Monday, September 29, 2008

Port Jefferson

Port Jeff Stacks, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.

This is the power plant stacks in Port Jefferson harbor, 
with a tugboat on the left, at the ferry pier.
It's a wonderful little town and a real pleasure for strolling and shopping.
The ferry takes pedestrians and cars to Connecticut.
There are restaurants to meet everyone's budget.
If you haven't been there recently, take a ride and see the town for yourself.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Last Day at Shea Stadium

security at Shea Stadium, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.

Yes, today was the last day. 
Shea is now closed and the new stadium, Citi Field, will open next season.
I saw the Beatles at Shea Stadium back in 1965. 
I was one of those screaming young girls who couldn't hear them sing or even see them from the seats way up top. I knew it was them. My friend had binoculars.
Everyone was screaming. We LOVED the Beatles.
I'll always remember Shea and the time.....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Financial Crisis

coins, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.
I'm not usually a political person. If you've noticed, I don't write about politics and I try to keep this blog up-beat and positive. 
I'm that kind of person.
What I can't understand is how this "financial crisis" happened without the banks and government knowing in advance.
I knew. I saw it coming for years.
I knew that some people were in trouble when I saw that my co-workers, buying homes for the first time, put very little money down and spent $350,000 for a house, with taxes of $6,000 a year! 
How could they do it? Why did the bank allow it?
The home prices were inflated, and the loans were ridiculously high!
I couldn't do that when I bought my first house in 1979.
We had to put 1/3 down.
I also knew the banks were lending too much when my charge account statements arrived.
I would receive, (and I still get), blank checks with the ability to receive "cash advances."
With my good credit rating, the approved amounts were very high.
"Just write a check for $20,000 and it's yours!"
I would often say to my husband, "We have to pay this back eventually, right?!"
Well, of course. Nothing is free!
I'm sure there are some people who filled out those blank checks for the full-approved amount. It was too good to be true.
And the banks got the interest!
Another example:
Mail would arrive at my house, approved credit cards for my two sons.
My sons were in college and had part time jobs, making, if they were lucky, $5,000 a year...just enough for spending money.
The banks sent them credit cards! Pre-approved!
Were they kidding?
How did they expect these college kids to pay back that money?
With college expenses, books, food, gas, car insurance, etc., how could students pay back credit card charges on their own?
I guess I didn't know for sure that we were in trouble as a nation, 
but I had a sinking feeling that the banks and loan companies were just lending out too much money.
Wasn't the "Great Depression" caused by the same lending practices? 
Buying on "margin" which meant buying something on the hope and promise of pay-back and profit?
Did we learn nothing from the past?
It makes me angry that now we, as taxpayers, have to help get the nation back on track.
I followed the rules, bought only what I could afford, and now I will have to bail out the troubled economy.
Who will be there when I need help?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fire Island Praise

gull on Fire Island, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.
The gulls enjoy a sunny day at the beach!
I am so much like the seagulls. 
If the sun is shining and the ocean breezes are cool, I'm enjoying the beach.
The beach has a calming effect. I don't know if it's the sound of the waves or just the sunshine and fresh air, but it seems like the place to be when life becomes stressful.
Maybe it's being away from the house, the news, the computer and phone.
(I do have a cell phone but leave it off most of the time!)
A beach chair, a good book and sunglasses are all you need to enjoy the day.
A nice walk along the shore, on solid sand only adds to the enjoyment.
Fire Island is one of the best beaches in the world. 
The sand is fine and pinkish-white. The wind usually comes from the southwest, so you feel it on your face.
The best part is that it is often not crowded.
September in my opinion, is the best month on Fire Island since most people are back to school and to work, after their summer vacations. 
Yet, it is still relatively warm on Fire Island.
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Great South Bay, September's warm water, heated from the long summer, keeps the air at a comfortable temperature.
Did I tell you that I love living on Long Island?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Parker Rally Diptych

Parker Rally, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.

street art double

street art double, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.

beach diptych

diptych beach, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.
The word "diptych" is a word from another time.
Originally a diptych (pronounced "dip-tick") from the Greek, 
is any object with two flat plates attached at a hinge. 

From Wikipedia, "Devices of this form were quite popular in the ancient world, types existing for recording notes and for measuring time and direction."

The word has a new use and popularity.
It is the connection of two photos that in some way form one unit, as the photos above.
The photos can be similar, opposites in subject or color, or any connection that seems to fit.
They are fun to create and give photography a new creative edge.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fire Island Monarch

Click on the photo for more detail...

monarch butterfly migration

monarch butterfly, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.
The Monarch Butterfly population is on its way.
Monarchs are known for their lengthy migration to Mexico. 
In North America they make southward migrations starting in August until the first frost.
This week, on Fire Island, large groups of the Monarch were seen flying over the dunes on their way.
To read more about them, click here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Blue Claw Season

Blue Claws, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.

It's blue-claw crab season and the bay is abundant with crabs.
Actually, you can catch crabs on Long Island all summer, but it is not until late August into September that they are full size.
An interesting thing has been happening though, and my husband and I don't know why.
We seem to be only catching males. Where are the females?
Usually, we throw the females back into the water so they will reproduce, but this year we have not caught one female and we've caught dozens of male crabs so far.
Does anyone know why?
I'd appreciate a comment and some input to the reason why?
How do you cook crabs?
Do you have a favorite recipe?
Well, this is how we make them in our family, a recipe handed down from my parents:
When you catch the crabs, immediately kill them with a sharp knife through the body.
(In my opinion, this is much more humane than steaming them alive, but I guess that's debatable!)
Then clean them by pulling off the top shell and cleaning out the insides. (I know some people eat that, but we don't.)
When they are clean, throw them into a fresh pot of  tomato sauce. 
That's it! Cook up some pasta and serve.
The crabs and sauce are so sweet this way. It is a messy dinner, so be prepared with lots of napkins, a washable tablecloth and don't forget the nut-crackers and picks.
Here is a another hint:
If you only catch a few and/or are not ready to eat them, freeze them after cleaning.
Keep adding cleaned crabs to the freezer in zip-lock bags until you have enough.
Sometimes we catch crabs all week and make the sauce on the weekend.
It's an inexpensive dinner and so delicious!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My mom, Lillian, 1940s

My mom, Lillian, 1940s, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.

