Tag Archives: hoboken

Let’s Cook!

I was never much of a cook. Growing up, my mom didn’t cook very much. She made things like Stouffer’s lasagna or Mrs. Budd’s chicken pot pies. When she did make a homemade meal, she hit it out of the park. Appetizers and holiday cooking like Thanksgiving and Passover were her specialities and still are today.

My husband also loved to cook. When we lived in Hoboken, he loved to whip up new and exciting meals like stuffed peppers or bolognese while I made things like spaghetti or turkey burgers. Our roles have since changed.

When I lost my job a few years back, I started to get into cooking. When I wasn’t job hunting or interviewing, I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands. While Eric worked, I needed an outlet. So I started to cook. I thought it would be nice for him to have something to come home to. Plus, I felt like I did something; it somehow justified me being home all day and not working.

When I reentered the job force, I still tried to cook. Unfortunatey, I just didn’t have the same kind of time to devote to my new hobby. After working all day in the city, commuting and then getting in a run or workout, cooking was the last thing I wanted to do. Besides, living in Hoboken, there were so many great restaurants and eateries to enjoy, it was so much easier to say, “Lets eat out tonight!”

Fast forward to mommyhood and my life in suburbs and I have found a new love for cooking. At first, I was somewhat intimated, like when I wanted to try to make a cookie cake for Eric for Father’s Day. He loved it when a girlfriend of mine made it so I faced my fear, gave it a try and found surprising success. Pintrest has become a good friend of mine as I look to create new and exciting dishes for our family like a chicken, artichoke and spinach pasta bake; balsamic chicken; homemade banana bread; or lasagna roll ups.

Believe it or not, cooking somewhat relaxes me. I feel creative. Staying home, I don’t always feel like that, especially after a successful career in public relations where I was constantly coming up with new ideas and initiatives seen all across the world. Cooking has filled a little bit of that void for the time being. While my daughter sleeps and I have some extra time in between cleaning, paying bills and catching up on “The Real Housewives,” I’ve found something new to be excited and proud of again.

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You Can’t Save Parking Spots in Hoboken

Parking in Hoboken is horrendous. Whether you are a resident or visitor, it has gotten progressively worse over the years.

I have lived in Hoboken for over 10 years, both uptown and downtown, and have never owned a parking spot. I constantly struggle to find a place to park my car legally, praying that someone doesn’t hit me (which has happened more than I would like to recall). Yet, it never ceases to amaze me the lengths that people will go to find a spot in town.

Today for example, I had to move my car from its Wednesday spot to avoid a street cleaning ticket. If at all possible, I try and find a space where I don’t have to move more than twice a week. I found a Monday spot which was perfect, but a man was preventing me from parking there. He was “saving” the spot.

I motioned from my car window that you can’t save spots. It’s not a table at a restaurant where you’re waiting for the rest of your party to show up. While I watched him ignore me, I then rolled down my window and told him that even though I could find another spot, you can’t just stand and “hold” a space for someone. He told me a van was on its way and they needed to be in that specific spot. I went on to tell him if that were true, there would be designated signs blocking it off. He didn’t give a shit. He just stood there smoking his cigarette, waiting for his friend to arrive.

This is not the first, nor worst, that I have seen with this type of behavior in Hoboken. My favorite instance was a few years back when a girl was standing in a spot on Washington and 11th Streets one weekend evening. As I proceeded to pull into the spot, I saw her standing there, smack in the middle where a car should be. I continued to move into the space, figuring she was just waiting for a friend, or a taxi perhaps, and would step aside. Little did I know, she was holding the spot for someone.

I had been driving around for nearly a half hour; the last thing I wanted to do was deal with some dumbass out-of-towner who believed in saving spots like a lounge chair at the Shipyard pool (which is a whole separate story in and of itself). And I certainly didn’t want to keep looking for a place to park when there was one right there.

Just like I did with the guy this morning, I told her she couldn’t save parking spots. That’s when she asked me who was going to stop her. After I thought about it, she was right, who was going to prevent her from just hanging out there waiting for her friend to show up? She could have been there all night. As I began to drive away feeling frustrated and defeated, I saw her lay on the pavement in the dark, all just to save a parking spot. Someone could have clearly ran this girl over, as she was no longer visible to drivers who saw an empty space. All for parking!

I know parking in Hoboken sucks to the tenth power, but you can’t save spots. It’s wrong, unethical and unfair to those who have been driving around looking endlessly for places to park. It’s first come first serve, not first come, first save. Do your part.

The Sounds of Silence

When I was younger, I couldn’t wait for my parents to get out of the house.  I loved being home alone and having the place all to myself. These days, when I go to visit, I’m scared to be there without them!

