Sunday, December 31, 2006

Alison e-mailed that she and Mike will be here about 10:30 to take back the crib to the rental place on LBI; they'll then run down there. I hope Mike will take a look at the kitchen faucet, which started to leak the day before yesterday. It'll be awkward to have that malfunctioning tomorrow when we host the first segment of the progressive dinner.
Now I have to get on the stick and clean up the house* for company, plus buy stuff like plates and cups. Also must see what I have that I'll contribute myself. Gotta put beer in the refrig and get more soda, and so on. I'll ask A. and M. to put the guest room back the way it was. Still not sure if I'll switch back the loveseat and chair in the living room.
*"Clean up the house" may sound quick and easy, but it includes scrubbing the bathroom, dusting, mopping the floor and scouring the Corian countertops in the kitchen (sticky from cookie icing, etc.), re-making the twin beds in the guestroom, and vacumning throughout--not quick and easy.
Whine, whine, I love to whine--oh, poor me...ha-ha, it's okay; we're having a party and that will be fun!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Pat and I were concerned about Mike and family after hearing of a second big snowstorm in Denver. However, he responded to my e-mail, saying they were caught in a snowdrift and he had to eat his own foot, so they're okay. He said Vivian went skiing and also "snow tubing" (I'm not exactly clear on what that is.)
Got a number of errands done yesterday and had a very good beef stew in the crockpot. There was only a dab left and I--well, I...I threw it away! I have a real problem with throwing things away that could be used later, whether food or not. Often, I have for lunch what's left over from dinner the night before. I was raised, after all, not to discard things if they have any purpose left in them--even a potential one--and I think that's a sound philosphy. As for food, I always remember my mother telling me not to waste it because of "the starving children in Europe." I think the children in Europe no longer suffer from starvation, but I still hate to waste food. My children seem to throw away half of what they buy and don't seem to understand why I wrap up and freeze it, if food, and store it away, if other stuff.
With that said, I want to add that it's wonderfully satisfying and
liberating to get rid of things. I think I'll go through the refrig, freezer, and pantry and see what I can throw away.
Later: just got back from the surprise party for Marge. Her daughter, Sharon, had it in her palatial house out in the woods in Manahawkin. Had a wonderful time and brought home sandwiches and cake for Pat for dinner. Tomorrow, I must get serious about cleaning up the house and preparing for our progressive dinner on Monday.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Well, I'm beginning to come out of my long decline. Went to Acme, put beef stew in the crockpot, did a few other errands. Still dragging, but looking forward to the party for Marge tomorrow. Pat's on his way to get a haircut, then go down the bay. Maybe I'll take a nap...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I don't anticipate much going on today, just a continuation of getting back to normal. Ellen called--got home all right, but the airline lost her luggage. I want to get the presents put away finally and to tidy up.
Still have the lousy cold. As I whined in an earlier entry, mine seem to last for weeks, waxing and waning on and on...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Took Pat to the dermatologist this morning to get his stitches in his neck out. All seems okay; he has an appointment in a month to check the wound.
Talked to dear twin sis Betty; she had a wonderful time with her family for B.Day and Christmas, too.
So-o-o sleepy. I woke up at 3:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. Finally got up at 4:15. Have continued to wash, fold, and put away clothes and am almost finished.
Alison and Mike are coming down on Sunday to take the rented crib back. I can't decide whether to undecorate the tree beforehand or not. If I do, A. and M. can take it outside; if not, it'll be up for our progressive New Year's Day dinner the next day--we're hosting the appetizers. That would be nice and festive, although it cuts down on the space for the 12 people we're having. Also, I'll have to somehow get it to the curb. Guess I could ask a neighbor. Decisions, decisions...
On Saturday, I'm going to a surprise birthday party for dear friend Marge, who came to my party last week. It's at her daughter's in Manahawkin. Pat really isn't up to going, so I'll go with friends on the street.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Okay, working on getting back to normal. Mike and entourage left for Colorado about an hour ago, Pat went down the bay, and I just put in the third load of wash--several more to go--and emptied the trash for the second time today. It's incredible how much difference four extra people in the house--one of them a 2-year-old--make.
Our friends, Leslie and Dennis R., came over on Christmas Eve. Their DIL, Pia, is from the Phillipines, and they wanted Vicky (Vivian's nanny), also Filipino, to meet her. They also brought son Joe and other DIL Kristie and her two girls. We greatly enjoyed having them over and Vicky and Pia chattered away in Tagalong.
Christmas was fun. Vivian had left cookies and milk for Santa (they were good!) and got up to find presents under the tree. She opened some of them, then we had breakfast. I had made the crust for a pie the day before, as well as stuffing, so I just made the pie itself (pumpkin) and stuffed the bird in the morning. I decided not to make an apple, as we had dozens and dozens of cookies Mike, Paula and Vivian had made, plus chocolate candies, the remains of one of my two large birthday cakes, and eggnog. Alison, Mike, Joel, Jen, and Joely came in the afternoon and we all opened out presents--most for the children, of course. Alison gave Joely a beautiful two-piece desk that he loves, made by one of the inmates--well, patients where she works.
I asked everybody to vote on whether we should use the beautiful Christmas dishes, supplemented by my heirloom china from Mom, and the silver tableware, all of which has to be washed by hand OR the everyday stuff that could go in the dishwasher. Not a soul voted for the former!! Just as well, as Alison and Ellen cleaned up and it took them an hour even using the dishwasher.
After dinner, we sat for a family portrait, courtesty of son-in-law Mike, who put the camera on a timer. Just as we were frozen in place, waiting for the light to stop blinking, the phone rang. I knew it would go on the machine, so didn't answer it--it was Patrick. He was the only one of our entire extended family--4 generations--not in the picture, but Alison said he really was since he called at that moment.
Haven't mentioned the last few days and now I can't even remember the sequence, but we went to Chuckie Cheese (Vivian didn't like it as much as the place at Lahaska) and here and there. I had hoped to take them down to Margate to Lucy the elephant, but there just wasn't time. I gave V. a book on Lucy signed by the author, plus a little tee-shirt with Lucy on it.
We had twelve for dinner, ten adults and two kids, and everything turned out good. I wasn't very hungry, as I had had some of the appetizers and snacks I put out--old-fashioned ones: Chex ("Nana") mix, potato chips and onion dip, and chedder and crackers.
Had to say goodbye to Ellen last night (she and Mike were playing gin rummy, but I could hardly see straight, I was so tired). Her plane left about 11:00 and she was staying at Alison's. Alison and Mike have to work today, and so does Joel, so they left fairly early. Not sure when Ellen left, as I was dead to the world, as my mother used to say.
That's enough--this entry may be in messy order, but I'll get more systematic about it in a few days when I recover from the onslaught...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Well, this is going to be a quick skim-over of the last 5 days because the joint is still jumpin' and we have lots to do. The Singapore gang blew in about 7:30 on Monday; Tuesday, we went out and got the most beautiful tree, the fullest and most symmetrical I've ever seen. Mike had to cut some off to fit under our 9-foot ceilings. California girl Ellen got in Tuesday night, but very late to Alison's as her first plane was delayed and she missed the second flight, then had to rent a car. Wednesday, Mike, Paula, and Vickie went to the mall and Ellen and I took care of adorable Vivian and fabulous great-grand, Joel--no chore, as they loved playing together; they're first cousins once-removed. Thursday, had a fabulous day: a great 70th birthday party with family and friends in the afternoon, with even more fun that evening when Alison and her Mike joined the rest of the family. Lots of gifts, including a birthstone pendant; all our kids arranged to have my twin sister receive the same gift! Even better is a "Mimi Memories" book with pieces by almost everybody I care for. Yesterday, we met Alison, Ellen, and Joely at "The Giggleberry Factory" in Lahaska, Pa (in the driving rain), and the kids had a ball. Ate dinner at The Cock 'n' Bull, and went home in a driving rain. Paula wants to vacuum in here, so more later.
Okay, later: Talked to my twin briefly on our birthday and just now, Ellen came in. Mike and Paula are on their way to the mall to get an engraved gift for their nanny, Vickie, who will leave them in October (will elaborate in a later entry). They'll also stop and get a turkey, as Acme was all out of Butterballs and that's the only one I want. Vivian is in for a nap; Pat, Ellen, and Vickie are having lunch; and I'm about to stroll three doors down to Anne Mary's and drop off her birthday present (yes, she was a Christmas baby even more than Betty and I were.) Ellen and I are going to the movies at Shore Mall, 4:25 showing of "The Departed," so that brings everybody up to date, more or less. Not sure when I'll get around to writing later.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Alison and Mike came down yesterday about 11:00 and I met them on LBI (Long Beach Island for the uninitiated) to pick up the crib. They didn't bring the pickup, but put it on the car rack, so it worked out well. All went without a hitch, aside from a minor one: After we got the crib, I told A. and M. I'd stop and get a crib sheet, then meet them back at the house. Went to 3 different jam-packed, noisy stores beore I finally found one. When I got home, A., M., and Pat were having lunch. They then dressed in running gear and ran roughly 24 miles to the end of Seven Bridges Road and back. After that, they moved the beds in the guest room, transported the stone table from the porch back to the garage, and got the extra kitchen chairs down--all this briskly and cheerfully, never giving the impression it was an imposition. What a dynamic duo! We're so lucky to have them!
Lucky to have the rest of the Fab Four, too: The Singapore contingent will be here about 8:00 pm and California girl tomorrow night at Alison's, Wednesday down to our place. Yay!
Alison and Mike came down yesterday about 11:00 and I met them on LBI (Long Beach Island for the uninitiated) to pick up the crib. They didn't bring the pickup, but put it on the car rack, so it worked out well. All went without a hitch, aside from a minor one: After we got the crib, I told A. and M. I'd stop and get a crib sheet, then meet them back at the house. Went to 3 different jam-packed, noisy stores beore I finally found one. When I got home, A., M., and Pat were having lunch. They then dressed in running gear and ran roughly 24 miles to the end of Seven Bridges Road and back. After that, they moved the beds in the guest room, transported the stone table from the porch back to the garage, and got the extra kitchen chairs down--all this briskly and cheerfully, never giving the impression it was an imposition. What a dynamic duo! We're so lucky to have them!
