Thursday, August 21, 2014

Frustration

I've lost my glasses.

We were at the swimming pool and I'd removed them to use my new snorkel (that way I can swim without having to rotate my lumbar spine right now.)

At some point between then and the shower, I realized I didn't have my glasses.

And they were gone.

Not in pool area, not in locker room, not in lost and found.

I checked with lifeguards, cleaning staff, office staff.  Even my physical therapist looked around.  I left my name at the front desk.  I called back later.  And looked again and checked back today.

Later, that is, after I found my spare pair in my car--the frames were broken, some of the UV coatings were coming off, and my depth perspective was off because of the crooked glasses.  But thankfully, I had the spare, because I'm still wearing them.

Apparently, I hadn't seen the eye doctor in almost two years so my prescription had expired.  So, I'll wear the spare for two weeks--the eye doctor is very busy with back-to-school--then get the prescription and get new glasses.

Could be worse, surely, but it is a bit annoying.

Almost has me considering Lasik.

Summer Fun: Barbecue

The kids love pulled pork!  They eat it anywhere we get the chance, which has been twice at Virgil's recently, once in NYC and once at Mohegan Sun casino.   Being a Texan, I had never made pulled pork before (we're a brisket people.)  So, with one anti-sauce kid and one pro-sauce kid, I made up a rub based on one I found at Epicurious.  And they loved it!  Sis even specifically asked me to put it on my "kids' favorite meals crib sheet."

Will do.

-=-=-=-=-=-

My Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Rub

2.5+ lb pork loin roast 
1 tablespoon brown sugar
approx. 1/2-1 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, Lawry's seasoned salt, salt, dry mustard
1/2-1 cup water

Rub seasonings on both sides of the pork and place in slow cooker.  Add water.  Cook on low 6-8 hours or until done.   

Separate meat--"pull"--into pieces and serve.

Mommy Hungry

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Fun: Wicked Fun

We had another Broadway weekend.  Some people like camping or beaches during the summer; we often aim for museums and cultural locales.  NYC in August isn't my favorite place by far--stinky smells, sweltering suways, crowds everywhere--but summer is when we do have a more relaxed schedule and can swing a late-night weekend without many repercussions (except for tired Mama.)  And so, we went to town last weekend.  Literally and figuratively.

After checking into our hotel--another great room high above Times Square, this time with a few of the Statue of Liberty in the far distance--we walked around my old neighborhood.  We even got to go into my old building and up to my old floor, now an expensive hotel (that a friend calls a Euro-trash spot.)  There was also the old diner but otherwise not a lot of my hangouts.  Gone are Fresco Tortilla Mexican hole-in-the-wall, the Sam Bok Korean grocery, the coffee shop that made great strawberry iced drinks.

The Algonquin Hotel was next.  We looked around inside and even met the very stand-offish cat.  And we told the kids about our night at the Algonquin, during the blackout of 2003.  We even talked to one of the staff, who had been there that night, too.

Our main destination was Bryant Park, which has changed so much in twenty some-odd years.  It was always a popular shady spot for lunchtime, but now it's packed with people and activities.  Besides the movie screen, there are now permanent kiosks for expensive sandwiches and gelato and such.  We played a bit of putt-putt before heading over to Le Carrousel. We all rode once, and then Sis waited a long time to ride the bunny.  Bud and I went off and played some board games--checkers, Mancala.  There was also a juggling program--and so I juggled both bags and clubs.  Fun, fun, fun.  It was a beautiful afternoon in the city--gentle breezes, time together.

As usual, late lunch/early dinner at Sapporo for wonderful ramen and Japanese potato salad.

