Sunday, April 21, 2013

Yogi is Missing!

Please help me find my precious Yogi.  He was last seen at 7 School Street, Califon, New Jersey.  He is hesitant to go near people he doesn't know, but when he knows you he is the most loving cat ever!  Please cal 484-707-7730 if you see/find him!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Noelgetsalife: Boston Marathon Prayer

Noelgetsalife: Boston Marathon Prayer: I cannot think of a more appropriate prayer then the one I pray every day as I drive to work, the Saint Michaels Prayer.  We need prote...

Boston Marathon Prayer

I cannot think of a more appropriate prayer then the one I pray every day as I drive to work, the Saint Michaels Prayer.  We need protection from the evil people on this earth.  Only an evil person would set off bombs that deliberately kill and main innocent people (including a beautiful 9 year old boy):

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the Divine Power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


I am so sorry for the Richard family's loss.  You are in my prayers!
I am so sorry for the Campbell family' loss.  You are in my prayers!
Every race I run, however slow, I will dedicate to the victims of the Boston Marathon 2013 and  I will continue to pray that we overcome evil in this world!

Monday, March 18, 2013

I'm Back!

It has been a long time since I have written a post to this Blog.  I am alive and well, but suffering from the results of dealing with some pretty depressing events.  I unfortunately let those events take the better of me and I need to get myself back in shape.  Tomorrow I start my running again regardless of the stresses resulting from steps needing to take towards closing of my mother's estate. 

It has been 16 months since my wonderful mother passed and I am still dealing with cleaning out the house (thousands of boxes of stuff) and inspections (resulting in a new spetic system to the tune of $35,00.00+),  my blood pressure became dangerously high due to the stress.  I am now on blood pressure medications and have to take my blood pressure several times a day. 

Health comes first and I am looking forward to losing the pounds I have gained and getting my body strong!  I truly believe that if I get back to running and get my diet under control I will not need any medication. 

I also turned 60 this past December 25th.  I so fretted over this milestone, much like I did when I turned 30.  Oh, would I love to be 30 again with the knowledge I have now!  But I figure that maybe, just maybe, the 60 of today is the 30 of those living 100 years ago!  Guess maybe I am not that old after all!

Life is full of possibilities, if we chose to take them!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Life Means Love and Caring

I am embarking on the next phase of my life.  I am finally returning to my little half-double home in Wilson, Pennsylvania.  The little home I raised my children in and where I nurtured my gardens.  My home that saw the passing of treasured pets: Sylvester, Santa Claws , Miss Maddie and precious little Chocolate Chip.  I took Doodles with me to Califon in 2007, she passed away in 2008 never to return to her home in Wilson again.  My home in Wilson is a tiny house full of big memories.

Tommy would come to Wilson so often.  He would notice when something needed repair long before I would, and he would make the repair.  When he arrived with an 8  pack of bottles of beer I knew it was pizza night.  We would watch the old movies on Turner Classic Movies  because it is fun to see the past and enjoy some of the greatest cinematic moments of all time. 

Tommy was the man of the house, even if he resided with mom in Califon. 

Mom often came to visit Wilson.  She wished I lived closer to her, in a "better" neighborhood.  She even stayed overnight, sleeping on the couch.  I miss her so much and I wish I could afford to stay in Califon.

Tom and I remarried in Wilson in 2006 and became partners in life. One of our favorite activities was hiking along the Lehigh River every weekend before going to Califon in 2007.  He was my constant support, my loving husband.  He was wonderful to my mother and relished his role as "Pappy" to little Alex.  I have so many wonderful memories!  I miss him so much, I never thought he would leave this life so soon.

I have to decide whether to take a feral cat I named Yogi back to Wilson.  Yogi arrived last winter in my mom's garage.  I fed Yogi and talked to him, slowly he began to trust me and eventually became attached to me, but he hates being inside.  He would absolutely hate Wilson, a small city.  I want him with me because I love him, but I also want him to be where he is free and happy.  I want to know someone is looking out for him.  He is the only reason I wish I could win the lottery so I could buy my sibling out and pay for all my mom's bills allowing me to stay in the house in Califon.  I love Yogi!

My Yogi, I really want her to stay with me, but am I being selfish?

My home in Wilson is in disrepair.  At least those who lived there replaced the bathroom pipes but they left a gaping hole in the dining room ceiling that needs repair.  In addition, the bathroom floor is rotted and the kitchen tiles are warped and need replacement.  The living room floor needs refinishing and the bathroom and kitchen need updating.  All the walls need repainting. The outside needs repainting and the roof will need to be replace within the next couple years.  I certainly have my work cut out for me!

