Archive | October, 2012

Hudson River up and over

29 Oct

Nate and I decided to take a quick walk (about an hour and a half ago) to the Waterfront. Wow, it is definitely getting bad out there. The wind has picked up and the water is up and over the waterfront.

We have our backpacks and carry-on luggage filled and ready in case we need to evacuate. They are predicting that the storm will be above and beyond the worse case scenario in our area.

We won’t be leaving the apartment again unless we need to evacuate. Just wanted one last look at the Hudson River today before it really gets scary.


Sandy meets Jersey City

29 Oct

Okay, so just everyone knows: It’s 10:20 a.m. as I write this, and parts of Jersey City have been evacuated. We are very close to the evacuation zone, but haven’t been ordered to leave yet. That may likely happen. Here, it looks like a cloudy, stormy day. It’s colder and dogs being walked near our window are wearing raincoats.

We are just waiting in our apartment for more news and for any changes in the weather or our plans. Last night, Nate and I decided to walk along the waterfront of the Hudson River (around 6:30 p.m.)

First, we headed to our chain grocery store, Shoprite, just to see the craziness. The lines were quite long and the shelves down the aisles were in shambles. Anything with canned goods, chips, crackers or soda looked like it had been upended in a riot.

Here was the water aisle:


On the waterfront, this is what we saw:


We were super confused on the cruise ship leaving the harbor area. There was a lot of sandbags in place, and the sky looked ominous. After our walk, we went to the Iron Monkey, a bar near the waterfront, and we received the first information of a mandatory evacuation in Jersey City on our phones. The area we were sitting in was definitely getting evacuated, but not the bar. We stayed put.

Starting at 2 p.m. today, no vehicles can be operated on the street. It is just starting to feel like a ghost town with a few people peeking out their windows seeing what is brewing outdoors. Will keep you updated and I will take a few photos around our neighborhood this morning to show what is happening outdoors.

Riders on the Storm

28 Oct


As most of you know, I live in Jersey City, NJ — very close to the Hudson River. We live in a quaint brownstone neighborhood that is quite friendly, and had been planning a neighborhood Halloween party for Sunday. It is an annual event that brings 2,000 to 3,000 people. I was supposed to man a booth in a witch costume, and was looking forward to the festivities. Well, that has been canceled along with about everything else around here — all thanks to Hurricane Sandy. Newscasters are calling it “Frankenstorm,” and I didn’t need any scary name to make me any more nervous.

We have monitored the situation through the Internet and cable news in the past few days. But it wasn’t until today (Sunday) that this whole mess became a reality.

The PATH train (which is our main source of transportation) is being shut down tonight. The NYC subway system will close as well this evening. All NJ Transit will be stopping by 2 a.m. According to the Wall Street Journal, anyone in our area living on the 10th floor or above on a highrise needs to evacuate and seek lower ground with winds up to 90 miles per hour feared.

Being from Iowa, I’m used to preparing for tornadoes. Weather not to fool around with. This isn’t either. We live in a basement apartment and have put all of our new furniture up on plastic boxes. We have filled up our bathtub with water, stocked up on non-perishable goods and gallon jugs of H20. We loaded up on hand sanitizer, batteries, flashlights, as we are told there is a likelihood of losing power for days on end.

We went to Target and Shoprite (our supermarket) on Friday night which was pretty nuts. The water section was completely picked over and crowds of people clamored over the battery section. Today, we decided to venture to our corner grocery store for some essentials (chips and dip, frozen pizza), and wow. You could not walk down the aisles. There was barely anything left and everyone was in panic mode. I cannot imagine what the box stores look like right now.

It’s 4:30 p.m. as I write this, and the wind has picked up and the air is chilly. There is a definite feel that bad weather is on its way but only a few drops can be felt from the sky.

I’ll keep you updated on the situation as we sit in our new furniture (lawn chairs) and watch our beloved local station for more weather alerts.


Music creates limbo brain

25 Oct


Hum, hum, home … something, something, da-ti-da.

Have you ever had that happen? Scratch that, it has had to happen to everyone.
You hear a song, somewhat like it, and then … caput. It’s gone. You might remember a word, a phrasing, but that’s it. Unless you search endlessly on the Internet or randomly hear it again somewhere, it’s stuck in this place in  limbo brain.