Lucky to have the rest of the Fab Four, too: The Singapore contingent will be here about 8:00 pm and California girl tomorrow night at Alison's, Wednesday down to our place. Yay!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

This'll be a quickie, as I slept late (late for me: 6:20) because I stayed up until almost 10 to watch "The Roloffs: Little People, Big World" last night. I want to walk with Susan as we do most days, because I probably won't while my company is here. Yesterday was a phone day: Lots of calls in and out, including to daughters Alison and Ellen, sister Betty, friends Leslie, Barbara D., and others. Alison and maybe Mike B. will be down today and we'll go to Long Beach Island to rent a crib, then they'll move a few things for me.
Spent several hours wrapping presents; not quite finished but pretty close. Think I'll call out for dinner, so I can clear the decks to color my hair tonight. Discovered we had already eaten the pot roast, so had hot dogs and beans last night. They were actually pretty good.
The cleaners are coming at 8:00 am tomorrow, then I'll do last minute things; Mike's plane gets in about 8 pm, so they should be here by 10 or so. Hmm...maybe I can work in a nap today.
I hope nothing comes up to mess up all these elaborate plans for Christmas, birthday, having the kids here, grand- and great-grandchildren, etc.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The session with the dermatologist yesterday wasn't bad, after all. The area on Pat's neck was numbed and he didn't feel a thing. He even talked to the nurse and doctor throughout the removal. We then went over to the Boscov mall--the receptionist said they'd call after the biopsy to tell us if he needed to come back to have more taken out--and ate the lunch I had packed in the parking lot. (Ha, ha, did I actually pack lunch in the parking lot? Goes to show how a misplaced clause can confuse.)
When the cell phone rang, I assumed it was the doctor's office, but it was my darling niece, Joan, just calling to say hello. We had a lovely chat and I caught up on all their news. Later, we were told the biopsy was fine, so Pat won't go back until December 27. We were given prescriptions for an antibiotic and pain-killer, but Pat said not to bother with the pain-killer.
Pat went down the bay after I got home and I spent two hours finally getting the Christmas cards finished; even went to the post office to mail them. For dinner, I served pork chops (I breaded them first), potatoes au gratin, baked apple, and peas, popping all but the peas in the oven--and it was darn good, if I say it myself.
Got a call from Mike last night, just checking up, I guess, to be sure all was in readiness for their arrival. It is--or will be--so I reassured him. Also had the pleasure of hearing Vivian sing "Jingle Bells"--I think.
Later, received a call from neighbor Barbara D., inviting us to a pizza party on the 19th. I said we'd go and--not sure, but maybe--our company will, too. Asked Barb if I could use her refrig for the turkey to thaw, as I know we won't have room here and they'll be in NC for Christmas.
Today, I want to put something in the crockpot for dinner--maybe the pot roast in the freezer--then wrap presents, and finish up any last-minute items.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Had a wonderful time at Flo and Joe's party last night, although driving was hairy because it was very foggy. Jack didn't go--no surprise there--but the regulars were all there: Frank and Barbara J., Danny and Kate S., Don and Noreen McG., and the singles, Rita and Audrey. Of course, all kinds of stories of Holy Spirit, various Absecon Island grammar schools, and Joe's uncle, Officer Irv League, were trotted out and laughed over. We did the Christmas exchange and I "stole" a nice dip server--very large, in white porcelain--perfect for the shrimp at my party. Anyway, it was great fun.
Earlier, I was asleep on the couch when Pat brought home George, his crony from the bay, who is 82 and has lived in the trailer park on Green Street for 50 years. He lost his wife of 61 years a few months ago, poor guy, and misses her terribly. I'll have him over for dinner sometime in the new year.
Hope the dermatology procedure doesn't last the full day. I'll take the Christmas cards to write out, so I can do something useful while we wait for the biopsy results.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bought a bunch of stuff yesterday at various places: food at Shop-Rite, batteries for the phones at Radio Shack, Christmas placemats from the dollar store, and a small stool and pot-pourri at the thrift store. I'm pretty well caught up on most things and today, have nothing scheduled except for Joe and Flo's Christmas party in the evening. Will color my hair and try to get some presents wrapped.
Tomorrow, we have to be at the dermatologist's at 10 am for Pat to get the growth on his neck under his ear removed. We have to wait as they biopsy, so it will probably take a good part of the day.
At the Drama Club directors' meeting yesterday, I indicated that I might drop out, although I wasn't definite about it. I'm pretty sure now I will, as it's just too much work and I no longer want to honor such a heavy commitment in time and effort. The meeting for all members is on January 3 and I'll announce my resignation then, but will tell Marge first.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The perm turned out great and April (my hairdresser) gave me permission to wash and color it tomorrow. I ain't no shrinkin' violet, but hairdressers always intimidate me because I know nothing about hair--especially my hair--and I never knew how to style it myself. It was always fine, but thick--typical Byrne hair--and now it's fine and thin (sigh).
Got packages for California wrapped and will send today. Just in case a certain someone reads this, the one in the package for her is her birthday present--the Christmas one is coming, I hope before December 25th.
Alison called last night to say she and Mike will be down with the pickup on Sunday to help with any last-minute things. I've decided after all to rent a crib; the portable one is probably okay, but I'm afraid it's small, plus the mattress is very thin. A. and M. will pick up the crib in the--well, the pickup.
After 3 evenings of being out for dinner, I made Pat chicken drumsticks, stuffing, potatoes, and creamed corn last night. 'Twas good and 'twas topped off by homemade pumpkin pie, which I had frozen at Thanksgiving.
Today, I have a Drama Club meeting for we four directors. I really want to drop this, much as I hate to do it to Marge. It's so damn much work and, although I love the fun and excitement of the actual show, it may not be worth it in terms of the months of preparation. I've thought of saying I just want to step down as a director, but I'm afraid I'd find it hard to relinguish the directing, and that would still mean I'd have to be there for rehearsals. One of the things I really dislike is that we meet at 1:30, which just kills the whole day. I've been active in the group for the 3 years we've lived here and think I've just gone dry on it. Well, we'll see.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I overslept! Didn't get the morning walk in because I didn't wake up until a few minutes after 7:00, which is when I usually stop for Susan. Oh, well, once in a while won't hurt and now I feel up, alive, and invigorated. Last night, met Viv and her daughter, Vanessa, for dinner at Sweet Jenny's in Barneget. Had liver and onions, which I never cook at home. We joked that I'm the only one in the world who likes liver. Got home a little after 7:00 and went to bed at my usual time, but boy, I must have needed the sleep.
Before and after Pat's podiatrist appointment this morning, talked to sister Betty. She's probably going to be ending her job shortly and I think she can get unemployment, as she was told the job was "eliminated."
Today, I'm getting a perm. Hope my hair looks better than it has.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Christmas party last night was nice, but I felt a little mopey, being there as a single at a table with 4 couples. However, I enjoyed dancing and chatting with friends. Got home about 10:00, called Ellen, then went to bed.
I'm starting to feel nervous about getting everything done before our company comes, especially considering that this is a busy week. Not only is the guest room not set up yet, but I haven't even begun to think about wrapping presents and so on. Must take those two wreaths back and want to get others for the study and finally finish decorating.
Now I'm not sure if I should get my scheduled perm tomorrow, as my hair has actually fluffed up and looks pretty good. Of course, it may not stay that way--decisions, decisions...
What horrifies me is the thought that I may develop a cold before Christmas. This seems to happen all too often and it would really be a problem this year.
Looking forward to meeting WS friend, Viv, for dinner, although this will be the third day in a row I've left Pat to his own devices at dinnertime. Saturday, I gave him the Brother's take-out menu and he called and had it delivered; last night I left a can of Dinty Moore beef stew--not sure what I'll arrange for him tonight. Well, except for the Joe and Flo party on Thursday (not sure if he'll go or not), I'll be here the rest of the week.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The tree-lighting ceremony last night was nice and we went inside to eat shortly after. Everybody was supposed to bring an appetizer (and just about everybody made a full meal of them), which I didn't because there's always an obscene amount of food at these things. Last night was no exception: There was enough food for--literally--150 people and there were only about 25 there.
Earlier, after lunch with Mary, I went to K-Mart and bought two new wreaths for the study windows. Now I don't know why I did and think I'll take them back to get ones that match the other on the front door.
The "big" Sunrise Bay Christmas party is tonight. I'll go with Ray and Barb H.; wish Pat could be there, too.
Tomorrow, I meet Viv and another woman for dinner at Sweet Jenny's in Manahawkin, getting a perm on Tuesday, Drama Club Wednesday--and so on.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mary Ann Van O. and I went to lunch at Creevey's and had a good time. Her husband also has end-stage emphysema, so we have that in common. Earlier in the day, I continued to put things away and in order--at a snail's pace--to get ready for the holiday. Have a few more things to buy, including sheets for the pull-out bed/loveseat for the nanny, Vicky, and Pediasure, which Paula asked me to get. Must remember eggnog, too, when the day gets closer.
Today, I'm meeting Mary H. for lunch in Ventnor, then will receive the portable crib she's lending me. At 5:30, I'll attend the tree-lighting ceremony at Judy's, then watch the ABC Christmas special for which niece by marriage, Robyn, made the costumes.
Later: I wrote the above before my 7:00 am walk with Susan. She has now told me that she and some other couples were planning a surprise party for me--until they got the invitation from me! Gee, I'm disappointed--I would have loved a surprise party, but of course, I didn't know about it. Talked to Alison and she said they (my children) were also talking about a surprise party until they learned about mine. Well, it'll be nice to see everybody on the 21st, my actual birthday--friends for lunch and family for dinner.
Met Mary and we went to Downbeach Deli for lunch; had a good time, as ever, with such a good old friend. (Well, make that "long-time" friend.) She lent me a portable crib that I hope will be all right for Vivian.
Must now get warmly dressed for the tree-lighting ceremony. You can be sure that as soon as the damn tree is lit, I'm going to get lit (lit up--but just a little) with Susan's egg nog and the appetizers. Will then go home and enjoy seeing niece-in-law Robyn's handiwork on that Christmas animation show on ABC.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Christmas house tour yesterday was terrific; I think better than last year. The homes included a tiny, but lovely "stilt" house on the water, two stunners in Sea Oaks, and a charming house in the woods on Nugentown Road. They were all different, but all beautiful. Each room in the latter had been decorated by a different person--not professionals, but friends of the owner--with their own collections, supplemented with things from Habitat for Humanity. What a neat idea! I told the decorators I had just donated loads of Christmas stuff to H for H, so maybe I'd see some of it--I didn't, though.
I had planned to get some shopping done today, but Mary Ann Van O. called to see if I could go to lunch next week and every day is booked, so I suggested today. (I'll always accept an invitation and put off chores.) If she gets back from Bart's doctor appointment in time, we'll go.
