Posts Tagged ‘Ocean Grove’

Of course it helps if you have a good eye for art or an artist’s eye that captures the art of everyday things.  My friend, Murray is an artist; He uses his eyes and the camera lens to capture the pure simplicity of the ordinary, the commonplace and when he takes the shot, it becomes art.  See for yourself.  The photographs were taken Thanksgiving weekend on the Jersey Shore.  There is beauty at the beach in the winter.  Without the maddening crowds, you can actually SEE more.


Destruction Destiny


I Walk The Line

I Walk The Line

I'm The King Of The World

I’m The King Of The World

Beach Berries

Beach Berries

Fair Feather We're Having

Fair Feather We’re Having

True North

True North

On The Second Day Of Christmas, 2 Cats A Sitting

On The Second Day Of Christmas, 2 Cats A Sitting

The Angry Eel

The Angry Eel

High Tide Geysers

High Tide Geysers

Libra Gulls

Libra Gulls

There is quiet beauty at The Shore!

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A week ago today, I woke up and could hardly walk!  Somehow, some way, my lower back seemed to have disconnected from the rest of my torso.  Well that’s what it felt like.  I couldn’t stand up straight and even I popped two Tylenol, an hour later, still in pain.  I spent all of last Saturday in my apartment hobbling around and moaning now and then. By evening I took the one and only Alleve in the house.  We have two vintage deco lamps on our piano, one of the bulbs burnt out.


After a very fitful night of sleep, I woke up and still in severe discomfort.  A long hot shower with the water pouring on my back only felt good while I was in the shower.  Given that we were in the apartment where the hot water supply is seemingly endless, I considered staying there forever.  However, the thought of more wrinkly skin and vanity being what it is, I decided I better get out and try to move around.  Believe it or not, there were still some reindeer that had to be put out.  Reindeer, you say?  Yes reindeer, my ecumenical concession to my Jewish husband when it comes to Christmas decorations.  Of course there’s a wreath and even two metal sculpture trees which light up from within with a candle.  And there are Christmas cards, usually NOT holiday cards, and two vintage stockings hung from the fireplace as well as a few Christmas village houses nestled among the plants on the living room window sill.  The warrior in me soldiers on.  By early evening I take one the two Tylenol with Codeine we have in the house.  One of the light bulbs in a foyer lamp has burnt out.


Thinking I had a Monday morning meeting, I scramble around as best I can, still my lower back not working in conjunction with any other body part.  I’m walking half bent over and on a tilt.  I know I can’t walk to work so I take a taxi.  WHAT? NO MEETING??!!! Well sitting at my desk is no more uncomfortable than sitting at home and besides at the office I have a whole bunch of sympathizers around me.  Actually sitting or lying down on my back with my legs curled up to my chest IS the only comfortable position.  Today Peter and I are going to the afternoon SAG movie, Mr. Turner.  I leave my office at 2:00pm to catch the 2nd Ave bus and will transfer at 57th St to a crosstown bus which will take me to West 57th St at 6th Ave.  The traffic on 2nd Avenue is a f_ _ _ _g nightmare.  The bus does not move.  It takes the bus more than 30 minutes to get to 55th St from 79th St.  YES I could have walked there quicker but I can’t really walk.  At 2:45, sirens are screaming as everything comes to a halt and let’s an ambulance through.  If you’ve never been to Midtown during the Christmas season, you really can’t imagine what is going on…it’s absolute gridlock everywhere;  Pedestrians crossing at all points, more cars on the street than ever, the windows of Bergdorf and Tiffany beckoning crowds and the tree at Rockefeller Center causing more jam -ups. 

Far INTO the Maddening Crowd

Far INTO the Maddening Crowd

At 2:55 I’m at 57th St and between Madison and Fifth and we have stopped again (not that we ever really roll along) and now two firetrucks are approaching from the west and all vehicles move over.  There’s is some stupid little black car that is playing chicken with the bus and wants to get in front of us!  I’ve got to get to 6th Ave and be in the theater before 3pm because then they lock the doors! I telephone Peter and tell him I probably won’t make it and will go home. By 2:58 we still haven’t crossed 6th Avenue to the bus stop.  When we do I practically leap off the bus and make my way across the street and up to the theater. It IS after 3pm and even though I’m bent over a bit I look up and see a woman going in and then another.  I try to walk faster and when I get to the doors I can’t believe they’re still unlocked.  At that moment, Peter comes into the lobby to see if I’ve made it.  The nice lady at the entry desk greets me with “Thank goodness, you made it”.  When I tell her I’ve been on a bus for an hour, she suggests I should have walked!

When the movie is over and it is over 2 hours long, we go out to find a) it’s raining b) I will never make it home in time to hostess my Mah Jongg group at 6:30 and c) I cannot take the subway which would be quicker because I can’t negotiate the stairs! and d) the bus doesn’t appear to be an option because as far as the eye can see, it’s traffic, traffic, traffic and I can’t imagine getting on a bus again.  I call one of the players and ask her to call the others and delay the game by a half hour.  Peter is annoyed because I’m in a rush, can’t walk and we are in frigging Midtown in the middle of the the Christmas holiday which looks a little like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.  I start to walk east in the rain, bent over while he is kvetching about no rain coat and no hat.  He also has predicted that I will NEVER  get a cab because by now, I have walked (read hobbled) as far as Fifth Ave. and gone south to 56th St hoping to avoid the madness of 57th St.  OMG there is a cab two cars away – I am waving my arm like a lunatic and rushing thru moving traffic to grab that cab.  Thank you Lord and the TLC.  Just before my guests arrive, I take the last Tylenol with Codeine.


