Friday, August 31, 2007

Not a whole heck of a lot went on yesterday. After WW--then breakfast at 11 am--I made a double recipe of crystal pickles. I'm planning to bring them to the dinner at Leslie's in a few weeks and maybe to Alison's DIL's gathering tomorrow. A. called to ask me to bring dessert tomorrow, too, and I'll make lemon squares.
Betty called. It was the 33rd anniversary of Wes' death yesterday; I can't believe I didn't remember. I'm so sorry, but she was okay with it. She got to the cemetery with a friend of hers.
I know I went to the store, did some wash, and wrapped the gifts for Natsue*, but I don't remember doing much else aside from everyday chores. Made barbecued ribs in the crock pot and they were so tender and delicious. Pat had several pieces, I had a small amount, and there was enough left over to freeze for another meal.
Pat sees the cardiologist this afternoon--just a regular 3-month revisit and we don't expect anything new.
*For what I got her, see my response to Dee in yesterday's comments.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Picked Marge up for lunch yesterday and passed our house on our way out--to see two heavy machinery trucks out front. The tree removal people had come, although they were supposed to call first. Frank had already discussed the cost with Pat and me--we'll share the expense for removing a dead tree that straddled our properties--and, after some of my usual histrionics, I left them to their work. I was pissed (I was going to write sedately that I was "taken aback," but hey, I was pissed) to be told our portion ended up at $350 because they found two other dead trees on our side. I'm not even sure if that includes the half we shared with the D.'s, but oh, the hell with it.
Enjoyed lunch at Creevey's, where I hadn't been for months. As ever, Marge and I had lots to talk about. After, I dropped her off, then checked at home to find the dead trees gone and a bill in the mailbox. I was pleased that there isn't any noticeable change out back, as there are plenty more trees.
Went to K-Mart and got Pat more of the sweatpants he wears everyday, then to Kohl's for some gifts for soon-to-be DIL. Got home and was delighted to find that Dennis, that sweet guy, had gone fishing and left us some gorgeous flounder fillets. Was going to take something out of the freezer for dinner, but of course, breaded them and we had them instead. I like many kinds of fish, but there's just nothing like flounder that had been splish-splashing around in the Atlantic a few hours before. Boy, oh boy, was that a good dinner! Den gave us enough for about three meals, so I breaded and froze the rest--not quite as good as unfrozen, but we'll enjoy them in the coming weeks.
Alison called to say her step-DIL had invited us to Long Beach Island on Saturday for dinner (her parents rent a house there) and I was pleased to accept. Will meet A. and Mike in Manahawkin and drive onto LBI--which will be hoppin' on Labor Day weekend--with them.
WW this morning--we'll see, but as ever, will be fine with any loss, gain, or stay-the-same.
Later: 0.8 down for a total of 31.8 and weight of 167.8. Not quite a pound off this week, but no matter--I'm satisfied.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Went to Acme where I met up with Marge. She said she'd let me know how it looks for lunch either today or tomorrow. Bought some frozen dinners for Pat to have one yesterday, as I was going to "help" Alison baby-sit for Tristan. Other than that, just mundane chores in the daytime.
Received Tony Lombardo's book On Both Sides of the Fence, etc. from Amazon and started it. Called his and Vivian's to let them know I got it and ask if he would autograph it. It was exciting to see the dedication to Viv and the photo of the whole family on the back. The book includes a chronicle of Tony's severe form of MS, as well as inspirational passages for those who suffer from disabilities.
Will also start We Knew We Were At War, the book Karen lent me. When Susan lets me know what month is open for a speaker in the Women's Club, I'll call Peg George, the author.
Left for Joel's and Jen's about 4:00 and arrived at 5:00. Joely looked so cute in his soccer outfit and he and Jen went to practice shortly after I arrived. Alison came about a half hour later and we had a good time minding little Tristan--now 3 1/2 weeks old--who alternated crying and eating. The kid seems to have a good appetite. I swear he looks like my father, or at least, a Byrne.
J., J., and J. didn't get home from practice until almost 7:00. I then went over to Alison's (only 7 or 8 minutes away) to see her bathroom.
It looks great! She painted it a shade called "sensational sand" and added blue accents, plus stained or painted other parts in a contrasting dark brown. In addition, she added white crown molding at the ceiling and repainted the baseboard molding. Mind you, she did all this herself. Mike is handy around the house, but so busy he doesn't always get around to projects. A. will just tackle anything; if she doesn't know how to do it, she learns.
Hmm...she likes challenges, too. I asked if she could stay over while I go to a Wellspouse "respite weekend" in Bucks County, Pa. the end of September, and of course, she cheerfully agreed. However, she told me she's on a bike team supporting the daughter of a former colleague at the Sands. This young woman has MS and team members will get sponsors; they ride on September 29, but she can leave from our place and come back. How long is the ride? 75 miles--aagh!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Had a neat time at lunch with Leslie yesterday. We went to Dockside and it was so enjoyable to see the boats gliding past on the waterway next to the restaurant. Les and I decided to check when the "cruises" from Stewart's go out, so we can decide on a time to go, maybe with other friends.
After lunch, we zipped on down the road (Green Street, that is) to see Pat and his bay buddies. Several were there and we had a good time joshing with them. Large, mustachioed "young George," who's about 65, said they hang out there to pick up chicks--and there we were!
After I dropped Les off, I went to Shop-Rite in Manahawkin to get a few essentials. I should stay away from that place, as I invariably end up astounded at how much I spend.
Betty called and I asked her to let me know when she and Muckie were going out for lunch, so I can meet them. Won't be long before she can get back in her (now rented) house.
