Sunday, September 30, 2007

What a terrific day I had yesterday with the Wellspouse group! After some problems finding the hostel at Tyler State Park (it's very remote and isn't even accessible from the main entrance; park covers 17,000 acres), I arrived about 10:00, just in time for late breakfast. Marty, editor of Mainstay, the Wellspouse newsletter, cooked and served up platters of pancakes and omelets, along with fresh hot coffee, fruit, and rolls.
There were from 22 to 17 attendees at any one time. Some stayed the whole weekend, some came just on Saturday, as I did, and two were there only overnight on Friday. I was so pleased to meet the others, all of whom care for chronically ill or disabled family members. One beautiful blonde (I honestly thought she was about 25 until she showed pictures of her grandchildren--she's 46) cares for her husband, who has ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). She mentioned that she had bought a house in her home state of Oklahoma for her and her 13-year-old son to move to when her husband dies. It was wonderfully refreshing NOT to hear anyone say, "Oh, don't even think of such a thing" or "You never know, he may get better," or "Don't give up--attitude is everything in fighting an illness." (This last is an inanity that makes want to leap on the idiot and strangle him or her.)
I won't record many details about the stories of those at the retreat. They varied, but regardless of age, gender, or any other circumstances, all experience exactly what I do, day by day: the sadness, the anger, and finally, the bewildered acceptance of what Barbara, a terrific fortyish woman who lives in Manhattan, called "the new normal."
Well, we didn't just eat and talk. After breakfast, six of us went for a walk of a mile or so through the park, over a wonderful covered bridge and along some broad paths. We had to share the space with a surprising number of horses--I hadn't realized equestrians were welcome--and dogs (on leashes, of course). That was just a preliminary to our walk after a delicious lunch of pita bread, cold cuts, tuna salad, and home-grown tomatoes.
We rounded up twelve people--the others opted to stay and chat in the hostel--and, led by Kent, a terrific guy whose wife has MS--hiked to the dam. Carol and Beverly, who had come together, were so funny: They moaned and complained continually about how far we were walking--"We must have covered five miles already!"--but they were game and stuck it out (they couldn't have made their way back without Kent, anyway). To these Cherry Hill matrons, it must have seen like a battle with the elements, as the terrain really was pretty challenging. For at least half the way, we walked on sloping, even steep, and very narrow paths strewed with rocks (I guess for traction for the horses) and dense with foliage.
The dam area is a beautiful place where there were lots of people picnicking, swimming, and just enjoying the gorgeous day, and we happily relaxed there for an hour or so. Gerry from Boston, whose wife is paralyzed, treated us all to cold bottles of water that were being sold from an ice cream truck. We took lots of pictures, then went back. The guys figured we had gone about four miles out, and four back, so it was a good, vigorous walk.
When we got back, Jean and Mari had arrived. They're long-time Wellspouse members and were greeted with pleasure by the others. They each have an "IS" ("ill spouse" in our parlance), as we all do.
Hey, there are no Puritans in this crowd. Recklessly disregarding the posted signs about "no alcoholic beverages," we broke out the beer and wine and enjoyed before-dinner libations while we talked and talked. (I had a Corona ale with a slice of lime in it--oh, joy!)
Dinner was so good, everybody bringing something (or contributing $5.00 if they didn't). We had a big salad, pasta with pesto, trays of sausages and meatballs, and various sides. My chocolate cake for dessert made a big hit, if I say it myself. (As I suspected, not many attendees regularly enjoy homemade "from scratch" cakes.)
I left (following Bob--otherwise, I'd still be trying to find my way out) about 7:30 and got home a little before 10:00. It was such a good, good day, the description above being just the bare outlines of one of the best, most rewarding and fulfilling experiences I've had in a long time. I hope to join these new friends for a Christmas party in Cherry Hill on December 1. We'll see if that works out.
Skipped my wine and popcorn for once, and went to bed. I also skipped this morning's walk; I had told Susan I may sleep in and I did, not getting up until practically the middle of the afternoon: 7:05.
Got a nice, newsy e-mail from Mike about his, Paula's, and adorable girl's doings, which I'll report on in tomorrow's entry. He also sent the pictures of Patrick and Natsue from his dinner with them last week. She's a lovely young woman with a beautiful smile and I was thrilled to get the pics--they both look happy and healthy. Patrick also wrote that they were very busy, but settling in, and I was glad to hear from him.
Heard from friend, Virginia Beach Pat, and we firmed up our plans to meet on Wednesday for dinner at the Crab Trap. Can't wait to see her again and especially, to meet her Rich!
Now I want to run up to Home Depot and get mulch. Alison and Mike are coming this afternoon to help me take out some bushes and plant new ones.
So life goes on...some of it sucks and the rest is milk and honey. I'm so lucky to have gotten a good portion of the latter.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Got done about everything I planned to yesterday. Made the cake in the morning and frosted it in the afternoon, ran over to Acme for supplies, watered the new plants, met co-chair Amy at the clubhouse to stuff the newsletter, and did a few other chores.
Before dinner, I idly sat reading early entries on my blog. I laughed out loud at some that recorded my eating habits a year and two years ago--good grief, no wonder I was overweight! I seemed to have gobbled up everything that wasn't nailed down. It's gratifying to realize my attitude toward food has fundamentally changed. (Well, it's about time--took me seventy years to get here.)
Betty called. Told me she was awaiting her friend, who was picking her up to go to the reunion. My grandson, Joel, is on vacation next week and he and his family will be staying at her house. I hope and plan to go down for the day once or twice--it would be such fun to take Joely to the beach.
I'm looking forward to meeting others in the Wellspouse group, and will be leaving for Bucks County in an hour or so. I think I have everything covered for Pat being alone until I get home tonight. Told Susan I wouldn't be walking this morning and may not tomorrow if I get home very late and want to sleep in.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Got to Weight Watchers early yesterday and chatted with a young woman. (Leslie's in Cleveland, so I went by myself.) We exchanged WW stories and I casually asked how long it took her to get to goal weight. "Eighteen months," she said. And how much did she lose?---------A hundred and forty-three pounds!
To say I was blown away is an understatement. Boy, oh brother, it's almost impossible to imagine losing that much. That's more than I want to weigh when I'm finished! Anyway, it was great to get acquainted with this tall, slender young woman who must be delighting in her new persona.
Didn't stay for the lecture because I wanted to get home, eat breakfast, then get down to Ventnor, which I did about noon.
Took Betty to the post office, then we went to Saladworks. Great place; they have "set" salads, but also let you design your own, which I opted to do. It was delicious, but of course, I ate only half and took the rest home; finished it at dinner.
Betty and I then went to Bob's Garden Center on the Black Horse Pike. This place is big and has great plants. I found some crepe myrtle, but they didn't have many and were either too low (miniatures) or didn't look healthy. Will look further, but may have to wait until spring to get them.
I bought a half-flat of winter pansies, though, and am thinking about putting them around the tree in the front. I would then have the mums and daisies for the flower bed. Want to get mulch, too, which I'll have to do today if I want Alison and Mike to spread it on Sunday.
