Monday, June 30, 2008

Larry and Helen left a few minutes ago at 6 am--and what a great weekend we had! They came in nice and early on Saturday--got here at 7 am in time for coffee, and we left about 9:00.
There was a fair amount of traffic, but we got to the Hampton Inn by about 2:30 to find the rooms weren't ready yet and we couldn't check in. However, we left our bags (with claim tickets) and walked a few blocks to a Fudruckers for lunch. It was very, very hot and bright--my kind of weather--and with crowds of people thronging the streets, some in native costume, there was a wonderful festive feeling to the area. Clearly, we were near Chinatown, as there was a huge and ornate Chinese arch over a nearby street.
By the time we got back from lunch, we could check in; the rooms were adequate, alth0ugh nothing special. L. and H. were down the hall from me and wanted too freshen up and rest, but I didn't want to waste time on such things in this exciting venue and decided to go out in search of a place to buy a magazine. The desk clerk directed me to a CVS up, down, and sideways from the hotel and I walked there. Boy oh, boy, was it hot and wouldn't you know, I overshot the street where I should have turned, then asked directions and had to double back. I probably walked a good mile and a half in the brilliant sunshine, but it felt great.
When I got back, I took a bath and dressed in plenty of time. We grabbed a cab to the restaurant and got there early to find Jim's son-in-law, Paul, and a few others already gathered. He took us back to the room they had reserved and soon, other guests started coming in--along with three-liter jugs of Chianti and big bottles of Chardonny, both of which I liberally sampled throughout the evening.
The food was delicious--course after course of Italian goodies, then tira misu and cheesecake--and the company even better. I didn't realize what time it was and called Pat and Alison at 11:30--oops!
After about five hours and a week's worth of calories (hey, I'm not even counting the wine), we said our goodbyes. The California contingent will fly home tomorrow, Frank and Marybeth from Baltimore, Betty from Arlington, Va. So we Byrne sibs partied two weeks in a row, which made it a fabulous June!
Larry, Helen, and I left D.C. at 8 am after a big complimentary breakfast at the hotel. We cruised around the historic buildings of Washington, then zipped home, arriving about 12:30. Happily greeted Pat and Alison (she had run only 8 miles that morning; would have gone 10, but it was over 90 degrees) and caught up with each other. I laid out ham, cheese, whole wheat bread, and soda for lunch, sticking with broccoli and zucchini myself, and we talked and talked.
I had invited Jack B. over for dinner and he got here about 3:00; of course, we all talked and laughed and reminisced until dinner at 6:00. I had called ahead to asked Alison to get the chicken Marsala and stuffed shells from our party out of the freezer and I popped them in the oven, made a huge salad, and added corn and a few sides. Jack had brought a luscious apple pie, making a great top-off for dinner.
After, I showed the digitals from our party last Saturday, and Jim's from this; I like to transfer them onto the computer quickly. Chatted a bit more, then Jack left and the four of us sat talking in the living room, me with my wine and popcorn (the others declined).
L., H., and I went to bed shortly after 9:00, Pat later, as usual. When I got up at 5:30, our guests were ready to go. Their plane leaves Philly at 10 am and they'll have their coffee and breakfast there.
What a terrific two weekends! What terrific parties! Most of all, what a terrific family!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The June anniversary festivities continued in D.C. and we all had a wonderful time. Larry and Helen here; will provide details tomorrow.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Brother Larry called early to say he and Helen had decided to stick to their original plan and would come pick me up today. Packed my bag and am all ready.
Zipped down to Santori's after lunch and loaded up with lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, red onions, and feta, along with a huge cantaloupe, four pints of blueberries, and big loaf of whole wheat. Stopped at Shop-Rite after and managed to buy a cart-load of other stuff, as usual.
After I put away the goodies, I changed and went to the pool. Considering the heat, I was surprised to see only a handful of people, including my friend, Amy, with whom I hung out. The water felt sublime.
Got home as Pat did from the bay, made chicken for dinner, and heard from Alison after. She and Mike were just back from Lake Placid. Would they skip leading their 10- or 12-mile Friday Night Hike in order to rest up from their running, hiking, mountain-climbing vacation? Why of course not--she called as they were on their way.
Got a web cam call from Mike; called Patrick to wish him happy 49th birthday. Am almost all packed; must make Pat's lunch, lay out his clothes, and so on. There's come confusion about whether Pat will go to Joely's birthday party. He may drive my car up to Alison's and go, but maybe not. He and Alison can decide. In any event, she'll stay over tonight while I'm in Washington.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Much fun with the little boys yesterday. Got to their place at 11:00 to find that Jen had to go to the doctor's; friend Jason went with her. I entertained--and was entertained by--Joely while Tristan continued his nap.
Joely is a big talker. He told me all about his recent adventures in Almost Six Land, showed me his yearbook (he just graduated from kindergarten), and we did a "reading readiness" book I had brought him. I made him a cheese sandwich and we ate lunch while we discussed making bugs with a bug kit he has (don't ask).
"T" woke up in about an hour, I put him in his high chair, gave him some munchies, and Jen got in shortly after. We then took off for the park across the street. I pushed T in the swing while Jen, Joely, and Jason dropped their lines in the water. Before long I was called over to see the fish Joely caught. He got quite a few, all small, and the order of the day was "catch and release," but he was pleased and proud.
I took T for a walk in his stroller, then we went back to the house.
Jen had bought, and now blew up, a big ball that attaches to the hose. It has openings that allow it to spray out water and Joely enjoyed getting soaking sopping. However, T wanted no part of it, as it scared him to feel the spray. I stayed with the boys while Jen went for her prescription and to the store, enjoying holding T while he drank a bottle, and listening to Joely's chatter.
I left about 3:30 after a wet, dirty, messy, wonderful day. Got home to find that Betty had called. Rang her back to hear she had gone with Carolyn, Dana, and the kids to Patrick's and Susan's in Baltimore. Frank and Marybeth were already there and that contingent will meet us in D.C. for the party on Saturday. (P. and S. have a huge--and beautiful--house, and seven guests don't even use up the extra bedrooms.)
