Friday, August 24, 2012

Going On An Hour Away "Vacation"

We rented a house at the shore for a week.  Ross likes to point out, as often as he can, to anyone who cares to listen, “We live at the beach and we’re going on vacation to the beach, do you believe that?”
My response to that is that we don’t actually live at the beach.  We live near the beach.
Back to the shore house we are renting.  It is in Ocean City NJ.
The difference between where we live which (as Ross also likes to point out) is only 10 minutes from the bay beach and 20 minutes to the ocean, and where we are going to be vacationing is that when we climb to the roof top deck of the house we are renting, we can actually see the ocean.  I’m pretty sure we would not catch a whiff or a glimpse of the ocean from our home roof top deck.  Well, okay we don’t actually have a deck on our roof, but if we did... still no ocean view.
And, even though our community is considered a resort community, with two swimming pools, a club house, and a "life style”,  we are not really “down the shore”. (click on the link to find the urban definition of that phrase).

 Kohr’s Frozen Custard,
Ocean City has a boardwalk, a real typical Jersey Shore boardwalk.  Amusement rides, "win a Big Teddy here" games of chance.

Johnson’s Carmel Pop-Corn

Manco and Manco's 
The best Pizza 
In my opinion the irony here is not that we are leaving one shore community for another (which, by the way, Ocean City is only an hour away).  The irony here is that Ross and I are going on “vacation” next week.  Vacation means not having to get up in the morning, 5 or 6 days a week, to go to work.                                        

 Being on vacation means going out for a leisurely late breakfast every day, if that’s what one chooses to do, or  taking in movie on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, any rainy Tuesday afternoon, if that’s what one chooses to do.  Vacation means sitting on the front porch with a Kindle on a cool autumn afternoon.  When one is on vacation, one can stay in her pajamas all day if she chooses.  The best part of being on vacation is choosing to have dessert before dinner.
Wait a minute, that is what Ross and I have been doing for the past 10 years.
 I guess then, we can’t really call next week a vacation, now can we?
So, since I am sure I will be observing the unsuspecting,  taking pictures with my spy cam(era), and then writing about it, perhaps I should call it  "Lynda Grace An Hour Away”.

On a personal note (yes, I am being purposefully cryptic) I will definitely be trying to stay positive, (a tall order for me) stay in the moment, and leave my worry beads at home.

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.

Here are the entries from Anna's diary from the past several days:
Sunday, August 18, 1929
Home all day.  Peg here overnight.  Left for 360 about 7:30.  Left Junior there and went to the Wake with Mother.  Stayed all night unit 7:30 in morning.  Grandpa there also.  Left him there.
Missing Days - August 19 & 20. 
[As I go through the diary, I notice that there are notations and certain passages underlined in pencil.  Before the diary was put in the estate auction, I believe a current family member went through the diary, made notes and removed pages].
Wednesday, August 21, 1929
Stayed in bed all day.  Feel very weak and tired.  Have been thinking over what the Doctor told me about my thyroid trouble.  I wonder how it will all come out.  Grandpa seemed worried.
Thursday, August 22, 1929
Still in bed resting.  Feel a little stronger today.  Back aches still.  Expect to get up for a while tomorrow.  Restless in bed.   No one to talk to but Baby and Rosalie.  Day long.
Friday, August 23, 1929
Charlotte to clean a little.  Still feel weak.  Jewel sent black evening gown from Bambs [department store] for me to wear at her Banquet.  Chiffon with long tail in back and a lace wrap with a ruffle - rhinestones.   [someone wrote WOW in pencil under this entry].
Sat. August 24, 1929
Still in bed.  Mother came over to spend afternoon.  Corinne and Ted came over.  They all had supper here.  Read a book.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Stealth and Shadows

Yesterday, August 16, 2012, would have been Joe and Anne's 4th wedding anniversary.  It was a tough and very emotional day for me as I thought about what could have and should have been for them.
Anne reflects on that day in the beautiful post she wrote here.
On days like yesterday I need to escape out of the confines of inside walls.  On days like yesterday I need to be quiet.    On days like yesterday I need to be invisible.
In order to try to calm the loud constant chatter in my brain, I grabbed my Canon and headed for the water.
My Canon has taught me to pay attention to what is around me and I have learned that there are always, always, interesting things to see and perfect moments to capture.
The first sight I saw as I crossed over the bridge and onto the island, was a tent city.  The  arrow on the "Big Flea Market Today" sign directed me to turn right, "HERE".
The market was set up in the public boat launch parking lot next to the bay.
I took the boardwalk path away from the market and settled onto the first bench at the water's edge. The day was spectacular.  The sky was blue and cloudless.  The water was gentle yet moving.  Off in the distance, coming from the direction of the flea market, I could hear the faint sounds of the Beach Boys singing about "Surf City*, here we come." (These pictures were taken in Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island New Jersey.  Surf City just happens to be the next town over.)
Lucky me, I got a front row seat for the non stop entertainment which I knew was soon to begin.


