Company’s coming

Trying to get the house cleaned, do some wash,walk the girls , do a little baking…we are going out tonight!  

I tripled the biscotti dough to make enough for everyone.They just came out of the oven now. I found a big Tupperware container to store them in, although by the time I distribute them, I might need a smaller container.

  
 
It’s a nice day here, but getting windy. I am meeting up tonight with a former co-worker and her husband for dinner. It’s going to be nice to talk after all these years.

Enjoy your weekend!

Fit Bit Zip, circa 2016

For a year plus, I have done my fit bit zip, and with the exception of illness or surgery, I have worked it every day.

For 2016, I have decided to start recording what I am eating on the Fit Bit program. I used to do behavior modification and had success when I recorded my food.

Health gets taken for granted by a lot of people. I am going to make the effort to get healthier to enjoy my retirement.

Life is too short! 

 

With apologies to Simon and Garfunkel

“I was twenty-one when I wrote this song.
I’m 23 now but I won’t be for long.
Time hurries on,
And the leaves that are green turn to brown.”

I’ve quoted this song before in a prior blog.It has gone through my head today as my oldest nephew who lives in Minnesota is 39 today.

Thirty nine.

Where does the time go? I am retired, he is married and has two boys of his own.I used to go out and see him during the winter break from college.He was such a cute little guy and is a handsome man now.

It is so funny going into the retired chapter of your life. I thought I’d be retired, and I end up working.I thought growing up I’d be a Mom, and I have to fur children who I wouldn’t trade for the world.I never, ever thought that I’d be A cancer survivor let alone a THREE cancer survivor, thank God.

Time does hurry on.

I am thankful, on this thanksgiving eve, for every morning I get up with two feet on the floor. I am thankful for my family, but most importantly, I am thankful for my friends.

Happy Thanksgiving.
IMG_1701

When the spirits are dampened…

..and no I don’t mean watered down Jack Daniels.

It is an overcast day here complete with drizzle, so the girls and I got a smaller walk in this morning and maybe in a half-hour or so we’ll try to get out again.

It doesn’t help when some news filters down through to you to make you sad, for at least the weather mirrors your mood.The colors are still on the trees,but the walk in itself is therapeutic: I get my prayer time in as I walk the girls.

Hopefully, things will pick up and we’ll all be ok.

IMG_1519

Dueling calls

I tried to deal with a State government office this morning:got hung up on twice. The third time, after being informed all agents are busy right now, I can leave my phone number and they will call me back in between 55 minutes and one hour seventeen minutes from now.

Sure.

I also called the vet and Zusher ‘s lab is back, and I have to wait for a call back to get the actual results from the vet.

Sure.

My nervous breakdown commences.

  

Fall in and Wait…

IMG_0991

We were treated to a first blast of fall red this morning when we were walking,but didn’t need the color to announce the season. I was a little chilly, so that is enough of a fall announcement for me. We had our 1 and 3/4 mile walk and it was quite pleasant post storm. Dare I even suggest it that the sun was brazen enough to try to poke it’s head out…

Today we are anticipating a call from our vet for Zush, to see what the results will dictate for her care as we help her into her senior years, which I pray will be for a long while. I have to work from 10 to 6, so, it was nice having the ability to walk in the light, post nor’easter, and take in the beauty around us.

Please hold good thoughts for my Zusher: she is my BFF.

Joauquin by Northwest

The hurricane that is coming, fading, or whatever, Joaquin, is second fiddle down here right now.

The coin of the realm here is the Nor’easter.

It was bad enough that the ferry “consolidated” boats due to lack of folks wanting to go on a Disney-esque boat ride that would probably have turned the most galvanized stomach green. I, the hourly purveyor of what my three weather apps on my phone say, well, each time I thought I was going out in drizzle, well, I forgot one thing. The formula is you have to take drizzle and multiply it by a 25 knot wind and then you have one saturated self, not to mention puppies. I went out at my lunch half hour today to try to get steps in, and the first 1.5 miles were rough. I am, although thanks to fit bit zip a bit smaller, but I am a big Polish girl and that wind was fighting me. Needless to say, the last 1.5 miles was a literal breeze, as the wind was at my back giving me a little help.

IMG_0960

To counter all of this storm, though, Jim and I are going for our flu shots tomorrow morning, and after we take care of the health of our bodies, I will act on the health oh Zush and Kasia and my soul, when we take our girls to our parish church, when they will be celebrating the feast of St.Francis of Assisi with the traditional blessing of the animals.