Called Larry to tell him he doesn't have to pick up Betty. He said he and Helen may come to our place today instead of tomorrow, staying over two nights, and we could get an earlier start. Told him that would be fine with me; the guest room is always available and I'd be happy to have them. He'll let me know.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ran down to Manahawkin to get a birthday present for Joely and duplicate old Rosborough Avenue pictures for Dee. Cleared the rest of the party stuff off the guest room beds and put them away. Other than that, just moseyed around with the usual chores.
Alison called after dinner. They love Lake Placid, as it's an athlete-oriented town. They bought "Olympic tickets" to watch the training. These are for winter sports and I was amazed when she told me the high-jump skiers go down the slide, then, in the absence of snow, end in water. She and Mike watched figure-skating (and a horse show--not in the Olympics, of course) yesterday. They also ran 13 miles along a road with signs that said "Be Careful of Runners." Said she had never seen that or so many runners together before. It's their kind of place! Incidentally, that mountain climb of 14 miles she mentioned last time was up and down "Mt. Marsey," the highest point in New York.
I was pleased when Jen called to ask if I'd baby-sit Tristan today while she and a friend take Joely fishing. Will leave Pat's lunch and take off for their place about 10:00. Looking forward to hanging out with the almost-one-year-old.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Took the tablecloths back to the rental place in Egg Harbor City, then drove down to meet sister Betty and friend, Betty M., at Boscov's. Got there at 12:30 and we went right over to Salad Works for lunch. I had a great salad--you pick your own contents and I chose spring mix, chick peas, onions, hb eggs, and grated carrots--half of which I took home for later.
Betty said that Frank, Marybeth, Patrick, and Susan had left for Baltimore on Monday. Carolyn and family were invited to join them, then would go to Jim's fiftieth in D.C. from there. If they go, Betty will, too. She asked me to drive over to Circuit City so she could buy a naviagator to keep her SIL Dana, the driver, from getting lost on the way. I did after Betty M. left, then drove Betty home.
We sat on her porch chatting, then said goodbye. I'll see Betty on Saturday, either when Larry takes us both to D.C., or at the upcoming party. On the way home, I stopped at Mary H.'s, an old HSHS friend, to say hello. She just got back from her grandson's graduation in Vegas and I stayed for twenty minutes or so to catch up.
After dinner, Leslie and I went to the "Grief and Healing" group at the Methodist Church. This is a monthly gathering for those who have suffered some kind of loss, and it was a good session. Didn't get home until almost 9:00--practically the middle of the night for me--had my usual, and slept well.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Yesterday was a catching-up, getting-back-to-normal, lots-of-phone-calls day. Did several loads of wash, cleared off some (but there's plenty more) of the party stuff from the guest room beds, and generally handled household chores. Considered, but finally decided against, a six-mile "twilight hike" with the Outdoor Club at 5:30 because I thought it would rain. It didn't, and now I'm sorry I didn't go, but I think they'll have the same next week.
Talked to Alison. She and Mike are having a ball in Lake Placid. She said they hiked 14 miles yesterday. That's barely a stroll for them, but in this case, it was strenuous because the first 7 were straight up. Yes, they climbed a mountain, then climbed back down.
Chatted with, and saw, Ellen. She bought an armoire (can't spell it and neither can the computer!) for the television and is continuing to look for living room furniture and new kitchen appliances.
Dee, the owner of our old house in Ventnor, called and we had a long talk. We want to get together for lunch and I'll call her next week to arrange it. Will also dig out, duplicate, and bring her old pictures that include the house.
Called brother Larry. He and Helen will leave today (from Florida, to Philly) stay at her sister's in Pennsy, then drive to Jersey on Saturday, pick up Betty and me, and we'll all go to the next party in D.C.
Talked to Betty. I'll drive over there today after I return the rented linens from the party and we'll go to lunch and hang out.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Family fun continued yesterday. I loaded up the car with leftovers: pans of stuffed shells and sausage, a bowl of chicken Marsala, sandwiches, cake, cookies, soda, iced tea, and beer and took them to Betty's for lunch. After we ate, Carolyn's husband, Dana, took the two kids to the beach, and the rest of us walked the few blocks to Rosborough Avenue.
We found Dee G., in the back yard and she greeted me like an old friend. She showed us around the first floor apartment where she stays when she comes down; it's been extensively renovated, but was recognizable. The upstairs tenant, Scarlett, came in and took us up to the main part of the house.
We went up the familiar front stairs and walked all through, exclaiming over the changes--new railings on the porch, wall-to-wall carpeting, an updated kitchen, and so on--but got more excited about the things that were the same: the distinctive fireplace, the chandeliers in the double living room, some of the bathroom fixtures. Scarlett led us upstairs and that was even more familiar. Aside from fresh paint and a few other improvements, it looked very much as it had when the Byrne family lived there.
On the third floor, there are what used to be "servants' quarters," two rooms and a bath, that my brother, Jim, took over at one time. It's now used for storage, but Frank mentioned that there's a loose board in the hall, under which he used to hide treasures. He and son Patrick located it, but there was nothing in his hiding place but a rusty nail.
We took lots of pictures, then left with many thanks, kisses and hugs, and good wishes all around. I told Dee and Scarlett I'd duplicate some old pictures with Rosborough Avenue in them, and share them--will either send them or bring them down.
The house is for sale and Patrick expressed some interest in it. I had sent Mike the particulars, too, but he probably won't pursue it. Who knows, though, someday 15 South may be back in our family's hands!
After dinner, we opened the rest of the cards and gifts from the party. Loved Marge's: a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream. She knows I make a "Molloy version," and that I love it--good chum Marge!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It was absolutely, positively the best party ever! Having been forbidden entry while the clubhouse was being set up, we hung around here until it was time to go. Early in the day, we were happy to hear from Patrick and Natsue, who called with good wishes, and to receive neighbor Roman K., who stopped in with a card and bottle of champagne. Alison and her Mike came about 9:00 and took the fifty beautiful roses our Mike had sent; we didn't see them again until we walked into the clubhouse a little before noon.
We gasped at how beautiful it looked! In the foyer, Alison had set up a table with family pictures, the bride and groom top from our original wedding cake, little white boxes with gold-wrapped chocolates in them for favors, the garter I had worn for "something blue," and the roses from Mike. On the open glass doors into the main room, she had hung my wedding gown on one side and on the other, the christening dress all my babies had worn.
