Spring? Really?!!

March 20, 2015

The vernal equinox, aka Spring, officially arrived at 6:45 p.m., EDT.  But you wouldn’t know it from today’s weather.  Winter just didn’t want to let go! It started snowing late morning and continued all day.

Snow:  First Day of Spring 2015

Snow:  First Day of Spring 2015

We’re in the 4″-6″ zone, but it looks as though we got only about 2 inches.

NYT Thursday Puzzle – March 12, 2015

March 14, 2015

NYT Thursday Puzzle - March 12, 2015

The theme is found at 54-Across: Warning before a detonation … and a hint to 16 of this puzzle’s answers. Answer: [Fire] in the hole. The 16 answers (which include 54-Across) are missing the word “Fire.” The “holes” are the 2×2 black squares adjacent to each answer.

9D. Metaphor for quick-spreading success = Wild fire
10D. British W.W. II plane = Spitfire
24A. Risks disaster = Plays with fire
26A. Illegal place to park = Fire lane
28A. Rat-a-tat-tat = Gun fire
29A. Stinging insects = Fire ants
31D. Failure = Misfire
32D. Feature of a big outdoor party = Bonfire
34D. Like a hearth = Fire lit
35D. Emergency tool for breaking down doors = Fire axe
47A. Start shooting = Open fire
50A. Many a calendar beefcake = Fireman
53A. Impossible to fail = Surefire
58D. Chapter 11 event, maybe = Fire sale
59D. Building safety feature = Fire exit

Pretty easy for a Thursday puzzle and fun to complete.

In Like a Lion…

March 10, 2015

It’s too early to know if February will turn out to be the cruelest month of 2015. Regardless, there’s no denying that the unending sub-zero and single digit temperatures were horrible! Adding to the misery were several snowstorms and dangerous icy conditions. A day of respite here and there (you know things are really bad when you’re thrilled to see temperatures in the mid-30’s!), but it never warmed up enough to allow the snow to dissipate.

Hopes that March would not adhere to the proverbial “In like a lion…” were immediately dashed the first week by the continuation of frigid temps and yet another snowstorm all day last Thursday.

Yes, pretty to look at.

March 2015 Snowstorm

But enough is enough! We got about 7 inches on top of snow that had turned to rock-hard ice.

March 2015 Snowstorm

Late in the afternoon, Todd – always dependable! — came by to plow us out.

March 2015 Snowstorm

Temperatures were still Arctic-like on Friday.

March 2015 Snowstorm

But did you notice the slight warming trend?  And there was an even better forecast temperature-wise for the week ahead.

March 2015 Snowstorm

Indeed, yesterday and today, when I went out to do some errands, the outside temperature on my car’s thermometer read 50! What a thrill not having to bundle up like Nanook of the North!

It would be great if this continues and the rest of March is like the “lamb” half of the proverb.

NYT Thursday Puzzle – March 5, 2015

March 7, 2015

NYT Thursday Puzzle - March 5, 2015

The theme is found at 38-Across: Lagging … or a hint to 17-, 19-, 56- and 61-Across. The tail ends of the answers lag behind by going Down, and those down words are synonyms for “behind.”

17-Across. Who said about himself “Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money”/18-Down. _____ session (meeting after a legislative dissolution). Answer: Donald T(rump)

19-Across. Record of infantile behavior/20-Down. No-good. Answer: Baby al(bum)

56-Across. Part of a story you might not want to know/60-Down. Follow. Answer: Gory de(tail)

61-Across. Hating baseball and apple pie/63-Down. Fire. Answer: UnAmeri(can)

For a Thursday puzzle, I didn’t find this one particularly difficult. However, I entirely missed the “behind” puns and found out about them when I checked with Rex Parker. Clever!

Happy Purim 2015!

March 5, 2015

At Home:  Hamantaschen

Prune and Apricot Hamantaschen

Another Honor for My Cousin Zach Golper and Bien Cuit

February 19, 2015

James Beard Award of Excellence

Congratulations, Zach, on being named a 2015 James Beard Award Semi-Finalist as Outstanding Baker! We’re very proud of what you and Kate have accomplished and are thrilled that others are recognizing it with this honor.

Zach Golper

NYT Sunday Puzzle – February 15, 2015

February 15, 2015

NYT Sunday Puzzle - February 15, 2015

Title: Split Ends

Theme: Two-part common expressions with OR in the middle: _____or _____. In completing the answers, the first part of the phrase is Across, the OR is understood, and the second part of the phrase starts at the beginning of the first part and is completed by hooking Down where the clue is a dash.

1-Across (2-Down): “Everyone who’s anyone is attending!” = Be there (or) be square
8-Across (9-Down): Shoot for the moon = Go big (or) go home
13-Across (15-Down): Much-anthologized Frank R. Stockton short story = The Lady (or) the Tiger
54-Across (57-Down): Proverbial matter of perspective = Half full (or) half empty
60-Across (61-Down): Question asked in classic 1970s ads = Is it live (or) is it Memorex
79-Across (80-Down): Stickup line = Your money (or) your life
115-Across (118-Down): Song by the Clash on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list = Should I Stay (or) Should I Go

I got the theme quite easily. What gave it away for me was “The Lady or the Tiger” because it was always on the curriculum when I taught high school English. It did take me a while to complete the 70s commercial. I knew that Ella Fitzgerald had starred in it, her voice on tape shattering a glass. But for some reason, I had trouble remembering that the tape was Memorex.

