Friday, February 29, 2008

STILL don't have my computer back, and it's so damn frustrating using the library one. After checking and responding to my e-mail, I have only eleven minutes left, so must rush.
Went to Aunt Claire's burial in Conshohocken, PA yesterday; took me 2 hours to get there and I arrived at 5 of 11:00, just 5 minutes before I was told it would start. Did it? No--when we got there, we were told it was actually at 1:30. Not sure how the confusion arose, but oh, well. Actually, it turned out all right, as I was invited with my cousins John and Tom and his wife, Helen, to Sonya's house for lunch. This is where Uncle Frank had worked and lived (hired by Sonya's father) from 1942 until about the '50's. The main part of her house was built in 1787 and boy,is it terrific. Not at all ostentatious, but lovely and filled with antiques. Anyway, we had a great time, then went back to the cemetery.
The ceremony was very brief. There were only 9 of us there, plus the funeral director and the deacon from Tom's church. Aunt Claire's ashes were in an attractive wood box and on a kind of little stand next to the gravestone. After she died, we were at the assisted living facility where she lived and we came across a tiny baby shoe--Judy's first one, which Claire had kept all these years. Nobody wanted it and I couldn't bear the thought of having it thrown away, so I took it. At the grave site, I asked the funeral director to bury it with Claire, and he immediately agreed.
Anyway, it we freezing cold--we were freezing our asses off, as my genteel husband would say--and we didn't stay long. It was a melancholy, but oddly satisfying day. We had said goodbye properly, and Calvary is a beautiful place.
Not much else new. SIL Marybeth sent me a copy of the Johns Hopkins magazine which features a piece on her and brother Frank's son, Patrick, and the reconstruction he did on the soldier's nose that was on CNN. What fun to read it!
When I went to pick Susan up this morning, she gave me a lovely potted primrose. I like them so much and what a wonderful neighbor to have.
Speaking of neighbors, Leslie and I went to Weight Watchers today and enjoyed catching up with each other's lives. BTW, I gained 2 tenths of a pound--so I'm now at 58.8 pounds off and 140.8. Hmm...if .5 is a half pound, I guess .2 is a few ounces. No matter, I'll lose it next week.
Betty called this morning and we had a good chat. She's "working" today, so was off to Carolyn's.
Ray invited Pat out for lunch with him and Gary L. He went and had a good time. OF COURSE, he had a grilled ham and cheese and Ray had grilled cheese and tomato--these guys are in a rut.
Gotta go--am being timed out. If anybody is still checking my blog, please let me know.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Still at the library, but will jot down a few words. Good thing nothing much is happening--am in a lull. Have done lots of boring domestic chores; talked to Betty this morning; and have just been hanging out. I had tentatively planned to go on a hike either yesterday or today,but reluctantly decided against it. I'll be gone most of the day on Thursday, as I'm going to Aunt Claire's burial in Conshohocken, so don't want to leave for so long otherwise. Pat didn't get up until 9:00 today, very unusual for him, and he had heavy "sweats" during sleep. This has happened a time or two before, but doesn't seem to have any particular significance. However, because he goes back to bed for an hour or so after breakfast, I stripped it, and just temporarily put a new bottom sheet on--didn't want him to have to lie down on damp ones. Also changed the pillows and will wash them.
I'm being timed out, so will close. Whoops! Was just told because there's nobody waiting for computers, I got an extra 10 minutes--but I'm not going to used them just rattling boringly on, so will close.
Added on April 17, 2008: Take note of the incredible "comment" following. If typed out, would probably fill fifty pages. Must be from a religious nut. Have no idea who left it, how, or why.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Well, I'm not "back." I'm at the computer at the library and am about to be timed out. Unfortunately, my computer is still in the hospital--at Dr, Mike's, my son-in-law's house and Alison called last night to say poor Mike has the flu.
