Friday, November 30, 2007

Went to Shop-Rite in Galloway yesterday. Although it's more than twice as far as the one in Manahawkin (18 miles as opposed to 9), for some reason, it seems closer. It's also usually less crowded, plus it has the advantage of being right down the road from Santori's, so I like it.
Besides groceries, I bought four beautiful red poinsettia plants. I don't like to decorate for Christmas before December, but guess I'll put the autumn decorations away and rush the season by a day.
After a lull, I'm looking forward to a busier week: On Monday, I go to the doctor for a flu shot; Wednesday, I meet Vivian and another Wellspouse member for dinner; Thursday, I'll be staffing the local food pantry with Leslie*; Friday, I go to Surflight Theatre with Les and Dennis; and on Saturday, will attend the "tree-lighting ceremony" party at neighbor, Judy's. Even better, the week after that, I have two parties. Best of all is the following week, when D.D. Ellen arrives--happy day!
*This is separate from Sister Jean's Kitchen.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm happy to record that yesterday made up for Tuesday. Met David at The Black Forest in Allentown and had a delightful lunch with him. He filled me in on the exciting, shocking, sinister--okay, pretty mundane--doings at Rider U. He was kind enough to bring me a directory and, looking through it last night, I noted how many names I didn't know. Lots of positions have changed hands, so to speak, and some day I'll walk on the campus and be surrounded by strangers. Melancholy thought? No, not really.
Left David about quarter of two and stopped at Alison's to leave off a wooden "advent tree" for her stepgrandchildren, Lindsay and Lucas. I had gotten Joely and Vivian each one last year, but Mike and entourage went to Colorado after they visited here, and didn't take it.
Got to Jen's early and we went through the boxes of Christmas decorations I brought. She selected some things, and I took the others back to donate to Habitat or SOCH. Will go through the tree ornaments and give her some of them, too. With that out of the way, we had a nice visit.
Little "T" is such a delight! At almost 4 months, he has perfected the art of smiling and shows it off constantly. When he got restless, Jen let me give him his bottle; it was wonderful to hold his plump little body and watch him contentedly feeding. Tristan constantly tries to stand and is very interested in the big world. He looks intently at people, turns to listen when they talk, and is generally alert and "engaged."
I stayed with baby while Jen went to pick Joely up at school. He burst in exuberantly, was glad to see me, and exclaimed over the small tree I had brought. He hung some of the little ornaments, then told me what he had done that day at kindergarten. He brought out a set of laminated words, similar to flashcards, but on a chain. Many were of colors--"yellow," "purple," "orange"--and he enjoyed showing me he can read them.
I wanted to get home before full dark, so left about 4:00. What a nice day! It was made even nicer after dinner by a phone conversation with my "Cincinnati Sis"--dear cousin, Marifran. We had a ball catching up with each other's lives. Hers is very full, as she's a life counselor and consultant and has a lot of clients. We talked a full hour, said goodbye, then I got into my snugly jammies (new ones! Pink with Scottie dogs!), popped my corn, poured my wine, and settled on the couch after a perfectly fulfilling day.
The summons? Oh, it's no biggie; I'll deal with that later.
Later: Incredible! Went to Weight Watchers to find I lost another 2.6 for a total of 48.6 and a current weight of 151. Now I'm confidently looking forward to the 50-pound-off mark and moving into the 140s. Yipee!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yesterday started out fine, but tanked in the afternoon. Got a call from Betty and we had a good chat. Met the volunteer coordinator at the library--this was for the "bringing books to shut-ins" activity, which I know I'll enjoy. The Ocean County Library system is very well-organized, considering both this and the "Conversational English" program. The rep gave me a thorough briefing, and followed up with a packet containing all the information I need, including a job description. As a former HR person, I appreciate the professionalism and attention to detail this shows.
Got home to make Pat's lunch before he went to the bay. Got a call from the other rep for my conversational English class, which will start in February. She asked if I could make it on Monday evenings and I agreed. (Will have to catch the Roloffs another day.)
Spent an hour in the garage sorting through the Christmas stuff to take to Jen's after I have lunch today with former colleague, David, in Allentown. Went to Acme. Then--as I always do in late afternoon--checked the mail.
The mail. What's this from Stafford Township? A summons? Whatever for?
Omigod! I've been charged with "passing a school bus while picking up or discharging." I was informed that school buses are equipped with video cameras and there, at the bottom of the page, is a picture of my car. I'm told it happened on October 9 in Manahawkin, but I have no recollection of doing this. I called the court and can't just pay a fine, but must appear in court on--get this--December 21, my birthday.
Got a letter from a attorney in the same mail and called him. We discussed this, he reassured me he can negotiate to lower the points--as it stands, it's a five point offense!--and advised me not to go without an attorney. His fee is $410. I said I'd get back to him.
I told Pat, then e-mailed all my children to ask their advice. Heard back from Alison and son Mike and they think I can negotiate it myself. Ellen will be here and can go with me. Not sure what I'll do.
Alison called on her way home from work, but hadn't yet received my message. She was calling to say she had submitted her resignation and her last day will be--yes, December 21! The job is very stressful and occupational therapists being in great demand, she gets invitations to apply from other employers frequently. Brave and smart that she is, she decided to end it and, notwithstanding that big, beautiful, costly addition, took the plunge and resigned. Whew, what a bombshell!
As ever, I felt a lot better after talking to her. I'm still very much concerned about our insurance going up, but she's sure I can negotiate it down myself. Still don't know if I'll go with representation or not--we'll see.
Today, I hope to forget all this while I have lunch with David, then show the Christmas stuff (my whole back seat is filled) to Jen. Alison had a good ploy: She asked me to imagine I had a friend in this predicament and think what I'd say to her. Well, I'd tell her, "Don't worry, it isn't as bad as you think, you'll get through it, it's not the worse thing in the world...." That helps and I'm feeling a bit better about the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Satisfyingly productive, but not frantic, day yesterday. Went to Macy's early to get Mike's birthday present (decided to take back the first one), and was successful in not wandering around looking at all the merchandise--just got straight to the point. I was stunned at the prices in their men's department. Isn't this supposed to be a middle-priced store? Or have I just been out of the loop so long, I'm not up on modern-day prices? Whatever, to spend $75 on a plain, white shirt seems criminal--and believe me, I didn't.
Had just gotten home when Marge called to see if I was available for lunch. Hey, you know the answer to that. Made Pat's ham sandwich and tea, then picked her up. We ate at Dynasty Diner, as we both had several errands to run. We agreed Dynasty food is okay, but the wait staff is barely pleasant. Annoying, but it can be ignored.