As for the “Your money of your life!” expression, I immediately thought of the hilarious short skit on the old Jack Benny t.v. show.  Jack had the persona on the show of a notorious skinflint. In that skit, he’s approached by a stickup guy.  Too bad there no videos on YouTube because Benny’s timing and facial expressions were priceless. But here’s a recording:

NYT Sunday Puzzle – February 1, 2015

February 6, 2015

NYT Sunday Puzzle - February 8, 2015

Title: This n’ That

Theme: The word “and” linking two words in common expressions is changed to the “n” sound resulting in a silly phrase based on the clue.

23A. Content of a demand to attend? = Summon substance
32A. Freaky funeral noise? = Coffin wheeze
49A. Dive from a fire-breathing creature? = Dragon drop
71A. Venti, vingt, or zwanzig? = Foreign twenty
93A. Woe for a sunburned sea monster = Kraken peel
110A. Intel products used at a nuclear facility = Fission chips
119A. Overseeing a work crew, e.g.? = Foreman function

Lots of movie-related clues:

44-Across: “Castaways” director. Answer: Roeg (Nicolas)
61-Across: “The Bridge on the River Kwai” director. Answer: David Lean
116-Across: “Argo” setting. Answer: Iran
18-Down: “Life of Pi” director. Answer: Ang Lee
31-Down: Woodard of “Primal Fear.” Answer: Alfre
34-Down: Fay of “King Kong.” Answer: Wray.

At Home: A Birthday Dinner for Michael

February 1, 2015

Channeling the poet Robbie Burns about the best laid plans….* We were in the city last Sunday excitedly anticipating celebrating Michael’s birthday the next day at EMP. We’d already done some pre-actual birthday-celebrating beginning with a delightful dinner on Friday at Del Posto. We’d been three times for lunch but this was the first dinner. (Photo set here.)  On Saturday, we had a sensational dinner at betony, one of our favorite NYC restaurants which we’ve been to numerous times since it opened in May 2013. (Photo set here.)

On Sunday morning, we awoke to find that Mother Nature was about to put the proverbial crimp in our plans. A blizzard** was going to assault the city on Michael’s birthday with a predicted 30 inches of snow! The timing was snow starting in the early evening and then ramping up to blizzard status after midnight. Our reservation was for 8 p.m. We figured we could probably make it to the restaurant, but our fear was because the meal is very long, we’d have trouble making it back to our apartment (three avenue blocks away) through howling winds and drifting snow. So, we did something that we’ve never done before at EMP. We canceled. Yup! We’ve been to EMP more than 100 times, and this was the first time we’ve ever canceled!

After a lovely brunch at another of our favorite spots Union Square Café (Photo set here), we went back to NJ Sunday afternoon and set about preparing for a birthday dinner at home the next night cooked by yours truly. Michael wanted an aged steak. Whole Foods opened near our house last year, and they age steaks in-house. So, we headed over there, chatted with the butcher, and selected a gorgeous ribeye.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

This was the only thing we needed to buy, so we were all set.

The Birthday Dinner

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

Michael uses the Coravin to pour an excellent Bordeaux.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

At my suggestion, we started with French Onion Soup Gratinée, one of his favorite soups. So perfect for a wintry evening.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

We’re fortunate to have an indoor grill which I used to cook the steak.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

To be honest, I always worry about getting the temperature of a steak exactly right. Michael likes it rare though he will accept medium rare. Luckily, I managed perfection!

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

By the way, my husband is probably the only man in America who does not grill — outdoors or in.

I had asked Michael what sides he wanted.  He chose Potato Gratin and Broccoli.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

Potato Gratin

The steak was juicy and had great flavor, the gratin was creamy, and the steamed broccoli with salt, pepper, and lemon butter was tasty.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

When I asked Michael if he wanted me to make something fancy for dessert — perhaps, a soufflé? — he said he preferred his favorite Breyer’s Vanilla doused with Kahlua.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

It was, if I must say so myself, a delicious meal. To quote another famous poet: “All’s well that ends well.”***

The photo set from this dinner can be viewed on my Flicker here

Notes:

*The exact lines from the Burns poem are:
“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!”

**Of course, we know now that the blizzard didn’t happen, but we still feel we made the right decision based on the forecast at that time. Better safe than sorry!

***For the literary-challenged, that would be Shakespeare.

The Non-Blizzard of January 2015

January 28, 2015

The original forecast was a foot-and-a-half to 2 feet in our area. We got 9 inches.

The Non-Blizzard of 2015

Todd plowed us out.

The Non-Blizzard of 2015


Uppity Woman

I'm just one of those Uppity Women. Live with it.

The Crawdad Hole

Get off my lawn!

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