Posts Categorized: Life in New York

Aug 30 2011

Here comes the story of the Hurricane…

I started this post on Sunday night.. and continued it on Tuesday.

The past 48 hours have been absolutely crazy.

It is now Sunday night and I am exhausted. The alarm is going to go off at 6am tomorrow and I am going to want to turn it right off and go back to the sleep but that won’t be happening as we’ve got to get up and walk into work.

I don’t know where to start so let’s just say… I am one of those people that always have things ready for an emergency. We have spare low denomination cash, I always have canned food, batteries, flashlights, candles, battery operated radios. For me, this all started around the bird flu scare and I took emergency preparedness on as an interest. What this meant was that when the panic started on Wednesday, we really didn’t have to panic. We just had to get stuff in order.

What was occupying my every thought was that for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Emily was coming down from Albany to stay with us and we were going to be l-i-v-i-n’ and c-h-i-l-l-i-n’ on Governor’s Island for the Dave Matthews Band Caravan. With the hurricane on the forecast, what would happen?! Unfortunately, this ended up being a drawn out, three day saga of will-they-or-won’t-they cancel and it was so draining. We didn’t want Emily being stuck down here, I didn’t want to take a day off work if it was cancelled, we didn’t want to be out on a low lying island in the middle of a hurricane but we really wanted to see the band. I feel like I spent three days straight refreshing the DMB fan forums and everyone else was doing the same thing. There were people flying in from Europe, Chicago, Florida… everywhere. We all wanted to know what was happening and it wasn’t until Thursday at 6pm after Mayor Bloomberg’s press conference did they cancel the Saturday and Sunday shows. Argh.

So all we really had to worry about was getting some more money out of the ATM and then, getting some water. Bill had a great idea of instead of buying heavy bottles of water that we would have to carry, he would buy cheap large jugs and use them, as well as all of our huge stockpots and saucepans. He found six large pitchers for $2 each so that was great. He went to the ATM and on the Thursday night we got our usual Fresh Direct delivery with our usual shop as well as a few extras in case we were stuck inside.

On Friday, Emily and I got our pre-Dave mani and pedi and then spent the rest of our time glued to the now non-stop news reports on Irene. The news was getting worse and when they announced that trains would stop on Saturday at noon we considered skipping the concert and getting her straight back on the train. Then we decided that instead, we would go to the show and then on Saturday morning get up early, chuck on clothes and just run up to Grand Central Station and get her on a train. DONE! The concert was great and I’ll post more about that later.

I got to sleep at about 1.30am and after Bill made a delicious batch of French Toast for breakfast, we ended up leaving at about 8.30 for the Grand Central. We actually slept in because I set my iPhone alarm for the weekday alarm instead of weekend. I always do it and it is so annoying!

When we got onto the bus, they were free and they had buses to get people to storm shelters. The streets were so quiet it was really quite eerie. We ended up being the only people on the bus –

Hurricane Irene in Brooklyn

At Grand Central it was quite busy but Starbucks, Financier and a slew of other shops were closed. We got Emily on her train, turned around and got straight back on our train and headed back to Brooklyn. When we got our connecting bus, the first drops of rain were starting. We came home, I had a nap and then we got up to go to the Saturday Vigil Mass at Queen of All Saints as we knew we wouldn’t be able to get there in the morning. It had started raining heavily but not anything out of the ordinary for Summer here. I think everyone at Mass that night was praying that our beautiful church was left unharmed.

Our neighbors taped their windows, something I found out isn’t necessary anymore unless you have very old windows that don’t have the protective coating –

Hurricane Irene in Brooklyn

Our subway station was closed –

Hurricane Irene in Brooklyn

The street was quiet –

Hurricane Irene in Brooklyn

Like nearly everyone else on Saturday night we settled in for a comfort food dinner. Bill whipped up some yummy Boston baked beans and we had hot dogs while watching the live coverage of Irene moving up the coastline. Our channel of choice was Fox 5 – it was a treat to have Greg and Rosanna covering Irene as we are used to them only being on in the morning. And we all know how much of a fan of Greg I am…! 😉 At about midnight I hopped into bed to continue watching the live news. I still couldn’t get to sleep. The wind and rain was so noisy as it hit our windows. It was whirling and then would sound like little pellets hitting the window. At 2.15am there was a lull and in the peace of those ten or so minutes, I fell asleep.