Therefore, all my myriad comings and goings will not be recorded for posterity, at least not in any coherent manner. A coupla noteworthy (to me, but maybe nobody else) things: I went to an opera class conducted by my friend, Mary Ann Van O.; signed up to attend an all-day course on the Pinelands at Burlington County College on March 1 with Barb H.; bought several blouses and pants in size SMALL; have finished Michael Pollen's book In Defense of Food, which is even better than The Omnivore's Dilemma--I strongly urge everybody to read it.
Lost another pound for a total of 59 and a current weight of 140.1 (damn, that one-tenth of a pound is annoying!). At this point, of course, people are saying, "Don't lose any more," but they can never come up with logical reasons to support their belief that I shouldn't.
And, oh yes, I intend to lose more. To the point of emaciation, sickness, or danger? Certainly not. I intend to lose more, but to retain the energy, good health, and positive outlook I have now.
Have no idea when I'll be able to resume the blog--soon, I hope.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Just got back from getting my (routine) blood work done. The tech had to use both arms, as the right doesn't seem to have any blood--or something. Actually, when she put the needle in, I knew something was different because I felt a deep ache, not the usual sting. Could that mean she hit a muscle? Anyway, she got enough with the other and I was outta there by 7:45.
Yesterday, got the mammogram and bone density test with no problem. Went down the street after to Santori's and stocked up on goodies: acorn and butternut squash, 4 pounds of broccoli, lettuce, feta, and so on.
After lunch, I dropped some things off at the thrift store, then went to Kohl's looking for a royal blue turtleneck. Aunt Claire wore size 14 and cousin Helen had urged me to take a few of her clothes. Well, why not? She had good taste and bought good things. Among them is a spring jacket with checks in shades of blue; I think it will look spiffy with a matching top. Didn't find anything, but I enjoyed looking.
When I got home, I opened the mail and was touched to find a beautiful "To My Sister" valentine card. Betty had added a newspaper clipping about why people make snide comments to others who work hard to stay healthy. Dear Abby replied that they "fail to appreciate that (it)...takes discipline and is an ongoing progress." Ho, ho, so that's it. I do get a few such remarks, but mostly people are very encouraging and flattering.
Called Betty right away--she was on the job, watching Claire outside--and we had a good chat. Our talk even veered to the political and, although we're poles apart, we do agree on some things. Betty said if McCain and Obama run, she'll vote for O. I said if McCain and Clinton run, I won't vote at all.
Soon after, I got a big package from Mike, Paula, and Vivian. It's a beautiful azalea plant in a deep rose color. I put it in the foyer for now and will be able to plant it outside in the spring.
When Pat came in from the bay, he said he had stopped (the car; he can't go in stores) at three different places, but was unable to get me flowers. I don't care, I don't need flowers--just knowing he tried is enough for me.
Just opened my e-mail and got a message from Alison: She's been accepted into the New York Marathon--yowee! It's not until November, so she'll have plenty of time to train. Not sure if Mike will run it or not. I think they're going in the Atlantic City one tomorrow--will check and I may go down to cheer them on.
Alison just called. She's has a 4-day weekend and asked if she could come down and pick up my computer for Mike to took at over the weekend. She'll also do any chores I have lined up for us (what a doll). Of course, I'll be glad to see her and will--reluctantly--let her take my baby. So-o-o, guess I'll be incommunicato until Monday at least.
Running off to Weight Watchers now, as I didn't get there yesterday.
Later: Interestingly, I gained .8 of a pound (about 10 ounces?). I'm okay with this, and even more than okay, as it reinforces the truth that I overdid it in the calories department twice last week: at Pat's birthday party, and at the luncheon after Aunt Claire's funeral. I'm now at 142.4, and 57.2 pounds down, but will adjust next week, I'm confident.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Yesterday, Susan, Mary Ann Van O., and I went on the Ocean County Van Tour, their "historic homes south" excursion. The rain came down in sheets and torrents the entire day, but that wasn't going to stop us.
