Probably the most memorable line in the movie, Love Is Strange.  It certainly brought the audience to a loud laugh, but then again, we were in Manhattan watching this tale of love and marriage which takes place in The City.  The film’s main story is that of Ben and George who after 39 years of togetherness, get married and then things go down hill.   George loses his job at a Catholic school but not his faith and without his steady income, the couple is forced to sell their apartment.  Homosexuality is not the subject of the movie, real estate is.  The couple is forced to go separate ways while they look for another affordable apartment.  They call a family meeting and put their dilemma out on the table.  This being New York City, no one has any room to accommodate the couple. That is except for Mindy who lives in Poughkeepsie and has an extra bedroom.  True to NYC island mentality, they all  think living in Poughkeepsie is unthinkable, not remotely feasible.  That’s when the fun begins…Ben moves in with his nephew and his wife and their son in Brooklyn, George moves in with friends who just happen to be a pair of gay cops leading a rather boisterous life, partying night after night, filling the apartment with hordes of people.

Love Is Strange

Love Is Strange

The secondary story involves Kate (Marissa Tomei), wife of Ben’s nephew and writer who works from home and their son. One of the funniest scenes and one I wholeheartedly related to, was where Ben keeps starting up a conversation with Kate who is trying very hard to finish writing her book.  Ben is quiet for a moment and then asks her yet another question.  She is so frustrated, she almost loses it.  Joey, Ben’s nephew is tolerant up to a point;  His world is getting smaller as Uncle Ben takes over part of his bedroom, and intrudes on the already cramped space in this small two bedroom apartment in New York.  He (Joey) has developed a friendship with Vlad, who although may be the same age as Joey is light years beyond him in street smarts and this is cause for concern to his mother and father. 

Actually as I’m writing this, I think the real story in the movie is STRESS.  Ben and George are totally stressed out because they are separated and each is living in someone else’s home.  I think it’s George who says that when you live with someone you get to know them much better than you would want to.  Kate is stressed because her husband Vlad is never home so she is the only one who deals with Joey and Ben.  Vlad is stressed because he’s a filmmaker and well that comes with its own set of issues, George is stressed but for the most part he internalizes it until one night when he just bursts through the door to see George and bursts into tears.

The firs word out of my mouth when the movie was over was “Arty” – the film was arty, it was low-key and slow-moving, no micro sound bites here.  John Lithgow and Alfed Molina are point and counterpoint personalities and each one brings his best to Love Is Strange.


Who knew?  I mean really!  There was a time when this little blondie wouldn’t wear a dress or a skirt.  She eschewed pink sparkly Mary Janes, ruffles didn’t do it for her.  She loved pajamas and red rubber lady bug boots, lime green clogs  or sometimes when it was hot outside, she insisted that her tan suede Uggs were exactly and the only thing she wanted to wear on her feet.  Her blonde hair and angelic smile were antithetical to her garb.  She was not to be deterred;  You couldn’t convince her to wear sandals, bribes didn’t work and logic was certainly out of the question.

This little granddaughter of mine knows exactly what she wants;  I mailed two bead bracelets to the girls earlier this year, one was pink and white and the other was pink and purple because little Miss had previously informed me that purple was her favorite color.  Apparently that didn’t hold true for everything and since her bracelet was not exactly like her sister’s, she didn’t want it.  When I asked her if she liked it, she bluntly told me “NO”.  So I pushed back a little more and inquired if she ever wore it.  I was quickly informed that she gave it to the Nanny!  I mean, seriously??!!

A couple of weeks ago I sent a bright yellow and pink floral sun dress to each of the girls (matching) and WOW!  Was I ever surprised to learn that she wanted to put the dress on right away.  That was 2 weeks ago…. What follows is a pictorial diary.  Not every day is recorded in photos, however, I have it from the horse’s mouth (Mommy) that this is what she has worn every single day since it arrived.  Rest assured, it is getting washed in the evening.  Is it obsession or just a case of a girl knows what she wants.  I LOVE IT – I finally gave her something she really likes.  I’m very happy that she is enjoying it so much although I admit if left up to me, she would never get away with this – BUT then again I never had a middle child or one that was only two years younger than the first, so indulgence only goes so far with me.

Be that as it may, let me say again that these photos not only bring a smile to my face, they warm my heart because she looks so darn cute!!

