Archive | August, 2017

The Way to My Husband’s Heart is Ice Cream

31 Aug

During a recent conversation with my daughter, I realized that even my children understand that their Dad loves ice cream more than any other food. She was discussing a man at work, who when offered ice cream, said something to the effect that he loved ice cream and if they wanted any, they should take it now because he would eat it all. And he did.

In telling me about it, she said, it made her laugh so much because he ate ice cream the way Daddy did. She was actually still laughing when she told me how he put the spoon in the ice cream and just dug in.

I knew exactly what she meant. My husband eats ice cream with gusto! He scoops his ice cream with a whole heart and a big spoon.   My husband does not savor his ice cream. He devours it!   He absolutely loves ice cream. He even rates his travels on how good the ice cream is. We have tasted ice cream across the USA and in countries far and wide.

Although he speaks a bit of Spanish and Mandarin, my husband’s word of choice in any language is Ice Cream. In Italy it is Gelato. When in Milan, my husband ate ice cream every single day from the ice cream parlor around the corner from our hotel. On our last day, he went back for a second treat before we left. I would say he loved that ice cream.

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The most delicious ice cream in Rome, Italy.

In Rome, a friend of his took us to the La Gelateria Frigidarium, a place he called the best ice cream ever. And he was so right. I loved it because they had sorbet. But this sorbet was so creamy, I was sure it had dairy in it. But it did not!!! Yum. My husband had three scoops there. I know if we had stayed longer in Rome, there would have been many trips to Frigidarium. As it is, we recommend it to anyone heading to Rome.

His least favorite ice cream was in Turkey. He said they put taffy in it, which destroy the value of true ice cream. He is an ice cream purest. But he still ate it. Ice cream addicts need their fix.

When we were in Israel in December, we took a private tour in Tel Aviv. My husband was interested, but not so much as we walked through an outdoor pedestrian shopping area. Shopping is not his favorite thing to do. As the guide and I were talking, I noticed my husband stopping. One word came from his lips, “Galida.” Ice cream; his one real word in Hebrew.

The tour came to a thirty-minute stop as we all had an ice cream treat. The guide said, “This is a great idea, especially when I have children on a tour. From now on, I am stopping here for a treat as we do the tours.” I am glad my husband’s ice cream fanaticism helped the tour guide with future successes.

Last week when we went to see the eclipse in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, he found Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream in Jackson. I enjoyed the Huckleberry sorbet the one time I went.   I am not sure all the flavors he tried over his multiple trips to Moo’s.

In February of 2016, my husband, sister and I went to Universal Studios in Florida. We had two-day passes. On the first day, while my sister and I used a rest room on our way out of the park, my husband found an ice cream parlor. He loved the ice cream, so we had to have some as well. It was great for me, as they had sorbet. The next day, we had a planned stop for ice cream there as we left the park. My husband was so excited when he found out it was part of a national chain, with a store not too far from our home…about four miles. Stone Cold Creamery was his new favorite ice cream.

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Out of the hospital for about 20 minutes. The smile is for ice cream.

This past year he had to have some major surgery. On the day he was released from the hospital, I took him to Cold Stone Creamery for a treat. It might have been hard for some people to eat ice cream with a neck brace on, but not my husband.

I posted a picture of him, and a few days later, he received gift cards in the mail from some of his friends so he could get more ice cream. Two weeks later, when the neck brace came off, I took him back for more.

The way to my husband’s heart is ice cream. The way to cure pain of surgery is ice cream. The way to deal with stress is ice cream. The way to end a day is ice cream. I know my husband loves our children and me. I even joke with him by saying, “I love you more than ice cream.” But when it comes down to it, sometimes I am not quite sure if he has the same sentiment.

PS: my 96 year old grandfather died after eating ice cream. His last words were, “yum, delicious.”  I hope, way in the future,  my husband’s ending is as happy.  

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The Grand Teton National Park Combines History And Nature

29 Aug

The Grand Tetons


As I ate lunch in the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park and stared out the windows at the marshland and the mountains, I could not help but wonder ‘what if?’ 

