Sunday, September 30, 2012

Riding The Rails With BillyS

It casually came up in a phone conversation I was having with my sister.
Unkown Kid
This weekend, Ross and I were on our way down to Annapolis to attend a Navy football game.  It is about a 3 hour drive from our house.  My sister lives somewhere in that direction, south of us.

First, before I go any further, I have to explain that I have a genetic disorder called Williams syndrome.

Now while  I haven't been professionally or medically tested for this, I googled my symptoms and this is what I found:

"Williams syndrome, a rare condition which occurs in one in 7,500 people, is caused when a small amount of genetic material is missing from one human chromosome. Individuals with Williams syndrome have strong language skills and are extremely social, but they have trouble with tasks like doing puzzles or copying patterns or navigating their bodies through the physical world."

Except for the "extremely social" part, this was me.  I have Williams syndrome.  The part I relate most to is the "navigating..."part.

Second, I love Wendy, my GPS lady.

Okay, back to the phone conversation with my sister.

I called her to tell her we were on our way to Maryland.  "Don't you live somewhere around there?" I asked.

Ha! My sister, who claims NOT to have Williams syndrome, called over to her husband and asked how far they lived from Annapolis.

But in all fairness to her, she probably only has a mild case.  I know this because she travels by train and has a metro card.

Which brings me back once again to the phone conversation.

So once we established where I was going to be in relation to where she lived, she suggested that if in the future, Ross wanted to go to a Naval Academy event and I didn't, he could drop me off at a train station, where I then could "navigate my body" to her house, via train.

I gasped, sucked in air, and managed to squeak out, "What?"  "Take the what?"

She said, "You could take the train here."

"Really?"  I said.  "Aren't you forgetting about my BillyS?" (my nickname for Williams syndrome)

"Oh that again," she sighed.

"Anyway, I've never been on a train?" I said.

That was a little bit of a lie.  I was on a train once when I was 18.  It's a long story.  One which I will tell someday.

But there was this one other time.

So I worked for a company whose main offices were in the City.  The branch where I worked was a nice and easy ten minute, straight down the highway, no turns commute from my rural suburban home.

Occasionally there were times when it was necessary for me to go into the City.  But the company had a shuttle van which provided door to door service.
One day my supervisor told me that we would be working on a new project which would require that I go into the City once a week to attend a status meeting.  (Yes, I'm old and this obviously was a long time ago. No video conferencing back in the day.)

No problem,  I thought, I'll just take the 9:20 van.

But, as I soon found out,  the meetings would be starting at 9:00.

This would mean that I would have to find my way to the train station, take the train to here, then make sure I got off this stop and get on another train to there, then hail a cab or take a bus to my final destination.

Seeing the panic on my face, my boss, who knew about my BillyS, told me that she would go with me the first time.

That put me somewhat at ease.

The big day arrived.  My train training day.

I found my way to the train station.  (I made several practice runs before hand to make sure I knew the way.)
I met up with my supervisor.  We got on the train together.  This isn't so bad, I thought.   I could do this.
We came to the place where we had to get off that train, walk over to another terminal and then get on another train. So far, so good.  Piece of cake.
As we were waiting on the crowded platform (train talk) my boss told me that I had to push my way in, like everyone else did.  "Just go for it!" She said.

That's what I did.  The train pulled up, the doors opened, I pushed my way in.  I turned around, thinking my boss was right behind me.  But she wasn't.  I panicked.  The doors closed.  My boss was still standing on the platform on the other side of the doors.  Apparently she hadn't pushed her way hard enough.

The memory I have of that exact moment is the image of me, eyes wide with fear, my hands and face pressed up on the train door window, with a pleading look of “please help me”.
I think my boss was just as shocked as I was.  I think she feared it would be the last time she ever saw me.  She was probably conjuring up visions of  me, a  bag lady living on the streets forever trying to find my way home.

But since she was a train pro, she hailed the platform man and he managed to convey a message to the door opening man to open the doors.

So that's why, Johanna, I can not take the train to your house.  I mean, that terrifying train experience, which has scarred me for life, btw, in conjunction with my BillyS, well I just couldn't manage it, at least not unchemically, that is.

