Saturday, May 31, 2008
Barb H. had asked Susan and me if we wanted to go on an Ocean County Park van tour (blueberries and cranberries) in July and I went to pay the $14 fee. Unfortunately, the van is already filled and I had to put all three of us on the waiting list.
Stopped and got a beautiful hanging plant in rose and white "superbells." The flowers look like tiny petunias, but don't require constant dead-heading, which I find a chore.
Chatted outside with several neighbors, did wash, talked to Betty, went to Acme (I swear this is a daily routine), watered the garden, stopped at the library, and generally frittered away the day.
Susan gave me a printout of the listing for our old home on Rosborough Avenue. Anyone who desires may go to Realtor.com, put in the area (Ventnor) and zip code (08406), then narrow it down to price ($800,000), and see 15 South. It's painted bright blue, very horrible, but otherwise looks much as it did when we were kiddies.
Mike called after dinner. He had just had breakfast and was about to leave for the airport. That means that right now, he's probably flying over the Pacific--ugh! That's always an unsettling thought, but I hope and trust the plane will stay up. Assume he's on Singapore Air, probably the best airline going. Having flown it several times, I can say it's wonderfully comfortable, the food is superb, and the stewardesses, all young, slim, and beautiful, have the prettiest uniforms going. Those things are important for safety, after all.
Later: I'm up a bit again---by .4 which brings me to 66.8 pounds off and a current weight of 132.8. I'm not greatly concerned, but in light of my .4 gain of last week, I want to reverse the trend. Will increase my exercise as I can.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Had an 8:30 doctor appointment to discuss my blood work. Cholesterol remains good with 1/4 of the Lovastatin I originally took, although not as low as it was when I was on more: 154, as opposed to 130 in February. LDL (bad) is at 77, was 55; HDL (good) 63, was 61. Doc said these were all acceptable and I should continue the smaller dose.
The BP was a puzzle. It was 151/91, much too high, then 148/90 when she took it again, still high. However, this was on the right arm; on the left, it was 126/94. (Seems to me that second number was still high.) I take it myself at Acme several times a week, and it's consistently been in the 120s and low 130s for the first number and the 60s and low 80s for the second. Acme device is set up so you can only take it on the left--but how could that matter? The doctor herself is puzzled. She asked about my caffeine intake in the morning and I admitted I drink about 3 cups. She then told me to make an appointment for next week at 1:00 to get the BP done again.
Okay, medical part over.
Went to Kohl's and tried on bathing suits. Liked one, but not that much, so decided to wait and go to Boscov's. Stopped to get catering menus from two restaurants and called a linen supply place in Egg Harbor. Talked to Betty and friend Hazel. Washed clothes, watered the new plants, and otherwise occupied myself.
About 4:30, Susan called to ask about a convenient time for Walter to come over to install the printer they're giving me. I suggested right then, not realizing it was so complicated. Poor Walter was setting it up for an hour and a half; Susan came with him and stayed to chat, but left before 6:00. The printer is now in--or on--and it just made me reflect again on the terrific neighbors we have.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Now this is the ancestral home, the place where Betty and I lived from babyhood to high school. It always seemed to me the perfect house for our family of six: big and airy, wrapped with a wide porch, and only a short block from the beach. Of course, when we were kids, you could see the ocean from our house, but the beach block has been filled with houses for years. We also had a big lawn on one side and an empty lot on the other. Now there are two houses on the former and one on the latter.
Anyway, I left Betty about 3:00 (we made a date for her and two friends to come to my house for lunch on Tuesday), but on the way home, stopped on Rosborough. I parked, looked around the front (still don't like the bright blue it was painted), then ventured quietly into the backyard. Suddenly, I heard from the basement window a sharp, "Who's there?"
Darn! I explained I used to live there and apologized for intruding. To my surprise, a woman around my age came to the door and asked me in. I went, she had me sit down at the kitchen table, and I stayed for another hour, talking and laughing with her--Dee Gentile.
I learned that Dee and her late husband had bought the house from his parents. She lives in Prospect Park, Pa., but stays in the downstairs apartment (we called it "the basement") when she comes down to Ventnor. We did the same when we rented to summer people.
A family of four, who are Dutch, now rent the upstairs. The husband is a dentist and just took a job as director of a dental practice in Vineland. While Dee and I were talking, the 8-year-old son wandered in (they have a 17-year-old, too), then his mother. I was charmed to hear her name is Scarlett, same as Betty's new little granddaughter. Dee and her tenants have a very close and loving relationship; I thought at first they were her daughter and grandsons.
Dee and Scarlett insisted I stay for coffee and S. made delicious cappuchino (?) while we continued our talk. I was thrilled to hear that Dee had had a new heating system put in and had found a note behind the old furnace. It was dated 1949, I think written by my father, and records the cost of the furnace: $300. Dee kept it and, after she gets back to Pennsy, said she'll send it to me! I was thrilled, of course. I mentioned that my brothers were coming next month and she said she'd be glad to show them and me around while they're here. That would be great fun and I e-mail Jim, Larry, and Frank about the offer.