We were first taken to what had been a tavern in the early 18th century, 'way, 'way out in the pine barrens, down a dirt road that had originally been a stage coach road. The rain made it interesting, to say the least, for the van driver to navigate, as there were deep ruts and puddles most of the way. It's occupied, so we didn't go in, but looked pretty much like an unpainted shack.
We then drove to Manahawkin and spent an hour at a small, thoughtlessly "improved" house called "Cavalry Cottage" that hasn't been lived in since 1985. It was built in 1740, and most of the time, swarms with historians, according to the tour guide. They're trying to remove the various additions and multitude of other changes to get it back to its original condition. Very interesting, although cold and we had to be careful not to fall in the large holes in the floor, as it's a work in progress. (We went upstairs and found a dead bat, which elicited squeals from a few, but what the hell, it was thoroughly dead, so wasn't going to hurt anybody.)
We stopped at a newly opened salad place, got coffee and ate our lunches, then went to Island Heights, a part of Toms River I had never seen before. Hey, Nelly, it's a gorgeous place! We stopped to observe the architecture of one huge house after another while our tour guide (very knowledgeble and well-spoken) pointed out their various features. We didn't go in to these, as they were all private homes. Most were early Victorian, an era which is so varied it's divided into periods itself. The Philadelphia Wanamakers' house was included--very large and elegant--and almost all were right on the picturesque Toms (no apostophe) River.
We were also taken to more modest, but charming, homes, that had been built as summer cottages for the Methodists who came here from up north to have religious revivals. These had originally been small, two-story cottages, only one room wide, but most had been added to and/or modified in other ways.
Our last stop was the Victorian Museum, where we spent about an hour and were given a tour. The house was set up as it would have been in the 1800s and, being a sucker for anything like this, I loved it.
Got home about 3:30 and had time to clean up the kitchen, set the table, and put in a wash before Pat got home from the bay. I was sorry to hear Old George is back in the hospital, this time at SOCH in Manahawkin. He developed hiccups and now must have surgery for--a hernia? Boy, I just don't remember, but maybe we can visit him soon.
This morning, I'm going to Atlantic Imaging for my annual Mammogram and bone density test.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thanks to Alison, our family was enhanced five years ago by a gift beyond measure: our son-in-law, Mike. That sweet guy had yesterday off and spent 5 hours of it down here working on this infuriating computer.
He said it doesn't have a virus, as Don throught, but is the victim of "system clutter," along with "hiccups" that prevent, for instance, the spell check on this blog from working. Also, in Outlook Express, Comcast just arbitrarily switched the standard of "25" to "597"--for their own Machavellian purposes, I guess--and I had to resort to Comcast's own. That's what caused my Outlook Express to first, stop receiving messages, then stop sending. Anyway, he took care of that, but there are some other problems and he wants to bring the machine (yes, that's all it is, a machine, and it isn't really looking out at me and taking notes, I fervently hope) up to his house because it needs more extensive doctoring. I can live with the other stuff for now, because it's just annoying, rather than crucial. One is that the thing refuses to "remember" me, so I have to sign in with I.D. and password each time I open e-mail or write in this blog. That's not too big a deal.
All this, of course, is a very simplified version of what MIke discovered; I'm simply parroting a few pieces of his remarks, and out of context, too. I find it very hard to follow and understand the workings of the computer. Guess I'm more the dreamy romantic than the analytical type (oh, what a surprise!).
Mike is a programmer analyst for N.J., so doesn't do this for a living, but he's very, very bright and knowledgeable. He has a whole "doctor kit" of disks that he runs for various problems, and he knows all the inner workings as throughly as I do my BP level.* He has built several computers entirely by himself, including the ones at his and Alison's home. (One reason for the addition is the fact that their second bedroom is his office cum workshop cum command center, and so on.)
Anyway, for all this, he just got lunch.
