Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Can Oil and Water Cure an Evil Eye Migraine Headache?

     Yesterday, January 30,  I happened to glance at the calendar that is hanging on the side of our fridge.
Someone, not mentioning any names, okay it was Ross, had flipped the page to February.
     This action prompted me to recall an incident from a few too many years ago.
I remember I was at work and it was a Friday. The date was two days before the end of the month.   I decided to be organized, so I flipped my daily desk calendar to the new month so that when I came in on Monday the date would be correct.
     My cube mate was horrified.  "You must never do that", she exclaimed.  "It's bad luck!"  I had never heard that before, but I didn't want to upset her even more, so I quickly put the calendar back to the current day.  I guess it had something to do with jinxing your chances of making it to that date in the future which really hadn't happened yet.  Get it?  I didn't either.
     I am not superstitious. I don't throw salt or pepper over my left or right shoulder.   Black cats don't frighten me.  I must have broken a mirror or two in my life.  I do not believe in good or bad luck. I do play the lottery, but that is a game of chance, not luck.
     I can't explain, though, why I cannot go to sleep unless the doors to both bedroom closets are closed.
      My grandmother, my father's mother was very superstitious.  She had some strange beliefs which she passed on to her children.
     One such belief was the evil eye.  The evil eye is placed on a person when someone is jealous or envious of another's good luck, good lucks or good fortune.
     My father used to suffer from migraines.   In order to determine if the headache was due to someone "giving the evil eye or maloik", my grandmother would drip olive oil into a basin of water, one drop at a time.   If the drops ran together in the form of an eye, the evil eye was the cause of the illness.
     The cure consisted of reciting prayers while dripping oil into the basin of water again and again -- sometimes for hours -- until a perfect array of oil forms that does not resemble an eye.  
     According to my research only women can perform this ritual which they pass down to their daughters along with the secret prayers, but this transference of knowledge can only be done on Good Friday.  
     I can still see my grandmother making the sign of the cross on my father's forehead right before she  began the oil and water ritual.  
     My father always wore a giant gold Italian horn around his neck which was supposed to ward off the evil eye.  Considering the fact that he gambled away everything he had, including his house, apparently the person giving him the evil eye had a lot more power than his horn did.
I'd be interested to know if you have unexplained rituals or family superstitions.  If so, have they been effective?

Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:   
Thurs. January 31 1929
Loretta and her chum Mararet for lunch.  Went to Mrs. Wittenburgs for afternoon.  Also Elsie. Played bridge.  Then to Elsies house.  Talked with Dick reselling White Motor Stock.
[White Motor Co. was an American automobile and semi-truck manufacturer from 1901-1980.  It started out as a sewing machine company.]

Monday, January 30, 2012

And That's Why I Blog

Lately, I find myself saying things like: "I can't take much more" or "I can't do this, I just can't".

Sometimes I say that I am afraid that "once I start crying, I won't be able to stop."

I talk about my aching heart and say that I feel as though the pain will break it in half.

I thought about how abstract those phrases are.  How illogical they are and how that they don't make a whole lot of sense.

That's when I do my self talk. It goes something like this:

"Come on now, you realize that your human spirit is capable of taking more, probably a lot more.  Saying you can't take it isn't what you really mean, now is it?   Come on now, you know what you are really trying to say.  Yes, that's right, it isn't that you can't take any more, it's that you don't want to take anymore.  You want a little break from it.  Isn't that what you really mean?  Yes, I thought so."

"And tell the truth now,  instead of shaking off your sadness, how do think it would feel if you grabbed it, and pulled it up over your head.  Why not let it engulf you and curl up in a ball and just be with it?  That just might be comforting, don't you think? "

"Your heart is strong, you know it is.  Yes, the pain is there and yes it is real.  But, don't worry, it won't really break. The pain will be there for a long while and after all isn't that what you really want?  You know that you don't want it to go away because you are afraid that if the pain goes away, Joey will disappear with it.  That's what you are really afraid of isn't?"

And that's why I blog, and that's why I write. I sort out my thoughts and explore my feelings.
Sometimes it keeps me from crying because if I start  I am afraid I will never stop.

Here is today's entry from Anna's diary:

Wed. January 30 1929
Brought Elsie down town in the car.  She bought a few small Chinese rugs.  I bought a banjo clock for a gift to Lucietta.  Met the Arlington girls for bridge at Jules.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Dry Town - But Oh The Pizza

Yesterday, I did not leave the house.   I felt as though I should have at least stuck my head and big toe out the door, especially since the weather has been spectacularly sunny and unusually mild for a January in New Jersey, but the day and I seemed to drift on by without so much as a hint of fresh air.

Today, though, my body, heart and soul desperately needed a change of pace and scenery.  The day promised to be another beauty.

So, with spy cam(era) in hand we headed off to do some sight seeing and people watching.

