Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Bird Promises

I spotted my first robin this year way before Punxutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter.   Personally, my money is on Bird.  Neighbor down the street has bunches of daffies already in full bloom. 
And the trees wouldn’t have buds if spring wasn’t just around the corner, I just know they wouldn’t.  Well at least that’s what I thought until I googled tree buds and found this interesting fact:

According to Tree World “…trees actually form their buds during the summer, usually in August! Since trees are dormant during the winter, they don't have the energy to produce structures that are that small and complex! Buds aren't very apparent in the fall and throughout the entire winter. In the spring, however, they swell and are ready to open."  Who knew?  Well now I do.

Today was cold, wet and dreary.   Maybe Bird isn’t so smart after all or is she?

Promises Promises

This is the first time I have actually completed  the NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) challenge.

Gee, that wasn’t so hard after all.   So, I grabbed  my NaBlogPoMo badge for March.  This is going to be two days harder, but I feel up to it.  After all Spring is in the air, right Bird?

There was no February 29 in 1929.  
But Anna did write this in that spot:

E. feels badly about her marriage. Very unhappy over her mistake and they seriously intend to break up their home.  It's hard to believe and very sad that it should have happened. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spending Time With My Mom Knitting a Crooked Scarf

Today's writing prompt is "What was something you taught another person in your family?"

     The first thing that came to mind was that I taught my mother how to crochet.  It must have been after my father passed away.  So she would have been about 64 years old.
     The parts that she had difficulty learning were starting and finishing a project.
     Say for instance she wanted to make a baby coverlet.  I would sit patiently with her and show her how to chain the foundation row.  Then I instructed her to count the chains to make sure she had the right number.  After several attempts, though, she always managed to wind up with more stitches or less stitches than the pattern called for.
     So I would start the project for her.  Once I got it started she would be able to follow the pattern.  When it was time to finish the coverlet she would pass it back to me.
     I brought her a copy of  "Crochet for Beginner's", thinking that she might find it helpful to have written instructions with diagrams.  She complained that she couldn't follow the directions and the diagrams made no sense to her.  
     So, when it was time for the next baby shower or birthday party, she would ask me to take her shopping for yarn.  Then after shopping we would go back to her little apartment, have tea and I would start the blanket, or hat, or sweater for her. 
     One day I paid her an unexpected visit.  She used to keep her hook and yarn in a basket next to her chair.  I happened to look in the basket to see what yarn she had on hand and noticed a beautiful little crocheted hat.   "Oh," I said.  "Who made that?  It's adorable."   She kind of stammered a little and finally admitted that she made it.  
I was thrilled for her.
"That's great!  You crocheted the whole thing from start to finish.  Wonderful!"
     She didn't look very happy, though.  That's when I realized that she probably had it all figured out long before she made that little hat.  I think she felt that if she let on that she knew how to make something from start to finish my visits would not be as frequent.
     My Mom went on to make beautiful things for her family, children in hospitals and folks in nursing homes. 
     Twenty-two years after I first taught her how to crochet, my Mom came to stay with us.  She had terminal cancer and was under hospice care in our home.  By then she had also learned to knit.  She spent most of the day in our cozy sun room.   In between my daily routine of  laundry, housework, and fixing meals I tried to spend a bits of time with her during the day.  Although,  she was on heavy pain medications by then, she still wanted to knit or crochet.  
     I would sit patiently with her and show her how to chain the foundation row.  Then I instructed her to count the chains to make sure she had the right number.  After several attempts, though, she always managed to wind up with more stitches or less stitches than the pattern called for.
     So I would start the colorful dishcloth for her.  But sadly, this time, she could not remember the pattern.  She would often drop her hook or one of her knitting needles.   
    "Lynda," she would call out to me.   "I can't find my hook.  Can you come in and help me find it?"
     I would stop what I was doing and come into the sun room.  The hook or needle was well within her reach.  This time I knew that she what she really wanted was to spend time with me. 
     It's been a little over two years since my Mom passed away.  I still have a vivid picture of her sitting in the sun room knitting that crooked scarf or not so square dish cloth.  

Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:
Thurs. February 28 1929
Down town 9 a.m. Sale at Kresge's on coats. Bought a gray Kasha for Jean.  Also bought wonderful values in shoes at Bambs for Jean and Jewel.  Baby at Elsies.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blogging is My Teacher

