Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Oheka Castle, Cold Spring Harbor, Foreclosure!

No more lunches like below - the Charlie Chapin Bar?  Shuttered!  The lobster salad kills no more  lobsters?  Did PETA forclose???  And, and the pastry chef's masterful take on pecan pie?  Tell me noes!

Come to find out Gary Melius, owner, has been tardy with his $3.1 annual payment to his backers since 2016 and retaliation is clearly swift and semi-deadly.  The backers named a Suffolk Co. judge as the one who is now running the receivership'

Melius, bluffster to the end, swears that nothing has changed; he's 100% in charge; business as usual.  Oheka Castle was once the largest private home on Long Island.  The story of it was interesting enough for me to write a chapter on it in my book "And the Best Blog Is:  Word of Mouth."

Insanely rich builder; sold, became a vacation spot for the Sanitary Engineers of Manhattan and then a military academy for boys and now a hotel, with restaurant and bar and tons of wedding celebrations over the years.  Long live Oheka's restaurant!  

H/T to Sonny Nogiewich, the friend there (he and Richie were clammers back in the day) who brought this appalling matter to our attention. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sunday, January 13, 2019

January 13th - Saint Nina's Day

The Catholic Church, over time, has nominated a great number of saints.  I don't know how they recruited them as most of them came to a Very Bad End.

In any event, there was a widely-acknowledged St. Nina.  Piecing together - or rather trying to piece together her story, I ran across a variety of sources?  Opinions?  Oral reports handed down? and finally settled for the following.

Born 296 AD; died 335 AD, age 39, in Georgia or ancient Iberia.  She came there from Cappadocia only to die of torture and beheading with 50 other virgins.  What her and the other 50's offense had been wasn't included in any of this.  Tyrannius Rufinus was the King who ordered the slaughter.

The Queen readily accepted Christianity, but not until a situation appeared (dark fell rapidly and the King's hunting party was thrust into darkness)  and, in his case he thought he was blind.  So he decided to pray to Nina's God - viola!  Light immediately followed by his conversion.

None of this was what I would call conclusive evidence, but for gentle amusement Google "Saint (your name)" and see what pops up.

I only know about St. Nina because Michelle told me that there was one.  When I finally quit laughing, she sternly admonished me saying rather haughtily, "In France we celebrate our saint's day more than our own birthdays."    I started marking my yearly candle on September 29th and have congratulated her every year since.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Pool Therapy

You probably guessed yesterday that I'd be writing about it.  First what the PT doctor was wearing vis a vix my thought about his wearing a pair of board shorts to work.  He doesn't.  He was neatly clad
in from bottom up (so to speak) trainers and socks, jeans and a dress shirt, tails out.  You've seen this 30-something style (or may even dress in it) all over the place.

What was I doing in the water for 40 minutes?  In order - at about the 4 ft. deep part of the pool, put the closest hand on the pool rim and walk down the pool to the drop off spot and stop!  Or you'll get your hair wet.  Turn around and walk back to your starting point and do this 10 times.

Then same place, turn around and walk backwards, as above.  It feels funny.

Walk across the pool at the 3 ft. level and, hanging onto the rim with both hands, raise and lower yourself on the balls of your feet.

When you've done that for 30 seconds, lift your hands off of the trim and balance on one leg for as long as you can (not very in my case.)

Finally, march in place, and get those knees up!

I left there exhausted.  Shows you what kind of shape my legs are in, but after the fatigue faded a little bit, I could feel that it was doing them good.  it was the "good sore" you feel after playing a sport or running a long distance.  Not painful, but beneficial and you can sense it.  I could even feel a little easing of stiff, tight muscles.

I look forward to Monday's session at 11 a.m.

Update:  I forgot how exercise goes:  Day 3 I woke up as stiff as a board. Undeterred; will be there Monday.  

Friday, January 11, 2019

Goodie! A Learning Day!

I love learning something new - and today's knowledge will be covering swimming pool therapy for the lower back and right hip.

It's been years since I've been in a pool.  Even though I try to book us into hotels with a pool so that we can do aquarobics we rarely use them any more.   Our favorite spot for this is probably the pool at the Vagabond Inn, Palm Springs.  We get into about 3 ft. deep water and run back and forth across the pool.  Then jumping jacks, arms to propel is forward; reverse and go backwards and get out feeling quite virtuous.

I think this first session at the South Bay Aquatics in Torrance will be a little more "directed."  Every session is booked for 40 minutes, then 50 and finally the full hour.

Packing a carry-on bag with a big fat towel, my bathing suit, thong sandals felt very strange, but there's no hotel room for changing.

