Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Picked up Marge and took her to lunch at Sea Oaks yesterday, the second of the two lunches I gave her for her birthday. This was a marathon session, as we were there for almost 3 hours. We managed to spend $42 of the $50 gift certificate Jack B. gave Pat last year (sandwiches, iced tea and a beer, dessert, and coffee), left the rest for a tip, and the whole afternoon was very enjoyable. Talked and talked and talked, of course--my favorite activity. Now I'm able to act as a kind of off-stage confidant for Marge re the Drama Club. I'm no longer active, but I know all the background, personalities, problems, and worries and can discuss them with her. I feel slightly guilty, as I know how frustrating it can be to have to actually deal with everything and I have the luxury of just talking about them. But, hey, it feels good.
I want to start serving up more elaborate meals than I've been having lately--maybe I'll make pork chops or roast chicken today. I need to get in some meat, as the freezer stock is dwindling (finally) and will try to get to Shop-Rite.
Note to Betty: Not sure why your comment didn't show before, but your most recent one did. See the Friday, Jan. 28 entry.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Got Pat to the doctor at Fort Dix without incident--actually, it was nice, as the streets were clear and the snow made things pretty. This was just a routine check and Dr. S. was cordial, as he's been the last few visits. Said he's going to the ice carnival in Canada next week.
Later, I went over to Joseph's Restaurant at Renault Winery in Egg Harbor. Pat was given a $75 gift certificate for there for his birthday last February and I wanted to check out the walk from the car, etc. While there, I asked if the expiration date of February 8 could be extended* and was pleased that the manager graciously allowed an end date of June 30. If Pat wants to, we'll take Alison and Mike there for his birthday.
Had a casual, not very healthy dinner last night: Sloppy Joes. It's been years since I've made them--the kids liked them when they were small--but Pat and I both enjoyed them. I'll have the leftovers for lunch.
*When I talked to sister Betty yesterday, she mentioned expiration dates for Pat's gift certificates. I was sure I had checked and there weren't any. Wrong...they all have them, so we'll have to use them within a few weeks, but we've got it covered.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Very enjoyable day yesterday: Alison came down and helped me move a few things in the garage (yes, I'm still working on that--tune in next decade and I may be finished). Then she, Pat, and I went to Calloway's for lunch. When we got home, Alison put on her running togs and ran down Mathistown Road for 10 miles. (Now "10 miles" trips easily off the tongue--or slides easily past the eyes--but if you actually measure it when you're in the car, it ain't no trip to the backyard.) Anyway, it was good to have her here, as ever.
Pat managed at Calloway's all right, but I'm a little concerned about when he takes his buddies there. It wasn't the stairs so much as the walk from the door to the table that was hard for him. I'm afraid his friends won't realize that and he might have a problem. Maybe I'll get in touch with one of them and see if they can keep an eye out.
Got up this morning to see a lovely winter wonderland--*&%$*!!!--(that's supposed to signify cursing and knashing of teeth), Yes, it snowed and I don't like it. Not only do I have to put my boots on and wade out to get the paper, but Pat has a doctor's appointment at Fort Dix. Well, maybe the streets will be cleared by 10:00 when we'd have to leave; otherwise, I'll just call and cancel.
Looking forward to lunch with Marge tomorrow.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Yes, the house sale in Margate I went to yesterday was at 615 N. Delavan, where my twin and her family had lived 35 years ago. To my surprise, the owner, Carol, immediately recognized Betty's name, saying she had occasionally seen her over the years. I was also surprised to learn that Carol is SIL to Trudy, who was Betty's next door neighbor on Atlantic Avenue, and whom I remember well.
The house is a split-level and Carol and her husband added another whole level for a master bedroom. Carol invited me to come up and see it. It's a huge suite, covering the entire floor. However, they seem to have done very little to the rest of the house since they bought it in 1972. The rec room is still panelled (and it's seen better days), the kitchen looks the same and, aside from paint, it's more or less as it was when Betty and Wes lived there. Carol said it was under contract, so maybe the new owners will renovate.
I have such good memories of that house and the many family gatherings there. The priceless movie Wes recently shared of Easter at 615 North--it has to be more than 40 years ago--took place in that living room. Big Wes was there, and Mom and Aunt Maggie, and our little children, the oldest of whom, Patrick, now approaching 50, was 7 or 8. Where did it all go? Where did they all go?
After chatting with Carol and glancing at the things she had for sale--mostly dismal modern furniture I wouldn't take as a gift--I left a little hurridly. I love and revere the past, but I can't stay there too long or I get melancholy.