Destination: Ocean City.
Ocean City is a Jersey Shore beach community located in Cape May County.
I am positive that neither Snookie or the Situation would choose this location, simply because it is a dry town. The town boasts that since there are no bars or restaurants that sell alcohol, the party atmosphere is kept to a minimum.
There are liquor stores located at the foot of the bridge on the other side of the city, including a “Super” Liquor store, which is a huge warehouse near the 34th Street Bridge.
According to the Jersey Shore Guide
"Vacationers are welcome to bring alcohol to their weekly rentals and enjoy their vacation. But the citizens of Ocean City feel that without the element of alcohol readily available, it makes Ocean City one of just a few towns along the Jersey Shore that does not have to deal with rowdy bars, and unruly visitors who are inebriated."

Nope you definitely would not find any member of the Jersey Shore crew in Ocean City, NJ.

The wonderful boardwalk, though, is chock full of all the typical sights, sounds, and especially smells that you would expect to find.
Of course, at the end of January it is a lot quieter than it is in the middle of the season.

 But, along with Ross and me, there were people out and about enjoying the day.

I guess they want to be first in line for their vanilla and orange cream twist.

She is taking home two pizza's from the famous Mack & Manco's.  Ohh, those pies smelled so good.
In the summer time, the wait line for Mack & Manco's is many people long.   We were too lazy and it was too cold to walk all the way down to the other end to get a slice.

There were even people on the beach.

Okay person on the beach.

And a gull.

Today was just what I needed - my camera, the boardwalk, sand, sun and fresh air.

Here are yesterday and today's entries from Anna's diary.

Mon. January 28, 1929
Went to Louise with her policy.  Lena not well.  Going to the hospital for observation.  Ted came over to get a check for her cash to pay her school tuition.  Very cold out. 

[Anna has a younger sister named Teresina.  Perhaps Ted is her nickname.]

Tues. January 29
Downtown. Met Frances for lunch at Bambergers.  Home early. Mrs. Walker and Helen stopped up.  Frances and Michael over at night.  Brought a cherry pie. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Smiling and Nodding on the Fringe

My aunt Dee is my mother's sister.  She and I are only 7 years apart in age.  We are more like sisters than aunt and niece.

My uncle, Aunt Dee's husband is 78 years old.  He wears hearing aids.

He always has a smile for me and a jolly "how ya doin'".   Since I am very soft spoken, I try to exaggerate my mouth movements hoping that will help him to decipher what I am trying to say.

I suspect that sometimes he may pretend to hear every word to avoid having to ask others to repeat what they are saying.  Usually the indication that he is pretending is a smile and a nod.

I wonder if he feels like he is living in a perpetual dead zone, with voices continually cutting in and out.  Does he feel as if he is living on the perimeter of life because most times he is not included in our conversations?

Aunt Dee is a very energetic woman.  She is six years younger than Uncle.  She exercises every day and is in great shape.  Uncle used to be able to keep up with her, but he has developed health problems in the last few years.

Aunt Dee refuses to let Uncle give up on life.   And Uncle still wants to please her so he tries the best he can.

Two weeks ago, Uncle was rushed to the emergency room with severe stomach pains.

The tests results came back.  Uncle has stage IV pancreatic cancer.  Aunt Dee and Uncle were in shock. How could this be?

 I know how that feels.

Uncle was sent home from the hospital to await his appointment and consultation with the doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC.  Aunt Dee is very nervous about that appointment.  She worries about what the doctors will say.

I know how that feels.

Uncle is depressed but Aunt Dee refuses to let him give up.  She fusses over him.  She does everything she can to try to get him to eat.   After all, the doctors told her he needs to build up his strength so that he will be able to tolerate the chemo.  Even though he is very weak, and is walking with a walker, she makes him stand up for a few minutes every hour.  After all, the physical therapist said that would be good for him because he needs to build up his strength.

Aunt Dee is very tired.  She looks scared and seems so tiny and vulnerable.

I know how that feels.

Today we got a phone call from Aunt Dee.  Uncle was again rushed to the hospital.  He is very weak.

When we got to the hospital, Aunt Dee was, of course, by Uncle's side.   She was clutching the note book that contains all of Uncle's medical records including a list of the 8-10 medications he is currently on.

Aunt Dee says she hates emergency rooms and cancer.  So do I.

Uncle was pointing to his hearing aids.  He tells Aunt Dee that the batteries need to be changed.

Aunt Dee is trying to stay strong.  But I can see the look of desperation in her eyes.

I know how that feels.

A nurse came in and asked Uncle how he was feeling.   Uncle just nodded and smiled.

Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:
Sun. January 27 1929
Dinner at Dr. Bianchi's.  Left Junior there and Jean and I went to church to see Lucietta married.  Had supper at Mothers. Marietta and Corinne there for supper.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

But Can We Print From The Moon?

Yesterday I finally got around to setting up our new "free" ePrinter.  It was the bonus we received when we purchased our Mac Book Air.

A feature of this printer is that we can print using a computer or our phones from anywhere in the world to our ePrinter.

At first Ross and I thought this was the coolest thing.  But then the more we thought about it, the more we realized that we couldn't come up with one scenario where we would have the need to do that.