What if John D. Rockefeller had not come to Jackson Hole? What if the beauty of these mountains and the need to preserve the land had not touched his heart? What if the strong opposition to the creation of another national park so close to Yellowstone has persevered?  What if there was not a wealthy Rockefeller who was willing to spend his own money to buy up thousand upon thousands of acres of land and then donate it to the National Parks?  

What if?

But he did come out to Wyoming and preserve the beauty of the Grand Teton National Park.  

Jenny Lake ( Photo by my husband.)


Who knew there were 12 glaciers high in there jagged mountains!  Not me!  And the stunning lakes, like Jenny Lake and Jackson Lake waiting to be explored. Even the Visitor Centers are lovely. Especially the Laurence Rockefeller Center with its meditation room which surrounds you in the calming sounds of the forests. A short walk to the waterfall at this  Center brings you past a stunning river scene. 

An abandoned barn in Mormons Row.


Then there are the historical buildings and sites within the park. A small Episcopal Chapel — The Chapel of the Transfiguration– with the most stunning view. Praying would be easy there as you look toward the mountains and see the glory of nature. The settlers houses from the late 1800s and early 1900s are somewhat preserved so you can see how the original settlers lived before modern conveniences. It must have been so cold!  We walked down park of Mormons’ Row. A settlement that is now mostly abandoned homes and barns where a Mormon Community once thrived. Now there is just one active homestead belonging to a family who runs a bed and breakfast. 

Seeing the site of the ferry that once took settlers across the river in safety and the home where the ferry owner lived and opened a small outpost, reminds you that the settlers did not have cars and bridges. 

I think it is best to go to Grand Teton Park before going to Yellowstone. This way you learn the history of the area and the ‘ normal’ natural beauty of the Jackson Hole area before going up the mountains to the weird and amazing beauty of Yellowstone.  Most important you learn of the people who persevered to settle in the stunning, but relentless mountains of Wyoming.  

Yellowstone Astonishes!

24 Aug

Are there even words to describe Yellowstone National Park?  I am not sure. The words I know seem simplistic and inadequate. 

Old Faithful


The sights to be seen at this gigantic nature preserve are unique.  The vistas are beyond breathtaking. The geysers, hot springs, mineral deposits, steam vents, boiling mud and crystal blue ponds so close together astounds the mind. The waterfalls throughout the park are majestic.  The hot water waterfall sprewing mineral rich waters seems unreal. While the lower falls coming from the Yellowstone River at the edge of the multicolored Grand Csnyon is stunning as the water’s spray glistens in the sunlight. 


As we waited for Old Faithful geyser to erupt, with thousands of others, we could feel the excitement build as tiny jets of swater realeased in the air. I could hear the rumble of the ground. A few minutes before the main eruption began I felt a slight tremble in the ground beneath me. Then behold a stream of atomized water flew in a tower above us!  We saw four other geysers erupt during our day at the park. 

Bison crossing a river.


Then there are the wildlife: bear (we saw the flash of one along the side of a road); bison (we saw three groups totaling over 100 bison, as well as many single bison relaxing in the park); elk (one hiding in the trees); deer (another watching us from the woods); pronghorn deer and a beaver happily swimming. 

Yellowstone River and falls in the Grand Canyon.


I think my favorite was the Lower waterfall on the Yellowstone River that leads into the Grand Canyon. What an impressive site! The colors of the canyons walls are so unusual. 

Now that I know the park is situated above a giant magma field and that a large section of the park is a gigantic caldera, I am even more intrigued by this treasure.  I can see why the first explorers were so insistent that it become a National Park. The first one so proclaimed. 

The Lobby of Old Faithful Lodge


The lodges and the hotels are also memorable.  Old Faithful Lodge with it’s wooden logs and 76 foot ceilings. The Lake Lodge in its bright yellow, recalling the opulent travel of the wealthy in the 19th century.  

We have so much more to see, but not enough time.  We have to come back!!!  Luckily we are now officially seniors and we were  able to purchase a lifetime pass for the parks for only $10.   They soon rise steeply in price. Getting them in Wyoming was an added bonus. 

