OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!!! Hello my dear readers and fellow bloggers…..how I have missed being here, how I have dreamt of writing posts and sharing all the pretty things I love to gab about. How I missed visiting all of by blogging buddy’s amazing blogs! There are no words to fully describe the last 10 days. Seriously its been surreal. I must preface this post however by saying for all the “hardships” I have endured, they are nothing compared to the thousands who lost lives, homes, everything they’ve got. Those are the truly tragic stories being heard around the world. In comparison, we are fortunate and absolutely counting our blessings. Don’t think anyone could have predicted this to happen, no one thought for a minute that a hurricane could hit us and impact this area as it did. We are all still reeling from the aftermath. To the many who asked if we had a generator, yes we did purchase a state of the art generator but its a whole system and it is one that requires a permit, which we figured we had plenty of time to do in preparing for the winter season ahead, never thinking we would have to worry in November! So we lost power for 7 days, were fortunate to get a room in a hotel about 30 min. away (my friends brother had the foresight to book a block of 10 rooms well before the storm) and was kind enough to let us take one. The tree damage was beyond anything I have personally ever seen in person. Monster trees, 100 year old magnificent trees…..crashed down like they were twigs. A very sad sight. Not only were the trees down, but the above ground wires were tangled, ripped apart like confetti all over the place. It was and still is unreal to me. Pictures cannot fully capture the devastation. Finally after 8 long days, we got back partial power (about 60%) and finally the TV/internet service was restored today. But there are still many I know who have nothing, no power, no water, no cable…and are still camped out in hotels or bunked up with friends and family. There are new norms like waiting in gas lines for 2 and 3 hours (I have already done this several times) and know to bring reading material or something to occupy my time while waiting. You see a certain generosity and willingness to help in people that previously wasn’t as evident. I got to a market today, and? when I went to look for potatoes and celery (to make soup) there was ONE potato left, a shriveled up reject which no one wanted. Not a stalk of celery to be had. Eggs were gone.And this was yesterday, 9 days after!! After being in a gas line for almost 3 hours right before my run to the market, I felt for the first time ever….what it must feel like to live in a third world country. I am talking? a big chain market……and both these incidences were certainly a first Above all else, this experience has left me thinking about a lot of things. Namely that we are very lucky. That in the end, it’s the comfort of family and friends who truly sustain us and are what matter most. Without our health and well being we are nothing. That we often surprise ourselves and what we can do or do without when given a “test” such as this. Imagine….no phones, no computers, no TV..and we survived! And possibly talked more as a family this last 10 days than we have in the last 3 months! I also learned that I really really missed my blog. Oh how I missed blog hopping and creating posts and sharing with you all! I have A LOT of catching up to do. Tried to answer many of you via the hotel computer (to which I had to share with many others who craved a few minutes of the internet) Went to my husbands office yesterday to try to start catching up on store business and orders. I assure you I will be working around the clock until I am all caught up! But one thing I really realized is how incredibly wonderful, kind and gracious my readers and fellow bloggers are. I was so touched by the outpouring of concern, the offers to help in any way needed from all of you. Seriously that really touched my heart and made me so eager to come back and here I am!? We are bracing for yet another storm today and tomorrow but a much milder one than Sandy. I am praying however for all those still without power, without a home, those who have lost a loved one, those still dealing head on with the devastation. I hope you too will keep the many who are still suffering in one way or another in your prayers too. This post would not be complete without showing you some of the pictures I took of the storm aftermath. Again pictures cannot capture fully what happened but I think give you an idea……..happy to be back and thank you all for your incredible concern and well wishes! So heres a glimpse of some of the damage locally…….very little narrative as I think the pictures speak volumes. The roads all around us two days after…………. ? ? ?And around the house…….unfortunately we lost several major trees (think 50 feet and up) some that were 100 years old:( ? Happy to see the birdbath still intact that was part of the original home ? Leaning trees are everywhere! Two very large trees fell like on either side of the original pool house ? Seeing Teddy next to the tree gives the size some perspective ? This monster tree fell periously close to the house! ? Gas lines everywhere…2-3 hour waits even yesterday are the norm! Driving is like being in a maze…..so many roads closed. I promise to be back again hopefully tomorrow with a pretty post. I want this blog to remain a place to come to see the beauty in things. We all need an “escape” now more than ever! I know I plan on devoting a few hours this morning to staying in my robe, grabbing a cup of coffee and blog hopping and catching up on all I have missed! Thanks for stopping in, and hope to be up and running back to normal very very soon! Have a wonderful day. ????????????????????????????????????????????