Sunday, January 31, 2010

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - 01/31/10

Yay, another winter month GONE! A step closer to spring! And, of course, another week has gone by. So it's time for my weekly off topic post reflecting back on the week in words and photographs I've taken.

The weather here in the NJ/Greater NYC Metropolitan Area has been crazy this past week. We started out with near record highs (and a monsoon) early in the week, then dipped to way below freezing for the end of the week. In both extremes, we had heavy duty winds. Oh. And we had an unexpected snowstorm early Thursday morning which wreaked havoc on the local roads. That's on top of the flooding earlier in the week.

I braved it all. Rain, sleet (we had none of that), snow, gloom of night ... I slogged through it daily for work. I had my trusty warm waterproof Totes winter boots -- not fashion boots for sure, but very functional in bad weather and they don't slide on snow, either! My big umbrella met an unfortunate demise in Monday's rain and wind. The second time it turned inside out, it was time to say goodbye.

It seems most of my co-workers are sick, mostly bronchitis and laryngitis. I have neither and I don't want to catch anything. Hand sanitizers have been my best friend along with their friend, antiseptic wipes. I've been wiping down my computer keyboard at work as I know I'm not the only one to touch it, just the main person. I've been wiping down phones. I've had a slight cold for a while, but if I can avoid the severe stuff, I will. I do have chapped lips. Grr.

Thankfully the heat in my apartment has been working fine since Monday. With the weather the way it's been, all I want to do is get home from work and hibernate in my warm robe and slippers. Someone let Jehovah's Witnesses (the Jesus people!) in the building and I ignored them as I was already all warm and comfy the other day. Yeah, I knew it was them ... I heard them knocking on every door. (Grr.) FIOS people have also been in the building this week soliciting. I want to know who's letting these intrusions in now that all the building doors actually lock! Hey, if I'm not expecting anyone, I'm not answering the door except for police or firemen. Even they had better have a good reason to be bugging me. Yes, I've turned into a winter curmudgeonette.

My life continues to be so exciting, eh? For an extra thrill, I have to go to my office for a few hours today as it's the closing of the fiscal year at work. Joy, joy. Onto the photos I've taken this week -- clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window:

Plainfield Train Station in a mini-snowstorm

This is the side where I wait for my train to go to work. We have no heat on the westbound side and they turn our lights out early. The other side has the main train station which is open from about 5 AM to noon (or so), along with the ticket machines. They have heat.

I suppose the assumption is that most people who wait for the train are heading into the city (NYC) and when they arrive home on the westbound side, they don't wait in the elements and just go on home -- so they don't need heat. NJ Transit does the same thing with the bus stops. Eastbound has shelters and benches, westbound stands on the corners. I scream discrimination against against the flow travelers!

Dedicated Railfan

Despite the fact that the windchill is about 3 degrees, this brave railfan has his tripod and camera set for the action at the Bound Brook Train Station. Until I started taking the train and noticing the groups of railfans, I had no idea the cult exists. Bound Brook is a favorite setting for them as there are two freight lines (in background) and the NJ Transit commuter line. They're more interested in the freight trains than the commuter trains. This guy got his prize as two freight trains were going opposite directions as I rode through on NJ Transit. I took this shot from the warmth of inside the train.

Paying respects to a fallen comrade

The cones gather to mourn their loss on East Front Street in Plainfield.

Barren branch shadows

The early morning sun casts shadows of barren limbs on the Friends Meeting House (Quakers) on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield. I edited the photo to leave only the meeting house in color.

Ingles computacion y classic soulfood

You know, I think life is much more interesting when there's diversity all around you! I can recommend the restaurant, but I'm not really suited for taking computer classes in Spanish teaching me English software programs. Watchung Avenue in Plainfield.

Just hanging around

I spotted this upside-down owl in the doorway of 116 Watchung Avenue in Plainfield. Huh? What's that all about? No, it's not a real owl. I'm thinking it may have been put there to keep pigeons from nesting, kind of like a scarecrow. But since it's upside down, the pigeons probably point and laugh at it.

Every snowflake is unique

Yep, we're all special snowflakes.

East meets West

In the snow at the Plainfield Train Station the other day. While cars were slipping and sliding all over the roads, I had a pleasant commute. Layers are the key.

On the down-low again

This time I set my camera on the platform looking the other way in the snow squall. Plainfield Train Station.

State News in the snow

The corner of Watchung and East Front early Thursday morning (Plainfield).

Do the star-spangled banners yet wave?

Yep, they do. East Front Street in front of the Monarch.

Bridgewater Train Station

This NJ Transit rail station is more of a stop than a station. Yet, they remain true to the fact that eastbound towards NYC has a little building with heat while westbound has benches out in the elements. I edited this with GIMP's "posterize" to give it the illustration effect. We have a better station and much better lamps in Plainfield.

Sunrise in my crystal ball

Okay, it's a lamp outside the main post office on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield. I left the globe of the lamp in color, slightly posterized and made the rest of the image black and white. It's not quite as good as I hoped it would be.

In training

Uh-oh. They're working out, readying to overthrow mankind!

The geese, not as professional

I don't know what's become of the younger generation. It's supposed to be a V in formation, gaggle! Oh my. I think they're skywriting. Oh no! "Surrender Dorothy!" Eep.

Two defectors

Going AWOL into the angry clouds. Perhaps they'll fly to the sun, melt their wings and they'll fall into the sea like Icarus.

A note on the clouds -- this was Monday's sunset after our monsoon-like day. Gorgeous, but it signaled the cold front moving in.

The geese keep trying

Well, now they're in a straight line, kind of sort of. They really need discipline.

Sunshine caught in the gaps

The late afternoon sunshine lights up the gaps on this old bridge at the Bridgewater Train Station.

