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Imperfectly Perfect

So, yeah.  I’ve had over a week now to reflect.  Unfortunately, I could not quiet myself down for long enough to get back into that personal quiet place.  I made an attempt here, at Stormy Reflections, but the boy was off from school at the time and I just didn’t get myself far back enough, or quiet enough.  Right now, I’m at Starbucks, enjoying a Christmas coffee, with jazz playing in the background; but this snooty Asian girl is staring at me and I have no idea why.  Is it the fact that my boobs remain unfettered and out on their own?  Could it be that she is oogling my new nail design, or maybe that I tried out a new clear polish on just one nail?  Holy Crap… I really like the wet, shiny finish of  “Looks Wet” Ultra High Gloss Topcoat I just got at the Christmas Tree Shop…. Merry Christmas to me~!  Who knows about this girl, but I really want to get into the topic, so I’ll just jump right in at probably the far left, but it’ll get me started…..

Last Sunday, I served as lector at our church and it was one of those times that you just know the Holy Spirit is right there with you.  My heart burned.  I feel the need to post the readings as I could never explain them.

1 Kings 17: 10 – 16

10 So he arose and went to Zar’ephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”
11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
12 And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
13 And Eli’jah said to her, “Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son.
14 For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, `The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'”
15 And she went and did as Eli’jah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days.
16 The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD which he spoke by Eli’jah.

Hebrews 9: 24 – 28

24 For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own;
26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,
28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Gospel: Mark 12: 38 – 44

38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places
39 and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,
40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.
43 And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
44 For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.”

It’s irregular of me to post scripture readings, but I found these resonated inside and I felt comfort and I felt shame at the same time.  I was comforted because the scriptures were telling me that I could feel free to donate to hurricane victims, despite not having a whole hell of a lotta resources to support our family; and this is because the Lord will take care of us.  The widows of the first reading and the Gospel gave all of themselves, to the point of true sacrifice, whereas the ones who donated from their surplus, were not truly feeling the loss, and so it was not really a sacrifice at all, and not heart-felt by them.  I do have faith in that, but walking the tight rope is pretty scary and fear creeps right back in sometimes.

I feel shame because one of the days right after Hurricane Sandy blasted through, I was approached by a guy asking for money.  I made a judgement that I know full well that I should not have made.  This guy seemed to be lying to me and I refused to give him money.  I never should have done that.  I could have given him a dollar, even, but I didn’t.  Whether he was lying or a drunk or a drug addict is between him and God and now, my refusal is also between ME and God.  Living day to day has played havoc on me in a lot of ways and I’ve grown weaker when I should have been growing stronger all along.  This is my shame.  Also, I failed to set a good example to my kid.  FAIL.  Sigh, I just realized that.  Holy Crud, I’ve been wracking my brain on how I could  teach the little guy to be more giving and there it was right in front of me.  At the time, though, I have to realize I was a little afraid to stop to talk to this guy with my son along with me.  Elizabeth is not a very safe place, but I really should have trusted more in the Lord to take care of us.  It’s gone… but maybe I can learn from this.

I have to look back at the hurricane, which was really nothing for us, and realize that whatever our inconvenience, was just that–an inconvenience.  We did not lose anything but the food in our fridge.  We had no heat, but we had hot water and gas to cook on top of the stove.  Yes, I missed my internet.  I felt so disconnected and isolated and it was a horrible feeling.  My world literally stopped, paralyzed because we could not get any information about what was going on in our city and what was being done to fix the power problem.  PSE&G continuously lied to us and I feel that if they were just truthful about the time frame, that I could have simply made plans to go stay with someone.  The problem was that my dad in PA and my sister in Old Bridge, NJ. also did not have power, though my dad had a generator going.  Then when the schools reopened, that was it for us and we had to stay here.  Pathetic, right?  I thought so when I was finally able to see pictures of our shoreline and how those people REALLY suffered and still are after losing their homes permanently, not just for ten days.  Some of those people, at this writing, have still not been allowed back to their homes.  I’m sure that whatever they have left is gone from mold now.  All I can do is pray for them, for strength to be given to them to get through this.  Gas lines?  Sheesh, is nothing compared to what they are going through.  I guess the only Americans who can really know what they are going through are the Katrina victims.

Okay, so I’ve still not managed to “get inside” myself to do proper reflection, but writing sure helps get thoughts out.  DH and the boy were supposed to leave me alone today and I was planning on it, but those plans fell through.  Sometimes things do not work out and we have to make the best of it.  One thing I do know and that is that I am blessed.  I have a family…. a family that I never thought I’d have and it has surpassed every hope and expectation.  A loving husband and a very happy little seven year old.  My spouse is my rock and my little boy shows me joy and happiness, and both accomplish this with a simplicity that boggles my mind.

Henri J. M. Nouwen wrote of the Wounded Healer.  I am very much a “broken” spirit struggling every step through my life’s journey, which is why the quote below holds so much hope for me.  I try to keep this in mind every day with the goal of serving the Lord in my brokenness.   My comfort, my hope and my joy.  I do believe wholeheartedly that God has a use for us.  Imperfectly perfect.  We will never be perfect, but I find comfort that I have the perfect place, as I am, in God’s Great Grand Plan for the world.  So ironic that we all struggle, we all search for our purpose.  Do we ever realize that we need not really search for anything.  “It”, our purpose, will find us at the right time.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing
  from God as my successes and my talents,
  and I lay both of them at His feet.”
   ~Mahatma Gandhi

I am very much drawn to one of my favorite hymns this week, “The Cry of the Poor.”  In this haunting melody you meet the burning need of the poor face to face.