Once home, I wrapped Mike's present and took it off to the P.O. He'll be in Tokyo this week, then Hong Kong, so may not get it for his actual birthday (December 5), but I'll call him then, too.
Gave Pat the final Thanksgiving leftovers, and ate the rest of my Caesar salad and broccoli for dinner. Afterward, Susan called to ask if she could bring granddaughter, Sophia, over for a visit. (Susan and her mommy were in from Connecticut, just for two days.) But, of course! Susan, her daughter, Julie, and almost two-year-old Sophia came and we greatly enjoyed chatting--and watching the baby's antics as she immediately started playing with the toys I had gotten out. Took pictures with the digital camera, and I'll send to Susan and Julie.
Today, I meet the volunteer coordinator at the library re bringing books to shut-ins.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Finally tackled the mountain of paperwork that needed to be gone through, read, categorized, filed or tossed. That took hours. I still have to assemble the rest of our financial picture for our advisor, born to us almost 41 years ago, but at least the other stuff isn't weighing on my mind.
Decided to make noodle soup with the turkey carcass (now think: Isn't that the bones of a corpse we're stewing, then--UGH!--eating?!) and the stock simmered for several hours. Smelled good, too. I then took the meat off the bones and added more to the pot, plus onions, carrots, and assorted spices. I gave Pat that for dinner, along with beef tips, smashed taters, and peas, followed by a chunk of leftover pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Even had a minuscule portion of the menu myself (sans pie) and if I write it myself, it was all yum, yum, yummy.
Earlier in the day, I was at the computer with my butternut squash and ice water (a common snack for me), reached for something and dumped over the water! Darn, it went all over the place, soaking the birthday card I had ready for Mike's present, as well as a lot of other stuff. I dried the card, but decided to send another--will include this bedraggled one in his present, which may arrive late, especially as he's going to Tokyo this week.
Ellen called and we enjoyed our usual Sunday night talk fest. She's looking at houses to buy, as the real estate market has tanked around there--yay! Of course, that means a two million-dollar condo might go for only one, but still, it's a hopeful sign. She also got her tickets to come for Christmas--happy day!
Did a lot of other mundane--but oddly satisfying--household stuff and last night, was snug and warm in my new jammies. Not quite like being snug and warm in my husband's embrace, but....
If you live long enough, you know time is a thief.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The big news about yesterday (aside from my .4 weight loss) is that I bought myself two pairs of flannel pajamas and a warm robe. Carrying around 46 pounds more than I do now, I used to be hot all the time--now I'm cold. I've wore nightgowns for years, but I've been having to add socks, a robe--but both mine are summer-weight--sometimes a sweater, and lately, sweat pants to keep warm in bed.*
Of course, I was an idiot to shop the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but it wasn't too bad. I also got a birthday gift for Mike, whose big day is December 5. I well remember his birth, you can be damn sure, as I was in the hospital for a week, and then did my Christmas shopping for my 7, 5, and 3-year-olds, husband, mother, twin, and assorted friends. Of course, I also decorated the house, made Christmas cookies, and completed all the other holiday chores. I always think I have more energy now, but maybe not.
Incidentally, Pat R. is absolutely right about .4 being more than a quarter pound! I feel lighter now! (Geez, not only do we have to know what a fourth and an eighth are, but then they mess us up by putting it in decimals!)
Today, I MUST get to sorting out the rest of the Christmas things in the garage. I asked Jen is she wanted to look at some, before I cart them off to the thrift store, and I'll probably go up on Wednesday. E-mailed former colleague David P. to see if he could meet me in Allentown for lunch the same day.
*Okay, you jokesters, I know there's another way to keep warm in bed, but let's not go there...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

After our walk, spent most of the morning cleaning up from T. Day. Emptied the dishwasher, put some of the leftovers in the freezer, and tidied up the guest bath. I had left the pots soaking in soapy water in the sink (something I almost never do), so they were easy to wash. Replaced the Thanksgiving plates, napkin holders and other Thankgivingy items in their storage places, and removed the padding from the dining room table. Washed, dried, and put away the napkins and tablecloth, and did three loads of everyday wash, too.
It's funny that I get a real sense of satisfaction and pleasure out of working to have everything "back to rights," as the saying used to be. Either I really am just a dull and limited housewife, or--oh, yes, it's gotta be this--I like it because it's at least something I can control, as opposed to my husband's illness.
Was alarmed at lunchtime to discover I was out of broccoli. Good lord, a crisis! Went to Acme to replenish and bought three kinds of squash, my blessed broccoli, and a huge head of cauliflower. That should last me a few days.
Talked to good friend, next-door Barb D., who told me her elderly father had been admitted to the hospital (in Westchester, NY) on Thanksgiving. She and Frank had planned to drive down to their daughter's in North Carolina that night and she was pretty disappointed they weren't able to.
Called Alison just as she was leaving work to wish her "Happy Birthday" on her actual one. She was born on Thanksgiving and what a joy that was and continues to be! I'm a lucky woman.
Talked to and saw Mike and adorable Vivian last night, when he called on the Web Cam. Vivi chatted for awhile, then went to get her "jewelry" and model it for us. She had put on several rings, a bracelet, and a choker necklace. She also told us the names of her friends at school. I said I'd send her the picture of her cousin, Joely, in the native American outfit he made. She then got tired of talking to grandparents and ran off to get ready to go swimming.
Will pick up Leslie at 9:00 for Weight Watchers. I'm pretty sure I've gained, but will take my lumps and soldier on.
Later: Back from WW; lost .4 pounds, which brings me to 153.6 and an even 46 pounds off. "Only" a quarter pound? I'll accept that with pleasure.
(Will resume going on Thursdays, so next time, it'll be a short week. Will see what the scale does then. Regardless, I'll be fine with it.)

Friday, November 23, 2007

It was a neat Thanksgiving! Got all the prep work done and had time to dress--even put makeup on--adding my belt, of course (I have only one).
Talked to Betty in the AM; she was going to Carolyn's in-laws for Turkey Day. Brother Jim called to wish us a good one; they were going to daughter and SIL's Chrissy and Paul.
Joel, Jen, Joely, and Tristan got here first, at 2:00. They had called about noon to ask what veggie they should bring (unlike yours truly, they aren't obsessive about planning ahead) and we settled on corn.
It was such fun to have them here. Big and little Joel and I went out to the driveway to play hackie-sack, then Jen and I chatted while we did a few last-minute chores, and Tristan performed his specialty of gurgling and smiling.