Oh, the company I worked for was BillyS sensitive so the meeting times were changed to 10:30.
Door to Door Van Service provided.

BillyS Goats?

Laughing at myself.

As I was writing this I took a look at the NJ Transit home page complete with a "How To Ride The Train Video."  If only they had this back in the 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 catch up entries from Anna's diary:

Friday, September 27, 1929
Elsie here for lunch.  Left early.  Baby and I went to visit Elizabeth M.  Peg was there with her baby.  Home for supper.  Cousin Meg phone to go to see her.
Sat. September 28, 1929
Slept late this morning.  Bud came over to start simonizing my car.  Had lunch with me.  Went to 360 at night and Peg, Jean and I went to see Broadway Melody with Bessie Love.
Sun. September 29, 1929
Went to Grandma M's for dinner.  Grandpa and boys there.  All ate together.  Cleaned up then went to 360.  Had nap.  Went to see Helen K. for a while then met Jean & Peg to see "Four Feathers."
Mon. September 30, 1929
Went to Mary's for a few minutes.  She was sick in bed.  Went to Angie on River st. to go with me to see a friend whose husband died.  Stayed at Angie's for supper. Then home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Biker Gangs Move In or There Goes the Neighborhood

Some background info.  Ross and I have lived in our "active" "adult" community for 10 years now.
There are 1200 homes in this community.  That means there are probably at least 2000 people.
In the past 10 years, of those 2000 people, I would say that I have had a conversation with maybe 25-30 people.  And since this is an”adult” community, some of those 25-30 people are no longer here, due to attrition of one kind or another, if you get my drift.
Therefore, this might lead the reader to believe that I do not participate in community activities, am not very neighborly, nor do I get out and about to socialize very often with my fellow "adults".
And the reader would be correct!
But,  I am a nice person.  I do the pleasantries.  If confronted I will smile, say hello, you know the ushe.
When we first moved in, I tried a couple of the many offered activities.   For instance, the ceramics class.  But, I don't know...I mean how many bunnies, squirrels or roosters can I fit in my front yard.  Besides there is a regulation limiting the size and quantity of garden gnomes. And apparently "the powerful" are starting to crack down on the crazy and loose behavior that some of the more rebellious rule breakers are exhibiting.
Now that you know where I stand, this next little story might make more sense.
So, a couple of days ago as I was walking Rico, minding my own business, while patiently waiting for Rico to do his, one of the other "adults" was out for her evening stroll.  Unfortunately for me, she and I were walking in the same direction.  She stopped to pet Rico and asked his name.  I had never met or talked to this woman before.
Normally, people, especially walkers, will not stop.   They tend, instead, to brush on by with a simple nod or hello.
Uh oh, this was my luck day because this woman apparently, desperately needed someone to talk to.   She began by telling me how irate she was.  She had just come from the "club house" and had been talking to another woman who told her that "the powerful" have decided to allow homeowners to rent out their houses.
I told her that I thought that was always the case.  She became very agitated and animated and raised her voice, saying, "No, don't you understand?"  "Now everyone can rent to anyone for any length of time.   I kind of shrugged my shoulders.  Wrong move!
"Don't you care about this", she shrieked.  (yes, that's right, she shrieked!)  "This is going to devalue our homes."
This next statement is a word for word quote from my new best friend:
"I mean who's to say, we could have five families living in one house.  Or what if a motor cycle gang moves in?"
At this point I was mentally shaking my head, and physically trying to inch my way away and murmuring, "okay come on Rico, this way..."
She followed me.   I figured that maybe I should try to empathize or offer a solution of some kind.
I told her that I believed that motor cycle gangs and multiple families are probably against the rules and that if she were aware of this happening, she could report the problem to the "powerful"
"Humph",  she sneered.   "Do you think they care?"  "As long as they are collecting our money, they don't care."
I have to say, I was having a private conversation with myself all during this.  At this point I was saying to myself, "doesn't she realize that they are us?"
Of course I didn't dare say that out loud.  Who knows what she was packing in that fanny pack?
I quickly realized that there was nothing I could say that  would dissuade this woman from her rant, so I let her go on for a few more minutes without responding.
Apparently this infuriated her even more.  She yelled at me, “Don’t you care!”
That was it.  Enough!
My answer was this: "You, know I don't care about much of anything lately.  My son passed away 10 months ago after battling colon cancer for nearly 2 years.  He was 36 years old, newly married with a 14 month old son.   So, no I don't care about who lives next door to me, or if they paint their garage door pink."
The woman quietly looked at me and told me how sorry she was.  She asked if she could give me a hug.  I said yes.
It was kind of awkward though, hugging her with Rico's leash in one hand while patting her on the back with the other hand, the hand that I was holding his bag of poop in. But we managed.