Love Those Black Sneaks

                                                   Love Those Black Sneaks

Just Hanging Out

                                                        Just Hanging Out

Funny Face

                                          Funny Face

My Flower Dress

                                                       My Flower Dress

Here I Am!

                                                           Here I Am!

I'm A Middle Child

                                                  I’m A Middle Child



 One of the things I love about having a cottage at the Jersey Shore is the ease of entertaining friends.It’s easy to meet new people in a small town and we’re lucky that some of our New York City friends also have cottages in this beautiful Shore town.

 Recently we met Angela and Seth, a very cool young couple. One day we walked past the porch where they were sitting, Really! There is a fabulous Victorian a block away from our house and we walk past it on our way to the beach. We’ve always admired this house because it is so perfectly put together. So we were pretty surprised to see the For Sale sign out in front and two young people sitting on the front porch.

 I have to lapse into an aside here because I believe front porches are one of the best means to meet and greet your neighbors, make new friends and visit with old friends. Porches are welcoming and beckon to passerby’s. There is a quote, actually more like a slogan that used to be published in every issue of ROADSIDE MAGAZINE that sums up an America we used to know, a place that I want to live and in fact I do when I’m in Ocean Grove. ROADSIDE refers to this slogan as a recipe for an American Renaissance: “Eat in diners, ride trains, shop on Main Street, put a porch on your house and live in a walk able community”. Sounds real good to me! And by the way, the stoops of Brooklyn and other boroughs of New York City offer the same way of life.

 There was an Open House sign posted and we inquired if it was their house. No, they were housesitting and we learned that the home belonged to the owners of the Flower Shop in town. They had recently sold the flower shop and were moving to Montana. It turns out that Angela and Seth were house sitting! What a great way to spend the best part of the year 1 block from the beach. And we found out that Angela was running the fairly new bakery, Daily Bread.

 Bread, for me, is more than the staff of life – I LOVE Italian bread, especially the chewy crusty kind, think Tuscany or Puglia. It didn’t take me long to express my deep regret and frustration about not finding a decent loaf of Italian bread in area so densely populated by residents of Italian Ancestry. Seriously, this area is bread-challenged. Soft crusts and airy puffy white bread! Like Wonder bread shaped into a baguette L Angela invites us to stop into her bakery and try some of her bread. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t realize the bakery had changed hands and apologize for not stopping by yet.

House-made Blueberry Muffins!

House-made Blueberry Muffins!

 The next day, Peter and I go into Daily Bread and Angela packs several chunks of different breads into a bag for us and gives it to us – no charge! For next couple of days, we feast on Ciabatta bread, French bread and healthy whole grain bread. Mmmm mmm good! Bread is one of my favas, right behind pasta and ice cream.

 The next weekend I bring some of Agata & Valentino’s Tuscan bread and their Cabernet loaf to Angela. Peter is afraid I will insult her, however my intention is only to share some of my City’s better breads with someone who I am sure will appreciate tasting them. A casual friendship is born.

 Last night we invited Angela and Seth to join us on our front porch for drinks and hors d’oeuvres. They would get to meet Michael, our friend, who was in town and who I invited to dinner. I had run into Michael on Thursday evening at Wegman’s and promptly invited him to dinner on Saturday night. I suppose there are those who might do that in Manhattan but somehow it all seems so easy and effortless when you are at the Shore.

 We had a delightful time eating and drinking for an hour or so. I served an assortment of olives, cheddar and Gouda cheeses with crackers, veggies and chips to dip into hummus and an artichoke spinach dip and some very addictive freeze-dried snap peas. I felt guilty about asking Seth and Angela to come for drinks but not dinner so I also heated up some quiche and served that too!

 We yakked and drank white Sangria, beer, wine and of course you know who had a martini. And, Angela brought us a big round loaf of beautiful bread and TWO boxes of delicious baked treats from her bakery.

 After they left, Michael, Peter and I moved to the backyard to eat under the stars and by candlelight. We had marinated chicken breasts, coleslaw, fresh Jersey corn and I made a Caprese salad with Jersey tomatoes, mozzarella and basil from my yard. We talked long into the night – it was warm and the citronella candles kept the mosquitos at bay, and the dessert treats and lots of wine fueled our conversation for the longest time till Michael said he really had to go because he was going to do a Boot Camp class in the morning! Did I mention that this group was from three distinctly different generations? Peter and I knew that while Angela was up early baking and Michael was doing push-ups we would be in bed watching Sunday Morning!