Stayed about an hour and greatly enjoyed the little excursion. Called Betty when I got home to tell her about the Scarlett connection. What an unexpected fun day!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Talked to old friend, Flo, to get B. McG.'s address. He was in our wedding party, but we haven't seen him for several years. Alison called and so did Betty. I'll be going down for lunch with her today. It looks a little cloudy; hope it doesn't rain.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The appetizers were enough to make an entire meal--or a week of meals. They included tapenade, several dips, all kinds of potato and vegetable chips, cheese, crackers, and pretzel logs, along with fruit skewers and layered squares of salami, ham, and pimento. Soul of modesty that I am (well, where does that getcha?), I must report that my meatballs made a great hit. They disappeared rapidly and several people asked for the recipe.
The H.'s are terrific party-givers. They make everybody feel relaxed, casual, and happy to be there. Of course, this is helped along by an array of libations and I accepted Corona, which I had had for the first time at a Wellspouse weekend last year. Oh-h-h, is it good; to prove it, I had three over the course of the party.
After we gorged on the appetizers, Ray put the ribs and supporting players on the grill and Barb set out salads, baked beans, ziti, and so on. The ribs were incredibly delicious. There's nothing like greasy, full-fat meat to make you reach for more, it seems to me--and boy, did I. Before I ate, though, I filled a platter with a hamburger, hot dog, and sides for Pat and took it the two houses down to him.
As it always is, the company was even better than the food. We talked and talked, laughed like fools, and even ventured into politics, but steered clear of actual arguments. I think that's because we like and admire each other so much, divided though our beliefs are.
Barb put a generous piece of the divine chocolate dessert on a plate and walked down with me to bring it to Pat and say hello. As I told her, and I mean it, our move here was about the best ever--right after that move to the altar at St. James fifty years ago.
Talked to Alison, who said she and Mike had had a glorious day kayaking at Lake Osego in the Pinelands. Heard from Betty, who will be back in Jersey this afternoon--yay! We made a date to go to lunch tomorrow; she doesn't have a car, so I'll drive down there.
I was so pleased to get a message from Eileen G., who is nephew Tim's wife. They are separated, I'm sorry to say, but are still in touch; she said Tim had told her of our fiftieth. She congratulated us and wanted to let us know that she thought highly of us. I immediately wrote back that I consider her a cherished niece as much as I do Tim a nephew, and said she would be so welcome to come with him to our party.
A good, good day all around.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Got to Cream Ridge about 2:15 to find my D.D. and her D.G., adorable Tristan, waiting in the driveway. We packed up her car--babies require an enormous amount of equipment--and took off for Lambertville.
On such a gorgeous holiday weekend, the place was jammed. We parked several blocks out of town and took the broad path next to the canal, a wonderful place to walk: On one side is the green, slow-moving water of the canal, banked with masses of foliage; on the other the varied gardens and backyards of the lucky residents. I've always loved Lambertville, which I think is overshadowed by trendier, better-known New Hope, PA, just across the Delaware.
We got to the main drag and meandered along looking in store fronts, then walked across the bridge to Pennsy. We did the same there, just walked, talked, and enjoyed the day.
The crowds were dense on both sides and the traffic was so heavy--every third vehicle seemed to be a roaring, smoke-spitting motorcycle--that it was sometimes hard to hear. However, the mood was thoroughly festive and it was fun to be part of the throng.
We took Tristan to see the ducks and one stately swan on the river, then found a playground and pushed him on the baby swing. He loved this, laughing out loud when Alison pretended to grab his toes. We struck up a conversation with a young couple pushing their baby on the next swing-- "She's adorable, how old is she?" "He's darling, what's his name?"--which is an absolute constant when you're out with babies. The young woman asked Alison how much T. weighs and was taken aback when she said she wasn't sure. We then mentioned that Alison's his grandmother, not his mother, and I'm his great-grand--it's always fun to see people's reactions. It was about 5:00 when we walked the mile or so back to the car and I called Pat to tell him he'd have to get himself something for dinner. We delivered T. back to his parents (Joel and Jen had taken little Joel to a park to set off rockets or something--didn't quite get that), and I said goodbye. What a terrific day!
Arrived home about 7:20 to find Pat talking to Ellen. Chatted with her for 45 minutes or so, then enjoyed my popcorn and wine. I had missed dinner, but that's all right because I'll indulge at the H.'s party today.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Was happy to get an e-mail from Mike saying he'll be here next Saturday, not Sunday, and will stay over. I was going to go to the International Dinner with Susan and Walter that day, but will skip. Called Alison and she and her Mike will come down to see her brother, too.
Great good news from Florida brother Larry: He called to say he and Helen are flying into Philly for Virginia brother's anniversary party and would rent a car, then pick Betty and me up! This is terrific, as I really didn't want to drive to D.C., although I did it two years ago for Jim's 80th. Larry asked me to make reservations at the Hampton Inn, which I did for the three of us. (Betty is flying back to California from Washington.) This will be on June 28th, a week after our anniversary party. It's also little Joel's sixth birthday, which I'll miss, I'm afraid. I figure he'll have other birthdays, but Jim and Therese will have only one fiftieth. I wish Larry could be at our party, also, but two of their daughters are graduating--from graduate school, I think--and they naturally want to be there. When D.D. Alison heard this, she immediately said she'd stay over with Pat on the 28th.