I went over to Hamilton Mall to run a few errands, picked up a nice chicken to roast for dinner, and eased myself back to the 21st century. All those little chores and errands, all the minutia, all the things that seem so important at the time (Will the dress fit? Does the plant need water? Did the cake rise?) are what makes us human, it seems to me.
I do like to visit the long-ago, but the present is where I live and I'm glad to be home.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saw Notes on a Scandal yesterday and boy, was it intense. Barb H., Leslie, and I enjoyed it, although it was somewhat depressing overall. Judi Dench played an incredibly absorbing part and so did Cate Blancett (I think that's misspelled); the underlying theme was age versus youth and it was repeated throughout the movie.
Pat went down the bay while I was gone, but still isn't his usual self. He's taking Tylenol every few hours, but can't seem to articulate why he needs it and in what way he doesn't feel well. As for me, the cold hangs on and on; it has now "settled in my chest" as people used to say, and I have a deep cough. Alison thinks my constant colds are from stress. She had had a number of bad colds last year when she was just finishing up graduate school and had a lot on her plate--even more than now.
It was so good to talk to her. As she's done before, she called me on her way to the Friday night hike. Unfortunately, her Mike also has a bad cold, so didn't go. She said it would probably be the coldest of their regular hikes, as the temperature has really dropped. She's taking Joely and Mike's grandchildren to the aquarium tomorrow, then will come down to visit us on Sunday--yay!
Alison is square in the middle of the "sandwich generation," with aging parents (who, us?) and grandchildren with whom she's also deeply involved. It's just remarkable that she handles everything--including a husband, a home, a very demanding career, and marathon training--with such cheerfulness and grace.
Pat has a doctor's appointment at Fort Dix on Monday and I e-mailed Jen asking if we could stop after and take her and Joely to lunch.
Today, am going to Margate for a house sale--at an address I've visited many times in the past. Stay tuned for exactly where that is.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Well, this blog is driving me crazy! I just looked at yesterday's entry and found it had printed twice. I deleted what I thought was a simple duplicate and found it was the one I had added to later in the day, so I accidentally deleted that deathless prose.
What I added was just that Pat had to cancel his lunch date with his cronies from the bay, as he still wasn't feeling up to par. Hope they can re-schedule soon. Can't remember what else I wrote except that I had a nice lunch with Mary Ann. The rest of the day I just puttered around.
Found out from long-ago classmate Dolores that she saw my entry on "Atlantic City Memory Lane," which is how she found my blog. After my response, she filled me in on her current life and it will be nice to keep in touch with her.
Think I'll skip Curves today; it's already ten of 9 and Susan and I had our "Walk Away the Pounds" session, anyway. Pat seems to be feeling better, so I hope to be able to go to the movies with Leslie and Barb H. today. Not sure what we'll see.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Took Pat to the dermotologist yesterday; his neck is healing well, but there's a kind of pre-cancerous rash on his forehead. The doctor gave him a prescription for a cream that brings it out.
Got my hair trimmed, then went to Acme for 3 items--came out with $51.22 worth of stuff. Also drove down to Manahawkin to several stores and managed to spend several hundred dollars on minor items. (Hey, it's easy!)
Today, Pat is meeting his bay cronies for lunch at Calloway's in Stafford. I'm a little worried about this excursion for two reasons. First, there are steps to climb--only about 10, but they'll be very difficult for him--plus a walk from the door to the dining room which will leave him breathless. Second, he had a restless night last night (rather, this morning). He woke and sat up at 2 am and asked me to get him some Tylenol, saying he had chills and trouble breathing. I did, and he lay down again, but sat up several times later and his breathing was labored. The last time his breathing was even worse than usual was on Thanksgiving and we had to take him to the hospital. I have a mammogram scheduled for 8 and will check him before I leave to see if I should go. I have a lunch date with Mary Ann Van O., whose husband also has emphysema--hope I don't have to cancel.
Got up about 4:45 and had a nice surprise on my e-mail: a message from Dolores S., with whom I graduated from high school so many centuries ago. I wrote her back immediately and hope to hear more from her.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Good exercise day yesterday: walked with Susan at 7:00, then went to Curves with Barb and Leslie at 9:30. However, Susan has an early appointment today (she's in real estate), so can't go, and I have a mammogram scheduled for 8 am tomorrow, so can't go then. I may be able to go to Curves if we can get back in time for Pat's doctor today appointment at 11:15. It's just a follow-up at the dermotologist's.
Yesterday, Jack B. came over and surprised us by staying for lunch. He usually just pops in for an hour after a golf date at Atlantis, then leaves, but this time, he actually drove over specifically to see us. A milestone birthday for him is coming up and his kids are taking him to Cancun.