I've been organizing photos and cleaning off my computer of un-needed files.
Some photos I cannot delete. This of course, is one of them.
This was one of the few professional photos my mother had taken of herself, dated '43. I don't know the occasion, but knowing my parents, some photographer owed my father some money or a favor and did this for free. That's how it was back in the 1940s.
I thought, and still think, my mother was a beautiful lady.
Her personality and spirit matched her good looks, although she never thought she was good-looking. She was so wrong.
She always looked on the positive side. She was strong and intelligent.
She raised five children, worked in the family business, cleaned the house and sewed her own clothes to save the family money.
She never judged people by their religion or ethnic background and raised me and my siblings to feel the same. She always said that there was good and bad in everyone. "Find the good."
What can I say? You go through old photos and it brings up memories, some good, some bad.
This was a good one.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stony Brook Village, Long Island, NY

I went over to Stony Brook looking for "new" areas to photograph. There is this cute little shopping center called the "Stony Brook Village."

Stony Brook doesn't have a true village or town center, like some towns on Long Island, but this quaint shopping area has places to eat and stroll.
 There are nice shops and people seemed very friendly. They must have wondered why I was taking photographs, especially with a tripod, but they all smiled and said, "Hello!"

Stony Brook is a wonderful area with many assets. The best part of Stony Brook is the University and the cultural events it brings to the community. They have many music programs, plays, art exhibits, and more. 
There is always something to see and they even provide classes for non-matriculating adults. The "Roundtable" is mostly classes given for older people who just want to learn. Workshops cover anything from political discussions to crafts to book groups.
The course list is quite long!
 The Stony Brook Hospital is a great asset too, since it is "world class" and a teaching hospital. I guess that isn't the main reason to move there but it certainly improves the quality of life.
When I need a doctor or hospital, I go to Stony Brook.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In memory...

In memory..., originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Atlantic Rhythm

Atlantic Rhythm, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.

A very still, calm morning on the river....we sailed out to the bay to go fishing. 
Yes, we caught fish again!
The bay is alive with Weak fish and King fish and lots of Snappers!
I love being on the water in the early morning. The wind is usually calm (since the heat of the day hasn't warmed the land to create the temperature changes that bring wind) and there are few boats moving about to stir up the water.
The air has that salty, fresh smell and a coolness this time of year.
Did I tell you I love being on the water?

Monday, September 08, 2008

stone and blue

stone and blue, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.
The potted plants seem to be doing very well at my place.
Cooler temperatures are keeping them green and not in need of frequent watering.
As the weather gets colder, some plants will need to be brought into the house but most annuals will be discarded.
It seems like such a waste, but that is the price to pay for the continuous color of annuals.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Robert Moses Causeway Bridge

A beautiful day today. 
Yesterday's storm "Hanna" did not live up to its reputation. 
I woke up this morning to a clear sky and perfect temperatures.
The above photo was taken from the town of Babylon.
People were fishing and boaters were out for the day.
Click on the photo to see a larger version!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Rainy Day Saturday....Hanna on the way!

Tropical Storm Hanna is on the way.
Rain and wind is predicted to be more severe than usual.
So, we got ready!
My husband and I went to the store and bought supplies for a possible emergency:
  • batteries for small radio and flashlights
  • candles in glass enclosures
  • water in bottles
  • gas in the car
  • gas for our generator (Our basements pumps need electricity and so we really needed a generator. The last big storm flooded the basement.)
  • rental movies so we can see movies if we do have electricity (...and who needs an excuse to catch up on movies we have been wanting to see?)
  • food that won't have to be cooked (or can be cooked on a gas grill)

The lawn furniture is secure too!

If you have not gotten ready yet, stop reading this and go! Yes, get going!
If Hanna is not too bad, you will still be ready for Ike, Josephine, K.....
the list keeps on! 

Friday, September 05, 2008

Skimmers at Nickerson Beach

skimmers, originally uploaded by Alida's Photos.

I went over to Nickerson Beach yesterday, Nassau County.....yes, I left my zip code!
Just kidding, of course!
I've been wanting to go there to see these beautiful nesting birds but waited until after Labor Day. During the summer, parking there is pretty expensive for non-residents, and it's not like I was staying all day. (The gas to get there was cost enough!)
I just wanted to see the birds.
If you had told me 30 years ago that I would be traveling to see birds, I would not have believed you. After all, I was a "Brooklyn girl" and the only birds I ever saw were pigeons and sparrows.
There are birds in the city of course, but I just never noticed I guess.
It wasn't until I moved to Long Island, and became an adult, that I realized the variety of birds that we have.
I always enjoyed nature, but I was young and too involved in my own world to realize the pleasure that birding can bring. My parents enjoyed nature also, and would take the family to parks and rivers. We would pick wild berries in the country and clams and mussels on the beach.
So, I knew from very young that I enjoyed being outdoors.
I now have a "life list" of birds that I've seen. I buy bird ID books and use binoculars to see the differences in the coloring and beaks to help with identification.
Yep, I never would have thought........
Our lives take different turns, and the journey is often unpredictable.
That's a good thing.