Monday, March 31, 2008

Arrived at J & J's about 1:00. Jen, Tristan, Joely, and his cousin, Gabe, were there, along with a friend of Jen's. Got to hold "T," who was fascinated by the zipper and snap on my coat--but was aware he didn't know me and was a little standoffish.
Joel was down the street helping Jen's sister move into her new apartment with some other friends. He came back and we set off in his van for Morrisville, only 22 miles away.
I was a little worried the table would be too big and/or hideously distasteful, and/or that I'd hate it for some other reason, but it's beautiful. Tom and Joel speculated about the wood--it has a dark, rich, very slightly reddish patina--but couldn't come to a conclusion as to what it is. The table is plain except for spiralled legs and a carved rectangular inset on the side. It has a full drop-leaf and a sort of gate leg that pulls out to hold the leaf. Tom pointed out that the flat surfaces are single pieces of wood two feet wide; you can't buy anything that size today.
To my surprise, Tom told me the table had come over from Ireland with Aunt Claire's mother, not Uncle Frank's, my grandmother. Since Aunt C. was 97 when she died last month, it must be 120 years old or so. I don't care whose it was, I love it anyway.
We drove back to Joel's so I could pick up my car and Joel's friend, Jason, came with us down to our place. They moved the table in without incident and, after we tried it in the foyer (it seemed too wide), we settled on the inner dining room wall. Pat suggested we switch placement with the bench Uncle Frank had made, and it looks great. Not sure if I'll keep the rattan table that had been there.
The boys then loaded the van with the table and chair set, rocker, and side table I was giving to Jen's sister, and went on their way.
Ellen, dear heart, called after dinner and we had our usual Sunday talk. She said the townhouse inspection went well. She has settlement on Tuesday and will actually move in on Sunday.
Other D.D. Alison called. She had the boys overnight on Saturday while J. and J. went to a party and said T. was up half the night, which means she was, too. Even so, she and Mike raced on Sunday and she said both did well. She starts at her new school in Riverside (45 minutes from home) today.
Patrick sent pictures of his and N.'s excursion to the Great Buddha in Kamakura(?). I have pictures of when he and I were there eight years ago, and greatly enjoyed seeing his.
All in all, a full and satisfying day.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Had a thoroughly delightful day yesterday with Pat's niece, Donna E. She got here a little after 11:00 and we chatted and visited with Pat for an hour or so, then went off to Lizzie Rose.
This is an specialty shop on Main Street (Route 9), filled with charming and expensive merchandise, including a plethora of teapots. In the back is a tiny tearoom--four tables--overlooking the garden (but also, the parking lot).
Lunch was wonderful. We got our choice of tea (I picked raspberry), then a three-tier server was brought to the table. The bottom level contained little finger sandwiches: turkey and a spicy spread on whole wheat; tiny rounds of pumpernickel with meat and a heart cut of of cheese; halved plum tomatoes filled with chicken salad; and similar dainty fare. The second tier had luscious scones in the shape of roses and the third tiny petit fours and huge chocolate-covered strawberries.
Did I use any dietary restraint? Absolutely not! I ate every crumb of my half, aside from two little cakes and the strawberries, which I took home for Pat. (I wasn't being noble and self-sacrificing, I was just full.)
What a feast! I'm perfectly okay with it, though, not filled with regret and self-recrimination as I would have been a few years ago (the way an obese person reacts to overindulging). I simply compensated by having only a small bowl of broccoli for dinner, then resumed my normal routine of popcorn and wine at eight.
The Lizzie Rose has just opened a wonderful restored Victorian house right next door, which will soon be a restaurant. They already rent it out for parties and a shower was going on. The place is beautiful, with dark woodwork and appropriate wallpaper and other decoration.
After lunch (Donna insisted on treating), we went down Green Street to see Pat at the bay. We found him with his buddy, John, in the passenger seat chatting with another guy in the car next to them. Stayed there for a few minutes, then went back to the house. Donna came in and we had a nice talk. She left right before Pat got home. We promised we'd see more of each other and said goodbye with great affection.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Poor Marge was unable to make lunch yesterday; she had terrible insomnia and was wiped out. Hey, this is a drag, as I well know. I'm very lucky in that I usually sleep well, but every once in a while, I'll have a stretch--sometimes for days--of waking at 3 am and not being able to go back to sleep. The weird and annoying thing is, it doesn't seem to matter how active I am during the day: I've found it hard to sleep (or go back to sleep) whether I had completed a 10-mile hike or passed a relatively quiet day. Marge and I will try for another date soon.