I look forward to this.  A stray thought - I wonder if the PT instructor gives his wife a kiss, hikes up his board shorts and goes out the door for another day at work.  I'll have to ask.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Yes, We're Eating Again

If you are getting a bit underwhelmed of late reading this, a reassurance:  we do more in our lives than eat.  Very little, mind you but other things.  For example I am about to be getting some much needed exercise when I go to pool physical therapy tomorrow (Friday) and Monday for six weeks (I think it is.)   Reassuringly the South Bay Aquatics facility, Torrance, mentions in passing that air temp there is 80; water temp is 90.   This is certainly bearable so I can cancel my search for a mink-lined bathing suit.  

Meanwhile, we did lunch with "D" at his find yesterday.  It's called Angel City Grill and catering and pick-up.  it's located behind a handkerchief-sized parking lot at 1505 Aviation, Redondo Beach.  We've passed it a thousand times as it's on the righthand side of Aviation, if you're going west.  Because all of the big windows are reflective, I just figured it was totally catering and the kitchen was behind the glass.

Not so.  The interior is a glistening white - walls, picnic-style tables and chairs, counter - you walk over and order and they bring it to the table.   It's also picnic-like- in that paper plates with a blue and white check napkin hold the food and plastic silverware is used exclusively.

What did we have?  Since it was "D"'s idea, he ordered first.  A USDA flank steak taco, grilled medium with onion, cilantro, guacamole and tomatillo salsa - $4.99    He said it was good.

Richie ordered the grilled chicken taco with tomato and cucumber chop and garlic sauce.  $4.99  He felt there might have been a bit more chicken involved in this matter.  

Never having had one, but usually considering one, I had the grilled chipotle Portobello taco with guacamole, pickled red onions (and I suspect a bit of habanero salsa) and jalapenos with citrus-infused kale.  $4.99  I ordered the kale on the side which they did and Richie and "D" ate it.  I liked the citrus sauce the sliced Portobello rested on, but next time I am going to order two, possibly three Portobellos because it was just one rather smallish one.  Runt of the litter so to speak   $4.99 - do you see a trend here?

As we'd had a light lunch I proposed that we go to the new French pastry place in Riviera Village (aka south Redondo) for dessert.  "D" begged off; other fish to fry so we sallied forth. 

Desserts by Patrick is located at 1820 South Catalina and is difficult to spot from Catalina, since it is tucked away with other buildings and a small parking lot.  

The chef/owner Patrick Mogodin and his daughter Estelle moved his patisserie in Paris here.  Somewhere over the Atlantic, he added gelatos to the menu.  We went for pastries instead and I fell madly in love with one called a Canales which is chewy-tough on the exterior and custardy soft cake for the interior.  Richie's pastry - an √©clair - and my canales were $4 each.      Only $8 for a trip to Paradise.  I recommend it.  


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

"I Think of It as 'Research' For Readers"

I justify my lamentable sneak attack on a meal out by the above rationalization …

Friday's Haircuts - El Gringo, 422 Main St., El Segundo   We both liked it here - Richie for the enormous machaca burrito  ($14) and my beef taco ($4)and cheese enchilada ($4)  were sizeable enough, but happily were  not as big as the 5 lb. doorstop his burrito looked to be.  The small guacamole ($5) had the chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, and a heap of cilantro along the sides of the avocado mix and you composed your own based on what you like.  
Lunch was $36.14  which included a Pacifico ($6) for Richie; water for me.  

Tuesday (yesterday's) 10:30 a.m. with "Tom" a physical therapist who will be treating leftover limping from the total hip replacement four years ago using in-pool exercises.    The first is this Friday.  I look forward to it.  Amusingly enough considering my lamentable habit of making sure I get good behavior food rewards out of almost any excursion … the map of how to get there details all of the fast food and sit-down restaurants in what looks like a wide-ranging area!  How did they know?

But, I get ahead of myself.  Yesterday post-appointment, we  went to Elephant Bar in the cluster of restaurants at Hawthorne and Torrance Boulevards.   It used to be good.  

I'd forgotten how languid the service is and since it was 11:45 a.m., surrounded by offices and medical outposts and, farther afield, Little Co. of Mary Hospital (immense) I was surprised to see the place so sparsely peopled and the same slow service.  

Richie ordered a regular Stella d'Artois beer ($7) and the Irish Pot Roast ($16.95.)  I asked what made it "Irish"? and he said succinctly "Guinness."  Generous portion and the carrots were most assured "al dente" big time.   Richie mentioned it to our server.  She volunteered to replace them, but he declined.  

My Bloody Mary ($8) came garnished with a bamboo skewer through a (had to be) foot-long stalk of celery, a mozzarella-wrapped strip of cooked bacon and a pimento-stuffed olive.    
I ordered French fries to go with our drinks.  ($2.95).  They were the little pieces that are left when the potato is cut for length.  They were cool.  They were left behind when we left.  