When I return I plan to spend two nights in the park. There is so much we did not get to see. This taste of Yellowstone has me Yearning for more! To be honest, seeing Yellowstone ALMOST eclipsed the Eclipse! 

Totality 

21 Aug

No one can truly prepare a solar eclipse novice to the extraordinary moment of totality. You can say it gets cooler. You can tell them about the moon’s shadow rushing toward you. You can say it is spectacular. 

Watching the eclipse with welder’s goggles.


Each of the events come in sequence.   Watching the solar bands as they flicker in the ground. Explaining the ring of Fire that surrounds the shadow. And finally you can tell them about the absolute spectacular moments that encompass totality. You can tell them. But they cannot understand until they have actually experienced the moment. And then they know. 

Watching the shadow come over the Grand Tetons.


That moment when the moon’s shadow reaches the sun and it goes black. And a sparkle of light flashes out one last time: the diamond ring. There are no words,  Except, “Oh My God!”  

 Then comes the displays of light. The Bailey’s beads. The solar flares. The prominences that jump into the sky. You can now see them without the bright light of the sun blinding your eyes. And time seems to flicker by. Two minutes seem take just seconds to pass. 

Ring of Fire!


Each eclipse has its own special corona. The white light that shoots out in all directions from the sun. This one seemed Star shaped. 

I was blessed to see this eclipse in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with the Grand Tetons in the horizon. 500 of us were fortunate to be at the Jackson Hole Golf Club. A most glorious spot to see the magnificent sky show. 

I am so blessed to have seen five eclipses. I am already looking forward to 2020 in Chile and 2024 in Texas! 

I truly believe that everyone should see at least one eclipse. But I know if you do, you will want to see another and another. You will join our band of umbraphiles who wish to once again stand in totality and stand in the glory of the moon’s shadow. 

Preparing For My Fifth Eclipse

15 Aug
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Watching the eclipse on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea 2006.

Today I had a manicure in black and silver in honor of the total eclipse of the sun that will occur on Monday, August 21. Later I ordered five eclipse t-shirts designed by a friend!  I am getting excited!  Just five more days to the eclipse!

I remember when I went on my first Eclipse trip in 1998 to see the eclipse on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. Little did I know then that seeing an eclipse would take me to Austria, Hungary, Greece and Turkey and now the USA.

During the eclipse in 1999 in Europe, I found out about the eclipse on August 21, 2017. I thought it was so far away. And I would be so OLD…62. I was not sure I could even think of an eclipse so far in the distant future. But here it is. I am 62. I will see it. 18 years went very quickly.

This will actually be my fifth total eclipse. The first one I accidentally saw was on the East Coast when I was a teenager on March 7, 1970. I remember being told not to look at the sun. I do remember it getting dark. But I honestly do not remember much of that celestial event.

My next three viewings of total eclipses were well thought out by my husband. Although he is a physician now, he spent his high school career determined to be an astrophysicist. He even studied at Cal Tech for the first two years of college. Although he totally changed his major, he never lost his love of the universe.  (I wrote about this in an earlier blog, see link below.)

On our first date, as we walked across the campus at the University of Missouri, he pointed out constellations in the night sky. This love of stars is contagious. I soon fell under the eclipse spell.

I have seen eclipse on land and in the ocean.

I cannot explain the magic that occurs as you see the moon shadow racing towards you as darkness overcomes daylight.

I cannot describe the beautiful red, orange, gold, yellow, white splashes of light the pour forth from the corona of a total eclipse.

To see the spurts and flourishes of the sun’s plasma as it shoots into the sky.

A vision you cannot normally see due to the brightness of the sun.

But now can look directly into the dark circle and see the stunning displays of light.

I cannot wait until Monday when we once again will stand in the darkness of an totally eclipsed sun! We plan to be with our umbraphile friends in Wyoming as we stand in awe during the eclipse.

