Thursday, January 31, 2008
We visited for a while, and I gave her the tape she had requested. She wasn't sure why the library also sent the book, as it's difficult for her to hold one, so she usually listens to tapes. I took it back after I left her. Later, I got two e-mails from her, including a picture of her in a hysterical cow costume one Halloweeen. I'm going to enjoy knowing her, I'm sure.
Got Pat to SOCH for his 10th radiation session without incident. Six more to go...
Other than that, I was occupied by the usual domestic chores. After dinner, I was trying to decide whether to go to a town hall-type meeting when Susan called to ask if I wanted to go with her and Walter. I agreed, and we left about 6:15.
The meeting concerned an idiotic decision by our esteemed Little Egg Harbor "engineers" (actually, I believe, escapees from a lunatic asylum) assuring us of the wisdom of effectively closing off a nearby street that leads to Route 9 because its residents don't like the traffic. This seriously inconveniences everybody else in the area, of course, but hey, who cares about them?
The room was packed and after an unconvincing presentation by the three perps, citizens had a chance to speak. Naturally, there was a great deal of angry invective, but there were also very sensible and obvious solutions offered. These, including proper speed enforcement, didn't force drivers to take their lives in their hands when they tried to cross Center and Oak Streets and were met with thunderous applause.
We stayed almost to the bitter end and didn't get home until 9:00--much too late for me to be out. I still had my popcorn, but am out of my usual cheap wine and didn't feel like opening another bottle, so had lager beer. I don't like it, so threw most away. I then retired to my bed, read a while, and am glad I was able to get up in time for our walk.
This is Weight Watchers day and later, I'll pick up Mary Ann Van O. for lunch, an enjoyable prospect, of course.
Later: Just back from WW and I lost another 1.6 for a total of 56.4 and a current weight of 143.2. I'm only 2.2 from my goal weight, so was advised to call headquarters (geez, I feel like a cop) and ask for a refund, as my dues are paid until February 26. Got a gold star after I revealed I had completed the 10 mile hike on Saturday (now I feel like a first-grader).
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Nothing much new at Dr. H.'s. She wants him to get a chest x-ray and wrote out a prescription for one of his inhalers, but gave him samples, too. When the nurse took Pat's BP, I asked if she would do mine. She complied and it was 130/80.
We then drove to Border's near Hamilton Mall and I got two delectable books I've been hungering for*: The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, by my new guru, Michael Pollan. This guy advocates fresh, unprocessed foods, mostly plants, and writes so persuasively in such elegant prose, you wanna go out and forage in the forest. I started on the first, which is subtitled "A Natural History of Four Meals," and oh, it's yummy!
When we got home, it was time for lunch. Made that, fed Pat, and went off to my doctor's for my regular BP check. It was 134/82. R.N.s (and anybody else who cares to), please comment.
Stopped at Acme and West Tuckerton Liquor (they were out of my fancy and exclusive ten bucks a gallon wine--damn!) before getting home in time to leave for SOCH for Pat's radiation.
That was his 9th session, so 7 more to go, which means we'll be finished next Thursday. Unhappily, though, the doctor noticed a sore on what's left of his left ear and told him to see the dermatologist; he thinks it's more cancer. Oh, hell, we'll face that when we get to it.
At Mike's suggestion, I called adorable little Vivian after dinner. It was so much fun to talk to her as she excitedly told me about her "ballerina butterfly" (didn't quite get that) and her princess costume, which she was wearing to school that day. Guess it was a dress-up day. Mike is in Hong Kong and Paula in Shanghi. I wish they weren't both away at the same time, but her nanny is there, of course.
Today, I go to the new library person's and will be glad to meet her. It's just five minutes away and I have a tape and book to deliver. Both are Pastor Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now/7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, so I guess Janice is a "self-help, but directed by others" type. Well, before I raise my eyebrows, must remind myself with what close attention I'm reading Pollan. Same thing, ain't it?
*Yeah, yeah, "for which I've been hungering," but that sounds stupid. Rhythm trumps grammar, sez I.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Fearful of ignoring my Suzy Homemaker duties, I also did several loads of wash, vacuumed, and spot-cleaned the carpet in the living room.
Okay, there's STILL plenty left to do, but at least I put a dent in it. I must remember to make appointments for my mammogram and bone density test, and go for a (routine) blood test. Also want to check to see which other hikes I want to join. The big problem there is not the length of the hikes, but the distance of the drive to get to the starting point.
Ray came over to pick up Pat's five bucks and have him fill in the squares in a grid for the Super Bowl contest. He tried to explain how it works (winners are random), but I didn't even try to follow.
*Pat likes to leaf through mags after dinner, so I either get them free from the library or buy them for a quarter at a thrift store. When we finish with them, I donate them back. I do subscribe to Vanity Fair. That and The New Yorker are the only current publications that know what the English language is supposed to be and what marvels it can perform. (And okay, I admit it: This self-professed populist has a sneaking fondness for reading about the lives of the rich and powerful.)
Monday, January 28, 2008
Ray and Barb picked me up and we met Les and Dennis there, along with our other neighbor, Johanna. Had such a good, convivial time chatting and talking. Because of helping out at Sister Jean's kitchen, I know several other people who were there; told Les I want to go back to Sister Jean's when we're finished the radiation visits. I also know Meredith, the pastor, and enjoyed talking to her.
I was pleased that my pie was gone when I went to retrieve the tray. Johanna didn't know it was mine, but came back to the table with a slice, tasted it, and said, "This is so good, it must be all homemade!" I laughed and assured her it was. (Damn good thing she didn't say, "Aagh! What crap is this?")
