Sunday, January 02, 2011

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - January 2, 2011

It's a new day, it's a new dawn ... it's a new year! Yes, it's Sunday morning, time for my weekly jaunt through the week gone by in words and photos I've taken. I apologize in advance for the amount of photos in this entry. The blizzard early in the week gave me a ton of photo fodder. With all the repeats on television and being in between seasons, I haven't posted much about television -- I think my favorite programming has been the New Year's marathon of The Twilight Zone on SyFy. But, boy do I have photos for you!

So, it's 2011, eh? When I was a child I focused on 2000 and thought I'd be "so old" by then. I have to admit I'm not in my fighting shape (whatever) of three decades back, but I don't feel that old. I think the biggest secret of life our parents never told us is that you never really grow up. Sure, you take on adult responsibilities, work, pay taxes, do what society expects of its adults, but you still have the child within you ... in awe of a huge snowstorm, delighted with the lights of the holiday season and more.

As I bid adieu to 2010, I think of it as one of my better years in many ways. My financial position is better than it's been in years despite the failing economy. My new cat Vincent has really settled in and we've bonded -- since I live alone, he's my faithful companion. I had a wonderful vacation in Texas with good friends I made on this very blog. On Facebook I've reconnected with friends from my teen years and found out they feared the "mean girls" too! My landlord lost the building and it's in better hands with the bank running the show. My loud and rowdy neighbors have moved away.

The down side of the past year hasn't been horribly down. My health only gets a C this past year, mainly due to the right knee needing its surgery. My favorite boss ever at my workplace moved on and was replaced by someone I like okay, but is really challenged in the job. TV Squad, after increasing my work with a huge assignment on celebrity bios in the beginning of the year, cut me off of Survivor reviews -- something I've always done. It was nice to watch the show without taking notes, but I did miss the income and the readers there.

On a sad note, I want to pass condolences onto blog reader Petals whose mother passed on earlier this week. Her mom, Loneseven, was a part of our community here and her contributions have been missed as her health failed. Hang in there, Petals.

In happier news, local blogger Bernice got a great shot of Roofus the cat as she ventured out after the snowstorm. She gave me permission to post it here as she knows the readers enjoy seeing him.

He's gotten so FAT!

Life indoors inside the Budget car rental building must be more posh than it looks!

Last Sunday afternoon

Not long after the snow started, I decided to make a run to the bodega around the corner. The sidewalk in front of my building (no longer run by my landlord) was the only one already salted. Um, not that it would do much good in the hours to come, but ...!

I wouldn't advise sweats for protection

But she was busy talking on her cellphone, oblivious to the world around her. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Da Bodega

The snow is really starting to come down.

Monday afternoon

I didn't go/couldn't get to work on Monday. But I decided to go out in the afternoon with my camera. Alas, the only sidewalk on my side of my long block which was cleared was my own building's. This guy was actually about a half-block away from me and seemed to be getting frustrated. I like my zoom capabilities. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Across the street

A neighbor digs out his car on East Front Street.

Dude! Where's my car?

Monday afternoon on East Front Street in da 'hood.

Oops ... out of sequence!

Thursday night on Watchung Avenue, Plainfield. I messed with the editing, yes. Want a seat?

Tuesday train

The NJ Transit schedule was way messed up for the first few workdays. The trains were running on a weekend schedule (fewer trains) and the buses didn't run at all for two days. Unlike Metro North and Long Island Railroad, both of whom shut down, NJ Transit doesn't work with an electrified third rail which stops travel when covered by snow.

My line, the Raritan Valley Line, is diesel. We can't do a one-seat ride to Manhattan and have to change trains at Newark to an electric train as that's all they allow in the city. The electric trains on NJ Transit are run with overhead wires instead of the third rail system. So, out of the three major commuter lines in the area, NJ Transit trains did the best. They even did better than the subways as subway trains on elevated outdoor areas got stuck and stranded people.

Speaking of stranded ...

Rear wheel drive taxi cabs have a rough time in the snow. This one is stuck on North Avenue in Plainfield on Tuesday morning.

It's a freaking winter wonderland!

Men, likely day laborers, wait on the corner of Watchung and North in Plainfield on Tuesday morning. That's the Post Office across the street. Street? What street? Do you see a street? Yes, it's even a main drag.

Not great biking weather

I can't imagine even trying a bike in this weather. This was Tuesday morning. Most sidewalks and streets were treacherous.

Ahem, NJ Transit

This is the disabled walkway leading to the ramp for the westbound platform at the Plainfield Train Station. Tuesday morning.

I said AHEM!

Yeah, it's great that trains are running. But shame on NJ Transit! The ONLY actual shoveled areas were the parking lots and from the parking lots to the stairs, etc. Other areas are trampled by use and dangerous. The station is NOT CLEARED properly. Unacceptable!

