Monday, May 30, 2011

D is for Descendent

My D word is Descendent

I am a descendent of Italian heritage.   All four of my grandparents were born in Italy.  I was the first grandchild born on my mother's side of the family and am the oldest of 27 grandchildren.  I have lost track of the number of second and third cousins on that side of the family.

Ross, and I, along with my sister, Elaine and her husband Al, went to Italy about 5 years ago.  We travelled way up a mountain to the town of Castelnuova di Conza. It is a town in the province of Salerno in the Campania region of Southwestern Italy.  This is where my mother's father and mother were born.

Al is from Italy and of course speaks the language fluently.

We stopped at the local town bar and inquired about a couple of second cousins who we knew were still living there.  Word spread quickly and soon the square was filled with curious locals.  (Especially after Ross and Al decided to buy rounds of drinks for everyone.) They were very helpful and directed us to the home of Giuseppina, my grandmother's niece and my mother's first cousin.

Giuseppina was very wary of us.  In response to our knocking, she yelled "Go Away!"  It took a lot of teasing, re-assuring, and cajoling by Al before Giuseppina finally opened the door, but just a crack.

After Al explained who we were, her whole attitude changed and she very hospitably invited us in for coffee.

Giuseppina is in her seventies and lives alone.   Even though she apparently experiences periods of  dementia, she was able to give us some accurate information about our grandparents.

One of the most interesting and moving things was something that Giuseppina showed us.
She took us into her bedroom.   There was a garment bag hanging on the back of the door.  Al asked her what was in the bag.   She told us that the bag held a dress that she wants to be buried in.  The dress was white because she had never married and was still a virgin.

I was very close to my Grandmother and felt overwhelmed with emotion.  I wondered what her life was like as a young girl.

My particular interest in wanting to visit my roots, was to see if I could find out any information about a family mystery.

In 1913, my grandmother Rachela Annicchiarico, left Castelnuovo at the age of 17 to travel to Naples.  From there she boarded the ship San Guglielmo and arrived at Ellis Island on December 4, 1913.

This was not unusual for that time.  However, the reason Rachela made the voyage was very unusual.
Six months earlier, her father, had also made the journey.   After his arrival to the USA he was supposed to then try to arrange to have his wife and children come over.   The family never heard from him again.

My Great-Grandmother, Assunte, sent her daughter, my Grandmother to the US to try to find her father, Michaelangelo Annicchierico.

She never found her father and to this day what happened to him remains a mystery.

After watching an episode of the TV show Who Do You Think You Are  sponsored by,  I found out that Kim Cattrall  had a very similiar story.
I then became obsessed with trying to solve our family mystery.

I joined and spent several months hunting through records but came up empty handed.

I talked to a few of my aunts and uncles, but each one told a different and conflicting story.
Apparently, my Grandmother would not talk about her father and I sometimes wonder if she actually did find out what happened and was too ashamed to share the secret.

The only way I may be able to put the mystery of Michaelangelo to rest might be to write a story about it and determine the ending for myself.

For more ABC posts visit Learn Your ABC With The Accidental Knitter

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Don't Eat Onions or Sweet Potatoes

One of our favorite TV shows is NCIS.  Of course my favorite character is Leroy Jethro Gibbs; better known as Gibbs.   I especially love Gibbs Rules.

I thought about making my own Rule Book.  As I started to imagine what would be in Lynda's Rules Book, I immediately started to organize and separate the book into different sections.

There would be a section for rules pertaining specifically to me. There would be another section for my husband.   Then, of course, there would have to be the sections for family and then sub sections under that section for specific members of the family.  And since I would be the one making these rules, I suppose it would naturally branch out to include friends, neighbors, the postman, customer service people and eventually perfect strangers.

An example of a rule from the Lynda Section might be:
Rule #1.  Memorize all of the Rules
Rule #7.  Exercise
Rule #8.  Stop saying you are going to get up early and exercise because you know you aren't.
Rule #9.  Exercise
Rule # 20.  Forget about Rule #4 because no one has ever figured out life and its meaning.

It would have been interesting to actually have started this list when I was very young.  I'm quite sure my list would not have included,  What Are you Crazy...  you can't wear a bikini. (Rule #10), mainly because you didn't follow rules #7 or 9.