     I was introduced to the blogging world via the online knitting and crocheting community Raverly.  I am a member of two blogging groups on that site.  The members of the groups communicate via forums specific for their group.
     I made a "grand entrance" on one of the forums when I initiated a discussion regarding an announcement that President Obama made on May 1, 2011.
This was my post:
My blog today is about my reaction to President Obama’s announcement last night.  What was yours?
Here is a link to my blog My Reaction.
     At the time, I had little experience with forums and no experience with forums on Ravelry.  The forums have reactions boxes:  "educational" "interesting" "funny" "agree" "disagree" "love". As soon as I posted the above statement, I received a disagree.  It was soon followed by nine other disagrees.
     So I asked the following question:
"I am curious about the disagree that this post received. And I wonder if it is because my post does not relate to knitting/crocheting? Should the subjects on this blogging forum concentrate only on those specific areas?
This is a forum etiquette question."
      The moderator responded that this particular forum was for discussions about blogging and was not the venue to "advertise" an individual's blog posts.  I was also informed that:
"... you may feel that it is an important topic for discussion, but this is surely why you have a blog? If you want to bring your discussion to a wider group than the readers of your blog and wish to do this on Ravelry, then there are a number of political and current affairs discussion groups that will love to have that discussion with you. but as the subject is not one of blogging, then this really is not the right place for this topic."
     Even though my post went against the policy of the group's forum, it did get quite a decent response. There were 208 readers and 34 responses to the post.  And that was what I intended, to start a dialogue, which is what I thought a forum was supposed to do. 
     From then on I made sure that I stayed within the confines of the rules of that forum.
    But I did find another group on Ravelry that is not as restrictive and allows their members to post links to their blog entries daily if they choose to do so.
     After about 7 months of sharing my blog with only the members of my Ravelry blogging group, I started to get a little claustrophobic.   I heard about NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) and joined BlogHer.
    I still drop in on my Ravelry blogging forums now and then.  But BlogHer seems to be a better fit for me.  
     I started "Lynda Grace An Hour Away" to help me cope during my son's battle with colon cancer.
One of things I have learned while writing this blog is that words flow with ease when I am filled with emotion or am passionate about the subject of a post.
    Writing every day is a challenge.  I admit that inspiration for passionate and emotional posts may not always come easily.   I find, though, that trying to come up with daily writing material  forces me to be more aware of this world I live in.  More importantly, I have learned so much about...well about LyndaGrace. My teacher? This blogging community that I feel privileged and happy to be part of.
     I have to add Ravelry is a wonderful website.  It is approaching it's 2 millionth member, which should happen within the next 5 days.  I am a frequent visitor and am excited to be part of the 2 million celebration.

Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:
Wed. February 27 1929
Met Frances for lunch at Bambs.  Shopped. Met Jewel at five to go to Tacks to look at setting for her stone from Rick.  Walked home to 360 from down town. Junior there for supper.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Second Cousins Once Removed

This weekend Bella came to visit for a sleep over at Grandma's and Pop-Pop's.
Saturday afternoon we went to visit Aunt Dee.  Aunt Dee's grandchildren were visiting her.

I tried to figure out what the relationship was between my grandchildren and Aunt Dee's grandchildren.
My granddaughter Bella and Aunt Dee's grandchildren Nicky and TJ share the same descendent, my grandmother who is Aunt Dee's mother, Rachela.   Rachela is Nicky and TJ's great grandmother.  She is Bella's great-great grandmother. 

After a google search I came across this neat tool called the  Cousin Calculator.  By using it I found out that Bella, Nicky and Ty are 2nd cousins once removed.
TJ Bella and Nicky
Bella and Nicky were born a few weeks apart and they haven't seen each other since they were babies.  This was the first time that Bella and TJ have met.   I think they sensed the connection they shared because they became instant pals.

Today we took Bella with us on one of our photo shoots.   

Ross always the teacher.

Our Budding Photographer

Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:
Tues. February 26 1929
Home. Rained Madly. Rae came for lunch.  Elsie and Minie over after lunch. Went home 5:30.  I went to club at Helen C.'s.  Flo V. drove me home.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What Do I Know?

I am here in bed with my laptop, looking at the clock.  It's 10:55 p.m.   So far I have kept my commitment to blog everyday in February.  But tonight, I have nothing.  Well, I guess I could pretend that I am an expert on some topic that I pick out of thin air and then google that topic so that I have some kind of facts to back up my expertness.   But I have never done that before and I can't do that tonight just to fill up the page so that I can get a post in before the witching hour. 
I am a little discouraged that I really don't have an expertise in anything.  
I write a blog, but I'm sure that my posts are filled with grammatical errors.  I wish I had a more extensive vocabulary.  Metaphors or analogies don't flow easily, if ever at all. 
I knit and crochet, but I am far from an expert. When I look for a pattern, I make sure that I seek one which has a difficulty rating of easy to medium easy. 
I love to take photographs, but I know know nothing about shutter speeds, composition, apertures, exposure or lighting.  
Okay, I said I wouldn't do it but I had to google "photography terms" to come up with that previous list.
When I was employed my job was to support our e-mail system.  So if someone wasn't getting their e-mail I would have to figure out why.  Or if the system crashed in the middle of the night, I was part of a team that would have to troubleshoot to fix the problem, ASAP.   So once upon a time, I guess I knew more than the average user who was calling me for help. 
But, as I said that was long ago.  I'm sure things have changed so much that my expertise in e-mail support is sorely outdated.
When I think about it, maybe I don't want to be "the expert".  There is probably a great deal of pressure associated with being "the expert".  People depend on TE for answers and advice.  I mean TE's have to know everything, absolutely everything about IT. 
I am inspired by the goings on in my daily everyday life.  That's what I write about.  I suppose that's what I know the most about.  I guess I know more about that than even Google. 
Made it, with 15 minutes to spare before the deadline.

Here is today's entry from Anna's diary:
Monday, February 25 1929
Home all day.  Brought Elsie and children to dancing school at Forest Hill Club.  After supper brought carriage to Harrison.  Sold it for $5.00.  Junior's first beautiful carriage. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

"The Voice" You Can Hear Me Now!

