Category Archives: Life Stories

Welcome to Montclair, NJ by Barbara Dexter

Welcome to Montclair, NJ by Barbara Dexter

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Montclair New Jersey is “where the city meets the suburbs” or so they say.  Montclair has the Iris gardens, the Monclair Art Museum, and of course Montclair State. It is also  the home of many coffee houses and cafes. There is live music of every genre at the local clubs.  For those that lead an enlightened lifestyle there are any religious houses and of course yoga to help you achieve inner peace.

I have yet to achieve inner peace in my travels within this town. I say welcome one and all to the fast pace and confusion of Montclair. Welcome to the land of contradictory  parking signs. Here is an example of what I encountered while trying to park so I could go to a local coffee house and relax.

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The parking lot in downtown Montclair.
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The sign clearly stating there is free parking in all spaces after 7 pm.
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The sign in front of my parking spot, clearly stating “any permit required between 7 pm and 2 am.”
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Another sign on the meter that clearly reads 2 hour parking until 7 pm but says nothing about after 7 pm.

If you go to the township website. The confusion increases because we move into legal jargon. II feel like I’m learning a new language while still attempting to read English. Inner peace may be gained if parking can be avoided. If you must park here I wish you luck trying to understand the contradictory signs. I spend a good deal of time in Montclair and I still get confused.

My Theory of Socks and Sock Problems by Barbara Dexter

My Theory of Socks and Sock Problems by Barbara Dexter

So you believe in sock fairies? I do because of the actions of socks. Socks can be defined as problem children, misfits that do not belong. How dare they be dingy and dark when they are supposed to be white after they are washed. How dare they just up and disappear without proper notice and then reappear sometimes up to two years later. This is usually just after you have thrown away the matching one.

Socks how dare they intermingle with socks of all colors and sizes, only to be sorted before and after the wash cycle. These little miscreants need to be taught a lesson.  I say buy all the same color socks. This leaves out the sorting. Wash them together. Dry them together. Roll them without fighting to find the match in the pile, because who is ever going to know or even care if the are a perfect match.

I have not seen anyone hold up a magnifying glass to examine a pair of socks while they were attached to their human. But it must be said, that strange things do happen. Now if one sock is dingier than the other, simply throw it out. That’s right socks, we’ll show you. We will never have to sort or look for you again.

My Stay in Georgia by Barbara Dexter

My Stay in Georgia by Barbara Dexter

I awake at 4 am to be sure I have everything and I am alert enough for my trip.  I get a call from my taxi driver,  he states the house numbers only go up to 30 on my street and cannot find me.  I tell him to go up one street and that for some reason the street is divided.  I would have thought the company might have looked up my address on a map our maybe use GPS. I say to myself,  alright let it go as he is here on time.  I just think n out is lucky I bothered to check my phone because I always turn the volume off so i don’t have to heart it beep when a new message comes through. If I hadn’t of checked I may have lost my ride.

I’m now at Newark airport and unknown to me there are two entrances to terminal C. One entrance for the express,  business class, and first class.  The remaining entrance is for economy.  My driver asks me which entrance I need.  I think to myself I didn’t know we were segregating people by class at the entrance door.  He says if you don’t know out is probably economy.  So we proceeded to the economy entrance.  Yes,  he was right this was my entrance.

I bring my bag to the counter. Then I am told the bag doesn’t have a tag. I think to myself,  don’t say whay you are thinking he might lose your bag.  So I said would you tell me what I need to do,  please? His answer made me feel like I was five years old and got caught in the cookie jar.  I apparently had to go to a computer kiosk and log in my confirmation number and then pay for a tag for my bag.  I am thinking if I have to pay for the I privilege of taking a bag,  where is the customer service? Oh I think to myself,  that would be the benefit of flying first class- customer service.

I am boarding the plane.  I ask the flight attendant  where my seat is located by saying tell me am I all the way in the back of the plane?  He replied yes but you’ll be closer to me isn’t that wonderful.  I got a chuckle out of that one.  The flight was uneventful and v the landing was smooth.

I’m in the airport thinking about coffee and food when I spot these items.

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Yes, I have arrived.

There are t-shirts instructing me to eat candy and look chocolate pumps.  I take the airtrain to the car rental lot. I get upgraded from economy to midsize and the car has a full tank of gas. My luck is improving.

