Wild Snowflake ::
Everyday Adventures


as most blogs go, this is the same...
my life, my thoughts, me, me, me.
Friday, December 23, 2005
 


O'Connor's Beef N' Ale House closed yesterday. My mom, Lucky and I were among the last customers there, eating up the prime rib and delicious bourbon pecan pie. I can't believe it's now closed... The Watchung restaurant was opened for most of my life. People had been stealing pictures of the walls, etc which is why the manager decided after we left to close a day early. The lights were flickering oddly; according to our waitress, it started on Tuesday when the closing was announced in the paper and some of the staff thought the inn's ghosts were saying goodbye (a few years ago, a medium had shown them a photo she had taken that had an apparition of a lady in a bonnet floating above a table... I took a photo of the same table last night; no bonnet chick).

They are tearing down the restaurant to build a senior housing development. 26 condos going for $700,000-$1million EACH... ah progress. Gone will be the place where I first tasted Guinness, where my girl scout troop learned about the restaurant business, cuts of beef, and how to put together the proper do-it-yourself ice cream sundae. Gone is another unpretentious remnant of the Watchung Mountains pre-1985.






Wednesday, December 21, 2005
 
Codey is almost out of office but he's keeping active... Apparently he won a raffle to take a chance at making a half-court shot at his son's basketball game and made it! He donated the Nets tickets since he has season tickets already. Wadda mensch!

Speaking of Codey... he just announced the five finalists in the NJ slogan contest to replace the "NJ... We'll win you over" suggestion that took a NY PR firm $260,000 to come up with.
• New Jersey: Expect the Unexpected
• New Jersey: Love at First Sight
• New Jersey: Come See for Yourself
• New Jersey: The Real Deal
• New Jersey: The Best Kept Secret
You can vote here.

Next year, I will be concentrating on my new blog, The Jersey Tomato which will concentrate more on all things Jersey... hope to see you there!

Happy Saturnalia!






Monday, December 05, 2005
 
Just in case you want to see what we saw at the Devils & Dust concert, go here.

On Friday, Lucky and I took off from work to have our engagement photos taken. The photographer had told us that since he didn't do them initially (since we planned the wedding in 88 days) and because it was raining when we got married, he do them for free. Alas, the day we finally figure on (after eight months), is one of the coldest and windiest days ever. It wasn't really that way when we left in the morning but by the time we got to Sparta (by the lake), the weather had really changed. I felt sorry for the vendors setting up on the Boardwalk for the Lake Mohawk Weihnachtsmarkt .






Friday, November 18, 2005
 
Devils and Dust in the Hallway...
Lucky and I collected money for the Community FoodBank of NJ at the Arena this Wednesday. What a rainy day! Fortunately, unlike collecting at Giants Stadium, we got to stand inside with our green and white tshirts and buckets. Since Bruce was playing an acoustic solo concert and the seating was limited, we weren't going to be able to actually see him perform. We had been prepped for that and were expecting to listen in the hallway... however, some wonderful soul donated an extra pair of seats minutes before Bruce started, and we got to sit!!!!!

I enjoyed the concert a lot. It was the closest you could come to envisioning the Boss playing around in his cottage studio retooling his classics and bringing back little-known numbers that he obviously cherished but didn't work well in an E Street-stadium tour setting. Of course, there also were a lot of songs from the new album. For the set list, go toBackstreets.

The stage was set up similar to the Devils and Dust videos filmed at the Paramount. Simple chandelier, black curtains, and lots of instruments. When his numerous guitars weren't in use... he played the harmonica, piano, pump organ, ukulele, and the folksinger's fave... the autoharp. Some former fratboys were befuddled by the "be quiet" rules that were handed out at the ticket gates. Basically, no beer, tshirts, etc. would be sold past 7:50, you would have to wait until a song ended to go back to your seat, etc. Not a biggie considering that this was more a theater experience than a concert that you blow $7 on a cup of domestic swill. We witnessed one of the beer-tenders making some good tips serving latecomers until her manager closed her down.