For the first time in years, I made "slymphie stew" for dinner last night and Pat and I both enjoyed it. This is just pasta (I usually use elbow macaroni), spaghetti sauce, and browned ground meat mixed together, so it isn't really a stew. The name? When I was a very little girl, I made up the word "slymphie" as a perjorative term for people I was mad at. It was a noun: "Oh, you're a slymphie!" Later, as a young housewife, I THOUGHT I had originated the dish (of course, the same thing, with variations, abound) and labelled it "slymphie stew" for the kiddies. It's actually a quick, easy, and satisfying dish as a meal in itself or as part of a buffet after transferring to a crockpot. At my afternoon birthday party, I made both meat and vegetarian versions and everybody seemed to enjoy them.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

When I got up yesterday, I was amazed to find it had snowed. There wasn't much, but the sidewalks and streets were icy and I was afraid to try to get over to Susan's. I figured she'd come here and she did. She was nice enough to get her car and drive us to the clubhouse where we did our 3-miler. Today, we walk (1 1/2 mile). Barb H. e-mailed asking if I want to go to Curves and I will at 9:30. I still want to take advantage of the freebies for the month.
Dennis, our friend, neighbor, and contractor, came over yesterday to discuss the built-ins in the study. It looks good, but I still have some problem visualizing it all. What we want is the far wall filled in as an office work area, places for the printer, fax machine, paper, files, and all kinds of other office stuff. It's incredible how much paperwork I generate--I take care of all our "business," including, but not limited to, Medicare, the two supplemental insurances, Pat's doctors, plus all the other items: taxes, mortgage, purchases, etc. In addition, I keep track of appointments, meetings, invitations, people's birthdays and anniversaries, and so on. Right now, I use a junky old Ikea desk, plus separate bookcases and have files, paper, and other supplies in the closet, things in the antique desk in the hall, and other stuff I need stashed in various rooms. It will be heavenly to be able to find things and have them all in a central place.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Lazy Sunday yesterday. Brother Larry (Florida) called and talked to Pat and me. Said brother Frank and SIL Marybeth (California) had stopped at their place for a few days on their way back from Panama.
The big event of the day was my trip to Kohl's in Manahawkin to get the new ear warmers. I just did that and left, didn't browse at all. Did a wash and put beef stew ingredients in the crockpot, then fell asleep on the coach after lunch. Slept for about 2 hours until Pat came back from the bay and woke me at 4:00. Ate, took a shower, poured my lovely glass of wine (Taylor County Red, 10 bucks a gallon), and talked to darling Ellen. Happily, she got her orthotics and her feet feel much better.
Dennis is coming today to give us an estimate for built-ins in the study. Otherwise, nothing scheduled until Wednesday when Pat sees the dermotologist in the morning and I get my hair cut in the afternoon.
Today, Susan's daughter is no longer visiting and she and I will resume exercising. Good--I want to get back in the groove.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Had a very nice lunch yesterday with Mary H. and her SIL, Jane M. I was pleased to see Jane; she, Mary, and I have known each other for well over half a century, as we were in the same class at Holy Spirit. We ate at Downbeach Deli and after, I went to Boscov's. Bought myself a hat and gloves, and will run down to Kohl's to get a pair of those new-fangled (probably came out 5 years ago) earmuffs today.
My last Netflix movie is "The Constant Gardener," which I have now. Pat and I watched the first half before I went to bed. It's really good, very intense, and I'm anxious to see the rest of it. The reason I'm dropping Netflix is because I don't watch much television--don't want to and I never watch in the daytime, which seems to me sad and depressing (not the shows, I guess, but the idea of watching T.V. in the daytime because there's nothing else to do).
There's another reason: Movies no longer fill the T.V. screen, and watching a little, scrunched-up picture is an entirely different experience than seeing it in a theatre. It sometimes seems to even subtly change the whole concept behind a movie. Does anyone remember Marshall McLuhan's book The Medium is the Message? Guess it's about 40 years old.
Related to that, but not exactly the same thing, I think we're being manipulated by companies in ways large and small to be consumers first and foremost and to hell with our needs. (Well, duh...)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Layin' low and feelin' low. The damn cold's got me down and I had trouble sleeping last night. Did get more of the garage cleaned up yesterday while Pat tied up the newspapers. The house looks nice, I must say; cleaners did a good job again.
Didn't feel like making dinner last night, so called out for chicken and had it delivered. Pat thought it was good, but mine was overcooked.
One bright spot is that I'm meeting Mary H. for lunch today to return the port-a-crib. After that, I just want to stay home and try to get out of this slump.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Got still more stuff taken to the thrift shop yesterday and finally, the Christmas tree was picked up, along with three other big items I've had out at the curb for days.
