Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Talked to Betty. She's out of the hospital and staying at Carolyn's until today, when she'll move back to her apartment and DIL Robyn will stay for a few days. She sounds good and is looking forward to recovery. Ironically, she has to eat a low-fiber diet, the opposite of the WW program she followed to lose 24 pounds. Speaking of WW, I was going to skip this, but will grit my teeth and force myself to be honest. Again last night, I ate a lot of wrong things and too much of them. I'm going to have to change my routine--think I'll go to the library or something after dinner to jolt myself out of this b-a-a-d habit.
Pat to the pulmonologist yesterday. Nothing much new, except I asked her to write a prescription (or, as the medical in-people say, "script") for the inhaler Pat's V.A. doctor, Dr. S., had given us--but that one said it could only be filled by the V.A. In that case, why did he give it to us? When I tried to fill the one Dr. H wrote, I found they may not make that particular one anymore because it has expellents (?) and affects the ozone layer--or something. The substitute is supposed to be just as good, but Pat doesn't think so and neither does his pulmonologist. Upshot is, they didn't have either yet, anyway (this drugstore just opened)--PLUS and this infuriates me--the old one was $22 and the new one is $40! That leads me to think the whole thing is just a hoax by the pharmaceutical companies to double their profits on this medication that had allowed people who can't breathe just a little respite--no matter that the new one doesn't work. The hottest spot in hell should be reserved for their executives.
Had chicken marsala last night, which was good. Today, I'm going to help stuff our community newsletter with an announcement of my Dionne Quints presentation.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Went to the big city yesterday (Manahawkin) to color copy some Dionne Q. stuff. Stopped at Shop-Rite for three items and somehow spent $48.38. Well, that's okay because I found some good new salad "sprays" for much fewer calories than regular. Made fish for dinner--flounder for Pat, fresh tuna for me.
Unfortunately, I also succumbed to the temptation of chocolate-covered cookies last night, cramming them in after I had already topped my (approved) popcorn and wine with (unapproved) pretzels. I was just so hungry yesterday, for some reason. Hope that deviation is one-of-a-kind.
Pat has the pulmonologist appointment today at 10:00. I want to stop at Santori's after to get some produce.
I didn't talk to Betty yesterday, but will call her today. I hope and expect she's been discharged and I assume she's at Carolyn's.
Slept well last night, I'm happy to say, and didn't get up today until 5:30. I'm sneakily pleased that Susan isn't able to exercise today, as she has to go up north to a realtor meeting. After all, I can't walk without my walking companion, can I? And I certainly can't do the alternate days of "Walk Away the Pounds" because I don't know how to run the DVD machine.
Keith Olberman was terrific last night, with one of his "Countdown comments," in which he reacted to Condi Rice's idiotic comparison of the Iraq situation to Nazi Germany. It's really frightening that those in the highest levels of the administration seem ignorant of history and are unable to comfortably handle the English language. Being a devotee of Orwell, I find that hugely significant.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Happy day! Betty was moved to a regular room (from critical care) and sounds much better and stronger. She'll probably be released today or tomorrow. She said my Ellen had visited with magazines and sherbet. I talked to Ellen last night, too. I suggested she come to our place to recuperate and she actually said she might do that. I'm much heartened by her improvement, of course, and hope that's the end of the problem.
Alison drove down to bring me Mike's screen for the D.Q. talk, then filled the bird feeders and helped me change our bed. She was here only an hour, but I always get a lift from seeing her.
Heard from son Mike, who forwarded an e-mail from his wife, Paula (he's in Hong Kong until April) that described 2-year-old Vivian being so proud of her new earrings (a bribe for using the potty). I was intrigued, but a little shocked that they'd subject her to ear piecing. Well, false alarm: When I commented, Mike wrote that they were clip-ons.
Went to WW (I go to Manahawkin on Sundays at 8:30 am) and I lost 3.2 over the week, which brings me to 196.4 (these damn electronic scales calculate to the nth degree). That's good, although not great for a first week--other times, I've lost over 5 pounds the first week--but I'm satisfied. There was a guest lecturer at WW (the regular one is on vacation) and she was mediocre, I'm afraid. I did bring something away from the meeting, as she had brought in the boxes and wrappings from various foods and I learned there's a large wrap you can have for only 1 point. May pursue that.
Prepared for the predicted gigantic storm by getting extra milk and a few other staples. Huh, what a bust! It started snowing about 4:00, but the half inch or so was washed away by rain later--there's not a flake on the ground. I was actually looking forward to being snowed in for a time in our warm, snug home. Oh well, I've got things I want to do today, so it's just as well.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I talked to Betty yesterday morning and her daughter, Carolyn, last night. Betty was being prepped to get a cat scan--I'm not absolutely sure why (help me out here, Pat McH. R.), but I assume so they can see more into the bowel. Betty sounded stronger, but is, of course, very worried. She said the bleeding is still stopped, but she's afraid it will start again. I believe she hasn't eaten anything by mouth since she was admitted, but has an I.V.
Patrick and Mike both e-mailed me their wishes for her recovery and Alison called and talked to her. Haven't yet heard from Ellen, but I'm sure she hasn't
checked her e-mail. She always calls me Sunday night or I'll call her today. I talked to Muckie (whom Betty had called) and Mary H. e-mailed asking for word, so I called her, too.