Found a recipe for an appetizer called "Manhattan Meatballs": tiny, one-inch meatballs cooked in apricot preserves and barbecue sauce. Think I'll make that for the H.'s party tomorrow.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I was delighted this morning to get a message from Mike telling me he plans to stay overnight with us on Sunday, June 1. They just got back to Singapore, but he'll be flying the 19 hours again for business at his Manhattan office. Pat will be pleased to see him, too, of course.
Mike also wrote that he ran afoul of the law in California and I can expect a speeding ticket for him in the mail. A felon! In my own family! Oh, the shame...
Am going to Weight Watchers this morning; will record the findings when I get back.
Later: I'm up an insignificant four tenths of a pound, which is fine by me. For the record, I'm at 132.4 with 67.2 pounds off.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Still in plenty of time (I'm notorious for being early), I headed for Mays Landing. Here's a quick synopsis of what happened:
First, at the left turn onto Route 9, the jerk in front of me started through the green light, then--seemingly for no reason--jammed on his brakes. I hit him, luckily not very hard, and he blithely went on his way. (Later, I saw my car had sustained no damage, but it was upsetting. No, let me rephrase that: It pissed me off.)
Second, I followed driving directions from Mapquest, which I know is in business just to drive me crazy. They told me to get off the expressway exit for CR 575, but the road isn't marked that way and I didn't realize it until it was passed. Had to drive roughly 10 miles further (and pay a $2 toll) to get to the north/south rest stop to turn around.
Third: Got there, but thought I was turning into the parking lot, when I actually arrived at a one-way road that forced me to go right back northbound!
Fourth: Had to drive at least 8 or 9 miles further to get off the damn expressway. By this time, I was screaming and cursing--lets off tension, doncha know--but not crying because I didn't want my mascara to run.
Fifth: Stopped at several restaurants, gas stations, and stores to ask directions, first to Mays Landing, then to the cemetery. Naturally, I consistantly found the handful of visitors from Upper Mongolia who had never heard of either.
Okay, enough of this! I got to the cemetery about quarter of one, 45 minutes late. I didn't expect anybody to still be there, but members of Joe's family were just drifting toward their cars and I was able to speak to them. Chatted with George W., got a mass card, then left.
Driving home--an annoyingly easy and straightforward route--I tried to be philosophical about my ordeal, but barely succeeded. When I got in, Pat was at the bay and because of my precarious emotional state, I did something really weird: I turned on the television and ate my lunch in front of it.
I'm going to end this on a high note, though: I opened the mail and found a check for $2500 which darling Aunt Claire had thoughtfully left me as a bequest. Hey, things were looking up! (As I mentioned to friend Pat R., there's nothing like money to make people happy.)
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Lunch was good. I enjoyed salad, salmon, and string beans, along with a glass of White Zinfandel, but skipped the potatoes, roll, and dessert. (Carbs seem to trigger my appetite.)
It was fun to model, especially when Irene, the commentator, mentioned my weight loss. She noted that last year, the clothes I modeled were sizes 1 and 2 x, and this year were 10 petites. I liked the clothes, but decided not to buy them, as I already have a lot of summer things.
We got home about 3:30. When Pat came in from the bay, he said his buddy, John, had gone to Motor Vehicle with him to get the car inspected--so nice of him!
I couldn't get to Joe Clark's funeral yesterday, but decided to go to the burial today in Holy Cross Cemetery, Mays Landing.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Talked to Mary Ann Van O., Marge, and Barb H. I'll take Susan and Marge to the luncheon, and Barb will take Lois and Pat H.
Called Alison, who said she just sent out the invitations to our anniversary party--yay! Betty called, too, to get A.'s number so she can ask her an OT question.
Aside from that, just fooled around on the computer. Hey, it was a slow one in Little Egg.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Went over to Irene W.'s to get the outfits I'm wearing in the fashion show tomorrow. I was a bit worried they wouldn't fit me anymore, so wanted to try them on. Tried the Bermudas, blouse, and jacket and they look terrific. I assume the black and white skirt and top will, too, and will try it on today, then accessorize both outfits.
I enthusiatically accepted an e-mail invitation from Leslie to join them on June 2 for an Atlantic City Surf baseball game their church sponsors. I've gone to this for the last three years--the first time with Pat. Am trying not to obsess over the places we used to be able to go together.
Today, I have to take Pat to the radiation place for a checkup--or something, neither one of us can remember--and to his podiatrist after that.
Heard from Pat R. that Joe C., who graduated from HSHS with her, died at his mother's old home on Buffalo Avenue in Ventnor. I'm so sorry. My parents introduced his widowed mother, my mother's best friend, to "Uncle Bob," my father's best friend since college, and they married. Joe was a few years younger than Betty and me, and we used to call him "Boy Baby." The house had been Uncle Bob's.
Damn, that's a downer.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Alison picked me up promptly, and we sped off to God's Country. On the way, she called the King's Wok for takeout and we picked it up before we got home. A. had made Pat a lovely beef stew and he was happy with that. My darling girl--well, she's a grandmother twice over, but so what?--had the whole house shining, even though she had worked all week, cared for her dad, and got some runs in, too (but only of eight or ten miles, so no biggies).