I arrive at my lodging and check out my room and my new BFF.

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Meet Miss Connie, yes she is a cat and fulltime P.R. manager at the Mileybright Farmhouse.

Springtime in Georgia is not as bad as I had envisioned.  In fact it has been very relaxing. Well all except for the fact that I have to take an exam. If has been raining but at home it is snowing and raining. I am told there is a very large indoor flea market.  I love to wind my way through them. I was originally thinking about a trip to Stone Mountain, for a hike but if it continues to rain you will find me at the flea market.

Storm Clouds This Morning by Barbara Dexter

Storm Clouds This Morning by Barbara Dexter

I  put the recycling out through the garage this morning and noticed a large patch of ice just outside the garage door.  Well I placed the paper in it’s usual place not thinking of the person that has to pick out up,  and closed the door. I had just set two large bags of paper on top of the ice.  I thought to myself,  I don’t want to walk over the ice,  let me go out the front door to get my car started besides those guys have big, heavy,  trucks surely they have traction.

The view up in the sky was spectacular as I laid there for a moment to catch my breath.  Yes,  karma had struck me for putting the paper out on the ice.  But when it did, I sure got a nice photo of the storm clouds.

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Saved by a Fox by Barbara Dexter

Saved by a Fox by Barbara Dexter

Well I thought I was having an uneventful day. I put in my time diligently at my first job. This was my first research job after graduate school. I was performing pharmacokinetic analysis of therapeutic drugs in patient plasma, which simply means monitoring the dose of a drug as it breaks down in the body. At this point in my life, I did not earn enough money to sustain myself at my first job. I was forced to do additional work. On this particular day, I worked as a server and all around grunt for a catering company. I was happy to have the additional income, but it made for some long days.

I was finished for the day. I got in my old, trusty, manual shift Honda Civic coupe and pro ceded to drive home. I was not far from the catering venue, when I realized I had made a wrong turn. I was headed directly for the social security office and it was two o’clock in the morning. In my mindset at the time, which I voiced out loud, there is nobody around so pull a U-turn at the next available intersection, nobody will see. Well now, the intersection was clearly labeled, no U-turn. I went ahead and made the U-turn. Just then, there were blue lights flashing in my rearview mirror. I think to myself, so much for nobody noticing me. I am in a tux with the collar unbuttoned and the bow-tie dangling. Well to be sure I looked a mess.

The police officer approached my car and asked for my license and registration. He also asked me just what I was doing out at that hour. I told him I had been working at a catering event and I was tired. Whether he believed me or not, I had no way of knowing. He walked back to his car to run my information through his computer system.

Just at that moment I looked out my windshield and what did I see but a fox. He had auburn-red fur and a silver-white ring on his tail. He was just standing there watching me as if to say “hey what are you doing?” The site of the fox was very unusual for the urban environment. I felt myself starting to calm down as I watched the fox.

It was at that moment that the officer handed me back my license and registration then said “did you see that fox? That was so cool.” I told him I was just sitting and watching the fox. The officer then told me to go home and to be careful. I immediately thought that fox just saved me. I went home happy and surprisingly the weariness had left me.

Come to the Dark Side, We have Yarn! By Barbara Dexter

Come to the Dark Side, We have Yarn! By Barbara Dexter

I am staring intently at a picture of “Darth Vader” sitting with his legs crossed and deeply focused on knitting a bright pink baby sweater. The caption reads; “Give in to Your Feeling, Craft Something Pretty.” I enjoyed a hearty laugh from this ad. For those of you that are like me, you’ve seen all the “Star Wars” movies many times. I think the image of “Darth Vader” knitting seems oddly appropriate for my geekly and crafty self.

I enjoy knitting and have crafted many items including baby sweaters. I find knitting oddly soothing in a Zen like way. The repetitive motion focuses my thoughts away from the stresses that are ever present and prevalent in my daily life. A simple ribbing is knit two pearl two and repeat around. I watch the motion of the needles and zero in on the stitch at hand. Soon it is time for a different section then without much thought I have finished another item. I even look to my knitting and sewing room as a place where the stresses vanish, at least for a time.

