Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunday was a terrific day all around. In the morning, walked the three doors down to the R.'s and we left for A.C. about 7:30 am. Leslie had made small signs for each of us--she and Dennis, their son, Joe, his wife, Pia, and me--to wear around our necks. Being a scrapbooker, she had a supply of attractive patterned paper and had glued pictures on them of little Leo (the reason we were walking for the March of Dimes) in various stages of his development.
The walkers--between one and two hundred, I'd say--assembled at the Pirate's Cove restaurant at Gardner's Basin, the very end of Absecon Island, on a veranda overlooking the water. Just as they do for Alison's races, organizers had set up tables with bagels, fruit, and juice. I had already had breakfast, so just took a bottle of water. All the walkers got tee shirts with "Walk America" on them, and I got a sweat shirt, too, for having over $175 worth of sponsors (thanks to all).
Boy, how the Inlet has changed! The angled boardwalk, new townhouses, and general sense of peace and prosperity made it a lovely place to start the walk. The weather was just perfect: It was cool, but not cold, and the sky was a canopy of blue with brilliant sunshine glittering on the ocean.
The five miles didn't seem terribly hard to complete. Of course, we weren't trudging along alone, so we talked and laughed all the way. When we got back to the inlet (it was 2 1/2 miles out, 2 1/2 back) a lunch of hot dogs and fruit was set out. Although it was only shortly after 11:00, we all had them and sat at tables outside. What a wonderful view--of the waterfront condos across the bay, the big, graceful bridge that goes to Brigantine, and the expanse of sparkling water--it was lovely to be there.
Pia wanted to go to the new outlet shops on Michigan Avenue, so we spent an hour there, and got home about 1:45. Called Betty, now home and sounding great, then made the zucchini casserole, happily using my mandolin to slice up the veggies. We left for Cream Ridge about 3:00.
There were just the four of us, as J., J., and J. had gone to the Shad Festivel in Lamberville. Alison made hamburgers for herself and the guys and I brought Boca Burgers and WW English muffins for myself. We ate early, about 5:00, on the deck over their big backyard.
After, there was a brief spring shower. Alison was sure there'd be a rainbow because the sun was still out and, sure enough, we were treated to a spectacular double rainbow right across from their house, over the sorghum field. It was so beautiful, we just gaped at it. It started to fade after about 10 minutes, but Mike ran in and got his camera and took a wonderful picture. I'll send it to those of you I think read my blog--it was such a treat for all of us.
We stayed talking on the front porch for another hour or so, then went home. Talked to Ellen, had my wine and popcorn, and went happily to bed--it was a great day.
Note: The only negative is that where my my feet meet my ankles in the front is very stiff and sore. Alison told me what muscle this is (can't remember) and said I should flex my feet, which I've been doing, but it woke me a few times. Took some Tylenol and will pick up Susan for our walk as usual--hope it improves.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Skipped the Barneget flea market in favor of a house sale in Ventnor. (Actually, I just like to go in old houses.) On my way down, brother Jim called, but I missed it. Called him back after I parked and got him and SIL Therese and the three of us had a nice chat. They were asking about Betty and I was able to reassure them she was much better. Told them she'd enjoy hearing from them and they said they'd call.
The house on Melbourne was one of the great old 1900-ish kind, with a center hall, a sunporch, big living and dining rooms, and less-than-ideal kitchen. I bought a few little things, including a real find: a small casserole, glaze over terra cotta in a rich bronze color. It's beautiful.
Alison called to ask if we needed help with anything over the weekend--we don't--and to invite us to dinner tonight. Great! I'm going to bring my zucchini/ tomato/onion dish so I get to use my new mandolin AND my new casserole.
Ran out after dinner (beef tips and string beans) to get what used to be called a "fanny pack" so I can carry some things on today's Walk America. Will go to the R.'s (3 doors down) about 7:15; registration's at 8 and the walk starts at 9:00.
Didn't Julianne the potatoes because I can't find a recipe for making them--maybe I'm misspelling it.
P.S. Has anyone else noticed the prevalence of boy-and-girl twins among celebrities? There seem to be so many of them, I'm convinced they get some kind of procedure (the "farming" and implanting of eggs, maybe?) to enable them to bypass traditional pregnancy and to insure one of each. Whaddya think?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Best news: Betty is much, much improved. When I talked to her, she said she felt better, and she sounded like her old self. Her internal workings are back in order, she was being put on a liquid diet, and she was talking about the possibility of going home today. She asked me to convey her thanks to everybody for their prayers and concern, prominently including the cyber-friends who read this blog. Yippee!
Enjoyed "Angel Street" last night. It's actually based on the old movie "Gaslight," with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, a murder mystery. The acting was superb, the set wonderful (a Victorian parlour) and there were even lighting effects. We picked up a friend of Leslie's in Seaoaks first, had second-row seats, and were pleased to have Ray and Barb, and Gary and Julie sit behind us. The only negative was that I didn't get home until almost 10:00--practically the middle of the night for me--and still stayed up to have my wine and popcorn. I did, however, finally break the "wake up at 3:00" pattern and slept until almost 5:00. Of course, I didn't actually turn off the light until 10:30, so I didn't really get enough sleep--but at least, I slept. Pat said brother Jim called to get news of Betty; I'll call him this morning.
I signed up to have my monthly Weight Watchers dues deducted from my bank account automatically. This isn't as much a bargain for seniors as for others because we pay a dollar less than the usual fee of $13 a week. On-line, it's $39.95 a month--still a savings.
Nothing going on today, which means I'll have to stir up some excitement. Nearby Barneget is having a town-wide yard sale so maybe I'll mosey down there. Or maybe for REAL excitement, I'll julianne some potatoes for dinner--yowza!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Betty sounds better, although she's has some problems. I did talk to her daughter, Carolyn, who said the doctor indicated she was going through a normal progression after the surgery. Betty said she may actually go home today, but Carolyn thought not. The very best news is that the doctor said there's no spread of the cancer, it's gone, and the only follow-up procedure is a colonscopy in two years.
Picked up Leslie and Mary S. for Weight Watchers and was pleased at my 2.8 loss. I'm glad to be back on the program as I always feel much better when I'm not slowing myself down with food that can kill me. Went to the store and got Boca Burgers (only 1 point). Used my new mandolin to slice a red onion for my salad, and loved playing with my new toy. I sliced up so many zucchini, the results filled a huge casserole. They were all perfectly sliced and all beautifully uniform--what a thrill! Now I'm looking around for more things to slice. Think I'll julienne some potatoes next--whee!
Hmm...I sent for a Wizard Chopper weeks ago and it still hasn't come. Naturally, they didn't overlook charging my bank account $19.95, but it's a legitimate company, so it think it just takes awhile.