Husband Rule Section:
Rule #1. Before you read the rest of these rules, remember that I love and appreciate you for who you are.

Rule # 2.  Always kiss me when you come into the room and before you leave the room.  
                        Sorry I forgot you always do do that.   That was supposed to be rule #2 from Lynda's Section and the word "me" would be replaced by "Ross".

Rule # 9.  When making sweet potatoes don't make one for me because I don't like them.
Rule #10  Or onions for that matter.
Rule # 13.  Stop asking me which route I want to take home, because you should know after 14 years of being together, I don't know routes and don't care which one we take, mainly because I will probably be knitting anyway and not looking out of the window.

Rule #99.  The last rule.  Remember that I love you and appreciate you for who you are.

The more I thought about, the more I realized that if we I lived by two standard, well worn, time tested rules we I wouldn't need to bother wasting precious time (refer to Standard Well Worn Time Tested Rule #2) thinking about and trying to live by all of those other rules.
1. The Golden Rule
2. The "Life Is Not a Dress Rehearsal Rule"

Special Personal Note to Ross:
     After you finish reading this,  let's go to the beach.  It's going to be a beautiful day!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

An eBay Entrepreneur

Every few weeks or so I make a mental list of things I would like to accomplish.  Paring down clutter is always at the top of the list.   

The room we (besides me, the we includes Ross and Rico) spend a lot of time in is our office/den.  

Ross and I each have our own computer desks.  There is another cabinet in the room which is pretty much empty.  It has just become another vessel to stow away more stuff and a surface to hold a big old TV, that we very rarely watch. 

We each have a book case next to our desks.  The only books my book case has on its shelves are old telephone books.  The rest of the shelves are filled with more stuff.

The book case next to the desk Ross uses, does have some books.  But, they are not our books.  They are more "stuff" books.  Books we picked up here and there and thought we might sell on eBay or in our shop. 

We have a nice large window in the room.  Under the window is an old coffee table.  The coffee table is used as a mini photography studio.  It holds the light box that we use to take pictures of our stuff, which someday we are going to sell on eBay.   The coffee table also allows more storage space under it.  There are old sewing patterns, jewelry, some neat hat stands, and old film camera, complete with case, etc, etc, etc.   You know, more potential eBay stuff.

I have been selling on eBay since 1998. 

eBay is great way to get rid of stuff.  It can also be very time consuming.  

I have spurts of enthusiasm for it.  Yesterday I had one of those spurts.    
I  picked 15 items off of my "book" shelf.   It took me about 1-1/2 hours to take pictures of the items, crop and save those pictures.   Then another 1-1/2 hours to write descriptions for each item, upload them into  Garage Sale.   
 Garage Sale is a client application for eBay online auction system designed for use with the Mac. It allows users to edit, track, and manage their auctions with one single application.
The auctions will run for 7 days.   During those 7 days I will probably get questions from potential buyers asking if the old stuff  vintage items I am selling are in perfect, unused, excellent condition.  They might also want to know why the post office I am charging so much for postage.

Once the auctions have ended, I hopefully will have sold some of the items.  Then I will have to send an invoice to each of the winners.    Once I get paid, I then will have to pack each item, and get it to the post office.
Yes, selling on eBay can be time consuming.  But the rewards for me far out weigh the minor negatives.

  1. I now have a little less stuff.
  2. I have made either a small profit or at least gained some of my investment back.
  3. I get to read the usually wonderful positive feedback from the people who have bought a piece of my stuff.  It makes me feel that I have given out presents.
Here is a shameless plug for my  eBay auctions.  Since I intend to keep chipping away at my stuff, I will be adding more stuff to my auctions today.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Moon Child and the Sign of the CRAB

Today's letter is the letter C.

I was born on July 1.   That means that from the day I was born I have had a connection to the word Cancer, astrologically speaking of course.

Is this really me?  

Cancer - The Crab
June 21 – July 22
Cancerians love home-life, family and domestic settings. They are traditionalists, and enjoy operating on a fundamental level. They love history, and are fascinated with the beginnings of things (heraldry, ancestry, etc.). The moon is their ruler, so they can be a bit of a contradiction and sometimes moody. However, they are conservative, so they’ll be apt to hide their moods from others altogether. They have a reputation for being fickle, but they’ll tell you that isn’t true, and it’s not. Cancerians make loyal, sympathetic friends. However Cancerians need alone time, and when they retreat, let them do so on their terms.

