Category: Personal not private

While scrolling through my twitter feed I came across the following tweet.

Even though I grew up in the South I have been living in New York for almost all of my adult life, I was sure I would be familiar with most of these foods. As this list demonstrates New York and New England have some major differences at least food wise. A few of these I have eaten, some I have known of for years, some friends have talked about but most had me scratching my head and saying: “What the ….”

The link in the tweet takes you an article with only 9 of them, the following link is for the original article with all 22 items.

22 Things You’ve Definitely Eaten If You Grew Up In New England

After saying “What I missed not growing up in New England!” @eladyland said, Florida probably has a list too; hmmm no, not really. After giving it serious consideration, I could only come up with two, and one of those is southern not Florida specific. Biscuits and gravy, and strawberry shortcake.

The strawberry shortcake I am talking about it the kind you get at the Strawberry festival in Plant City. Where you get a plate with a biscuit on it, a huge biscuit, split in half, then you walk along a table with a bowl of strawberries and a bowl of whipped cream and pile them on.

Biscuits and gravy is not a Florida food. I don’t even know if you can get it there. The gravy is sausage gravy, basically a white sauce with sausage in it. The sausage is cooked before adding to the gravy so its not real greasy, but you can still feel it sticking to your arteries when you eat it. The biscuits are huge, as big as my brother’s hand. You can’t get it here in NYC, it used to be available at Denny’s or Perkins but no more. Even when they had it the biscuits were small.

Whenever I go visit my parents I make them take me to every restaurant in driving distance that serves biscuits and gravy. I just love it.

Those are the foods I remember from my childhood. Everything else, is pretty much what everybody had as a child.


Running for charity.

This was last year. I signed up to do this again, I raised more money but took longer to finish the run. I am kind of disappointed in that, but I still finished. 2014 my time was 52 minutes 12 seconds.


Last night I tried some expensive eye cream, the rash is spectacular isn’t it?


Sunday is the only day cars can park in front of my building.


This is the reigning queen. She gave me one chance to take her picture.


Beer gets siphoned into this bucket, then it is put into the bottles.


With a spigot, unfortunately this one was leaking, I think a part was missing? Not sure but we coped.


This is the priming sugar mixture before boiling. After boiling it is put in the bucket before the beer is put in.


Sanitizing bottles.


And here they are, ready to be filled.


This is a wort chiller. When we brewed we had to put the beer in an ice bath, now Rose uses this, which she says in super duper fantastic and so much easier.


This is the carboy with the brown ale in it, originally “Caribou Slobber”, I dubbed it “Bronze Medal Brown Ale” 😉


This is the siphon to transfer the beer to the bucket, there is tubing that is attached to this.


If your tubing comes out of the bucket you end up standing in beer which leads to a condition known as ‘beer feet’. I wonder if this ever happened to Sam Adams.


Bottles are filled,


Caps are sanitized,


And this nifty tool squeezes the caps onto the bottles.


We have beer!


I had to carry mine up these stairs


And here they are, my sixteen bottles safe and sound. Ready for consumption in 2 weeks.


I didn’t want to go to work, so I stopped for breakfast at DD


Queensboro Plaza


The #7 train


View from my office window


View from another office window


Ugh, there’s a crowd waiting for the train. This actually turned out to be not so bad, the train was almost empty when it finally got here.


I stopped at Sephora to check out eyeliner colors. I didn’t buy any ….


I had an orange for dinner.


I found these bottles in the recycle bin, I’m cleaning them up and taking them to be filled with ‘our beer’.


And the labels came off in one piece.

When you’re making other plans is the saying. In my experience it would be ‘death is what happens’ which is a part of life as they say. Just when I decided that I would dig deep and buy an iPad I get a phone call. Now I have to save money for a plane ticket to the west coast. I have six months I was told.

One time I said I would only get on a plane if someone died. I’m making a slight adjustment, died or is dying. I would like to get out there before he dies.

Of course this means my heart is breaking into pieces inside me and the pain is more than I can bear, but I can’t think about that now, when life happens it still goes on.

Last Sunday was the 5th Annual Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium, a run/walk for cancer research. This is not the first 5K I have done for charity but this time I decided I would run. Mainly just for the personal satisfaction of running.

photo (3)I signed up in June and started training, that was probably a little short sighted of me since that gave me just 8 weeks to train. However I was convinced by the app I looked at that I could do it, I’m not going to say they lied, because I did have a few setbacks of my own, pain in my legs in the second week, unbearable heat for a week and I got sick. By the time the run came around I was at week six and the farthest I had run was 1.58 miles, a 5K is 3.1 miles. To say I was a little nervous when Sunday came around would be a bit of an understatement. Since I said I was going to run and had collected money to donate, I was determined to not quit. I picked up my race packet ahead of time and wrote the names of the people I was running for on the blue sign they provided for me in purple ink, then pinned it to my purple shirt, taking great care to make sure it was straight.