Stayed at Betty's for another hour or so, but I had told Pat I'd be home for dinner, so left about 4:00. Today, she's going to her Miseracordia (nursing school) reunion--50th!--in Philly, then will leave from there to go back to California. We both cried when we said goodbye. I'll miss her so much, but hope she'll be back before too long, which is a possibility.
Must make the chocolate cake today for the Wellspouse excursion tomorrow. Have to get to the clubhouse to run off 330 copies of the flier for the newsletter, then stay to stuff the newsletter. Also want to run into Manahawkin for the mulch. Have a few other errands, too, so my day's shaping up as busy, but easily doable.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday morning to get a call from Suzi D., of Long Beach Island. The director of the Atlantic County Coalition for Peace and Justice, Norm, had put us in touch a few weeks ago and we had already had contact by e-mail and phone. Suzi asked if I could possibly meet for lunch in a few hours and, of course, I was delighted to accept. (I can never understand why people sometimes insist on being given a certain amount of notice. If you're available, what difference does it make?)
We ate at the Horizon Diner in Manahawkin and stayed talking for two hours. What a terrific person Suzi is! She's a physical therapist for Holy Redeemer (visiting nurse organization) and is such a bright, interesting, and energetic gal--boy, did we click. She and her husband (they have four beautiful daughters and several equally beautiful grandchildren) just moved into their former summer home year-round. They had been members of the Coalition where they lived outside Philly and want to continue. As people do, we exchanged life stories, and found that many of our ideas, attitudes, and even--to an extent--backgrounds, are similar. She's as fierce a neocon-hater and peace lover as I am, and is a lively, articulate, intelligent person to boot, with a great sense of humor. When the next peace vigil is scheduled, I'll get in touch with her and we'll try to arrange for her to go with Dennis, Leslie, and me--her husband may come, too.
I had my regular Caesar salad with chicken, notwithstanding my little upset on Monday. My reasoning goes: 1.) it may not have been the salad, but some kind of minor bug; 2.) I eat C.s. with c. every time I go out for lunch; that's been at least once every week for the past few months, and I've never gotten sick before; and 3.) I wasn't deathly ill, anyway, the problem passing in about an hour (after Tums). However, I'm going down to pick up Betty today and will suggest we go to Saladworks, so I can get some other kind of salad. It isn't because I'm worried about Caesar, but simply that I have it so often, I'm getting tired of it.
Before I met Suzi, I went to several nurseries in Manahawkin looking for crepe myrtles and didn't find a single one. One place is getting them in soon, so I'll check back with them.
Borrowed a cake carrier from Susan, as I'm going to bring a dessert to the Respite Weekend on Saturday. I'll make my mocha chocolate cake--everybody seems to like it--and people so seldom get "from scratch" cake nowadays, I hope it's a treat.
Later: Zipped down to Weight Watchers just to get weighed; didn't stay for the lecture because I want to have breakfast, then pick Betty up. I lost another 1.6, for a total of 36.4 off and a current weight of 163.2. That's good and I'm well satisfied--aiming, of course, to get into the 150s before long.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Puttered around doing this and that most of the day. Barb H. came over with her offering for the Tricky Tray. Chatted with her for a time, went to Acme, set the table for Pat, then jumped in the shower to prepare for my dinner with Vivian. Now here's the BIG news:
I wore my new belt! If I say it myself, modest to a fault that I am, I looked terrific. Wore black, slim-fitting slacks, a Liz Claiborne white shirt tucked in, with a red and black jacket over--all set off by my gorgeous black, studded-with-silver belt. WOW!! I should be embarrassed to admit this (well, I should be), but before I left, I kept looking in the full-length mirror and admiring myself.
I was just going in the restaurant when Viv drove up. She saw me walking toward her and it was so gratifying when she oohed and aahed over my appearance. I can say what I will about losing weight for my health and longevity, but hey, this is a terrific side benefit I had almost forgotten--what fun!
As ever, greatly enjoyed seeing Viv. She's looking for a new job and asked me to look over her resume and cover letters. I did, made a few suggestions, and we discussed her work situation. She was sorry she can't go to the respite weekend (or, in my case, just Saturday), but her commitments are just too onerous.
Want to go look at crepe myrtles today, as well as get some mulch, in preparation for Alison coming on Sunday to help me garden. Hope the weather holds.
Was delighted to hear from dear friend and fellow blogger, Pat McH. R., that she'll be in the area with her Rich next week. Made arrangements to meet for dinner on Wednesday and, if Betty's still here, will bring her, too. (Hmm, wonder if Pat can guess what I'm going to wear...)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mike called on the web cam to say he had had dinner in Tokyo at a Mexican restaurant with his brother and new SIL. She seems very nice, he said, and--surprise--has a black lab. Not sure if it's hers or her family's, as it doesn't live with them. Unfortunately, Paula couldn't be there as she didn't arrive until the next day. She and Mike did stay together overnight. Paula's birthday was a few days later and to celebrate, she and Mike checked into the Mandarin Oriental back in Singapore (I've been there and it's elegant). Nice to have a nanny so you can do that, even with a three-year-old.
Got down to Betty's about 11:00 and her friend, Sue M., arrived shortly after. Sue is a neat person and I was pleased she joined us. She's assistant to a New Jersey judge and has wonderfully interesting--but discreet--stories to tell. We went to the Green House in Margate for lunch. That place holds a lot of memories for Betty, as it was a bar and hangout for her in her drinking days. Now it's been completely remodeled and is a very nice, upscale restaurant. However, the dining room part (we wanted to sit on the deck) is open only three days a week and not on Monday. No matter, we ate at the bar. I had, yes, C.s. with c., which tasted very good--but! see below. Sue and I had a refreshing Coors light with our meal, Betty an O'Doul's clone, and as usual, I took more than half my salad home.
After, we drove down to Longport to the rock jetty. Lots of people were fishing and, interestingly, some were throwing nets to catch small, silvery fish; not sure what they were. Boy-o-boy, what a gorgeous view: the sun sparkled and shone off the slowly rolling waves, the white sand glistened, and the sky arched overhead like a blue canopy. Damn! Why don't I have three million dollars to built a house there? Will start saving.
Okay, here's "below": After a very pleasant day, I drove home in late afternoon. I had no sooner gotten on the Parkway than I started to feel queasy--then more than queasy, downright sick. My stomach hurt and that icky bile thing was threatening in my throat. I was actually considering pulling off to rid my body of whatever was roiling around in there, but chewed a few Tums and felt at least marginally better. By the time I got home, I was considerably better and after a few plumbing maneuvers (now, ain't I cute with the euphemisms?), I recovered. Ordinarily, I would have finished the Caesar salad for dinner, but I was uncharacteristically prudent in this case and threw it out. I gave Pat a pork chop, but ate very lightly myself, simply having half a butternut squash, a very small "white" sweet potato, and a few spoonfuls of peas. That would give WW purists the vapors, but I know my body and it worked for me. Later, I was able to enjoy my wine and popcorn with no problem.