The main room looked elegant! Round and rectangular tables were covered with the linen tablecloths, and there were pots of flowers and three balloons on each. The long food table was also decorated with flowers and next to it was a drinks table with wine, glasses, ice buckets, and pitchers of ice water; beer, iced tea, and soda were ready in the four coolers we borrowed.
Soon the place filled with guests. What a wonderful mix of new friends, old friends, and dear family--seventy of them, all laughing and talking and having a ball. I think there were about a third each of those groups, including Pat's "bay buddies" (also called, we were told, "wharf rats"), a perfect mix. My brothers from California and Virginia and their families were there, plus nieces and nephews from New York, Baltimore, and North Carolina. Pat's brother, and his wife, and daughters came, along with his lovely niece, Donna. Especially welcome, of course, was my own twin sister, Betty, my maid of honor all those years ago.
The food was superb! Staff from The Grapevine came right on schedule at 12:30 and set up the buffet with the hot food; the sandwich trays were uncovered, and everybody dived in. It was really excellent: the hot food (pasta and chicken marsala) delicious and the sandwiches good and fresh.
Of course, the company was even more enjoyable. People we haven't seen for years came: Bob M., who was an usher at our wedding, was there with his wife; Marilyn M., whom I met at Rider 30 years ago, stopped in with her boyfriend; others from our past lives were there.
After everybody had socialized, eaten and drunk, Alison called for attention. She held up the topper from our wedding cake and asked each person to hold it and say something relating to the occasion, but to speak no longer than 15 seconds, then pass it to the next person. This was a wonderful idea: Everybody briefly expressed congratulations, love, and friendship to us and of course, there were laughs and tears--just so much honest emotion.
Next, Mike set up a screen and showed a wonderful slide show of our early, middle, and present lives which everybody enjoyed. After more talking, laughing, and visiting together, people said goodbye and drifted out.
We invited the relatives back to the house and Betty, her daughter, SIL, and two grandchildren came, along with Frank, Marybeth, Patrick and Susan; niece and spouse, Joan and Jim; their son, Jeremy; nephew Tim; Joel, Jen, and kids; and cousin John. Alison and Mike came later, bringing leftovers of food and drink, and we all had a ball for an hour or two. It was so much fun we decided to continue the party today: I'll bring the food and drink down to Betty's, we'll have lunch, then go to Rosborough Avenue to tour our childhood home.
After they left, I gave Pat some of the sandwiches for dinner, ran out to the dollar store to get more containers, took the warming racks back to The Grapevine, then stopped at the clubhouse to be sure everything looked all right. Good lord, it was spotless--you never would have guessed that seventy people had eaten, drunk, and socialized in there! Alison, Mike, and a host of our dear friends had not only set up, but cleaned up--is it any wonder we love it here?
Pat and I opened our cards and some gifts last night (we had specified "no gifts," but a few people decide to give us something anyway). Instead of wine and popcorn, I treated myself to a Coors Light and goldfish crackers, then went happily to bed, finishing up this wonderful experience.
Before our walk today, I took Susan lunch for her and Walter: several mini-sandwiches, a tray of cookies, and two cold beers. Met Judy and she repeated how much fun she and Roman had had yesterday.
Well, the whole day was terrific beyond words--mostly due to Alison.
My sweet, darling, much-loved daughter and her marvelous husband left at 7 am today for a six-day vacation in upstate New York. Not sure what we did to deserve such family and friends, but it must have been something wonderful.
And hey, next week we travel to Washington for brother Jim's fiftieth!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Today is Der tag! And boy, oh boy, was yesterday a fitting lead-up: constant activity and an ever-accelerating level of nerves.
Alison came in about 10:00, bringing the cake she had had made at The Apple in Manahawkin, and it's beautiful. Not at all overdone or garish, it features blue and white roses, a gold "50th," and a simple "Congratulations, Pat and Rosemary."
A. had to get employment papers at the Little Egg school first, then we packed up both our cars and took some of the mountain of stuff to the clubhouse. Mike's car had malfunctioned the night before and she had to get back to take him to the shop, so didn't linger. Before she left, she told me ever so firmly that I was absolutely forbidden to come to the clubhouse before we arrived for the party. Well, she didn't say those words, but I knew what she meant, and I agreed. We both realized I'd be agitated, controlling, and frantic, convinced I had to be there to oversee, or all would be ruined. It helped to remind myself of my mantra: We'll all be dead in fifty years.
Spent the rest of the day thusly: drove to The Grapevine to be sure everything was okay on that end and to pay the (gulp!) bill; went to Acme to do the same; loaded up my car again to get the rest of the party supplies to the clubhouse; put various signs on various groups of stuff; forgot the half and half for the coffee, so went back to Acme, then back to the clubhouse; washed the bathroom rugs; scrubbed bathroom floors and cleaned rest; put rugs back; ran the vacuum throughout the house; mopped the kitchen; went back to Acme a third time and yielded to temptation by picking up a rotisserie chicken (I love those things, especially the greasy part) for dinner; and transferred the boxes and baskets of Pat's pills from the dining room table to the guest room.
In the meantime, I received calls from Frank (twice--I arranged to have us tour the old homestead in Ventnor tomorrow), and Marge, Ray, and a few others during the day. My dear twin, Betty, called to calm me, encourage me, and assure me all would turn out fine. We opened congratulatory cards from Ellen and several friends.
Jack B. stopped in after golf, thinking we had some of the relatives here already. We didn't, but he'll see them soon.
When I arrived home after one of my jaunts, I found two large boxes on the front porch. Mike had sent us fifty gorgeous roses in spectacular colors, along with a huge silver urn. His card read: "Sorry we won't be there for the 50th, but will try for the 100th. Love, Mike, Paula, and Vivian." Later, he called/web cammed and Pat and I chatted with him and precious Vivian (who brought various items to show us on camera) for a good 45 minutes. I then jumped in the shower and relaxed with my usual; didn't get to bed until well after 9:00, but had told Susan I wouldn't walk today, so knew I could sleep later. However, I got up at 5:00 and feel good.
Next time I make an entry, the party will be over!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Yesterday was good, if a tad hectic. Left Pat's lunch and set up his car for the bay, then drove to Egg Harbor City to pick up the rented tablecloths. After that, I took back the too-small dress to Boscov's and decided on a different dress with longer sleeves that hide my batwing arms. I'm not crazy about it, but everything else is made for teenyboppers--so what else is new?
