Sunday, November 03, 2013

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - November 3, 2013

Hello, welcome to Sunday! This is my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way. Later tonight I'll be posting the Amazing Race blog party post. If you watch the show, please come join in on the fun as the show airs!

Did you set your clocks back an hour? This is the time change I enjoy rather than that annoying "spring forward" change. I recall last year that wasn't the case, though. Last year I was still deep into a power outage from Hurricane Sandy -- daylight was precious and not to be wasted. As I wasn't working the clock change day, I actually slept in. When I awoke and realized (thanks to my cell phone) that it would be dark an hour earlier in the evening, I almost cried. My candles and batteries were both running low at that time into the ordeal. No open stores for miles seemed have any. Thankfully I had plenty of batteries for my MP3 player which is also a radio. That was my big link with the outside world.

Last year at this time I was living in a weird post-Sandy surreal kind of existence. This year was much different. Our weather this week was mostly sunny with above seasonal temperatures. Overnight last night, the colder air crept in. Oh well, it is that time of year. Last year around this time we had snow on top of the Sandy woes. I can't complain.

On Wednesday it was overcast, but I made my way over to Westfield for a Mindowaskin Park and Trader Joe's visit. As a result, lots of fall foliage and (of course) duck shots in today's entry. I've always loved Trader Joe's, but thought it was small and cramped. Oh my gosh, I love it even more now because it's more than doubled in size! I noticed during my latest visit that, in addition to the wine and beer they carry, they now have a small section of actual hard liquor. Most are name brands, but I did pick up a bottle of Trader Joe's brand "Rum of the Gods." It was very reasonably priced and I think I'll make cookies with it and have an occasional rum and Coke. I'm not a big drinker, but I occasionally will imbibe.

The kids actually had Halloween in the city this year after two years of it being canceled. Last year was Sandy, the year before a six inch snowstorm. Both resulted in downed wires and downed trees for Halloween. Even though the holiday was on, I kept up with having no trick-or-treaters here at my apartment. I haven't had any for the dozen years I've lived here. As I arrived back in town after work, I did see the downtown streets full of children in costume. Good for them!

On Saturday, I had the day off from work to attend the Plainfield Library Photo Contest Exhibition opening and awards presentation. Going into the contest this year, I had trouble with the theme of "Plainfield Celebrates." I usually work on Saturdays when they hold the fun city events.  I also had trouble getting the Saturday off to attend the event as a new boss didn't like the short notice although I've said I needed a Saturday off in November for nearly two months. I just didn't know which one!

Much to my surprise, I won first prize for a photo I really love, but thought too somber for a win. I won a third place prize for a photo I took the 4th of July parade the last knee replacement recovery summer (which is why I had the parade Saturday off). And I won a Special Time Capsule Award for a photo I took during Sandy recovery, the only Sandy-related photo entered. The photos in the competition become a part of the local history archives in the library. Just as we look back on photos of days gone by, someday in the future folks will be checking these photos out for a clue about what our lives are like.

On the home front, the workers showed up yesterday to do Crazy Joe's (across the hall) windows and the common area/stairway windows. It's amazing how much better the building looks with all the new windows! I think the only windows which remain to be done are the ones in the stairway by the elevator. They'll probably show up this morning to do them. If my "huge" five dollar rent increase hadn't gone down in the beginning of September, I'd be very worried about a rent hike with all the building improvements.

Eep, this is way long-winded and there are tons of photos, as well. Let's get to it! If you click on an image, it will take you to the Photobucket page with a larger image. Close that page to return directly back to the blog!

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Eagle! Bald eagle in flight!

Unfortunately I didn't get any great photos of it. I spotted it flying over my workplace near the Bridgewater Train Station. At first I thought it was a large hawk, but then I noticed the white head and tail. EAGLE! Woot! Woot! I watched it for nearly a half-hour. Alas, it decided to either fly too high or to soar too fast when flying low and this was the best shot I got of it. But, man ... an eagle here in Central Jersey! While I've seen some in the far north part of the state and also in Connecticut, it's a first for here.

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True dat

In front of the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield on Park Avenue. I also can't help but notice the Amazing Taste lunch truck in the background. Mmm.

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What? Mums again? Yes!

These were growing in a planter on Elm Street in Westfield.


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I wish he'd fly closer!

Or maybe just sit in a tree near me! It's the first time I've been anywhere near an eagle in flight with a camera in my hand. I want another try!

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Well, maybe not the mums! Berckman Street in Plainfield. Now, had I taken a full shot of the home, it still has its holiday wreath up from last Christmas!

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The oak and the gingko

The brown-red leaves of the oak tree contrast nicely with the yellow leaves of the gingko at the Plainfield Train Station.


The following shots were all taken in Westfield, on the streets and in Mindowaskin Park. Or, as in one case, in front of Trader Joe's! It was an overcast day, but that made the fall foliage seem even more colorful. I believe I have a tendency towards ducks and reflections in the pond. Maybe there's a 12 Step Program for that. I love to visit the park when the kids are in school. It's peaceful with the occasional jogger, dog walker or quiet folks sitting and reading on the many benches.

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The geese were hanging out in a different part of the park.

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Trader Joe's pumpkin display

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No Ice Skating

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Train station colors

Plainfield Train Station.

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East Second Street colors

Plainfield, but of course!

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Plainfield Library surrounded by fall

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My first first

I usually win something in the competition and my photography was even on exhibition all summer a few years ago. But this is indeed my first first.

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Pick me up! Pick me up!

I swear he's like a spoiled toddler! This is Vincent trying to climb up on me so he can droop himself over my shoulder while I carry him around. By the way, I'm standing in this shot. He's stretched out standing on his hind feet. Silly feline, but I love him so!


lynn1 said...

I love your first prize winning photo. I think it is wonderful that you are able to share your talent with your community. I am very impressed that your photo was chosen for the Time Capsule category. Girl Friend you have given a gift to the city of Plainfield.

Sasha said...

It's no secret that your photography is prize-winning but so nice to see it recognized :) LOVE, the beautiful fall colors and how you capture them. Thank you so much for sharing with us as well as your community. I check in on Sundays just to see your off-topic posts. Happy Sunday!

Petals said...

I love your photos Jackie. Truly an artist, you are.

Olive Lynch said...

Jackie -- your prize-winning photo is like a painting. Just spectacular

Becky said...

Jackie, you photography fascinates me! When are you going to do a book of photographs you have taken?
Again, I love the fall foliage, and of course, Vincent, but the first photo of the mums was magnificent.

Delee said...

AR is an hour late here....darn!

Love all the colors of Fall in your photos. All is drab or gone here.
The ducks will need long-johns tonight. 24 is the low for central PA.

Congrats on your wins. I will wait a bit to check out the library site to see your pics and the other entries. Hope they post them soon!!!

Nickelpeed said...

CONGRATS on your wins. You are a FANTASTIC photographer. I am glad you got recognition for it!

Laurie said...

Congrats on your first first!

I love that you gave us so much fall color and all those ducks this week. Very, very special and I loved them all. You truly are gifted, my friend.

Jackie said...

Thank you all! And, Laurie, I was thinking of you when I took the ducks and fall foliage shots!