Turkey Vulture
Actual photo taken yesterday of a roof top in our community.
I'd like to say that the conversation ended there and the woman calmed down and realized how foolish she sounded.  I like to be able to say that what I told her made her remember that as an "adult" she has lived enough life to understand that far too many big things, good and bad, happen in this life to worry about how much her house would be devalued if someone whom she may consider undesirable moved into the neighborhood.  I'd like to be able to say that she may have read my mind, the part where I was thinking, "lady, we are adults.  Do you know how many of us never make out it of here?"  Have you seen the vultures that hang out on our roof tops?"
But, after we separated from our poignant and touching hug, she looked at me and asked, "You really don't care?"  And then proceeded to continue her exuberant monologue.
I sighed, and under my breath muttered "Aye Yigh Yigh".  I told her I had to get moving.  She asked my name and I told her.  She said, I'm "Marie."  I'm sorry about your son.

Except for the fact that I have changed the woman's name to protect my fellow "adults", I am sad to say that this is a blow, by blow, unembellished true story.

I think I will bust through the gates of this community and head out into the woods where the birds chirp instead of screech.

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 catch up entries from Anna's diary:
Sat. September 21, 1929
Helen Carr phoned.  She is going to spend week-end here with me as Ray is going to the country. Cleaned house.  Had supper. Gang stopped from tennis court and all stayed.  Helen and I up till three.
Sunday September 22, 1929
Helen and I awake about ten.  Had late breakfast.  Jean and Ted went to church.  I put baby to sleep and cleaned kitchen.  Edythe came over for late lunch.  Took a ride to Singar's. Then brought Helen home.
Mon.  September 23, 1929
Parents drove Bill to Princeton and Slim to  Villa Nova this morning.  Went over for supper to hear the news.  Ted came home with me and Jean stayed at 360.  Went to Cemetery today.  Feel melancholy. 
Tues. September 24 1929
Went to visit Frances again with Junior.  Had lunch with her.  On way home went to Bambs andbought Baby his first bike.  He was so happy with it.  We took it right home with us.
Wed. September 25, 1929
Went to 360.  Nobody home.  Went to seeGrace for a while, then Ma came over.  She drove with me to Solio to see about a policy and make the visit also.  Drove Ma home and came back to my own home.
Thurs. September 26, 1929
Car at the garage getting brakes re-lined. Home all day.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Woman In The Blue Chemo Cap