Stormy Reflections

I do my best thinking in the dark and under the covers of my bed.  Let me just say that this is not quite the best way of getting thoughts down on paper, or into a laptop, OR for that matter into an iPad WordPress app.  So last night I was laying there and going over the last few days in my mind, more closely, my impatience throughout the whole thing.  I’d like to say that I am embarrassed by a lot of what I’ve posted the last few days, and I am, but hey that’s me and I’m a stickler for letting it all hang out.  Not too many people are close to me and even those that are, might not get me, as a whole.  I figure that letting people see my bad spots as well as my good spots will sort of clue them into who I am….. and WHO exactly IS that?  Well, I’m not going to get into every single piece of dirty laundry (and believe me after this storm, there was a LOT of that, literally and figuratively.)   First and formost, I am a human being.  I am flawed beyond belief, just like the rest of you; but I am willing to admit that and willing to examine my flaws and at least acknowledge them.  I am willing to listen to what people have got to say about me.  A major part of my personality is that when emotional, I can flare up hot and intense, but then the fire goes out as fast as it flared up; and for me it’s like it never happened.  I guess that’s nice for other people to know, but maybe it doesn’t make everything alright.  I’m learning that.

These past few days, I spewed out many a rant and today, after four days of restored power, I can say that some of the things I’ve said about our mayor, Mayor Chris Bollwage, in print (and not) I’ve got to apologize for.  I do not know this man personally or have even followed his political career; but I’ve cussed him out many times these past ten days.  That was wrong, judging him in my ignorance was wrong.  I was in pain on several different levels and forced to deal with that during the storm and in it’s aftermath.  Mentally and emotionally, it was a challenge, and I was not a pretty picture.  My life literally was paralyzed because of the lack of power.  I was glued to the radio, trying to conserve battery power at the same time, just trying to get local information, which never really happened.  I never heard anything about this major New Jersey city, Elizabeth and I thought that very strange.  Our local government was giving out information via the internet (facebook), and folks, without power and a smart phone, I had nothing.  I do not have those mobile capabilities, and I suspect that a lot of the residents of Elizabeth was in the same boat.  It wasn’t until later that we realized the library was open in the down town area, then later, other stores offered their wifi and charging capabilities for free.  I was in constant contact with my neighbor across the street and if it wasn’t for her, I’d have no information at all.  I had only purchased my Tracfone, a phone where you pay for your minutes as you go, a scant week before the storm and thank God that Ed (unsolicited) purchased the triple minute phone, with 1200 minutes already on it.  I had a year to use all this, and well, currently I am down to 635 minutes with 392 service days to use them… that’s like half my minutes used in two weeks and that was just keeping in touch with people and getting info because of the storm.  I’m wondering if I should apply for FEMA…. hmmm.  Just kidding.  I’m wondering though, exactly how much FEMA will be doling out to people and if it will really help them get their homes back.

So I guess, I will say here that I will start following the local government.  I want to know what they are doing for our city.  (Especially, I will be following the Elizabeth Boar of Education.  I know for a fact that they are getting away with a LOT)  I vaguely remember the opening of a public pool and that public walkway that was mentioned; but the sad fact is that I would never bring my kid there because I just don’t feel SAFE here, damnit~!  Well, that’s the number one reason.  I heard about it at the end of the summer so I never went there to check it out, but maybe now in the winter, I’ll pop over there just to check out the physicality of the premises.

Guess I’ll stop here and regroup for a better post.  I’m sure that I’ll keep posting until everything I want to say is out.  So much stuff to talk about.  I think I might not get that opportunity until after the inside noise dies down over here and the little guy is thrown tucked into bed.  He’s my angel, but he’s got more energy than any of us know what to do with.

Winding Down the Days Post Sandy

First, let me say that this is my 300th post~!  Yippee… and thanks to all you readers out there who, incredulously are still reading; and I guess thanks to Sandy, too, as it’s because of her that I’ve been cranking out a post a day for a few days now.   I must be doing something, even a tiny little bit right.  You guys are amazing and kept coming back even though I wasn’t posting for a good long while.  Also, it showed me what the important thing are.  My family is a Godsend and if it weren’t for them, each in their own way, I would be in the looney bin right now.  Ed, you are beautiful, inside and out.  You are my rock.  Your wisdom is profound in it’s very simplicity.  I love you forever and with an intensity that would truly scare you if you knew.  So if you want to start from the beginning, click here Day Nine Post Sandy, then click here on Who Turned On That Light, then click here Frankenstorm Sandy Continues, then click here, Halloween and Frankenstorm Sandy.

Saturday, November 3, 2012, 5:52pm… Day Six.  I’m not scared, but I’m pretty pissed, frustrated, and pretty much depressed when at home so I’ve been spending a lot of daylight hours outside the home, we all have been doing that.  The library has become our second home, though, today has been only my second day going there and tomorrow, Sunday, it’s closed, so my 72% of charged ipad will have to do me for two days.  I did manage to get online to check out news and leave an update on facebook to let family and friends know we’re still alive and doing well, relatively speaking.  We had lunch at a fast food place and I got my ice fix, but sadly I didn’t grab a cup of ice before we left because we went back to the library and then I decided to try and get gas, seeing as I was almost running on empty.  2.5 hours in line for gas.  During that time, I got a shitload of knitting done… well, a lot more knitting than I could get done at home.