My husband and I have vowed to take no photos during the eclipse. Let the experts do that. Instead we will look skyward and enjoy the spectacular joy of an eclipse.

 

Umbraphile: definition: one who loves eclipses

https://zicharonot.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/spaceastronomy-and-the-first-walk-on-the-moon/

Mr Anoff and the Sardine Sandwich

11 Aug

When I think about why I love sardine sandwiches, I realize it all goes back to my childhood and one specific incident.   I must have been four or five years old. I was in West New York, New Jersey, visiting my grandparents for the weekend. They owned a bakery on Palisade Avenue around 53rd Street.   Until my sister was born, we lived in an apartment above the bakery. But in 1958, when she was born, we moved to a larger apartment in North Bergen. (See a blog about the bakery below.)

My parents were overwhelmed at times. And I think my grandparents missed us. So every weekend, either my brother or I spent the weekend with my grandparents. This must have been my weekend.

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My grandparents and the Anoffs in the Catskills about 1951.

Also in West New York lived my grandparents’ best friends, the Anoffs. Their daughter and my Mom were best friends. And their granddaughter and I became best friends as well.   Since she still lived in West New York, whenever I came to visit, I often played with her, while my grandparents worked.

I still remember the day of the sardine sandwich.   We had been playing outside for a long time, when Mr. Anoff called us in for lunch.   STOP right there. Mr. Anoff never fed us lunch. It was my grandmother, or my mom, or Mrs. Anoff or her daughter who made sure we ate. NEVER ever Mr. Anoff.   So looking back, right there something was different. Something must have been happening, but I do not what. Neither I nor my friend know why he fed us that day. I can only imagine that the women were doing something. Could it have been a shower? I do not know, but the women were gone!

In the meantime, my friend and I followed her grandfather’s instructions and went upstairs to the apartment for lunch.   I had been in the apartment before. But this was different. Mrs. Anoff was not there! Mr. Anoff was preparing a special lunch. He had out rye bread, lettuce and sardines.   He toasted the bread, mushed the sardines on the bread and added lettuce. He asked if I wanted to try it. I nodded yes. He cut the sandwich in half.   I remember eating sardines for the first time and Loving the taste. My friend did not eat it. She had peanut and jelly if I remember correctly.   (I did not like PB andJ — peanut butter and jelly.)

I ate the entire half sandwich and asked for more. I remember Mr. Anoff smiling at me and giving me another half of a sardine sandwich. It was amazing. I actually can still see the table in my mind’s eye. I can see him making the sandwich. It just has stayed with me forever.

I will admit it started a craze for me. I would often beg my Mom for a sardine sandwich, just the way Mr. Anoff made it. I think I drove her crazy for a while. Everyone else loved the normal PB and J, but not me.  I would watch her to make sure she made it just the way he did!

Honestly, I do not often eat a sardine sandwich. When they were little, my children hated the smell. So I did not eat sardine sandwiches when they were around. Now they are out of the house and I am free to do as I like. As a special treat, I purchase a can of sardines (packed in water) and make myself a sandwich.  It is a moment of memory heaven.

 

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I almost always try make it on rye bread, but since I am the only one who eats rye bread, I often substitute challah or a bagel. I always put either lettuce or cucumber on it. Just as I did when I was a child. I try to make it as much like as Mr. Anoff did as I can. I mush the sardines onto the bread and carefully place the lettuce or cucumber carefully throughout the sandwich.

I do not think Mr. Anoff ever made us lunch again.   Even in the Catskills, where we spent over two months every summers, he never made us a meal. We had mothers and grandmothers there all the time.  And even though he was almost always around,  I never remember him ever being on lunch duty again.  It was just that one magical time.

I do remember talking to him about sardines once or twice, possibly because my Mom brought up the topic. I think it was a sort of adult joke that I was still eating sardines.  I remember him smiling whenever the topic came up.

But now, most important, I almost always text or email my friend to tell her when I am eating an Abe Anoff sardine sandwich. I think it makes her feel good to know that I am remembering her grandfather, and the good times we had as children.  Mr. Anoff has been gone for many years.  But a piece of him stays in my heart and my taste buds.