For the last 10 years, I have resided in Hoboken. I’ve lived on a busy street, across from a hospital and under a lounge, so I’m used to noise and clamoring outside my window. When I head to my parents’ place in northwest New Jersey, the stillness scares the hell out of me.

Growing up on a mountain, I became conditioned to weird noises and random animals that would traipse around our yard. However, I never expected to be scared out of my wits being there alone.

Last summer, I stayed on the mountain while my folks were traveling. I probably called them at least 10 times to describe the creaks and noises that kept me from sleeping. Looking out the window though, there was no life; it was nothing but street lamps and dead silence, everything was so desolate.

During a recent visit, I was awakened by a red fox. While I have never seen the creature, its screams are that of someone being raped or murdered. The first time I heard it, I thought a woman was being brutally tortured. The screams were terrifying. I ran and woke up my family, ready to get the axe in fear of our lives. I was then informed, “We hear that all the time, it’s the red fox.”

I was beside myself. How could these noises come out of an animal that is leisurely hanging around our yard? Apparently, this is typical in areas where my parents reside. It was then that I realized I am now a trained city girl and despite my best efforts, the mountain gal in me is disappearing (and scaring me to death!).

When I moved to the city, I grew to accept the sounds of sirens and loud bar patrons throughout the night. Gone are the days of lifeless streets at 1 a.m. and the calls of nature. To me, a peaceful night consists of lingering noises out my door, assuring me that I am not alone. After a weekend at my parents, I’m afraid of what will happen when my husband and I up and move to the ‘burbs!

To hear the red fox, click here.

Hey Cabbie, Stop Texting and Take Me Home

I have already written about texting and driving. Remember the story I told you last summer? The one with the guy who ran out of his car after slamming into us, declaring, “I’m sorry, I was texting!”

I think people have come a long way since last summer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still screaming at people when I see them texting and driving, but thankfully, there are more people on headsets and more awareness about the issue.

What I have noticed recently is that in Hoboken, cab drivers are relentlessly texting and driving. Does city hall know about this? Don’t they run the taxi operation or something? Well they should, because in the last two weeks, on two separate occasions, I have literally had to ask each cab driver to refrain from using their cell phone to concentrate on the road.

I am usually met with a “WTF” look, but they oblige. Then we get into a conversation about the seriousness of texting while on the road (or they ignore me), and as soon as I’m dropped off, they’re back at it.

Hey, I have no control over what you do in your own car (or cab), even though it can affect the lives of my friends and family, but I can make you stop while you’re driving me, especially if I’m paying you.

One cabbie told me that his biggest issue is when people text and walk. Can you believe that texting and walking is now dangerous? Hey, I was with him. So many people don’t pay attention to the road and walk blindly into the middle of the street because they are so busy sending messages, tweeting, or whatever it is they’re doing.

But seriously, if you’re gonna talk the talk, walk the walk. Put your phone down, concentrate on the road and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get us from point A to point B in one piece, and I’ll give you a better tip.

When Did We Stop Giving Back?

Recently, the U.S. Postal Service held a food drive soliciting donations from millions of Americans across the country as part of their Stamp Out Hunger campaign: a cute and catchy tagline with the postage stamp, and a great way to get people to donate to a good cause, Feeding America. Plus, being that they’re the post office, free marketing: they were able to put flyers in millions of mailboxes across the U.S. without paying postage! Brilliant!

I participated in the program. It was easy. Pack up food in a bag and place it at your mailbox. It gave me an opportunity to give back to the community AND clean out my cupboards!

I packed up as many goods as I could that were acceptable to donate. I found stuff I didn’t eat anymore, things I shouldn’t eat anymore, and foods that might make people who don’t have the luxury to eat the way I do a little happier.

I arrived shortly before my postman (an awesome guy I have grown to know after months of long-term unemployment!) with my bag full of goodies and was sorely disappointed. There were five bags of groceries for the hungry at our mailboxes.

I live in a luxury building in Hoboken that houses over 200 units. Of all those apartments and rich people who parade around this place, only five bags were left for the hungry!?! Are you friggin’ kidding me?

Unemployed, and saving my own pennies, I found a way to donate a little bit to those less fortunate than myself.  What I don’t understand is how people who live with the luxuries of personal trainers, nannies, dog walkers and Maseratis (yes, I’m serious!) can’t give a box of pasta or can of soup to the needy. Get it together America!

Running For My Life

I’m not a runner. I’m actually the furthest thing from a runner. I’m the girl who used to go to the nurse’s office, complaining about heart palpitations when we had to run the mile in middle school. But that all changed over the last few months.