Barb H. came over with the registration form for the "historic van tour" she, Susan, and I are taking in October. This is run by the Ocean County Parks and Recreation Department and includes visiting several sites connected in some way to Abraham Lincoln.
Want to find a gift for my future daughter-in-law today, as I must get it sent off. Will write a note son can translate.
Tonight, baby-sitting for Tristan--can't wait to hold him again!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Took good friend Karen home in the late morning and had a stimulating talk on the way up. K. told me about Peg George, a friend of a friend of hers, who wrote a book called We Knew We Were At War. This chronicles the impact of WW II on the homefront through interviews with women who lived through it. According to her web site, Peg is 79, single (I think widowed), and lives in Doylestown, PA. I'm going to mention it to Susan to see if she wants to me contact Peg to speak at our Women's Club. Karen lent me the book and I'm looking forward to reading it. Reluctantly said goodbye to K., sorry our visit was over, but we'll keep in touch, of course.
On the way home, I stopped at Alison's, but she and Mike were out. She called me later and said they were on a little bike ride--of 45 miles. I want to see her bathroom, which she just painted and otherwise renovated, replacing the molding herself. She's baby-sitting for little Tristan, now almost 4 weeks old, on Tuesday evening, and invited me to meet her at Joel and Jen's. When they get home from taking Joely to soccer practice, I'll go to her place to see the bathroom.
Alison's neighbor, Dawn, gave me two bluefish when Karen and I stopped there on Friday on the way down. I think a friend of hers had caught them; they were minus heads, but complete with innards. I decided to cook one of them and Pat gutted it for me--ugh! I baked it and actually, it was pretty good. I had one myself (Pat doesn't like them) and put the other in the freezer.
Okay, it was pretty good, but not that good, and I'll probably scuttle (that's real nautical talk) the other one in the garbage.
I'm picking up Leslie for lunch today and Marge e-mailed me to ask when I might be available for same this week. I'm looking forward to both excursions with great pleasure, of course. Want to get the lowdown on Leslie's son, Pete, and his family, in Cleveland. Les and Dennis were to visit them last weekend, but they were flooded out and had to be evacuated.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

We're having a great time at the Molloy Manse with friend Karen C. Yesterday, we hung out in the morning, then, after leaving a sandwich for Pat's lunch, drove down to Atlantic City.
Boy, on a hot Saturday in August, that place was hoppin'. Mobs of people crowded the boardwalk, which made it very festive. Our first order of business was to have lunch--always a priority for me, WW or not--and we went to the Garden Buffet. This is a cheap ($6.99), no frills place with just basic food no better than it had to be, but we both enjoyed it. (I didn't have to cook it myself and Karen is a happy enjoyer.) Had salad, mussels, mixed vegetables, and dabs of this and that, skipping dessert, of course.
After, we walked the boards as the saying goes, for a few blocks. We took the added seaward walk to the "Bikini Beach Bar" (in the last few years, they've been allowed on the beach), where the open-air place was jammed, the music was hot, and a rollicking atmosphere prevailed. I got my camera out and two fellows--tall, good-looking, and smiling--tried to pick us up.
Uh...well, anyway, one asked if we wanted him to take our picture together and we said, "yes" and he did. Karen and I are both sure they would have tried to pick us up if...if...they both weren't about the age of my grandson.
Also took pictures of The Sands being demolished, which I sent to Alison. Will take Karen home this afternoon and stop in on her.
We got home a little before 4:00 and as I was pulling together dinner (the leftover Slymphie Stew, peas, Brussel sprouts, and a big salad), the doorbell rang. It was Susan, bringing a gorgeous frozen lemonade pie she had made, the perfect summer dessert. What a gem of a neighbor!
After dinner (I had a generous piece of the pie myself, a deviation I allow occasionally), we three sat and talked and talked, then Karen and I cleaned up. Adorable little Vivian and her Daddy called and we saw and talked to them with pleasure. V. said she wanted to see "the baby," meaning her own pictures on Daddy's computer screen, which he showed her. Paula just got back from China and is going to Jakarta next week; Mike's off again to Hong Kong tomorrow.
Will take Karen home today; it's been such a nice visit.
Note: I'm going to discontinue adding yesterday's date in bold for every entry. I think it confuses things--readers just need to know that each riveting account of my doings concerns the day before unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Friday, August 24: Terrific day! Left at 11:00 and got to The Red Lobster in plenty of time--early, in fact--to meet Terri at 1:00. She looks wonderful and, of course, we had scads to talk about. (I had grilled salmon with a double order of veggies instead of potatoes, and a small Caesar salad.) We finally said goodbye at about 2:30.
I drove to Ewing to see the old house and neighborhood, then to Rider. Went to HR, and all my former colleagues came out to greet me. I met the woman who was hired into my old job six weeks ago. Later, I was told she had been at Bristol-Myers Squibb for 29 years. (My immediate successor stayed at Rider only three years.) Before the party, I had time to stop in a few other offices. It's always gratifying to be greeted with obvious pleasure, and hugs and kisses, but oh no, I never want to go back to work.
The party was great. Earle had been at Rider for 35 years and lots and lots of people I knew were there, both past and present employees. It was great fun to greet and be greeted and--I'm happy about this--be told how good I look. I nibbled on some little appetizers (rusks and tapas, which I dearly love) and had a few swallows of soda. No alcohol was served at the party, a departure from the usual, surely because of the recent tragedy of an alcohol-related student death at Rider. I considered a piece of the celebratory cake, but skipped it with little regret.
It was wonderful to be among so many old friends, but I have to admit, many had aged a lot--especially those I hadn't seen for ten or more years. The moving finger writes/And having writ, moves on...
After, I picked Karen up and we drove home. Stopped at Alison's, but as I thought, she was already leading their Friday evening hike through the pine barrens. Mike was home nursing his hurt foot and we said hello to him, bought some Kirby cucumbers at Dawn's, and zipped down good ol' Route 539 to home.
