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.
|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.
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.
**CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS**
|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.
|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?
|There was cotton candy|
|A bit of color|
|The snake has other friends!|
The older girl was fascinated by the snake, the younger one not so much.
|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 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.
|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.
|After the rain|
|More psych flowers|
From in front of the Union County Psychiatric Center on Roosevelt Avenue in Plainfield.
|Catnapping pro in action|
Vincent can nap anywhere, anytime. Usually his favorite place is on me, but ...!