Alison and Mike arrived about 2:45, with string bean casserole, apple pie, and Mike's brother, David. We were a little concerned about cousin John, thinking he hadn't gotten the change to an earlier time, but he got here about 3:45, and all were aboard.
J. and J. told us that Joely had gotten an excellent report from his teacher, who said he was "at the top of the class" in his reading preparation and math skills. At school, he had made an Indian (oops--native American) costume out of paper and modeled it for us--it's really cute and he's a darling kid. He and Alison played chess, then checkers. Wish I had had a grandmother like that--in fact, wish I had had any grandmother.
Mike carved the bird and Big Joel watched him from start to finish, saying he was in training for turkey-cutting. The eleven-pounder was enough, even allowing for generous take-homes by the Alison and Joel contingents, and leftovers for us.
What a feast! I ate everything and plenty of it. If I say it myself, the dinner was superb; of course, the company was what made it so, but the food was tasty, too. I was pleased to have "discovered" cooking the sweet potatoes in the crockpot, which frees up a burner and the microwave.
Ellen called to say "Happy T.Day" and talked in turn to me, Pat, Alison, Joel, then me again; we kept her on the phone about an hour. Can't wait to see her at Christmas.
I had hidden the birthday cake in my closet and Alison was surprised when I carried it into the dining room with candles blazing. Joel and Jen gave her a beautiful gift basket with tea, candles, and jam, and we gave her some green stuff she can use for decorating the addition.
Mike called as we were cleaning up and talked also to Pat and Alison. They had gone to the Mandarin Oriental for dinner--and I can attest it's elegant, as I've been there. He said they allowed adorable Vivian to choose her own "seconds" and she picked sushi (well, you know, she's one-fourth Japanese) and some other non-traditional items.
We picked names for Christmas gifts and agreed on a limit of $30. I kept a record and will e-mail everybody the results.
Alison had brought Santa hats for the kiddies and after dinner, Mike took their pictures for Christmas cards. Joel, at 5, is a little ham and Tristan (they've been calling him "T") obligingly left the hat on his head, even when it fell over one eye; the pics should be great. Of course, I took several myself and am anxious to get them on the computer. Pat donned a hat, too, and we got some funny shots with him and the kids.
Alison cleaned up about 80 %, but I told her that was enough, as I knew she had to work today (her actual birthday). I still have some stuff to clean up this morning, but the bulk is done.
A. had filled the dishwasher to absolute capacity before she left and, after I turned it on, I put on my nightclothes, poured myself a glass of white merlot, and sat down to watch a re-run episode of LP, BW.
Did I have anything else with my wine? Oh, yeah--I consumed handfuls of peanuts, a slice of chocolate cake, and another piece of pie.
Pumpkin. With whipped cream. So shoot me.
This is the first time I've veered from healthful eating and I'll be right back on the eat-rite bandwagon today. Will attend WW tomorrow and if I've gained, so be it. It was a fine day and worth a few pounds, if that has to happen.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

As I knew it would be, yesterday was one busy, "getting ready" day. Ran over to Acme for some last-minute items. Rolled out the dough for the second pie, filled both with pumpkin, and baked them. Wanted to freeze one, but read on the Libby's label not to, as the filling pulls away from the crust. Maybe I'll skip that and just ask some friends over for dessert to have the second one. While mixing the filling, I had to run next door to borrow a half-teaspoon of ginger from Barbara. My container had this on the bottom: "April 1975." Think it may have lost some potency?
Made the stuffing, and refrigerated it in a bowl. If you stuff a turkey the day before you cook it, you will die by the quickly-multiplying bacteria it harbors. This is a certainty, just as if you threw yourself in front of a train. (Old joke between Betty and me.)
Frosted the cake for Alison. Started pulling out some serving dishes. Somewhat reluctantly, I've decided to use the dishes and tableware that can go in the dishwasher. If I used my mother's good china and the good silverware, they'd all have to be washed by hand and, boy, is that a chore. I'm sure nobody will mind.
Looked over my tablecloths and decided on a Burgundy which matches some of the design on the plates. Set the table and was able to squeeze nine places around it, using two kitchen chairs and a high stool for Joely. Put the serving dishes for the appetizers on the coffee table in the living room. I have several kinds, but am not sure if I'll have time to make "Nana Mix."
In between, I fielded several phone calls, including one from the volunteer coordinator at the library. We'll meet on Tuesday to go over my duties when I deliver books to shut-ins.
We were delighted to get a call last night from Patrick. We had a wonderful chat and I spoke to his lovely bride. She said, "How are you?," I answered, "Fine," and asked her the same; she responded with "Fine." I said "Koneeshiewah" (or something), which means "good afternoon," and we both did a lot of giggling, as that's about the extent of our bilingualism. She and Patrick will have formal wedding pictures taken in December--can't wait to see them.
Must run. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Got my hair trimmed in the morning. At first, I was dismayed, thinking it's too short, but it actually looks pretty good. After yet another trip to Shop-Rite (see later), I then spent most of rest of the day preparing for Thursday. Made the birthday cake for Alison and will frost it today. It's a delectable chocolate and I'll make mocha icing. Chopped the celery and onions for the stuffing and made the apple cranberry relish. This recipe is new to me; contains just chunks of apple, cranberries, sugar, and apple cider, cooked together. Boy, it's good--very tangy. I'll also have the old-time canned cranberry sauce.
I thought Shop-Rite was mobbed on Saturday, but yesterday topped that. However, I got most of the rest of the stuff I need; may have to run over to Acme for a few items--there's gotta be something I forgot.
Alison e-mailed to the effect that Mike's brother, David, will come after all, so I'll set another place. The Bakers will have lunch with Mike's mom in the assisted living facility at noon, then head down here. A. also asked if we could eat at 4:30, instead of 6:00, as had been planned because she and Joel have to work on Friday. Of course, I agreed.
Today, I have plenty to do, including washing the bathroom rugs and vacuuming,* and doing more of the food preparation; will make and bake the pumpkin pie, and complete the stuffing. I also need to get a birthday card for Alison AND a card and gift for my Mike**, whose birthday is on December 5.
*The cleaners were scheduled for last Friday, but I told them to skip it until next week. It's just a hassle to have them here, partly because of Pat's problems. It would have been the week before Thanksgiving, anyway, which wouldn't have helped with sprucing up for it.
**As opposed to Alison's Mike, of course!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Walked with umbrellas again yesterday--but walked. Afterward, I made pie crust (I have the best, most manageable recipe, which includes vinegar and egg), rolled part into a pie pan, and froze it. Will fill with pumpkin and bake tomorrow; I'm still considering pecan.