Got to Somers Point a little early for the noon lunch date and stopped at the Fashion Bug nearby. Saw some interesting possibilities, but didn't have time to try anything on and hopped over to Applebee's.
Found a few of the lunch ladies already there. I had met most of them before (besides Betty and me, there were six) and enjoyed seeing them again. Ordered a scrumptious "California Shrimp" salad and a Coors Light (the renegade--only one who had an alcoholic drink) and devoured every morsel and drop. Yum, was that good.
After, I told Betty I'd take her home, but we first went back to Fashion Bug and I tried on a few dresses. No, no, and no-no-no. Took B. home, and stayed awhile drinking ice water on the porch.
Got home and put leftover hot dogs and beans in the microwave for Pat. Gulped some down myself, not bothering to heat it up. Frank D. dropped off his cooler and we chatted a bit, then I went to my 5:30 haircut appointment. Immediately after, drove to Kohl's in Manahawkin for a last-ditch effort to find something I like better than what I bought for the party. No luck, and I just bought panty hose and earrings.
Finally came to rest on the couch at 8:00, gratefully sipping my wine with Keith Olberman and "Countdown." Slept like a log and no wonder.
Party's TOMORROW--yoicks!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

While Alison was here, we went to the liquor store and picked up two more cases of beer, plus ten bottles of champagne. The guest count is now up to 68 (good grief!) and I'm getting nervous. I sent an e-mail to some of our closest friends (and neighbors) asking for help with the party and of course, received prompt and enthusiastic replies.
Called brother Frank in Alameda; they're coming into Baltimore today and will drive down with son and DIL, Patrick and Susan. Talked to Betty and will meet her for lunch today with some of her friends after I go to Pleasantville to pick up the tablecloths we're renting.
And now the glitches: Good thing I tried on my dress, because it doesn't fit! My outfit for next week's party is an 8 petite and fits fine, but I need a 10 in the dress. Will exchange when I'm in Atlantic County today.
Second glitch: Went to the clubhouse to re-check and found a note on one of the round tables saying it's broken. Hope we can pull in two of the smaller ones from the porch and use them--I'm really worried we don't have enough seating.
If there are any other glitches, I don't want to know about them.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Spent most of yesterday trying on clothes at Boscov's--or so it seemed. Finally selected a black and white sundress with a little red bolero over it. Now I'm not sure whether to keep it, because of the cap sleeves that expose my batwings. (Yes, boys and girls, a big weight loss when you're older results in the skin sagging and bagging, prominently including the upper arms.)
I'm happy with the second outfit: a three-piece pants set in black, white, and brown that I'll wear to brother Jim's party. Must see what shoes and jewelry I have to go with the new duds.
Ellen called on the web cam and we had a good, long chat session (an hour and a half). She's out of school and has a slew of projects she wants to do. Showed me the new bathing suit and other summer clothes she just bought and I showed her my new outfits. I miss her a lot and she seems so much closer when I can see as well as hear her, so I love the web cam.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Leslie came at 8:30 and she, Betty, and I left for Ventnor. Dropped B. off at her house, then went to the library to meet up with the other hikers. There were about 20 of us; I know the leader, Norm, and was pleased to see Walt, with whom I had hiked in Smithville. Leslie and I got acquainted with two nice women, Sue and Betty from Audobon, and found we had some mutural acquaintences.
The hike was leisurely, to say the least. Although it's bad form to get ahead of the leader, most of us did a lot of the time, as--atypically--he's anything but a brisk walker, odd for a hiker. Of course, five miles on the boardwalk is entirely atypical of the Outdoor Club, too. Norm suggested we lunch at the Tropicana before walking back, but Leslie and I begged off, as we were going to lunch with Betty.
We did that, and went to the little luncheonette down the street from St. James (reminded me of Beverly's). I had my usual (without chicken or shrimp) and B. and L. had wraps so huge they took half home.
We had a good talk and a leisurely lunch, then dropped Betty off and arrived back in Little Egg Harbor about 3:30. When Alison called last night, she surprised me by saying she has an interview in this same Little Egg for summer work in the school district. That's almost 35 miles each way, but if the money's right, maybe it would be worth it. What fun if she were to work here! She said she'd stop in after her interview this afternoon and I'll be anxious to hear how it went.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Picked Betty up at 11:00, drove back home, and we had lunch. I had assembled a big salad to take to Alison's, and we left about 3:00. Drove through a few downpours that were short, but intense--like some human lives, I guess--and arrived an hour later.
The Phillips Four went to Joel's Dad's place, so it was just the five of us, plus Mike's son and his family. We know and like Rob, Lisa, and little Lindsay and Lucas, and were glad to see them. Mike showed Betty around their big yard and the addition which, of course, she admired, even including the apiaries.
As ever, Alison served a great summer dinner: buffalo meat hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, devilled eggs, and potato salad, preceded by cold shrimp and cocktail sauce. These weren't the tasteless, already cooked kind, either; she had bought fresh, and cooked and deveined them herself, even taking off the pesky little tails. With old-fashioned brewed iced tea, my green salad, and a wonderful cold broccoli dish* Lisa brought, it was a luscious meal. We topped it off with apple crisp drizzled with caramel sauce and Cool Whip Lisa had mixed, incredibly, with chai tea--sounds weird, but tasted great.
It cleared and we were able to eat on the deck. After dinner, the guys opened their Father's Day gifts and we chatted until about 7:30, then left. When we got home, we found a message on the machine from Patrick, wishing Pat a happy Fathers' Day. He always remembers and so did Ellen, who had called while I was down getting Betty. She also sent a CD of some guy named Sinnacue or Sintana, or something--he was from Hoboken and I think his first name was Frank.
After I poured my wine, and while Betty and I were chatting, Mike called to wish Pat the sentiments of the day, so all four checked in to talk to their Dad.
