Monthly Archives: October 2009

my favorite weekend

there are 2 kinds of people – those who love halloween and those who hate it.  i saw these people waiting in line to get into rickys to buy halloween accessories yesterday. these people love halloween.

rickys halloween eve

just across the street from the rickys store on 34th street i spotted an even bigger crowd waiting in line for the bolt bus out of the city. 

2009 004-1

2009 008

the nyc halloween parade is listed as one of the things in the book 100 things to do before you die. i will be at the parade along with an estimated 2 million others to watch 45,000 marchers in fabulous costumes – that is of course if it’s not raining. but even more fun is the annual marathon on sunday. it is my favorite day of the year to be in the city. here are some of my favorite shots from last years marathon.Marathon (70)a

NYC marathon 061  Marathon (173)NYC marathon 181

Marathon (107)aNYC marathon 146

Marathon (37)Marathon (129)

NYC marathon 208a



kind of makes me wonder what i’m doing with my life. . .

“The secret of success is constancy to purpose.”
 – Benjamin Disraeli

e. 73rd street news

steve guttenberg is outside. they are filming a movie in an apartment at 414 e 73rd – 2 buildings down.  i will try to get photos.  last night “no parking”  signs were posted on the trees along the block.  the problem is, that if you parked your car on the side that is good for friday, you would have no way of knowing that the signs were posted last night and you would also have every reason to believe your car was legally parked through the weekend. when the legally parked people come for their cars, they will have been towed.  this is not the first time i’ve seen this happen.

apparently the girl from the fifth floor with the bedbugs (oct 21 post), has ordered a new mattress and boxspring. it is a queen size – the same as her old and infested set. probably the same size as most of the people who live on the second through fifth floors. she and the delivery men as well as the queen size mattress and queen size box spring have been outside my door in the hallway for the last 45 minutes or so. when i came back in from stalking steve they were still there. i asked what the problem was and one of the delivery guys said “there was no way the mattresses would fit up the stairs.”

my neighbors directly across the street are in jail.  an attractive and totally normal looking couple from 425 e. 73rd street.  she got arrested for a string of burglarys on the upper east side including one in her own building.  after they caught her red-handed leaving an apartment on 82nd street with her loot, the cops went to her apartment to see if they could recover any of the items stolen from other apartments in the last few weeks.  i don’t know if they found any stolen property but the bag of heroin was cause to arrest her boyfriend.  there is now an available one bedroom apartment available if anyone is looking. . .

finally, “the smoker” got a new outfit. this is big news.  the black sweat pants are not much of a stretch from the ones she has been wearing every single day for the last 3 years, but they do have a pink stripe down the side. like the old pants, they are 2″ too short.


“Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business. Yes, and that is also true if you are a housewife, architect or engineer.”
 – Dale Carnegie

oy vey!

yesterday was the 1st time i met with the residents of a jewish senior citizen housing complex on 61st street just off 1st avenue. i have volunteered to teach a weekly exercise class there on tuesdays at 1:30. since it was the first class, i had no idea what to expect and put together a relatively simple exercise program to start with – breathwork simple stretches, resistance exercises using lightweight dyna-bands and just a few yoga poses to keep it interesting.  i assumed that the people who were interested in an exercise class were probably somewhat fit already. after all, my parents are around that age and my mom could play 18 holes 7 days a week and my father could ride his bike to maine and back if he wanted to.  they would have been beyond bored with this class but i had to be sure to make the class comfortable for all levels.

i arrived a bit early to set up the community room where the class would be held.  i rolled out 12 yoga mats, set up the ipod docking station with some relaxing background music and waited.  ruth was the 1st to arrive. she was fifteen minutes early and 91 years old. she was very excited about the class and told me all about the exercise she had done in the past. rather than choosing a good spot in the front of the room, ruth headed directly to the couch, which was pushed up against the wall in the back of the room, and told me she would be doing her exercises on the couch. soon her peers began to arrive.  the remaining two spots on the couch were immediately occupied by beatrice and marianna (who could have been ruth’s mother). the others stood to the side looking at the mats on the floor, not quite sure what to do. i noticed a bunch of folding chairs in the corner and promptly placed a chair next to each mat, scrappped the routine i had planned on teaching and realized i would just have to wing it. 3 brave souls sat on the floor, 3 sat in the metal folding chairs and then there was ruth, beatrice and mariana on the couch all the way in the back of the room – all staring at me.

i began the class by asking if anyone had any injuries or medical conditions that may be affected in any way by exercise. everyone assured me they did not.  in spite of the unanimous “no”, i found this hard to believe, so i asked another question.