Older d.d.*Alison called and we had a good talk. She'll be down on Sunday, with or without hubby Mike, and we'll remove two round bushes (the last ones the builder put in; we already had the spreading yews transplanted to the side), plant my newly acquired stuff, and spread mulch.
Tonight, will meet Vivian in Manahawkin for dinner, always an enjoyable experience. Now must wind this up, make a fresh pot of coffee, and pick Susan up for our walk.
*Darling daughter

Monday, September 24, 2007

Gorgeous day yesterday. There was just the slightest nip in the air during our walk, but as soon as the sun seriously shone, it was very warm. As always, Pat went back to bed after breakfast, and I high-tailed it to Hand's (local nursery) and got myself three big, beautiful, golden mums and two pots of Montauk daisies. I'm going to ask Alison and Mike to plant them when they come for gardening help next Sunday. LOVE Montauk daisies, which flower in the fall, and have the great characteristic of being perennials.
Served Pat lunch in the living room, as his beloved Eagles were playing. Saw some of the game (Philly stomped Detroit and good), but was interrupted by the doorbell. Sunrise Bay neighbors Cookie O. and Rae, soon joined by Irene M., had brought over their contributions for the Women's Club Tricky Tray, of which I'm chair. I invited them in and the four of us chatted in the study for an hour or so.
When the ladies left, I was galvanized and spent most of the rest of the afternoon digging out and pulling weeds that had started to take over the garden in the front. I'm thinking about going to Manahawkin to buy a crepe myrtle--they're incredibly beautiful, with raspberry flowers--and may ask A. and M. to plant it under the windows in the front bed.
I went in to check the Eagles' progress now and then, and every time I went out again, they scored! Yay!
Just had FF hot dogs (40 cal.) and vegetarian baked beans in the crock pot for dinner. I had one dog, plus a huge salad--was so good. Ellen called and we had a long, absorbing talk, some of which was centered on one of her students. He's been diagnosed with autism, but the mother insists it's simply ADD. Well, he has a great teacher--my darling daughter.
Pat and I watched "The War" by Ken Burns last night; this episode was called "A Necessary War." Well, was it? I'm going to delve again into the causes of WW II--they may well not be what this program suggests. Being a pacifist, I don't think any war is "necessary." Certainly, though, this one seems to have been--at least on the surface--caused by aggression toward us, unlike the current quagmire.
I'm going down to Betty's and we'll hang out. She's still not sure when she'll return to the west coast. I'll bring her down some bathroom rugs I don't need anymore and that should fit well in her baths. Tomorrow, I meet Wellspouse friend, Vivian, for dinner--looking forward to that, too, of course.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Had a delightful day with niece Joan, her husband, Jim, and Betty yesterday. They didn't get to Ventnor (from New Palz, NY) until about noon and I got there about 1:30. We went around the corner to a little restaurant for lunch where I had my usual C.s. with c., but J. and J. had oriental salad with wonderful tuna tartare; wish I had ordered that. It featured strips of fresh tuna just barely seared on the outside, and essentially raw on the inside. I had this as an entree in Hawaii, and oh, mama--so good!
We then walked on the boardwalk about a mile out and a mile back, talking warmly all the way. After another hour of family chat (and a strange, perfume-scented--I swear--ale), I started home. Betty had thought Joan and Jim would stay over, but they had someone coming the next day, so they didn't. They have their condo up for sale, as they want to live nearer to Jim's work in Bergen County (NJ). I was pleased to hear they made plans to go with Alison and Mike in October for a hike in the mountains in New York state or Vermont, can't recall which.
Got an interesting e-mail from niece-in-law Robyn, who had some very intelligent and provocative things to write concerning my blog yesterday about WW II. I think she's spot-on (as the Brits say), and I'll write her back to that effect. Most people think of WW II as the "good war" in human memory, but Robyn raised the question whether it was not, at base, also about money and acquisition. She has a real point and I think I'll look into the history behind it. WW II was, of course, directly related to WW I. I took a course at history cum literature course at Rider on the latter and talk about your cynical sacrificing of young lives, that took the cake. The course introduced me to Wilfred Owen, whom I've mentioned on the blog before and who wrote some of the greatest pro-peace poetry ever. Look him up.
Robyn also asked me to finish my pedometer story--not sure what that was, though. I'm wearing the pedometer every day and, according to the numbers, walked 12,458 steps yesterday. (The ideal is 10,000, which is about four miles for most people.) However, I was told by Cris, our WW leader, that you shouldn't wear it in the car, as it will record the bumps and jolts as steps. Is this true? Haven't yet tested it. If it is true, what if you drive somewhere, then walk, as I often do? Geez, everything in life is so complicated...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The cleaners came and the place looks fine. I have the windows thrown open and love the fresh air drifting through. Spent a couple of hours clearing a lot of the front garden yesterday; also changed our bed, did several loads of wash, and drove to Manahawkin for various errands. In the evening, picked up Leslie and we joined the peace vigil in Absecon. As ever, it was gratifying to hear the horns blow in response to our group's sign: "Honk For An End To This War."
Earlier, I had had an interesting, very much related experience while I was skulking in the study waiting for the cleaners to finish. I idly picked up one of my old Life magazines (I have a number of them). It's from 1942, 65 years ago, and I raised my eyebrows when I saw who was on the cover: Fawzia, the Queen of Iran at 22, a beautiful young woman who, unfortunately, was unable to give her husband, the Shah, a son. (If I'm not mistaken, the Shah ran through a number of wives. I recall that he died of cancer in New York about--oh, 30 or so years ago.) Then, of course, Iran was our bosom buddy, no matter how wretched the lives of its citizens under the Shah.
I was fascinated by the ads. At least three quarters of them make some reference to the war, asking their patrons to be patient while tires and gas were scarce, telling them wool was needed for uniforms, and touting V-8 vegetable juice as a way to "keep America strong." Believe it or not, the Simmons mattress company admonished readers, "unless you actually need a new mattress--don't buy it! Put the money into War Bonds instead..."
Of course, the magazine is filled with war stories. There's an article about Navy pilot Lt. John Powers, 28, lost over the Coral Sea. It shows pictures of him as a "beautiful but manly" two-year-old and as a teenager taking his sister fishing. It includes his graduation portrait from Annapolis and John as a young flier training in Pensacola. His parents are pictured, too, looking dazed and unbelieving--where could their beautiful but manly little boy have gone?
The contrast between those times, when it was assumed the American people would all make sacrifices on the home front--and now, when this ugly, dirty little action is Iraq is a source of shame and horror for so many--is striking, of course. Can anyone imagine companies urging people to help the war effort by NOT buying their products so they can be directed to the armed forces?
Well, I pored over the magazine for a good hour yesterday and here's the kicker: The date was September 21 yesterday, right? The Life magazine I read was published in 1942. It's dated September 21.