Earlier in the day, I got calls from Alison (complimenting me on the hike), Betty (ditto and more), and my brother, Jim (just to say hello). I called Patti M., who used to live in Clark House (see yesterday's entry).
I also heard from Mary Ann Van O., who is facilitating a little "opera workshop" for those who want to learn about it (I do). We made a date for lunch on Thursday, too. Talked to Ellen, whose real estate issues are still not resolved.
Got a lovely message from Jen telling about their trip to a cabin in upstate New York. She said both Joels loved it, snow-boarding every day and making big fires at night. Her mother took Tristan, so Joely had all their attention. And there was no television, so they were able to concentrate on each other. Sounds idyllic--I'd love to go myself.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Not me! I can hardly believe it myself, but I completed the entire distance--actually, 10.5 miles, according to the official recorder.
The first half was a breeze. We walked through the woods rimming the Princeton Battlefield, sometimes on a small road, sometimes on the trails, then looped back to Clark House* where we had started and ate lunch on the porch. It's always so nice to sit in the sun with convivial people and enjoy a meal when you're really hungry. I took a salad, plus cooked broccoli (yes, it was cold, just sprinkled with fresh lemon) and water. Paul, the leader, then asked if anyone wanted to end there. I asked him a few questions about the terrain and any obstacles we might encounter and he mentioned a small suspension bridge, but said it wasn't bad, so I decided to go for it.
The area we covered is so beautiful and so varied and so totally "you never see these things from a car"! We walked through woods, then several miles on a path next to the canal, then on a "nature trail," behind Princeton High School, then through deeper woods. We passed beautiful (and, you'd better believe, pricey) homes--actual mansions, some of them. Now and again, Paul pointed out interesting features and, of course, we chatted together the whole way.
I was pleased to see Sue, whom I had met on the Apple Pie Hill hike last week, and spent time with her. Also met others who knew Alison and Mike and had been on their Friday night hikes.
Ten miles is a long way. It occurred to me that it's about as far as it is to Manahawkin. However, on these hikes, you don't start marching and never stop until you're "there." This one was designated "FS," which means, I found out, "few stops," but it really was no problem. We didn't stop often, but did twice for bathroom breaks and occasionally, for just a minute while Paul gave us some interesting tidbit about the landscape.
I was elated to have finished, but I'm not going to pretend I wasn't happy to get back in the car. I stopped at Alison's on the way home, but she and Mike were out and didn't answer their cell phones, either. I wouldn't be surprised if they were out running; will call her later.
Have no ill effects this morning aside from the ache I had before in the front of my ankles. Took some Tylenol and it's easing up.
I had left everything possible in readiness for Pat's day and he said he was fine. When I got home, it was almost 5:00, and I just gave him soup and a sandwich for dinner. Jumped in the shower after dinner, had my popcorn and wine, and slept like a log.
Hey, one of the great things about the hike yesterday is that now, a five-miler will be a piece of cake!
*This is where General Mercer died (Revolutionary War). We knew a couple who actually lived there about 30 years ago: my friend, Elaine's son and DIL, Brian and Patti, who lived on one side and gave tours of the other, maintained as a museum. This led to Patti's interest in that era. She earned her degree, wrote several small books on the history of various trades of the time, and now teaches history at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Went to Staples to duplicate more pictures of Patrick's boyhood for the scrapbook and also bought some embellishments for it. (This is getting to be more and more of a project, which means it'll take me longer and longer to complete it--damn!)
Stopped at Shop-Rite for groceries and got home in time to make Pat's lunch. I don't like to skip, so I then took the walk on our usual route, as all the sidewalks and streets are clear. Unfortunately, Frank, Johnny, and The Platters couldn't go, as something was wrong with the CD player. Pat had fixed it by the time I got home.
Stopped at Marge's to get my BP done. She and Fred each have their own equipment. His is the more conventional with the cuff for the upper arm, and M.'s goes on the wrist. They suggested using both and we did, three times. Here are the numbers: 137/91, 122/81, and 139/81.
I guess those are okay, but am not sure. Nurse ladies, whattya think?
Went across to Susan's on my way back to apologize for not going for our walk yesterday. We had a good laugh when she said she thought I had come, and she had missed me. She had been in the backyard putting food out for the birds, squirrels, and deer (!--but to each his own) and thought she heard something at the front door, but looked and nobody was there. She then thought she had missed me knocking, so hurried out to "catch up with me." She never did, of course, since I hadn't gone. Susan said she had to pick her way on the sidewalk, as it was indeed, icy in spots, but she made it all right.
We had a nice visit and S. gave me an invitation to a "Valentine Fiesta" on February 10. She and Walter did this last year, and it was a lot of fun. They mix the valentine theme with Mexican food. Wish Pat could go, but I will and will bring him back something. (He doesn't like Mex, anyway.)
Took Pat to radiation, which lasted only 15 minutes or so. I had taken him to the barber yesterday after his session and somehow, he looked and even seemed much better today.
Ray and Barb asked if I wanted to go with them to the fish fry tomorrow, which I will. Must remember to make a dessert for it.
Otherwise, the day was ordinary, but pleasant. I made my lunch (salad and broccoli in separate containers) for today and will add a bottle of water. Will leave Pat's lunch and get everything else I can think of ready so he has no problem.
