My New Year’s celebration with Andy took us to Andover, NJ. Since I wasn’t feeling well a couple days earlier, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to take part in the festivities. Thankfully I got plenty of rest on Sunday, and I felt much better in time for New Year’s Eve. It was a great time hanging out with our friends Allyson and Tim. I first met them about six years ago at a birthday party, and they’re both very good people.
We had such an enjoyable time hanging out at Allyson’s Andover home. It always has such a festive, Christmas-like feel during this time. I enjoy admiring the decorations, and sitting before the fireplace whenever we come over during the winter months. We also have fun watching the New Year’s Eve specials on television. It’s never a dull moment!
Six years ago, Superstorm Sandy ripped through the NY/NJ area. I was living in NYC at the time, and we didn’t think it was going to make a huge impact. Especially after Irene came through the year before, and minimal damage took place. During the day, it was just rain, and we all commented that it was just another storm passing through the area.
And then, Monday night came, followed by a powerful high tide along the coastline. Many areas of the Jersey Shore were battered. Parts of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island were crippled (There may have been damage in the Bronx as well, but it wasn’t reported widely). Lower Manhattan flooded, and suffered a terrible blackout that lasted for days. The subway system was shut down for at least two days.
I lived in uptown Manhattan at the time, and chose to stay during the storm while my roommate went to Long Island to be with family. I felt that since we weren’t asked to evacuate, we would be fine. That night, as the wind howled and lights flickered, I stayed by my laptop and talked to my college friends online, thankful that I had people to reach out to. The following morning, I was relieved that my power was still on.
Since most of NYC suffered blackouts and severe flooding, many of us were home for the rest of that week. I spent that time maintaining contact with my friends living in NJ, who were also handling blackouts and gas rationing in their neighborhoods. It was such a crazy time for everyone living in Sandy’s aftermath.
I would like to think that it brought people closer. Friends were reaching out to others, offering shelter while their home was out of power. Unfortunately, the situation caused tension with some of my friendships as well. It was truly a learning experience for me, and I saw how people can grow apart and come together through harrowing circumstances. I surely will never forget it.
This afternoon Andy and I went to Haledon. Our route to Haledon took us by my old high school. It’s been over 20 years since I’ve visited the area, so when I realized where we were, I happily pointed it out to him. High school wasn’t particularly a great time, but I did have great moments with my circle of friends. I still speak to one of these friends to this day. It was so lovely to have the memories of bus rides return as we traveled down old pathways.
On our way out of Haledon, we passed by my cousins’ old private grade school. It is now a child developmemt center, but this location also brought back memories of my cousins attending this school when it was active, going to 8th grade graduation at the church directly next door. It was so nice to reflect on past times while completing present tasks.
So far it’s been a productive Saturday. It began a little stressful, since my search for a wedding photographer led to Andy and I possibly facing expensive deposit amounts from one vendor, and other inquiry emails sent to others met with silence. After some digging though, we came across someone who was accessible, with a deposit amount we can deal with. After a brief but pleasant phone call, we made an appointment to meet for Monday evening.
We’re on our way to Paterson now. It’s been a month since seeing my grandparents. I can’t wait to see how everyone is doing. I’m happy that we’re seeing them today, since the next few weekends will be very busy.
Hopefully I’ll see Brittany for a few minutes. I didn’t get a chance to see her last month, due to her working. She never responded after I sent news of the wedding date to my family. She’s like that with the phone, won’t hear from her for days at a time. It would be great to hear from her again.
So glad that the end of the work week is here. The past few days have left me feeling at a loss of ideas for next month’s theme at work. I’m predicting that it will all come to me right before August begins. It always happens like that, so last minute. Hopefully I can find that creative spark soon.
I’m really glad about attending the crocheting group on Tuesday! I have a project to start working on, but I want to make sure my left hand is in good shape to take on such a task. I feel some soreness, but pain like always lingers daily. Even if I’m not crocheting nonstop for an hour. I think I just need to pick up the yarn and get to it.
After work I’m heading to the Filling Station. It’s a nice hangout spot in downtown Flemington, across from where I used to live. It’s open during the weekend in the summer. A couple co-workers want to stop over there, so it will be a nice thing to relax and not worry about work routines.
A very humid day that changed to a hot afternoon. Certainly not a time to head outside later. I feel that we’ll be okay though. As long as I stick to the routine I planned out, the afternoon should go smoothly. Unless something unexpected happens (which always does)!
Thinking about the wonderful book store time yesterday. Andy and I stopped by this lovely book store in Frenchtown called The Book Garden. There was a cute little gnome sitting on the steps, which held a story behind it (the shop keeper told us the story about a woman who gave away her gnome collection to the town as a going away present.
Such a beautiful day this is. If only we could visit there again today!
I’m glad that the 4th of July break is here. I’m only away from work for the holiday, yet the time off is necessary. The neighborhood fireworks celebration was taking place tonight, and we really enjoy them every year. After work Andy and I went for a quick bite, then we headed to Lone Eagle Brewing for a drink. It’s been a couple months since we last visited, and we managed to locate a table at the upper level for a short while. I got myself a dry Irish stout. The description of the beer mentioned coffee, and I’m always up for caffeine.
As we were leaving the brewery I came across a calendar of events held throughout the summer. One of events mentioned a ‘Stitch and Sip’ event: meeting others who drink, knit and crochet. I felt super excited when I came across the listing…it’s only a couple weeks away, and it’s exciting to meet fellow yarn crafters in the area. I only hope that left wrist is feeling up to creating again. It may just be a pure social event, without yarn crafts. It would be nice for my hand to feel much better though.
Our first full day of Wildwood has us doing a few fun things, and the day isn’t done yet. We got lunch over at Dragon House, a cool Chinese restaurant at Pacific Ave. We then drove around to get some coffee, then stopped at a bookshop in the area. There were so many stories to choose from, the place was stacked wall to wall! I ended up leaving with just one story, for now. We plan on visiting again before our stay is done.
Then the sky cleared and began to warm up, so we decided to relax im the beach for a short time. It was windy, but that didn’t stop me to relax and enjoy the sound of the rolling waves while reading my book. I’ve waited so long to just sit back and unwind, worries about work miles away.
Later on we’re going to check out a new brewery that opened up a couple months ago. Since they also serve food, it should be a nice dinner spot.
Today Andy and I made the trip to Paterson this afternoon. It was a much needed visit, since it’s been a few weeks since I last saw my grandparents and my mother’s gravesite. It’s always a moving experience whenever I visit my mother. It’s been 9 years, and it still feels deeply meaningful to visit her site.
The rest of my family is moving along. My grandfather is home, yet he’s still enduring breathing difficulties. He has a chronic asthma problem, which has only grown worse the last couple years. Despite his worsening condition, he’s very wary of returning to the hospital. He recently came home after being hospitalized for over a week. We’re hoping that his condition does not worsen again, since he was in bad shape the week before my aunt drove him over. We’re all hoping for the best.
My niece was also there, playing with her cousins. Her mother was grilling in the backyard. They were all having a great time in the back area, blowing bubbles and playing ‘balance’ on the cement path. It reminded me of the days when I played in the back yard with friend when I was younger. Ana is living her youth in the same family home I was raised in, but we’re unsure how much longer our home will be safe. My grandfather raised concern of his block being possibly bought out, due to the high school around the corner needing extra parking for staff. So far no move has been made to ‘claim’ the neighborhood. For now, it’s another afternoon for the family to relax, feeling blessed to gather together for another weekend.