Monday, September 30, 2013

Saturday at the Sono Marketplace Beer Garden

One of my students canceled a tutoring appointment on Saturday afternoon. Jeff and I took Spike for a walk around the dog park. Then, I got the idea to stop off at the beer garden at Sono Marketplace.

Sono Marketplace opened last January. We've shopped there a few times and eaten there once. The beer garden is a relatively new addition. Jeff mentioned that this could be our last chance to visit. It's only open on weekends, and we don't know how long the nice weather would last.

There were no open seats at the bar. We settled in a patio-style loveseat. The Fall Festival was going on with face painting, games, and make your own scarecrow directly across from the bar. It was a gorgeous day: relaxing to just chill out (and forget about all the things I should have been doing.) It was fun to watch the kids run around and play, and check out what people were wearing (ranging from shorts and sandals to leather jackets and boots.) A nice way to end our afternoon.

From a Window (or Happy Birthday Jeff--Part Three)

I recently saw a photo which included a Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas album. (I think it was in the hard copy of this article.) When I think of Billy J. Kramer, I think of this song, and I borrowed the title for this post.

For Jeff's birthday dinner, we took the window table at the Spread. It isn't a window per se, but a large wall-sized opening with a ledge about a foot high across the bottom.

We were virtually outside and there were a few tables out on the sidewalk. I felt guilty because we could have eaten outside and taken Spike along with us. (But, we wouldn't have been able to go to Guvnor's Brewery with Spike.) We watched people and a few dogs walk by. All the dogs were cute, of course.

Jeff had a snack sized plastic bag with pieces of steak and duck to take home to Spike and he had placed it on the ledge. A yellow lab walked by and did a double take when he smelled the food. I said he looks a little like Bonzo, one of our friends from the dog park. The guy walking him turned around and said it is Bonzo. That unexpected encounter just made my night.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Jeff--Part Two

We headed to SoNo around 6 pm. We remembered that there was a new brew pub on Washington Street so we stopped at Guvnor's Brewery. They didn't offer a sampler yet, but the bartender Jennifer let us try a few beers. We each selected one and shared a Scotched egg. I'm not a fan of hard boiled eggs, but this version is pretty good.

Nothing on the Pasta Nostra menu impressed Jeff; Bluedini looked more like a take-out place than a nice restaurant. So, Jeff selected The Spread for dinner. We had heard good things about it, but forgot about it when we had discussed our options.

It was a good choice. I had figs with walnuts and hangar steak with chimichurri sauce. Jeff had truffle risotto balls and duck breast. We also tried some cocktails: a Tea Bag for Jeff (this does not reflect his political views) and a Fog Horn for me. We took warm chocolate cake home. Jeff opened his presents and Spike got a Frosty Paw.

A good end to a good day.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mets Secure a Winning Road Record

We just watched the Mets' final road game of the year against the Cincinnati Reds. I was rooting for the Mets because I root for the Mets. I also want the Pirates to get the best record they can to improve their playoff chances. Then I heard that the outcome of this game would determine if the Mets had a winning or losing road record.

The Mets won 1-0, ending the season with a 41-40 road record.

Yeah, that's all I got. It's been a tough year.

Happy Birthday Jeff!

I'm off today and Jeff is working at home, so I made him a nice breakfast (the type we usually only have on Sundays.) I made scrambled eggs with smoked Gouda cheese, onions, garlic and peppers (from our friend Kevin's garden.) We also had duck bacon (Spike's birthday gift to Jeff) rye toast, and fresh strawberries and blackberries with a splash of my mother's homemade raspberry liquor.

For lunch, we had gyros at Nik's (dining al fresco) and took a quick walk around the dog park. The weather's been great all week. Today, it was around 70 degrees, sunny with wisps of clouds stretched across the sky.

Tonight we'll go out to dinner. Jeff's narrowed it down to two choices: Pasta Nostra or Bluedini BBQ, They are close to each other, so we'll drive down to South Norwalk and Jeff will decide then. He;ll open his presents when we return.

It's been a nice day so far. Jeff deserves the best.

Monday, September 23, 2013

First Day of Autumn

According to this, autumn arrived at 4:44 pm yesterday. I don't understand how it can pinpoint the moment exactly, but I like it because I know where I was at the birth of the 2013 season. Jeff, Spike and I were at Taylor Farm Park. It was beautiful: sunny, barely a cloud in the sky, around 70 degrees.

Jeff threw the ball for Spike and we watched him run across the field. The dogs become more active in the cooler weather. It's especially rewarding for us to see Spike so happy and healthy, after our scare back in February.