I have to meet an appraiser in the morning and then I’m off to the office.  Actually standing up a bit taller and feeling pretty good.  Tuesday is also a SAG movie night but this time I have to be there by 6pm.  Janice, my friend from the office is also invited to tonight’s screening so we’re going to go together.  I tell her there’s no way we can go the bus route, we have to take the subway system.  Janice is not all that familiar with the subway connections so I say, “Just follow me”.  First we wait and wait in the rain (yes raining again) for a bus.  But since NYC is always doing something that requires scaffolding we are at least standing under the shed (bottom floor of scaffolding) while we wait and wait.  The though of trying to walk mostly at an incline to Lexington Ave to get on the subway seems like a really painful option so I say let’s wait another minute or two for the bus to come.  Well waiting for a bus to come in NYC in the rain is like waiting for a tea kettle to boil.  At this point Janice wonders if her Metro card has any money on it.   The bus comes and as I walk down the aisle I hear that dreaded sound of a bleep rather than a ding signifying the passenger’s Metro card has insufficient funds.  Luckily the driver says she owes 55 cents and lets her drop the change into the slot.  Janice has got to add money to her card when we get to the subway station.  We have to walk two blocks from the bus to the subway and halfway there Janice calls for a halt.  Well once we are at the subway station, of course we miss the train that is there because JB has no money on her card!!! Oy!  Another train comes along fairly quickly and I lead her through the rush hour hordes of people to the another subway line on 59th St.  Soon we are on an R train headed for 7th Ave and 57th St.  We arrive at the theater with time to spare – traveling underground is really the only way to go at this time of year.  When we got home, a bulb in one of the den lamps burnt out.


The back pain is not only still there, it is bad.  Our office is donating toys to Cassidy’s Place and I go out at lunch time to find a suitable gift – this is the last day to donate.  We are having a meeting at 3pm and a holiday toast at 4pm.  It’s a very busy day.  By 3:00 my back is aching so I got two aspirin from the front desk and washed them down with champagne! By the time the meeting was over and the party underway, I felt ok.  But not for long.  I had to meet my friend, Barbara for a holiday dinner à deux and walking the few blocks to the restaurant was just agonizing.  Dinner was wonderful, the food was great, the company delightful.  Unfortunately I had to walk home and even though it was only a few blocks I  just inched along in the rain- Yes raining again!


Before I left for the day I opened the freezer and OMG the stuff in there was slightly defrosted and I thought maybe the door had been ajar all night.  The night before I had a couple of spoonfuls of ice cream and maybe I didn’t close the door completely!  Surely the diet gods are behind this!  I’m meeting Janice at a property a few blocks away so I walk there and by the time I arrive I know that I can’t go along on these showings because there will be a lot of walking along the way.  I go back to the office and sit.  Once home, I put this massaging machine behind me and just let the pressure and circular movements massage the base of my back.  Peter is about to make a drink and head to the freezer to get some ice cubes only to discover that THERE IS NOTHING FROZEN IN THE FREEZER!! The ice cubes are water, the broccoli is mush, the frozen fruit is soggy and soft and all of the herbs have turned into green slime.  Just f_ _ _ _g great!  It’s 8:00 at night and I don’t know whether we need to call our landlord who of course will not be in his office or try the Super.  Peter heads downstairs and as luck would have it, our Superintendent is in his office.  Technically, he is supposed to do work in our apt only at the behest of our landlord since we are not the shareholders – it gets complicated in New York.  Anyway, once he heard of the dilemma he instructed a porter to switch out our refrigerator for one that was in a vacant apt.  First all of the food had to be removed and a lot of the stuff thrown out.  The refrigerator was actually pretty cold because it hadn’t been opened all day.  After a lot of measuring and moving of furniture in both the living room and the dining room (because that’s the only way this new refrigerator was going to get into the kitchen), the door were removed, the old one moved away from the wall giving us full view of years of dust and stuff.  The new refrigerator is bigger than the old one and it’s BLACK!   By 9:30 I’m microwaving some Chinese noodle soup that had defrosted.

OMG It's Black!

OMG It’s Black!


We finally got ourselves out the door and headed to Ocean Grove for the weekend.  We hadn’t been to the cottage in two weeks so when we arrived it was about 50 degrees!  I pushed up the thermostat  and began to unload our stuff.  Once done, we headed off to do grocery shopping just as the house was warming up.  The cats curled up in their beds which are next to a radiator. 

Actually Nora Decided To Sleep With Nicky

Actually Nora Decided To Sleep With Nicky

We got home at about 6pm and wow the house felt cold.  After unloading bags and bags of groceries which required the door being open, I checked the thermostat and pushed it up higher to get the heat to kick on.  Five minutes, ten minutes – NO HEAT.  There’s a whole lot of cursing going on….  Peter goes to the basement which is actually only a Yankee basement, not much bigger than a Manhattan kitchen and to reach it you have to climb down a ladder, not stairs and of course move about 10 things that are stashed in the back area which I refer to as the Hoosier room.  He finds a reset button and nothing happens.  We wait.  He pushes the button again and after a few minutes, the furnace kicks on.  Pretty soon the radiators are hot.  And then 15 minutes later, the furnace stops.  By 8:30 we are freezing and again tempers are flaring, it is really, really cold in the house and someone (not me) thinks going back to NYC is the answer. NO WAY! I’m not leaving the house with no possible heat so the pipes can freeze and burst – you know who grew up in an apartment building!  We call the emergency number and are told we will get a return call. NO CALL.  At 10:00 we call again and about 11:00 we get a call.  The nice man on the phone who had been sleeping was willing to come out BUT I suggested he try to walk Peter through some possible solutions.  After 45 minutes on the phone, the furnace kicked on.  And 15 minutes later it stopped.  The only possible choice we have at this point is to go to bed with a lot of covers and hopefully a cat too.  Before I went upstairs I really wanted to finish watching the finale of Grace Point which was On Demand.  I had a heat shirt on under my pajama top, a corduroy shirt over that, a scarf around my neck and gloves on and socks and slippers.  I can’t fall asleep if my nose is cold and every time I sort of covered it, I felt like I wasn’t getting enough air. Not a good night. 