Standing in line waiting to go in I was rather preoccupied with thoughts that I would either trip, fall or die so I didn’t notice the people around me until a photographer said something to the woman behind me about being a Mets fan. She was wearing a Mets hat and Mets socks. She was also wearing a DR run shirt and had written all over it names, “In Honor” and “In Memory”, something I had planned on doing but never got around to. I also saw a boy in an Indians shirt and the lady behind me said she saw some in Red Sox shirts. Cancer’s not picky is what she said, I think.

20130821-130404.jpgAs I walked in I heard some people saying they were going to start off walking. That made me feel a little better, knowing that some others in the group were walking. As the race went on, most were running and walking, I felt like I fit right in. After the run was over I met up with the lady who had been behind me, who was actually a very nice Mets fan. That was when I found out I had actually done a smart thing signing up for the slowest group of runners, since that group is usually made up of slow runners and fast walkers. Score one for the rookie. The race course is inside Yankee Stadium, twice around the main level, then down to where Monument Park is, past the entrance to Mohegan Sun Sports bar around and out twice around the warning track. Runners are not allowed in the dugout, but no one stopped me from taking this picture, and see the front of the barricade there? I put my foot up there to retie my shoe. Then back inside and up the stairs to the 3rd level, down the ramp to the great hall, then to the right and back up the stair to the third level, 286 stair steps in total. Then back down to the finish line to pick up a bottle of water, a medal and a goodie bag.

After the run, when I was leaving the stadium, the woman who had been behind me asked me how I did. “I finished.” I said, she gave me a high five and we walked to the subway together. I got off at Columbus Circle and a couple carrying Damon Runyon goodie bags got off at the same time and exclaimed, “MORE STAIRS!”

There were photographers everywhere, now I have to decide which picture to buy, on the warning track? And if on the warning track, which picture on the warning track? The one of me running, sticking my tongue out at the photographer, or walking slowly looking at my phone? Maybe one of me inside on the stairs? Crossing the finish line or standing in the great hall with the Yankee logo behind my head? I might have to get all of them.

The ramen place wasn’t busy, so I plopped down and had some spicy ramen, my treat to myself for not giving up.

There were 2,559 participants, 1,321 were women, there were 79 women in my age group. Of the 2,559 I came in 1,975 and my time was 50:46. My next event? I’m thinking a 10K.


Just a quick post to remember the day, it was sudden and I was here, he was there so I didn’t get to say good-bye, something that matters only to me.

I stopped writing about my commute because I was tired of writing the same thing everyday. I figured everyone must be tired of reading it too. Then I changed to the #4 and it just sat there! There were 5 million people on the train and it only holds 2 million etc. Anyway, things have changed in my commute.

The first thing is my route to the subway station has changed. This is the sidewalk I normally walk on to get to the subway. I don’t know what they are doing here but the sidewalk is almost completely blocked off. This picture was taken on my way home, in the morning the workers are there and you can’t walk up nearly this far. So they have made a ‘pedestrian walkway’.
Which is just cones put out on the road to re-direct traffic, and this is a rather narrow road, it makes more sense to walk on the sidewalk on the other side of the street. Which I would do except,

IMG_1558They are working on the entrance to the subway, so I have to cross the street anyway. So walking down to 96th Street is really the best way to go except, there is a fruit stand at 95th and 3rd where I like to get my breakfast, and being human I am a creature of habit and automatically turn left at 95th street. I also don’t like having to change my routine. After two years of walking the same way to the subway I have to do something different and it annoys me. So I come here to vent and to post pictures, I am really just trying to get back into the habit of writing so if this bores you or YOU are annoyed that with all the bad things happening lately I am going on about having to change my routine, I’m sorry I’m not sorry. Meaning I don’t feel bad about writing this. Because of all the bad that happened last week, I need to get back to my routine and the MTA is not helping! If you are still reading this, thank you for reading and I promise I’ll get better.

A line I often hear is “Prepare for the worst but expect the best”. I have my own version, “I prepare for the worst because I expect the worst”. It does no good for people, even people I trust, to say, “Don’t worry” or “Don’t be a pessimist”, this is how I am. A pessimist is what I am and worry is what I do. Here’s some examples.

This Thursday, tomorrow actually, I am going to a hockey game. Not my first professional hockey game, but my first NHL hockey game. I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’M GOING TO DIE. When I ordered the tickets, my first worry was “Will I get them in time?”, the website promised me I would. Then the ticket was being shipped FedEx, I worried that FedEx would lose them, then when I got the sticker on my door I worried that I would get to the FedEx place and the envelope would be on the truck. All of those worries were groundless and I got my ticket. Interestingly, I didn’t worry about getting murdered while walking through the Bronx in the dark. I guess once I do something and don’t die, I’m invincible.

