Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It looks as if Pat won't be home today, as the doctors want to confer or something. Just called him and I'll go in shortly. He sounded good and said he was doing pretty well. Alison is back from NH and visited him yesterday while I was there.
After, I went to Ray and Barb's Memorial Day cookout and we had a wonderful time. Walter and Susan, Frank and Barb D., Leslie and Dennis, and Anne Mary--all the Sweetwater regulars--came, and we talked and laughed a lot. Everybody said how they missed Pat--so did I--and we're all hoping he'll be back soon. It seems so odd to be at social events without my husband--as a "singleton" after so many years.
Just got my hair trimmed and will spend the afternoon at the hospital, then go home. I'm actually looking forward to an evening by myself, after accepting dinner invitations at friends' 3 days out of the last 4. However, if somebody should call and say "come over"--yeah, I will!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Pat much improved and was out of bed when I walked in yesterday. He was moved to a two-bed room, a very nice one with a lovely view of trees, grass, and an active purple marten house. I had lots of chores and errands in the morning, so got to the hospital about noon, stayed while he watched the Phillies on T.V., went out to get us both watermelon, then left when his dinner was served. When I got home, I had a message from Susan and Walter inviting me for dinner and, of course, I happily accepted and enjoyed it. Today, Memorial Day, will go to Ray and Barb's with other neighbors for barbeque at 3, so plan to go to the hospital early. I'm hoping Pat will be discharged tomorrow, as he's much better.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A discouraging development: Pat is back in the hospital as of Friday morning, via the rescue squad and ambulance. It looks like a flare-up of the pneumonia and he's back on antibiotics. About the only (slim) ray of sunshine is that they put him in nice private room with a window overlooking grass and trees. After a rocky first day, he was calm and cheerful yesterday and we actually had a nice time together. I went early, stopped for a Subway sandwich and had lunch with him, then went home to pick up some things for him, and went back until he was served dinner. I then left to keep my dinner invitation from Frank and Barbara next door--hamburgers on the grill. They're wonderful friends and so are Leslie (she and Frank surprised me by pulling out the weeds that had overgrown my mountain pinks around the tree in the front) and Barb H. Yesterday when I got home, I found three exquisite lavender roses in a little vase and a note from her on the porch. Of course, so many others in our little community are just as concerned and supportive. I'm constantly marveling at our good fortune in moving here. It's just incredible that three years ago, we didn't know that these people or this place existed. I'm beginning to think there's something to this "it was meant to be" business, after all.
Lots of phone calls yesterday: from daughters Alison and Ellen and siblings Frank and Betty--the California contingent--as well as niece Joannie and various friends. Sons Patrick and Mike continue to stay in close touch via e-mail and phone, too.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Had a great time at the SB Women's Club luncheon/fashion show yesterday. Went with Barb H., Susan, and two other friends, Lois and Pat. I had forgotten how nice Smithville Inn is, and want to have dinner there sometime. The lunch was good; I had salmon and they served twice-baked potatoes, mixed veggies, and mousse for dessert. Got home about 4:15 and went immediately to Drama Club rehearsal until 6. Just had a pick-up dinner of sandwiches, etc.
Our show is coming up soon--June 2 and 3--and still needs some tweaking, but is looking pretty good.
Tuesday, I made barbecued country ribs in the crockpot and were they good! Pat liked them and so did I. I want to get some chicken for tonight, and will probably bake in the oven.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It was so good to be with Vivian last night. As ever, we talked and talked and talked about our spouses (hers has MS) and our lives, but joked and laughed, too. The "dinner" itself was actually sponsored by a local chiropractor and started with a long, boring talk touting the values of chiropractor. Naturally, every malady known to man can be improved by the practice and naturally, there are no hard and fast statistics by disinterested researchers--it's all andecdotal.
We were served so-so salads, then "pizzettas"--plate-sized individual pizzas--and soda or iced tea. The food was mediocre, but the company was delectable--an enjoyable evening. When I got home, Pat was fine, having made himself ham sandwiches for dinner, and we had a bowl of ice cream together.
Nothing scheduled for today, I'm happy to say, so I'll put in the sunflower plant I bought yesterday. Tomorrow is the Women's Club fashion show and luncheon, and Drama Club rehearsal is at 4:00 because of it. We just got an invitation from Ray and Barb for barbecue on Memorial Day. Alison and Mike are going hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, so won't be here and I accepted for Monday with pleasure. Hope Pat can go, as he'll enjoy being out with friends again.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A quick note today; I've got errands to run, including buying an engagement card for dear niece Chrissy, and lots of phone calls to make, as usual. Pat doing pretty well, better than yesterday, which wasn't bad either, and, I fervently hope, not as good as tomorrow.
