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The Complete Adventures of Little Bear

Curious GeorgeWe are on a school break this week, which means that each day’s adventure is the title of every Curious George book concatenated together:  LITTLE BEAR GOES TO THE PLAYGROUND, LITTLE BEAR RIDES A TRAIN, LITTLE BEAR GOES TO A MARKET, LITTLE BEAR GOES TO THE CIRCUS, etc. etc.  I’m wearing my yellow hat, and am trying to be very careful to not let the ostrich eat the bugle.

Yesterday after a brief sojourn to the (in order):  bank, playground, library, and bookstore– we found ourselves to be pretty hungry.  Next to Barnes and Noble is a new IHOP– so I thought that would be perfect.  However, there was a 20 minute wait.  So we walked a little further over to Pizzeria Uno.

Now, my wife is from Chicago, which means for the uninitiated that she is a snob about pizza, and very particular.  Everytime in the past I’ve suggested Pizzeria Uno’s she’s refused on the grounds that it isn’t going to be the hallowed pizza of her youth.
This has translated into our dear child also being a picky eater.  Even at 2.5, he will not eat stuff if it even seems to be different than what he wants.  It turns out that Pizzeria Uno has a GREAT kid’s menu, and AA loved the food,  and a very nice selection of food  for hungry dads that are not pizza.  We had a delightful lunch at a very reasonable price, and even had a mini-dessert for $2.  (LITTLE BEAR EATS AN ICE CREAM, coming soon to a bookstore near you!)

Next time I will suggest Pizzeria Uno, and will expend some political capital to get her there.  I think she’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Please Fence Us In!

We’re researching fences right now.  Our current fence is probably 70 years old, and bent in all the wrong places.  A new fence and some tasteful landscaping would really change the curb appeal of our house.

The downside is we have a huge area that needs to be fenced because we’re on a corner lot.  I think they measured 97 linear feet of fence is what we are going to need.  And because of the neighborhood, it needs to be a pretty sturdy fence.

It’s going to set us back some, but I don’t see any other way around it.  The infrastructure must be taken care of!

Got a good fence contractor in the tri-state area?  Send them our way!

3 years and counting!

The invitation/poster to our wedding. Every wedding should have a poster! (The clown-fish is supposed to represent our little bun in the oven at the time, now our son!)


3 years ago we tied the knot!  It seems both like it just happened and that it’s been much longer (but in a good way)

A lot has happened since then– baby, change of jobs twice, my mom passing away, and lots of other stuff too.  But the plusses far outweigh the negatives.

For our anniversary we went to go see Garrison Keillor. I’m a fan, and Stephanie is most decidely not.  She bought me the tickets for our anniversary because

a) we went to the Met last month for an opera, at her request.  She loves it, but it’s not my favorite thing to do, (which is suprising, because I like music, I like spectacle, I like drama– but somehow opera is boring and stuffy to me.)

b) She was hoping that maybe by seeing him live she’d get a better appreciation and more tolerance.

It may have worked slightly, but I don’t think she’ll be visiting Lake Wobegon anytime soon!

Before we got married I used to joke that rather than get married, we should just have a contract with an option to renew every three years.

It’s been a good three years, and I want to renew!   :O)

Shout out to my cousin Naomi Duerr’s Truckee River Flood Project

Not related to Yonkers so much, but a local shoutout to my cousin Naomi Duerr, who is the executive director of the Truckee River Flood Project, which is a 1.6 billion dollar renovation/restoration of the Truckee River with the aim to reduce flooding and manage the recreational and other developments of said river. She used to be the State Water Planner of Nevada.

Here she is on national broadcast talking about flooding—

A dearth of indie coffeehouses/Starbucks in Yonkers

A friend of mine on Facebook was complaining about her neighborhood in Brooklyn where there were no indie coffeehouses with non-rude service, so as a result she felt compelled to go to Starbuck’s.  Here’s what I wrote back:

You are complaining because you have indie coffee shops! Here in Yonkers we would kill for some hipsters to make fun of our clothes at an indie coffee shop. AFAIK, there is only one Starbucks in Yonkers. This is the fourth largest city in the state!


Starbucks in Yonkers, Central Park Avenue

I then did a little research. And it turns out there are 2 Starbucks in Yonkers, one on Central Park Ave and one on Bronx River Road (both Northern Yonkers) And the Bronx River Road one is practically Bronxville. And none in downtown Yonkers.

Starbucks in Yonkers, Bronx River Road

Manhattan has over 150 (171 as of a couple of years ago, but I believe some have closed)
Albany NY: has at least 8.
Buffalo NY: has at least 8
Syracuse NY has 4.


Come on snarky independent coffee houses! This is a retail opportunity!
What are you waiting for?

Squirrel cuts power to 173 in Yonkers’ Park Hill neighborhood

Something about the finality of the last paragraph of this news item makes me giggle.


Squirrel cuts power to 173 in Yonkers’ Park Hill neighborhood

By Ernie Garcia • elgarcia@lohud.com • February 24, 2011

YONKERS — A squirrel left 173 Consolidated Edison customers without power in the Park Hill area of Yonkers about 8:30 a.m. today.