The coconut skewered shrimp  ($12.95)  I ordered were tasty, but they came with a wild mixture of green leaves, sliced red cabbage and no dressing.  I asked her about this and she said, "Oh, no, that doesn't come with dressing, but I'd be happy to get you a serving of salad dressing..." and rattled off about five.  The only one I heard that lingered was the first one she named - ranch - so I asked for that.  When it came, Richie used it as a dip for the French fries and I just dipped fork tines in it and ate a few bites of who knows what? greens.   Won't be dropping in there anytime soon even if this PT pool would be the next building over. Especially not to spend $47.85 for lunch

Today no appointments, but "D" wants to try a place he read about in a local paper  today at noon - Angel City Grill, Aviation, Redondo Beach.  Keep Eating!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Joan Rivers: Still Talking

Which is the sequel to the book "Joan Rivers:  Enter Talking."

My Parents Hated Me

My earliest childhood memory was watching my parents loosen the wheels on my stroller …

I'll never forget the first time my father took me swimming.  It must have taken an hour to saw that hole in the ice...

For bath toys they gave me a toaster and a radio...

My parents hated me.  My present for my first birthday was luggage...

On San Francisco
In San Francisco purse snatchers throw down the money and run off with the purse...

In San Francisco the banks are closed on Liberace's birthday

The leader of the Hell's Angel's nickname is Debbie...


How old am I?  At the Last Supper, I ran the hat check.

When someone asks my age, I say, "Bronze"

I can't remember my mid-life crisis - it was some time between the Civil War and Woodstock...

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Joan Rivers Was A Hoarder

And lucky for us.  Her daughter Melissa said that she saved everything - jokes in file cabinets labeled as to content - "Elizabeth Taylor" - so much material that she had a whole file cabinet to herself.  

Some samples:

"I suggested that Elizabeth Taylor's wedding be a private ceremony because of what happened last time.  After people threw rice, she demanded gravy."

"She's the only person I know who looks at a picture of 'The Last Supper' and asks 'Who got the leftovers?'"

"Liz isn't fat?  The woman puts mayo on an aspirin!"

She created a character named Heidi Abromovitz -

"She was the only girl in high school whose yearbook picture was a fold-out."

"Her motto is "Two is company, three is $50 more.  Tramp/"

The National Enquirer headlines - "Hitler Alive, says Amelia Earhart"

"The only article the Enquirer hasn't run is "Liberace is the father of my child"

On intellectually challenged - "I hear she uses a coke fork."

"Joan Rivers Confidential by Melissa Rivers with Scott Currie"   336 pages (it's a big fat cocktail table book)  $40 but amazon it to me for $20.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Changing the Tedious to the Marvelous - Notes From a Spoiled Bitch

Admittedly it took me awhile to come up with this reward for nothing at all except the ability to sit patiently, for undetermined periods of time.

Because we're good friends and  because I want the best for any stray readers who may wander past, I will tell you what it is and how it works.

Given the premise that few of us enjoy sitting in the doctor's office waiting to be called; listlessly reading old magazines at the dentist's, sitting still for a hair cut and other time wasters (after all we do have better things to do) I came up with this.

I make all appointments with the above around either a meal or the cocktail hour.  Remembering always that it is 5 p.m. somewhere.

Examples:  the orthopod is over by Torrance airport.  The venue was TGIFridays until recently when they abruptly closed.  Reasons unknown.  No worries, on the way home we pass Lucille's Barbecue on Hawthorne with  huge portions and the 'que ain't bad.  Nor was the Bloody Mary I had or, apparently, the Stella Richie had.

Haircuts:  Dale Snowburger, Tonsorial Parlor, El Segundo, has been trying to make us look reasonably attractive for 30+ years.   We rarely go further north of here than El Segundo.  Former restaurants have included Main Street Caf√© (and yesterday it was for sale - do you sense a trend here?)  Britt's barbecue has wonderful Tater-Tots with their excellent pulled pork; in nice weather the patio at Rock'n Brew is quite nice.  We've often gone straight from Dale to the Oldtown Patio for a hydration session with a huge patio out back and reasonable prices.  This would be after an afternoon appointment.  They do very good sliders, too.

Ob/gyn is right in the heart of a cluster of restaurants across Torrance Boulevard from his office.  We only tried SouPlantation once, not that good frankly, but we often have gone to Elephant Bar.  I like their garlicy noodles.

The dentist:  I had to have a deep clean with tons of Novocain or whatever drug is being used today and it was so pervasive in my mouth that I asked for the cotton log that lies between teeth and cheek to keep from biting myself.  We immediately repaired a bar on Hermosa Avenue in Hermosa Beach.  Ice cold beer is wonderful for gum swellings.  I was muttering and lisping all the way from dentist to bar, but after two drafts, I was speaking normally.  Double benefit - medical treatment and relaxation of stress.

