Sunday, September 16, 2012

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - September 16, 2012

Good Sunday morning, world! Since it is Sunday morning, this is my weekly off television topic post reflecting on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way. If you're looking for Big Brother content, never fear ... it's right here. But if you want a peek into my life, feel free to read on.

After a spritz of overnight rain early in the week, it was glorious weather here for the remainder. On the anniversary of 9/11, the weather was hauntingly like it was that day. Teenagers and college kids don't remember that we didn't used to have huge planters around the corners at Penn Station. They've grown up with security checks at airports. Not me. I remember a day with more innocence. I will never forget 9/11/01, the lives lost and the way the world has changed.

On the home front, the not as new now landlord had new washing machines installed in the laundry room. Oh my. An incentive to do laundry before it grows to two loads! They also put down gray carpet on the stairway and landings in the front of the building. That, at least for the immediate entry area, might be a mistake. The floor covering right at door level was some kind of fake stone-looking stuff. People entering the front door in bad weather make a mess. Oh, well. At least the carpet is gray already!

There is another thing about the landlord, this one a bit disturbing. For the second time, I noticed Craigslist apartment for rent advertisements for units in the building ... only in Spanish. Um. Is that even legal? It's not that they (landlord and company) even speak Spanish although many of their workers do. It sounds like they want Hispanic tenants rather than any other to me. I personally just want decent neighbors in the building -- I don't care Hispanic, black, white, Indian ... whatever. But many folks won't even know the apartments are available if the ad is solely in Spanish. Hmm.

We had a fire alarm go off in the building yesterday. As usual, I went out to make sure there was no real fire. It's always either a malfunction or someone's bad cooking. I know not to open my door if my cooking sets off the little alarm within my apartment (which it does sometimes as the CO/smoke alarm is way too fussy!). But, when fools open their doors, the main building alarm goes off and we get fire department response and all.

When I went out to make sure there was no fire, there was a tiny elderly black woman who looked very frightened and disoriented. She was obviously blind, about 90 years old and she just clutched my arm when I asked if she was okay. She was saying something, but I couldn't make it out. I've never seen her before in my life.

I released myself from her grasp when I saw a fire engine pull up, went and told them there was no fire, but I was worried about an elderly woman in the hallway. They didn't have much better luck communicating with her than I did. They called for an ambulance. She had house slippers on and obviously couldn't have come far. No one passing by in the halls recognized her, either.

One firefighter decided to check all the doors on the second floor. I was thinking the front of the building as I didn't know her. What? The apartment next door to me was unlocked and, upon opening it, there was a heater on (yikes, it had to be 90 in there) and the apartment even smelled like the elderly woman! Mind you, that's not a good thing. Now, I know the man who lives there. He's lived there for about four years now. I thought he lived alone. 

When I mentioned his name to her, she nodded. He's her son. Oh my. The firemen got her to call him. Upon discovering where she lives, I realized why she wasn't talking to us. I know the man living there is from Africa, although he speaks English. She doesn't speak English. She speaks Swahili. The poor woman. The fire alarm scared her and she left the apartment, but didn't know how to get downstairs. Between her blindness, her language barrier and probably what seems like a bit of dementia ... it's all a bit sad. At least if I ever see her again, I know where she belongs.

In other news, it was indeed my birthday yesterday. I want to thank everyone who sent me greetings and cards. Vincent didn't give me anything! 

Onto the photos for the week. Clicking on an image will open it on a Photobucket page, clicking again will make it larger. To return here, simply close that page.  

Snake 1
My new friend

I met this beautiful python walking on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield yesterday. No, the snake wasn't walking, I was! When I asked the man carrying it if I could take a photo, he offered to take photos of me holding it. I figured if he ran off with my camera, I'd take off with his snake.

The Alley
The Alley

This is an alley off of East Front Street (Plainfield) leading to what's normally a parking lot. There were dueling Hispanic festivals going on yesterday in two adjacent city parking lots. One has been held for four years now in celebration of the independence of Mexico and Central America. It gets a huge turnout and I've enjoyed it each time I've attended. I'm about as non-Latina as one could be. But it's a fantastic thing for the city and draws more folks from all over the state each year. This year, with a second Hispanic festival adjacent, the crowds had to be several thousand. 



Salsa dancing
There was dancing

That salsa-dancing football player has nothing on these kids! The live bands got many wiggling those hips to the beat. Um. Not me. You wouldn't want to see that.

Rides 3
There were rides

The Mayor of Plainfield

Other politicians promised a chicken in every pot. Our mayor apparently wants to give us Poland Spring water. Wait. No. She's not giving us anything. Carry on.