So the novelty has worn off and it is now just another printer.

It's the same with our new iPhones.  Ross got carried away with talking to that Siri lady.  It was kind of funny, but now that I think about it, perhaps weird is a better description of his behavior.
He would be in the other room and I would hear him talking to someone and it didn't sound like he was on the phone.  He would be talking in a very precise, instructional, monotone voice.
Something like this:
"Pay Bills"
"No, not flees, cheese."

Now I see he is back to his 3x5 cards and lists on scrap paper.

Yay, I finished my marigold scarf last night.  I washed and blocked it and was able to wear it today.

Now I have the knitter's typical problem of having to figure out what to do with the leftover yarn.  Maybe I will try a pair of socks.

Here is today's entry from Anna's diary:

Sat. January 26 1929
Carrie took children out on sled. Met Jean down town. Lunch at Kresges. Jean bought dress in Emily shop.  Jan Georgette Peg Edythe & Clarena over. Heavy debate.

[I wonder what the debate was about? What would a group of women be discussing in 1929?]

Kresges was a department store.  Broad St. was the major shopping street of Newark. In 1926, the Kresge's store at the southwest corner of Broad and Cedar arranged to have a platform opened in the subway at its basement level, allowing customers to come in directly from the subway. The station was opened in January 1927 on the inbound side. The only access was through the store. Kresge's was a general store similar to Woolworth's. The company now operates the Kmart chain.

I wonder if this was one of the dresses that Jean bought?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chasing Chickens and Ducks in Key West New Jersey

Yesterday, I was having one of those days. I felt as though life had sucked the life out of me.

Ross assured me that the cure for a sucky day is lunching at the The Smithville Inn and then taking the road less traveled to look for photo op's.

And so we did.

We were seated in the Garden room, right by the fireplace.  The fireplace was not lit, but that was understandable and okay because it was a balmy 58 degrees outside.

There was nondescript elevator music playing and the people at the other tables were speaking in soft almost hushed voices.

As we sat and waited for our meal to come,  I noticed this lovely little older woman being escorted by the hostess.    When asked by the hostess, which room she preferred, she quietly asked if it would be okay for her to wait for her daughter to get there.  The daughter was parking the car and would be in shortly.

After a couple of minutes the daughter arrived and they were seated at the table behind us.

Now I know most people get annoyed by people who talk on their cell phones.  Where ever that may be.  You know the guy in the post office who is talking to his buddy about the game, while fishing in his pockets for the change to pay for his stamps. Or how about the woman in the grocery store who is so intent on her conversation with her girlfriend, probably talking about that guy in the post office, that she blocks the aisle with her cart.  And, of course, the worst offenders are those who talk on their mobiles in a restaurant, especially a quiet one.

Well, the daughter, I am pretty sure her name was Madge, was not a cell phone restaurant talker violator.
But, by the end of the meal we could have pulled a chair up to their table and asked how each member of the family was doing, by name.  See, even though Madge was not speaking on a cell phone, she had a strong voice and spoke very loudly.

Apparently, her father had just passed away.  I know this because she gave her mother a gift.  The build up to the gift opening was a little over the top.  The conversation went something like this: "Wait till you see it, Mom.  I immediately thought of you. You're going to love it. Wait, wait, don't open it until you read the card..."
When Mom opened the gift, Madge felt the need to explain the meaning of the gift to her.
"It's a journal, Mom.  You know you haven't written since Dad died.   Oh, you have?  Oh, well, this is a really nice journal, don't you think, Mom?"

I have no idea what Mom thought, because she unlike her daughter was using her inside voice.

As I said, for the rest of our meal we were involved, though not by choice, in their  Madge's conversation.

After we finished our lunch, said goodbye to Mom and Madge and told them to be sure to give our regards to Evelyn and the kids...no we didn't, we chased some chickens and ducks, with our camera of course.

Then it was off to Key West

 I don't know what this building was, but I was fascinated by the solar panel.

Across the road from Debra's Cafe,  there was an interesting display of bird houses.

I think this should have also been written in Sparrow.

When we got home, I settled in my comfy chair in my knitting room, plugged in my earphones, listened to a book From Doon with Death by Ruth Rendell and continued growing my marigold scarf.  A calming  way to deal with the stress of a sucky day.

Since I was so busy eating lunch, chasing ducks and knitting, I did not post yesterday.  So here are two entries from Anna's diary:

Thurs. January 24 1929
Home all day. Vera and Junior play well together.  Rosalie came from school.  Went down town. Bought marble bust of Jeanne de Arc.  Edythe called for me to go to star party.

Frid January 25
Nasty weather.  Cold, Icy and hail all day.  Indoors all day long with Vera and Junior.  Jewel came for supper.  Stayed over-night.  Jean went to Flo D. with Peg.