About 4:00 am I got up to use the bathroom and the radiators were hot. Oh joy!  At 8:30 we woke up and the house was cold as were the radiators. OH NOT JOY.  Peter calls the emergency number at 9:30 and is assured Gary will call us.  At 11:00 am he calls again.  No call back.  Well by now I’m in the middle of making Beef Minestrone in the crock pot and roasting some cauliflower in the oven and oh boy that 450 degree oven helped to keep the kitchen warm.  I made us hot oatmeal for breakfast.  By 2:00pm we still had no call back and I called the emergency number and I was not as nice as Peter was about being trapped in a house that is registering 52 degrees waiting for a phone call.  I told the not-pleasant- customer-service lady we had to get of this freezing place and gave them a cell phone number.  Within 20 minutes we get a call from Gary who says he has tried to call us but our voice mailbox is full. WTF? There are no messages on our phone.  He arrives shortly and is very personable and knowledgeable and after some looks here and there, he finds the problem.  The furnace is over full of water causing some pressure problem but how did it get that way?  30 minutes later he discovers that the pig tail needs to be cleaned out.  Don’t ask!  As I write this last line, he is packing up his gear.  The radiators are not hot yet but God and Gary willing they will be! 

The day isn’t over yet so I’m not sure what else can go wrong today, you never know.  I might have to call my sister-in-law, Juanita to see if Mercury is in retrograde because believe it or not, the kitchen light in the cottage wouldn’t go on but that turned out to only be a loose bulb and the battery on Peter’s computer died about an hour ago.  Stay tuned….   

Sign of the Times

Sign of the Times

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He wrote songs that tell a story and touch our hearts long before Billy Joel started and he plays classical piano and embraces the audience in the manner Liberace did. This is Neil Sedaka !!!

That Was Then

That Was Then


This Is Now

This Is Now

Last night we went to a FABULOUSLY entertaining concert in Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium.  Neil Sedaka performed and he is truly the ultimate entertainer. He LOVES the audience and they love him. Really, what’s not to love?  The man steps onto to the stage blowing kisses to the crowd!

 Prior to his stage appearance, we are shown clips of one great performer after another singing hit songs that Neil Sedaka wrote and they recorded. His songs were sung by the likes of Elvis Presley, Elton John, Cher, Frank Sinatra, Patsy Cline, Rosemary Clooney, Tom Jones, Captain and Tenille, JUST to name a few.

 Of course, the average age of the crowd was just perfect for him because we all knew all of the songs he played and sang. He’s energetic, jumping up after each song and relating anecdotes replete with humor and wit, and he even does a few dance steps with some of the songs. That might not sound like such a big deal but he is 75 years old and his voice is amazingly strong and clear. He belts out a song as well as anybody 40 years younger AND of course you can actually understand what he’s saying.

He’s a classically trained musician; he went to Juilliard in New York. His parents were not exactly thrilled when they realized he was writing pop music songs and singing them too! Early on he sold his first song and was hooked. Obviously song-writing comes easily to him – he has written 800 songs!

 Mr. Sedaka gave us what we came for; he crooned all the oldies we know so well. We were treated to OH CAROL, BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO, SOLITAIRE, CALENDAR GIRL, LAUGHTER IN THE RAIN, EARTH ANGEL, TEARS ON MY PILLOW, WHERE THE BOYS ARE, YOUR PRECIOUS LOVE, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET SIXTEEN, NEXT DOOR TO AN ANGEL and so many more.  The crowd went wild and applauded loudly at the beginning chords of each hit song.

 Neil Sedaka told us he sold 40 Million records between 1958-1963 and then asked the audience what did we think happened in 1963? The answer was pretty obvious to all of us and in a chorus we called out – “The Beatles”! His response, “NOT GOOD”!! The advent of the Beatles and the British Invasion was the demise of the Sedaka sound. For the next 12 years, he was virtually retired, working somewhat in England. It was there that he met Elton John, a BIG Sedaka fan, and who was thrilled to sign Neil Sedaka to his recording company, Rocket Records. This event heralded the comeback of Sedaka.

 As the evening wound down, although the songs never did, Mr. Sedaka regaled the crowd with a stunning example of his piano virtuosity. He played a beautiful piece of symphonic classical music, thrilling the audience once again with his talents. He is one fantastic entertainer, we enjoyed every single minute of this performance.

I’m amending this blog post because I found a YOUtube video of Neil Sedaka singing one of his newer songs.  THIS is real love song, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have listening to it over and over.

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And for me that is happening more and more!  I laugh to myself as I see myself becoming my parents.  I used to be horrified and upset (for them) when I would call on a holiday and ask them what they had planned? And their answer was something like “oh nothing dear, we’re just staying home”.  Staying home??? Are you kidding me? Well here I am doing the same thing.  This Fourth of July weekend is a perfect example of this “Let’s just stay home” new montra of mine.