The damn cold continues, but so far, it's not an extreme one, just kind of medium. Walked with Susan yesterday, but skipped the Curves session with Leslie. Susan's daughter and granddaughter are here, so we won't be exercising until Monday and I think I'll just lay low and nurse my cold until then.
Cleaners come today. It's always a bummer until they leave, then it's nice to have a clean house.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Aagh! I've got a full-fledged cold again! It's unbelievable after the three I've had since November. It just seems to be a constant--I don't understand it, as I've tried to be very conscientious about washing hands, staying away from people with colds, and so on. Oh well, guess it'll go away eventually.
Am carrying on a very interesting and absorbing e-mail exchange with friend Pat McH. R. about weighty topics such as the war, politics, and religion. It's a pleasure to learn her ideas and thoughts, many of which are so similar to mine. Hmm...would it be such a pleasure if they were opposed to mine? Probably not, which is why I'm so skeptical about "open discussions" ever changing anyone's mind.
Just got back from my walk with Susan. Not sure if I'll got to Curves with Leslie at 9:30. It's good to increase my exercise, but maybe I'll skip today, considering my cold. Susan's daughter and granddaughter are coming to visit her today, so we won't be exercising until Monday.
This lousy spell checker isn't working, so readers will just have to stumble (mentally) over the text, as I know there are some misspelled words.
Did you know that St. Augustine was the first person to be able to read without moving his lips? Well, now you know.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Yet more garage clearing out--it's a great feeling to get rid of stuff. I'm going to continue today, even to the extent of throwing out containers and flimsy carts I keep thinking will come in handy someday.
Went to Curves again with Leslie after Susan's and my walk and, I guess, will continue, although I have another cold. It's unbelievable how often I get them. However, this one is mild so far--hope it doesn't excellerate (I don't know how to spell it, but this lousy spell check isn't working).
Went in to bed at 8:30 last night, hoping to get a good night's sleep. Put my book down about 9:00 and entered Slumberland easily--until the phone rang at quarter to ten! It was my cousin, Bob F., from California, who innocently asked if this was a good time to call. He's such a neat guy, I hated to tell him he woke me up, so I sidestepped the question and we talked for about 20 minutes. Then, of course, I couldn't get back to sleep and I'm tired. Damn!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

We went to the hemotologist yesterday and Pat's blood now seems okay. We don't have to see him for 6 months. (But if it's okay, why do we have to see him in 6 months?)
Had a nice talk with Muckie yesterday. She enjoyed her stay with son Matthew for 12 days over Christmas (and meeting her new grandson, Fisher), but is glad to be home. She has a sty-like growth on her eyelid that she'll have removed shortly at Wills Eye in Philly. Two friends, including Margie O., whom I remember from high school, are going with her.
Continued my foray into the garage, getting a lot of crap--uh, beautiful and valuable stuff--into my car to take to Habitat thrift store. Also consolidated some of the higher shelves in the kitchen so I have more room for things I use every day.
Susan and Walter are having a "Mexican Valentine's Day party" next month, which I'll certainly attend and hope and trust Pat can.
Just got back from our walk. Will get Pat's breakfast and morning medication, then accompany Leslie to Curves at 9:30. I'm just jump-starting my exercise routine, I guess, but still don't want to join as a regular member for the reasons I listed yesterday.

Monday, January 15, 2007

One of the advantages of alternating walking with the "Walk Away..." tape is that the "walk days" seem like a piece of cake. We walked yesterday and today will do the tape.
Went to the Women's Club meeting yesterday and, although I find it annoying that the meetings are on Sundays at 1:30 (which means the whole day is filled), I enjoyed it. I was pleased to see Marge there. She had said she might join and she did. Also chatted with Mary Ann Van O., whose husband is in about the same stage of emphysema as Pat. We'll meet for lunch next week.
The program at the club was on Bass River State Park; Leslie and I had seen it a few months ago elsewhere, but I enjoyed it. I also won one of the 50-50 raffles for $20--yay! (There's nothing like money to make people happy.)
Got home about 3:30. Pat was at the bay and I suddenly galvanized myself to clear up some of the garage, throwing away stuff (my stuff, that is--I wouldn't touch Pat's until I ask him), separating some to donate to the thrift shop, and rearranging others. I even swept the floor and was very pleased with myself. I had put barbequed ribs in the crockpot for dinner and added some sausage. Boy, was that good.
Talked to darling daughter Ellen last night in our usual Sunday evening phone call. She said her feet feel better, but she still has to get a number of more shots.