And then it was Wicked.  Sis and Bud are becoming quite the little theater-goers.  In fact, I think they might be becoming theater geeks.  And they loved Wicked!!  It was the first new show Mama and I had seen in awhile; we didn't even know all the songs.   And it was amazing--very fantastical and theatrical; visually and musically rich in the best Broadway sense.   So many talented dancers and singers.  Interestingly, we both didn't like the ending so much (Why was Elphaba leaving?  Was it really the only solution?  After all of her struggles and protests, she just walked away?  For love?  Seemed out of character.  Sis just said, "Mom, what else could she do?  She realized everything she was doing wasn't working."  Of course, we recognize that they couldn't have Elphaba defeat the Wizard and help Oz, goes against all the original material.  But we'll never see the movie the same way again.)  And we both thought the story was actually more about Glinda's transformation; she was much more sympathetic in the show than we had gleaned from the soundtrack.  We liked that--gave more depth to the story.  We loved all the inside Wizard of Oz references, the flying monkeys, Oswald the dragon, costumes, sets.  All the gears--very steampunk.  The kids said it was their favorite, with Phantom; both are the best shows, apparently.  Well, except neither liked the slow love song in Wicked as much as they liked the slow one in Phantom (and I have to say that the staging of the Wicked love song of Elphaba and Fiyero, which name I forget, was much more sexually suggestive, with their bodies separating and coming together rhythmically for the whole song--very distracting to us adults, though unrecognizable to the kids.)  They're still singing the songs--"Defying Gravity," "Popular," For Good,"--and finding something new they liked everyday.  They NEVER liked the movie this much.

Afterwards, we stage-doored.  Goo met us--he was trying to readjust his body clock to work at the hospital overnight the next night--and hung out the rest of the night.  The kids met the Wizard, Nessa Rose, Elphaba, and Glinda, or more specifically the actors who portray them.  Everyone was so nice to them, especially the two female leads.  Bud is an enthusiastic fan, while Sis hangs back and smiles.  They always get the autographs and photos.

We had late-night snacks afterwards--trash ribs from Virgil's and cheesecake from Junior's--and stayed up late talking to Goo.  The kids lasted an hour or two, but Mama and I were up chatting with Goo til almost 4 a.m.

Which made waking up for breakfast and going to "Wicked: Behind the Emerald Curtain" the behind-the-scenes program a little challenging.  But we made it and it was fabulous!  Two members of the ensemble talked about the display of costumes, props, and photos in the "pop-up" museum and then led us into the theater where we saw films about the making of the show from conception to curtain.  We learned

  • some of the costumes cost upwards of $30K;
  • in some productions around the world, the wardrobe manager has to don Glinda's bubble dress and wash it by taking a shower in it; 
  • that one of the quickest costume changes in the show is only 10 seconds long;
  • each actor has costumes made specifically for him or her--and if an actor has to be replaced quickly, sometimes it comes down to who fits in the costume; 
  • there is "wing etiquette" backstage for not running into people or sets with the flying monkey costumes;
  • that because of trademarks, Elphaba's hat is really navy blue and the magic slippers are silver--in a red spotlight.  I think that also must be why they don't refer to Dorothy by name and call her dog "Dodo."  Also, I'm not sure they reference the Yellow Brick Road either;
  • all of the gears and clockworks mechanisms are from the book, as is the dragon;
  • seeing the dragon puppeteers at the beginning is supposed to alert us to the idea that the world of Oz is being controlled behind the scenes, while the asymmetrical costumes and such are supposed to indicate the world being a fantasy;
  • and so many more things I can't recall right now.
We bought some books and t-shirts and headed home, picking up pizza on the way.  

As the t-shirt says, "One Fine Day in New York City."

(As I type, the kids are re-creating Wicked with penguins and bunnies downstairs.  They've even made green masks and compromised so that both a bunny and a penguin get a shot at the lead!)

Next up, Les Mis and Comic Con.

Summer Fun: Winding Down

Dentists.  Annual physicals.  Orthodontist.  Haircuts.

Clothes buying.  School-supply shopping.  Menu adjusting for school.

Last ice skating outing.  Last swimming pool visit.  Last sleeping in.

Watching all three LOTR movies. Making banana bread.  Redecorating our kitchen chalkboard wall.