Met at 2:00 with the rep from Ocean County Library for the "Conversational English" course. There were 3 other women there, 2 from LBI, and Jackie, who's one of the directors at the Tuckerton Seaport. I was pleasantly surprised to find she'll be my partner when we meet for the weekly sessions. This makes sense in case of the illness or travel of one leader.
Jackie and I will meet at the Tuckerton Library ("my" Little Egg Harbor branch already has enough volunteers). We won't start until February, partly because the library is getting new carpet and partly because our "clients" (or "students," or whomever), haven't been made aware of the service yet. I'm not sure what day or time we'll meet--could be Saturday mornings or early evening on weeknights--Jackie and I will decide that and either is okay for me.
I was impressed with the presentation of the volunteer director, Marilyn B., who gave a very clear and concise explanation of the program, along with well-done printed materials. This service is intended for anyone whose first language is not English--no questions asked about their immigration standing, which suits me fine. I assume most of the participants will be Latino, considering there seems to be a fairly large Spanish-speaking population around here, but there may well be others. Looking forward to February,when we'll begin.
Today, I'll make the apple cranberry sauce, chop the celery and onions, get some of the cleaning done, take the tablecloth to be ironed, iron the napkins, and pick up the rest of the ingredients for various dishes. Jen will bring a veggie dish and Alison the string bean cassorle and an apple pie.
I sent e-mails to the family about our Christmas gift exchange and was happy to hear back they all want to participate. Will have Joely draw the names for the ones absent on Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

When Susan and I were walking yesterday morning, we remarked on how good it is to start our days that way. Also, we marveled that very often, the weather holds early, even if it turns on us later.
That happened yesterday: It was brisk, but sunny, at 7:00, but got windy and rainy later. I went out again only twice on short errands. I felt the urgent need to get my cranberries, and I wanted loose ones. I knew Tucker Tom's has them so that's what I got them (want to make apple/ cranberry relish). Later, I picked up a few things at the dollar store and Shop 'n' Bag.
Made a loaf of banana bread and put it in the freezer. Watched some of the Eagles game with Pat. Talked to a few people on the phone. In other words, lazed around a lot--I don't mind that once in a while.
Ellen called last night with big news: She contacted a broker, who told her--tentatively--the mortgage for which she can qualify. It's more than she thought, but she is at the top of the salary line, so seems legit. Also, she has no debt at all, having diligently paid it down a few years ago.
Alison's news concerns a job, but I don't want to go into specifics until--unless--it comes through. In her case, the new position is hers, BUT whether it can match or come close to her present salary is the sticking point. She won't know for several weeks.
This afternoon, I'll meet the woman from Ocean County Library to "interview" for the volunteer job leading discussions with ESL people.
Still haven't made the decision on whether to keep the coat I bought or not.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Finally got on the stick about preparing for Thanksgiving. Went to Shop-Rite and got a free turkey--an 11-pounder--and most of the ingredients for the sides. We're having 9 people, but Joely won't eat much and Tristan is under 4 months old, so I think he'll leave some on the platter. I've had birds of 20 pounds and bigger, but I prefer reasonably small ones, partly because they're easier to handle and partly because I have the idea they're more tender. Incidentally, this is a fresh turkey, but in the refrig, will be okay until December 1--and it'll be in our tummies long before that.
I was really nuts to go to Shop-Rite on Saturday. It was so mobbed you'd think people were stocking up before a blizzard. Naturally, the weekend before the holiday--Rosemary, what were you thinking?
I plan to do a lot of baking soon: banana bread, pies, and a chocolate cake for Alison's birthday. Must get her a gift, too. I'm thinking of a gift certificate from Home Depot or Pier One, so she can get something for the new addition.
I put out the Thanksgiving decorations to go with the two berry wreaths I bought. Have just a few, including a big turkey made of straw. Also got out my Thanksgiving gravy boat and related items. Years ago, I bought dessert plates with turkeys on them and I always use them, too. The house already looks very festive.
Barb H. came over in the afternoon to show me pictures of her and Ray's Hawaii trip. Lucky them, they were on Maui and another island for two weeks. Boy, I'd love to go back.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Went to Hamilton Mall yesterday and saw a jacket at Land's End. It was more than I wanted to spend--$139--but I reasoned I'll be wearing it everyday in the cold weather, so I bought it. It's one of those puffy kind that makes you like the Mifflin Tire man or the Pillsbury Doughboy. Not my favorite look, especially in light of my weight loss, but it's really not bad.
Now I'm not sure I want to keep it. It's very warm and Land's End puts out quality stuff, but it's snug enough so I probably couldn't wear a sweater under it. On the other hand, it's so warm I probably wouldn't need a sweater. But on the other other hand...
Damn! I'm always so indecisive! If I keep it, I may regret it. If I take it back, I may wish I hadn't. Guess I won't take off the tags, and will just stew about it before I make a move.
Had a nice talk with Betty. She's baby-sitting for Finn and Claire overnight. Boy, anybody who has taken care of a 6-year-old and a 1-year-old that long knows what she's in for. Good luck, Sis!
Was pleased to get a call from brother Frank in Alameda. He asked for our mom's recipe for her modified Chex mix, which we call "Nana Mix." My boys love this, too, and I always make it for the holidays. It's much spicier than the usual bland stuff. Both of Frank's daughters are expecting soon, always a nice bit of news as the Byrne descendants increase and expand. As Betty pointed out, there have been--I think--8 or 9 grand- and great-grandchildren born to the famlies of the four younger Byrne sibs in the past six years! As to how many descendants, plus spouses, there are of our parents, some of us have tried to figure that out, but it's difficult, for various reasons. Maybe I'll take another stab at it one of these days.

Friday, November 16, 2007

After Weight Watchers yesterday, I completed a number of errands in the driving rain. Then, my long-awaited DVD of "Cabaret" finally having arrived on Wednesday, I sat down and watched it while Pat went to the bay.
That's one terrific movie! It was such fun to romp around pre-war Berlin, decadent and sinister though it was (or maybe because it was decadent and sinister), with Liza and her pals. After, I looked it up on the Internet and discovered it's thirty-five years old! Good lord, that crazy, adorable Sally Bowes (she'll always be Sally Bowles to me) is 61. Where does it go?
Had a nice beef stew simmering all day in the crockpot. Pat had several helpings and I enjoyed a modest amount, too.
Alison called and we discussed Thanksgiving. Yoicks, it's less than a week away--I'd better start planning and buying. She had some other big news (no, nobody's pregnant) that I won't mention until it comes to fruition--I fervently hope.