Now I’m home and had my cup of coffee… Ah another life saver and I’m pretty sure I’m enjoying better tasting coffee than from other places, though McDonald’s has very good coffee and they have it for $1.00 for any size you choose to get… pretty good deal, Dunkin Donuts!  But really, the coffee I’m brewing at home is Dunkin Dark ground coffee.  Got it on sale and so damn glad that I did.  Normally, I wouldn’t purchase ground  coffee because we have the Keurig… I believe this was another intervention from above.  I mean, that was a month ago and I never opened it.  So, this, the coffee, the water, both times it worked out positively after this hurricane…. but still no power.

So good to get out and talk to people.  No matter how bad, how miserable and negative I am feeling, just coming into contact with someone is uplifting to me.  Next week, I’ve got to have blood work done.  Not looking forward to the numbers as I’ve not been taking my medication.  I refuse to say why, but it’s something that can’t be helped.  Still, I went to the drs because of my arm and I’m afraid that I’m going to need testing… which might mean x-rays or something else and worried about the cost as it will be out of pocket.  The PM pain medication I’ve been taking doesn’t work the majority of the time but I’ve found that if I sleep sitting up, the pain is not that bad.  Also just found out that NJ DMV has extended the deadline to 11/30/12 for renewing licenses that expired 10/31/12, which mine did.  I’m wondering if now I can renew online.  That would be great if I could do that… though I’ve heard of the post office losing licenses mailed out to people.

So, went to take pics of the lines and trees that are down that we believe is the reason we lost power.  Yeauh.  Nobody was there working on the problem.  The trees are still in the street, wires down in two separate places on this block and no repairpeople in sight.  Do you see the steam coming out of my head?  Yeah, I know this storm was the “Frankenstorm” and it’s far worse than we’ve ever seen, devastation, etc., but I’m beside myself.  Just got an update from my neighbor… Seems that PSE&G is up by where those trees are down and might be working on it.  Chances are, hubby will want to walk up there to see what is going on after the little one goes to bed.  It might even be that location is not our power problem, but we shall see (BTW, these pics were taken with my new phone, NICE~!) 6:22pm

11/04/12, 5:49pm… Day Seven: Today was a good and a bad day for me.  Mostly good, but that little bad is a whopper.  This is the first time since the power outage that I blasted DH with my anger and frustration. He’s like: a man.  Innocent until proven witless.  (I really feel bad about it, now but at the time, grrrrr!  He’s an angel.) But let me start with some good.  Today is Sunday and we headed out for church.  No power there either, but we were greeted by the soft piano strains of O Holy Night, which is a very beautiful hymn, played by Fr. Jose, the new and young priest who is very musical in his ministry.  It was like a breath of fresh air, and I just stood by and listened until it was time for mass to start.  Very nice. Afterwards, we got to chat with our friends and then hopped in the car to head out.  Now, usually we enter into a conversation about whether we should just go home or go for lunch.  “Are you hungry, I ask? and he replied this day by saying, Yeah, a little.” So I thought we’d at least go to some fast food joint; but instead, my darling hubby drove us home.  OMG, my heart sank down to a new low when I realized where we were going.  I popped.  I blurted out even before we exited the car that I was not staying home.  I slammed the doors all the way inside and while I was changing clothes, DH asked me if I want to go out and I yelled, “NO, You’ve MADE your decision!”  I shut slammed the bedroom door and got into bed.  Oh shit.  I didn’t know what to do with myself and rejoined the family in the kitchen.  I am forever opening my mouth long and loud without taking a couple of breaths to calm myself down.. huh, undoubtedly you know that by now…. ugh.  So, to make a long story short, we ended up leaving the house, but father and son went one way and I went another.  I went over to All About Ewe, an LYS that had power, heat, wifi, coffee, bathroom, and FRIENDS.  See, hubby didn’t see that the last place I wanted to be today was home.  It’s depressing being here without power and without that sense of normalcy.  Thanks so much to Lisa for the warm hospitality she always shows to me whenever I go there… and I’ll probably go back tomorrow with the boy in tow.

While I was there today, I went online to our mayor’s facebook page where he announced today that by tomorrow (and I’ll input myself “by tomorrow’s end) Elizabeth will have 100% power.  Yeah, we shall see and you’ll hear about it here first… or maybe last since I would have no power.  Sigh.  I’d really just rather have the truth than false promises.  (To be fair, and as previously noted, none of the electric companies during this outage gave honest, accurate information to the mayor, or anyone.)  One thing though.  I’ve got to retract my statement that rich neighborhoods get their power restored first.  Well, here yes; but in the neighboring more affluent towns, the power is still out and it seems that none of my friends have theirs back on yet, either.  I heard that Westfield’s mayor told their electric company that their merchants were “suffering”, so their power was restored by this morning and the residents are still without it.  What gall to put their own residents last.  The seniors have been ignored, as well, in many towns.  Holy crap…. well, signing off for now…. 6:21pm.

