Sunday, August 07, 2011

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - August 7, 2011

It's Sunday morning, once again time for my off television weekly reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. If you're looking for the most recent BB13 live feeds update, check out the post previous to this one. I'll be posting more on that a bit later today.

One nice thing (for me) with recovering from the knee replacement surgery is that the hectic pace of life gets slowed down a bit. I know some people are antsy and have to be on the run doing this or that all the time. But that's not me. I actually enjoy having time to smell the roses and be an observer of life. My job will still be there when I return (as a matter of fact they just called me this week with a "what do I do" panic). It's so relaxing to take an extended break, yet not be in a horrible recovery like the left knee was.

This past week, I thought of the three downtown areas I tend to frequent here in New Jersey -- Plainfield (where I live), Scotch Plains and Westfield. For towns so close together, they immensely differ.

Plainfield's downtown is a bit urban gritty, dollar stores and ethnic (or ALL kinds, with an emphasis on Latino) eateries abound. People say hello, g'morning and "howyadoin" as I pass by on the sidewalks which are mainly frequented by folks outside of my own personal demographic -- a middle-aged Caucasian woman. Yet I feel it's a friendly place. Kids don't gather in huge groups bothering pedestrians, yet the occasional street person might ask for money. I will admit I rarely roam the streets at night, but in the daytime hours I feel perfectly safe.

Westfield is the other extreme with its Coach, Ann Taylor, etc. top of the line stores. I do like Westfield, often going to Trader Joe's, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Coldstone Creamery or just to photostomp Mindowaskin Park. People don't say hello often in Westfield. Huge throngs of teenagers block the sidewalks, often making me feel uncomfortable as I try to get through them. In Plainfield, groups of kids that large would be moved along. In Westfield, they apparently own the streets. Well, them and the outdoor seating for the eateries. Some of the restaurants take up most of the walking areas and make walking by a bit tricky at times. Oh ... and the diversity level is markedly different from Plainfield.

Then there's Scotch Plains, the smallest of the three towns. I like its little downtown swath I frequent for my physical therapy. The mix of folks on the sidewalks is pretty much a cross between Plainfield and Westfield. But I don't get the hellos as often on the sidewalks as I do in Plainfield. I like both meat markets in town, so that makes it a destination place for me. But other than physical therapy, a branch of my bank and a CVS, there isn't much for me to browse about like I have in Plainfield or Westfield.

Overall, I'll take Plainfield, warts and all. It's the friendliest place I've ever lived and it doesn't matter that I'm different from most of the folks living near me or frequenting the downtown area.

Okay, now that I'm through with that -- my knee is doing well again after a setback last week. The quad muscle, which is one of the hardest things to heal after it's cut or "divided" in the surgery, managed to suffer a strain or pull in physical therapy. It's still more puffy than it was pre-strain and is giving me some issues, but not crippling like last week. My stamina level is still a bit off, but getting dressed for the day or washing my dishes no longer exhausts me. I only went back and forth to PT this week, did my exercises at home and took it relatively easy, not doing anything at all which put a strain on the knee. So it should be good!

Because I didn't do a heck of a lot, my photo taking was a bit limited, too. Here are this week's photos -- clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window.

What the Scotch Plains 9/11 Memorial will look like.

They did a lot more work on the memorial this week. I'm thinking they might want it done for the 10th anniversary next month.

Pheasant, elk and alligator, oh my!

This is a sign in the window of John's Meat Market in Scotch Plains. Although not in my regular diet and some years back for some of these, I believe I've eaten everything but elk and alligator in my lifetime. I'm not sure what alligator tastes like. Chicken?

The Stage House Tavern

I'm always tempted to peek in, but I'm always in Scotch Plains in fairly early daytime hours. I don't want to eat alone, nor do I dare get a drink because if I'm there, chances are I've taken my pain meds (for physical therapy).

Beware, speed and the cannon goes off!

The cannon in the median on Front Street at the intersection with Park Avenue in Scotch Plains.

Gazebo gazing

The inside of the gazebo roof in the park in Scotch Plains. I did a bit of photo editing on this shot to give it more intense detailing. When I have my noon appointment at PT, there's always an older gentleman sitting there. I've started talking to him as I pass by. His English is very limited. The first day I greeted him, he told me, "Little English, I'm Egyptian ... CHRISTIAN!" I felt bad that he feels he needs to add the "Christian" bit. Heck, I have lots of friends dealing with fasting right now for Ramadan. It makes things more interesting when everyone comes from different walks of life.