I'll call Betty again today--the 3-hour time difference is annoying--because I have a proposal for her. I'm going to see if she'd consider recuperating here. Once she's released, she could fly out and stay a few weeks or as long as she needs to get her strength back. This isn't as nutty an idea as it may sound at first. After all, we have the room, I'm an experienced caregiver, and although there's no question her family is as supportive as they can be, Carolyn has two young children and DIL Robyn is pregnant. I'm going to suggest this today and ask her to think about it.
Around here, everything quiet. I didn't feel like going out, so just did a wash, cleaned a bit, and continued my Dionne Quintuplet stuff. Pat went to the bay, as usual. I put chicken thighs in the crockpot with whole cranberry sauce and it was good--of course, everything tastes good to me, being on WW. I go in a few hours today (the meeting's at 8:30) and hope and expect to have lost.
Oh, please, please, please, let her be all right.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I'm so happy to say sister Betty's bleeding has stopped. Talked to her in the afternoon yesterday, then in the evening. That's the good news. The not-so-hot news is that the polyp is malignant, as Betty's SIL, Dana, told me. (However, when I spoke to Betty, she said one doctor said it was cancerous, one said pre-cancerous.) At any rate, it's certainly in a very early stage. Assuming the bleeding stays stopped, Betty will stay in the hospital until tomorrow (or do they release people on Sundays?), then go to Carolyn's and after that, will stay with son, Stephen, and his wife, Robyn, who is pregnant, until she's on her feet. If you have to get this kind of news, this is probably the best case, I think. Got e-mails back from several of those I sent them to, all with their best thoughts, prayers, and good wishes for Betty.
Aside from that: Went to lunch at Calloway's with Susan and Barb H., while Pat went to Beverly's with Frank, Ray, and Gary. We both enjoyed it and my little group discussed and settled on particulars for the scholarship. S., B., and I have decided to go "The Queen," will try to fit it into our busy schedules.
Beef tips for dinner. I measured out a half cup, for 7 points, quite a few, but well within the allowable WW range. I go to the meeting and weigh in tomorrow, but all that seems silly and inconsequential in view of Betty's illness.

Friday, February 23, 2007

11:00 am: Went back to update this post. Niece Carolyn just called to say my twin, Betty, is in the hospital with uncontrolled bleeding from a polyp removed yesterday during a colonscopy. I talked to Betty, too. She's still in the ER, but should be moved soon to a bed, possibly in the ICU. Test results on the polyp are still pending. At Betty's request, I notified via e-mail the rest of the family. I'm scared and worried, but trying to be optimistic.
My original entry:
After doing the vigorous, 3-mile "Walking Away the Pounds" tape with Susan yesterday, I felt good. One reason may be that I know today is walk-around-Sunrise Bay day and I'll only have to go 1 1/2 miles. Underneath all my bogus enthusiasm and commitment to exercise, I'm really a lazy slob. Would love to skip the damn stuff and loll in bed; it's just that I'm afraid to.
After the post office, the supermarket, and other chores, I spent a fair amount of time continuing to organize my Dionne stuff for the presentation. Meant to make some calls, but didn't. Actually sat for an hour while Pat was at the bay re-reading Family Secrets, the later-in-life, expose book authorized by the surviving 3 quintuplets (now there are only two). It's written in an annoying style with whole pages of direct quotes. I find it impossible to believe anybody could remember so many of their exact words, not to mention other's exact words, after 60 or more years. Also, the quints' parents are characterized as such dreadful people, with no redeeming qualities, it stretches the imagination to accept that they were really that horrible. Of course, the quints are portrayed as sweet, patient, long-suffering angels in every situation. Worst of all is the cloying, mindless type of prose--what used to be called "women's magazine" writing. It's pretty sickening, but the book was translated from French and maybe that's why it's the way it is. Anyway, I need to have more info on the quints' later lives, so this book should fill me in.
Looking forward to lunch at Calloway's today with Susan and Barb H. to discuss the Women's Club scholarship; we comprise the committee. Not sure what I'll order to keep in the Weight Watchers program--maybe a Caesar salad with chicken. Frank D. came over to invite Pat to lunch today, too. They'll go with Ray and Gary to their favorite, Beverly's, a little store front luncheonette on Radio Road.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Took a drive to Nostalgialand yesterday. I had planned to go to Quakerbridge Mall not far from our old home, but found myself bypassing that to drive to Ewing where we used to live. Our home of 41 years looks about the same. I assume the four Down Syndrome young men are still living there (the agency we sold it to maintains it as a group home) and I took pictures. Across the street, the home of my dear friend, Elaine M., who died almost 4 years ago has been painted and otherwise spruced up. It's now beige with green shutters-- good choices and it looks great. Took some pictures of that, too, then her son, Greg, who still lives there, came out and greeted me warmly. Greg said they had replaced rotted wood here and there, added a different entrance to the breezeway, and otherwise improved it.
Elaine always hated that house--symptomatic of her troubled marriage, I think--and she would have loved having it look so nice. Hmm...maybe not. I remember her saying houses were "supposed to be" painted white with black shutters. Well, to an extent, she was stuck in her ways, far to the right of Bush and Cheney and that used to drive me crazy. Now, I'd give anything to hear her voice such nonsense again.
Of course, I went to the cemetery (less than a mile away). Took a picture of her grave--with the addition of her husband of 50 plus years, Len, who died in August--and the grave next to it of her grandson. Sean was only 14 when he died, of a rare (and unsuspected until he was 12) heart problem. It's hard to believe that was 21 years ago, but it was.