Well I have to admit I can relate to some parts of it.  

Yes, the word Cancer has had meaning for me from the day I was born.   

I have a vivid childhood memory.   I am sitting in the dining room of my Grandmother's house.  The adults were talking in hushed voices, whispering about the lump that the Doctors  found on Aunt Anna's neck.  I remember putting my hand on my neck to feel if I had such a lump.  And I remember feeling scared.

I hate Cancer.   I hate all the pain, heartache and suffering it causes.  I hate that each and every one of us, at some point in our lives will have some connection to the word Cancer.

Many of my family members have battled Cancer.   

After my sister's wedding and before the  reception, the bridal party made a trip to the hospital to visit my Grandmother .    She died a month later from Cancer. 

My Dad died from Cancer 21 years ago.     

I cared for my Mom in my home during the last few months of her life.   She died from Cancer two days before Thanksgiving in 2009.

January 20, 2010,  my 36 year old son, Joe, was diagnosed with incurable stage IV colon Cancer.  

Cancer is one of the reasons I write this blog.  Writing the blog gives me the opportunity to occasionally peek out from underneath the blanket of bravery and stiff upper lip.

The blog gives me the voice to be able to "say" the word Cancer out loud and not in a hushed whisper.   It allows me the ability to experience and express my feelings of hopelessnes, anger and sadness.   

I can sit and cry in private while I write about how much my son means to me.  The blog gives me the chance to reflect on what an inspiration he has been and continues to be for me.

When it came to the letter C.  I knew I had no choice but to write about Cancer, because you see from day one it has been a part of my life. 

This is a very informative website with lots of information on colon cancer:

This site is an inspiring one with stories of survivors of colon cancer:



Sunday, May 22, 2011

It Makes Me Smile :)

     Usually by this time of the year I am itching to get to the local garden center to pick out the flowers I am going to plant.   But so far this year, for a variety of reasons,  I have not been motivated to do so.   The weather has not exactly been inspiring.   The warm and sunny days have been few and far between. 

     Another thing that had me discouraged was the tree that is planted right smack dab in the front of our little patch of Adult Community Paradise.   

     It seems that a large number of the 2400 residents who live here came from either the city, where there were no trees, or they lived in houses with lots of property and lots of trees.
     I think the Developer figured a good compromise would be to give every home one tree to call their own.   
     Of course, the bottom line being the Bottom Line, the type of tree they decided to plant on the sprawling  lawn front yard of each home was the fast growing Silver Maple.  At least I think that's what it is.  
      All I know is that the little sapling that was planted a short time ago has gotten much much bigger.   The branches hang over the sidewalks now and people walking by have to duck down when passing. 

      Very poor planning for a community of seniors who should not be climbing on ladders to trim trees.   But as I said, I'm sure the Bottom Line was the Builder's primary concern.

    Anyway, every year I would plant flowers around our tree.  The first few years, the plants thrived and looked beautiful.  But as this tree grew, the area under the tree got shadier and the roots got bigger and tougher and more plentiful. So my planting area got smaller and smaller.  And the flowers got wimpier and wimpier. 

     Last year I decided that maybe a perennial flower would be good.  I noticed that a number of homes had this carnation looking flower planted around their front yard trees.  
     Every spring there would be what seemed to be an instant burst of  color around their tree.  And the white, pink and purple flowers would bloom all summer.   

  I planted my Dianthus last year around my tree.  It bloomed once.  This is what came up this year.

Dianthus caryophyllus is a loosely tufted species pink with flat, medium green, lance-shaped leaves with conspicuous sheaths, to 6 inches long. In summer, bears loose cymes, 2 inches wide, of 1 to 5 single, strongly fragrant, serrated, bright pink-purple flowers, to 1 inch wide.

So I have decided that this year the only things that would be planted around our tree would require no sun, no water and no effort on our part.

Cherub Bird Bath

Ceramic Chickadee

Made for me by Bella :)

     I do still have the nice little garden area under our front window to consider.