So I have found out, from Ancestry.com that Rosalie, Jewel and Jean are her sisters.  I am surmising that Junior is Anna's son.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I Earned A Mrs. Degree - Just Like My Father Wanted Me To

When I was in high school I was on what was known as the Business Track.  The courses I took provided me with the knowledge and skills to become a competent secretary or at the very lease a good housewife.
No calculous or algebra for me.  But I did learn how to balance a check book and the difference between a debit and a credit.
No macro or micro economics for me.  But from my home economics class, Mrs. O'Brien taught us that when we had to resort to opening a can of veggies instead of making fresh, a pat of butter in the pot would make the dish more appealing.  I also learned how to operate a Singer and sew a straight seam.

No Spanish or French for me. But I did learn the language of stenography and could transcribe at a rate of over 140 words a minute.

My steno and typing teacher, Miss Yasenchak,  thought that I would make an excellent secretary.

My favorite teacher was Clarence Jolly Jr. He taught my favorite subject, English.  Mr. Jolly inspired me to dream of becoming a newspaper reporter. 

Being the oldest of six, I had a lot of experience with little kids and actually quite enjoyed them. My father's cousin, Dominica was a teacher and she thought that I should pursue that dream. 

My first job, though, turned out to be none of the above.  But that is for another post. 

Miss Yasenchak was quite disappointed when she found out that I would not be utilizing my excellent secretarial skills. 

Mr. Jolly, thought that I should have gone for that interview with the local newspaper. 

Even though Dominica was willing to help me out, she had no luck convincing my father that college and teaching were areas in which I could be successful. 

My father's philosophy was, "You'll only wind up getting married anyway.  You don't need college for that." 

For a long time I thought about going back to school and getting a degree.  I started taking a few classes here and there.  At the time it seemed very important to me, getting that degree.

But somewhere along the way I lost the desire and it didn't seem so important to me anymore.

Perhaps my father was right in some ways. After all,  Life 101 is not and could not be taught in any university.

Since I have a membership to Ancestry.com, I decided that I would try to find out some more information about Anna, the woman whose diary I am reading.   I found out that she was born around 1902.  So she would have been about 27 years old when she was writing this diary.  I also found out that Anna went to college.

I will reveal more as the day's entries go on.

Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:

Wednesday - January 23, 1929
Girls from Kearney to play bridge.  Served luncheon.  Marie came for supper.  Louis I. and wife came in evening.  Also Jewel & Rick played bridge.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Little Bit of the Bohemian May Help With The Blues

I started my marigold scarf yesterday.  The pattern is called  A Little Bit Bohemian.  The designer is Rebecca Stromgren.

I am keeping track of this project on Ravelry

When I am going to be knitting an item with a pattern repeat and one where I also have to count the number of rows and stitches, I create a spreadsheet to help me stay on track.

There is nothing more frustrating that getting halfway through the project and realize that the stitch count doesn't add up correctly.

Today, it seemed to take me so long to create the spreadsheet.  I was getting very frustrated.

After all of that time and effort on the spreadsheet, I remembered that I had an app on my iPad to do just that.  It's called Knit-N-Count.  It works really well.

My progress so far:

Joey was a New York Giants fan.  On Sunday, Dec. 4 2011, the day before he passed away, he asked to be helped into his bedroom so that he could watch the game.    The Giants were playing the Packers.  Halfway through the game, Joe slipped into a coma.  The Giants lost by 3 points.

I have never been a football fan.  It always seemed like a bunch of loud guy noise to me.  That day though, I watched most of the game with Joe.  The hospice nurse kept telling us that even though he was not responsive, he could still hear us.

Apparently, today is an important game for the Giants.  I have been more sad than usual most of the day.
Ross is watching the game in the other room.  I can't bear to.  The memories are just too painful.

So instead, I will be knitting my scarf, hoping that the bright marigold yarn will drown out the noise of the blues.

I miss my son so much.  Right now even more so.

Today's entry from Anna's Diary:

Tuesday January 22, 1929 
Mary brought Vera to stay for the week.  Mr C. and Lucietta came to bring me a wedding invitation for Sunday.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Oh, My, How Uncivilized! Anna's Diary - 1929

I was going through the stuff on my book shelves and came across an old diary that I had picked up at an auction a couple of years ago.  I kept meaning to read it but have not had a chance until now.

The writer is a woman who lived in Newark, New Jersey.   Her first name is Anna. I shall not reveal the last name.  The diary contains a whole year's worth of entries starting with January 1, 1929.  She also started to record entries for 1930, but those only go up to March 28.

One of the things I find relatable is that my grandparents, after emigrating from Italy,  settled in Newark and lived at 67 Irving St. for the rest of their lives.  My Dad was born and raised in Newark.   Actually, I was born in a hospital in Newark, but grew up in other towns in New Jersey.

For as long as my grandparents were alive, we would visit every Sunday.

I thought it would be interesting to include entires from this diary in my daily posts. The entries give a glimpse into the daily lives of those living in New Jersey in 1929.  To bring it up to date, today, my post will contain those entries from January 1, until today's date, January 21. Then each day, at the end of my own post, I will record this woman's entry for that particular day.