 

 

https://zicharonot.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/bakery-aromas-bring-back-delicious-memories/

 

The Dress Fiasco That Almost Wrecked My Brother’s Wedding

4 Aug

On September 2, my brother and his wife will be married for 38 years. Their Labor Day weekend wedding was notable for several reasons: his was the first wedding in our immediate family; he got married on our youngest sister’s 21st birthday; the drama of the dress my Mom wore to the wedding.

Why would a dress be so memorable? Here is what happened. My sister in law chose orange, yellow and beige as her wedding colors.   My mother did not want to wear beige, as she felt it was too close to the bride’s white dress. But she could not find a dress anywhere, in a color she liked. She decided to have one made specifically for her.

She chose an orange/peach color fabric, with a lace inset at the top. As a teacher in West New York, she knew many people. Someone recommended a good dressmaker.   The dress was well made, but it looked absolutely horrid on my Mom. I can still see the dress, even though she never wore it to the wedding, just tried it on for us.

My husband and I, who were engaged at the time, arrived in New Jersey about four days before the wedding. That evening, my Mom tried the dress on for all of us. My Dad, my sister and I stared at the dress, without words. Mom looked horrendous. The color was WRONG! It took all color from her face. The style was also terrible. She looked like she was wearing a nightgown to go to bed, NOT a gown to wear to a wedding.

My sister and I were stunned.  We were silent for a few minutes. We actually had no words, no way to tell her how terrible this dress looked. Mothers and daughters have a connection,  from our silence, and probably the looks on our faces, she could tell. “It looks horrible, doesn’t it,” she asked…or something like that.

Then the tears started. The wedding was just four days away. What would she do? We had a major disaster on our hands!  My sister and I were up in an instant.  We would do something!

My father was somewhat calm. “DO not worry. You will find a dress.” He was positive. But he was also insistent that she no longer tried to save money.   This called for emergency shopping, and we knew the perfect store: Gail Browns, located on 58th and Bergenline Avenue.  (Thanks North Bergen friends for this info.) It was a high-class dress shop near by. A store that we never shopped at because the prices were way too high for us. We usually went to Little Marcy’s, occasionally Corduroy Village, but never Gail Browns.

The next morning, as soon as it opened, my sister, my Mom and I went to the dress store. With in minutes, the sales lady brought over a beautiful beige dress with a brown belt. It was the same exact color as the tuxedos the men were going to wear. Mom put it on. Stunning.

Grandmas. mom, sister and me

Mom in her lovely dress stands in the middle surrounded by my grandmothers, my sister and me.

Yes, there were just a few minor alterations. The hem had to be shortened; the belt loops moved; an extra snap on the bodice. But the seamstress knew it was an emergency situation. This was Friday. The wedding was Sunday. By late afternoon, the dress was complete. I believe they even dyed shoes for her!

The Dress Fiasco was over.  The discarded dress disappeared.  Never to be commented on ever again.

Mom looked wonderful at the wedding of her oldest child. She looks lovely in all the photos. There is a picture of my Mom and Dad dancing that I can still see in my mind. It was a great dress.

I missed Mom when I purchased the dress for my daughter’s wedding last year, 37 years later. She also got married on Labor Day Weekend. My Mom is no longer with us.  She did not get to go dress shopping for this wedding.

Instead, my daughter and I went shopping, and narrowed the choice to two dresses, which I brought home.   Later that day my sister arrived from New Jersey. I tried on both dresses. I took the advise of my sister and daughter who both loved one specific dress. They said it was me. The other dress, which was grey drained me of color. Another dress fiasco was averted. I wore the lavender dress that they loved.

Now my sister is facing this hurdle. Her daughter is getting married next June.   I know she realizes that I will be there to make sure that her dress is the perfect one.   There will be no tears four days before another wedding because the mother’s dress is horrendous. No more dress fiascos ever!

Another blog about shopping: https://zicharonot.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/shopping-on-the-avenue-i-dont-mean-fifth-i-mean-bergenline/