Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Happily, I was able to go on our little excursion yesterday and it was great fun. Barbara drove and about two minutes before we left, rain started to come down in buckets. No matter; we just waited ten minutes or so and started off. Lunch at Joseph's (at Renault Winery) was superb. I had romaine hearts with grilled chicken, which was de-lucious, and the presentation was elegant. It's hard to describe, but included a kind of "cup" made with toasted bread, from which the lettuce emerged. Barb and I had a glass of their wonderful White Merlot, Susan ordered Chardonnay, while Pat (Barb's sister) stayed with iced tea.
Pat is going through a divorce and is looking for a house so she can move to our area; Susan, as our own Sweetwater RE agent, is helping her. Barb and Susan found they have mutual friends from up north and we all discussed our parochial school backgrounds (the three of them in Spring Lake and other places upstate). Susan and I were treating Barb for her birthday and we did the same for Pat, as a welcome to Ocean County gesture.
Afterward, we repaired to Linwood to the model home. The charge was $25 to get in and we all bought $5 worth of raffle tickets, too (of course, it was all for a breast cancer charity). I liked it better than the one we went to in Ventnor last year, because last year's house was a beautiful, old, traditional one and the decor in these designer showcases tend to be all modern, so didn't "go." This house was fairly new. We all loved looking at the various rooms--the house is spectacular and very large, in an area of Linwood I never knew existed--and yes, the laundry room (see yesterday's entry) was terrific.
It was almost 5:00 by the time we got home. Made dinner, then soaked my foot, took a shower, and replaced the ointment and bandage. The skin the doctor had left over the lanced blister came off, but I couldn't help that. Am about to leave to pick up Susan for our walk--hope I can make it; my foot doesn't hurt, but is itching, and I'm "aware" of the bandage. The fact that it's on the bottom is just so annoying.

Monday, July 30, 2007

This will be short because I can't put weight on my left foot. (Come to think of it, I don't type with my toes, so why would that matter?) I have a huge--I think it's a blood blister--where the tick got me and it now hurts. I'm not positive it's a blood blister, but according to the Web, it looks like it. Will call the doctor in a half hour and assume I can get in there today. Darn, I hope this doesn't prevent me from going to Renault's for lunch today with Susan, Barb, and Barb's sister. We plan to go to a "designer house" in Linwood after, too.
Mostly hung out yesterday, as it rained for a short time. Talked to Alison and she said it came down in torrents where she lives, only 30 miles away. She and Mike were caught in it--seven miles from home and on their bikes! They made it home, thoroughly drenched, of course, to find that water had gotten in the laundry room, and Lulu was gone. The dumb mutt (well, actually, she's a cockapoo) had gone out her dog door. They went to look for her, still drenched, of course, but couldn't find her. Finally, she came straggling in, wet, shivering, and covered with mud, but safe and sound.
May update later after this damn foot is examined.
Later: Luckily, I was able to get into the doctor at 10:00. She looked at this huge thing on my instep and said it wasn't a blood blister--there was mostly fluid in it--and decided to lance and drain it. She said she wouldn't ordinarily do that with a blister, but because I couldn't walk with that foot, she would. She did it, took a culture to send to the lab, told me to soak it at least once, and preferably twice a day, and to dress it with neosporin. I told her I was supposed to go out to lunch, then to the designer house in Linwood and she said if it doesn't bother me to walk, no reason why I can't. Doc said she had just been at the Linwood house; she laughed and said she liked the laundry room best, it was so attractive, but functional, too. (I had been leery about going to a female physician--the big feminist, ha!--but I really like Dr. K. I was charmed by her mention of the laundry room; a male doc probably wouldn't be caught dead at the house, let alone notice the laundry room--yay, Dr. Keiner!).
She wants to see me again in a week.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Did lots of household chores in the AM, including several loads of wash. After Pat went to the bay, I suddenly decided to go to the pool, although I'm supposed to avoid much sun due to the antibiotic. It was extremely hot and humid and the water felt great (I wore a hat and stayed only an hour). Saw neighbor Johanna M. there, and asked about Lyme Disease, which I remembered she had a few years ago. Her experience was really scary: She found a large lump under her skin in a very private part of her body. She was sure it was a growth and called her doctor immediately. Turned out it was a tick that had been there for a long time and, of course, had infected her with Lyme Disease. She had headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms for days; also was so exhausted, could hardly get out of bed. I'm glad "my" tick hadn't been embedded and, I have no symptoms, so have no reason to think I got the disease. There is a bump where the tick was--not sure why--but the redness is almost gone.
Leslie and Dennis picked us up at 5:00 for an early dinner and we went to Calloway's. I had teriyaki salmon, and asked for another portion of string beans in place of potatoes. Les and I shared a carafe of White Merlot and the boys stuck to iced tea. Good time, great friends.
I had set the timer to call the Singapore crowd (they're 12 hours ahead of us, so it was Sunday, July 29 for them--Vivian's birthday), but Mike beat me to it. Vivian showed off her party dress--she looked adorable--and her thong-type pink sandals. I didn't even know they made them for three-year-olds, but she's usually barefoot, anyway, so I assume they were soon off.
(They don't seem to have ticks in the area, but they do have a "snake patrol" that drives the streets to find and snare the boas and others that occasionally show up. When I was there, I remember being in a park where the trees had signs that read: "Beware of falling snakes.")
Vivian held up the gingham dress, bathing suit and matching top I sent and said, "Thank you, Nana and Pop." Mike said they ended up with 36 invitees, because they wanted to include Vivian's classmates, and friends from their former place, plus the service apartment, plus the new place. Paula made a gorgeous "princess" cake Mike showed me on the video cam and they were renting a "bouncy castle" (I think the blow-up kind), as well as other fun items. Can't wait to see the pictures from the party.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

After a phone chat with Betty, ran over to Boscov's to get a toilet seat cover to match the three new bathroom rugs I bought elsewhere. All are black, believe it or not, but should look tre chic in the master bath. I stopped in the children's department and couldn't resist two little "onesies" for baby Tristan, soon to be born. One is pale blue and says "Drool is Cool" and the other is--incredibly--black and says "Handsome Devil" in firey letters.
After getting home, virtuous little wifie that I am, I ironed Pat's shirt and some of my tops. We're taking Dennis and Leslie to dinner tonight and I guess should be reasonably presentable.
As Pat was in the hall preparing to leave for the bay and I was in the kitchen, a large dark creature startled us by scooting across the room. It was a mouse--ugh! It went in the laundry room from whence, I fervently hope, it eventually escaped to the outside. That's what we get for practically living in the woods.
Last night, I attended the annual meeting of the Ventnor Historical Society, of which I'm a member. There weren't a lot of people there--about 30, I guess--but I spoke to George Wimberg and Monica Degnan, a friend of my brother, Jim's. Two women who introduced themselves as Gloria Brown and Jeanette Adams came up to remind me we used to play together. I pretended I did, but have absolutely no memory of either of them; Betty probably does.
I did, however, instantly recognize somebody I haven't seen for roughly 60 years: Madelaine (I think that's misspelled) Dougherty and her brother, Joe. We chatted for a bit and I found she lives in the same house she did when we went to St. James. I know she's a few years older; am not sure if she graduated with brother Frank or went to A.C.H.S. Joe may have been a cop in Ventnor--I think one of her brothers had been.