The weather forecast for Friday the Fourth of July was dismal, so our little town on the Jersey Shore decided early on in the week to postpone their annual parade to Saturday – something they would rarely do and I have always been impressed that no matter what day of the week, the Fourth fell on, Ocean Grove had their parade that day and  not like New York City which tries to schedule all their parades on  the weekend.   So here we were down at the Shore but with no plans to cook out, eat out or have someone over.  It was a mutual decision to lay low and relax this weekend. On Wednesday, Peter attempted to install the air conditioner in the kitchen.  Let’s just say that it didn’t go well and the a/c unit spent the  night on the kitchen table.   Thursday dawned  not quite bright but not raining as was anticipated.  Peter tackled the air conditioner again and I went outside to shove foam in where I thought there might be an opening.  Then I heard a scream, a few curses and the reply to my query was, “It’s all right”.  That was then.  As the morning wore away, the sun came out and we felt we had a bonus beach day so we went for a couple of hours.  Peter said  he  really hurt his finger,  When I looked at it, it was swollen, so I said  we better go to the walk-in medical center or the ER tomorrow.

Friday it poured for hours and after a lazy morning of doing a whole lot of nothing, we headed for the Jersey Shore Medical Clinic because the finger that he proclaimed was broken,  really had blown up and had a knob on the knuckle!  After an X-Ray, it was ascertained that there were no broken bones but there was something bruised or some tendon injured so after an hour there, a trip to the pharmacy to get the anti-inflammatory medicine, we headed home .

It WAS the Fourth of July so I thought it was only appropriate that we have hot dogs;  Of course I didn’t expect Peter (with his splint) to grill them and quite frankly (no pun intended) we prefer them to be boiled.  I always hope that some of the sodium is being flushed out of them.  I did make it a real barbecue type meal with baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw and sauerkraut.  We really enjoyed our dinner while watching TCM which was showing patriotic movies such as Yankee Doodle Dandy,  Sargent York and the Devil’s Disciple..  I couldn’t  bring myself to walk  to the boardwalk and watch Asbury Park’s fireworks when actually the Macy’s display of pyrotechnics was fabulous and I could sit on the couch and eat dark chocolate at the same time.

Today is Saturday and we said we were going to go the parade.  Peter nudged me along and we made it to Main Avenue just in time to see the first police car come up the street tossing candy to the crowd.  There were fire trucks, a High School marching band, local organizations, ladies auxiliaries , the usual suspects, I mean politicians,  the kazoo band, and costumed members of the Historical Society and of course some bagpipers and even a motorcycle club from the Knights of Columbus (of all places!) You really can’t beat a small town Fourth of July parade to bring out the whole town, flag waving kids and a whole lot of patriotism!

Today was absolutely beautiful, not too hot, not humid, not cloudy – another perfect beach day.  After the parade we headed home to do a few things and then off to the beach.  It was the best – eating melon, reading, finding tiny shells and flat white pebbles for the Fairy Garden.  I even found a small Sand Dollar and that always makes my day at the beach.  I’ve  actually amassed a small collection of  found Sand Dollars.  

Loving Me Some Sand Dollars

Loving Me Some Sand Dollars

There were more plans for tonight, but really sometimes I just want to stay home!  So we didn’t go to the free concert of patriotic music in the Great Auditorium and we didn’t go to the boardwalk to see Bradley Beach’s fireworks but we did have drinks and hors d’ouevres on our front porch and a delicious dinner.  

Tomorrow is our last day – back to work you know… I think I need to do a little yard work in the morning, fry up some peppers and onions and I might even make my go-to hot weather dish – Tuna, Canellini Beans and Fennel.  That recipe can be found in a previous blog post.  https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/tasty-tidbits-tuesday/

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After spending a couple of hours at the beach, we reluctantly decided we had to head back to the cottage, shower, pack up and meet our friend, Joe for dinner. Making the decision to get up and go from the beach is like an Italian good-bye. First you have to come to a consensus and then it’s gathering up the newspapers, throwing out the trash, shaking the sand from the towels, repacking the lotions, books, visor etc. and folding the towels to fit into my new beach cart. I FINALLY bought a Tommy Bahamas beach cart to use in lieu of my wagon, which takes up too much room in my shed. This contraption holds the beach chairs, the umbrella, a cooler of its own, the towels, the beach bag and anything else you want to toss in. It’s great – getting it up the stairs from the beach to the boardwalk is a bitch!

 Of course once back at the cottage we now have to unpack everything we just loaded into the cart so by now a half hour has passed since we decided to leave the beach. I still have to shower, pack up some fruit Wendy and I ma want to snack on the train and pack up my computer. I call Joe and suggest we meet at Mom’s at 7pm. Here comes the first glitch – all weekend long, Joe and I had been texting over whether I should cook dinner (because last week I did invite him to dinner) or go out. He suggested we make it easy all around and go out. OK but can we pick him up because he doesn’t really like to drive in the dark, Michael usually does that but Michael is in San Francisco living it up (we’ve seen the photo!). Now this IS a problem;

For the last couple of weeks I have been nagging (yes I am a nagger) Peter to get the air conditioners out of storage and install them in the cottage. I haven’t been entirely successful in getting this accomplished because every day that has been hot has been followed by a lovely breezy evening with temperatures dropping just enough to make sleeping a dream! However, I was able to insist on Friday that he pick them up and bring them back to the cottage and guess where they remained? In the back of our SUV! As large as our RAV4 is, once you put the seats down in the back, there was room for the 3 air conditioners, the milk crate (see previous post) AND THE ELEPHANT! One seat had to be returned to upright so Wendy could sit in the back and that left no room for Joe!