After that, I didn't stay in Ewing long. It was a good place to live and raise kids, but as happens in a lot of area, it's become run-down and seedy. When I got home, I remarked to Pat that it was good we got out when we did. He agreed, we went on to other things, and that's enough of looking backward for now.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The weather warmed up a lot yesterday, so it feels wonderfully like spring. Great news: I finally found my missing box of Dionne Quintuplet stuff in the garage. This box has all my best stuff in it, including the rare scholarly book by Dr. Blatz I stole from the Rider library and the album of my pictures from our trip to "Quintland" in about 1998. I think I took it to Massachusetts to the "Quinvention" 3 years ago and that's why it was separate.
Went to Staples and a few other places yesterday, then...then...what? Geez, I can't even remember what else I did--nothing very exciting, obviously. I made hot dogs and beans in the crockpot and boy, did they taste good. (Everything tastes good when you're hungry.) I've been using fat free hot dogs lately, but haven't told Pat, and he seems not to notice.
Exchanged pictures of our grandchildren with sister Betty--they're adorable and we're lucky to have them. Her Finn had hearts painted on his face--it was Valentine's Day--and I sent back of one of my Vivian. Those kids, one blonde, the other brunette, have exactly the same shaped face: little pointed chins and chipmunk cheeks.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I hate this new "Google blogger" thing. I now have to sign in--never did before--and I don't see any advantage to the new system. Oh, of course, that's right, there's some advantage or other to the outfit that runs it. Why would I ever think they'd do anything different to benefit the user? (Hmm...on the other hand, I don't pay anything for this; maybe I should just simmer down.)
It was bitterly cold yesterday--21 degrees--and Susan and I actually cut our walk short in the morning. Went to Shoprite in Manahawkin and got lots of stuff. I made the dump soup, but didn't use anything frozen after all. Couldn't get all the ingredients that way, plus they were different sizes, plus didn't have the liquid the canned ones do. That's okay, they're still veggies and that soup tasted so good for lunch (along with a chicken sandwich and hot tea).
Had chicken, mashed potatoes--or as I like to say, twisted that I am--"smashed taters," and string beans last night.
May not have mentioned that I went to a "singalong" with Susan and Walter on Saturday night. It was fun, but I still feel odd and a little sad being a single among couples. Guess I have to get used to that.
As the reader may surmise, ain't much new on my end.
Later: Also meant to record that longtime friend, Jack B. stopped over yesterday. He just got back from Cancun where his children took him for his milestone birthday. Golfed a lot, ate a lot, spent a lot.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ray was kind enough to go up in our attic to look for my missing Dionne Quint stuff--unfortunately, it's not there. Hope it's someplace I didn't look in the garage, because I know I have more and better material than what I've already uncovered.
I happily started my WW regime and feel good about it. Had a delicious piece of salmon for dinner, which I baked in the oven along with Pat's flounder and "fried" (with cooking spray) potatoes. Being a lifelong veteran of the diet wars, I know I'll get to a point where it will be a chore, but right now am enjoying my virtuous feelings.
Daughter Ellen called last night and we talked for almost an hour. I was surprised and delighted to hear she's decided to support Obama and has actually has set up a blog on him! It's called "Obama '08" and can be viewed at
A warning for rightists, though: If you support the lunatic-in-chief and his henchmen, you won't like this. Yay, Ellen!
Alison also called and I suddenly realized Mike would have a screen. He does, and he'll lend it to me, so I'm pleased and relieved. Now if I can only find that other box of Quint things...
I have a request from a reader in Massachusetts (long-ago classmate, Dolores "Dee" S. L.) for Dump Soup and am happy to share it. Here it is, quick and easy: 1 can each (about 15 oz) of Veg-All (mixed) vegetables, red kidney beans, whole corn, diced tomatoes, and one can (19 oz.) of Progresso Minestrone Soup, with or without chicken. Combine, heat, and eat, liquids and all (don't drain, even the kidney beans). If you want, you can add spices or flavorings, but this is good as is. One cup equals one WW point. This makes a lot and I freeze individual portions, then heat in the microwave. I realize frozen veggies have more nutrients, so today, I'm going to see if I can make it mostly with them, instead of canned. Will report back tomorrow.
What a post, from a rare biological occurrence to dieting to liberal politics to a little wifey's soup recipe--well, nobody said people have to be single-minded.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Yes, it's late, dear legion of fans, but that's because I was occupied with something I should have done months ago--I went back to Weight Watchers! Longtime readers (are there any?) may recall that at one time, I switched the title of this blog to "My Weight and Welcome To It" and it was mainly a chronicle of my struggles with the pounds. I jettisoned that some time ago and won't change back, but will add some about my constant battle. Just can't decide if I should be honest or not.
Oh, we-l-l, dammit, I guess I will. I've been weighing myself at home (all the while eating like Dolly Dimple before her diet*) and recorded 198 for the last five weeks. Mind you, this was before breakfast and without clothes. I knew I'd weigh heavier at WW dressed and after eating. I had been down to the low '70s at my last WW meeting 8 or 9 months ago, which means I've gained back most of what I had lost, but I was hoping against hope I didn't top 200. This morning, at WW, I was weighed in at--are you ready for this?--199.6!! Hey, that's practically svelte and it gave me a lift.
I'll try not to obsess about what I eat and weigh, but will keep a running report on my progress on this blog.
