Thursday, April 19, 2018

A to Z Challenge -The Letter Q - Quietly

I am participating in the “April Blogging From A to Z Challenge” for 2018.  Except for Sundays, but starting with Sunday April 1, I will be writing a post each day in April.  Working through the alphabet, by the end of the challenge I will have posted 26 writings.  




Quietly

Ross and I have been married for almost 17 years.  I have children from a previous marriage.  Ross never had children of his own.  
He is a retired high school math teacher.   So in essence, he gave birth to around 80 children each and every September.   He was well liked and during his 30 plus years of teaching, I know he provided much more than just math skills to his “children”.
Ross grew up with the experience of a large family.  
In his immediate family there was his mother, father and two sisters, Joan and Myra.  His extended family consisted of many aunts, uncles and cousins.   Ross’s mother was a gregarious and welcoming host.   He has many fond memories of a house filled with Sunday and holiday guests. 
As what typically happens, circumstances cause families to grow apart either by changes of location, expansion and development of their own family units and life’s circumstances.
Myra sadly passed away a few years ago.  Joan lives 500 miles away.   Neither Joan or Myra had children. 
Last Saturday we celebrated Ross’s 75th birthday.   We had a gathering at a local pub called “The Plumstead Grill”  We were a party of 16.    
The Plumstead is a unique place.   It appeals to a wide range of  patrons, from families with children to biker dudes and dudettes. 
This particular Saturday happened to be the first nice day we New Jersians have had in months. 
The restaurant parking lot was filled with pickup trucks and shiny Harley Davidson’s, as well as Toyota Camrys, Hondas CRV’s and BMW’s.
Ross and I got to the restaurant a little earlier than the designated 1:00 p.m. time.  Fortunately we had reserved the private room to make sure we could, well have a little privacy.   
The restaurant was packed and noisy.   As
we made our way to the room, elbowing our way through the bar area, big guys with long beards and muscle shirts comically threw out comments referring to the large birthday cake Ross was carrying.
The room had a long table set for 16.  The guests included my children and grandchildren, my sister and her husband, my brother and his wife and my aunt Dolores.
Ross sat at the head of the table.  I sat all the way at the other end.
As usual, when we get together there is a lot of talking, interrupting, teasing and laughter.
We were almost as noisy and lively as the group beyond the closed doors of our room.
After we finished our meal, the waitress brought out the cake with lighted candles.  We sang Happy Birthday and I as I watched Ross, he seemed to be contemplatively pleased.
After he blew out the candles, we began to chant “Speech, speech, speech!”
Now, I must tell you, Ross is never at a loss for words.   We all turned to him and a hush came over the room as we intently waited for him to speak.  But no words came.
At that moment I felt as though he and I were the only ones in the room.  I watched him closely, silently encouraging him with my eyes.
Finally, with an emotionally filled voice he quietly whispered,  “You are my family.”



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A to Z Challenge -The Letter P - Purpose

I am participating in the “April Blogging From A to Z Challenge” for 2018.  Except for Sundays, but starting with Sunday April 1, I will be writing a post each day in April.  Working through the alphabet, by the end of the challenge I will have posted 26 writings.  





Purpose

It’s been a week since our puppy Rico passed.   I am having a lot of feelings.  Some of them are easy to recognize, others are not. 
We had a routine around here, much of it involved Rico.   When he was a pup and young boy, he would wake up bright and early.   During the last few years he preferred to sleep in and most days we would be up before him.    Whatever his wakeup time was, though, as soon as he opened his eyes and stretched, either Ross or I would immediately make sure he went out.
That was the beginning of the daily routine.   Before we would have our breakfast, we would prepare his.  He liked to eat at the same time we did.  
There were plenty of walks.  He was a little guy, only 9 pounds so he needed to go out more frequently. 
I guess I was the Rico whisperer because when he barked, Ross would ask me, “What does he want?”
I think I actually could discern the tones of his bark.  “I want to go out” was different from “I want a cookie” which wasn’t the same as “My water bowl is empty.”
Rico was always either by my side or he would keep Ross company in the den. 
I’m pretty sure he did not like to be left alone but he was never spiteful or destructive.   
If we went out, for five minutes or an hour, he would be at the door to greet us. He knew as soon as we came in, we would put his leash on and take him for a walk.  Yes, that was the routine. 
After dinner, his and ours, and another walk, we would settle in to watch TV.
Poor little guy, he would be sound asleep, but at 11:00 we would wake him up and Ross would take him for  his final walk of the day.
I suppose you could say Rico was more than a routine for us, he was our purpose for most of the 17 years we have been retired.




Empty Nest Yet Again.




Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A to Z Challenge -The Letter O - One Hundred and One

I am participating in the “April Blogging From A to Z Challenge” for 2018.  Except for Sundays, but starting with Sunday April 1, I will be writing a post each day in April.  Working through the alphabet, by the end of the challenge I will have posted 26 writings.  