8bdb075343fd18ecbd2c615c8c6aa973

Did I mention I’ll be working on a crock pot of chicken soup to boot?

A good day to take care of the entire family.

By the Dawn’s Early Light

Had to get up early today,as work was early.

It is a dark walk these days,the curse of daylight savings time.I know seasons change, but it is rough getting out of bed.I love my girls, but the fact that work follows, well…not my favorite. I have to give them credit though-my gals love their walks. Granted, we don’t run, but Zush seems to have gotten a second wind now that it’s cooler, so we average two miles a morning.

All this while Daddy gets to sleep.

  
  

The Voice

Tonight is the season premiere of “The Voice.” It starts with the blind auditions.

I got into watching this last season when we first moved down here. It is absolutely fascinating that people get up there and try to make a future and they are brave enough to try.

It’s amazing what determination can do. It’s  something to try to keep in everyday life. You have to be blessed with people who surround you with support.

If you have it,consider yourself fortunate- it is quite rare!

  

The PERFECT Storm

As George Costanza would say,”The sea was angry that day,friends…”

I knew when Zush was sick this morning,and as you see in the picture below,the ferries and weather looked Perfect Storm-ish.

Then, in my new hell room, the computer wouldn’t cooperate.people are snarling…a good day to be anywhere but here. Even the seagulls seem to have gotten a better offer.

If only I was so lucky.**sigh**

 

Sailing away

As Labor Day sails into distance, I can only wonder,what is coming down the pike.

We were informed that next week the office I have spent the summer in, and we are moving back to an ugly, mustard colored room with no windows.I have to admit I am not looking forward to it. I got spoiled having a view of the boats and water.

Perhaps something better will come along, or maybe we’ll be able to keep this office a little longer.Either way, it has been an enjoyable summer,and where else could I get a job that I’d be able to wear my fit bit zip and get 3000 steps a day during 30 minutes for lunch.

Not a bad dig!

  

Optimism 

It is incredible what the flip of a calendar page brings.

September is here and my heart is wide open to all new experiences coming down the pike. Change is in the wind, be it good, bad or indifferent…the key element here is change. Change is movement-at least you aren’t wallowing and stagnant!

It is a blessing to get up in the morning and get my two feet on the ground. It’s a blessing to see Jim ok and the furgirls ok. When I take them out in the morning, I say my prayers and talk to family in heaven. I get to walk in a natural area surrounded by beauty. When times are rough, all I have to do is remember that.

If only all were as fortunate as I am. 

 

And here comes August…

Bad enough that my “weekend” is over, but here comes August.

If you have read this blog for any period of time, you could recall that August is quite the bittersweet month for me. I lost my Dad in 1998,and I got married in 2002.When I was a kid, my Dad always took us to the shore during the last week of August.

The best part of August, though, is the promise of fall. You can muck through the hazy, hot and humids of August and know that sometime soon the fronts will be coming and cool things off.I know my Mom always would warn me against wishing my life away, but this is one summer that I can hardly wait until the first 70 degree day comes.

021

Going Around in Circles

As I type this, I am on speaker phone with Verizon, yes, Verizon, AGAIN.

The new iPhone replacement arrived today from Asurian,the insurer for Verizon phones.Now we have the water torture of replacing the temporary phone with the new phone. For some reason, restoring voice memos is the equivalent of rocket science.

This is why I am blowing my Monday, er,”Friday” night trying to start from square one.

When I am done with this, you can bet your butt I am having an adult beverage…

The 2000’s

I have been watching the series on the 2000’s that has been airing on the National Geographic channel. Sure, you’ve watched the ” I love the 70’s”, or 80’s thru 2000 on VH1, but this is more meatier and more from a historical view.

Some things are hard to see again, like the bombing of the USS Cole and 9/11, but at the same time, you had to see Gore versus Bush election 2000, with memories of hanging chads.I feel this series is pretty well put together, but occasionally there are things that are kind of bizarre.

For instance, Kelly from the first season of Survivor was on speaking about when she was in the show. They must not have gotten enough people to speak about 9/11, because they kept her around to talk about the attacks on the World Trade Center. Huh?

I am sure they will do more in this series, and if you enjoy looking back at history, you should give this series a go.

Back in the Trenches

Tomorrow I go back to work.

Seriously.

I’ll be with the ferry, and it would appear, as it is busy season, that I’ll be working **choking** full-time, at least for a couple of weeks.

**Wondering where my retirement went**

It is a good spot to be at, as opposed to where I recently was at, so I am not really concerned regarding that.I am wondering how my poor old body will handle getting up at 5:30 so the girls can get a good walk, work a full day, come home and figure out what’s for dinner, walk the girls again, shower and get to bed.