I had a request to explain why I'm doing a presentation on the Dionne Quintuplets. I've been interested in, and have pursued research about, the quints for about 20 years. I had remembered them in ads and articles from childhood on and, maybe influenced by my twinhood, had always been fascinated. I have a pretty extension collection of Dionne Quint material, including books, postcards, articles, brochures, etc., and have visited their birthplace outside Corbeil, Canada, in addition to attending a "Quinvention" in 2004 in Massachusetts.
To me, these particular quintuplets are fascinating on several levels. They are a biological phenomena, being only the third set of identical quints in the history of the world and the only ones ever to live to adulthood. Sociologically, their upbringing is enthralling--virtually taken from their parents and raised by nurses, they were returned, but with sad consequences when they were 9. There are even some political angles, as, to an extent, their story illustrates the on-going conflicts between English- and French-Canadians.
Well, I'm sick of typing--more tomorrow.
* Dolly Dimple was a morbidly obese woman who was billed as "The World's Prettiest Fat Girl" in a circus sideshow (1940s) when she weighed 555 pounds. Later, she lost more than 440 pounds; she's the subject of a book I've read several times.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Was so pleased to get a call from dear niece Joan yesterday. We talked for quite a while and I learned that Jim is settled into his new job in upstate NY, but they haven't yet sold their former home in Leesburg, VA. They put it in the hands of a new agency and dropped the price by a bundle, so are hoping that will do the trick.
I called Muckie to see how her eye is after the small growth on the lower lid was removed. She says it's fine; it wasn't malignant and there should be no further problem. She asked me to be sure to give her regards to old (uh-uh, make that "longtime") friend, Pat McH. R. I just got an e-mail from Pat asking if I knew Don M. who graduated from Holy Spirit with me. A classmate of hers lives near him in Arizona and had written her. I was glad to supply Don's addresses--snail and e-mail--so they should be able to meet up.
Went to Pinelands Regional to see the A.V. equipment I'm going to borrow for the Dionne Quintuplet presentation. It's a lot more managable than the old "overhead" machines I remember, but I still need to get somebody to run me through how to operate it.
Had pork chops, baked potatoes, peas, and applesauce for din-din and, if I say it myself, 'twas very tasty.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Walked with Susan yesterday, then Pat and I went to the cardiologist at 10:00. Nothing new in that area and we were outta there in a half-hour. Stopped at Santori's and got lots of red-leaf lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower, then got the Dionne stuff in some order. Pat took his insurance card to the MV place before going to the bay
Son Mike forwarded an article from the financial section of The New York Times about the new head of his company, Credit Suisse. It mentioned that the guy gets into work before dawn, stays all day and is otherwise considered a workaholic. No wonder he's divorced. These high-powered types don't seem to know that one day they'll wake up and realize what's important: more time, not more money. A picture showed the new head with Mike's ultimate boss, his "most important internal client" with whom he works closely. Mike is chief of internal client services for the Asia Pacific area, but has a string of other titles and duties, too. Interestingly, the new boss graduated from Villanova, and so did my father and two brothers. (Well, I thought it was interesting.)
Back to important business: Think I'll ask friend Ray to get the rest of the Dionne stuff out of the attic. As usual, can't decide on spaghetti or pork chops for dinner. Must work on the Dionne presentation and the flyer which Susan said we can add to our little community newletter.
Cold, cold, cold, and windy weather, but at least no more snow.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

When I got up yesterday, it was raining heavily--washed away all the snow--but did we skip exercise? Nope. Susan came over with the car and we went to the clubhouse to do 2 miles of the 3 mile tape. (It was about 7:20, a little later than usual, and I knew Pat would be up at 8:00.)
Rest of day was blah. Pat and I went to Manahawkin to get his car inspected, but when he presented his documents, we discovered he had my insurance card. They inspected, gave him a "failed" sticker and he'll take the card back tomorrow. My fault--I accidentally switched our cards when they came in the mail.
Spent a lot of the day getting the Dionne Quintuplet stuff in some kind of order and trying to decide what I'll use in the presentation. I know I must have another box--unfortunately in the "attic"--so will have to decide how to get it: ask Alison to come down, ask a neighbor to help, or see if Pat and I can do it ourselves. I hate going up that pull-down ladder and I've never actually gotten up to the attic (more like a crawl space, but it's big--you could easily add a room up there is you didn't mind broiling to death in the summer) because I'm afraid of falling when I try to get down.
Today, Pat goes to the cardiologist for just a routine visit designed to pad the doctor's pockets a little more. I hate and despise this so-called medical "system," not least because it's such a boondoggle designed to benefit ONLY medical personnel and pharmaceutical companies. Pat has so many things wrong with him that he goes to eight or nine specialists and each of them see him every 3 or 6 months to "check up"--in other words, for no particular reason. The emphysema is what matters and the pulmonologist has nothing else to offer for that--the rest of them are just whistlin' Dixie while they're racking up more dough. Okay, tirade over.
For dinner yesterday, made turkey breast with gravy, scalloped potatoes, and shoepeg corn, all very good and all thoroughly processed--probably was crammed with killer chemicals, but so what? The domestic commandment I violated was that of color; I read years ago that, meals should display a variety, such as green veggies with red meat, and so on. This dinner was all in a narrow yellow/beige/tan range, so I guess wasn't too visually appealing. Oh, me, guess I'll lose my Suzy Homemaker badge now...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Luckily, the snow yesterday--not a whole lot--didn't turn to ice and it was easy to get Pat to the podiatrist. I think a heavier snow is coming, though. Was able to stop at the library and get some tapes and Pat even went down to the bay.
