Adventure, Dogs, Family, FUN!, Life, Memory Lane, New York City, Opinion, Overload, Photo Blog, Resolution, Road Trip, small joy, Social Media, South Bronx

The Hiatus

Thank the fucking stars that winter is, at last, over. For the most part, so is Spring. Although Springtime in New York City is generally a week of really great weather followed by either cold and rainy weather or hot and humid days that will never end because your office has yet to turn on the Air Conditioning. I read my last post, dated October 13, 2014, and wonder why the hell I was ever so excited for the end of summer 2014. I must also apologize, once again, for my absence. I had a few complaints from friends and their mom’s wondering if I might be dead. I am not dead, although after the past few cold, cold months, I feel a little corpse-like. With June upon us now I am basking in the hot, humid sun, getting ready to complain about different awful weather.

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I am cold just looking at this.

So, what have I been up to? October was an amazing month of visitors and travel. I stuck my feet in the Pacific Ocean as well as the Gulf of Mexico (both destination wedding related). Captain Clam and I visited 5 airports in the span of 10 days that month. We were exhausted and happy from adventure and catching up with old friends and family. Plus, I got to see Northern California, and I cannot wait to get back!

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Pacific Coast Highway

November was another month of bustle, traveling to Virginia for Thanksgiving, and celebrating my 33rd year. I am getting old. Fuck! Captain Clam and I adopted a foster dog, Nena, who slowly made us realize that we don’t want a dog, or probably children… eek!

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Hey! Watch your hands buddy!

December was a little more peaceful. We celebrated at home and cooked for about 13 friends on Christmas Day. We invented Bronx Fries, which is just essentially asparagus wrapped in bacon and scorched with garlic. We spent the New Year in my old Loft building with my good Friend Paul and his girlfriend, Ebonie.

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An extremely accurate representation of Ebonie & Paul from the Guest Book.

January is a month that I have forgotten most of. All I can remember was my New Year Resolution of replacing my mascara tube, which I have managed to procrastinate for 5 1/2 months. February is the worst month of them all, and this winter really gave it to us. If the temperature was above 20 degrees, I experience some sort of relief, like maybe I didn’t need to bundle up so much. But then the wind would blow and I’d immediately regret not wearing a butt scarf (essentially just a scarf that is tied around the butt).

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The First Day of Spring 2015, New York City.

At some point, we were able to find a home for a little kitten that our neighbor found. She had been smashed up a bit and needed some serious snuggling. Our friend Josh, who is the biggest softy ever, came by in the middle of the night, serenaded her with music on a broken guitar, and fell in love. He took her home that night and named her Prudence.

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Contrary to popular belief, Captain Clam and I are NOT an animal rescue!

During the winter, I became bored and switched my instagram name a zillion times. I settled on CommutersOnTheGreenLine, and have dedicated the majority of my posts to stalking strangers on the 4, 5, and 6 trains. Follow Me!

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February 19, 2015

In early March, I found myself shopping for a dress for an old friend’s funeral. That sucked more than I ever thought anything ever could possibly suck. The joy of March was driving down to MD to drop off the foster dog to her new owner, Rich. We (and by “we” I mean “the kitties”) finally regained control over the apartment. Hooray! We were also blessed with a trip to Wisconsin to visit the Captain’s Family Farm and B&B for his dad’s 70th Birthday. If you are ever in Wisconsin, in the little town of La Farge, please stop in and visit Trillium Cottage B&B. It is one of the most magical places I have ever been to and I can’t wait to get back there (they have miniature donkeys!).

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See? Magic!

May proved to be the busiest month yet, with almost every weekend spent out of town. Captain Clam and I went to Long Island for Mother’s Day and a spectacular family reunion where both of my sisters and their kids (and husbands) were gathered in one place, talking loudly with intense accents. At one point my dad pulled us aside and told us that my mom hasn’t looked this happy in a long time. I looked over to see her playing monkey in the middle with two of my nephews. She was giggling in her usual tickled fashion and was completely kicking their little butts at the game. She was genuinely, unabashedly happy.