We ate, Alison left, and I put a few things away before settling down with my lovely popcorn and wine for an hour. Jumped in the shower, then talked to D.D. II to assure her I got home okay. Turned in about 9:00 and read a few minutes, then slept the sleep of the dea--uh, the sleep of the just--soundly, all night. Got up at the incredibly late hour of 7:30--practically the middle of the afternoon--full of piss and vinegar (geesh, that's a hideous saying!)--ready to face the day and the life.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Yesterday was a great send-off. Betty called early to tell me New Baby has changed her name to Scarlett Elizabeth--second name for Nana! Mike then called/cammed from Vegas. Ellen and I enjoyed seeing the gang from the Orient and were able to get a fleeting glimpse of Vivian, who announced that she had ridden the monorail. Mike showed us around by aiming the cam out the window at the ersatz "New York," "Egypt," and "Paris." He said Paula attended the trade show while he, Vivian, and Nanny Vickie hung out. They leave for San Diego to see Paula's father today, then fly back to Singapore.
E. and I then drove to Oxnard and caught the free shuttle to the Strawberry Festival. We hadn't been sure we'd go, but were so glad we did. It was a very warm, sunny, but no-humidity day, my favorite kind of weather, and was such fun. We exclaimed over the Budweiser Clydesdale horses--incredibly huge, seemingly docile (you can never trust a horse) and looking just as they do in pictures--in barred stalls near the entrance. We browsed the booths, gulped at the bungee jumpers, then headed for the food area. I easily decided this would be my splurge day, then had to choose from an embarrassment of riches: spread out before us was practically every food known to man--all deep-fried and decadent, of course, but oh, so good. I finally selected Italian sausage with peppers and onions, and washed it down with an icy-cold Coors Light. Polished off every morsel, then topped it with "make your own" strawberry shortcake. It was so crowded we had to eat standing up next to a recycle container and near a regular trash and I was amazed to realize the whole area would have been buzzing with yellow jackets in Jersey, but there wasn't a bug in sight while we were there.
We got home about 3:00, put on our suits, and spent the rest of the gloriously sunny day in the pool. Dinner for me was just veggies--I had enough calories at lunch to last six weeks--and we just passed a quiet evening.
Now I have to go. I love California, love my daughter, and love my life, complicated as it can sometimes be. Jersey, here I come!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Called Betty while I was waiting for Carolyn. She was in the hospital room with Wes, Katy, Miranda, and New Baby--still nameless--everybody happy and buoyant.
Had a great time with Carolyn and little Claire. They got here a bit before 10 and I showed them around. Carolyn loved the place and Claire loved the kitties. When she discovered them lying in state on Ellen's bed, she rushed over calling, "Meow!" Of course, Sebastian and Tillie wanted no parts of a two-year-old and both dove under the bed with Claire in pursuit. We finally dragged her away from the meows and Carolyn asked if I minded going to a store to get a house-warming gift for Ellen. Would love to, I said, as I wanted to get a card for Wes, Katy, and new Chicago baby. Unfortunately, I promptly forgot about the card once we got to Kohl's; will try to get out today to get one (but I don't think I have their address, either!).
Carolyn chose a cloth placemat set in striking colors of gold, red, and orange; the gold matches the accent wall in Ellen's dining room. When we got home, Claire insisted on going up to Ellen's room, where she had a nice time jumping on the bed. (I knew Ellen wouldn't mind.) Carolyn put the present in a Kohl's box, then wrote a sweet, cousinly note of congratulations on the lid, which Claire helped decorate with lines and squiggles.
For lunch, I had made a green salad, plus chicken salad for sandwiches, which Carolyn and Claire enjoyed; I ate acorn squash and broccoli. After more meow chasing, as well as light-switch clicking on and off, they had to leave to pick up big brother Finn at school. What a very enjoyable visit!
Because I hadn't walked in the morning, I then went to Ralph's Supermarket, for a total of 2.4 miles. (Readers may note I have this strange compulsion to record my mileage. Well, I ain't nothing if not compulsive.) Bought cottage cheese, tomatoes, and an avocado.
It was about 4:00 when I got home and nice and warm, so I put on my suit and went to the pool. Called Pat and Alison to find all was well in Little Egg. I was the only one at the pool for awhile, but then a man came in and we struck up a conversation. He turned out to be a conspiracy fanatic--Stalin was Rothschild's illegitimate son, the World Trade Center and Pentagon were actually blown up by the government, and so on--entertaining for a time, but soon a bore. Left about 6:00 to find Ellen already home. We decided simultaneously we'd like to go out to eat, and she took me to a Thai restaurant where we had delicate pot sticker-like appetizers, delicious satay, and a yummy noodle/veggie/chicken dish. Got home for popcorn and wine, and I slept soundly again. Terrific day, as they all have been!
Note: Don't know why this computer is dictating double spacing between paragraphs--can never fathom the ways of the machines.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I mentioned to Joan that I had taken a bus to the shopping center and she kindly offered to drop me off there on her way home to Orange County. We left about 11:15 and I spent a pleasant afternoon.