Think I'll list some of my favorite movies. Besides "Cabaret," They include, but are not limited to:
"Citizen Kane"
"Since You Went Away"
"The Godfather"
"The Godfather II"
"Paths of Glory"
Hmm...I know there are many others, but just don't recall them at the moment. Must get ready for my walk, so will leave this for now.
To all you multitudes who read this: Why not put down your favorites movies, too, either as comments here, or on your blog?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Had a neat day at Sister Jean's Kitchen. We served spaghetti and sauce with ground meat and meatballs (they made a big hit), fish until it ran out, then chicken, and collard greens until they ran out, then string beans. Along with two teachers, there was a group of kids helping from St. Nicholas School in Egg Harbor. They were about 12 or 13 and clearly, had been there before--possibly they come monthly--because they readily lined themselves up to act as "runners," carrying the filled plates to the customers. How much better this is than kids plopped in front of the T.V. or computer. Better for the kids, I mean.
I was at the spaghetti station. I could have used tongs, but was told grabbing the pasta with my hand and putting it on was easier, and it was (of course, we all wear gloves). Only slight drawback was that, once I got to the bottom of the steam tray, the stuff was damn hot and I had to be quick about it.
As before, it was very intense for a few hours. The dining room opens for lunch at eleven (breakfast is from 7 to 10), a religious service is conducted, and the hot meal is served at noon. Doors close at 2:00--I think, but am not quite sure.
Sister Jean will serve Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings on the actual day and, I understand, the St. Nick students will be there. If I didn't have eleven people coming, I would be, too.
I'm going to propose to the Women's Club that we make Sister Jean's the object of one of our cash gifts. I'll approach the new officers in January, as we have our Christmas luncheon instead of a meeting in December
Got home about 3:00 and, in comparison, did little of consequence the rest of the day.
Later: I'm back from Weight Watchers and down another pound for 45.6 pounds off. Current weight: 154.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yesterday morning, it occurred to me we hadn't had "Old George" over for dinner recently, so I suggested Pat call him. He did, and George enthusiastically accepted the invitation. Because I had cut-up chicken in the freezer left from the whole bird I cooked last week, I decided to make chicken potpie. It's so simple and everybody seems to like it--except Pat, who prefers the bought kind, but will eat it. (This is what I've lived with for 49 years, folks.)
Was pleased to get a call from Betty, who's doing well. She said she was seeing the oncologist yesterday, who will go over the PET scan, which she already knows is clean.
The slight rain that had been falling early cleared up in the afternoon, and the weather was glorious: warm and sunshiny on the brilliantly-colored trees. The change of seasons always gives me a lift. Ran a few errands in the morning and cleaned up a little.
Made the potpie (with Bisquick on top), and completed the meal with salad, baked potatoes, broccoli, and several kinds of bread--simple and easy, but filling. I remembered George likes Goldfish crackers, so went out and bought a small bag.
George got here at 4:45 (I had suggested 5:30, as we eat at 6:00, but for some reason, he's chronically early). That was okay; I was in the kitchen finishing up and he sat talking to Pat. He's a big talker and the poor guy is lonely after the death of his wife last year. He's very open about his sadness and how much he misses her.
And boy, can he eat! George told us he "doesn't cook" at home, so eats a lot of canned soup and other quickies. When he gets even the uninspired home-cooked meal I served last night, he takes full advantage of it.
I had some of the lemonade pie Susan had given me in the freezer, so gave them that for dessert--topped it off fine.
George stayed until almost 8:00. I wrapped what was left of the potpie for him to take home, along with the rest of the Goldfish crackers.
He's so appreciative and such a wonderful guest, I know we'll have him over again.
Today, I go to Sister Jean's Kitchen in A.C. along with Leslie, Barbara D., and the Presbyterian ladies (who've thunk it?)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The AARP meeting yesterday was actually pretty good. The speaker was from Ocean County Social Services and her topic was the Medicare Prescription D plan. There are changes starting in January--too long and involved to describe here--and it prompted me to decide to look into them.
There was a woman there who insisted that when she went to Walgreen's to fill a prescription, they gave her medication from India! Now, I find this hard to believe. It's certainly illegal (the speaker confirmed this) and why would a big company like Walgreen's do that? I asked if she had notified the FDA and, of course, she hadn't. She had a strong accent and it was hard to understand everything, but it sounded as if she said the medication tasted like ammonia (or something) and when she told them that, they showed her a container marked "Dr. Roonji, of India." Sounds fishy to me.
Later, went to Manahawkin and did something new: looked at clothes at the SOCH* thrift store. I donate a lot of my outgrown stuff there, and have bought household items and magazines, but aside from a few exercise tee-shirts, never clothes. Yesterday, it occurred to me to see if I could inexpensively replenish some of my wardrobe, too . My winter outerwear is so-o-o big for me, so I tried on coats and jackets. Found a beautiful, pure wool coat in charcoal, with a classic, double-breasted design, and in perfect condition. It's a Pendleton--an excellent brand--and is long, very warm, and fits beautifully. As long as I was there, I picked up two cardigan sweaters, also, one never worn with the tags still on it. Total cost? Fourteen dollars. (Although they vary in quality, all the coats are $8.) Love my thrifty buys, and will now look at the other SOCH store in Tuckerton for a winter jacket.
*Stands for "Southern Ocean County Hospital."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Went to the Women's Club meeting yesterday; was pleased to see Marge and sat with her. A number of people came up to me and exclaimed over my weight loss. But get this: Three of them asked if I had been sick!
It's just a fact of life that when you're a certain age and lose a considerable amount of weight, the face sags (okay, everything sags). The fat under the skin dwindles and the skin is now flaccid; it no longer tightens the way it had, so ya gots wrinkles--and plenty of them. Guess I just have to live with that--or get plastic surgery which financially, doesn't seem to be in the cards. Anyway, after a time, people just accept your new look and move on.
Got a welcome call from Florence League, inviting us to their annual Christmas party on December 13. That's the day after the Women's Club Christmas luncheon, but that's okay--I love the busy partying of the holiday season. Flo (nee Wood) was a good friend of Pat's (but not in a romantic sense) at HSHS; she's married to Joe, whom Dee and Pat may remember. He was one of 13 children and went in the seminary as a sophomore, but came out later and married Florence. We've gone to their party since we moved here and they came to my birthday party last year. Flo is a (distant) cousin of Jack B.
Quiet day other than the meeting. This morning, I'm going to an AARP talk with Leslie and Barbara D. (next door) on Medicare prescription D. It isn't a topic in which I'm much interested, but I like to get together with these two good friends.
