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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Today I travelled to Queens to get my hair done. I make the trip because, when you find a hairdresser you like, you stay with her.

She works one day a week at a nursing home taking care the resident's hair. She had mentioned that there is a certain freedom to say whatever is on your mind when you reach a certain age. That reminded me of the time when my friend Grace turned 80. She had a party at Milleridge Inn on Long Island where we had a delicious meal. After dessert and when we were ready to leave, she called the waiter (a goodlooking young man) over to the table. Grace was a very proper lady, but this day, she told the waiter her age, said it was her birthday and then asked him for a kiss. This shocked everyone and made the waiter blush. Grace later said that she would never have done such a thing 40 years ago. She did get the kiss.

You can get away with so much when you're older.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cats

The other night I was happily sitting on the couch watching TV. Then Crash came up to sleep next to me. Of course, not to be outdone, Burn came up and lay down on the other side of me. I was just resting my hands on each of them.

Suddenly a storm developed. I could hear the roar of the thunder in the distance and didn't think too much about it. As it got closer, I could feel the cats tensing up, so I started speaking to them in soft soothing tones.

I saw a flash of light and kept telling them everything was OK while I was petting them. Then, there was a very loud crash of thunder. I don't know who jumped higher - Crash, Burn or me.

So much for trying to keep the cats calm in a storm.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cars

Well, today I did it. I bought a new car. I hadn't planned on actually buying today, I thought I was just going to order it.

When I got to the dealership, I changed my mind, I originally wanted fabric seats and the basic Forester. The more I thought about it, the more I really wanted heated seats available only with the leather upholstery. In the winter, I like to drive without my coat since it's very bulky, so I really need the heat. I had to upgrade in order to get the heated seats. Then, there were no more cars with that upgrade available. So I went higher. I now have my heated seats, a navigation system, heated side mirrors and more that I can't remember.

I was a nervous wreck driving home, but I made it. When I got home I found an e-mail from my insurance company. They offered me more for my old car than I expected, a nice bonus. And as an even better bonus, I put the down payment on the new car on my credit card so I can get miles. I think I'll do the same when I pay the balance. Love those miles.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Walking

In an effort to get us moving, our Activities Director has formed a 100 Mile Club. If we walk or run a total of 100 miles, we get a certificate. I tried to get credit for the many, many miles I walked before this club, but no luck.

Last week I started walking again. That's one of the few things I miss about working. When I worked, I got off the train a stop earlier and walked to the office, then I often rushed through lunch so I could take another walk. Then, of course, on the way home I walked to the farthest train station. No wonder I gained weight when I retired. I don't walk any more.

Now I'm trying to get to the walking track at least three days a week. It's a half mile walk around the track, so last week I went around the track twice. Today I decided to increase my distance and walked three times around for a total of 1 1/2 miles. It really is more enjoyable to walk outside and not on a treadmill.

I hope to increase a 1/2 mile every week until I reach four miles. That should only take a little more than an hour out of my day. Pretty soon I'll get my certificate. WOW! Maybe I'll put it on the refrigerator!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dick Martin

Today when I was checking the headlines I saw that Dick Martin had died. Anyone who remembers the '60's and had a TV knows that Dick Martin was half of the team of Rowan and Martin.

They introduced us to LAUGH-IN. It was a topical comedy show that introduced us to Ernestine the telephone operator, the verrrrrry interesting German Spy, the flower carrying poet and of course, the dancers (Goldie Hawn) and cocktail party guests. The show had a series of quick spots, usually just a line or two. At the end of the show, they had the joke wall where the members of the cast would open a door and tell a joke, ask a riddle or give some thought for the day.

They also started the practice of having a presidential candidate appear and show his lighter side. In 1968 on the first show of the fall season, Richard Nixon gave us one of their catch phrases - "Sock it to me!"

I guess you could say that SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE was the '80's follow-up to LAUGH-IN.