Caught just the last few minutes of the "debate" of democratic candidates on NBC last night. Clearly, they had all been provided with talking points, elocution lessons, rehearsal of gestures, and all the other trappings of dishonesty by their stables of advisers. This is the practice of present-day politics. The only ones who made any actual sense were Kunich (anti-war and I think it's misspelled) and the old guy--can't even remember his name--who railed against the military/industrial stranglehold on this country. Of course, both can be dismissed as candidates right now because they're not physically attractive. Edwards seemed to me to come across as sanctimonious and opportunistic (well, which ones aren't?), invoking his wife, his father, and God as his chief moral leaders. Ho-hum. Yes, Obama is a good speaker and seemed passionate about his ideals, but it's hard to know if it was real passion or play-acting, his ideals or the ones calculated to appeal.
I think the present front-runners confirm that my party has a death wish. This country will not elect a black or a woman to the presidency in the next--at least--20 years.
I'm looking forward to going to a play--"Angel Street"--with Leslie and Dennis tonight. It's presented by our Little Egg Players, to which I used to belong. I had to withdraw because I just couldn't put the time in to it, but still love to see their performances.
Have been enduring insomnia for the past few nights--darn, it's annoying, but if that's all I have to worry about, it's okay.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Talked to Betty twice, briefly. I'm afraid she's now having a rocky time of it, but I don't want to go into detail. Thank heavens, she has friends who are with her. I spoke to two who are also R.N.'s, so that's good. I'll call her again today.
Finally got the sneaks at Boscov's. I bought Easy Spirit, which I've had before. I have a hard time getting fitted with shoes, as I have a very high instep, plus various corns, bumps, and bunions. For my size (about 5'3") I have big feet--wear a 9 W. Also bought myself a breadbox (we had a mousie in the bread drawer), a mandolin, and some low socks with little pink flowers on them. Why did I buy socks with little pink flowers on them? Dunno.
After lunch, got my hair cut and it looks good. Now I'm wondering if I should get another perm, scheduled in two weeks.
Went to the fashion show meeting at 3:00. I'm going to drive Kathy D., Pat H., and Barb H. to Penney's on Monday, May 14 and we'll try on and choose our outfits. The theme is "Casual Elegance"--geez, I hope I can find something that doesn't make me look more like everyday sloppy.
Pat is going to lunch tomorrow with Gentleman's Club members, Frank D. and Gary L. Ray can't go, as he and Barb are helping the Red Cross with a blood drive in Atlantic City.
Leslie sent some pictures of little Leo as he turned 3 last week. He's adorable and I was glad to see again the reason I'm participating in Sunday's Walk America for the March of Dimes.
Bought a new seasoning (Emeril's) called "essential essence," and put it on chicken legs with Pam, then baked them. Really, really good.
Okay--it's Weigh Day. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Talked to Betty and she sounds good--actually better than she did after her bleeding episode last month. She was up and walking after the surgery and had friends with her. Brother Larry called to get the latest info on her. So did Mary H. and Muckie and I was happy to tell them she's recovering well.
Instead of going to Bocov's, I took Pat to the DMV in Manahawkin to get his license. Before that, I made the Crystal Pickles and froze them. After, I spent 45 minutes or so weeding and cleaning out the front flower bed. I've got about a third done and will continue today, finding it much less of a chore if I break it down into increments. I put my gardening gloves and tools on what we call the porch (actually a front walk and "apron" area) so I can pick them up and work on it when I have some spare time.
Last night, I made the mistake of attending a "Friends of the Library" meeting--never again. Carol S., another Sun Rise Bayer and new member, was there and we sat together. This was a monthly meeting open to the membership and the public, and the room was set up with about fifty chairs, but she and I and three others were the only attendees. The 7 officers and the branch manager were at a long table in front. The minutes of the last meeting were approved without being read and the officers discussed upcoming programs for children and teens. They then asked for "new business," of which they had none, and I raised my hand.
According to their information piece, the mission of the "Friends" is to support programs and activities for children, teens, and senior citizens in Little Egg. I asked in a mild and courteous manner what programs for seniors were being planned. The response was an incredible outpouring of defensiveness, fury, and invective. The officers all angrily disputed the idea that older people in Little Egg would come out for anything, insisted I didn't understand the area, and made me to understand that I was stepping way out of line by even asking the question. The situation wasn't made any better by Carol chiming in to push a pet idea of hers: movies for seniors. I don't necessarily support the notion that older people will be drawn to the library to see movies, but I sympathized when the angry tirade she endured matched mine.
I was just floored by the vehemence of their response. Incidentally, all these people are senior citizens themselves. They look as if they range in age from about upper 60's to 80's.
Well the hell with it, as my friend, Doris, used to say (emphasis on the "with it." That's the last I'll go to the unfriendly Friends--think I'll write them an snippy letter, too.
Today, I'm going to a meeting for the models in the upcoming Woman's Club luncheon and fashion show, but before that, I want to run over to Boscov's to get those sneaks. My old ones are practically falling off my feet and I have the Walk America five-miler coming up on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

She's okay!
I talked to Carolyn about 4:15 our time (1:00 theirs) and Betty came through the operation well. I called later in the evening and Carolyn said she was all right, but in a lot of pain; there was a wait for the pain medication to work.
It was such a relief to hear she was all right, I really didn't ask a lot of questions. I know they did take out a portion of the bowel and got the impression the cancer hadn't spread, but I'm not sure about that--or whether they could know yet. Anyway, I'll hear more today.
Muckie called about dinnertime to get the initial news, then I called her back after I talked to Carolyn the second time. Our friends here responded to my e-mail about it with warm wishes--so nice.
Marge called to see if I wanted to go to lunch. Need she ask? Ha, ha, I'm always ready to go to lunch (or anywhere else--I'm a rolling stone). I suggested a new restaurant, the Garlic Grill, in Manahawkin. As we approached, we heard music and when we walked in, our ears were assaulted with an incredible din. We asked to be seated in the separate dining room; otherwise, would not have stayed. They did put us in there--all by ourselves--but we had to ask them to close both doors and turn off the speakers. We both had Caesar salad with shrimp--it was good, but nothing special and I noticed the portion sizes were smaller than at several other places I go. No matter, though. The important thing was being with friend Marge and talking away on every subject under the sun.
After I got home, I galvanized myself to start pulling leftover weeds and dead plants from last year. I wanted to hire somebody to do this scutwork, but it seems impossible around here to get anybody reliable, so I decided to do it myself. I had read somewhere the advice to wait until spring to clear out old plants and weeds, as they're much easily to get out--and yes, that's true, I was happy to see. We also have a lot of dead tree leaves that get stuck in the bushes and are more difficult to remove, but I'm going to continue today in this glorious spring weather.