I actually got most of the income tax stuff pulled together. Have reluctantly decided to look for a local accountant to do it. Much as I love Bill D., who's been our tax guy for years, he's just too far away. I don't feel competent to do it myself (considering our vast wealth and complicated holdings--ha!), although I did use Turbo Tax last year.
Quiet day. My dear D.D. called about 6:00 on her way to the Friday night hike she and Mike lead. I'm back to my better (and happier, or at least, more resigned) self and it isn't really necessary for her to call everyday, but I hate to tell her that because I love hearing from her.
Anyway, Alison told me that our former next door neighbor in Ewing, Ida H., had driven to an auto dealership, pressed the gas instead of the brake, and plowed right through the building, hitting a receptionist's desk and pinning her under the car. The woman is badly hurt and was taken to the hospital. Poor Ida, who is 86, lost her daughter, Neela, a few years ago from cancer. She has another daughter, Helaine, who was a coach at a local high school--maybe still is. The story was on the front page of The Trenton Times yesterday. What a bizarre and horrible accident.
Am going to today's early Weight Watchers meeting right after our walk; it opens at 7:30 am. Will then look forward to niece Donna's visit and going to the Lizzie Rose tearoom with her.
Later: Well, I'm up a quarter pound or 4 ounces or two tenths of a pound. No big deal, as it may be the result of overeating at Alison's on Saturday or just a normal variation. Am at 137.6 with an even 62 pounds off.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Went to the peace vigil last night with Leslie. It was good to again hold a tiny, tiny candle (literally and symbolically) against the dark. Dennis had worked all day and didn't feel up to going; instead, he dropped in to visit Pat while we were gone. So good to have such good friends.
Les invited me to a hike at Freedom Fields on April 12 sponsored by Little Egg Township. The idea is to get families turned on to hiking--a wonderful gesture and right down my alley, of course.
I was pleased to get pictures this morning from Patrick of the new apartment. Looks much more modern and bigger than his old one, but of course, there are two of them now.
I thought Alison would skip calling me yesterday, as I'm doing fine and was with her on Wednesday, but she called while babysitting for grandchildren Lindsay and Lucas. I also talked--and saw on the web cam--Ellen, who was about to leave for final inspection of her new townhouse.
Marge and I made a tentative date for lunch today, only to be broken if her terrible insomnia persists.
P.S. Betty: Re your comment of yesterday: You're right! What better disguise for criminals than police sweatshirts! Whew--glad they were so winded from running, we escaped with our lives!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Finally, finally, I'm back on my own computer! Don came after dinner to re-install last night. Aside from a few quirks I have to ask about, it's going all right.
I've been wanting to explore the hiking trails at Freedom Fields, the county park near us, but would never go in the woods alone. Yesterday, I was delighted when D.D. Alison came down and off to F.F. we went.
The weather was great, about 65 and sunny, and it's a lovely little area, but hardly the likes of Brendan Byrne Park, where the Outdoor Club often hikes. That covers a mind-boggling 50,000 acres, with scores of different trails, some 35 miles long. Freedom Fields has only two trails, the blue and the yellow. We chose the blue, the longest one, but it's still only two and a half miles.
It was so enjoyable to walk in the woods with my daughter! During the first stretch, though, I got careless about watching where I was going. We were on a relatively smooth sand path, but I hit my foot on a root and fell down hard on both knees. For a second, it hurt like hell and I was sure I had broken something, but Alison--a health professional, after all--was so calm and comforting. She told me not to try to get up for a minute (I had rolled over and was sitting) and asked about what hurt, how much, etc., then suggested I roll up my slacks to look at my knees. I did, and the skin was only slightly abraded. It stopped stinging, she helped me up, and we continued on our way.
After our hike, we headed toward the bay to see Pat and his cronies. However, we met up with him driving from the area--with a young man in the front seat with him. It turns out the guy's pickup truck had broken down and Pat was taking him to the parts store to get a new crankshaft (or something). Alison followed him to the place, as she was a little apprehensive about her Dad picking up a stranger. She decided he was a robber and would hold him up. I told her "no problem," as Pat probably didn't have more than five bucks on him, anyway. (We both have over-active imaginations.) However, no problems ensued and later, when Pat got home, he said the guy's mother, for heaven's sake, was in the truck; she hadn't wanted to go with them.
Talked to other D.D. and heard more about her townhouse. She continues to de-clutter, pack up, and prepare for her yard sale on Saturday. Hope it's successful and she makes a bundle.
Tonight, Dennis, Leslie, and I will participate in a peace vigil in Absecon. Five years on and we still perpetuate the horror. Will our descendants have to mark "twenty years," thirty years," fifty years...?"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Back at the library.