* Which, incidentally, was 110/76 yesterday. Took Pat to the endocrinologist later in the day and asked the nurse to do me when she did him (tee-hee).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

There were about 40 people at Aunt Claire's funeral. Just a few other relatives were there: cousins Charlie Renz and Joe Byrne and their wives; Tom and Helen with their, son, Tom; cousin John and me. Sonya Driscoll and her son came, of course. Sonya is the daughter of the man for whom Uncle Frank worked as a farmer and handyman so long ago, and she's been a good friend to them ever since. Sonya, who still lives in the big house on that farm in Plymouth Meeting, lost her husband to a heart condition a few years ago. Ironically, he was a cardiologist.
There were three choices for lunch and I had the salmon. That's the third day in a row I had salmon, but so what? I like it a lot and, while this wasn't as good as Alison's, it was pretty tasty.
After lunch, Tom, Helen, John, and I (along with a few Spratts, Aunt C.'s nieces and nephews), went back to the assisted living facility to remove some of what was left. I took another of Uncle Frank's paintings, and a few other things. Although my SIL, Mike, had lent me his roof rack, nobody thought it was a good idea to try to transport the bureau I wanted on the roof. Luckily, the maintenance director came along and said he'd store it until I could come for it. I'm going to ask Joel if he can take me there with his van and get it.
Didn't get home until almost 5:00 and boy, I was ready to just relax. I was getting Pat's dinner when Patrick called to wish him happy birthday. Pat said Natsue came on and said, "Happy Birthday," which she's been practicing for some time. Sweet girl.
I called Mary Ann Van O. and asked if she'd like to take Barb's place on the "Historic Homes Van Ride" we signed up for tomorrow. She was delighted, and will come with Susan and me.
I have a lot of energy, but last night, I was tired. I slept like a log, but before I did, I thought of Aunt Claire. She lived for 97 years and although she had suffered some real tragedies, she had always risen above them. From all accounts and from what I remember, her years at Artman were happy ones. She participated fully in activities until just a short time ago and didn't seem to dwell in the past.
Aunt Claire was laid out in a pretty pink suit and she looked very nice. What brought several people close to tears--including me--was the pin in her lapel. Judy, the daughter she had lost, had given it to her when she was a little girl. It read, "Mother."
What a bitch life is sometimes.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Early in the day, Susan and Walter came over to borrow four of our kitchen chairs for the party. Brother Larry called, then Betty did. I got Pat's present wrapped and put a few Valentine gifts for Joely in a gift bag, then dressed to go to the Women's Club meeting.
Stayed for part of the Tricky Tray event, but had to leave early to get Pat and go up to Alison's.
We had great fun at Pat's birthday dinner. There was just us, A. and Mike, and the Phillips Four. Loved seeing the things they've done to the addition: The newly-stained chairs look great (table is being done at the company and is still to come) and they've added some wonderful framed pictures-- mostly outdoor subjects taken by Mike.
We had a ball watching Little Tristan ("T") crawl all over the place, looking just like a wind-up toy as he scooted around. He grabs everything within reach and of course, it immediately goes into his mouth. When he was in his walker, he spied my (bright red) pocketbook on a chair and managed to pull it down and chew on the strap. We just let him do it; I'm sure it felt good on his budding teeth. He shared the floor with Lulu, who has the unlovely habit of licking T's face. I kept pushing him away, but T didn't seem to mind. At six months, T pulls himself up and even stands alone.
I brought Pat's cake and we let Joely put the candles on. Alison gave him some "ever lit" joke ones, which revive after they've seemingly been blown out. Well, these were really persistant and they burned down so low they started to melt some of the icing. Alison ran to get a glass of water and she and both Joels finally got them off, but burnt some fingers in the process. We all thought that was hysterical and everybody loved the cake.
