Sunday, June 05, 2016

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - June 5, 2016

Good morning! Since it's a Sunday morning, that means it's time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I've taken along the way. As for television -- you might want to keep tuned here or on my Big Brother on Jackie's TV Blog Facebook page as I watch for news on the upcoming season of Big Brother 18! I will be posting here during the upcoming week and already have a few tidbits posted on Facebook.

While I only had a four-day work week due to the Memorial Day holiday, it was four chaotic and hectic work days. I'm glad to put the week behind me. I'm getting too old for this kind of stuff on an ongoing basis. I want to retire and work in a puppy play camp or something. You know ... something FUN and not stressful. Although I'm more of a cat person, puppies are fun. I could deal with that. If I could make a living at that, I'd go for it in a minute! Unfortunately, I have to pay for this roof over my head and other various things of life.

Our weather this week went from heat wave to rainy to muggy and today it's supposed to be very stormy later on. That's okay. I'm not planning on going anywhere today. It's good to be home. I only request that my power, cable and Internet remain working.

I finished reading The Girl on the Train earlier this week. Now, a lot of people recommended it to me because they think I'm "the girl on the train." Of course, it's also a bestseller. I enjoyed the book. It had an Alfred Hitchcock Rear Window (my all-time favorite movie) quality about it. Plus, it did hit home a bit as far as commuting via walking, bus and train for so many years. No, I don't drink on the train. Nor have I gotten involved in any murder investigations.

For years, I've seen the same faces and the same places day after day. And, yes, I do think about them a bit and, though I don't assign them names like the protagonist in the book did, I assign them descriptors and sometimes think up stories of what their lives may be. For example:
  • The Pool Guy. At a home in Dunellen by the tracks, there's a home with a pool. In the summer, I sometimes see him floating on an inflatable raft in the pool. In the winter, he has a fire pit and I only see one track of footprints in the snow leading to the one chair by it. I have seen him with small children, but never a woman. In my mind, he's a widower with young grandchildren. In reality, he probably has a wife in that house who doesn't care for the outside so much!
  • The James Whitmore Eyebrows Man. Always walking with his newspaper under arm. I picture him to live in senior citizen housing but having little to do with bridge games or the other social events they hold there. He's too busy shaking his head at life and reading the paper while his bushy eyebrows accentuate the news stories as he reads them.
  • The Wood Harris Dude. Looking much like the actor who played Avon Barksdale on The Wire, this guy comes across as slick and street-savvy. I've actually talked to him, though. He's very nice and I would have doubts that he's involved in any drug empire going on around here. While he definitely seems of the city streets, he's quite pleasant. But he still looks like Avon Barksdale!
  • The Crawl Around the Train Station Guy. He's a rather new one at the Plainfield Train Station. Wearing clothes and filth from weeks on end, he comes up to the train station platform shelters and crawls around. At first I thought he was looking for abandoned cigarette butts to gather. But he crawls way too long for that and never seems to pick up anything. He always walks away smiling and chuckling to himself. I've never seen him panhandle or even talk to anyone. Maybe he's conversing with bugs. I just don't know.
Oh, there are plenty more characters I see all the time. And, some who I've seen yet they've vanished over the years.

Anyway ... onto this week's photos. Clicking on an image will bring it up in a larger version.

Undergoing renovation

In my mind, I used to think of this house on East Second Street in Plainfield as "The Junk House." The lawn was always neglected with grass and weeds growing nearly thigh-high. Litter was scattered throughout the lawn and front porch while random dudes hung around it drinking beer. Last fall it was vacated and boarded up.

Now someone has gutted the inside, torn most of the blue cheap aged shingles off the outside, as well as the porch railings. And the lawn is even being mowed in between renovations! I've noticed at least three other homes on the stretch of East Second I often travel also being renovated without a cause such as fire. Sure, for a several years now the mansions in other parts of town have been bought, renovated and probably flipped. But I think it's even a better sign for Plainfield that folks are buying the more affordable homes and fixing them up! Note the flowers growing next to the stairs are even happy about this!

Yep, they're happy!

Get my best side, please!