I heard the squeaky wheel and looked up from my knitting.  That squeaky wheel was a familiar sound to me.  You see, my mother had one just like it.  The woman who was generating that noise, well actually the noise wasn’t coming directly from her, but from an appendage that she was obviously struggling to maneuver, appeared to be in her 80’s.
She was coming out of the door with the “Chemo Infusion? Come Right In” sign.  She was accompanied by her daughter.  I knew it was her daughter because of the conversation they were having.  The daughter was trying to explain to her mother that they needed to hurry because she(the daughter) had an appointment that she couldn’t be late for.
I could tell by the annoyed tone of her voice that the daughter had obviously reached her patience limit.
That tone was also familiar to me.  I remember using it with my mother.
My mother was ill for about a year with cancer before she passed away.  She refused chemo but reluctantly agreed to radiation treatments.
I remember one treatment day in particular.  It was raining very hard.  We had to coax her to go that day.  It was like dealing with a child.  She was being very stubborn and didn’t want to go.
“Whyyy do I haaff to go?” she whined.
We finally managed to convince her that she should go and got her and her walker (the squeaky wheeled appendage) settled into the car.
She complained all the way to the treatment center.  When we got there, she didn't want to get out of the car.   That’s when I reached my patience limit.  The image I have in my memory of that day is  me holding the umbrella over our heads with one hand and my other hand on her back trying to get her to hurry while she tried to maneuver her squeaky wheeled walker.
Watching this other mother and daughter not only triggered that recollection,  it also made me wince as I witnessed the behavior of the daughter.  I felt like I was on a journey with the Ghost of Cancer past.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of this other mother.  She reminded me so much of my mother during her battle with cancer.  My mother and this mother both had that same far-a-way look in their eyes.  I wonder if this other mother also questioned why she should have to endure the painful side effects of such an uncomfortable treatment at this stage of her life.
Ross and I cared for my mother in our home during the last few months of her life.  Most of the time I was very caring and patient with her.  But the memory of the one or two times I lost my patience is what is etched in my memory.
Two months after my mother passed away, my son Joe was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.
The grief of losing my mother was put on hold and apparently buried deep.
Seeing this woman yesterday, who reminded me so much of my mother, opened up the flood gates of my grief over the loss of my mother.
I realized how much I need her now and I realized how much I miss her.
As much as I might have wanted to, I just couldn’t manage a Lynda spy cam(era) moment.  I think, though, that I will always remember this woman’s face, her walker and especially the blue chemo cap she wore.

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 entries from Anna's diary:
Mon. September 16, 1929
Jean back to work today.  Didn't feel so well so stayed in bed nearly all day.  Jean home for supper.  Drover to Cousin Maggie after supper to collect for policy.  Peg came later.
Tues. September 17, 1929
Peg stayed over-night.  Brought Junior to 360.  Went downtown.  Had lunch in Kresges.  Peg bought a dress and shoes and bag.  Came home early.  Club met at Elsie's at night.
Wed.  September 18, 1929
Peg treated Bill and I to lunch at Bamberger's [Bill is Anna's brother] and to see "Good News" at Shubert.  Went to 360 for supper.  Home early.  Very cold out and bed early.
Thurs. September 19, 1929
Peg back to work today and is starting Barringer tonight.  Charlotte here for laundry.  Made furnace.  Quite cold.  Jennie P visited me all day.  Left when Jean came home.
Friday, September 20, 1929
Home in morning.  Met Jewel for lunch.  Couldn't shop.  Felt very melancholy. Came home.  Went to Elsies.  Had a crying spell.  Felt terribly blue and despondent.  Bed early.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Couple Quirks

A quick update on Roxie while I am waiting for my tea to brew.    Even though Ross was diligent about getting the proper care for her, apparently some decisions about where she would have received the best care were not well thought out.  We admit that sometimes we chose convenience for us over what might have been best for Roxie.
Anyway, we had to decide once again, do we do what's best for us or for Roxie?

After agonizing:

I hope Roxie finds a good home

We sadly turned Roxie in for 

Meet Sored
what Ross calls a definite State Trooper magnet. 

A "couple quirk" that Ross and I have is, when one gets a new toy the other must also get a new toy.
When the iPods came out, we each had to get one.  Same for our iMacs, one for him, one for me.
Yep, his and hers iPhones.   We have matching EKORNES recliners.  They come in sizes, you know, small for me large for him.

So I couldn't possibly walk out of that show room without one of these for myself.

Cute, huh?

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 latest entries from Annie's diary:
Wed. September 11, 1929
Went down town with Jean.  Had lunch. Met Peg.  Decided to go to Shuberts to see "Scandals". Very good. Home early.
Thur. September 12, 1929
Went down town with Jean.  She bought hat, shoes and few little things.  Went to News and Star with Jewels.  Picture for the paper.  Potter made up a newspaper print. 
Friday, September 13, 1929
Stayed home with Baby.  Jean went with Billy to buy his suit.  Peg and Rosalie went shopping.  JEan brought me soft shelled crabs on toast.  Jewels picture in News today.
Sat. September 14, 1929
Night of Banquet.  All girls looked lovely.  About 100 guests.  Mr. C and Mr. G spoke.  Jewel looked gorgeous with bouquet of orchids and lily of the valley.  Went to Childs afterwards, girls there. 
Sun. September 15, 1929
Home all day.  Edythe & Peg playing tennis.  Went to 360 for a while.  Junior there all night with Uncle Louis and his wife to take care of 360.  visited Naps.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Long Gray Hair and Coffee With My BFF