Note: Apria, the sorry-ass company that delivers Pat's portable oxygen tanks (he uses a concentrator when he's home), didn't get here until after 9:00 last night. We've just about decided to drop them in favor of an outfit in Manahawkin. Of course, this is a big hassle and I have to get a new "script" from his pulmonologist in Absecon. Think I'll drive over there today on my way to Boscov's to get the sneaks and to Macy's to get a breadbox (long story there that I'm sure nobody wants to hear).

Monday, April 23, 2007

Had a good talk with Betty. I'm confident, and so is she, that she'll be okay. Of course, we're both still nervous about it; even assuming a good outcome, this is major surgery. I'll call Carolyn about 4:00 our time. That's an hour into the operation and I don't expect it to be over, but want to touch base, then will call again later. I'll add any new information to today's post.
I seem to spend a lot of time in stores. Yesterday, I went to a shoe store in Manahawkin to buy sneakers. I couldn't find a single pair that fit right and didn't look as if they belonged to a basketball player. Forget the spike heels if you want to add height: These sneaks all have such thick soles you can practically look in second-story windows. They also cost what you'd expect to pay for a ball gown. Think I'll go over to Boscov's and look for my good old Keds.
As requested, here's the recipe for Crystal Pickles:
1 quart (4 or 5) small (Kirby) cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp. salt
3 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
Mix together first 3 ingredients and let stand for 2 hours in refrigerator.
Drain well.
Add sugar and vinegar. Mix well. Mixture will be very sugary. The juice should cover the cukes. Put into containers and freeze for a few days. Thaw and serve.
It's that simple. I keep individual containers in the freezer and just take one out on the morning of a lunch or dinner to defrost (more liquid usually has to be drained off). You can serve these anytime, but I think they're especially good accompanying summer meals (in addition to the banana bread you already have in the freezer).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Remember that slinky black outfit I bought for my niece's wedding? I took it back yesterday. After trying it on, I realized that 1. I already have a similar long skirt and dressy top combo; 2. It didn't fit all that well--is a little big; and 3. It looks much more like winter than spring. I do want to wear a long dress or skirt, but will look for something in a lighter color and fabric.
Also took back a more mundane combo: a broom/dusting pan, the latter with a long handle. Betty had a similar one and I've coveted it for years. Annoyingly, the rubber lip kept coming off, so I exchanged it for another one.
I then stopped at a produce place and loaded up with red-leaf lettuce (I never buy ice berg), zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, tangerines, and onions. Also bought marble bread and chicken breast for lunches, plus kirby cucumbers. These are smaller and plumper than the kind you put in salads and I'll make Crystal Pickles with them, a delicious side dish I like to have on hand for company. (If anyone wants the recipe, let me know.)
It was a gorgeous day, 70 + degrees, and I threw open the windows--love the warm breeze wafting through. Gave Pat the pork medallions left over from our dinner party heated in gravy and I had baked chicken.
Talked to Betty and will call her again today--my 11:00, her 8:00. Today she has to stick to a clear liquid diet in preparation for her surgery tomorrow.
The only bummer of the day was that I went to Acme after dinner and Patrick called while I was gone. I called back right away, but missed him. I have a World Clock program, so will check Tokyo time and try to reach him later.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

What a terrific day yesterday! Met Helen and we had a great time catching up with each other's lives. Ordered curried chicken salad in pita bread, decidedly not a WW lunch, but ate only half and I'm okay with that.
The campus looks lovely. There are impressive new buildings, the trees and flowers are all delicately blooming, and there seems to be a general atmosphere of peace and happiness. I no sooner entered the grounds of the institution where I worked for 27 years than I felt a comfortable, "coming home" sensation. This happens when I'm on any college campus. I know how colleges work, I understand their mission, I'm aware of the ways they're different--but very much the same, too--from other places of employment. Maybe you retired nurses out there feel the same thing when you're at a hospital: it's your place and you belong there.
We had plenty of time before the party and Helen had to go back to work (I didn't--oh, joy!) so I wandered happily around, finding old friends, some of whom I had hired. I was delighted to run into former HR colleague, David P., one of those kindred spirits you discover occasionally, and we talked for a half hour or so. He asked me to call him so we could meet for lunch and I was glad to agree. Six or seven others stopped in the hall to chat and I was pleased to invariably be greeted with hugs, kisses, and cries of "Rosemary, it's so great to see you!"'s. (That's my best effort in setting up that sentence.)
But--aha! I know damn well if it hadn't been two years since my last campus visit, my appearance would have elicited shrugs and yawns. Always leave them wanting more is my policy.
The party itself was somewhat anti-climactic. I know how these things go, so didn't mind being a little late, coming in during the obligatory "she walks on water" tribute by the honoree's supervisor, John B. The lady in question, Mary Ann D., who's retiring after 35 years at Rider (fer cryin' out loud!) then stood up to deliver a long and boring speech, enlarded with every cliche in the book. Originality is not her strong suit, but a kind of innocent (or oblivious) sweetness is, and she seemed genuinely pleased to see me. My former secretary, Terri M., rushed over and we fell into each other's arms, then went out in the hall to talk and talk. I enjoyed more hugs and kisses with former bosom buddies (some of whom I can barely remember) then left to go back to my real life.
I said to David, "It's so great to be back on campus and the best part is, I don't have to stay here." Yes! That sums it up, that's what I want to convey, that's my mantra! It was a terrific time and a great career and I'm eternally grateful to Rider University--but now I'm free to be myself, free to pursue my interests, free to enjoy my new life. Amen.
Didn't get home until after 6:00. Adorable little granddaughter Vivian, now a young lady of two years and 9 months, then called to deliver the latest big news from Singapore: She went pee-pee in the potty and Mommy's going to take her to Miss Charlene (?) to get her hair cut. (Well, to grandparents, this is riveting.)
You know, it's wonderful not only to have so many riches, but to realize I have them.

Friday, April 20, 2007

We had such a good time last night. Judy, Roman, and Susan came promptly at 6:00 and we enjoyed a glass of wine and some nibbles for a half hour before dinner. The table looked beautiful, with the yellow tablecloth matching the flowers on the dishes. Our somewhat (well, more than somewhat) eccentric neighbor, Anne Mary H., had stopped in earlier to give me a "late Easter" gift. It was a pretty candle in a soft green, which I happily put on the table.
If I say it myself, dinner was superb. When I have people over, I always try to have everything possible done ahead, so I had put the salad (covered with a damp paper towel) in the refrig, had all the ingredients for the parsley rice measured out, and had the applesauce and rice ready to go. I wish I had thought to take banana bread out of the freezer--I didn't, but I don't think anybody missed it. (Whenever I have soft bananas, I make the bread--usually 2 loaves at a time--then freeze one for later.)