I talked a young pigeon into a photo shoot at the Bridgewater Train Station. This is an adolescent, born perhaps five or six weeks ago. The cacophony of young birds in the nests under the bridges there has lessened as more of the youngsters are able to get around on their own. It's not just pigeons nesting there -- also sparrows, starlings and even squirrels! However, the squirrels were very quiet, unlike the birds.


I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille

That's not my name, you pigeon you!

Are you talking to ME!?!

There's no one else here. Are YOU talking to ME?

Beetle on a wildflower weed

I don't know what the weed is, nor the cool-looking beetle. But I shot them anyway.

Pretty peony

There's a home on Berckman Street in Plainfield that's mostly occupied by immigrant landscapers -- a bit of a boarding house with one real family residing within. While it never thrills me to walk by through several men gabbing on their cell phones and amplified music overtaking that neighborhood, they always plant the prettiest seasonal flowers in their yard.

Double Baby Carriage Woman

Yeah, she's rather hidden, but she's there sitting on the ledge behind the carriages. This is along the front of the Plainfield Friends (Quakers) Meeting House on Watchung Avenue. The perpetually homeless who cart along found items (usually of no real value in the real world) have taken to baby carriages rather than shopping carts over the past few years. It's easier to find them abandoned than it is carts. Most stores pay a lot for their carts and have different ways to keep them from leaving their properties these days. Yet, for years, I've noticed abandoned baby carriages throughout town. Sometimes a wheel may be broken. However, they often look fine except for sitting out in the weather -- perhaps they were outgrown or the parents upgraded or something. Now the homeless, mostly the collector types, have taken them over.

Abandoned, but not really

The Baby Carriage Dude who owns this one has stopped parking it near the pay phone on the West 4th Street side of the Plainfield Train Station. Now it's been parked at the entry to the elevator on the North Avenue side all week. He hasn't abandoned it. Nope. He's out looking for more valuable treasures to tie to it.

Despite NJ Transit's best efforts ...

... they were unable to eradicate the poison ivy growing around the Bridgewater Train Station. It's been loving the rain as of late and flourishing intertwined into the fences.

Look, Ma! No hands!

This very same guy never (or rarely) uses his hands to steer his bike as he goes by the Plainfield Train Station. When it rains, he has an umbrella. When it's nice, he's usually on the phone. Sometimes he has an umbrella up while on the phone.

The 'I See Dead People' saga goes on

People need to stop sleeping on the trains! Otherwise, people like me will shoot them. Plus, they often miss their stops. The conductors aren't babysitters. At least this guy has his hoodie on. Many head-against-window nappers don't have head cover. I hate trying to look out the train windows through hair product smears. I also don't even think this looks comfortable -- the windows vibrate and rattle a bit with movement. The seat back itself is padded. Oh, well.

Pansy power

It probably won't be long before these pansies in planters near my job are replaced with summer flowers. I hope they do the hibiscus like they had last year -- those are stunning.

How quickly they bloom

These flowers near my workplace were buds one day, full blossoms the next.

Selfies on a train

On the train home last night I encountered a family of train tourists on the Raritan Valley Line train home. Perhaps they weren't just train tourists, but tourist tourists as well -- they were speaking in either Hindi or perhaps Punjabi. Anyway ... I heard laughter and a clicking sound. Oh my gosh. A selfie stick with a camera was peering over the seats. Thankfully, they weren't taking photos of anyone other than themselves!

What the ...?

I saw this little guy at the Plainfield Train Station.

Oh. It's a squirrel

Dig, dig, dig

He found the buried treasure

It's a Vincent!

He's not all that thrilled with the hot muggy weather. Oh, not to worry! It's not like he's out in such weather. He's inside in air conditioning. You see, that's the issue. He'd prefer I'd run air conditioning with the windows open because he likes to sit in open windows. (With screens, of course.) For some reason, the flash on the camera makes one pupil reflect green, the other blue.


Palmaltas said...

Fabulous photos this week as usual. Loved the "faces" descriptions inspired by The Girl on the Train.

Jackie said...

Thank you, Pat!