As I was checking out some of the September NaBloPoMo’s posts this morning I came across this one written by Sharon Greenthal on her “Empty House Full Mind” blog.
In her piece, Sharon referenced a TED Talk presentation given by Candy Chang titled “Before I Die I Want To…
Much like making a bucket list, this “Before I Die” statement may require deep thoughtful consideration from some (present company included) or quick “I’ve always known the things I have always wanted to do”  responses from others.
Lately, I have not been agonizing over a grand last hurrah “before I die” extraordinaire,  but, rather struggling with whether we are living our mundane day by day life the way we want to.  I question why we don’t explore the vast number of options available to us.
Certainly, the tragic and sad loss of my son, Joe has contributed to my reflective mood.  In turn my reflective mood has contributed to my restless feet and a troubled soul.

But, there have been other additional painful experiences we have faced and continue to deal with.
Another factor is our age.  Ross and I do not fool ourselves by considering our stage of life to be mid life.  Really, now, has there has ever been a human who has lived to be 130 years old?  We did the math.  We have lived more years than we have left to live. Our calendar is not filled with social engagements, but rather with physical therapy and doctor’s appointments.

There are of course, choices I can make.   On the other hand, there will be, of course, obstacles that I may have to scoot around, jump over or make a gentle accommodating space for.

I am not much of a planner.  I don’t like routine.  I don’t do laundry on Monday’s, or always water my plants once a week.  I’m am an “up and down the aisle grocery shopper”.  I don’t do lists or clip coupons.   Breakfast, lunch and dinner are when I get hungry.
My one and only ritual is my early morning must have mug filled with decaf green tea, with a touch of skim milk.
In the past I have had the courage to make huge life changing choices.
Maybe its time to shake it up again.
The decisions I need to make will  probably become more evident once the fog lifts and my blurred vision clears.
I feel I am on the brink of the big reveal.

Before I die I want to have long waist length gray hair and a standing Thursday morning coffee date with a BFF.

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 the yesterday’s entry from Anna’s diary:
Tues. September 10, 1929
Jean and Peg went to play tennis.  Flo phoned ready to go to N.Y. Girls home from courts late.  Too late for Flo.  Peg and Jean went to N.Y. alone.  Baby and I had supper at Naps.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

So Glad You Asked

Huh?  Oh, what did I do this weekend?  Well, after hibernating all day Friday and most of the next day, Ross tried to coax me out of the house late Saturday afternoon.   I agreed to go, but I warned him that I was not about to change out of the sweats and tee shirt that I had been wearing since bedtime, Thursday night.
So we figured we would go see what Isaac was up to.

Even at the late hour of 5:00, the skies were blue, the sun was out and it appeared to be a perfect beach day.

Ha, there he is.  The always present, extremely patient and ever hopeful fisherman
I wondered how long he had been sitting there. And what does he think about while he is sitting there?

Apparently,  the only thing he can catch is his lure and he’s even having trouble hooking that.

Time to head on home. Looks like it’s take out pizza tonight.  
The gulls aren’t ready to call it a day, though.

Hurricane Isaac was stirring up some rough surf here in Surf City.  

 Six to eight foot swells didn’t stop these guys.  

Crazy, Crazy, Crazy!

Ross was sitting on a bench at the top of the beach.  I was down by the water taking these photos.   I turned around to see what Ross was doing and he was gesturing and yelling to me.  “Are those guys alright?”  He had his phone out ready to dial 911.

We kept watching to make sure they weren’t in trouble.  We were very relieved as they finally made their way out of the water and onto shore.

It doesn't matter what time of day, day of the week, or season of the year, there is always something interesting and beautiful to see at the beach.

Today, I  showered, washed my hair and even put real clothes on.  
I promised her I would come.  

I'm so glad I did :)

I want to give a shout out to Anne.  She ran a 5k race in the Colon Cancer Alliance's Undy 5000 on Saturday in honor of Joe.  She was one of the top fund raisers.
She wrote about her experience in a touching post here.