     Yesterday it was actually warm and sunny.  Mikey D, the landscape guy, came to trim the tree and mulch around the bushes.  Everything looked so nice when he finished that I finally felt the urge to go to Reynolds Garden Center.

     Apparently, Reynolds was the place to be yesterday.   Everyone seemed to have the same idea.  The place was hoppin'.   I have to say being around the hustle and bustle of enthusiastic gardeners was just the inspiration I needed.   

    As Ross and I were wandering up and down the aisles, I almost tripped over a most unusual display.  I looked at this thing and found myself smiling uncontrollably. 
 Then I proceeded to have the following argument with myself;
      "No, you couldn't put that in your garden, what would people think?   I have to have it.  No, don't be ridiculous, it's too silly, it's just not you."

I asked Ross what he thought.   
"Look at you," he said.  "You are giggling like a little girl.  You need to be able to see this everyday.  It makes you smile.   You need to smile."

Big Foot
    So being the wild and crazy woman that I am, here is what I will see everyday.  It makes me smile.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Aahh The Perfect Knitting Nook Just Picture It...

Where do you knit?  Do you have a place that you call your knitting nook?

 I envision mine to be a cozy corner with a overstuffed chair that I can curl my legs up on.  In the spring and summer,as I am knitting Multnomah,  it would be a  place where I would be able to look out the window and see a pond surrounded by wild flowers.

Or perhaps an old garden bench leaning on a stone wall.

Or perhaps this view.

In the winter, as the snow is falling, I would be knitting afghans, scarves, mittens and hats, with a view of my fireplace and a roaring fire. 

The only sounds I would hear while knitting in my nook, would be the clicking of my needles, and soft jazz drifting through the air.  

I would never be interrupted by annoying solicitor phone calls asking me for a donations or credit card people asking me to sign up.

My nook would not have a 52" flat screen TV with surround sound.  

My perfect little maltese Rico would be curled up at my feet and never bark at the garbage truck, or postman.  He wouldn't care that his nemesis Chico was peeing on his territory.  

Yes it would be a beautifully idyllic, tranquil and quiet place. 

Yesterday, as I was fantasizing about my knitting nook, I thought, now there must be a corner in my nearly 2,000 sq. ft home, which I share with only one other person, and a not so perfect maltese, that I can call my own.   

So I went from room to room looking for my nook.  

I started in our bedroom.  I found the perfect corner. But it is taken up by an old Art Deco era vanity with a huge mirror.  

I said to Ross, "I think I would like to donate this and use that corner as my knitting nook."  

He said, "But that is the only full length mirror in our house.   I use that."  

Hmm, I thought, I guess getting another full length mirror and hanging it, I don't know, say perhaps on the wall could not possibly be an option.  

"Okay, then what about getting rid of the treadmill?" I asked. 

"No, I don't think so, I am going to be starting my exercise program real soon," he said.

Yea right, I thought.

Okay, onto the spare bedroom with a queen size bed, a small dresser and a crib.   

"How about we ditch the queen size bed and take down the crib?" I asked.

"But where would cousin Robert sleep when he comes to visit from California?" he asked.

Oh, right, I thought.   The last time Robert was here was in 2001

 "And," he pointed out,  "the kids do occasionally come with the baby. "

Next to consider is the sun room.

We have a very lovely sun room.  This one is a tough one for me.  You see, during the last few months of her life, we took care of my mom in our home.   She spent most of that time in the sun room.  The memory of her knitting and crocheting there still haunts me.   No, for at least now, the sun room is out.

So after re-arranging and un-rearraging my living room/ family room, this is what I came up with.  

(Notice the paper towels under the carpet.  This morning, Rico decided that he was too lazy to let me know that he needed to go out.)

Okay, so the view out my window is of my way too close neighbor's house and not a pond, garden bench or the ocean.

Yes, the speakers from the surround sound system are just above my head, and as I am writing this, Rico is barking his head off at Chico, but...

I do have my big overstuffed chair, a fireplace for the winter,

 and Ross promised me that when I want to retreat to my nook, he will take Rico out for a nice long walk.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Baffled by Sticks, Knots, and Loops in Barnegat

B is for Baffled...                                      

I dabbled a little with knitting when I was pregnant with my first child thirty some years ago.  Circumstances led me back to it about two years ago.