US Post Office ... unacceptable!

This was Tuesday morning more than 24 hours after the storm ended. One small path was shoved from the steps to the street. Neither the sidewalk in front of or the one alongside the main Post Office on Watchung Avenue were shoveled.

At least there's a claustrophobia-inducing path!

Pete's Fish Market and the Corner Store on Watchung and East Second (across the street from the Post Office above) have a scary path cleared. That snow is higher than I am. Eek.

Same path from the other direction

Tuesday evening. Can't get there from here even though I took this from the crosswalk. There are paths cut in the snow elsewhere to get through.

Back to Tuesday morning

Another tight path through the snow on East Front Street. This one was only shoulder-high.

Looking down Richmond Street from East Front

Tuesday morning. Snowpack on the roads, slippery, snowbanks blocking pedestrians at intersections, some sidewalks not done.

It's shoveled ... really!

Tuesday morning heading to the train station. It is shoveled, but far from clear. Wind gusts kept sending more snow over it. But, due to parked cars, the street is too narrow to dare walk in unless I have to.

Plainfield Police Station

New Year's eve at about 6 PM as I headed home from work.


Looking down Watchung Avenue as the sun rises.

Church Street

Thursday morning, still in bad shape.

Dawn on East Front

Thursday morning and the lights were on.

Dawn in da 'hood

Friday morning. East Front Street

AHEM ... sidewalk?

East Second Street on Saturday afternoon. This is a sidewalk, Plainfield! SHEESH!

A partridge in a pear tree?

Well, I know it's not a partridge, nor is that a pear tree. But I have no clue what the bird is -- he has touches of orange and sings a pretty song. I couldn't get close due to snow obstruction. Bridgewater, NJ.


Plainfield thinks that NJ Transit should shovel this and NJ Transit thinks Plainfield should. As a result, no one does. Look, Plainfield ... there are parking meters on it. You charge people to park there. You shovel the walks on North Avenue except this stretch ... every year, every snowstorm. Buck up and take responsibility!

Stranded in the snow

It's a good thing the storm hit after Christmas. East Front Street, Plainfield.

Solitary man

A man waits alone for a New Jersey Transit bus on Watchung Avenue on Thursday evening.

Not much better on Friday morning

Path to handicapped ramp at the train station.

Snow Removal

Taking it away in front of the Post Office on Thursday morning ... FOUR days after the storm. Watchung Avenue.

East Front Street Business District sidewalk

Friday morning.

So much for that shortcut!

I usually cut through the U-Haul lot on my way to the train station. East Front Street, Plainfield.

"No Parking When Street is Covered With Snow"

Ahem. Why don't they tow the snowbirds? Some of these cars have been sitting on this main drag (East Front Street) for almost a year without moving. Due to the cars parked on the street, the plowed area is narrow and two trucks/buses coming at each other from opposite directions have to creep through. BTW -- that is the bus I'd take into Manhattan if I were heading to Manhattan. Dis is my 'hood. And I want the street really cleared!

Shame on 612 East Front!

They were the ONLY people on the entire side of the long block where I live who didn't shovel their walk! It still wasn't shoveled as of yesterday although some brave people trampled a path through it. This is the same house whose summer landscapers start up horrible noise early summer mornings and throughout the fall with their leaf blowers. Hello? Snow ... people need to walk through here! Shame on you!

Happy New Year!

An abandoned noisemaker on the sidewalk outside of a bar on Church Street. Saturday morning.

Vincent's not impressed with the snow

He's comfy watching television.

Happy New Year, everybody!


joyn said...

First of all, I have to say I almost feel guilty (almost) that we didn't get any of that blizzard here in upstate NY. And a bunch of the snow mountains that we had from before have melted in our warmer temps in the last couple of days. Don't want to crow too much because this is only January. Our turn will come, I'm sure.

Wow! 38 pictures! Got to be a record for you.

Again, so sorry to hear of Petal's loss. Losing your mom is a major loss for anyone, particularly around the holidays. No one ever loves you like your mother does. RIP, Loneseven.

Roofus looking SO good! Wonder if Eave is hangin' with him there. Thank you and Bernice for the extra effort to keep us informed of his obviously healthy whereabouts.

Your pix are worth a 1000 words on the harshness of winters in NY. That is one fat bird in that "pear" tree!

Was Vincent watching Twilight Zone on Tv? If so, he has great taste in classic TV. I watched a bunch of them myself. They literally don't make them like that any more.

Looking forward to this new year unfolding. Hope everyone has a great one!

RiseandShine said...

