Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Our Newest National Park

Wouldn't this be a great place to work?

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Paterson Mayor Jeffery Jones signed an agreement two weeks ago dedicating Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park as the 397th national park. Hopefully there will be some money to make this come true. The planning phase is slotted to last three years.

Sunday was such a beautiful day that Gary and I decided to revisit the falls, which we hadn't done since the summer of 1989, when Nana and Grandpa were here from Florida. I always had a busy agenda of sightseeing planned when they came. One time when we were trekking across the Bronx Zoo in 95 degree humidity, Nana commented, "You know we're happy just to sit on your deck and watch the kids play." But it was a nice day back then in '89 and everyone enjoyed the falls. Notice how leafy green everything was that summer.  One other thing stands out as being different. See if you can pick it out:

Summer 1989
Fall 2011

Did you spot the difference? No fencing back in 1989. You could go right up to the stone wall. The spiked fencing was added later.
Who's the skinny guy with the triathlon shirt? Some things have changed and some haven't!
Apparently he wouldn't have any clothes if he didn't run races.
Notable: Eric sticking out his tongue and me with a curly perm.
Me with straight hair and a rainbow
The other big difference between 1989 and 2011? In the pre-digital world, we took 5 pictures. Sunday Gary took 25. Here are a few more:

Alexander Hamilton, who saw the falls as a source of power to build an industrial city where anyone could work and achieve the American Dream.

The power plant has been operating since 1914. Hamilton had created the initial corporation - SUM- Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures.

Scaffolding on power plant to the left

View from the top of the falls

View of Paterson from downriver

Monday, November 14, 2011

It can't be November already

Wow! another fast week with a two day breast cancer advocacy meeting in New York City and a weekend trip to Long Island.(Yes, it was 10 degrees of separation!)

I also spent a lot of time working on the MBCN website, preparing to insert the videos of the speakers from our October 29 conference. Here's a sneak peak of me telling my story and introducing the first general session, Ask the Experts.  

(scroll down to bottom of page and click on my talk) 

Former Ridgewood Toastmasters: please note that your speech evaluations should not exceed 1 minute and should take the familiar form of a praise sandwich: Positive-negative-positive. You might start off with: "I liked Ginny's professional plaid jacket"; followed by I counted 9 ums and thought she looked down too much and ending with "she seemed to be enjoying herself!"  (I'm sure you all remember the drill from our RTM days.)

Keeping it short this week. Enjoy the last of the leaves--our Japanese maple has finally turned its glorious shade of red.

The same little tree 24 years ago:

A Lawrence Taylor Giants Fan with his little brother
How cute were they?!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Thank Goodness it's Saturday. Yes, such a crazy week that I couldn't even write this blog yesterday under the more familiar TGIF label.

me and my cancer pals
Last weekend I was in Baltimore for our annual conference --Empowerment through Education -- for the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (MBCN). Empowerment!  Harkening back to the 60's feminist movement, you would think that word has seen its day, but it definitely summed up how most of us felt after the conference. Very inspiring to connect with others living with Stage IV--many who are much worse off than I am-- but still pushing along and embracing life. We had excellent speakers from Johns Hopkins and glimmers of research hope in new areas of immunotherapy and epigenetics.

Everything went well, except for a glitch with the WEATHER. Snow flurries at 7 am on Saturday discouraged many of our local registrants from venturing out on the highways, so our attendance was down slightly. 

Backyard destruction
The big W became the word of the week. I arrived home on Sunday at 5pm to no power in our house. We ate out, spent the evening at Gary's office and then headed home and straight to bed. Pretty cozy under mounds of blankets, but I was looking for that warmed up brick that the early Americans put at the foot of the bed. We didn't have power restored until Wednesday at 6 pm--a four day stretch that's the longest we've ever gone without power (other than camping trips!) I use the term "we" loosely, since I toughed it out at the shore for three days.

a lone surfer

rolling surf at the shore
Our helpful utility company posted vague updates like "90% of customers will have power restored by Wednesday midnight; the remaining 10% by Sunday."  Later updated this to 90% by Thursday midnight.... But were we in the elite 10%? They also hosted free distribution of dry ice, but with no explanation of how you would use it. 

The last time I thought about dry ice was probably when I was in 4th grade at St. Luke's Parochial School. On the rare occasion of a vanilla dixie cup treat for the class, dry ice was used to keep the ice cream cold. It was steamy, mysterious and dangerous. One of the bigger boys, usually Rudy Poselivic or Freddie Galucci, was designated Dry Ice Man and given the padded gloves to remove the ice, which burns the skin on contact. They were our heroes for braving potential injury so we could all enjoy the ice cream. But do people today know about dry ice? Would they have the voice of Sister Mary Perpetua haunting their memories to be careful with that "burning" ice?

I ended the week with some long waits in doctor offices and infusion suites, another casualty of the storm, with rearranged appointments and shorthanded staff.

Wouldn't these have made great Halloween shoes?
So we missed Halloween, but hopefully have a greater appreciation for our dependence on power and a greater faith in our resiliency in responding to difficult circumstances.
Yes, I'm being resilient!

Today is a beautiful day, but since it's the first weekend we're home in the last month, some attention must be paid to THE LIST. Nothing says Thanksgiving like moving the dining room furniture into the living room and vice versa. You'd think we've got the strategy down now after so many years, but somehow we always end up with someone backed into a corner surrounded by furniture or a table and couch vying for the same limited territory in the front hall. Promises to be an exciting day!