I really haven’t had to do that full-time since January 2nd.

I’ll be by the water, which, in my book, is the best place to be.The flip side is that my girls will be missing me, as I them, while I am not here.With Zush at the tender age of 13, I know every moment I have with her is precious, so I just am going to have to triple up with her when I am home.

Here’s hoping for a good run.

IMG_5791

Hurry Up and Wait…

Ah, the joys of relocation.

This time last year I was lamenting the fact that we had to get up tomorrow morning at 2am and make sure we were packed up to head back to the city. To add insult to injury, after we would unpack the car and walk the girls, we’d have, maybe, a half hour to lay down before I’d have to leave for work.

How times have changed.

I am watching folks in the neighbor hood throw their trash away in their cans, close their windows, pack their cars and kids up and head up Delsea Drive or the Garden State Parkway. It’s a step backward into the area I have come to love during the weekday, the area called QUIET.

Sure, It doesn’t hurt that I have two days off until I have to go back to the bakery, but, hey, it’s the first official weekend holiday of summer. I am not going to bed at 9:30. I am having an adult beverage.I can sleep in tomorrow.

Whoo-hoo!

IMG_3320

Tarnished Town

So here I am in Townbank, Lower Township, New Jersey.

Retired, pulled up roots, relocated..we are all here.

I walk the girls four times a day. As it has gotten warmer, I have taken the early afternoon walk with Kasia, as Zush isn’t too comfortable with the heat. We walk for two miles, and part of it is on the bay. I have her leashed, and good Dog Mom that I am I have plenty of bags.We have come to enjoy it.

Until tonight.

My neighbor informed me that the local government meeting this past Monday night moved to BAN dogs from the beach between 11 and 4 from Memorial Day.

**Sigh**

I am not stupid. I have lived here in the winter. I know it is a vacation economy and they have to bow to folks who want to come down and go on the beach. Yup, they do, with their infants, toddlers, dirty diapers, juice boxes,little dogs, big dogs, toys, and when the day is done? They pull up their beach blanket, count their children and dogs, and go back to their rental.Never mind the soiled diapers that they leave behind, beer cans, Wawa hoagie wrappers, and the like. Oh that doesn’t happen? Walk with me after the day beach folks and see what is left behind.

Did I mention they are going to fine folks for being on the beach with dogs then? Leashed or otherwise? Hah…would love to see them to catch up with visitors.Whoa if word gets out to pet parents who rent down here, and they bring their dog down and find out their water dog CAN’T go in the water.Obviously the powers that be haven’t read any of the travel surveys that note the trend is people who own dogs LOVE to travel with them.

So now I have made this post, and if someone looks and finds the tags for Lower Township NJ and Townbank, I hope they are warned.

As for me and my girls, we aren’t defeated. Hah! Far from it. We know the shady route, and the girls know their Mom votes. I vote with my wallet and my actual electoral vote.I’ll make my voice heard.

IMG_5628

Inland Ice

Yesterdays’ post dealt with chunks of ice in Delaware Bay.

Overnight we had sleet down here that would have had Katerina Witt shaking her head and going WTF?

Our handicapped ramp in the back is metal, so when I take the girls out, I have to go out very slowly, as I still have the phobia of landing on my knees and seeing pieces of metal sticking out of my knee replacements.It’s almost 4 years but falling on ice is still pretty scary.

We went down for our walk this morning and although the temperature was pretty stable at 28, you were getting your head wet from the ice melting when it dripped off the trees.I feel sorry for Kasia, because with weather getting warmer, she will definitely miss the snow. The girls are pretty good though, as they know the tone of my voice when I tell them,”Go slow for Mommy.”

I hope, gentle reader, you have fared well in the ice. Hang in there: spring is coming.

IMG_5296icebox

IMG_5300icetree

What’s a Dog Mom to Do?

For the first eight years of her life, I had fed Zush Pedigree dry small bites or weight control formula.Then,when Kasia joined the family, we decided to try Beneful dog food.The girls enjoyed it, along with an occasional mooch off of me or treat.

Now,especially off the past month,there has been a lot of mention that Beneful is killing dogs and there is a class action suit in California.It is a two-edged sword, as the girls like beneful but I also love them and want them around.

Homework time.

For the past two days I took what information my fellow dog moms have sent me and also went on-line looking for healthy foods that wouldn’t kill my girls.I found a list of the twelve most recommended foods for dogs that didn’t have questionable or un-American ingredients**read chicken or beef from China** and ended up with Nature’s Recipe dry dog food.So far, mixed with what little was left of the Beneful, Zush has stepped up and ate it .Kasia hasn’t been too hungry so far tonight.