 I know I sounded silly trying to explain to him why we couldn’t pick him up; I mean really, we have no room for him because we have an elephant in the car?! So he opted out of joining us and said he was going to make himself some pastina for dinner!! Oh Boy! I’m not sure if this is a dose of Italian guilt or if he really wanted pastina for dinner, after all, he’s Italian, I’m Italian so he IS programmed to give guilt and I’m definitely programmed to receive it especially if it is coming from a man and it’s about cooking/eating!

 The three of us (and the elephant) head to Nagle’s thinking eating locally would be quicker and since it was Sunday night and supposedly everyone would be on the GSP heading north, the restaurant should be empty-NOT! A 20-minute wait – so we head over to Mom’s, the original destination. It’s in the next town and really close so I don’t follow my instinct, which is to take our stuff with us and go from the restaurant directly to the train – we were planning on taking the 8:45. Peter says we’ll have plenty of time to swing back by the house and get our stuff – Uh Huh!!!

 Mom’s is almost packed and it’s a large restaurant and of course there is a party of at least 12 people seated in the middle! We sat down and waited and waited and waited. We all live in NYC but only Wendy and Peter are true New Yorkers which means pretty soon Wendy is waving her arms at a waitress who is clearly not serving in our area. She dispatches that waitress to find out who ours is! Geez….

 Our waiter shows up and we quickly give him our order and inform him we have to catch a train! Like that was actually going to get translated to the kitchen lol lol!!! Salad arrives and is finished and we are anxiously waiting for the meal, which happens to be one of their specials meaning it includes the salad, entrée, dessert and coffee. You can tell how much I’m enjoying my meal by the number of times I check Peter’s watch to see what time it is.

 We gotta go, where is the waiter? We need our check. He comes by and Wendy asks him what dessert comes with the meal. I’m somewhat opposed to this but say nothing…we all pick out cheesecake and tell him to pack it to go! How long does it take to put 3 slices of cheesecake into 3 Styrofoam containers? I’ll tell you – TOO LONG! By the time he returns, I announce that there is no way we are going to make the train because we still have to go home and pick up our stuff!!! In that moment of clarity, we know we cannot make the 8:45 so we will take the 9:45 even though it means arriving in NYC just before midnight – good thing there are two of us traveling together. We tell the waiter we are staying and will eat our cheesecake out the container and by the way, I’ll have some decaf coffee! I swear I saw an ever so slight eye-rolling going on, and he never brought us forks!

 Peter drove us to the train station in Asbury Park in plenty of time and as his custom, he waited in the car while we went up on the platform because we thought the light signaled the arrival of the train. Actually it was the train heading to Bay Head, not NYC.

Asbury Park Train Station

Asbury Park Train Station

 As we walked onto the platform, Wendy remarked, “Wow what a motley crew” and she wasn’t referring to the rock group! We stopped beside a bench and put some stuff down where there was a man sitting on the end. He looked weird and was sort of moving from one side to the other, swaying I guess. So we moved farther down the platform. Meantime I’m looking at my watch and wondering where the train is. Then we hear the announcement, which is only slightly clearer than a MTA subway announcement and what we gather is that the train will be 28 minutes late. What we don’t know is whether that means 28 minutes from now or from the scheduled 9:45 time. I see that our car is still parked because Peter wants to make sure we get on the train safely, so I call him and tell him the train is delayed AND that there are 2 guys fighting each other behind the platform! Oh yeah, this IS the Asbury Park station.

 In the meantime, some woman who is sitting with a six-year old girl strikes up a conversation with Wendy, explaining in vivid detail how she arrived on the 9:04 to pick up her little girl and they are headed back to Newark. The little girl has announced a few times that she had to go to the bathroom (good luck there since the station is closed). The mother says, “I wish you were a boy”. The guys stopped fighting and cursing for a few minutes and then started up again. Peter shows up on the platform – a welcome sight!

 The man on the bench is still lolling around and a young woman who has a cell phone attached to her ear is next to him and asks me if this train goes to Trenton and where can she buy a ticket? Trenton? I inform her that Trenton is south of here and we are headed north! She doesn’t seem to want to go to the kiosk to buy a ticket and I’ve already told her that if she buys it on the train it costs $5 more. At this point, the woman with the kid tells me that the woman with the phone can get off at Rahway and take a train to Trenton from there. Well it’s after 10;00 and the little girl who has to pee, is cold because she’s wearing a sundress and the temperature has dropped considerably. Wendy offers her a sweatshirt (which I had been hoping to wear); the man on the bench has decided to lay down on the bench with his head hanging off the edge. The woman who needs to go to Trenton is standing near him screaming to someone on the phone that she doesn’t know what to do, how to get to Trenton and this is clearly the fault of the person on the other end. Another loudspeaker announcement: The 9:45 train is delayed 28 minutes because there is a car on the track in Long Branch. Since Long Branch is north of us, we wonder why the train can’t get through. Another southbound Bay Head train arrives and now we’re thinking it has to go to Bay Head and turn around and come back but what do we know anyway? And 28 minutes has come and gone

 Thankfully (for me) the little girl decides she’s not so cold anymore so she returns the jacket and I put it on immediately and Wendy (good-hearted soul) gives the girl a shirt to keep in case she gets cold later. At this point the man on the bench rolls right off!!! Dear God, he could have rolled onto the track! The girl ignores him and we all look on with amazement as he goes through some contortions to sit up. Peter decides to go to the Police station, which is adjacent to the train platform, to report this man’s condition, and for God’s sake I hoped he wasn’t planning on traveling with us. As I see Peter and the cop returning, the man attempts to sit up again but can’t and just collapses back on the platform. The song, “Oh What A Night” is playing out in my head. Another loudspeaker announcement: The northbound train is due to arrive in 3 minutes.