The speaker was pretty good, but he came from Pitney Village and went to Atlantic High and much of his talk featured A.C. and A.C.H.S., rather than Ventnor. I was sorry to have missed a call from Patrick on the cell, but it came in the middle of the guy's talk and I was sitting directly in front of him.
Didn't get home until after 9:00 or to bed until almost 11:00. I had seen Susan and told her I might not be up in time for our walk, and I wasn't! I actually didn't get up until 7:15!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Lots going on yesterday, and very enjoyable stuff. After my usual walk with Susan, picked up Leslie at 9:30 for WW. Got home about 11:00 and made myself "breakfast" (I don't like to eat before I get weighed). Had no sooner finished than Marge called to see if I wanted to go to lunch. (I may have turned down a lunch invitation in 1974, but that was the last time!) Of course, I said, "yes" and immediately called Leslie because we were planning to go on a veggie run to Santori's at 1:00. I switched that to 2:00, picked Marge up at noon and we had a good time. Ordered Caesar salad, ate a third of it, and took the rest home.
After dropping off Marge, I made and wrapped Pat's lunch, then picked up Leslie. At Santori's we both loaded up the back seat with every green, red, and orange veg known to man, plus feta cheese, bread, and oil.
Got a few chores done before I made up Pat's dinner (leftover barbecued ribs and scalloped potatoes) for him to just slip in the microwave. Ate a dish of broccoli and another third of the Caesar salad (I still have a third left), then zipped off to Wall Township for the kiddie run.
Drove up just as Alison, Mike, and Joely, along with Mike's son, Rob and his family--wife Lisa, Lindsay, 4, and Lucus--piled out of Rob's van. It was much fun with the kiddies, all of whom call Alison "Nana" and me "Mimi" and the two older ones (Lucus isn't quite three) proudly ran the half-miler.
Got home close to 9:00 to have my usual late-night treats (to me, 9:00 is about as late night as you get), and didn't get to bed until almost 10:00 (practically the middle of the night), but slept soundly and woke refreshed.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Susan and I made a date to take Barb H. for her birthday lunch on Monday. Her sister is staying with her and she'll come, too--that should be fun. We're going to Joseph's at the Renault Winery, where Alison and I ate last month.
Otherwise, quiet, but good, day. I had read that you can put a cup of ammonia in the oven overnight and it softens the gunk, so is more easily cleaned. I did it and it works! "But," you say, "the house is less than 4 years old and you have a self-cleaning oven, Rosemary." Yes, but there's something wrong with the thermostat and I have to turn it to about 500 to get it to an actual 400, so I thought it may not get hot enough for self-cleaning. I'll look into how to fix it one of these days, but in the meantime, wanted to clean it and it was relatively easy.
Stopped at the police station to talk to the transportation officer about petitioning to have a blinking light nearby changed to a regular one. I wanted to find out if I could contact somebody at the county about it. The officer was very cordial and told me that the township has been trying for years to get the light changed, but there are stringent rules about it. Of course, people think that a certain number of people have to be killed before they'll change, but that isn't the case. It's true, though, that they look at how many accidents occur there, but they have to be accidents that wouldn't happen with a regular light.
Will go to Wall again this evening for the adult race and kiddie run, assuming Alison, Mike, and Joely are going. WW shortly; will report in with results.
Later, After WW: I went up a bit, by 0.6--about 7 ounces, so I'm at 176.8. Not sure why, but I'm okay with it; I think it's just a natural adjustment or something.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Warning, Double Post: I somehow managed to write an entry, thought I had lost it, wrote another, then it showed up again! The hell with it, I'm leaving both on and my readers can just get eyestrain.

Oh, darn, darn, darn! (If I wasn't such a lady, I'd write, "Damn, damn, damn!") I posted to the blog before I went out for our walk and, somehow, managed to delete it--aagh!
Okay, this'll be truncated: Took Pat to endocrinologist in Ventnor, who adjusted his insulin. He gave the diet lecture, to which Pat was completely and utterly unreceptive, as ever. I guess in frustration, Dr. S. asked, "When should I see you again?" and Pat replied, "In twenty years." We settled on six months.
Pat eats just exactly anything he wants, and goes very heavy on the sweets. Even for somebody without diabetes, his diet is about as unhealthy as you can get. Never eats salad ("I don't like lettuce") or vegetables aside from peas, corn, and baked beans, all of which are much more starchy than "greens." The few veggies he does eat he regards as a kind of garnish just to pretty up the plate; he sure as hell doesn't think of them as food.
I no longer nag Pat to improve his diet. My thinking is this: If he started adhering to a low fat, low sugar, veggie-rich diet TODAY, it wouldn't add one hour to his longevity. He has end-stage emphysema and food doesn't go to his lungs. Sure, as his primary doctor remarked, "If you lose thirty pounds, it might make your breathing easier." And if the Bush twins enlisted, it might make people more agreeable to the war. Ain't gonna happen.
I'll continue to buy the Tastykake, pudding, and chocolate-covered graham crackers Pat loves, so he can at least get some pleasure out of life. He is 76 years old and has outlived all but one of his six siblings. I'm not suggesting his dreadful diet has helped him do that; it's probably simply the luck of the draw, but clearly, he didn't die young with a prognosis of sugar, either.
Well, I'm out of my slump and feeling good. (Hmm...when I write that, I think of the French saying: "Good health is unconscious of itself." If I were really "feeling good," would I notice and remark on it?) Oh, for heaven's sake, Rosemary, quit being so introspective!
I'm supposed to stay out of strong sunlight, but generally it hasn't bothered me. Foot still red and it itches ferociously, but I trust it will improve.
The endocrinologist adjusted Pat's insulin, as his blood sugar goes very high certain times of the day. He then attempted to persuade Pat to adjust his diet--ha! Pat made it very clear that ain't gonna happen and Dr. S. finally said, "Well, when do you think I should see you again?" Pat's response? "In twenty years." We settled on six months--we'll see what's going on in January.
I actually wore a hat during our morning walk because of the dictate to stay out of the sun while I take the antibiotic. Other than that, I pay little attention, as I don't get a lot of mid-afternoon direct exposure, anyway.
I was going to go to a rehearsal tonight for the Little Egg Players show, but Frank said the usher coordinator wouldn't be there, so I decided to skip. I think I'll just be handing out programs and so on, anyway.
Looking forward to lunch with Marge one of these days. Must remind Susan to suggest a day to take Barb to lunch for her birthday. Will go to dinner with Leslie and Dennis on Saturday. Aside from that, it'll be a few weeks before activity heats up.
Feeling good. Staying healthy. I have no idea if I've lost more weight--WW tomorrow--but am serene about it one way or the other.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pat enjoyed lunch with Ray at Beverly's and Marge and Fred accepted my invitation to the play on August 3. I volunteered to "work" there the following evening, handing out programs and signing people up to receive the Little Egg Players newsletter. Wish I could have continued being an actual member of the group, but I just didn't think I could devote the time to it. Still want to keep my hand in, though, even in such a peripheral way.
Pat's geezer friend, George, caught a big snapper turtle the other day and Pat suggested he sell it to a restaurant. George called last night to report he had done that--to a place near New Gretna--and they paid him twenty dollars, even though they already had a number of them. I asked Pat to find out where the restaurant is, as I love snapper soup myself.