Great day, great life.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thursday, August 23: After WW, I just vegetated, more or less. Got a lot of wash done, went to Acme, straightened up, and so on. The high point of the day was calling my friend, Pat R.--on the tellyphone!! This was a radical departure from our usual mode of communication (just what you see typed out in front of you, gentle reader) and it gave me such a lift. Funny--if we had had computers with blogs, e-mail, and so on first, and later the phone, we'd be thrilled and astounded at actually being able to TALK to people and not just read their words. Wonders will never cease... Anyway, I so much enjoyed talking to Pat, one of those people I feel I've known forever (well, sorta--we have a commonality of memory, but in a parallel line) and can tell anything.
Alison beamed us some pictures of little Tristan, 3 weeks old today. He doesn't look anything like Joely, more like our side of the family. Can't wait to hold him again.
Must pick up Susan now. Will leave at 11:30 or so for lunch with Terri, hang out at Rider until the party at 4:00, then pick Karen up at 6:00 to bring her down for the weekend. All is well...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday, August 23: Lunch with the most recent gang of company was nice. Had the menu I planned and everybody seemed to like it; just served watermelon for dessert. Unfortunately, Eileen (nephew Tim's wife) called about an hour before they were due to say she wasn't able to come, but Tim would be here. Betty and Muckie arrived shortly before he did, and we had a good day.
Tim has turned Mike's age, 40, but looks remarkably young. He was actually "carded" the day before his 40th birthday in May! He's a nice looking guy, and owns a company called "Video Productions" in Putney, Vermont.
I have quite a bit of slymphie stew left, which is good, as I put a casserole full in the freezer and will serve it when Karen's here over the weekend. After the lunch guests left, I made a regular dinner--baked chicken, etc.--rather than have leftovers.
Forgot to mention that some time ago, Vivian had told me her husband, Anthony Lombardo, was writing a book. When we had dinner on Tuesday, she said he's now had it published and it's listed on Amazon.com. I immediately looked it up and ordered it. It's called On Both Sides of The Fence: How to Successfully Lead a Fulfilling Life Despite the Presence of Any Physical Challenge. Anthony has had MS for almost 30 years and if anybody has had challenges, he has. (And as a fellow caregiver, I know Viv's "challenges" are as intense or more so.) Can't wait to get his book, which should arrive in a few days.
Weight Watchers today. Again, I don't feel as if I've lost, but yes, no, or maybe, I'm going on to reach my goal.
Later: Yipee! I reached my interim milestones of 30 pounds off, and getting into the 160s. This week, I lost 1.4 and am now at 168.6, for a total of 31 pounds down.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday, August 21: This is an "I can't believe I did that" confession. Yesterday, I took Pat to the podiatrist at 11:00, made lunch when we got home, saw him off to the bay, then went over to Susan's in the driving rain to show her the pictures of Monday's lunch I printed out. (She wants to print some of her granddaughter and wasn't sure how to do it.)
After, I drove to Santori's to get my supply of produce--lots of it, as usual--then home, still in the driving rain. (We need it, but hey, this is getting ridiculous--stop, already!)
I made a big pot of slymphie stew for our luncheon party today--decided to serve it in the crock pot. Along with a big salad, various breads, and some sides, it should be adequate for a casual lunch.
After performing other chores, including popping a potato in the oven and preparing chicken legs for dinner, I was idly sitting at the computer when I glanced at the clock. It was five on the dot. Hmm...five o'clock. Did that ring a bell? Five...o...clo--... Five o'clock!! I was supposed to meet Vivian at Calloway's at five o'clock! On Tuesday! It was Tuesday--and it was five o'clock!
Tried to call her, message machine was on, tore off the shirt I had wore all day, threw on another, asked Pat to heat himself a Hungry Man Dinner, and raced up to Calloway's to arrive at 5:30.
Viv was very gracious about my tardiness (which would have gotten me three days detention at HSHS), saying she assumed I had thought we were to meet at 5:30. She had brought her son, Anthony, and I greatly enjoyed meeting him. Anthony is in college, but in the summer, plays in a band at Hershey Park--neat guy.
Had a wonderful time, messy and disheveled as I was, so I'm glad I at least salvaged the evening enough to get there.
Must pick up Susan (it's still raining, but we walk anyway, with umbrellas), then set up lunch for my nephew and wife, Betty and Muckie.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monday, August 20: Had one of my best times ever at the lunch yesterday. There were ten of us, all Holy Spirit class of '53, except Betty and me (we were '54); five are also alums of St. James. Besides the two of us, Muckie, and the guest of honor, Gerri F. B., the gang included Margie O.S., Nancy K.F., Maureen W. ?, Mary S. ?, Janet W.P., and Kathy M.S.
I brought my '54 yearbook and one from 1950. After we ate, everybody looked at them, and exclaimed over their own pics as undergrads in 1950 and pictures of siblings and friends in '54. I sat on the end with Kathy M.S. on one side and Margie O.S. on the other, but the whole group managed to talk, laugh, and interact--it was a wonderful outing.
The restaurant itself--Tucker's in Somers Point--was perfect. It's in an old Victorian house, beautifully decorated, and we had a table in a large room which had probably been a back porch, overlooking the bay. The food and service was excellent and reasonably inexpensive. (We each kicked in $24, but several people had dessert and coffee, I had wine, and we were treating Gerri.)
