life in and around NYC is insane

Monday, April 30, 2018

another this and that

I tried a new product this week, Nivea's Radiant Silk In Shower Body Lotion.  I've used Nivea in-shower body lotion before and liked it.  But I didn't care for this variety.  It's a "2 in 1" product, it expoliates and moisturizes at the same time.  I didn't like the gritty feeling. I really don't know why I need to exfoliate while I'm using body lotion, if I've already cleaned my skin...

The ads for the new Diet Coke Bold  Flavors intrigued me ...but mango?  ginger lime?  blood orange?  Well, I like Diet Cherry Coke and Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi, so I thought I'd try Diet Coke Feisty Cherry.  Feisty Cherry is not as sweet as regular Diet Cherry Coke. I bougth a case, 8 cans.  I didn't like it.  I didn't dislike it, either, but I don't see anything there worth buying again after I finish what I already bought.

Last Wednesday Drew and I went into the city, to the Hotel Pierre, for a cabaret performance called "Broadway at the Pierre". Held in one of the hotel's lounges, "Broadway at the Pierre" is an intimate performance of Broadway show tunes.  Food and beveragesare available -- we drank champagne and nibbled on smoked salmon with creme fraiche, watermelon goat cheese with balsamic glaze, tuna nori roll with ginger teriyaki, chicken samosas with mint chutney, vanilla madeleines, and brandied brandied cherry financiers.  So elegant!  and then, on the way home, Drew felt the need to stop at the brand new Carl's Junior across the street from Penn Station and buy a hamburger.

From one end of the spectrum to the other ...this Wednesday we are seeing Avengers: Infinity War.  I wanted to see it opening weekend, but by the time Drew got around to buying tickets... If anyone spoils the movie for me...I will hunt you down and make you suffer.

It's only Monday, but this week is already dragging ...I need a vacation.

Friday, April 27, 2018

#skywatchfriday The Bristol Burlington Bridge

It’s really not that much of a bridge, is it?  Looks almost like a turtle’s shell. It connects Bristol, PA and Burlington, NJ.  Not the most glamorous way to cross the Delaware, but it gets the job done.  We use this Bridge every time we visit Philadelphia.

We happened to be in Philadelphia yesterday.

Philadelphia, the place where Bill Cosby grew up.  Though now he makes his home in suburban Montgomery County.

Or should I say, that’s where he is currently under house arrest, a convicted felon?

When the allegations first surfaced, I didn’t want to believe.  America’s Dad, a sex offender?

But now ... I am glad the victims got some measure of justice.  But I am sad and disappointed that the real person is not anything like the persona he created, sad about a legacy shattered.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Another this and that

So ... more hacking. Drew tried to sign in to his Amazon account but couldn’t access it.  Someone had changed the email address associated with the account.  He had to call Amazon to recover his account, and then he had to cancel his credit card.  There were no fraudulent purchases on the card, but still, you have to be careful.

We had a special election the other day.  We had to fill a vacancy in the New York State Assembly.  This district had been a Republican safe seat for 40 years.  But we flipped the seat!  It doesn’t change the balance of power in Albany, the Democrats are the majority in our state Assembly, but I think I’m sensing a trend that I hope will continue in November.

I took a walk at Sunken Meadow Monday night.  It’s a much smaller park than Jones Beach, not as busy, and a nice place for quiet contemplation and a pleasant walk.  I’m looking forward to many more walks in the coming weeks.

I have an appointment with a doctor Monday afternoon.  I need surgery.  Nothing life altering, but something that has to get done soon.  I’m hoping for a quick recovery, so I can go back to the beach to walk as soon as possible.

Meanwhile Drew and I are headed to Philly today, another follow up appointment with the specialist.  A road trip of sorts...

I want a real road trip soon, to someplace fun.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wednesday HodgePodge


As always, Joyce poses interesting questions.

1. They say you learn something new every day. What did you learn yesterday?

I learned that when a major retailer rents space for a store, the lease agreement can be a very, very complicated and verbose document.  (Yes, work related.)