The pork was incredibly tender, flavorful, and easy to prepare. I would recommend this, whether for company or just family, to anybody. It's the kind that comes in a long, vacuum-packed case and you can get a variety of flavorings. I chose "rotisserie style" and barbecued. (Actually, the flavors are not strong, but the meat itself is so good, you don't notice). There are other brands, but I bought what I thought was the best, Smithfield, and yum, yum, yummy! Everybody had at least two helpings and there's just enough left to give Pat leftovers tonight. Susan brought a wonderful Boston cream pie and Pat and Roman each had two helpings of that. As for me, because I had gone back to WW yesterday morning, I admired it from afar.
Speaking of WW, the last time I weighed in was March 3. I was prepared to take my lumps by seeing the scale go up by at least 2 pounds, but guess what? It must be because I'm such a virtuous and deserving girl--the fact is, I lost a half pound! (Don't ask me why--may have been all the pretzels and ice cream I've been shoveling in.) Anyway, Leslie and I were delighted to see that the lecturer was Chris, whom we had had at the clubhouse last year.
After our company left last night (at about 9:00), I stayed up to load the dishwasher, wash the silver by hand, and otherwise clean up. I simply can't go to bed knowing I'll face all that in the morning. That meant I got to bed more than 2 hours later than usual, but I feel pretty good and will soon stop at Susan's for our morning walk.
I'm leave for the retirement party at Rider at about 11:30. Will first meet former colleague Helen for lunch at Simply Radishing, a restaurant in the Lawrence Shopping Center. The party isn't until 3:00, so I'll have time to hang out and chat with old friends beforehand.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Pat and I were planning to go to the DMV yesterday to renew his license, a process now a major hassle in this benighted state. You have to go in person and bring several forms of identification. I had gotten his from the safety deposit box and gone there the other day to be sure we had everything. We were going to go after lunch, but Pat didn't feel well and I suggested we wait. He agreed, and promptly fell asleep (in the living room) until almost 5:00. I'm still a little concerned, although he seems okay now (okay for him, that is). On May 8, he'll have yet another cancerous growth removed, this time from his arm. Poor Pat, there's just no end to his medical problems.
Talked to Betty in the morning and Alison in the evening--always good to touch base with them. Told Betty about my newly-bought tablecloth, a beautiful shade of yellow with tulips kind of impressed into it. It will pick up some of the flowers on my summer tableware (yes, I change with the seasons). It was creased from being folded and packed, so I took it to the cleaners to be pressed. I always do this with tablecloths, lazy slut that I am, and I don't care who knows it. (After all, I wash them myself.)
For our little dinner party tonight, I'm serving pork roast, parsley rice, baked potatoes, peas with mushrooms, and applesauce. For the wine, I have both Merlot and Pinot Grigio; Susan's bringing dessert. I don't like to have very elaborate stuff for appetizers, so will just put out Goldfish crackers and grapes.
Hey, guess what topic I've gotten interested in? Oops--scratch that and substitute, "Guess what topic in which I've gotten interested?" Oh, the hell with it! It's Elvis Presley, that's what--or who. Have been listening to his biography in the car, and now have borrowed some CDs of his music. He seemed a kind of boy-man, childish and petulant in many ways, but as most people are, full of complexities and nuances.
People, in all their variety, are endlessly fascinating to me. One of the ancients wrote, "The proper study of mankind is man" and I think that covers it.
Flash! I'm going back to Weight Watchers this morning. Leslie and I decided to go and I'll pick her up for the 10:00 meeting. Will report the bad news tomorrow--uh oh, wrong attitude. Am delighted that I'll be back in the groove and am looking forward to following the program. (Yeah, uh-huh, sure I am.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Got the dining room table cleared of the hundreds of photos--unfortunately, I don't have them in order, but at least packed them in shoebox-sized containers and put them in the garage. (Yes, I'm back-sliding, but I swear I'm going to turn my attention to them again when I have time...I am, I am....)
Darling Dennis came over to discuss the built-ins. He had earlier proposed that we have a high piece (like a bookcase, but deeper, for the printer, fax machine, and so on) on the end that would start above the heat register. However, he's now concerned about it not being anchored properly, so wants to move the register to the ceiling and start the piece on the floor. It's a lot more work for Bill and him (he insists it's no big deal), but there's no extra charge and we enthusiastically agreed. I was happy to hear him repeat he'll bring over a final sketch before they start. He'll order the appropriate pieces today, but it will take up to four weeks for them to come in.
Had (bought made up) sweet and sour chicken for dinner and boy, was it delicious. Pat liked it, too--a Little Egg miracle--and we had a good meal.
I've been wanting to break from my routine of plopping down after dinner and watching television with my wine and pretzels--but then, alas, my ice cream or cookies--and have decided to go out somewhere after dinner. Last night, I went to the library and enjoyed just sitting and reading.
The Virginia Tech story is so dreadful. What's weird is that after the media get hold of a horror like that, it turns into something else. It's a show or a story; it's entertainment. It's no longer simply a twisted, sick individual who murders a huge number of innocent students and employees--it becomes a scenario put on for our enjoyment. How quickly--immediately!--the networks came up with a caption: "The Massacre at Virginia Tech" and how smoothly they slide from reruns of "Scrubs" to coverage of the murder scene. Oh, I'm as guilty of anyone else of the voyeurism needed to watch the stuff. Imagine the feelings of their families to have the people they love now be "celebrities" in death.
Another thought: Last night Keith Olberman was courageous enough to make the point that a dreadful number of young people--so very similar in their hopes and dreams to the students at VT--have been killed in the middle east. How is it we don't recoil with the same horror and grief we do for the college shootings? Is it last year's sitcom?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

They made it!
Alison and Mike both successfully completed the Boston Marathon, having run 4 hours and 33 minutes and 4 hours, 1 minute, respectively. (The winners came in at 2:14 and 2.29.) We were able to track them throughout the race by way of the BAA web site and e-mail alerts. Alison called about 5:00, elated at their accomplishment. She said her time was actually a half-hour slower than her "personal best," but she didn't care in the least. It turned out that, after all the frantic bulletins and hand-wringing, the weather wasn't bad. The rain slowed and later stopped, and it was warmer than expected. Alison talked to me, then to her Dad. They'll start home today, tired and sore, but elated. Only hitch was that she fell over a marker and got a small cut on her face, but--of course--got up and continued running. That's my girl!
Good friend Leslie called to find out how they did--what a sweetie.
Earlier, I had a nice long chat with Betty. Her surgery is scheduled a week from yesterday (April 23) and I think she's ready for it--not sure I am, though.