UPDATE 6:31pm…. My neighbor called to say that our other neighbor went up to that site with the trees and poles down to ask when they were going to work on that.  The reply was that FIRST they have to mark the gas lines before they can even start work and that will take days… UM… REALLY???  I WANT TO SCREAM. !!!!….. 6:33PM

11/06/2012, 8:53am~Day Nine~ELECTION DAY…. Still no power.  Still nobody working on getting the power on.  Heard about car accidents happening at traffic lights that are off.  It’s just a mess.  So, hear tell of majority of the power efforts happening down in South Jersey because they lost their homes…. So if they don’t have homes, what is the use of having power?  Yeah, I’m bad and quite frankly I don’t care what people think…. THAT’S how bad it is here.  Hey, I have a young boy also, and it’s FREEZING here… so we are freezing just as much as those people down there.  Maybe after my power goes back on, I’ll be able to reflect on my shitty perspective, but really, not before. (Reflection currently happening, but slowly)

Sigh.  Election Day 2012.  We voted first thing in the morning and then went to a diner for breakfast.  I know I should be grateful that we can do that, and I didn’t complain to THEM, but they served my grits in the same flat plate as my omelette, which was kind of like a yellow island in a sea of grits… and the grits tasted disgusting and the butter tasted disgusting… So, ate my omelette and that’s it.  Coffee was okay, water also with ice, so I appreciated that.  Tip was our usual, but also forgot to tell the woman who took our money about how to serve grits.  Polling place had power, wow, wonder of wonders… how did THAT happen?  I can’t stand the sound of other peoples’ generators… So loud and reeking of “HA HA We have power and you don’t.”  Still, though, those people have to stand in long lines at the gas station every single day to be maintaining that generator, so I’m not very jealous of them.  One thing though, people, when you send your teenaged girls out to stand in line for your gas, please make them take off their pajamas and put on regular clothes… sheesh.  I can just imagine all those bored men, young and old, sitting in their cars catching an eyeful of chunky, jiggly young girl asses.  Just serve them up on a plate, why don’cha.

Our little guy has been doing pretty well and I think that’s because big guy has been taking him out here and there for walks and the library.  Yesterday they picked up the garbage, as promised.  Thank you for some kept promises.  Good thing, too, because this week everyone had to empty their refrigerators and freezers of spoiled food.  We have a problem with skunks, opossums, and believe it or not, raccoons and feral cats.  Only thing left in my fridge are around 8-10 various sized glass jars of olives, “cooking” for the holidays, grated cheese, pancake syrup (not sure if that’s good), and just made hubby throw out a large jar of commercial jelly.  I’m a pretty irate personality right now, so hubby just went out for a paper (even though we just drove in)… I’m just done. 9:15am

Halloween & Frankenstorm Sandy

This post will take up a couple of days’ time.  If you want to start reading from the beginning, click here first, and then here second, and then here third.  At this point I was feeling pretty low and could not bring myself to touch the keys.  Essentially, Halloween was postponed until Monday, but Monday nobody was out because it was still dangerous outside and now it gets darker an hour earlier.   Gabe was sad…. sigh.  Be forewarned that my language gets a bit colorful right about now and I start sounding like a spoiled child.  Um….

We wanted to keep things status quo and pulled out the ice cream (seeing as it was melting in our freezer and all) with all the extras, caramel topping, Reddi Whip and whatever else, like sprinkles.

10/31/2012, 12:08pm… I’m so pissed right now.  There are no teams out there working on anything. There is power right around the corner from us, but not us and that is SO freaking frustrating.  I concede that there is a senior citizen building around there, so I’m glad that they do have power.  Did I say that I am pissed?  We live on a dead end street and we are always the last block to get anything done, as evidenced every year when we need our street, filled with snow, plowed and sometimes we NEVER get plowed and have to wait for the sun to melt the snow that’s been iced over at night when the temps plummet.  Just had our last meal from our fridge, and not sure what we’ll do tomorrow.  Getting ready for the hour wait out the door at the local Burger King!  Even then, they might not have power.  Good coffee there, at least.  It’s freezing right now and no heat forthcoming any time soon.  So grateful for my CPH and the Noro fingerless arm warmers gifted to me by my friend, Dee…. Thanks, Dee~!

With no power comes anarchy in the streets.  Every driver out there is driving like a maniac let loose from the mental institution.   No traffic lights and these cars do not stop for anything, LEAST of all pedestrians.  (Let it be known that there have been two car accidents and two pedestrians that were hit by cars at intersections without traffic lights.)  Tried to check on some friends in the neighborhood, but failed on both counts.  One didn’t answer her door, but last I heard she was ok; and the other lives in an apartment building and I did  not foresee that I would not be able to ring the bell or get inside without electric.  (Both women fared pretty well.  Both got their power back quickly, but then one woman lost it again and just got it back last night.)… 12:29pm, ipad 32%.

This is a tree around the corner from us I snapped when I went out to check on friends.

11/02/2012, 10:36am… It’s been a while and it’s been very frustrating.  Still have no power, but our Mayor B. has announced that Elizabeth should have power back on by the end of today… or so I’ve heard that his facebook page has announced.  I am now at our library, charging up my ipad and writing this.  Oh so much to write about yet so overwhelming to think about.  I did take a really long hot shower yesterday and it was my only comfort.  The hotness of it relaxed me and eased my arm up a bit, albeit temporary.  I’ve been listening to radio station NJ101.5.  I listen because it’s a Jersey station.  Why would I want to know about NY?  I’ve not heard Elizabeth mentioned anywhere on the radio and it makes me feel like an orphan.  I’m not going to shout out that we got hit hard, too.  I think it’s a given, at least in this state, that we ALL got hit hard.  What I can’t stand about this station, however, is how every other word out of the DJ’s mouth are the name and call letters of the station… Very freaking annoying.  They’ve been asking what is the first thing you’ll reach for when the power goes back on.  As soon as I get power back, I am reaching for the internet, if only to listen to Gov. Christie’s speech from last night.  I caught only some of it on the radio yesterday and I really want to hear the whole thing.  I really never liked how he treated the teachers, but I have always thought he is exactly what we need in this state.  Now, more than ever, I think he is who this country needs to be president.  We might not like his tactics, but he has done an amazing, amazing job so far getting us through this crisis.  Thank you, Gov. Christie.