     The Academy Awards will be aired this Sunday.  Normally,  Ross and I like to see most of the Best Picture nominations before the awards ceremony.  This year we just didn't make it to as many movies as we have in the past.  One of the films that we did manage to see was "The Artist".  Ross doesn't like me to say this,  but, I did have to nudge him once or twice and he had to do the same for me.
We managed to stay awake for most of the movie, though, and I would give it a 4 out of 5 star rating.
     The movie is about a popular silent movie film star who finds himself out of sorts as the silent movie era nears its end and talkies start to become more and more popular.
     "The Artist" is filmed in black and white as a silent movie.  Title cards, exaggerated movements and facial expressions communicated the dialogue and plot to the audience.
     I got to thinking about how reading a blog is similar to a silent movie.  The "voice" of the writer is only "heard" through the author's words.  Pauses and emotions are conveyed with commas and exclamation points.
     While I usually understand the tone of the posts of my favorite bloggers,  I often wonder what the tone of their voices sound like.
     Would I have a different understanding of a post if the author was reading the post in his or her voice?
Even more interesting would my opinion of the author change if I heard his or her voice?  While most bloggers have a profile picture, I wonder if their voice matches their face.
     All during the "The Artist" I kept hoping that the actors would speak.  Speak so that I could hear them, that is. I found it very suspenseful, wondering if that would happen at any time during the movie.
      I most likely will never hear the actual voices of my favorite bloggers.  I'll just have to lend the voice in my imagination to their words.

Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:
Sunday February 24 1929
Mass at St. Francis at eleven. Junior and I went to the Naps for dinner.  Left about 6:30.  Went for Jean at 360 and Father drove us home.  Baby was very cross and cranky.

If you are having trouble seeing the video click here

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Marsh Mowers, Scarf in the Wind, Atlantic City & Bye Bye Birdie

Tough day today.  Filled with sadness.  I miss my Joe.

So, out we went, with camera in hand.  We arrived at our destination.   I spotted a great shot.  I rolled down the window, pointed the camera, pressed the power button and nothing happened.   That's when I remembered that I had forgotten to take the battery out of the charger and put it in the camera.
So, back home we went.  But, I couldn't get the shot out of my head.
So, out we went, once again, camera with battery in hand.

This is the shot:

Of course there were a few more:

 Ross said this machine is used to cut path's through the marshes so boats can get through.  
I wonder if it's called a marsh mower?

The ghost like buildings in the background are casinos in Atlantic City. 

Ross took this one pointing the camera through a hole in a fence.  
 Then he zoomed in on the house

Full zoom focused on the shutters of the house.
Amazing camera!

Great restaurant Antionettas At Pirate's Point Marina.  We celebrated my Mom's 85th birthday there.

Scarf In The WInd
So Cool!

 We were here
 We didn't spot any migratory birds hunters thank goodness.

Bye Bye Birdie
Glad to see you got away safe and sound.

Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:
Sat. February 23, 1929
Cecile Carr came over to give me a manicure.  Met Jewel down town to go to jeweler's to see about changing her diamond ring.  Went to card party for benefit of Arlington Orphanage at the Washington.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We Love Sue and Kelly

     Every three or four weeks, Ross and I treat ourselves to Sue and Kelly.   We spend hours getting ready for their visit.  I start to get anxious the night before.  Ross is much more laid back about it.
"Don't worry," he says.  "We will get it all done before they get here.  Don't we always?"
I do worry, though.  I want everything to be perfect.
The were scheduled to arrive around 10:00 a.m.
Before we went to sleep last night, Ross mapped out our plan of attack for the morning.
"We should set the alarm for 7:00," I say.
     No time for our usual leisurely routine this morning.
     My tasks were the bathroom, bedrooms, and living room.  Ross tackled the kitchen.  By 9:30 we were done.  As I waited for Ross to finish with his shower, I settled in front of the computer with my cup of tea.
I wondered what the girls would do today.  They have not disappointed us so far, and I expect nothing less on this visit.
     Just as I was getting ready to read one of my favorite blogs, Chalk Cottage Knitting, (happy one year blogiversary by the way) the door bell rang.  They were early!  I yelled for Ross to let him know that he had to hurry and finish getting dressed.
     I opened the door to let the girls in.  After they greeted a barking Rico, they asked if we were satisfied after their last visit.  We assured them that we were.   Then they asked if we wanted them to do anything special this time.
"No, we said."  "Just do your usual thing."
Ross said, "You know Lynda is not that easy to please."  We have tried others, but you are the first pair to get it just right."
     As Sue went in one direction and Kelly in the other, the dust started to fly and they were right there to pick it up.  I love the hum of a vacuum cleaner, especially when someone else is pushing it.
     That's right Sue and Kelly are house cleaning technicians. Okay, the cleaning ladies.
     And yes, I do clean before the cleaning ladies come.
     And yes, even though Ross questions the sanity of doing such a thing, he goes along with it, because     just like the Sue and Kelly, Ross aims to please.
     I love Sue and Kelly.  They are the best!
     For the record, I do have a method to my madness.  I figure the more time we spend straightening up, the more time Sue and Kelly can devote to the heavy cleaning.  I mean why should they spend time picking up Ross' socks, when their time could be put to much better use, like washing Rico's footprints off of my beautiful hardwood floors.

Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:
Friday February 22 1929
Washington's birthday.  Jean home.  Went to 360 about twelve by trolley as weather bad. There all noon.   Left Junior over night and went to a bridge at Marion's. Peg and Ann J. home for night with me.

Trolly in Newark, NJ 1929

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

One Two Punch or Not

     I am spitting mad.  It was that e-mail that I received.  I want to respond.  The practical and probably wise side of me advises that I wait until I calm down.   But I have composed a response in my mind.  It's biting and filled with sarcasm.  I like to think of it as a one, two punch. Or "here take this and that" followed by "and another thing!"  It's rather good, if I do say so myself.
    The more I thought about this imagined response, though, the more I wondered how effective it would be.  Would it make me feel better to "get it off my chest"?   Perhaps I want to evoke feelings of guilt.  What would be the point of engaging in an on-going e-mail battle?
     Do I really want to take the chance that a relationship which is near and dear might suffer irreparable damage?
    What exactly was the goal of my response?
    After thinking about it carefully, because that's what I do, I have decided that until I analyze it to death, because that's also what I do,  no response might be the best response, just for right now anyway.

Here is today's entry from Anna's diary:
Thurs. February 21 1929
Mary B. came about eleven in a taxi.  Very stormy out and a foot of snow.  Mary M and Rose came also in cab. Served about 4 and girls left about five o'clock.

Today, I attended Uncle's funeral.  The services were held in the same area where Anna lived.  The temperatures were in the upper 40's so no snow.
RIP, Uncle.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Losing Ideas Thru Marriage - What Did Anna Mean by That?

As I post entries from Anna's diary each day, I am reminded of the diary I kept as a teenager.  To maintain my privacy I wrote in my diary using Gregg shorthand.  I don't know what happened to that diary, but I wish I had it today.  I remember that I was faithful to Dear Diary and it was the last thing I did before I went to sleep each night.  I am sure it was filled with goopy stuff about my boyfriend.  It must have also had lots of complaints about how strict my parents were, especially when it came to spending time with my boyfriend.
I have started keeping a journal on my computer and have faithfully posted in it since Jan. 1 2012.  Perhaps in 2095 someone will have found an old Mac Book Air with Journal entries from someone named Lynda G.  And perhaps that same someone will share those entries with the world or perhaps with those folks living on that other planet.
What do you think the latest and greatest form of communication everyone will be using  83 years from now?

Here is today's entry from Anna's diary:
Wed. February 20, 1929
Received phone call from Jean I. to come over.  Came about eleven until 4:30.  Had lunch with me and an enjoyable long talk.  Losing so many of her ideas thru marriage.

[I am so curious about what she meant by that last sentence.  What ideas?  Who is losing those ideas?  Did she mean that she(Anna) was losing ideas or was she referring to her friend Jean?]

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ouija, What Does My Future Hold?

We watched the final episode of the season of  Downton Abby.  A running theme through out the show involves a Ouija board.   The game is played below stairs by the servants, of course.
      I am sure I must have played with one of these talking boards at some time in my youth.  What would my young self have asked Ouija to predict about her future?  I don't think I thought about being healthy, wealthy       and wise.  The questions probably were something along the lines of who I would marry and how many children I would have.
    If I knew then what I know now...yep I said it.  
    We had Sunday dinner with my Aunt Dee today.  As my cousin, Marilyn, and I were looking at some old photos, she made a few interesting observations.  First, she commented that lately, the family only seems to see each other on special occasions.   Second, she said that since we are all getting older, it seems as though these occasions are more frequently sad ones, rather than happy ones.  She also noted that she doesn't recognize changes in the appearances of the members of our family who are of the same generation as she is until she looks at photos of our younger days.  She thought that it had something to do with the fact that we are all aging at the same rate.  I'm sure she said something about present company excepted.
      After dinner today, we were all sitting around talking.  As my gaze settled on my Aunt Dee, I recognized a familiar aura.  Lines of sadness were etched in her face.  The quickness in her step was gone.   Her movements were slow and robotic. She seemed lost.  Her eyes had an empty look.   The first time I remember seeing that look was after my father died.  It was the look my mother had.  The look of grief.
     I suddenly realized that the experienced eyes of the people in my life are my true Ouija boards. 

     When I googled Ouija Board I found the Museum of Talking Boards.  Besides tons of information about talking boards, there is an interactive Ouija board that you can play online.  I couldn't help it I had to give it a try.  So I asked "Ouija, will I get a good night's sleep?"

     So if I don't get a good night's sleep, would that mean that Ouija was right? Or will it have something to do with the power of suggestion?

Here is today's entry from Anna's diary:
Tues. February 19 1929
Home all day. Cold worse. Ethel H. and sister came to visit at night.  Jewel came and Rick.  Played bridge. Frances G. came unexpected.  Served strawberry short cake.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Who's Out on Berkely Island Today?

Who was out and about on Berkeley Island Today?

 The day was perfect for wind surfing

A Plastic Cup Boy(z) Reflecting

 A Biker Dude Reflecting

Goat on a Roof Reflecting

Perhaps they are all reflecting on this.