Friday, September 21, 2007

After WW, ate a quick breakfast at 11:00 (I know it's silly not to eat first, but I got in the habit of waiting eons ago), then took my car to get the oil changed. Nick also discovered that the dash light going on just indicated a problem gas tank cap, replaced it for less than $20 and I went on my way.
After lunch, drove to Santori's and got lettuce, broccoli, and a bunch of other goodies, then called Betty. We made a date to go to lunch on Monday; later, she called to say niece Joan and her Jim are coming down on Saturday, so did I want to meet them down there? Yes, I did and do , as I haven't seen J and J since other niece's wedding in May. Incidently, Joan and Jim are the parents of grown sons, Joey and Jeremy. Until August 2, we thought our Joel, Jen, and Joely would be the second all-J. family in the--well, family. However, Tristan roundly announced his name and that was the end of that.
What's going on with the Wellspouse Respite Weekend is that I'm skipping the idea of going for the whole time. I'll just go for the day on Saturday, the 29th. The next day, Sunday, Alison and Mike volunteered to come down and will take out some bushes and help me get the front in shape. This will work out better, anyway--less of a hassle than trying to get away for the whole weekend, plus the place will get spruced up, plus Pat will have a chance to see A. and M.
Got a message from Wellspouse friend, Vivian, and we're going to meet for dinner on Tuesday. I'm anxious to see her as we always have a lot to talk about. Same with dear friend, Marge, who's been under the weather lately, but we're trying to make a date for lunch.
Talked to my co-chair, Amy, about the Tricky Tray we'll put on during the October meeting. I made up a flyer and we'll "stuff" the community newletter next Friday.
Fall coming on fast now. This is always a melancholy, but strangly satisfying time for me. I love summer best, but of course, as with everybody else, the change of seasons is a source of pleasure, too. Just wish summer and winter were reversed in how long they last. Should I move to Austrailia?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Attended the "tax talk" yesterday, but left halfway through, as I know I can get the same info on-line. The gist of it was that the NJ rebate is now going to be credited to taxes, rather than sent in a separate check. I remember when Governor Brendan Byrne instituted this years ago. There was no reason in the world why it shouldn't have been credited then, but of course, politicians being the scum of the earth, a check had to be sent out instead because it had Byrne's name on it.
Something annoyed me no end at this gathering. The talk was for senior citizens, so of course, the entire audience was "of a certain age," as the novelists used to write. Pandering to his constituents, the local councilperson, Art M. made a lumbering joke when he introduced the speaker from the state, who looked to be in his late 20s: "Well, I saw this guy and I thought, 'he's so young, what could he know?'" There was a laugh, but I was disgusted. What if a younger person had said "he's so old, what could he know?" When are we going to quit laughing at these mean, division-creating remarks? Humph!
Got my perm at 2:00 and boy, does it look good. I told April I wanted it shorter than I've been wearing it and I like the length a lot. It really gave me a lift and Pat even complimented me on it.
Alison sent pictures of her in the Philadelphia race on Sunday and they're very good. I'd like to order just two of them, but unfortunately, it looks as if you have to get them in a "package," starting at thirty bucks. She and Mike are in so many races I wouldn't want to start that.
When I stopped for Susan, she gave me a little loaf of blueberry bread. Served it to Pat at dinner; he had several pieces and liked it a lot.
Have decided not to attend the whole respite weekend, but may go on Saturday only.
Later: Back from WW and am down another 1.2 for a total of 34.8 and a current weight of 164.8. Now I can look forward to another interim milestone of reaching 35 pounds off; already passed the "middle of the 160s" mark.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

When I went out to pick Susan up yesterday morning, she was already at my door--with Sophia wrapped in blankets in her coach, so she went with us. Little S. goes to see her "third grandmother" today. (Susan and first husband were divorced, he remarried, and S. and the second wife have a warm relationship. First husband died some years ago.)
Just did my usual chores during the day. It was crisp, fall-y weather, so I went to Acme and got beef for stew; added potatoes, carrots, onions, and gravy to the crockpot--the aroma was sublime. There was quite a bit, so I thought of asking Pat if he wanted to invite Old George for dinner, but forgot. I was amused when he came home from the bay at 4:30 and asked if there was enough to invite George for dinner. Yes, of course, so he called and George came promptly at 5:45.
How that man can eat! It was gratifying to see him relish his two large helpings of everything, including the corn and cauliflower I had added to the table. He then accepted Pat's invitation to slather slices of good old low-nutrition white bread with gravy--I suspect that was a depression-era invention for meatless days--and finished that off, too. I remembered the frozen lemonade pie Susan had brought over when Karen was visiting a few weeks ago, and the guys topped off their meal with slices of that.
I'm going to a talk on property tax relief at 9:00, then getting a perm at 2:00. Now must pick up Susan.
(Note: I again added a mile walk to my regime. Pedometer recorded 11,456 steps, but I think that's over. Will explain tomorrow.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Greatly enjoyed the day with Betty yesterday. I was a little late, as Jack B. stopped in just as I was preparing to leave. Pat was asleep (he goes back to bed everyday after breakfast), but Jack and I had a nice visit. I did have to regretfully tell him I was on my way to Betty's, so after 20 minutes or so, he left and I zipped down to Ventnor.
I brought Betty some clothes I outgrew (or in-grew--what would you call it when they're now too big?), some of which she can wear. Betty is attending her R.N. 50th Miseracordia Hospital reunion next week in Philly and showed me some fabulous pictures she'll bring. They were 8 by 10 black- and- whites, of the graduation ceremony and related situations. There was a picture of the class going into the church in procession, sitting in row with the nuns, and so on. Some were less formal--although obviously posed--of girls raising the flag and wielding fire extinguishers.
All the girls, including Betty, of course, looked impossibly young and, considering what nurses wear now, impossibly stiff. They all wore starched white "nurses' dresses," white stockings, and white shoes, along with their white caps. I think that was the day they dramatically switched from their student caps to full-fledged R.N. caps. Betty also brought the cap in question, as well as her sweater with the Miseracordia logo (it looked like a child's; it was probably a size 6 or 8). She showed me her first R.N. license, several other cards and papers, and one of her textbooks. Anyway, I know her fellow grads will love seeing her artifacts.
We went to a restaurant in Margate which Betty's kids had liked. I had C.S. with C., of course, and Betty a different salad. She had some bad tomato and cucumber in hers and the incredibly rude waitress and she had a loud argument when she pointed it out. Betty was told the manager wasn't in yet and called later to complain. We went to several stores after, including Boscov's, then I drove her home.
For dinner, I gave Pat a chicken potpie and just had some of my Caesar salad left over from lunch. I was pleased when Susan stopped over about 7:00, bringing her adorable little granddaughter, Sophia, 20 months, who's visiting with her mommy from Connecticut.
Oops! I forgot I was going to finish my long, boring treatise on weight control today. Oh, the hell with it--may in later days, if the spirit moves me.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Put the pedometer on yesterday morning and yes--no--it isn't easy to get to 10,000 steps. I got to 9300 and that was with adding a (walking) trip to the clubhouse, AND a mile-long walk after dinner. I'm glad WW leader, Cris, mentioned you shouldn't have it on in the car, because little bumps and jolts can count as a step. It's good to be aware, though, that although I think I'm very active, I'm really only moderately so.