One Hundred And One

Pauline sat in her favorite chair in front of the window.   The chair was covered in chintz.  It was a cheerful pattern with large pink blooms against a pale blue background.    
She chuckled to herself as she thought about the day she and Bob brought the chair home.
They had been married for only a short time.   Oh my, she sighed as she remembered the tiny sparsely furnished one bedroom apartment they shared.   The kitchen was small with three cupboards, an icebox, and a stove.  There was just enough room in the corner for a small dining table with a chair on either end.   
They had a second-hand sofa which filled up much of 8 x 10 living room. 
The chair had been left out by the curb.  They were out for a stroll when she spotted it.  
“Oh, Bob!”  she exclaimed.   “It’s perfect.  It’ll fit right in front of the window.”


The two of them must have been a sight, she holding one arm he the other as they lugged the chair the two blocks to their apartment.  
Over the years the chair had been covered and recovered at least a dozen times. 
This last time Donna had helped her pick out the fabric and helped her sew it.   Well, truth be known, Donna did much of the sewing. 
Pauline heard a car door slam,  bringing her back from her reverie.
She looked up and watched out the window as Donna came up the walk.  
Donna was carrying two big balloons and a cake box.  
One of the balloons had “Happy Birthday Mom” the other “One Hundred and One”.





Monday, April 16, 2018

A to Z Challenge -The Letter N - Never Never Land or Nancy

I am participating in the “April Blogging From A to Z Challenge” for 2018.  Except for Sundays, but starting with Sunday April 1, I will be writing a post each day in April.  Working through the alphabet, by the end of the challenge I will have posted 26 writings.  


Never Never Land

“I’m never going to do that!” exclaimed Nancy.   
“Never say never, Nan” advised Olivia.
Nancy bristled at her sister’s bossy tone. 
Olivia was four years older than Nan.  She was about 4 inches taller than Nan too.  She cared for Nan, not only as an older sister but almost more like a mother. 
After Olivia and Nan’s father died, their mother had to take on a second job to support them.  
They even had to move to another part of town to a smaller house.   Nancy was 12 and Olivia 16.  
When their mother would leave for her nighttime job as a waitress at the Town Diner, she would always say, “Olivia, make sure you take good care of your sister.”
Olivia was at the sink washing up the last of the dinner dishes.   Her fine blond hair was loosely tied  behind her head with a pink scrunchy.  She kept blowing at the wisps which fell over her eyes. 
Nancy was standing next to Olivia grabbing the next plate to dry.  
Although Nancy's hair wasn’t as light as Olivia’s and her eyes weren’t as blue, you could tell they were sisters.  
Nancy had been telling Olivia about a girl at school.  
“Liv, she and her mother were found sleeping in their car in the parking lot at Big Mart,” Nancy said incredulously.
“All the girls make fun of her,” said Nancy.  
“Surely not you?” asked Olivia, as she looked over at her sister. 
 Nancy, blushed and turned her face away. 
“Nancy, said Olivia in a more gentle tone, you never know what life has in store for you.” 
Olivia’s cell phone began to play her  “I Believe I Can Fly” ringtone. 
She grabbed the towel to dry off her hands as Nan handed her the phone. 
She recognized the number as the Town Diner’s.
A thousand thoughts ran through both of the girl’s minds.  
Why would someone from the diner be calling?  Maybe mom forgot to charge her phone.  Yes, that had to be it.  
Though neither sister said it out loud, they both had the same frightening thought. 
It had been that phone call from their Dad’s work that instantaneously changed all of their lives. 
The sister’s both held their breath as Olivia said, “Hello?” 
 

  


Saturday, April 14, 2018

A to Z Challenge -The Letter M - Monsters Under The Bed

I am participating in the “April Blogging From A to Z Challenge” for 2018.  Except for Sundays, but starting with Sunday April 1, I will be writing a post each day in April.  Working through the alphabet, by the end of the challenge I will have posted 26 writings.  



Monsters Under The Bed

I read that children are more sensitive or “open” to psychic and paranormal experiences.   Apparently, the idea is that there is wisdom in the ignorance and inexperience of youth.  Adults rarely see entities or have such experiences because their minds have been closed off by logic and skepticism. 

As a child I remember the fear of “monsters” under my bed.  

As I grew into adulthood, I pooh poohed the idea.  When I had children of my own, I naturally had to reassure them that there was no such thing as monsters.  

Now, I, being an adult with a great deal of seniority, have come full circle in my beliefs. 

I do believe in monsters, but not the ones with big teeth and hairy bodies. 

I love life.  It’s wondrous.  

Except for the monsters, that is.  

There are small ones like the “stepping off the curb the wrong way” so you have to wear a cast for six weeks the day before you were to take the trip (no pun intended) of your life demons.

Haven’t we all experienced the “middle of night phone-call” ogre?

Death can be the cruelest of all.   I have come face to face with this savage far too often lately.

Yes, I have suffered more than my share of monsters in my wondrous life.

The best defense I have to combat these beasts are my precious memories.

They remind me that monsters live for only the briefest of time.

