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I'm happy, married, and looking forward to sharing my world with you! If you're interested, that is!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Photos

Several of you so very kindly worried about us during the recent hurricane.  Luckily we survived with virtually no damage; the worst of it was discovering I was just not meant to live in colonial times!  I admit it:  I missed heat and lights!  I missed my TV and my radio!  I am a sitcom/talk radio baby and proud of it!!

Here are some photos, and where necessary, some brief explanations...

I had a mild meltdown on the Thursday after the storm.  I was bored, cold, frustrated and angry.  We had no heat and no electric, and I was sick and tired of going to bed at 6pm because there was nothing else to do once it got dark.  I was feeling sorry for myself; other people had generators, we didn't, and they didn't have to sit in the cold and in the dark night after night...  After my little crying spell, J did what he always does:  he knows how to handle me.  He suggested we go for a walk around the neighborhood.  So we did.  And this is what we saw around the corner:  this neighbor's house was struck by not one, but by TWO trees.  One came down square on the side of the house you can't see, damaging the attic and the 2nd floor.  This tree came down in the front of the house, and was tall enough to fall on two cars parked in the driveway to the right side of the house, out of the camera's frame.  They were parked in the OTHER NEIGHBOR'S driveway.  And one of the cars was new enough to still have paper plates.  In other words, the car was less than one month old.  I soon realized I had very little to feel sorry about, and that in fact, I should be feeling really grateful all we had was a loose roof shingle and some bent siding.

My empty refrigerator.  We lost everything.  I did manage to save a dozen eggs and a half gallon of milk; I took them to my mom's house.  But her refrigerator and freezer were full and the whole neighborhood was without power.  We had no choice but to throw it all away.  On the bright side?  My refrigerator hasn't been this clean since the day we bought it!

This is our extra freezer in the basement.  We lost all of this food, too.  No generator = no power = no food.

This is my neighbor's house at the lake.  If that tree fell about 20' further to the right, it would have hit my house, and my deck, and well, I wouldn't be talking about how lucky I was to have suffered no damage during Hurricane Sandy!  Thankfully, although there was some roof damage, it doesn't seem too severe.

Dinner by candelight the first night after the storm, after we had lost power.  On the menu?  Cube steaks and a package of frozen vegetables, in our feeble attempt to eat it before we had to throw it out.

Some of what was in the refrigerator...

And more...

And one of the three bags from the freezer up on top of the refrigerator...

Our dining room light switch, once we got power restored six LOOONG days later... Notice it's in the ON position!  I told J I feel like leaving lights on "just 'cause I can!"  Of course we don't do that, but in the dark of the night, between us, I really want to use as much electric as I possibly can!  I really want to waste it, use more than I should, leave the lights on, the radio or TV on when we're not in the room... 

Sorry if this is too photo-heavy, but that's my way of sharing a peek into our lives during the storm.  I am so very grateful that the worst of what I had to experience is a little lost food and some cold.  So many lost so much more... 

A Busy, Busy Week...

I'm taking Friday and Monday off this week.  While I was home for something like nine days during and after Hurricane Sandy, you'd think, wouldn't you, that my house would be spotless, just about as spic'n'span as it could ever get, but NOOOOOOO,,,  It's out of control.  There are piles of books all over, magazines stacked in every room.

The only thing I can say is that since the storm, we really have made an effort to eat home more often than not, and for the most part, we've succeeded at that.

My house is so cluttered right now I can't eve BEGIN to decorate for Christmas.  Hence, the two days off...  I figure I can get up early on Friday, go grab myself a Starbucks something-or-another, whatever flavored coffee strikes my fancy that morning, then go home and make a concerted effort to straighten up and clean my house, at the very least the first floor.  Then on Saturday morning, we'll be getting up early to drive up to Mount Rest Cemetery and lay the grave blankets J made on my grandfather's grave and on the grave where my aunt and cousin are buried.  Then we'll stop to pick up a motorcycle part J ordered and finally return home.  I figure I'll have a couple of hours, and perhaps he and I can put up the Christmas tree.

Then I'll have to shower and get ready to pick up my girlfriend for a night at the State Theater in New Brunswick, where we'll see psychic John Edward do a live seminar.  I SO hope someone comes through for me or for her!  I've had a private reading with him, been at a few book signings (once as a worker and once as a fan), attended another seminar, and been in the audience at one of the tapings of his old show, Crossing Over.  Yes, I'm a fan, and no, I'm not a stalker, but my job has made it easy for me to meet him a couple of times...

