Survivor’s Guilt Redux

Yes, I know I shouldn’t have it.I got through 3 major cancers and I am still here.

My niece, Alyx, isn’t.

She would have been 37 today.She left our family 18 years ago on September 2, when she was 18 years old.

I managed to get through college, travel,have boyfriends,get engaged and married, hold jobs,have cats, dogs,watch nephews and Godchildren grow up, but Alyx is like Princess Diana to me. She will always be 17, as she was before the cancer, and always beautiful.I got some solace from the fact that she passed away the week Princess Diana, classical conductor Sir Georg Solti and Mother Theresa died.

They sure were short Angels in heaven that week.



And the winner is…

Degenerative disc disease, which I am sure was a shocker to my physician who was trying to hang it on loose junk in my knee.

I KNOW the pain my back gets in. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.But to have a physician be so blasé’ about it, well, all I can do is shake my head. I am going to hook up with my old orthopedic team, and that was not necessarily by choice.The local orthopedic didn’t want anything to do with me initially because I had two knee replacements done BY ANOTHER PHYSICIAN.

So color me in for tests and schedules and say a little prayer that things come out ok.


Quiet Easter

The girls and I are home taking it easy,


We had a quiet walk this morning and it is really funny: we seem to be so in tune with each other and we know when we each don’t feel well.I guess I handle the leashes different, they hear me doing my prayers as we walk and it’s like we know it’s our quiet time together, Before we go out, I have to give everyone their medicine, including myself, and off we go. I am waiting not for the top of the hour, so I can give the next medicine.

Caregiver for the family: yup, that’s me!

I really don’t care because in my heart I know I am doing the absolute best I can for them, and I know they feel that.

When we were walking the beach today at lunchtime, someone took this picture of us.I love my gals!


Wesolego Alleluja!

That’s Happy Easter to my friends not of my Polish background.

I miss my heritage and if I was more inspired, I would probably try to do some sort of Easter but down here.It is too sad, and what I manage to do is buy some kielbasa, rye bread, horseradish, eggs, ham and some peeps.

Pretty sad the 56-year-old me has settled for that for an Easter.I haven’t been feeling good, and think I will just cherish my time with my girls tomorrow and eat as ethnically as I can,and pray to my family in heaven.

The times, they are a-changing….

And yeah, Mom, the white hyacinth is for you, as usual.

Ticked off

I have had some really lousy lower back pain, and managed to get in today to see my local general practitioner. 

He said to me I need to get an x-Ray done and we’ll take it from there.I questioned if I had a necrotic hip due to my radiation treatment.

Four hours later,I get a call asking for me to call the doctor back, where the nurse informed me he wants me to call my orthopedic surgeon and tell him I have problems with loose hardware. 

Talk about taking a co-pay and not wanting to get your hands dirty.

It’s that time of year….

I am finding myself once again at board worker training for working the polls. You are only supposed to be subjected to this every two years.Well, because I came in last year, I had to come back in “on” the two year cycle.

I can’t imagine what has changed since the November election, although it has been my experience that the presidential elections bring out a bunch of folks. It is still weird for me.I am used to a May primary, not a June primary.I guess the longer I am here I’ll be used to it.

Hopefully the best person will win!

Major Warming Trend


That’s right.

It was 70 for Christmas Eve and this morning I woke up to snow. Thank you global warming…NOT.

I moved my geraniums out and hopefully managed to save them in time and bring them back in. I don’t know if they’ll have made it.


In the meantime, the bulbs are managing to come out for everyone else. For me? Well, I have Kasia. Put a fence around an area with hyacinth bulbs has proved to be like waving a red flag in front of Kasia…she adores going in there and making a mess. Jim approves, as he doesn’t care for my favorite Easter flower.

I guess it’ll be 80 for Easter.


Jim and I are out tonight at a local Knights of Columbus hall for a fundraiser for older neighbors of ours. 

It’s been a while since I have been to a good one like this: the Beatles tribute band is called the Beattells, and they are really good. Food and deserts were good, and what’s a fundraiser without someone dancing right in the view of your lens while you are trying to tape the band.

Wiped Out

Today, for the first time, I had the pre-kindergarten children and I am so exhausted I am typing this from my phone before I go in to take a hot shower and go to bed .