There seemed to be many people disappointed with the show because they were expecting him to play more of his hits (not like he said that he was going to, and this being the last leg of his tour, they should have known better!). But others, true "Bruce fans" (ala Lucky) simply loved it. Because of the simplicity of the setup, it gave each song a chance to be individual pearls. One note of disappointment, Bruce didn't perform "If I Should Fall Behind" (also known as our wedding song). This seemed to be the perfect setting for it. But should I be complaining about a free concert... nay.

We raised quite a bit. It amazes me at the variety of people who donate/ or don't. Welldressed men would look into my bucket to see if I was giving away something like I'm a Loews usher offering free AppleCranberry Trident samples. And a young guy with MS (in a wheelchair) gave us $5. Honestly, I almost cried, it was so sweet.

Lucky and I had just seen many of the FBers on the Saturday before. A gala was held in Kathleen's honor to create a legacy fund. She created the FoodBank 30 years ago and they want to make sure it continues after she retires (although I don't imagine that being any time soon. It's so wonderful being a part of a nonprofit where you see the head of the organization being very hands on and so dedicated to her cause). Considering that I usually only see Kathleen and the staff in sweatshirts and jeans (it is a warehouse after all), it was wonderful seeing them all glammed up for the black-tie event. Have to admit, I was a bit jealous... the gala was outsourced instead of being done by the volunteers like the Bluejean Ball. So the centerpieces were around $150-200 each (but tickets were $500 each). I usually spend under $20 per table at the BJB. Plus not being in control of the raffle was a bit weird. PS: Donations are down regarding turkeys while requests are up so if you have a free turkey/ham coupon, USE it and give it to your local charity. (Down from the soapbox)

In other news, this weekend marks the first birthday of the gift store. I can't believe that my mom and I have been shopowners for a year. We certainly have learned a lot and are really enjoying being a part of the community. We will be having our celebration sales event on Dec. 10. Tell your friends.






Monday, October 31, 2005
 

Happy Halloween!






Lucky and I went to the Stone Pony on Saturday for Weird NJ's Halloween Party. It was a last minute decision brought on by his friends wanting to go (they ended up not showing up) and so we put these costumes together in just a few days. It's hard to find couple costumes with a NJ theme so we went with being concrete store markers... I went as Miss Uniroyal who usually hangs out on Black Horse Pike, Lucky went as Wilson's Carpet Muffler Man who is seen on the Sopranos.

Yes, there other people dressed as them... The person who won the costume contest was another version of the Muffler Man. I personally was rooting for the guy who wrote on his hand "Clam Broth House" and went as the famed Hoboken restaurant's pointing finger sign.

Got to briefly talk to Mark Sceurman (the bearded one of the Marks, who was dressed as an adult-rated PepBoys matchbook... Mark Moran went as an Action Park casualty) and spotted Zacherley (ok, an incredible likeness) who like Lucky was able to make BOTH Chiller Theatre and Weird NJ's party.

Lucky almost didn't get into Chiller Theatre because the line was so long. He actually purchased something.. Were-Rabbit figurine sets which are soo cute. Some of them are already on display in the kitchen.

I opened the store today so that I could hand out candy to the kids. I'm such the "first halloweener"... I made lollipop napkin ghosts to hand out. Like that will ever happen again :lol: Actually had a couple of sales; does this mean I will have to be open on Mondays too? Argggg.






Monday, October 17, 2005
 
Wow! I'm not an anglophile by any means, but this weekend I was in awe of several Britannian boys.

1. Saw "Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit"... it was so funny, I cried. The bunnies were far too cute for their own good. Apparently the "stinky bishop" cheese maker is worried that he won't have enough of the cheese to meet demand since the last time Nick Park's lad mentioned a cheese, sales of that cheese went up tremendously.