We talked and talked and reminiscenced and laughed over the old stories: the building in the Inlet that no longer exists; the time Gene G. got caught smoking; having to serve in the drum and bugle corps before you could be a cheerleader; Sister Leo, Sister Amobilis, Sister Cletus, and all the rest. I mentioned how I tracked down Sister Gabriel--now Madelaine T. these many years--and how my friend, Pat, had contacted her. Everybody remembered her with great fondness and admiration. Kathy told how my Pat had often driven her father to the TB sanatorium in Glen Gardner and how grateful her family was. Several people still remembered that Gerri and my brother, Frank, had been an item--sixty years ago.
Did they look old? Well, aside from Betty, Muckie, and Gerri, I hadn't seen any of them for 50+ years, so yes, some looked pretty elderly at first. But it's funny: After a half hour or so, they got younger and younger. Margie reverted into the cute little trick she was in high school, Janet seemed to be still dating her Joe, and Kathy--a pretty, slim blonde in her early seventies--became the animated girl she had always been. As the afternoon went on, the soft flesh grew firm, the eyes brightened, and the wrinkles magically smoothed themselves away.
It was a glorious day.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday, August 19: It rained a lot of the day and I stayed in and did a number of domestic chores. Changed the bedclothes, washed everything in sight, and cleaned up this and that. Went to the store and got fish for dinner: flounder for Pat, swordfish for me. While there, I picked up "The Good Shepherd" on disc, thinking it was a good day to watch a movie. However, Ellen called and assured me that "The GS" was long and boring. Pat and I started watching it after dinner and lasted about 20 minutes before we realized she was right and scuttled it.
Discussed with E. her "retreat" in the Napa Valley, to which she was headed after she called. Only teachers and admins from her small school district are going (the district is paying for it) and they'll confer as they do every year before school starts--but only a few miles away. Guess the idea is to renew and refresh in a different setting.
Was pleased to get a call from friend Karen C. confirming her visit next weekend. She doesn't drive, so I'll pick her up about 6:00 after the retirement party at Rider on Friday and bring her back on Sunday. Was also pleased to get an invitation from Leslie asking us to a dinner party on the 15th with their church group. Of course, I'll go and hope maybe Pat can.
Looking forward to lunch with the HSHS crowd today, too. It's still cloudy and rainy, but I'll stop for Susan shortly and we'll take umbrellas--we're diehards!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Saturday, August 18: Went to Home Depot and bought a fan, as I decided to let Betty keep the one I accidentally left at her house. Spent time on household chores and also found a terrific music site, thanks to brother Larry, who sent me the link. It's from somebody in Playa Cofi, an island near the Virgin Islands. Right now, I'm listening to Nat King Cole singing "A Blossom Fell." You can click on songs from 1950, 1955, and on up--it's great and I had them coming practically all day yesterday. It also features "tributes" to Elvis, Patti Page, Sinatra, and others, plus "genre" pieces, such as country, show tunes, French, and jazz. It's now playing a "loop" of 1950 songs, which it will do continuously 24/7.
I was a bit crestfallen when Patrick called last night and I told him about this great find. He said you can get hundreds of such sites by putting "Internet Radio" in your search engine. Also, he told me about "Songtapper," a site that will "listen" as you tap out a song on the keyboard, then will guess what it is. (OH! Now "Moments to Remember" is on the music site--I love it!) However, I tapped out "I Can't Stop Loving You" and stumped it. Probably my fault, not it's.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Friday, August 17: After the morning chores--and a thunderstorm that didn't rain enough--I didn't do much of anything yesterday. Walked in the morning, of course, made chicken stew in the crock pot, answered e-mail, read, folded wash, and so on. Kind of a boring day, but I need some down time once in a while.
Next week should be more interesting. Monday is the mini-reunion with Gerri F.B., Tuesday, I'm having dinner with Vivian, my Wellspouse friend, and Wednesday, nephew Tim is coming. He'd like to see Pat, so I guess I'll ask him here for lunch and will invite Betty and Muckie. Friday, I'm meeting former secretary Terri M. for lunch, then attending a retirement party for a Rider person, Earle R., I've known for years, then will bring my friend, Karen C., down for the weekend.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thursday, August 16: Was satisfied at Weight Watchers to lose another 1.6 pounds, and amused that I just barely missed my two interim milestones of getting into the 160's with 30 pounds off. I'm now at exactly 170 and have lost exactly 29.6 pounds. Okay, it's coming soon, I know.
Betty called from Muckie's to get my weight report and we had a nice talk. We're both looking forward to lunch with Gerri F.B. and the other "girls" (ha!) on Monday.
Nephew Tim e-mailed to say he and Eileen will be in Cape May next week and when can we get together, along with Betty? Wrote back that Betty was here for a week, but is now staying elsewhere. We'll be making arrangements for all of us to meet soon.
Got an e-mail from Jen to the effect that a friend of hers has made a web site for Joel, Jr. and Tristan. I wrote him and will e-mail him some of my pics so he can include them.
Went to Shop-Rite to stock the larder. Bought chicken breasts and legs, pork chops, salmon, and three kinds of squash, managing to spend $72 in the process. For dinner, I had the salmon, gave Pat a chop, then took a drive, and jumped in the shower.
When I came out, friend and next-door neighbor, Frank D., was here to report on two trees in the back of our property. Some background info here: When we bought our homes, both the D.'s and we paid extra to back up to N.J. Wetlands where nobody will ever be allowed to build. Every day, we enjoy gazing out at this wooded area instead of the back of somebody else's house; it's one of the best things about this home we love so well.
