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White Winter Wishing

It has been a mild winter as of now.  But I keep hoping!  December is such a magical time in the city.  With the Christmas lights lining city streets and trees, holiday music playing in stores and heard on city sidewalks and how can you not love the beautiful holiday store front window displays.  But there’s something missing.  The snow!  In a city radiating holiday spirt, I cannot help the California girl in me that’s dreaming of a white Christmas.  Here’s a few pictures, I keep gazing at, which I took a couple years ago over Christmas on the Upper East Side and Central Park.

What is something you hope to see or experience in your area this December?  Would love to hear about it.

Lending a “Sandy” Hand

Last weekend we sat in our apartment thinking about what family outing we should do.  We had power, nothing was ruined, and it was the weekend, right?  What new area could we check out?  Dean and I through some ideas out, and each time an idea was said, an empty feeling came over each of us.  How could we have a fun family day out with the aftermath staring right at us; the seemingly endless gas lines everywhere, trees ripped from the sidewalks, and the thought of so many without power, heat, diapers, all the necessities that Sandy spared our family.  How did we get so lucky?  What if we weren’t?  What if our area looked like Staten Island or the Rockaways?  There was only one thing to do, get out and help.  We had an SUV and a full tank of gas.  No better way to spend our Sunday than lending a thankful hand.

Waiting to get gas.  Maddie was sleeping in the back seat, so we had a good hour or so before she woke up and before a break down began.  I can handle an hour wait, but not an hour of toddler tantrums!

 Packing in the supplies from Assemblyman Mike Miller’s Sandy relief location.

Maddie helped in the back seat making sure everything passed the grab, push and squeeze test.

Headed to our drop-off location.  Wish I would have taken more photos.  Trees were blocking street, large trash binds sat in driveways filled to the top, boats and cars were in odd places, yet you could see neighbors and citizens banning and working together.  A warm feeling on a chilly day.

Howard Beach drop off location.  Cleaning supplies, clothes, linens, and food.  All was needed!

Headed home and the lines for gas were still lining the streets, including the gas can lines.  This lined wrapped far around the corner.  And it was getting colder..

One thing I’ve learned moving from CA to NY…New Yorkers are tough and can get through anything.  It was moving to see fellow neighbors, citizens, organizations and states banning together to lend a hand.

Tomorrow we vote!  Hopefully everyone can still find a way to cast their ballot!  I know who I’m voting for.  Do you??

Sandy Aftermath

We stocked up last minute, stood in hour wait grocery lines, and checked for batteries and flash lights the day Sandy hit. We took light of the situation basing the storm path off the American weather model and not the European weather model.  So many left last minute and there were those that chose not to leave at all.  Sandy turned into a storm of unprecedented size and intensity, with tropical storm force winds stretching over 1,000 miles across, making it the largest cyclone in the history of the Atlantic.  As we look and hear of the destruction and the statistics, our family could not feel more thankful and blessed.  A somber, yet grateful morning after, in our neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Looking at partial destruction of a pier while watching military choppers fly overhead…

Under water yesterday.  Some damage.  Could be a lot worse…

The power of Sandy.  Some destruction here and there.  Overall not too bad…

Lights out in the city.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for being on the water, was very fortunate.  Never thought much of the small incline our building sits on, but very thankful.  Two hurricanes in two years, no evacuations and no loss of power.

Currently 72 dead, subways and many streets are still flooded, power is still out for many (cold nights are beginning), and fires are burning in Queens.

Continued prayers.

Amy

Be Easy Sandy…

Time to hunker down for Sandy!  We are one block from the East River in NYC.  Last year Irene decided to puff a little in our direction, so we didn’t think too much of Sandy as she surfaced a couple days ago, until this morning…

When I went out for my morning stroll and coffee, things looked a little different this time around.  I tried to walk near the promenade to take a peak at the river and we were stopped in our tracks by a gust of wind!  I’m sure taking a stroll on the promenade was not the smartest idea!  I could barely hold onto Maddie.  The gust seemed to last for ever, especially since I was panicking!  Why did I bring my one year old out in an approaching hurricane!!  Stupid.  We quickly turned around and beelined for home!  I think Sandy is slowing settling in on little ol’ NYC.