On Sunday our family is hosting the 50th Annual N Christmas Party, thrown by J's mom's family.  Recently the cousins decided each family would take turns hosting the Christmas party and the summer picnic.  This year it's our turn to host the holiday party.  There were a lot of details to manage, tomorrow I have to finalize the menu with the caterer, we've already picked up all the extra "stuff" we need for the party...  LOVE the party but I must say, I like it much better just being a guest...

Will post some pictures from the party next week...  And of course, if Dad shows up, or my in-laws show up, at the seminar on Saturday, I'll be announcing THAT from the rooftop on the blog next week as well!!!

Hope all of you in the PA/NJ area survived this mini snowstorm; it appears to have already stopped snowing tonight...  Enjoy the next couple of days.  I'll also post some decor pictures when Christmas finally arrives in our house!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Yea, who'd have thought I would want to do a blog post about cooking?!?  The closest thing to me being a cook is my maiden name (yes, it was Cook). 

I'm not good at it.  It doesn't come easy to me.  I like to blame my mom because we grew up hearing her say she hated to cook.  But really, she did okay; no one starved!  But I want to learn to cook well and have always said that I want to take cooking classes when I retire. 

As it is, we have been leaving for work before 7am and getting home around 6:30pm.  To start cooking a real meal at that time would be just a) too much work, b) I wouldn't have enough time, and c) I'm just too darned tired to do it.  And there are only two of us.  So what's the harm in one day at Burger King, one day at Costco, one day of pasta, a day at Subway, etc., etc.???

Well, hubby is thisclose to retiring, and while I know he'd be fine stepping up and making meals every day, I don't want him to do that.  I figure now's a good time to learn to cook better, and to practice what I learn.  And to make things a bit easier on us both, we now leave for work before 7am but are getting back between 4 and 4:30pm on a normal day.  Of course, he has meetings and I have work, so that doesn't always happen, but we try...  As a matter of fact, it hasn't happened in a couple of weeks!

There are a few meals I make and I make them well.  No one can screw up a plate of pasta, especially if we top it with some of hubby's homemade sauce.  So that's an easy out.  I can make great fried eggplant.  [I can make it baked, too, but really?  Who wants to?  The flavor just isn't the same.]  I have a quick and easy vegetable and tortellini recipe, straight out of the freezer, with homemade alfredo sauce, that's 1/2 an hour, start to table, so that's another easy meal.

I've recently come up with a couple of new staples.  Believe it or not, until very recently I never made chicken cutlets.  But I'm a pro now!  Yea, so they're easy for you to cook, but for me?  They're meat, and I'm not good at cooking meat.  I like my meat well done, so to cook it to well done results in shoe leather 99 times out of 100, at least when I do it.  I just don't know where to stop so it's edible for him, yet cooked enough for me.  But I figured it out on the cutlets. 

I've made chicken soup before, but I was feeling so inspired recently, post hurricane-Sandy, inspired to fill our freezer with food we'll really eat, instead of hundreds of dollars worth of food we had to eventually throw out.  I made a big batch of homemade chicken soup, and shh!  It's better than the one my girlfriend sent home with me a couple of weeks ago.  Hers really had no flavor but mine was really good!

She gave me a couple of recipes I want to try.  The one I'm really intrigued by is fried carrots.  You basically buy the fattest carrots you can find, peel them and cut them into 4" lengths, boil them until they're softer (not mush - you still want a bit of crunch to them), then dredge them in a seasoned flour batter and fry them like you fry eggplant or cutlets, minus the breadcrumbs.  I can't wait to try this!

We're going to the vegetable market today to pick up what we need for Turkey Day.  I'm not cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal this year, not until January or February, when my mom comes home from her AZ visit.  But I'm bringing mashed potatoes and a green salad to my sister-in-law's and I think hubby is making a tomato and mozzarella salad and I'm thinking of bringing my green stuff (recipe courtesy of Mom - see below!) but I'm not sure that will be a hit.  I'm thinking I'll be the only one eating it, but I really miss it on my Thanksgiving plate when we eat at P's house!!!

We can easily do hot dogs and hamburgers, of course, in the summer, when the grill is up and running.  We're not those people out there grilling in our parkas... 

So that's that, folks.  I'm going to learn to cook if it kills me.  (Hopefully it won't kill my husband!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Meet Scarlette and Kayla Aimee

I've mentioned Kayla Aimee here before...  She and her husband are the VERY proud parents of Scarlette, a teeny, tiny dynamo who was born 15 weeks premature. 