For Mother's Day, Ellen had given me the promise of sharp kitchen knives, as mine are as dull as Dubya's brain. I went to Linens 'n' Things (or whatever cutesy way they spell it) and found a set of two: a paring knife and "chef's knife," a kind of mini-cleaver. Ellen has one and it's so efficient and easy to use, I bought the set and she'll reimburse me.
Spent an hour or so in Barnes & Noble, bought a New Yorker, and explored a number of other stores in the center. Really indulging my wild side, I ate lunch out. Had a delectable "Baja"--veggies, rice, and something else with some kind of sauce in a whole wheat wrap. I surprised myself by eating it all and boy, it was good.
Even better was the phone call from Betty just as I took my first bite: Her oldest son, Wes, and wife, Katie, have welcomed their second daughter into the world--happy day! All are doing fine; baby's name is TBA.
After lunch, I went out to wait for the bus--and waited and waited and waited for roughly 30 minutes. Finally decided to start walking. I figured it was seven or eight miles--I've gone on hikes longer than that--but I had gone only two or three when the bus came. Just as I boarded, brother Frank called from Alameda. I was delighted to hear that he and Marybeth, as well as their son, Patrick, and his wife, Susan, all plan to come to our fiftieth anniversary party. We continued talking while I got off the bus and until I had almost completed the mile or so to Ellen's.
When El got home, we had dinner, then I helped her trim some laminated "books" her third-graders had made (don't ask), and we chatted about our respective days. Carolyn called; she and Claire will be here about 10:00--am so looking forward to having her.
Called Pat--Alison was out for a walk--and got the big news that our bluebirds are back in the birdhouse! Guess the mystery of why they left and abandoned their eggs on the ground will never be solved. A. called back later and said things are fine in Little Egg.
That quote, "God's in his heaven, all's right with world" occurred to me yesterday. Seems appropriate.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The weather is much warmer, thank heavens. I took a shower, and dressed in Bermudas and a light top before turning my attention to an activity for the day.
There are no malls or store within walking distance of Ellen's, and I wouldn't dream of paying for a cab, so I called the bus company. Was told buses don't run on Bristol Road, the nearest cross street, but they do on Telephone Street, about a mile from here. I walked there and saw bus stops on either side of the busy road. Which one--and which direction--to choose? Had no idea where I would end up or in which direction I was going, but figured I could always get back, so hopped on a bus.
As it turned out, I was able to get off at a bustling mall and spent an enjoyable time at Kohl's. They were having a two-for-one sale on linens and I got Ellen some nice towels and washcloths. Arrived home without incident, had a late lunch, and took a nap (unheard of for me) for an hour or so until El got in.
After dinner, Ellen suggested we put on our bathing suits and go to one of the three spas in the complex where she lives. What?! At that hour?! When the sun was going down?! (It was 7 pm and about 65 degrees.) Sure, okay, I'm game, so we went to the closest one, only a short distance away. Did NOT go in the pool, which was chilly, but luxuriated in the hot tub until we were boiled in our skins. Went home to put on our jammies, then watched LPBW (Ellen has a DVR) with wine and popcorn until I conked out. Slept like a log and got up feeling like a million.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Carolyn left to pick up 7-year-old Finn at school and the rest of us walked the few blocks to Mike and Paula's cottage. Mike and not-quite-four-year-old Vivian met us outside and V. yelled, "Follow me!" to lead us into the cottage. It's lovely: two bedrooms, kitchen, nice living room with fireplace, and a hot tub on the deck.
Carolyn, with Finn, rejoined us shortly and we all sat and chatted for a half hour or so, then piled into two cars and went to a great children's park. Vivian loved it, and loved chasing her cousin around. We stayed about two hours, then discussed dinner; we decided to go to Carolyn's and call out for pizza. I went with Mike and Paula back to the cottage. (Vivian was supposed to "take a little nap"--but hah! that'll be the day--and she was soon up and running again.)
After I called Pat and Alison and heard about the big storm, we all reassembled at Carolyn's and Dana's. Vivian and Finn had a ball jumping, sliding, and chasing each other around the big backyard. Carolyn and Dana have two orange trees, a grapefruit tree, tomatoes, peppers, and other veggies growing, plus wonderful flowering trees and plants.
Dana went out for the pizza, pasta, and salad and we set up chairs and trays in the living room to eat, the house being very small. The food was good, the company better, and we were all entertained by the chatter and antics of the four kids. Carolyn said we could have as many oranges as we wanted and Mike and I went out in the dark with two bags to get them. I was delighted to arrange with Carolyn to have her come over on Thursday with Claire to see Ellen's place and spend part of the day with me.
We stayed until about 8:30, then all kissed and hugged and said goodbye, and Robyn dropped me off on her way back to Pasadena. Betty's off to Chicago today, Mike and Paula leave for Vegas tomorrow (Paula has a trade show there), and I, lucky duck, will be here until Sunday.
Later: Met a woman named Joan, who's visiting her daughter next door. She came over during the garage sale on Saturday and we got acquainted. I was happy to find she's a walker, too; she stopped for me at 7:30 this morning and we went about two miles. We'll do the same tomorrow, so I can easily keep to my fitness goals.