As I am currently 56 years old, I can’t seem to think back son 51 years, but I know my childhood had nothing in common with what I had experienced today. Don’t get me wrong: I’ll take the younger children any day of the week.The kids today seem to have no joy in their play. Everything has a purpose.

It is good to be an old geezer.


More Fun than a Barrel of Monkeys


There’s something about the joy of dealing with the kindergarten class.I am sure that it has something to do with the age.Sure, all kids, especially boys, like to flex their muscles but it is the teacher and aide’s place to gently put things into perspective.I can honestly say that when I have the chance to work with them, my day is awesome.The older kids already have their ways set and don’t really, well,maybe, rarely,listen.

Give me the little kids everyday.

Five years…

Some days it seems like only yesterday.

This upcoming Thursday marks five years since my double knee replacements.I remember taking the girls for a last walk the night before the surgery, and as I walked down the hill toward the field, I felt the crunching in my knees and thought that it’s the last time I’ll hear that sound and feel that feeling.

So much has changed in those five years.

My Mom is gone,we left the city,I retired…I can go on and on.

Fortunately,with my union bargained medical benefits.I managed to get through the whole deal,and the pain is a faint memory.

Life goes on.


Give me the youngsters…..

I had a culture shock today.

Third graders.


I forget that in this society that has spawned Kardashians, hair extensions, Botox, super jocks, that third graders are not immune to this.I worked a full day and tried to assist them as I caught their outfits,the athletic shoes, hell…part of me was looking for personal trainers.Don’t get me wrong: the teachers I worked with were all on the ball. It’s just that media really has sunken into the 8-10 year old minds.

I am looking forward to Tuesday when, hopefully, I’ll be back with the kindergarten gang, and,maybe, just for a heartbeat, life is just a little simpler. It won’t be for long, though, as I will be back in third grade on Wednesday.


I got home from work today and managed to get a good walk in with the girls at the tideline.The walk at the shore is good for my meditation and peace of mind. It was a gorgeous afternoon for me and the girls.



I am truly blessed!

So this Polish gal…

…that’s me…makes Irish Potatoes.You know, the candy Irish potatoes.

You can make them potato size or, as I prefer, more like a cinnamon butter cream.Now I make them for my neighbors, and this year I am making them for my class, but I have to keep the coconut out for school, because my friend Jack is allergic.

Basically, here is my recipe for 25 Irish potatoes, buttercream size.

1 Package cream cheese.
(here I have the option of using either low-fat or regular)

1 cup of coconut flakes, depending on you or your audience’s love of coconut.

1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar( 10x or powdered sugar)

2 teaspoons vanilla.

A good grade of cinnamon powder.You’ll need at least 4 ounces-more if you are making bigger potatoes.

Cream together cream cheese, vanilla and 10x sugar. Let rest in refrigerator for 15 minutes.Bring it back out after 15,and then fold in the coconut flakes and stir or mix thoroughly.Then I put it back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

After resting, bring them back out, use a cookie scoop or melon baller, and form your potatoes.I line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, so they won’t stick.Then, keeping one hand for dropping in the cinnamon and one for rolling in the cinnamon,start rolling your potatoes in the mixture.The trick here is not to get the cinnamon in your potato mixture.It takes a few batches for me to actually realize that unless it is rotten, a potato should be white….ha!

Put finished tray back in refrigerator until ready to serve or package as gifts.

I’ve been making these for 25 years, and they are pretty good.

Good Luck!

A Little Slice of Heaven

It truly is a little slice of heaven.

I got the girls out today slowly,because I am getting over a major kick butt sinus infection gratis’ of my class. I t was funny to actually take our time and bask in the warmth.

I was going to do some baking tonight but don’t really feel the urge, at least not yet.I usually do something and wait until the house temperature is 70 degrees**joking** but it is amazing that when you’re really not feeling 100% yet, there are tons of ideas going through your head.Your inner-self said uh,no. Not yet.

Time to bask in the Delaware Bay sunshine.


