I Came, I Saw, I Ate- 4/30/23

Met Museum- Special exhibit- Lauren Halsey- This is just really fun and cool and thought provoking.

Met Museum- I am so in awe of this art that I only went to two galleries. There was way too much beauty in these rooms for me!! Clearly excited!

  • Lasagna Sugo- I Sodi- this was a meat sauce/bechamel lasagna that is just delicious!! I never order lasagna out, so you know this had to look amazing for me to try it
  • Torrejas Lola and Flan- Balvanera- the torrejas is like a fancy French toast and is SO GOOD
  • Lemongrass Porkchop Vermicelli/The Andrew Dip (brisket banh mi) 5ive Spice- this is a casual Vietnamese eatery in my neighborhood- I love Vietnamese food so this is a big win for me- food awesome

City Pickle has installed pickleball courts in Central Park in what is Wolman Rink (ice skating) You can sort of get the idea of what it looks like. I’ll answer any questions you may pose!

A few weeks ago I talked about a scrambled egg recipe using cold butter- This is from Food Network- Geoffrey Zakarian

3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and frozen 

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper 

1 tablespoon sour cream 

1 tablespoon chopped chives, optional 

  1. Beat the eggs with the egg yolk in a bowl until smooth and evenly yellow.
  2. Put the beaten eggs in a small saucepot with the butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring the entire time with a spatula. The eggs should begin to thicken; transferring them on and off the heat will allow you to control the temperature, creating soft creamy eggs. When the eggs start to become thick and soupy, season with salt and pepper. Return to the heat and cook until desired doneness is achieved; if you’d like them cooked more, simply apply more heat.
  3. Mix in the sour cream and garnish with chives if using.

Ten Things: 4/29/23

Every evening I write down ten things that defined my day. I try to capture the good and the bad, things that I am grateful for, things that I am looking forward to, and what I do that day just for me, I really just write the little details that made that day different from others. I enjoy it and it works for me. Here’s some things pulled from various days over the past week:

  1. As I write on Thursday morning, both my Father and my Father in Law are in the hospital. This is challenging to say the least
  2. I went to Target the other day to pick up paper towels. When I was in the aisle, a woman came up to me and handed me what at first glance appeared to be a tissue. I thought she was offering to let me wipe my hand because when I went to get a pack of PT on the top shelf (because the lower shelves were empty) the paper towels fell on me. Then, I realized that the woman was trying to figure out which thing on the shelves was toilet paper!! I managed to convey which package held the thing she needed.
  3. See that bandwagon over there, the one that says KNICKS? I’m about to jump on it. Go NY GO NY GO
  4. Fisherman sandals- love them, and need to find pair that best fits my wants and needs
  5. Broke my thumb nail far enough down that it really hurts. Tried to keep a bandaid on but it hurt
  6. I was walking the dog the other day and there was a big pile of trash in the middle of the sidewalk. As I was walking west, a toddler and her mother were walking north. The toddler who was doing the half skip half stride that shows they are almost our of toddlerhood, said to her harried Mom- it looks like someone had an ax-see-den, again in the half speech that kids have when they are learning words and phrases. It was so endearing to watch this little one, and in that moment when I had a billion things on my mind, it just gave me hope and faith in life. I also hope the Mom stops to look at her adorable daughter who is so full of wonder and remember that this is what life is about.
  7. I was so frustrated by stuff the other day that I forgot to buy some things that I wanted at Trader Joe’s- I bought the basics but forgot about the fun stuff that you sometimes just “need” in your life
  8. My daughters college brought goats in to do goat yoga with the students- my daughter said it was pure awesome, and I have the pictures to prove it
  9. I am presently reading a book right now that is SO BAD it makes me not want to write because I’m now worried my work in progress is much worse than I think it is
  10. Tried a new class at the gym the other day- you need to pay extra because it’s a small group format and it was great. I had that feeling when your body hurts but in the good way!!