Monday, May 12, 2008
The odd part was that they called this a "Mother's Day Champagne Brunch," although the serving hours were 2 to 6 pm. (Ellen said they should have called it "linner.") Mike and Paula didn't leave Ellen's until after 4:00 and they had to go back to Santa Barbara, shower and change, and meet us at the place at 6:00. When he asked Ellen to change our arrival time to 6:30, she was told they close at 6:00 and orders had to be placed no later than 6:15!
Well, we hustled over there and placed M. and P.'s orders, too, worried that they wouldn't appear until late. No problem, though, as they somehow got there 20 minutes or so after we did.
The food was great: M. and P. got prime rib, Ellen chicken Saltibocca (or something), and I had my good old salmon with a luscious sauce. Champagne was complimentary (at those prices, you would hope so), and I had two glasses, Ellen one. M. and P. had sparkling apple juice (ugh!) because M. doesn't like alcohol and P. avoids it during her pregnancy.
Got lovely cards and gifts: a robe, plus the dinner, from M. and P., "dinner and a movie" (a favorite gift of mine) from Alison, and the promise of kitchen knives from Ellen. Of course, we toasted Paula and me and had a wonderful, convivial time. With the beautiful, handmade card from the Tokyo Two, it was a wonderful Mother's Day--the best part, it goes without saying, my incredible good fortune in having four such treasures in my life.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Later: We haven't exactly had to beat off customers with a stick, but we did have several who bought a fair number of things. Also met several of Ellen's neighbors, all very nice. Must go out there again; hope we can drum up some business.
Still Later: The sale turned out quite a success after all. Mike and company blew in from Santa Barbara about noon and we actually had a number of customers after that. A lot of their stuff was sold, notably most of Paula's art supplies (from ten years ago), including a mat cutter, a blueprint table, portfolios, and so on. The big sale was Ellen's: her dining room table and chair set went for $75--she would have taken $50, but they didn't ask.
I made a quick vegetarian lunch of salad, spaghetti squash, and broccoli and we all ate that along with left over guacamole from last night. Betty called early and, with her daughter, DIL, and grandchildren, we'll all converge on Mike and Paula at The Cheshire Cat tomorrow.
Alison called to wish me Happy Mother's Day and I did the same. Talked to Pat and all seems okay in Little Egg.
Mike had to go through an enormous amount of stuff to see what Ellen or I wanted, and what should be saved or thrown away. He, of course, wanted to dump everything, Paula wanted the opposite, but they finally got it sorted. He'll pack up and ship back to Singapore an enormous amount of stuff. I took a sweater made in Peru that I want to wear to show Genny when I see her in Conversational English, plus oil and vinegar container, and a few other things. The ones I like most are self-portraits in charcoal Paula did as an undergraduate. I took two, plus a nice study of a model (clothed).
While Mike got the mountain of trash contained and Paula took a nap, Ellen, Nanny Vickie, and I took the little live-wire to a nearby playground (actually just slides). She's very athletic and slid, swung, jumped, and went hand-over-hand with great pleasure.
M., P., V., and V. left about 4:00 and I jumped in the shower. Got dressed and now we're about to meet M. and P. (just the four of us) at the Pierpoint for dinner, courtesy of Moneybags Mike.
Having the time of my life.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
I had s. and s. shrimp and a beer for dinner, and Ellen curried something at the Peking Palace, then we went home to watch about half of "What Not To Wear." Slept okay, but woke up at 4:30, a little earlier than I like, but not too bad. Got up, read the NYTimes on-line, then AC Press, then my e-mail. I'm determined not to slack off my health concerns, so went for a walk about 7:15. Walked briskly until 8:00, and I figure the 45 minutes amounted to about 2 miles.
Moved more of Mike and Paula's stuff into the garage for the sale, then Ellen got up. I asked her to take me to the 9:00 Weight Watchers meeting, where I was pleased to find I've lost another eight-tenths of a pound for a total of 67.6 off and a current weight of 132.
Mike e-mailed Ellen to the effect that they may not get here to Ellen's today. They're driving the 500 miles from San Francisco, so no wonder. Also, they're stopping in Thousand Oaks to see cousin Jim (the older of my brother, Frank's, doctor sons--ob/gyn) and said they'd come tomorrow about noon and we'd start the garage sale then. Is he kidding? As Ellen wrote back, nobody goes to sales at noon--we'd start it at 8:00 and will just have to try to judge what they might want to keep. Paula is 7 months pregnant and I think will be exhausted. I'm going to e-mail Mike and, if he comes today, ask if he'll bring Vivian. Busy, hectic, even frantic? Yes, and I'm loving every minute of it!
Friday, May 09, 2008
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Dragged my humongous suitcase to the bathroom scale because they charge for luggage over 50 pounds. It was 40, but that was without cosmetics; hope they don't weigh over 10.
Alison called. She also has a doctor's appointment this morning, but she should get here about 11:00 and we'll leave at noon for my 4:00 flight.
Flight--aagh! Am I really going to do this? I always have this jittery reaction when it gets down to the wire.
I assume I'll be able to use Ellen's computer and blog while I'm in Cal. I like the idea because one of my reasons for this thing is to keep a diary or journal for myself. I often refer back to it if I don't remember when I did something or how long it's been since something else.