First up, came the obligatory dog walkers.
"Stay on the grass", she told them. 

He said "Good afternoon" to me. As it was only 9:00 a.m.,  I replied with a good morning.  He muttered something about never knowing what time it is around here when you are on vacation.

I love the umbrella hat.

As I took in the view from my bench, I spotted what very well may be Emerald City way, way across the bay.  

These guys had to be seasoned and experienced. It looked like that cooler was well stocked with chicken backs and/or  beer. Apparently they came well prepared to spend a couple of hours tossing their cages over the rail as they joined the others on the crabbing pier. 
My attention was drawn to my left as I heard loud chirping sounds.  

 I wondered what the topic of the day was.   It appeared that most were right wingers.

The show continued out on the water, at times silently gliding by and at other times with attention grabbing speed. 

As I looked out across the bay, the colorful towels and the bright yellow kayak grabbed my attention and I zoomed in for a closer look. 
This little hut stimulated my imagination.  I do believe that pink chair is waiting just for me.  And check out the stairs. Why wherever do they lead?   

The sign clearly says No Swimming or Diving. What about Netting Fishing?

I became more and more interested in the sites and sounds around me as I calmly stayed focused and in the moment.   
Bush Birds

Butterfly Incognito

Peppermint Pretty

Sea Creature One

Sea Creature Two
When I am out and about with my camera, taking pictures of unsuspecting victims, I somehow fool myself into thinking that I am stealthily snapping away unnoticed by those passing by. 

Just a shadow on a bench

I took his picture because I wondered what he was looking at.

As he walked by, I pointed the camera as if I was taking a photo of something in the distance.

Guess I wasn't so sneaky after all!

I spent over an hour watching, listening and just breathing it all in.  As I stood up and turned to pick up my tea mug, I noticed the inscription on the bronze plaque which was attached to the back of the bench. 

 How appropriate and meaningful that this would be the bench I chose to sit on this day. 

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.

Here are the past days from Anna's diary:
Monday August 12, 1929
Home all morning.  Went to see Louise after lunch with Junior.  Then went to see Grace and Baby Marion.  Home for supper.  Flo, Peg, Jean and I to Rialto.[movie theater]  Rose here.
Tues. August 13, 1929
Helen Carr phoned about riding to her sister's country home in Chester tomorrow.  Went down town. Met Jewel and Edythe.  E. is to go see Mr. Lowrne tonight with Clarence.
Wed. August 14, 1929
Left at ten to go pick Helen Carr.  Lovely trip.  Baby with us.  Went to Hackettstown first for lunch, then Flo drove with us to Chester.  Left H there and rode back with Flo.
Thurs. August 15, 1929
Stayed with Flo all night.  Baby is having a lovely day with little Josephine.  Jen is sick in bed.  Left late in afternoon to come home.  Found a letter from Elsie.
Friday August 16, 1929
Bill is at Plattsburg Training Camp for month of August.  We miss the kid at home but all get lovely letters from him.  Phoned Mary.  Cousin Joe L. passed away today.
Sat. August 17, 1929
Went to see Joe.  Broke down with Angie.  They take his passing away very hard.  So young.  Only thirty.  Saw Grandpa there.  Stayed until four in afternoon.  Jean bought Peach transparent velvet gown.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

That's What I'm Talkin' About!