I am looking forward to this as a new adventure.  I refuse to look at it in a negative way because I have so much to look forward to!  I have my Alex and little Rowan; I am really excited about watching them grow.  I want to be in their lives as long as possible; I want to cherish every single moment of my wonderful life! 


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Finally Going Home

My house, with my son and brother-in-law standing in front, shortly before I left to go to my mother's home. 

I planned on writing a new post weeks ago, but I have been forced to make some very important decisions so I needed time.

Over the past 5 years, my life had somehow gotten out of my control.  Mom was sick, Tom and I came to Califon to care for her.  Tom got sick and passed away 1 1/2 years later.  Six months after Tom passed my mother had her second stroke and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  She went into a nursing home while I tried to Get her second property, a 1/2 acre lot, sold so that I could make alterations to her house (a ramp both outside and in the house from the family room to the main floor, and alterations to the bathroom) and bring her home.  I put in for an early retirement when it seemed we had a "doable" contract on the lot in 2010.  When the sale fell through I was devastated. Thank God I was able to cancel my early retirement application!

After the contract on the lot fell through I decided it was time to sell mom's home and return to Pennsylvania.  I knew that with the decline in the economy my mother's lot would not yield enough to pay off the Medicaid lien and pay for the alterations to her home that were needed in order to bring her home.   My sister was so angry about my decision she threatened to take legal action if I sold mom's home.  She wanted me to remain in the home because as long as I, the caretaker of our mother for over 2 years, remained in the home Medicaid would not be able to place a lien on the house; only the 1/2 acre lot.  So I remained in the house, with double bills coming in.  There were water, heat, electric, garbage, home owner's insurance and property taxes due for two properties and I paid them all as best I could.

Mom passed from advanced stages of Alzheimer's and Urosepsis on October 20 2011.  I continued to stay in the house in order to protect it from intruders and to get it cleaned out.  There were things, lots of things, in the house.  Bills, checks, correspondence and advertisements from 1959 until 2008 in hundreds of boxes.  The boxes lined the walls of mom's room, the middle bedroom and the attic.  It took months to go through them.  In them we would find some treasures like jewelry, dollar bills, Baptism records, beautiful pictures of family and poems written by my mother.  I am close to being through the last of the boxes; boxes that have resulted in new boxes full of treasures that I will chronicle in my scrapbook.

I have been at the mercy of what others want, or demand.  It is time to take control of my life back!

I think it is time to go home.  My home is in a horrid state.  Those who lived there without having to pay rent have left it in a deplorable state.  It will take me a while to make repairs.  At least they did replace the pipes that were damaged; I am grateful for that.  But they did not replace the big gaping hole in the dining room ceiling.

My journey with my mother is not so different form many of my peers.  At our age we suddenly find ourselves becoming "parents" to our parents.  It is a role that is noble, one embraced with love and gratitude.  After all, our parents gave us so much; they wanted us to have all the things they were denied as children.  They were members of the "greatest generation".  They grew up during the Great Depression and fought during WWII.  They knew the true meaning of sacrifice, and they knew that in order to survive one had to be tough and work hard.  It was an honor to take care of my mother. 

Now it is time for me to take responsibility for my own life, my own home.  Maybe I should have been stricter with those left in charge, but that is a mute point now.  I am responsible for the decisions I made when going to my mother's house, and the consequences.  I will miss the beautiful town of Califon and the big yard, but it feels right to be going back to my little half-double in Wilson. 

I have a lot of work to do on my house.  The bathroom and kitchen need remodeling, the walls need painting, the roof will have to be replaced and I will need new siding.  It will take a while to get all those tasks completed.  In addition I will have to find new trails on which I can run and ride my mountain bike.   Many new adventures await me as I move forward!

My house in Wilson:,+easton,+pa+18042&hl=en&ll=40.679058,-75.244889&spn=0.000508,0.001321&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=34.724817,86.572266&hnear=2436+Sycamore+St,+Easton,+Pennsylvania+18042&t=h&z=20&iwloc=A

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chickens versus life long residents

I wrote the following "letter" after the most recent contract to sell my parent's properties fell apart.  I do not understand how something like this could happen.  Don't we live in a  Democracy..where freedom, disclosure and rights are supposedly protected?  I guess basic human rights are not respected in the town of Califon, New Jersey: 
"I am writing in regard to my parent's estate, Alexander R. Dunn and Carol G. Dunn of Califon, New Jersey. I am Executor of the estate, attempting to sell their two properties. On May 24, 2012 I learned that Elizabeth McKenzie, Planner for the Planning Board of Califon Borough, wrote a note to file stating that my parent's lots were "merged" as a result of her interpretation of the Merger Doctrine.