Tomorrow is the tree-lighting ceremony at Judy's and Sunday is the "big" SB holiday party. Got a message from Viv asking if I could meet her for dinner on Monday, and I'm looking forward to that, too, so, yes, things heat up this time of year--yay!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Good fun at the Women's Club luncheon yesterday. We all got favors of the makings for "bread in a coffee pot" and I was charmed by the fact that, although they were different kinds, I got "parmasean with rosemary" bread. Went with and sat with Barb H., Susan, Pat H., and Lois V. Today, we're all going to the Tuckerton Seaport Christmas House Tour, so that'll be enjoyable, too.
Pat did indeed go with the guys to Dynasty Diner last night. He had a good time and while he was gone, I did something unusual for me: Went to Manahawkin to get in some Christmas shopping--at night! Can't see well to drive in the dark, but was okay, as I went on Route 9.
Finally got the stuff to complete the Santa Claus bathroom i.e., new rugs (amber), and a toothpaste and cup holder in a kind of snowball shape. That's better than Christmas theme ones, as I can use them all through the winter. (Yes, if you dare keep Christmas stuff out after Christmas, the holiday police will raid your bathroom.)
Will send out invites to my birthday lunch shortly; have 3 for snail mail, as these unenlightened souls don't use computers. I figured 26 adults plus 2 kids, but it's unlikely all will come, so I think it will be more like 20 and 1.
Dennis is coming in about 40 minutes (7:30 am) to discuss the office plans (or non-plans), so must dress.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pat's car still at mechanic's, but they called and said it isn't the alternator, which is good news. Made the pot pie last night and it was great, as usual. Didn't get around to the baked apples.
Today is the Women's Club luncheon; I'll go with Barb H. and Susan. I was pleased when Ray called to invite Pat to go with Walter, Gary, and him to dinner at Dynasty Diner, and Pat accepted. I know he'll enjoy it and hope he'll be able to manage okay. If so, maybe we can occasionally resume going with the three couples out for dinner on Wednesday nights. Wish Leslie and Dennis, and Frank and Barbara still wanted to go.
Nothing much else new aside from the usual of getting the house ready for Christmas, shopping, and so on. I'm content.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Nice, but relatively uneventful day yesterday. Drove to both Mays Landing malls and Manahawkin shopping centers and got various things, including my long-sought apple corer.
Big news is today is my baby's birthday. He turned 40 and now I no longer have any children in their 30's--(sigh). Called him at home in Singapore only to have his Paula say he was in Hong Kong. Called him there and found him at the Mandarin Oriental and we talked for a long time. Unfortunately, he told me he has conjunctivitis; went to the doctor who prescribed several medications he must use. Worse news is it's highly contagious. Because he has to be back in Hong Kong next week, he may just stay there rather than risk infecting Vivian. I was pleased to hear that his brother, Patrick, e-mailed him birthday wishes.
Just interrupted this to go with Pat to the mechanic's, also named Pat. His car's alternater seems to be malfunctioning--we'll see after if's evaluated.
Planning chicken pot pie for dinner, along with baked apples. Have still more errands to run--par for the course this time of year, but nothing urgent. Women's Club holiday party tomorrow; will go with Barb H. and Susan.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I called twin sister Betty yesterday morning and we had a nice long chat. Wish we could be together for our mutual birthday--2 1/2 weeks, aagh!--but with 3000 miles between us, that can't be.
Generally practiced the domestic arts yesterday (I need a lot of practice), doing wash, tidying up, and cooking. I made pea soup in the crockpot, "dump" soup on the stove, and herbed chicken in the oven. Served Pat a bowl of pea (UGH! this blog gets more and more risque), had the dump myself (all these scatological references--disgusting) and froze the rest. It now occurred to me that I want to have more soup with a sandwich with lunch, so why did I freeze it? Ran down to Manahawkin to put up a few things at the dollar store, but mostly stayed close to home.
Had a nice chat with California daughter, Ellen, during our usual Sunday call. She'll be in on the 19th, the day after the Singapore contingent.
Decided I do want to have a few people in for my birthday on the 21st for lunch, then have family only for dinner. Either we'll go out or order in and I really want it very informal. (Yeah, like I usually wear a ball gown on my birthday.)
Got a fun Atlantic City web site from friend Pat McH. R. and spent a pleasant half hour exploring it. Will continue to enjoy it and will send to my sibs. The Hotel Morton, where Pat and I had our wedding reception 48 long years ago, was pictured, among many other landmarks.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Yesterday, Alison came down and did a tremendous amount of work for us in a few hours. She dug holes and planted seven mums; carried a number of heavy items (boxes from the guest room, the front porch furniture, and an iron and stone table) from the house to the garage or vice versa; filled the bird feeders; hung wreaths on the garage lights; and performed various other chores quickly, expertly, and--most important--happily and cheerfully. She stayed long enough to have lunch, and left about 3:00, as she and Mike were going to their running club Christmas party in Cherry Hill last night and she had to make a dish to bring.
Earlier, Susan, Barb H., and I went to the craft fair. They had such beautiful Christmas things--all handmade and exquisite--but, having been clearing out and getting rid, I resisted the impulse to buy things you can't eat. Bought some jalopeno* salsa (spicy, so it sure isn't for Pat or me) and two small loaves of onion cheese bread for when M. and P. are here.
Last night, went with Leslie, Dennis, and Barbara D. to "Journey of the Kings" at St. Theresa's and enjoyed it. It's more an operetta than anything else, I think, and included some wonderfully sung songs.
Didn't get home until NINE THIRTY, which means I didn't get to bed until ten--yes, I know I'm leading a wild life sure to set me on the road to ruin, but I can't help myself, can't stop, can't get off this crazy merry-go-round that's called "Life in Little Egg Harbor--Embrace It If You Dare."
*Those computer geeks on this blog all failed tenth-grade English. They know "jalopeno" is misspelled, but suggest "xylophone"--idiots!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Lots going on today: After my walk with Susan at 7:00, she and I and Barb H. are going to the First Presbyterian Christmas Craft sale at 9:30. Alison will be down between 11 and 12 (the crack of dawn for her, late afternoon for me) to help me with outside decoration, planting some mums, and so on. At 7 pm, I'll attend the Christmas pageant at St. Teresa's with Leslie and Dennis; neighbor Frank is involved in the project.
Yesterday, I almost finished decorating, and started to finish up the guest room. More to be done, but I'm closer to finishing than not.
Adorable Preshy called last night to say "I cook...in kitchen!" I asked her what she cooked and she said, "Bananas!" She also said she went to a farm and saw a cow! Vivian tends to be very enthusiastic when she talks and has a hysterically funny way of adding exclamation points--you can almost see them--when she says anything at all. Mike said she wanted to call Mommy, but Paula was winging her way back from Hong Kong at the time, so she couldn't.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Got a lot done yesterday, but I'm paying for it in aches and stiffness. Besides finishing up the (indoor) Christmas decoration, I packed up boxes and bags of discards and took them to the thrift store. Luckily, they accepted them all. I then went to Wal-Mart and got a lot of odds and ends, including the new shower curtain to transform the guest bath from spring (pastel colors, birds on the wall, etc.) to Christmas (guess). I'm still far from finished, but at least it's shaping up.
Made pot roast in the crockpot for dinner and it turned out delicious--very tender and tasty.
Pat doing all right. Before he went to the bay yesterday, I asked him to replace the old shower curtain with the new one and he did, but it took him 4 times as long as it would have when he was well and he had to sit down most of the time. Sigh...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pat is now settled in at home and is doing well. He took a shower (by himself) and was fine while I went out to have lunch with Marge, then get my hair cut. Mike called about 11:00 am which is a very late 11:pm in Singapore--just to talk to his Dad and see how he was doing. The doctor at the hospital prescribed four different medications, only one of which I filled--long story, but one of them he doesn't have to take, others he already has at home, etc. I got the antibiotic, which cost $99 for ten pills after the AARP discount.
Pleasant lunch with Marge. We went to Creevey's (I hadn't been there since Pat's birthday party) and I got Caesar salad with chicken. I took half of it home, and had it for dinner along with peas and oven-fried potatoes (gave Pat a pork chop). Later, I had my wine and popcorn, so stuck to a moderate diet.
My hair looks good, I'm happy to say. Hairdresser April took off the dry ends and the curl has revived. I'll probably get a new perm in the middle of December.
Today, I want to finish decorating inside and get the stuff to the thrift store that I'm discarding.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pat home and seems to be doing all right for now. Having gotten a good scare from Dr. K., I was restrained in my eating and had a large salad for lunch, albeit with feta cheese. Ate the beef tips, baked potato, and peas I made for dinner, but had modest portions and used no-cal butter spray. Had popcorn and a LARGE glass of red wine (doc recommended red wine, so it's not my fault) at night, which I greatly enjoyed. Only problem is I know this satisfied-with-less feeling isn't going to last. My stomach is still working on the pumpkin pie, bowl of ice cream, and so on that I ate on Monday--I'm a diet expert and I know the way my body works. Nevertheless, I'm going to cool it with the over-eating.
Was able to decorate a bit before I got Pat. Talked to Alison, who offered to come down on Saturday--yay!--and she suggested that Joel and Jen might want some Christmas decorations. Great idea and I'll set aside the better pieces before I take them to the thrift store.
Getting my hair cut today, but have lots of errands and chores I want to complete, too. Think I'll see if Marge can have lunch either today or sometime this week.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Yesterday, I filled the entire car except for my seat with boxes of Christmas stuff, drove to Ventnor to the eBay place, and found they wouldn't accept any of it because it isn't name brand and each piece or group of pieces wasn't worth $50. Well, what the hey--at least I won't be agonizing over not getting it there early enough. Will now go through it, separate what I want to keep, and donate the rest to Habitat for Humanity or another thrift store.
After Ventnor, went to the hospital, but Pat and I had a tiff (as they used to say in the 20's and 30's) and I stormed out. Later, went back and--well, we didn't exactly "make up," but got along a little better. What a drag and who will rescue me from this durance vile? (Always wanted to use that line.)
Jack B. called after I got home, asking about Pat and said he was golfing at Atlantis today and may stop over.
Assume I'll be picking Pat up today after my own doctor's appointment, so this latest crisis is, I guess, history.