 2. Have you ever had a now or never moment? Elaborate.

I'm sure I have had that kind of moment, but I don't really recall anything. 

 3.  April 25th is National Telephone Day. Do you still have a land line or have you gone mobile only? When you receive a text message do you respond immediately? Last time you turned your phone off?  In two or three sentences share with us a story/memory/incident from your childhood (or something current if that's too hard) where the telephone is featured.

I have a land line at home, but I never use it.  I rely on my cell phone for everything.  Drew, on the other hand, prefers his land line.

I remember being in my high school drama club, and we had a rehearsal on a Saturday.  My parents were supposed to pick me up afterwards, but I was waiting for them long after everyone else had gone.  I used the pay phone to call my house at least a dozen times, but my parents were not at home.  I was stranded.  They showed up almost an hour late.  

My kids never had to worry about being stranded, we all had cell phones.

 4. Close call, at someone's beck and call, call the shots, call a meeting, call it quits, call in sick, call on the carpet, wake up call...which call have you 'heard' recently? Explain.

Most of these apply to me these days. I have a very intense caseload right now, I am at the clients' beck and call.  I'm afraid to make a huge mistake, where I'd be called on the carpet.  But I am supervising the work of others, so I get to call the shots.  todayI am calling a meeting about a very serious law suit, one where we may have to pay out more than $1,000,000, so upper management needs to be aware of the claim.  I'm exhausted, and there are days I want to call in sick.  I dream about winning the lottery and calling it quits.  But I persevere.

 5. What subject do you wish you'd paid more attention to in school?

Science.  Liberal arts and social sciences came easy to me, math and science required work that I wasn't willing to put in at the time. 

 6. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm really loving my Fitbit Versa. and the Fitbit (as well as the other gadgets I bought) is helping me stay on track for healthy eating and exercise. I've lost 7 pounds since March 26.  Not too shabby.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

scam alert

Look in your inbox.  Chances are you have at least one  email  advising you that your online account with (fill in the blank) has been compromised. Most of the time it's just "phishing", but sometimes...

Last week Drew got a series of emails purportedly from Apple:  "a new device logged into your account"; "your Apple ID password has been changed"; "you made an in-app purchase"; "your Apple ID has been suspended for suspicious activity".

He showed them to me, and they looked very real.  Still, I never click on the links in that kind of email, so I went to Apple's website and logged into his account.

And sadly, it was all too real.  Someone in Malaysia had hacked into his acount and made almost $200 in in-app purchases. 

So I called Apple, and they deleted the fraudulent charges.  We removed the offending iPhone from the account, changed the pssword and security questions, and thought we had the problem solved.

Until this morning.  More in-app purchases from Malaysia.  Another call to Apple, another password change, and this time we also turned on two-step authentication.

An hour later, someone from Inner Mongolia tried -- unsuccessfuly -- to hack into the account.

Problem solved.

For now.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Fitbit Versa

So I ordered the Versa.

I've been  a fitbit fan for a long time.  I pre-ordered the Versa because I wanted a smartwatch that measures steps, heart rate, calories burned, sleep that could be worn in the shower or the pool, one with interesting apps. 

So this is the box:


Inside was another box:

Opened the box, and there it is:

The charging cable:

You have to take the device off the strap to charge it.  I found it a bit difficult to remove the strap, a bit difficult to reattach the strap.  But I suppose with practice I'll be OK.

And here it is , all set up.

There are a ton of clock faces to chose from.  Not a lot of app yet.  It's easy to operate, does what it's supposed to do.  I like the exercise modes and the relaxation app.  Don't ask about calls and texts, though -- the Bluetooth in my phone went wonky, so I paired the Versa with my iPad for now. Can't tell you about GPS, I haven't tried it, and I can't talk about battery life because I've only had the thing for a few days.

But so far I'm happy.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Saturday in the park .... #skywatchfriday had been a winter of bad weather, bad knees, bad back...and very bad attitude.