Started on the antibiotic, but there's no change so far in my foot. Can't be exposed to strong sunlight (I understand the skin becomes photosensitive and you can get a burn), so will wear my straw hat for our walk.
Borrowed "Our Endangered Values," by Jimmy Carter (he also reads it) on tape and am listening with attention. It was a best-selling book I had meant to read, although I'm not religious and he makes no bones about being a committed fundamentalist Baptist. I surprised myself by finding it absolutely absorbing. I strongly recommend reading or listening to his thoughts, especially to those who are religious. His words clearly state his beliefs and remind those who follow Jesus, how far our leaders and their supporters have deviated from His path.
Hey, guess what day it is? Endocrinologist day! Will take Pat down to see Dr. S. in Ventnor this morning.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'm not going to pretend I wasn't down in the dumps yesterday afternoon, because I was. I felt lonely and sad--no specific new reason, I just did.
However, things started looking up in the evening (talking to Ellen? my gorgeous, delicious, ruby-colored glass of Taylor Country Red?) and today, I'm pretty buoyant just back from the doctor.
She seemed as happy as I am about my blood work and there was even good news about my numbers concerning the liver. Whatever the hell that means, I don't know, but she said they were very good.
As for the foot, she looked, clucked her tongue, said there's an inflammation, but it's hard to tell about Lyme in that location. It doesn't have the characteristic "bulls-eye," (which isn't always present, anyway), but she prescribed an antibiotic to be on the safe side.
Dear friend Ray called to ask Pat to lunch and just came to pick him up. That's so good for Pat, difficult though it is just to walk from the front door to the driveway. They'll probably go to Shirley's Luncheonette on Radio Road where everybody hangs out (well, the older than God gang, anyway).
Invited Marge and Fred to go to the Little Egg Players' original play, "Tony and the Heiress" on August third and they accepted. Made an appointment to get my hair cut, and think I'll get myself a nice piece of salmon for dinner. Right now, I'm finishing up part of my lunch, a delectable half of acorn squash. Will probably have my zucchini casserole later.
Hey, I'm feeling fine now.
Absolutely nothing, blah day yesterday. Aside from phone calls to Betty in the morning and from Ellen in the evening, just nuttin' much going on. Puttered around doing this and that, took a drive, and generally lazed around. My foot--where the tick was or is--is bothering me and even woke me last night because it itched so much. Now it's sore. Glad my doctor's appointment is in a few hours--will update then.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Had a ball yesterday with Joely. Mike had another botany class, a field trip this time, and would be out until dinnertime, so Alison brought him down. They got here about noon and we packed a lunch, then headed to the pool on foot. Joely can't swim yet and even the low end is over his head, but Alison brought "swimmies" (J. laughed when I called them that), inflated things that go on his upper arm. He also used a "noodle."
He just loves the pool. He was in from the time we got there, out for ten minutes to eat, then back in until he was forced out at 3:00 (children can't stay past then).
Joely is now a real chatterbox. He charmed the other residents, paddling around--even to the deep end and back--and pointing out that the foot marker on the side of the pool was the same as he was old: "5." He told me he wanted to move here and when I said he could in fifty years, he nodded seriously and said, "Okay." I was charmed myself when Alison was mistaken for Joely's mother and I for his grandmother. I always enjoy the surprise when I tell them I'm actually grandmother to Joely's father.
The only untoward thing that happened was this: The night before last, I noticed a slight soreness on the bottom of my foot, looked at it and saw what I believed to be a planter's wart. It was mostly off, but hanging on by the edge. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, so thought I'd ask her for a referral to the podiatrist. However, when we were all in the pool, I casually showed Alison and, experienced outdoorsperson that she is, she said, "That's a tick." Ugh! It was! She plucked it off, got out of the pool, and dropped it on the other side of the fence. She thought she had gotten the whole thing and I thought that was the end of it, but the spot is now red and sore. I'll show it to the doctor tomorrow.
After we hauled the little water boy out of the pool, we went home and dressed, then took him to the playground, and he and A. went home from there. A. said they might run again in Wall on Thursday; if so, I'll drive up to join them again.
Made pork chops for Pat, portabello mushrooms for me, then enjoyed a web cam call from Vivian and her Dad. She drew us several pictures, including of Daddy and a pool with water, then left for a time to have toast for breakfast. When she came back, she told us about her third birthday party coming up next Sunday, the invitation to which 25 of her closest friends have accepted.
Really nice day and I hope we can do it again before long.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Got my bloodwork report in the mail yesterday. I was crestfallen when I read "Total Cholesterol---238." Damn! That's higher than it was when I started on this weight loss/exercise/Crestor regime!
Then I looked again. The number was actually 138. Yipee! Yahoo! Hip, hip, hooray!
Here's the good news, compared to the May numbers:
May July
Total Cholesterol 225 138
HDL (Good) 49 52
LDL (Bad) 150 69
Triglycerides 129 86
Blood Sugar ? 104
These are all within the desired range, aside from the blood sugar, which the form letter says should be from 80 to 100mg/dl. I think that used to be a high of 110 or even 120. Anyway, all this just reinforces my determination to finish losing the weight, then keep it off.
Thanks to Frank D. next door, the new hoses and nozzle are now hooked up and I can water the flowers before they thirst to death.
I was proud of the fact that I was able to fix the shredder, which had jammed. Used the letter opener, a sharp knife, and tweezers to laboriously extract the paper jamming it, but it now works. Being a born klutz, I got a lot of satisfaction out of it.
Jen called and I'm happy to say Joely can come down, although she wasn't sure his cousin, Gabe, can come. Alison will bring him/them down and we'll go swimming and so on. Should be a fine day.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Good day yesterday. I picked Leslie up at 9:30 and we motored off to Weight Watchers. Got my good news, enjoyed the lecture, and got home about 11:00 to have breakfast (yes, late, but I don't like to eat first).
Found myself low on veggies--heaven forfend--so drove over to M & M on the Black Horse Pike, another produce store. Built up my supply with two each of acorn and butternut squash, mango and avocado, lemons, and yet more broccoli and blueberries. I ate "dinner" (half a big acorn sq., broccoli, and the whole avocado, squirted with fresh lime juice--yum!) at 4:00, topping it off with a big piece of cantaloupe and a half cup or so of berries.
After a shower, I left for Wall Township about 5:00 and had no problem getting there in about 45 minutes. Alison and Joely arrived shortly after and the kiddy race started at 6:30. This was informal, and included children who looked to be about 5 (Joely's age) up to 8 or 9. They ran a half mile and a number of adults ran with the younger ones, as Alison did. Joely finished in what I guess was good time, 4 something minutes on the running clock they had set up. The kids all got medals and Joely was very proud. He asked if he could exchange the one with a red ribbon for "an American flag one" (red, white, and blue ribbon) and the racemaster obliged.
By then, it started to rain and we left. (Alison decided not to run the adult three-miler herself, as she wasn't properly equipped.) Rode through tremendous rainstorms almost the whole way home, to find it only drizzled a bit in Little Egg. Got in about 8:00 after an very enjoyable day.
Jen said she'd let me know if Joely can come down tomorrow. If so, Alison will join us, as Mike has a botany class. Hope so!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Went to Kohl's and got a summer pocketbook, low socks for my sneakers, and--glory be--two pedal pushers (or do they call them "capris"?) in a SIZE 16 PETITE! Size 16 may sound gargantuan to some of my elfin readers, but I was thrilled. I've had to wear woman's sizes for years and, while I still do for most things, this was an outlook-lifter. True, they both have elastic waists, but still...
