Sunday, June 29, 2014

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

I grew up in New York (in Manhattan). I lived and worked in New York. But I never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Until yesterday.

It was worth the wait.

What a wonderful way to spend a sunny Saturday in New York. And it's free!

Here are some of my favorite photos from our Brooklyn Bridge walk yesterday. (Scroll down for details about the walk.)

Details about our Brooklyn Bridge walk:  We drove into Manhattan and parked in a garage near the pedestrian entrance to the bridge (only $12 for up to 6 hours!). We then walked from the Manhattan side of the bridge into Brooklyn, a little over a mile (around 5800 feet or 1800 meters).

Once on the Brooklyn side we walked around Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn and stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. DUMBO, or Dumbo, has lots of great little shops and cafes and some beautiful old buildings -- as well as a lot of construction. And if you have the time, it's definitely worth strolling around. As opposed to when the spouse lived in Brooklyn, many years ago, when the neighborhood was populated by gangs and drug dealers -- and you'd be dumb to consider hanging out there, even during the day. (Of course, there may well still be gangs and drug dealers in Dumbo, but it's often hard to tell them apart from the hipsters who now populate the area.)

We picked up lunch (and a bottle of water) from Calexico, a "gourmet" California-Mexican food cart selling burritos and tacos, and picnicked in the park. Then we strolled back through Dumbo and crossed the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan.

All three of us -- me, the spouse, and the teenager -- had a wonderful time and plan on doing it again, soon. Next time, we plan on strolling through Brooklyn Heights. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A great way to spend a summer's day...

is to take a stroll through a beautiful garden. Such as the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. One of my favorite places on earth.

I hadn't been to the New York Botanical Garden this year and wanted to see the roses in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden before they all wilted. And I made it just in time! Here are some of my favorites. (I apologize for not knowing or noting their names.)

Aren't they lovely?

I also strolled through the Ladies' Border, where I saw some gorgeous blue, purple, and white irises...

And I gazed upon the water lilies at the Enid Haupt Conservatory...

Ah... bliss!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Are there really people who enjoy jury duty?

Today I did my civic duty and sat for jury duty -- sat being the operative word.

The day began with me racing to get out the door, only to sit in rush hour traffic for over 35 minutes. Then sitting in the courthouse for over 30 minutes for my fellow jurors to saunter in. Then watching a repetitive video that anyone who has ever watched a courtroom drama, done jury duty before, studied American history or jurisprudence, or had more than an ounce of common sense did not need to see.

Only to have the jury instructions repeated, nearly verbatim, with a few anecdotes thrown in, moments later by a judge who had clearly never seen the video. A judge who solemnly informed us that every juror he ever spoke with after a case assured him that being on a jury was one of the most "fascinating" or "interesting" experiences he ever had -- with at least one overwhelmed juror telling the judge that "he could now cross 'jury duty' off his bucket list."

Seriously? Someone had "jury duty" on his bucket list? Maybe if that jury was on the set of The Good Wife. But for reals? Isn't that setting the bar kind of low?

Or maybe I just don't find people suing each other that exciting. Though the first time I ever sat (sat being the operative word) for jury duty back in New York, when I had just graduated from college, Phil Donohue sat practically next to me. This was back when you had to show up for jury duty for two whole weeks. And Phil Donohue was a big deal. (I told this to the mother of a toddler sitting next to me and she just shuddered -- about the serving for two weeks, not Phil Donohue. Though I'm guessing she had no idea who Phil Donohue was.)

Before any of you lay into me for disparaging jury duty, or lecture me on the importance of the jury system and my civic duty, stop. I get it. And I would be happy, well, maybe not happy, but totally okay with sitting on a jury for a day or two if I knew that right after I walked in I would actually be part of a jury, that morning, and be on my way that afternoon. Or the next day.

Seriously, you would think after hundreds of years, someone would have figured out a way to make jury duty more efficient, instead of wasting people's time. (I also didn't and wouldn't be paid or reimbursed as I am self-employed. I know: So much for my civic pride.)

But enough of me complaining. What do you all think of jury duty? Do you enjoy it? Do any of you have "serving on a jury" on your bucket list? Do tell.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Searching the Internet to find you the cutest kitten videos for your Caturday viewing enjoyment...

(It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.)

First up, "Dear Kitten," in which an older experienced cat shows the new (adorable orange tabby) kitten the ropes.

Not included in the above, advice to your kitten on how to help out on laundry day. But apparently this little kitty needs no help.

And finally -- have your insulin ready, people -- the Philadelphia Zoo introduces its three absolutely adorable little black-footed cat kittens to the public (and vice versa)...

You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

W(h)ither feminism?

So yesterday I took the teenager for her quarterly haircut and overheard the following conversation between her and her hairdresser, a lovely young woman in her late 20s who has been working since she graduated from high school and is about to be married to her long-time beau:

The Teenager: When I graduate [from college], I'm going to live on Hawaii -- and in Paris. And you can come stay me!