I'm looking forward to this hike. Don't know at this point if I'll go the whole 10 miles or finish at one of the drop-off points, but I'll be happy with either. Forecast is for very cold and somewhat cloudy, but as long as it doesn't rain or snow, that's fine by me.
Friday, January 25, 2008
After it stopped, fantastic friend Frank, our next-door neighbor, came over and shoveled our walk and driveway. The service does it if it's over a certain number of inches--can't remember how many--but I think it wasn't enough yesterday.
The rest of the day, Pat and I enjoyed being inside our snug home while the snow fell outside. I finished up various chores and worked on the photo book I'm putting together for Natsue, of Patrick and our family in various life stages. Gave Pat leftovers of beef tips, scalloped potatoes, and peas, and I had a small piece of (also leftover) chicken and a big bowl of Brussel sprouts.
Nice day, somehow, and I was content. Will now go out and see if the terrain is okay for walking. If it isn't actually icy, we'll go.
Five minutes later: Unfortunately, there's a lot of ice on both the sidewalk and the street. I don't want to risk a fall, so even if Susan comes over, I'm not going to walk this morning. However, I'm determined not to skip it altogether and if it improves, will go our usual route this afternoon. If not, I'll drive to the mall and walk the circumference twice.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Picked up a book and tape for my new library person and will deliver them next Wednesday when I meet her. Also got myself a few books, including The Reality Diet, by a doctor. I was pleased to read it emphasizes mostly plant foods, little meat, and plenty of exercise.
(It's always satisfying to read "authorities" who endorse what you already believe. That's true when it comes to diet, politics, religion and practically everything else. No wonder it's so difficult for people to change their minds about anything. I sometimes think there's no such thing as "free will," but that we're all programmed before birth to think what we think and do what we do. Well! Talk about a digression!)
Called the leaders of the Saturday 10-miler, and told them I'm going to join it. There are two drop-out points if I decide to do less. The only negative is that it's at Mercer Park in Princeton, 60 miles away--but a pretty nice drive, mostly up 539, and I want to do it. Hope the weather holds.
I heard back from David P. and Kathy B. They were both pleased that I met up with their old neighbors. Told Louise at SOCH and she was happy to hear it, too. Kathy and Nolan plan to stop in to see them in the spring.
Still debating whether to go to Weight Watchers today or wait until tomorrow. Guess I'll decide later.
Later: I did go, and lost another .4--a minor amount, but in the right direction, so okay. That brings me to 144.8 and 54.8 pounds down.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
When I took Pat for his radiation yesterday, I met an elderly man whose wife was having treatment. He mentioned that he lived down the street from the Maris Convent in Harvey Cedars, a town on Long Beach Island. I told him my friend and former colleague, David P., just sold his house on the same street. "He didn't work at Rider, did he?" asked my new pal, "Mac." Well, yes!
Here, it seems that Mac and his wife, Louise, have known Dave for years. They were even friendlier with long-time Riderite, Kathy B. She and her husband, Nolan, used to rent a house across from them. (Recently, they bought a summer home in Delaware.) In fact, Mac said Nolan had grown up around there and he had befriended N. as a boy.
I e-mailed Dave and Kathy to let them know this, and will see Mac and Louise again today at SOCH. We all hang out in oncology.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
It was a glorious day: very cold, but sunny, with a beautiful blue sky above. The terrain was okay--sand on much of it, but mostly packed, so not difficult to traverse. After a time, we deviated onto a narrow trail deeper into the woods, then went up an incline to reach Apple Pie Hill. Stayed there for 20 minutes or so, then completed the trip back.
The pace had been described as "moderate to easy" and, although brisk at times, was probably slower overall than Susan's and my walks. It's difficult to walk very fast through the narrower trails, as you have to keep watching the ground for roots, ruts, and holes. Happily, my feet didn't bother me at all, aside from getting a little cold. I wore sneaks, but MUST get myself some walking boots; I was the only one yesterday not properly shod.
The hike took 2 hours, 15 minutes and I was home before 1:00. It was great: At one point while we were walking, I suddenly felt such a rush of well-being, so invigorated, healthy, and alive, I wanted to go into the woods again. I'm seriously considering the 10-miler on Saturday. Think I'll call the leaders and ask a few questions.
Got in touch with my new "library home borrower," Janice, and made a date to see her next Wednesday. I believe she's deaf, as we used the device whereby I tell the operator something, she types it to Janice, then Janice types a response and the operator reads it to me.
Got Pat to his radiation session, then touched base with Alison to tell her about the hike. Have no soreness at all, I'm happy to say.
Will get my BP checked today at 10 and will ask Marge if I can do it with her equipment on Fridays. So far, so good without the medication, as far as I know.
Monday, January 21, 2008
We had a nice, convivial visit over lunch on my way back. A. gave me a great salad with arugula, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, and other goodies, all organic. Her tomato/onion dressing was terrific, too. I was surprised when she told me the newly-opened Stop 'N' Shop near her on 539 has a big variety of organic items. Stopped there on my way home and got a bunch of veggies, plus a nice roasting chicken that was never treated with antibiotics. I'm more likely to be suspicious of meat with such weird additions than I am of pesticides.
Alison showed me two short videos of adorable little Tristan just on the cusp of crawling. She said his getting up on his hands and knees, then rocking back and forth, lunging, wiggling forward, and reaching out for objects, is right on target for his age at the time of five and a half months. So is falling on his face, which he did twice. However, he recovered his equilibrium with no problem.