Yesterday, I was trying on some clothes at H&M. It’s unusual for me to like what I see in the mirror in a changing room, but yesterday was different. Perhaps it was because I had just finished an interview. Or maybe it was because I had just consumed a Pecan-caramel Cinnabon and I was on a sugar high. Nonetheless, I heard a song that was super catchy and enjoyed it. It had been the background of a commercial recently or on tv, so I recognized the chorus. But it wasn’t until I heard the song in its entirety that I realized that I needed it on one of my playlists. Over and over in my head, I hammered the first line of the chorus in so that I wouldn’t forget it.

Unfortunately, when I got home, there was dinner to make, a stray cat to feed and numerous other jobs to apply for. The song was forgotten. Until this morning.

So here I have been for a good 45 minutes, trying to write in my journal, find more jobs to apply to, news to read, and I can’t pay attention. Instead, I have a few bars from this song and the word “home” stuck at the front.

After searching on Spotify, writing random things in Google, I just wrote “Home” in ITunes. And there it was. “Home” by Phillip Phillips. I listened to it a couple times and it is definitely still catchy. Didn’t know until now that he was the winner on American Idol (don’t watch that show) and that was his coronation song. Not sure it’s my absolute favorite, but what I know for sure is that the song is out of my limbo brain. I can finally concentrate on the rest of my day.

Until something similar happens, which always happens.

Favorite candy of all time

24 Oct

Something about a Mamba…oh yeah, it’s AWESOME. It’s candy and when you open it, there is three packages of candy. And then you open that and there is seven pieces of candy inside the wrapper inside THAT wrapper. Just like those Russian dolls, pure beauty.

This Wednesday’s Listing: CANDY

For a bit of change in the middle of the week, I’m declaring LIST DAY. I know, I know, it is often called Hump Day (which often just sounds disgusting) or what many bloggers call Wordless Wednesday. Instead, I want to make it wordier. But with pictures. And be able to satisfy my OCD.

Lists are great. I always carry notepad paper in my purse just for this purpose. When I am expected to take a note or write down an address, I panic. I can’t write on my list paper! This is not bullet-point presentation worthy.

So today, I write about my favorite candies of all time. Halloween is just around the corner and the ultimate, No. 1 best thing about the holiday is the haul of candy.

On top of that list, is the Mamba. Maybe the fact that they named a candy after such a ferocious snake makes it a tad cooler. The absolute real reason for me it is so cool? The wrapping. I mean, Starbursts are great and all, but they have nothing on Mamba candy. It’s much longer (which means more candy), and inside the main wrapper are three wrapped candies. And inside each those wrappers are several wrapped candies. Compartmentalized. Each flavor (the raspberry is the best, BTW) was a bit plastic fruit tasting (which I love). There was only two problems with the candy. First problem is the flavors were separated. So you would have to open them all and destroy the neatness that I so enjoyed. Secondly, if you ate the whole bar in one sitting, you had the worst jaw ache ever.

I always wanted to eat the orange and lemon flavored candy first so that I could savor the raspberry. They were divine.

My childhood summer was spent running between the pool and the library. After we headed for a swim, my cousins and I would hop on our bikes to the Dollar Stretcher in downtown Webster City. For some Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip. After consuming so many of these sugary treats, I still wonder why my teeth aren’t filled with holes. The fact that you could eat the dipping stick was part of the fun. This was not a candy that my mom would ever buy for me, so it was fun being naughty and consuming flavored sugar.

Three flavors for your cavity enjoyment.

The kids on the package are having such fun. So it can’t be that bad for you, right?

Warheads. (I am especially listing this because my brother might be reading.) I enjoyed these? Maybe? The question marks come because older brother Steve kind of forced his will on these. I didn’t want to put one on the tongue, but I didn’t want to be considered a pansy either. Sour doesn’t begin to describe these. Pure torture. Of the good kind. Not to sound ignorant or anything, but I really thought at one time these were produced by the military. No joke. It was somewhat of a torture device.

Sour, sour, sour. That is all.