Although,  admittedly, self diagnosed via online testing, I feel comfortable proclaiming myself to be an introvert.  Recently, I have become even more introspective than normal, normal for me that is.
Lately, Lynda and I have been having deep conversations about “what its all about” and "where I go from here".  It has been a rough couple of years. I have much to think about.
There are times when I have to get this stuff out of the netherworld of my head and into the world of the others.  By the time I am ready to unleash it though,  I have whipped it up into a frothy rant frenzy.
Ahh, Ross.  Since he lives with me, and is usually at hand, he is frequently in the line of fire. That means he is the one who usually bears the brunt of my raves.   It takes merely a spark to ignite my emotional tinderbox.
When I broach a subject which I consider to be of the utmost importance at that particular moment and therefore needs his immediate attention, Ross finds himself in the precarious position of trying to determine  whether or not I am just considering walking out to the ledge.  He tests the waters by trying a sneaky diversion like asking me if I want to go out for lunch or perhaps check out my favorite yarn store.
Sometimes, though, his “Lynda Mood Gauge” is in serious need of recalibrating.   It’s at those times he misreads the barometric atmospheric pressure and is totally unprepared to weather the  intensity of a potentially dangerous devil storm.  My eyes narrow and my brow furrows as I stir the hot bubbling mess around and around.
         Image from Devil Spice
 If he tries to calm the raging currents of the what are normally still waters by using his typically positive upbeat manner, my strange demonic tendencies take over.  By then historically (and hysterically)  nothing short of an exorcism will save me (or him).
An example of a topic which I frequently reflect on is one which also causes me much distress.
In July of this year I had what I consider to be a milestone birthday.   In addition to ruminating on it though,  I am also obsessed with reminding and reiterating this fact to all of those close to me, including and in particular, Ross. 
My newly Medicare Care Card Carrying status prompts a rant which usually starts off like this:
 “You know, I AM 65 years old.  It’s not like I am a 40 year old, I’m 65!”
"Oh, sure ten years ago I cudda done that or wudda wanted to do this, but remember, I am 65.
Then I attempt to rope Ross into my tirade with:
"And you…you are almost 70.”
"I mean how much time do you think we have left?”
When I started out to write this post today, I really wanted to explore my feelings about turning 65. I wanted to ponder how or if it would change my life.  I wanted to examine my perspective on my own “new age”.   I wonder if it will change my outlook on how I might want to live the rest of my life.
My wallet contains quite an extensive collection of cards  coated in plastic which prove that I am truly a senior citizen.  These cards get us into National parks and our local beaches at quite a reduced rate.  When Kohls has their senior sale days, the cashiers don’t even ask if I qualify, they just automatically give me the discount.   Now we “legally” get the senior rate at the movies without any need of proof.
But that is the fluffy stuff of recognizing the time crunch.
In the past 3 years, we have had to say pain filled good byes to too many.   I suppose at my age (Did I mention I am 65?) some would say that is to be expected.  But many of these losses were not the "well he/she live a long good life" kind.  Many were the "it's not fair" kind.
I suspect those painful experiences have caused my more than normal, normal for me that is, introspective restlessness.
Cliches like "you only go round once in life" and "Life is not a dress rehearsal" are the bitter ingredients I stir into my 65 year old cauldron.
My emotional preachings atop my ever present soapbox emanate from the unsteady precipice of uncertainty.  The others who are gone whisper to me,  "Live life to the fullest, for tomorrow may never come."
That's what I'm talkin' about!

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.
Here are the entries from the past few days of Anna's diary:
Tues. August 6, 1929
Went to Mary's for lunch. Her cousin Mary M and Rose were there.  After leaving there, went to Bambergers to buy a radio for Papa as his gift to mother for the 9th.
Wed. August 7, 1929
Home. Edythe phoned. She was coming up for supper.  Clarence on his vacation at his mohters.  After supper went to Mt. Prospect.  She stayed all night.
Thursday, August 8, 1929
Home. Charlotte here for laundry.  Jewel phoned to give more names to send tickets for banquet.  Went to 360 after supper to see new radio.  Everyone is pleased with it.
Friday, August 9, 1929
Today Mother's birthday. Fifty three.  All gave her gifts at supper table.   Grandma M there to visit. Drove her home and then cam home early.  
Sat. August 10, 1929
Drove Nap girls to see their father at Wagner Farm.  Spent entire day there.  Home about 10.  Very tired and straight to bed.
Sunday, August 11, 1929
Rosalie here over night and she went to church.  Junior and I had late breakfast of pancakes.  About four went to 360 and we drove to Hacketstown to see Flo.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

If Only It Were Only A Bad Dream

Weeks before, like travel agents preparing for us for a long trip, "they" hand us checklists of feelings and emotions to guide us on our pending journey of grief.   The stages that are written about are to be used as a compass to make sure that we are headed in the right direction.  "They" speak of grief as if it is a wound that will eventually heal.
At the start of the journey we huddle and cling to each other afraid to let go.  In the beginning we don't know how we will ever find our way through the darkness without the torch light of comfort that we pass back and forth.  But somehow, somewhere along the way, we begin to part and separate.  We discover we have our own compasses which take us in different directions and lead us along individual paths toward our personal retreats.
At times our paths cross.  Then, though, we don't burden each other with stories of our stormy voyage, but speak instead of the fine weather we are now having.
We have been traveling now for eight months.  My bags are still packed with pain.   Although, the slide show of last memories are not always on the continuos loop they once were,  the load I carry has not been lightened by time as "they" promised it would.
 I slowly shake my head back and forth like a child saying no-no, as if somehow that will make the painful memory of December 5 disappear.  For how could it be anything but a bad dream?