Now I'll confess: I have the horrible habit, every time I fly, of imagining the headlines and my survivors' shock and sadness if the plane should go down: "U.S. Air Flight 1421 Crashes In Iowa Cornfield"; ..."She always dreaded air travel."; "Poor thing, she had a premonition."; "And she just lost all that weight..." Oh, no, no, I can't get on that plane!
But wait. Number 1421 consists of 14 and 21, both divisible by 7 and 7 is a lucky number, everybody knows that, so how could I think twice about it? Okay, much, much better--I'll not only get on the damn plane, I'll ride on the wing.
(And how I jeer at the superstitious!)
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
It was gratifying to receive the warm welcomes from my old group, not to mention the excited exclamations at my appearance. I just happened to have dressed to knock their eyes out: wore slim black pants with a gold-studded belt, a magenta blouse, low-rise boots, and my snazzy white jacket, all new. Had makeup and jewelry on, too, of course. Even better than the compliments, though, was to hear "we miss you" from so many of them.
The show, for which I was the sole member of the audience, was funny and I know will be a big hit, although it still needs work. I laughed and applauded in all the right places, praised my friends for their theatrical talent, and left to get home before Pat was back from the bay.
Got the mail and was charmed to receive an elegant and beautiful handmade Mother's Day card from my dear Japanese daughter-in-law. She's so creative and talented--can't wait to meet her in August.
Left Pat's dinner and met Viv in Manahawkin at 5:00. We both had tilipia, which was okay, but nothing special. That didn't matter because we had such a great time talking and talking, letting our hair down, and confiding in each other. I got home a little after 7:00 and, after such a good day, felt I was on vacation already.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Just after breakfast, I had a web cam call from Mike. He got a new MAC with the camera built in; the picture was remarkably clear. I enjoyed seeing and talking to him, but Vivian was in bed already (it's 12 hours ahead in Singapore).
Heard from Betty and her daughter-in-law, Robyn; we made plans to get together on Monday with Mike and family in Santa Barbara. I hope to see Betty on Friday, too; will call her when I get in.
After supermarket shopping, I spent the day cleaning both bathrooms and watering the blueberry and other plants. I think it will be a miracle if anything comes up.
Met with Genny for our Conversational English class last night. Nora, the librarian, had found the fairy tale book, "Sleeping Beauty," with Spanish and English, which I used to hear and correct Genny's pronunciation. Considering that it contained a lot of archaic language--"spindle," "swoon," "scullions," and so on, plus was written in a long-winded, circular style, she did a pretty good job.
Looking forward to dinner with Viv tonight.
Monday, May 05, 2008
After lunch, I continued my buying blitz with several more tops, a bathing suit, some undies, and a hose and nozzle. Yes, yes, I went back to Manahawkin, so shoot me. Got home just as Pat did from the bay, and when we went in the house, the aroma from the barbecued ribs simmering in the crock pot was sublime. Savoring it didn't cost me any calories and I enjoyed salad, yams, and leftover fish for dinner.
Had a happy and lively "talk and see" with Ellen and we planned excitedly for my visit. Mike's stuff arrived and is piled in her garage and living room, which she was able to show Pat and me via the web cam. We also met the handyman she hired, Leonard, who seems very nice and has a good sense of humor.
Got an e-mail from Marge. She is, of course, the founder and director of the Drama Club, and a good friend. I let time get away from me and haven't yet sat in on rehearsals (the show will go on while I'm away), and am not sure I'll be able to now. Today, I'll take Pat to the doctor at Fort Dix, tomorrow I have a haircut and dinner with Viv scheduled, and on Wednesday, I'll probably go to lunch with Hazel. Told Marge I may be able to stop in just for a time today or tomorrow.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
With the price of gas, I felt downright guilty for driving home from WW in Manahawkin (8 miles), having breakfast, then waiting for Pat to be settled in his morning nap before driving right back. I need to pull in the purse strings now and will turn my attention to that when I get back from California.
Went to Foodtown in Galloway for groceries and that's another thing: It's 10 or 12 miles away, as opposed to Acme, which is only a mile or two. Just to indulge my mild desire for new adventures (grocery shopping, for heaven's sake!), I again piled on the gas consumption. Must stop that here and now.
I've started assembling my stuff to pack. I hope the main suitcase--a humongous one on wheels Mike gave Pat for his birthday years ago when he was still able to travel--is okay to bring on the plane. Measured it and will check U.S. Air's web site.
Brother Frank and SIL Marybeth wrote to announce the birth of their new grandson: Roan Lyndon, who joins his two big brothers in California. What joy to hear of new life in the family!
Rest of day was pretty mundane and low-key, but good. Alison called to discuss our plans for my trip and her occupation here--four more days, so I'd better get organized.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Went to Leslie's to say goodbye (she and Dennis leave for Mississippi this morning) and talk about her Anthony. It was his birthday; he would have been 34.
I then went to Boscov's and got a neat persimmon-colored shirt, plus two spring jackets. The first is just an inexpensive nylon in red, the other a terrific-looking white duck. I have pangs of conscience when I contemplate the price tag, but oh, is it spiffy! Tried on a lot of overpriced sneakers, but somehow, the sizes weren't quite right. Same with the undergarments, as I so delicately describe them--I should get measured or something, as I have no idea what size I wear now.