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. George Bernard Shaw

My Month in Books and Movies- April 2023

Book AuthorGenreType of ReadRanking/Goodreads
Killers of a Certain AgeDeanna Raybournfiction/mystery kind of/strong womenBeach read1/3.91
CalypsoDavid Sedarisnon fiction/essaysbeach read2/4.11
Happier Hour: How to Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time, and Focus on What Matters MostCassie Holmesnon fiction/organizing/personal growth/time managementhow to3/3.90
The Sweet Spot Amy Poeppelfiction/light/cute family caperbeach read4/4.02
The Twyford CodeJanice Hallettfiction/mystery/concept book- told in form of phone transcriptionsbeach read5/3.68
The It GirlRuth Warefiction/psych thrillerbeach read6/3.88
Teatime for the FireflyShona Patelfiction/historical/teabeach read7/3.93
The Greatness Mindset: Unlock the Power of Your Mind and Live your Best Life TodayLewis Howesnon fiction/personal growth/manifestpersonal growth8/4.53
Decluttering at the Speed of Light: Winning Your Never Ending Battle with StuffDana K. Whitenon fiction/declutteringhow to9/4.07
How to Keep House while Drowning: A Gentle Approach to cleaning and organizingK.C. Davisnon fiction/neurodivergent/organizing/home managementhow to10/4.35
  1. Killers- I love books about women of a certain age kicking ass. If you’ve ever been made to feel invisible because of your age and sex, this book might help you out. Fun and funny and full of girl power!!
  2. Calypso- I like Sedaris. While some of his essays don’t appeal to me, and there are some subjects he talks about too much, on the whole I find his witty, sarcastic, curmudgeonly charm delightful. Though since seeing him live last year, when I read it I hear his voice in my head. But- some people just don’t like him, so it’s sort of niche. I read this for book club but I don’t think it’s a good book club choice
  3. Happier- I love time management books, and this one fell right into my wheelhouse. With examples from her life, the author gives us simple, practical exercises and concepts that are easy to digest and utilize. The one caveat I see is that if you have no inclination towards time management you might want to throw this book out the window.
  4. Sweet Spot- This is a light, easy to read story centered mainly around three women in NYC. I needed a sweet, fun read and this hit the spot for me. Sometimes you don’t want to think took much. However, if I am going to be, let’s just say pedantic, I did not like the overriding concept of parenthood in this book, nor did I appreciate the take on public school in NYC. But- at base level this book is a perfect time waster if family shenanigans are your thing.
  5. Twyford- This book is told in the form of phone transcriptions- I like concept books like this…this is sort of a mystery and sort of a code book, which I don’t think I completely understood. It’s cute but I don’t know if I can recommend it
  6. It Girl- Underwhelming. This has all the elements of a psych thriller- lots of motive, lots of possible suspects, lots of self doubt- yet I wasn’t overly excited about turning the page to see what came next. I think there are better examples of the genre…
  7. Teatime- follows a woman in India in the 1940’s. While there was some interesting stuff, on the whole this was a stilted read. Some of the descriptions of tea plantations and India were quite evocative, as well as how women were treated then. I read for book club and I think it is an Ok choice if your book club is part of a tea society…
  8. Greatness- This is sort of manifesting on steroids- how to set your mind to something and accomplish it. I wasn’t a fan of this particular book, though there was one chapter that I thought was enlightening and almost worth reading the book. Enjoyment of this book ties into if you are buying what the author is selling
  9. Decluttering- I am always looking to figure out ways to organize, declutter and such, so I’m always on the lookout for books on the subject. This is not about organizing, but really about how to declutter. If you need help with this specific task, this isn’t a bad resource.
  10. This book is catered towards those who identify as neurodivergent, which I didn’t realize at the time I bought it (it was on sale and I’m always looking for household management books) I think if you need to remind yourself to be kind to yourself when it comes to cleaning and organizing, this is a good book. It’s a very gentle and forgiving approach. But it wasn’t for me, though it’s well organized and probably quite helpful
MovieGenreWhere SeenRanking/Rotten Tomatoes-critic/audience
Airbased on a true story/Nike signing Michael JordanTheater- AMC1/92/98
A Thousand and Onedrama/familyTheater- AMC2/97/84
Somewhere in Queensdramady/familyTheater- AMC3/89/91
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thievesaction/adventureTheater- AMC
Suzumeanimated/coming of age/foreign (Japanese, but I saw it dubbed)Theater- AMC5/95/98
Murder Mystery 2who dun itStream- Netflix6/46/48
  1. Air- I loved this film- just straight up entertainment- a story told in a straight forward yet charming way. Simple but accomplishes its task…the story of how Nike signed Michael Jordan
  2. Thousand- This is a beautifully told tale about a woman and her son, just trying to get by- about family and what it ultimately means. Solid acting performance by Teyana Taylor in a heart wrenching role. This is a very emotional film- lots of feels
  3. Somewhere- Heartfelt movie about a family, and all the dynamics that come with it. Blue collar Italian Americans (directed by Ray Romano) sort of afraid to break tradition. If you come from a big Italian family you will probably enjoy this
  4. D&D- Just a rollicking, fun adventure movie. You need to sort of believe in Dungeons and Dragons, but if you’re willing to suspend belief, it’s a fun ride
  5. Suzume- The animation is the star here- just gorgeous. The story was a little weird for me- I sort of got it but sort of didn’t. That being said, I’m guessing there are legions of people who will like this film.
  6. Murder- I like Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler- but this sequel to their who dun it is more a why dun it- there is nothing redeeming about this movie at all…