Got home to find Pat gone to the bay, so I puttered around--put a wash in, prepared dinner, and assembled some things for today's hike. Later, I chatted with Betty and talked to, and saw, Ellen, on the web cam. We had a good talk, discussing a range of topics, including the fact that she still hasn't heard from the bank re her condo offer. Of course, she'll come in August, too, so asssuming all goes according to plan, the whole gang will be here--yay!
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Vivian showed us her doll stroller, then came back to the camera several times with various dolls. She repeated she'd give the new baby milk, and told me she was going to a birthday party, then swimming. She has started tennis lessons and likes them. She looks and sounds so much older now, in this rapidly growing 3 1/2 year-old stage, and is so precious. Talked to Paula, too. She's feeling better than she had, although she's still only 3 months along. I asked her to coach me on a welcoming phrase to Natsue and she said she would.
Earlier, I took a dry run to the Bordentown Deer Club, where we meet to start the hike tomorrow. It's pretty far--30 miles--but I'm game and am looking forward to it. I told Susan I'd skip our walk then, not because I think it will be too much for me, but because I have to get Pat's breakfast and everything else taken care of before I leave about 9:00.
Pat went down the bay yesterday, then he and another bay buddy, John, went over to see George at the rehab.
Can't wait to tell Alison about August!
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Dr. K. is a D.O., not an M.D. I've never been clear on how they differ, but I have the idea--must look this up--that D.O.s emphasize more heavily natural avenues to healing, such as weight loss, exercise, and so on. I don't mean they follow the wacky dictates with which "natural medicine" abounds, but that they may be slightly less inclined to confront every malady with a prescription. In any event, Dr. K. seems to be of that persuasion and I like that attitude.
Had plenty of time to make Pat lunch, eat my own, and get to SOCH for his radiation by 3:00. I was told we don't have to sit in the first waiting room initially, but I can just wheel him into the inner one. I got acquainted with two other women waiting for their husbands and we had a nice chat. Pat was finished in a half hour and I thought, "Hey, this ain't gonna be so bad."
We were back in Little Egg so early we decided to go see Old George in Arcadia. They got us a wheel chair (good thing, as the rehab section is down several corridors from the front entrance) and we found him napping, but fully dressed.
George was delighted to see us and, garrulous as ever, filled us in on his operations and even his current bodily functions, which I didn't need to hear. While we were there, his sweet SIL, Bea, and her husband came in, also. We stayed just a half hour or so, leaving him a gift bag of two versions of Goldfish crackers. He had loved them when he was here for dinner and I put them out as appetizers.
Just had a pick-up dinner (don't know why I call it that) of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for Pat and veggies and shrimp for me. All in all, it was a good, satisfying day.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Got there early, as usual, and went to get the wheelchair. Couldn't open it, and Pat had to simply use it as a walker. Nobody was there, so we waited (my fault for being so early). When they got back from lunch, the nurse pushed Pat in and I went to Kohl's to exchange what I bought yesterday.
On the way home, Pat said he would have eaten his sandwich on the way, I said why didn't you, he said I didn't know you had made it, I got mad, he got mad...and that wasn't all. I don't even want to go into the angry exchange we had earlier. We had both dived into dark moods early on and mine wasn't made any lighter when I realized I had to cancel my lunch date with former colleague, Helen, for Tuesday because they didn't want him to miss a radiation day. On top of that, it rained in angry, icy spurts--something like my mood, I guess.
Things improved when we got home about 3:00. Pat ate his sandwich and I had a terrific late lunch of spinach, broccoli, and salad. Today and subsequent treatment days should be better, as we settled on his appointments for 3:00 pm. It will interfere with his bay-going and it disallows my going out of town, but we'll just have to put up with it for another 15 days.
Was glad to hear from blog-friend, Dee, that her surgery is over, it went well, and she's on the mend.
Got a call from the Home Borrowers' Coordinator, Gwen, asking if I'd take on another "customer," this time right on Radio Road in Little Egg. Of course, I agreed and am looking forward to getting his or her material.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
While in Manahawkin, I went to Shop-Rite and stocked up on stuff on sale. Other than that, nothing much else going on except the usual domestic chores. Rather than list them, I'll put in a couplet (exactly what it suggests, a two-line poem) I remember from years ago, called "The Waiter":
By and by,
God caught his eye.
That's a gem. Can't remember who wrote it, but it may have been Lowell.
Later: Was pleased to have lost another 2.8 pounds for a total of 54.4 and a current weight of 145.2. That was over two weeks, but the average is fine by me.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
We talked and talked and talked--not just about little "what's been going on in my life" stuff, but things like the church (Barb and Frank are strong Catholics), priests who molest, and so on. We just tiptoed around politics, but I was pleased to realize she's much less to the right than I thought. She also puts her money where her mouth is and does a lot of volunteer work--what used to be called "charity work"--with the poor and otherwise afflicted. Barb is now having to concentrate on getting her elderly father moved down here--to Arcadia Nursing Home--so she and Frank don't have to keep driving the horrendous trip to Westchester, NY every week. Barbara is an only child, a condition that seems to me as bizarre and remarkable as walking on your hands.
Earlier in the day, I had my hair cut and April did her usual good job. The perm is gone, but the mop actually looks nice. I hope after I wash it, it will look as good.
Called the hike leader for Monday and told him I'd like to join the 5-miler to Apple Pie Hill. He welcomed me and seemed very nice.
We had a few snow flurries yesterday. Luckily, it didn't last and, although I haven't gone out yet, I hope and expect we won't have to plow through the white stuff for our walk.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Had a delightful lunch with Leslie yesterday. We went to The Grapevine and both had big salads. Les is in Weight Watchers with me and has reached her goal weight; she looks great.