I am a very motivated and dedicated person when it comes to work, family, friends and causes, but when it comes down to doing something for myself, I don’t have quite the same drive. I think a lot of it used to be that I was so busy with work (I work in PR!) and everything that fell in between; then, when I lost my job, I didn’t really know how to manage the free time I had. It took me some time to figure out.

I always wished I could run. I joined the track team in high school and still couldn’t run the mile but I did well in sprinting events and even placed in a race…once. Hey, one time is better than none, right? I stayed with track for a year and never returned. Throughout the years I tried to get into running here and there but it never stuck. Even after moving to Hoboken, which is a fabulous place to run, with the New York City skyline at your back and tons of people watching to keep you from thinking how much further you have to go, I still couldn’t grasp it.

Then, earlier this year, I got motivated. Sick of staring at the same four walls at the gym and longing to enjoy the warm weather that hit during the winter months, I put on my sneaks and ran. I was no Forrest Gump, but I started slowly. I got about halfway through Hoboken and would walk back. Before I knew it, I could run all the way to the PATH and halfway back home. And now, I can do a little more than three miles without fail. Who knows what’s next?

I got proud of myself. I set a goal just for me and achieved it. Not only that, I’m keeping healthy and clearing my head all at the same time. These days, I don’t feel complete unless I go for a run. And next weekend, I’ll run my first 5K – the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge supporting Special Olympics.

The name of the playlist on my iPod that I run to is called Running For My Life. Sometimes I think I should call it Running From My Life, but then I digress and realize that life ain’t so bad. I might not have a job and life can certainly throw some curve balls, but now I know I can achieve things I set my mind to, one goal at a time.

Interested in supporting me or learning more about the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge? Visit: http://bit.ly/9C4MLZ

The Real Unemployed Housewives of Hoboken

I’m a fan of Bravo’s Housewives franchise, but I have to say, Atlanta, New Jersey, New York and Orange County, you got nothing on me and my girls – The Real Unemployed Housewives of Hoboken.

Life as an unemployed housewife in one of Hudson County’s most prominent areas is not all fun and games. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to enjoy lunch and cocktails during these beautiful summer-like days while others are stuck in their cubicles, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Let me give you a glimpse into a day in the life of a Real Unemployed Housewife of Hoboken.

Wake up with the husband’s alarm clock around 7 a.m. and get the day started. Yes! Another jam-packed day of searching job boards, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and every other website out there in an effort to land a goddamn job. After hours of connecting, following up on previous job leads which only lead to dead ends, and indulging in some hot topics with Wendy Williams and the ladies of The View, it’s time to get in shape girl! Off to the gym or out for a run to keep the figure in tact because if we don’t, lord only knows what could happen to that ass!

After a solid, or at least half decent workout, it’s back to checking email, hoping that someone got back to you about a job, but all you’ve got is friend requests and more (entry-level) postings. Bitter, you decide if you’re going to bother getting ready or just hang out in your pjs all day. If you’re just sitting on the couch catching up on DVR’ed episodes of Tori & Dean, is it really worth it to get dressed for nothing? But then you get the call from your unemployed pals who are also feeling the frustration of no job and even less money, so you decide how you can kick this funk.

The first and most obvious choice is to hit the bar. A gorgeous day and a city that had more bars per square mile than any other city in the nation, why not? Then you realize you have to claim your unemployment benefits and the check won’t go through until tomorrow. That means no cash flow until the following day. To charge or not to charge? You’re already feeling lower than lower, you want to be with your girls, and if you hung at someone’s house you’d have to spend money to buy wine and food anyway, so you say what the hell.

Ok, now things are picking up. People watching at a bar near the PATH with your unemployed entourage. Your friends are such regulars at the local watering hole that you get hooked up, which is always a bonus. Then your husband calls and asks how your day is going. Shit!

You’re thinking, “I should have been home making dinner, looking for more jobs, connecting more, doing laundry, blah blah blah.” But your man told you to do what makes you happy because you can’t let unemployment get you down. We’ll, you certainly took his advice.

You’re probably thinking back to my statement, how none of those C-list celebrity Housewives have anything on me and my unemployed gals, right? Well, here’s what you’ve been waiting for: We do all those things I mentioned: relentlessly job hunt, feel bad about not bringing in the income we used to, connect with everyone’s brother’s mother’s sister to secure an interview, get lonely and depressed with the same boring routines of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, making the bed and vacuuming. And we also make the most of a somewhat undesirable situation: we find ways to bring each other up when we’re down, we help each other in the job search, we don’t sit around and bicker when a success happens for one and not the other, we figure out how to have fun on a teeny tiny budget, we’re one another’s biggest supporters and most importantly, we laugh… A LOT.

We may not have the bling, we may not have the mansions, we may not have the loot, but we’ve got each other. Top that Bravo Housewives!