Shout out to NJ101.5:  First, I want to say that you guys were my lifeline.  Peeps, click on their link for pics of the storms.  I listened to you the whole time, from the beginning of this ordeal…. however… I am in the camp of those who are REALLY frustrated because we’ve not seen anyone out there working in our neighborhoods on the power.  Nada.  Yeah, yeah, we should feel blessed that we are ok and have a roof over our heads (and I do) but I’m sick and tired of getting snowed by PSE&G.  My neighbor called them and they told her that “she HAS power.” Really?  WTF?  Do you think your customers are lying? (For the record, the management over there has lied about their progress all throughout this thing.  I am feeling sorry for their workers, out in the field giving it their all to get the power back on in this state.  Also, tree-workers and linemen have been coming in from out of state, thousands of them, to help out.)  Got me so mad to hear the management give us the biggest snow job since last year’s total snowfall.  NJ101.5, I don’t want to hear you trying to smooth things over for your listeners because your station got back it’s power, like 3 days ago.  Like Christie said, the numbers, the progress, while good to know is happening, means little to those still without power, freezing in their homes.

It was actually a little comforting to know that our landlord also has no power.  I’m bad, I know.  No, I do not wish him ill, but I can’t stop thinking about the division of class in this city.  I believe that for the poorer sections of Elizabeth, it’s way more critical for them to get their power back, and get their lives back together.  The rich have options.  The poor do not.  Those more well off, have the option of going to a hotel, leave the area altogether, go to a summer house, or just plain go for a ride to kill time.  The poor have to remain where they are and once the food gets thrown out, which would have been done yesterday, they need to walk to God knows where to get enough food for just one day.  Thank God it’s not the middle of summer.  I sat vigil last night, waiting for the lights to go on.  I was literally, looking at the ceiling, “willing” them to go on.  Well, that goes to show you the condition of my willpower.  Yes, I felt sort of safe, but there was a bit of insecurity and uncertainty, as well.  (I heard men at our local Dunkin Donuts, a place I don’t go to regularly because of the kind of people that hang out there, not to mention spotting gang bandanas.  I was seriously afraid to whip out my iPad in the free wifi there because I heard cynical, cussing-every-other-word men talking about the rich “whites” and the poor “blacks” of this city, and that they knew “exactly” who had their power back with the insinuation that it was the whites; and they, the blacks, did not have theirs.  Little did these guys know, that I, a white, is essentially one of them, being without power for just as long as they were.  The night before the power got back on, I was terrified that looters were in my alleyway.  The neighbors were not home and there were flashlights being waved back and forth.  Just got me scared.)

Yeah, so yesterday we had to get rid of all the spoiled food.  That was sad, but at least now we have a reason to do one big shop to replace everything we lost.. AND a great opportunity to really clean the fridge without having to juggle around the food. All schools have been closed the whole week and Saturday, we will learn whether they will open on Monday.  The little guy has been doing okay… and CCD is still on for tomorrow as the church’s school has some power back.  I did get out to a different town to get some stew meat.  I’ve been really craving stew lately and the chilly temps pushed me over the edge.  Made a great stew and slurped up every bit of it’s hot, soupy goodness.  Ed enjoyed it, as well, which is probably showing that he’s becoming desperate because he never has seconds.  The boy refused the stew and had one bowl of vegetable alphabet soup and one stalk of celery.  He certainly does NOT know what he’s missed!

Yesterday, I stopped by my friend Kims’ house.  I’ve been trying to check on people in the area.  So, she had just gotten her power back (for good) at 8:00am.  I had a cup of coffee by her and some much needed conversation and sense of normalcy.  That meant so much and really helped me forget.  Thanks, Kim~!  We are definitely coming by your house on Belated Halloween Day.  It was great to see all your decorations! (which, btw, we missed because still being without power sort of clouded my sense of time.)

Yesterday was also the first day that I could make phone calls from my cell phone.  I had service all throughout, but could only send text messages to people to let them know we were okay.  So, everyone is okay.  My brother has power, my sister will not get power back for 28 days, they told her, and my dad has no power but is running a generator.  Also, my nephew in Philadelphia has offered us to come for the weekend if we still don’t have power.  I love my nephew and his new wife.  They are just made for each other and it’s wonderfully heartening to see them together or hear them talk of one another (kissy, kissy!)…. 1:11pm

2:53pm… Was only able to charge the ipad to 56% and somehow when I opened this up, it was down into the forties…. sheesh, what made that happen?  Well, I hear that Kenilworth has gotten most of their power back, but we are STILL without it.  After leaving the library, we went to get something to eat.  For a brief moment, we enjoyed feeling a little bit normal.  When we got to the intersection around the block from us and saw that the traffic light was still out, I knew we didn’t have any juice either.  When we walked in the house and saw that the clock light was still out on the oven, my heart sank lower than I’ve ever felt it go.  The feeling of being abandoned is unshakable.  I’m on the brink of tears.  Bollawage sucks big time!  His only redemption is that he opposes the Board of Education in this city (That group is beyond corrupted.  I’m happy with our mayor now that our power is back on… Sorry, guy.  This is what I was feeling at the time and I remain faithful to that to maintain the integrity of the story.)  At least the kids have CCD instruction tomorrow.  It will be good for them.  There is a special Mass being said for the sick, but the planned reception afterwards, however, has been cancelled.  I need to attend on account of my arm and spirit.

Save the Olives~!