Existential Questions

A few months ago, Ally posed Minnie Driver’s existential questions. http://thespectacledbean.com/2023/01/31/encouraged-by-your-interest-i-answer-minnie-drivers-existential-questions/ I thought this would be fun to try!!

When and where were you happiest?

Right here, right now. Things aren’t perfect but I’m where I want to be, doing what I want to do.

What quality do you like least about yourself?

I think that my way of doing things is the best. I think things out, and I don’t think others put the same amount of thought as I do. It is a failing indeed.

What relationship- real or fictionalized- defines love for you?

Elizabeth and Darcy. They were completely aware of each others weaknesses (you know- pride and prejudice). They put each other ahead of their families, and accepted that both of their families were a bit out of control. They loved each other for who they were, not who they wanted them to be.

What would be your last meal?

Cheeseburger and fries. Mille crepe cake. Right after that would be buttered egg noodles with parmesan. Maybe a quesadilla. Strawberry shortcake. Doritos or buttered popcorn. Spicy red curry chicken. In theory- I think I would need a buffet.

What person, place or experience has most altered your life?

My daughter, because becoming a Mother changed the whole game for me. There’s really before I had a baby and after. I can’t help but look at things except through the eyes of a Mom.

What question would you most like answered?

Chicken or egg.

What in your life has grown out of a personal disaster?

This is a tough one because I really haven’t had too many personal disasters. I guess it would be rebounding after divorce. Realizing that I got married for the wrong reasons and staying way too long shaped who I was to become.

Small Things

We subscribe to Orpheus Chamber orchestra, so it’s sort of like season tickets to see this group perform. Orpheus performs three times a year at Carnegie Hall, the tickets are reasonably priced and they always give a good show. We have been going for years and we enjoy the experience.

When we subscribe, we just renew our subscription every June. They send the dates and the times and we just show up when we are supposed to. Normally this works out fine…

Of course, this past year there were hiccups:

The first show was the Saturday of a three day weekend- my daughter really wanted me to visit this particular weekend because it was better for her schedule, but I didn’t want to miss something I’d paid for. Of course, the concert also coincided with my beloved Mets being in the playoffs. I ended up being annoyed at the inconvenience of something that I normally enjoy.

The second concert my husband totally forgot about even though it was RIGHT THERE IN HIS CALENDAR. He made and paid for alternate ski plans for that weekend. I was annoyed that he paid for a ski trip without double checking the date with me (we all know that my husband is a chronic double and triple booker) and for not checking the calendar before making the plans. He sheepishly apologized to me, but it’s just little things like that which can really get under your skin. (I went to the show with one of my friends who enjoyed it very much)

Of course, you know there is a problem with the third concert: it falls on the night my daughter graduates. The final concert of the season is always spectacular, so I am sad that I won’t be attending. I gave the tickets to one of my book club friends so I am thrilled that someone who appreciates it will be going.