Bought a new hose, nozzle, and "lopper" for outside, but haven't hooked them up yet because we had a big thunderstorm. Made barbecued ribs in the crockpot; Pat liked them and I had a small amount--very good.
Alison called and we made plans to meet at the race in Wall Township. If it rains and it's called off, she'll let me know by 4:30.
Mike just sent an e-mail with the subject line, "Things To Be Proud Of." It's a link to a travel site describing "Mount Molloy" in Queensland, Australia. Must be an impressive place because the writer mentions that it "has obviously seen better days, as the local sight-seeing options are an old steam engine and the cemetery."
Later: Holy smokes and happy day! I lost another 2.2 pounds, for a total of 23.4 and a weight of 176.2. Gratifying.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pat's eye doctor appointment went well yesterday; he doesn't have to go back for a year. After I called Frank, I called Betty to tell her Patrick didn't appear on "Good Morning, America." We discussed her upcoming trip among other topics. She'll stay with us for the first week, then with Muckie. I called Muckie and we had a good talk. All of us are looking forward to getting together for lunch with Pat R. at my place on August 13.
We're also having a little luncheon a week earlier on the 6th. Pat's brother and SIL, Bill and Regina, are coming, along with their daughter, Amy, to whom I spoke last night. I also invited his niece, Donna E., so it will be a nice Molloy reunion.
Got some fun e-mails. Ellen sent pictures of her classroom, her colleague, Joanne (the other 3rd grade teacher who, incredibly, has the same last name, same age, and same marital status as Ellen), and her cat. She also sent pics of her artwork, which I really like a lot.
Mike sent two nice, newsy e-mails. I got a kick out of the following:
"We had 369 boxes from the movers...and another 20 or so on our own. Still all not opened yet. When the movers first started packing stuff at the old place, they labelled all in detail. By the third day and the 300th box they just started writing "crap" on the boxes and finally, "more crap." The final stuff they just threw away using their own discretion and saying, 'You don't really need that.'"
Mike wrote that Vivian said she "wants to go on an airplane to see Nana." Oh, how I'd love that to happen. Much as I appreciate the modern conveniences of telephone and web cam, I miss not being able to read her stories and take her places and hug her.
Mike also wrote that a friend of Paula's (ex-colleague) who has a modelling agency asked if she could add Vivian to her "stable," the pan-Asian look being very big now. Said he'd let me know how that goes. Last week, Paula had to go to Tokyo and this week, Mike goes to Maylasia. It's incredible how much they travel.
Continuing to feed my veggie addiction, I bought cauliflower, broccoli, and two kinds of squash yesterday. WW tomorrow--I don't feel as if I've lost this week, but no matter. I know I will in the long run.
Did this and that around the house, but nothing worth recording.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

This'll be short because in a few minutes, I'm going to turn on "Good Morning, America" to see my nephew, Patrick. Talked to his dad and mom, Frank and Marybeth yesterday. They were just coming back from yet another ear doctor for Marybeth, who's been having continual trouble with her hearing, due to an old problem. Frank asked me to call him (on the left coast) when Patrick comes on, so they know when to watch closely. Will do.
Yesterday: Took Pat to the dermatologist. His arm is healing nicely and the doc "froze" some other suspicious areas. We were in and out in just a short time, incredibly enough. Hope we do the same today; we're leaving for his opthomologist appointment in a few minutes.
Received my new hose in the mail from QVC. No, not for my legs, for the flowers. It's all coil-y, then stretches out; hope it works well.
After lunch and Pat to bay, I drove over to Foodtown in Galloway. Was caught in a huge downpour coming home on the Parkway--finally we got rain, although not enough.
Nice News: Granddaughter-in-Law Jen e-mailed to say they decided on a name for the new boyo: Tristan. I like it! Hope little Tris decides to make his entrance soon.
Later: Hell's bells! Nephew Patrick wasn't on "Good Morning, America." I called Frank to let him know. Very disappointing--and Patrick was so good on the CNN program, it's their loss.

Monday, July 16, 2007

After my usual morning chores, I went to Reynolds again to look for a bathing suit. Tried on a few, all of which were hideous and negated my 21-pound weight loss, so I bought bedding: a comforter, bed skirt, and shams. I need them like a hole in the head, but they were a steal and at least I didn't buy another sheet set. I alternate three sets and have another in the package I haven't even opened.
I stopped at the Manahawkin Flea Market across from Reynolds and bought corn on the cob, tomatoes, and cantaloupe from the people who actually grew them.
When I got home, Pat said Dennis had called to say he'd like to change our furnace (or AC) filter this morning. Yoicks, I didn't have another filter and I had just been in Manahawkin, so I ranted and raved a bit, but decided to drive back to Home Depot and get one.
Mind you, we don't pay Dennis to do things like this. Of course, we paid when he and Bill did the work in the study, but the other kindnesses of his are just because he knows neither Pat nor I can do it. The filter is up in the area--attic? crawl space?--over the garage and you have to pull down the ladder to access it. As Dennis pointed out, for an over-55 community, some of the inconveniences of ordinary maintenance are infuriating.
On the way back from the big city, I stopped at Calloway's, a restaurant we often frequent. Somebody had given Pat a gift certificate for forty dollars for his seventy-fifth birthday 17 months ago and he was never able to use it. It says it's good for only a year, but the owner said I could use it anytime--"until 2010, if you want"--so nice of him.
Thought I might go to the pool, but decided not to and just got house chores caught up.
Ellen called and as ever, we talked for a long time. I'm always very interested in her work and we discussed her upcoming combo second/third class. I told her Larry and I had seen "Sicko" and remarked that she didn't have to worry about medical bills, as she's well covered. Oh yeah?! She reminded me that she has a two thousand dollar deductible; things that were covered in full a year ago now have a huge negative impact on her pocketbook.
I'll repeat what somebody wrote: That the best government does the most good for the most number of people. Is ours the best government? Why, sure: Most Americans are billionaire heads of corporations, so yes, yes, goverment is doing the most good for the most people.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Well, glory be, I went to the pool yesterday. Stayed about an hour--all the time in the pool, so I was wizened when I left--talking to friends and neighbors (they overlap, of course). Martha T. told me about a free theatre in Stafford that a lot of Sun Rise Bayers attend. It's right down Route 9 (everything around here is right down Route 9) and I may go some evening. Otherwise, just a this-and-that kind of day. I stopped at a yard sale in Galloway and got some boy toys for when Joely visits, went to Acme, and straightened up.
For a change, gave Pat scrapple and eggs for dinner and he actually said, "Boy, that hit the spot."
Patrick called last night. When I told him I went to the pool, he said he was on his way out to the pool himself. He swims roughly two miles every day and asked how many laps I swim. Had to tell him I just bob up and down.
E-mailed Jen and asked if I could pick Joely up on Wednesday, along with his cousin, Gabe, and bring them down for the day to go in the pool. As mothers know, it's actually easier (usually) to take care of two five-year-olds than one--they entertain each other. Haven't heard back from her yet.