However, that is not the end of my worries. I have to go by train to Penn Station in Newark, then walk to the Prudential Center. Neither of which I have done before. Besides that, they are now forecasting a storm for tonight leading into tomorrow. So I am either going to get lost going there, get stuck on a snowed in train or die in Newark. I haven’t decided which of those things is the worst. Also, since I’m a Sabres fan and I’m going to the game in New Jesey, I worry that I’ll get pummeled by Devils fans. Paul assured me that won’t happen. I’m still worried.

The reality is, everything will most likely be fine. I’ve been thinking that the worst is going to happen and I’m not going to survive for most of my life. Usually the worst doesn’t happen, sometimes it has, but I’m still here. In fact I am now living my dream. Of course that may end at any moment. **Did I leave the stove on?**

On to the next subject, my friend is coming to visit tonight. She was planning on coming down tomorrow but because of said storm. In her text she says, “Don’t drive yourself crazy cleaning.” Because every time she says she’s coming I say: “I have to clean!” She says, “I don’t care, it doesn’t have to be spotless.” And I think, it’s far from spotless it’s a freakin’ filthy mess! See?

IMG_1556IMG_1557 Maybe not. However I remember her telling me how important it would be for me to keep my apartment clean. As in, “You’ll get bugs if you don’t” and “If I come to your apartment and find it’s not clean ….”, I don’t remember what she said she would do. In fact she may have never even said that it may just be a figment of my overactive pessimistic imagination. Since she has been here before and is coming again I probably shouldn’t worry, of course there is the worry that she doesn’t really like my apartment, although why that should be important to me I have no idea. P.S. I don’t have bugs.

Now that I have laid bare my faults to you, I’m going to get off the computer and go clean. Later. Did I mention I’m really good at procrastinating?

When I was 17 my grandmother had major surgery. She had an aneurysm in one of the arteries leading to her brain, or away from the brain, I can’t remember is veins go to the brain or arteries, but it was a major blood vessel and the surgery was a big deal. As the doctors explained it, an aneurysm is like a balloon, and what the doctors planned to do was clamp the aneurysm at the neck, then since blood is no longer feeding it, it shrivels up and is no longer a threat to burst and bleed and kill her. The surgery was not a success, when the doctors got in there it was too big, the aneurysm was sitting on the artery and the doctors couldn’t get to the neck to clamp it off. So instead they closed off the artery and ‘redirected’ the blood. So she lived, sort of, she was paralyzed on one side of her body and spent the rest of her life not able to care for her basic needs. I remember so many details of that trip to see her when I was 17, I remember one of my tops was lavender and gauzy, I remember after she got out of intensive care she was on the 6th floor, I was knitting a baby blanket for a friend. I vividly remember my grandfather crying in the waiting room and my aunt telling someone (not me specifically) that her husband (who had been sitting next to my grandfather) told her, “I hope I die before you.” She told him that was selfish, he said: “I know.” He also got his wish.

For the past week, ever since I started thinking about writing this post I have tried to remember when she died, I am ashamed to say I can’t. I remember I was sitting at home watching T.V. and a friend of my brother’s was over, we were watching some comedy when the phone rang. But I don’t remember when that happened. I didn’t go to her funeral, I made some excuse about not being able to get time off from work, the truth was I didn’t even ask for the time because I didn’t want to go. That’s the truth, maybe I should add “World’s Worst Granddaughter” to my list of titles. The real truth was, I lost her when I was 17, not when she died.

My grannie was a strong woman who bore 6 children and raised 4 of them to adulthood and buried 2. She was a woman who didn’t let an ice storm keep her from doing her laundry, she hammered nails through pieces of plywood and tied them to her feet so she could make it to the laundry room. When her husband (my grandfather) complained she wasn’t putting enough starch in the wash she proceeded to starch his undershorts (he meant his shirts needed more starch, as far as I know he never complained about the laundry again). When the nasty old rooster spurred her and knocked her glasses off, she grabbed his head and twisted it clean off his body, into the stew pot he went! My father reports that she cooked him for three days and that old bird was still too tough to eat. She hiked to the top of a mountain, part of the hike involved climbing up rock, with her grandchildren, and was not impressed by the Grand Canyon, just a big hole in the ground. That was my grannie, not this frail woman lying in a hospital bed not able to eat, or dress herself or even talk.

Last Saturday my best friend’s mother died. She was a great lady, her daughter is my best friend in the whole wide world and I called her mother Mom. She considered me her fourth daughter. She had Alzheimer’s which is a terrible disease that before it kills you steals your personality. My friend told me that after her last visit home. Now I wonder if she started to mourn her mother during that visit, and now feels guilty thinking that she gave up on her mom too soon. I have no answers for her, she loved her mom, her mom knew that, even if she forgot it in the end it certainly wasn’t my friend’s fault. My heart hurts for her.