After LAUGH-IN ended and the team broke up, Dick Martin went on to directing shows such as NEWHART, ARCHIE'S PLACE, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT and FAMILY TIES.

He was such a talent and will be missed, but we have our memories of LAUGH-IN on Monday nights and all those wonderful characters.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

New York on TV

Tonight I was looking for something on TV. I came across the Secrets of New York. I had forgotten about this show.

Tonight they discussed three of New York's more famous bridges - the Brooklyn, the Williamsburg and the George Washington. This weekend the city is celebrating the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge. It's been a very low key celebration, unlike the 100th anniversary. There were fireworks on Thursday, but I haven't heard about anything more.

When the George Washington Bridge was first designed, there was supposed to be a restaurant in one of the towers, and the towers were supposed to be covered. Unfortunately, the bridge was designed in 1927 which was followed two years later by the depression. The towers were left uncovered, which really hasn't spoiled the appearance.

Secrets was followed by Cool in Your Code which I've never seen. Each show covers a neighborhood of NY by ZIP code. Tonight they visited the Lower East Side (10002) which at one time was the most densely populated part of the country. I've driven through this area many times, but never spent much time there. They visited Moby's restaurant Teany, a pickle store, Katz' Deli, Jerry Stiller who spoke about his days at Seward Park High School. They also visited Inoteca, a wine bar and Italian Restaurant.

They also visited the Lower East Side Museum on Orchard Street which is a tenement which, when it was built had no electric, no heat or indoor plumbing. I've heard about this museum which shows life as it was early in the 20th century. I think that should go on my list of things to see and do in NYC.

There have been many changes in New York through the years, but one thing I've noticed is that neighborhoods' names have been shortened to either letters like LES (Lower East Side), or names like SoHo (South of Houston St.), NoHo (North of Houston St.), etc.

It's a great City.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Museum Visit

Today I went into the City and surprise, when I got back my rental car was still there. Of course, I did park at another bus stop. When I got to the Park and Ride, I saw that it was "By Permit Only", then I saw that it had metered parking.

I don't know why I expected to see something as old fashioned as parking meters, but I did. I asked a man who was parking his car where the metered parking was. He said it was right there and proceeded to tell me how to park, remember the space number and then showed me how to use the machine to pay for the spot and get my receipt. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I knew how to use the general meter, I just let him show me.

The rest of the trip was uneventful and I made it to today's lecture on Ansel Adams. The lecturer was a woman who was his assistant, so she had some personal anecdotes which added interest to the day. His photography was very good, the composition and shading. And to think he started with a little box camera when he was only 14 years old. Even those pictures were very good.

After the lecture I wandered around the museum for a little while and ended up in the Gift Shop. I found a sale and bought my Christmas cards at a ridiculously low price. They also had a lovely black and white rose vase which I almost bought, but decided against it. However, I did pick up a nice dish, now I just have to find a use for it.

All in all it was a good day and I've gotten over my aprehension about using a Park and Ride. Of course, I don't know if I'll still feel that way when I get my new car. I'm sure that since I haven't heard anything about my car, I'll never see it again and I'm OK with that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dieting

I just love starting a new diet, in fact, I do it every couple of weeks. The first few days are full of enthusiasm and resolve.

This week I started yet another diet. On Saturday, I bought another cookbook for my collection. It's called, THE PERFECT RECIPE FOR LOSING WEIGHT AND EATING GREAT by Pam Anderson (not THE Pam Anderson from Baywatch). She's written about three books about the Perfect Recipe. I had met her when I was taking my cooking lessons from Cooking by the Book in the City.

In this book, she outlines the plan she used to lose 42 pounds over an eight month period. This plan allows an afternoon break with one or two cookies and a glass of wine while preparing dinner. The thing I like most about her recipes is the fact that she doesn't use substitutes, like diet foods. Today for lunch I had a nice salad with smoked salmon, egg, tomato and lettuce with balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil. The recipe also calls for melba rounds, but I didn't have any and used Oysterettes, which added a little something.