The downer of the day was Pat's very evident respiratory distress in getting in the car, going up Alison's four steps, then walking through the house to the deck. When we left, he had to reverse the process, of course, and it was a terrible ordeal for him. After he got to his chair in the living room, he asked me to open the window (the A.C. was on, but I didn't care) and get the fan to blow on him. I did and after he sat for awhile, he was better--but oh, how terrible it was to see him struggle to breathe for so long. Betty suggested he increase the oxygen flow, but he refused and damn, he has to be the one to decide this. It was a somber ending to the day, but the situation is what it is. I don't often mention Pat's illness here, but it can't ever be ignored.
We didn't get to bed until after 10:00 and I slept like a log. Didn't get up until 6:00, but that's okay. I had called Susan to say I wouldn't walk today; am going on the boardwalk hike after dropping Betty off. Leslie's going with me, then we'll meet Betty for lunch.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The scab on Pat's arm tore off during his after-breakfast nap yesterday and the blood left big stains on the sheets, pillowcase, and mattress cover. Luckily, I had bought a waterproof cover a few months ago. It has comfortable padding on the "up" side, and is vinyl on the other, so protected the mattress. The problem is, it's hard to wash, as the cloth part soaks up water and doesn't get spun out. I meant to take it to the Laundromat (it's king-sized), but put it in the washer at home and now have it draped over a chair in the garage--it may dry by 2010.
I'm bringing a salad to Alison's, so stopped at Acme to get more lettuce. Went to Bed 'N' Bath to look at mattress covers and was stunned to see the prices: eighty bucks and up, so I left them in the store. Later, I used a cut-down dining room table undercloth: vinyl on one side, flannel and the other and it's okay until the other one dries.
Went to Kohl's to try to get a pool cover-up; didn't, but bought a pair of slim black pants in size--good grief--6 petite, and two more belts.
It was after 3:00 by the time I got home and I impulsively put on my new swimsuit and went to the pool. Was surprised that there were only a handful of people there, and more surprised that I knew none, Took a refreshing swim and got home just as Pat pulled in.
Wrapped the Father's Day gifts for Pat, Mike, and Joel. Will pick Betty up at 11:00, then leave for Cream Ridge about 3:00. Betty hasn't seen the addition; I know she'll love it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Had a nice, convivial lunch with Marge at Dockside. I'm so glad--and glad I'm aware--to have friends like her with whom I can share almost any feeling or thought.
Rest of the day was just so-so. Talked to some "event insurance" people and was horrified to learn the lowest cost I can get is $170. Ran up to Kohl's and got Natsue a "tiger's eye" pair of earrings and a card. However, I've now decided to send only the card for now; will put in a note to tell her we have a small gift for when we see her in August.
Leslie said she'd like to go with me on the boardwalk hike Monday and will let me know for sure tomorrow. Alison called on the way to her and Mike's hike and we had a brief chat. We have lots more to do for the party and, ye gads--
IT'S A WEEK FROM TODAY!
Later: Zipped up to Weight Watchers and, gee, I'm down another 2.4 pounds. That brings me to 130.4 and 69.2 pounds off. Now you know I have to get to the one twenties and an even 70 off--yahoo!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Producers was hysterically funny and a wonderful experience. Susan and Walter picked me up and we had lunch first, along with about 20 other Sunrise Bayers, at L.A.'s in Manahawkin. (I had flounder, sides, and a beer, but passed up the rolls and cheesecake.)
The show was about the funniest I've ever seen. It was full of action: singing, dancing, slapstick, crazy situations, and laughs. Guaranteed to insult almost everybody--liberals, conservatives, gays, women, old people--it managed to come full circle and anger nobody. The whole thing was so snappily written, so perfectly timed and put together, so enthusiastically performed, that it was a joy to see. Synopsis: Down on his luck producer meets timid young accountant, who tells him more money can be made from a flop than a hit; they find world's worse script (Springtime for Hitler), hire world's worse director and, of course, the show turns out to be--sure, a hit. One absconds with a gorgeous Swedish dancer, other goes to jail, then things are sorted out, and all prosper in end.
Didn't get home until almost 6:00, and had words with Pat, not because of my arrival time, but on a topic too inconsequential to believe it was the real reason for the words. After a long talk with Alison later, things improved. Followed my usual evening routine, turned in at the usual time, and slept like a log.
Today, Marge and I are tentatively scheduled for lunch. Hope she remains well enough, as I'm anxious to see her, but after that, I'm ready, ready, ready to have a little down time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Georgian Court excursion was just terrific. Mary Ann picked me up about 9:15, along with Iris G., Doris H., and a friend of hers, Louise, from SeaOaks, and we arrived about 11:00.
The affair was in the Gould mansion, donated to the Sisters of Mercy in the late 19th century. What a gorgeous place! I had been there for conferences when I worked at Rider, and also to meet with the Mother Superior when we hired a nun to stay with Mom. We explored the huge, high-ceilinged rooms, admiring the murals, leather inlays, wood paneling, and so on. The room where I met with the M.S. features murals of various goddesses. Sister told me they had originally been undraped from the waist up, but the diocese or the order had had an artist add modest tops to their gowns. Wonderful anecdote!
The show took place in the spectacular "foyer," surely as big as my entire house, with a gold-bannistered, curving staircase that ascends, I'd say, at least forty feet. Three superb actors/singers portraying Mrs. Gould, a housemaid, and Cole Porter, chatted, sang, and danced, while we sat tables set with linens and tableware. They "reminisced" about Porter's background, but only up to his middle years, excluding any reference to his homosexuality or to the horse-riding accident that crushed his legs.
Finger sandwiches, little pastries, tea and pink lemonade were served after the show. I skipped the sweets, but enjoyed the rest.
Got home about 3:30; touched base with Pat (he had gone to lunch--Beverly's, of course--with Ray), ran to Acme, freshened up a bit, then drove up to Alison's.
The kindergarten "graduation" was cute, of course. They didn't have caps and gowns--that seems stupid to me--but just had kids in the two (or three, not sure which) classes sing, then portray each letter of the alphabet, some in pairs. Joel and a classmate had "L" ("L is for 'learning,' it's what we do..." or something like that). Juice and cookies were then enjoyed--not by me--as the kiddies ran around. To cheer Joely on, Joel, Jen, Alison, Mike, and Jen's Uncle Jake and Joely's cousin, Gabe came, plus Jason and adorable little Tristan, of course. "T" is a live wire, now walking--at 10 months--and is a chub, weighing 21 p0unds already.