LATER: Today, I picked Pat up close to 3:00. I had called him earlier and was waiting for a call from him or the doctor. He said both tried, but the line was busy. What? I wasn't on the phone. Actually, it worked out pretty well, though. I went to my doctor, then unpacked the car and got some Christmas stuff put up, as well as separated out what I want to donate. My doc had called me in because my cholesterol is up--the bad is up, that is, and the good down. She had the nerve to say she wants me to lose weight and said she'd give me until March, then will prescribe medication. Don't want to take it, so will try hard to keep the calories down. After I told her I had had scarring on my esophogus (this idiot site check doesn't know how to spell it either), she said my cough is likely from--believe it or not--acid reflux, although I didn't have symptoms. Said the lungs are clear and when I told her I have to cough because I have a tickle in my throat, she mentioned allergies or the aforesaid. She prescribed Nexium, another medication I don't want to take, but may. I'm going to check the Nexium my cousin-in-law, Ed K. of Cincinnati gave me several years to see if it's out of date. Hmm...just checked and it's actually Previcid (which shouldn't make any difference) and it says to discard after some date in 2004. I wonder if they're serious. One of the big reasons I hate to take these things is because I despise the commercials and know I'm paying big premiums for their advertising. Doc also discussed the pain I've been having in my neck and into my head. I think it's from the computer screen being over to the right and she said, stress (what stress? I ain't got no lousy stress) probably contributes to it, so to consciously relax my neck, etc.
Anyway, life is back to normal--until the next crises, I guess.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Got to hospital about 11:00. Pat doing well, although the rise in his blood sugar is still of concern. Went down to get lunch and brought it up to eat with him, but he didn't get served until 1:30. It seems they were short in the kitchen because everybody works on the holiday, but slacks off after--or something.
Left about 2:00 and packed up the Thanksgiving leftovers, presents, and advent tree for Joely to take to Alison's. Saw the "orange" roses Ellen sent to Alison (they look more like salmon to me), and they're just beautiful.
When I got there, Mike was finishing planting five new trees they bought--five fruit and a "crooked walking stick," even though he has a sore rib from a fall.
We had such a good time with Alison and Mike, and J., J., and J. Got home early--a little after 8:00--called Pat, then settled down with my glass of wine before bed.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pat much improved, although there's some worry now about his blood sugar, as the steroid (Prednisone) he's getting for the pneumonia makes it go very high. His endocrinologist was in to see him and has adjusted his insulin--hope that brings it down.
Pat was able to wash and shave in the bathroom yesterday, then change his pajama pants (he refuses to wear those stupid hospital gowns) and tee shirt. That sweet guy, Ray, came to visit and Pat and he sat in chairs (I on the bed) while we had a great time reminiscing about our parochial school days--Ray in Jersey City, Pat and I in Ventnor.
I left the hospital about 3:30, then went to Linens 'n' Things to get mattress covers for the guest room. God forbid those delicate flowers from Singapore should have to endure the mattresses uncovered...
We're still going to celebrate Alison's birthday today. She had wanted to take everything to the hospital so Pat could be there, but he didn't think that was feasible, so we'll go to her house. Yesterday, I wrapped her presents and baked her a mocha cake; will ice it today, then bring it and all the leftovers from Thanksgiving--hope there's enough for everybody.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Had a terrific Thanksgiving until we had to take Pat to the hospital. As we were about to sit down for dinner with our guests, he developed more than usual difficulty breathing and it continued to worsen. About 9:20, Alison drove us to Atlanticare and he was admitted. He's doing much better and, according to the doctor, will probably be released on Tuesday.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Yesterday, I got the pies completed and baked, chopped the onions and celery for the stuffing, made corn bread (recipe from Martha Stewart), peeled the potatoes and have them in water in the refrig, and set the dining room table. The table looks great with the new burgandy tablecloth; the color picks up the color of the roses on the china that was my mother's. On each plate, I put one of the little chocolate turkeys I got at Lucille's, with the guest's name propped up on the feathers. Today, I'll make the apple cranberry sauce and complete the other little finishing touches.
Called Mary H., of Ventnor, to see if she has a crib. She has a portable one, which I'll borrow just to see if would serve, but will ask Mike if a regular one would be better.
Must get dressed and ready for our morning walk.
Later: I've got a turkey in the oven. That used to be the goofy signal that somebody was pregnant (ain't no way, no how around here). I put the stuffing together and in the bird, made the apple cranberry sauce, whipped the cream for the pumpkin pie and am now just awaiting my company.
As I told Susan this morning, the Thanksgiving game between Holy Spirit and Atlantic High was as much a part of the day as turkey. HSHS always lost, year after year, as it was a small parochial school and ACHS was the big high school for the whole area. (It used to irritate me no end to hear people refer to ACHS as simply "high school,'' as if no other existed.)
My husband was halfback for Holy Spirit and the yearbook called him "the sensational passer and runner." He kicked the ball to start the game and it was thrilling for everybody to see Pat standing in the middle of the line facing ACHS with his left arm in the air. The team would then slowly advance and when his arm came down he'd kick the ball--way far, always, as I remember it and oh, it was fine. In those days, they all played both offense and defense and once, Pat ran the ball 65 yards for a touchdown; my friend Pat's brother remembers that run from 57 years ago. All the girls had a crush on Pat because he was both handsome and quietly masculine, and because nobody could play until he signaled the start of the game.
I married him 48 years ago and now he's sitting there in the living room, his oxygen equipment next to him, an old man who can barely walk to the kitchen, let alone run 65 yards.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Went to Pat's new pulmonologist yesterday. As we assumed, there isn't much new in the way of diagnosis or treatment. The doctor didn't change anything except to confirm he doesn't need the Advair with the other inhalers he's taking; I may just have forgotten to take it off the list I give the various doctors. He doesn't go back until February.
Got a letter from his eye doctor telling us he missed his appointment. That's the first time in all these months of frequent doctor appointments that I failed to put it on the calendar and get him there. I feel bad that it happened, but will call them today to reschedule. He thinks the scratch on the cornea is healed, but continues to use the ointment once a day.
He gets the growth on his neck excised on Monday--that should take the whole damn day. Tuesday, I see my own doctor--the receptionist called for a follow-up after my blood tests. That makes me nervous as the doctor must have seen something--and if all is good, she wouldn't want to see me.
Today, I'll finish preparations for tomorrow--Thanksgiving!--which means baking the pies, making the stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a few other things, and getting some of the table set. I still haven't checked to see if I have everything, but I'm pretty comfortable that I do.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Busy and enjoyable day yesterday: I went to the podiatrist in the morning and she fixed my feet. I won't reveal the blah details (it involved scraping off corns), but boy, do da stompers feel good. Immediately drove over to Ocean City to friend Pat's kitchen design place (well, it isn't hers, but she's worked there for 27 years), stopping on the way to exchange the sweat pants I bought for Pat at Boscov's. She gave me the sketch, I met her daughter who's worked there for 20 years, then I took her to lunch. Pat hasn't changed one iota since first grade at St, James--and we went all the way through high school together. She's still one of the most sweet-natured, self-effacing, and kindest person I've ever met--and she's had more than her share of life's setbacks.
On the way home, I went through Ventnor and saw that Mom's old house is being renovated--it looks great in yellow. Impulsively stopped at a place that sells people's stuff on eBay. Would love to put up most of my Christmas crap--I have boxes and boxes full--but wonder if I can get it done in time. Dunno.
After a leftover beef tips dinner, we went to Dennis and Leslie's. They served dessert and coffee and showed a CD on Bay St. Louis, MS, where they both recently went for a week to help rebuild that Katrina-smashed town. Only Ray and Barb H., Frank and Barb D., the host and hostess, and we were there. I think of those four couples as our "inner circle." Our houses are all in a row, one after the other on the "even" side of Sweetwater, and although all of us see other neighbors often, there seems to me a special bond among us. It was a wonderful evening with jokes and light-hearted chatter, but also thoughtful discussions on world events. It's good to know that, although we have varying ideas and beliefs about other things, we agree about the horrors of the present administration. This was confirmed in our minds by what Leslie and Dennis told us of FEMA's criminal ineptitude in the handling of Katrina "relief." Anyway, it was a great evening and overall good day.
Today, we see Pat's new pulmonologist; we don't expect anything new about his condition or treatment.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Just a couple of this 'n' that yesterday: Went to Manahawkin to get son Mike a birthday present (he'll hit a milestone on December 5), then to the supermarket, etc. It's just as well I didn't stay to watch the Eagles game, as they got slaughtered--again.
Got a bit more done for Thanksgiving, but can't remember what. Had beef tips for dinner. Heard from darling daughter, Ellen, via her regular Sunday phone call--can't wait to see her and all of them at Christmastime.
Must run, as I'm on my way to the podiatrist, then to Ocean City to pick up sketch for the office-in-the-closet from Pat Mooney. We'll go to Dennis and Leslie tonight with a few other friends to heard about their Mississippi adventures in helping Katrina victims.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Enjoyed the Historical Society's "early times" gathering yesterday. As it turned out, I drove because Susan couldn't go--had to show houses. I took Barb H. and Leslie and we had a wonderful time. Two speakers talked about the lives of the Indians (oh, okay, "native Americans") who lived around here. I was interested to hear they actually "vacationed" here, leaving their year 'round homes in Burlington County to go to Tuckerton in the summer. However, unlike the softies of today, they didn't drive here to move into sumptuous homes, they walked.
Also learned that Little Egg Harbor, where we live, used to be called "Downshore." The food was superb and besides various veggies, included oyster pie and venison stew among many other items that were/could have been served many years ago. That includes my corn pudding--which turned out to be more like cornbread, but was very good and of course, I transported PERFECTLY in my new casserole carrier.
Before we went, I rolled out my crusts and made the apple completely; froze that, plus the crust for the pumpkin. Got a call from Alison to say she'd see J., J., and J. today, but doubted they'd come for Thanksgiving--I didn't think they would, either--and suggested we celebrate her birthday at her house on Sunday. That's really a better idea. She'll be down about 2:30 on T'giving because the assisted living facility where her MIL, Mavis, lives is having a Thanksgiving "dinner" at lunchtime on the day of--stupid idea--but she, Mike, and his brothers want to share it with her. That's okay, although they're doing the same thing on Christmas. Well, we'll just have to wait until they get here until we open presents then.
Must make my cranberry sauce and a few other things, but preparations are coming along well.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Great consternation on our street yesterday: It was believed that Susan and Walter's new kitty had run away while the cleaners were there. Before the FBI was called in, though, Cherise was found behind a mulch bag in the garage. Whew!
Made the crust for the pies and will complete apple today, then freeze unbaked. Will also freeze crust for pumpkin, and fill the day before.