It was raining and windy in the morning, so Susan and I did the "Walk Away the Pounds" three-miler at the clubhouse. It felt good to use the weights again. Later, I went to Home Depot and picked out the pulls for the study built-ins. Dennis will actually buy them (it's part of the cost), but he wanted me to get some to show him, then I'll return them.
Our oven is acting up. On advice I found on the Internet, I bought a thermometer and set it at 350; after 45 minutes, it had risen to only 300. Must need to be re-calibrated. Pat got the book out and, I hope, will fix it today. Otherwise, I'll have to make something in the crockpot for our little dinner party on Thursday.
Have a doctor's appointment today at 9:45 (I assume she'll put me on Lipatore) and Pat has one at 11:00 at the podiatrist's.
Later: I can't seem to get into my "comments" section of an earlier post, so will answer Pat's questions here: 1. Not sure what A. and M. wore for the marathon; will catch up with her again soon; 2. I think the boots for "Eyes Wide Open" were assembled orginally by an organization formed for that. Our group will be picking them up in Newark. The Friends web site has more info on this. 3. Now I can't remember if you had other queries--sorry!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Picked up Leslie and went to the Friends' Meeting House in Absecon to attend a planning session for the "Eyes Wide Open" project. This is an exhibit of 52 pairs of boots representing the New Jerseyans killed so far in combat in Iraq, an effort to clarify the human cost of war. (The hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed are not represented, which is of concern to me and others.)
A guy was there who had helped organize the 2004 exhibit in Philly, which included the dead from all states. He said it was a stunning display. Of course, there weren't nearly as many boots then as there would be today (and more--oh, yes, many more--tomorrow).
Leslie said Dennis would talk to American Legion officers in Little Egg (he's a member) about bringing the exhibit there. I'm going to contact our local park to ask about that venue. Others will ask permission to bring the display to the A.C. boardwalk over the fourth of July. (For more info on this, go to the American Friends web site and look for "Eyes Wide Open.")
It rained and blew a lot yesterday and is continuing now, but hey--it's early spring and this is the norm. Of course, the television morons promote it as the storm of the century. They cleverly intersperse "news" of places that are actually experiencing heavy weather with local info, trying to give the impression the entire planet is under siege. This is the usual inane attempt to promote fear--of storms, of terrorism, of dust bunnies under the bed--so people will cower behind their doors and leave the neocons alone to plunder the world.
However--torrential rain is predicted for Boston and today is THE DAY. Called Alison about 4:00 yesterday; she and Mike were deciding what to wear and take for the race. She said their hotel is full of runners, so it's very convivial. They had breakfast with several of their fellow crazies, then attended the "Expo" and are having a great time. Hope they still feel that way this afternoon when it's all over.
Talked to Ellen, who had sent pictures of the Easter gathering at Carolyn's, plus the paintings she did as part of her art project. They're terrific and she may even have a few framed and hang them.
For out-of-staters: We have the dubious distinction of being neighbors of the guy responsible for our governer's serious injuries. Yes, he's a Little Egg Harborite who was driving the red pickup and lives within walking distance of us. However, I understand it was a sheer accident and he won't be charged with anything.
Today, I had intended to go to a "tax day" peace vigil in Northfield, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's postponed because of the weather. I kind of hope so, as I like being cosily at home on rainy days.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Invited Susan to come for dinner on Thursday while Walter's in Canada (he's a native of Ontario). I'll invite Judy and Roman, too, as we've been to so many parties at their house.
Oh, gentle reader, do you think this urge to hospitality just springs from my warm and loving heart? Do you trustingly assume I don't have an ulterior motive for this neighborly gesture?
Don't be funny. This will force me to clean off the dining room table, still covered with loose photos to be sorted, and to do something--what?--with the stacks of framed pictures piled on the beds in the guest room. Well, maybe I could just close the, Rosemary! That's a temptation you must resist! This is my golden opportunity to GET RID OF THE CRAP and I must seize the moment.
Will keep you posted.
Nothing much went on yesterday except for a gift I received in the mail. Every time I think I don't really live in Bazarro World, something like this happens: Atlantic Imaging sent me a picture of my living heart!!
In full color!! Suitable for framing!! The note with it says--I swear, I'm not making this up--"Enclosed please find your souvenir image, compliments of Atlantic Medical Imaging."
Oh, joy! Oh, happy day! You never know how bereft you've been until you get a picture of your nice, plump, beating heart, full of spongy scarlet flesh, veins snaking here and there, throbbing with blood--AAGH!!
As my mother-in-law used to say, "It's a great life if you don't weaken."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dennis came over and we nailed down plans for the built-ins in the study. Along one whole wall, he and his partner, Bill, will install shelving, a running desktop, cabinets, and drawers. We have other neighbors who have had this done; it looks great and will keep organized all the mounds of records, files, and other paperwork about which my life revolves, (See? I didn't end with a preposition--aha!)
I chose white cabinets (actually, similar to my kitchen cabinets), with wainscoting on the back wall. There'll be room for the printer, fax machine, and all the other junk I seem no longer to be able to live without. In addition, there will be plenty of shelving for books and pictures. Pat and I think the cost we agreed on is fair--maybe more than fair, but I hope not--and are anxious to see it started.
After the business part of our talk, Dennis and I discussed current affairs, deploring the Imus thing and the scourge of prejudice itself. You can dislike individuals--and oh yeah, there are plenty I find tiresome--but to assume negative traits about people globally is not only immoral, it's stupid.
Talked to Alison last night. She and Mike skipped their usual Friday night hike in order to conserve energy for the race. They're leaving this morning and will stay over in Boston until Tuesday. We're all hoping the predicted storm (Northeaster', blizzard, or who knows what) will stay away. They'll have chips in their running shoes (heaven forbid I should call them "sneaks") and I can track them throughout the race. I only hope, hope, hope the damn storm won't come, that they won't accidentally fall in a manhole, and that they'll finish.
Brother Jim called last night. His daughter, dear niece Chrissy (whose wedding I'll attend next month), either misread "angiography" for "angioplasty" in my previous entry or Jim thought she had said I had had that procedure. Anyway, he called to see how I was--what great sibs I have!
Just ordered three books from Amazon: the newest Dionne quint one, How Doctors Think, and another on what really makes us happy (can't remember the name. but like the concept).
Now I must go and get Pat's morning things out, then pick up Susan for our walk. I slept so late--until 5:45--that I feel I don't have my usual jump on the day. Obsessive? Well, yeah, that could be, but who said I wasn't?

Friday, April 13, 2007

After the angiography test, I donned my domestic goddess hat and puttered around the house. Did several loads of wash, put away the Easter decorations (thanks to my purging, they fit easily into one modest container), then finally turned my attention to the resume of an acquaintance I had agreed to critique. I'm happy to rev up my HR expertise--such as it is--for people I know and I had received this resume via e-mail a few weeks ago. For some reason, I kept putting off examining it, but when I finally did yesterday, it became absorbing. I wrote out a full page of comments, ideas, and suggestions, and sent it off. Hope it helps.