Reading this journal is like solving a puzzle.  Anna refers to many different people in her life and as the daily entries go on, I have gotten to know by, deduction, what part each individual plays in her life.

When Anna refers to someone, she will generally include first and last names.  In most cases I have copied the entries word for word, exactly as written.  However, in some cases I have left out last names and have only included the first initial of the last name.

She refers to "360" a lot.  I have concluded that this is the address of her mother's home.

So here are the entries of January 1 - January 21 1929

Tuesday, January 1
New Years Eve Supper at Mothers.  A visit to Mother-in-law.  Home and bed at 12.  Awakened 4:30 by bunch for waffles and coffee until noon.  Dinner at Mothers.  Movies at night. Jim-Marie Ted-Lou Jewel - Rick Slim -Peg Jean - I.

Wed., January 2
Had lunch at Rae N's with Junior.  Stopped at Frances G's on way home as her husband is ill with flu. Finished book "Harness" by Arthur Hamilton Gibbs.

Thurs., January 3
Down Town Shopping.  Baby at 360.  Went back for supper.  Jewel & Rick came back home with me.  Played bridge until 11 o'clock. Had coffee and sandwiches. Then to bed.

Friday, January 4
Sarah R here to do the laundry.  Slim and Nick P. stopped in to do some odd jobs for me.
Visited at the Connelys on Ridge St. after supper.  Just talked, we three.

Monday, January 7
Ted here overnight and brought Junior home to 360.  Met Edythe down town for lunch.  Shopped for Jewel's birthday gift.  Bought modern luncheon set and pair of linen pillow cases for her chest.

Tuesday, January 8
Felt very depressed. Met Jewel at 5 o'clock.  Left ad for anniversary Mass at News office.  We went to Ralph's for hair trim.  She came home for supper with me. Rick in Trenton at Banquet.  Jewel stayed over night.

Sun., January 13
Mass at St. Michaels 11:30.  Dinner at Mrs. N's. Had fun with Baby's entertaining whole family.  It put Mr. Nap in a better frame of mind.  He is getting cynical and bitter.

Monday, January 14
Home all day.  Helen C. came over at night with Edythe and Clarence.  Marion A. and Jewel here for supper.  Gave Jewel her linens for her birthday and she was delighted.

Tuesday, January 15
Went shopping in New York all day with Jewel and Edythe.  Baby at grandmas for the day. Brandford with Peg and Jean right from NY shopping tour.  Dead tired.

Wed., January 16
Stayed all night at 360 and spent the day.  Had tea with Frances G. at Bambs [She is referring to the department store Bamberger's] tea room.  Met mary B and went home with her.  Gave Junior Jersey suit for Birth.

Thurs., January 17
Home all day- Rain, sleet and ice outdoors.  Very hard to walk. Rosalie came from school.  Jean went to Y.W. phoned to meet me at Mt Prospect 8:30. Edythes birthday.

Friday, January 18
Had Sarah, the laundress all day.  Elsie over for a while this morning.  Frances came for lunch.  She phoned Rae N about their lodge trouble and almost straightened it out.

Sat., January 19
Rae here afternoon and stayed for supper.  Jewel & Rick stopped in played bridge for awhile.  Took Rae home and home and in bed by ten.

Sunday, January 20
Mass at Lady of Good Counsel 11 a.m. Baby at Elsies.  Stopped there on way back for a while.  All went to Grandma M's about 5.  Saw all Leonardis family there.

Monday, January 21
Home. Loretta S. for lunch.  Mary and children here all afternoon.  We went to see Mrs. Nap and then to see Grace and Baby Marion.  Met Jean and supper at Mario's.

What I find remarkable is the difference in the way people interacted with each other in 1929 as compared to today.  There was a lot of in person visiting and socializing.  I wonder what Anna would think about the way we socialize, in 2012, many times via text messages, Facebook and Twitter.  I have a feeling she would say
"Oh my, how uncivilized."

What Does Jimbo Have in That Yellow Plastic Bag?

When the kids asked what features I wanted in my new camera, I said I wanted one with the most powerful zoom. So they gave us a Canon Powershot SX40HS.  It has a 35x wide angle optical zoom.

I think in a former life I may have been a spy or at least a private eye.  I find people watching fascinating.   When I capture an interesting subject (at least interesting to me) doing something very ordinary, I begin to wonder who the person is.  Where are they going.  What is their story?

For instance while we were stopped at a traffic light today, I saw this guy walking up the street. He had dark hair, a receding hair line and a mustache.  He had a yellow plastic shopping bag in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

 Well, he kind of looked something like this.

Maybe he had a sandwich in that bag and maybe he was heading down to the bay where his boat was still  in its slip at Tony G's marina.  He hasn't taken his boat out of the water yet because his boat is his refuge.  It was approaching evening and Jim (I'm sure that was his name) was thinking about how pleasant it was going to be to sit on the boat and contemplate his life and perhaps his future while enjoying the beautiful sunset.