Earlier in the day, I made a batch of Nana Mix and sent it off to Patrick and Natsue. It's annoying that it never comes out even. I had just enough of the cereal, but still have most of the bag of pretzels and some peanuts. In the old days, I naturally would have gobbled them up, simply because they were there, but now....
After I dropped Les off, I ran a few errands, including taking books back to the library. Happened to see the video "Catch Me If You Can" with Leonardo DiCapria and Tom Hanks, two of my favorite actors. I had seen it when it came out (2002) and always thought it was badly underrated--a wonderfully entertaining movie. Borrowed it, plopped it in the machine, and settled down to enjoy. Pat got home from the bay in the middle and watched the rest with me. Nice afternoon.
Called the leader to sign up for an OCSJ hike on Monday morning. It's a 5-miler to Apple Pie Hill, which seems ideal for me. Left a message, but haven't yet heard back from him.
George's SIL called to tell us the good news that George is doing very well and will probably be released today or tomorrow. He'll then recuperate at Seacrest Rehab, just a mile and a half from us--where Pat stayed after his hospitalization last year. This generated calls back and forth between Pat and bay buddies John and Charlie, who will all be able to visit G. at Seacrest.
Today, I get my hair cut at 10, then go to lunch with Barb D. at 12:30. I'm looking forward to both.
Note: I have no idea why spaces are appearing in this entry, and the "delete" key won't get rid of them.
Monday, January 14, 2008
I was gratified when somebody asked if I'd repeat my Dionne quintuplet presentation; said I might as a fill-in, if needed.
Accepted the chairmanship of the scholarship committee. Having done it last year, I know it doesn't entail much. I like the idea of helping a local high schooler go to college.
Volunteered to again model in the spring fashion show. Although the sponsor will still be crappy Penney's, I'll be more than fifty pounds thinner and won't have to shop in the women's section--what fun!
Other than the above, the high point(s) of the gathering was when people complimented me on my appearance. I wore my new, slim-fitting slacks, the green sweater I paid too much for at Boscov's, a white turtleneck dickey, and my shoe boots, which--glory be--were comfortable, thanks to my podiatrist visit last week. Wore makeup and, determined not to fall into the trap of over-bedecked mature housewives, only a small pair of silver hoop earrings for jewelry. Hey, I looked great, modest Roe assures her adoring readers.
Talked/saw D.D. Ellen during our usual Sunday night hookup. She still hasn't heard from the bank about her condo bid and visited a few other open houses. She's in a good position now, as the "locked in" limit is over for her, so if the bank does accept, she doesn't have to go through with her offer if she decides not to.
Got an invitation to their Super Bowl party from the H.'s. We've gone the last 3 years, but there seems no possibility Pat could go and I won't leave him to watch the game alone. I invited Alison, Mike, and the Phillips Four down for our own SB party, instead. If they can't come, I'll just plan for us to have dinner in front of the T.V.
Was invited by Leslie and Dennis to a fish fry at their church on the 27th. Yes! This is something I'll definitely go to, and I accepted with pleasure.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Then I went to Rosborough Avenue and parked across from the big, gracious house where we grew up. Rosborough is one of a handful of double-wide streets in Ventnor and I think that was a taken-for-granted, but significant factor in our childhood. You can see the ocean from the wide porch and, when we lived there, we had a big lawn on one side and a vacant lot on the other. Now there are four houses on those spaces.
Our house, 15 South, has been painted a hideous blue (it's supposed to be green and white), but aside from that, looks about the same.
The Osborne's house next to ours is long gone, but across the street, the Bluth's, the Campbell's, the Wheaton's, the Ottenberg's, and the Gordon's are still there and relatively unchanged. Of course, no members of those families have lived there for years and many no longer live at all.
I remember walking home from a friend's one April day and having somebody--maybe Stevie Ottenberg--tell me, "The president's dead." That was Roosevelt, of course (no, not Teddy!), and I said, "Frankly, I don't believe you."
I was nine years old and had recently heard the word "frankly." I thought my response was the height of casual sophistication--guess I blew that Stevie Ottenberg away.
I stayed only a short time. Was going to check out St. James--to be called "Holy Family" after the merger, I understand, so that will be gone with the undertow, too--but changed my mind and drove home.
Sometimes, it seems my life went straight from hopelessly constricted and inhibition-laced childhood to free-thinking old ladyness without the Ewing decades in between.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Darling Dennis came over to change our furnace filter and the batteries in the smoke detectors. Thank heavens, his and Leslie's Pete seems back to normal; still no word on what caused the jaundice, but they suspect an allergy to some OTC medication. I e-mailed Les to ask if I could take her to lunch to celebrate and she happily agreed; we'll go on Monday.
That means next week is shaping up nicely: I have a Woman's Club meeting tomorrow, then lunch with Les, and on Tuesday, I get my hair cut in the morning, then go to lunch with next-door neighbor, Barb D. We have Pat's first radiology session on Thursday, not a fun thing, but we're both okay with it--has to be done and I know it will become routine, so no longer scary.
Took my new slacks to the cleaners to be hemmed. Hey, they're size "small" and the legs are nice and slim, but they're at least four inches too long. The only time I think of myself as short is when I buy clothes.
Got some welcome phone calls yesterday: Old George's SIL, Bea, called to let us know he had come through the aneurysm surgery well. (This on top of the heart surgery 4 days ago.) Pat called other Bay Buddy, John, to let him know the good news. Alison called on the way to her and Mike's regular Friday night hike. There was nothing in particular new, she was just checking in, but I always love to talk to my little girls.