15 weeks.

I look at my 27-1/2 month old great niece and I think how BIG she is compared to the day she was born.  She was 8 lbs, 4 oz, and 20-3/4 inches long when she was born.  I thought that was so small.  J wouldn't even hold her until she was, oh, almost a toddler.  Okay, that's an exaggeration but he totally refused to hold her when she was a newborn.  He waited until she was, I don't know, 6 or 8 months old...  Me?  I held her the day she was born.  And she wrapped me around those teeny tiny fingers of hers at 2 hours of age.

Scarlette was, if I'm not mistaken, 1 pound, 8 oz, when she was born.  Kayla couldn't hold her baby daughter until Scarlette was 30 days old. 

30 days.

30 days. I can't even conceive of what that was like.

But then I read her post today.  And now I get it.

It's World Prematurity Day.

Please take 3 minutes of your day and read this post.  Meet Kayla and Scarlette.  Take 3 minutes to watch her video.


I read Kayla's blog every day.  I see pictures of Scarlette today and I think she's just like Great Niece E.  But you know what?  After 156 days and nights in the hospital, after feeding tubes and quarantines, she's NOT like Great Niece E.  Take a look at her sitting on her deck steps.  That's when you realize just how small she is for her age.  But she has made leaps and bounds from the day she was born.  The day she broke MY heart when I saw the picture of her fingers on her mommy's finger. 

It's almost unbelievable that she's as she is today.  After all Scarlette and her parents have been through, they are now a healthy, happy family, but they had a tough start, and they've beaten the odds.

Please think about all the premature babies out there struggling to make it.  Please pray for them, and for the ones who aren't suffering or struggling any longer.

Thanks to Scarlette, I'll never take a baby's health for granted any more.  We've been lucky in our family.  Even my sister who was 6 weeks premature, she was a GIANT compared to Scarlette, and my dad used to talk about holding her in the palm of his one hand. 

But he could hold her.

[Dad, meet Scarlette...]

And now Kayla and her husband can hold their Scarlette.  Thanks to the Lord and the medical angels he had in place to care for that beautiful little baby.

Kayla, I'll be keeping up with Scarlette as long as you continue to share her with us by way of your blog.  Thanks for the beautiful reminder about today.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Just 22 Words...

I WILL say "I told you so" during these four years, when things don't go as well as you think they will.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

We Voted!

Went online and randomly checked to confirm my polling location. For the 1st time in 17 years of voting it was moved to our local firehouse.


Because the school where we usually vote has no power yet.

So we went, we registered and I entered my booth and voted. I came out and Jack was still in his booth.

So I waited. And waited. And waited. And started to worry he forgot who he was voting for, LOL...

He came out and called the voting guy over, who btw needs a MAJOR attitude adjustment (talk about a cranky old man). With no sense of humor. Or sense of hearing: had to repeat our address and name four times!

The voting buttons were stuck (on the wrong candidate). He couldn't un-vote them. They wouldn't allow him to vote for the candidate he wanted to vote for! The voter dude had no idea what to do, started mumbling about giving Jack a provisional ballot...

The voting dudette, however, said no, and told Jack to go into the booth I used and vote. She tried clearing the panel and apparently she couldn't fix it either.

Wonder how many votes in front of Jack were actually invalid? I'd hope you'd notice if the voting booth wasn't working, wouldn't you????

Please tell me you would!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

We Got Real Lucky

We took a drive up to the lake house. A pine tree mere feet from our property line fell. It fell on our neighbor's house. There wasn't a lot of damage, thankfully. They had some damage to their house a few years ago that they had to deal with; I'd hate for them to have to deal with that again...

The area is full of trees. We drove around the lake to look at the damage, and we were lucky. For all the trees that are there in the mountains, surrounding the lake, there could have been so much more damage than there was... The aren't getting power back for at least another week, and their schools are closed indefinitely...

Jack and I have some pretty powerful angels taking care of us up there! Thanks, Daddy and Mom and Dad S.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Sandy Has Come and (Thankfully!) Gone!

Yea, right. "See you in a day or two." That's what I said in my last post.

Well, I last posted on October 29, the Monday Hurricane Sandy was supposed to arrive.

And arrive she did!