Jim used to work 50-60 hours a week in a high pressure job.  Even weekends were not his own.  One day Jim collapsed at work.  The heart attack changed his life.  That's when he quit his job and bought the boat.

Now the reason I feel it was okay to take Jim's picture and post it on my blog is that I am sure Jim will never see the picture because he will never read my blog.  I mean it's not like I am the Huffington Post.
Even though Ross said I wasn't exactly subtle and that I probably wouldn't make a good private eye, I'm pretty sure Jimbo didn't notice that I was taking his picture.

Now I am not sure about the other guy whose picture I took today.  I'm sure he noticed that I was taking his picture.  In fact I think he was even posing.
 And his story, well his story is pretty obvious.

I swear he winked at me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Marigold Scarf Will Make Me Smile

Life continues to challenge us.  It was one of those darn phone calls.  At least this one came at a reasonable hour.
It riled us up.  We are full of energy and ready to give it our all. We will do the research so that we are prepared.
At the end of the day we are exhausted, but find it hard to fall asleep.  It is the first thing we think about when we wake before the sun comes up.
We saw the warning signs.  We are angry but not surprised.  We are afraid of the craziness that we know lies ahead.
Experience has taught us that we can be swept away.   Our mantra has to be "we can't let this take over our lives."
We must remember to respect boundaries and be mindful of our limitations.
Phrases like, "it'll work out" just don't seem to apply, not now anyway.  But in time we know it will work out most likely for the best, we hope.

I bought the loveliest  yarn today.    It is Cascade 220 Yarn. The color is marigold.
I'm going to make a pretty scarf for myself. I'll wear it around the house and maybe  even to Curves.

Marigold makes me smile and scarves are cosy and keep me warm.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Working Side by Side

 Joe and I sort of went our separate ways about 15 years ago.

By that I mean when his father and I divorced, I moved into an apartment and Joe and Jimmy stayed in the house they grew up in with their father.  Joe was 21 at the time and just finishing up college.  Jimmy was 18 and just finishing up high school .

Interestingly enough, shortly after he graduated college, Joe applied for and got a job working at the same company as I did.   He was a part timer for about a year and we worked in different locations.
When a full time position opened up in the group that I was in,  he interviewed and got the job.  His cube was two aisles down from mine.

I firmly believe that the fact we had work in common bridged the gap that the separation from his father may have caused.

Even though my son and I worked in the same department, we did not have the same immediate supervisor.

I have one memory that still pains me when I think of it. 

I had an uncomfortable situation that I needed to talk to my supervisor about.  Joe's cube was right next to her cube.  There is no privacy when work spaces are cubicles.  I made sure that I waited until Joe's regular lunch hour before I approached my boss.

As our discussion progressed, emotions ran high and I could not keep mine in check.  As I was tearfully pleading my case,  I suddenly heard my son's voice from the other side of the cube wall and I realized that he had been there the whole time and had heard everything.

I immediately walked out, left the building and tried to calm down.  After I regained my composure, I went back into the building and went straight over to my son's cube.

Joe was not a talker.  He generally communicated through facial expressions and shoulder shrugs.
I asked if he heard and he shook his head yes.  I was not exactly sure how he felt, but I like to think that he was upset with my boss for making his mother cry.

He stayed with that same company and went to work every day until 2 months before he died.      Joe was a conscientiousness employee with a super work ethic.  Many of the people that he and I both worked with confirmed that when they came to pay their respects at his funeral. I was very proud of him.

As an aside, my daughter also got a job with that company and at one point all three of us worked there together.  I got to see them every day until I retired which was one of the best benefits I could have ever asked for. 

I believe that having my children experience the "work" me elevated our relationship to a peer-to-peer status.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lake Barnegat, What a Nice Surprise

Ross is a foodie.  Me, not so much.  Therefore, he does most all of the food shopping.  He shops at Costco and Shop Rite.

But his most favorite place to shop is the The German Butcher.

The German Butcher is quite a local phenomenon.  But the reason for the success of Wolfgang's establishment is quite simple.  Good food at reasonable prices.  He is a full service butcher shop.  His bakery department is outstanding.  He offers take out dishes that are really home made.
He has a little cafe where he serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Most days the place is packed, but the service is quick, courteous, and efficient.

The lunch menu.

The cafe section.

One of the other things that Ross almost always does is the driving.  He says he enjoys driving.  Me, not so much.

He also likes to vary his routes, especially to places that he frequently goes.  Every once in a while he will make a left turn instead of the usual right turn,  just to see where it will take him.

A couple of days ago, he told me that on his way home he took one of his left turns and discovered a pretty little lakeside community right behind the German Butcher.

As I was feeling pretty low yesterday, Ross suggested a ride to Barnegat Lake.  We have lived in this area for nearly 10 years now and we never knew about Barnegat Lake.

Barnegat Lake, central New Jersey

Barnegat Lake is on the North Branch Forked River in Ocean County, New Jersey and is used for recreation purposes. It has been been there since 1937. It has a normal surface area of 74 acres. It is owned by Township Of Lacey.