Saw the lunatic-in-chief on 60 Minutes, proudly displaying his arrogance and ignorance for the camera. He essentially boasted that, although he recognizes that his idiocies are heavily out of favor with the American people, he just doesn't care. In the meantime, children are torn limb from limb. (One of the blogs I read imagined him--ala Hitler--asking his staff, "Is Baghdad burning"?)
Today, Pat has a hemotologist appointment--I have no idea why--at 11:00 and after that, I hope to actually go through some of the cabinets in the kitchen to discard and rearrange. I'm on a roll!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

It was quite an effort to complete both "Walk Away..." and the routine at Curves yesterday, but I'm glad I did. I've decided to go to Curves most days (either with Barb or Leslie), but only for the free month; I'm not going to join. I mentioned before that I don't want to have to drive somewhere to exercise, but there are other reasons. For one, the layout at Tuckerton is much too small; the machines are so close to each other, it's actually hard with some of them not to encroach on the next person's space. Also, it takes so long to go from one to the other, especially if you're picking up and putting down weights, it cuts at least 10 seconds off each time. Doesn't sound like much, but when each segment only lasts 30 seconds, that's a big percntage.
I wasn't crazy about the staff, either. The first one was okay. She showed us what to do on each machine, guiding us around the first time (you do two circuits each visit), but yesterday, the woman was doing the exercise routine herself and seemed indifferent to helping us. Both Barb and I forgot how some of them worked and only when the woman happened to be looking at us, did she correct us.
Anyway, I'll continue, then quit. Much perfer the Sansone tape, as it's considerably more strenuous, meaning a better workout, a major reason being you're marching in place continuously.
Finally got all the odds and ends of Christmas decorations packed and put away, except for the two wreaths on the garage lamps. I can't get them over the lamp tops and will have to ask somebody for help.
Darling daughter Alison called as we finished dinner last night. She and Mike were on their way to dinner at a restaurant in Pemberton. She was just calling to check in and ask if we needed anything. We don't, but I know if we had, she (and Mike, if necessary) would cheerfully have arrange to help. What a doll.
Today is the Woman's Club meeting and Susan asked me to give a brief report on the scholarship we're donating to Pinelands Regional High. I just got a communication on it from the school. Susan, Barb H., and I make up the committee and we need to fill out a form and complete the process. Aha--this calls for an emergency luncheon meeting!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Had lunch with Marge yesterday, always a welcome excursion. We ate at Tuckerton Grille on Green Street (I had Caesar salad with chicken), then drove a few hundred yards to say hello to Pat, who was at the bay. Marge came in for a while and we had a good talk.
Well, I'm determined to add more exercise to my daily routine and yesterday, I went to Curves with Barb H. Leslie had already left when we got there at 10:00, but we did the two-circuit round.
It was okay, but I'm just not crazy about Curves. I doubt if I'm going to continue after the free month's pass runs out. I just don't feel like getting in a car to drive to a place to exercise, also I'm not convinced of the efficiacy of the exercises.
Today, Susan and I will go (walk) to the clubhouse to do the Leslie Sansone 3-mile walk tape. Hope I'm going to be able to sustain it, as I haven't done it for 9 or 10 months. If Leslie suggests we start with the 2-mile one, I'll agree but I don't want to bring it up myself.
Otherwise, did this and that (can barely remember, so it must not have been too exciting) yesterday. Made chicken pot pie for dinner and had a quiet evening.
Later: Just got back from doing the 3-mile "Walk Away the Pounds with Leslie Sansone" tape and yes! I managed to keep up. Wow, I barely could, which points up the fact that I haven't been vigorously exercising enough. Will go to Curves in a half hour, to continue my extra push for exercise.
Some good news: I weighed myself this morning and haven't gained as much as I thought. I'm well below my highest of a few years ago, which is encouraging. I don't want to say what I actually weigh, though.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Got a lot of errands done yesterday in Manahawkin, going to Shop-Rite, then Home Depot, and a few other places. That takes just seconds to type, but took most of the late morning and early afternoon. Friend Ray took Pat to lunch, paying off the Eagles/Giants bet, while I got some clothes washed and puttered around.
Last night, went to the peace vigil with Dennis and Leslie. It was good to hear so many horns sounding in reponse to one of the signs: "Honk If You've Had Enough." I made and held a sign that read "Proclaim Peace." I'd like to go to the Washington, D.C. demonstration on January 27, but I'm afraid I may not be able. Not only would it mean leaving Pat all day from about 6 am to midnight or so, but I'm not sure if I actually have the stamina for a total of 6 hours on a bus, then riding the Metro for some time, then marching for several hours (?). I guess I'm mostly concerned that I don't know just what it would entail. We'll see if it's a possibility for me; otherwise, I'm going to tell Norm I'll pay for a seat for somebody else.