We were visiting my son and his family in Sarasota, Florida.  We wandered into an antique shop and were very surprised to see that one half of the shop was actually a yarn store called Picasso Moon Yarn. A group of women were sitting around in old rockers in one corner of the shop.  They were cocooned amongst bins of wonderful, soft, pettable yarns of yummy colors.

I was drawn to the seemingly calm, peaceful, and warmth of the place.  The owner approached me and asked if I needed help.  I told her that I would like to start knitting and wanted to know if she could recommend a starter pattern.

Not only did she recommend a pattern, but she had me sit in one of the rockers, handed me a pair of circular needles, a skein of raspberry wool  and proceeded to teach me a long tail cast on.

"You are going to make a felted bag," she said.   "I, am?" I replied.

She said, "Look, you just keep going around and around until this gets to be about 15 inches.  Then come back and I'll show you how to finish it off."  I was totally baffled.

I said okay and did what I was told.  As I was knitting around and around, I couldn't figure out how this thing was going to turn into a felted purse.  And even after I finished it and it actually did turn into a purse, I was still baffled.

You see I am a Left brain knitter.  That means that I knit using the verbal analytic side of my brain.

I have to assume that Right brain knitters can look at a Rhododendron bush in full bloom and visualize a sweater pattern in those exact colors.

Me?  Nope.  I can't do that.

When I decided I needed a challenge and tried a sock pattern for the first time, I was baffled and amazed   that by following the step by step instructions I would wind up with something to keep my feet warm.

  I had and still have no concept of how this:

 turns into that.

Yes, I am using two different skeins of yarn.  That's the only way I can figure out "the knitting two socks  on two circulars needles" thing.  And yes, I know it kinda defeats the purpose of winding up with two socks that are the same and not having that one sock syndrome...but, it's that Left Brain thing again.

Wash cloths I can kinda get.  I have been knitting those lately.  As I follow the pattern along I sorta understand how the purl bumps make the design.  I'm still working on figuring out those yarn over things.

I thought that maybe if I attempted to create a wash cloth design of my own, I would have a better understanding of how it all works.

I spent hours drawing the most simple of shapes.  I chose a heart and the letter G.  Then I spent another few hours trying to figure out the center of the cloth.  After many iterations of my design

 (and I use that term loosely) I wound up with this.

There were more hours of writing out the instructions, because, of that verbal, analyitical thing.

After I completed the cloth, I was disappointed that the letter G didn't come out exactly the way my Left brain had visualized it.  I need to work on that.  Actually, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

You see, I still am baffled by how loops, and knots on sticks, turn bumps and v's into letters and hearts.

But, during the process, I felt that somehow, my Left Brain and my Right Brain were finally talking to one another.

Friday, May 13, 2011

We Find the Most Unusual Things...But what is it?

Ross and I share an interest in all things old, yes including each other.  :)
We were Estate Auction Junkies.
Before there was AuctionZip, we would scour Thursday’s local newspapers looking for the week’s up coming auctions.
We would attend several auctions a week.  There was the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night auctions and then a choice between all day Saturday or Sunday auctions.
We started out as collectors.  Ross found old postcards from his hometown interesting and I was drawn to old sparkly costume jewelry.
We discovered that the more auctions we attended, the more our interests expanded.
Our collections grew to include Depression glass juice reamers, old photographs, buttons, books, hats, artwork, salt & pepper shakers, etc, etc, etc.   As I said all things old.
One of my favorite finds was a group of diaries written by a young housewife during the late 1920’s.   It was a wonderful glimpse into how different life was during that time.
After we filled up a spare room closet and an attic storage space, we knew we needed an outlet to be able to “share” our findings.
The Hummel figurine that I bought for $20, and sold for $3,500 and the post card that Ross bought for $1.00 and sold for $60.00 got us both hooked on eBay.
We had enough stuff by this time to also rent a small space in an antique mall in Cape May, NJ.  We would even do one or two flea markets a year.
We began doing this 13 years ago.  We have cut down on the amount of auctions we attend and maybe go to only three or four a year now. 
We have since moved to a closer Antique Mall, in Point Pleasant Beach NJ.  Our room is on the second floor.
Our stuff and we have gotten even older.  Time doesn’t matter to the stuff; in fact it probably gets better with age and may even increase its value.
We have also gotten better in some ways, but time has definitely taken its toll on our ability to schlep and carry our stuff, especially up the steps to the second floor.
Every year, normally during the long winter months, we talk about getting rid of all of our stuff and giving up our room in PPB.   But the nice weather brings the tourists to the Jersey Shore and business picks up.  This somehow justifies our sometimes out of control buying and the desire to hold on to our stuff.
Here is a sampling of stuff we have in our space in Point Pleasant Beach
Thousands of Post Cards