It’s so funny when something you like, something basically insignificant, causes you grief. While there are times that we can laugh off things, I just felt like the chamber music gods were plotting against me- I was irrationally irked by Orpheus this year…

When I’m frustrated I write about it…after I’m done I feel much better about the situation, no matter how tiresome it can be…

How many times does this happen to you? Do you ever have something small just come back to haunt you? How do you deal with it?


The Neighbor Next Door

As some of you may know, New York is one of 21 states to legalize pot for recreational use. I’m not going to get into my thoughts on drug use, recreational or otherwise. But I am going to talk about living in apartments in NYC.

My husband has a co-worker (CW)who lives in a apartment in an apartment building. The co- worker has a toddler daughter. The co-worker also has a neighbor who is a chain pot smoker.

By chain pot smoker I mean someone who is continually smoking pot all day. The neighbors wall is on the flip side of his daughter’s bedroom. The windows are only a few feet away. Somehow, some way the odor wafts into his daughter’s bedroom…

When they exit their apartment into the hallway, it smells like pot.

CW has asked the neighbor to do something so that everything on their floor doesn’t smell like pot.

The neighbor ignores him.

CW has asked building management to do something about the smell.

Building management states that there is nothing that they can do.

So CW now has to figure out if he wants to sell the apartment that he loves and move somewhere else. He doesn’t want to smell pot all the time, and he certainly doesn’t want his child smelling it all the time…

So what do you do?

What would you do if your neighbor was a heavy smoker of anything?

Where does one person’s right to smoke pot infringe on the rights of a neighbor to not want to be around it?


AI and YOU

So we’ve been hearing a lot about AI of late, especially as it comes to writing.

Will AI replace the writer?

My short answer is yes. In a field where it is already difficult to make any inroads, I believe that much of what passes as journalism will begin to be AI driven. It’s cheap and efficient and its bland and emotionless style will probably appease many people. Just the facts ma’am, just the facts…

As many have already said, a real person must generate the parameters with which AI writes- so that means that AI can’t act inependently.


I had a conversation with my daughter about the whole AI writing thing- they have discussed it in class. She said her Professor said that back when spell check first made an appearance, teachers at all levels were worried. They called it cheating. They didn’t want the kids to use it.

How do you view the worries about spell check in today’s climate?

Can you imagine a world without spell check?

But, we can ask: Has spell check made us lazier? I’m a lousy speller (if you want I can give you a lot of intellectual mumbo jumbo as why I’m a bad speller…) I KNOW that I don’t even try to get the spelling correct because I know that I’m going to get a crazy line under any word that is spelled incorrectly. I even go as far as to put the letters in and hope it gives me the right word option…So, in my little thesis statement spell check has made me lazier.

So will AI make us lazier?

How long till we say five words and AI spits out 750 correctly spelled words using the words only as a parameter?

How long till we say five words and AI spits out 750 grammatically/correctly spelled words in OUR STYLE?

You say that will never happen? We still need people to man the controls?

I’m not a real fan of the current trend to use tech to replace people. I know whenever I speak of self checkout at my local Target, I always get people who respond that they will NEVER use a self check out because it takes away jobs. News Flash- I frequent places which never have people staffing check outs. There are many places that are ENTIRELY self checkout…

What used to be eight people at checkouts is replaced by one person who is a combo of security and fix it person.

So maybe instead of ten journalists, you only need one person coming up with the appropriate words…

Then one instead of twenty…

Then one instead of one hundred…

I guess it will take the partisan angle out of a story…no piece will be done with any slant or bias…

just the facts ma’am, just the facts…

AI- pros and cons:


I Came, I Saw, I Ate

Seriously- I could have added about 20 more photos because the gardens are spectacular right now!!

I love this section of the Met- I’m like a kid in a candy store!