For dinner I had seared chicken breast with a sauce made from orange juice and Dijon mustard. Very tasty. I had my glass of wine with dinner because I felt that if the chicken turned out awful (it didn't), at least I'd have a glass of wine that I liked.

Of course, the dreaded exercise is included, so with my first week's enthusiasm I walked a mile on Monday and another today. There's a park nearby with a walking track that I'm going to use until it gets too hot, then it's back to the treadmill in the air conditioned gym. Twice around the track equals one mile. Let's hope I can keep up this enthusiasm.

The best thing about this diet is that I don't have to buy any special diet foods, just good, nutritious foods. One suggestion that I may find hard to take relates to weighing in. She suggests that you wait a month before checking in. That's going to be very hard, I need some positive reinforcement.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tony Danza

I've always enjoyed Tony Danza's work. His character on TAXI was a boxer which always made me think of my father who had been a boxer for the old BMT when he was young. On WHO'S THE BOSS, he played a housekeeper and often spoke about the "old neighborhood" in Brooklyn. I got to know more about him on his morning talk show.


Last week I heard that he had a cookbook called DON'T FILL UP ON THE ANTIPASTO which he wrote with his son. So, of course I had to add it to my collection. In this book, along with family recipes he talks about growing up in Brooklyn near the Brooklyn/Queens border. I grew up in Queens on the Queens/Brooklyn border. I knew the streets he mentioned, even the church and school he attended. When he wrote about walking along Fulton Street from Nichols Avenue to the paint store, I knew those streets and even walked them myself. I could picture the stores that were there, the ice cream parlor (Hess' I think), the butcher, the hardware store, etc. And the El I rode home from work with my husband when we were dating.


I could see the Blessed Sacrament Church and schoolyard, even the separate entrances for Boys and Girls so similar to those we had at St. Sylvester's. When he mentioned the time he ran away from home and walked along Conduit Avenue and the Belt Parkway, it was so vivid. How many times did I cross Conduit Avenue on my way to the subway for high school.


I don't know how his recipes are, but this book was a great stroll down memory lane for me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Appearances

Do appearances count? Events of this past week lead me to think they really do.


Last Saturday, I visited the car dealership to look at cars. I was dressed simply with jeans, a jacket and shoes. The dealer concentrated on the mid-priced cars, just dismissed the basic car with few accessories. I just thought he was being a salesman and pushing the more expensive car.


Today, I visited another dealer. Because I planned on walking on a nearby track, I was dressed very casually with sneakers, and a knit exercise outfit. This salesman showed me the basic car which he seemed to be pushing. I received very little information on the mid-priced car, I even had to ask for his card.


He took my phone number, but so far I've received no follow-up in contrast with Saturday's dealer who called me Saturday evening to follow up and again give me his phone number and suggested a way I could buy a car before I hear from my insurance company. He called me again today, but that's another story for another time.

I guess the salesman today felt that I couldn't afford more than the basic car because of my more casual appearance, while on Saturday I did look more put together, more like I meant business. On Saturday, the salesman did seem more willing to deal, while today, there was no mention of special deals or discounts.

I guess the moral of this story is to always look your best and most put together when getting ready to make a deal.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Clouds

Today, as I passed the front door, I looked out the window and saw the sky. It's been a dreary, rainy day, but still I was surprised to see the clouds. I had never seen such a formation. It looked so ominous, I really expected a big storm.




We did get some rain a little while after I took these pictures, but it lasted only a few minutes. From the looks of the clouds and the columns of clouds, I really expected a downpour and thunder or worse.
I'm glad of course that it wasn't worse, maybe we'll have some sun tomorrow.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cars

It's now been two weeks since my car was stolen. It's time to stop looking back and start planning for the future. I doubt I'll ever see that old car again, so, even though I have two weeks before it's considered lost, I went out to look at new cars today.