Susan, Barb H., and I are going to the Tuckerton Historical Society's gathering today. It's an "old time food" affair, with foods and cookbooks from early times. Last year, we enjoyed it a lot and will bring our own this time. I have my mother's 1921 cookbook and will bring that, plus a corn pudding from a recipe Alison gave me. That's fudging (PUN!) a bit, but nothing in the book seemed appropriate.
I'm bringing the corn pudding in a portable casserole container I very cleverly got for free! When I was substitute teaching, I opened a special account in a bank different from where we have our other billions, specifically for my earnings from subbing. I figured I'd have a nice little cache that was mine, all mine, and when I got four or five thou, I'd use it for something special. Well, I stopped subbing last year when my account had grown to a breathtaking two hundred and sixteen bucks. It's been sitting there ever since doing nothing except pulling in interest for the bank BUT another bank just opened next to Acme and they're giving away premiums for opening new accounts, including the portable casserole holder. How I coveted it! Yes, I closed out the sub account and high-tailed it over there to open one with the new bank, then triumphantly walked out with the carrier, which I'll use to take the corn pudding to the Historical Society's affair. Am I not clever? Do you not think I should be designated Leading World Financier? Guess my son, Mike, who's in international banking, will be bragging to his colleagues about his Mummy's high-level dealings for some time now.
Speaking of the Singapore contingent, I got a call from adorable little Vivian last evening. She's talking more and more and they were on their way to yet another birthday party, this time at the zoo, for one of her little friends. Can't wait to see her at Christmas--oh, and her parents, too.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Marge came over for tea and lemon squares yesterday after lunch, and we discussed the future of the Drama Club. She had some ideas that I think are great IF--and it's a big if--other members step up to the plate and contribute. Anyway, we directors meet December 13, but the whole group isn't scheduled until January, so we at least have some time to think about it.
Susan and Walter just got a new Forrester and a new cat. Former is red, latter is calico with a lot of white--really, one of the beautiful cats I've ever seen. Her name is "Cherise."
Finally got out the already-bought Christmas gifts and recorded them; did several washes, folded clothes, etc.--all the little things that seemed a bore a few years ago, but I actually enjoy now.
Otherwise, just picked up a few items at Acme and did this and that. Today, I MUST make the pies for Thanksgiving. I'll use Crisco for the crusts, then make the apple completely, but freeze unbaked. Think I'll freeze just the crust for the pumpkin, and fill the day before.
Hmm...guess I'd better buy a turkey, too, but first must try to rearrange the freezer, which won't be easy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Somewhat dreary day yesterday, although the rain finally stopped. Slept until 6:45, but still skipped the walk with Susan as I didn't feel like getting dressed yet. Tried to take a nap after breakfast, but couldn't. Had a director's meeting at 12:30, followed by a full Drama Club meeting at 1:30 which was poorly attended. Some members are away, some had other commitments, some just didn't come. The show isn't until May, and we still have a scarcity of material.
The club is run on a democratic model which I think is a mistake. We (the three other directors and I) bring in the skits we've either plagerized or written ourselves and have the actors read; they're then asked whether they think the stuff is any good, should remain in the show, isn't worth it, etc. This sounds like a good way to run things, but it isn't. What happens is, the directors do all the work finding, writing, and adapting the pieces, plus shape and define the show, write the transition material, and direct the players--and the other members just criticize. They don't offer anything of their own, of course, they're just very outspoken about what they don't like. They also tend to be laughably--and infuriately--like real actors, in that so many of them complain about not getting enough lines, resist direction, and try to interject their own ideas while avoiding any accountability for the end product. I'm actually thinking about ending my directorship and even my involvement with the club. Marge and I discussed this after the meeting and she's getting to a low ebb herself, although she actually founded the group. I think she'll hang in because of that and because she feels more of a sense of obligation. Well, we'll see how it goes--the directors meet December 13--but I'm not making any promises about continuing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Marge called early yesterday and asked if I wanted to go for brunch. Well, of course I did! We went to Beverly's at 11:00 and sat so long Pat and Ray came in for lunch, so we overlapped. When I got home, just puttered around, then it was time to get ready for the Wellspouse dinner meeting.
It was great fun. I got to Vivian's at 5:00, met her MS husband, Tony, toured her (large and lovely) home, enjoyed a glass of white zinfandel, then we set off for Manalapan. North Jersey is always a mystery to me, it was dark, and there was lots of traffic, but we got there in plenty of time. It was good to be with my fellow Wellspousers and I met in person a lot of those I had corresponded with via e-mail. Most had spouses with very severe maladies--MS, quadraplegia, a pituitary tumor, brain damage, and so on--but everybody was so relaxed and convivial that I immediately felt at home. Anyway, terrific dinner at the Java Moon. I had ravioli, about the best I ever tasted, after a wonderful arrugara salad. A very short and casual "business meeting" followed right at the table, then we talked and laughed for several hours. One of the two men there is a pastry chef and he always brings dessert. He handed out candied apples to all.
I didn't get home until a few minutes after 11:00, an unheard of hour for me, and went right to bed. I had told Susan I probably wouldn't walk today and hope to go back to bed for a nap after breakfast.
Have a director's meeting at 12:30, then Drama Club at 1:30. Aside from that, I'm layin' low.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

As it turned out, I met Edith for lunch yesterday in Cherry Hill, not Smithville. She was worried about driving in the heavy rain, so I said I'd go up there. What a hassle! I left home at 11:00 and didn't get to her house until almost 2. Will never trust Mapquest again (but I always go back to it--sounds like a foiled romance).
Anyway, it was great to be with Edith, whose husband has a variety of physical and mental ailments. What a relief to talk to people also in caregiver situations (they rarely have preconceived notions). Illness and disability seem to frighten and/or embarrass people who aren't intimately involved in it. They try to make themselves more comfortable by assigning the caregiver--that's me, folks--preconceived, and totally stereotypical roles: the saintly and devoted wifey, happy to be of constant service to her ailing spouse; the martyr sobbing into the urinal who never considers her own needs; the top sergeant, grimly doing her duty; the caregiver who is "in denial" (the next time I hear that creepy cliche, I'll scream), so the observer needs to set her straight with the unpleasant facts...
Well, they mean well, I guess. Another comment, as long as I'm on this track: Americans have been raised to believe there's a solution to every problem and if you just try hard enough, or consult the right expert, or find the secret cure, all will be well. One of the most trying aspects about being a caregiver is receiving unsolicited advice. Honest and true, when I want advice, I'll ask for it. Of course, IF a absolutely positive cure comes up AND there's no chance Pat or I would have heard about it AND it's been tested and proven and is on the market, why I want to be told and I'll walk through fire to get it. Unfortunately, there's about as much chance of that as of Bush reverting back to human form.
Yoicks, this has been a tirade, but after all, it's my blog and I'm feeling reckless and devil-may-care. Also, tonight, I'm meeting another Wellspouse friend, Vivian, at her house in Barneget and we're going up to mysterious Manalapan for a WS dinner and meeting. Am looking forward to it with great pleasure.
Oh, and what about my "Illspouse," as we Wellspouses say? Well, I'll leave him dinner and the phone, and will call him several times on the cellphone--I'm sure he'll be fine. No-o-o, I'm not the sacrificial and devoted little wifey and I sure am hell am not sitting at home eschewing a social life and crying into the urinal.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Had fun yesterday at the Women's Club "tricky tray" meeting. I won a small wooden box with six Christmas ornaments in it. I put in for it (you buy tickets and distribute them in cups in front of the "gifts" you want, then the tickets are drawn) because I need more Christmas stuff to go with the 65 billion things I already have. Barb H. picked me up for the meeting (it was raining) and after, while we were having coffee in the clubhouse, we were both asked to be models at the fashion show luncheon to be held in May at the Smithville Inn. We enthusiastically agreed and I said I want to wear a bikini (the attendees would run out screaming).
Speaking of Smithville, I'm meeting WS friend, Edith, there for lunch today. Tomorrow, will go to a WS meeting and dinner in Manalapan with Vivian. Had chicken potpie last night. Pat didn't comment, but had two servings. It calls for cream of chicken soup, but I accidentally used chicken gravy instead and we didn't notice any difference. Anyway, it was good on a rainy night, especially followed by the rest of Barb's banana cream pie.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What's that I hear in the background--applause? Well, I do deserve it, thank you very much, because I--ta dah!--got started on clearing out the guest room closet and am almost finished. I packed up three shopping bags of things to donate to the thrift store, plus threw away a bunch of junk I thought I couldn't live without and haven't even seen for three years. I even--get this--got some of the study closet cleared--I'm so proud!
Aside from that, visited some yard sales and enjoyed the spring-like warmth. Pat went to the bay as usual, then we had the erstwhile (always wanted to use that in a sentence, although I'm fuzzy on what it means) pot roast, which I finished cooking in the oven. It was very good and sometime later, I'll use the other half still in the freezer.
Will continue my cleaning out efforts today--I'm on a roll!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Well, the pot roast went the way of all flesh. No, that doesn't make sense, but it was all I could think of off-hand to introduce the following sad story: I got a recipe for crockpot pot roast off the Internet. It said to add an envelope of onion soup mix and water to the meat and veggies (carrots, onions, and potatoes), then cook on high all day. It didn't call for mushroom soup, but since other recipes had, I decided to add it. I have two crockpots, but they both hold only 3 quarts, and there was no way everything would fit in the pot, so I cut the meat in half. A few hours later when I looked at it, I was horrified to realize that 1. the divided roast was too small to feed 4 people and 2. the vegetables were already done! Yoicks! Well, I put the veggies in a bowl and heated them up for dinner, then got breaded pork chops out of the freezer and served them instead. With a salad, applesauce and sourdough bread, it actually turned out to be a good meal, especially topped off with the luscious banana cream pie Barb had brought. Besides, I now have a ready-made dinner for tonight.
As ever, we had a great time with Ray and Barb, wonderful friends and neighbors to us.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I'll go for our walk with Susan soon, then tidy up a little before the cleaners come (Alison laughs at me cleaning up for the cleaners). Decided to make a crockpot pot roast for dinner with the H.'s, although I've never made it before. Will serve with a salad and peas; Barb's bringing the dessert.
When I went to Boscov's yesterday, I decided to wait to buy sneaks until after my (November 20) appointment with the foot doctor. I did buy Pat two pairs of sweat pants and myself a blouse. Then went to Santori's for salad fixings and got some odds and ends at the dollar store. Stopped at the bay before I went home; Pat was chatting with three cronies at the bulkhead and when I walked up, I said they looked like drug dealers making a deal. They're nice guys and I'm glad Pat has friends and a place that are his alone.