Later: I just realized later in the day that this is the anniversary of my mother's death. (Betty had reminded me of it a few days ago.) Mom's been gone for 8 years now after a long and fruitful 97 years.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ran over to good old Santori's in the morning to get my veggie stash. I swear I'm beginning to regard broccoli as I used to cigarettes: I get frantic if I run out.
D.G. Joel called to say they all have colds, so wouldn't be able to come down this weekend. We had a nice chat, though, and we'll see them on Thanksgiving.
D.S. Mike wrote to say they're vacationing in Thailand. Adorable Vivi loves the water and now puts her head under "for a long time." They're at the Banyan Tree Resort in Plunket, where the tsunami struck hard. Mike said the only evidence of it they saw are the line of palm trees 100 feet from the ocean. Get this: Their tops are snapped off thirty feet up.
It rained steadily into the afternoon and after I got home from Santori's, I decided to indulge myself. Picked up the tape of "Witness" from our clubhouse library and watched it with pleasure. (Hard to believe it's 23 years old.)
Energetic Alison wrote that she and Mike were going to spend Saturday painting, then do a little painting on Sunday, then on Monday (they're off for Veteran's Day), thought they'd paint. They have a lot of walls to cover. Made barbecued ribs in the crockpot and Pat had three helpings. I had a small portion, too, and yea, man!--damn good, if I say it myself.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Well, yesterday was a bit of a let-down. Picked Leslie up at 7:45 and we got to A.C. about 8:30.
Wow, that Convention Center is huge. The underground parking is $10 for the first 4 hours (we planned to be there all day), and there was a long walk back to get upstairs. Once there, we had to walk about the same distance back again, as the location of our table was far off. I was carrying a big canvas bag with my lunch, a frozen bottle of water, my sneaks (in case my feet hurt midway), and a few other items. However, I was fine with the walk, as I had had to skip my regular with Susan.
To our surprise, Norm was there when we arrived. He then told us there was a surfeit of volunteers: Besides him and us, two other women were coming! Our jaws dropped. More than a month before, he had appealed for people to staff the table and I had e-mailed him then that Leslie and I would go on Friday. He had sounded desperate about getting volunteers for the two days and we had assumed we'd be the only ones there. The problem was that our designated space--actually three small tables arranged into a rectangle with one folding chair--was extremely small. Passers-by could come "into" the area to see bumper stickers, buttons, books, and so on, but there was simply no room for anything or anybody else.
Soon, the two other women arrived, so now there were five of us. Leslie and I hung around outside the tiny area, but that wasn't good either, because we ran the risk of getting in the way of the attendees.
I was steamed. It takes a great deal of planning and preparation for me to leave Pat so early in the morning and it's hard on him. Nobody seems to understand that if he forgets something--leaves his glasses in the living room, say--it's a major ordeal for him to walk in there and back to get them.
Anyway, we finally told Norm we'd stay until 11:00, which we did. Most of the time, Les and I just walked around looking at other exhibits because we'd be in the way at our table. We left a bit crestfallen, but resolved that if we ever volunteered again, we'd check to be sure we were actually needed.
I asked Les if she'd mind if we went down to Ventnor to look at Betty's house (just from the outside), then go out for lunch, and she was fine with that. Having been born and brought up on Absecon Island, I was sure I was headed downbeach when we drove out, but no. The place has changed so much that we were in the inlet before I realized I was driving in the wrong direction!
I corrected and we got to Ventnor with no problem. Betty's house looks good. I took some old print ads out of the mailbox to throw away, then we went around the corner to a little restaurant ("Johnnie's Place"?) for lunch. Had a good C.s (without c.) and Leslie and I enjoyed our little excursion. Called Pat from there and he was okay; got home by 2:30, so the day wasn't a total waste.
Jen wrote to ask if I wanted to go to a concert at the New Egypt high school tonight, but I declined. They aren't going because they all have colds and Alison and Mike will be painting the news rooms, so they can't, either. Jen said she'd let me know if they can get up today or tomorrow, but probably not, so we'll see them at Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 09, 2007

It was good to walk again with Susan yesterday. She and Walter had a great time in Canada and I heard all about it.
Picked up Leslie early so I could stop and buy another "berry wreath" for the hall mirror before going to WW.
After lunch, went to Tucker Tom's for produce and found that orders were being taken for Thanksgiving pies. Well, I debated and debated with myself. I never buy them for holidays--always make my own from scratch, including, of course, the crust. However, I asked to see one and it looked scrumptious. Other shoppers assured me the pies taste as good as they look and I took the plunge: ordered an apple, and will pick it up the day before. That means I'll make only one or two pumpkins--and maybe I'll try a mincemeat, too. (I was about to write "that'll be a piece of cake," but it doesn't quite fit.)
Spent the rest of the day washing clothes, food shopping, and preparing for Leslie's and my coverage of the Coalition table at the NJ NEA convention in A.C. today.
I've been in touch with John Nirenberg, the 60-year-old Brattleboro, Vt. resident who will walk from Faneuil Hall in Boston to Nancy Pelosi's office in Washington, starting December 1. He will walk in order to urge Congress to put impeachment "back on the table," as he believes we must hold elected officials accountable for their actions.
This guy is no wild-eyed radical. He's a 60-year-old former teacher who has gone the route of writing letters, making phone calls, and expressing his concern to Congress, with no results. I've already told him I want him to "walk in my name." Please take a look at his web site:
I'm going to take some info on John's crusade to the convention. I won't push it--the Coalition's aims aren't the same thing--but if somebody comes by the table who seems interested, will share it with them.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Had a laundry list of errands to do yesterday, so left the house about 9:30. Dropped a back seat full of house and garage gleanings off at the SOCH thrift store, went to the bank and post office, stopped at Staples to duplicate some pictures for Tokyo DIL, and picked up grocery items at the supermarket, among other chores. I found a beautiful autumn wreath (I'm thinking Thanksgiving) of berries and leaves in fall colors and bought it. Hung it in the dining room double window and it looks great. Would like to get another for the big mirror in the hall. Also bought a pair of shoes which I later realized, hurt like hell, so I'll return them.
Got home at noon and was pleased to hear that Marge had called to see if I could make lunch. Called her back to accept, made Pat's lunch, and left to pick her up.
We went to Poseidon, which I still think is an unfortunate name. Yes, yes, I know it's a sea god, but--pop culture being persuasive as it is--I believe most people associate it with the disaster movie.
Just to vary the formula a tad, I had Greek salad instead of Caesar. It wasn't bad and, of course, I took half home and had it for dinner.
As ever, it was great to be with Marge. We're very comfortable with each other and easily share our thoughts and ideas. I'm happy to say her knees are less troublesome now, but recently she's been having problems with her feet.