So, what did you say you did this weekend?

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.

Sat. September 7, 1929
Jean, Edythe and I had lunch at Kresges.  Then shopped for jewelry to wear next Saturday at banquet.  Bough tickets to see Elsie Ferguson in Scarlet Pages. [Scarlet Pages]
Sunday, September 8, 1929
Home all day.  Peg here.  Also Rosalie and Ted.  Went to 360 in the evening to leave Junior.  Jean, Ted and I drove to see cousin Louise in Silver Lake.  Lena still sick.
Monday, September 9, 1929
Jean's vacation this week and also Peggy.  Decided to stay home.  Raining out.  Flo came over after supper.  We went to Mt. Prospect.  Walked home with Flo.  Planned to go to N.Y. tomorrow.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

And She Shall Be Called Roxy

Yeah, yeah, it’s true, when it rains, there are emergency room visits, consistently persistently bad hair days and both cars break down at the exact same time.

A week ago Ross was rushed to the emergency room.

 This car has been a work horse for us.  We never gave it a name or identified its gender.  But at the young age of 11 it has traveled 150,000 miles.  It has hauled antique and collectibles purchased at estate sale and auctions from Maine to Florida.  There are always two beach chairs, an umbrella,  a blanket and sand toys in the back, ever ready for a quick stop at the beach.
The soft leather seats are showing signs of wear and tiny cracks,  but they are just starting to break in for the most comfortable fit.
Now, just as we held our breath waiting for the results of Ross’s tests, we now wait for the results of the computer diagnostics on…I really should name it…name her…Roxy, her name is Roxy.
Good Luck Roxy.  I hope you make it through.

BTW, Anna’s diary was one of Roxy’s passengers.

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.
Friday, September 6, 1929
Charlotte here to wash.  Bad drying day but managed to get most clothes done.  Slim came over to bring car and stayed awhile.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Heart of My Heart - The Rest of the Story

So as I was saying in yesterday’s post

On Thursday night, I was exhausted and fell into a deep peaceful sleep pretty quickly.   I was asleep for  only a few hours when I heard the rustling. I was so tired and groggy, that  I turned over,  pulled the covers up over my head and tried to get back to sleep.  But, there it was again, rustle, rustle.  I lifted my heavy head and looked around the room.  As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I saw that it was Ross pacing back and forth from his side of the bed to my side.
When I asked him what was wrong, he said he just didn’t feel right.
The EMS crew responded within minutes of my 911 call.  They immediately gave him oxygen and nitro glycerin under his tongue.
I wondered how they were going to manage to get a gurney down those three flights of killer stairs.
                                      That’s how   ———————————>

So the emergency room visit (you were right, JT) turned into an overnight stay for observation which then turned into a Cardiac Catheterization.  Thankfully, the test showed that Ross’ heart is fine.  His discomfort was probably due to a hiatal hernia, which they discovered during a chest X-ray.

The whole experience was intense and insightful.  I may now have a better understanding of why health care costs are so high.

One of the first things they do when a patient of a certain age is brought into an emergency room complaining of any kind of chest discomfort is a series of blood tests.

From the website
"Cardiac enzymes include troponin and creatine kinase. Creatine kinase, or CK MB, can tell a doctor if you have had a heart attack and whether medicines you are receiving are effectively dissolving the blood clot that caused the heart attack, according to Troponin helps medical professionals determine if a heart muscle was injured during the heart attack.”

Three blood tests are performed and tested at three hour intervals.  The first two of Ross’ tests came back negative.  We also explained to the doctor’s that Ross had just had a stress test done two weeks prior and that test came back okay.

However, the on staff hospital cardiologist recommended that Ross have the Cardiac Catheterization. No, wait let me re-phrase that.  When he saw that Ross was hesitant to have this invasive procedure done (particularly in a hospital that we were not familiar with) he began to pressure Ross with what I would consider heavy duty scare tactics.

It went something like this:

Dr: Heart:  "Now you can leave here without having this procedure done, but I have seen too many cases of patients ignoring these warning signs only to drop dead on the way home.”
“Besides, you’re already here.  I can get this done right now for you.  Why wait?"