Don thinks he can restore most of the data on my computer, but hasn't finished yet. Nothing much going on. Jack B. stopped in yesterday about 1:00 pm--and stayed until quarter of five! Pat didn't get to the bay and I skipped some errands I was going to run, but we enjoyed his visit.
Alison calls everyday--the dear, caring, insightful person that she is. Yesterday, she was on her way with Joely to granddaughter, Lindsay's birthday party, but she has an ear piece.
Ellen also called and we chatted for some time. She's packing up and de-cluttering in preparation for her move.
Today, I'll take Pat to the dermatologist at 4:00, then go to the support group with Leslie at 7:00. Other than that, nada, which is fine by me.
Things okay now, except I developed a sore throat yesterday. Haven't had a cold in an age, but this must be one. If it doesn't get worse, it's not too bad.

Monday, March 24, 2008

After a rocky start, had a very enjoyable, if unconventional, Easter weekend. We went to Alison's for dinner on Saturday with Joel, Jen, and Tristan (Joely was at his cousin's and asked to stay). "T" is so funny and cute: He crawls rapidly after what he wants--and that's everything. I had to wrestle Lulu's food dish from him and when we were eating, he tried to swipe the tableware and plate. He goes after Lulu and actually grabs her tail to pull himself up. What a kid!
Alison served ham, corn pudding, a rice/feta cheese/mint dish, roasted veggies, and a few other dishes and I contributed the devilled eggs and cake. I brought a basket full of different salad dressings--and completely forgot the salad! Aagh--it's that kind of thing that throws me for a loop, but I controlled my chagrin and we had a great time.
Yesterday, I drove up to Alison's in late afternoon while Pat was at the bay. We packed up the leftovers, picked up Mike's brother, David, and went to the assisted living facility where their mother lives.
Mavis is considerably more "with it" than she was the last time I saw her about a year ago. (Alison said that after strokes, the brain can sometimes develop new pathways to do what it used to do on the damaged ones, and that seems to be what happened with Mavis.)
Right next to M.'s room is the "tea room," with a working fireplace, polished table and chairs, and easy chairs. It also has a big, fully equipped kitchen, and we were given tablecloths.
Alison had brought everything else, including the food, plates and utensils, and we put out a big spread. Had a good time; Mavis reminiscenced about camping trips and so on when her three boys were small, and some of the stories were genuinely funny. She does think Lee is still alive and sometimes slips into a little delusion otherwise, but generally is pretty good.
We left about 7:00, dropped David off, and got back to Alison's about 7:30. An hour later, I was home, had my popcorn and wine, and slept well. Pat was fine, having made himself a ham sandwich for dinner (I had left as much laid out as possible) and said he had stopped at Old George's and talked to his sister-in-law.
My emotional equilibrium is much improved now. Will still go with Leslie to the support group meeting tomorrow, but I'm in a much better frame of mind.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Went to the clubhouse to use a computer, but the room is being painted and they're inaccessible. Went to the library, but it's Good Friday and it's closed. Am now at noisy K-Mart, but the computers here are much faster and they allow you a whole hour, as opposed to the library's 30 minutes.
Pat's sweet niece, Donna, and I had had a date to go for tea tomorrow (Saturday) at Lizzie Rose, an antique shop--shoppe--and fancy-poo place that's nice to visit every year or so. However, since we're now having dinner at Alison's tomorrow, we postponed it to next Saturday--yay!
Spoke to dear friend, Leslie, and accepted her offer to accompany her to a support group to which she belongs; it's for people who have suffered,or are suffering, losses. It's not only for those whose losses are the result of death, but of people like me, who are facing the loss of companionship and whatever else due to disease, divorce, accidents, and so on. The group meets at the Methodist Church on Tuesday.
Talked to Betty, baked the cake I'm bringing tomorrow, boiled the eggs for the devilled eggs I'm also bringing, got the salad ingredients, etc. Looking forward to hiding eggs for Joely to find and seeing precious little Tristan.
Other things went on, but they're really not too interesting and I'm getting tired of recording them. I will say I went to Weight Watchers yesterday and lost another eight tenths of a pound--ha! but I'll take it and like it--for a new total of 62.2 down and a weight of 137.4.