Barnegat Lake Dam is of earthen construction, a gravity dam. Its height is 18 feet with a length of 850 feet. Maximum discharge is 900 cubic feet per second. Its capacity is 600 acre feet. Normal storage is 400 acre feet. It drains an area of 15 square miles

The kids got me us a new camera for Christmas.  It takes awesome pictures.

Barnegat Lake - January 16, 2012

 Sea Gulls and Geese Sharing a Little Piece of the Ice

 I love this little red lakeside cottage.  I want to live there.

 After all of that crisp, cold, fresh air and picture takin' we were hungry.
And since we were right around the corner from the German Butcher we stopped in for lunch.

I had the Cheeseburger Sliders.

Ross likes the Chicken Parmesan.  

By the way, the portions are so large that we always leave with a take home box.

Lake Barnegat, what a nice surprise. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

In The Glow of The Little Green Lights

I can't remember the last time I slept a solid eight, seven or even six hours.

My routine seems to be waking up after 2 or 3 hours.  I can usually fall back to sleep after 15 minutes or so and get in another couple of hours.    
Most mornings I am up at 6:00-6:30.
I have accepted that this is my sleep pattern and I haven't really paid much attention to it. 

But, recently I took the "How Long Will I Live" test.   

These are my test results: 
Life Expectancy: 90.95
Lower Quartile: 84.21
Median Lifetime: 92.00
Upper Quartile: 98.58

According to these results, if I slept 7 hours a night instead of the 4 or 5 that I usually sleep, my life would be extended by .29 years.   What's that about 3 months longer?

I'm not sure that I am going to worry about living that extra 3 months, especially since the test says that I am guaranteed (but not in writing) to live to be over 90 years old.

But then I got to thinking about it.   I think it would depend on when those three months would be tacked on.  

For instance, if it were the middle of winter, and there was a blizzard and we couldn't really go anywhere anyway, I probably wouldn't care about those extra months.

However, if I was in the middle of a three month vacation that I had dreamed about my whole life, but really couldn't afford it until I was over 90 years old and those were my extra three months well, that would be a different story.

At about 3 a.m. this morning, I woke up, as I normally do.  I was vaguely aware of being annoyed at this little green light.  It was quite disturbing, actually.  But since I was still half asleep I think I just pulled a pillow or a blanket over my head to block out the light. 

When I woke up at 6:00, as I normally do, I took a good look around our bedroom.  This is what my nightstand looks like:

In that pile is an iPad, a MacBook Air laptop, a kindle, my iPhone and my iPod.

Ahh, there is that annoying little green light. It is coming from that "pluggie thing" on my laptop.

And next to all of those state of the art techie things is my old fashioned,  push button, plug into the wall, alarm clock phone.  

So there is a light on my kindle to tell me when it is fully charged, a light on my laptop to tell me when it is fully charged, the LED lights on my old fashioned phone to tell me the time. (which, incidentally,  is a reminder that I am awake and not sleeping and therefore losing some precious moments which might affect my 3 month extension.)

There are also the LED lights on the TV to remind us that it is a Visio.  The LED lights on the cable box tell the time.

This is what some of it looks like in the dark:

I wonder if I would sleep more soundly if I unplugged everything.

Maybe I will try that tonight.  Perhaps I will dream of the exotic places I will visit when I am an old woman living on borrowed time.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Before the Next Blink of An Eye

I woke up this morning feeling lousy, physically lousy.  I will spare you the details.  This meant that I had to shorten my visit with Bella.

Even though I am sure she was disappointed, she took it in stride.  She is such a happy and easy going little girl.  I was upset, though.  Upset that I couldn't muster up the energy to keep my promise to Bella.  The promise of a two night sleep over at grandma's.

Although I wasn't feeling that great, I did have a luxurious day.  I didn't get out of my pj's or bed.  In between snoozes, I listened to the latest P.D James book,  crocheted,  played Yahoo's version of scrabble called Literati, and talked on the phone.

I think I needed that.

If I was ill when I was a mother with young children, there was no such thing as luxuriating in bed for the whole day.
I remember at times feeling tired and overwhelmed.  I remember thinking that I would never get a whole nights sleep again. I'm sure I could have never imagined having a whole day to myself to do whatever I wanted without interruption.

But here it is, in the blink of an eye, and I am a grandmother.

My daughter called me a little while ago to see how I was doing.  I also spoke to Bella. When she got on the phone, I told her I missed her.  She said, "me too."
So, we re-scheduled another visit for the end of this month..

I told her that now we have something to look forward to.  As is her nature, she giggled and agreed. Having something to look forward is as important to me as it is to Bella.

After all I have to get in as many of these special visits as I can, before the next blink of an eye.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

An Unexpected But Welcome Visitor

I've known her for a little over 7 years.   We had a connection from the first moment we met.
It doesn't happen often for me, but, I just knew she and I would form a special bond and it would be a long lasting one.

She is such a sweet person with an almost naivety about her.  I swear she still believes in fairies and Santa Claus.