“does anyone have high blood pressure?” every hand in the room went up. i decided not to ask any more questions and just focus on doing breathwork and stretches. about 20 minutes into the class as i was walking around the room adjusting peoples posture when i noticed beatrice, who was now standing for the exercise we were engaged in.

“everything, ok, beatrice?” I asked

“well, my eyes are funny” she said.

me: “what do you mean?”

beatrice: “i don’t know, my eyes feel funny”

me: “why don’t you have a seat?”

beatrice: “no, i’m fine – it’s just my eyes. . .”

me: “please sit down”

beatrice: “no, i’m ok, i just have this funny feeling in my eyes”

me: “SIT DOWN!”

beatrice sat down in the chair, looked up at me and said  “i think it’s all this breathing. . .  i just had a heart attack and i’m not used to all this breathing.”




“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”
 – Henry David Thoreau

happy birthday, mrs. serling!



happy birthday to one of the best people on the planet! may it be the best year ever!!


“The old believe everything; the middle aged suspect everything: the young know everything.”

 – Oscar Wilde 

volunteering is hard

for several years i’ve been wanting to do a little bit of volunteer work. since i work from home, waste no time commuting and never take a ‘lunch’, i could easily take an hour or two out of my day to do some good for someone, somewhere. being a big sister was high on my list. taking a kid to the zoo in central park would be fun. or clothes shopping every once in a while, maybe buying an outfit for their first day of school – i would love that. i would teach my little sister all of the things she may not have the opportunity to learn in her present environment, like the value of an education and why proper nutrition is so important. then we could hang out at my place and read wayne dyer’s kids books and concoct extreme salads! it would be great.  or, now that i live right across the street from the ronald mcdonald house, i was thinking i could bring ivan over a couple of times a week to hang out with the kids who may be missing their dog at home, while they were getting cancer treatments in nyc.

a lot of people need a lot of things – and it would be good for me to get out of the apartment more; but volunteering is harder than you think. the rules are ridiculous. no reading to a child in need of a mentor prior to a complete physical, a battery of blood tests and a test for tb, all at your own expense.  then there are interviews and psychological evaluations, training classes and so many rules that by the time you’re done listening to the list of requirements, joining the army seems like a better choice.  oh, and you’re not actually allowed to do anything fun with the kid.  no road trips – not even to central park or tasti delight for a frozen yogurt.

ok then, the ronald macdonald house will get my spare time. plus, ivan will be with me and that’s added incentive. but not before he gets a complete physical and attends a $350 eight week training course for his service dog certification! and after that is complete, i would be required to attend workshops on how to volunteer after all of my blood tests were approved by the rmdh staff.  why do they make helping so hard?

back in mid august  i found a website called  voulnteer match  and browsed around to see if they had something that wouldn’t require me to quit my full time job in order to prepare to help people in some way.

“exercise instructor for victims of domestic violence and abuse”

this may be something i could do. i called for more information. julia, the volunteer coordinator told me this was a one day event for abused jewish women of poverty, from the religious community. it was an opportunity for moms to have some time for themselves. the volunteer organization rented a space in soho for the event which would take place on october 18th.  the moms would drop their kids off in a large room filled with games, toys and plenty of volunteers for an hour of fun, while the adult exercise class was in progress. i would not have to do any more than fill out a short application and the job was mine – perfect!  i told julia to sign me up!  since the date of the event was more than 6 weeks away, i had ample time to review my notes from the old personal training days and prepare a class for the abused and impoverished jewish women.

several weeks after i had committed to teaching the ‘exercise’ class, julia sent me another e-mail to inquire about my interest in teaching an exercise class to senior citizens in a low income housing project just 12 blocks away from my apartment. it would be a weekly committment for just one hour.  this seemed like a good opportunity to do some good without interfering with my job. not only would this force me to take a ‘lunch hour’ which i rarely do, it would get me out even if it was just for a 10 minute walk down first avenue to spend an hour with people over the age of 65. not much of a man meeting opportunity, but it may very well be the catalyst which prompts me to get back on

just about 2 weeks prior to the 18th of october, julia e-mailed me to confirm the date and time of the yoga class.  yoga? she never mentioned yoga!  i am not a yoga teacher and cannot become a yoga teacher in two weeks. i immediately checked the old e-mails from julia just to be sure i wasn’t crazy. no mention of yoga. i got julia on the phone to inform her there had been a misunderstanding.  she apologized and told me not to worry as she was pretty sure these women had never taken a yoga class before and would not know the difference. she went on to say “oh, and don’t expect any of the women to show up in yoga clothing . . . they’re very religious and modesty will be an issue.”  the picture in my mind of 20 wig-wearing women in full length skirts with back seam opaque stockings left me speechless.  i envisioned 20 wigs on the floor as i directed the women to hold their position in downward dog.