Power was restored at 10 a.m. after utility crews responded to Park Hill Avenue to investigate the outage, according to Con Edison spokesman Alan Drury.

The squirrel apparently climbed on a transformer and caused a fuse to blow out, Drury said.

The squirrel’s fate was unknown.

The Story of Carlos and his March to Restore Sanity.

So unbeknownst to you all– we have a third member of the family.  You know about AA, you know about our cat Joey, but did you know about the third member of our clan?  He stands about 10 feet tall, he doesn’t say much, and he lives in the garage.  (no, I’m not talking about Fonzie!)

He’s Carlos.  Carlos is a giant puppet that I won in Los Angeles at the Rat Conference (Regional Alternative Theatre)’s High Cheeze Challenge in 1999.  The full story of the challenge I’ve hidden below the break.  It includes an inventive script of how we sunk the Los Angeles Theatre Center like the Titanic for a little over $12.

Because I won the puppet, but had flown there, Nick Fracarro of Thieve’s Theatre (and one of the primary RATs)  agreed to take the puppet back to the East Coast in his RV.  I would then pick him up from Nick sometime.  The night of the transfer, we nicknamed him Carlos.

Carlos and Ariana Huffington

I picked up Carlos 3 years later in Philadelphia.  Along the way, he had become the mascot of the UnderMain Theatre in Dallas, performing in a number of shows there.  As well, he had many untold adventures that may later be made into a movie by Pixar.

For the most part, Carlos has been living in our garage, a relatively sedate and serene life.  I got a call a few days ago from Nick asking if Carlos could come with him to the Jon Stewart March To Restore Sanity.  Who am I to say no to political activism?

This morning, I got an email from Gaby, Nick’s wife, with this photo, explaining that Carlos and his entourage was getting the royal treatment from Ariana Huffington.  I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this story soon.


First Week of School

AA went through his first week of school, and the short and the long of it is that he LOVED it.

He loves to drive the car

Although he’s good at playing by himself and with us, he has not had as many kid play partners as we would have liked.  I was a little worried that he wouldn’t play well with others, or that he’d be nervous around other adults (the teachers)  So far, not at all.  He has taken to school/camp like a duck to water.

He’s the youngest kid there, but he’s not the smallest or the least developed either verbally or physically.  (Which we were a little worried about.  He’s in the 25th percentile of height and the 10th percentile of weight.  The class

normally is supposed to be for 2 years old or over, but they made an exception for us)

The school is 2 1/4 hours 3 days a week (9-11:15 am)  The first 45 minutes is kind of free play– there’s a kitchen to play in, and lots of different kinds of blocks, and tables for play-dough, and for coloring, and an easel to do some painting on.  AA is a big fan of painting.  He takes after my mom that way (who was an art teacher)  He loves to create stuff and see it take shape on the paper.

During the free play, there’s less kid interaction than I expected.  Maybe it’s because kids this age don’t play together as much as they play at the same time.  AA likes to watch the kids play, but he does his own thing mostly.

The artist at work

After 45 minutes, it’s cleanup time, and then it’s time for a snack.  We are hoping that peer pressure will get him to stop drinking milk out of a bottle and out of a cup.  So far, no luck.  He just keeps on requesting water (which he does drink out of a cup)

After the snack, they sing a few songs, and AA is an arduous dancer during this segment.  Now it’s around 10:15, and it’s time to get dressed into water clothes and go to the outdoor playground, where they have riding toys and climbing stuff, and a couple of sprinklers set up.  If it’s too hot or too rainy, the class stays inside in a racquetball court.  I’ve been twice out of the three days (S went the second day) and both times I went it was too hot or the air quality alert was out.  So it’s been the racquetball court for us.

They also have a riding rollercoaster track, which is quite fun.
Here’s two videos of him enjoying the rollercoaster track/car.

Dadapalooza Post: On Taking the Bear to the Theatre

The postcard for the wedding we attended.

As some of you may know, I’ve started up a Dad’s blog also:  http://www.dadapalooza.com.  In that blog, I’ll write specifically about being a Dad, and the pleasures and perils of that position.

As many of our Yonked readers may be interested in reading those posts also, but in interest of not duplicating content everywhere.  I’ll post a link and brief summary here when I make a post of particular relevance.  I won’t do it for every post unless I think Yonked readers might like it also.

Here’s a fine example of what I’ll do in the future (and I am doing now, even as we speak!):

Over on Dadapalooza, I wrote about our recent adventurers going to the theatre– we saw two plays this week:  Cirque du Soleil’s Banana Shpeel, and The Wedding of Berit Johnson and Ian W. Hill, two theatre friends of mine who had a wedding and made a theatre show at the same time.  The bear was well-behaved at both.  Read the post for the complete details


Realized that we needed to start cooking up vegetables, so I pulled out the slow cooker, 3 lbs of pork loin from the freezer, and went to work.

Cut up a raft of last week’s scallions, still good, but getting very green.
Garlic scapes
1/2 cup cider vinegar
the remaining chimmichurri marinade. (about 1/8 a bottle)
6 oz more of water with the edges of the chimichurri marinade.