During Susan's and my walk, I had started worrying aloud about getting my big suitcase from the attic. I'm afraid to climb the pull-down ladder, let alone try to get down safely. Without missing a beat, she declared that she loves to climb, she's had these "attic" arrangements in many of their homes, she'll go up there, don't hesitate to let her, etc. I took her at her word and went over to ring her bell while Pat was at the bay. She and Walter came to the door and greeted me with "Great! You're here! It's teatime!" It seems they have a cup of tea and cookies everyday about 3:30, Walter being of English descent and from Canada, so of course, I joined them with pleasure.
After, Susan came back to the house with me and yes, pulled down the ladder and nimbly ascended. She didn't even have to go all the way up, as the suitcases were near the opening.
Pat got home and while Susan was here, he asked us to inspect the birdhouse, as we hadn't seen the bluebirds for several days. To our dismay, we found four tiny blue eggs on the grass. All had cracks or holes in them, but not big enough for even babies to get out. We're mystified as to what could have caused this tragedy: Pat thinks mama bird accidentally laid them on the grass; Susan wondered about a predator, and I just dunno.
Alison called on her and Mike's way to their Friday night hike. To my astonishment, she said she thought it was better for her to stay at our house while I'm away. If her Dad were at their house, he'd effectively be unable to go anywhere, as they have four steps he would have to use. He could go down, but it's very difficult for him to go up. Of course, this would be much more convenient for me and much more comfortable for Pat. Now I won't have to pack up the enormous amount of equipment he needs besides clothes and toiletries (concentrator, inhaler, medication boxes and bottles, etc.)--what a relief! I protested--faintly--but Alison insisted it will be no problem for her (only about twice as far for her to get to work, separation from her husband, chores she's not used to), and I am so grateful. The more I think of it, the better--for Pat and me--it is. He can still go to the bay and we have plenty of close--literally and figuratively--neighbors in case he or she needs them. Can't imagine what I did to deserve such a daughter--must have been something wonderful.
Later: I'm just back from Weight Watchers. Lost another 1.4 pounds for a total of 66.9 and a current weight of 132.8. (That's after 2 weeks, not 1.) Think I'll try for 70 and the 120s.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Left Pat a sandwich for lunch and drove to Penney's to get outfits for the fashion show.
Last year, I was in a size 22 and had to shop in Women's. The crap they were selling was hideous beyond description: ugly, unbecoming styles and flimsy, cheap-looking fabric. I finally went up to the Lawrenceville Penney's and got a pant suit and skirt.
I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to find a lot of attractive clothes in size 10. Oh, ye-e-ah, size 10; that'll tell you something. Corporate America concentrates on teeny-boppers because they spend all the money. Large-sized old ladies can just cover themselves with sheets for all they care.
It was, I admit, nice to try on so many clothes that not only fit, but looked good. In fact, I found an embarrassment of riches; by the time I finally chose two, I was sick of trying on clothes. I selected a matching black and white skirt and short jacket, and added a white blouse. For the second outfit, I picked Capri pants in persimmon with a wide belt (love those belts!), which I matched with a striped shirt and jaunty white jacket. The models have to leave their outfits at Penney's, then Irene W., the chair, will pick them up all together. Ho-ho, the sales person who received them commented in alarm that I had more than two outfits--I had gotten the blouses and white jacket from different areas--but noticed the world was still turning and agreed to allow it.
On my way home, I went to Santori's for my veggie supplies (yams, broccoli, tomatoes, Kirby cucumbers, and feta) and realized Atlantic Imaging is right down the road, so stopped there for my thumb x-ray (you don't need an appointment).
Got home about 2:00 while Pat was still at the bay and immediately made a zucchini casserole, then a big batch of crystal pickles. Barb H. had borrowed my crockpot (60th birthday party for her sister, relatives only) and returned it with a container of her delicious chili, which I had for dinner two nights in a row (Pat doesn't like it). I want to give her some pickles when I give back the container.
Made Pat a nice summer dinner: hamburgers in buns, devilled eggs, sliced tomatoes, and scalloped potatoes. I had Barb's chili and my z. casserole.
Got an e-mail invitation to the H.'s Memorial Day party, which I hope to attend. Can Pat? I just don't know at this point. Made a date to meet Viv for dinner on Tuesday; can't wait to see her. Talked to Leslie; she and Dennis will leave for Mississippi tomorrow to continue their volunteer work with the church (Methodist) helping the victims of hurricane Katrina. Chatted with Alison and we discussed logistics for my trip and Pat's visit to her place.
Good day overall, especially getting the clothes for the fashion show, which was weighing on my mind.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
I was surprised and concerned that my BP was up both times the nurse took it. It's never been that high since I started monitoring it. First number was 150 and 149; can't remember the second, but it was high, too. Later, I took it at Acme and it was 121/74 with a pulse rate of 67.
While Pat was at the bay, I spent an hour or so planting, weeding, and tending to my new vegetation. I got the watermelon and sunflower seeds in, so the only things left are the double daffodil bulbs. Must plant them soon. I loved trundling my new "wheelbarrow" down to the back forty--so convenient to carry everything with me.