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That is one Happy Momma!

The following weekend, one of my Best Pals since forever got married in Baltimore, so we road tripped out there and Airbnb’d it 2 blocks from where the Baltimore riots had taken place a few weeks earlier (Captain Clam and I are gluttons for adventure). Of course I cried at the wedding because I am a wimp, but Elyse BFF was certainly the prettiest bride since Cleopatra married Mark Anthony (or since J-Lo Married Marc Anthony…).

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Meet the Meyers!

I would also like to take this time to brag about what a hunk my Clam is in a suit!

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The cutest clam in town!

Memorial Day Weekend was spent in the woods camping at Clarence Fahnestock State Park, as an early Birthday Gift to the Clam. He’ll be 32 in a few weeks! The last weekend was spent prepping for a Jumble Sale that we have been organizing with some friends in our Community, presented by the South Bronx Yard Exchange and hosted by the Mott Haven Bar. The Sale coincides with the Mott Haven’s killer Brunch, so feel free to come by for the sale (June 6 & 7) and stay for some Eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary Specials!

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Subliminal Message.

So, what’s coming up for these summer months? Well, June is filling up with the Jumble Sale, Shakespeare in the Park, Groupons for a Yankees Game, Clam’s Birthday, an illegal rooftop garden, and a bunch of other blog posts that I have had in the works for a very long time. As promised, Like a Truck Driver is set to be published within the next week or so, and I am working on another gem The Noise Hole to keep you entertained while you are supposed to be doing paper work or checking emails at your boring job. Early July boasts an epic camping trip in New Hampshire and Acadia Nation Park in Maine, so that should keep my brain from exploding for a little bit longer. Stay tuned!

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Adventure, Change, Community Garden, Dogs, FUN!, Garden, New York City, Recycle, Save The World, South Bronx, Spring, Things to Do

Project: Community Garden 6.20.14


Holy Mother of Pearl is it hot out! This week has been an up and down weather event! On this beautiful last day of Spring we decided to venture out to fill in the mystery hole (yes, it’s as dirty as it sounds) and fix the places that were plowed over by a city truck. Yes. A truck drove into our garden and did this:

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Of course we can’t be too mad because the truck is very wide and we are probably (most likely ) trespassing. The flowers that were run over seem to be okay, but we are considering transplanting them to avoid any future destruction. They also seem to be thirsty in their current location, so that is also a factor. Perhaps next time.

I popped over to Union Square Market on Wednesday to pick up some new additions. The garden is looking a little yellow these days, so we were hoping to add some purple, white, and green to make it a well-rounded display. Here is what happened next:

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Shasta Daisy “Lacrosse” and a bunch of New Guinea Impatiens of various colors (NOT YELLOW!).

Today we vowed to get that hole built up. I carried our supplies over to the heap (minus the 5 gallon jug of water that Captain Clam so victoriously lugged) and a palette was recovered from the back of Dino Gadget (our pick-up truck). I had been on an adventure to rescue a neighbor and her groceries when I spotted a pile of pallets outside of a Burger King on 149th Street. I dragged the Clam there later that evening and we recovered a few of these wooden boxes for our little diamond in the rough project. This might be the only time that Captain Clam ever said “Thank you Burger King!”

So we toiled and dug and raked and sweat into the evening. It’s still amazing to me how an hour and a half and a pallette filled with some plants can change your day and the neighborhood that surrounds you. It was so depressing walking by that giant hole everyday, and the inner sense of fulfillment is so grossly satisfying that I can’t even begin to describe it. Seven (7) people stopped in their cars/trucks/vehicular transports and shouted the most encouraging things to us. “Good Job!” “Nice Garden!” “Keep it up!” Maybe it’s just Friday and everyone is driving home and are in a good mood, but it was so meaningful coming from strangers. I don’t even know if they live in the neighborhood.

Today’s achievements include filling in the strange hole, adding a new palette garden, repairing the damage done by the drive-by, and fixing the moat system, which was working well until the flash flood rain storm came upon us last week. We have also befriended the car shop downstairs, who lets me use their hose and bathroom when it’s absolutely necessary.