Had "oven-fried" pork chops for dinner last night and Pat said they were very tasty--faint praise from the master!
Got a welcome long and interesting message from Pat McH. R. and enjoyed reading it--also enjoy her blog. Pat wrote about her travels with her husband over the years and how I envy her. Frank and Barbara D. are going to Mexico tomorrow--lucky them! One of the things I miss most in my new life is being able to travel. However, I shouldn't complain: Pat is stable right now and we're in a routine that helps me to cope. (I get edgy and stressed out when things are chaotic or I don't know what to expect.) Also, am looking forward to having family and friends here for Thanksgiving and that buoys me up.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Gorgeous day today and I'm off to Boscov's to look at a few things, notably sneakers. Tomorrow we're having Ray and Barb for dinner and I meet Edith for lunch at Smithville on Monday. Will call Muckie and ask her over, too, so things are heating up on the social scene.
Must start making a list for Thanksgiving, plus a few other chores, but enjoyable ones.
Did I accomplish all I bragged about doing yesterday?
Even half of it?
A little, teeney bit...?
None of your beeswax.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Doctor visit went fine yesterday, got a flu shot, plus referral for feet and this morning got my blood work done. It's been raining like crazy, but I don't care, as I'll probably stay in.
I have exciting plans for today:
1. I intend to switch the contents of my pocketbook from summer (a soft cloth bag) to winter (leather).
2. I've resolved to check over what gifts I already bought for Christmas, make a list, and organize it.
3. I will strive to make several phone calls that need to be done.
I just pity, pity, pity you poor people reading this, who don't have such fascinating, sophistocated, and important items in your live!!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Had a nice day with Alison yesterday. The three of us just talked, hearing all about the marathon (Mike did very well and was pleased with his time), had lunch, then drove down to the bay. Pat was happy to have seen her and enjoyed hearing about the race.
Today's election day and Susan and I will stop at the clubhouse to vote on our walk--very convenient. I go to the doctor at 1:15 for a flu shot, to get some referrals, and to see if she can prescribe something for this cold or whatever it is I have.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Question: What constitutes the scum of the earth?
Answer: Politicians.
ALL of them, D.'s or R.'s--and, I assume, S's. and C.'s and all the other snakes in the grass--are lying, thieving scoundrels that would take candies from babies if it would get them a vote.
In the past two days, we've gotten more than a dozen taped "phone calls" from various and sundry such monsters of both parties. Incredibly, they've also penetrated the Internet. Just now as I was into The Times of Trenton on-line, I was assaulted with not only a visual pop-up, but an audio one urging me to vote for one of the candidates in Jersey.
May they all be sentenced to performing charitible acts for their constituents at least once a year without expecting anything in return. Well, no, come to think of it, that's too cruel and unusual a punishment for politicians. Then, let them refrain from "truthiness" (my favorite made-up word) for at least one hour a decade. Huh, who am I kidding? That would be impossible for any politician--born low-lifes and thieving bastards all.
With that off my chest:
Looking forward to Alison coming down today. Talked to her after the race yesterday as she was boarding the volunteer's bus--Mike was on the runner's bus. She said Mike did very well--yay, Mike!--and will tell us all about it today.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Got a call from sister Betty yesterday morning and had a nice chat. California Carolyn sent a neat picture of her Finn and Claire in a rocking chair with their Dad. They're sweet kids.
Phone rang last night and a little voice said, "Hi, Nana." It was darling Preshy and we actually carried on a conversation until she abruptly said, "bye"--presumably, she had had enough. However, she then sang "Old McDonald" and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." For two, she really talks (and sings) well.
Our complicated social life shapes up this way: I had had a lunch date with WS friend Edith for tomorrow, but then Alison called to say she had taken off tomorrow and wanted to come down. I didn't want to miss her, so called Edith and regretfully postponed, asking her to set a new date. She can't meet until next week now. I had also invited Ray and Barb for dinner, but have to wait to hear back from Edith to specify a day. I also want to call Muckie to see the pics of the St. James gala and have her for lunch, but can't until other engagements are firmed up. Maybe I need a social secretary.
I was delighted to get a call during dinner last night from old classmate Pat M., who said she was in Tuckerton and could come over to measure the closet. She did, we had a nice visit, then she left for ice cream and cake at her son's (he lives only a mile or so away) for her granddaugher's 11th birthday. Then talked to Alison about the NY Marathon Mike's running.
I've been wanted to make lemon squares for a long time, but never did. Finally, I made them this morning and boy, are they good. Hope to save some for lunch/dinner company.
Today: Saw some of the race on T.V. and am anxious to hear how Mike did. Just finishing is, of course, a major accomplishment for anyone.
For dinner, will have......
...well, something or other.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Did indeed serve the chicken, baked apples, and scalloped potatoes last night and they were good. Will have beef tips tonight.
Note: All the business about what we have for dinner, etc. is a hangover from early in this blog a year or so ago. I named it "My Weight and Welcome to It" when I was active in Weight Watchers; thought I'd chronicle my struggles. Well, the whys and wherefores are too lengthy--and too dreary--to go into, but I've reverted back to making this simply an on-line diary.
Yesterday? Not much went on except I went down to Reynolds in Manahawkin and got several baby gifts, I was in touch with a few friends, AND son Mike posted more pictures of adorable granddaughter, Vivian, on her web site.
Alison took Monday off and will come down while Mike rests up from the Sunday NY Marathon. We'll take Pat to a restaurant for lunch if he feels up to it. Called friend Edith to ask to postpone our lunch date.
My cold is finally receding--what a long siege. When I go to the doctor on Tuesday, will ask what I can do to minimize future ones.

Friday, November 03, 2006

That sweet guy, Ray H., volunteered to put the grass plant in the ground for us yesterday afternoon, and he did. Then he and other neighbor, Bob, sat in the garage with Pat to chat--it was a beautiful sunny day. I went off to the supermarket, then to Ray and Barb's to invite them for dinner next week.
Got a nice little chicken already stuffed and put it in the oven in time for dinner at 6:00. Also had the leftover scalloped potatoes and baked apples ready to heat up. When I went to check the chicken, I realized I had forgotten to turn the oven on! Fer cryin' out loud! Damn, I'll just have the stuff tonight--I whipped up scrambled eggs instead.
Was pleased to hear back from Brent that he, Stephen, and David will join us for Thanksgiving. That's also Alison's birthday, so we'll have a birthday cake in addition to the pies.
My new-found friend, Pat McH.R., started her own blog. Any old HSHS'ers can check it out at http://wellington.vox.com.
SIL Mike will be running in the New York Marathon this Sunday, November 5. Boy, what an honor, as it's very difficult to qualify. Alison just missed (by 90 seconds), but will be with him to help out. He's one of 37,000 running. They both qualified for the big one, the Boston, which they'll run in April, 2007.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Got a call from Kathy D. around the corner. She reminded me that she hadmentioned last month she was going to have a huge "grass" plant removed and divided into three. She had asked Susan, Barb H., and me if we each wanted a part, we all said yes, and now it's been divided. Ran over there with Ray and Barb and got our grass plants. Kathy also had some plumes cut off the top and I took several to put in the hallway for an autumn display. Later, I cut some red, gold, and green leaves off the trees in back (I don't use artificial flowers or foliage, I don't care how "real" it looks) and put them in baskets in the dining room. They look so nice with the decor in the living and dining rooms.
The D.'s next door are back from NC to visit their new grandbaby; I saw Barbara and we had a nice chat.
Was pleased to hear back from SIL Mike's brother, Brent, that he, his partner, Stephen, and third B. brother, David, will come to our place for Thanksgiving. Hope J., J., and J., will, too, although you never know with them. That's also Alison's birthday, so we'll have a birthday cake besides the pies.
It was raining this morning and not just a drizzle, either, but Susan and I, virtuous girls we are, walked the full mile and a half anyway with umbrellas.
A cautionary tale: I like candles and always have one on the dinner table. Last night, I went to take a shower after dinner while Pat sat reading at the kitchen table. Wel-l-l, when I got up this morning and turned on the coffee, I saw a flicker and yes, the candle had been left burning all night! Ouch, that could have been a disaster, but no harm done.
Want to have chicken tonight--maybe in the crockpot, maybe not--with baked apples and the leftover scalloped potatoes from last night.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pat McH. R. wrote me yesterday to say she had read my entire blog! Good grief, she must be a glutton for punishment, as the first entry is in September, 2005. I post almost every day, although not always (when Pat was in the hospital, say), so that's at least 350 entries. True, some are fairly short, but still...
Well, I decided to emulate and yesterday, sat here for almost two hours reading every word of my deathless prose. Some of the stuff was not bad, some just plain boring--even to me, for Pete's sake!--but all in all, it was sort of fun.
Okay back to now: What did we do yesterday? Not a helluva lot, actually,
aside from me getting some stuff for Pat's cold at Rite-Aid. Again, the cashier said I had to give my birthdate and again, I told her "January 15, 1982--ha, ha, that'll show 'em!
Called Mary Ann V. just to see how Bart's doing. He's about the same; she said he went to the doctor the other day, and the doc is satisfied with his condition. I was surprised to hear they don't go to a pulmonologist.
I gave Pat an "oven-fried" pork chop last night and I had an old favorite of mine: pasta with broccoli and garlic hummus. It was okay, but really didn't taste as good as I remember. Could be because I can hardly taste anything.
Pat and I both slept well last night, thank heavens. Of course, I took Ny-quill and although it's hard not to throw up because it tastes so vile, it really knocks me out.
Was thinking about ham steaks for dinner, but maybe I should have chicken of some kind instead, as we've been having a lot of pig lately. Okay, I'll get a rotisserie chicken, have it tonight, then cut it down to make chicken potpie later. Think I'll also use my basket of apples to make either baked apples or applesauce.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I'm still mit the lousy cold already, and it's getting me down. Now Pat seems to have it and we spent the night hacking away. I called the V.A. to see what he can take for it, then went to Rite-Aid to get the stuff.
Yesterday, just went grocery shopping, did wash, and generally acted like the virtuous little housewife I am. Weather turned incredibly warm for Halloween; I'm still not decided to have the lights on for trick or treat or not.