Got home after 9:00 and to bed after 10:00, but slept well and am ready for the next excursion: today, going with Susan and Walter to lunch in Manahawkin, then to "The Producers" at Surflight Theatre on LBI.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Leaving Pat's lunch, I zipped over to Macy's at Hamilton Mall to get an outfit for the party and a beach cover-up. Got shirts for Father's Day for Pat, Mike, and Joel and spent a few hours trying on clothes. Didn't see anything I want to wear to the party, and deviated into casual stuff, something I swore not to do. Bought a pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans in green and a rosy polka-dotted shirt. I don't need either, but just liked them, silly me. Also spent time trying on bathing suits and got a one-piece. Didn't get either of the things I came for, dang it. Will have to look elsewhere.
Had called Betty earlier and went down to meet her for lunch. We ate at the little Johnnie's around the corner from her. Funny story: I had mentioned how good their "Oriental salad" is, describing it as containing tuna tartare, and Betty ordered it. When it came, she remarked, "Gee, this tuna doesn't even looked cooked." But that's what tuna tartare is: fresh tuna seared on the outside, raw in. I had it in Hawaii (and one time since) and loved it. We had a good laugh about it--just as well she didn't complain to the proprietor--and Betty ate most, but wasn't crazy about it. We went back to her place and I called Janie M., who had asked if I wanted to borrow her wheelchair for the party. We went to Margate to her house--she and Chaz have lived there 46 years--chatted for a while and loaded the chair into the truck. I want to have it on hand for Pat at the party, although I'd be willing to bet he'll refuse it.
As I was leaving, George W. rode up on his bike and the three of us chatted for a few minutes. He mentioned that he had taken Pat McH. R. to the senior prom at the request of his sister, Lois, Pat's best friend. George was interested in hearing Pat was at our place for lunch last summer and that I'm in touch with her through our blogs. (Maybe he's been pining away for Patty all these years after he had to settle for Miss A.C. runner-up, Marilyn--?)
Said goodbye to Betty after we made plans to have her come to Alison's for Father's Day on Sunday. I'll pick her up, and she'll stay overnight, then will take her home on Monday.
Alison called after dinner. I'll leave to go up there about 5:00 for Joely's kindergarten graduation. Hope and assume I'll be back in the late afternoon from the Georgian Court/Cole Porter excursion. Am going with Mary Ann Van O., who will pick me up this morning about 9:15.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Went to The Grapevine to order the hot food for the party, then to Acme for the sandwich trays. As Alison and I worked out, we'll have four kinds of mini-sandwiches, plus meatballs and sausage, stuffed shells, eggplant parm, and good ol' Caesar salad. I was glad to hear The G. will deliver, set up, and provide the heating elements the day of. We already bought the chips and so on and A. ordered a cake from Manahawkin. Went to the liquor store, but didn't yet get the beer, wine, or champagne; figured I have time for that.
Mary Ann Van O. stopped over after lunch and I was pleased to give her my winter coat and a dress, much too large now. She asked if I wanted to go to the pool--it was about 90 out--but I reluctantly declined, as I need a bathing suit cover-up; I gave my old (large) one away. Drove to Kohl's, but found nothing I wanted. I plan to go to Hamilton Mall today to get an outfit for the party; must get Pat s0mething, too.
Met Genny for Conversational English at 7:00. I hated to do it, but I told her (and Nora, the librarian) I have to discontinue. I seem to have other commitments popping up constantly and have missed a number of sessions; Nora will take over for me. The three of us hope to see each other though, as Genny wants to make friends here and Nora and I clicked. She's at the Little Egg branch two or three days a week and we want to keep in touch.
Alison called and I was pleased to hear she had invited nephew Jeremy and girlfriend to the party, plus Cal, nephew Tim's son. She's having us for a cookout for Father's Day (Sunday) and asked me to invite Betty, too. I'll have to go down and get her, then take her home, but that's okay .
We got a congratulatory card for our fiftieth from What's His Face in the White House and the twins' mommy. Can't imagine who would initiate that unless it was meant as a joke.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I was pleased that the hike site at Bass River was only 15 minutes away and I got there early. Hey, it was HOT, even for me (and I love that kind of weather), which was probably why there were only five of us, including the leaders. We went about five miles, then I turned back (accompanied by a nice guy named Jack, who's familiar with that stretch of forest), as I hadn't brought lunch and the others were going to eat "out" (in the woods, that is).
Got home for salad and broccoli, Pat went to the bay, and I put on my suit and headed for the pool. Oh, so very, very nice! Susan was there, as well as Ray, Dennis, Julie and Gary, and others--the conversation was pleasant and the cool, clean water just felt great. Stayed an hour or so, then went home to shower, change, and make Pat's dinner.
Walked down to Dennis' and Leslie's shortly before 6:00 and we went off the Atlantic City Surf baseball game. Ray, Barbara, and Barb's sister, Pat, met us there. Had an incredibly delicious hot dog and beer, which I consider absolutely mandatory at a baseball game. The Surf, I'm afraid, played badly--well, come to think of it, so did their opponents. We left after the seventh inning with the score--I think--10 to 8, hardly a pitching duel. The only negative was that I didn't get to bed until almost midnight and got up before 5:00, so am a bit sleep-deprived.
Yesterday was a neat one, and more are coming up. Alison e-mailed to invite me to Joely's kindergarten graduation on Wednesday evening. I'm going to the Cole Porter program at Georgian Court during the day, but hope to be back in time. Plenty to do to tie up loose ends for the party; today, I'll order the food at The Grapevine and Acme.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I have plenty of energy and needed all of it yesterday.
Went to a few yard sales before Alison arrived at noon. We had lunch, then took our list--actually, several lists--and set off for BJ's. We raced around the huge store and got "glasses" for champagne, Chex Mix and veggie chips to add to the Goldfish, more cups and napkins in the pretty tulip pattern, plus coffee and tea and several cases of iced tea and soda.
After that, we went to a dollar (and up) store for serving trays and a big metal wastebasket we'll use for "clean" ice. We then zoomed down the street to Shop-Rite to look for coolers (too small and we decided to borrow neighbors') and try to choose centerpieces.