But it was Saturday morning, the sun was shining, and my Empire Pass was burning a hole in my pocket.  I grabbed my jacket a headed out...

Yes, Jones Beach.  I hadn’t been since ...oh my ...since October.

The Jones Beach health walk starts at Field 6 and runs the entire length of the boardwalk to Field 1, a measured distance of two miles.  I haven’t been doing a lot of walking lately, so my plan was to start at Field 6, walk one mile (just past the West Bathhouse) and turn around.

Sunshine and salty air cures many a bad attitude.

Say hello to old friends:

Unseasonably warm, it felt like summer.  A reminder that it’s still early spring:

New project on the boardwalk:

I hope they get it finished in time for the summer season.

I feel as if I recaptured a piece of myself, a piece I didn’t realize I was missing.

Bring on summer.  I am ready.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday HodgePodge


As always, Joyce poses interesting questions.

1. Three things on your spring bucket list? If you don't have an actual list that's fine, pretend you do.

I don't have an actual list.  But every spring I must go to at least one baseball game, and we recently purchased tickets for several games.  And every year I have to make sure I see the first robin of spring (done).  This year I also want to buy some seeds and plant a flower garden.

2. Where do you find rest? What restores your soul? When was the last time you did whatever it was you answered here?

Interesting question.  I love the beach in the off season.  When it's not crazy busy with summer activity, the beach can be a wonderful place for quiet contemplation and appreciation of nature.

3. April is National Celery Month. Who knew? Do you like celery? What's your favorite dish made with celery? On a veggie and dip platter which would you reach for first-carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumbers or cherry tomatoes?

My choice would be the cherry tomatoes, but I do like celery.  Spread a little cream cheese or peanut butter, or give me a little bit of dip, and I'll be content.

4. I read here eight things to do before 8 am to make your day less hectic-Start one load of laundry, drink water, empty the dishwasher, read your Bible, know what you're having for dinner, get dressed, brain dump (two lists-one what you're thankful for and one what's weighing on your mind), and after the brain dump make your to-list for the day

How many of these are you currently doing? Which one do you think would help the most if you added it to your early morning routine?

Well, I do make a habit of getting dressed...

5. Describe the view from your window.

My bedroom is on the second floor and faces the front yard and street.  This time of year the view of my neighbors' houses is obscured by newly-grown leaves on our trees, and soon there will be blossoms on the dogwoods.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

My Fitbit Versa has been delivered, and I can't wait to set it up and see how it works.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Another new toy

So while I wait for my new Fitbit, let me introduce you to my other new toy.

This is the box:

This is a food scale:

It comes with a USB cord for charging:

And an instruction manual.

Why is it called a “smart food scale”?

Because it connects via Bluetooth to an app.  And that app talks to other apps, most notably ...Fitbit.

So if I put some grilled chicken on a plate, and put that plate on the scale, I can see how much it weighs by looking at the scale’s app, and can track it to my food log directly from the scale’s app.

Took a few minutes to figure out how to use the app, but now I’m enjoying.

Sort of.

I thought I had 4 ounces of grilled chicken on my plate.  Actually it was 7 ounces.  Big difference in the calorie count.

Yes, this is going to be a fun tool.

Monday, April 16, 2018

another this and that

Nasty weather today.  Cold and rainy.  But it should be nicer in a couple of days.

Drew and I went to see L on Saturday.  L, you may recall, has sent the ;ast twp years in hospitals and rehab nursing facilities.  A few months ago, L was so sick that her daughter was considering hospice care.  Thankfully she rebounded.  It was good to see the diva holding court with all her visitors at rehab.

I'm still not happy about having gained back some of the weight I worked so hard to lose, but I'm getting back into the groove.  Pretty much stuck to my food plan this week, and even did a bit of exercise.  Baby steps...

The new toys are making it easier.  Though I am still waiting for my new Fitbit...should be here soon.