 Peter leads the cop to the man, the woman is still on the phone, the woman with the child is still trying to converse with Wendy and I’m whispering in her ear to make sure we don’t get in the same car with her! I quickly give Peter a kiss goodbye as the blessed train pulls into the station. It is now 10:30pm. We are so happy to finally be on our way. The only reason we are heading back to the City even at this late hour, is because Wendy has an early morning dental appointment and I have a 10:00am meeting! The conductor tells us that there was no car on track in Long Branch but rather an automobile on the tracks in Point Pleasant (which is south of us and explains why no northbound trains came through).

 The Bay Head/Long Branch local train only goes as far north as Long Branch and that’s about 10 minutes from Asbury Park. We settle into our seats and duck down as the chatty woman with the child comes into our car and thankfully passes us by. First stop is Allenhurst and at that point the conductor makes a loudspeaker announcement: Due to the extended delay of this train arriving in Asbury Park, the connecting train to New York left! The next train to New York City is at 11:30!!! OMG! I turn to Wendy and say, “Do you realize that from Long Branch to NYC is about an hour and half? We won’t get home till 1am!!!”

 There is no station at Long Branch, just a platform with two small rooms with benches. When we arrived the doors to the rooms were locked and why am I not surprised? My final word on this long day’s journey into night is that sitting there for an hour outside till 12:30 only confirmed that I was right; This all happened when Wendy bought the elephant.

Wendy's Elephant

Wendy’s Elephant

 I think I walked through the door to my apartment around 1:30am!




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The cover of the Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brig...

The cover of the Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman single Time to say Goodbye. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just came back from a surprise birthday party for my fiend, Jane.  I don’t know whether she was really surprised or not, but the party was lovely.  And what does that have to do with the title of the blog?  Well, we sang two songs that guests had written the lyrics to and to the music of “Ain’t She Sweet” and “Come to the Cabaret“.  Then, Dick (Jane’s husband) (and yes they are Dick and Jane) made an announcement that there was one more piece of entertainment;  Jane’s daughter-in-law is an opera singer and she got up and sang “I Could Have Danced All Night“.  She is petite, blond and slender – then she sang (read belted out) ” Con Te Partirò”.  I was just blown away…. my eyes welled up with tears;  Her voice was strong and clear and I love to listen to songs sung in Italian.  Then when I came home I went through my emails and my friend, Lili sent me a video of an Italian Jewish Wedding where the Cantor sang “Con Te Partiro” – lately this kind of coincidence has been happening to me.

Many people know this song as the famous duet of Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman.  They have appeared together numerous times to perform this loveliest of love songs.  Did you know that Andrea introduced this song in his 1995 album Bocelli Romanza? I LOVE the song, I LOVE the words, I LOVE the music and I LOVE the language.  So in celebration of my coincidence  and just because – see all of the above, I’m posting two YOUTUBE videos: One is the Bocelli-Brightman duet and the other is a lyrical translation.  I very much want to learn to speak Italian and being able to see the words spelled out and hear them at the same time was really great.  You might also want to know what they are saying to each other!  There may be a mini ad at the beginning of the video however if you look closely it will state whether you can SKIP IT right away or show you the time count down to do so.



And here are the lyrics!



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La Vien en Rose in early Spring

La Vie en Rose in early Spring

This photo was taken probably in early April before the rose bush’s leaves opened.

OMG what a day! I worked from morning till night doing all kinds of things; AND I’m going to tell you about all of them.  Why? Well, because if you’re fortunate enough to have a family member or friend who has a cottage and you get an invitation to visit sometime this summer, I want you to know that a lot goes into making La Vie en Rose and every other beach house a great place to stay.

Today, Sunday, has been the nicest day so far this Memorial Day Weekend, considered by all to be the unofficial beginning of summer.  Our street was filled with the cars of visitors who parked and went off to the beach.  That’s what we used to do when we would go to the Shore for the weekend.  But those days are long gone…..

I started off the morning shaking out the throw rugs, then I dust-mopped the kitchen and bathroom floor with my Swifter.  Then I washed both floors.  Peter had gone to get me coffee and while he was gone, I cleaned the litter box, put last night’s dishes away and made the bed.

When he returned with my Grandé Americano, I made us a breakfast of bacon, eggs and English muffins.  That was the last time I sat down!

While Peter washed the breakfast dishes, I decided to vacuum the white area rugs which are here and there though out the cottage and are too light weight to be vacuumed with the Hoover, so I use the Dust Buster to pick up all the pesky little specks.  After the third rug, the Dust Buster began to lose power – great!  And the day had just begun.  Downstairs to recharge the vacuum, I decide we must move the kitchen table so I can use the Hoover vacuum on the radiator where dust and cobwebs left over from the winter are probably residing. Moving the table is a two-man job and now that it is halfway out into the working part of the kitchen and the 4 chairs are scattered about, it’s kind of tight in there to maneuver.  My husband agrees he should clean the radiator and I tackle the window. I  took the curtains down and shook them out and noticed how dusty the window sill was and how dirty the window was – a lot of rain and snow this winter!

I’ve been harping about repainting the window sills and frames since last year because they are layered with paint, some of which is cracking, some is chipping and basically they just look bad.  This ginormous task has been carefully avoided by Peter  up to now.  I started cleaning that nasty dirty area between the storm windows and the window sill.  Let me just remind you all that this cottage was built about 1888!  Peter brought out two scrapers and I began trying to smooth out the rough over-painted areas and removing the loose crackled pieces of paint.  I’m just going to skip over the fight we had about scraping versus non-scraping and then sanding because let me assure you, the window frames got scraped and sanded as I knew they would!