However, two trees next to the Wetlands, but not on it, are dead or dying and one is on our property; the other straddles ours and the Davide's. They must be cut down before they fall and Pat and I agreed to pay half the cost for removal of the joint one. That's what Frank was here to discuss. When the tree guy comes, we'll talk to him about removing the other tree that's solely on our property.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wednesday, August 15: After lunch and seeing Pat off to the bay, I drove Betty to Atlantic County and we
1. Went to the cemetery; I had snipped one of my yellow roses and we put it on Jay's grave;
2. Drove to Boscov's where Betty bought two pairs of sneaks and I looked for a gift for Natsue-san, but didn't choose anything;
3. Went down to Ventnor to Betty 's house. Rang the bell, but the tenant wasn't home (Pat asked me to pick up our large fan I had accidentally left there last year);
4. Stopped at the library to see if the Ventnor Historical Society (in the same building) was open, but it wasn't.
5. About 4:30, drove back off-shore to Muckie's, where Betty is staying for a time.
While we were parking at the library, we met up with Charlie and Mary P. and their daughter, Mary Lou. The parents are both HSHS grads and Charlie is a St. Jamesian, too. He's Pat's age and they had been boyhood friends. He looks pretty good and they both seem to be well. We chatted for 20 minutes or so, then Betty and I went into the library.
I had a good time with Betty here, but now I'll go back into my everyday life. She's having a gang over on September 9 when her kids are here and I'll be there, along with--I hope--Alison, Joel, and their families. Not sure if Pat can go, but maybe.
Muckie has arranged for a number of women to meet Gerri B. for lunch in Somers Point on Monday. I've been in (electronic) touch with her since her sister, Patti's, death, and I'm looking forward to that with pleasure.
I didn't get home until after 5:00 last night. Gave Pat leftovers of slymphy stew (from the freezer), half a baked potato (from the fridge) and peas. Added slices of wonderful tomato I grew myself, and he ate it all up. I just had a big salad, cauliflower, and peas. (It occurred to me that I'm veering back toward vegetarianism--that would suit me fine.)
Weight Watchers today. Again, I don't feel as if I've lost, but as ever, I'm perfectly okay with it no matter which way it goes this time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday, August 14: Betty and I putzed around (Pat's phrase) with this and that in the morning, including a walk. (Susan couldn't go because Matt, the painter, was coming early.) I left lunch for Pat, then we drove to her friend Betty M.'s house in Egg Harbor. She lives pretty far out in the woods and her husband has made their property just beautiful. He has whole groves of day lilies, rose-of-Sharons, and other flowers; a greenhouse; a large redwood deck with gazebo separate from the house; a pond with waterfall surrounded by flagstone; and all kinds of large, beautifully healthy trees--what a lovely place. The house itself is a pleasant, but nondescript, ranch--but the grounds--which also feature a U-shaped driveway that goes all the way around the house--are spectacular.
We ate at the Sweetwater Casino (not a casino, of course), which is situated on the river (the Raritan?), where I've been several times before. The Caesar salad was okay and the river views are nice, but the place itself is dark, unkempt, and has a bad smell. I'm adaptable, though, and it was an enjoyable lunch.
After, we drove down to see Pat at the bay, then went home. I served drumsticks, salad, veggies, banana bread, and a few other odds and ends for dinner.
Today, I take Betty to Muckie's, where she'll stay for a time. We'll head over to Atlantic County and will first visit the cemetery, then go to her house, and to Boscov's, before Muckie's.
Weight Watchers tomorrow and I don't think I've lost--may have gained. That's okay, though--I'll just continue what's been working overall.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Monday, August 13: Lunch with Pat R., Muckie, and Betty was the best fun I've had in ages! Pat arrived about 12:30 and what a gal! She's so full of life and energy--not to mention funny stories--that she kept us all laughing.
Pat is much more attractive in person than in her pictures. She has a strong--but feminine--face, thick hair she wears in a warm red shade, and a very pleasant, animated manner. For two years, decades ago, she worked for Muckie's ex-husband, who was an internist, so she and Muckie go way back. She and Betty go even further back , as they were both members of the Catholic Alumni Club (where Betty met her late husband, Wes). We were all amazed to find that Pat and I go back even longer than that: I pulled out my 1954 yearbook and there was a "wish you well" note from Pat McH., class of '57! As I don't remember ever seeing Pat before, this came as a fascinating surprise to all of us. (I took a picture of Pat with her entry but, unfortunately, it's too light to make out.)
Pat brought me a darling, hand-painted wine glass with "wine goddess" and a picture of a jazzy lady painted on it. She also brought Muckie, Betty, and me gifts of porcelain boxes with little round earrings inside. Muckie and Betty showed off their grandchildren's picture--well,l guess I did, too, but mine were framed in the study.
My Pat stayed home long enough to meet Pat R. and say hello to Muckie, then took off for the bay. I put lunch on the table--just a typical summer meal of cold cuts, several kinds of bread, a big green salad, fruit salad, devilled eggs, and crystal pickles--and we sat and talked, ate, and laughed for hours. It was just a terrific day, but of course, had to break up eventually.
Pat left late in the afternoon and I walked her outside. Before she drove off, she pulled out her baton and demonstrated her prowess--fifty years on!--with twirling. You go, girl!
Muckie went home soon after and Betty and I agreed it was a terrific day. She and I had leftovers for dinner (always a pleasant part of entertaining) and I got takeout for Pat. Today, we'll drive over to Sweetwater to have lunch with Betty M., a friend of Betty's, and tomorrow, I'll take Betty to Muckie's for her to stay with her for a time.
The only down note for my date yesterday was the realization that Pat R. and I don't live closer to each other. Hey, someday, I'll show up at her door in Virginia Beach!

Monday, August 13, 2007

We went to the pool yesterday and it was delightful. Earlier, we had gotten some supplies for the Muckie and Pat luncheon today and shrimp for our dinner (gave Pat hamburger). Talked to Ellen and had a good chat.
Mike called on the web cam last night and it was great fun seeing and talking to him, Paula, and of course, little Vivian.