I was excited when she called to let me know that she would be visiting me this weekend.  Although I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about having anyone visit with me right now because I didn't know if I would be up to entertaining.  But I figured it might be a good thing.  I have been sticking pretty close to home and have not been out much.  So I tried to think about the positives of the visit and not worry that I might not be the best company.
She would probably want to be on the go for most of the weekend and again that is probably going to be a good thing for me.

I had some shopping to do.  I wanted to make sure I had what I needed to prepare a couple of her favorite meals.  I was so busy getting ready for her visit, that I didn't even have the time to write yesterday.
While I was out, I stopped at the book store and picked up a book that I thought she might like, just in case there was any down time.  Which I am hoping there might be, at least an hour here or there.

We were going to be in her area today so Ross suggested that we pick her up.
As we pulled up to her house, I caught a glimpse of her in the window, probably anxiously waiting for us.  I know she was as excited for the visit as I was.

We had a nice day today.  She caught me up on what has been going on in her life.  She really is the perfect guest for me at this time.  There is no need for forced conversation.  She talks enough for both of us and that is okay with me.

As I watched her animately talk about what she and her best friend Chessie have been up to, I was struck by her beauty.  She has big beautiful brown eyes and long brown hair.

After dinner we watched a little TV and played a fast game of scrabble.

It was a long day and we were both pretty tired.

She said she wanted to read for a little while before she went to sleep.

I said, "Sure, but don't stay up too late.  We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow."

"Okay, I won't", she said.

"Good night Bella. See you in the morning.

"Good night Grandma.  I love you."

"I love you too, Bella."

Yes, a visit with Bella is just what I needed this weekend.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Whatever Would We Have To Talk About?

On my blog yesterday, I was obviously rather depressed and needed to let some emotional stuff out.

When I read that post this morning, I thought about how much of myself I have revealed in my writings.
That thought led me to wonder what it would be like to meet  someone who reads or follows my blog.

What we would have to talk about?

The conversation might go something like this:

me: "Hi, I'm LyndaGrace."

Follower:  "I know, I recognize you from your profile picture."

me: "You know I have been through a very difficult time lately..."

Follower:  "I know."

me:  "Did you know that I when I was 20 years old I was in a motorcycle accident.."

Follower:  "Yes, I believe I read that somewhere."  Let see, wasn't that  the June 27, 2011 post titled Harum-Scarum.

me:  "Oh..."
me: "Did you happen to catch that one post when I went on and on about rising gas price rantings?"

Follower:  "Yes, yes, I did and as I said in my comment to that post..."

me: "Oh...So, yesterday, Ross and I went..."

Follower:  "Yeah,  yeah,  I know you both got new iPhones."

me:  "So, do you have any questions that you would like to ask?  Anything you want to know about me?"

Follower:  "No, not really.  I think I pretty much know all there is to know."

me: "So what did you say your name was?

Actually as a shy, introvert, (I know, you know) this would be the perfect scenario for me.  It would allow me to be me, the one who would rather listen, than talk.   We could spend hours getting to know you.

Oh, and one more thing would you believe that this introvert posted this in July of last year?
The funny thing is, well maybe more creepy than funny, it seems to get the most interest, particularly from readers outside of the USA.
I am pretty positive that I would not want to meet anyone who has seen that one.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Purple Fingernails

I think I am slowly coming out of the trance I have been in for the past 5 weeks.  The numbness is being replaced by a hollow feeling of emptiness.  It is a physical feeling. I can point to the parts of my body where I feel it.  Sometimes it is shallow and at the surface.  Other times it is way down deep inside.  But it is always painful.

I try to ignore it.  I try to hide it from others.  I smile and say fine when asked how I am doing.  Sometimes I give more of a hint as to how I am really doing by answering, "oh, I am hanging in there."

I have been trying to hide it in my postings by writing about light hearted subjects.

But my body knows the truth.  My body reveals the pain and sadness in my aching jaw. Irrational anxieties fill my belly with jittery butterflies.  My mind gets little rest and my sleep is fitful.

In the early morning hours, before the sun is up, my eyes fill with tears, and as I try to silence my sobs, the pain becomes more intense.

Today I had my fingernails painted purple.  Perhaps that is the color of my pain.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We Ventured Out of the House and Had A UFO Siting

This afternoon, Ross and I took a ride over to the bay.

Even though it was chilly, it was beautiful by the water today.

I wanted to see what that green thing sticking out of the water was. 
I think Ross said it was a speed bump :)
Okay maybe that's not what he said.

Across from our vantage point we spotted a UFO (Unidentified Floating Object)

We drove over to the other side for a different view. 
How do you like these Condos right on the water, each with their own dock?

The walk way leads to the pool and tennis courts.

And the Gazebo

We spotted the UFO heading back in.

Ross said it was a duck blind. I'll take his word for it.

Docking Up (that's duck hunter boater talk)

I guess he was the fetcher.  Notice he is in camo too.

The interesting sights you see when you venture out of the house.