Post fasting blood test:  this is one that you want to be at the lab when the doors open; usually 7 or 8 a.m.  it only takes minutes - swipe, plink, extract, band-aid and out the door you go - straight to Eat at Joe's in my case … "Yes, I'd like a smallish cheese omelet, burn the hash browns, a side of brown gravy and flour tortillas.  Where's the syrup dispenser of salsa?"  By the time I'm on the outside of all of that, I am almost (almost) looking forward to the next test. Richie loves their John Wayne Special (actually ordered by him when he had his boat the Wild Goose in the RB Harbor) and is happy to go even if he didn't have a fasting blood test.

So:  plan your appointments carefully.  You'll benefit from more than whatever medical treatment you are seeking.  I see the orthopod  at his satellite office Monday at 1:45.  it's in an industrial/office building cluster in El Segundo.   Too late for lunch, 3 p.m. or so, is not too early to have a beer at Oldtown Patio - we practically pass it on the way home.  Certain traditions must be honored.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Earthquake Country

If you live in one, here is goodish news.  If you retrofit your older home, and have proof, you can get a discount on earthquake insurance.  

And just what is a retrofit that? you ask?  To quote Dave Silva, Silva Construction, "It means to install, fit or adapt a device or system for use with something older," which in this case is your house!  The goal is to keep your house safely on the foundation.   Retrofit for houses can include:  house bolting, foundation bolting and wall bracing.   It's not cheap (but then your house probably wasn't either) running from $3,000 to $7,000.  

Spring for it and the California Earthquake Authority will refer you to member insurance companies who offer this insurance will give you an discount on insurance up to 20% of the cost.  This is primarily for houses built before 1979.

However, our house was built in 1964 and the frame IS bolted to the concrete foundation.  I would advise you to take a look before you do anything.  I look at new construction around here and sigh.  Cheap-looking wood with a knothole every two feet or so … other sheets of wood seemingly fabricated from sawdust … One could get the feeling that a strong wind during construction could blow your putative house into the next street over.  

In short, don't think that "newer construction" i.e. cheapest materials possible will protect your house from falling down.  In the old days, they built hell-for-stout.  Just consider  the old missions which dot Southern California.  

If you do look, and the framing is bolted down, take that $3,000 to $7,000 and go on a cruise!  House falls down at least you're having a good time asea and run no risk of being found dead in the rubble that was once your house.  It's called legitimate reassessment of existing funds.   Or "female logic" as in, "Well I didn't spend this money for X so I am entitled to spend it on Y."  Ka-ching!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

I Blame It All On the Gasoline Engine

I was relieved yesterday to learn that the Rose Bowl Parade carried through with what I privately think of as:  the Mandatory Float Fire.  Sure enough, there was one and as always, parade halt, fussing around,  tow trucks belching smells and sounds, announcers ad libbing for all they were worth …

Truly a Traditional Moment.  I went back in time and in the first parades, all of the floats were horse-drawn - in 1890 they didn't have gasoline engines except possibly on some rudimentary basis.  In 1920 cars and trucks went in to use and thus a grand tradition was launched.  

Which in this old world of strife, change, advances and declines, is welcome news.  Thank God no one got hurt.  If there has to be a traditional blaze, let it also have a happy ending. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

"But Look What We Could Have Seen!

All over the world (or so we are led to believe) the annual Dropping of the Ball on New Year's Eve  in Times Square, New York, is THE thing to see.  

News flash!  We shoulda been in Key West Florida.  There we could have been enthralled by the positively heavy rainstorm of fallinging stuff from high above.  Incidentally "high" has more than one meaning here if you follow my drift.

In no particular order -
The lowering of the Pirate Wench from Tall Ship 2's rigging on Schooner Wharf.

The dropping of the Conch Shell, vehicle of choice of the Conch Queen, at Sloppy Joe's.

The Red High Heel Drop which is as it sounds - a human (captions identified her as a he) reclining in some ease in a bright- red stiletto- heeled woman's shoe.  Made of wood, it is 8 ft. long with a 4 ft. spike heel.  A photo indicated that this descent was aided by the Fire Department's tall ladder.

There is no doubt that all of the above are visible in the YouTube files.  But it's not the same as actually being there - the warm sea breezes, the rising smell of beer and it's end product … the costumes of some of the participants... We are missing a hella good time.  So I propose that those interested in seeing an entire city acting insane, save our pennies and next year charter a plane to Key West and be a part of it!

We can revamp the Sinatra classic from "Be a part of it, New York, New York" to "Key West, Key West."  Frank, being dead now for quite some time is not available to record this change, but I think we're all well able to remember to change the destination.

Suck it up, New York.