No kidding, those were pretty much his exact words.  He basically made Ross an offer he could not refuse.

At the end of the day, I’m sure Ross made the right choice to go ahead and have the test done.  It was a relief for us to know for sure that the problem was not caused by his heart.

I just sometimes wonder, though,  who the doctors are trying to protect more…the patient or themselves.

So that’s how our vacation ended a day early.   Pretty tricky of Ross to fake a heart attack just to get out of packing up the vacation house and schlepping everything down those three flights of killer stairs.

On December 5, 2011, Joe passed away. 
Nine months is so significant to a mother. 
The weight of carrying my grief from the loss of my Joe is heavy on my heart. 

I miss my son.

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.

Thursday, September 5, 1929
Home all day.  Not feeling very well.  Took it easy and let all the work go.  Junior very swee to me and tried to cheer me up and take care of me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Terrace With A View and Those Killer Stairs

Why do things seem scarier in the shadowy darkness of the middle of the night?  Are our primal
"fight or flight" responses more heightened and sensitive when awakened from a sound sleep at 1:00 a.m.?
Admittedly, there are monsters we must sometimes face, that will always trigger heart racing, palm sweating fear, no matter what time of day or night they occur.

The spacious top floor townhouse we rented at the shore last week provided us with a terrace and a view of the ocean.  That's what sold me when we looked at the place.  I hardly noticed that I was a little winded by the time we got to the top of the 3 flight of stairs.  But I did notice that Ross seemed to have a more difficult time with the stairs.  I told him it would be okay.  After all how often were we going to be going up and down those stairs?
We would be leaving for the beach early Saturday morning.  On Friday afternoon, we were going to go out for a few more last minute items and the car wouldn't start.  We called AAA hoping it was just the battery.  No such luck.  The car was dead, no guesses from the triple A guy as to what the problem could be.  I shushed that nagging voice whispering in my mind "could this be some kind of warning sign?"  Don't be silly, I thought.
So change of plans, we would take the sedan instead of the SUV.
As we started to load up the car with suitcases, duffles of linens (enough for 6 beds) towels,(both bath and beach) dozens of grocery bags, beach chairs and umbrella, etc., I started to realize that we would have to cart all of this stuff up those three flights of stairs.  But, I thought, no problem.  I walk on the treadmill 4 or 5 times a week, at least 3 miles each time, it'll be fine.
I wish I could say it took quite a few trips up and down before we were out of breath and red in the face.  But that was not the case.  After just the first trip up, carrying those sacks of heavy linens (enough for 6 beds) and heavy towels (beach and bath) Ross and I were huffing and puffing... heavily, huffing and puffing.  And I thought, we are way too old to be doing this.
But we managed to get everything up, with the help of plenty of resting stops in-between.
Later that day, my young son-in-law arrived with my grandson.  He also had a filled car to unload.  I giggled to myself when I saw that he also was huffing and puffing by the time he reached the top of the stairs.  And as each of the rest of my family arrived, they commented on the nice view from the terrace and those killer stairs.
We had a lovely week.  Except for black fly Wednesday, we had perfect beach weather every day.
By Thursday, my son and his girlfriend, my daughter, her husband and my two grandchildren had left.  My sister and her husband came down on Thursday and would stay with us until Friday evening.
We spent a nice day on the beach, sent out for wings and shrimp for dinner, and then went out for an ice-cream dessert.
As we settled in to watch my all time favorite summer reality show "Big Brother"(Steve, you were right, just for you, I decided to somehow work BB  into my blog), I couldn't help but think about all of the packing up and schlepping we would be doing Friday.  The comforting thought, though, was the trip down those stairs had to be easier, wouldn't you think?
As the evening wound down, the four of us said our goodnights and we all looked forward to a nice long restful sleep and hopefully another beautiful last day at the beach.
But it was not to be.
To Be Continued...