This morning was the first full day of autumn and the first time I had to wear a sweatshirt on our walk. I am looking forward to this season. The only drawback is that the days are getting shorter. Soon, dog park Fridays will come to an end.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The End of the Road

A few weeks ago, I calculated that the Mets could have a .500 season if they won 17 of their last 21 games. (Unlikely, but the Mets weren't even mathematically eliminated from the National League East until sometime last week.) Unfortunately, the Nationals then swept the Mets in a four game series.

In 2012, we had the Mets' first no-hitter and a Cy Young winner.

This year? It's been tough.

Matt Harvey dominates, but ends the year injured. Zach Wheeler pitches his first games in the majors, but is shut down early.

We're hard core fans; we will watch the Mets to the end of their season.

We'll watch the playoffs (as will the Mets, unfortunately.)

My fantasy match-up this year is Pittsburgh v. Kansas City.

Hey, it could happen.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dear CNN:

I watch New Day most mornings. I appreciate that you cover more hard news than most morning shows. I can deal with three or four minutes of entertainment news.

But I cannot handle the ongoing "news" about Miley Cyrus.

Okay, I'll give you the coverage of her performance at the Video Music Awards; people were talking about it. Before the VMA's I had heard of Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana and unfortunately, I heard "Party in the USA" and hated it. Otherwise, my life was virtually Miley Cyrus--free.

But damn it, the continuing reaction to her VMA performance is not news, her latest video is not news, her father's "breaking" of his silence about her performance is not news (only a feeble attempt to promote Piers Morgan's interview.)

Please stop. Now.

Thank you.

Friday, September 20, 2013

TCM Catch-Up: Snowed Under

This movie was part of Glenda Farrell Day. I half-watched the film then and re-watched it today. This has the potential to be a very good screwball comedy.

Alan Tanner's new play is set to open in a week, but Alan (George Brent) can't finish the third act. His producer (Porter Hall) is starting to panic and enlists Alan's ex-wife Alice (Genevieve Tobin) to help. Alice visits Alan in the cabin where he has retreated to finish the play.

Meanwhile, Pat the next door neighbor (Patricia Ellis) is putting the moves on Alan. Ex-wife Number Two Daisy (Glenda Farrell) arrives with her lawyer (John Eldridge) and the deputy (Frank McHugh) to arrest Alan for falling behind on alimony payments. The whole gang is "snowed under" for the evening, but by the next morning are coupled up, and the third act has been completed.

Snowed Under is a pale imitation of the classic 1930's screwball comedy such as Bringing Up Baby. But it's fast-moving, fun and the epitome of a Warner Brothers B-movie comedy.

I enjoyed watching Genevieve Tobin. Her Alice is smart, caring, charming and sophisticated. I had only seen her before in The Petrified Forest; she was excellent as the bitter Mrs. Chisholm. It was nice to see her in another film.

More Anniversaries

We didn't feel like cooking last night when we got back from our mini-getaway. We ordered a pizza and drank a silver anniversary lager (1988-2013) from Brooklyn Brewery. It seemed appropriate (and it was tasty.)

We watched the Mets and found that it was broadcaster, Gary Cohen's 25th anniversary with the team. Gary listed some of his favorite Mets memories from the last 25 years and SNY shared some of his calls.

This year is also the 30th anniversary of Wheel of Fortune, and the 50th anniversary of both General Hospital and Doctor Who. I previously cited another another 50th anniversary.

I realize every year brings myriad anniversaries, but wanted to share a few from 2013.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Anniversary Getaway

Yesterday was our 25th wedding anniversary. We had hoped to celebrate it with a special trip, but realized earlier this year that it wasn't a good possibility. Jeff is in the final weeks of a project with Diageo and I'm in a busy SAT/ACT teaching and tutoring season.

We still managed a mini-getaway: one night at Interlaken Inn on the pet-away-package. Our original plan was to leave around 9 am--to get the most out of our two days. Well, we were up too late Wednesday, left most of the packing to the last minute, and didn't want to rush. We left around 11, instead. As usual, we stopped in Kent for a little shopping (didn't buy anything) and grabbed some lunch.

When we checked in at Interlaken, the clerk Winston recognized Spike, but had to ask our name. Spike is clearly memorable in a way that we aren't.

We sat outside our room, the only pet-friendly one in Sunnyside, sipping champagne. Then we crossed the street and went down to the lakefront, throwing the ball for Spike to chase before we sat down and and enjoyed the view across the lake. It was a gorgeous day.

We had a great dinner at Morgan's--our favorite restaurant--too bad it isn't closer to home.

This morning after a continental breakfast, we headed over to Pet Pourri with our 20 percent off coupon, and then went to Millerton, New York. We discovered the tasting room at Harney & Sons during our first trip to Interlaken. Today we had lunch in the cafe. We also did a little shopping at Millerton Antiques Center and The Village Herbalist.  