I ate everything, including salmon, chicken, scalloped potatoes, broccoli and carrots, and several slices of delectable freshly-made Italian bread. It wasn't the same as Aunt Maggie's, of course (that would transport you to heaven in one butter-smeared slice), but it was close; Mike makes it with a bread machine. Of course, I topped it off with cake and ice cream--one meal isn't going to put all the weight back on.
Ellen called while we were eating and Mike when we got home, which was about 7:45. E. also sent a gift card and Mike said his present is coming soon. I could see Susan's party was still going on when we got in, but I decided not to go over because I was afraid if I didn't get to bed, I'd oversleep today.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Susan had to go up north yesterday, so couldn't walk; I went with the boys, instead. It's funny that I know exactly when The Platters will start "Only You" (right at Mary Ann Van O.'s driveway), and when good old Nat will gift me with "A Blossom Fell" (after I make the turn onto Windstar Drive). Guess I'm consistent with gait--not to mention CDs.
Ran up to Manahawkin to get Pat's present and the gift for the Woman's Club "Tricky Tray." Got him a heavy, zippered cardigan sweater and picked up a gift card for the TT. Stopped at Tucker Tom's for produce and got home in time to make Pat's lunch.
I then baked his birthday cake. Left it to cool. then went to Acme. Got some things, then took my BP, which was 127/79; pulse rate 71.
If I say it myself, the cake smelled divine when I came back in--chocolate and, when finished, it comes out very similar to the mocha cake my mother used to make so often. However, I could never find a recipe just like hers, so I approximate it with a plain chocolate cake and mocha icing. I had bought hamburger and quickly mixed it with egg and bread crumbs to make meatballs, browned them, and gave Pat spaghetti; I had salmon and sweet potatoes, along with a salad.
Iced the cake and wrapped the Tricky Tray item (a gift card from Kohl's). Susan called and asked if she could come over to bring me something. What a great friend and neighbor: She came to bring me a lovely bunch of daffodills, still slightly curled. When I leaned down, they spoke to me and said, "Spring!"
Alison called and asked if Mike could come Tuesday morning instead of last night and that was fine with me. Ray e-mailed that Barb is still in the hospital; now they think it's a kidney infection.
Even for me, it was a busy day--and very enjoyable. Tonight, we're looking forward to Pat's birthday party at Alison's; can't wait to see the Phillips Four.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Skipped my walk and drove up to Ambler at 8 am to meet my cousins. Received a call from Betty on the way and pulled over for a few minutes to talk, but got to Aunt Claire's assisted living apartment a little after 10. Tom, his wife, Helen, and John were already there.
Aunt C.'s niece and nephew had removed some things, and partly bagged others, so the place was in disarray. It seems Aunt C. never threw away a checkbook, bill, bank statement, or anything else related to finance. Her nephew is an accountant, so he was going to take care of contacting "the trust" and so on. Lots of other stuff was strewed around, so it was pretty depressing.
Helen asked if I wanted anything. I had always liked a certain highboy, but was told the S. relatives had decided to take it, so I asked for a different one. Now I'm not so sure I want it--wouldn't you know. It looks pretty old, and isn't in perfect condition, so may need some work. I took the drawers, but couldn't get the body of it in my car; will have to figure out how to get it from Ambler before the place needs to be vacated.
Tom asked if I wanted the small television and I decided to take that, too. I don't want one in our bedroom, but the day may come when Pat needs to be in there, and we might as well get it now. Will store it until that time comes.
We all went to lunch after, along with neighbors of Tom and Helen. Had a wonderful fresh tuna nicoise salad, and brought half home.
Called Alison to ask if they could get the bureau with their pickup truck, only to be reminded they had sold it 4 years ago. It occurred to me that they have a roof rack and I think I'll ask if I can borrow it. I could get the bureau after the funeral and the luncheon if somebody will help me tie it on. The complication (there's always a complication, it seems) is that Pat has a dermatologist appointment at 4:30 and I'll have to get back by 4:00 to get him there; not sure if I can make it.