Now that's a Sunset
Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:
Monday February 18 1929
Home all day.  Baby little feverish.  I have the cold.  Rosalie and Billy came from school. Both late. All alone evening. Bed early.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fight or Flight? Moth or Butterfly

     I knew she would launch her diatribe against him the moment she had the chance. I tried to prepare myself for it.  After all she always does it.  Under normal circumstances, I would have politely listened, considered the source and if trying to change the subject didn't work, then I would let it one ear and out the other.
     What triggered my severe reaction?  Was it the increased volume of her voice?  Or was it what she was saying?   Perhaps it was a combination of the two.  I have memories of reacting this way at other times in my life.  When I think back to those times, I realize that I have experienced this type of  reaction during extraordinarily stressful times in my life.
     I understand the flight or fight concept.  In this case, my body was obviously preparing for flight.  My heart was pounding.  My insides were shaking.  My stomach was getting upset.  My hands and feet were cold. The escalation of the symptoms were so rapid that my efforts to relax did not work.  I tried to slow my breathing down.  Inhale, hold the breath, exhale slowly.   I tried to convince my body that it was not in danger.  "You are safe," I told myself.   But nothing worked. I excused myself...well not exactly, I kind of just left the room.  I guess Ross must have made excuses for me.  I am sure he tried to explain that I have been having a hard time lately.
     I wrap up in my warm flannel robe.   I put my earbuds in and begin to listen to a book.  The narrator speaks with a soothing English accent and it begins to have an effect.  My hands and feet start to feel warmer.  My heart begins to beat normally.  My eyes get heavy.  I begin to doze.
     I must add, though, in addition to my warm robe and Robin Bailey's wonderful narration style, I did have a little medicinal help.  The medicine is a tranquilizer, which I use as an absolute last resort.
     This incident has taught me that I must start paying attention to the signals that my body is sending.
     On the outside I appear to be handling my grief and stress quite well.  On the inside, though, as evidenced by my writing and my blog,  I know that I am not coping very well at all.  It's time to reach out.  It's time to admit that I need help before I curl up, shutdown and go into hibernation inside my cocoon.
 I can't let that happen, after all spring is coming.

Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:
Sunday February 17, 1929
Church.  See Grandma M. Cooked dinner, ate, cleaned up. Read papers.  Junior tired.  Left for 360. Put baby to bed.  Fever but no cold.  Home early put baby to bed.  Up late reading "Strange Interlude."

[Strange Interlude, a play by Eugene O'Neil]    

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Once Upon a Time When It Was New and Easy

     The theme of February's posts is relationships.
     When it was brand new and only a couple of years old, it was so simple.    Oh sure, there were times that he drove me crazy.  But most of the time he made me laugh. 
      Did I say the wrong things? Maybe I didn't say enough of the right things.  Did I say too much?  Or didn't I say enough?
     I can hear it in his voice, he is hurt and angry.
     I remember the time we ran out of gas, about 2 miles from our house.  It was kind of ironic, I managed to get the sputtering car to roll into the Shell station parking lot.  But it was late and the station was closed.  It was cold, and raining.  He was just getting over a severe case of bronchitis.  We probably should have stayed home, but he wanted to go, so I agreed.  It didn't seem that long ago, but it must have been, because we had to use a public phone to call for help.  When we couldn't get in touch with anyone, we had to walk.  By the time we got home, we were soaking wet and tired.  He was shivering and his fever was back. I sat up with him all night.  At the doctor's office the next day, our worst fears were confirmed.   His bronchitis had developed into pneumonia.  I stayed home from work for three days to take care of him.
He probably doesn't remember that night.  These days, he has far more important things on his mind.
     I am not angry, but I am hurt. And I am tired so very tired.
    He said he will come to me when he is ready.  I practice what I will say.  I want to get it right this time.
    Once upon a time, when our relationship was new and easy, I thought it would always be that way.
I miss you my son.

Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:
Sat. February 16 1929
Home all day.  Cleaned.  Jean home 1:30.  Helped Clean up. At night took a run to 360. [I think that is her mother's house number.] Home early. Edythe & hubby over. Talked and listened to radio.  Stayed until twelve.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Will Miss You Uncle

     I have sad news.  My uncle Pat lost his battle with pancreatic cancer late this afternoon.  He faced his illness with courage, determination and most of all hope.
     One of his last wishes was that he would be strong and aware enough to be able to tell his family that he loved them before they said their good-byes.  Thankfully he was able to do that.
     My heart goes out to my aunt Dolores, my cousins Carl, Bobby, Rachel and their families.
     In the past two years, the evil that is cancer continues to ravage, causing cruel and painful deaths. Too many funerals, we have been to far too many funerals. 
      My 86 year old mom, Priscilla, my 67 year old cousin Karen, my 67 year old friend Elaine,  my 36 year old son Joe,  3 year old Sophia, the daughter of Nicole, and 2 year old Brady, the daughter of Sherry.  
     My daughter had to explain to my granddaughter, Bella that Uncle Pat was very sick just like her Nanna and her Uncle Joe had been.  That's a lot for a seven year old to understand. 
     I wonder what would happen if all of the individual research entities would pool their resources and 
co-operate to find a cure instead of competing to be the first one to find a cure. 
     Perhaps then, my great-granddaughter, Lynda Grace, (I'm sure that she will be named after me) will read in her history book about the many lives that had been lost before the cure for the plague called cancer had been discovered.