At WW, I was happy to discover that leader Cris (no "h") does an 8 am meeting on Saturdays, so I'm going to switch to that. Always has a problem with the lateness of the Thursday meeting--10 am, which is practically the middle of the afternoon for me.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Back at the library, but don't have time for much. Will try again after I go home and make lunch.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I'm at the clubhouse using the computer. My own is with Don S., as I did something incredibly stupid and I may have actually wrecked the thing. It's just too long and involved to go into and I feel terribly about it. Hope to get the computer back by Saturday, but I may have lost all my data, including this blog and my documents. I'll try to get to a computer tomorrow or maybe later today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ohboyohboy--for the first time in an age, I missed our walk not-of-necessity. Overslept to the tune of 7:10, incredibly enough. Unfortunately, I again had trouble sleeping last night. Woke when Pat came in about 11:30, then again at 3:00. Did go back to sleep after a half hour or so, but then--see above. Hope and assume this isn't a pattern.
The hike was so good yesterday. As it was last week, the weather was perfect: cold, but with brilliant sun and blue skies. We realized it was windy the few times we walked into a clearing, but for most of it, we were in the woods, so the wind didn't penetrate.
I was pleased to to be greeted by many I've hiked with before: Joan, Marilyn, Pat, and several of the men. There were about 30 of us, and we went 5.2 miles. The terrain and scenery were great. It was over mostly broad, pine-needle-strewn or sandy paths (which makes for easy walking), and part of the route bordered unused cranberry bogs that were a deep royal blue. All along the edges there were cranberries caught in the rushes and we joked there was no need to buy them, we could just gather them here.
I got home exactly at 1:00 and pulled in the driveway just as Connie drove up to drop off her son's resume. Ran in the house, shoved some broccoli in the microwave, ate that and a little yogurt for lunch, got Pat in the car, and made it to the dermatologist's for his appointment at 2:00. The nurse took out some of the stitches, but unfortunately, pointed out that the doctor had identified yet another squamous cell behind his ear. We go to the radiation center at SOCH at 11:00 today to have the earlier stuff checked, so will have to discuss how to treat the new one. Pat also has a podiatrist appointment today at 9:45, so I hope that gets over before we have to go to SOCH
After I dropped Pat off at home yesterday, I went to my own doctor's to straighten out a mix-up in appointments, stopped at Acme to replenish the larder, took books back to the library, and did a few other errands.
Talked to Alison after dinner and we discussed Easter. I'll suggested I bring devilled eggs, a green salad, and a cake. With a ham and a few more side dishes, that will be plenty. She said the table (which they had stained at the shop) came in. She said it looks great, but doesn't really match the chairs she had stained, although she had brought one to them so it would. I have a hell of a lot more on the agenda, such as getting Pat's pulmonologist to write a letter to Ocean County, requesting that he be removed from the juror lists (yes, he was called); contacting Atlantic Imaging, which wants to charge me $690 for my recent mammo and bone density test; and many more of the minutiae that seems to fill my life. And oh yes, I have to pull together the income tax stuff and try to get that done before April 15, which is coming right up.
On the bright and neighborly side, Susan gave me a piece of (green) pistachio cake for Pat and we got St. Pat's Day cards from bro and SIL, Jim and Terese, and neighbor, Anne Mary H.

Monday, March 17, 2008

This will be a quickie, as I just got up--at 6:35, for heaven's sake! Ironically, I watched 60 Minutes last night and they had a double segment on the importance of sleep. Wouldn't you know, I woke up at 3:00 and couldn't get back, then did, and overslept.
The opera session yesterday was really good. I was completely confused in yesterday's blog and mixed two operas. Actually, we saw Cavalleto Rustiana first, then had an intermission, then saw Il Pagliaccio. (I know the spelling for both is mangled, but don't have time to look them up.) Both concerned love, spurned love, hate, increased hate, heartbreak, and tragedy. They sound silly, but were magnificent. Can't wait for next week.
Friend Connie W. called last night to ask if I would go over her son's resume. He worked at Peterson's Guides--don't know in what capacity--and was laid off at the age of 42. Of course, I said I would and she'll bring the resume over this afternoon.
I'm going on another hike today, at Pakim Pond in Brendan Byrne Park, and it starts at 10:00. Must take Pat to get his stitches out at 2:00, so hope I'll be here when Connie arrives.
Must go pick up Susan now. Chaio!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Various and sundry yesterday. Talked/saw both Ellen and Mike on the web cam and we discussed my up-coming trip to California. Mike had e-mailed the itinerary of his gang's California trip to "kinfolk," as he called them, including his west coast cousins, whom he'd like to see. He'll be in Santa Barbara/Ventura starting on May 10 and I'll plan my trip around that.
Went to Acme, SOCH thrift store, and Rite-Aid for different items. Fulfilled my housewifely duties, taking care of laundry, cleaning, and cooking.
Got a call from Mary Ann Van O., whose husband, Bart, has the same lousy disease Pat does. Bart was in the hospital with pneumonia and is now in Seacrest Rehab, where Pat was more than a year ago.
