Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Superstorm Sandy a year later......

This picture was taken in 1986.  Notice the tape on the windows above.  Glen ended up building a beautiful deck with a firepit, corner gardens and benches all around.  We celebrated the firemen winning the County Bowling championship and had many summer evenings spent back there.  We sold this house.  We survived many storms living there, before selling it about ten years ago.  The house is just an empty lot now.  Sandy knocked the house right off it's foundation.  It was torn down and not even a piece of wood is left there.  The same goes for the house Glen grew up in and later renovated by putting in a brand new kitchen.
     Now, that Glen and I are in our fifties we have made a lot of decisions.  For me, I was tired of watching Glen work so hard.  He worked physically hard as a union carpenter.  Financially a very tough way of living.  Building in this country has had it's highs and lows.  So, during the lows Glen would work on our houses.  Once, the children were born we had two houses for him to spend endless hours not only renovating but, making larger.  Always having the big picture in mind.
     Circumstances and finances started to change when our house values became better.  But, on our income it became harder and harder to afford our property taxes.  It was time to sell.  When, we sell our first home we invested in finishing our home we lived in.  We changed the liner in the pool.  The utility bills were huge and way beyond our means.  When my dad died, we still weren't completely finished with the house.  But, we had family come up from Texas and a week to get ready.  So, Glen put wallpaper on the walls and we were proud to show our house as finished for the first time.  We had savings and investments and the stock market tanked along with what we had put aside for the children for their education.
     So, long story short we ended up selling that beautiful home that you could call our dream house.  Glen had changed every wall.  Built a second floor with a master bedroom and bath and a room of their own for Ian and Kaylyn.  Built me a kitchen that I designed.  Put in a  bathroom where you would walk in the back from the pool.  We had many celebrations in that back yard.  Prom pictures were taken by our fireplace and we felt proud to have this be our home while the children were in their teenage years.
      Senior year the department store I worked at closed.  But, I was able to see every activity my children were in.  We had the time to throw the cast party for a play Kaylyn starred in.  We went to every Jazz band concert and marching band activity Ian was in.  But, as the decision came for college they both decided on the same.  University of the Arts.....googled it.....oh my god.....$30,000 a year......times 2 !!!!!!!
        So, the real estate market is bad.......really bad!!!!!   I get a full time job in Princeton for a year.  Glen wants to retire and he should there is no building going on.  But, their education is going to cost $240.000!!!!!!  Yes, scholarships and grants helped.  But, here we are and they did have to take out student loans that become due this month.
    So, when Sandy hit we are in our new home.....five miles from the beach.  No big trees,  utilities are all underground.  Glen is still a fireman, but he stays home for the first time.  Ian is a fireman and sleeps at the firehouse for three nights. We have a store in Convention Hall on the boardwalk in Asbury Park.  We food shop and watch the storm unfold on tv and on the computer.  The wind and rain starts early and there is a constant worry.  When I am watching tv I see Anderson Cooper on the boardwalk and what I see is devastating and realize it was filmed earlier.......the tv goes off and total darkness sets in.  I still have the battery on the  computer and then my son starts posting pictures and I ask him to stop I can't take it.  I see the medallion in the Casino building in Asbury Park is blown in......I see trees falling around us. I see pictures of trees on houses.  I close the computer and vow not to open it again.   I hear the wind howling for hours......candles our blown out and we go to bed and end up sleeping until daylight.