Guess I'll listen to some music while I wait.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Manatee encounter

My friend Alana posted about manatees in her blog. And  She reminded me of my own encounter with them, when Drew and I were in Florida 18 months ago.  Local manatee preserve near our friends’ home.

They are, indeed, magnificent creatures.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Ready Player One

Want to see a really fun movie?  Go see Spielberg’s new film, Ready Player One.   And see it in 3D for the full effect.

The year is 2045, and life in Ohio has become very dreary. People escape to the Oasis, a virtual reality video game:  put on your visor and your avatar can enjoy all the pleasures unavailable in real life.

The Oasis was created by James Halliday, a nerdy geek with stunted social skills and a passion for 1980’s pop culture.  Halliday dies without heirs, but there’s a twist.  He has created a game within the Oasis, and the winner of the game will inherit the Oasis and all that goes with it.  

To win the game, a player must collect three keys.  In order to do so, the player must follow clues that require a knowledge of 1980’s pop culture and the events of Halliday’s life.

Our hero, Wade, has created an avatar called Parcival.  When Wade becomes the first player to find the first key, he comes to the attention of the greedy corporation seeking to acquire and monetize the Oasis.  And the race is on.

I especially loved the “Easter eggs”, the dozens of pop culture references woven into the fabric of the movie.  Some are quite obvious — Parcival drives a DeLorean — while others are more subtle, like a poster on someone’s wall or a song playing in the background.

It’s like being inside a video game.  Get out the 🍿 and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wednesday HodgePodge

From this Side of the Pond

The weekly HodgePodge from Joyce:

1. April is National Jazz Appreciation Month. Are you a fan? If so what's a favorite you'd recommend to someone new to jazz listening?
I can't really say I am a fan of jazz.  but that's because I don't know much about the genre.   I do like what I have heard, but I can't really tell you much about my likes and dislikes.

2. Mandolin, ukulele, harp, accordion or banjo...which would you be most interested in learning to play? Or do you already play one of the instruments listed?

I took piano lessons (I don't play), viola lessons (I don't play) and guitar lessons (I don't play).  I suppose that, of the instruments listed, I'd most want to try the mandolin.  It sounds pretty. 

 3. Do you judge a book by it's cover? Elaborate. You may answer in either/both the literal or figurative sense of the word.

Literally, yes, I judge a book by its cover.  The publisher chose that cover to convey the idea behind the book.

Figuratively, not so much.  I have to remind myself occasionally that people are more than what they apear to be. 

 4. According to a recent study the ten most nutritious foods are-almonds, cherimoya (supposed to taste like a cross between a pineapple/banana), ocean perch, flatfish (such as flounder and halibut), chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, swiss chard, pork fat (shocking! but I don't think they mean bacon), beet greens, and red snapper. Are any of these foods a regular part of your diet? Any you've never ever tasted? Which would you be most inclined to add to your diet?

I'm focusing on healthy eating again.  I love almonds, I eat flatfish on a regular basis, and I've been known to eat red snapper occasionally.  I like Swiss chard, and I  have no objection to beet greens.  I don't cook with pork, so I wouldn't be using pork fat.  I'd love to try cherimoya.  Pumpkin seeds are OK, but I just can't see myself eating chia seeds.  If I were eating them, I would keep thinking about this:

 5. Besides a major holiday what is the most recent thing you've celebrated with your people? Tell us how.

Drew hit a milestone birthday in February and we had a very nice party.  We took everyone to a nice Italian restaurant.  Good food, good wine, good friends.

 6. Insert your own random thought here.

It's finally spring, and I can feel my attitude changing for the better.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Another this and that

Still loving the new water bottle.  I've been drinking more water and less diet soda, and that's a good thing.  the new scale is OK, too.  I'm annoyed -- my new Fitbit is on back order, won't be here for awhile.

Congratulate me, I now officially have a prescription for  physical therapy for my back, as well the PT I've been doing for my knees.  (Yeah, that was a tad bit sarcastic.  So sue me.)