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

Friday February 15 1929
Laundress here. Mary came with Vera and Marie.  Little walk. Stopped at Elsies. Minnie there.  All came over for tea & strawberry short cake.  Jean and I visited Ethel H. at night.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

If Age Were Just A Number You Wouldn't Have To Laminate That Card

     Today I got my Medicare card in the mail.  I guess this was supposed to be the Government's idea of an early birthday present.   I would rather have had a bracelet or gift certificate to my favorite yarn store, Woolbearers.
     I mean they must have made a mistake I cannot almost be the age one has to be to carry one of those cards.
     They say that "age is just a number".  No, no it isn't.  If that were the case, I would not doze off in the afternoon with knitting needles suspended in the middle of a row.  Ten years ago I would be out walking on a beautiful sunny afternoon,  not napping.  Then I was at the lower end of the age limit to live in an adult community.
     If age were just a number, I wouldn't have to worry that the evidence of having another piece of delicious crumb cake from the Big Apple Bakery would show up on the scale the very next day.   Twenty years ago, I could eat the crumb cake with a dish of ice cream and not gain an ounce. I was considered middle age.
     If age were just a number, I would not worry about what is around around the corner.  Thirty years ago my worries were as young as my children and I looked forward to what was around the corner.  Still young enough to consider having more children.
     If age were just a  number, I wouldn't be wondering if I would be around to dance at my grand daughter's wedding.  Forty years ago, I marveled at how precious my little baby girl was and couldn't imagine her being anything but my little baby girl. I was the younger generation.
     If age were just a number I wouldn't be missing my parents as much as I do.  Fifty years ago I wrote a letter to Ann Landers, complaining about how strict my parents were. (I wrote about this here.)  I was a teenager.
     If age were just a number I wouldn't have to DVR all programs that start at 10:00 because I can't stay awake much past that.  Sixty years ago I am sure I begged to stay up just a little later, please.  I was a kid.
     If age were just a number, I would not have years of experience and memories.  Almost 65 years ago, I had no memories.  Everything was new. I was innocent.  I didn't know about sadness and mourning.  I was an infant.
     If age were just a number, I wouldn't wonder what group I fit into now.  I googled and no one has ever lived doubled the age I am now, so I couldn't be considered middle aged.  I googled and I do qualify as a baby boomer, which means that I also qualify as a senior citizen.  I googled and synonyms for senior citizen are: elderly person, geriatric, golden-ager, old fogey, old person, OAP,(old-age pensioner), old-timer, oldster, pensioner, retired person, retiree, senior.
     No, age is not just a number. I can feel it in my bones.

BTW, when I told Ross that I had received my Medicare card, he told me I should get it laminated "because it's going to get used a lot."  Thanks, Ross, I knew there had to be something left to look forward to.

Here is today's entry from Anna's diary:
Thurs February 14 1929
Drove Elsie and Minnie down town.  Went to Mountainside Hospital to see Louise's girl Lena.  Abscess in gland.  Invited to the Iapola's for supper in Bloomfield.  Drove Jean's mother home.  Rosalie & Baby with me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

House Hunting on Mallard Island LBI New Jersey

I don't know where the day goes.  We needed to get out of the house for a little fresh air.

Mallard Island 
Mallard Island Foot Bridge

I wonder how House Hunters would depict these three properties located on Mallard Island.

House No. 1

It has potential we could make it our own.  No walk in closets, but it does have a nice front porch.

House No. 2

I love all of the windows, the natural light, but the kitchen is a little outdated...wait a minute, is there a kitchen?
House No. 2 is way over our budget, but it does have two boats.  That could provide us with extra income to make up the difference.

House No. 3

It's a little small, but we could make it work.

And it does come with its own dock.
I guess this is the one
The location is perfect.  We could walk into town to get dinner at Blacky's Clams.

From an article in Philadelphia Magazine
"CLAMS   Backing up to the Barnegat Bay watershed, just across the bridge from LBI, the squall-and-salt-air-worn shack that’s home to Blacky’s Clams has wholesaled three, and only three, takeout items for as long as anyone can remember. Fresh and local littlenecks, topnecks and chowders represent five generations of the clamming Paul family’s trade. The only thing they sell but don’t harvest: lemons.  1128 East Bay Avenue, 609-597-4260."

Here is today's entry from Anna's diary:
Wed. February 13 1929
Club met at Elizabeth M's. Ash Wed. Had shrimp salad & Pie. Belleville Club met at night at Valerie B's. Forgot to bring my sewing.  Served a lovely spread.  Home 12.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mickey Mouse Ears at the Grammy Awards - A Mature Review

