck parked in front of my house.  A little investigation revealed that the truck belongs to our gas company.  There were two large holes in my lawn. The truck was still there at 4:30 in the morning. When I left for work at 8:30, the gas company truck was gone, but there were two trucks from the electric company on the street.  A third truck arrived while I was pulling out of my driveway.  I drove down to the end of the street, where I saw two gas company trucks headed towards my house.  Yikes! 

I don't know what's going on, but I hope they fix it soon.

here's what the lawn looked like this morning:

On the 15th I wrote:

The gas company truck was still in front of my house when I got home.  There is now a third trench in the lawn, and the mailbox is now lying on the grass. I do hope they plan to put everything back where they found it once repairs are completed.  I mean, I’m glad our house didn’t blow up or anything, but oh my what a mess they  made!

Well, the utility companies did whatever repairs were needed to the pipes, and filled in the trenches.  They put the mailbox back wheree it belonged.  They left two orange safety cones on the lawn where the main trench had been, and our driveway was a bit muddy from all that digging.  Not to mention the damage I am sure they did to the grass.   But the essentially restored the property.

Or so I thought.

We have had a couple of bad storms in recent days, real nor'easters with high winds. 

And this is what my mailbox looks like now:


Friday, March 9, 2018

#skywatchfriday --- Outerbridge Crossing

People think it's called "Outerbridge Crossing" because it's on the southern tip of Staten Island, leading to Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the most remote bridge in NYC.

It was actually named for Eugenius Outerbridge, the first chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Very impressed with this place.   Expensive but worth it.

The menu is so tempting -- steaks, seafood, chops.  Side dishes are extra, and large enough to share.

I had the most tender, flavorful filet mignon, We shared two sides, asparagus and mushrooms.

We didn't try the appetizers or desserts.  Maybe next time.

Service was friendly and attentive.

Yes, definitely worth it.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

More this and that

Work is getting in the way of work.  I’m so busy that I wound up bringing the laptop to Drew’s House this weekend. Spent the better part of Saturday afternoon and a few hours on Sunday catching up.  And telling myself the being busy is good, that ‘busy” = “job security”.  Considering I have a friend whose employer is slowly winding down its business, and he can’t find another job ...I’ll take “busy” over waiting for the other shoe to drop ...

But still, it’s been stressful, and I am so grateful that Drew sent me to the relaxation center for a massage.  45 minute back massage, 45 minute foot massage, and I am so much happier.

You have to love a man who cooks.  He’s in the kitchen right now, preparing something for dinner.  And later we are going to watch the Oscars.

So I have had some fun this weekend.

We are going to Philadelphia on Tuesday to see his specialist again. His symptoms have gotten worse since we were there in December, and we are concerned.

I’m glad the appointment is Tuesday, not Wednesday, since the forecast for Wednesday is starting to get scary ... perhaps another nor’easter, like the one we had on Friday.  That was a truly miserable storm. My office actually closed mid afternoon because of the weather.  

Sigh.  Back to work tomorrow.

Friday, March 2, 2018

#skywatchfriday -- evening sky

The evening sky, just after sunset


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Another this and that

They say "March comes in like a lion," and considering that we're expecting a real nor'easter tomorrow, I'd say the lion is roaring quite loudly....

It's a new month.  A month filled with possibilities.  I am always energized at the beginning of a new month.

Today is also the Jewish holiday of Purim, a minor holiday commemorating the Biblical Queen Esther's victory over the evil Haman, thus saving the lives of the Jews of Persia.  It's sort of like a Jewish Halloween, or maybe it's closer to Mardi Gras/Carnival -- dressing up in costume, feasting, pageantry, etc.  I am celebrating with some hamantaschen -- triangular cookies filled with fruit.

I am crazy busy at work these days, but it's all good.   A bit exciting, actually.  Well, for me, anyway.  I don't think the rest of the world cares about how many lawsuits I've settled this week, or that brilliant report I wrote.  If only I could catch up on answering my emails!

Lat night I got a chance to shock Drew.  I found out something he didn't know, and the look on his face when I told him...Drew is a huge fan of Andre Rieu, a classical violinist.  We saw Rieu and his orchestra in concert a few year ago. Drew has been dying to see Rieu perform again, is constantly checking his email and Rieu's website for a possible concert in our area.  Last night I got an email announcing Rieu has scheduled a concert here in September.  Drew is so excited!  September is a long way away, but still..

Spring training has begun, and I've been watching my Mets play.  Can spring itself be far behind?  I'm hoping March will go out like a lamb.

Blog Archive

About Me