While gum isn’t always considered a candy, as much as I chewed and swallowed it, it was. We would ride our bikes to the local Fareway and spend a good majority of our allowance money on the different flavors Bubbilicious offered. My favorite was the Tornado. I didn’t mind cotton candy either. I just hated that after 30 seconds of chewing, it was just a grey giant wad of flavorless gum in your mouth. Oh well, you just added another piece to the gigantic piece and kept chewing.

Watermelon and Grape were always safe flavors in the bubblegum arena. And delicious, too.

Other gum of notable reference:

Big League Chew. If your dad was as into baseball as mine, you got a package of this every once and awhile. Which was fine by me. It was shredded and had a very “pink” flavor to it. Way better than the stabbing pain of eating a piece of gum from one of his baseball card packs.

And this:

I always tried to save my bubble tape. Bad decision. It always dried out like jerky after a couple days.

And this:

Because it was SO PRETTY! Too pretty to eat. And the wrappers made such fancy bracelets.

As mentioned before, my dad was really into baseball. So of course, he was on a league and I would always go to the games. One reason: Lollies. I would find a dime, and I had sweetness in my hand. Unfortunately, the chalky candy would be easy to bite into, and alas, your candy was gone.

Memories on a stick.

Favorite parade candy? That is easy. Gotta be the Frooties.

Each Fourth of July, I would decorate a paper bag to fill with these treats. I did not care about any other candy. These were supreme and came in at least 10 different flavors.

Favorite pool candy? Laffy Taffy, duh.

You could buy so many for a dollar. It was the best bang for your buck. Back then, they had vanilla flavored ones. Don’t know if they still do??? They were divine.

My sister Emily had a big hankering for anything in gummy form. Swedish Fish were her main desire. So whenever we stopped at Cub Foods Grocery Store, we always scooped up tons. There were bears, root beer bottles, sour sharks, strawberries, animals, the list would go on and on. We just knew we were in candy heaven.

Always a pretty sight, gummy candy.

For a more “adult” candy treat (if there is such a thing) I will bring you my favorite all-time chocolate bar. The Mars Bar, American-style. I cannot tell you how upset I was after it was discontinued. It was a perfect concoction of caramel and almond. I went to Europe backpacking and found Mars Bars. I was so excited. I picked up no less than five to eat while I was in Ireland. While the European version is delightful, it tastes more like a Milky Way. Not the same. I have heard rumors that the U.S. delight was relaunched in 2010, but I have yet to find it. Until then, I settle for a Snickers with Almonds.

You mean the world to me, you are my everything, I swear the only thing that matters … maybe not that extreme, but I do love a Mars Bar.

I could go on and on about candy. There are so many more to list. Runts, Brach’s individual candies, Jelly Belly’s, Sour Patch Kids, but I don’t have time. I have TV shows on the DVR just shouting my name.

I will leave you with one candy that I can’t decide if I even liked. It would stay in my teeth and the Later part was not my favorite by any means. Happy Candy-ing.

The taste was great. Just chewing was a challenge and cleaning out your teeth was always a problem. It just seemed like more work than they were worth.

My Life is not a Lifetime Movie

23 Oct

So true. So, so true. Well, maybe most of them are true???

So I finally caught the show. I was so flipping excited about it. When you are as obsessed with Lifetime as I am, how could you not?

Each time that “Based on a True Story” fades in and out on the screen, I am hooked, line and sinker. I am in the for the long haul on this one. It doesn’t matter if I had plans, should be making plans, or whatever. I drop everything for a true story Lifetime Original Movie. I just found out the other day that there are three Lifetime channels. Three. One is just devoted to movies. If I ever become wealthy enough to be able to obtain that channel through cable, it will be all over for me. I might as well start my collection of miu miu’s and bedroom slippers, and move my bed into the living room, because that is it.

Anyways, I tuned in for the premiere show last Wednesday. Besides the dramatic re-dramatizations of the situations, it was good.

The first woman to tell her story lives less than 20 miles from my hometown in Iowa. Who-da-thunk? Small-town Iowa teacher gets accused of having sexual relations with a student which turns out not to be true. Not only was it pretty crazy, but I remember a fellow staff writer covering that trial in 2010. I had to format the story onto the page of our paper. So it was completely crazy to think that this was now on Lifetime. Why was the fact that this was going to be on my most favorite, coveted channel not publicized in our area? Bad reporter, Carrie, bad reporter.