Leslie said she's going to start a blog--great!--and on Sunday, she and I are going to a planning meeting in Absecon for the "boots of the fallen" project. Her handsome groom, Dennis, is coming over this afternoon to discuss our personal project--the built-ins (desk and cabinets, etc.) we're having him install in the study.
Called out for dinner last night--veal parm for Pat, spaghetti for me. Later, happily sipped my wine, then went to bed early, having tossed and turned the night before. (Guess I was more apprehensive about the plaque test than I realized.) Slept like a log and feel good today. The cleaners are due, the house will be spiffy, and--and--and--
three days to Boston!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Greatly enjoyed lunch with Muckie. We again went to the Crab Trap in Somers Point--love that restaurant and so did my mother--and caught up on each others' doings. I took a picture of Muckie there and another at her house, then zapped them on-line to Pat McH. R. Pat had sent me some of her and Rich which, unfortunately, didn't reach me until after I got home. I'll send them to Muckie today.
I'm having that PT Coronary Angiography procedure done this morning, so must get dressed. Will add to this later.
Four days to Boston.
Later: Just got back from Atlantic Imaging. The test wasn't bad at all. They injected dye, gave me a squirt of nitroglycerin in my mouth (to expand the capillaries), and put me in the machine. This is a big doughnut affair and you only go in as far as your neck so there's no problem with claustrophobia. Altogether, it took only 10 minutes or so, but there was a slight hitch: The technician stopped before the last images and ask if I were anxious. Surprised, I said, "no," but she said every time I was slid in (or under), my heart rate increased so she wasn't sure if the doctor would want them done over. However, I tried to consciously relax and the pictures were okay.
Met with Dr. Dowe afterward and the upshot is, I do have some plaque and he "definitely" thinks I should be on Lipitor. Okay, I give up, I'll take it after I talk to Dr. Keiner. Dr. D. also said he thinks I should take a stress test. In fact, the plaque I have doesn't seem to be terribly bad, the hard plaque, that is, but he pointed out some soft plaque, too, and that is something to be concerned about. Without trying to pin him down (impossible to do with doctors), I got the strong impression that my heart isn't in terribly bad shape, but there is reason for caution (and medication to break up the plaque).
Just talked to Betty. She's relieved at making the decision to have the resection and so am I. She'll call the surgeon's office to reschedule and may go in next week.
May all be well.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Had a terrific evening yesterday at the Wellspouse dinner gathering in Manalapan. It was at the Java Moon and we had a cozy alcove away from the larger dining room, with great food (I had salmon) and good company. This wasn't a business meeting, but it included some useful tips and comments. Most important was the atmosphere of warmth and sharing; all the attendees care for loved ones with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses. Wellspouse is open to all caregivers, so the name may be a bit misleading, but it's descriptive in that the emphasis is on the needs and well-being of the caregiver--the "well spouse"--rather than the care receiver. All the attendees last night, seven women and three men, did care for spouses, who have a range of conditions from MS to mental illness.
It was a long evening for me. I went to Vivian's in Barnegat and her lovely daughter, Vanessa, 26, then drove us the hour or so to Manalapan. (Vivian had brought wine and didn't want to drive after imbibing.) Vivian's parents live nearby, so Vanessa visited with them, then picked us up after dinner; it was almost 11:00 when I got home. Great evening and I definitely plan to attend other gatherings.
Son Mike added pictures of his Vivian to her web site. These are from their most recent vacation in Cebu, the Phillipines, where they had a villa on the beach.
Guess what, all you fellas and girls in Cyber World? Daughter Alison's Mike (all these same names are confusing) has added something to their lives: bees. A serious environmentalist, Mike has decided to keep bees not only to pollinate his own fruits and veggies, but for their neighbors in Cream Ridge; he has two hives. Just got an e-mail from Alison saying the bees have arrived. She included a link with pictures, but it's coming up with a "can not display" message. I think the problem is a typo in the address and I asked her to re-send.
Mike's other environmental pursuits include the solar electricity panels he put on their roof (the electric meter actually runs backwards at times), his remarkable photographs of plants in the woods (thousands of them), and his extensive knowledge of botany and other aspects of the outdoors. Every Friday night, year-round, he--and Alison--lead their hiking groups on 10- to 12-mile treks through the pine barrens. They canceled only once over the several years they've been doing this--when ice on the roads made driving to the site too dangerous.
Five more days to the Boston.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The "caregivers' group" (in quotes on purpose) was again just a complete waste of time, with the "facilitator" (same as previous), Angela, as loquacious and boring as before. There was only one other person there, Andrea, also a non-stop talker and--get this--no longer a caregiver, as her 99-year-old mother died in March (probably just to get some relief from the noise).
Angela's ineptitude is mind-boggling. This "group" is supposed to meet every two weeks and when I remarked that I hadn't gotten the promised snail-mail notice about the last meeting, Angela cheerfully assured me that she had been away and her "assistant" (probably the aide who empties the bedpans) forgot to send it. She then had us put our names, addresses, and phone numbers on a sheet of paper. When I told her I had done that the last time, she said yes, but she asks everybody to write out all their information each meeting to use for "a list"--what!?
The rest of the session (scheduled for 2 to 4, but we broke up about 3:30, Allah be praised) consisted of a contest between Angela and Andrea about who could be most inane. I now know all about Angela's widowed father's deathbed confession that he had secretly married a floozie and the uproar that ensued when she took his ashes. Also learned about Andrea's 4 brothers being complete jerks who made her cash in her life insurance policy to bury their mother. (An interesting note: Both Andrea and her late mother were professional softball players ala that old movie with Madonna and Geena Davis.)
Aside from all the true confessions stuff, Angela spent a few minutes vaguely touting the program that encourages the afflicted to "take charge of their own treatment" by learning to deal with doctors, nutritionists, agencies, and so on. (I can just see my husband clamoring to sign up for this. Betty will know what I mean.) Caregivers are supposed to attend, too, then go back to their communities and "facilitate" their own programs to educate their neighbors--in a volunteer capacity, of course.
After that, it was back to urgent matters, such as Angela explaining the difference between her maiden name of "Fisher" (Irish, she said) and "Fischer" (German spelling) and how her sister always thought they were half German. I kid you not.
What's incredible is that it's obvious there's no agenda, focus, or--seemingly--even purpose for this whole sorry mess. Clearly, it's sanctioned by the hospital and, presumably, Angela gets paid (she's an R.N.). Was she assigned to this thing, or did she propose it? Does she get some kind of grant? Does she have to submit a periodic report (that should be the very least of her accountability)? Does she work otherwise? Does she "facilitate" any other "groups"? Does she have a brain in her head?