Saw "The Girl with the Pearl Earring," which was fairly worth watching, although slow-moving. Oddly enough ("oddly" because I had never heard of it before), I read the novel a year or so ago. Best part about the movie were the rich, glowing sets, so evocative of one of the two major subjects (the Dutch painter, Vermeer) and the era (17th century). Scarlett Johannson, about whom I know nothing--I lump her in with teeny-bopper celebraties like Lindsay Lohan who must be famous for something, but I'm never sure what--was in the title role and what an lovely, unusual, arresting face she has.
When Pat was coming back from the bay yesterday, he was pulled over by the police! Seems he had never gotten his car inspected and it's been illegal since May. Luckily, he didn't get a ticket, was just told to comply; probably the oxygen equipment he had on influenced the cop. Good thing he didn't get a ticket because as I know to my sorrow, they're $130, which I paid when I was nabbed for the same crime last year.
Got a welcome return call from the guy who runs the media center at Pinelands Regional High School. I'm hoping I can borrow equipment to show pictures illustrating my presentation about the Dionne Quintuplets to the Women's Club next month. I mentioned an overhead projector, but he said those are very cumbersome and almost obselete; he suggested another device instead, which somehow uses a T.V. to project onto a screen. Made a date to see him--and it--on Friday.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The caregivers' meeting yesterday was a mixed bag. I arrived 20 minutes early (the letter said it was 2:00 to 4:00), walked into Bacharach Rehab, and asked the receptionists where the meeting was being held. Did anyone know? Nope. No sense in going into all the ins and outs of trying to find somebody who had any notion of the group's very existence while I gnashed my teeth, but the upshot was, I finally was directed to it at 10 after 2:00. (This is run by Atlanticare Hospital, but Bacharach is attached to it and they have a close relationship.)
There was a nurse/facilitator, plus two other women besides me. They meet every other Monday and I'll receive a snail mail reminder about the next one. I asked about e-mail, but the facilitator, Annie dismissed the idea of a nod to the 21st century--okay, fine by me.
The others there were Hazel, who has cared for her husband since his massive stroke 10 years ago and Debi, whose husband has naropothy (I know that's not the way to spell it, but I'm sure the spell check wouldn't have a clue, either), which I understand is nerve damage, plus vision problems, all due to severe diabetes. I liked them both a lot and was intrigued when Debi said her husband was 74--she's 53, 21 years younger.
Annie, however, was a pain in the rear. She talked much too much, giving us personal information of no interest (divorced, remarried, the circumstances of her first husband's leaving, how obese the current one is, she'll turn 50 soon, raised in Hammonton, has four sheep, and so on and boring on), and promoting a project for which she got a grant from Washington. She was all starry-eyed about how wonderful the undersecretary of something or other was who addressed the participants. She described the project the feds are funding as a series of meetings for those with chronic illnessness and how they can take over their own care in dealing with doctors, keeping track of records, and so on, presumably to relieve their caregivers--or something. Annie herself will train the facilitators, who will, naturally, be volunteers. When I asked if this included any practical help, such as aides, equipment or respite care--well, of course not. This is the federal government we're talking about, which can now sanctimoniously cite this pointless, pseudo-helpful, serio-comedy as "evidence" of how much they care for their citizens while doing as little as possible that would really help.
All right, I'm a cynical bitch, but people need not to take as gospel anything that comes out of some supposed "authority's" mouth and hey, that goes double and triple for anything from the government.
Aside from all that, it actually was an enjoyable experience when Hazel, Debi, and I shared our stories and I do plan to go back.
Ray and Frank treated Pat to lunch for his birthday, so for dinner, I just rustled up some scrambled eggs. Tonight I'll make a proper meal.
It's starting to snow--very lightly right now, but I have to take Pat to his podiatrist appointment at 10:00, so I hope it doesn't get icy. Also need to go into Manahawkin to pick up his samples from the dermotologist and run a few errands, but can defer them if I have to.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Yesterday was Pat's birthday and it was a good one--very low-key this year (unlike the 75th blowout)--with just Alison, Mike, Joel, Jen, Joely, and us. Sometimes such an intimate family gathering is more fun than one with a cast of thousands. J., J., and J. came about 3:00, before A. and M., and we spent a fun time going over pictures of both Joels. Alison brought pork tenderloin, which is kind of vacumn-packed with Cajun (or something) seasoning. I thought it was great--very tender and flavorful--but Pat wasn't enthusiastic. A. also brought string bean casserole, seafood soup, a wonderful red "sweater jacket" for her Dad, and best of all, her warm, affectionate, cheery self. His other presents included a squirrel-proof bird feeder, underwear, candy, and gift certificates from Amazon.
Our other children called, Mike in the morning, Ellen and Patrick later, and so did my brother, Jim. Pat got e-mails from several friends with birthday congrats, and will be taken out to lunch today by friends Ray and Frank.
A minor hitch: I had debated with myself whether to bake a chocolate cake or just buy one and finally took the easy way out and went over to Acme to get one. I decided on carrot cake, remembering how much Pat likes it, but when I got home, I found out he doesn't like it. I'm not sure if I just misremembered or if his tastes have changed. Alison thinks that, as time goes on, there are more and more items on his "no-like" list and I'm afraid that's true--just another sad and dispiriting sign of aging and illness, I believe.