I'll be attending Mary Ann's "Opera Class" again this afternoon. Can't remember the name of the opera we'll see, but she said it includes "Pagliacci." She was excited to be asked to do her program at the library (that's where she gets the tapes we view).
Pat's been going to the bay everyday--that's a given, just as my morning walk is--but said many of his buddies haven't been down the last few, even John. He stopped outside Old George's on the way home and G.'s SIL, Bea, came out of the house to talk to him; George will be out of rehab on Thursday.
So things are limping along here in southern Ocean...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

After WW yesterday, I packed and sent the Easter packages (cocoanut eggs and Peeps) to Singapore and Tokyo. After, did mostly domestic chores. I had bought a "Nature's Way" (or something) whole chicken, without antibiotics or hormones added, and I decided to just stick it in the crock pot. I did, it cooked all day, and was delicious at dinner.
Barb H. came over to ask if I wanted to sit at her table for the fashion show in May and I do. Earlier, Susan had invited me to go with her to a tea in June at Georgian Court , and I accepted with pleasure.
Got Easter decorations out, including the hand-painted wooden eggs from Poland I bought years ago from somebody at Rider. Cleaned the master bath and caught up on the wash.
Last night, Susan and Walter picked me up and we went to a "sing-a-long" at the clubhouse. It featured our Sunrise Bay Singers with songs from the fifties and sixties, and was good fun. However, somebody sang "Danny Boy" and it made me melancholy to think of Pat sitting home alone, so I left and walked home during the intermission.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Met former colleague, Helen C., for lunch at Simply Radishing, one of my old haunts in Lawrenceville. As ever, it was great to see her. She told me she had recently passed her 20-year milestone at Rider, prompting me to realize that I started there in 1975 and have been retired now for almost six years--yoicks!
We had a leisurely lunch, catching up on each other's news. I was tempted by the fabulous corn chowder, but cream soups are notoriously calorie-laden, so ordered mushroom barley--also delicious--and a small Caesar salad, Helen, who was widowed two years ago, is going to Paris in May to visit friends who have an apartment there. (How do you find such friends?)
We parted and drove back to Rider separately. Boy-oh-boy, how the campus has changed! It looks beautiful and the new buildings are so impressive. Went into the new "Rec Center," an absolute palace, with a huge circular reception area in the middle (mostly glass, soaring ceiling, and--incredibly--a fully-equipped Starbucks in the lounge). Ran into Joan P. and Crista M., both of whom I had hired years ago, as they pointed out. Turned around to see the director, Mike R., whom I've known for ages, and we hugged and fell back into our old bantering. Unbelievably and incredibly, he told me his oldest son is fifteen! This can't be true, as I clearly remember when Mike and his wife were anticipating this kid. Boy, does time do that thing...
Dropped in on HR and was greeted with welcomes and hugs all around. Talked to my old boss, Ellen L., darling David, and others; nodded to the successor to my successor (he left after 4 years), and stopped a few other places. Said a final goodbye to Helen, and drove off.
I debated whether to go to the old neighborhood (Ewing), but decided I had had enough looking back, and drove home. The Forest Service was conducting "prescribed burns" on the pine barrens that line most of the 30 miles I drive down Route 539, so I was detoured to Manahawkin. Called Pat to tell him I'd be late and went down to Elaine's, a wonderful candy store, to get Easter items for the Asia contingent. Didn't get home until 5:30, but that was all right.
Greatly enjoyed the day, but as I wrote before: The past is a great place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
Later: Went to WW and found I'm down another pound. That's a total of 61.4 and a current weight of 138.2. Not bad, Roe, not bad at all.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Got up to Alison's at 9 on the dot and was delighted to find Jen there doing her wash. (A. gave her a key and she's welcome anytime.) Even more delightful was the little guy she brought with her: Tristan. He's such a sweetie-pie, happily barreling along the floor and cramming everything possible in his mouth. Lulu stays in the laundry room while Alison and Mike are at work, but she has a dog door, so can go in and out (they have a large fenced-in yard). We wouldn't let her in the upper part of the house and she barked and pawed furiously at the sliding glass door off the kitchen. Well, "T" scooted in there, hauled himself up to the door, and was absorbed for a good 10 minutes (a long time for a 7-month-old) with the phenomenon of doggie jumping and barking, but no contact.
The couch came about 11:00 and is in place in the addition. It's so good-looking, big and plushy in a deep chocolate fabric; feels something like suede. After that, Jen and I took T. for a walk in his coach--he immediately fell asleep--and I left for home about 1:00.