  • Tonight, I am watching the 54th Grammy Awards Show, hosted by LL Cool J.  Since I would rather listen to a book than music, I don't pay much attention to what's hot on iTunes.  Watching the annual Grammys is how I find out who is who.  I am going to critique the show, and the performers.  Well for as long as I stay awake that is. 
  •  Bruno Mars was the first act. I have heard the name, but have never seen him perform.  He was throughly entertaining.  I would buy his album.   
  • Next was Bonnie Rait and Alica Keys.  They did a tribute to Etta James.  I would download that one.  
  • They gave an award to Adele.  I don't know who she is but she has an English accent.  Yes I do live under a rock.
  • The next performer was Chris Brown.  I don't know his music and really didn't enjoy his performance.
  • Marc Antony and Fergie were the next presenters.  Best Rap Performance.  JZ &  Kayne West for "Otis".
  • Reba is up next to introduce Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson singing  "Don't You Want To Stay".  I like Kelly Clarkson, never heard of Jason Aldean.   Their duet was okay, wouldn't download it.
  • Great Target Commercial! Alouette 
  • Jack Black introduces Foo Fighters - Who? Too much guitar and I couldn't understand the words that the singer was screaming.  I guess it's what's called Hard Rock, Heavy Metal?
  • Rihanna and Cold Play perform.   She is lying on the stage singing.  I don't get it.  Okay she is up and working it out.  I think she is saying " We found love in a hopeless place?"
  • Chris Martin from Cold Play with Rihanna sing "Princess of China" then 
  • Cold Play band perform "Paradise" - Nope not a fan of either. 
  • NCIS's Paulie Perrett and Giants Mario Mannhingham & Victor Cruz present best rock performance "Walk" by the foo fighters.
  • Commercial featuring Willie Nelson who performs the "The Scientist" the soundtrack from the short film entitled "Back to the Start". If you download the song on iTunes, the proceeds benefit the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation.
  • Ryan Seacrest introduce Maroon 5 celebrating the beach boys "Surfer Girl" & Foster The People "Wouldn't it Be Nice".  I kinda liked Foster The People.
  • The Beach Boys sing "Good Vibrations" Gosh they are old.
  • Stevie Wonder introduces Paul McCartney, someone else & Joe Walsh - the song is "My Valentine".
  • Didn't get the names of the presenters but the  Best R&B Album - Chris Brown.
  • The Civil Wars ????  Had to google - duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White.
  • Taylor Swift sings "Mean"  Was this about Kayne West?
  • Funny McDonald's Ad about some old dudes trying to pick up a woman.
  • Neil Patrick Harris Presents  Song of the Year to Paul Epworth Producer and singer Adele Atkins for "Rolling in the Deep".
  • Kate Beckinsale and LL Cool J introduce Katie Perry - performs "Part of Me". Over produced, too Lady GaGa for me. 
  • Miranda Lambert &  Dierks Bentely present Best Country Album  to Lady Antebellum. I've heard of Lady Antebellum, but don't know who Lambert and Bentely are.
  • Gweneth Paltrow introduces Adele she sings "Rolling In the Deep" She got quite an ovation, Adele, that is. 
  • Taylor Swift- Tribute to Glen Campbell The band Perry performs "Gentle on my Mind".
  • Blake Shelton sings "Southern Nights".
  • Glen Campbell has Alzheimer's. He sings "Rhinestone Cowboy".  That was touching.
  • Carrie Underwood is joined by Tony Bennett to sing a duet "It Had To Be You." You go Tony.  
  • The best new artist Boniver - really never heard of him.
  • The president of the Grammys -  tribute to those who died this year.
  • Jennifer Hudson pays tribute to Whitney Houston.
  • Tribute to Don Cornelius With today's version of dance music. Foo Fighters and Chris Brown.  Guess I haven't been dancing lately.  "Let's do the Twist." "Anyone?" This "dancing" looks like all they are doing is jumping up and down.   I guess there isn't much difference between twisting back and forth and jumping up and down.
  • Okay now there is a Mickey Mouse head, hey why is everyone wearing mouse ears?  Wow I don't get it!  I am so out of touch.
  • Drake introduces  Niki Minaj  An exorcism? Stained glass windows, church, she is in manacles. I thought today's dance music was a little out there.  This is way too weird for me.  I guess it is supposed to be irreverent?  The song is "Roman Holiday"????
  • Lady Antebelium presents record of the year.  "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele
  • Dina Ross presents the album of the year "21" by Adele.
So after watching the Grammy Awards, I remember why I don't have any music on my iPod.  I'd rather listen to a good book.
But if anyone has a few recommendations I would be willing to listen.

Here is today's entry from Anna's diary:
Tues February 12 1929
Lincoln's birthday. Jean half day. Jewel Marie home. Brought Junior there. Went to N. York with Edythe.  I bought two new black dresses.  Home evening. Heard Phil Armand over radio.
[She may have been referring to Phil Armand  - Phillip Armand Hamilton Gibbs an English Journalist and Novelist]

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    My Heavy Heart is With You Tonight Uncle

