Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hiatus


I have blatantly stolen Barbara's "hiatus" artwork, such that it is. I'm not really feeling the blogging urge these days, so I think I'll close up shop for a little while and just coast. I write and spend so much time on the computer at work that I've lost any and all enthusiasm for doing so in my off hours. I'll keep visiting the rest of you, though!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Massage


There's a place in town here called "Massage Envy," and the other day I stopped in to check things out and maybe get a massage. I hadn't had one since last summer, before I lost my job in New York -- if you don't count my bizarre Asian salon massage of January, that is -- so I figured it was high time.

I checked to make sure the Massage Envy folks are LMTs, and they are. So I tried it out, and it was great. Better yet, the place offers a membership that allows me to get monthly massages for $59 apiece. I took the plunge and joined.

I'm a little curious about how a monthly massage will feel. I hope it doesn't lose its "specialness" and become too routine. But at the rate I've been working lately, I'll need it!

(Photo: Pokeweed behind our apartment building.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

History


Yesterday I had a cool assignment at work. The county I cover had a special weekend celebration of local history, opening up 26 historic sites for free tours, demonstrations and more. I made a story out of it and took some photos for an online gallery.

I'd hoped to visit five or six sites in different parts of the county, but I discovered that each one took more time than I expected. By the time I got the tour and interviewed a couple of people, I'd usually been there an hour. So I wound up visiting only three, but it was still enough to get a sense of what was available.

The photo above is the city hall in one of the towns I cover. It was originally a private home and only became a municipal building in 1959 or so.

This area is crazy with historic sites. George Washington literally slept here, all over the place. (George got around, apparently, despite the wooden teeth.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Audrey II


Several months ago -- May or June, I'd say -- I took out the garbage and found some plants in the dumpster. Or, more precisely, pieces of plants. I rescued the ones I thought I could save.

This one, a dieffenbachia, has proven to be the most robust of the lot. When I found it, it had been whacked off at ground level, so it was just a thick stem with some wilted leaves attached. I brought it upstairs and put it in a bucket of water on the balcony, and pretty much left it there all summer.

That was enough time for the plant to grow some roots. Last month, I bought a pot and put the plant in some soil. It has thrived since then, to an almost scary degree. It's doubled the number of leaves it once had and grown a new branch.

We call it "Audrey II." We half expect it to eat us in the middle of the night. Hopefully it will go for the dogs first.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Family Stickers


It's the thing to do here in New Jersey to show the composition of your family via stickers on the back window of your car. Are these stickers as popular elsewhere?


Sometimes there are just a few kids, and sometimes whole armies of them. I once saw a car with at least eight kids marching across the back window. I so wish I'd gotten a photo. Sometimes the cats and dogs are shown, too.

Sometimes the stickers include outfits that show everyone's hobbies and athletic pursuits. Invariably the boys are football players and the girls are cheerleaders.


There's something very Republican about this whole phenomenon, it seems to me. (It's interesting how "family" is a word that's turned sour in my mouth because of the right-wingers who have used it to bludgeon the rights and freedoms of the rest of us.) There's also a sort of one-upmanship, like, "Look how many children I have! Look how fertile I am!"

I told Dave we should get some stickers of our own - two men and two dogs! But he firmly vetoed that idea.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tablescape

Dave and I went to a French restaurant in New Brunswick on Saturday called The Frog and The Peach. This is my one photo from the meal. But don't worry...we had food too.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Mushrooms


All the rain has led to a bumper crop of mushrooms here in New Jersey. The field behind our apartment building is littered with them, I suppose because the summer drought created a thick mat of dead grass. The fungi are feasting away!

I took the photo above of a particularly nice one. Most of the mushrooms I'm seeing are much more pedestrian:


Walking around out there yesterday, I was reminded of the poem "Mushrooms" by Sylvia Plath, a longtime favorite poet of mine. Very whitely, discreetly, quietly, these mushrooms are taking over our field! (Or have we taken over theirs? Hmmm...)

I was also reminded of "fairy rings," which is a term you don't hear much these days. (Come to think of it, you never hear the word fairy, except in the derogatory sense.) I couldn't find any really good fairy rings in the field (nothing like that photo with the Wikipedia entry -- holy cow!) but I did find what looks like a partial ring:


I've never done mushrooms. An opportunity missed -- but somehow I don't mind.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Glow


Here's a photo from my recent stroll in the Bronx. I loved the way this white trailer was reflecting light onto the fence. Makes it seem like a heavenly semi, doesn't it?

Yesterday was a big day - I closed on the sale of my apartment. So I am finally free of that huge $1,500-a-month gorilla on my back. I did well money-wise, and the closing went smoothly for the most part, though there was a minor hiccup when the bank and the closing broker realized the new buyer's middle initial was included on some documents but not on others. (Apparently this is important?) Anyway, they sorted it all out, and I walked out with three checks which I took to the bank immediately. (Why were there three? I haven't the foggiest idea. All I know is they added up to what I expected.)

My broker gave me a nice closing gift - a pizza stone for baking pizza, and a basket containing some sauce, dough mix, a kneading bowl and some other stuff. Only problem - the bag weighed about 80 pounds! When I got to the closing she said, "I hope you drove," and when I told her no, I took the train, she seemed chagrined about her choice of gift. I admit hauling it around Manhattan was hell. The handles on the bag broke, I kept bumping into things -- argh! But once I got it on the train I was OK. (Note to all readers: Never give someone a pizza stone without first ascertaining their mode of transportation.)

I raced back to New Jersey and of course went promptly to work, because that's practically all I do nowadays. I even dream about work. Fortunately, it's a lot of fun! The downside, though, as you have seen, is that I won't be around the blogosphere much anymore. I just have too much to do and I often don't feel like sitting down at a computer and writing more after doing it all day. Maybe when I'm more established and more comfortable I'll find time to post more regularly.