Alison and Mike are supposed to come down this evening so Mike can look at my computer. Otherwise, I can get the rack when we're up there tomorrow for Pat's birthday party...
Oops--Pat's birthday party! I must get him a present, and said I'd bake a cake. I'll make chocolate with mocha icing, but am low on cocoa and confectioner's sugar, so will have to run out to the store after I get his breakfast. Yoicks, everything comes at once.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Got the news today that Aunt Claire has died. I had made arrangements to go up to see her a last time today, and I'm still going to go. Will see cousins Tom and John while I'm there.
In my other life in Ewing (my "middle" life when we lived on Lower Ferry Road and I worked at Rider), I visited Uncle Frank, Aunt Claire, and Judy fairly often. After Judy died and Uncle F. and Aunt C. moved to Ambler, I saw them every few months. Uncle Frank died a few years ago, and now Aunt Claire. She was the last of our throngs of aunts and uncles on both the Byrne and Figenshu sides and her passing has turned me melancholy and reflective. Can it really be true that a day will come when I'm no longer in the world? I've always warred against this idea and I have great difficulty in accepting it. Guess that's human nature or else I'm even more of an egomaniac than I thought.
Okay, let's get out of this philosophizing and back into my so-called life. Had a web cam call from the Singapore contingent and loved seeing precious Vivian. However, there's something wrong with Skype (Alison's Mike will look into it) and we had to switch to the phone. I recited the greeting in Japanese for DIL Paula, who sent it to me phonically so I can welcome new Tokyo DIL in August. P. corrected some of my pronunciations amid great guffaws from Mike.
Pat finished the radiation yesterday--yay!--however, when we went back out to the car, the battery was dead. (I had left the lights on, that's why.) Sat there for about 20 minutes before somebody from Security came and jumped us.
Uh, let me rephrase that...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

High point of Wednesday was the final word that Pat has only one more radiation treatment, so today is the last.
I went over to the candy shop at Smithville and finally found the Atomic Fireballs Patrick had requested. Stopped at Smithville Inn to get info on the anniversary party. Prices, of course, are astronomical. I've checked Ram's Head Inn (priciest of all) and I'll visit SeaOaks today. Will go to Creevey's, where we had Pat's 75th, but I'm hoping for a more elegant venue, if possible.
Wrapped and took to the P.O. the items for Patrick; postage was about twice what they cost, of course. Took my BP at Acme and it was 131/73.
Cousin John called to say Aunt Claire has been moved to hospice care at the assisted living facility where she lives. I'm going up there (Ambler, Pa.) tomorrow for what I assume will be a final visit. Aunt C. is the last of my aunts and uncles living. (She's not a blood relative, but married my Uncle Frank, who died a few years ago at 95.)
It was a gorgeous, spring-like, day, and when we got home from SOCH, I took another walk, following the same mile and a half route Susan and I take every morning. Stopped in at Marge's to chat awhile.
When Alison called, I was dismayed to realize that I had screwed up my calendar. I had in my head that Pat's birthday party would be next Sunday, but of course, it's this one. That means I'll have to miss Susan's party unless we can have Pat's on Saturday, and Alison thinks J., J., J., and T. have Joel's stepsister's birthday party then. Damn--I was really looking forward to both, but will have to skip Susan's.
Called Barb H., who's in the hospital, Ray told us. They thought it was her gall bladder, but it isn't. She thinks she'll be discharged today.
Later: Got weighed in at Weight Watchers, but didn't stay for the meeting. I'm down another 1.6 for a total of an even 58 pounds off and a current weight of 141.6. Because I'm within 2 pounds of my goal weight (which is, somewhat arbitrarily, 141), I no longer have to pay. In fact, I want to lose a bit more, so don't intend to follow the WW version of "maintenance."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Breaking News! This just in:
Mike and Paula will be giving little Vivian a baby sister! According to the ultra sound, she has "extra long" legs like Vivi and looks lively and healthy. Due date? The fourth of July. Just heard, via e-mail--a nice way to start the day.