The scraping/sanding task also included washing the windows inside and out in the living room. To do so, I went outside on the front porch and  yuk another job to do.  But before I deal with the porch, I vacuumed the living room rug as well as the scrapings and sawdust in each window.  I had to move the BIG TV, God is it heavy, to get to window back there.  By the way, have I ever told you how much I dislike, bordering on hate, triple track storms and screens.  After dripping in WD-40, I finally got one of upper storm windows down so it could be washed inside and out.  Peter went upstairs to do the window frames and while he was up there, I thought he should vacuum the back porch which was covered in debris and leaves.

For 2 days the box of the porch candles has sat in the living room and I was determined to get them out on the glass tables (after I washed the tables naturally).  But first, back to the yukky porch which was really dirty (it was a long winter).  Peter washed the porch which means furniture was all over the place and some of it on the lawn.  Yesterday I filled the porch planter (which is like an outdoor window sill planter) with geraniums and petunias but didn’t attach it to the porch BECASUSE the porch wasn’t clean.  It gets tied in place to the railing spindles BUT they were dirty and spotted with mildew.  So out comes the Tilex and brush and rubber gloves as I tackle spindle after spindle scrubbing the mildew away and discovering that some of them were losing paint and OMG, rotting and will need to be replaced. It’s hard to work on the porch and not notice how black the front of the house is due to the traffic and dirt from the road.  More Tilex and more hosing down.  By this point I’m pretty wet.

I still had a wicker planter to fill with pink petunias, however that piece was in the garage and Peter had to go get it – “Not now”, he said, “Do something else”.  OK, I will transplant the mint.  Yes, I know it grows like a weed and because it does,  some has already sprouted up in areas other than the patch of lawn I gave it last year.  I had bordered that patch of ground with sea shells, some of which did not survive the winter.  So, as most of the other jobs have been going so far today, this one wasn’t going to be any different – Stop, get some sea shells from a stash I have in the shed and replace the broken ones before I start to transplant the errant mint into its rightful home.  Now that I’m on my hands and knees, I can see that the flagstone walkway is overgrown with grass and needs trimming.  I have to do this a couple of times each summer and am always surprised that the damn grass grows on top of the stone but not in the lawn!  At this level, I see a lot of areas that need hand trimming and yes, I did that too!

About this time, I realize that there are about 7 jobs in progress and none completely finished.  The furniture is still all over the kitchen, the porch furniture is scattered and the porch floor is wet and littered with paint chips.  I went back to the front of the house and made the mistake of looking up and saw that the porch ceiling should probably be repainted and certainly it was really dirty, so as I aimed the hose upward, the water came downward and I just got wetter. I asked Peter to go get the wicker planter, PLEASE!

As he filled the bird feeder,  I got the Round-UP out to kill the weeds that were popping up on the patio and between the blocks on the sidewalk.  That done, it was time to put the petunias in the wicker planter.  Uh oh, I don’t have enough dirt!  I dug some up where I plan to plant a basil plant but it really wasn’t enough.  I think there were 12 plants in the flat, however the flat was a plastic molded affair and it was really difficult to get the plants out.  There were a few casualties!  I squished them in together and HOPED that their dirt will blend together and I probably better buy some potting soil soon. I just hope they survive till I return next weekend.

Our neighbors strolled over and she noticed how stick like my hydrangeas were and informed me that I needed to cut back those stems because what I thought were buds were not and I should cut them all back to where there was some green growth near the bottom.  She offered me the use of her new clipper and now even though it was 6:30pm I tackled the two hydrangeas in the front and the one in the back.  Somebody has to tie up all these dead branches for the yard-waste pick-up. 

By the time the kitchen table and chairs were put back, the TV was put back, the porch furniture was put back (only to come off again BECAUSE the porch needs to be repainted) and the two vacuum cleaners emptied and put away, as well as the bottles of Tilex, Windex, Awesome, Simple Green and Fantastik, it was after 7pm.  I was most definitely NOT making dinner tonight.  

After a shower and two Tylenol (for my achey body), we ordered Chinese food!. Tomorrow is another day and after the Parade, I think Peter will repaint the front porch floor….this ole house! 



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It’s 7:30 am and I’m hustling around to get ready for the today’s big yard sale.  I have spent the last couple of weeks scrounging around the apartment, the cottage and through stuff we’ve had left over from doing Flea Markets.  In other words I have WAY TOO much stuff to put out on two tables!!

AND as Peter predicted the ground is wet because for the last two days we have showers….this is NOT an auspicious beginning 😦

I literally spent the entire day yesterday sorting through the boxes of stuff trying to group the junk, er, I mean stuff into plastic bins and price each piece.  This is of course an area where we diverge: I want this stuff GONE and am happy to price it to sell and well, my other half is a bit more attached to his possessions and is not giving anything away!  Oh no?  I’ve already promised myself that 90% of what is going into the sale is going to Goodwill and Habitats if it doesn’t sell.

I’m not immune to the fact that we are probably putting out some items that really don’t belong in  a yard sale, they are much more Flea Market antiques and nostalgic collectibles but right now, this is the only venue.  And, I swear I will do another yard sale in the summer when lots more people are in town.  This particular day was designated by an organizer and promoted as Town Wide.  I hope there was sufficient advertising to entice people to come even though this is one gray, soggy day.  Oh how dismal it all looks now!