Without further rambling here is our progress:

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WAY BEFORE!

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WAY AFTER!

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BEFORE (MAX!)

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WAY BEFORE!

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DURING.

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AFTER.

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BEFORE.

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AFTER.

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GLAMOUR SHOT.

We still can’t believe we are actually doing this! We are covered in dirt and enjoying a well earned can of cheap beer. We can’t reiterate just how much we love the South Bronx and  what is is like living here and working out way into a very unique community.

Stay tuned for more #Garden134 updates, as there will be more to come very soon.

 

 

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Adventure, Community Garden, FUN!, Garden, joy, Life, New York City, Recycle, Save The World, South Bronx, Spring

Project: Community Garden 6.4.14

Has it been 2 weeks already? I can’t even make excuses, other than Captain Clam and I had some rain showers, some long weekend Company, and a bit of Bronchitis and a thrown out back. Okay, the bronchitis and bad back were from me, but Captain Clam had to listen to me cough and complain, and was required to be ever-present to pick up anything that I might have dropped.

We are finally back at it! Well, I should say that the Captain is back at it, and I spent the evening being his flower shopper, cheerleader, and Supervisor (and comedian). I stopped back into the Union Square Farmer’s Market yet again to take advantage of all the lovely blooms from countless vendors. Today I picked up some of the lovelies below:

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Something called “ground cover”, Kiss Frosty Mix, Blanket Flower (Gaillardia Xgrandiflora), Alyssum, and of course, the Left over Lavender from two weeks ago.

 

I tried to grab flowers that were very happy to be stuck in the sun and a little bit thirsty. I am realizing now that perhaps what the South Bronx needs is a cactus garden. Then again, maybe not (direct Quote from Lumiere, Beauty and the Beast). The plot had been mowed earlier in the week, and we instantly realized just how big this project was going to be. I cheered my Clam along like a red-neck at a Rangers game as he sweat and mucked his way through the dirt. I even tried to help with some shoveling and raking, but that seemed almost counterproductive. His first order of business was this area, where we had collected a broken palette a few weeks back and wanted to find a useful place for it, since it is clearly trash:

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My handsome Captain Clam!

I had very little idea what he was planning there, so I went with the flow and made sure to insist that we were “on the same page.” As usual, we were not. But that’s what makes this exciting (well, that and the hungry mosquitoes that  love to dine on my fragrant flesh)! Once we figured out what we could do and were absolutely unable to do be because of the laws of Physics, we ended up with this satisfactory compromise:

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Oh, just wait until it grows in!

At this point, a handful of people had already stopped in to say hello and asked what we are up to. A few of them were our neighbors. One gal in particular popped by to share her excitement and her own experience starting a Community Garden. She graciously offered her help and invited us to come meet her parents so we can find out more about starting a garden for the community as a Non-Profit Organization. What? That’s bananas to me! Regardless of that kind of step, we are so happy to have the offer of help and support.

We continued digging and planting, and a few other people walked by, everyone saying hello and passing on their support. I got to pet a lot of dogs tonight, so I am on a piece of the 9th Cloud. People started honking and waving from their cars, including firemen! Needless to say, Captain Clam is exhausted, I am covered in bug bites, and we are both extremely happy with the progress and the support from our community. Now all we have to do is sit and wait for the rain to come so our newly planted foliage can have a well deserved drink.

 

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BEFORE

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AFTER

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Please note, the giant hole is preparation for our next palette tier, which we hope to get in the ground in the next few days.

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If you’d like to donate time or supplies (not money), please email me: stjanecek@gmail.com. And please stay tuned for more updates on #Garden134!