New York Telephone Co.

New York Telephone Co.

How many of my readers know who I’m referring to?  There was a time way back when the term Ma Bell was known to us all (well those of us of a certain age)   anyway.  The following  explanation comes from Wikipedia:

“The colloquial term Ma Bell (as in “Mother Bell”) was often used by the general public in the United States to refer to any aspect of this conglomerate, as it held a near complete monopoly over all telephone service in most areas of the country, and is still used by many to refer to any telephone company. Ma Bell is also used to refer to the various female voices behind recordings for the Bell System: “

But what you say does that have to do with the photo in this blog?  What you are looking at is a mechanical pencil with a silver ball on top.  This one is a vintage premium from the New York Telephone Co., which was part of the Bell Telephone system.  I found some more information on the web site, Tele Truth. Below is an except:

from “The Unathorized Bio of the Baby Bells & Info-Scandal” updated December 2001)

“For over 100 years, Ma Bell, sometimes called the “Bell System” sometimes called “AT&T”, controlled almost all telecommunications in the US. Once the largest company in the world with over one million employees, the company consisted of 22 local Bell companies, (including New York Telephone and Ohio Bell), AT&T Long Lines, (the long distance division) as well as Western Electric, (the subsidiary that manufactured telephone equipment) and Bell Labs, one of the premier research organizations.

Then in 1984, because of the monopoly control the company had over phone service, the company was broken-up and the local Bell phone companies were divvied up among seven, artificially created, very large companies called “Regional Bell Operating Companies” (RBOCs, pronounced “R-BOKS”) or sometimes the “Regional Bell Holding Companies” (RHC) and sometimes “The Baby Bells”.

Please note: AT&T no longer has any ownership relationship with the Bell companies. However, in our 1993 consumer survey, we found that about 1/4 of the population thought that AT&T still owned the Bell companies. Meanwhile 5% still call the companies “Ma Bell”, or the “Bell Company”.

Each company controls specific geographic regions of the US. For example, Ameritech controlled a five-state region: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

This diagram gives the original Baby Bells, the phone company(s) it controlled, and the state(s).

Today, because of numerous mergers, there are only 4 Bells:
  • BellSouthSBC Communications, which owns Southwestern Bell, Pacific Bell, Ameritech, SNET
  • Verizon, which owns Bell Atlantic, NYNEX, and GTE
  • Qwest, which now owns US West

However, there is mass confusion on the part of the customers, not only because of these mergers, but also because of the various name changes.”

Now that you have the deep background on how Bell telephone which once monopolized the communications network was dismantled by the government.  If they had foreseen the future with so many household NOT using hard line phone service, perhaps Ma Bell would have self-destructed anyway.

But here’s the real purpose of Throwback Thursday – who remembers rotary phones?  The ball tip of the pencil was meant to save your manicure as you dialed a number.  Cute huh?

Happy Birthday Princess !

Six years ago today my world completely changed.  I used to think that my friends who became grandmothers quickly turned into gushing, obsessive, photo flashing ninnies.  And I quickly joined the club.  FRC  was born August  2008 and I became Gigi.  In case you’re wondering what Gigi stands for, it’s Glam Gram – as you can see, I wanted to be grandmother but I didn’t want to become a Grandma.  Certainly not.  I may be a woman of a certain age but I’m not a Granny.

Look who turned my world upside down and I am so grateful she did. I’ve said it before, Finley is my heart!

Sweet baby Finley Ray

Sweet Baby

Finley Is In The Pink

This cutie Is In The Pink

St. Patrick's Day Baby

St. Patrick’s Day Baby

Finley's First Visit To Ocean Grove

Finny’s First Visit To Shore

Finley Finally Baptized

Finally Baptized

Finley Celebrates Her 2nd Birthday with Snow White

Princess Celebrates Her 2nd Birthday with Snow White

A Snow White Tutu

A Snow White Tutu

She Inherited The Cleaning Gene

She Inherited The Cleaning Gene

A Yankee Fan in Boston!

A Yankee Fan

Pinkalicious Turns 3

Pinkalicious Turns 3

Finley in her Nurse Costume

 Playing Nurse

Garden House Pre School

Little Orphan Annie is 4

Little Orphan Annie is 4

Jamaica Girl

Jamaica Girl

Finley in San Diego

 San Diego

Visiting Gigi in Ocean Grove

Visiting Gigi at the Jersey Shore

She's A Beauty

She’s A Beauty

Soccer Player Just Like Mommy

Soccer Player Just Like Mommy

And A Ballerina Too

And A Ballerina Too

Finley Ray Clark

My precious!