One thing that is positive is that my olives are okay.  Good thing, too, as there is more than $50.00 worth of  homemade Italian olives cooking in my fridge.  The preservation of them is not dependent upon low temps.  The only reason they’re in the fridge is so that the olive oil solidifies, keeping out bacteria and what not.  I didn’t spend $50.00 all at once… It took me three weeks to buy up almost all of what the neighborhood store had and then more for my sister and her efforts; and not to mention the pickles I made with the brine of the delicious garlic dill ones I polished off by McClure’s Pickles, purchased at Kings.  Those pickles are AMAZING and well worth the wait as they make them fresh for you, each time.  Well, taking a break to entertain the boy.  Hopefully when I get back here, I can make a happy paragraph or two or three, and you know what would make that happen…. 3:11pm

6:55pm… Elizabeth, NJ… Still no power.  Very frustrating since the mayor promised that the power would go on today.  Yeah, still early evening, but I don’t have much faith that anything will happen soon.  We have a quarter of a tank of gas in our car, and lines for gas are crazy every single day.  Being able to write here, at this time, is a life saver.

I’ve got to note an observation I’ve made this past week, yes, this was day 5.  I’ve been listening to NJ radio and listening to people’s stories.  Gotta give South Jersey a lot of credit.  They are getting out there and helping people in whatever ways they can.  Nothing like that going on up here, except for a house we passed in Westfield today with a sign that read “Charge your cell phone FREE” and that was really nice to see.  But in South Jersey, people are opening up their homes to families, feeding the linemen working in their area, donating food, clothing to people who are dispensing them, etc.  A woman who works a concession stand at some sports field down there is opening it up to feed people from breakfast for as long as she can keep it going.  She stocked up from Costco from her own resources and also asked for food donations and clothing.  Nothing on the radio going on in mid to northern NJ.  I can’t even volunteer anywhere unless it’s in my immediate area because I don’t have enough gas to get myself around.  Sigh.  I’m still staring at the ceiling, hoping the lights will surprise me and come back on.

Let’s get frivolous.  Throughout the whole week, I did not have the urge to redo my nails.  Last week’s polish held up really, well.  Today that changed and I got the urge when it started getting dark out.  Needless to say, it’s not a neat job at all.

You know, I would have been able to handle this better psychologically, if we had more sunny days.  You know, bright, warm sunlight to make you feel better, but NO.  It’s been dark, dreary and cold with only a few hours of sun peeking through the dense clouds, teasing this end of the country.  (at this point, I realize that I lost more notes as I have been ending a session with the time and here the content was cut off in mid sentence, so I will end this here, but not sure of the time.)

My lovely family trying to play with a Leapfrog “laptop” in the dark. Gotta give them an “A” for effort.

Frankenstorm Sandy Continues…

So, I guess the next few posts will look like a journal.  Each entry begins with the date and time and each entry ends with the time.  I wanted people to have a sense of chronological order…. I’m anal that way.  Our story starts here, and then here. One thing I noticed today is that I’m back to craving my privacy.  Poor DH.  During the power outage I was insistent on having all the window blinds open, you know, to try and maximize the light available to us.  Now, I am back to needing them closed so that the people next door can’t look in…. Back to normal~!

… and the storm continues.  Day 1 or 2, depending on how you count your days.  The 30th is the first full day of no power:

10/30/2012, 10:25am…. Well, I pretty much lost last night’s post that I typed into my ipad.  I am working on the WordPress ipad app and somehow have lost my post from last night.  I cannot publish because we have no power, and being that everything gets saved (or I thought that) and thought my last entry would be saved, but no.  WTF? Sigh…. unless, when the power comes back, something miraculous happens.  (Just to be clear, there were no miracles.)  So pissed, but at least what is on my laptop is still there.  So to move on….

Tomorrow is Halloween and I’m wondering if we will have one.  At least, I’m hoping, that the kids will have a little party or something at school.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  I’m listening to CBS radio.  Thank God for radio.  Thank God for a husband who is pretty much a radio geek.  He knows almost all of the stations and their genre.  Because of him we have two battery operated radios and one of them (above) has a crank to power it up when there’s no more batteries.  I’m thinking of those who do not have these hand held wonders… Oops, now he’s shut it off and I’m left to my own thoughts unless he starts talking about something.  (NJ101.5 was my Godsend.  We listened to them and CBS AM, I think, the whole time.  Radio, the only source of information.)

Went out for a walk this morning and aside for one house, this block was virtually untouched, except for the loss of power.  One house, though, has a relatively medium sized Weeping Willow tree down in it’s front yard blocking the whole front of the house.  The kicker is that this is a neighbor’s tree and not theirs…. bummer.  (To date, this tree is still right there in the yard.)  Took a walk around the block and saw lots of garbage scattered around which just seems to be an bit of an exaggeration of how people really don’t care because it doesn’t look all that much different from any other day except that today there are lots of shingles in the mix.  I saw a couple of other trees down on houses and in the streets around us; but hubby came back from his walk with tales of several more trees down, including an Methodist Church with a tree resting on it’s roof.  This is the place hubby takes our son when he needs to have a “talk” with him-They go sit on the steps. Sad.

I am struck by how much we take for granted.  Power, lights, TV, and yes, the internet.  I am almost lost and certainly disappointed that I can’t publish right away; and now I’m itching in my seat that I can’t go online to get the news about the area and the storm, pictures, whatnot.  Oh well, just deal with it.  I was remiss and did not charge my phone before the power went out.  At last look by the indicator, it had most of it’s charge.  This morning I went to call some family and it died…. Cripes, now that I finally have a cell phone, I can’t use it.  Just as well to stay isolated as I didn’t check for facebook and twitter txt codes that would have allowed me to at least make updates about us.  Again, deal. (As an update, there were places I could go to charge whatever I needed to charge.  The library, All About Ewe, Dunkin Donuts, and the 1st Presbyterian Church in Roselle, NJ.)….. 11:04am.