“what about mats?” i asked.

“oh”, replied julia, do you have any?

“not 20”  i said, at which time  julia casually offered to bring her own yoga mat.  great, i’ll only need about 19 more.

“i will need music as well – will there be a stereo system that i may plug an ipod into?”  i asked

julia said she didn’t think so.  ok .  .  .  i had 2 weeks to become a faux yoga instructor, manifest 19 yoga mats and figure out a way to get music in the room.  oy vey!

the first thing on my list was ‘learn yoga’.  i got out all of my yoga dvd’s.  i immediately returned the brian kest dvd to it’s home in my closet.  i had never even been able to complete an entire kest routine even on a good day.  crunch yoga? –  still way too hard for a beginners class.  om with cyndi lee?   too spiritually oriented for a group of religious jewish women.  at barnes & noble i found a nice giam beginners class on dvd for $23.95. although no where in my 350 square foot apartment is there enough space to manuver through an entire yoga sequence, i practiced the best i could and then begin scripting the class and combining just the right mix of meditative music for a one hour class.

i own 4 yoga mats including the nasty green soot-stained mat that stays in the backyard and serves mostly as a bed for ivan during the day.   there another 4 mats at my parents house sent to my by my awesome friend, mel.  the $53.00 mats were donated by the manufacturer for a day of yoga and meditation that mel was hosting in los angeles. after the event, mel asked if i had any use for 4 of the left over mats.  Figuring they may come in handy for an event someday, i said yes. she sent them to me and i stored them in new jersey.  that’s 8 mats total plus julia’s mat equals 9.  several weeks ago i saw mats on sale in tj max for $9.99.  i bought 3.  twelve mats will have to do.  total investment to date: roughly $54.00 and a special trip to nj.

as i practiced teaching the routine each evening, it became apparent that music was not optional.  it also became apparent that i was at least a size and a half larger than i was the last time i taught an exercise class.  i purchased an ipod dock at pc richards and a new yoga outfit at tj maxx.

October 18th, 2009

we are having a noreaster.  i load the car with mats, music box, ipod, gong, sage spray, the ‘please remember to turn off your cell phone’ sign, tape to affix the sign and my notecards that i will strategically place around the room just incase i draw a blank and forget what comes next in the routine. i head down to soho and ask pop to help me out with a good parking spot.  as always, he pulled through and i parked the car 1/2 a block away from the event location.  after unloading the car i was only mildly soaked. I have 40 minutes to dry, set up the room, go over my script one last time, and 15 minutes to meditate on playing the part of an experienced yoga teacher.

the room was much bigger than i had expected.  it was actually 1/2 of a gymnasium.  i placed the mats in a staggered line so that everyone could see me in the front of the room and have plenty of space to move without bumping into the person next to them.  i put my mat in the front of the room.  at the end of my mat i placed my beautiful cast iron gong  upon it’s round burgundy silk pillow.   i planned to use the gong to end both the introductory and ending meditations which i hoped would enhance my credibility as a real yogi.  i hid note cards with an outline of the routine underneath both the front and the back of my mat.   next, i set up the speakers and programmed the ipod to the  ‘yoga class’  playlist, dimmed the lighting in the gym and cleared the energy in the room with sage.  outside of the entrance to the room i taped the sign i made asking the women to turn off their cell phones.  i wondered if impoverished women had cell phones but  i posted the sign just in case.  i had 15 minutes of meditation time before the women would arrive.  exactly 15 minutes into my meditation, julia entered the room to inform me that  “this population is characteristically late”  and will most likely begin to arrive around 12:15.  my calm mind instantly went into overdrive as i wondered about the people who would show up at 12:15 for a 12:00 yoga class.  before i let myself get too carried away, i decided to use the time to go over my script once more.  at 12:15 i sat in crossed legged position in the middle of my mat all alone in the giant gymnasium and patiently waited.

at 12:30 i turned on my cell phone and called julia who was in another room setting up all of the games for the 30 children who were expected to arrive momentarily.  julia apologized to me for the wait and assured me that this was not unusual behavior for  ‘this population’.  she invited me to come to the playroom and meet the other volunteers who were waiting for the crowd to arrive. after spending 70 minutes alone in the gymnasium, i told her i would be right there.