And when I am sad and confused about the fairness of it all, I remember the good times of my wondrous life.

The thing about monsters, they hide and lay low, under your bed.  They rise up and attack without warning when you least expect it.

On Tuesday of this week, we had to say good-bye to our little fur baby.
Funny, I talked about Rico in my D post, reminiscing about the day we met him.

We are sad and we are lonely without him.  But my goodness, what a wondrous life we had with him.



Friday, April 13, 2018

A to Z Challenge -The Letter L - Loveladies LBI

I am participating in the “April Blogging From A to Z Challenge” for 2018.  Except for Sundays, but starting with Sunday April 1, I will be writing a post each day in April.  Working through the alphabet, by the end of the challenge I will have posted 26 writings.  



Our Favorite Beach


Long Beach Island (LBI) is located 42 miles (68 km) north of Atlantic City, 61 miles (98 km) east-southeast of Philadelphia and 101 miles (163 km) south of New York City. LBI is approximately 18 miles (29 km) in length, which includes three miles (5 km) of nature reserve located on the southern tip.The island is about a half-mile wide (800 m) at its widest point in Ship Bottom, and spans a fifth of a mile (300 m) at its narrowest point in Harvey Cedars.


My family started vacationing on Long Beach Island, NJ  in the 1980’s. I have many nice memories of LBI summers.
So much so that when Ross and I retired fifteen years ago, we moved to a town which is about 20 minutes from LBI. 
The beaches on the island are among the most beautiful along the Jersey shore. 
Our favorite beach on LBI is called Loveladies. 

This is what Loveladies, LBI look like today.



Even off season, when the beach is empty, there is always something to look at.  A fisherman, a dog walker, joggers, surfers and of course the beach birds.




It was windy and chilly on the beach today.



There is a lighthouse in the town of Barnegat Light.  The locals call it Old Barney.

The island has been continuously settled since 1690, initially being a destination for hunters. Barnegat Inlet, to the north of the island, was an important path for freight shipments and whaling from the 17th century through the 20th century. Due to the Inlet's importance and its turbulent waters, a lighthouse tower was constructed in 1835 to guide shippers through the area, but was inadequate to ships, constantly being mistaken for another passing ship because the light was fixed. Erosion problems destroyed the tower in 1857, two years before the current Barnegat Lighthouse was completed in 1859, flashing at each point of the compass every 10 seconds.







It’s been a long cold winter here in NJ.  In the next couple of days spring is supposed to finally make an arrival. Temperatures should raise into the 70”s F.  

Perfect beach weather!



Thursday, April 12, 2018

A to Z Challenge -The Letter K - Why Knitting of Course

I am participating in the “April Blogging From A to Z Challenge” for 2018.  Except for Sundays, but starting with Sunday April 1, I will be writing a post each day in April.  Working through the alphabet, by the end of the challenge I will have posted 26 writings.  



Knitting Of Course

Knitting.  What image does that conjure up for you?



Although there are plenty of grandmothers who do knit, I am happily one of them, knitting is not just for your grandma anymore.  


All sorts of people knit. 
 Famous people knit


Men knit.   There is a magazine filled with knitwear designs for men.  RIB Magazine




Knitting is not just my hobby, for me it is a passion.   I knit every day.  I have a YouTube podcast where I talk about knitting. It’s called Joey’s Scarf.
Sometimes Ross joins me on the podcast.


Strange you say?  Well, there are over 1400 other YouTube channels where other knitters talk about knitting.

There are hundreds of knitting festivals, at different times of the year all over the world where thousands of knitters gather together to commiserate about knitting.   The most famous I would say is the New York State Sheep and Wool festival in Rhinebeck, NY.




Here are some of the things I have been working on lately.



I have taught several people how to knit, including my mother, my aunt, my daughter and my granddaughter.  I tried to teach Ross how to knit.


That didn’t go so well.  But he is very supportive of my passion.  He is my companion (okay and also my driver) when we go around the country looking for yarn.

I have knit many items which I have given away to friends, relatives and friends of friends and relatives of relatives.

In case you are wondering why I knit, let me explain.  There are so many reasons actually.  I knit because it has provided comfort to me during some hard times.   The repetitive sequence of knit, purl, knit, purl, knit, purl is meditative.

It has proven to provide health benefits as noted in this NY Times article.

The Health Benefits of Knitting - The New York Times



Another reason is the creative outlet it provides for me.  And as the above article states, I get a complete sense of satisfaction when I finish a project because I not only have a useful item, but a most beautiful one.

Another positive benefit is the supportive community I have discovered,  all of us with a common understanding of how our deep passion for this ancient creative process of knitting has created a bond among all of us.

History of knitting, from knotted nets and knitted socks to knitting guilds.



Knitting is now commonly known as a slow craft which goes along with the Scandinavian term Hygge.


"Hygge is a Norwegian and Danish word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.” 

 I like that I can take my time leisurely and peacefully enjoying the creative process.

Have you ever tried to knit?   I suggest you give it a try.