 

Darth Vader as seen on facebook
Darth Vader as seen on facebook

My Brother’s Ten Speed Bicycle by Barbara Dexter

Yellow Ten Speed Bicycle from http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/1/4/7/6/4/1/4/webimg/513255309_tp.jpg
Yellow Ten Speed Bicycle from http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/1/4/7/6/4/1/4/webimg/513255309_tp.jpg

My Brother’s Ten Speed Bicycle by Barbara Dexter

It was nice day. The sun was shining. The temperature was in the nineties. There I was stuck in the house. I thought this just could not be. I must get out. I ventured onto the front porch and there it was, the scratched up, yellow, ten speed bicycle. I know it was supposed to have ten speeds, but you could not prove it by me. Half the speeds I attempted to shift into never made it into gear. It was there. I wanted out. My decision was made. I would take the bike to the local swimming hole, “Sunburn Beach.” As I mounted the bike, I had to lean it on its side so my short leg could swing over the frame. As long as I didn’t have to stop too fast, I would be all right.

I was off, riding down the sidewalk to Water Street. I continued to Main Street and followed it down until it turned into Colrain Road. Colrain Road was narrow. I did not concern myself about that. In one place the road was even narrower because it passed under a stone railroad bridge. I had no problem with that and did not even think about it. I passed by some small houses and a couple of farms. Then I arrived at my destination. It was just at an intersection of another road, through the cattle fencing, and down an embankment. Here the Deerfield River passed over many boulders that created rapids. The rapids were cold and soothing on a hot day. The water was only a couple of feet deep on most days. It became deeper slightly upstream, but only for a small section. It was perfect to float around and bask in the sun. When my skin finally turned prune-like, I could climb up the embankment and lay on my favorite boulder.

The only challenge with leaving the swimming hole was drying off enough for the trip home. My legs would rub against the seat and frame of the bike. It would be worse if they were wet. This day I did not manage to dry off enough. My legs were chafed by the time I arrived back home, but it was so worth it. I arrived home just before my brother noticed his bike had been “borrowed” and before my mother arrived home to tell me that I could not go. I was so relaxed that I had no trouble sleeping in the hot bedroom I shared with my two sisters.

Me and My Radio

My and My Radio by Barbara Dexter

My car radio is a wonderful accompaniment to driving on Route 280 East at rush hour. As people rush past only mere inches from my front bumper or cut into my lane in a sideswiping motion, my radio plays. I particularly enjoy the country songs “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” and “I Want to Talk About Me.” Somehow the little volume button miraculously adjusts to a higher volume as the traffic snare ensues. I’ve given up upon following the merge to the right that eventually leads me to the most convenient exit. Instead I find myself at the opposite side of the road wandering through the west side of Newark, past NJIT and eventually endingup in my parking lot near the Prudential Center. Many mornings I am early and have time to enjoy one last song before I begin my workday. Yes, my music has elicited stares from passerbys and fellow lot parkers, but it is always with me.

Privacy Seating-Not

Privacy Seating-Not by Barbara Dexter

In my personal quest for a clean an functional public restroom to utilize when I am out and about, I stumbled upon this one. Well I guess I should say two in one restroom. Of course the door indicates that there is some modicum of privacy allowed in the restroom.  Did they not realize that it is a “two-seater?” I guess privacy is a relative term.  You only invite those you are closest to to see your “personals?” I enjoyed a laugh over this one and hope you do as well.

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My Personal Quest for the Perfect Soda

My Personal Quest for the Perfect Soda by Barbara Dexter

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Well now, recently Coca-Cola has embarked on a new ad campaign. For lack of better explanation, the soda bottles simply say “Share with ______.” The blank was filled in with both names of individuals as well as the generic family or friends.

I started looking for a bottle with my name on it, thinking to myself just how cool it would be to have my first name printed on my soda. Well perhaps Coca-Cola never anticipated the my geeky self would stand in front of the soda cooler, with the door open, searching each bottle for my name.

Then I realized that there are other people I could share a beverage with.  I decided I should pick a male name for my yet to be determined boyfriend. Well now I have shared a soda with Mark, Chris and Rob. None of which I am acquainted with. That is okay since I never know when I will be.

Just this morning I found myself thinking, I would like to locate names of people on soda bottles that have guided or helped me in some way at different times in my life. It would be very cool to sit down and share a beverage and a thank you.

Coca-cola is a registered trademark of the Coca-cola company.