Monday, Pat has a dermatologist appointment and Tuesday he sees the opthomologist. Both are in Manahawkin and I'm annoyed with myself for not making them on the same day. Getting my oil changed on Tuesday, too. (Boy, that's big news!)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Aside from a few bright spots, yesterday was somewhat of a bummer. To begin with, the doorbell rang at 8:37 am. It was the cleaners, all ready to storm in and take over the house. Of course, it was much too early, Pat was in the middle of breakfast, and I hadn't even sat down yet. I told them they'd have to come back no earlier than 10:30 (they usually come about then). I know they had other customers who are not chronically ill, so they just have to service them first.
Here's the difficulty with the cleaning service: I don't want them to come late, because I don't want to wait around inside all day. However, if they come too early, Pat doesn't have time to wash, shave, and dress after breakfast. As he did yesterday, he sits in the car while they're here, usually falling asleep. Then it's much later than usual when he's dressed and ready to face the day.
They came back, I skulked outside (talking to Betty on the phone), and they finally finished and left. When I went to make tea for Pat's lunch, I was annoyed to find that the porcelain canister where I keep teabags had several large chips on the edge of the lid. They weren't there yesterday and I was all set to call the service and fire up a rant about it.
But wait a minute, hold on...I got those canisters for a few bucks at a yard sale in Margate when we were renting Betty's house. What would Theresa, the young mother who runs the cleaning service, do about it, anyway? Should I demand some kind of compensation? They're hardly family heirlooms, so I decided the hell with it--when I turn the chipped part to the wall, you can't see them and I'm just going to forget about it.
Had to go back to Reynolds to exchange something, got all the way home and found the saleswoman hadn't removed the security thingy, so drove all the way back, a sixteen-mile round trip, fuming.
Got beef stew beef pieces out for dinner, but didn't have time to do them in the crock pot, so put them in gravy on the stove and they turned out tough.
In other words, it was just one of those days when nothing seems to go right.
Later, though, things brightened: Alison called and told me she and Mike will race in Holmdel on Thursday, they'll take Joely who will again run in the kiddie race. I decided to join them (well, no, not to race, just to watch), so she'll e-mail me directions; I'm looking forward to it.
Then Mike called on the computer about 8:30 pm, and we again enjoyed talking--and seeing!--precious Vivian, who told us what day it was (Saturday for them) and that Saturday was shopping day. She was going with Mommy to the store, then she was going to a birthday party. Her hair's getting longer and it was great fun while we talked to see Mommy trying to braid it--unsuccessfully, because squirmy Vivian didn't want it braided--and to see her interact with Daddy, who's putty in her hands.
Okay, I slept well, too, so no more complaining.

Friday, July 13, 2007

It was Weight Watchers day yesterday and I was delighted with the news: another 2.6 pounds off for a total of 21.2. That puts me at 178.4, so I've reached my interim goal of the 170's. Hey, I'm getting there.
While I was in Manahawkin, I stopped at Reynolds, which is closing, and got two adorable dresses for soon-to-be-three little Vivian. I was disappointed to learn they no longer wrap presents, plus I got size 4 and now I think they're too big for her. Although "All Sales Are Final" is marked on the receipt, I'm going to see if I can exchange for size.
While I was there, Marge called and I was pleased to hear she felt up to a lunch date. Zipped home and made lunch for Pat. While I was doing that, Susan popped in to give us six freshly-baked blueberry muffins (from scratch, of course). Pat had one for dessert for lunch and I gave two to Marge when I picked her up. By all accounts, they were delicious.
We went to Dockside and I had my usual C. salad with chicken, taking half home for dinner. After, we went down to see Pat at the bay. His bay buddy, John, told me it would probably take 6 months to be reimbursed my $500 for the car--damn!
After I dropped Marge off, I noticed the bananas were soft, so made a loaf of banana bread. While it baked, I again watched a movie in the daytime: "The Children of Men." It was very intense and full of dark symbolism (see Pat McH. R.'s comment of yesterday) which I more or less ignored. However, I don't like sitting in a darkened room staring at figures on a screen. When Pat got home, he watched the rest with me. As soon as it was over, I took it back, putting a cap on my three-movie marathon. That'll hold me for some time, I'm sure.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Spent almost the whole morning on the phone. Had a good long chat with Betty, then SIL Regina called and we filled each other in on our husbands' conditions. After that, I talked to Marge; unfortunately, her allergies are very bad and she got little sleep, so we decided to postpone lunch--may go today, if she's better. Called Leslie to tell her I needed to go to WW today, when she has another commitment, as the cleaners come tomorrow. Called Elizabeth/Liz/Betty H. A., yet another St. James ('48) and Holy Spirit grad ('52) to extend my sympathy on the death of her sister.
On the same sad subject, I got a long e-mail message from Gerri F.B., also an HSHS '52 grad. I had written her after her sister, Patti (HSHS '55), died last month.
After everyday chores, went over to Santori's--again--for more produce. Got acorn and butternut squash, broccoli, mushrooms, and zucchini--I'm a wild woman when it comes to veggies!
Welcomed back Ray and Barbara, who had gone to a wedding at Gallaudet, the college for the deaf in Washington, D.C. They enjoyed it immensely. Susan and I will soon take Barb to lunch for her birthday, which was on June 28--but what's the hurry? Susan's birthday is in March and we took her to lunch in May.
Saw the rest of "Babel," a very long movie and it was absorbing. The last one we have is "Children of Men," which I understand is also good. I dislike watching T.V. in the daytime (and at night, come to think of it), but if it rains, maybe I'll put it in the machine.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Geesh, I overslept today! Woke up at 7:08--and I usually pick Susan up at 7:00. Rushed to wash and dress, and caught up with her about halfway through our usual path. Susan said she had tapped lightly on the door about 7:10, but I didn't hear her.
I probably overslept because I stayed up until almost 10 last night watching "Babel." We still didn't see all of it, but will today. It's pretty good.
Spent half the day at the hematologist's yesterday. You sign in, wait, are called, take your folder to another room, wait, get blood drawn, wait, get called to see the doctor, wait, see doctor for three minutes, about and finally leave. Pat's appointment was at 10:45 and it was after 1:00 before we got home. Nothing new on the blood front and he doesn't have to go back until next year.
The daughter of my dear friend, Elaine (dead these four years), Joan H., called from North Carolina and we chatted for a while. She and husband, Dan, bought a house in Costa Rica and plan to live there from October to April. We caught up on each other's lives--very enjoyable.
Marge e-mailed, and we tentatively planned to go to lunch today, assuming her allergies aren't acting up too badly.
After Pat went to the bay, I ran over to Acme for pork chops for him, salmon for me. Had them for dinner and they were both so good.
Susan called about 7:00 to ask if I wanted to go to Rita's (Italian ice) with her and Walter--well, yes, sure. I went and had their sugar-free cherry ice--very tasty.
Rather than writing all the above, I could have just noted, "Quiet day."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Yesterday, Pat and I talked to the Singapore contingent--and saw them, too! The web cam is finally operational (Mike and Paula had been preparing to move, so couldn't get it running before this). He called in the morning--his evening, as they're 12 hours ahead--and it was a thrill to see him. Paula then joined him and we chatted for about 20 minutes. Vivian was in bed, but they promised to call back in our evening, their morning, and they did. I saw adorable Vivian, we talked together, then she sang several songs, including "Polly Put the Kettle On." It really added a dimension to our long-distance family. Hey, everybody, consider getting this. It's not expensive--I think about $100 per installation, and it's so much fun to see as well as hear. The installation program--we use Skye--is free, and easy to put on. Alison wants to get one, and she and Mike are urging the rest of the Molloy clan to do it--yay!