Such a nice baby day!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Got my hair cut yesterday and it looks pretty good. Always hated my hair, which is Indian-straight and flyaway, but used to be thick. Now it's Indian-straight and flyaway, but a lot thinner. The color's about the same, though--medium brown--no thanks to Nature.
Finished a bunch of chores I've been putting off for a low-key, but okay day. Picked up some beef cubes and made beef stew for dinner. Have enough left over to freeze for a later meal. Made a big salad and put some in my traveling container to take for Alison's for lunch. I'll leave here in about an hour--8:00 am--as she said the sofa is scheduled to be delivered between 9 and 12.
Ellen sent pictures of her new townhouse--boy, is it nice. Has built-in shelving in the master bedroom, plus windows on either side and corner ones across the room. The setting is also lovely, with nicely-kept lawns, trees and shrubs, and wide streets. It's called "Riverview" and it actually has a view of the (dry; I think that's peculiar to California) river bed beyond rolling fields and with mountains in the background. It's just lovely and I can't wait to see it in person in May.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The hike on the Batona Trail* went 6.9 miles yesterday and it was perfect weather: very cold, but brilliantly sunny with little wind. As usual in the forest, the terrain was varied, from packed sand to asphalt roads to narrow tracks bumpy with roots and forest debris. There was some elevation, but it was easily negotiable. About 20 people and two dogs participated and I was happy to see several people I had met on other hikes; it was a nice, convivial group.
Didn't get home until 2:00, so was glad I had left Pat's sandwich for lunch. He was at the bay and I got caught up with wash and so on until dinnertime (steak for him, salmon for me).
Got calls from brothers Larry and Frank, both of whom hope to come for our anniversary in June. Frank asked me to e-mail our Patrick's phone number to his son, Patrick, who is in Tokyo this week, regarding a newly-opened head and neck surgery center there. He'll lecture or advise or something.
Getting my hair cut today and tomorrow, will drive up to Alison's to receive the new sofa they ordered, as they'll both be working. Thursday, I meet former colleague, Helen C., for lunch in Lawrenceville, so it will continue to be a pleasant week.
*The Batona Trail, in Brendan Byrne State Park, totals a full fifty miles, but its segments vary in length. It boggles the mind to know that my SIL, Mike, has hiked the entire fifty miles several times--at one go, that is, and with only short rest stops. Think I'll leave that particular outing alone.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Much as I like DSL, it can be a pain. Got up late--6:30--and had to rush a bit to pick up Susan at 7:00 (because I must have my coffee first). Back now, though, and ready for the hike today.
Nothing much went on yesterday. I skipped the Women's Club meeting; just wasn't interested in the program, somebody or other lecturing on how to stay healthy in one's later years. Ho-hum, everybody knows you need to rest a lot, watch t.v. as much as possible, eat a thoroughly-processed and high sugar diet, and be sure to follow everything you learn from Oprah and Dr. Phil.
Anyhoo--took a dry run to the trail head at Ong's Hat. It's 32 miles, but now I'll know for next time how to get there.
Got the pictures from Patrick of his and N.'s weekend in the mountains and greatly enjoyed them. Can't wait for their visit.
Talked to, and saw, Ellen on the web cam and that was fun. We discussed her new townhouse, school, and so on. The picture had been somewhat fuzzy before, but now is much clearer, which is nice.
Other than all that, just had a rather slow, but okay, day.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Rain or not, we had a pleasant day yesterday. (It sure as hell beat Friday.) Went to Manahawkin on various errands in the morning, then puttered around after lunch. Spoke to Betty several times and was happy to hear her good news. (I won't spoil it, as I'm sure she'll explain on her blog.)
Changed the bedclothes and did several loads of wash. Got some of my new books shelved and made a big salad. I regularly prepare the basics (typically, torn lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, kidney beans, and beets) and refrigerate covered with a damp paper towel. Then when I want a snack, I add feta cheese and no-cal dressing. Yesterday, I also sliced in a hard-boiled egg for extra protein. It was yummy and I had some for lunch along with butternut squash.
Pat's bay buddy, John, came over in the afternoon. John is a big talker and very nice guy. He and Pat called Old George, who's back in rehab after his most recent operation, and they plan to visit him today.
John lives in Cranberry Creek, a nearby sister community (over-55), by the same builder who did our development, Sunrise Bay. He and his wife have no children, and she dotes on their Schnauzer. John said they had their first cremated and keep its remains (or "cremains," a truly horrible recently invented word) in a lovely little box with doggie's name on a gold plaque--geesh, exactly like Aunt Claire's, only smaller, I guess. Wifie wants second dog processed the same and wants the ashes from both buried with her (I kid you not). I repeated my mantra "a good dog is a stuffed dog" and John took it in the joking spirit it was offered.