Good Morning, Happy New Year!
I sometimes think that my parents really were grown, thought of themselves as grown-ups and comported themselves as such. Given The Great Depression era mentality they grew up with and
WW2 they had no choice. The greatest gift they (and Dr. Spock and the 60s) gave us was this feeling that we never really grow up, that we're constantly thinking and feeling our way through the choices we have and can freely delight in things without feeling that we're not supposed to. I'm glad I was born when I was.
I'm sorry to hear of Petal's loss. Missing mom is one of the great heartbreaks in life. Staying wrapped in her love and memory after she's gone is one of the greatest comforts. I wish you those comforts, Petal.
Looks like Roofus chunked out big time. He must miss his roof climbing excercises.
Blasted blizzard and the crazy cold wind kept me from doing everything I wanted to on my week off, but I'm secretly glad it did :).

~~Silk said...

I just moved from central NY (Mid-Hudson valley) to Keyport, NJ. Everyone assured me there'd be less snow. I feel guilty - it's all my fault - it followed me!

Up there, BTW, property owners are responsible for clearing walks. If the sidewalk in front of your property isn't clear within 36 hours of snowfall, you get a stiff fine. The villages, towns, and cities love that money.

Most people get right on it, because they're afraid not so much of the fine, but of lawsuits from people who fall. Slip-and-fall lawsuits are quite an industry.

Janice said...

I just loved your pictures of the snow Jackie but I am SO GLAD its up there where you are and not down here in the south! We had snow on Christmas Day which was so nice and pretty but its all gone in 3 days and that's the way I like it!
Sure you and Vincent don't want to move to GA??
I can totally relate to your comments about "growing up"......I too don't feel like I have grown up (2 marriages,3 kids & lots of ups and downs)! I guess we have the Peter Pan syndrome!
On New Year's Eve I kept thinking about 2011 is the year that I turn 60!! Yikes I don't feel 60 at all!!
Janice from GA

Becky said...

Jackie, wonderful pictures! I thought about you and Vincent and how you were faring in the blizzard. The snow is pretty, but I don't think I would want to have to cope with it each winter. I saw a news clip where the NJ governor (mayor??) was out shoveling snow. Good campaign fodder, don't cha think? It was great of him to go out and work. We had two days of 80 degree weather here. A front came in Friday night and it is in the 60's now.

So glad to see another picture of Roofus. There sure must have been a lot of varmints in that building. He looks positively fluffy now! Good for him. Stay put, Roofus, the winter is young.

And to Vincent, enjoy the warm place and the loving mom. So happy you are in your Forever Home.

Petals, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Please know that many of us here are sending our condolences to you.

Jackie said...

Silk - Residents and business owners are responsible for clearing the walks here, too. However, enforcement seems non-existent. That one snowbank blocking the sidewalk in the B&W photo is city-owned property.

Becky - No, the Governor was at Disney World. The Lt. Governor (who was appointed to sit in for the Governor in absences) was out of country. A senator was in charge of the state. The person you saw out shoveling was probably Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark. Young black guy? Our Governor himself is more reminiscent of Fred Flintstone.

I know OUR mayor wasn't out shoveling!

Laurie said...

wow! Those pictures are amazing, as was the blizzard. I can't imagine how difficult life was for all who were involved. Thanks for sharing it with us via your wonderful photography.

I love that you began with a healthy Roofus and ended with a mesmerized Vincent. They made good bookends.

Petals, my heart goes out to you in the loss of your mother. You have my prayers.

Sally said...

Another post that begins with a healthy-looking Roofus and ends with the well-loved Vincent. Great way to kick off the year! And both photos are terrific shots.

Wow! You recorded a lot of untended and hazardous sidewalks. Such lax maintenance is hard to understand, especially at places that serve or are funded by the public. The battle between the city/transit system over that stretch of sidewalk is really laughable. Certainly a compromise could be worked out, or has all common sense disappeared?

Most public places here do a good job, perhaps because snowfalls are common. We have a 36-hours rule to deal with stragglers: clear your sidewalk (the complete length and width) within 36 hours after a snowfall, or the city will send someone over to remove the snow at your expense.

I also read about the Newark mayor going out to shovel and help out after the storm, using Twitter to give and get citizen updates. Pitching in like that helped some people direcly, and generated a lot of goodwill and good PR. Win-win.

I share some of those "never grown up" feelings, partially, I think, because I never had kids. Some of my peers are now grandparents, and I tease them about being two generations older than I am.

Petals, I hope you're doing well. RIP, Loneseven.

joyn said...

Jackie, I meant to say harshness of winters in the NE.

I also know that child-like feeling at times and enjoy it. Last week, I made a snow angel in our yard just for the heck of it. The neighbor kids laughed and made their own. Their dad came out looking at me weirdly but I totally enjoyed myself. Sometimes you just need to give in to it in whatever way that pleases you and hurts no one else. And I'm almost 64.

Bdubs said...

wow, I'm cold just looking at those pictures. We don't get very much snow over here in California, so it's fun to see how it is for those that live in it day to day. It makes me want to curl up with a blanket and sip hot cocoa!