         I have a heavy heart tonight as Uncle is in critical condition.  I wrote about him in a post a few weeks ago.
         Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is extremely difficult.  Dealing with the medical profession is almost just as difficult.
         I was horrified as my Aunt relayed this morning's events to me.
         First a little background.
         On January 27,  the results from a blood test that Uncle had the day before, showed that his sodium count was dangerously low.  He was weak and unresponsive.   My aunt called Uncle's Oncologist.  On his recommendation she called 911 and Uncle was taken by ambulance to the emergency room of our local hospital.
         The emergency room was filled to capacity that afternoon.  Every cubical was filled.  Patients were lined up on gurneys in the hallway.  Every chair in the waiting room was taken.
         I understand that unless a patient displays life-threatening symptoms, care has to be administered on a first come first serve basis.  I also understand that the goal of the emergency room doctors and nurses is to treat people and then release them as quickly as possible to make room for the next patient.
        For example, the woman in the cube next to Uncle had apparently been there for a couple of hours.  Once her condition had been diagnosed and treated, she was told by the nurse that she was going to be released.  The woman complained to the nurse that she was still in pain.  The nurse explained to the woman that since the doctor had given her a prescription for pain medication and for an antibiotic, there was no further treatment that they could offer her.  She was then advised to follow up with her own physician.
         Apparently, the woman had been transported to the hospital by ambulance.  She did not have a phone.  I heard her ask another patient if she could borrow her cell phone.  The woman was unable to get in touch with her husband and did not have a way to get home.  The nurse told her to get dressed and informed her that there was a phone in the waiting room that she could use.  Within less than a minute after the woman left, the room was occupied by the next victim patient.
         My uncle has stage IV pancreatic cancer.  My aunt, of course, told the emergency room staff of his condition.  He was in a great deal of pain.  He had been treated and diagnosed  in that same hospital only days before.  However, the emergency room doctor (who looked like he was 12 years old) would not administer any pain medication until they ran a battery of tests.  Blood tests, CT scans, EKG's and X-rays.  Why?  Why were any of these tests necessary?
         When the results of the tests finally came back, the doctor came into the cubical.  He told my aunt that there was no evidence of a heart attack (huh?) no evidence of pancreatitis, (what?) and that my uncle probably had indigestion.  He gave him an antacid to drink and wanted to send him on his way.  I am not making this up.  I was standing right there.
         My aunt told Dr. ER that Uncle's doctor wanted him to be admitted. Dr. ER. said "Why?" My aunt told Dr. ER about Uncle's sodium count, which I am sure she had also told more than one member of the ER staff multiple times.  Dr. ER said, "That didn't show up in any of the test results."  My aunt insisted that Dr. ER call Uncle's doctor.  Dr. ER agreed and to do that and left the cubicle.
         Not more than a minute later,  a nurse came in with an IV kit.  She told my aunt that Uncle was going to be admitted.  She said that according to the blood test results, Uncle's sodium count was dangerously low.  Why did the nurse know this but Dr. ER did not?
         I understand that the goal of hospitals these days is to treat patients and then release them as soon as possible.  The goal for Uncle was to stabilize him, get his sodium levels up, and try to build up his strength so that he could start a regiment of chemo therapy.
         Five days after he was admitted into the hospital, Uncle was told that he no longer needed their care and that he would have to go to a rehab facility.  The rehab that he would be admitted to is across the street from the hospital.  The criteria my aunt and uncle's insurance company uses to determine if he would be eligible for transportation from the hospital to the rehab and then back to the hospital for chemo is this:  "Is the patient able to sit in a chair?"  The nurses and aids were able to get him out of the bed and into a chair, so I guess that qualifies as a yes.
    Next, "Is the patient able to walk 80 feet?" A nurse and an aid were able to get my uncle up out of the chair.  With the help of walker, the nurse and the aid, he was able to walk 80 feet.  So I guess the answer to question no. 2 was yes also.
         The problem, though, is that my 72 year old aunt, even though she is in great shape, would not be able to get him up and walking,  then into her car, then out of the car, then into the rehab center.   Even though the rehab center is right across the street from the hospital,  it is going to cost my aunt and uncle $107.00 because the insurance company will not pay for the transport.
         Back to today's horrible events.
         My aunt received a phone call from the rehab center at 3:00 this morning.  My uncle was calling for her.
    The nurse at the rehab told my aunt that they could administer a tranquilizer or he could go over to the hospital.  When my aunt got to the rehab and asked Uncle what he wanted to do, he said he wanted to go to the hospital.
         As my aunt described the next course of events to me, I felt sick to my stomach and my heart ached for Uncle and my aunt.
         When they got Uncle to the hospital my aunt said that he screamed in pain for three hours.  The on call hospital doctor would not administer any pain medications because Uncle's blood pressure was dangerously low and the doctor was afraid that the pain meds would make his BP go even lower.    My aunt insisted that they get in touch with Uncle's doctor, which they finally they did.  Uncle's doctor instructed the hospital staff on how to raise Uncle's BP.  In a matter of a half hour, they were finally able to give him pain medication and make him comfortable.
        Tomorrow he is going to be admitted to the Hospice wing of the hospital.  But today, while he was still in the CCU, the doctors wanted to do another CT scan.  Again I ask WHY???
    Are they padding the bill? Is it CYA?  Or is it both?
         My heart is heavy tonight. I know, though, that if Uncle makes it through the night, the dedicated and caring Hospice staff will make sure that Uncle does not suffer needlessly. They will make sure there that he is comfortable and that there is no pain.  After all isn't that the kind and humane way to treat Uncle?

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

    Monday February 11 1929
    Home until two.  Went to Belleville Ave for baby's new shoes at Murdoch's. Brown one for $5. Elsie and Minnie came. Had tea at my house with strawberry tarts.  Home all evening.  Radio good.

    [J. T. MurdochThe business was established by J.T. Murdoch, Sr. in 1888. It is currently owned and operated by the fourth generation of Murdochs.]