2. Queen and Paul Rodgers... Zowee what a concert!!! When I bought the tix a few months ago, I wasn't expecting much. It was more along the lines of "Hey, Queen is playing 40 minutes away and is only playing one other concert (in LA!!!) so why not? But paying big bucks? Eh, I'll get us the cheap seats (with a 25% "convenience charge")"

The seats were quite nice considering they were the last row (section 243, row 17, seats 1-2)... we were practically centerstage and had the row by ourselves. Only problem was when I "headbanged" into the stair railing behind me, leaving me with a headache for a few hours.

It was like seeing several bands in one... Paul Rodgers sang some of his own songs of yore, and Brian May and Roger Taylor did their own vocalizing while all three took turns filling Freddie's leotard. It didn't sound like Freddie (they fully acknowledged that... for Bohemian Rhapsody, they relied heavily on video footage)... Paul Rodgers sounded a bit like Tom Jones covering Queen songs (Lucky also pointed out that he looked a lot like Danny Bonaduce!); but had they wanted to have a closer replacement to Freddy, like Ian Astbury was to Jim Morrison, they would have gone with George Michael.

It was good to hear a new interpretation to these classic songs and see how they have survived. The instrumental solos were FANTASTIC... compositions rather than the silly jamming that often happens. Kudos to May and Taylor on that (but perhaps a little less Spinal Tap posing on May's part, then again, i forgive him since he was a bit nervous playing in the US for the first time in 23 years.

What was so enjoyable was the energy that the band and the audience had, singing together. This was what the Eagles' concert should have been. The three of them were not "phoning it in" like Henley and Frey.

Here's the setlist.






Wednesday, August 10, 2005
 
Matthew McGrory, the gentle giant in the movie "Big Fish" died today from natural causes. He was a year behind my brother at law school, and I remember smiling when BigD mentioned how weird it was to be around someone taller than himself (at 7'6", Matt was only 11 inches taller). There was something about the way Matt delivered his lines that made his characters more fleshed out; in fact, he was one of the few people I considered writing a fanletter to.






Thursday, July 28, 2005
 
I love living in my own "Star's Hollow"... last week, game night was going to the movie theater to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory while having dinner (the theater removed every other row of seats and replaced them with coffee tables for snacking... bonus is that you don't have annoying kids banging the backs of your seats). For less than $25, you can get 2 movie tickets, a large pizza, and a pitcher of Yuengling. Woo hoo!

This weekend, the town is having a concert in the park. I can't wait to walk down there, picking up some Mexican food, and noshing, listening, and people-watching with Lucky and the family.

LESSON LEARNED: Attend all meetings when you join a local organization. I almost was voted president of the town historical society but was able to decline (Although it would have been interesting, I would feel odd, seeing that I am a good 30 years younger than the average member). Now they are going to try to get someone who missed the meeting. Filling the office positions was rather like having a bunch of confirmed batchelors at the garter throw.

PS: I dedicate this post to Petey who wisely shouted my name with glee at his sisters and parents, while Lucky and I were visiting.






Wednesday, July 13, 2005
 
This weekend was so much fun.
On Friday, we went out with friends to get Vietnamese food... Alas, they closed at 9 and so we went to Silk Road and ate Afghani food instead.

Saturday night, I went to sleep early to prep for the coming few days and Lucky went to meet some other friends at Lance & Debbie's Wonder Bar in Asbury Park to see Rip Dash Rock (music like if the Ramones grew up in the Bayou).

Sunday, while Lucky headed to a BBQ and a viewing of The Fantastic Four, my mom and I headed out to the Philadelphia Gift Show. Feet hurt like we did a marathon (or rather, like I imagine what my feet would feel like if we had ever done a marathon) and the stairway to the parking area was the worst ever. However, we did find a lot of great things. Afterwards, I introduced my mom to Mastori's (since it had been recently featured on "Best Of" on the Food Network.

The next day, we headed to NYC for the Fancy Food Show. We're considering doing food gift baskets for the holidays and wanted to see what was what. OMG... it was sooooo worth the $35 entry fee. We stuffed ourselves with patés, caviar (my mom only), gelato, exotic juices, and cheeses from around the world.