Later, Alison called and asked if I'd come up on Wednesday to receive a new sofa she and Mike bought for the addition (two chairs will come later). Of course, I will and I'm looking forward to it. I'll see if Pat wants to come, too.
In the evening, Patrick called and he, Pat, and I had a long, long talk. He and N. were expecting her parents for lunch and he was making pasta fug goul (I know that's misspelled, but Blogspot doesn't know how, either). He said he had sent pictures of their excursion mountain-climbing last weekend, but I didn't get them for some reason, so he'll re-send. We talked happily about what they'd like to do when they're here in August, which includes going to the zoo, hiking, and up to Ewing, to the environs where P. grew up.
I welcome Daylight Savings Time and changed all the clocks before I went to bed. Incredibly, counting our watches and the ones in our cars, we have thirteen timepieces. There may be some deep psychological significance to that, but damned if I know what it is.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Yesterday was an ordeal. When I went there Thursday (Accredited Dermatology's Northfield office), I did check out where Pat would be staying between excision and biopsy, and it seemed okay. One of the receptionists was nice enough to show me around, then suggest I call before we come to see if the doc was running late. I did, and she said to call again in a half hour. After that, she told us to come over. The appointment was originally at 11:15, but we got there, as instructed, at noon.
We were dismayed to see the waiting room packed. In fact, somebody got up to offer Pat a seat. However, we were told we could wait in the back waiting room and that was better...
...sort of. Not only was there a television set on, but "music"--noise--was blaring from a CD player. Except when we asked that it be turned off, it was on all day, and it was loud. Luckily, I'm re-reading my hero, Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, and brought that, so had some defense (excuse the pun).
Pat was taken into a treatment room fairly soon, and a nurse--or attendant, or the girl who comes in to mop up (who looked about 14; maybe she doing community service or something)--took some info, then injected him with something to numb the ear area.
Long, long delay, then the chatty doctor came in, did the excision, took a biopsy, and we waited and waited and waited. We knew this would take time, as the specimen had to be frozen, sliced, diced, fried, examined, or whatever. We were told we could go out and have lunch, as it would take about an hour and a half to see if he got it all.
Yeah, go out and get lunch. It's difficult for Pat to walk down the corridor, let alone "go out and get lunch," so I said I'd get him a sandwich. When I got to a deli, I realized I had left my wallet with money and debit card, back at the office. I did have some credit cards with me and found a Wawa which would take one. Got the stuff (ham and cheese for Pat, a drab made-up chef's salad for me, their excellent coffee for both of us), went to check out, and saw I had only store credit cards with me. Was about to ask if I could come back with the money, but incredibly, they let me put it on a Sears card!
We ate in the back waiting room where we had been all day and felt better after. Biopsy came back, doc took more off, then did a graft with skin from his chest. Long story short--oops, it's already long; sorry--we finally got out of there and home at 5:45. Quickly gave Pat his late afternoon pills and insulin, and made him dinner.
Okay, it's over and we just have to go to the Manahawkin office to get the stitches out.
Driving home--it was dark and rainy, of course, my least-favorite weather--we tried to figure out if this full day was better or worse than the 16 visits to the radiation oncology place at SOCH. They seem to be equally dreary and I hope we never have to decide that again.

Friday, March 07, 2008

After WW, was pleased to get a call from Marge asking if I wanted to go out for lunch. Yes, indeedy, and we went to Poseidon; hadn't been there for a while. I was going to order my usual, but in truth, am just a tad tired of the old C.S. Saw on the menu "The Waist Watcher," and recklessly ordered that.
Gawd, was it good! It consisted of a turkey burger (no bun), a big mound of luscious cottage cheese (I eat it every morning, but figured more wouldn't hurt), and a small, but delicious portion of fresh fruit salad. I like sweet with savory and often serve fruit salad or applesauce with meat and this was wonderful. Guess I've been in a rut and will try to be more creative with what I order out.
Marge came back to the house with me to see Patrick's and Natsue's wedding pictures and view some of the passing parade (mostly Vivian) on the digital frame. I dropped her off at home, then took a dry run over to the dermatologist's office in Northfield in preparation for today. Stopped at Santori's on the way home and stocked up on goodies, including broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and feta cheese.