When Pat went to the bay, I actually went to the pool for the first time this season. The water was heavenly and I stayed in, chatting with friends, for about 45 minutes, then left. Refreshing as it was, I get antsy just sitting around the pool. I don't know how people can do it day after day, but a lot of my neighbors do.
I changed, then drove to Renault Winery and got White Merlot for Alison. Larry had brought me home some and I know she likes it, too. Before dinner, I did something unusual for me: rented some movies. Susan had recommended "Babel," so I got that, but it was "three for one" day, so I just had to get three more. I selected "Breach," which we started watching last night, and "Children of Men," about which I had read good reviews.
Half hour later: Just got back from getting my blood test. They open at 7:30, I was the first one there, and I was home in ten minutes. That's another thing I like about living in this small town: Everything is nearby, it seems. I have an appointment on July 23 to see Dr. Keiner and discuss the lab results; I'm hoping to see an improvement in the cholesterol numbers.
Must wake Pat soon, as he has a hematologist appointment in Northfield at 10:45.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Was late rolling out of bed this morning (6:25), so this will be short. Yesterday was one of those satisfying catching-up days. I changed the linens on our bed and in the guest room, washed the sheets, did several loads of other wash, dusted a little, straightened up, and generally got back to normal.
After lunch, Pat's friend, John, called to warn him there was a boat race at the bay on Green Street, so not to go, but he had already left. I drove down to our mayor's place, "My Three Sons" produce, and got good Jersey cantaloupes, tomatoes, and plums. On the way home, stopped down Green Street, but the race was still going on and it was lined with cars. Later, Pat told me he had gone down a side area where he had a good view of the race.
I had thought I might get to the pool--it's really hot--but busied myself around here so much I never got to it. Maybe today.
Talked to Ellen, made flounder and salmon for dinner, went out and watered the flowers, jumped in the shower, then settled down for an hour with my usual p. and w.
All in all, a kind of "holding" day, but satisfying.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Got up to Joely's birthday party about 3:00; it was at Jen's Uncle Jake's place, a 16-acre spread on Route 537. The hit of the day was the present from Joel's half-brother, Jack: a little lizard that looks like the insurance company one. Joel promptly named him "Geico."
The weather was beautiful and I was outside a lot of the time. The place has a large backyard, then acres of forest where big Joel led us to look for a bomb shelter he remembered seeing. There are three houses on the property, as well as at least four outbuildings.
Sounds like elegant living, doesn't it? NOT! (As we used to say in high school.) The main house is very oddly laid out, with additions put on the original late 18th-century part, seemingly at random. For instance, the three-car garage is considerably bigger than the house itself, and the back of the place has steps that end at a wall. The whole property, big though it is, has a general air of casualness, leaning toward unkemptness, including inside the main house--old kitchen, mediocre furniture, no pictures on the wall. Jake had lived here with his partner, who died a few years ago, and he now shares it with his mother (Joely's great-grandmother), 5-year-old Gabe, his 20-year-old mother, and her mother, Tammy.
Anyway, it was an enjoyable day. Litte Gabe, was there, of course, and Joely's other cousins, Zach, Jackie, and Little Girl Whose Name I Can't Remember, as well as adult members of the large, blended family. I did overindulge--had sausage, hot dog and bun, and cake--and might pay for it on Thursday, but will hop right back on the WW wagon today.
Got home about 7:00. Pat was okay, having gone to the bay, then made himself dinner of a sandwich, which won't hurt him once in a while.
Darling little Vivian called and I talked to her and Mike. They're finally in their new place and he finally got the parts for his end of the web cam. As soon as I register and we complete the other requirements, we'll be able to see each other on the computer.
Now, after my company and the party, I'm ready to resume my regular quiet life--until something new and interesting comes along.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I was prepared for a gain at Weight Watchers, but glory be, I lost .8! That's only eight tenths of a pound, and I didn't quite make it down to the 170's, but I know I will before too long. Total pounds off: 18.6; weight: 181.
Just said goodbye to Larry (5:50 am). His plane leaves at 9:00 from Philly, so he should get there in plenty of time. He was here for a week, just the right length of time for a house guest, I think. We always enjoy having him, as he's my brother, but also Pat's longtime friend.
Yesterday, Larry wanted to go to Camden to tour the battleship New Jersey, but I decided not to. He was leaving early and I had told Leslie I'd pick her up for WW at 9:00. I didn't want to leave Pat alone another full day and I don't have a lot of interest in battleships, anyway. We figured he'd be back in late afternoon and we agreed to go to the movies then.
Did a lot of chores, including several loads of wash. Went to Tucker Tom's Produce and got broccoli and strawberries. Put hot dogs and beans in the crockpot. Pat went to the bay and I stopped down there on my way to the store. Larry got back in about 3:30--he had an enjoyable day and I'm glad I didn't share it--and we drove to Shore Mall in plenty of time for the 4:30 showing of Michael Moore's "Sicko."
Don't miss it! It's not as partisan as his other movies (of course, his partisan is my partisan), and is harder-hitting because of it. All right, he's rude, he's crude, he's a big, fat millionaire in a dirty baseball cap, but he's telling it straight. Maybe my legion of readers don't understand what it is to suffer because they're unable to afford a doctor or hospital, but they will after this. Keep in mind, as Moore tells us early on, he doesn't focus on people who don't have health insurance, but mainly on those who do. (Full disclosure: Pat and I spend roughly $12,000 a year on medical expenses, including medicare, supplemental insurance, prescriptions, and so on--and we're lucky!)
I won't outline the whole movie, but want to mention what struck me with a bo-in-g of recognition: the conservative outcry of "socialized medicine" every time universal, non-employer-based health coverage is discussed. Hey, fellas and girls, as Moore points out, why don't we cringe about the other socialized services we all take for granted: police and fire personnel, public schools, road maintenance and so on? The movie makes you think, all right--and it ought to make you sick.
I'm sorry to write I got a letter yesterday with bad news: Jimmy and Fay Rodolfo have both died, he on May 30, she on June 24. Who were they? The founders and long-time heads of the Dionne Quintuplet Collectors' Club, of which I've been a member for years. Jim was quadraplegic, Fay paraplegic. They were remarkable people (I met Fay at the 2004 "Quinvention" and have spoken to Jim on the phone), so much more worthy of admiration and emulation than the idiot celebs equally idiotic fans moon over.
Must run out and get Joely's present before the party today. Yoicks, I said I'd bring a salad, too, and I need to get a few more ingredients. It should be a fun day!

Friday, July 06, 2007

We had another busy fun day yesterday. After I got Pat squared away (must be a nautical term), Larry and I picked up Jack and went down to Absecon Island. We didn't get out of the car, but drove around Ventnor, viewing the scenes of our early days. Jack never goes there (he's a nervous driver and is far from adventurous) and he waxed nostalgic about St. James and the Newport Avenue duplex that was his boyhood home.