This is the morning to be moving quickly and hello Murphy’s Law – we’re up and Peter takes the first shower and drops his lens in the bathroom-15 minutes later we find it.  I need him dressed and outside to set up those big table for me and to lug the crap er, I mean stuff out to the porch.  Just to add to the total aggravation of it all is the fact we broke the door on our shed two weeks ago, it’s not fixed so the wagon which is supposed to be for sale is in there along with big sheets of plastic I wanted with me in case of a shower!  Oh yeah, think it’s going to be a fun, fun day all around!

Friday afternoon my living room looked like this…

And this…

Trying To Sort Through

Trying To Sort Through

By 8pm last night, I had priced, sorted and packed up everything and then listened to the weather report

Way Too Much Stuff

Way Too Much Stuff

Packed and Priced

Packed and Price

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Ocean Grove, NJ is so peaceful.

Ocean Grove, NJ is so peaceful. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of quaintest things in Ocean Grove was the Fishing Pier with its Fishing Shack and of course Ralph, the resident (dummy) fisherman who perpetually cast his line in hopes of snagging the big one.

Ralph has been a fixture on the pier off and on since 1993.  He was created by Carol Boniello and Bob Borders as a symbol of hope for the future of the pier which was in the process of being rebuilt.  In December of 1992 a nor’easter took the fishing shack and part of the pier down.  Ralph has been a bit of a transient.  He fell into the ocean in 1994 only to be rescued by two Grovers.  He lived for a while on Carol’s porch, he even marched in a local parade. He’s been the subject of paintings, sketches and hundreds of photographs.  Children loved Ralph, giggling and pointing at him from the beach below.

Well that was then and this is now.  Hurricane Sandy wiped out the Fishing Shack, part of the pier and alas, Ralph disappeared into the angry swirling sea.  Perhaps he heard a mermaid calling his name.

Losing the Fishing Shack isn’t the worst thing that happened to Ocean Grove during Sandy, the Frankenstorm.  BUT, now looking at the ruptured landmark breaks my heart.  It’s almost like “Serioulsy? You had to take the shack and Ralph AGAIN?” “Isn’t destroying the boardwalk enough? Didn’t tossing the lamp posts and benches across the road and down side streets enough” ?  “Wasn’t flooding basements, depositing tons of sand along Abbott Avenue and Broadway enough”? “Isn’t the fact that we’re 5 days without power and cold enough”?  “And we had to throw out all the food we couldn’t eat in 48 hours bad enough”?  Guess Not!

Watch the videos; Short one shot during the Hurricane and then post Sandy. 

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After a night of howling wind, slashing rain and rattling windows, I woke up this morning to a new world.  The sidewalks of the Upper East Side were covered with leaves, large branches and in some cases whole trees were on the street.  People were out in huge numbers as the result of yet another day with no public transportation and most non-essential businesses closed!  Going out for breakfast in New York on the weekend or in this case a day off is practically a national pastime.  This morning we joined our friend, Gail for a late breakfast/lunch at Gracie’s, a coffee shop across the street.  The line to get in was out the door and to the end of the block!  Luckily Gail had gotten there before us and we were able to go right in and get a table.  I ordered one of my usual breakfast.  I said, “I’ll have scrambled egg whites on a toasted bialy with one slice of turkey bacon”.  The waiter said, “Just white or rye”.  I said, “Ok, I’ll have two poached eggs in a cup and…” at which point he interrupted me and said, “we only have scrambled eggs”.  So I laughed and said perhaps he ought to just write out the order himself!!!  So scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, rye toast and home fries was breakfast du jour.

Walked over to 87th St to watch the trees being fed into an automated garbage truck, not something you see around town.

Once back home an online, the horrors wrought by Sandy the night before began to reveal themselves.  Between fielding phone calls from friends around the country who were checking in on our safety and well-being and trying to access the internet to see what was written on Blogfinger, I watched the news.  Switching from NBC to ABC to CNN I was horrified by what I saw.  Massive destruction of the Jersey Shore!  Subway tunnels flooded and our own Eastside #6 line under water.  The crane still dangling over West 57th St.  My cousin Marian called me and asked if they could stay at our apartment on Wednesday as she is still banned from her building due to the threatening crane.

Extel, Billionaires building, Manhattan, W. 57th sT

How ONE Crane Ate A Neighborhood

Another telling photo, this one from Hoboken, NJ

Hoboken, NJ, fleet of taxis, Hurricane Sandy

The Yellow Submarines

Every borough was severely affected by Sandy. Below is a freak incident brought about by high winds and a stupendous storm surge.

Sandy took a wrong turn on Staten Island

Photo courtesy of (AP Photo/Sean Sweeney)

Late in the afternoon, I was able to go online at a friend’s house and view Blogfinger – THE DAY AFTER: Assessing the Damage

The following photos are from Blogfinger, a great source of community information.  If you read the comments, you will see how many home-owners such as myself rely heavily on the blog to find out what is happening in the town when we’re not there.  The bad news was right there in black and white. No power, more trees down, the board walk a twisted and buckled wreck, a former restaurant ripped open by the sea.

Ocean Grove NJ, boardwalk, Hurricane Sandy

Ocean Grove boardwalk covered in sand, benches strewn around like toys,

Photo by Paul Goldfinger

And then I called Jane at the Lillagaard to find out what damage had been done.  The news was NOT GOOD.  The storm surge broke the entry door to the Tea Room, not only pushing the door open but also bending the door frame.  Can you imagine the forces of nature at play with this ferocious Frankenstorm?  As of tonight the kitchen was still flooded and the Tea Room is closed till further notice 😦

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