Must cut off here. I got up late (6:30) and want to check a few things on e-mail, then meet Susan for our walk. Betty's feet are bothering her, so she doesn't want to go. More tomorrow.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saturday, August 11: Had a wonderful time at Alison's last night. Pat, Betty, and I got up there right at 5:00 and A. took us for a tour of their property. It's more or less rural, and they have a large backyard, fenced in (except that Lulu seems to have discovered a way to get out), with a nice yard, garden, fruit trees, and so on. They also have two hives of bees to which we gave a wide berth, and a new storage shed big enough for a family of five.
Soon after we arrived, Joel, Jen, and adorable little, 10-day-old Tristan came. Little Joel was at his cousin Gabriel's, and didn't come; missed him, but it was nice for him to have a play day.
Alison served chicken on the grill, salmon with a honey-based glaze, roasted potatoes, and tomato salad and, boy, was it good. After a cool morning, it turned beautifully sunny and warm, but not hot, and we ate on the deck.
Tristan is so precious. Betty, Alison, and I took turns holding and feeding him--what a darling little bundle of baby. We talked and talked and laughed and laughed, exchanged pictures and shared family gossip--had a great time. Naturally, we took plenty of pictures.
We got home a little after 9:00 and I tried to get Mike on the web cam, but there was no answer. It was 9:00 am in Singapore, and this morning, I got an e-mail to the effect they had been out at Vivian's swim lesson.
Must go wake Betty, then pick Susan up. We're walking B. to the clubhouse, then she'll walk the short distance to St. Teresa's for mass. Later, we'll shop for our luncheon tomorrow with Muckie and Pat McH. R.--looking forward to having a ball.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday, August 10: Cleaners came in the morning and we stayed in for lunch. When Pat went to the bay (yes, he goes every day), Betty and I went shopping--again! (Well, it's a favorite pastime.) We went to Reynold's, a store in Manahawkin that's closing. Betty got some cute clothes for some of the little ones, and I got a 3-9 month outfit for little Tristan.
Betty wants everybody to know she says, "hello." She's been accompanying Susan and me on our morning walk. We're looking forward to the big family reunion at her place the weekend of September 7 to 9.
The big news of the day is Patrick's announcement of his impending marriage to a young woman named Natsue K., sometime around September 10. He had told his father and me about this a year ago, but asked us not to mention it to others, as plans were not yet firm. The day before yesterday, he e-mailed that we may now share the news, and of course, I have--first with his siblings, now with others. He sent a picture of Natsue and himself today--she looks like a lovely girl, with a big smile and lively expression. I forwarded the pictures to Alison, Ellen, and Mike.
Alison invited us to dinner tonight, so we'll leave about 4:00. When we get home, I'm going to try to call Mike on the web cam. I've never done it before, as he's always called me on Saturdays. Will report back at the technological success--I hope.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thursday, August 9: Such an enjoyable day. Betty went with Leslie and me to Weight Watchers and liked it. I was pleased to be told I've dropped another 2.6 pounds for a total of 28. I'm now at 171.6; my next goal is to get into the 160's.
B. and I tidied up a bit, ate breakfast (at 11:00!), then went back to Manahawkin to Kohl's, where she got some new clothes. We then repaired to Dockside for lunch (uh-huh, we both had Caesar salad), dropping in on Pat and the boys at the bay afterwards.
Went home and we both talked with our children, plus various friends. Betty called Muckie (she'll be staying with her after her week with me) to find she's planning to have a Holy Spirit group go out to lunch with Gerri B., who will be visiting soon. B. and I are both looking forward to that.
After dinner (pot roast with gravy, corn, baked potato, zucchini casserole), took a drive with Betty. Came home to the usual of popcorn, wine for me, Pepsi for B., and popsicles before beddy-bye.
Will wake Betty now to accompany Susan (who's back from Connecticut) and me on our walk. I want to wash the area rugs, as the cleaners will come again between 10 and 11. Later, we'll decide on what activities we'll enjoy today.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Wednesday, August 8: Betty was picked up at the airport by her friend, Suzanne M., then they went to Suzanne's place in Mt. Laurel to get S.'s cousin, who was visiting. They got down here late in the day, and went to dinner at Dynasty Diner in Tuckerton. Betty invited me to join them, but I already had barbecued chicken simmering in the crockpot, so declined. Suggested they come to our place for coffee and dessert, and they did. We had a good time talking and laughing, then the two friends left. Watched "Countdown," had our popcorn and Popsicles (and me, my wine), then went to bed, but not before Betty and I fell into a political discussion. No question we're on opposite ends of the spectrum in that area.
Alison called to invite us up for dinner on Saturday and, of course, we accepted. Will take Betty to WW this morning, picking up Leslie on the way. As usual, not sure if I've lost or not--will find out in a few hours and will be okay with what comes.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tuesday, August 7: Various and sundry. Went for my tick bite checkup in the morning and the foot's doing fine. Doc wants to see me in a month. Went to Tucker Tom's for tomatoes and pulled a few weeds. Betty called and we discussed her arrival late today. I'll just play it by ear for dinner, as she said they may stop to eat. I was planning to take her to Weight Watchers tomorrow, but she may meet friends for breakfast. No problem, we'll just do our own thing.
Saw the AFL-CIO "debate" of the democratic candidates last night. What a sorry bunch! Poor Keith Olberman, skilled as he is, had great difficulty in steering them toward actually answering the questions; shutting them up was almost impossible.