 I miss my Joey.

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.
Here are the past few days entries from Anna's diary:
Friday August 2, 1929
Here at Farm until about two.  Left for home and arrived safe and no trouble.  Junior very tired.  Home and to bed very early.  Felt upset from yesterday's terrible in mud.
Sat. August 3, 1929
Home. Cleaned house good.  Jean home at 1;30.  Had lunch.  Took a nap.  Then to 360 for a while. Went to Mosque to see "Dolores Costello in "Madonna of Avenue A"
Sun. August 4, 1929
Mass at St. Michaels.  Went to see grandma M. Grandpa there too and had a long talk about his days of youth.  Stayed until nine and then home.
Mon. August 5, 1929
Went down town to get prices on radio sets as Father is interested in buying one to give Mother.  Told him about a special in Bambs [Bamberger's department store] and going down tomorrow to buy it. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It’s Just So Darn Hard To Say No To Erika

September is the beginning of the Tuesday Morning Ladies league bowling season.  I joined this league about 8 years ago.  I started the season last year, as always, but for various reasons,  I decided that I needed a break from bowling and quit after the first month.
Erika is the league secretary.   She is the one who refuses to take no for an answer when the end of season sheet comes around in May asking for members to sign up for the following season.
Of course, due to my circumstances , she was most understanding when I told her that I was quitting.
However, that did not stop her from trying her best to convince me that bowling would be a great distraction for me and that I should reconsider. I stood my ground and was quite happy about my decision.
Erika was very supportive after Joe passed away.  She would call periodically to see how I was doing. She would always end the conversation, though, with, “You know, we would love to have you back bowling with us. We miss you.”
Now, I have to say that I did find her phone calls comforting.  She seemed to call right when I desperately needed that someone who would listen.  She was genuinely concerned and compassionate about my loss.
I recently heard through the bowling grapevine, that Erika has been suggesting to other members that if they see me or talk to me to: “Please encourage Lynda to bowl again."
This past Monday, there was a voice mail on my phone from Erika.  The message was something along the lines of “You know, just want to check in with you. Make sure you’re doing ok.”
She asked me to return her call, and “By the way, if you forget to call me back, I will try again tomorrow.”
I “forgot” she didn’t.  So after a few minutes of asking after each other’s health, wealth, and well being,  she said she had a question for me.  Well, I would say sales pitch is more like it.
“You need to get out of the house.”  “It will do you a world of good." “We miss you.”  I love this one the best: “I can’t tell you what to do, you have to make up your own mind, but...(long pause) we would really love it if you would come back to bowling, please?"
It’s hard to say no to Erika.  She had me half convinced, but I used the “let me think about it”  technique and promised that I would get back to her the next day, which is today.
Here’s the thing,  I am not that into bowling.  My skills are, well skills is actually too strong of a word here.  Umm, my bowling method is to go up to the line and throw the ball.  No curve, no spin, no speed. Just a fairly straight ball, sometimes down the middle.  Every once in a while, I may luck out and get all ten pins down, but usually not.  My bowling ball has a huge chip in it.  I could almost use the chip as another finger hole.  It kind of click clacks down the alley.  Not that I am not using that as an excuse for my less than stellar bowling prowess, because I am pretty sure that a new ball would not make that much of a difference.
Those who know me, certainly know that I don’t go for the socializing.   I usually sit apart from the others and knit.
But I am supportive of my team.  I cheer and  rah-rah for each member.  Clap for a strike or spare.  Say “aww" when they miss that ten pin by just a hair.
Here’s the other thing.  The members of the Tuesday Morning Ladies League do I say this, well, let’s just say that they are not as young as they were when the league started some twenty years ago.
That was the other part of the conversation Erika and I had yesterday.  She went down the litany of ailments of each of the league members.  Hip and knee replacements, heart conditions, hospital stays, surgery that so and so had and that "she really doesn’t want to talk about”.
It’s quite sad, really.
So, I can think of many reasons to say no.  I can only think of one reason to say yes.
“It’s just so darn hard to say no to Erika!”

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.
Here is today’s entry from Anna’s diary:
Thurs. August 1, 1929
Went to Stockton with Mrs. Naps to see Mr. Naps.  Arrived safely.  Went for a drive to see Delaware River.  Rained, got lost.  Stuck in mud.  Had to push car.  Back to farm very late.