Now proceed with caution, because here come some philosophical musings: I'm afraid many people kid themselves about 1.) how much they eat (or, more accurately, how many calories they consume--and how many they need); and 2.) how active they are--and how active they need to be. I read an article or blog or something a few years ago to the effect that "Weight Watchers doesn't work." Intrigued and annoyed, I read it. The burden of the piece was something like "If WW worked, why are so many people overweight before and after?" Of course, the whole premise is stupid--it isn't WW's fault if people backslide--but it may have a kernel of truth in it.
The mountains of writing, videos, CD's, exercise advice and equipment are, looking at the history of the human race, a very recent phenomena. Until, say, 60 or so years ago (a mere blink in time), the concern about nutrition for most people was how to get enough, not how to get little enough. I was admonished to clean my plate because "the children in Europe are starving." (How finishing my dinner would translate to helping feed the children in Europe was never explained.)
I have a number of wonderful Life, Ladies Home Journal, and other magazines from the thirties and forties and oh, you'll find an occasional small mention in an article of "dieting" and "exercise" in those aimed at women, but rarely. It's clear that overweight, let alone obesity, were not primary concerns of Americans then.
Now, of course, it's hard to find a general magazine without a reference to weight.
Why, then? Why, every time the government pontificates on the subject and releases its figures, they announce that there's an upswing in weight? The combination of reasons is what we all know: Food in general is cheaper and more available than ever before; processed food is often the choice of many because of time constraints; processed food is loaded with additives prominently featuring sugar and fat; privately-owned cars, adequate public transportation, and machines that do the heavy work have effectively eliminated the need for sustained labor; and television, the poison delivery system, exists ONLY TO SELL. It systematically violates our children by 1.) turning their brains to mush and 2.) giving them the idea they must have this, that, or the other thing or they'll die a horrible death and nobody will like them anymore; and 3.) indoctrinating them with the sacred ideal: that cereal, sweets, and fast food crap is the way happy, healthy, slim families eat.
Geez, this is getting too long. You may have surmised, gentle reader, that yesterday was kind of boring. Didn't do much except household chores and food shopping. Will continue my diatribe tomorrow!
(Is that a promise or a threat? Well, you decide...)
Note: Just called Betty. Her company is gone and I'm going to pick her up for lunch today, as well as bring her some of my out-grown clothes. Boy, does THAT feel good.)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

After I got Pat settled yesterday morning, I went into Manahawkin. I was determined to buy a pedometer, mostly to see how far I actually walk in a day. The ideal is 10,000 steps but, according to our WW lecturer Cris, that's hard to achieve. I had a few other items to pick up, one thing led to another, and I ended up spending hours at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Wal-Mart, Pathmark, and Kohl's. Got another door prize at the latter store--a case with bath gel, moisturizer, and other stuff--and couldn't resist buying myself a set of 5 scented sprays and an "infuser" thingy. Was almost ready to drive home when I realized I had forgotten the pedometer--the very thing, of course, that I set out to buy. Got it, so okay.
Finished the lemon squares, popped in the shower, set up dinner and the table for Pat (who had, I'm sorry to say, decided he wasn't up to going), and walked down to Leslie's at 4:30, as requested.
We had a good time. This was the R.'s church dinner group--two other couples (including Walter and Susan) were there, plus a visitor from upstate NY, Frank and Barb D., Ray and Barb H., and me.
Everybody brought something and boy, what good food. There was quiche, salad, Mexican casserole, pasta, and assorted sides, plus fruit punch. (Heh, heh, I opted for a glass of white zinfandel.) After the main course(s), Les had the guys play a game called "Pretty Princess." It was hysterical, as the game is for little girls from 3 to 10. It involves spinning a wheel to see where you land to get to put on the bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and so on provided; whoever ends up with the most jewelery and the crown, wins. It was so funny watching the fellas putting on their jewels and, of course, they all fell right into the game while Les took pictures.
After that, dessert was served, but I said my goodbyes. I didn't want to have dessert, plus I felt guilty about leaving Pat alone yet again. Got in about 7:30 and we had our regular evening fare.
Very nice day. Now I'm looking forward to seeing on T.V. the Philadelphia race Alison and Mike are running today.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Well, I'm just getting more and more decadent. Didn't get up until twenty of six! That meant I had to throw on clothes, take a few gulps of coffee, then pick up my umbrella* and dash over to Susan's. Now I'm back, so no matter.
Had a nice day with Amy C. yesterday. I picked her up and we drove to Macy's at Hamilton Mall. Got these door prizes: a very attractive pocketbook (Amy liked it so much, she bought an identical one for herself); a bracelet watch with a jewel that lifts up to reveal the watch face; a beautiful, deep red scarf; and a gift card for $25. I'm going to get one more, or possibly two more, prizes, because I got $20 off for spending over $60 and charging it on my Macy's card. We have roughly $120 to spend, and so far, are up to only $87. Of course, I'll be reimbursed by the Women's Club.
Afterward, we rewarded ourselves for our hard work (shopping--ha!) by going to lunch at The Olive Garden. Betty called when I got home and said she knew what I had for lunch. Of course, she thought Caesar salad with chicken or shrimp, but no, no, Nanette--I deviated, wild girl that I am. I had several helpings of OG's wonderful salad, skipping the soup and bread sticks, which Amy enjoyed. Had just water and decaf to drink.
We didn't get home until after 4:00, both being talkers, of course. Amy is an interesting--and very nice--person. She and her husband have lived in Sunrise Bay for 5 years (an eon, by our standards) and they have two grown children, including a son born profoundly deaf.
Just put the butter out to soften, to make the lemon squares I'm bringing to Leslie's for the dinner tonight. (Will also bring my crystal pickles, which I already have in the freezer.) This is their regular (Presbyterian) church group dinner, but she invited a few of us infidels, too. Susan and Walter will be there--they're not infidels, but Walter is a member of their church.
*Well, of course, we still walk when it rains. It was coming straight down, we had umbrellas, and--as Sister Mary Soandso at St. James used to say--we won't melt.

Friday, September 14, 2007

After walking and Weight Watchers yesterday, had a low-key, but pleasant day. Went to Tucker Tom's for tomatoes, eggs, broccoli, and so on, then did wash and puttered around. Got a message from Mike saying he had arranged with his brother and new SIL to meet for dinner on Wednesday. I was so pleased that he said Paula will also be in Tokyo next week, so they'll have a foursome. This is great news--Mike said he still remembers some Japanese (he and Paula had lived there for several years), but I think Paula's may be better. Can't wait to hear about Natsue and see pictures.
Talked to Amy, my co-chair for the Tricky Tray, and I'll pick her up at 11:15 today. We'll go to Macy's to buy door prizes, then have lunch. Made a flyer for the Tricky Tray which I'll insert in The Communique, the newsletter put out by one of our residents.