Well, at least he wasn't deprived of cake: After our walk yesterday, Susan had given me two pieces of the sheet cake she had for her party Saturday night, one vanilla, one chocolate, and Pat ate the vanilla. As it turns out, Joel doesn't like carrot cake, either, so he had the chocolate.
Today, I go to a caregiver's group at Bacharach, and I'm looking forward to it with interest. Will report back on tomorrow's entry.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

We had a great time at the G.'s party last night. Susan and Walter had a "Mexican Valentine" theme for about 20 people. It was an evening of good food, good friends, and good talk--and Pat and I won no fewer than three prizes in the fun contests--two of them Valentine mugs filled with candy. The first was for the couple married longest--the closest competitors, Judy and Roman, had 40 years in, falling short of our 48 1/2 years. Pat then won for the birthday closest to Valentine's Day; his is today, so he edged out Julie's Feb. 4. We heard cries of "fix, fix!" when Pat's guess was closest to the number of M & M's in a glass container. However, he beat off the mob trying to confiscate his candy and we went home triumphant. After our walk this morning (I'm later than usual writing this blog), Susan insisted I take home some of the sandwiches and wraps from last night and I was happy to do so.
Now we're getting into a pretty busy week. Today, the kiddies are coming down for dinner for Pat's 76th; tomorrow I go to a Caregivers' meeting at Bacharach Rehab; Tuesday and Thursday Pat has doctors' appointments; and Wednesday, Barb H., Susan, and I are going to lunch, then I'll go with Leslie and Dennis to the Absecon Peace Vigil in the evening.
I also have to get serious about planning my presentation on the Dionne Quintuplets to the Women's Club in March. Must find an overhead projector and hope the high school will lend me one.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

This will be short because, aside from my usual chores, I hardly did a damned thing yesterday aside from exercise (to the tape) in the morning. Susan got a new refrig (stainless steel, freezer on the bottom) and because she couldn't put anything in it for 3 hours, asked if I had room in mine for some stuff. I did and she brought something in a crockpot for the party tonight. It tells you something when I say that was the high point of the day. When Pat went to the bay in the afternoon, I fell asleep on the coach, which I don't like to do, but was in a draggy mood.
Leslie sent a e-mail about the WalkAmerica--the D.'s next door will walk, too--and I heard from twin Betty that she started a blog. Can't wait to be able to read it, but haven't been able to get into it yet.
It snowed lightly last night. Hope it isn't slippery so we can walk.

Friday, February 09, 2007

After a nice brisk walk with Susan in the morning ("brisk" is the operative word here--we were freezing our asses off), I enjoyed a pleasant day. Had a good chat with sister Betty, then did my usual morning chores (too long and boring to go into) and went to the store where I ran into Julie and we talked for 20 minutes or so, mostly about Sunrise Bay politics. (Are some of our leaders related to Dubya?)
Went to the library and took out the video "Million Dollar Baby," which I guess I'll watch, although it doesn't excite me. Also found--a stroke of luck--they had "The Confession" checked in; I promptly checked it out. This is the tell-all book by our former NJ Governor James McCreevy which I've been dying to read. It's actually quite interesting (lots of insider political info from what has traditionally been the most corrupt state in the union--my very own), not to mention the gay part. I'm not moralistic about sexual identity, so am sympathetic to the dilemma he finds himself in as a deeply closeted gay man who becomes more and more prominent. His distress is compounded by his most Catholic of Catholic upbringings--i.e., Irish Catholic.
Made stewed chicken in the crockpot last night and boy, was it good. Very tender and flavorful; easy, too, which is my kind of dinner.
This week has been a relatively lazy one, but next we have appointments or commitments every day but Thursday--damn!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Okay, now I know there's a vast conspiracy against me, perpetrated and maintained by the clothing companies. I spent the whole afternoon yesterday at Boscov's and Macy's trying on winter jackets and none of them were right! I don't want black and most of them were black. I want a very warm one for my morning walks with Susan and several were just so-so warm. Most of all--is this too much to ask?--I want one that FITS. One size (no, I won't reveal the number, but it sure ain't a 10), was too small and the next size up was too big! Got tired of the whole thing, bought a muffin tin, had sushi, said the hell with it, and went home.
Rest of day, folded 3 loads of wash, put some more photos in piles, resisted the temptation to take a nap, and heated up the remainder of the chicken pot pie for dinner. Sound boring? Actually, no, I usually enjoy that stuff.
My sponsors for the March of Dimes WalkAmerica now include Pat's darling niece, Donna, who donated a very generous amount. Now I'm up to $295 to help little Leo--yay!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Susan and I compromised on the 3-mile "Walk Away the Pounds" DVD yesterday by ending at 2 miles as she had to go into work. It was good to be back in the exercise mode, although I'm not sure about today because there's about a half-inch of snow on the ground.
Went to Manahawkin to run several errands, and stopped at Kohl's to try to get a new winter jacket. They're having a great sale and seniors could get an extra 15 % off yesterday (and today), but damned if I could find one. Incredibly, the ones I liked (for color, length, warmth etc.) just didn't fit; a certain size was too snug and the next size was too big. Okay, that's it--I'm going to Macy's although they're pricier.
Stopped at the library and borrowed "The Manchurian Candidate"--the newer version. Far from engaging my interest, it lulled me to sleep and Imissed a lot of it, which was no loss. Meryl Streep was the only bright spot. She was a brunette in this one and looked stunning as ever.
