Grateful For Simple Pleasures - LIFE'S A BEACH Blog at - 313915


Grateful for Simple Pleasures 
Oct. 28, 2013 8:53 pm 
Updated: Nov. 4, 2013 2:50 pm

One year ago today life in this small city, just east of Manhattan, changed in such a surreal manner that I still can't wrap my mind around it.  Superstorm Sandy devastated the Tri state area, moving houses off foundations, sending 17 foot waves clear across the island, flooding all the infrastructure, and driving most of us from our homes.  I have shared some pictures with you in the past and so many of you reached out offering good wishes, moral support and help.

The most symbolic structure lost

was our boardwalk.  In the scheme of life not as important as our flooded hospital or all the uninhabitable homes but the one structure that everyone in the area regarded as iconic and ironic as it seems, the most easily restored.

Our hospital is still in limbo due to new requirements imposed by the DOH, but it is getting there.  About 20% of our homes are still uninhabitable, but I understand funding is beginning to trickle in and there is reason to hope they will all be restored, lifted, or replaced in short order.  The Army Corp of Engineers will be submitting plans to restore our jetties and bulkheads and dredge new sand to replenish our beaches and dunes and life has somewhat resumed for most of us.

I do not have the words to describe how grateful I am to have literally "come through the storm."  There is no way to adequately articulate the tremendous help we received from all across the country and how humbled we were.  The very simple joy I feel to be able to once again sit on my terrace contemplating the eternity of the ocean and admiring another wonderous sunset.  To appreciate the everyday, mundane tasks of grocery shopping and cooking is actually amazing to me when I look back.

Simple pleasures for us are family gatherings for brunch and football games and enjoying each other and good food.  Among the meals we ate were items from our sponsors, Johnsonville and Ore-Ida.  I didn't make elaborate, pretentious meals, just simple yummy food in keeping with our mood.  Take a look at what we ate:

 Chiliville Chili

Ore-Ida fries and Sriarcha Mayo Dip

MVP Chili over Ore-Ida fries

                                                        Easy Cheesy Hash Browns

    Creamy Pesto Gnocchi with Italian Sausage

                                                     Johnsonville® One-Pan Italian


                                                        Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

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Oct. 29, 2013 6:30 am
Hello, BigShotsMom-First of all, I am glad your city is on the mend and you made it through the storm safely. Superstorm Sandy was such a devastating and horrific disaster. Second, I would like to say your photos are beautiful and the staging is stellar! I love the chili and avocado combo. Great blog!
Oct. 29, 2013 7:04 am
BigShotsMom - Very touching story. I work as a writer in the field of alternative medicine with doctors from all over the world. I had learned about the storm in the news, but it really hit home with me when I realized that people that I knew were affected, and that medical services were being relocated due to issues with the hospital. We do in fact have a lot to be grateful for, and I count my own blessings everyday. =)
Oct. 29, 2013 8:40 am
Love your photos BSM. We all have so much to be thankful for and in your case, what you see everyday is a constant reminder of that. I am glad things are (slowly) getting back to normal. Thank you for the reminder.
Oct. 29, 2013 10:25 am
Hi Lela! I take that as quite a compliment. You take such great photos. Thanks for stopping by.
Oct. 29, 2013 10:26 am
BigShotsMom, your photos are lovely and heartbreaking at the same time. The food ones are beautiful, so very clear. Very happy things are returning to normal. Take care.
Oct. 29, 2013 10:31 am
Hi Mrs. J, right in my city we had medical personnel from all over the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Virgin Islands. The Army provided a huge MASH tent and for about 6 months that was where all medical care was offered because even private doctors offices had been flooded and had 3-4 feet of wet sand left behind. It was an awful way to do it, but I met some wonderful people.
Oct. 29, 2013 10:33 am
Your food looks so good! I keep thinking about you every time the news talks about the storms of last year. Everyone was so worried about you. It was so wonderful to hear your voice on the phone even though you were still in a shelter at that time. I know it's hard for those of us that live so far away to begin to imagine what it is like there. Having cleaned up after a tornado nailed my SIL's house and neighborhood I know photos don't really do justice to what was and what is left. I'm just glad you and your furbabies weathered the storm :) Prayers that all gets rebuilt.
Oct. 29, 2013 10:34 am
Candice, one of the things I am most grateful for is how one's mind can insulate you from the horror. Kind of like childbirth, you know it was painful, but can't actually remember the pain.
Oct. 29, 2013 10:44 am
Manella, thanks for taking a look. I will have to post photos of the new boardwalk. They are putting the finishing touches on it now. We are resilient, and will build back again, but smarter this time.
Oct. 29, 2013 10:46 am
Ah, Cat... I stood in the parking lot of the shelter talking on the phone with you and tears were running down my face. I never once cried over what happened, but hearing from you, Toni and Mike meant so much to me. Thank you, my friend!
Oct. 29, 2013 1:50 pm
Oct. 29, 2013 4:22 pm
we love ya bigshot! such a travesty that occurs by the storm and afterwards! the folks in the midwest and south kinda know what to expect...unfortunately. everything can be rebuilt better! so glad ya are better! nice pictures.
Oct. 29, 2013 6:02 pm
Thanks, Gary. Bad as it was I am less afraid of a hurricane than a tornado - THEY terrify me! Thanks for stopping in.
Oct. 30, 2013 3:05 am
Beautiful pictures! I'm glad it sounds like things are slowly coming back together. Mother Nature is so beautiful, but so powerful!
Oct. 30, 2013 9:46 am
After an event like Superstorm Sandy, you realize what is truly important in life: The people you love. Most of the rest can be re-built, hopefully.
Oct. 30, 2013 9:53 am
Oct. 30, 2013 4:52 pm
Mother Ann, I have always felt an affinity to the ocean, and still do, but always knew it could be relentless. Somehow I think we will all come away better for having lived through the storm and been able to participate in the recovery.
Oct. 30, 2013 4:53 pm
Cynthia Ross, I couldn't agree more! Thanks for visiting.
Oct. 30, 2013 5:41 pm
I'm new to the buzz & didn't know you are going through this disaster. I am SO sorry that help doesn't move faster for suffering people...I hope you're back in your home by now! You are very strong to be so upbeat here on the buzz, and I appreciate your recipes & comments. Thank you! And good luck in the recovery there.
Oct. 30, 2013 5:42 pm
I'm new to the buzz & didn't know you are going through this disaster. I am SO sorry that help doesn't move faster for suffering people...I hope you're back in your home by now! You are very strong to be so upbeat here on the buzz, and I appreciate your recipes & comments. Thank you! And good luck in the recovery there.
Oct. 30, 2013 5:42 pm
OOPS! Sorry for the double post!
Oct. 31, 2013 6:45 am
For those of us in other parts of the country, many felt helpless that there wasn't more we could do than pray when Sandy hit. It's so wonderful to see the rebuilding take place, and the unwavering strength of the spirited people that live there. Great photos and blog. Chili with cornbread sounds like a perfect dinner for tonight. Thanks for the inspiration, BSM!
Oct. 31, 2013 2:23 pm
Scootersandi I am happy you found my blog. After you have been here a while you will realize this is far more than just a cooking is a community. I have made friends here I may never lay eyes on, but they are just as important to me as folks nearby. And having them go to the trouble of tracking me down by phone (which was quite a chore) just made me love them more. Thanks for your kind words. I am home and we were so lucky, there was no loss of life nearby. Stuff can be replaced.
Oct. 31, 2013 2:27 pm
Hi Cookin Cyn. Your prayers and those of others were heard for sure. It could have been so much worse. I should make some cornbread for dinner. Thanks for stopping by.
Oct. 31, 2013 6:18 pm
We took the kids Trick or Treating tonight. There were so many kids out. I was thinking how hardly any children went last year because our town cancelled it after Sandy hit. Unfortunately, not all of us knew it was cancelled because we had no power or cable or anything to know. It was such a scary time here...when trees were falling like mad around us, and we were saying prayers that our children would make it to the morning. Certainly, I know it wasn't the WORST hurricane to hit the country, but it was so scary knowing that, in an instant, life could be over...and to fight against the elements of Mother Nature is an impossibility. I'm glad you're looking at that ocean. I'm glad you survived. I'm glad you shared your store. Most of all, I'm glad that you get to enjoy something like a meal with your family to appreciate (as we all should) the little things in life. Thank you for posting this!
Oct. 31, 2013 11:38 pm
Hi Donna, you raise a good point. We tend to forget others were hit too, just differently. I just wish all my local friends could get their homes repaired and be able to celebrate the coming holidays at home.
Nov. 4, 2013 2:50 pm
Hey C.W.P, hows your frictional family doing? Your amazing what you write about them. Can't wait for your next story.
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About Me
I am a mother, grandmother, great grandmother by marriage and great aunt. My empty nest seems full most of the time and they all are ready to eat at any moment. I am busier now than I ever imagined once I retired. I now manage our parish friendship kitchen and help in the food bank. Part of what I love most is helping our clients learn to eat nutritiously on their very meager budgets and Allrecipes has been an invaluable tool.
My favorite things to cook
I love anything i can make from scratch, i like to bake breads, rolls, cookies, cobblers, pies. I like to make large dinners too and entertain frequently. I love trying new recipes out on friends and family. Sunday brunch has become a family focal point and if something new doesn't appear they act deprived.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I didn't really grow up with any. Neither my mother or grandmother were great cooks. I learned to cook by trial and error on my own. But I married into a family of excellent cooks who went all out for holidays. All of my children cook well and we work well together preparing holiday meals.
My cooking triumphs
My first successful yeast bread. I spent years being terrified of yeast. The first time my MIL complimented me on a meal I felt like I had won an Emmy.
My cooking tragedies
My early years of cooking were one fiasco after another. I could actually cook fairly well, but had no idea when to start things so they all were ready at the same time. Some meals took whole evenings. My poor husband never once complained, although he did once mention he hoped dinner would be over before it was time for breakfast.
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