Now this was difficult. We're using both 60" round tables and rectangular ones and if the centerpieces are too small, they'll look chintzy, too big and they'll overwhelm. Neither of would consider artificial ones (I don't care how "realistic" they are, this will be the first day of summer, for heaven's sake!), but cut flowers or fancy plants would add hundreds of dollars to the cost. We decided on both "fleurette" mums and gerbana daisies and Alison suggested we buy one of each immediately, plus some balloons, then go to the clubhouse and try them out. That's what we did and we think the room will look great with the colorful plants, plus three balloons on each table. (I kept the plants and will plant them later.)
We then went to the local dollar store to order the balloons--45 of them. The complication was that they had no more of the regular weights to hold them down, and we aren't sure if the flimsy plastic types will hold more than one balloon and we have to tie them on ourselves.
Finally got home about 4:00 and A. and I sat down to firm up the food. I must go to the Grapevine and discuss what they'll provide with the pasta, etc., plus go to Acme and order the sandwich trays.
Of course, Alison and I both have individual lists of who we have to contact, what we must buy, things to add, and so on. She didn't leave until after 5:00 and, apologetically, I gave Pat a frozen dinner; just had a salad myself.
I was actually tired after dinner, something I hardly ever am. We turned on the A.C.--it was, and is, over 90--and I took a good long shower. Dennis R. called to ask if we wanted some of the live crabs he's being given today. Appreciative as I was at the gesture, I begged off; just don't think I can handle--literally and figurtively--the preparation.
Susan stopped in to say she couldn't walk today--that's just as well, as I needed the sleep: didn't get up until 6:16 today.
I've started (yet another) list: "assignments" for friends, such as setting up tables, picking up the balloons, and so on.
Less than two weeks to the party!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Had a terrific time at Betty's yesterday! Got there about 11:30 as Connie H., Teresa McG., Muckie D., Helen C., and old--uh, long-ago--HSHS classmates Mary M. and Jane M. were gathering. The last two are sisters-in-law and it was great to see them.
Betty served "omelets in a bag," the recipe for which I had given her after my friend, Lynne, had sent it to me. We chatted for a while, then Betty handed each of us a quart-sized freezer bag with two eggs broken into it(she had put our initials on the outside). We then circled the dining room table where she had laid out a huge selection of additions: three kinds of cheese, red and green peppers, ham, sausage, pepperoni, onions, olives, spinach, and a lot more. They were all nicely diced and we dropped our choices in our bags. The novelty lay in what happened next: Betty proceeded to drop the bags, a few at a time, into a pot of boiling water; she left them there for exactly 13 minutes. Everybody got a kick out of the procedure and the payoff was--the omelets were delicious! They were cooked just right, tender and savory, and we all loved them.
Betty also had out an array of accompaniments, including a green salad, thick multi-grain bread, a big bowl of cut-up fruit, and several other items. She brought out individual cups of plain and fruit yogurt and little cinnamon roll-like pastries, plus different juices and , of course, plenty of hot, fresh coffee.
What a feast! I skipped the pastries, but enjoyed some of the other goodies with the omelet. Naturally, the food part came in second to the talk, laughs, and reminiscences with old friends--can't ever beat that.
After three rollicking hours, we all left with grateful thanks. I impulsively stopped at St. James on my way home. I remembered the photo archives I had set up last year and, realizing that St. James will soon be no more (it's merging with Blessed Sacrament and will be called Holy Family), I wanted to ask what they'll do with the pictures. Didn't know they were having graduation in a few hours; I apologized to the principal for bothering her, but she was very gracious. She asked me to call her next week and we'll talk about the pictures.
Didn't get home until almost 5:00, but Pat was fine. Jack B. stopped in and we had a nice chat with him.
Betty and Alison called after dinner. A. will be down after she gets her hair done today and we'll go to BJs to get more for the party.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Went back to BJ's and signed up; was able to add Alison as a card member at no extra charge. Got tableware--large and small plates, napkins, and cups in a very attractive tulip pattern, plastic "silverware" that actually looks like stainless steel--and Goldfish for the party. I'm using the guest room as a base of operations and when I put everything out there, I was pleased to see how much I had accomplished; then--yoicks!--I realized how much still has to be done.
Got Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and lemons at Tucker Tom's. Took a dry run to Bass River, as I want to go on the hike on Sunday. Stopped at the park office and got directions; we meet at the Batona Trailhead, a dirt road, only about seven miles from here.
Talked to Alison, who will be down tomorrow to go with me to BJs for more party items. She was baby-sitting for her grandkids, Lindsay and Lucas, as she does every Thursday evening. Had a good talk, discussing the party, of course. We're now up to about 60 adults and 4 kids and we haven't heard from everybody yet.
Wrote out the three recipes for Barb D. and St. Teresa's cookbook. I'm giving her crystal pickles, my Molloy's Irish creme, and a bread pudding recipe I just took off the Internet.
Brother Larry called and we talked about our excursion to D.C. for Jim's anniversary on the 28th. I'm going to call niece Chrissy to see if there's a closer place to stay than the Hampton Inn in Leesburg.
Today, I go to Betty's for brunch and am looking forward to it. I'll stop at Santori's on the way home.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Completed a slew of errands yesterday, prominently including a trip to the new BJ's and Costco stores in Manahawkin. Took a list of anniversary party items to scout out before Alison comes down on Saturday. Decided to join BJ's for a variety of reasons and will go back today to buy some from the list.
Checked LabCorps to see if Pat can get his blood test done there instead of taking the three-hour round trip to Fort Dix (he can if the V.A. faxes down a prescription); stopped at the library to take back "Lindburgh" tape and get Steve Martin's new one; went to Acme for various; picked up the form to rent the clubhouse; made several phone calls for this 'n' that; did a few loads of wash--well, I generally checked off a lot on my to-do list, although there's more.
When I got in the shower last night, I noted a dark bump at my waistline near the back. Yep, another tick, which Pat took off with tweezers. When I told Alison, she said that, according to the vet, Lulu has Lyme disease! Alison uses Frontline on her religiously, but one must have slipped through. Although there seem to be no symptoms for doggies, poor Lu is now on antibiotics.
Forgot to mention: Also got my BP taken at doctor's yesterday. Nurse took it three times and the "worst" was 128/76.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Our walking route takes us past the clubhouse, so Susan and I stopped in at 7 am to vote--so convenient to have the polling place there.