Please note: today is Saturday, November 3, and this is the first time I have had a chance to blog anything. We have been without power or heat since Monday night at around 8:45pm. Just to be sure that we knew we were without power or heat, the temperature dropped every day since the storm.

We don't keep our house very hot: 60 degrees during the day while we're at work, it bumps up to 68 degrees the hour before we arrive home and it drops to 65 degrees from 11:30pm to 5-something am, where it bumps up to 68 degrees again so I don't freeze in place when I get out of the shower. At 6:45am it drops to the daily 60 degrees. And normally 68 degrees feels really warm to me. If it's a particularly cold night we have a room heater we turn on in our bedroom which heats the room up so much that I snore all night from the dryness in my nose. (TMI?)

Well, we had no heat this week, and right now my thermostat is set at 65 degrees and I have a jacket on and I'm thinking "I hope J turned on the room heater 'cause it's really cold in here..."

We were not meant to be colonists. Every time we walked into a room this week we hit the light switch and were totally baffled when the light didn't turn on. (Personally I want to leave a light on now, all the time, just because I can!) It's such an automatic habit that I never dreamed I could miss light so much...

We went to bed at - are you sitting? - 6:30pm every night and slept until 7:30am every day. That is unheard of in this house! J is of the "Get up! We're burning daylight!" ilk and sleeping past 7am is just - well, too decadent for imagining, let alone for doing...

We had to throw out all the food from our refrigerator/freezer and our extra freezer in the basement. And I knew this would be the worst part of the whole experience for my husband: all that wasted food and money... To you, my readers, I confess that over half of what we threw out I couldn't even remember buying! We are were wasteful, conspicuous consumers and I will NEVER do that again! Effective immediately the only things I will buy extra of is stuff we use on a regular basis: an extra pound of butter in the freezer is okay. 5 extra pounds of cavatelli or tortellini is not. An extra package of bad-for-you processed American cheese slices, even an extra TWO packages, is okay. We go through cheese like crazy in this house. A 20# turkey from 2009 is not okay. 3 containers of peppers and onions, frozen when we make a large batch, is okay. 3 extra packages of hot dogs in the freezer is not (we'll discuss ONE extra if we actually make hot dogs more than a couple of times a year). I am LOVING seeing the clean, empty shelves of my refrigerator/freezer, and while I admit that my intentions are all honorable, I do know that I'll probably fall off that wagon at the first big can-can sale, but I really want to try to stay on the straight and narrow - have what we will use, plan what we will need, and eat whatever it is we buy. Keep whatever you can cross, crossed for me. I'm taking Mom to the Shop Rite tomorrow to "replace only what is absolutely necessary."

We finally got our electricity and heat back this morning, at about 9:45am.

Thank you to all the linemen, the groundsmen, the tree-guys, every one of you who has helped me get my life back to my normal, which I'm almost ashamed to admit, includes electricity and heat.

I had a mini-meltdown on Thursday. I was cold, I was bored, and I was hurt (another story I won't be sharing here), and I lost it. No one cares about us, we have no lights, no heat, it's cold, this is awful, etc., etc. Once I calmed down, we got out of the house (stir crazy, anyone?!) and we went for a walk around the neighborhood.

My friends, I am so very blessed to have what and who I have in my life.  We have neighbors literally a 1/2 block away who had two trees fall on their house.  NOT one.  TWO.  One on the front, tearing off part of the siding and crushing a corner of the roof.  The other crashing SQUARE on the side of the house, damaging the entire side of that house, the roof, and settling on the second floor.  Or should I say IN the second floor of the house.  And the one in the front?  It was large enough that when it landed, it crushed and totaled the neighbor's TWO cars, one so new it didn't even have it's license plates yet.

There were literally TWELVE trucks from Pennsylvania on that street alone, cutting down and removing trees, and that was before the power companies came in and restored service, IF they got service already.  I am looking across the street onto the next block and it appears they have power...

Meltdown?  I have SOME nerve.  Sure, there's an excuse for it, or perhaps I should say a reason for it.  There's NO excuse for feeling that sorry for myself when all I was was a bit chilly and a bit bored for a few days.  I'm in my house, my family and friends are okay, no one was hurt or lost their home, etc. 

When I go to church tomorrow morning, I'm going to say some extra prayers for all who are suffering, and I'm going to do a little penance for my selfishness and thoughtlessness, and pray for a little more of the "right stuff."

I am praying for all who are suffering, all who have lost loved ones, all who have lost their homes...  Know that I will be finding my own way to help you, somehow, very soon.