 

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FUN!, Garden, joy, New York City, Project, Save The World, South Bronx, Spring

Project: Community Garden 5.21.14

Today’s progress was quick, but made all the difference! I popped into the Farmer’s Market in Union Square and picked up a few easy-to-grow flowers, including Lavender from Lavender By the Bay, and some Marigolds and little white viney something or others. We headed out as soon as we got home so we could take advantage of the rain we are supposed to get this evening. After about only 15 minutes, we were finished with our planting. Sadly, the plot looks like a grave, but we are confident that once the flowers grow in and bloom (and we add more life to the garden, of course) that the space will start to take shape and grow in beauty.

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Clams like gardens!

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Not a cemetery.

Stay Tuned for More #Garden134 Updates!

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Community Garden, Dogs, FUN!, Garden, joy, New York City, Project, Save The World, South Bronx, Spring, Today was Awesome

Project: Community Garden 5.20.14

What a nice break from hard labor! Captain Clam and I fell victim to rain last Thursday, making our trash pile damp and unmovable. Then from Friday to Sunday, we were on a mini Road Trip to Virginia. When we returned, we saw that someone had taken out the bag of garbage that we left in there last week. We also saw that the wind had blown in so much new garbage that we would need to have another garbage day, and would most likely need to make every day a garbage day.

Before I sum up today’s work, I have to tell all of you that Max has found a new loving home with my Sister in Virginia. As we left him there in her arms, I saw this sweet look in his eyes that was both sad to see us leave, and happy to start a new life. The garden is empty without him, but we are still inspired to trudge on and get this garden pulled together.

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Happy as a Captain Clam

On a side note, apparently it’s a $150 ticket if caught in the area with a dog. Strange. Apparently no one cared about us or Max in there last week. The cops drove by constantly. I chalk it up to Max being adorable and the fact that no one can get mad at people trying to clean up a neighborhood.

Anyway, we are exhausted from our weekend adventure. This upcoming weekend we are having house guests, but we don’t want that preparation to get in the way of  cleaning out the garden lot. Today, however, was a quick day of garbage pickup and plotting out a course of action. I’ve been on pinterest, searching for gardening ideas to inspire the design. As most DIY gardeners know, there are a billion creative things to do with palettes. Palettes are free and easy to work into any garden design. On the way home from work, the unknown business next door (the one with all the crap in their yard) was getting rid of a few palettes. Welp, what we thought would be an easy day of clean up turned into us building our first terrace palette planter. Captain Clam and I are not on the same page, but when one of us gets going with an idea, the other quickly follows.

Today was a dirty, sweaty day in the garden. It was fun and rewarding, and Captain Clam and I got to see the “designer” in one another. We are preparing to plant our first plants this week (hopefully tomorrow), and have already collected an extra palette to work with. We shall see where these palettes will take us! For now, I am plotting the introduction of an ice cold beer to my belly.

Without further ado…

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BEFORE

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BEFORE (What a cute Clam!)

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AFTER

 

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AFTER

Stay tuned for more #Garden134 Updates!

 

 

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Community Garden, Dogs, FUN!, Garden, New York City, South Bronx, Spring

Project: Community Garden 5.14.14

My poor body. It did not want to move today! Who knew that hard work had these effects! Today’s ailments include a sore back, hamstrings, arms, and neck, and Captain Clam has discovered a tick between his belly button and nethers. YIKES! I also found one on Max last night. So today is tick day. All of our pets will be scrutinized, as will both of us and all our cracks and crevices. What a sexy thought.

I started plotting as soon as I woke up. The walk with Max this morning was brief, but we did visit the site to inspect yesterday’s progress. This project is a lot of work. I am so thankful that Captain Clam is on board. He might actually be more excited than I am! We have also named the garden “Garden 134,” which now has a #Hashtag on Facebook, in case you wanted to get down on a little love and support.

Today’s tasks were easy… buy some tools and pick up garbage. I started with researching some rakes and shovels. We like to buy locally most of the time, so we headed to the local hardware store after work. Captain Clam purchased two rakes and one shovel, while I got to show off Max to the pedestrians. He’s a really good dog, but has no idea how to walk at a city pace. It’s like trying to teach a son-of-a-bitch how not to be a tourist.

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Tools!