12:15pm… Just finished our lunch/dinner.  Cooked up remainder of hamburgers and left over grilled chicken.  Raw celery for veggie and finished up the cheddar cheese from last night and munched on some peanuts.  Something interesting.  Outside temps are not particularly hot or cold which is good as far as the ability to keep comfortable, which I am feeling comfortable.  BUT the warmer temps for this time of year is not helping the refrigerator as it’s not even 24 hours since the power went out and it’s already creeping on up, getting on the warm side.  Not good for food OR my two little trays of ice which I totally need for drinking my water.  I have four bags of chopped figs in there and I just hope that it lasts so that I can make those fig cookies I’ve been fawning over since the last post or so. (Figs are now back in the freezer, but I seriously need to make sure they’re okay to use in baking.)

The boy is really beginning to annoy me right about now.  Such a strong stubbornness he has.  grrrrr.  Well, for today.  I’m going to try an do some knitting after taking some Advil.  My arm was killing me last night and could not do much.  Today might try plying some yarn in the daylight and also reading, of course.  Still very cloudy and rainy outside, so not much light coming inside the windows.  Really wondering about my brother’s family because they live on Long Island, NY.  Great.  Hubby’s cell phone is charged, but doesn’t have service.  Thank you, Consumer Cellular… You SUCK.

I wish I could get news about our city, Elizabeth, NJ.  While I am interested in what is happening over in NY, I feel so isolated not knowing what is going on in my own area, Elizabeth and Union County, in general.  iPad charge is down to 47%, so will break now….. 12:39pm

6:06pm… A bit of an update.  Spent the whole day with a dead cell phone, when about an hour ago I realized I could charge it in the car.  DUH… Tried to call family but none answered except for my SiL’s cell and left a msg… No other phones answered.  Did manage to get a txt msg through, but only to one person and she is also a tracfone customer.  Verizon Wireless customers which is my whole family, was down.  Tracfone trumps Verizon Wireless…HA.

Just heard that power is not expected to come back on until Monday, at the earliest. This is a good six days from now… WTF?  Praying that it’s not that long of a wait. Last year after Irene, we got power back way before they said, so I’m hoping it will be the same this time.  Still, I’ve got to feel blessed.  I have a home to sit in, reading or whatever preferred mundane occupation.  A lot of people out there are in shelters or have nothing… or worse, still can’t escape the flood waters.  My enemy is boredom, how lucky am I?  I am hearing generators around me, but I’m thinking that a couple of more days, if not sooner, and even those will be silenced as there are no gas stations around here with power.  (Just for the record, the generators around us kept on until the very end…. the noise was deafening to my ears!)  Tomorrow I think I’ll go to make sure a friend of mine is okay.  Can’t call her, but she’s only a few blocks away.  Don’t think I can charge my ipad in the car, tho~or laptop~42% 6:19pm.

Peace and God bless….

Who Turned on That LIGHT?

We got our power back last night at approximately 7:36pm, or thereabouts.  It was like Christmas morning and everything just lit UP.  I’m thinking of all the things that need to be done in the house.  Laundry, changing bed sheets, restocking the fridge, cleaning the bathroom again because apparently you can’t aim accurately in the dark or low light.  A brief recap of yesterday’s events…..

A couple of neighbors and I decided to start calling the mayor.  Our landlord also called and our mayor actually called back two but not me.  He must’ve seen what I was writing on his facebook page.  I am certainly not a resident of Whoville.  I’ll call myself a “Venter” and it makes me feel better, or like I’m actually doing something constructive.  Our mayor says that he doesn’t have power, but I can guess that he’s got a generator and plenty of employees to stand in the gas line for him.  I’m not trying to diss the mayor because I really don’t know him.  One thing I don’t like is that he’s not really acknowledging that we have a gang problem in this city and that scares me… a LOT.  He’s been in office for twenty years and recently, he’s not had any competition on election day and that doesn’t feel right to me in a democratic society.  I did attend an opening for a walkway that was just completed in the downtown area and he spoke, but then left for a funeral.  Afterwards, I wanted to get information about the walkway, where it led, etc., but nobody there was approachable by the general public.  I’ve not been walking there yet, but maybe this weekend since it’s supposed to be in the sixties, right after this brutal nor’easter that barreled through here last night.

Anyway, coming back to last night.  After we got home from school, around 4:00pm, we heard that there were workers going to the site we thought was our power problem.  Ooh, good news.  Then, in the early evening our 3 hardwired-t0-the-house smoke alarms started going off and we had to pull the circuit breaker to make them stop.  That was right around the time I started to notice that the houses in back of us looked like they had power.  My heart quickened, but I was thinking that I wanted MY power.  Then I got a call later on from my neighbor who said that another neighbor saw lights way up the street, around the corner, coming on.  Still more good news.  About 7:30pm or so, DH and I were tried to get warm in bed and all of a sudden he said, “Is that the refrigerator?”  I looked up, and praise God, it was on because I left it open while the power was out.  You never seen two middle aged people jump out of bed so fast!  Called my neighbor and woo hoo!, she had power, too.  I turned the thermostat up into the seventies to just try to get it on to warm up the place.  Next thing that came on was the TV as it was on when the power cut out over TEN days before.  DH turned on his computer right away.  So the answer to that most asked question this past two weeks, “What is the first thing you’ll reach for when the power comes on,” is for me, the ceiling light pull string, and for DH it was the computer.