We’ll see what happens 6 hours from now!

Creating the logo for Yonkers.

There’s a very interesting arts contest going on right now at   http://www.citid.net/

They are asking graphic designers to create a logo for their city, that captures the vibe of that city.  It’s for a future book and exhibition.

Not being a graphic designer, I decided to come up with one anyway.  My idea is that Yonkers is at the top of the Big Apple, and leads into it.  I then thought about the Half Moon, and decided to have the Half Moon land at the crux of Yonkers and the Big Apple (which it did back in 1609)

Here it is.

Yonkers, New York Logo by Adam G. Gertsacov

You also had to come up with a much smaller thumbnail, which I did.

Thumbnail for Yonkers Logo by Adam G. Gertsacov

I actually like the thumbnail better than the logo.  I think it’s got more artistic promise than the logo I created.  It’s less literal, and thus promises more.  Nevertheless, I submitted the original.  I might go back and create a larger version of the thumbnail, and submit that as the final piece instead (and perhaps with a third image in the blue)

I encourage all Yonkers artists to participate in this project.  It would be fun to see what you all come up with!

Back in business: Goodbye, Blogger!

It’s a longer story than perhaps you want to know, but for a brief time, our blog was actually somewhere else.

Suffice to say, we are now back at https://www.yonked.com and our feedburner (to read us by RSS)  remains http://feeds.feedburner.com/Yonked

If you want to read the rest of the story, read below:

The Fairway cometh!

After months of waiting, the Fairway at Pelham Manor is opening on April 14!

According to Google Maps, the store in Harlem at 125th is 10.9 miles away from us, while the Pelham store is 9.0 miles away.

That 2 miles isn’t a huge deal, but there’s a $6.00 toll (Henry Hudson Bridge both ways) which makes it a much bigger deal.

Fairway is one of our favorite markets in the world.  You can’t get EVERYTHING you want there, but you can get a lot.  And their produce and meat and cheese selections are fantastic.  It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it.

I think that AA and I might attend the opening….

WEBSITE: fairwaymarket.com

Mr. Chocolate Face

At last night’s seder, the bear ate some chocolate, and wore even more.

The Great Hard-boiled Egg Race

Today, we made 36 hard boiled eggs for Passover (we are going to a Passover seder tomorrow night and bringing eggs, and we hard-boiled the eggs for our seder on Tuesday night (plus a few extra for the chicken liver)

Because we are who we are, we decided to use a little science and a little competition to see which was the best egg recipe.

We used two separate methods to boil the eggs. 

(We have been in pursuit of the perfect hard-boiled egg for some time)

On the right side of the stove, I used the epicurious recipe

Put eggs into a 1-quart saucepan, then add enough cold water to cover them by 1/2 inch. Bring water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to moderately high and cook eggs at a gentle boil, uncovered, 10 minutes. Pour off hot water. If using eggs right away, shake pan gently so eggs bump into one another (to crack shells). Run cold water into pot to stop cooking. Let eggs stand in cold water 15 minutes, adding more cold water or ice to keep water cold.

On the left side, Stephanie used the Julia Child Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg Recipe (courtesy of Recipesource.com)

The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

Recipe By : Julia Child, “The Way to Cook”
Serving Size : 1 Preparation Time :0:40
Categories : Cheese/Eggs Family Recipes

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
For 1-4 Eggs:
1 to 4 Eggs
2 quarts water -- * see note
For 12 Eggs:
12 Eggs
3 1/2 quarts water -- * see note
For 24 Eggs:
24 Eggs
6 quarts water -- * see note
Special Equipment_________________________
High (not wide) Saucepan with cover
Bowl w/ice cubes & water (large enough to
completely cover eggs)

*note: water should cover the eggs by 1 inch, so use a tall pan, and limit
cooking to 2 dozen eggs at a time.

1. Lay the eggs in the pan and add the amount of cold water specified. Set
over high heat and bring just to the boil; remove from heat, cover the pan,
and let sit exactly 17 minutes.

2. When the time is up, transfer the eggs to the bowl of ice cubes and
water. Chill for 2 minutes while bringing the cooking water to the boil
again. (This 2 minute chilling shrinks the body of the egg from the shell.)

3. Transfer the eggs (6 at a time only) to the boiling water, bring to the
boil again, and let boil for 10 seconds - this expands the shell from the
egg. Remove eggs, and place back into the ice water.

Chilling the eggs promptly after each step prevents that dark line from
forming, and if time allows, leave the eggs in the ice water after the last
step for 15 to 20 minutes. Chilled eggs are easier to peel, as well.

The peeled eggs will keep perfectly in the refrigerator, submerged in water
in an uncovered container, for 2 to 3 days.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

NOTES : The perfect hard boiled egg has a tender white, and a yolk properly
set. There is not the faintest darkening of yolk where the white encircles
it (a chemical reaction caused by too much heat in the cooking process).
Eggs cooked this way can also be peeled neatly.

The system described here, developed by the Georgia Egg Board, takes a bit
of fussing - but it really does produce an absolutely Perfect Hard Boiled Egg!