Had fish last night--flouder for Pat, salmon for me. Mine was frozen and was blah, although I cooked it as directed. Hate frozen fish; love fresh.
Am meeting friend Vivian at Francesco's in Manahawkin tonight for dinner. It's some kind of free affair, but you have to listen to a "health and wellness" lecture, she said. So what, I just like Vivian and enjoy talking to her about our spouses : Her husband has MS, a truly dreadful disease, mine has COPD and a variety of other ailments.
No scheduled plans for tomorrow--always a nice respite--but looking forward to the SB Women's Club fashion show/luncheon on Wednesday.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I think other attendees would agree that our residents surpassed themselves with the food at the International Dinner last night! It would be impossible to list everything, but the buffet included ham, meatballs, shrimp, pork, and chicken dishes, all homemade and combined with sauces and other embellishments. There were pasta dishes, 3 or 4 salads, several green vegetable dishes, stewed tomatoes with dumplings, and bread and rolls. The variety of appetizers included fancy olives and pimento in oil, little bites made with yummy items such as mozzarella cheese and prosciutto ham (we have lots of Italians in the community), and a corn relish. As for the desserts--oh! Cakes, pies, and puddings were offered, plus my fruit compote and some other fruit dishes. My choices (wish I could have picked them all) were a slice of sublime lemon cake, and a piece of pistachio cake that was green, so would be fun for St. Patrick's Day.
Ray and Barbara picked me up and we sat with Dennis and Leslie and Sunrise Bay newcomers Dolores and her husband. I forgot to bring anything to drink, so had a glass of wine and two beers that Ray had thoughtfully brought in a cooler.
The dinner lasted from 4 to (probably) about 7:30, but I left at 7 to bring Pat the platter I had made for him. This consisted of chicken drumsticks, ham, meatballs (well, he won't eat salad or veggies), all of which he devoured (we usually eat at 6) along with the bit of my fruit compote that was left over. He loved it all and topped it off with the slices of luscious cheesecake and delectable nut cake I also brought him.
Anyway, the dinner was wonderful and best of all was not the food, great as that was, but as ever, the company. Everybody asked after Pat and it seemed strange to be out at an affair without him, but he's doing pretty well. Yesterday, I was on the phone with California daughter Ellen and he went in and made his own lunch. That may seem like a small thing, but it's a big step up for him. True, it's one step, but one step at a time gets you to where you want to be...
Will hang out today and maybe get a few errands run--always depending on how Pat's doing, of course--and am looking forward to meeting friend Vivian for dinner in Manahawkin tomorrow.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Brought Pat home yesterday, noticeably improved. He's certainly better than he was when he went in the hospital and I think better than when he came out after the last stay in March. We both like his new pulmonologist a lot, who has suggested some hopeful avenues to follow.
Okay, the food thing: I'm going to our International Dinner tonight with friends (Pat unable to go) and am looking forward to it. Attendees all bring something and, judging from past dinners, the food will be marvelous. I signed up to make gingered fruit compote, and this horror happened yesterday:
Knowing Pat would probably be discharged, I made the syrup for the compote early. This consists of sugar, water, lemon juice, and--note that this makes the dish--candied ginger. Now, candied ginger is NOT crystallized ginger, which you can buy in any supermarket anytime. It's a seasonal ingredient--mine was left over from Christmas--and is hard to find even then. I was pleased that I had just enough for the syrup, and I snipped it, combined it with the sugar, water, and lemon juice, boiled it up according to directions, and left it on the stove--with a lid on--to cool. I have a cleaning service and they came early yesterday--okay with me, as I had to get Pat and that would be out of the way. While the cleaners scrubbed and vacuumed, I stayed it the study making phone calls, most concerning Pat's condition. (Believe me, when your spouse is chronically ill, you become a case manager whether you signed up for the job or not.) It occurred to me after 15 minutes or so that the syrup would be cool enough to put in the refrig, so I went into the kitchen to do that. Huh--the syrup wasn't on the stove--where was it? Looking around, I saw the clean pan on the counter--AAGH! The cleaners had thought it was a dirty pan left for them to clean and they had dumped out the syrup and washed it! Well, the curtain must fall on my screams of anguish--I really over-reacted--but the upshot was that the foreperson and the owner fell all over themselves apologizing, saying people sometimes leave pans to be washed (from the night before, on the stove, with a lid on??? Gross!) and they thought I had. Anyway, I'm just going to mix the fruit with a non-gingered syrup and I assume nobody will care, anyway.
I think my over-reaction was more about the general stress of my present life than the syrup loss. When things like that happen, especially after dealing with the V.A., the hospital, doctor bills, Medicare, and so on and on, it feels like a vast conspiracy against you.
