Thursday, October 1, 2015

What's It All About, Sir Michael Caine?

I'm a movie fan and have been ever since I can remember. I still enjoy seeing movies on the big screen and love the moment when the lights go out and the excitement is about to begin. I know that puts me in a distinct minority, but it's one I'm happy to be a part of. I'm easily distracted at home, and like to focus on the story unfolding in front of me at the theater.

One of my favorite actors for almost fifty years has been Michael Caine. How do I know that it's been that long? "Alfie" was released in 1966 and that was the first of many Michael Caine movies I saw. My favorite -- though it's hard to choose -- is "Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels," which I found laugh-out-loud funny. When I saw that he was speaking in New York I put the event on my calendar.

It's not the closest photo, but it's Michael Caine, and yes, I was delighted. He was funny, had great stories and was complimentary to everyone he mentioned. There wasn't one unkind story. 
I especially enjoyed the film clips that were shown. This scene is from "Hannah and Her Sisters." There was also a clip from "Alfie" with Shelley Winters and one from his next movie, "Youth," which is scheduled for release this December.
Any other Michael Caine fans in Buttercupland? I've got any number of movie favorites. Some are long gone -- Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart -- and happily some are still making movies. My present favorites have to include Tom Hanks, Daniel Craig, Colin Firth and Jennifer Lawrence. 
It's definitely turned to fall today. I am wearing closed-toe shoes and jeans. I think my sandal days are coming to an end. One of my chores for later in the day is to buy extra bottled water. I'm keeping an air of optimism that Joaquin won't have any effect on New York, but just in case we lose power, I'm being prepared. Prayers for all in Joaquin's path.
As ever thanks for visiting and keep safe.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Gather Around the Amish Table

 As of last week I declared the fall-winter-spring cooking season officially open. I have a closet-sized New York City kitchen, and even with the air conditioning going full blast in the rest of the apartment it's too hot to turn on the oven in the summer. But last week brought cooler weather and I was back in the cooking mode.

Happily, I had received a copy of Gather around the Amish Table by Lucy Leid from the Litfuse Publicity Group and that's where I went for inspiration. As a total sweet-tooth I turned first to sections on desserts -- cookies, cakes and pies and desserts and candy -- and had a wonderful time. I'm saving these treats -- Pumpkin Cookies are first on my "to bake" list -- for a party or get-together. I know I'd eat the entire batch right out of the freezer if I kept them in the house.

I then flipped to this section, Vegetables and Side Dishes, and got lots of ideas for things I can cook now. I'm especially intrigued with Two Bean Bake -- green beans and kidney beans at the base of the recipe -- and with just a little tweaking it would be a great main course for me. These are hearty recipes for people who are doing a lot of physical work and a just a little too rich for someone who is more sedentary, like me. But there are so many good ideas for delicious foods for both every day and for treats.

The book has beautiful photos and each recipe has engaging memories and thoughts, which I very much enjoyed reading. These paragraphs gave a real sense of the women from the Amish and Mennonite communities who had contributed the recipes. My favorite pumpkin recipe contributor noted that she always make these cookies six batches at a time because her family has nine people. If you are a cookbook fan -- I am! -- or looking for a gift for a bridal shower or Christmas, I highly recommend this. There's lots of good cooking and reading here.

Despite the cooler weather of last week, today may be the among the last days of summer. It's actually hot and humid for New York in almost-October. I went to Midtown to "run" an errand and was on a bus coming home stuck in the traffic gridlock that happens when the President is in town and the United Nations General Assembly meets. Now I'm happily home, enjoying an iced coffee.

As always, thanks for visiting and have a sweet evening!

Please note: I received a copy of "Gather Around the Amish Table" from the Litfuse Publicity Group for review purposes, but the opinions are all mine.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blessed Are Those Who Bring Hope: Welcome to New York, Pope Francis.

As I type this post, I hear the television in the background and the sound of the bells of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Pope Francis has arrived in New York City and it feels that the entire city has come out to greet him. There is so much excitement for this visit.

 The fencing and police barricades at Central Park were already in place this afternoon.
There is also a lot of planning for this visit. One of my job responsibilities was working on city-wide special events and one of my most favorite events was being part of the transportation planning when Pope Benedict visited in 2008. I didn't meet the Pope or even come close to meeting him, but I was happy in a very small way to be able to make his visit go smoothly. I wasn't surprised to see the level of detail needed for this visit. I'm sure planning began the moment travel plans were announced, and they are massive, including the most mundane details. 
 Bus signage on Broadway. There's significant rerouting of buses and many streets will be closed.
This sign is on West 63rd St., outside of the Y where I exercise. I was there this afternoon and it wasn't 100% sure that it would be open tomorrow. People with tickets to stand in Central Park will access the Park on this street and others nearby.