Celebrity spotting: Mike Colameco, Paul Prudhomme, and surprisingly... Susan Lucci!






 

Happy Birthday, Lucky!


May you have a wonderful 35th year of living...






Friday, July 08, 2005
 
I can't believe it's Friday already... again. I remember when I was little and a two hour drive would last forever; now, a whole week goes by when I blink twice.

Last Friday, we watched the new version of "The Italian Job" and rathered enjoyed it... those Mini Coopers are so sexy cute. The next day, I worked while Lucky went on a buggy buggy hike. And at night we went out to celebrate our third month-iversary. That's right... we have been married now longer than it took to plan the wedding. Sometimes I amaze myself that I was able to put together a wedding in less than 90 days.

Sunday, we spent the day in Asbury Park. The boardwalk has truly transformed (not to mention the parking... we took 2 circles around the area to find a spot!!! This from a place were I used to do cartwheels in the middle of the street since there was NO traffic). The walkway in the Casino is now open (granted, there are nets above to catch falling plaster), and the large antique store with the pet dogs and female nude paintings has been subdivided into small boardwalk-sized shops. It's odd to see Asbury Park so alive. I'm happy but a bit sad since it was somewhere that I could go to that noone else would. My little secret paradise. And now, it's filled with PEOPLE.

We stretched out on the beach and listened to Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes do their warmup for the concert we watched later that night (Lucky and I also spotted Richie "LaBamba" Rosenberg walking around the Casino... it's weird seeing people I used to deal with at my old job). The concert was fantastic. The band was celebrating their 30th anniversary playing and of course, they had to play the Stone Pony. Not crazy about Johnny Lyon's moustache, but I loved the energy he and the band had playing together.

The following day, we went to Stitch and Lilo's to try their pool for the first and probable last time since they are moving to the Trenton area. Stitch made an awesome grilled salmon, and we all watched "Shaun of the Dead". Dang, that is a funny movie. Afterwards, we watched illegal fireworks on the bay.

Tuesday, my mom and I closed the store and went to see the Kutztown Festival. We thought we'd probably not see anything of note that we needed to share with our customers but went anyways. The family-style lunch was delicious, but honestly not much had changed in the 20 years that had passed since the last time we went (except the quilts are much more expensive). So now, we know.






Wednesday, June 29, 2005
 
This past weekend was busy. I had totally forgotten that Lucky and I had a concert on Friday until he showed up at 5... we headed to Montclair State University to see Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. They are doing a tour of minor league stadiums.

Unfortunately, the idea of having a show at these stadiums doesn't quite work well in reality. The stage was set up in the outfield and a large screen was at second base. So if you had decided to sit behind home plate, all you saw was essentially a big flat version of the two legends. If you sat elsewhere, you had to believe that they were really on stage since it was so far away. And if you decided to stand in the outfield, you probably couldn't see either since it was flat ground. Oh, and the parking... since the school wasn't used to having so many people on campus at one time, the attendents were totally useless and it took about 45 minutes to find a place to park. The ticket-taking also was mishandled.

Luckily, the sound system was relatively good, and I was very happy to see Willie Nelson. You could tell he loved being "On the Road Again" (sorry, I had to) and the fact that he had his sister and two sons in his band made me smile. Bob Dylan was, um, better than I thought he would be. Only about half his stuff was incoherant. He didn't talk to the audience at all. However, Lucky was happy to have seen him.

On Sunday, we schlepped to Brooklyn to the Renegrade Craft Fair. Another ehh... alot of the stuff was overpriced (earrings made out of felt were $12, and considering that it was 5 minutes of work and under $1s worth of materials...) and there were many booths that had the same kind of stuff (screenprinted t-shirts, pseudo 80s pins and earrings, handbags, etc). Oh well, now I know and don't need to go back.






Wednesday, June 15, 2005
 
Fifteen years ago, I dressed as a burnt American flag for Halloween. At the time, George Bush was trying to push through to make flag desecration illegal by creating a new ammendment. And I was trying to make a point (and ok, an affordable costume)... a flag is a SYMBOL and just that. But I got comments behind my back... "It's like puttin' Jeezus back on da cross" was my favorite. How people could be so blind amazed me.