The news is not so good about my poor computer. Don was here for two and a half hours yesterday and after all kinds of manuvering, came to the conclusion it has a virus. Said he's going to have to take it home, strip it down, and search it--uh, no, that's cop talk, isn't it? Well, he'll strip it and rebuild or something. Right now, I still have to put in my I.D. and password each time I open e-mail, this blog, and anything else. It seems the damn thing doesn't recognize me anymore, even when I tell it "remember me."
Sitting with Don, then taking Pat to radiation pretty much filled the day. Susan and I had stopped to vote in the primary (two different parties, of course), conveniently at our clubhouse that we pass each day on our walk.
Other than that, ain't no news from Mimi.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Susan gave me one of the "football cakes" for Pat she had made for the H.'s party. She said they had a great time. So did Leslie, who sent me a lovely e-mail message. They're such good friends, but hearing about the fun still makes me feel on the outside looking in. Oh, well, I am going to Susan's "Mexican valentine" party on Sunday; will bring Pat back a platter.
Ran over to Santori's yesterday to stock the larder. Got butternut, spahetti, and acorn squash, green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, tangerines, and lots of lucious broccoli. Stopped at Shop-Rite for a few other items.
I called Don S., who lives here in Sunrise Bay (and is the husband of a friend), and asked him to come over and take a look at my computer. It's been getting sulky and balky lately and I have several issues I want him to resolve. Of course, I expect to pay him. He and Mary, incidentally, are soon taking a cruise to Austrailia--lucky them!*
Other than that, nothing much went on except Pat's usual radiation at 3:00. At least we found out that he goes only until Friday, then it's over. However, the new leison on his ear has to be seen and I made an appointment at the dermatologist for Monday.
Today we vote in the primary; polls are at the clubhouse. I'll suggest to Susan that we stop in on our walk, as we go right by it. Of course, we'll be voting for different candidates. She likes Romney and I'm not crazy about anybody. Will just vote for the party, I guess.
Note: Just got back from having my BP checked at the doctor's. It was 122/78, which, medically challenged though I am, I realize is good.
*One of the things that have gone wrong is the spell check on this blog.

Monday, February 04, 2008

After a chat with Betty in the morning, nothing much went on yesterday. Did wash, tidied up, and blah, blah, blah. Went to three drugstores to look for the few items Patrick asked me to send, but found only one. Will look later.
Served up the beef stew in front of the T.V. and watched part of the first half in between taking a shower. Called Ellen on the web cam but, for some reason, it didn't work. Said there was a problem with the recording device. Will see if I can find something unhooked.
JUST got up at 6:40, so must now get over to Susan's for our walk. Nothing in the least bit interesting to report, aside from the Giants upsetting the Patriots, and that's pretty ho-hum, too.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Went to Tucker Tom's, then Acme, to replenish the larder. Acme was having a "big game party," with free food, decorations, a loud speaker, and other hoopla. They were actually serving not just finger food, but full lunches. Buffet tables were set up in various locations with hot dogs, soda, and sides on some; cold cuts on others; potato and macaroni salads, chips and dips; soda and other drinks on ice; plentiful desserts--all, of course, with the appropriate tableware.
I must be hopelessly serious-minded, or a big grouch, or something, as I found this obscurely disturbing. Everybody was buying into Super Bowl frenzy, which grows and grows every year. It's no longer a mildly interesting athletic contest among young millionaires capping off the football season. Don't these grocery shoppers know that the sole purpose is to enrich the bottom line of the mega-corporations that run the country?
The SuperBowl has become some kind of ritual--you're practically unpatriotic if it doesn't excite you--that diverts attention from the horrors we're still inflicting on people in other countries. It competes for notice of the good works for which so many Americans are responsible and which so seldom come to the fore in the media. The carnival atmosphere seems designed to entice people to put aside concerns about the tanking economy, the plight of inner-cities, and the abasement of our culture in favor of pursuing a trivial event.