Little did trusting Jack know (well, he was trusting to a point, suspicious the rest of the way), Larry had planned an interesting activity for the day. He had seen it featured in the AC Press, asked if I wanted to do it, and of course, I said, "Sure!" We drove far, far out in the country, past Marmora and lots of other burgs, to Belleplain in Dennis Township. Jack got more and more agitated as we turned from one little-used road to the next, deep in the forest, and kept saying, "Man, you should have dropped me off at Borgota, and picked me up later." (Betty knows Jack and can picture the scene, I bet.)
We finally arrived at our destination: a blueberry farm! Yes, we picked blueberries and it was so enjoyable to go up and down the rows, absorbed in finding the best, deepest blue berries. Jack groused and complained for a time, but then settled down, and actually got a nice amount. We pooled them and ended up with seven pounds.
Larry then treated us to lunch at The Olive Garden in Hamilton Mall. I had portabella ravioli in cream sauce and a glass of white zinfandel with breadstick and two portions of their divine salad. We then dropped Jack off with his share of the berries, and got home about 5:00. Pat had gone to the bay and seen his cronies, so all was well.
I told the guys dinner was going to be leftovers from lunch on Wednesday and they were fine with that, so I just dumped everything on the table and they made their own. I, however, had an unusual hankering (for me). I ran out and got skim milk and had two bowls of cornflakes with blueberries on them--just hit the spot.
Alison called and said they had gone to the Thursday Night Run in Brielle in which they often participate. They took little Joely, he ran in the kiddie race, and he won a medal! Alison didn't say what place he came in, but he was very proud. Can't wait to see him at his party tomorrow.
After dinner, I jumped in the shower, then had my "regular" wine, watched my daily hour of T.V. (8:00 to 9:00), and that was the day.
I'll pick up Leslie for Weight Watchers at 9:00 today and am prepared to take my lumps. I know I've gained, hope it isn't a lot, but no matter--as of now, I'm back on the program.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Yesterday with the guys was great fun. Andy McE., Jack, Larry, and Pat talked and talked and talked, while I served up a typical summer lunch: a big green salad, cold cuts, hard-boiled eggs, several kinds of bread, beer (Andy and me), soda, lemonade, and watermelon. These are all St. James grads of the same era (Andy is a year older and went to ACHS for high school) with shared experiences and many mutual acquaintances. When you hear their stories, you have to believe that boyhood in Ventnor was idyllic from start to finish.
Was it really? Or was it because they were carefree boys living next to the Atlantic Ocean? Is their nostalgia colored by a yearning for what seems to be a simpler, kinder time? Or is it a bit of both?
The day guests stayed until about 4:00, then Larry and I got take-out for dinner: fried flounder for Pat from Brother's Pizza, Chinese for L. and me at The Flying Wok next door.
Alison called from the Dallas airport; they were to get home about midnight from their vacation in New Mexico. Good thing they have a few days before going back to work, especially because Joely's birthday party is Saturday. I must get his present soon; we get him a small gift, then add money to the trust fund Alison opened for him when he was born.
A word about Weight Watchers: Today, Thursday, is my usual day, but I told Leslie I wouldn't go until tomorrow because we're buzzing down to Absecon Island and want to go early. I have been overindulging while Larry's here and I'm prepared to hear I've gained a few. That's okay because I haven't been insanely out of control with eating and will resume my regime (love that alliteration!) when he's gone.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Staffing the "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit was rewarding. Sixty-two pairs of boots stood silent witness to the sixty-two Jersey residents--so far--who have been killed in Iraq. I was glad to see that an adjacent section displayed pairs of everyday shoes--men's, woman's, and children's--each representing 13,000 Iraqi dead. There were sandwich boards noting this information, in addition to a count of the American wounded (thousands) and the amount of money New Jersey alone has spent on the war: more than twenty billion (that's a "b," not an "m"). At noon, we shared the reading of names, ages, and home towns of the fallen. It all comes down to the bewildered sadness of realizing the ages: 21, 21, 19, 24, 20.... Occasionally, there's a soldier who was older (one New Jerseyan was 33, one 42), but it's very rare. The vast majority, of course, were enlisted personnel, not officers. The display also included a loose-leaf book with pictures and profiles of those killed. There was another of about a dozen pages, listing the names and ages of some of the Iraqi civilians dead, along with a few words of description. The ages here were even more heart-breaking: 5, 3, 12, 8 months...
Leslie and I had signed up for the 10 to 12:30 shift, and we got home a little after 1:00. I made Pat lunch, he went down the bay, and I drove to Manahawkin to leave the rental car. One of the Enterprise people took me back to Charlie's Collision and I picked up my car--yay!
I had no sooner walked in the door than eccentric neighbor Anne Mary called to ask if she could come over to give me something--darn! but I said "yes" of course and she brought me a red, white, and blue candle. She stayed and stayed, hashing over, re-hashing, and re-re-hashing her medical history--believe me, it's the most boring in the world. She finally left when Larry came in.
Larry said he had explored various places and had had lunch at Renault Winery. He had also called another old St. Jamesian--Andy McE.--and invited him and Jack B. to lunch tomorrow (now today, of course), a nice surprise. I ran out to Acme to pick up fixings for our lunch guests; also, made some hard-boiled eggs. Got a large chicken potpie (Mrs. Smith's) for dinner and popped that in the oven. All in all, it was a good, busy day.
Saw Keith's "special comment" on "Countdown" and it was dynamite. Essentially, he called for the dictator (and his puppeteer) to resign and boy, did he have some hard-hitting rationales, featuring, of course, the cynical bastard's Libby commute.
Today is the fourth of July, and where has our proud patiotism gone? Turned to dross in these last years and now we have to hang our heads in shame before the world.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Larry and I went to the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philly yesterday, an enthralling place. I made and wrapped Pat's lunch first, and we left about 10:30. Larry has one of those navigational things, and we just punched in our destination, and it told us how to get there, turn by turn. Aside from being a little too talky, it was great.
The penitentiary was built in 1830 and was considered breath-takingly modern at the time. (I hadn't known before that the word "penitentiary" arose from "penitent," which the prisoners were supposed to be.) The conditions and treatment seemed horribly brutal and inhumane, but at the time, were considered kindly.
It was one of those walking tours where you get earphones and a tape device to guide you through the miles of corridors, up and down iron stairs, and fill you in on the history of the prison. We saw Willie Sutton's cell and the opening for the tunnel he used to escape. Willie was a famous bank robber in the 40's and 50's who molded a model of his face out of wet bread, then used clothing with it to simulate his sleeping self. Larry and I both remembered when he escaped, but incredibly, he didn't even dig the tunnel--it was his neighbor in the next cell. Guess he was more newsworthy than that guy.
Al Capone stayed at ESP for a time, and got special treatment. His cell was furnished with an easy chair, radio, elegant writing desk, and other luxury items, advantages which were noted acerbically by newspapers of the time (shades of Paris Hilton). The tour took several hours and there were lots of other fascinating tidbits, including mention of the several children who were born of the few women incarcerated there early on; one boy lived there for 5 years.
After our tour, we ate lunch at a vegetarian restaurant across the street, then headed off to the museum area. We went to the Rodin (he sculpted "The Thinker") and the art museum, but unfortunately, couldn't get in, as they're all closed on Mondays.