I'm recovered now and looking forward to the dinner...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Pat is back in the hospital, so I may not be posting for some time. His condition has changed very little--that is, has not improved--and his breathing and lack of stamina continue to be problematic. Must concentrate on him now.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What I actually made for dinner last night was country ribs in barbecue sauce. I did them in the crockpot (my favorite appliance) and boy, they were tasty! Pat liked them, and so did I. In the cp., they come out very tender--the meat falls right off the bone, as they say, although in this case, there wasn't any bone, so it just fell off--so I must remember to add them to my repertoire.
Daughter Alison was over last night and we enjoyed seeing her. She showed us the medal she won for completing the Poconos Marathon on Sunday--and she qualified for Boston by three minutes. SIL Mike also did very well. They'll be down for Mother's Day this Sunday with, I hope, the J's, too.
Drama Club rehearsal today, then Ft. Dix for another blood test tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Wow--judging from the comments of yesterday, it looks as if I actually have TWO readers, not one. I suspect the mysterious other "anonymous" is somebody in Santa Barbara, California, initials B.J.
Slow, but curiously satisfying day yesterday. Went to exercise with Susan at 8, then spent the day doing housework and taking care of husband Pat, whose health is not good. Succumbed to temptation and got us meatball subs for dinner. Now there's a subject: I always prided myself on my homemade meals, often using fresh ingredients and spending a fair amount of time cooking and serving. After all, I'm retired and don't work outside the home, so that's me job, ain't it? However, a few weeks ago, I asked Pat what he felt like for dinner and he suggested we have store-bought stuff, so I went over to the Chinese place and got sweet and spicy chicken. (Pat actually ate some of it, but it was too spicy for both of us; next time, I'll make it sweet and sour.) A few days after that, he asked me to get a meatball sub and I did.... NOW, I'm entranced by the idea of simply getting dinner that somebody else made. Clean-up is so easy, too! Do I feel guilty? Nah. However, tonight I'll have a traditional dinner, maybe chicken, maybe pork chops, maybe something else. I know my legion of readers are anxiously awaiting knowledge of my choice, so will keep you posted, anon and anon II...

Monday, May 08, 2006

As someone who reads a variety of blogs every day, it annoys the hell out of me when bloggers neglect to enter for days at a time. Okay, I'm guilty myself, so I guess thousands of my readers will give up and never check me out again. For those loyal others (all one of them), I'm going to concentrate on the minor and inconsequential:
Went to the Ocean County Master Gardeners' Flower Show on Saturday with Barb H. and Susan--it was great. This isn't a show in the sense of exhibitions, but a sale, really: all kinds of great plants and at very attractive prices. It was a gorgeous day, sunny but fairly cool, and hordes of people were there although we went early. I got a nice-sized barberry bush, two purple and white flowering plants, and an interesting viny-type thing (that's the scientific name, "viny-type thing") that I was assured will have beautiful red flowers. Afterward, we went to Panini Bay--finally got there; see earlier entry-- for lunch and had a delightful time.
Inspired, I stopped yesterday at My Three Sons produce stand (owned and run by our former mayor, Ray) and bought a spectacular hanging basket of New Guinea impatiens and vinca, plus three geraniums. I'm also going to put in the heather plant Alison gave Pat when he was in rehab.
Hmm...the only problem I can see with all this is that I have to plant the plants; that's why they're called "plants" right? That's a drag, but it's supposed to rain today--for a change, I hope it does, so the ground gets soft.
A nod to the original reason for this blog: Last night, I made oven-baked flounder, along with oven-baked "French fries" and it was all very good. I bought country ribs for tonight which I might do in the crockpot, just adding barbecue sauce. I'm continuing to eat like there's no tomorrow, I'm afraid, and just can't seem to turn my attention to dieting. Well, I yam what I yam...
I have a doctor's appointment (routine) on Thursday, then we go back up to Fort Dix for another blood test for Pat. Aside from that, my usual exercise days, and Drama Club rehearsal, the coming week is free--good thing, as the following one is fairly busy.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Lazy weekend with not much going on. Phone conversations with daughter Ellen, brother Larry, niece Jeannie. Weather sunny, but too cool; hope it warms up soon. Actually went out and brought Chinese home for dinner on Saturday: sweet and spicy chicken, which Pat even ate. However, it was much too spicy for both of us; next time, I'll see if he'll eat sweet and sour chicken which I think he'll like better. Last night, made spaghetti and meatballs. Have been eating much too much at night and gaining steadily, I'm afraid.
Exercise today, though, and I want to get back into at least a semblance of eating sensibly. (Everytime I see the word "sensibly," I think of a stern, controlling, middle-aged woman with her lips pressed together. My sainted mother?) Well, I don't want to be sensible, I want to be wild.
As for "a semblance of eating sensibly," ever hear of alliteration, Mimi?
Okay, I'm rambling...