Hand Made Puppet Theater With Puppets and McCall's Sewing Pattern


Jewelry, Salt & Pepper Shakers, Doll House Furniture

Sheet Music, More Jewelry, Pictures of Hens, etc, etc, etc...

One of our recent finds was this mystery item
What is it?

Still Can't Figure It Out

We thought maybe a hat box, but it's so padded that a hat would not fit.  Or could it be a Hatpin Pin Cushion?  A carrier for fragile or breakable things? 

That is part of the fun of our hobby.  We find the most unusual things, even though sometimes they are unidentifiable.  And sooner or later we know that someone will walk into our space and decide they just have to have it!

Monday, May 9, 2011


I am participating in ABC With the Accidental Knitter - New Meme.
The object is:
 Every Monday, bloggers around the world write about a topic beginning with a letter of the alphabet (We will be doing this in order, so A for the first week, B for the second etc).
Today is the first post so it is the letter A. 

My word is Abracadabra.

I wonder what if  Abracadabra was truly a magical word.   Think of the endless uses and possibilities.
Would I use it wisely or  would I abuse it?

I could instantly turn my stash into the lovely Rock Island Shawl, or the Nutkin sock. 

No more worrying about un-expected guests ringing my door bell.

Those last ten pounds I want to lose, poof, gone.

I could re-arrange my furniture daily, if so inclined.

I've always wanted to visit Australia, Abracadabra, I'm there.

I had a visit from Joe today.  He wanted to take the baby to see the ocean for the first time.

If I had only one Abracadabra, it would be that Joe would no longer have to worry that he might not get to see his son's son's first time at the beach. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thanks For This One Jen! Happy Mother's Day.

She woke up one morning and the house was unusually quiet.  No one was calling for her.  No arguing voices.  No sounds coming from the TV.  No opening and closing of the refrigerator.

She got up and went into the bathroom.  Everything was neat and tidy,  just as she had left it.

As she made her way through the living room,  she realized that she didn't have to watch where she was walking because there were no toys or shoes to trip over,  no socks or pajamas to pick up.

She could smell the coffee brewing as she headed into the kitchen.  She had set the timer on the cofee maker the night before so that it would be ready for her when she woke up.   She no longer had to worry about leaving something hot unattended.

As she sat sipping her coffee,  staring out of her window, she thought about the other times.  She thought about the times when all she wanted was to be left alone, for just one day.   She remembered how luxurious she thought it would feel to not have to make breakfast, lunch or dinner for anyone.    She yearned to sleep past 7:00 a.m. on the weekends and someday, maybe, even sleep as late as she wanted whenever she wanted.

She thought about all of these things today.  She smiled to herself as she also thought about that day, it seemed like only yesterday, that day that she was awakened by little voices outside of her bedroom door.

"I think I hear her waking up, the voices whispered."   Little giggles saying "She is going to be so surprised.  She loves chocolate chip pancakes."

"Do you think she will like our flowers?"  the other voice asked.

 "Come on guys, let your Mom sleep, she'll be up soon, " said the deeper voice.

She thought about how much she missed days like those days.

She remembered how when she would call her mother, not as often as she should have, her mother would say, "It's okay, I don't mind being alone.  And then later on it was "Please, let me stay in my own home, I can take care of myself."  

As she sat there alone with her coffee, on this Mother's day, she remembered and missed her mother.

She felt very grateful for her daughter, and two sons and their families.    Her grandchildren were the light of her life, now.

With a twinge of sadness,  she thought about how her  son had been forced to understand the preciousness of time.   A lesson that she had only just learned.