This morning, after walking with Susan, Barb H. and I are going to "Curves." Leslie gave us each a guest pass. Susan and I have also decided we'd alternate our walk with the 3-mile "Walk with Leslie Sanson." I want to get back into using weights besides walking.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The referral horrors have finally been resolved. My regular doctor's office sent the thing, I went to Manahawkin to pick up copies, and the hell with the whole deal. I am, though, going to write a letter to the eye doctor telling him how much I appreciated his staff's patience and courtesy during the fiasco.
While in Manahawkin, I dropped off donations to Habitat, picked up some magazines (for a quarter each), and ran a few other errands. While I was there, it started to snow (just flurries for about five minutes) and everybody ooh and aah as if we lived in Arizona.
At Drama Club, I announced my decision to withdraw and was warmed by the expressions of regret and gratitude from the members. Far from being regretful myself, though, I left with a sigh of relief, feeling boyant and liberated.
This evening, Leslie and I (and possibly Dennis) will again participate in a peace vigil in Absecon in response to the proposed "surge" in Iraq (more death, more horror-- bring it on!) announced last night by the criminal-in-chief. I watched "Countdown" on MSN before and the analysis after with Keith Olbermann--geez, if he ran for anything from dog catcher to president, he'd be swept into office. My hero, along with George Orwell, the prophet of modern life, even though he's been dead for 60 years.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Stressful day yesterday, all because of the referral thing for the eye doctor, a comedy of errors (although I fail to see the humor in it).
Okay, I wrote out the details about the whole sorry mess, but just deleted them--who wants to read it, anyway?. However, it strenghtened my resolve to find out if there'd be any problems with dropping Horizon Medicare Blue in favor of AARP, which Pat has.
Other than that, just a quiet day. The high point was responding to Pat McH. R.'s e-mail about classmates from St. James and Holy Spirit--that was great fun.
Later in the day, I went to the store, made beef tips for dinner, and just puttered around. I still have a few Christmas things out, but the box they have to go in is in the garage behind a lot of stuff I have to move, so I've been putting it off.
Today, I'll go to the Drama Club rehearsal for the last time to announce my resignation. Far from feeling melancholy, I still have a sense of relief. If I want to, I can always rejoin, but at this point I want to step away and excuse myself from the time and effort it takes.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Didn't get to Habitat yesterday after all. It rained on and off and I just didn't feel like going. Stuck hot dogs and beans in the crockpot and served that up for dinner, along with homemade pea soup I had in the freezer.
Got an intriguing e-mail from friend Pat McH. R. concerning fellow St. James class of '50 grads who went on to Holy Spirit. Pat had a lot of them down pat and I'll fill her in on others. This is just the kind of topic I enjoy and find so fascinating, so I'm glad she sent it.
Today, Pat and I both have eye doctor appointments. I wish they weren't an hour apart--his at 10:30, mine at 11:30--and I hope I don't need a referral because I don't have one.
Must now get dressed to be ready to meet Susan for our morning walk at 7:00. Yesterday, we did the whole mile-and-a-half in the pouring rain, each carrying umbrellas, but feeling ever so virtuous when we finished.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Slow, but pleasant, day yesterday. Brother Larry called in the morning and I got e-mails from friend Leslie and others, but generally, it was a calm, stay-at-home day. Jack B. stopped over while Pat was at the bay, and stayed until he came home. Jack turns 75 in a few weeks and his children are giving him a trip to Cancun to play golf.
I made roast chicken for dinner. Luckily, it was ready at halftime and we were able to eat then. Halftime of what? The Eagles/Giants game, of course. Naturally, the best team won (well, it wasn't all that easy) and Pat won his bet with Ray, the Giants fan, so Ray has to take him out for lunch. Ray had called when it was over, but I was on the phone with Ellen, so Pat called him and they enjoyed razzing each other.
Today, I want to take still more things to Habitat for Humanity. Maybe in 6,000 years, I'll get the clutter out of the house.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Had a wonderful time at Alison's last night, in celebration of grandson Joel's 25th birthday (which is actually today). There were just she and Mike, Joel and Joely, and Pat and me--Jen had to work. After the crowds and mobs over the holidays, enjoyable as they were, this was fun. The dinner was simple, but delicious, and I was hungry. Alison made two kinds of meatloaf, one with raisins (I had some of both), catfish (I had some of that, too), homemade scalloped potatoes, corn, and lima beans (I was supposed to bring broccoli, but forgot). Of course, she had a birthday cake (Joel's favorite ice cream cake), too, with candles and we all sang "Happy Birthday." We just had such a relaxed and happy good time. Little Joely, who's 4, is so funny. When I hugged and kissed him, he remarked seriously, "You know, I just shaved." We had given him as a little off-hand gift, a play shaving set, complete with foam and big Joel said he "shaves" every morning--just like his Dad. We had a pleasant discussion about the name for the new baby--Juliette is a possibility, and so is Jayla--I like both of them. Luckily, their last name "Phillips" goes with almost anything. As for a boy, they haven't hit on anything they both like yet. Incidentally, they do want another "J." Just like my niece, Joan, and her family--Jim, Joey, and Jeremy--they're going all the way with the initials "JR."