Captain Clam and I only spent 45 minutes working in the rubble today. We had spent some time gathering supplies, and have honestly been really exhausted. The weather has also been muggy, making it next to impossible to want to get sweaty and dirty. Luckily we had planned a “light” day of raking up garbage. Apparently, my definition of lightly raking up garbage differs from the Clam’s. We were most definitely not on the same page! At a certain point I gave up raking and broke out the shovel to remove some of the tougher weeds. Once we felt a few raindrops, we started to shovel the debris into a garbage bag. Unfortunately, we only brought 1 bag, not realizing the scope of the mess. UGGH!

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Max is totally into the composition of this photograph.

After the bag was full, Max decided he had enough of the dirt and humidity and signaled to us that it was, most definitely, time to leave. We happily obliged and quickly trudged home with blistered hands, sore backs, and dirt in our shoes. And while we feel like today was kind of a bust, the rubble pile is looking better. It’s only a matter of time before we can start planning the garden’s architecture and landscaping. So, without further ado…

 

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BEFORE

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AFTER

We are looking forward to getting back into the piles of dust and trash tomorrow. So, please stay tuned for more Community Garden Updates!

 

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Community Garden, Dogs, FUN!, Garden, joy, New York City, South Bronx, Spring

Project: Community Garden 5.13.14

We are getting old.

Captain Clam woke up with a twisted knee. He said it was from pulling weeds. I didn’t believe him until I tried to roll out of bed. Holy soreness! After only an hour of easy labor yesterday, we are a little bit of a mess today. While my soreness is inspiring (like that good kind of sore after you start exercising for the first time in a long time), Captain Clam had to wrap his knee up for the day (yes, Clams have knees).

I stopped in to visit the garden with Max on his walk this morning. I was slightly discouraged, since the difference wasn’t all that noticeable. I had to keep saying “Little by Little.” After obsessing and daydreaming about the garden all last night, I realized that this project is going to take years to complete. YEARS! A true labor of love indeed!

I was super hyped up on the way back to the apartment and Max and I decided to race across the street to beat the light. He tangled me up and I wasn’t looking where my feet were taking me and “Squeak.” I stepped on a baby bird that had fallen from it’s nest in the fascia of our building. I don’t know if it was already dead when I stepped on it, but it was definitely dead afterwards. What a horrible way to start the day. I had a small meltdown before leaving for work, wondering if maybe the universe was trying to keep my from a high horse as a “life-bringer” to this garden project. Le Sigh*

I’m not sure if the dead bird was an omen, but we ventured back out there this evening to pull some more weeds and just kinda of hang out with the bugs. There is something about working the ground, the smell of earth in springtime, and the sting of sweat and ant bites that just makes you feel kinda wonderful. And so it went, pulling and sweating, throwing worms at each other’s faces and trying to find awesome bugs with too many legs. After an hour, we decided to stop. The sun was starting to set and Max looked bored.

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Please lobby to Captain Clam for this pup to stay in the BX… Max belongs with us!

 

We were really proud of our work this evening. We pulled so many weeds, and even got a few compliments and thank you’s from neighbors and passerby’s. We are at only one bag of garbage so far, but we didn’t focus on trash today as we need to go purchase some gardening tools from the hardware store first. We took our AFTER pictures and headed home exhausted but satisfied. Then we uploaded the pictures and immediately regretted not picking up more trash. Somehow the BEFORE picture looks better than the after, but only because the trash is now visible.

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BEFORE

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AFTER

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BEFORE

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BEFORE

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AFTER (Clams can garden!)

Tomorrow will be dedicated to finding the perfect rake and picking up trash. We are still incredibly excited about this project and motivated to see progress. It’s been a great start to this garden, and it certainly feels wonderful to physically labor in the sun and dirt. We even found a few interesting  “souvenirs” that will be used for some art project or another:

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Not all garbage is trash.

 

All in all it has been an extremely productive evening and we are starting to see signs of what might become of the rubble pile. Now it’s off to enjoy a hard earned beer mixed with a hot bath and some ibuprofen.

Stay tuned for more Community Garden Updates!

 

 

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