This Hard Land (Kilkenny 07/28/13)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Birthday blessings

 Sun Halo in the spring.......never saw in my lifetime until this year.  Without facebook I would have never known to look outside to see this....and without my iphone I would not have taken a picture.
I have mentioned shark's teeth and my dad before.  We used to search for days on end and we never found much together.  Towards the end of the summer a huge slab of cement fell off the ceiling on the Northeast corner of Convention Hall.....it did NOT hurt anyone....thank god!  But, it was a sign of what is to come for the building....the entire building is not safe.  Our store is open, but the future is unclear.  The day this happened I had not had my day at the beach, so I decided to combine a visit to the store and the beach.  We weren't sitting long on the beach and my husband said let's go look at the damage.  I took two steps from my chair and this is what I found!  A sure sign to me that all will be ok.
     So, these are a couple of signs in my year of a miracle....the others include:

Kaylyn and Ian graduating from college
Kaylyn landing an internship teaching kindergarten in China and being there for 9 weeks.
Ian playing with 6 different bands currently.  I included the picture video above because in November he leaves with the Billy Walton band to play in Germany and England
I got a job as Department Manager for Boscov's
Glen is still working driving the bus for Colt's Neck school system
My mom was very sick and on a respirator, but has healed and looks better then ever

As we move into November I am truely grateful for my blessings.

Pete Feenstra interviews Billy Walton and William Paris - All Saints Art...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Who could make up this birthday wish?

So last year I had an amazing birthday with my family in New York city.....we went to see the Warhol show at the Met, had macarons from Lauderee, went to this gallery full of rock celebrity photographs, stuffed our faces in Little Italy and topped it off for a walk through Greenwich village to look through galleries and record stores.  The best!!!!!  This year I am spending the weekend watching my son play the trombone with the Billy Walton Band.  This is a dream being played out like no other.  I don't know how Billy Walton is doing it, but it is starting to play with my head.  The first time I saw them play was down at Golden Nugget in Atlantic City.  Billy has a very cool style of playing the guitar full of blues and soul.  He also does not have a set list.  So, it is sort of a mystery night of sorts to see what he will play.  Well, the first time he started playing a Chicago song which includes the horns, of course.  But, as soon as the horns would have a part he would stop.  Wow!!!! What a tease.  So, each time I see them now I stop pulling out my camera, because in the beginning I thought I would catch a video that would mean so much.  As, my husband and Ian are such big Chicago fans.  The last few times he does get to the horn part and actually starts a verse and then ends it real quick.  I am starting to think the only thing I am wishing for is a full version of this song and hope I catch it on video........let's say if prayers are answered, weather cooperates, phone battery charged......I could maybe show you a video of the best birthday ever!!!!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


 These our some pictures of our check it out America summer.  This picture was taken in Orlando after a day at Disney.  The sunset, the camper, and Glen being relaxed.  It was a great day and I am so glad I have pictures to remember it by.
 This is the day we had a visit with Glen's family and they took this picture of us.  Yes, our dog Chivas accompanied us cross country.  A challenge sometimes when we had to go to dinner together and it was hot.  But, as you can see in the following picture he really enjoyed the trip.
 I remember thinking our dog had the best life.   He got to enjoy his golden years by traveling with us.
 Glen and I would agree this was the BEST breakfast we ever had.  We rode horseback to see Mount Rushmore close up.  Then at the top of the mountain we all got off our horses and watched as the crew made pancakes and sausage on the grill.  They cooked the sausage in the maple syrup and the weather and view was perfection.  The shade of the giant trees and the sound of nothing but, birds and rustling leaves made it absolutely perfect.  The smell of the breakfast cooking was pretty special also!

And, finally seeing the BADLANDS in person.  When you drive cross country it is an amazing experience.  By the time you get to Kansas you realize how much corn this country actually grows.  We experienced so many unexpected parts of the country.  It was like life itself.  In the beginning of our trip our camper broke down.  We were advised we should go to Indiana where they actually make the campers.  We ended up in the heart of Amish country.  It was nothing like Lancaster, PA.....it was real Amish country where we experienced so much culture we knew not too much about.  Very unplanned and could have been negative since we were experiencing a broken camper, but ended up a favorite part of the trip.  Hence, the song Badlands.  Like I said in the post before Badlands got me through my teenage years.  But, so many times in my life it has helped me know I get through anything with my strong belief system.  Glen and I are different religions, different genders, different personalities, etc. etc. but, we have the same beliefs.  We lose faith in our country from time to time, but deep down we want what we had for our children......but, better!!!!!