Had a nice chat with Muckie yesterday. Told her I'd call when I get the hard-copy pictures I ordered of the St. James gala and have her over for lunch. She was pleased to hear I've been in touch with Pat McH. R. and would love to see her; asked for her snail mail address, which I'll give her. Other than that--nuthin' much--quiet day.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Great fun at Ray and Barbara's last night. It was so good to get together again--we see our best neighbors on Sweetwater a lot individually, but it's been awhile since we've all been together. The D.'s are still in NC with new granddaughter, Harper, but Susan and Walter, Dennis and Leslie, and Anne Mary were there, as well as Ray and Barb's daughter, John. Had a ball and Pat enjoyed it, too.
The cold's still hanging on, but is better than it was. I actually got out for my walk with Susan for the first time in more than a week. Weather is wonderfully brisk, but sunny and not icy.
Nothing scheduled until Wednesday, thank Zeus, so think I'll go to Foodtown in Smithville today, then tidy up my lovely and much-loved home. We go to the dermatologist on Wednesday.
Oops--got a call from the dermatologist's office to say Pat's growth is squamous cell and the doctor will remove it in his Northfield office later in November. Okay, scratch Wednesday.
Hmm...I was going to add to my "modern annoyances" list--it's growing--but I'm in too good a mood, so will reserve. No fear: there are plenty of things that annoy me and they'll eventually be posted here.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Had a nice surprise yesterday afternoon: Alison called to invite us to dinner with Joel and Joely, as Jen was working. We went and had a nice time, getting home about 8:45.
Cold still hanging on. When Susan stopped this morning, it was only 6:15--she forgot about daylight being over. I would have walked with her, but wasn't dressed yet; hope I'll be better tomorrow.
After I got Pat's breakfast and medication, I went back to bed and slept about an hour. Got up, cleaned up the kitchen and fell asleep on the couch during the Eagles game (a disaster). I'm a great believer in sleep therapy when I'm sick.
Got messages from Edith and Viv, both friends from Wellspouse, inviting me to lunch at Smithville Inn (E.) and a Wellspouse dinner in Manalapan (V.). I was happy to accept and are looking forward to both outings. .
Anyway, we'll go to the H.'s shortly for the pizza party for the R.'s. Hope I don't infect anybody.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

My cold's still raging, but I perked up a bit after getting a good night's sleep, thanks to Nyquill (actually, a Rite-Aid knockoff). No longer have a sore throat, just lots of sneezing, runny nose-ness, and coughing.
Took Pat to Fort Dix yesterday and Dr. S. was so cordial I thought there must be something wrong with him. Not too much new--Dr. S. now takes a backseat to Pat's "community providers," that is, specialists we see around here.
Aside from Fort Dix, I didn't go out at all yesterday. When Pat went to the bay, I actually took a nap of about two hours. Had hot dogs and beans in the crockpot, served that, cleaned up, then lounged on the sofa until bedtime.
Got a message from friend Vivian asking if I'd like to go to a Wellspouse dinner in Manalapan on November 14. Yes indeed, I would and am looking forward to it.
Also got the wonderful news from sister Betty that she's to be a grandmother yet again, thanks to her son, Steve and DIL Robyn. Baby's due at the end of May.
Son Mike called and I also talked to darling little granddaughter Vivian. He goes back to Hong Kong tomorrow, then--I hope--will have some time at home.
Later in the day: A while back I posted one of my annoyance entries about being FORCED to provide my zip code to K-Mart when I wanted to use my debit card. (I feel like submitting a bill for marketing support.) Well, just now I bought some DayQuil (rather, a Rite-Aid knockoff), also using my debit card. Damned if the cashier didn't ask my birth date! What!?! She said it was a state law, presumably because I was buying something--albeit over the counter--that, I guess, could give me a high if I drank a gallon of it. This is infuriating! What does my age have to do with me being an addict or something? The cashier assured me it had nothing to do with age. What again?!? She said she couldn't sell it to me unless I gave her my birthdate. Poor woman, I know it isn't her fault, so I gave her my birthdate: January 15, 1982.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Aagh! I woke up with a bad sore throat--it's either a new cold or an extension of the old one. I have to drive Pat up to his doctor at Fort Dix, but after that, I hope to take it easy.
Jack B. came over yesterday to give us two copies of a marvelous picture of the St. James baseball team, circa 1944. This is a casual, informal snapshot, probably taken by somebody's parent outside the back door of the school Pat's in it and so is Jack, plus Matt G., Pat's cousin Joe D., and others I don't know but Pat does. I took it to Staples to get copies for our kids, plus Joe, and will add to the photo archives at St. James when I have a chance to get over there.
Enjoyed a nice, chatty e-mail from Pat McH. R. bringing me up to date on her life. It's interesting to see at how many points our lives touch--she was a friend of, and worked with, sister Betty, for one thing. I'll write back to her soon.
Must go have breakfast. Sigh--wish I could just go back to bed.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Had a drama club meeting in the afternoon yesterday (although our show isn't until next June). As one of the four directors, I try to get appropriate material from various sources and was able to come up with some. I'm also writing two skits. Fellow director and founder Marge and I chaired the meeting and it was okay.
Aside from that, just went to the store and "putzed around" (Pat's expression). Had barbecued ribs in the crockpot for dinner--delish!
Today, big news: Pat agreed to go to the movies to see "The Departed." Will check out where it is to decide if it's doable for him. One of the theatres is out, as it has steps outside and another has too long a walk inside.
Was pleased to hear via e-mail from both Edith W. from Wellspouse and Pat McH. R., an HSHS grad; she saw my message on "I Love Atlantic City, Memory Lane." Also, sent the pics from the St. James Gala to Liz A.
Hope son Mike is back from China; he was due in today. Also hope he doesn't have to travel more for awhile. I asked him if the house he bought in Hawaii was damaged in the recent earthquake (it's in Kona on the Big Island, which is just where the quake was), but haven't heard back from him.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The "Diversity Your Palate" gathering at Little Egg Library last night was fun, but not what we (Barb H. and I) had expected. It was actually part of the "Friends of the Library" meeting (I think I'll join) and, after a short business meeting, various dishes of things were put out. A lot of them were not ethnic, such as hot dogs and beans in a crockpot and "Spanish Bar" cake, but were good, anyway. Barb was pleased to see some Hungarian foods her mother used to make. I'm sorry I ate first because we could easily have made a whole meal of the items. We had expected some kind of background or history of various foods, but it didn't include that. Anyway, it started at 7:00 and we were home by 8:00.
Earlier in the day, Susan brought adorable little granddaughter, Sophia, about 9 months old, over to visit. The baby is so precious, she made me yearn for another grandchild; I didn't get my share!
Made a loaf of banana bread yesterday, then wrapped it and put it in the freezer for Thanksgiving. Just gave Pat (homemade) pea soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, along with a serving of bread pudding. There's one other portion, which I'll give him tonight. Not sure what main dish I'll have, maybe barbecued ribs, as I have a Drama Club meeting at 1:30 today.
Barbara and Ray H. are having a little "going-away" pizza party on Sunday for Leslie and Dennis R., who are again going to Mississippi to help Katrina victims there. Pat said he thinks he can go--it'll be nice to be out somewhere with my husband again!
This morning, was pleased to get e-mails from Elizabeth/Betty/Liz H. A. and Edith, a friend from Wellspouse. Will get back to both and arrange to meet for lunch.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Barb H. stopped yesterday to get my check for the Sunrise Bay Christmas party. I reluctantly wrote out a check for just me, as it seems unlikely that Pat's going to be able to go. Just in case he can, I'll work out something to fit him in, but it's impossible to know at this point how he'll be in December.
We went to the endocrimologist yesterday and he's satisfied with Pat's sugars, so Pat will continue the same regime of insulin. Doc recommended Special K with strawberries rather than the cereal Pat usually has in the morning with a banana.
Had ham steaks for dinner, plus I made a delicious bread pudding I served warm. Pat had two servings and so did I--probably not the best thing in the world for either of us, but at this point, I'm not too concerned.
Going to a talk at the library with Barb H. tonight--on "Diversity Your Palate." Will report back tomorrow to my tens of thousands of readers on how it was--and what it was, as I don't really know.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I've decided, once and for all, that I'll probably update this diary--that's what it is, after all--in the morning.
So here's what happened after I posted yesterday: Aside from talking to Ellen and watching "60 Minutes," nuthin' much.
Gotta go over to Susan's and take our walk.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

We're enjoying a quiet Sunday. Went to Acme this morning and have a Banquet Foods pot roast slowcooker dinner simmering. We'll see if it's as good as my "made from scratch" beef stew. I'm not too crazy about the fact that you have to first liquefy the sauce, then put the meat and most veggies in, then wait until 35 minutes before serving to put the potatoes in. Oddly, too, the directions keep telling you to wash your hands between steps--wonder why.
Heard by phone from sister Betty and daughter Alison, and should get a call from daughter Ellen later. Alison and Mike went to a wedding in Ban Salem last night; said they had a great time. Was also happy to get e-mail messages from son Patrick yesterday and brothers Frank and Jim today, as well as one from friend Lynne C. in Delaware. Oh, gee, I just realized I've heard from all my children except one, who's lounging around yet again in Beijing.
Suffered with Pat over another Eagles loss--with seconds to go, they scored a touchdown to be winning by one point, but with even fewer seconds to go, the damn Buccaneers got a field goal to win!! This is terrible and we'll remember it for the rest of our...until the...as long as...hmm--what the hell were we so upset about now?
My knee was bothering me, so I finally took the Celebrex. The leaflet that came with it scared me so much ("...risks of heart disease, stroke, death...) that I was holding off. However, my knee actually feels much better and I think I'll continue. I do want everybody to know, just in case I suddenly drop dead, that I took the stuf--Pat can sue Upjohn for millions.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Had a terrific day at the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival. The weather was perfect: brisk, cool, but brilliant with sunshine. We had to park about a half mile from the tents, etc., but that was okay. I bought apple dumplings with cranberry sauce, several toys for Joely and Vivian, "diabetic socks" for Pat, kettle corn, a birthday gift for Alison, and, of course, cranberries, which I put in the freezer for Thanksgiving relish. We left at 9:30 and got home about 3:00--good thing because, as we were leaving, hordes of people were just getting there.
Anyway, a lovely day with Susan and Barbara. I'm defrosting the leftover chicken pot pie I made last week and will also bake the apple dumplings for dessert.
Nothing scheduled for tomorrow--fine by me. We have the endocrinologist on Monday and the primary on Friday.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Cleaners here this morning and the house looks so nice, neat, and clean. After lunch, we both went out: Pat to the bay and me to Habitat for Humanity and several other thrift stores. I'm looking for sofa pillows in a more fall-like style--wouldn't dream of paying for new ones.