When Dateline ran an hour-long special about a cold case murder being solved in our area this past summer, I tuned in. And tuned in. I think I watched it a total of five times. So I was disheartened and excited to learn of this case. And of course, I laid in bed for another hour pondering the re-enactment. Not the case itself, but instead if I could perhaps be a Lifetime movie. If something dramatic and crazy happened so near me, maybe me or someone I know has the capability. Oh, I heard some rumors about certain people, the gossip of small town living. But me, well, my life is still pretty boring. I have a few dramatic tales, some funny anecdotes, but that’s it. I know, I know … I should be grateful for that. Yet, it makes me a bit sad. I feel a little left out.

Perhaps someday, I will be crazy enough for such an honor. Until then, I will continue to watch other women and their wacked-out situations played out on t.v. for enjoyment. Such a wicked sentiment, right?

Missing the old SNL

22 Oct

There isn’t any sketch now that could compete with “Two Wild and Crazy Guys.” Nothing could come close.

“Things were just better back then.”

This is a phrase that I have heard time and time again by older generations. Whether it is about the economy, safety, or gas prices, it is a general reaction constantly reiterated. Sometimes I agree or perhaps ponder the sentiment, and many times I look at “the now” as more progressive and positive.

Today is different. I, too, declare, “Things were just better back then.”

I am talking about Saturday Night Live.

This show has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My parents would replay older shows featuring Gilda Radner’s “Roseanne Roseannadanna” and Steve Martin perfecting the “King Tut.” I was in love with the characters, the actors, and the incredible writing. Saturday was one night that I was allowed to stay up and I relished in the live humor.

When I was small child, I yearned for Dana Carvey and Mike Myers to give me some laughs with “Wayne’s World” and to hear Jon Lovitz proclaim, “Yeah…that’s the ticket!” The Bad Boys of SNL took over and I found Chris Farley inspiring — from portraying Matt Foley to  “Lunch Lady Land,” he caused many gut aches and for tears to stream from my face due to laughter. Robert Smigel’s “TV Funhouse” always surprised and fascinated me. Where does he come up with that stuff?

During my more impressionable teenage years, I learned from comic greats like Will Ferrell and Chris Kataan. The most important thing I learned, though, was that women could be funny. Cheri Oteri, Ana Gasteyer, and Molly Shannon were my comic goddesses. There was nothing they could do wrong. My friend Leigha and I would spend precious hours during school perfecting Oteri’s Barbara Walters impression and reciting made-for-television movie lines made famous by Mary Katherine Gallagher. Perhaps our favorite sketch was “Delicious Dish,” a public radio programming on cooking that was comic genius.

Toward the end of high school, a new cast was unrolled featuring Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, and Amy Pohler, who brought unbelievable talent. After that … well, I don’t know what happened. I have seen some amazing actors on the show and some great skits, yet, it’s not the same. I used to go to school or my workplace and proclaim, “Wow! Wasn’t that a great show?” Commercial breaks were necessary for using the bathroom or refueling on snacks, but now, not so much. Instead, when a Budweiser ad appears, I’m ready to flip the channel or turn the TV off. The cold opening might be great, and the rest be considerably “blah.”

Many of the shows are pretty forgettable.  I believe the writing and direction is to blame. There might be two solid sketches during that hour and a half format, which doesn’t cut it for me. And this is not a time period where there is a lack of topics to poke fun at, no, instead there is almost too much material out there. Oh, I’ve gotten excited over seeing certain sketches being performed, but realize quickly that it was hastily put together or is filled with absolutely apparent holes that the writers didn’t see in the script. “That was kinda funny,” I’ll think, or “It was okay, but …” The non-live segments, such as commercials, are better than the rest, but so what? That is only a small portion of the show.

It’s just sad. The only times I’ve really looked forward to staying in on Saturday to watch SNL is when a good guest star is on.  I feel like they will “make” the show and save it for the week. I miss the times where guest stars will just blend in with the cast and make it a bit better, rather than carrying the show.

While I have enjoyed the political humor SNL has brought out due to the election, I find it the only reason why I’m tuning in on Saturday nights. Hopefully, this is just one of SNL’s slumps and they can eventually pull out of.  Yet, it might be wishful thinking. But I must believe that a childhood hero can rise out of the ashes and be great again.

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