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.
Tues. September 3, 1929
Rosalie here with Baby.  Went downtown to buy jewelry to go with my evening dress.  Bought bracelet of onyx and diamonds with pendant on a chin for neck to match.
Wed. September 4, 1929 
Elise took her car out and took Junior and I out with her.  We went to see Grandma M. and Grandpa was there too.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Garden of Freedom, Life, Spirit and Joe

  All four of my children’s grandparents are buried in the Franklin Memorial Park Cemetery.    On December 5, 2011, nine months ago, my son, Joe was entombed in one of the chapel mausoleums at Franklin Memorial Park.
I don’t visit Franklin Memorial Park very often.  It is too difficult.
About a month ago, someone recommended a grief group to me.  It is called “The Compassionate Friends”.  The group specifically provides grief support after the death of a child.
As stated on their website: "Through a network of more than 640 chapters with locations in all 50 states, as well as Washington DC and Puerto Rico, The Compassionate Friends has been supporting bereaved families after the death of a child for four decades.”
About two weeks ago, I joined the Facebook group of my local chapter of TCF.  Last night I finally worked up the courage to post something on the group’s page.  I was immediately warmly welcomed.  Somehow, even though I have not yet met any members of this group, I already feel a connection with these people.  
I chatted a little while with Stacy.  She told me about a garden that the local chapter of TCF has created.  It is called “The Children’s Memorial Garden” and is located in Winding River Park, Toms River, NJ
Today, Ross and I went to visit the garden. 
 As soon as I stepped into the garden, I felt a sense of peace. Winding pathways meander along a quite brook. 

 Summer annual pink, white, and red begonias and impatiens are in full bloom. Purple  bushes attract large golden yellow butterflies.   Benches of soft marble, and an open gazebo provide resting and reflecting spots. There are life size bronze statuary of children in touching poses.  

I have found a place.  A place filled with buzzing, chirping fluttering and rippling sounds of life.  A place filled with baby buds, and full grown blooms.  A replenishing place, where life only rests until the next cycle of life begins.

The walkways are set with bricks engraved with names, birthdays and death days of children who have passed. 
As I strolled along these paths of bricks, I unexpectedly became overcome with emotion.  I sat down on one of the benches and suddenly I did not feel alone.   I felt the freedom of spirit and life and I felt Joe. 

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 catch up entries from Anna's diary:
Sunday, August 25, 1929
Rested all morning.  Went to 360 for a while.  Then went to see Angie on River St.  Stayed real late and Rose came back with baby and I to stay over night.
Monday, August 26, 1929
Rose and I had breakfast late.  Brought Junior to 360.  Went to pick Mary on Clifton Ave.  Drove Rose home.  Mary and I shopped for Vera's party to be held tomorrow.
Tues. August 27, 1929
Today is Vera's birthday.  Went over at twelve to help a little.  About 25 children.  Twelve mothers.  Tom came home from business and made us all stay later.  Jean came over later.
Wed. August 28, 1929
Went to Allenhust today.  Just Baby and I.  Stopped at Tavern Smoke Shop for our dinner.  Baby Parade at Asbury but we didn't go.  After supper talked until 2 a.m.
Thurs. August 29, 1929
At Allenhurst.  Dick late for his train.  We went to beach.  Children only went bathing.  Cool Home early.  Had a nap. Supper.  Went out for beer and pretzels.
Friday August 30, 1929
Came home today.  Gladys came with me.  Took home the bird and the plants.  Elsie coming home on Monday.  Gladys staying with me until then.  Raining out and cold.
Sat. August 31, 1929
Gladys went to stay with Kay in Nutley.  Met Jean & Peg to shop.  Peg bought Gold Panne Velvet evening dress for Jewel's banquet. Then went to Shuberts to see"Sweet Adeline" with Helen Morgan, star. 
Jean dress for banquet is Peach Velvet.  Jewel has Orchid Chiffon, tight bodice, full skirt long in back, short in front. A deeper shade transparent velvet cloak to wrap around. 
Sunday, September 1, 1929
Gladys still at Kay's. Peg overnight.  Rose and Bill came voer. Girls still at Long Branch.  Home all day.  Very warm.  Bud came over to tell me their house had been robbed and left a mess.
Monday, September 2, 1929
Labor Day.  Home.  Gladys came back.  Hung around all day.  Later went to 360 for supper.  Brought Jean and Junior home. Went to Tivoli with Peg and Rosalie.