Susan and Walter are back and I'll pick her up for our walk in an hour. Am anxious to hear about their trip, especially his nephew's wedding.
Weight Watchers today. I know I often say this, I really don't feel as if I've lost. It's been two weeks since I weighed in and I haven't overeaten--just still have this flab at the waist. Would like to see that go away.
Tomorrow, Leslie and I leave at 7:30 to staff the table (Coalition for Peace and Justice) at the NEA's convention in Atlantic City. I'm a little nervous about being away all day, but will prepare to have Pat covered as much as possible.
Later: Dropped another 1.6 pounds for a total of 44.6 and a current weight of 155. I'm a little suprised it wasn't more, as it's been two weeks since I weighed in, but I'm okay with it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Awoke to rain and wind, but took my full walk. Got a little wet, but that won't hurt me. After, went to the clubhouse to vote, got Pat situated, put in a load of wash, and made applesauce.
Alison got here about 11:00. She likes to dive right in--so do I--and we didn't waste any time, immediately starting on the garage. What a job! For a little size 8, she's very strong, moving the high bookshelves and desk parts (from the study) to other areas so they can be used. I put all my indoor plant stuff on one, along with some gardening implements; the other is still empty, but will definitely be used. We got rid of a number of items, some to the curb for pick-up (the wicker loveseat and table that's now unraveling)*, some to my car to take to the thrift store (lots of frames, candles, "decorative" pillows, etc.), and some directly to the trash (an old garden hose and assorted other stuffaroni).
We broke for lunch (20 minutes or so), then started in again and worked for another few hours. Boy, it looks great! It isn't quite the way it should eventually be--I want to go through my Christmas decorations (I have enough to open a store) to see what I want to get rid of--but it's vastly better than it was before. Alison said she'd come back to get Pat's things (tools, birdseed, broken items he means to fix, and you-name-it) sorted and--we hope--make the desk his workbench. We like to kid ourselves that he's ever going to be able to use a workbench.
Pat went to the bay and Alison and I swept up, then drove to the Sherwin-Williams in Manahawkin and she bought paint. I blanched to hear it cost almost $700, but Alison said it would have been $4000 if they had had somebody else do it, so she and Mike paint themselves. I kissed her goodbye with many thanks, so relieved to have the garage so much better than it had been.
Best news of the day, though, was a call from Betty to tell me the doctor's office had called and her PET scan showed no abnormalities. Good, good, great news!
Note: Just went out to get the paper and the wicket set is gone. That's good--I hope somebody can repair and enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Got a nice, newsy e-mail from Susan. She and Walter are having a fine time in Canada; they'll be home tomorrow afternoon. Also got a message from Joan H., detailing her and Dan's further adventures as they settle into their new home in Costa Rica. Had a nice talk with Betty, who reminded me that November 12 is our mother's anniversary (of her death, not her marriage).
Went to Santori's for my veggie fix, then stopped at the Galloway Shop-Rite for other staples.
For the fourth time, checked at Acme for the damn Creamsicles. Was told they "could no longer get them." They didn't know why. I e-mailed the company and am awaiting a reply, although now I'm losing interest in the whole thing.
Saw a new episode with the Roloffs on "LP,BW" last night which, unfortunately, made me miss "Countdown." I understand from the liberal blogs I read today that Keith Olbermann had a particularly hard-hitting special commentary. Will try to find it on MSN's web site.*
Now that two DINOs (Democrats In Name Only) have caved and will confirm Mukasey, I'm so filled with disgust I may not vote at all. The DINOs are just Repulsivecans turned inside out. It seems incredible that now, we're actually going to sneak torture in the back door--while kicking the constitution of the United States out the window. Remember those icky bumper stickers reading "Proud To Be An American"? I feel exactly the opposite: I'm ashamed to be an American.
*I found it on I think it's about the hardest-hitting commentary he's ever done. Whether it will make a difference, combined with all the other voices raised in protest, is questionable, though. We seem no longer able to avoid the Facism that has taken over our country.

Monday, November 05, 2007

It was a fine, fine day yesterday! The weather was perfect for Joely's last soccer game of the season--mostly sunshiny, but crisply cool and breezy. Unfortunately, Pat decided not to go, as he had had a restless night. I was a little hesitant to go myself, but he insisted I should, so I did. Made and left his lunch, packed my own big salad and ice water, and got to Alison's about 12:30. She was just making Mike's and her--well, brunch, I guess: They had been out running and didn't eat first. She made big servings of omelets, hash browns, toast, and coffee. You can eat like that when you're as active as they are, I guess.
While we were eating, niece Joan called. Her son, Jeremy, was running the NY marathon and she and Alison talked excitedly about that. They're aiming at a date to go hiking/mountain-climbing again. Joan just sent me an e-mail, which included the melancholy information that today was her mother's--my sister, Gene's--birthday. She would have been 83.
After lunch, A. and I went to the soccer game, already in progress. Joel, Jen, and Tristan were there, along with Jen's parents, Uncle Jake, little Gabriel (Joely's cousin, also 5, who had stayed over at Joel's), and a friend of Jen's. It was fun to see the tiny tots play and actually, Joel did well, almost scoring a goal and with good footwork. The kids all got trophies, then were treated to McDonald's (ugh!). We all drove to Wrightstown for that.
While the team members played on the big play-structure outside, our crowd ordered this and that. Alison would starve rather than eat fast food, so just had tea. I had a handful of somebody's French fries, and water.
Alison baby-sat last evening while Joel and Jen went to a movie. They stopped at her place first, to see more of the addition and we all admired the progress. I left about 4:30 after a wonderful day with family.
Joel and Jen said they'd try to get down for a visit next weekend. Also, I told them I was having Thanksgiving and they said they'd be here--yay! Also invited Mike's brother and his partner, but haven't heard back from them.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Another low-key, but pleasant enough day. Mary Ann came over in the morning to look at my outgrown clothes. She took most of them for either herself or her daughter. I'll donate the rest to one of the thrift stores.
Otherwise, got the Halloween decorations put away, cleaned a bit, and went to Acme, the last an exercise in frustration. Three separate times I asked that an item be ordered (those Popsicle-brand cream sickles I mentioned here weeks ago), and they're still not in. Talked to the frozen food person (Brian, a callow youth and, like his adult female cohorts, barely civil), and he assured me he had never gotten the message. Said he'd order and they'd be in on Saturday. Yesterday was Saturday. I was there. I looked. They weren't in.