So first, I want to thank Mayor Chris Bollwage for whatever he did to get our power back on.  After all that time, I seriously doubt that it just came on by itself.  What I have to say is that this is, as least, one positive thing I can say that I know about you.  A few people related to me that you had no power, as well.  Please know that I am not a particularly political person and try to avoid politics as much as possible.  I’m just a regular person and have no illusions that the average Joe has a say in government.  If anything, its a very small slight suggestion…. but thank you, for whatever you did, from the bottom of my heart.

Secondly, I have been really impressed by our Governor Chris Christie with how he handled this crisis and is still handling it after Sandy and after this freak nor’easter.  We really needed him this time and he got the job done.  He was the calm in the face of the storm.  Not a lot of people like his no nonsense approach, and nobody likes to have our services cut, but in this time of dire need, he was EXACTLY what we needed.  The gas rationing is working like a dream in my area.  Thank you so much, Gov. Christie~!

Okay.  So, I’ve been trying to write down my thoughts every day of this power outage, and I did actually take some pictures.  I’m going to post what I can in multiple posts.  I lost the second major one and was so upset that I just had to let it go and not even try to remember and rewrite it.  After that there is a lot of anger and venting.  While I’ll let the flavor of that stand, I have to really clean up the curse words.  So, the excerpt below is from the first hour or so after the storm started:


Frankenstorm Sandy 10/29/2012… 4:37pm

We are basically cut off right now. The power went out early, 10/29/2012, at approximately 3:05pm. It is now 4:37pm and I’m going crazy with my little guy’s urgency that he’s already bored. Sigh. Anyway, we have all the window blinds open to maximize on light. I’m watching and listening to the turbulence outside. I’m watching the trees sway back and forth like two old friends hanging onto each other in a hurricane. Um… yuh. Yes, they are old trees and I’m wondering if they will survive the night and tomorrow. I’m wondering if they fall, whether it will be on my car which is parked right underneath of, and to the side of. Our tree (the other is our neighbors’), is a maple, always the last to show it’s colors in the fall. Right now her colors are still a dark green and she’s fighting to hold onto each and every leaf on her head. Her lowest of arms reaches out in a straight horizontal line, almost all the way to the fence. That arm has within it, the swing that our neighbor’s little girl has used almost since her birth and still uses, almost nine years later. There seems to be a sanctity there, very special memories are held there. I remember watching her on that swing, all throughout, from my window just opposite. It brings a warmth to my heart. I hate to think of losing that tree, but despite all the theatrics, she seems safe at present. HA… I’m envisioning the tree limb right in front of me to come smacking through my window, but there’s really no danger of that right now.

My arm is killing me. I cannot go without talking about it and God knows DH is tired of hearing about it. Beginning of October I got a flu shot at the pharmacy and wouldn’t you know it, he clipped my nerve and now, almost a month later, I’m still in a lot of pain but some days it’s almost fine, like yesterday and the day before. I was thinking that finally when I was ready to go to the doctors about it, it was getting better. I was doing stuff yesterday that I haven’t been able to do in a month and that just refers to range of motion. If I hold my arm into my body, I am fine and there is strength there to do stuff, but if I go to raise it, PAIN. I mean, I can’t bring it around to the back, or even to pull the covers up at night or put on my bra, or pick up my pants, or secure my seat belt. I am going braless, which is pretty cool and you know I don’t need an excuse, really; and when I do need one, DH is happy to help with that. Ugh… I’m trying really hard to not screw up a decent post with my ailments, but as long as I started just want to say that I have been to the doctors, and he is letting it go another week or so and if it doesn’t get better, I will need “testing” to be done.

Just now spent a little time learning more about Open Office. I love this program, but for the longest time I was wondering how or IF I could work in overwrite mode and I just discovered it by accident. Thanks Frankenstorm! Getting darker now and the drake just broke down and gave the boy his nook after said boy skulked about the house in his boredom… a few minutes seems like forever. I simply refuse to hand over my ipad which was only 50% or so charged…. AFTER he played all the charge out of it the first time. As a matter of fact, my laptop is currently at 76% and fading even after I set all the energy saving settings. So instead of sitting here trying to convey my BOREDOM in a witty way tonight, I’ll just come back later or tomorrow. I’m off to each some cheddar cheese and crackers…. yumo!….. 5:31pm

Big gap here. Lost a file in the WordPress app.  Apparently, this app doesn’t automatically save posts on the ipad like Pages does.

Tomorrow:  When I went outside for the first time….

Day Nine Post Sandy

I just want to let everyone know that we, here in Elizabeth, NJ are going on day nine without power or heat.  We are okay and the first thing we did this morning was VOTE, then breakfast at the diner.   Apparently, we are one of the 2,000 or so PSE&G customers who are still in the cold dark.  I’m beside myself, but oddly enough I calm myself down while spinning…. so spin I must!

I’ve been managing to record my thoughts on a day to day basis, or as close to that as possible.  Lost a large post the second day due to my unfamiliarity of the WordPress app for ipad… gah!  Still, though, lots of venting and curse words, so before posting, I’ll have to clean it up a bit.

Gotta be grateful that our only major problem is the power.  It’s been cold, but my bed buddy is keeping me warm.

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by Sandy.  Irene last year was nothing as compared to this one.  Watchout for this next one coming…

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