Mike added to Vivian's web site a lot of wonderful pictures of their stay in the states: Jersey at our house, Colorado, and New York. Greatly enjoyed them and want to get some printed.
Earlier in the day, I went to Ventnor to an "estate sale." It was in an apartment, not a house, on New Haven Avenue, just off Ventnor Ave., and featured mediocre, over-priced crap I wouldn't buy on a bet. It was VERY warm--72 degrees, I found out later--and I walked around a bit.
I felt like a ghost. I walked past 3 women who were smoking outside a beauty salon and none of them looked at me, so I conceived the idea that I was invisible. Maybe I was just visiting from the grave. After all, here were the ever-so-familiar scenes of my childhood, but altered: The store that used to be the bakery is a lawyer's office; the fish place isn't there anymore; the Bihlmiers haven't lived on Newport Avenue for years...
Well, I was making myself nervious, so I turned around, got in the car, and drove back to 2007.
But that kind of thing is fun every once in a while, don't you think?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The cleaners came about 11 yesterday and were here until 12:30 or so. They did a good job--the house really looks nice--but as usual, it was a hassle. Why? Because Pat has a chronic illness and his condition, with his limitations and equipment he needs, complicate things whenever we have people in. However, they come only every two weeks, so we can manage it.
Had a nice chat with sister Betty yesterday morning. All well on the left coast, I guess, especially as her boss seems to have a complete change of heart and actually treated her well!
Alison called last night to firm up plans for Joel's 25th birthday dinner. She'll make his favorite, meat loaf, and I'll bring broccoli. Still haven't gotten him a card or gift--yoicks!
Think I'll run down to Ventnor this morning. There's an estate sale at 1 N. New Haven Avenue. I may not buy anything, but I love those old houses, especially in my hometown, and I want to go down to see it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Finally got the tree down and all the Christmas decorations removed and put away in the garage. What a job--it took all day. Even after donating the boxes and boxes to Habitat for Humanity as I did before Christmas, I have much too much.
As for the tree, I think it was the most beautiful we ever had: nine feet high, perfectly shaped, round and full--BUT! It was a bitch to dismantle and especially to get out of the house. Pat did that part and it was so difficult for him. Next year, I want to either go somethere for Christmas and/or get a smaller tree. I'm not talking about an artificial tree. Yes, yes, most of them are very attractive, look very natural, are so easy to put up and take down, don't shed needles all over the place, can be used year after year...I don't care! They just seem so...well, artificial. I love the idea that a live tree grew from a tiny seed and that 150 years ago, people hung their ornaments and lights and popcorn strings on one like ours. I don't want a perfect, machine-made, already lighted pyramid of plastic, the product of some ambitious young designer who graduated from the Parson's School of Design....
Incidentally, aside from my own children (Alison and Mike), I don't even know anybody else who puts up a live tree, but so what?
I read that live trees are actually better for the environment and they smell good, too.
Okay, that's the end of my spouting off about Christmas trees. Now about the Easter bunny...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Virtuous me, I did indeed get most of the tree ornaments down, as well as some of the other Christmas decorations. They're mostly strewed around the house, but I must finish up and put them away because the cleaning service comes tomorrow.
Went to the Drama Club directors' meeting yesterday and told my three co-directors I was going to drop out. They expressed their regret, said I had contributed so much, they liked working with me, and so on, which I appreciated, but I don't regret my decision. It was getting to be more of a chore than not, regardless of the fun of the actual productions. I gave Marge the original skits I had written, plus some potential jokes from other sources. I will attend next week's full meeting to personally tell the rest of the group that I've resigned. Now, far from feeling unhappy about it, I have a great sense of liberation. Onward and upward to new triumphs in Sunrise Bay! (That's a paraphrase of a line in the old book, Auntie Mame, believe it or not; don't think it was in the movie. I have no idea why it stuck with me for 50 years or so.)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

It was good to be part of the peace rally last night. Dennis, Leslie, and I found the place without too much problem. It was from 5 to 6 pm at a small park in Absecon at the corner of Routes 9 and 30, so there was lots of rush hour traffic. About 20 of us stood on the corner facing Route 9 with candles and signs, including a large one which read, "3000 Dead in Iraq, Honk if you've had enough." It was so gratifying to hear so many horns being sounded; when they did, we instinctively raised our candles to the source. The AC Press had an article on it today with two pictures; I was in one of them, but only about a third of me. I'm seriously considering going on the bus trip for the Washington, D.C. demonstration on January 27, too.