Okay, if that's the worse thing that ever happens to me... Watched much of the Notre Dame game with Pat, which they finally lost in double overtime. All was well until Pat and I had an angry exchange and I sulked the rest of the evening. Oh, well, I'm over it now.
Had a yen (could I be pregnant?) to watch Cabaret, one of my all-time favorites, 35 years old or not, but neither of the rental places had it. Ordered it from Amazon--so quick and easy--and will be able to enjoy it for years to come.
Today, we go up to see Joely's soccer game. I don't know the game (it wasn't played in Ventnor, NJ, when I was growing up), but am happily looking forward to another day with Alison and her family.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Mostly stuck around home yesterday, but had plenty to do. After the cleaners came, I changed our bedclothes and did other chores. Added more to the pile of outgrown clothes Mary Ann may be able to use.
While we were having lunch, Pat got a very welcome phone call from Tommy D. Tom is the son of Tom, Sr., Pat's old friend, with whom he used to work at Convery's before starting his own business. The older Tom died about 30 years ago, and Pat became friendly with Tom, Jr. They hadn't been in touch since we moved here and Pat was so pleased to speak to him. They hope to get together, if possible, one of these days.
Pat said he'd like to go with me tomorrow to Joely's soccer game. That would be wonderful, so I'll talk to Alison about the best way to bring this about.
With Pat at the bay, I went to the library. Signed up to become a volunteer leader of "English conversation groups" for the foreign born. I filled out an application and talked to the librarian about it.
Rented "The Phantom of the Opera," but saw only half before I got bored. (Just wanted to hear "The Music of the Night," which I love.)
The high point of the day was another very welcome phone call--from my cousin, Marifran, in Cincinnati. We had a long, enjoyable, and stimulating talk, filling each other in on our activities. Marifran is a counselor and spiritual leader to both couples and individuals, and is especially skilled in helping save marriages in danger of divorce. Her book, Up From Chaos, is a harrowing account of her life with a mentally ill mother. Marifran had sent me an early copy and believe me, it's incredibly absorbing, not only concerning the horrors of her early life, but--even more important--her triumph over a childhood out of Dickens. I remember her mother well (she was married to my father's brother), and I can appreciate Marifran's triumph in becoming the warm, open, intelligent woman she is. Her web site address is: Information on her services and her book can be found there, too.
Later note: Cant't believe I messed up an Internet address again! Forgot the "l" in "soulfulsolutions"! Okay, have fixed it--readers, please see Marifran's web site.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Had a very nice lunch with Mary Jane yesterday, whose husband, like mine, has emphysema. We also have in common long careers at Rider. M.J. was a supervisor in the library before she retired; her tenure was probably longer than mine, so about 30 years.
Mary Jane lives on Long Beach Island and we met in the middle at L.A.'s (I'm not sure if that's supposed to stand for "Los Angeles" or not). Had my usual C.s. with shrimp--and they know how to make it. We both had a glass of beer, me Coors Light, M.J. an Irish beer called "Ark."
Of course, we talked and talked. Her son is marrying in two weeks. He lost his first wife from cancer when they were in their twenties and had a 7-year-old, now a senior in high school. We veered a bit into the political, although she's very much to the right of me, so we--wisely, I think--left off quickly. After we parted, I bought a few items and got home about 4:00 just as Pat was coming in.
Called Mary Ann Van O. to see if she wanted to come over to look at the clothes I've grown out of--she will on Saturday.
Heard from Joan H. again, who sent pictures of their fabulous house in Costa Rica (think red tile roof, lots of wood, gorgeous pool on a cliff overlooking a deep valley with banana trees). It looks very isolated, but maybe the pics were taken that way.
Was pleased to know Virginia Beach Pat left a comment on Leslie's new blog. Not sure why mine didn't register, but added another. Here's the corrected address (thanks for pointing out the missing //s, Pat!):
Made Slymphie Stew for Pat and I had the other half of my lunch, plus a big bowl of broccoli--a good, satisfying dinner (and day).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Had the funnest (as the kids used to say) Halloween in years. Got up to New Egypt about 9:30 to find Jen and adorable little Tristan in his pirate's costume. What a precious 3-month-old! He's now smiling and grinning, cooing and gurgling, and is such a little doll baby.
Joel and Jen have been looking at houses and Jen drove me to see several of them. All are nice, so I hope they can get any one. They prefer to stay in this attractive little town, so are looking mostly around there.
Jen asked if I had seen the renovations inside Alison's. I hadn't and, as Jen has a key, she took me over. Will this be nice! The powder room was removed to make a dining area (with a pass-through from the kitchen) and a double window has been added. It's going to be wonderful once it's finished. We also saw Alison's new chandelier, still in the box. Wow, this is spectacular! It's very large and is made of "antlers." It'll look great and I think will be the focal point of the room.
After, we went to the school to view the big Halloween parade. (This is called the primary school, but actually covers only pre-school, kindergarten, first, and second grades.) Joel was Spiderman and there must have been at least two Spidermen in every grade. Since they wore masks, and they all seemed to be about the same size, we took pictures of all of them. Joel's class finally came by and we called and waved to him. We saw him talking to a little girl behind him and pointing out his little brother.
Had lunch at a new bagel/salad/sandwich place on Main Street. I ordered Caesar salad--what else?--and, mysteriously, it came made with spring mix, some kind of thin cheese, and dressing on the side. (It's incredible how many places don't know how to make Caesar salad!) However, I was hungry and whatever it was was pretty good, so I ate it without protest.
We went back to the apartment and Jen stayed with angel baby while I took Joely to the playground nearby. Left about 3:30 and got in just as Pat did.
A neat day and what's even better is that I'm going up again on Saturday to help Alison baby-sit. We'll probably attend Joely's last soccer game, too.
Got an e-mail from Joan H., detailing Dan's and her move to Costa Rica. Am not sure if this is a permanent, year-round thing, or not. Will write her to ask.
Was pleased to hear from Leslie that she has started a blog. Here's the address: (Hmm...not sure why that didn't come up as clickable.) I read it and added a comment--welcome, Les! That dear friend also invited me to join Dennis and her for a play on December 7 at Surflight Theatre, and I was pleased to accept.
Talked to Alison--I told her how much I loved the chandelier--and we decided I would have Thanksgiving, as her addition probably won't be finished. Hope the New Egypt contingent can come, and will invite Mike's brothers, too.
Lunch today with former Rider colleague, Mary Jane H. Decided to skip Weight Watchers--no, I'm not worried that I gained--but WW and where I'm meeting her are right next to each other. Don't feel like driving to Manahawkin at 9:30, getting home at 11:00, then going back an hour later. Will either wait until next week or attend another day.