I then woke up at 5.30am and checked my phone. I had slept through an hour long tornado warning and this scared me as at night time it is truly frightening not being able to see what is actually happening outside. I started watching the coverage again as I knew the issue would be the high tide at 8am. The rain was still beating down hard and I had no idea what outside may look like. But then, the sun started to rise and I could see – it looked like so far, our little neighborhood had be spared.

The next six hours would prove to be just sitting, waiting and watching. We waited with bated breath for what may happen on Long Beach, in Jersey and Battery Park. We counted our blessings that we were not as severely affected as had first been thought. Saying that, there is so much devastation. It is incomprehensible that whole towns have been wiped out in Upstate New York and roads have disappeared and houses are fully under water. This was every bit as devastating as was predicted… just not so much for us.

Bill went for a walk around the neighborhood to see if everything was ok and check on Queen of All Saints – we were happy to report there was not a bit of damage! The tornado last year did a lot more damage to the neighborhood on a whole and bought down more trees. Here are some photos he took –

Hurricane Irene in Brooklyn

Hurricane Irene in Brooklyn

Hurricane Irene in Brooklyn

Hurricane Irene in Brooklyn

Hurricane Irene in Brooklyn

We continued watching the non-stop coverage until 6pm. It was the weekend that wasn’t. It was stressful and the lack of sleep didn’t help! I loved that I got to watch non-stop news and basically stay in my jammies the whole time but I’ll be happy not to go through that anytime soon again.

It was later that I realized that in the past year we have been –

– hit by a tornado
– battered by a hurricane
– rocked by an earthquake
– shut in by a blizzard
– frozen by below zero temperatures
– dehydrated by a heat wave

It is never dull in this city!

Aug 27 2011

What a week…

Ok I have a few blog posts in the making. All dealing with the earthquake, the hurricane and also a great night at Dave Matthews. This week has been crazy and my news addiction has truly spiraled out of control.

We are totally fine and the reporting and information available here has been fantastic. Blog posts are coming!

Aug 14 2011

Goodbye weekend

I love weekends! Especially when they are super productive!

After waking up at 5.30am on Saturday morning (this is becoming increasingly more common and also frustrating!) we did a big bedroom cleanup. While we live quite simply and uncluttered, I wanted to do a big bedroom clean deep clean. Cleaning the mattress protector, doing a full vacuum and swifter under the bed, dressing table, tall boy bureau, tv stand and beside tables, throwing things out, cleaning out clothes, dusting everything including the lampshades. It was hard work and you can’t really tell much difference but it feels so good!

I got a sample in the mail of the new Downy Unstopables in-wash scent booster. Oh my gosh – it is so good. The scent really does last and for sheets, it is perfect!

Our sleep last night was a very interrupted one due to the torrential rain storm that came through the city. It has rained for hours and hours and is still going now. When it came time to leave for Mass this morning, it really bucketed down and it was only standing in our foyer that I realized how beautiful our street looks in every season. The rain was falling straight down and it was so loud we could not hear anything else. It was the perfect rainstorm!

Once we got home and had some lunch it was then time to start my bulk cooking. We are still cooking in bulk and freezing and find that still works perfectly for us. We have our fresh produce meals for the few days after our food delivery and then towards the end of the week we use our ‘other’ meals. So lasting through on one Fresh Direct delivery a week is great for our budget as unless it is urgent, we never do any other food shopping. Dropping into the supermarket to get just a carton of eggs or block of cheese always ends up always resulting in spending $30 on other stuff! Using Fresh Direct religiously also works because I only ever buy the things on our list rather than being tempted by the specials in the supermarket. Of course, we can only do this as I plan our meals always a week in advance.