Alton Brown’s White Trash

No I am not making a statement, this is what the recipe is called. It is going to be our new “go-to” because white chocolate sold me on the recipe. Good to shack on, and you also can put in dried cranberries or other dried fruit in it.Make sure you have a good airtight container to put it in, although you are going to find that it’s going to need to get refilled a lot!

3 1⁄2 cups Cheerios toasted oat cereal
3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Corn Chex
16 ounces M&M’s plain chocolate candy
2 1⁄2 cups salted mixed nuts
2 cups small pretzels
2 (11 ounce) packages white chocolate chips (Ghirardelli brand preferred)

Dump the cereals, M&Ms, nuts & pretzels in a large bowl.
Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. Melt very slowly, stirring occasionally, being careful not to burn the chocolate.
Dump melted chocolate over the rest of the ingredients and fold over and over until you have well-coated hunks and chunks.
Spread the whole mess out on parchment paper and set in a cool place until it sets up, then break it into pieces.
Store in zip-top bags or air-tight containers.

Hacking is Not Just for Computers….

Whatever was going around in my kindergarten classroom, it found me.

I started sounding a little under the weather on Friday and yesterday was close to death warmed over.I managed to get some help from my buddy Kate, and in addition to drinking enough Gatorade and water to fill Niagara Falls,well, I am hoping for a good night and a better day tomorrow.

It’s rough worrying about a scheduled day in the classroom tomorrow when I haven’t called out EVER on this job, but, you just don’t want to be carrying it around to the class.I never thought, in sixteen years of sitting on the other side of the desk, I’d hear myself worried about missing school.

Funny how the tide turns.

A Difference a Week Makes

I posted a picture of a cocktail last Friday, and it was a fitting end to my first week back to work.

This week is a different story.


I should have known when I walked a young kindergarten charge to the nurse with almost a 101 fever, this would be coming.I get a flu shot every year but today I am so achy and miserable, well, my girls will go out one more time, I will finish my hot tea, shower, and put some flannels on and try to get some sleep.

Ladies’ Night

Unfortunately, I have to work tomorrow, so the girls and I are home solo and after I write this, we are going to bed. After all, isn’t tomorrow supposed to be another eggs, bread and milk day? I think they are calling for 1 to 3 inches so the thought of getting boots on and going out to 5 year olds is making my head swim.

I don’t know how my teacher friends, thinking of Gen and Debbie directly, deal with the snow onslaught, albeit only for a few hours.Hell, it’s a job for me to get MY boots off…I can’t wait to see how I am going to make out tomorrow.

So it’s “To Catch a Thief” on cable, followed by a hot shower. Visions of undoing boots are dancing in my head.I can only hope I get to sleep tonight!



I went to bed last night around 9:30pm.

I am up since 2 am.

What the hell?

Those little thoughts that won’t let you sleep. Trying to put something on to make you fall asleep. I didn’t want to take anything to make me drowsy. I figure by the time I went to back to sleep, it would be time for me to get up and make today a really long day.

I don’t know if it is the possible cold front coming through, or the alleged rain and snow mix that is forecasted for Friday.Sometimes they say all your scars in your body act up and make you” feel” the weather. I know, there are a million old wives tales.

It’s frustrating when the husband is sleeping, Zush is sleeping, I come in here to type the blog and put the television on and Kasia is sleeping.

Doesn’t Mom get a break? Just wondering.


Still Crazy After All These Years….

Today is the 22nd anniversary of my first conquering of cancer.

My first cancer had me treated with radiation, chemotherapy and a radiation implant.It wound up, between biopsies and office treatments with a total hysterectomy with the cancer gone. Granted I have had cancer after that, and they also were not insignificant, but it only takes one brush to tango with mortality.

I thank God for wanting me around a few more years, my surgeons, physicians, nurses and hospital staff, and ,as usual, my BFF Kate, who kept me going.Always check- it saves lives-I should know!


Day 3

So like a nervous little kid, I am ready for day 3 at school tomorrow.

Of course, I have to watch “The Voice” tonite first.

I went out to Walmart and got my dry erase board and markers, pencils, Star Wars stickers and other things any other class aide should have up their sleeve,I went today and took my picture for my ID tag so I guess I am in this for the long run.

I’ll have to get up early to get my girls situated and give them a ton of love before I go.

Stay tuned.