Tag Archives: Sandy Hook

Happy, Shiny Day

There is always a summer day that stands out to me – The Happy, Shiny Day. There is a quality to the day that makes it quintessentially summer, special and a little sacred.

This very blog chronicles some of those days. I am not always sure it is happening, when it  is happening, but when that day begins to inhabit my thoughts in mid-September and take up residence in the spot labeled ‘Best Summer Memories’, it takes it’s place at the head of the line and earns itself that title. When it turns into a day whose heat and sunlight fuel my hope in February, it is forever sealed into the mental album where the others of their ilk are stored.

I knew this day was going to be in the running for a summertime award, when all three invitees amicably accpeted my invitiation and readied themselves in record time. When my request for time on the bayside, rather than the oceanside was met with resounding positivity, my happiness quotient expanded.

I sank down into my beach chair on the bay of Sandy Hook and I sank deeply into a space of sheer gratitude as I watched my boys play together. Play – with kind words and happy voices. I bought them ice cream and wished for a few more weeks of summer. Someone may have uttered the words, ‘Thank you for the beach day, mommy’. That someone may have been a teenager.

Sea creatures, and tidal pools and endless strand lines to comb for teasures are always ingredients that mix up into a delightful concoction for me. I wish that I had magical chemistry equipment that could distill these days down into a ‘Felix Felicis-type’ serums and save them in medicinal blue bottle for another time.

The school year has barreled into September like a NJ Transit Train with blaring horns and loud announcements. It’s dumped paperwork, early morning alarms, tight schedules, homework and a bit of unwelcome chaos and calamity on the platform as it sped off with my two of my boys.

I count the days to the Autumnal Equinox – I know it’s coming. So, I will line up my happy, shiny days like glossy, beautiful magazine photos for reading and purusing during the cooler, grayer and darker months that are coming. I will try to stay positive, but don’t blame me if I need to resort to what is in the cobalt blue bottle. 


I do feel seriously bad when I leave my little blog out here all alone. I get busy and I don’t know what to say, so I avoid it. But I always come back.

While doing a little birthday cleaning yesterday, Sean asked me how old I was. He begged and begged so I told him 23 – he said that was a really high number. Uh-oh. Then I told him that I was actually 23, 20 years ago, he stared at me incredulously. Yeah, well.

 I had a great birthday celebration. No matter what the weather, an offer for a drive to the beach thrills me – and that’s what Dennis offered. We scouted NYC from a deck in the marshes right across from it – we could see The Freedom Tower – and I love The Freedom Tower. We drove and walked until we froze solid.

If you know anything about me, you might know that I LOVE the beach and shells, and shelling. I got to pick some things up for my birthday. And wouldn’t you know, I received the perfect give – from the hand of God and Mother Nature. How thoughtful, right? It’s a rare find, and even more rare to find a whelk in perfect condition. Not a chip or crack anywhere.

IMG_0278I mean, it’s gift from God – what did you expect?

Then it was on to Surf Taco in Red Bank. I was excited to find they had a Coke Freestyle Machine (I have a ‘thing’ about Coca-Cola). We were just getting fueled up for the main event – a trip to Yestercades. 80s music is the backdrop of the place. Ozzy Osborne (with Lita Ford), Bon Jovi, and David Bowie all playing on a big screen is a really happy thing for me. Playing pinball, Ms. Pacman, Asteriods, Frogger, and Tron are more really happy things for me. Doing it all with my kids, Dennis, my sister and my niece and nephew – totally above and beyond and fitting for such a large-number birthday!

IMG_0279We ended the evening at Carlo’s Bakery – I had a vanilla, vanilla buttercream cupcake. I figured the occasion called for a ‘classic’. I would have liked to try Sugarush, so I see another trip in our future.

Everyone in the bakery sang Happy Birthday to me. I did not think I would like that – but it turned out to be just right. Like the whole rest of the day.

Maybe the shell was not my only ‘gift from God’.

A Happy, Happy Birthday

What I wanted to do for my birthday was go into to Chinatown in NYC and celebrate the Lunar New Year with a parade and Dim Sum, but the Superbowl being in close proximity to our house and NYC complicated that. It seemed too daunting. Check in next year – we’re totally celebrating Chinese New Year in style.

I had to pick an alternate plan. As cold as it was, the beach was still my choice. I discovered an awesome arcade while waiting for a friend one evening in Red Bank and promised myself I’d be back with all my guys. It seemed like a good enough time to do that. After an IHOP breakfast.

Yestercades is a good, old-fashioned arcade with vintage video games, great pinballs machines, air hockey, as well as newer gaming systems. I could have played Tron, Ms. Pacman, Berzerk, Centipede, Frogger, and Donkey Kong all day. I don’t think of myself as someone who really enjoys video games – but as it turns out – it’s only newer ones I don’t like. I LOVED this place!

After the arcade, cupcakes and other pastries were procured from Carlos’ Bake Shop. They tasted as good as they looked.

cupcakesThen, it was down to my beloved shoreline. I thought it might just be a little depressing to see everything frozen and snow-covered.

It was not depressing at all – it was sunny and full of hope. I was reminded that just as I tick days off of these winter months, there is a promise. A promise that there are better days ahead – sunnier, warmer, more carefree days ahead. I was glad to see the beach cloaked in snow like its very own winter coat. When I shed mine, she will shed hers and will meet again soon.

Dennis and I don’t really buy each other many ‘presents’ – although I have my eye on a new camera 🙂 But walking back to the car I was so happy – happy to think that there is not a store in the mall that carries the image of my mom playing pinball with my kids, the handful of beach glass I collected or this…

allofusShould I ever have to tolerate a birthday without all six of us in one place, at one time, I hope to have this picture stuck up on a wall somewhere, or carefully tucked away for a rainy snowy day.

Really Happy Birthday to me.