Battle of the brews?

A Miller Lite truck vs. a Bud Light truck as they deliver to the Stage House Tavern.

A shame I only had the knee replaced, huh?

Out of context, this part of a sign conjures up all sorts of one-liners. It's at a manicure/pedicure/waxing place in Scotch Plains.

National Night Out set-up in Scotch Plains

I stayed in. I was thinking of stopping by the festivities in Plainfield, but didn't want to stress my knee by being on my feet for so long.

Hey! My bus stop is blocked off!

This was Tuesday morning on East Second Street and Berckman in Plainfield. A house fire up the street had everything blocked off. There was quite a bit of damage to the house, but thankfully no or just minor injuries. And, yes, my bus stopped for me even though I was on the wrong corner.

Am I boring you, Vincent?

The least you could do is cover your mouth when you yawn like that! Vincent is still enjoying more attention from me every day. I've decided that his previous "master" must have taught him to heel as he walks right beside me like a dog room to room. He's a good companion, for sure!

How was your week?


meb said...

OUCH Jackie. That muscle strain sounds bad. I'm glad it's getting better, but your PT people to make sure nothing like that happens again... you don't need more down time or a set back..

It's nice to know that they miss you back at work and need your expertise... sort of job security isn't it.

Enjoyed your pictures... loved the gazebo. Of course loved Vincent's picture as he yawned.

Delee said...

I have "tried" everything on the wild meats, except ostrich. Alligator was horrible, but then it was on a buffet at a AF promotion party at the Officer's Club!

Glad you quad is feeling better, I am sure that will take a bit to heal. Just think of it if you would have this surgery during a non-BB time how bored you would be with the enforced inactivity.

Look forward to the Vincent photo every week. He will be super lonely when you return to work.

lynn1 said...

Down here in Louisiana there is a saying, Alligator the other white meat.
I have had Alligator sausage that was excellent. I have also had Pizza topped with alligator sausage.
I have seen alligator meat for sale here but have not attempted to cook it myself.

My WV is ferpits as in Vincent has ferpits.

Jennasmom said...


The Free Bikini/Full Leg pic had me laughing. If I could get two longer, thinner full legs, maybe I can wear that bikini.

Take care of yourself & that knee!

Donna in AL said...

A friend of mine who visited NJ said the people were either real friendly or real a$$holes! There were no in between personalities she saw. The town I live in, most wave as we pass on the roads. With people from Birmingham moving up here though, that is getting less.

I'll take a whole leg! I need the right one if you don't mind. I wouldn't even mind if it was a different color as long as it did not ache anymore!!

Hope you quad gets to feeling better this week... I just love how Vincent turned out to be such a good fella for you! and so handsome!

Witt said...

I don't need the whole leg, just the thighs. If I get new thighs then wearing the free bikini will be fabulous!

My actual hometown is very large (DC suburb) so you really only say hi to your neighbors, but the small town where I visit on the Eastern Shore is the type where people say hello, they remember you're a teacher, ask how your class is going, etc. I love the friendliness of that town!

Great pictures Jackie! Take care of that quad...I'm glad you're seeing some improvement.

Witt :)

RiseandShine said...

Glad to hear your recovery is moving along better than the last one.
I'm with you, I enjoy extended "nothing particular to do" periods as well. I think because I was so busy for so many years with the single mom of three stuff (I can call it busy now, then it was just life), I've always enjoyed a day when I didn't have to be anywhere at any particular time. Nice!
I remember reading that Scotch Plains received a piece of metal from the World Trade Center to build into their memorial. They lost some residents that day.
Vincent looks like he's enjoying the time as well.

Justene said...

Most game meats are very lean so it is difficult to cook them without drying them out. I like elk as does my daughter. Most people who try well-cooked elk like the flavor but even well-cooked, it is too dense for them. I have not liked alligator the few times I have had it. Even alligator sausage tends to be just "eh" for me. Now rattlesnake sausage -- there's a meal worth driving for.

monty924 said...

Sorry to hear about the muscle strain. Just continue to take it easy. Vincent - adorable as always.

May be late for the party, but will be here.