I've definitely decided that I'm going to get a Subaru again. That was a great car, I had 88,000 miles and other than normal routine maintenance, I've only had to replace the catalytic converter, the battery and muffler were original. My one regret is that, I filled the tank the day before.


I took a test drive in a 2009 Forester today. It was very comfortable and easy to handle. It has some nice features and it's available in a variety of colors. It has a moon roof which is nice, but I'm worried that that means one more way to get in.


When I got home I realized that the salesman and I never talked numbers, I have no idea how much this will cost. I have some other questions about it so I'm making a list for the next dealer.

I also hope to check out some other Subaru models. The dealer is anxious to sell cars by the end of the month, so I may be able to get a great deal if the insurance company declares the old car gone for good later this month.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Medications

Today I heard on the news that last year 51% of American children and adults were on some kind of prescription medicine. That's not at all surprising since sometimes it seems that every other commercial touts the benefits of popping one pill or another. Then they warn us that the kids are using their parents' prescriptions to get high.

Among seniors, 28% of women and 22% of men take five or more medicines regularly. The most common are for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I had an 88 year old friend who lined up her various pills for the day. There must have been five or six bottles. She had pills for her heart, blood pressure, cholesterol, pain, vitamins, etc. which she took twice a day.

I once went to a doctor who on finding out that my total cholesterol was high, quickly said that a pill could take care of that. He didn't care that my good cholesterol was very high, nor did he suggest a change of diet, just pop a pill. Maybe that attitude is the reason so many people are on prescription medicines.

There is an upside to this though. Some prescriptions are for chronic diseases that used to be fatal such as aids, some cancers, hemophilia and sickle cell disease.

I guess there really are two sides to every story.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wine Hints

Today I did a little channel surfing. While wandering around I found a program called, "Enjoying Wine" on WYBE, a PBS station in Philadelphia. It's fundraising time at this station, so the programming is a little different, and sometimes a little better than their usual fare. In this case, it was.

Mark Phillips, the host, was discussing wine. Unfortunately, I tuned in halfway through and missed a lot of it. His studio audience was seen sipping wine during the lecture. One of his points was that you should not feel awkward about returning a bottle of wine at a restaurant. If it's not as you expected, or bad, just return it. The restaurant won't lose any money, they can sell it by the glass at the bar, or if it's bad, return it to the company.

He had some other suggestions that I found very surprising. If you are serving white wine, take it out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving, if your choice is red wine, put it in the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving. If you happen to have a bottle of cheap white wine, transfer it to a carafe and serve fresh from the refrigerator. The cold temperature will mask the flavor of the wine.

He can't understand why anyone would have leftover wine, but suggested that if you do, transfer it to a smaller bottle such as a 16 oz. water bottle and seal it tight. Air is the enemy of wine. He also said that wine can be frozen. Fill a container 3/4 full and put it in the freezer. Light and heat age wines between 8 and15 times faster, so keep it out of the kitchen and in a dark place if you don't have a wine refrigerator.

The one thing that really surprised me is the suggestion that if your red wine is too cold, put about 5-6 oz. into a glass and microwave for 10 seconds. My guess is that you should not put it in your good crystal for this.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Million Dollar Challenge

Today was the first day of CNBC's Million Dollar Challenge. There's a new format, you can now have up to five portfolios starting at $1,000,000.00 each. I'm going with the maximum - five portfolios. Also, instead of selecting a certain number of shares, you select a percentage of your portfolio.

With all these changes, I had a little trouble making trades and got off to a late start. In fact, I couldn't make any trades until after the close of the market. I did get one of the trivia questions right for a little additional money. This should be a fun two months.

I just love spending money, even if it's not real.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mystery Solved

The other night I woke up around 1:30 AM and heard a beeping sound. I couldn't figure out the source, so I turned on the TV so I wouldn't hear it and went back to sleep.