At least the weather is getting warmer, so I'll be able to take walks outside.  I've heard it will be in the 70's this weekend, and I am so happy!  Maybe I'll head over to Jones Beach on Saturday, take a stroll on the boardwalk. 

Our  Long Island Ducks tickets have arrived.  The Ducks play in the Atlantic League.  There are 8 teams in the league, so we always go to 7 games -- one game against each opponent.  But this year the Ducks are hosting the league's All-Star game, so we've got tickets for 8 games this season. 

The Mets have started the season well, I hope they continue to play like this! We will be going to Citi Field at least once.  May 19 is part of Star Wars weekend, and we have tickets for that game.

I need to relax, have some fun.  I've been so stressed lately, with work issues, health issues, etc. I am so looking forward to the things we've planned.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Smart Scale review

  1. A review of the  Renpho Smart Scale

So no, you don't really need a smart scale, an ordinary bathroom scale will tell you your weight.  But ...

RENPHO Bluetooth Body Fat Scale - FDA Approved - Smart BMI Scale Digital Bathroom Wireless Weight Scale, Body Composition Analyzer with Smartphone App, 396 lbs

This scale shows Body Weight, BMI, Body Fat%, Water %, Skeletal Muscle, Fat-free Body Weight, Muscle Mass, Bone Mass, Protein, Basal Metabolism, and Body Age.

It's a light-weight scale, runs on three AAA batteries. You pair the scale with the Renpho App -- ios or Android -- and then you step on the scale, making sure your bare feet make contact with all four electrodes.  A digital display on the scale shows your weight,  all the other data is visible only in the app.

The Renpho app pairs with several fitness apps, including my favorite, Fitbit.  Data transferred to the Fitbit app is limited to weight, BMI and body fat percentage, i.e., the data that would be measured by the Fitbit Aria or Aria 2 scales.

I found the scale very easy to set up and use, and linking it to my Fitbit account took only a few minutes.  I think it's pretty accurate, at least in comparison to my trusty old bathroom scale.

And the best part?  The Fitbit Aria 2 sells for $130, but I paid $33 for my renpho.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Hidrate Spark 2.0

So, do you need a smart water bottle?  Of course not.  There are lots of free apps to help you track your water intake, and some f them are even compatible with fitness apps like Fitbit.  A smart water bottle is admittedly an indulgence. 

 Hidrate Spark 2.0 Smart Water Bottle.

The bottle has a sensor that measures how much water you drink.  The bottle can be set to glow when you need to drink and/or when you have reached your water intake goal.  You can set your own goal or allow the app to calculate a goal based on your weight, etc.  If you allow the app to access your location, your goal will change depending on the weather.

It took a bit of effort to set the bottle up, more so to change the battery, but now it works well.  It's fun to use, and I bought mine in purple, my favorite color.

I am drinking more water and less diet soda.

And yes, it talks to Fitbit. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

another this and that

Our lawn has turned in to a huge mud puddle. That's what happens when the gas company digs huge trenches to fix a leaking gas pipe. We have to get a few estimates, and then the gas company will pay for repairs to the lawn. But for the moment, yuk...

Jen and her boyfriend just came back from a lovely weekend in Montreal, and right now Becca and one of her friends are in Paris and will be going to Barcelona. I must admit to a bit of jealousy. Drew and I were talking about taking a trip this year, but I don't think that's going to happen. Between his medical issues and mine...sigh. Sucks getting older. But then again, consider the alternative.

  At least my knee is starting to feel better. Those gel injections do make a difference. Walking will be easier now.

  So I guess I will be making use of that state park pass. Jones Beach is a nice place to walk, and so is Sunken Meadow.

And I really do need to walk. I am so unhappy about the weight I've gained back. I need to get back on track. Healthier weight means a healthier me.

So I ordered a new toy to help me get back on track. Or rather, three new toys. Two of them are here already, the third should be here in about a week or so.