Must pick up Susan now. Will add more after, including my "take" on the speech of the criminal-in-chief.
Okay, I'm back: I didn't watch El Creepo, our prez, last night, but read his "speech" in its entirety. Hey, I could have written it! It was enlarded with so many cliches, asinine slogans, and tired, trite, untrue "ideas," it was transparent to a third-grader. Ooh, he's withdrawing some troops from Iraq! Gee, that's great, it must mean things are doing well. We must be in sight of victory! Uh...wait a minute. I forgot, "victory" is no longer the buzz word. Now it's "progress," which is "evolving." To what? From what? When will the "progress" "evolve" into--um, whatever?
And wait a minute; he's withdrawing some troops--but didn't he just send over more troops in January? And weren't some of them, by law, scheduled to be withdrawn after a certain amount of combat time?
Anybody on the planet who still believes a single word uttered by this billionaire, practically illiterate, smug, self-satisfied mass murderer needs to be shipped off to the funny farm. The whole thing was based on lies, for heaven's sake! First we were "defending ourselves" from a madman who had weapons of mass destruction. NOT! Then we were going to bring democracy to Iraq (whether the ungrateful bastards wanted to be democratized or not). DOUBLE NOT! Now we're going to be there for awhile--oh, say, 600 years--to "help" them deal with the Civil War we unleashed. DOUBLEPLUS NOT!
The true objective? To stay in the Middle East long enough to kill every last one of their children before they get old enough to pick up a gun. Then, you see, we get the oil.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

As ever, it was so enjoyable meeting Lynne in Delaware for lunch. I even enjoyed the two-hour drive there. It takes her that long, too, as she lives 'way down in Rehobath Beach--but it was a beautiful day and (for me, anyway), traffic was light.
We caught up on each other's lives. Lynne works part-time in a very responsible job for several doctors, but her time is her own and she likes what she does. She actually urged me to bring family pictures and she examined and commented on them with interest. Had--yes--Caesar salad, but this time with grilled shrimp. We talked and talked, then said goodbye and I was home by about 2:30.
Stopped down the bay to say hello to Pat and bay buddies, then went to Acme and got--shrimp, again--for dinner; gave Pat barbecued pork.
Got a call from Amy C. She and I are co-chairs for the "Tricky Tray" event for Women's Club in October. We made a date for Friday to go to Hamilton Mall to get door prizes, plus--well, yes, of course--we'll have lunch there after.
Weight Watchers this morning. I may have lost, but not sure. Had those two parties this week, which could be problematic, but I'm still okay with win, lose, or draw.
Later: I'm down another 1.6 pounds, for a total of 33.6; weight now 166 even. Whee-e!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Got two nice e-mails yesterday. One was from Mike, to the effect he'll be in Tokyo next week and will ask Patrick and his bride out for dinner. The other was from long-ago neighbor, friend, and colleague, Chau P. He was on the faculty there, and suggested I apply. I did, was hired, and thereby started on my rise to the top of the academic world! (Well, anyway, after 31 years, I ended up as manager of employment...) Chau and his wife, Teresa, are retired and now live in Florida.
When they were little boys, Mike and Chau's son, Francis, were playmates. Francis is now an electrical engineer, but it looks as if his true avocation is as music promoter--hip hop, no less. His web site address is
http.//www.francisphan.com/ and is very impressive. He and his brother, Tom, live in Boston.
Called Ellen to wish her happy birthday and was pleased our gift had arrived. She also got beautiful flowers from Alison.
You know it was a slow day yesterday when I confess I borrowed Gerry Maquire from our clubhouse library and actually watched it in the afternoon. Had never seen it when it first came out and found it very entertaining.
Lunch in Delaware today with Lynne--yay!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The good times keep on rollin': Went to Betty's niece's yesterday for the birthday party for Steve--they have a wonderful property in Galloway with a huge screen-in porch and big backyard--and had a great time. All Betty's visiting kids and grandkids were there, of course, as well as Dorothy's husband and children, and her brothers and THEIR children, plus assorted others, so it was a big party.
I did overindulge in the chicken kabobs, hot dogs, potato salad, etc., plus had a piece of the birthday cake and--yes--a couple of beers. Will eat very, very lightly the next two days to compensate.
Pat's buddy, Ray, picked him up for lunch, so I didn't feel quite as guilty leaving him frozen dinners two days in a row; hubby then went to the bay, as usual.
When Betty got to Dorothy's, she was carrying a big gift bag that I thought was for Stephen. "Nope," she said, "It's for you--just because you've been so nice." Great--I love presents and I pulled it out on the spot.
Wow-ee! It's a throw--we use them a lot--but a very, very special one, as it has St. James Church and School pictured on it, and it marks the dates they were founded or built--it's GREAT! Pat was thrilled with it, too, because, of course, he's also a grad. In fact, not only both of us, but all our siblings--13 members of the Molloy and Byrne families--graduated from there. What a terrific gift!
Today should be quiet and I hope to get a few chores done. Tomorrow, I meet Lynne for lunch in Delaware--a long drive, but worth it to see my friend.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Had a terrifically fun day in Ventnor yesterday. Got down about noon to find Betty's house bursting with her and her children, Wes, Carolyn, and Steve, with their spouses and the assorted kiddies: a 6-year-old, two 1-year-olds, and a 3-month-old. They were all staying at Betty's and next door, in the house my mother used to own were nephew Patrick (brother Frank's son) and his wife Susan. A mile or so up the island, on Austin Avenue, were my brother, Jim, his daughter, Chrissy, and her husband, Paul in a bed and bath.
I had a beer, then changed into my bathing suit and six or seven of us went down the beach to find Jim et al already there. I actually went in the water--it was heavenly, very warm, although somewhat rough. We stayed down for several hours, then walked back and I changed into "pedal pushers" (have no idea what they're called now) and a blouse. Had a half sub and another beer, then Alison and Mike walked in with 6-week-old Tristan. Alison brought big bunches of huge sunflowers for Betty and me and the cousins all greeted each other with pleasure, exclaiming over the beautiful babies. Shortly after, Joel, Jen, and Joely, who's 5, drove up (they had been delayed because of Joely's first soccer game that day) and a gang of us went back down to the beach. Paul, Patrick, and big and little Joel all went in the water; Alison and I waded, and Chrissy, Jim, Mike, and Jen chatted on the beach.
I called Pat periodically during the day. He had forgone the bay to watch the Eagles game (a deplorable loss!) and our friend, Ray, came down to watch part of it with him.
I also got a call from Suzi D., who moved onto Long Beach Island a short time ago and is interested in participating in the peace movement. We had e-mailed each other and she called to make arrangements to meet. More about that in a later entry.
Patrick and Susan left about 6:00 (he's a surgeon at Johns Hopkins and had a procedure the next day) and so did Alison and her contingent, as they also had work or school. I said my goodbyes shortly thereafter. While I was on the parkway, Ellen called and I enjoyed talking to her the whole rest of the way home. Against the law? Yes, but I don't care.