i was surprised to see twenty three people in the room.  julia and two other staff members from the volunteer organization, and 20  volunteers who had given up their sunday to entertain the children, were sitting around playing go fish, pictionary, and nerf basketball.  julia introduced me to everyone and i made small talk with the staff director.  at 12:50, julia left the room to call the women who had rsvp’d.  she came back to the room at 1:00 and announced to the group that one carload of people, 3 adults and 8 children, were on their way and promised to arrive in 10 minutes. that would be ten minutes after one oclock, which is 10 minutes after the yoga class was scheduled to end.  again, julia apologized and asked if i would stay and do just a 1/2 hour class beginning at 1:15.  i agreed and went back to the gymnasium to get myself centered.  i reminded myself that these women had all been victims of domestic violence and were living below poverty level  with children to raise on their own.  i thought about byron katie and  “loving what is”.  i rolled up most of the yoga mats and left 4 in place for the 3 women who were on their way and one extra – just in case.  it was now 1:15 and according to my plan for the day, i would have been just finishing up packing everything into my car so that i would be home by 1:45 to walk ivan, who was probably sitting by the door with his legs crossed since he is used to going out at noon each day.  “love what is. . .”  i kept repeating to myself.

at 1:20 i rolled up the remaining mats, packed up my gong and my new ipod docking station, removed the sign from the door, schleped 1/2 a block through the torrential rain to my car and headed home in my fabulous new outfit.  volunteering is much harder than i thought.


“I have noticed that the people who are late are often so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them.”

 – E. V. Lucas

1427251869_Grey Ball

and the lesson is . . .

NYC Local US News World News Entertainment . Madoff’s druggie bunk bud: Newly filed court papers paint a bleak picture of Bernard Madoff’s present life — and a strippers- and drug-filled portrait of his past. The filing, supporting a suit by the Ponzi scammer’s victims, is based on information provided by lawyers…

bernard madoff

bernard madoff

NY Post: Kerik in the clink – Bernard Kerik, the city’s former top cop and prisons chief who was once nominated to be secretary of homeland security — yesterday landed in the slammer himself. The disgraced ex-police commissioner tried to taint the jury pool for his…

bernard kerik

bernard kerik

think twice before naming your child.
“Some people think that if they change the names of things, the things themselves will have changed, too”

 – David McKay

5th floor bed bugs

bed bugs

bed bugs

arriving home to one bed bug infested mattress leaning up against my apartment building was disturbing.  watching 2 people dragging the second mattress down the stairs and through the front hallway was worse.  i wondered just exaclty how  many bed bugs were spouting out of the mattress with each clunk down the stairs, all the way from the 5th floor.


“God in His wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.”
~ Ogden Nash

current conditions


             8:22 AM , Temperature: 38 °F,  Relative humidity: 92.45425 %.

5-DAY FORECAST for October 16, 2009
Friday   Saturday   Sunday   Monday   Tuesday
Windy with rain and drizzle   Windy and cold with rain   Breezy and cold with rain   Times of clouds and sun   Sun and some clouds
Hi 42 ° F
6 ° C
  Hi 46 ° F
8 ° C
  Hi 46 ° F
8 ° C
  Hi 52 ° F
11 ° C
  Hi 59 ° F
15 ° C
Lo 40 ° F
4 ° C
  Lo 41 ° F
5 ° C
  Lo 40 ° F
4 ° C
  Lo 45 ° F
7 ° C
  Lo 50 ° F
10 ° C


“Among famous traitors of history one might mention the weather.”
 – Ilka Chase

free postage

today i opened my mailbox to find five 44 cent peel & stick stamps.  i spent a good portion of the rest of the day wondering why.

“Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky!”
– Dr. Seuss


last night i dreamed about a girl i knew in high school. she had a bump on her leg and it was filled with little tiny sponges. inside each sponge was a termite. 

i also dreamed bob barker was trying to kill me.  mel and joe had reunited and lived in a large house with incredibly long hallways. i couldn’t find my way around and bob barker kept appearing out of nowhere trying to kill me. every once in a while a person whom i did not know would manifest and warn me that bob barker was near by.  somehow i kept managing to escape and that is my story.


“Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

something to think about

the words  ‘silent’  and  ‘listen’  are  made  up  of  the  same  letters.

04 19 08 016

“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.”
 – Rachel Naomi Remen