I am sure we don’t have anything to worry about.  We are in a zone not required to evacuate, but close enough to the river to see and feel her effects.  As the wind starts to pick up, I think about how I wish we had one last chance to visit Central Park during the peak Fall foliage.  Will my favorite time in the park get robbed by Sandy?  Will we still get to see the leaves at their peak color change?  Will we get to enjoy one last stroll before the leaves are gone?  Will we get pictures with Maddie frolicking in CP’s fallen leaves the first year she’s walking? Sandy, please be easy, please be gentle on NYC’s treasured spot.  As I look outside our window, it’s not looking good.  The wind looks stronger than I have ever seen it…

Thank goodness a couple days ago I went with a friend to Central Park and got to see the foliage start to peak, but I am sure this upcoming weekend would have been the prime time for a visit.  At least we have these first year walking Fall foliage memories in Central Park…

Love the large mums planted around the park…

some leaves have started to fall…

having fun with park performers…

nothing I enjoy more in the park than listening to a saxophonist perform…feels like you’re in a movie…

having fun playing along Poets Walk with her buddy Leland…

 Hope to see your plants and foliage again this Fall CP!  And hope you haven’t been blown to pieces!!  Be easy Sandy…

Are you getting ready for Sandy?

Central Park Breast Cancer Walk

This weekend we participated in our yearly family breast cancer walk. A walk I feel proud to be a part of for many different reasons.  So many people are affected by cancer and most of us have been touched by it in some way, either by a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or an acquaintance.  Cancer is a disease that could eventually affect us all in some way and breast cancer is the second most common cancer for women in the US.  According to the American Cancer Society, in 2012, about 227,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 40,000 women will die from the disease.  That sounds high, yet we are also making progress.  More women are being cured and living longer than in the past.  According to ACS, ‘The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is about 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 36. Breast cancer death rates have been going down and this is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and better treatments. Right now there are more than 2½ million breast cancer survivors in the United States.’  WOW!  What a feeling just hearing that.

Each year we do the walk in memory of my mother.  My mother who lived a healthy lifestyle, active, ate healthy, had regular check-ups and who was diagnosed at 53 with cancer in many of her major organs, including breast cancer cells.  A shock to us all, to say the very least.  Within a few months of being diagnosed she passed away.  I don’t blame anyone, not the doctors, not the things we could have done earlier, not the signs we didn’t take seriously, not the treatments available at the time.  I truly feel God was ready to bring my mother home, which makes me feel at peace with why she was taken so early.  I think about her daily: her love, her support, her smile, her loving advice, and our heartfelt conversations.  I also think about how 9 years have gone by so fast and the things that have changed: marriages, grandchildren, first homes, achievements and how the world has evolved.  Sometimes it makes me sad thinking about it, but I think of the higher power and put my trust in God and realize there’s a greater reason for everything.

When I walk in the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer walks with my family each year, I don’t just walk for breast cancer survivors and research, I walk for all those fighting a cancer fight, for those families who stand beside their loved ones and are a part of the emotional journey, and for those that will someday be face to face with the struggle.  I too wonder, if I will someday be in that fight, but I can look to my mother who handled herself with such grace and strength for her children and family and find peace in her courage, and how she fought, the good fight, at such an early age.

The month of October is the month my mother was born, the month she passed away and the month of breast cancer awareness.  Being a part of these walks are a wonderful way for Maddie to feel closer to her grandmother, for my husband to feel connected to his mother-in-law and for me to honor such a wonderful mother who gave her All for her family and children, and to walk with those who have been a part of what we have experienced with cancer.  The cheers while walking are not to make it to the 5 mile finish line, they are cheers for life and cheers for those still in the cancer fight.  What a wonderful walk to be a part of.

Has a form of cancer affected you or your family in some way?  May God bless those still in the flight and those that have been affected.

Amy

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