So on the menu today, I made a big batch of Tyler Florence’s Spicy Chicken Coconut Curry which is my standby curry and also Ina Garten’s Parker Split Pea Soup, which is my standby Split Pea Soup recipe. Yes, that is totally me – making curries and soups when it is still humid outside! I am yearning for winter so badly!

So one batch of Tyler’s chicken curry made up 6 meals. One for tomorrow night and five in the freezer. The Split Pea Soup does 10 servings all for our lunches this week. Bill takes turkey on rye every day and I take broccoli slaw with our basic tomato/bell pepper/mushroom sauce. With our soup, it is a great lunch.

We also make our breakfast for the week with a huge batch of Steel Cut Oatmeal that we heat up at work. Using unsweetened almond milk in the steel cut oats is SO yummy and gives it so much flavor. I could live on Steel Cut Oatmeal!!

So after doing all the dishes, tidying up and having a beautiful fresh Tilapia (fish) and salad dinner – I am ready for Monday!!!

And yes, it is STILL pouring. No complaints here though.. it is a great reminder that winter cosiness is just around the corner!

Aug 14 2011

INXS at the Beacon

The INXS concert was everything and more.

This was the best I have ever seen them play with JD Fortune. He was on fire! The show was sharp, sound was perfect and even better… it was LOUD. You know it is good if you get in a cab after the show and you cannot hear what the driver is saying without concentrating hard!

The support act was Berlin. Yes.. the Take My Breath Away Berlin. They were FANTASTIC. I felt like I had transported myself from 2011 right back to 1986 – Terri Nunn was SO good and their whole show was very entertaining and had the full attention of the audience – which is hard to do as a support act. I knew they were good when the first thing I did when I got home was search their back catalog and listen to all their songs again!

When it came time to sing Take My Breath Away, Terri walked through the audience and sang it beautifully as if she was singing it for the first time.

I never thought of Berlin as being with Terri Nunn but when I saw her name I kept thinking “Where do I know her from?!” Then I realized that my favorite ever 80’s film, Better off Dead, has a song by Terri on the soundtrack that I listen to all the time. The song, Dancing in Isolation, is used at the start when we see all of the ‘Beth stuff’ in Lane’s room. If you know the movie, you know what I mean.

Here she is –

Terri Nunn - Berlin

INXS came out and played an awesome setlist. The two seats beside me were empty so I go to dance like crazy for the whole two hours. Non-stop. Then I went totally crazy, nutso when they played Kiss The Dirt. It was magical. That is the only word that I can think of to describe it. I was the only one in my area who knew all the words to Not Enough Time. When it came to Mediate/Need You Tonight they played the new INXS with Tricky version of Mediate that is on the new release, Original Sin. It was SO good. Here is how it ‘looked’ –

Also, some pics –


One reason why the Beacon is my favorite venue –

Beacon Theatre

Aug 13 2011

Absolute whirlwind

The past couple of weeks have gone by in a whirl!

In a nutshell –

– INXS! Post coming up shortly!

– The countdown to our trip to Australia is going by so quickly. Everything is planned and our schedule is jam packed. Of course, there are blank days there depending on Collingwood. That is not helping my nerves at all!

– We booked our 2012 vacation to Europe! We’ll be visiting Rome, Venice, Paris and London. Am I excited? OH YES INDEED! I have not been back to London since I lived there 1999 and we’ve been able to use points for flights and Marriott points in London. To be able to return to the Vatican and to experience it with Bill is something that I just KNOW is going to be amazing. We are both so excited!

– Bill did his back while putting his shirt on. Yep… that easy. He was basically bed ridden for four days and has been sore and taking it easy since. We need his back to be better before we get on that flight to Australia! He is 99.9% better now… and just being extra careful.