Tonight, I go with Vivian to Manalapan for a dinner meeting with the real caregivers' group, Wellspouse--looking forward to that.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Had a wonderful Easter at Alison's. Besides J., J., and J., (and little maybe J. in the womb), she had Mike's brothers, David and Brent, and Brent's partner, Stephen, so it was a nice group of ten. The food was great, with ham the centerpiece, and my calico beans went over big. For a first course, Alison served a wonderful butternut squash soup (must get the recipe). It was very light, not creamy or thick at all, and was just right for the meal. Even the color was nice--a pale orangy shade--and the taste was wonderfully flavorful, but very subtle.
Of course, we hid Easter eggs for Joely to find (inside, as the temp out was more like Christmas than Easter) and enjoyed his antics and talk. Big Joel called up the Social Security name web site and he, Jen, and I went through several hundred name listings, debating what we liked and didn't. They can't seem to agree on a name, but Jen is reconciled to "Jayden" IF it's spelled that way, and not "Jaydon." Alison suggested "Jamison" (oh, good lord) and "Tristan" is another possibility they didn't at least actively dislike. Weighty stuff, this.
Just as we got home, Mike called and we talked to him and adorable little Vivian, who told me she had picked up "a starfish 'n' a jelly fish" and thanked me for her Easter gift. She speaks very clearly and I'm not sure, but thought I detected an ever-so-slight accent--British maybe? They're still vacationing in the Philippines and were on their way to the beach; they'll return to Singapore today. Hope Mike adds pictures to her site when they get back.
Was pleased to hear via e-mail from old friend, Lynne, in Delaware. It seems she continues to read my blog and she sent me information on the Coronary PT Angiography I'll undergo on Thursday. New friend, Pat, in Virginia, did the same, and I carefully read both sites. I also found info on the doctor--David Dowe--who instituted the procedure at Atlantic Medical Imaging in Galloway, where I'll have it done. Now I feel comfortable about it, even if the "slowing the heartbeat" part still makes me cringe.
Today, I'll go to the Caregivers' group at Atlanticare for the second time to see if it's worth continuing. If anybody's interested in my reservations about this, see my blog of February 13.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Went next door to Frank and Barbara's for the dessert and coffee afternoon party yesterday and had a lovely time. Pat was able to come and enjoyed it so much, too. Barbara had a wonderful array of cakes, cookies, breads, cheesecake, fruit, and so on--all homemade. Little Harper, 6 months old, was introduced to the neighborhood and placidly sat on this lap and that without a peep of protest. She has about as much hair as my Alison had, meaning hardly any. Ain't got no teeth, either, but I assume all this will change.
Later, I was so touched: Pat said he was "going out" and I thought he meant to the bay, but he went and got me a beautiful big pot of daffodils for Easter. That would be a simple thing for anybody else, but he gets so short of breath when he moves around that it isn't simple for him. His gift meant a lot to me.
Got a nice "Happy Easter" e-mail from Ellen and one from cousin Marifran in Cincinnati. Ellen's going to Betty's daughter, Carolyn's, today for the traditional Gamble Easter gathering. We're going to Alison's--not sure what Mike and Paula are doing, as they're vacationing in the Philippines. As for Patrick, I heard from him yesterday and he didn't even know it would be Easter today.
Just looked at the calendar and saw I have something scheduled every day this week until Friday. That's okay as they're mostly fun things, including meeting Muckie for lunch on Wednesday.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Well, the doctor doesn't know what's with my hand, but gave me all kinds of tests (the non-high tech kind--"make a fist," "raise your arm," etc.) and she thinks it's nothing to worry about. As for the bloodwork, my cholesterol is still up and she's sending me for a newly-developed test called a Coronary CT Angiography. She said the doctor associated with it (he may have invented it), Dr. Dowe, addresses medical groups all over the globe. When I made the appointment (for next Thursday), I found I'll be a research participant, so this won't be charged to my health insurance. My ever-vigilant suspicion gauge went into alert mode with that, but I was assured I won't be a guinea pig. However, because I'm "research," Dr. Dowe himself has to be there--otherwise, a technician does it. I'll take a pill to slow down my heart rate first (geez!), then be injected with something or other (oh, good grief!) so my heart arteries will light up or show up or something. This will tell if I have plaque and if so, my doctor will prescribe medication; if not, I go on my merry way. (Talked to Betty and she never heard of the procedure--Pat, what about you?)
Good friend Dennis came over and changed our heater filter, fixed the phone in the garage, and did some other chores Pat can no longer do. What a gem! His Leslie and I will shortly attend a planning meeting for Eyes Wide Open, a project to display boots representing the number of people killed in the Iraqi war. There's also a "tax day" peace vigil in Northfield on April 15 and a vigil in Toms River on the 21st.
I looked at the web site for the Boston Marathon and got Alison and Mike's registration numbers. It's on April 16 and 22,500 are running. When Alison called last night, she said she had put us on to get periodic e-mail messages listing where they are in the race.
Jack B. stopped in to tell us about his visit to my brother Larry's in Miami. As Larry said, they had a low-key, but good time. Talked to California brother, Frank, too, so all the Byrne sibs (including Jack B.--he's an honorary sib) were covered except Jim and I'll get to him soon.
Hey, Pat, guess what? I joined the Mencken Society!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Uh...oh. Dee asked how I was doing with Weight Watchers and I'm compelled to tell the truth--I'm not. I stopped going, my eating is out of control, and my weight ain't goin' nowhere but up.
Okay, catharsis is good for the soul and I feel better. On to the thrilling saga of yesterday:
I went to Macy's and bought two blouses to wear one on top of the other to the retirement party on the 20th. It's just incredible how expensive Macy's is, but hey, they have nice clothes.
Called brother Frank in California and had a nice chat. He and Marybeth are going out with some 80+-year-old friends on Easter.
Sent an e-mail to Rider University, my alma mater and former place of employment, offering to donate the framed memorabilia I used to have on the wall in my office. (Rider was founded in 1865 in Trenton, NJ.) Offer was accepted and I'll bring them up when I go to a retirement party on the 20th.
My successor at Rider is leaving, so the job from which I retired--manager of employment--is open. If anyone wants to see it, go to and click on "faculty and staff," then "Human Resources," then "employment opportunities," then "search postings," then "search," and see the second listing down, "manager, employment." It's pretty accurate, aside from omitting the frustrations and stress, but that's true of any job.
Have a doctor's appointment today to discuss my bloodwork and the slight numbness/tingling in my left pinky to my wrist (not my whole arm).