Got an e-mail from Barb H. telling us Mary Ann Van O's husband, Bart, who also suffers from emphysema, is in the hospital. Will call her from the doctor's office.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Got my baby back yesterday--yay! Alison came before dinner and spent more than an hour installing it (with Mike's instructions). She had to call him a few times when glitches arose, but was able to get it up and running. For payment, I gave her foil-covered Linzt chocolate figures of Santa Claus and a reindeer left over from Christmas
Mike said he had been unable to fix the poor dear in the usual way (whatever that is), so had had to strip it (or something) and reinstall everything. It's working fine and I'm so pleased and grateful to both of them.
Earlier in the day, Barb D. and I went to The Grapevine for lunch. Had a wonderfully convivial time, talking away. Have I ever mentioned how much I like my neighbors? This was so good and it seems to have been an age since I've been out for lunch. Had my good ol' Caesar salad--natch--and took half home.
I received an e-mail last night from former Rider colleague Mary Jane H., telling me her husband had died of a heart attack. I called her immediately and we had a good talk. Mary Jane lives in Beach Haven West, 10 miles from here, and she and I meet for lunch periodically.
Weight Watchers today, and as ever, I'll be fine with whatever the weigh-in reveals.
Incidentally, I checked my BP yesterday and the day before at Acme and it was 136/81 and 127/76, with a pulse rate of 67 and 66, respectively.
Later: Good news--I lost another pound and a half, so passed the 60-pound-off mark. Am now 139.2 and pleased, of course, to have reached two more goals.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Went to Manahawkin this morning to run a lot of errands, and stopped into K-Mart to check my e-mail. Got a message from Alison saying Mike has finished with my computer and she'll come tomorrow late afternoon to re-install it--happy day! I'll see if she'll stay for dinner, too.
Other than that, not much going on except domestic chores. Dropped some stuff off at the thrift store, but they wouldn't take the humongus bag of hangers in my truck. (Took the bag from Aunt Claire's, not realizing what was in it.)
It's warm and looks like rain, but that's okay. Must ask Alison how to get to Ong's Hat, which is where the hike on Monday next is.
In Ellen's regular Sunday night call, she said Mike had contacted her to ask if she'll let him store some things in the garage in her new townhouse. When he and Paula are out there, they'll go through it to see what they want, but they probably won't want to keep anything except a few items of sentimental interest. Ellen can have anything else and she knows that, among other things, there's a full dining room set. She may decide to replace her own with that, but maybe not. Mike's company has paid for the storage for the last ten years, but must have some kind of time limit (one would think!) and it's coming up. He'll have the stuff transported the 500 or so miles to Ellen's. I assume that Mike will arrange to discard the other stuff because, although Ellen will have a 2-car garage, she'll just have moved in and will probably have a lot of boxes, etc. in there herself.
Am going to lunch with Barb D. tomorrow, which will be a nice excursion.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Am at the library and have only 16 minutes left, so this will be short. Had a great hike today--again, we went to Apple Pie Hill in the woods near Chatsworth. This one ended up being 5 + (something--I didn't wait to see what percentage) miles. We went four miles to the hill and just one and a bit back. The day was perfect--much warmer and sunny. Lots of nice people to see, see again, meet, and walk along and chat with.
I did manage to step in part of a stream we had to negotiate our way over, all the way up to above my ankle, so my sneaker and sock got soaked and remained wet for the duration. In fact, I didn't want to bother to change when I got home, and it's still wet and a bit muddy, but no matter. I want to go on the 5-miler next Monday, too, from Ongs Hat to Deep Hollow.
Want to end here to read comments from yesterday.
Note: I want to increase my regular exercise, so yesterday, in addition my usual 7 am walk with Susan, I walked 2 miles to Shop 'n' Bag and back. Want to continue to add a bit often.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

It's Sunday, the library is closed, so I'm entering this in K-Mart. Went to the "Short Course on the Pinelands" with Barb H. yesterday, at Burlington Community College. It was great! I attended the classes on what to plant in your garden to attract birds and butterflies; "Tales and Tunes of the Pines"; a section on the lost village of Florence, in Whitesbog; the flora on the gunnery range; and "Hiking in the Pines." The last was presented by Tom N., president of the Outdoor Club. BTW, I plan on a 6 mile hike tomorrow near Tabernacle.
Aside from that, nothing much else new except that I actually cleaned out a lot of my closet--it's a walk-in and I got into the bad habit of putting things in there if I didn't know what to do with them.
Alison called to say poor Mike is still sick. He went to the doctor and had a blood test, which showed a low white cell count (or red cell. Or high. Or something). Anyway, he's still under the weather, I'm afraid. He and Alison were planning to race in Monmouth today, but he probably can't and she might decide against it.
Okay, I have a lot of other stuff to do and it's a drag sitting in the middle of a busy store. Hope to add some tomorrow or next day.