– I had a suspicious looking something on my arm. When it ended up not being a mozzie bite or a new freckle and it was still itchy after five weeks I made a very urgent appointment at the dermatologist. With our family history of melanoma and skin cancer, you take any little thing seriously. It had been over a year since my last full skin check so luckily, they squeezed me in quickly and took my concerns seriously. She was wonderful and did another full check of my body and found another suspicious mole on my upper leg. While I was sitting there she ordered an urgent biopsy and removal. I went WHITE and clammy immediately. I typically need days of mental preparation for just my flu shot as my fear of injections is so bad. I had no choice but to do a stack of deep breaths and not lose it there and then. But.. I survived and walked in a dreamlike state to the subway afterwards. The removal spots are still healing and tender and I’ll have some scarring and light pigmentation but the good news is – the one on my arm was an inflamed sunspot and the one on my leg was a benign mole. HORRAY!

Remember this post where I was fretting about missing the Foo Fighters? Well they actually are going to be playing Madison Square Garden in November! After a refreshing frenzy on the Ticketmaster website, we got two seats!! So many people missed out – we are so lucky to be going!

I am going through bit of a 70s phase at the moment on my iPod… here are some beauties!

LOVE this footage of Tom Jones!

How gorgeous is Olivia Newton-John here?! Whoa!

Here is some rare Carpenters footage that is in AMAZING quality.

Jul 26 2011

Pinterest Love

Over the past couple of weeks I have become so addicted to Pinterest that it is now the first website I check when I get home. It is like an electronic pinboard where you share your pins with other users. You use Pinterest to create a pinboard of everything you love and then browse other boards to find other pins that may interest you. Once you get started, it is so much fun.

You can view mine here – Jenelle’s Pinterest

Being a magazine addict I have found it great to take ideas that I read about and instead of ripping it out and having to keep it somewhere, I find it online and pin it instead. If you are on Pinterest, let’s follow each other!

Jul 25 2011

In history’s page, let every stage…

I was so emotional yesterday watching Cadel Evans’ presentation at the Tour de France. Tina Arena sang one of the best renditions of the Australian anthem ever. We are so used to the big band anthem that is played everywhere, but this was just beautiful. I think it sounds amazing just as is without the theatrics of the music drowning out the words.


Jul 11 2011

Change of Scenery

Before this week, I had never spent a normal workday out of the Financial District. I am doing a week long training course this week which means I am commuting to Midtown. The excitement of this is unparalleled. Lunchtime shopping! Different subway stations! Different surrounds. No Century 21 tourist rampages. Hurrah!

At lunchtime I sat here and watched people go by.


That was before I started melting so I ducked into JC Penney’s for a quick look around.

Working with this fine building across the road. Hello Empire State!


And just as I was about to go into the training offices, the little Irish pub next door caught my attention. The sign read ‘Belturbet’. That is where one half of my ancestors are from in Ireland.


I’ll say this now – no-one knows about Belturbet. I went back to the tiny little town when I visited there and there is quite simply, nothing there. But it is quite pretty! The population now is around 1,400 – yet here it is, being represented in Midtown Manhattan. Awesome!!

Jul 04 2011

Clove Road School

After the party, we stopped by an old schoolhouse that sits on a quiet road in Castleton-on-Hudson.

We knew nothing about it – there are no signs or anything explaining what is there. We had no idea whether it was a schoolhouse or old church hall – as there was also an old cemetery there as well. Isn’t it just gorgeous? I felt like I had been transported to an episode of Little House on the Prairie!

Clove Road School

The minute we got home tonight, I started searching. I found out it is known as Clove Road School (District School No. 3) and it was built around 1878. The cemetery in the schoolyard is pre Civil War which we guessed as there was one headstone that we could still read and it was inscribed with 1853. Here is more information from the National Register of Historic Places.

There is a little Wikipedia entry on it too and there are two footnotes that link to the official reports with two photos of the interior. There was also a small shed on that was used to store coal and also a garage for the headmaster. Back in 2000, a grant was provided to fix some structural issues but it seems that is all that has been done. It has so much promise – I will make sure I keep up to date on this gorgeous piece of Americana that is, for some strange reason, in amazing condition for such an old structure.

Here are some more photos –

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School