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It was raining lightly in the morning, so Susan and I did the "Walk Away the Pounds" tape at the clubhouse. Later, it came down in sheets and I spent most of the day cozily at home. Did several loads of wash (how can two people generate so much--are we particularly clean?), got the preliminary work on the income tax done, and generally devoted the day to domestic chores.
Brother Larry called to ask if I were going to our niece, Chrissy's, wedding in May. I'm planning to if I can arrange things at home. It's in Washington, D.C. with the reception at the historic Mayflower Hotel. Would love to stay there, but Larry said rooms run about $400--gulp! He suggested another place and will look into it. I'm hoping Betty can go, and we can stay in the same room, but with all she has going on--a new little grandson and possible surgery--she may or may not be able to.
Talked to Betty and discussed the pathology report--there's more information on her blog. I told her I had picked up a local restaurant magazine and it had a piece on a guy who collects Zaberer's (the former A.C. landmark) memorabilia and has even "bought" the name. I think he's planning to resurrect it to open a new restaurant; sent Betty the mag. Betty said Z. himself is buried near our family plots in Laurel Memorial; his tombstone carries the restaurant's old slogan, "Minutes Away." (See why I love cemeteries?)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Quiet, but productive, day yesterday. I succeeded in sorting my two boxes of Halloween stuff and winnowing it down to one. Will donate the rest. Also emptied the last two of the (large!) containers with old pictures and am at the stage of tossing the envelopes they were in. It will take an age to separate and categorize them, but I've at least finally gotten to all of them.
Now I have to turn my attention to income tax. We've used the same CPA for 20 years, but he's up in Hopewell and that's about an hour and a half drive. I might do what I did last year: Ask him to get an extension (you can get one for any reason), then put all the info in an envelope and mail it to him. Last year, that's what he said I could do (Pat was in the hospital then) and it worked out fine, although I didn't get around to it until July or so and I really don't want to do it so late. I could also just get somebody around here, or go to the Senior Center where they have volunteers (I didn't work in 2006 and it probably isn't complicated), but for some reason, I never do that. Oh, I almost forgot! Ellen did hers on Turbo Tax and she's sending me the program to see if I can do it myself. Okay, problem solved, I'll just wait for that.
Viv and I in touch by e-mail. Besides the Wellspouse dinner meeting next week (it's in Manalapan--there, I remembered! Well, I checked), we're going to an all-day Caregivers' Workshop in May at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick. I'm also attending the Atlanticare Caregivers' Group this Monday.
The reason I like to go to these things isn't so much because I think I'll learn something useful--for Pat's conditions, I never do--but because I just like getting out and meeting people. That's the truth and I don't care who knows it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

BINGO--I found Sister Gabriel!
It took only about 10 minutes: I called Notre Dame, where the secretary didn't have a clue, but suggested I call Mount St. Mary in Watchung, the Mercy headquarters (Mother House?). I did, and was directed to an archivist nun. When I identified myself with my name and having graduated from HSHS in '54, she said she was an HSHS grad of '53! It was Sr. Elizabeth (Betty) O'Hara, whom I remember slightly; she's from Star of the Sea parish. We had a great time chatting--it seems she attends the class of '53's annual get-together in Frank Marandino's backyard. Frank M. was a good friend of my brother, Frank's, when they went to St. James. Sister is still very friendly with Margie Costello and Nancy Keebler. Members of her large family went to HSHS with all the McGurks, too, and I think one of them married a McGurk.
Anyway, Sr. Gabriel is a "Mercy Associate" which is why, I guess, they still have her information. Sr. O'Hara e-mailed me her name, address, and I'll forward it to you three grads I think are reading this.
(It's interesting how the mind works: I mentioned that I thought Sr. Gabriel's birth name was something like "Throckmorton"--it's actually "Thornton," almost a contraction of "Throckmorton.")
Had dinner with Viv last night at Calloway's and had a great time. In case anybody forgot, Viv is my Wellspouse friend whose husband has very aggressive MS and can move only one arm. He's writing a book (has an editor and everything) about this horrid experience.
Viv applied for a new job at Pinelands Regional H.S. right here in Little Egg (that's where we donated the scholarship and I borrowed the A.V. equipment). Hope she gets it, as she'd then be off when school is. She asked me to go with her to the Wellspouse dinner meeting in North Jersey next Tuesday, which I will. (Okay, senior moment--oh, I hate that stupid cliche--I forgot exactly where, but it's about an hour away.)
I called Muckie about finding Sr. Gabriel and had a good talk. She remembers Betty O'Hara well, and is also friendly with Margie C. and Nancy K. (maiden names).
Stand by to get Sr. Gabriel's address! (Well, if you read your e-mail before turning to my blog, you already did.)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Our visit with Bill and Regina was delightful. We got there about 2:00 and they served a great dinner of ham, fresh asparagus, hot rolls, and other veggies at 3:00. Because we hadn't had lunch, I was starved and, as the French say, "Appetite is the best sauce," meaning food tastes best when you're hungry--duh! Of course, our talking, laughing, and reminiscing was even more enjoyable. Gee, it's funny: The conversation seemed to keep coming back to doctors' visits, medications, and aches and pains, just as if we were old people. Odd.
B. and R. don't go out a lot and Regina worries about Bill's driving, but I'm hoping we can have them over. I told them I'd be glad to pick them up--or maybe I'll invite Pat's niece, Donna, too. She had offered to go get them before and she's about 20 minutes closer than we are.
Note to HSHS alums: Bill and Regina graduated from our alma mater and, in the seventies, R. was school nurse there for several years.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

BIG news: yesterday, I went out and bought clothes! I got a slinky black and white dressy outfit--long skirt, low-cut (for me, that is) top, and over that, a great "coat"--that I'll wear to niece Chrissy's wedding in May. Was considering wearing it to the retirement party for a former Rider colleague I'm attending in a few weeks, but it's too dressy, so I'll get something else. Also bought two bright, pretty spring blouses, one in green stripes, one in pink. AND, I found "leggings," which are like close-fitting pants. Leslie and I both like these and they're been hard to find lately. For my figure--the "apple" type, with slender legs and hips, tubby middle--leggings are flattering. (Got the stuff at Boscov's in Shore Mall--did it exist when you A.C. girls were raising hell around here?)
I called my friend at Notre Dame High School in trying to track down our high school teacher, formerly Sister Gabriel. She had no clue, of course, but suggested I call the school office, then the diocese, which I'll do. Otherwise, I'll call the order itself. My friend said there's only one nun left at Notre Dame; even the principal and other administrators are laypeople. Guess that's a sign of the times.
Talked to Betty, who was leaving for the weekend to go to...well, it's in her blog. She sees the surgeon next week; hope things can move along after that.
Looking forward to seeing Bill and Regina today and will pick up a bunch of daffodils to take them. Love flowers; love spring.