The Y's instructions for tomorrow.
This sign concerns the most mundane, a change in the schedule of the Sanitation Department.
I am delighted to welcome Pope Francis to America and to my city. There will always be some who will say planning all of these details cost too much and there are more worthwhile things on which the city can spend its resources. But I stand in awe at this moment. The internet has been broken by one of the least glamorous persons imaginable. He is a seventy-eight year old man who is thoughtful, prayer-filled and well-educated. He brings a message of hope and the Golden Rule. May his visit be safe and fruitful. 
Welcome to New York, Pope Francis. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Time to Dress for Fall

My favorite park gets dressed for fall.
There are fabulous parks in New York City. But I most often find myself in this little postage stamp of a park, just off of Broadway at 63rd Street. It's half a block from my gym and half a block from the bus stop. It's the perfect spot to drink a cup of coffee, read and enjoy being outside, and it's right in the middle of the neighborhood. I'm there three or four times a week until it's too cold to sit outdoors, even with gloves and a winter coat. 
This is the perfect time for park visits. It's not too hot and not too cold and the folks who maintain it do a great job in dressing it for autumn. I was there last week when the colors changed. I had my iced coffee -- with just a splash of pumpkin spice -- and the new Sue Grafton mystery "X" and I was about as happy as could be.
So enjoyed seeing the first mums of the season.
My happy urban oasis
This morning there was a snap of cool in the air. It was the first day in months when I thought "I should have worn a jacket," when I went outside. As much as I don't like to rush the seasons I am excited about the autumn. I'm eager for mums and fresh apples, pumpkins and the change of leaves. Yes, it's time to dress for fall. 
What are your favorite autumn moments? Football, pumpkin spice, Halloween? Please share as we dress for autumn. I'm especially happy to welcome bloggers visiting from Commentathon. Thanks so much for stopping by.
The phrase, "It's time to dress for fall..." is from the song "The Summer Knows" from the movie "Summer of  '42." It was released in 1971 and starred Jennifer O'Neill. Memories...
As always, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Hudson Yards Pink Saturday

I'm an enormous fan of mass transit and rarely a day goes by that I'm not riding the New York City subway system. Is the subway system elegant? Rarely, but it's quick -- usually -- and three million rides take place every day, moving New Yorkers through the system and around the city. Yesterday I got to Penn Station in fifteen minutes and today I rode to downtown Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Book Festival in just about twenty minutes.

The beautiful mural at the entrance to the station. I was entranced by it. 

But my favorite ride this week was on Thursday. I paid a visit to the newest subway station in the system, Hudson Yards, at 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue. I can genuinely describe it as elegant. It extends the "7" line and gives this West Sider easy access to the Javits Convention Center. The station opened earlier in the week, and it still looked pristine when I visited on Thursday.

 I'm not sure how long it will continue to look pristine. The High Line is the most visited site for tourists in New York City and I'm sure people will soon discover how easy it is to get there via subway. I'm definitely overdue a post about it and promise one for this fall.

 Still immaculate. I promise there were more people in the station, besides the Transit employees in this picture. 
Most of the visitors to the station joined me in photographing the murals at the entrance.  
This may be the deepest station in the subway system and reminded me of the underground stations in London. I felt a little wary going up the escalator and knew I would be very wary looking down on my return trip. I opted for elevator for my return trip and was fascinated by what I found and experienced. 
    A selfie while waiting for the elevator
The station is so deep that it's not a standard elevator, but rather runs on escalator tracks. During the ride I felt I was in a funicular going up a mountain, rather than in a subway station on 34th Street.
The view down during my elevator ride.
I hope you've enjoyed our visit to the Hudson Yards station. In the interest of truth-in-blogging I need to add that I was a long-time employee of NYC Transit and was fortunate to combine my love for mass transit with my career, and I enjoy riding subways all over the world. 
I'm happy to join my friends at Pink Saturday with this post. It's not all pink anymore, but I'm still looking out for pretty in pink posts to share. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a sweet week!    

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Every Word That is Said Shall Be Received

My tzimmes is finishing in the oven and my thoughts are turning to the focus of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I think of the year past and the year to come and my prayers turn to prayer and my prayers for my family, friends and the sadness of our world.

One of the high points of the year soon to be past was my congregation's prayer retreat in February. One of the three days was devoted to petionary prayer. I took away from that day the sureness that it is an obligation and a blessing to pray for others. As we begin the long days of services and reflection I will have a lot of time to pray, both the liturgy and prayers of my heart. It will be my blessing to bring your prayers with me as I begin this year's journey. No prayer is too small to be offered to G'd.

The title of this post is from the first service of holiday season last week and one I will strive to remember throughout this new year, 5776, in the Hebrew calendar.

I will be honored to pray for any of your intentions in the next ten days of prayer and will keep all of my blog friends in my prayers, as I do every day.

Thank you all for your friendship and prayers for a sweet new year!  

September 11 Pink Saturday

September 2015
I've had a tough time writing this September 11 post. Buildings -- as seen above -- rise from the ashes and in some ways the events of 2001 seem far more distant than fourteen years. But when the day arrives each year the memories come back, obscuring everything else. This was my first post about the day that changed all of our lives and my feelings have become more complex at I grow older. I am once again struck by the youth of those who were killed and that feeling grows each year. They are, and will continue to be, Forever Young.
When I walked out this morning the day was as bright and clear as September 11 fourteen years ago. While I gave thanks for a perfect late summer day I also realized how ephemeral such days and times are in our lives. I am grateful for all I have been given, and yet a part of me will always be with those who were not so fortunate fourteen years and two days ago.  I am linking this post with my friends at Pink Saturday to commemorate those who went to work on a day such as this and did not return home that evening.
As ever, thanks for visiting. Wishing you and your families a day of peace and well-being.