First toy is a Renpho Smart Scale

RENPHO Bluetooth Body Fat Scale - FDA Approved - Smart BMI Scale Digital Bathroom Wireless Weight Scale, Body Composition Analyzer with Smartphone App, 396 lbs

It shows weight, BMI, body fat percentage...and it talks to Fitbit. 

The second is a Hidrate Spark 2.0 Smart Water Bottle.

Tracks water intake, and glows to remind you to drink water. talks to Fitbit. 

I think you know where this is going....

Yes, I ordered a new Fitbit.  Or rather, pre-ordered the new Fitbit.

This is the Fitbit Versa, the newest device from Fitbit, is a smart watch that tracks steps, calories, heart rate, 15 different exercises including swimming...It should ship soon, and I can't wait to  get mine. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Full moon in the city #skywatchfriday

What's that round thing peeking out from behind a skyscraper? It's the full moon!


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Last night I watched the TV broadcast from Memphis, TN,  the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968. They rang a bell 39 times, representing the age at which Dr. King died.

I am old enough to remember the turmoil of that year, 1968, though I was too young to realize the full impact of the events that shaped our lives.

I remember, though, the passion with which people sought to change the things they did not like about our government, our society.  The civil rights and anti war protests.  Protests by young people unwilling to accept the status quo.

Sort of like the young people leading the gun control rallies today.

Funny how we still have all the same problems, but these kids...I see hope for the future when I see them.

But for now, I look to the past, to the music of 1968.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Today I saw daffodils in bloom, and I saw buds on the forsythia. And then I heard we will probably get more snow this weekend. ARGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 2, 2018

more misadventure

Don't be alarmed, I'm ok, but I spent the better part of the day in the ER. Gave myself a good scare, though. Woke up in pain, my heart was racing, and I thought I was dying. My sister had to drive me to our local hospital in the (ugh) snow. By late afternoon I felt much better. The ER sent me home with instructions to follow up this week with my doctor. Drew joked that I was jealous of his adventures, so I had to have one of my own.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Today is the first day of April.

Usually on April Fool's Day I post the "Prologue" to The Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English.    You know,

WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote ...

But today is also Easter Sunday and the second full day of Passover, so I will refrain from such merriment. 

The first signs of spring have appeared, and the season stretches out before me.

I had an unpleasant task Friday afternoon, and it led to a pleasant discovery.  Our cat Redford is quite the hunter, and Friday morning he caught a rabbit.   Not a baby bunny, a full-grown rabbit.  He left his kill on the front porch, and I had to dispose of the body in the woods behind our house.

 Don't let his sweet demeanor fool you, his face adorns a "wanted" poster in every post office in chipmunkdom.

As I walked through our yard, I realized that my crocuses are in bloom!  I didn't even think they were still alive.

About 15-20 years ago, I spent a fall afternoon planting bulbs in the back yard.  I planted tulips and daffodils as well as crocuses, planted them all near a tree in the far corner of the yard.  The tulips and daffodils could be seen from the kitchen window, but the crocuses were too small to be visible.  And I have no reason to be in the back yard this time of year.  The other flowers died a few years ago, so I was surprised to see the crocuses.  Two different shades of purple, my favorites.

I saw my first robin of spring yesterday. Sorry, no photo. I was driving up the entrance ramp to the parkway when I spotted him, hopping around in the grass alongside the road. Robins are my favorite songbird, you know, and not just because they are the harbingers of spring.

I've been working on my planner. The features I'm liking?  The vision board, the mind map, the blank pages in the back of the book.  The actual planner/agenda...well, I'm working on copying my calendar from Google into the planner, but I don't think I'll be giving up Google calendar anytime soon.  I've become too used to my technology, I think.

And now that the weather is starting to get warm again, I am going to make a concerted effort to spend more time walking outdoors.  I must stop making excuses about my back and knees, and get outside.

Speaking of knees...I got my first gel injection on Wednesday.  It hasn't made a difference ... yet.  I'm told most people don't see the effects until they have had two of the three injections.  We'll see what happens when I get the next injection this coming Wednesday.    I just have to wait and see.

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