Rest of the day, I did a lot of wash and finished up some financial stuff that had been hanging.
Judy called to let me know she had finally been able to access the George Straight site to order tickets for her idol's concert in February. According to her computer person in Costa Rica, when she downloaded Kodak Easy Share, it caused her keyboard to freeze up.
Wha-a-t?! I have KES and so do hordes of other people I know, and I never heard of that happening. Oh well, what the hell--it isn't important enough to worry about, so I'm going to dismiss it from my mind.
Didn't go to Weight Watchers yesterday after all, and I may just hold off this week and go on my regular Thursday.
Friday, January 11, 2008
What a hassle! The sullen, unhelpful salesperson seemed annoyed that I dared interrupt whatever the hell she was doing--contemplating her navel, maybe. I wanted to try several sizes of the bad zipper jacket to get the best fitting one, and unbelievably, they were all attached to the pants by one of those round security things. She had to take each set up to the counter to detach it before I could put it on.
Every one was hard to zip--she found it hard, too, although she managed because she wasn't wearing the jacket. She then told me they must all be "left-hand zippers."
Wh-a-at?! Does that make any sense? I never heard of zippers put in for left-handed people and even if such a thing exists, why would all these jackets be made that way, especially when there was no indication to show that? They didn't even have any more of the single jacket, so I finally decided to just return all the items.
Naturally, because Alison had used a credit card and I didn't have it, they would give me only a store credit--grrr! I'm sure not going back to that store, so I'll have to go to the next closest one, which is in Lawrenceville, an hour and a half away. Oh well, I'll combine that with lining up a friend to meet for lunch.
The trip wasn't a total loss, as there was a Kohl's in the same shopping center and I found a great pair of slacks--size "small," thank you very much--and a blouse, which I bought with the gift card Ellen had given me. The slacks are long, so I will have to have them hemmed.
Stopped at Home Depot to get a furnace filter; then, as requested, called good neighbor Dennis who said he'd come down this morning to put it in. Went to Acme and got shrimp for myself for dinner; gave Pat a pork chop.
Got a nice, long e-mail from Leslie, telling us her son, Pete, is home, back to work, and seemingly recovered--thank heavens. After losing older son, Anthony, she was naturally terribly worried when Pete was hospitalized.
Judy K. called close to nine last night to ask if it was all right that she sent me a George Straight web site. Her computer is having a problem and she wants to come over at 10 today to get tickets on-line. Hookay by me, I said, although I had planned to go to Weight Watchers. However, I decided to switch to tomorrow (Saturday) since Dennis is coming, too, so I guess I should be here.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Cathy O'C. is a real find. She's a delightful woman a few years older than I am and, boy, do we have a lot in common. She was born and brought up in Trenton and later lived in Glendale, which is part of Ewing. That's where we lived for 41 years and where we raised our children.
Cathy and I quickly found we were both products of parochial schools (hers took, however). She went to Cathedral H.S. and we laughed over our shared experiences--including the uniforms, the stockings, the ban on strapless gowns, and so on. We both smoked and, as teenagers, experimented with hanging out in bars. Not only that, but she loves biographies (same here), real-life murder (oh, yeah), and history (gotcha there, too). She does read contemporary fiction, which generally leaves me cold, but who knows? Maybe I'll acquire a taste someday.
Cathy has a son and daughter and several grandchildren. She lost another son in 1999 and two sisters (one of whom was a nun) and her husband in 2006. I saw a studio portrait of Cathy and him 30 or so years ago and what a beautiful couple! They actually looked like movie stars.
Cathy had about two dozen books to donate to the library and I took them for her. At this point, she's well supplied, as she orders books from the Literary Guild, so I didn't need to take her request for the library.
I was delighted to learn she's computer literate and is on it every day. She loves "Bookworm" and was interested in hearing about my favorite, "Wordslinger." Forgot to ask her to exchange e-mail addresses, but will call her today and do that.
Because I slept so late, then had to zip up to Cathy's, I didn't have time for breakfast. It was close to noon when I got home, so I just segued right into lunch. I know, I know, people are always being preached to about not skipping a meal, especially breakfast, and blah, blah, blah. That seems to me bullshit of the purest ray serene, and I'd like to see the background evidence to support it.
BTW, I'm going to go to Weight Watchers tomorrow instead of today because I have to take Pat to his podiatrist appointment at 10:30.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Took Pat to the doctor at Fort Dix yesterday. I actually enjoy the drive, as it's down 539, then west through the semi-rural outskirts of small towns. It went okay, but as is usual now, was somewhat perfunctory.
Went to the podiatrist in the afternoon and she trimmed the calluses on my tootsies, cut my toenails, and generally made me feel like a spa-goer.
Left for Viv's at 5:00--early, but a good thing because I missed the turnoff from Route 9 and got all the way to Lacey before I called and was directed how to get back. Made it just at 6:00 and Viv then drove us to Manalapan to the Wellspouse dinner. Boy, it's a long way--more than an hour and there was a lot of traffic. However, we got to the Java Moon okay and were pleased to see about 15 others there, fellow spouses of disabled or chronically ill people. I had met all these nice people before and Viv and I poured ourselves glasses of wine and sat down to chat and eat.
The Java Moon has a lot of unusual dishes and I ordered grilled Caesar salad with shrimp. Sounds weird, but it was very good. It was a great convivial evening--just wish gatherings were closer.