I swear, politicians, of no matter what stripe, are the bottom-eaters of the world. The only saving grace of those I saw last night is that they're at least in a party that doesn't actually reward criminal acts and international murder. Or hasn't rewarded it recently. Or doesn't reward it so openly. Or doesn't celebrate it. Hmm, maybe I'd better stop right there...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Monday, August 6: Mucho fun yesterday at our M. family luncheon. Amy, Bill, Regina, and Sean got here a little early--no problem, as I was prepared--and there was much kissing and hugging. Amy brought a little bouquet of daisies (one of my favorite flowers) and a delectable blueberry/cherry pie she made herself. For dessert, I had cut-up fruit and cookies and this was a nice addition. Regina gave us a bottle of locally-made "Nana Wine"--I was charmed by the name and will sample it soon. Donna arrived with a spectacular bouquet of mixed flowers, including roses in red, pink, and yellow.
Lunch--just a typical summer spread of cold cuts, salads, various breads, and so on, although I added my zucchini casserole for a hot dish--was well-received, but of course, the most fun was in talking over old times and new. The M. contingent stayed until after 4:00, but Donna insisted on staying to help wash the dishes (I don't put some of the dishes or any of the the silver in the dishwasher). That wasn't necessary, but we enjoyed talking while we cleaned up. It was a good, good day--it always is when friends and family come.
I'm looking forward to Betty's arrival tomorrow, and, of course, our HSHS friends on Monday. Fair warning: Because there'll be only four of us (Pat will make an appearance, then leave for the bay), I'm considering having lunch in the kitchen, rather than the dining room. I'm thinking it would be more casual and might be more comfortable in the kitchen. Of course, I know what elegant and high-class ladies these are--would they be insulted? Will decide later...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sunday, August 5: Got to Santori's and really stocked up on veggies and fruit, bought a few plants at Lowe's, and went to Acme for more provisions. Pat asked me to get a new battery for his watch, and what a drag, as the back has to be removed to replace it. I went to 3 different places (Radio Shack, where the guy told me they weren't allowed to open watches; K-Mart, which has a jewellery area and sells watches, but of course, the clerk had no idea how to do it; and--finally--a little jewelery store in Manahawkin where I should have gone in the first place). Battery replaced and problem solved.
The preceding sounds like a mere nothing, but took almost all day. Watered the outside after dinner, having interspersed the new plants (still in their pots and I've performed this trick before) among the old, and it looks fair, but far from as attractive as it's been other years.
Brother Larry called. His Helen needs a little fix-up on the eye that had the--successfully removed--growth under it, so they'll travel to Jacksonville soon. They were going to see a new community near them which surrounds "Santa Maria College," a very conservative school established by the founder of Domino's Pizza. I believe it will promote the same ultra-Catholic beliefs. Hey, to each his own.
After dinner, was happy to hear from Ellen and we discussed her art project, as well as an upcoming "retreat" for the faculty at her school in the Napa Valley. The district will pay for it, as it's a professional conference, designed to enhance skills and exchange information. When I was at Rider, I attended several such conferences for higher education/human resource people, including a weekend at Annapolis, and an over-nighter in Philly. There, you could talk with colleagues from other colleges and universities, attend workshops, and--the hope and theory was--come back to work refreshed and recharged with new ideas. You also got to party.
Looking forward to having Pat's brother, SIL, two nieces, and great-nephew here for lunch today.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Saturday, 8/4*: Alison came down about noon to help me weed. NOw the place looks better, although this year, I don't have nearly as nice plantings, especially annuals. I should have watered more, but just didn't get around to it.
Some decorative grasses had sprung up spontaneously in the front, but in the wrong places. Alison dug them up and transplanted to under the windows, where the remains of the irises are. Think I'll fill in with some potted stuff--will just have to remember to water more often. Alison also planted the azalea Mike sent for Father's Day, filled the bird feeder, and helped out otherwise.
Showered, got dinner on the table (a pork chop for Pat, Boca burger for me), and dressed for my stint at the play. When I went in, I was pleased to have Jim H., who wrote and acted in "Tony and the Heiress" greet me with a big hug. (I had been in the troupe last year, but withdrew because of other commitments.) It was fun to check people's names off, hand out programs, and suggest seating, although it was a little chaotic. The community center was set up with tables and chairs, which was supposed to make the audience feel they were in the bar where the play takes place. Unfortunately, that cut down considerably on the number of seats and we had to set up chairs in the back for some.
I left about halfway through, as my duties were over, and no sooner got in the door than Mike called on the web cam. Vivian yelled, "Hi, Nana! Hi, Pop!" and showed us her "water doll." This is a kind of cut-out that looks like a paper doll, but is made of flat foam, with a wardrobe that can be put on and off. Mike said V. hadn't yet opened all her presents, and that her party was the talk of the complex.
Have a full day today, too, as I need to shop for the Molloy Lunch tomorrow, make some of the things I'm serving, and check a few last-minutes items.
*Ellen mentioned that it's sometimes confusing to know what day I'm writing about. It's always the day before the entry, because I do this in the early morning. If I remember, think I'll add the day the action takes place for awhile.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The cleaners didn't get here until after 11:00 yesterday and I was annoyed with that. I gave them "a talk" about the large chip off the lid of my porcelain canister in the kitchen that happened last time, then felt ashamed. Who am I, some grand lady yelling at the servants and who the hell cares about this container, which I got with its mate at a yard sale in Margate? Geez, no wonder poor people start revolutions.
I don't like to go out while they're here, but I had a lunch date with Mary Ann Van O. and Pat was here, so I left him the check and tips. As it turned out, the house look great when I got back and I called the service to tell them that.
Auntie Ellen called to discuss baby Tristan and we had a good chat.
Lunch was nice. Mary Ann suggested a little bakery/restaurant nearby, fine with me, but we went there and were surprised to see it's closed. Went to good old Dockside, instead, and yes, I got the Caesar salad. Ate half and took the other half home.
