Friday, July 20, 2018

Back to the Future

Clore Automotive SOLAR ESA1 12V Male to Male Outlet Charger CordThe battery pack arrived fully charged and is suggested to be kept plugged into an outlet at all I did that. It does not overcharge as per the instruction booklet.  I discovered I  need a male to male plug so it can be recharged from my van's power outlet!  I decided to order the plug,  Amazon had the better price. I can't wait to be using this on my future travels.  :o) It's been so hot n humid I haven't done any traveling or birding lately.  So I decided to share  some old memories. This post is a little diversion away from my norm...I know I always enjoy when I read your blogs and you share bits of who you are and to me that makes us human and                                        not just words on a page, as stated in my blog title,
                                     My Life, this post falls under that heading.


I do not want to be a Prime Member, I was ambushed!  It took me 15 minutes to figure out how to cancel that and I hope it actually is cancelled...what a dirty rotten trick!  It happened while I was trying to click the free shipping option.  I have to wonder how many people they have scammed out of money this way?  I used to think Amazon was a good thing...

container ships bringing goods to NY Harbor was an hourly event viewed from my studio. 

So I went back to the item and found one directly from the seller Free Shipping total $6.75!  Amazon's owner Jeff Bezos (his worth is over $90 billion) decided he needs to spend  his excess wealth by "exploring space-force."  Bernie Sanders had a better idea "how about you  give your employees a decent wage, better health care, and other humane necessary benefits."  Message to Bezos...don't let the Ozone Layer hit you in the ass on your way outta here! I hate that I'm adding to his disposable income. 

So most of you have seen these photos before...but since I'm going to talk about my life in NY may as well share some of the very few photos I have from that time.

this old 3 story house on the beach is where my studio was located , Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn.  There was 12 apartments in this building  the Army COE was constantly repairing beach erosion.  Behind that sand was a 16 ft sea wall below ground  and by the time I left NY you needed a 12 ft ladder to get over that wall to the beach below thanks to stronger storms coming to land. 

                (sand recovery vehicle below.) 

 I put up an affiliate link in my last post for the first time in recent history.  When I lived in NY I used to sell books on Amazon and became an affiliate back in 2001.  I averaged about $30 a month profit.  I'd sell a book for 3.50, then the shipping would be about $1.06, it was fair I was charging actual cost using Media Mail then  I started offering free shipping and sell the book for $4.75.  Amazon decided to raise the shipping to $3.00 per book Amazon greed drove my Books By Sondra right out of business.  I was making extra cash for my "Get out of NYC fund."  So I put up the link thinking this could take money from Bezos and put it in my buy a Kayak Fund! (Im dropping my loose change in my piggy bank)
You can choose to be happy with what you have or you can think you're poor.   I chose to love the simple life. One based on need and not greed.   I had lived my first year in the city as a room mate.  I was on 4th st just blocks north of the Towers and after 9/11  I decided I wanted to get out of the city and shed of a room mate. So I got a copy of the Jewish Free Press and began to look for my solo apartment.  Many of the Jewish landlords are Hasidic Jews.  They would not rent to me because I was not kosher, literally and even tho I don't even eat meat...and they do, made no sense to me.  I kept looking. I found this place and I loved it.  The landlord was Jewish but he was not practicing and was a retired FDNY fire he let me fill out an application.  Stanley and I had our differences but for the most part he was fair. I will never forget how happy I was when he called and told me I could have the apartment!  I had zero furniture and it was unfurnished and I didn't even have a car! I used to walk from buses and trains and used my bike to get around.   When I was on my shift I saw various pieces on the curb..and my friend helped me go back later and we filled up the back of her SUV!  I moved in on Saturday with all my found objects!  Sea Gate is the only gated community in NYC! 

All the humble furniture for my apt was FREE right off the curb! I just cleaned it up and used it. 
the chairs and table all found at different locations, and a Hollywood bed frame, a chair, nightstand, 2 folding beach chairs (for company) and the shells found on the beach became artwork. Friends gave me the microwave, the lamp, and the mattresses set. The only thing I purchased was the hanging lamp, and an air conditioner at a used shop for $40 during my second yr. 