Last night around the same time I woke up and heard it again. My first thought was that that cricket had come back, but then I realized it sounded more like a truck backing up. I checked the phone, everything was OK there. I checked all around the room and found that it was louder near the door. I opened the door and sure enough it was louder. I went into the kitchen, checked the stove and then the phone. Everything was OK. Then I bent over the clock radio and discovered the source of the noise.

Somehow, the alarm had been set. Wonder which cat did that. I turned off the alarm and went back to bed and thankfully was able to get back to sleep.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Comfort Food

It's been a cool, rainy day in New Jersey today.

This morning I had to go out fairly early and without breakfast. When it was time to go home, I felt like having a bagel or crumb bun for breakfast so I stopped at the local bakery. Even though it was still early in the day, there was practically nothing left. There was only one salt bagel and no crumb buns.

The owner said that she had to open at 6:30 AM today instead of 7:00 AM because there were people waiting outside in the rain and she felt sorry for them. We decided that because of the weather, everyone wanted some freshly baked buns and rolls.

When I was younger, my father would stop and buy rolls for Sunday morning breakfast. I can still remember dunking a buttered roll in the coffee. The contrast between the cold butter and the hot coffee was so good. It has become a comfort food and would have hit the spot on this cold, rainy day.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tourists

Last week on my trip into NY for a lecture at the Met, while on the bus heading up Madison Ave, (I now know better than to walk from Port Authority to the Museum), I was eavesdropping on a conversation between four tourists also heading to the Museum.


They were busily pointing out all the exclusive shops and some of the other riders pointed out other sites of interest. They did not seem like your typical tourists (whatever that is), but I got the impression that it was the first trip for one of the couples. They mentioned a French restaurant on 60th St. that had no name or sign outside. They said the food was very good. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name and it will take some intensive detective work to find it. They said it was not expensive, but, cost is relative. They also spoke about attending someone's debutante ball.


It made the trip more enjoyable, and in spite of the New York traffic, the ride seemed quicker. I just love to eavesdrop, don't you?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thoughts on My Stolen Car

It has been five days since my car was stolen and it is sinking in, I may never have my car back. At first, I was accepting that this is part of life in this day and age. Now I'm getting angry. The only problem is that I don't know where that anger should be placed.


Why do people steal? Is it because they haven't been taught that it's wrong, or is it because they feel entitled to someone else's property? Or, do they just have total disregard for another person's property and feelings. If my car is not found, my insurance company will give me a small amount of money for the car. What the insurance company can't give me is the feeling of safety and security I had last Thursday morning. I have lost some self-confidence, I now double check to see if I have locked my rental car, I now double check my parking space. The biggest thing I have lost is the feeling of pleasure of going into the City. I now worry about leaving the car in a parking lot. Will I ever regain that feeling of security, I'm sure I will, but for now I can't look forward to any City trips in the near future.


About 30 years ago my husband's car was stolen. One of the hardest things I had to do that time was tell my two young sons that someone had taken our car. Until that time, in their eyes, everyone was good. About 10 years later, another car was stolen. Because this was during the '80's and the police has more pressing work, my son suggested that I check with the various impound lots in the City. I located the car in one of the lots and after completing much paperwork, we recovered the car.


I was reminded of this today when I answered my phone. It was the Police Officer from the Lakewood Police Department. He just wanted to keep my informed, no, they hadn't found my car, but they were still working on it. Being from New York, I found that kind of service very refreshing. He also told me that my Subaru is high on the list of stolen cars along with Hondas and Toyotas.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Families

I've just come back from a family wedding at the Jersey Shore. Because my husband was the youngest of seven children, I have nieces and nephews who are almost as old as I. They also now have children of marrying age.

