Sunday, May 17, 2015

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - May 17, 2015

Good morning! It's Sunday morning. You know what that means. It's time for my off television topic review of the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way.

Spring finally has its sturdy foothold here in my area of New Jersey. We've had at least one 90 degree day (boo) and a few overnights have been a bit more than chilly. Yet, there has been no mention of snow. Woot, woot!

It's also apparently heavy-duty construction time. I realize that spring always brings about some construction and road projects. But I've never seen so many everywhere like I am this year. In Plainfield, they opened the Park Avenue bridge by the Plainfield Train Station just in time to shut down the Watchung Avenue bridge on the other side of the station and keep traffic north/south crippled and detoured. Things have been going on on East Second Street (which really, really needs repaving -- I almost fell stepping in a pot hole) for the last six weeks or so. Now they're calling East Second Street the detour for East Front Street as they pave and re-line from Watchung Avenue to Terrill Road, thus crippling east/west travel.

Even by my workplace, construction has tied up the roads and they've done some mighty strange reworking of the travel lanes. In one place, it's definitely more dangerous for pedestrians in the crosswalk. In other places, it's going to create traffic issues as they took out lanes.

Here are some random thoughts and observations coming from the past week:
  • The railroad bridge work crews use an air horn to get their people off the tracks when trains are coming.
  • I'd like an air horn to blast bicycle riders on the sidewalks. Sure, I stand my ground and make them go around me. However, an air horn would be a lot more fun. No bicycling on the sidewalks!
  • I feel safe riding the train. In view of the distance covered and the commute time involved, I'd venture to guess my commuter train might hit 60mph or so. We have no curves on my work commute route. Now they're saying that the train in the horrific Philly crash might have been hit by a projectile. I've seen people (mostly kids) do that. Once a rock hit the window by my head. It didn't break the window, but it did make me almost jump out of my seat.
  • The Plainfield Police are making people move their parked cars on my street (for repaving) by sitting there with their sirens on early in the morning. That's annoying. Just tow the darn cars. The signs are up all over the place. If they don't get it, they deserve to pay the towing charges.
  • I am exhausted. At times I feel my work is crushing my soul. I'd rather work with big cats or other animals. People are draining me dry. I can only hope retirement in a few years is financially doable. Then I can pursue things I enjoy doing and, hopefully, have a more positive outlook. Right now, I'm just too tired to do much other than work, sleep and eat.
  • I'm going to go through Letterman withdrawal later this week. Sniffle. The big Survivor three-hour finale/reunion and Letterman's last show air on Wednesday night.
Onto this week's photos -- clicking on an image will bring it up in a larger window gallery thingee ...

Just Chillin'

The Plainfield area skateboard/bicycle-tricks teenage crowd has a new hangout. It looks like a combination skateboard, tattoo and skateboard culture gear store has opened on East Front Street. It's just up the block from their skating "arena" near the Park-Madison complex. Now, if I were a parent, I'd have plenty of worries as these kids never wear safety gear and the tricks they do involve a lot of falling on pavement. As a citizen (and they're not doing it outside my windows at home), I think it's just fine. If these guys are focused on learning new skateboard tricks and having fun ... go for it. It's 100% better than other things they could be doing and what many kids are involved in around town.

Pretty in pink

These have been planted near town homes on East Front Street in Plainfield. Whatever they are, they're certainly very pretty.


A pigeon on North Avenue in Plainfield shows off his impressive wingspan.


A sparrow

Obviously discouraged by seeing the impressive wingspan on the pigeon.

Starling butt

For an often unwelcome and invasive species, the European Starling has some very intricate details when viewed up close and personal.

Just call him "Sparky"

A welder gets some way cool spark action going as he works under the bridge on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield.

Plainfield Sta?

I assume they must mean the Plainfield Train Station. I'm glad the sidewalks, for the most part, are still accessible. But, as long as they have the street closed at the bridge, I can no longer just walk to the corner to take the bus home from the train station when I'm tired after work. And, with East Front tied up with paving, I can't just go take the 113 home either. Grr. I'm not sure where they're detouring that bus. 

More power than a sparking locomotive!

Okay ... it's the welders under the bridge making the sparks, not the train.

This looks fun. Dangerous, but fun.

Now there's a crane-thingee

By Saturday, the "welcome" part of the bridge was sitting under the bridge.


The azaleas are now blooming in many colors including coral, pink, white, read and purplish. The rhododendron bushes on Berckman Street in Plainfield have an array of both buds and blossoms. While the dogwood blossoms went quickly, other trees are sporting blossoms including the black cherry trees. I see buds on the irises. This is all so much more photogenic than winter shots!

Another view of the pink flowers

Rhododendron about to bloom

A fly rests on the azaleas

Black cherry blossoms

This tree grows at the start of my apartment building parking lot. I wish it would bear fruit as well as blossoms!

Black cherry blossoms up close

Blow away, dandelion

A mini-bee sits on poison ivy

It's either a sweat-bee of some sort or a mimic fly.


A huge "Sparkee" balloon goes up for every Somerset Patriots baseball game at the TD Bank Ball Park in Bridgewater. It's supposed to be some kind of dog -- Scottish terrier, perhaps. If I stand near him, my head is much lower than his knee. I had fun editing this shot to black and white, then's charcoal drawing, then GIMP's cartoon filter.

The American flag and ball park lights

A night game at the TD Bank Ball Park lighted the flag quite nicely. Every time I walk by there when there's a game on, the ball park food smells so good. I'm tempted to knock on the gate and ask for a burger and beer to go.

Night train

A practically empty late night train from NYC passing through Bridgewater, New Jersey.

No, I refuse to detour

This means YOU

I notice that the NO PARKING signs for my street repaving are by both the Union County and Plainfield police. It's the Plainfield Police with the early morning sirens, though.

Is there more catnip over there?

Vincent is such a nut! 


~~Silk said...

"Chillin'" is very Rockwell!

Laurie said...

Wonderful collection of pics this week! Love the starling butt and was already taking a closer look at the intricate design the feathers made before I read your comment! Of course, I love the flowers. I love that you have such a beautiful spring and that you share it with us!

Palmaltas said...

Love the flowers. The azaleas here in Atlanta didn't last long. I barely got to see them. CBS Sunday Morning had what seemed a 45 minute segment on Letterman this morning.

Sally said...

Thanks for continuing to do these weekly posts featuring your wonderful photos of flora, fauna, slice of life, trains and Vincent. The Pretty in Pink flowers are fuschias, one of my favorite plants in hanging baskets. It’s good to know that your train commute is slower and straighter than the route where the accident occurred. Thanks for mentioning the PhotoCat site—I’ve had fun with it. And Letterman will leave a huge void. No one else comes close.

David said...

Nice pictures as usual Jackie. =)

The welder dudes were not actually welding, they were using acetylene torches and cutting with them. I have done that and a good bit of welding in my life.

It would make me nervous to know someone was cutting the beams under the bridge while the trains still passes over it if I was on the train. I know it is an optical illusion as they are cutting one bridge next to the one the train is on but it does look scary. lol

tvbingetop5. said...

I love your pics they are great