Alison called to discuss Pat's 76th birthday on Sunday. Joel, Jen, and Joely are coming, too, so we decided to wait to use the Joseph's gift certificate. Asked Pat if he preferred going to Alison's or having them here and he opted for here. Alison's bringing a pork tenderloin for the entree, plus a side, and I'll provide the cake and some veggies.
I asked Alison if she and Mike went on their usual Friday night 12-mile hike and she said they did and "it was beautiful," although the weather's been frigid. However, she said they had a terrible (self-inflicted) ordeal on Sunday when they ran the length of Long Beach Island (18 miles), training for the Boston. The freezing cold and wind made it almost unbearable and they had to wrap cloth around their faces just to go on. Are they insane? Well, yes, but in a good way...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Yesterday is really, really hard to remember--I guess because it didn't distinguish itself with anything at all. Continued to get my boxes of photo in order--hey, this will take weeks--then lay on the couch and re-watched "Sideways" while Pat was at the bay. Took two pork chops out of the freezer, baked them and served with scalloped potatoes and corn. The chops were very tasty--even Pat remarked on them--and I remembered reading that a few years ago, the meat people had removed a lot of fat from pork (maybe didn't feed the porkers as much or did something after they had sacrificed their porky little lives) so they could call it "the other white meat." However, that made the meat dry and tough, if you ask me and even if nobody did, this is my blog and I can write what I want. Well, I understand the meat people have noted this (dry, tough) and gone back to more fatty pork so it tastes better and blah, blah, blah...
Okay, wake up, Rosemary. It's time to go into the sub-zero cold and knock on Susan's door to tell her it's exercise time, I'm up for it, and it's back to the vigorous life!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Pat and I enjoyed the Super Bowl party at the H.'s last night. There were about 8 couples, plus two singles, and of course, the food was plentiful and good. I was indifferent about who won, but finally decided to root for the Bears because 1. my nephew (twin's son, Wes) lives in Chicago and 2. I was mad at the Colts for abandoning Baltimore (when did that happen?) where, incidentally, my other nephew (brother Frank's son, Patrick) lives. NATURALLY, my rooting for them put the kibosh on the Bears and they lost. Do I really care? Naw.
Finally saw "Sideways" and it was great! Daughter Ellen has been urging me to rent it for ages, but I never bothered, as I really didn't think I'd like it, but wow--terrific. For one thing, the very low-key humour, bordering on non-humour, appeals to me and for another, the locations where it was shot (two men are on a short road trip through southern California the week before one gets married) are places Ellen and I visited. I think I was actually in the restaurant that plays a significant role in the story. I also enjoyed the "wine angle"--too long and involved to go into--but none of these things would make it a great movie if it didn't also include incredibly deft character portrayals--and it does. Well, it just struck me as a great movie. As is my wont (can't help it, I used to read a lot of Dickens, etc.), I'll look up "Sideways" and see what's going on with the main actors--they're not familiar to me. One thing to note: There are two pretty raunchy sex scenes, but they're brief and do add to the story. Anyway, what a good movie and it didn't cost a dime, as I borrowed it from the library.
Incredibly, neither Pat nor I have anything scheduled this week except for Susan and Walter's "Mexican Valentine Party" on Saturday. Okey dokey, I'll continue to nurse my cold/flu/whatever and venture out when I feel up to it. I definitely want to resume my morning exercise regime with Susan which I've skipped for several days, then I'll feel back to normal.
Pat and I enjoyed the Super Bowl party at the H.'s last night. There were about 8 couples, plus two singles, and of course, the food was plentiful and good. I was indifferent about who won, but finally decided to root for the Bears because 1. my nephew (twin's son, Wes) lives in Chicago and 2. I was mad at the Colts for abandoning Baltimore (when did that happen?) where, incidentally, my other nephew (brother Frank's son, Patrick) lives. NATURALLY, my rooting for them put the kibosh on the Bears and they lost. Do I really care? Naw.
Finally saw "Sideways" and it was great! Daughter Ellen has been urging me to rent it for ages, but I never bothered, as I really didn't think I'd like it, but wow--terrific. For one thing, the very low-key humour, bordering on non-humour, appeals to me and for another, the locations where it was shot (two men are on a short road trip through southern California the week before one gets married) are places Ellen and I visited. I think I was actually in the restaurant that plays a significant role in the story. I also enjoyed the "wine angle"--too long and involved to go into--and, well, it just struck me as a great movie. As is my wont (can't help it, I used to read a lot of Dickens, etc.), I'll look up "Sideways" and see what's going on with the main actors--they're not familiar to me. One thing to note: There are two pretty raunchy sex scenes, but they're brief and do add to the story. Anyway, what a good movie and it didn't cost a dime, as I borrowed it from the library.
Incredibly, neither Pat nor I have anything scheduled this week except for Susan and Walter's "Mexican Valentine Party" on Saturday. Okey dokey, I'll continue to nurse my cold/flu/whatever and venture out when I feel up to it. I definitely want to resume my morning exercise regime with Susan which I've skipped for several days, then I'll feel back to normal.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Feeling much better today, I'm happy to say. I got a full night's sleep, probably because I took Ny-Quil, which knocks me for a loop, and have no dizziness or inbalance this morning. I do have a slight ache in the back of my neck; guess it's part of the whole illness.