This time it was my niece's son. It was a very interesting wedding. The couple did not want to do a traditional wedding. As a starter, the bride and her father came down the aisle to (I think) the theme of Masterpiece Theater. The bride's mother wore a plain black dress and the groom's mother had a rust colored dress. All the bride's attendants also wore dresses, not the frilly gowns of previous weddings. They did not have the traditional wedding cake, instead they served cupcakes. They didn't even have the traditional cutting of the cake, or in this case, cupcake. The dinner was a buffet.

It was great seeing all the family again. There are only three left of the original seven and only two of those were able to make it. The grandmother of the groom had been ill, but fortunately made it to the wedding, along with eight of her nine children. They are such a happy family. It was great catching up with everyone again. It's so rare that we all are able to get together that I had to be reintroduced to most of my nieces and nephews.

It's a shame that families only seem to be able to get together for weddings and funerals. Fortunately, this was a happy reunion. I think I'll plan a party for this summer and try to get everyone together again.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bus Adventures

Wednesday was my birthday and I celebrated (?) with a trip to Atlantic City.


I had a good time, even though I made my contribution to the economy of Atlantic City. My loss wasn't too bad because I played with some of the money I had won two weeks earlier.


It was not without its excitement though. While we were parked in our spot at the Hotel Casino and our driver was out of the bus, another bus that was being parked bumped our bus. Of course, all the old ladies on the buses immediately took down the name of the bus company, bus number and license plate.

When our driver returned, everyone told him about the "accident". Leave it to the old folks to make a big deal out of a slight bump.


Later on, when we were leaving, the same bus driver was trying to back out of the space. After three or four tries, she pulled into her slot and we passed. Of course, our driver wasn't taking any chances, he went through quickly at the same time blowing the horn to let her know we were there.

He's Back!!!

Yesterday, while driving my car to the parking lot from which it was stolen, I did hear some good news.


WOR radio in New York has come to its senses and did what WABC radio chose not to do. WOR has rehired John Gambling for the morning show. I know he has been greatly missed on New York radio.


I had stopped listening to WOR when John Gambling left, and again stopped listening to WABC when he left that station. Now I can listen to the radio again. I can hardly wait until Monday.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Good Day Gone Bad

Today was a beautiful day. I didn't have to wait too long for my bus into the City for my visit to the Met and my lecture. It was an uneventful ride.

The lecture was very interesting, a discussion of music in time of war. After the lecture, I took a walk around the museum. I wanted to visit the American Wing, but the entrance on the main floor was closed, so I had to go upstairs, walk around and then come down. Once I was downstairs, there was no way out except to go back upstairs, around and then down to the main hall. I did enjoy my wanderings.

When I left, I stopped at a few street vendors and admired their pictures and chatted with them. One of them, a woman, had lovely pictures of wildlife in Central Park. She had lived all her life in NYC, first in Beach Haven, Queens and now in Manhattan. I'll have to add a trip to Central Park, armed with my camera, to my list of things I want to do.

The ride home was also uneventful. I was engrossed in my new book, KILLER HEAT by Linda Fairstein. It is very good and I'm almost finished. I was surprised when we got to the terminal. I can't wait until I finish it.

Then, I went to the parking lot to collect my car. I walked up one aisle, down another, then back to the first. It was nowhere to be seen. I called the police to report it. A police officer came and he also looked all over the lot. I assured him that there were no payments due on the car and no outstanding traffic tickets and that no one else had a key, since both keys were in my pocketbook. The next step was to go to the station to fill out the report. Then I discovered that all my friends' telephone numbers were all at home. I guess the officer felt sorry for my so he drove me home. I wonder how long it will take to get around the community that someone came home in a Police Car.

Now all I have to do is wait until someone finds my car, or a month goes by so my insurance will settle and I have to buy a new car. This could not have come at a worse time, I'm supposed to leave tomorrow for a wedding at the Jersey Shore. I planned on a nice relaxing three day weekend away. But first, I have to rent a car and ask a friend to drive me to the rental agency. It's never dull.