I went down to DC to see my daughter present her thesis (this isn’t a formal dissertation to prove, but more a piece to fulfill the requirements of her major) But her classroom building was located right next to the “Exorcist Steps” (those familiar with the movie will recognize them) and also the little plaque talking about the area in movies. I forgot to take a pic of the Transformer statues… My Daughter’s presentation was awesome btw…

Interesting special exhibit at the Met

  • Anita’s Gelato- My husband and I split a little gelato- strawberry, berry pavlova (which was my pick) and white chocolate pretzel- so good!!
  • Cobb Salad at Sunflower Cafe- I love a Cobb…
  • Veselka- this was a veggie rueben- which was potato pancakes, with sauerkraut, Ukranian dressing and swiss cheese…

Wangechi Mutu- Intertwined- New Museum- This was a retrospective of Mutu’s works- it was really cool to see the evolution of her style and work. I was most impressed with her sculptures which awed me in both their simplicity and complexity.

Fat Ham is the best thing I’ve seen on Broadway this year- this reinterprets Hamlet for present day and is funny and topical and just a great day at the theater.

My new baby fridge…we’ve cleaned the floor since its delivery and put away all the things that don’t belong on the counter…

Kim asked me about this last week and I kept forgetting to tell her…

Ten Things: 4/22/23

Every evening I write down ten things that defined my day. I try to capture the good and the bad, things that I am grateful for, things that I am looking forward to, and what I do that day just for me, I really just write the little details that made that day different from others. I enjoy it and it works for me. Here’s some things pulled from various days over the past week:

  1. Ramps are in season!!
  2. I did a day trip to DC this week to see my daughter present her thesis. So proud of her and all that she has accomplished!!
  3. When I got to Penn Station at midnight I was thrilled to come outside and get a cab without waiting!
  4. Things with all the parents continue to be challenging. I expect this to be the new normal
  5. The 800 series of galleries at the Met might be my favorites
  6. Fat Ham is best thing I’ve seen on Broadway this year
  7. My Husband is not thrilled with size of our new fridge- I admit I’m trying to figure out how to best reorganize and regroup
  8. My daughter passed all her state required teaching tests- she is thrilled that she doesn’t have to do it again!
  9. It was nice to wake up and be able to make tea with milk without having to pad over to my neighbors
  10. Found out that after a fridge is delivered you are supposed to wait at least eight hours before you plug it in so that the oils and such have a chance to resettle and it helps out the compressor

If you listen, truly listen, to an adversary, you will probably find at least one goal on which you agree. Gloria Steinem

Anything Can Happen Friday: Pickleball

I have wholeheartedly embraced pickleball. When I tell people this, I get one of four responses:

  1. I know!! Isn’t’ it the greatest?!
  2. I always wanted to try that- tell me more
  3. OMG why would you ever want to do that?
  4. Everyone gets hurt playing pickleball. It’s a deathtrap.

Let’s address these, shall we?

  1. Those who play pickle on the regular tend to be enthusiastic about it. We talk about how social it is: people tend to play pickle as doubles teams, so there is a lot of camaraderie on the court. Even though people still want to win, there is normally a lightness to the games. It’s also a smaller court than say tennis, so there is less running around. Plus- you serve underhand so there is not advantage to the serve. People who play tend to love it.
  2. I meet a lot of people who want to get out there but don’t know how to start. As the trend grows, so does the opportunity for lessons and leagues and courts. I will talk to anyone about pickle at any time.
  3. There are a host of people who think they are above pickleball. I actually had someone say to me- “Oh stop. Please tell me you’re not doing that? Why?” There are people who think pickle is uncool. When we are in our 50s, should we really be saying something is uncool? What does that even mean? Why do we still label activities and why do we disparage those who choose to do them? Is pickleball too middle class? Too suburban? Too hoi polloi? Is it not elite or special enough? Is it not diverse enough? What are the grounds for being snobbish around pickleball players?
  4. Do people get hurt playing pickleball? Yes. Does everyone get hurt playing? No. Here’s the thing- when people hear that it’s easier than tennis, somehow they think it is easy. News flash: it’s still a sport where you run and lunge and hit a balls with a racket. You have to be warmed up before you start and you must stretch afterwards. If you never exercise, you must take that into consideration before you start. You can get hurt, but if you take precautions you might limit the chances. As with anything, know your body, know your strengths and limitations. Know what you can and can not do. Play sensibly.

So, what would your question be if I told you I play pickleball? Ask away!!