My online book sales was the perfect set up since I had access to thousands of used books in the many book stores around the city.  One in particular just off 14th St in Union Square ,The Strand,  had an entire section of books for $1 and they even had a free section.   I bought lots of Self Help, DIY, Natural History, Cook Books,  Coffee Table Books,  Travel Guides...and more.  It was so much fun!   I sold books for about a year. 

The kitchen in my studio I did over using contact paper! The black thing in the middle is the fridge! The map on the bathroom door is  the Appalachian Trail. And the bohemian bead curtain was dropped with the homemade screen on nice days when I had my door open.  

I bought a folding/rolling cart to bring my books home via the subway.  At first I used my backpack but it was too heavy for the trip home.  Riding the subway from Coney Island where I lived to the City (normally on Tuesdays) became part of my routine.  My work schedule was Wednesday - Friday 9 - 9.  As ya'll know I worked in EMS as an EMT and later as a Paramedic.  Most days my shift turned into a 14 hour one and legally they could mandate me  up to 16 hrs!  And sometimes they did that.  My day started with a commute on the Belt Parkway. I got a car about 2 months after moving to Brooklyn, (that is a story for another time) I had sold the Ford Explorer when I lived in the city because parking is a nightmare.  My shift began at 9 am  then home most nights about 11:30 pm, to bed, rinse and repeat Thursday and by Friday night I was a Zombie!  If you have never seen the movie Bringing Out the Dead  (Nicholas Gage 1999) I suggest you see it, so true to form of the life of a medic in a big city.  Many times I took extra shifts on my days off to add to my moving out of NYC and getting out of EMS fund. Time and a half was nice!
The Cyclone is the wooden roller coaster at Coney Island, here it is in off season, after Labor Day on a miserable cold Brooklyn day! Winters to me were brutal with the windchill constantly being a factor. 

About once a month I made my book runs as I called it.  I'd fill my cart with $10 worth of books.  I'd  list most  for $4.75 and they sold fast.  I'd wrap books in heavy stock brown paper and drop them at a post office in the city on my work days, I never had to make a special trip to mail my books as there are post offices all over the city. 

This side of the studio was my "bedroom" area, I had all my little girl things out to comfort me in a city that can be hostile without really trying to be. 

The $30 extra a month helped me save money to make that move out of New York City and I never looked back but I have to say I learned more in those 6 years about me than in all the years that I had lived before!  I did miss my book biz when it was gone, and I missed the monthly trips to buy the books, which meant one less subway ticket purchased, one less lunch eaten out, and  less sales for Amazon.  The greed of one only takes away, it does not enhance the lives of many.   

                     My easy chair a curbside find with cushions and pillows I made myself, with a folding
footstool.  Even tho my studio was basement level I had tons of natural light and my own entrance!

I furnished my 20 x 16 Studio with curbside finds and this wicker shelf unit was totally adequate  for an entertainment center....My sis sent me this HUGE TV for Christmas one year.  I nearly died because it was HUGE! I had an old 13" with the knobs from the 70's.  I gave that one to someone else and found a way to put the big one in my unit. I never had Cable, later I did get hooked to an outdoor antenna.  This set stuck out by 6 inches...I removed one shelf put legs on it and attached it to the other shelf making it wider.  I had this DVD /VCR player,and I used that for entertainment. I was one of the very early Netflix customers, and my sis used to tape CSI and she mailed  me a VHS full of CSI episodes monthly.   That was the highlight of my evenings on those days off!  That's my player on the top shelf blue light shining, I still use that one to this day...still have that old stereo and speakers too!  My studio became my haven, a place where the city and the ugly job I had was left at the Gate.

and yet a medical 

On days off I walked  this beach.  I could see the Verrazano Bridge over the Narrows leading to Staten Island and New Jersey beyond.  I looked forward to driving over that bridge for the last time heading out of NYC, and finally that did happen!  Notice the lighthouse on the right...yes we had one...this was a typical New England shore side community it just happened to have a New York connection.

after Labor Day I was usually the only person on the beach

Beach combing was my favorite thing to do once the summer crowds no longer made the trip down on the F train to invade our little piece of heaven. Our beach was private but there was a beach club and so many sunbathers would set up on the beach on warm days.  Coney Island proper is open Memorial Day to Labor Day.  The attractions are the boardwalk, the beach, Luna Park with all the Carney attractions, a Minor League Ball Park, (the Brooklyn Cyclones) and the NY Aquarium all just blocks away.  I enjoyed going to ball games and a few visits to the aquarium but  people watching was by far the most prevalent activity.  Living by the beach is the only thing that kept me sane during that era of my life, nature has always been my savior.