There's a painting, or novel, or story--can't remember which--concerning members of the highest level, most elegant, German society at a summer ball just before World War I. The women are adorned with fabulous jewels and the men are suave, handsome, and knowing. The hall blazes with light, the band plays loudly, and the dancers dance and dance and dance long into the night...while their whole society is crumbling and the guns of August boom in the distance.
But nobody hears because the band is so loud.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Susan and I were lucky yesterday in that we had just finished our walk when the rain started. It continued all day, varying from just misty to a heavy downpour.
I've had a hankering for lentil soup and decided it was a good day to make a big pot. Modified a recipe and put together half a pound of dried lentils in 3 cups of FF chicken broth, a cup of diced tomatoes, and 1/3 cup each of onions, celery, and carrots, plus minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Simmered it for about an hour and added about a cup of chopped spinach near the end. Oh, it was goo-oo-d. I had talked to sister Betty in the morning for a nice long time--and how I wish I could have asked her over for a bowl of soup!
I walked over to Marge's under an umbrella for my BP "appointment." She took it twice with the wrist monitor, twice with Fred's upper-arm cuff. Here are the numbers: 132/80, 120/80, 125/88, and 134/83. My pulse rate was 66, 66, 68, and 67.
Marge then gave me a cup of tea and we had a nice visit. Had to get Pat to SOCH after that for the radiation. I asked how many more visits and was a little chagrinned to hear we still have to go SIX more times. That's through next week, then another day. Okay, if we have to, we have to--(sigh). At least we get a day off today and tomorrow.
Nothing much else going on aside from the ever-present domestic chores. (JC is supposed to have said, "The poor we have always with us," but he was misquoted. He was actually referring to laundry.)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Picked up Mary Ann Van O. for lunch and we went to the re-opened little restaurant in the strip mall behind Rite-Aid. M.A. had soup and a half-sandwich and I had "Greek salad." It's in quotes because the Greeks would never recognize it. Essentially, it consisted of iceberg (ugh!) lettuce, ordinary canned black olives, a few cubes of feta, and oil and vinegar dressing. That's about as Greek as Al Pacino. Reminded me of restaurants who give you "Caesar salad" with tomatoes in it.
To add i. to i., I asked for decaf hazelnut coffee, and they don't carry it. The name of the place, which I can't recall, includes the word, "ground" and strongly suggests coffee. Gee, you can get decaf hazelnut at any Wawa--it's not that exotic. (Oh, quit yer bitchin' Rosemary, and get on with it.)
Mary Ann and I caught up with one another's COPD-ridden lives. Her Bart is about the same, as is Pat, and we're both just hangin' in. Pat H. and her son came in and we chatted with them for a time. Her husband just had stents put in and was coming home shortly.
Dropped Mary Ann off about 2:15, then took Pat up to SOCH for his radiation. He was taken right away and we were out by 3:00.
Got a nice e-mail message from new library friend, Janice. She has dystonia, a neuro-muscular disease, but still manages to have a pretty full life. Has a determinedly cheery attitude, too. She told me that Rose's breed is actually spelled "Tonkinese." For all you Absecon Islanders: I want to mention that Janice was born and brought up in the Inlet and went to Massachusetts Avenue School and ACHS.
Checked the Outdoor Club hiking schedule again. The problem is, so many are pretty far away and, because of Pat's condition, I'm uneasy straying beyond a certain distance. I have my eye on Monday, February 11, at Brenden Byrne Park, only about 20 minutes away. That's Pat's birthday, but I assume we'll celebrate it the day before, so think I'll go on that one.
Note: The spell check on this damn site hasn't been working, which I noticed yesterday, too. And after all I pay for this blog! Oh, that's right, I don't pay anything--guess I'll just have to live with it and so will you, gentle reader.