Mary Ann's husband, Bart, has emphysema as serious as Pat's and we get together every few months. She called me later to tell me the results of another of Bart's maladies--no matter what, but just another sad signal of aging.
Tried to call Jen at the hospital, just to say "hello," but couldn't get through for some reason. She goes home today, so I'll catch her there. Alison should be down today to help me weed and do a few other chores. I don't want to keep her too long, as I know she has a lot of other commitments.
Gave Pat a frozen dinner (well, so what? I usually have something a lot more elaborate) then jumped in the shower and dressed to go to the Little Egg show. Fred and Marge picked me up.
The performance ("Tony and the Heiress") was good, although when I work there giving out programs tonight, I'll tell them some of the lines were difficult to hear. One of the players sang "Danny Boy" and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
Got home about 9:00 and enjoyed the usual with Pat...
No, not that--I mean popcorn and popsicles!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Little Tristan Edward Phillips is just beautiful! I got up there about 1:00 after finishing some chores at home. (Earlier, had weighed in* at WW, but didn't stay for the lecture.) Found Jen, Joel, Joely, Alison, and J. and J.'s friend, Jason, in the large, comfortable "birthing room" at Capitol Health Center (used to be Mercer) Hospital. His Mommy was holding Tristan, but let me take him when I got there. As soon as I walked in, Joely said excitedly, "That's my little brother, that's my little brother!"
Unlike my mostly bald babies, Tris has a respectable amount of hair (dark brown, like his Dad's) and ruddy skin. It's hard to tell at this stage but he seems to have "Byrne eyes"--that is, deep-set, as my father's were. He really is an attractive baby. He slept a lot, but also cried lustily, and seemed to enjoy being passed from person to person. When his Mommy held and talked to him, he looked straight at her and made little cooing sounds--so adorable!
Jen's sister had already been in, and her parents were due at 4:30 or so. Of course, Alison and I took pictures. Loved the ones of big Joel, Joely, and little Tristan sitting together--Joely greatly enjoyed holding him. At one point, he said, "Look at this, Mimi" and stroked Baby's cheek, making him turn that way! (Gee, Tris can do tricks.)
After I left, I drove on impulse to our old neighborhood and stopped into my friend, Mildred's, across the street from our former home. She was glad to see me and we chatted for a half hour or so. I stopped at the cemetery after that, where my dear friend, Elaine, has rested for four years now.
Driving home, I mused--with a kind of melancholy, but not unhappy, feeling--on the mystery of time passing. I had gone from visiting a human being only hours old, to a woman who is 94 and surely nearing the end of her life. After that, there's the grave. "Here she lies, where all must come/After days grown wearisome...."
It was almost 6:00 when I got home to put the pictures on the computer, make Pat scrambled eggs for dinner, and throw the bath rugs in the washer. Pat enjoyed seeing the pics of Terrific Tris, especially those of Joely holding him.
Today will be busy. The cleaners are coming in the morning, I'm having lunch with Mary Ann Van O. at noon, then going to the Little Egg Players show at 7:00. I have a coupla other items in between, but hey, that's the way I like it.
*2.6 more pounds off, for a total of 25.4 and a weight of 174.2. (It's a red-letter day when news about my weight is just an afterthought in an asterisk!)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Added to the following at 8 am: Joel just called to announce the birth of Tristan Phillips at about 7:30! He's 19 inches long, weighs 7 pounds, 13 ounces, and, judging from the background noise, he has a good, healthy pair of lungs. Will go up to see him in a few hours--happy day!

Boy, it's weird. Aside from doing wash and a few other domestic chores, I can barely remember what went on yesterday. True, I spent time soaking my foot and re-dressing it, but that was a minor part of the day. Went to Foodtown in Smithville for some items, put barbecued chicken legs in the crock pot, and had my usual veggieful lunch. Talked to Alison (Jen went in the hospital) and to Frank next door about my stint on Saturday "working" at the Little Egg Players show. Nuttin' else going down, I guess.
Tomorrow, the cleaners are coming in the morning, I'm going to lunch with Mary Ann Van O. at noon, and to see the Little Egg show in the evening with Marge and Fred. Should be a fun day.
Weight Watchers this morning. Have been faithful to my regime, but have no idea what my weight's doing. As ever, I'll be fine with any change--or none.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Big news on the baby front! Alison called to tell us Jen will go in the hospital today (Wednesday) to be induced. I'm always a little puzzled about this. All my babies were late--almost 3 weeks for Alison--and everybody just waited until they were born, but they don't seem to do that nowadays--not sure why. If she goes in today, little Tristan will probably make his appearance tomorrow, so his birthday will be August 2. That's a nice date.
Got my hair cut in the morning and I'm not thrilled with it. I don't think she cut it short enough, although I wanted to keep as much of the perm as possible (it's only a month old);Pat didn't even realize I had gotten it cut. (Oh well, he is a man, so "oblivious" is his middle name.)
Pat called to have Sears come out to look at the oven (the thermostat doesn't work right) and fridge (the in-the-door ice dispenser isn't working, so you have to open the door to get ice) and somebody will be here next week. It'll probably cost of fortune, but we just want them fixed.
Jack B. stopped over yesterday after playing golf at Atlantis nearby. Pat had already gone to the bay, so Jack just chatted with me for awhile.
Went to My Three Sons produce to get Pat his black plums and picked up tomatoes and watermelon, too.
Soaked my foot twice, as the doctor had instructed, but accidentally pulled off the skin over the sore, so now it's an open wound. It stung when I used Epsom Salts in the water, so I dumped it and used plain. It's a drag to dress and bandage it, but I'm able to walk and did my regular mile and a half with Susan yesterday and will today. It just feels as if my sock has a fold or something in it or something--annoying, but not too bad.