So that's a  little look into my giant step back to my future.   

Every day is a new Adventure.


  1. Your sure know how to make your life work for you. I don't know what brought you to NY. but I never could handle it the few times I was there, when I lived in NJ that was more than enough for me until I moved further out, then left NJ altogether. Your story is very interesting. thanks for sharing

    1. It is a long story how I came to be in NYC but it was at that time necessary for me to get away and get a fresh start....and that did happen but then in the end I wanted to come home to be close to family.

  2. A nice post, thanks. It must have been awful working in NY but desperately wanting to leave it. Were you very unhappy there. When I moved to Cardiff to work I was lucky to make friends not only through work but also through playing sport and then I had a social life as well as work and was never unhappy. Distances between places here in the UK are such that travelling back to see family was never a problem and now having lived in Cardiff for so long I regard it as home.
    I had the same problem with Amazon in that I found myself being a prime member for an introductory period, but fortunately I was able to cancel before the subscription renewal date. It is a bit sneaky and underhand and really they dont need to do things like this.

    1. I had never thought of that it is simpler when friends and family are near...all my friends came through work and we had enough of each other in work...and most all my co workers were younger and the bar scene was not my thing although I did it sometimes. You said it exactly Amazon doesn't need to fool people spending their money.

    2. Oh I meant to the beginning I enjoyed living there but my job showed me the side of NYC that is not what most people see, the dead! And the way they lived was beyond me, low income filthy Project buildings, having to deal with the Police and the Fire department in NYC. Not to mention the EMS much BS!

  3. Hello, I have never been to this area of NY. The beach looks empty, where are the people? I see the lighthouse, nice view. I grew up in Baltimore City and once I moved out I would never move into a city again. I am not a city person. I do not buy enough from Amazon to make it worthwhile to become a prime member. Enjoy your day and weekend!

    1. Me either about buying on Amazon..this battery thing is the first thing I've purchased from them since last spring I purchased an America CD. That shot of the beach is after Labor Day...too cold for anyone to be out but I had the whole beach to myself after Labor Day.

  4. I can well understand your desire to get out of NYC. I once worked for a company that wanted to transfer me there, something I would not even consider. Kudos to you for furnishing your apartment by scavenging.

    1. Hi David! I know some people would put their nose in the air to the idea of living with scavenged items...but to me it's part of the challenge of life to be self sufficient as one can be. I knew a homeless man who lived on $20 a day! He collected aluminum cans and plastic bottles from the trash cans..and he was always happy and smiling! He had a spot under the bridge in Harlem. A very industrious man, and I admired his ability to survive!

  5. Being fairly new to your blog I wasn't aware of your history so this post is quite fascinating, I love how you furnished your apartment, I do wonder sometimes at the things people discard!

    Amazon drives me insane with the Prime thing, I wish there was a box to tick to say don't ask me again!! They're very sneaky!

    1. HI Pam, You are right a Don't ask me Again is def what is needed on Amazon's really a horrible experience buying through them anymore. I prefer Ebay and I was also an Ebay seller for a few years...I think I've tried all sorts of ways to make ends meet! I took great pride in my ability to provide a comfortable life for myself without spending money! Every "moving day" there was tons of usable stuff on the street if you could get to it before it rained! I follow a blogger in Canada and he makes his entire livelihood from "things he finds in the garbage" and that is the title of his blog.

    2. I've used Ebay occasionally for selling it's always been easy. I'm from Yorkshire so we're notoriously tight with our money (if we have any!) haha, but we never had much growing up and you find ways to make ends meet, I must admit I rarely buy new and always look for some kind of bargain. I need to check out that blog I think!

  6. Loved the look back at living in THE City!! You've always been resourceful -- and I can see how everything you learned from this experience was worth it, even the parts that you hated. Something most of us can only live vicariously by reading (and thank you for sharing so that we can).

    1. Thanks Sallie! If asked if I wanted to move back to NYC I'd have to not just say no but HELL NO! LoL. As I may have mentioned I also lived in NY in 1973 and 74 Back when the smog was so thick you couldn't walk down the street without getting smut all over you! Murder was a daily occurrence along with armed robbery, muggings, and jumpers!


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