I had forgotten about this reverence for fabric. Until 18 months ago, when Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull got JT's music banned from a local radio station (not like they played their songs often anyways!)... for basically saying that he thought that all those flagwaving stationwagons owners were confusing patriotism with nationalism. Many Europeans whom I've spoken to express the same... They wave flags of their favorite sports teams but when it comes to flying their country flag, it reminds them of Hitler's Germany.

Now, there is a possibility that Mr. "Trying to win his daddy's love" Bush is going to succeed where his daddy didn't. According to this article, "the Senate may be within one or two votes of passing a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the U.S. flag, clearing the way for ratification by the states."

Amendments to the Constitution have been made to: Abolish slavery, make changes to streamline elections and establish Congressional pay increase procedures, give women the right to vote, protect citizens regarding arrest and trials, and ok... to make alcohol illegal (but they corrected that).

But now an amendment to protect a flag? Of course there's that whole First Amendment thing (guarantees the freedom of worship, of speech, of the press, of assembly, and of petition to the government for redress of grievances). But consdering that this hideous thing will be passed... what will constitute "desecration"? What about those frayed, sun-faded flags that are hanging off of those stationwagons that Anderson was talking about? What is the penalty for car salesmen who use the American flag as a decorative device to bring in sales? Will they be prosecuted in the federal court system and then sentenced to hang with America's Most Wanted?






Wednesday, June 08, 2005
 
We had a wonderful "weekend" in Wildwood. On Sunday, we headed down there (taking Rt. 9 since the Parkway was packed) and the first stop was to the Crab House. That was necessary because the last time we were in the area (last winter to get my engagement ring), it was closed. Well, even though this was still considered to be non-season, they were open and I got to devour the most delicious (and messy) garlic dungeoness crab clusters. Yummy.

After checking in to our trailer, we walked down the widest beach ever (about a 7 minute walk from the boardwalk to the water) to sun a bit. The ocean was pretty warm but it was nothing compared to the Starlux's pool which was fed by the attached hot tub... pure bliss.

For dinner, we ended up at Schellenger's. It was a seafood restaurant that took the theme a bit too far and then further. Unfortunately my celcam didn't really capture the interior too well. Just imagine Hedwig singing there and you can capture the "70s basement meets the Popeye movie set designers" feel (check the webpage for an exterior shot.


The Airstream was actually quite comfortable. One end had a sofa bed covered in turquoise nauga with rope lighting around the window, stereo and a tv. The middle third had a small wet bar area with microwave, fridge, and storage for plates and food on one side. On the other side was the word's smallest bathroom. With a shower barely big enough to fit one person. And the toilet and sink area that normally would be in an airplane or train. The back end held a rather comfy double bed with another tv. There wasn't much lighting in the trailer. Besides the accent lighting, there were only 4 flashlight styled lamps. However, when reflected against the trailer ceiling the light really made it bright. And in the morning, we woke up really early since the trailer was flooded with sunshine.

I really enjoyed my stay in Wildwood. However, I think next time I would like to stay in one of the Starlux's rooms. Or maybe one of the other "doo wop" styled motels we passed when walking around. Who knows how long some of them will be there... the one next to the Starlux is being raized and will be replaced with a 25 story condo building (that's right TWENTY FIVE STORIES!)






Tuesday, June 07, 2005
 
Today I went to check the mail. We had one envelope in the mailbox, addressed to neither one of us. Instead it was addressed to Lucky's exwife. The one he divorced 4 years ago. In Colorado. Who promptly married another guy within a year. And divorced him. In Colorado. But somehow, she is getting junkmail at an address at which she never lived. In a state she hasn't lived in for 6 years.

Just imagine how much money is being spent on sending junk mail with madeup addresses. And what good could be done with that money. (Sigh).






The WeatherPixie

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