Rained heavily this morning, then cleared. On my way home from my errands, I went down the bay to see the water; I often meet Pat there. Boy, was it windy with all kinds of whitecaps. The wind was and is unbelievable--exciting to see, but my plants and leaves are blowing around.
Dinner? Chicken Marsala, but the bought kind, plus scalloped potatoes and peas.
Tomorrow, I'm looking forward to going to the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival with Ray and Barb H., and Susan.
Okay, I have lots of other things to complain about, too. I bought the apples for the pork chops and apples dish (and it was delicious--another star to add to my dinner list), and had to spend time removing those infuriating little stickers they put on every piece of fruit. This, of course, is for the convenience (read "bottom line") of the grocer, the hell with the customer. Oh, sure, I could put them in the basket and just leave the damn things on, but it looks crappy, if you ask me.
Yet another complaint: Since when did "have a nice day" replace "thank you" in stores? That "have a nice day," of course, necessitates an automatic "thank you" from the customer! So essentially, what you're prompted to say is "thank you for allowing me to shop here and letting me give you money"?
I thought of another complaint: the packaging of everyday items that practically force you to use a tool (scissors, a knife, a screwdriver) and/or break your fingernails to get it open. This includes the inner lining of cereals, intimate apparel that, believe it or not, are rolled into little tubes, then taped so they fit in the package, and a multitude of goods that have a cardboard backing, but are covered with heavy plastic, impossible to penetrate, it often seems, by anything short of an atom bomb. Naturally, all this is to benefit the manufacturer, to suit its space requirements or whatever, not, NOT EVER to make life easier for the poor sap who bought the stuff.
Anyway, quiet day yesterday. It was very warm and after my morning walk with Susan, I drove to Atlantic County, picked up Pat's file at Dr. J.'s office (sad talking to his nurse practiciner), plus his x-rays at the hospital, then dropped them off at his new pulmonologist's. I did several loads of wash, ran the dishwasher, and puttered around, then assembled, baked, and served the pork chops and apples dish. Exciting times in Little Egg Harbor!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I hate K-Mart and I hate Wal-Mart and I hate Acme, too. All three of them have been renovating recently with the attendant dust, noise, and workers all over the place, but of course, they won't have the stuff done at night or just close up for a few days. No, that would shave a dollar's worth off their profits, so they shove the inconvenience onto the customers and let them stumble around and try to find the stuff on their shopping lists.
To add i. to i., yesterday I bought more than fifty bucks worth of stuff at K-Mart (tissues, antibiotic ointment, coffee filters, and so on). I used my debit card to pay for it, and before I could continue, was required to provide my zip code. That absolutely infuriates me! Why in hell should I do their marketing crap for them? Of course, when I protest, I get a puzzled response from the cashiers--why would I have a problem with entering my zip code? Because I don't work for K-Mart, that's why! What I do now is to put in just a series of numbers--"55555," say--but I tell you, it drives me crazy (doesn't take much). By the way, Bed, Bath & Beyond has the same arrogant demand.
We went to the dermotologist yesterday and were told the growth on Pat's neck is squamous. He'll go to the other office in two weeks to have it removed under local anesthesia. The doctor also noticed the basal cell cancer (which crops up often) on Pat's forehead and told him to resume putting the ointment he had used before on it.
We took two cars so I could stay in Manahawkin and do my shopping and Pat could go home. When I got back he had gone to the bay and when he got home, he told me he had fished after one of his cronies offered him bait.
Alison called from the gas station and we had a nice chat while she was getting her tank filled. However, when she was ready to leave, the car wouldn't turn over. She had to call Mike to pick her up. I'll try to call her before they go on their Friday night hike tonight to see if the car's fixed.
She said DIL Lisa had invited all of us for Thanksgiving, but Pat doesn't want to make the trip to Rancocas, so we'll have it here.
Had beef tips for dinner last night. I want to get some apples to make pork chops with apples for tonight. I just came across the recipe and it looks good.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I'm going to have to start posting on this blog about the same time everyday. What happens now is that I intend to do it late in the afternoon, then I forget, then I might update early the next day--it gets complicated.
Anyway, it's now early (6 am) and nothing much has happened since yesterday because I posted late. The big news is what I had for dinner: spaghetti and meatballs--ha!
Actually, I got calls from brothers Frank and Jim to get a report on the St. James Gala. Told them more or less what's on Sunday's post.
It was chilly yesterday--we had the heat on--but Pat went down the bay, anyway. Today is much warmer--annoying, as the crickets have revived.
Well, I hate bugs and we've had crickets in the house a few times.
The garbage disposal is on the blink. Good lord, now what? Guess the house will just fill with garbage. (Hmm...I lived for 45 years without a disposal, so how come I feel it's a major problem?)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Another quiet day yesterday, aside from a big mix-up with jury duty. I had to go to Toms River to straighten it out, but all is well now. Stopped on the way back at Shop-Rite and, among $45 worth of other stuff, bought eleven pounds of pork chops--!! Well, it was on sale at 89 cents a pound, what a bargain.
However, I got so sick of breading and individually wrapping each chop, plus I ran out of room in the freezer, that I gave four to Frank and Barbara next door.
Today, we went to the vascular surgeon, who said Pat's veins are a result of hardening of the arteries, but are not too bad. He wrote out a prescription for stockings, but Pat isn't sure if he wants to wear them. We also stopped at Community Surgical, as we're contemplating changing oxygen suppliers, from Apria, who have been very unresponsive lately.
When we got home, Frank had left a message, but was out when I called him back. Jack B. also called to say his golf date had been rained out and he had stopped over. He left a picture in the mailbox and it's just priceless. It's of Mom, Betty and me when we were about a year old, in the backyard at Newport Avenue. I had never seen it before, and when I called Jack back, he said it was in "the archives"--presumably, his mother had taken it. Anyway, I love it, and will make a copy for Betty.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Quiet and comfortable day yesterday. I had mounds of laundry, which I washed and folded, plus other chores. It gives me a good, satisfied feeling to be caught up on all the enormous load of duties I so selflessly and uncomplainingly perform every day--I'm just a saint, I guess.
Got calls from brother Larry and sister Betty, wanting to know how the gala went--I filled them in (see yesterday's post for details). Later, I took it easy, napping on the couch while Pat watched the Eagles get stomped. I then made a delectable chicken pot pie from the recipe I got from Mary Ann Van O. I'm thrilled to find something new that Pat likes and that isn't too complicated.
My cold's much better, although not completely gone. Boy, was that annoying, but at least Pat seems not to have gotten it.
Got a nice e-mail from daughter Ellen--I always enjoy hearing from her, either electronically or by phone (hey, maybe that IS electronic). Also got an e-mail from Alison with great news: She placed third in her category in the Seaside race yesterday--yay!
Today, I want to go to the big city--Manahawkin--to buy stuff. I'm a little worried by the fact that I'm on the jury duty list. I called last night and found I wasn't chosen, but have to do the same today. Pat has doctors' appointments tomorrow and Wednesday and I'm not sure what to do if I get picked. Think I'll call today and ask about that.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Well, I went to the St. James Gala last night and there were some positives--but lots of negatives, I'm afraid. The bottom line is I'm glad I went, but it could have been so much better.
A.C. was incredibly crowded. I hadn't been "uptown" on a Saturday night for years and, boy, was the traffic heavy and the going slow. Got there about 6:45--cash bar and appetizers were to be at 6:30--and stood in line another 15 minutes. Instead of dividing the alphabet into A-F, F-L, M-Z or something, there were three woman with the same list, a typically less organized system. Got in, found my table, and saw the F.'s weren't yet there, so I went to get a drink--that took at least 15 minutes, too. At that point, the only one I had seen that I knew was Lily McB. and Alice W. The F family got there and it was good to see Margaret, Irene, Eugene, and Tom, both of whom are monsignors.
The food was mediocre: a bag-type salad, about 3 oz. of chicken with phony grill marks, a teeny, tiny scoop of mashed potatoes and so-so frozen string beans. No rolls or butter or any other sides. Dessert was a little muffin-like cake with some kind of sauce. Well, the coffee was good. Of course, what I was looking forward to was seeing and chatting with my classmates and others I had known some 56 years ago; unfortunately, as far as I know, there was only one other '50 grad, George W. I did see--fleetingly--several of Frank's '48 fellow grads, but there was almost no time to talk. Only an hour was allotted to Happy Hour and by the time I actually got a drink (a Coors light, which was $5.00 and I gave the guy a $2 tip), dinner was being served. Accompanying it was an incredibly loud live band, so it was impossible to talk much even with the F.'s. The idiot musicians finally left for a break--not soon or long enough--when we were almost finished the main course. Okay, we could circulate and chat with people, right? NO! The program of presentations, talks, speeches, and jokes then took place and it was interminable--they introduced everybody but the wait staff, and it took more than an hour. Even worse, the sound was so bad, you couldn't hear every third or fourth word--well, maybe that was a good thing. By the time the talks were over, it was about 10:30 and the horrible band started again for dancing. I was exhausted, what with the hour and the bad cold I've been fighting, so I left, walking out with the Halpins.
Today, I read the program and found that I was listed as a member of the gala committee--geez, I didn't know that. I also didn't know they were selling ads and would have asked my sibs to go in with me. The program was--I'm beginning to wonder who in hell writes their stuff--full of both grammatical errors and errors of omission (they listed pastors and priests at St. James over the years, and neither Monsignor Moran, THE FOUNDER, and Father Duffy were mentioned!). Don't know if there were errors of fact, but I wouldn't be surprised.
It was really disappointing not to know who was there. I wish they had printed some kind of attendance list and/or asked people to gather under a banner for certain decades of graduation, maybe. They also might have recognized who had come farthest, and so on. The problem was, I guess, that the whole thrust here wasn't "reunion," it was "fund raiser."
But okay, I'm still glad I went. The other bottom line is that everybody I saw whom I had known at St. James looked so damn old! It's funny that I don't look any different at all, but the rest of them--wow!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Unfortunately, not only is my cold not gone, it's worse. Hope I won't be dragging for the big St. James gala tonight.
Lunch at the Van O.'s was so nice. Mary Ann served a delectable chicken potpie she made herself (I got the recipe), plus salad and banana cream pie. We had a good time.
When we got home, I ran a few errands, then fell asleep; Pat woke me about 6:15. He had just made himself a sandwich and I had for dinner half a butternut squash and a glass of cream sherry. (Well, I thought it was good.)
I did sleep well last night, and hope I might revive a bit today. I have to take my car for an oil change at 8:30 and am trying to decide whether to go for our walk with Susan or not.