Happy Birthday Princess!

Marinara Sauce aka Sailor's Sauce

Marinara Sauce aka
Sailor’s Sauce

I love pasta! Actually other than my passion for ice cream, pasta is my favorite food.  Think about the various shapes, the many ways to prepare it and of course the myriad sauces.  This particular sauce is one from my own childhood.  We often had spaghetti with marinara sauce on Fridays – those were the days when Fridays were meatless.  I think it’s a wonderful light summer sauce and a great way to incorporate a vegetarian dish into your weekly dinners.


3 TBS olive oil

2 cans of whole Italian plum tomatoes

4 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced

Red pepper flakes – 1/2 to 1 tsp

1 medium onion – chopped

3/4 cup of fresh basil leaves – torn

2TBS fresh oregano – chopped

Salt and pepper

Add olive oil to pan ( I used my braising pan)

Squish the tomatoes into a bowl and set aside

Add onion and garlic to pan and sauté till onions are soft and translucent and garlic is fragrant

Add the tomatoes and pepper flakes to the pan, cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes until sauce thickens.

Add the basil leaves and oregano, season with salt and pepper

I cooked the linguine and would have added it directly to the pan except that this batch of sauce was huge.  I scooped out enough sauce to fill a quart container and then added the pasta to the pan.

I sprinkled it with grated parmigiano-romano cheese and served it in the braising pan.


Today was a very Super Sunday!  First of all it was hot and sunny and a perfect beach day.  A sunny Sunday at the Shore is hard to beat.  Then there’s the soup;  This morning I got up early and made Gazpacho.  It’s the quintessential summer soup and a great Sunday night supper.  I love this recipe and so I made a huge batch, some for our dinner tonight and some for the freezer.  And since I think she’s reading the blog, I also put a small container of Gazpacho aside for Elinor.  If you would like the recipe for this Gazpacho, please see this prior post:  : http://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/gazpacho-or-th…ersey-tomatoes

After an afternoon of wave surfing, well actually it was more like trying not to get swamped by the rolling waves, we went home, showered and had a quick cocktail.  The best was yet to come…. Tonight promised us the biggest moon of the year.  The sky had been clear all day and so we planned on heading back to the boardwalk at the time the moon was expected to rise.  I’ve been wanting to watch a moon rise for the last couple of weeks.  Tonight had all of the aspects for the perfect moon rising, the time was good for us and of all the moons, this one was going to BIG, BIG, BIG!

We enjoyed sitting on the boardwalk which happened to be heavily populated as a whole bunch of people were sitting and standing around waiting for this spectacular site.  Everybody was talking about the Super Moon.  While we waited, the sun, no slouch in the spectacular department went down in a blaze of glory.

A Glorious Sunset In The Making

A Glorious Sunset In The Making

The moon rise web site said the moon would rise in the ESE direction and about 7:43pm.  I kept scanning the horizon looking for that thin red line to appear on top of the water in the distance.  Sometimes you can’t see what you’re looking for because what you’re looking for is a bit obscured and appears not as expected.  The red rim of the rising moon never graced the horizon BUT then about 8pm, there it was!  NOT on the horizon but rather quite a bit above the water line and not looking very red orange – it was a big fat round white ghost in the sky!  I guess the sky was not quite as clear as we thought, the cloud cover obscured the rising moon until it was a ways above the water.

The Ghost of a Moon

The Ghost of a Moon

As it rose higher and the atmosphere cleared, the moon not only got bigger, it got orange too!  It was quite the sight, that blushing man in the moon smiling down on us.  It loomed larger and brighter and it was like being in a planetarium because the moon hung there in the sky right in front of us and it felt like we were watching this phenomena in 3-D.

Big Red

Big Red

We called it a Super Moon, but it has had many other names over the years.  It’s a Mega-moon, a perigee moon.  Native American tribes that were basically fishermen noted this August moon as the Sturgeon Moon because ti was during the time of this full moon that the sturgeon were more readily caught.  It was also known as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon by other Native Americans.  Also known as the Full Red Moon as it appeared when rising through a sultry haze.



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