The Merger Doctrine, first articulated by the Supreme Court in Loechner v. Campoli, 49 N.J.504 (1967), governs if two separate but adjacent lots can be deemed to be one merged lot. There have been successful challenges to the Merger Doctrine such as Pribish v. Corbett, 105 N.J. Supr. 407 (App. Div. 1969), Chirichello v. Zoning Board of Adjustment 78 N.J.544(1979),Jock v. Zoning Board of Adjustment, 371 N.J. Super. 547 (app. Div. 2004) or N.J.S.A. 40:55D-72(a). Chicalese v. Monroe Tp. Plan. Bd., 334 N.J. Super. 413, 423 (Law Div. 2000). These cases are too complicated for me to summarize in this letter but in all them it was clear that before determining that two adjacent non-conforming lots are indeed merged, Municipalities must carefully consider the property owner's rights.

In my parent's case the two adjoining lots are 1/2 acre and 1 acre respectively. The one acre lot is a conforming lot. The 1/2 acre lot is short a minimal amount of frontage, all that is needed a slight lot line adjustment to make it fully conforming. The lot line adjustment will not adversely affect either of the lots, the environment or the neighborhood. This minor change would result in two perfectly conforming lots. The 1/2 acre lot was never considered part of the main property, was never developed in any way ( Bridge v. Zoning Board of Adjustment, 233 N.J. Super. 587 ). My parent's never erected any structures on the 1/2 acre lot. It was always considered an investment, an insurance policy of sorts, and I was instructed to sell the lot if money was needed to help pay for my parent's care as they aged. This lot has been for sale for the past three years. For two of those years we have attempted to get the lot line adjustment approved by the Califon Planning Board.

I do not understand why a Planning Board would accept an interpretation of a law made by someone who is not an attorney. This interpretation has resulted in extreme financial hardship and emotional distress for my family. I understand Ms. McKenzie made this interpretation, leaving notes in the files of property owners who had two adjacent properties that she felt should be considered merged. I understand that none of the property owners were notified of her decision. They were not given an opportunity to appeal to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-72(a). Chicalese v. Monroe Tp. Plan. Bd., 334 N.J. Super. 413, 423 ). They were not given the opportunity to formally merge their properties if they so wished, thereby lowering their property taxes. In fact, it is my understanding that some elected officials deliberately did not want property owners to know for fear of a lower tax base in the town.

As elected/appointed Officials the Mayor and Planning Board have a moral, professional and ethical responsibility to protect the rights of tax paying property owner in the borough of Califon, New Jersey. My parents paid separate taxes on the two properties for 53 years. In fact last year the town of Califon had both properties reassessed; two separate assessments and two separate tax bills. I truly believe that in the case of my parent's two adjoining properties the Doctrine of Merger has been misapplied by Ms. McKenzie.

My parents loved the town of Califon. My mother's Uncle Elston Beaty, was the first Mayor of Califon. Her father, Harry G. Geist was also mayor for many years. Her mother, Helen Haggerty Geist wrote The Califon Story. My mother taught Kindergarten, music and reading in the Califon Elementary School for over 33 years. She was Organist and Choir Director at the Califon Methodist Church for almost 50 years. My father was a Scout Leader and member of the Planning Board in Califon. My father was a member of the Califon Volunteer Fireman Company. He taught Chemistry and Physics at North Hunterdon High School for over 30 years. They believed in their community and helped make the town of Califon what it is today. I do not understand how this can happen.

I urge the Planning Board of Califon to do the right thing and remove Ms. McKenzie's note from my parent's file. Both lots can be made conforming with a simple lot line adjustment. Please help us to move forward towards settling the estate as intended by my parents.


Noel Dunn Brown"

It is interesting that the Mayor of Califon, after he found out he had chickens that were illegal according to a town ordinance, pushed to have the ordinance changed.  He did not "vote" on the change, but he sure rallied behind it, so did the members of the Planning Board.  They challenge the rights of chickens, but not the rights of property owners!

Tossing my bridal bouquet in the back yard of my family home June 9, 1973.  The home holds so many wonderful memories!