Oh, yeah, and our weekend in NYC seeing Wicked and the behind-the-scenes program about the show, plus other fun NYC things (more later.)

It's been a typical late August here at the Hungry household, except the morning temperatures hover around 60F, which is just abnormal.  But I love it.  Except the kids can't swim in their friends' frigid pools.

We have one week.  And I'm not even sure what we'll do with it.   Maybe that's best, something unstructured and unscheduled.

Because the school year, with all of its activities, is busy enough:  Ice skating.  Kung fu.  Book club.  Girl Scouts.  Religious education.  Piano lessons.  Cello and violin practice.  Homework.  Hospice.  Historic house tours.

But also fall leaves, sweaters, apples and pumpkins, open windows, Halloween costumes.  My favorite season.

All things considered, I really can't wait.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer?

It's 60F outside.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robin Williams

I'm saddened by the death of Robin Williams this week.  I remember him, like most of my generation, going all the way back to "Mork & Mindy," which I watched every week.  I loved his Comic Relief appearances with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal and found his performances in so many movies either touching (Dead Poets Society, Fisher King, Good Morning Vietnam) or funny (Popeye, Hook.) I have to admit to never having seen Mrs. Doubtfire or many of his other films, like that one with Matt Damon, so I would say I appreciated his work when I found it more than being a full fan.  Still, he was always there, making us laugh AND think.

And now he's not.

I think it's telling that his death has dominated social media while the death of Lauren Bacall, also this week, has received little attention, except in mainstream media outlets like the NYTimes.  Perhaps that is because his fans are on the internet, hers aren't so much?  Or because his death was a shock and . . . . well, I couldn't have said one way or the other if she were alive.

There has been much discussion of mental health issues, mainly respectful and compassionate (though, perhaps too much ignoring of the guidelines set out to decrease the contagion of suicide after a celebrity's suicide--like focusing on how it happened.  Poorly done, NYTimes to run a whole article detailing the report.  See article on guidelines here.)  I'm glad to see that the dominant mood is sensitive, treating depression and mental illness as diseases and not as failures of will and character.  Ditto the discussion of his battle with addiction.  Now that it has come to light that he was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease perhaps the Death with Dignity folks should speak up about right to die laws, especially for those with chronic or terminal illnesses.  I mean, coincidentally lots of people are taking the ALS ice bucket challenge to promote awareness of the disease--it's funny, but I rather think if people really understand ALS (from which my maternal grandmother died) it would be more helpful to send it the donation, even if it's not the requested $100.  And perhaps support those assisted suicide laws.

So, deep thoughts here at the end of summer.

Nanu nanu

Summer Fun: Not So Summer-y

I've been feeling the beginning of fall all week, an odd occurrence for the middle of August.  But with some overnight lows around 60F, some overcast days, and torrential downpours one night (nothing like the 13" in Long Island, though), it's been soup weather.  It's actually been too cool for the kids to go swimming at friends' houses because their outdoor pools just aren't warm enough.   We've even turned off the air conditioner.  Again.  Of course, thinking about school starting in less than two weeks--with all the shopping for supplies and clothes, getting haircuts, doing last-minute appointments, and squeezing in the last of our summer to-do list--also brings back ideas of autumn.

Plus, I swear I've seen leaves changing on a couple of trees.  Not drought brown leaves, but actual yellow and orange--a few on the side of the road as we drove to see the CT Sun game on Sunday (whew, double overtime!!  What a fun game!!  And we had lunch at Virgil's and dinner take-out at Summer Shake and Bobby Flay's Burger Place.  Plus Krispy Kreme for the ride home)--and even a branch or two in our neighborhood.

But I haven't gotten out sweaters and flannel sheets yet.  There's always a week of 90F days in September, when the poor kids swelter in the un-cooled school buildings.  Still, I'm getting excited about my favorite two seasons coming up.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer Fun: Color Us Happy

Our project for today was messy but fun:  tie dye!  We dyed t-shirts, sheets, pillowcases, plus our hands.