There were activists

When local blogger Bernice Paglia told me these were some kind of radicals, I Googled them upon returning home. Oh my. While it's now an accepted left wing political party in El Salvador, it was originally formed by guerrilla factions. One of them asked me what church I attended. I guess they're no longer really radical, huh?

Cotton candy
There was cotton candy

Rides 2
A bit of color

Rides 1
Less color

Snake 3
The snake has other friends!

The older girl was fascinated by the snake, the younger one not so much.

Snake 2
I try hiding behind the snake

Even though the sun was in my eyes, I did keep an eye on the python. Keep in mind I have very large hands. Although not huge, the snake was probably about four feet long and fairly hefty (for a snake).

Venus this week
Venus the Spider this week

The web is looking very bad. :-(

Although, with the snake and spider photos back-to-back here, I'm reminded of Spiders and Snakes by Jim Stafford. I guess I've always pretty much liked all kinds of critters. Well, except cockroaches. I don't like them. Oh. And mosquitoes.  

Dead People Again
Continuation: I see dead people

I've said it before. I'll say it again. If you sleep near me on the NJ Transit Raritan Valley train line, you're fair game for my "I see dead people" photos.

Bridgewater flowers
After the rain

Psych flowers
More psych flowers

From in front of the Union County Psychiatric Center on Roosevelt Avenue in Plainfield.

Vincent cat naos
Catnapping pro in action

Vincent can nap anywhere, anytime. Usually his favorite place is on me, but ...!


lynn1 said...

Jackie, I'm sure your Birthday gift from Vincent was the honor of his company and his unconditional love. how wonderful that the Hispanic festival was on your birthday. It looked like a lot of fun. Did they have ethnic foods in addition to the "Fair" type fare?

meb said...

The story about the little old lady was sort of sad. Did her son ever come to claim her?

The snake was a beautiful creation as an albino, but I'm still not into them. To look at one up close would have been brave Jackie, but to actually hold the little darlin'... you deserve an award. Eeeekkk.

Just what is your landlord up to?

Great post. Thanks again.

Witt said...

Hi Jackie,
You were so kind to that woman during the fire alarm. I have no doubt that it totally scared her and I am sure you were a great comfort to her. :)

The snake is beautiful, as are the rest of your photos! I love seeing them each week.

Witt :)

lynn1 said...

I forgot to say great photos this week.
I hope the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce appreciates that your photos have made people from all over think that Plainfield must be a great place to live.

Jackie said...

lynn1 - Oh yes ... more ethnic foods than standard fare. Plus, I noticed from the signs on the booths, many offer free delivery. I'm not a huge Spanish food fan, but do like some things and will add the numbers to the Chinese delivery places.

MEB - Yes. He was over at the Post Office and came home. By then the firemen and I had left her in the apartment. She does know how to say thank you. The son thanked me as well.

rschnoop said...

A few things... 1.Vincent gives you tons of affection, 2.You like centipedes and Japanese beetles? and 3. Your spider friend is getting old... her web has served its purpose and now she is an empty nester... She has applied for Social Security, but being a professional orb weaver, has never paid into the system and most certainly, will be denied and will live out the rest of her life in poverty...

lynn1 said...

I love, Spanish, Cuban and Mexican food, actually I think I love food in general. We have great food here in Louisiana but in my town there isn't much offered in Hispanic food. I would love me some tamales and Chicken enchiladas verde. Yum!

Palmaltas said...

Oh how I envy your festival. I was once in Mexico City during the festivities for Independence Day. The street vendors were out in full force and the food fabulous. Love your photos and how nice that you helped the little lady.

Jackie said...

Both festivals are still on today ... jump a plane and come on up! The Mexican and Central American population has exploded in the past ten years here. The amount of restaurants from various countries is astounding!

Becky said...

Good morning, Jackie. I was touched by your story of the blind woman. How sweet of you to stay with her.Great pictures.

Petals said...

Glad to see Ms Venus is still around. *sigh* But not for long. Makes me sad.
The psych flowers look like vinca (aka "periwinkles").

DING! It just occurred to me: You & Ian have matching snakey friends. LOL

(damn! 7 tries on the WV!Maybe 8, we'll see...)

Nancy Blum said...

I'm so sorry I missed your birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (I'm taking a hiatus from FB for a few days).

Carla said...

I don´t know if publishing the ads in Spanish is legal, but they should not do that. It sounds like the are discriminating by no letting other people not hispanic read the articles and advetisements that, if they are on Craigslist, should be for everybody. When I had to travel to Argentina, I also had to get a buenos aires apartment. They are so open minded and considerate that many of the ads were in Spanish and in English too! I loved that, maybe that is why I chose that country!