She glanced at the clock and realized she better get moving.   The kids were coming over today.  How lucky she was.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

For Joe, Louise, and Most of All Me

Frankly, for various reasons, I have been trying to quit my bowling league ever since I joined which was, nine years ago.   The reason I bring this up now is because,  yesterday the sign up sheet for next season was passed around.

For the first seven years, each time this sheet came around, I would hint that I would not be coming back.  Louise the senior member of our team (she was 72 at the time) would smile at me sweetly and say, "Don't even think of checking that No box."

Last year at this time,  my entire focus was on my son and his illness.  I couldn't even think about what the next day would bring, let alone think about next September.  So I indicated that I needed time to decide and I put a question mark down on the sheet.  Even Louise's "sweet" smile would not be able convince me to change the question mark to a yes.

Erica, the president of the league,  called me several times during last summer to find out if I had made up my mind.  Finally I told her that I was sorry, but  I really was not in the frame of mind to bowl. I told her that  I would not be coming back.  Apparently, Erica was not going to take no for an answer.  She spent a good deal of time talking to me. She very compassionately  pointed out that the worst possible thing I could do would be to cocoon myself in my house.   She said, "you have to get out."  So I said yes.

Which brings us to yesterday.  The Tuesday Morning Ladies League sign up sheet for next season was sent around.
I have to mention Louise here.  One of Louise's passions is bowling.  She started off the season with us.  But after only a month, she became ill.  Louise is 81 years old now.  She was very hopeful that after her open heart surgery, she would be back in time to finish out the season.  Sadly, that didn't happen.  She is now living with her son and most likely will not be able to bowl in our league again.
So, since Louise and her "sweet" smile were not there to influence me, I decided to be very decisive. I most definitely would not be coming back next season.  I aggressively wrote down a NO.    Okay it was more like no.

It took Erica about one minute after she received the list with my no to come over to me.    "What's this?', she wanted to know.  I looked up from my knitting and smiled at her.  "I was expecting you," I said.

She said, "You can't quit, we would miss seeing what your latest knitting projects are.  "You know,  I bet Louise would love to know that even if she can't bowl you would bowl in her honor. "  Darn her!

I explained to her why I was saying no.  I told her that trying to cope with the fact that my son has cancer has not gotten any easier for me.  "It takes so much energy for me to even get up and out," I said.

 Then she pulled out the big guns and she asked me if my son had stopped living his life.  "No," I said.  He goes to work every day,  he enjoys time with his wife and son.  They even took a trip up to Cooperstown, NY last month to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame."  

"Hmm,"  she said, "So your son copes with his illness by living in the moment, right?  Isn't that the best way?" she wisely asked.    

I told her that I would think about it.    She said, "Okay, you do that.  But I have to warn you, I will be calling you and you will be changing that no to a Yes."

She's probably right.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Reaction to Last Night's Announcement

As I was lying in bed last night, with the noise of Celebrity Apprentice lulling me to sleep, a strange alert popped up on our tv.  I had not heard of any storms approaching, so what was this?  And then the scroll on the bottom of the screen informed us that President Obama would be making an important announcement to the American People.

I got a clutch in my stomach.   It was 10:30 on a Sunday evening.  My mind raced to all kinds of things from "he has a personal crisis and has to step down, to "the martians are coming, the martians are coming..."

We immediately began to channel surf to see if we could find out what was going on.  For the first 15 minutes, the typical response by many of the news channels was that they did not want to speculate. What they did know was that the announcement was important and had something to do with our national security.  I felt very afraid.

When I found out what the President would be telling us, I felt relieved, happy, and patriotic.

Obviously the effect 9/11 has had on our country is enormous.   We don't feel safe.  When we fly we are all treated as potential terrorists.  Our hearts will always be filled with sadness for the victims of those vicious attacks.   The images of those planes hitting the Twin Towers will stay with all of us for the rest of our lives.

Although I am not nieve enough to think..."Whew, now we will be safe again! Our troops can come home.  There will be no more wars.  Gas prices will come down.  There will never be another crazy person going into a school yard with a gun and killing innocent people."  I do feel some sense of relief that at least this evil man is gone.

Yes the heros have killed Osama bin Laden.   But, sadly,  just like in the comic books, I know that there will always be more bad guys to take his place.