Yesterday morning, I drove over to beautiful Port Republic to a house sale--bought a few mugs--then laid low, only going to the library to get some CDs. Watched "The Forgotten," a horror story whose only virtue is that it stars Julianne Moore--fairly interesting at first, but the rest--well, easily forgotten. Also took out "Sideways," the Oscar-winning movie a few years old that Ellen's been urging me to see. I understand it's set in the Napa Valley where El and I have been several times. May not get a chance to see it today, but will soon.
Made a quick dinner last night--what I call "a pick-up meal"--of tomato soup and grilled cheese for Pat, and just had leftover spaghetti myself. Tonight is the H's Super Bowl party, so I won't have to think about what's for dinner.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Had a lousy night, continually waking up with hard coughing. However, I got up this morning feeling much better than yesterday. The dizziness is almost all gone (I'm careful not to move my head too quickly). It has dawned on me that I don't cough nearly as much during the day as at night when I lie down--hmm, wonder why.
The cleaners came yesterday and Pat and I skulked around to keep out of their way. Other than that, just puttered, tried to rest, and generally laid low. I called Susan to say I wouldn't meet her this morning for exercise, but I hope I can tomorrow.
Tomorrow is also the Super Bowl party at the H.'s, but that's at 5:30; hope Pat and I are both able to go. Around here, it's customary for everybody to bring something to parties. Barb suggested either an appetizer or dessert, so I'm going to make cookies and here's why: For my birthday, I got a lovely basket from Barb D. next door, with peppermint tea, some bon-bons and a Mason jar with the dry makings of "Million Dollar Cookies" (I add the butter, egg, and vanilla). Will make them up for the party and, as the D.'s will be there, I'll be able to credit Barb with how good they are (I'm assuming here).
Incidentally, although for Sunrise Bay this is a short street, no fewer than four women named Barbara live in the 12 homes on our (even-numbered) side. (Being a math whiz, I figured out that's one-third.) Barbara D. lives next door to us on one side, Barbara M. on the other, Barbara H. two doors down toward Center Street, and Barbara K. three doors "up." We're very close with Barbaras D. and H., and friendly, but less close, with the other two. I assume the name thing has to do with the fact that this is an over-55 community and "Barbara" was the trendy name during the time period of say, the '40s and '50s--there are lots of other "Barbaras" here, too.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Had a nice chat with sister Betty yesterday morning, then went to Manahawkin and bought lots of stuff too mundane to mention. Had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner--aside from all those exciting events, it was a pretty slow day. Cleaners are due in a few hours--ugh!
Alison e-mailed to ask if we wanted her to come down this weekend. I wrote back that it would be great if she could come tomorrow and help a little more with the garage clearing, moving boxes and so on. Also, Pat likes to see his daughter; maybe we could go out to lunch again. I hate to monopolize her time, but Mike is helping his brother move tomorrow and she said they don't need her to help.
I'm going to see if I can get to the doctor's today. This morning, I was dizzy and unsteady on my feet when I got up. I just looked this up and saw it can be caused by an ear infection, which I think I may have. (When I blew my nose, I could "feel it" in my ear.) Will call the doctor when they get in at 9:00.
Later: Luckily, the doctor had a cancellation at 9:30, so I was able to get in right away. She said I don't have an ear infection, but that I have fluid in (behind?) my ear and that's causing the dizziness and unbalance. We also discussed again my continual colds. She said some people have "slow" immune systems and can't fight off colds as well as others; also said the stress in my life probably contributes (as Alison says, "stress? what stress?"--she's kidding, gang). She wrote me out three prescriptions, for an antibiotic, a nasal spray, and a decongestant. I dropped them off at Rite-Aid, asked them to let me know who much they'd cost, then will decide if I want all of them. I'll take the antibiotic, but if I can get the others OTC, I will, or I'll skip them if they're just for symptomatic use.
While we're on the subject: I'm always amazed by the number of prescriptions doctors tend to write. For heaven's sake, I don't know why I need a nasal spray and, as for a decongestant, Pat takes on OTC (Rite-Aid brand), which would be fine for me if I wanted to take it and I don't. If I need medicine, okay, but things that will get better anyway, I just ignore or treat with this or that--from lemon juice to OTC crap (always store brand, if possible), to sleep therapy if I can swing it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

As of yesterday, I picked up an interesting and satisfying new project: I accepted the invitation of friends Leslie and Dennis R. to walk 5 miles on April 29 in Atlantic City for the March of Dimes and to try to get sponsors. Their adorable little grandson, Leo, now 3, was born prematurely and has some developmental delays and the M. of D. does a lot of work and research on that problem.
In the electronic age, this is a sophistocated procedure--they set you up with a web site and those you e-mail can apply their donations through the Internet. Participants are asked to set a "goal" and, not being used to this kind of thing, I said mine was $100. I got the ball rolling by kicking in some dough myself, then sent an appeal to 29 people. (I excluded the Sweetwater Drive neighbors I thought the R.'s would contact themselves.) To my amazement and gratification, I'm already up to $170 and I think more will be coming in. Yay for the March of Dimes, hip, hip, hurray for little Leo, and thank you, thank you, thank you to my so-generous family and friends!
Other than that, an okay day. Rented "Road to Perdition" and watched it in the afternoon, trying to rest to treat the perpetual cold. It was a dog, unfortunately, notwithstanding Tom Hanks with a mustache. Went to Acme to restock my meat locker (the freezer) with pork chops, chicken, and store-made meatballs (I like them better than mine). Had stuffed pork chops for dinner and made baked apples to go with them--a nice winter meal.