I've said it before

Don't sleep near me on the train.

In the early morning rain

With a dollar in my hand, an aching in my heart ... and an inside-out umbrella. Looking up East Front Street from in front of the Plainfield YWCA pre-dawn Monday morning in the MONSOON.

Roughly the same view

Three days and an hour later. Thursday morning in the snow.

Supremo arket in the rain

Monday pre-dawn. Purty lights, but I was soaked clear through. Well, except for my feet. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Wake up, Vincent!

Hey, Vincent! It's a wolf moon outside! It's the biggest full moon you'll see all year! Okay, you won't see it. You prefer to nap. I don't know how you're ever going to be a well-rounded cat. You didn't want to see the last blue moon either.

How was your week?


Delee said...

I had the same weather here as it usually hits here then comes to you! LOL

Tyrone PA also has railfans. The station is on the center of a curve and many line up with camera and tripods to photograph trains as the round the bend. My Dad is a railfan but does not take pictures.

The branch shadows are interesting as a subject for you. Find more! Also the sunrise in the crystal ball. There is probably one sec where that shot would appear better but waiting for that may take awhile.

Look forward to the weekly OT as you can tell not far behind when you posted!!!

Anonymous said...

Loved your pictures and commentary as usual. Was really looking forward to my Vincent fix too. I look forward to your Sunday " week that was" every week.

Bet said...

The last post was me. I am not trying to hide it just happens sometimes...LOL.


Sally said...

The end of January does seem like it deserves celebration. I've never liked February much, but at least it's short and that much closer to spring.

I think Vincent is wise to nap whenever he can during these winter months. Come spring, there'll be a lot more activity for him to supervise through his windows.

Your photo of the sunset before the cold front moved in really is beautiful!

I've never heard of railfans. Is railway photography a commercial venture? Or simply a hobby?

Your TWTWIW posts never dissapoint. Thanks!

Delee said...

Railfans are people who love trains. They go out and take photos to maybe build their displays. Many show their pictures for sale at craft shows. Not sure how it is over the country but occasionally special antique trains or privately-owned trains let fans know they will be through a certain town by time and date.

Jan said...


First, thanks for all you do! Wouldn't make through the tv week without you!

Second, what program do you use to edit your photos? I love the ones where you have it in black and white, but just keep one or two things in color. I just downloaded Picasa, by Google. It is good for a free program!

Thanks again,

Becky said...

Jackie, I came to your blog not once, but TWICE yesterday thinking it was time for your WTW. I know, I am a slow learner!

Abigail interpreted what Vicent is thinking as he snoozes. How grateful he is that the is not out on the streets as a homeless kitty and instead has a warm (most of the time) place to spend his days. Abigail says she feels the same way!

Sydney said...

Hi Jackie --

Wow, I feel for you with chapped lips and all the colds going around. I guess that's one thing moving from NYC to Houston has improved (though my allergies have worsened to the 10th power this year, as they say everyone who moves here gets them if they DIDN't have them to start). I am not in contact with as many people due to not using public transpo and therefore less germs. And though it was in the 29-35 range most of the holidays here, and then got springy (77) and is again in the low 30's again this week, there is just not as much of the weather/steam heat stuff that messes gives bronchitis to people. Now the AC on all the time does mess with the lungs, but whatev.

Gee, thanks for making me actually see one benefit to moving from the great east coast. That's a trick!

Love the variety of the pics... I would love to see some of the squirrels that built a nest in the tree outside your window. They should be having babies in it soon, btw....

Sydney said...

I join Anon in a Vincent' fix. I scroll down through everything on Sundays looking for him first, lol

NC in GA said...

Another great week in photos – I look forward to this every weekend! It’s interesting to see photos outside of my region and get a little background on them as well! Mr. Vincent is cute even while sleeping. Hope you both have a wonderful week!

Jackie said...

Thanks for the kind words!

Jan -- I've been using GIMP, free at -- haven't tried Picassa yet. I can't justify spending big bucks on Photoshop when free programs can suit my needs.

Sally - I think it's both a hobby and a business venture.

Sydney -- I've been watching, but not a lot of activity at the nest that I've caught.

joy n said...

Sounds like you've had some crazy weather down your way. I think Vincent has the right idea, just sleep thru it.

We had Mormons at our door yesterday. That was a first. It's usually the JW's around here too, even though they're not supposed to be in our park.

Wondering if those geese are in on the "bird conspiracy" thing and just trying to throw us off.

Love your photos as always.

Some OT - from Reality TV World

Survivor participant (from Gabon 2008), Crystal Cox, (the one who was an Olympic track gold medalist) has admitted to using anabolic steroids during her Olympic run. She will likely lose her medal and was handed a four year suspension and forfeiture of her results for 2001 - 2004. She was the 13th tribe member voted out that season. How sad that she did it, but at least she's 'coming clean' about it now.

Margo said...

We found it hard to believe she was a medalist since she seemed to have little energy - remember she has a lot of trouble getting up that hill the first day. Now we know - she needed enhancement to compete in the Olympics.


joy n said...

One more OT - DWTS

Samantha Harris is leaving DWTS to focus on her journalism career. New season starts March 22.

monty924 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
monty924 said...

Jackie, I just have to say that Vincent has become my Blog mascot. I still love Roofus, and can't wait for warm weather sightings, but Vincent is a doll. Thanks for sharing your photos of him. :)

Joyn, thanks for the articles and news on things. I'm sad to hear that about Crystal. Its never fun to hear that olympic atheletes did anything other than their "human" best. Just sad. :( I hope your DH is still on the mend and doing alright.

I don't post very often but I still read everyone now and then. I'm looking forward to Survivor and The Amazing Race to start soon.


RBennie said...

Great pics as usual Jackie.