We picked up some veggies at a roadside farm stand and made our final stop at Millbrook Winery. We sampled several wines and one olive oil, and bought six bottles of wine before we headed home.

We didn't get to a glamorous destination. We didn't get a long time away. But, we did get an opportunity to celebrate together in a place we love. That's what matters most.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


It's now officially September 17 2013, our 25th wedding anniversary.

I'm lucky; I found the best husband for me.

Jeff and I work well together. We share many interests, but we also know when to leave each other alone.

Jeff is the love of my life. I don't care if that sounds silly or stereotypical.

I celebrate our life.


I left a tutoring appointment on Friday afternoon and walked into a sun-shower. I headed home to meet Jeff and Spike so we could go to the dog park.

As I turned down Maple Street, I saw this:

A slightly different view:

I would have preferred to see a rainbow across a meadow or a seascape, but that's not where we live. The building on the left is ours.

The rainbow is a beautiful sight. I haven't seen one in years.

It's inspiring.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thursday morning, 7:25 AM

Last Thursday, I got up earlier than I had all week.

I realized that Spike hadn't been to the dog park since Sunday. I had been working every afternoon/evening, so I wasn't able to take him then. Also, it was the second day of a mini-heat wave. Thursday morning was the best opportunity to visit Taylor Farm.

The sky was overcast and there was a cool breeze flowing off Long Island Sound. The air smelled fresh.

We arrived as a few persons and dogs were leaving. We had a large part of the park to ourselves. It reminded me of how nice it is to visit the dog park in the morning. As fall approaches, I'll have to do it more often.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Gourmet Dinner

I left the house Saturday at 8:15 and returned around 6:30. I taught a SAT class in Westport, tutored a PSAT student in Ridgefield and tutored an ACT student in Norwalk before returning home.

Jeff greeted me with a cocktail: vodka with black current juice, pineapple and fresh watermelon. Refreshing. He made two appetizers: bay scallops sautéed with garlic, tomato, shallots and cheese, and lobster with butter, shallots, garlic and basil.

For dinner he made steak frites, based on the recommendation of our friend Jenn from her blog. Jeff served Fat Cat 422 with the steak.  He would have made chocolate fondue but we were too full from the rest of the dinner.

Everything was delicious, and it was wonderful to come home and relax after a busy day.

Thank you Jeff.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Netflix Movie Night: The Fighter

We've had this movie for a few weeks, but didn't watch it because we didn't find the right time.

I'm not a fan of boxing, but I enjoy a good boxing flick, such as Rocky and Raging Bull. This is a good boxing film.

The film's got the underdog makes good story; it's got the family conflict story; it's got the story based on real story.

Most importantly, the acting is incredible. Both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo won Oscars for this film. Christian Bale's Dicky is quite different from his turn as Batman; he was incredible. I've written before about my love for Melissa Leo; she also deserved her Oscar.

Then there's Amy Adams. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and lost to her co-star. She is a wonderful actress. In Enchanted, she made me believe that she was a fairy tale princess. I also loved her in Julie and Julia.

Mark Wahlberg is underrated. He may never win an Oscar, but he will give a good performance

Thursday, September 5, 2013

When It's Not Working Anymore

Sometimes you realize that something isn't working for you anymore, but you continue to do it anyway.

It may be a habit; it may be comfortable; it may be that you don't know what else to do; it may be that you're just lazy.

That's the way I've been about my journaling.

My journaling started as morning-pages. Then it evolved into this leisurely combination of writing, drinking coffee, watching TV, checking email. I realized that there was something wrong with this process. A friend once told me that journaling would keep me from real writing. Another said I had outgrown morning pages.

I disagreed;  I still clung to morning pages. They center me. If I don't do them, I feel that something's missing. But still...

Yesterday, I read this which led me to this. Something in the combination of these articles hit me and helped me make a change. Today, I still did my morning pages. First thing. In a room by myself without distractions. Without coffee. I finished them in 10 minutes and went on with my day.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Movie Moments with Torchy Blane

The other day I re-watched Smart Blonde, the first Torchy Blane movie starring Glenda Farrell. I wrote about Glenda's first scene before. Torchy chases down a train in a taxi and then leaps aboard to get an interview. It's a great scene. It sets the story in motion, and it shows us a lot about Torchy's determination.

Another scene I noticed on the re-watch: Torchy and Steve are heading to a rooming house to talk to a suspect. Steve wants Torchy to wait in the car because it's a tough neighborhood. How did the movie show how tough the neighborhood is: a black guy standing against the rooming house, an orthodox Jew walking down the street, and an Asian man looking into the car at Torchy. At least that tough neighborhood is culturally diverse.