Got home about 5:00, so I had time to pare and cut potatoes into "oven fries" and pop them in. Had beef tips as a main dish, along with the potatoes and wax beans. Colored my hair, took a shower, then the guys and I settled down with our popcorn (and my wine) to watch "The Roloffs." I was pleased that Pat had gone down the bay while we were out, as he had skipped it for a few days. The weather's been just beautiful, sunny and warm with a slight breeze. I threw the windows open days ago and haven't had the AC on.
Today, Leslie and I are going to be the attendants at "Eyes Wide Open," a display of boots representing the 55 New Jerseyans of the 3000+ Americans killed in Iraq. It's already set up at Hamilton Mall and is part the Friends (Quakers) campaign to quietly bring attention to some of the dreadful human cost of this horror. (The hundreds of thousands of others, dead at our hands, are not memorialized, but when our leader, Norm, sends e-mails, he always mentions the body count of "our Iraqi brothers and sisters.")

Monday, July 02, 2007

Speaking of boring, the long saga of Anne Mary continues. After phone calling back and forth, she told me at 11:00 the doctor hadn't been in yet to discharge her. Luckily, Susan offered to pick her up since I had company, and when I saw her and Walter coming back from church (she's Catholic, he's Presbyterian and they had gone to his), I told them I'd take them up on it. They went and got her and boy, was was I glad, because when I went over to ask how it had gone, Susan gave me an earful. I won't go into all of it, but--illustrative of one of Anne Mary's infuriating pretenses, the Little Holy Girl one--she was frantic about not getting to mass. She was in the hospital, for heaven's sake, but of course, she needed Susan to assure her she wasn't naughty. Incidentally, they had told her after a series of tests, that they saw no heart involvement and it was probably indigestion--no surprise to me. I called her (A.M.) after I talked to Susan and she told me she was driving up to New Providence this morning to see the world-renowned cardiologist, anyway, of course. Aagh! Susan and I agreed that one thing we know for absolutely certain is that we haven't heard the end of this (rather, that we'll never hear the end of it) .
Other than that, it was a pleasant day. Jack B. came over and the four of us talked and reminisced with good cheer. Larry, Jack, and I went to Wawa and got computerized sandwiches, then took them home to eat with Pat (I had made him American cheese and strawberry preserves--he didn't want store-bought). After, while the guys were still chewing the fat, I went to Acme for a few provisions, then did wash and various chores.
Early on, Marge and I corresponded via e-mail; Fred was to return from upstate NY yesterday after helping his daughter get her house in shape to sell or rent. Responded to lots of other messages, too, before meeting Susan at 7:00.
Made baked chicken and sides for dinner, happily adding a big salad for Larry and me (Pat won't touch it). Afterward, we had a showing for Larry of the 1936 DVD Betty had sent me. We all liked it, of course, but being of a philosopical turn of mind, I kept thinking that virtually every person in the newsreels is dead. All the things they took so seriously and were most important to them have been forgotten. That didn't depress me, I just felt bemused. Taking a famous slogan from a major writer, Kurt Vonnegut, I just thought, "So it goes" and shrugged off the mood.
Ellen called and we had a long, enjoyable talk. She's taking another art course, some of which is interesting, she said, and some not so much. (This will give her "salary credits," always a nice thing to contemplate.)
Alison called. She and Mike, still in New Mexico, are having a great time. They had gone up to the mountains and hiked, among lots of other outdoor adventures, and were now back in Redoso ? Reverso? Versado? with Mike's son and his family. When she called, they were at a skateboard park watching Christian, 10, on his board. There's also Catherine, who's 5. Alison said she couldn't get a signal in some of the remote areas they visited, which is why she was able to call only once before. They'll be home on the fourth.
Assuming Pat's reasonably okay, Larry and I are going to Eastern Penitentiary in Philly today. They don't have prisoners there anymore (it was built in 1824) and it's open for tours and education. Incidentally, Larry and I went to the drugstore after dinner and we started talking about the activity thing. We feel the same way: that we couldn't stand a long succession of days without some interesting highpoints to look forward to--maybe travel, maybe visitors, maybe just a different way of doing something we've always done a certain way. I have no problem at all with regularly being home and being caregiver to my husband--but I'll ask another couple over now and then, or meet a friend for lunch or dinner, or drive to Port Republic just to look at the architecture.
"The grave's a fine and private place/But none, I think, do there embrace..."and they don't go to Poseidon for the early bird special, either.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

What a fun day we had! Called Jen to see if I could pick Joely up early, and that's what I did. Got there a little before 11, strapped him in the seat, then turned right around and drove back, arriving close to noon. I called Leslie to see if her granddaughters could come down and play. They did, but all three were all a little stiff and silent--that was to change.
They left and I gave Pat and Joely ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch, making myself a big dish of broccoli. When J. saw that, he complained, "Why can't I have broccoli?" He loves the stuff and of course, I gave him a generous portion, all of which he ate with gusto. He said, "Gracias" for the broccoli.
I put beef stew in the crockpot for Pat and Larry's dinner (we had to leave at 5:00), then called for the girls again and took all three to the playground. They loosened up a lot--in fact, all started talked incessantly. They slid, swung, and climbed, then I took them a little way on the walk through the woods (there are trails). We then left that playground and went to the bay at Green Street (where Pat goes everyday); where there's other play stuff. I called home, found that Larry had arrived, and he and Pat joined us. After another half hour, went back home, told the girls we'd see them later, then jumped in the shower and dressed for "Peter Pan."
Walked the 3 houses down to Leslie's and we all--Leslie, Dennis, son and DIL Joe and Pia, Sierra, Aspen, Joel, and I--drove to Beach Haven on Long Beach Island to Surflight Theatre.
There were humongous numbers of kids there, of course--in fact, it was very crowded. The production seemed pretty amateurish, but somehow, that added to its charm. Thank heavens, it was a very truncated version, and lasted only about an hour, not the two we expected. After Joely assured me he was going to be "bored" (I think kids all go through this stage and actually, I think lots of what we do in life is to avoid being bored--some day, will elaborate on this belief), he loved the show.
We were home by 8:00 and I made popcorn while Joely entertained Pat and Larry. He's very talkative now, and oh-so-amusing as only just-turned-fives can be. He told us with great authority that vampires didn't live around these parts, but you have to be careful if you go to...to...he got stuck on "Transylvania," but we got the drift. He said his new baby brother would be named either Tristan or Jayden and would come out of Mom's belly pretty soon. He told me that the people in Austrialia speak Spanish and have to watch out for sharks. He said his birthday party (delayed because Nana Alison is still in New Mexico) would be at his Uncle Jake's house and that he wanted--and here followed a long list of items I never heard of before, including some electronic devices that carry $500 price tags.
Joel and Jen arrived about 9:00; they had gone to Borgota for dinner and we had a nice visit with them.
Oh, and after I had picked up Joel, next-door neighbor Barb D. came over to report on the latest on Anne Mary. She had called and asked Barb to bring her clothes to the hospital. A.M. keeps these in her car, so Barb had to drive all the way to Manahawkin to get her keys, then drive back with the clothes. She said A.M told her she'd "have to be transferred" to her North Jersey hospital, but now she's being discharged today after all tests were negative. Anne Mary called me after we got home last night to ask if I'd pick her up. I said I would--having made that promise--but I hope it isn't too late because Larry's here.
Jack B. called and will come over today. Maybe he and Larry will go somewhere local while I pick up the royal pain in the rear Anne Mary.