Incidentally, the reason they're held where they are is that this happens to be the Manalapan group. Viv is the leader of the Southern Ocean group, but at this point, it's very unformed and we know only one or two others who live reasonably nearby. We tried to set a date to meet before Christmas, but things came up that made us cancel.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Dropped the car off at 9:00 and was horrified to hear the repair (a hole in the manifold intake or something) would cost $700. Aagh! But it had to be done and that's all there was to it. Now I have my darling little (actually, big, it's a Buick) car back and it's warm and cozy, so I have to stop bemoaning the cost.
Got rid of the few Christmas decorations I hadn't before--just the live wreath on the front door and big vase of pine boughs in the foyer. Galvanized myself to sweep out the garage and get a few other chores done before Pat got back from the bay and took me to Mastercraft for the car.
Today we have several things going on: We leave to see Pat's primary at Fort Dix at 9:00 and won't be back until after 11:00. I have a podiatrist appointment at 1:30, then tonight, go to the Wellspouse dinner and meeting in Manalapan. Am due at Vivian's in Barneget at 6:00 and we'll leave from there.
Congrats to brother Frank and family for Ezekiel, their new grandson, courtesy of daughter Maureen. Other daughter, Francine, is expecting momentarily--a boy to join her other two. That means all six of Frank's and Marybeth's grandchildren are of the male persuasion--wow!
Monday, January 07, 2008
It was the cake, though, that was best. She and Joely had made it on Saturday, when both he and 5-month-old Tristan stayed over. Why? Because Jen had thrown Joel a surprise party for a few friends.
Joely is so cute and funny. He is a big helper, putting the candles on the cake, bringing the dessert plates out to the table, feeding Lulu, and generally making himself useful. Alison repeated something he had asked Mike the night before: "Grandpa Mike, did you have a nice Dad like me when you were little?" He's crazy about his Dad. Joely zoomed around on the floor with Alison's "exercise wheel" to the great amusement of "T-Bone" (which they've taken to calling Tristan), who smiled, giggled, then laughed out loud.
Joel had given Jen a bike for Christmas and she gave him one, too. However, the "bike" is a -gulp!--motorcycle, which makes me nervous, of course, but he intends to drive it to work.
Anyway, it was a wonderfully relaxed and fun evening. Little "T" is so cute. He also zooms around, but in his walker, and he's trying to crawl, but hasn't yet gotten the knack. Joel pulls him around, sometimes very fast, but T seems to like that.
The only sad note was Lulu. When we got there, Alison went out to help Pat into the house. I walked in, hung up my coat, and put the carrots in the kitchen, assuming Little Lulu was out in the yard. But she wasn't, she was just in the next room; she's become so deaf she didn't hear me.
Poor Lu. She always used to--literally--jump for joy when anybody came in. No matter how often she was told not to, she would pounce on the newcomer, wiggling with happiness, then race up and down, then come back to show her excitement--she was a nuisance. Yesterday when she noticed we were there, she let us pet her and she wagged her tail, but quietly, not the way she used to. Now I wish she could be a nuisance again.
Aside from that, it was a wonderful evening. Got home a little before 9 and shortly went to bed, skipping my wine and popcorn. I had had both salmon and meatloaf, as well as a small slice of cake and some ice cream, but I didn't want to push it.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Yesterday, I got back to my reasonably buoyant self. Ray came over to change the bulb over the sink and stayed to chat awhile. George's SIL, Bea, called to bring us up to date on his condition. They replaced an artery, but haven't yet done the aneurysm; that will have to wait until he recovers more, but he's doing pretty well. He recognized Bea, and was able to follow the doctor's direction to cough, and so on.
Today, I'll make candied carrots to bring to Alison's for Joel's birthday, plus the Nana Mix as a little extra to go with our "real" present of cash.
Was touched by my dear twin's comment on yesterday's entry. If anybody understands the situation, she does.
But okay, them's the cards I wuz dealt and I gotta play them. Other than Pat's health, we've had aces most of our married life which, incidentally, will total half a century on June 21--this year!
Saturday, January 05, 2008
When we came out, Pat said the heater problem I've been having means the engine is overheating; he wanted me to stop at Mastercraft on the way home. Well, no way was I going to leave my car, but after we had "words," I did stop just to mention it to the mechanic. He talked to us, but he doesn't think the engine is overheating. Nevertheless, Pat insisted I shouldn't drive the car before my appointment on Monday morning. Of course, he went off to the bay and left me twiddling my thumbs at home--second day in a row.
This left me seriously annoyed and, what's more, depressed and unhappy. I started re-reading my blog entries of the last two Decembers, brooding over how many parties and get-togethers we had enjoyed compared to the few this season. As I thought about it, the idea grew hair and teeth in my mind* that nobody cared, everybody had forgotten about us, and I was doomed to a dull, boring existence even though I'm completely well and full of energy.
Topping off the day, the high-hat light over the kitchen "peninsula" burned out. We have nine-foot ceilings and I'm afraid to stand on the counter and change it myself, so I'll have to ask somebody. What a lousy time for it to go.
However, this is the notion I cling to when I'm down: Things tend to improve after a time and they did. Dennis called to let us know how his and Leslie's son, Pete, is. Pete's in the hospital (in Ohio) with an unknown ailment that seems to involve his liver. It was good to talk to him and to hear a biopsy was negative for cancer. Then Ray called, just checkin' on his pal, Pat, and I was able to ask him to come tomorrow and change the kitchen light. No problem.