The whole day, we just had a ball--and we get to continue the pleasure: Betty's niece, Dorothy, who lives in Galloway, is giving a birthday party for Stephen today at 4:00 and invited me to come. Also, Robyn asked if some of them could come over to our place to go in the pool and, of course, I'd love to have them. Hope we can arrange that for tomorrow.
In the meantime, on the other side of the world, son Patrick got married; it happened to be Betty's anniversary, too. Steve's birthday is today and our Ellen's is tomorrow. Hey, there's a lot to celebrate, not least being lucky enough to be born into this family.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Susan and I went to the Tuckerton Flea Market yesterday morning. We didn't buy anything (I could open a big one all by myself), but enjoyed strolling around under the trees. Met up with a number of neighbors.
Puttered around doing wash and so on the rest of the day. Went to Tucker Tom's for a melon, then stopped down the bay where Pat was. Aside from that, just general housework, playing around on the computer, and so on.
Last night, Mike called/cammed and Vivian, waiting for breakfast, talked to us. She went and got a somewhat bedraggled reindeer she said Mommy had "made" (she hadn't, but I'm sure she could have) and a book she told Daddy to read to us. What a sweetie-pie.
Alison called. We're all gathering at Betty's today, although Joely has his first soccer game, so they won't get there until after. Alison may bring Tristan so his little second cousins and seconds once removed can meet him.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I'm getting to be a real slug-a-bed; slept until 6:30 again today. That means I had time only to get dressed, check e-mail, and gulp down my coffee before picking Susan up for our walk.
Okay, now I'm back, so here's yesterday's chronicle:
The cleaners came a few minutes after 10:00, did their usual good job and the place looks great. I did get over to Santori's for a fresh supply of feta cheese, lettuce, zucchini, and honeydew melon. When I got home, I was annoyed with myself when I realized I should have gotten lemons and tomatoes, too. Went to Tucker Tom's to get them and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of both--and their modest price.
Determined to increase my exercise, I took a one-mile walk in the afternoon, happily listening to Kate Smith on my portable CD player. I'm embarrassed to admit I had taken it back to Radio Shack, complaining that I could barely hear it. I slunk out after the guy there pointed out I had the ear phone plug in the wrong hole. (Well, geez, I was an English major, not a technological engineer...)
Got a nice, long, newsy e-mail from Mike. They're looking at schools for precious Vivian--about time, now that she's three. They got her on a waiting list for what seems an institution more prestigious than Harvard, as the deposit is $10,000 just be be admitted to the waiting list! He first said it was the World College, run by the Rev. Sun Young Moon--he's a jokester. In the meantime, they were able to enroll Vivi in a 3-year-old class at a school with a similar program. It has a library for nursery and K., a computer lab, a pool, kitchen for bi-weekly cooking classes (are these kids in training to be chefs, for cryin' out loud?), and other amenities, which Mike whined he was "deprived of as a child."
Paula designed a hotel in Jakarta and will go back there in two weeks; the rest of the family may join her for a few days. This week, she goes to Shanghai and Guangzhou and Mike will be in either Japan or Hong Kong the following week--whew!
Gotta go--Susan asked if I wanted to go to the big Tuckerton Flea Market this morning and I do, so she'll pick me up.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I was taken aback to read in yesterday's NYTimes that there's a newly-discovered base cause for a respiratory problem: microwave popcorn! It seems this malady has been known for years to afflict workers in popcorn factories. Some kind of vapor forms when the popcorn is processed for the microwave and, if inhaled heavily and often enough, it causes serious breathing problems. The man targeted in the article said he had eaten two bags of microwave popcorn every day for ten years and loved to breathe in the aroma after the bag was opened.
Yoicks! I'm not giving up my nightly popcorn, but yesterday I went out looking for an air popper. Think I could find one at any store in Manahawkin OR any of the three thrift shops I visited? Of course not and I'm not anxious to follow the alternative of using oil--don't want to ingest the calories with that.
I've decided to continue enjoying my microwave popcorn at night. For one thing, I understand the popcorn manufacturers are now engaged in taking this ingredient out. Also, after calmer reflection, I realized the chances of me having a problem with this are remote. I've been eating popcorn daily for only a few months, and I don't "breathe in" the vapors anyway. If I come across an air popper, I'll probably buy it, but I'm not going in pursuit of one. I don't want to live my life being afraid of this, that, and the other thing.
Aside from the flurry of activity mentioned above, I spent a fairly quiet day doing housework and shopping. Implementing my plan to reduce calories to get off the weight plateau, I had only a salad for dinner after cauliflower and acorn squash for lunch. Want to go to Santori's today to replenish my supply of veggies.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Got up late today--6:30--so didn't have time to make an entry until now, when I got back from our walk.
Yesterday, got a call from Patti at Ocean County Community College, Academy of Lifelong Learning Division, letting me know they didn't have enough sign ups for my "Job-Hunting for Seniors" class this time, so it's canceled. I'm partly disappointed--it was fun to do--but otherwise, relieved, as it took a lot of time and effort. OCCC is in Brick, beyond Toms River, and it took me more than an hour to get there. Patti called again a few minutes later to say that one of my prospective students asked if I would call him and assist him privately. I'll at least talk to him, but I'm not anxious to get into private consulting, so am not sure where that will lead, if anywhere.
Amy C. called. We're co-chairs for the Tricky Tray event we're running for the Women's Club at the October meeting. Each member is to drop off at one of our houses an unwrapped, $10 item. At the meeting, we display them on tables; members buy tickets and drop them into containers we have next to the items. The winners are then drawn from the tickets.
This is always a fun event, with people oohing and aahing over the items, vying for those they like most, and playfully complaining if they don't win. We use the proceeds for several charities we support, including the local EMT squad and scholarships at Pinelands Regional High.
I called the JCC in Margate and found their Caregivers' Group will meet October 3. Guess I'll go--and I'll get in touch with Hazel to see if she wants to join me.
SIL Regina called and we had a nice chat. Bill's back is bothering him a lot, she said, but he was out riding his bike--the same one he fell off a few months ago and broke his leg. Hope we can get over there to see them one of these days.
Later: Okay, I didn't gain, but I lost a silly quarter pound. It's all right, but I'm going to increase my exercise and cut down a bit more. May go vegetarian for the week. For the record: I'm now at 167.6, down a total of 32 pounds.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Took Pat to his primary physician at Fort Dix yesterday. (To be treated--and get medication at a discount--by the V.A., you have to be seen there every six months.) Dr. S. doesn't really do much, as Pat has specialists for practically every medical condition--covered under AARP, which we pick up for a few thou a year.
After lunch, Pat went off to the bay and I did a few chores, then stopped at Tucker Tom's, a local produce place, to get Brussel sprouts. Interestingly, there's a sign on one side of their small building that identifies it that way; on the other side, a different sign says "B & B Produce." Yes, it's the same place--dunno why the two names.