Had a great time with Betty and Suzanne. I decided to give them lunch here, as I had leftover ham, turkey breast, and cheese from Sunday. Added a big salad, whole wheat and rye bread, pickles, sliced tomatoes, and hard-boiled eggs--unexciting, but an enjoyable summer meal.
I had my giveaway clothes spread out in the guest room for Betty and she tried on the jackets. They fit--great!--and we assume the other things will, as well. There were probably a dozen or more each of pants and tops, plus three outer jackets and a bathing suit. The only things she left were my good winter coat and two suits that had been Aunt Claire's. Living in balmy Santa Barbara, it's unlikely she'll ever wear them. Think I'll see if my friend, Mary Ann Van O., might be able to use them. If not, I'll take them to the thrift store.
We had good fun talking and laughing and Pat even skipped the bay to have lunch with the company. After, I took our guests to the thrillingest sight in Little Egg Harbor: the huge concrete blocks that held the guy wires for the famous 820-foot radio antenna erected eighty or more years ago. Betty and Suzanne were so impressed--especially when I pointed out that those are about the only sights--and sites--of interest in our town. We laughed our heads off, although Betty did get out to take pictures.
Anyway, much fun ensued. Suzanne is staying with Betty until Thursday, then on Friday, Betty is having friends over for brunch, so I'll go down to her place then. It's good having my twin around.
Barb D. came over to ask if I'd contribute three recipes for a cookbook her parish, St. Teresa's, is assembling. She specifically mentioned my Crystal Pickles and, of course, I'll be glad to give her that and two others.
I'm planning to go on two more hikes, on June 8 and 16, The latter is unusual as it's hardly in the forest: It's a 5- or 6-miler from Ventnor to A.C. on the boardwalk. Hey, I'll have no problem finding that starting point.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Yesterday was jam-packed. Got to the hike site--"Smithville Park" in Mt. Holly, 43 miles away--at 9:45 to find only a handful of other hikers. We were puzzled as to the whereabouts of the the leaders, Norm and Bill. Lynn, with whom I've walked before, said she had seen another parking lot about a mile down the road and we all walked there, but no luck, so walked back.
Finally, a guy named Walt said he'd lead us on another trail, and we followed him. After about a half-mile, though, we were happy to meet the rest of the group--there were probably 40 of us all together--and joined them. It seems there are several parking lots at Smithville and the leaders hadn't been completely clear about the right one.
But all was forgotten once we fell in with the others. What a gorgeous day and glorious walk! We hiked well-established trails through towering woods, deep ravines, steps cut into the hills, "floating" bridges (actually, wooden walkways extending a hundred feet or so across a big lake), and broad fields. It covered 5 miles, but we who were at the wrong parking lot probably walked a total of about 7. I was invited to join three other women (two of whom I had met on previous hikes) for lunch at the Saladworks nearby, but thought I'd better get home and reluctantly declined.
Didn't get in until after 2:00. Pat was at the bay (I had left his lunch) and I had several phone calls to make, so didn't eat until almost 3:00. Jumped in the shower, gathered clothes for Betty to try on and laid them out in the guest room, then made dinner.
By that time, I had to get ready for the Scholarship Awards gathering at Pinelands Regional H.S. Our Women's Club gives a $500 scholarship and I'm chair, so I presented. It was long, but interesting, starting at 6:30 and ending after 8:00.
After returning Alison's call, washing off my makeup, and getting in my nightie, I just had time for my w. and p. before turning in.
Invited Betty and her friend, Sue M., to come over today and I'll either provide lunch or we'll go out. Betty can then try on clothes and take the ones she wants away with her.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Super Sunday with our kiddies. After breakfast, Mike and I went to Radio Shack to get a cable for the new flat-screen monitor, then to Acme for lunch stuff to go with the big salad I had made. We stopped at the clubhouse to re-measure the tables in preparation for June 21. The count is now at 53 adults and 4 children, and I think we're going to end up with 70 or so--yoicks!
Mike was able to get the new computer screen hooked up quickly and, boy, what a difference. The other monitor was so deep, I had to have it at an angle on the right of my desk calendar. Now it fits directly in front of me and I love how it looks.
Alison and her Mike bopped in about noon. The two of them had already run ten miles that morning, but, ho-hum, what else is new?
We had a good lunch and even better talk around the kitchen table, watching the bluebird couple busily going back and forth. Mike B. got his huge, incredibly sophisticated (and expensive) camera and took pictures of them. He can zoom in on the digital display instantly and we saw close-up, magazine-quality images of our beautiful birdies.
While the guys did something or other with the computer, Alison and I firmed up plans for the anniversary bash. She's coming down on Saturday and we'll go to the new B.J.'s in Manahawkin to look for supplies.
All three left about 5:00, Mike to go back to Manhattan for a week of business meetings. I was sorry to hear he won't be able to come back in August when Patrick and Natsue are here, but I understand. The new baby will be only a month old, so it will just have to be the other three visiting then.
Ellen called on the web cam just as I was talking to Betty, who I'll be with tomorrow for her brunch. Ellen and I had a good talk for almost an hour and she showed me the new patio set she bought from a colleague. I was horrified to hear that her maintenance fee has gone up from $380--bad enough--to $420 a month! However, it includes any necessary repairs to the outside of her townhouse, such as roof, so that makes it a little more palatable.
Friend Mary S. called; I had invited her to go on the hike with me today, but she isn't able. We hope to get together for hikes soon.
Busy day, my best kind, especially when it's filled with family.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

When I went over to pick up Susan for our walk, I was astounded to have her and Walter insist I accept a flat-screen monitor for this computer. They've recently gotten new 'puters (MACs) and can't use it. Hey, first the printer, then the screen--talk about great neighbors.
Mike blew in about 7:40 last night after a 19-hour flight from Singapore. We ordered pizza, then called Alison--she and her Mike will be down for lunch. Mike called Paula and Vivian on the web cam. That precious little girl said her daddy should "come home, come home, come home." He'll be back with her on Thursday.
Happily, Mike is here to hook up the new screen; first, he has to get a new cable, as Dell uses its own. I also want him to show me how to use the new printer. Boy, thanks to the G.'s, I practically have a whole new setup!
Must go, as we're going out to get fresh bagels.