The Hairdresser: Well, I'm going to live on Hawaii, too, so I won't have to stay with you.

The Teenager: Awesome! Well, you can come visit me in Paris!

The Hairdresser: That would be great!

Me: And, um, how exactly are you going to maintain homes in both Hawaii and Paris, Teenager? Are you going to be someone's private chef? [The Teenager is an excellent cook and wants to become a nutritionist and private or personal chef when she graduates from college, or graduate school.]

The Teenager: No, I'm going to marry a rich man!

[Over 40 years of feminism flashes before my eyes -- and dies.]

Me: How about you become the rich woman?

The Teenager: ---

Me: Never be dependent on someone else, Teenager. Even if you do marry a rich man, work or make sure you have your own money.

The Hairdresser vigorously nods. The Teenager does not reply.

For those of you wondering where she got this idea, it wasn't from me. (I've been working since I was a teenager and have worked all of her life, albeit mostly from home and part time recently, though that hasn't been entirely by choice.) And she's not the only young woman -- far from it -- who dreams of marrying a rich man, or the man being the rich one.

Ladies, where did we go wrong?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Does your man suffer from... Dad Pants?

You know... "the shapeless, pleated tragedy that too many men find themselves in every day." (See "Mom Jeans, male equivalent.")

Unfamiliar with the term "Dad Pants"? You may know this affliction by some of its other names, such as Droopy Drawers or Dunlap Syndrome.

Fortunately, just in time for Father's Day, Dockers is here to help.

Now if only Dockers could get rid of his beer belly.

UPDATED 6/13: And speaking of Dad Pants and beer bellies.... Last night on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon and special guest New Jersey Governor Chris Christie presented "The Evolution of Dad Dancing," which is basically a video for... Dad Pants (as in those baggy, ill-fitting pleated pants so many dads tend to favor). Enjoy!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Seattle Got Back

You want to put a smile on your face this dreary (at least here in the Northeast) Monday morning? Check out this video of Sir Mix-A-Lot performing "Baby Got Back" with Ludovic Morlot, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and a whole lot of big, bodacious booties on stage at Benaroya Hall.

[Be sure to check out the chick in the black dress with the glasses. That baby got back!]

We now return you to your regular Monday morning.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Having a bear of a day?

You've got nothing on Sulo Karjalainen, who runs the Kuusamo Large Carnivore Center in Finland and has a bear of a day every day.

Indeed, this modern day Grizzly Adams is known affectionately as "the bear man," and not just because he looks like a great big teddy bear -- but because of his symbiotic relationship with the many brown bears who reside at Kuusamo.

Prepare yourselves for unbearable cuteness, people....


[Also, how cute are those little brown bear cubs?! Moosh.]

Sunday, June 1, 2014

When cars were cars...

and were fun to look at and drive.

This weekend was the annual Greenwich Concours d'Elegance, with the Concours Americana (featuring American classic & collectible cars from 1900 to the 1990s) on Saturday and the Concours International, my personal fave (featuring imported classic, sports, and touring cars from 1900 to the present day), on Sunday.

As a lifelong classic car fancier, who could ogle beautiful cars for hours, and longs to own one (or three), though is way too practical and cheap to do so, I was in heaven strolling around the Greenwich Concours d'Elegance, snapping photos and chatting with fellow classic car fanciers and owners.

Here are some of my favorite classic cars (or at least the ones I got decent pictures of) from this year's Greenwich Concours d'Elegance.

First up, this lovely green 1939 Lincoln Zephyr Convertible.

Next up, this handsome, black 1937 Lincoln Model K Convertible.

And while I am not a fan of Corvettes, I fell in love with this stunning baby blue 1954 Corvette Convertible. (One of the exhibitors, alas, not the owner of the 1954 baby blue Corvette Convertible, was kind enough to let me behind the yellow rope so I could take a look inside the car. She's a beauty.)

And what would a classic car show be without a silver 1964 Aston Martin DB5?

Sadly, it did not come equipped with Sean Connery. Sigh.

But I consoled myself (temporarily) with this lovely forest (or hunter) green 1956 Jaguar XK140 convertible.

And fell immediately in lust with this crimson 1954 Jaguar XK140 roadster. (The spouse and I agreed that this was probably our favorite car.)

We also found this cream-colored Mercedes-Benz 1939 170V roadster to be quite handsome.

And the spouse enjoyed chatting with the owner of this stunning 1966 baby blue Austin Healey 3000 MK III roadster, who bought the car from the original owner (whose wife forced him to sell the car when she had their first child) in 1969 and has lovingly cared for it since.

Last, but not least, as I am currently in the market for a new car, I figured I'd check out the new Maserati GranTurismo Sport.

Looks good on me, no?

[I asked the spouse what he thought the gas mileage was on the Maserati, as it wasn't posted on the sign, and he said, "If you have to ask, this probably isn't the car for you."]