Other than that, nothing much went on. Baked more of the flounder from Dennis for dinner and, even after being frozen, it was delish.
Tomorrow, Weight Watchers. This could be the week I gain because, as recorded, I ate several meals out, including two dinners. I didn't wildly overeat--and I skipped bread, butter, and desserts--but I did eat more than I normally do. I've gotten right back on track, though, so if I gain a bit, I know that's just a bump in my "get to goal" path.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Met Betty and Dorothy (Wes' niece) at the cemetery and we talked and cried at Jay's grave. It always seems so sad that the date of his birth--1974--is the date of his father's death. Jay was four months old. We also found Dorothy's mom's grave and several others of her family. Of course, my Pat's parents and sisters are buried a few feet from Wes and Jay.
Afterward, we stopped at a diner and had breakfast. Can't resist mentioning mine: a cup of oatmeal with skim milk, a glass of grapefruit juice, and coffee. I was pleased to accept an invitation to Dorothy's on September 10; she's having a birthday party for Betty's second son, Steve. Did lots of straightening up chores when I got home; also, wrapped the third present for Natsue, which I'll mail today.
After lunch, I impulsively rode to Kohl's and bought myself--a belt! It's been eons since I wore a belt and I had a hankering to get one. Whoa, Nelly! This one is black, about two inches wide, and studded with silver. Don't know when I'll have the nerve to wear it, but just owning it makes me glad. In addition, bought a neat, bright red pocketbook with shoulder strap that can also be worn backpack style.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I wasn't expecting it to be, but yesterday was one of the best times of the summer. I went down to Ventnor Heights to meet Betty, Muckie, and old friend Hazel P. for lunch. People were streaming onto the island in long lines; it took me 20 minutes to get from the toll booth to the cutoff for the Black Horse Pike. While I was stuck in the traffic, Betty called to say Albany Avenue Bridge was closed and would I pick up Hazel? Of course I would and found her house with no trouble.
Hazel lived on Wyoming Avenue, next to Rosborough, when we were kids and she, Betty, and I have been friends since we were about five. She married Charles P., always called "Sleek," 53 years ago and he now has lung and liver cancer--not good news and he was diagnosed only in June. I went in to say hello to him and we had a nice chat.
Hazel herself suffers from a variety of ailments from arthritic shoulders to esophagus trouble (she's lost fifty pounds) to eye and foot conditions. She no longer drives and is really having a difficult time. She's carrying on, though, caring for herself and Sleek, and is very brave. I told her I'd let her know about a caregiver's group we could attend in Margate in the fall.
We met at Dee's, a third-rate luncheonette in Ventnor Heights. Ordered the usual and when it came, I realized they have no idea how to make Caesar salad. The chicken managed to be both rubbery and tough--certainly just hauled out of the freezer--and the dressing (have no idea what it was) was placed in those little plastic cups on the side--geesh!
However, the company was enjoyable so it didn't matter what the food was like. We talked and laughed and had a great time, but Pat and I were due at Frank and Barbara's at 4:00, so we said goodbye. The parkway was jammed on the way home--even going north--and I got in just in time to change my shirt and freshen up a bit before we went to the D.'s dinner next door.
Now that was a wonderful evening. It was just us, the hosts Frank and Barbara, Dennis and Leslie, and Anne Mary. As soon as we sat down, we were plied with Margaritas--oh, yes indeedy, I'll have one--okay, two. The hot dogs and hamburgers were great on the grill and the salad, baked beans, macaroni, and so on were basic--terrific--outdoor food. We ate on their screened-in porch and were serenaded by music from the American Legion Post around on Radio Road.
Just a great night with great friends and great talk that ranged from Catholic childhoods to present beliefs to funny stories to the criminal-in-chief in the White House, and so on. We never did get around to playing dominos, but sat and talked so long it got to be after 9:00 and we decided we'd just have to do it again--yay!
Am now leaving to meet Betty and her niece, Dorothy, at the cemetery. It's the third anniversary of Jay's death.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The dinner last night was great fun. Met Alison and Mike in the K-Mart parking lot to find there had been a change in plans--or rather, a change in venue. We were going to friends of DIL, Lisa's parents, who live in Beach Haven West, instead of Long Beach Island.
The back of the friends' house faces the street and is fairly modest, an ordinary frame ranch with stones for a lawn--but after you go in, oh, my! They're at the end of a lagoon or canal, on a kind of cul-de-sac, but of water, not concrete. A wooden deck with built-in benches hangs over the water and you feel as if you're in a different world. The hosts, Rick and Jill, have a boat, but for some reason, haven't put it in the water this year.
We ate outside--chili, rice, salad, cornbread, and sides, plus my lemon squares, which went over big--and had a rare good time. The pastor of their Moravian church was there, a great guy named Jeff. Aside from him, there were just the hosts, Lisa and Rob, their kids, Lindsay, 4 and Lucas, 3, her parents, and us--a nice group.
I know Lisa and Rob, of course (Rob is my SIL's son) and have met Betz and Dale, Lisa's parents before. We talked and laughed and generally enjoyed the evening muchly.
Got home a little after 9:00. I had called Pat twice and he got along fine. Good thing, as I'm going to meet Betty and old friend, Hazel P., for lunch today in Ventnor. The three of us were friends since we were 7 or 8, I guess, but I haven't seen Hazel for several years. Should be fun.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

It took an age to get to Mainland Heart Consultants yesterday, since everybody in twelve states was determined to take the parkway to the shore.
Nothing new or notable going on with Pat's heart. He saw the nurse practitioner, a tiny tot of twenty-something, who innocently noted he was due for a stress test. A stress test? We looked at her, me (I could feel it)with my eyebrow raised. She assured us it would be just a chemical test--"You wouldn't have to walk the treadmill." Finally, she noted that maybe with his respiratory condition, it wasn't the best idea since multi-grain bread. Even I, medical moron that I am, thought this was a fine example of either ignorance or failure to read a folder. Of course, she also asked brightly--they all do, or a variation thereof--"Are you still short of breath?" She's looking at a man attached to an oxygen tank, gasping for air after walking ten feet!
Yes, yes, it's her job and she meant well. I don't give a damn: a pox on all their houses.
Made the lemon squares for tonight's dinner on Long Beach Island and, if I say it myself, they look superb. They're a little sticky, so I'll put them in the refrig until I go to meet Alison and Mike in Manahawkin.
On the social scene, Barb D. called to invite us to a dominoes party on Sunday (tomorrow)--hurray! Our group used to meet every six weeks or so for dominoes, but we haven't for about a year. Long story I won't go into, but suffice it to say, there was a (silent) falling out with two of the couples (not us). Anyway, I'm so pleased and what's best, Pat will be able to go, too, as it's right next door.
Colored my hair last night and I decided it was the last time I'd do it myself. Somehow, as I was pouring it on--my head--the top came off the container and I got dye all over the place. Thought I had gotten it all up, but later saw there's a big blotch on the curtain. Yeah, I'll bite the bullet and have it done at the hairdresser's from now on, more expensive though it is.