Other than that, slow day yesterday. I got the kitchen and dining room tables cleared off, washed some of the stuff I hadn't done the night before, and returned pans and crockpots to neighbors. Today--I keep saying--I'm going to get the tree untrimmed and the decorations put away, maybe.
Marge sent out an e-mail notice about a Drama Club meeting today. I want to call and let her know first, that I've come to the decision to end my membership. I'll go today and announce it then. As I mentioned in an earlier entry, it isn't just because of Pat's health, although that's a factor. On balance, the fun and excitement of the actual shows just aren't worth the drugery of months of writing, directing, meetings, and rehearsals--and the attending headaches--required for involvement, so I'm going to quit. Guess I can always join up again later, although I doubt if I will.
Aside from Drama Club, nothing scheduled for this week--'ray!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The progressive dinner was a great success! This was our third annual and all 5 couples and 2 singles were there. It was a bitch getting everything ready, including cleaning the house and making sure we had enough tableware--we put away what's left of the tableware for next year's host(esses)--and so on. Johanna across the street brought two trays of lasagna AND a crockpot of sausage and meatballs, so our plan to simplify with just appetizers and dessert courses didn't happen. However, most of it was eaten, so I guess people enjoy things a little more substantial. Maybe next time, though, we should coordinate better and check ahead of time to see what people plan to bring. We had MUCH too many crackers and cheese, as Anne Mary H. brought a huge platter and I had some out, too. Anyway, we then went to Bill and Elaine G.'s for dessert, all of which were superb and including homemade cheesecake, layered chocolate cake, and other delectable treats, as well as store-brought cakes. I brought over the larger bottle of ice wine DIL Paula had given me and we all had a drop to toast the new year. All in all, a great time and it brought to mind the most important thing: our incredible good luck in choosing Sunrise Bay for our home; we couldn't have done better.
This evening, Dennis, Leslie, and I are going to a peace vigil in Absecon to mark the 3000th American killed in the immoral and disgusting war in Iraq. Of course, thousands and thousands of Iraqi's have been slaughtered, too, including children who never did anyone any harm. Can that horror ever be justified? What possible political goal or military objective is worth that?

Monday, January 01, 2007

As I mentioned yesterday, Alison and Mike had planned to come down early, take the rented crib back to Long Beach Island, then run on LBI. The best laid plans...
We showed them the malfunctioning kitchen faucet and Mike spent some time checking to see if he could fix it, concluded he couldn't, and recommended we get a new one. After we had lunch, they took the crib back, then met me in Manahawkin at Home Depot, where I picked out a faucet and paid for it ($76). Mike installed it, with Alison's help and Pat's interested looking-on, and it works fine.
That took just a few minutes to type but, of course, it took Mike almost all day to actually do the work. I know they had plans for later in the day and hadn't intended to be here so long, but neither of them showed the slightest evidence of impatience, disappointment, or any other negative attitude. It was late in the afternoon when he finished, but they decided to run anyway and went to the end of Radio Road, returning in full dark. Not sure how far that is, but certainly more than ten miles. What a couple--talk about lucky to have them!
Pat had the good idea of giving them a gift certificate to Red Lobster that he had received for his birthday last February. (Unfortunately, right after that his health started to fail and he was never able to use all of the many such gifts he received.) The Dynamic Duo protested, but finally took the certificate and we were delighted to repay them in some small way.
In the midst of all this, I discovered that my purse was missing--not my pocketbook, but the small cloth purse in which I keep cash and my ATM card. When I go to a store, I usually put it in my coat pocket, rather than carrying the heavier pocketbook; I think it probably fell out in a parking lot. After calling the places I had been to see if it had been found, I had to call Bank of America and they invalidated it and will issue a new one. Luckily, I can use Pat's, so the damage isn't too bad--although the cash totalled, I think, about $90--damn! Well, the hell with it, I'm moving on.
Today, will try to get the place at least reasonably clean and neat, and figure out if we'll need anything else for the first course (which now seems somehow to have turned into appetizer PLUS entree) of our progressive dinner. I know I'll enjoy the evening once it's here, but I'm also looking forward to a breather after this. Of course, I'll be delighted to attend Joel's 25th birthday party on either Saturday or Sunday at Alison's--but I won't be doing the work!