Got the mail and was charmed to receive a note from the daughter of Benji G., a long-ago playmate of Betty's and mine on Rosborough Avenue. He became a doctor like his father, practiced in Hawaii, married Indonesian, and died prematurely at 41 in 1982. The other day, I saw his mother's obit in the paper (she was 92) and sent an e-mail condolence message to the family.
In her note, the daughter wrote that she was "delighted for the contact from someone from my father's childhood" and thanked me for allowing her to "share in the sweet memory of my beloved father."
What a lovely gesture. That and just time brought me out of the doldrums and I'm better. Looking forward to going to Alison's for Joel's birthday celebration tomorrow, although we may have a battle about driving my car there.
After dinner, Ellen and I talked and viewed on the web cam, which gave me a lift, too, of course. Still no word on her condo bid, but she'll let us know as soon as she hears.
* Love this expression, but it isn't original with me. Read it in The Last Angry Man, by Gerald Green, a novel of 40 or so years ago.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Old George was operated on yesterday, Pat heard from another bay buddy. He called Deborah (Hospital), but was told George was still in the recovery room and couldn't take calls. Hope he'll be okay soon--and I want to send his card, too.
Discovered that the wreath container thing is defective; it doesn't have the carrying handle the other one does. When we go to Manahawkin today for Pat's radiologist appointment, I'll take it to exchange.
Hey, when I'm reduced to that kind of non-news, things are pretty slow. Oh, one more tidbit: Anne Mary, our erstwhile neighbor, called to 1. thank me for the thank you card and 2. bend my ear for 35 minutes about her latest hospital foray. She's convinced she has pneumonia every time she coughs. It turned out to be a nasal drip, but of course, it's the most serious, spectacular, and non-common nasal drip in medical history and ever discovered on the face of the earth and blah, blah, blah.
On the phone, Anne Mary felt she had to refer to her late, lamented poodle as "the other one" because the live one, Eddie, was nearby and when he hears Carlos' name he misses him more.
There just are no words to comment on that.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Well, I think it's funny. The connection with my yesterday is that I picked up a few things at K-Mart and saw they had a long shelf FULL of the same wreath containers that were sold out at two Wal-Marts. The catch was that they were $9.00 and the Wal-Mart one had been on sale for $6.44. I bought one anyway--it was worth the higher cost because I was reminded of the joke and it amused me again.
As one might surmise, yesterday was all about the little this 'n' thats which fill my life. Got containers at the dollar store for Nana Mix I want to give Joel (besides a check). I'll make another batch for Jen, so they can each have their own. Called Marge to wish her happy 2008. She told me she's been able to cut down, then eliminate, her sleep aids and is sleeping fairly well. They used to make her so groggy during the day it was a toss-up whether they were worth taking.
Tomorrow, we go for a consultation with the radiologist at SOCH about Pat's squamous cell cancers. He has several other doctor appointments next week, including with his primary at Fort Dix. These are demoralizing simply because there's nothing else to be done for him aside from what's already prescribed.
And he no longer asks when he might get better.
Later: Lost .4--almost half a pound--for a total of 51.6 and a weight of 148. Not very exciting, but okay. I'm now 7 pounds from my goal weight.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Betty called and we had good chat and wished each other Happy New Year, of course. Got a nice, newsy note from Patrick; he and his bride saw her parents for traditional new year food and rituals. He also sent new year wishes, as did Alison and Ellen.
Otherwise, same old, tame old. Went back to the Manahawkin Wal-Mart to get another wreath container--of course, they were out of them. Drove all the way to the Mays Landing Wal-Mart, and yes--they were out of them, too. When I go to Toms River to exchange my sporting togs at Modell's, I'll check the Wal-Mart there.
Called the lady for whom I'll be getting library books (even to me, that sounds awkward) and made a date to see her next week.
Called Alison to wish her good luck on the first day of her new job. Said we'd be at her place for a birthday dinner for Joel on Sunday. He'll be 26 and yes, folks, that's my grandson. Sometimes, I forget that myself.
Pat called his bay buddy, "old George," (who's 83; "young George" is about 65). George is in Deborah with heart disease and an aneurysm. Poor guy is really worried--no wonder. He thinks they'll operate on Friday. Hope his sister-in-law, who was with him and is his only relative, knows to talk to a social worker about getting help for him when he gets home.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
After my late start yesterday, I galvanized myself and got a lot accomplished--to wit, I took down the Christmas tree and all the other decorations. Although I had donated to the thrift store at least six large boxes full of such decorations, it still took a big portion of the day. However, it was a piece of cake compared to the drudgery of other years, when I had so much. I was pleased, too, that I easily wrapped the tree--only 5 1/2 feet this year, compared to the more-than-9 footer last--and dragged it to the curb. Now I'm ready to take on 2008.
Heard from Alison that she and Mike may run in a race today instead of going on the Atsion Lake hike. They probably won't join the hike to Apple Pie Hill on January 6 that I mentioned yesterday, but I'll sign on for it. Alison invited us up for dinner the same day for Joel's 26th birthday; that will be nice.
I sent my four precious offspring new year greetings and mentioned the obvious: that they're the best part of our lives in any year.
Today, I want to call the woman to whom I'm going to be bringing library books. I'm looking forward to getting to know her. Also, I'm looking forward to conducting the conversational English workshop that starts in February.
An anecdote: When I was in my twenties, I remember figuring out how old I'd be in the year 2000--63, for heaven's sake! It seemed surreal--I just couldn't imagine being that old.