It’s an irony that I have to worry about what food is out there that might be killing my girls. I am indeed selfish that way-I want them with me as long as possible. In turn, I shudder to think of what Jim and I have ingested because of the deregulation of human food in prior years.

It is truly a scary time.

IMG_4721z&k123114

Can’t have it both ways.

Today and a day or two ago, people started talking to me about the weather getting warmer.Oh yes, I would agree with them that we have crawled up from 8 degrees to 19.People aren’t talking about that though:they are referring to spring.

I am getting a little misty-eyed at the thought of more folks coming down here to ” Mayberry” or “Amity”, as I have been to call Shangri-la here.I know the economy depends on it.I will be extremely happy that I won’t have to pack up to leave on Sunday night and sit in bumper to bumper traffic.I will not like one thing, though, and that is noise.I really don’t have cause to complain here, because next to towns on the Coastline, we are actually kind of quiet.When the season begins, though,it gets somewhat louder and people start speeding through town.

It’s not enough to have me run back to the big city, but I’ll be so happy when October comes and things get back to normal.

IMG_5168Alaskabay2

Heartbeat

It’s St. Valentine’s Day.

I know a lot of single friends and there are all sorts of witty sayings going around on Facebook to either jab at those without a mate, or to commiserate with them.I feel for single folks, as I was one for 42 years and do remember what it is like.

For the past 15 years, I have been blessed to have Jim in my life.It was the classic 42 year-old spinster and the 48 year-old bachelor and yet here we are, almost 13 years later in our marriage, and it is safe to say that Jim still makes my heart skip a beat.

It’s funny,because I went to see 50 Shades of Grey with my neighbor last night, as Jim deemed it a chick thing.Yet for all the images conjured up by the movie,my best friend, lover and husband is indeed the one who makes my heart still skip a beat.We haven’t gone through children, only fur kids which can be up there with human children,deaths of parents,selling houses, moving, buying houses,jobs,retirement,illnesses, and, well, you catch my drift.We are on the road to hopefully growing old together,hoping that we are that blessed to accomplish that.

If you are reading this and single,I would tell you to hang in there if you are still looking, or good for you if you are comfortable in your current situation.If you are married like me, I hope you had a marvelous St.Valentine’s day.Savor love all 365 days a year, not just today.If you have lost your love one,cherish their memory!

IMG_3580Daddygirshighbee

Hitting a Wall

I am tired.

News flash, right?

Seriously, I need to get my act together and get back to unpacking and donating and washing and trying to figure out what to keep and what to trash.

Did I mention I hate moving?

The first 2 weeks it gave me something to focus on, and it was ok.Now we are almost at the one month mark and I went into the middle room, looked at it and closed the door and went back out. I mean, seriously….there has got to be a better way. I have convinced myself that a chunk of tomorrow will be dedicated to getting in there and clearing some of it out.I admit, it didn’t help today that my favorite show, Law and Order Criminal Intent, was on today which kept me toward the front of the house.I am going to try Netflix on my Kindle tomorrow and hopefully it’ll get me back in motion of fixing the house up right.

Film at 11.

LOL

Flea Market Flip

It took me a while to find this unscripted jewel of a show.

Flea Market Flip is shown on the GAC (Great American Country) channel on cable, and basically, I watch it for three reasons.Lara Spenser is the host, and in addition to being an excellent television anchor, she also is a Penn State University graduate.Secondly, four people are put in two teams of two , given $600 to buy things at a flea market, and then get a day to redesign them or repurpose them, and finally, these items have to go back to a different flea market and they have to try to sell them. The team that makes the most money wins $5,000.

Now, ideally, I am in a new home, with new furniture.There is no reason for me, right now, to run on out and try this. I have to admit that it is interesting to see people’s ideas of designs and also the idea of what money people are wiling to spend.I have to admit it is my current favorite show, and if you are doing any rehabbing of items,you might like this show.

Me? Obsessed?

In the continuing saga of my fit bit zip, I cut myself some slack when it was brutal cold on two days this past week and walked a wee bit over 10,000. They suggest you try to walk 10,000 a day. Coming from someone so full of angst, depression, and about a zillion other emotions, it was like a miracle pill because it kept my butt out of a chair and had me walking.I wanted to get that number!

That’s saying something.

I have a good friend who goes to the gym two blocks from her home, other friends who are runners, some walk with weights, but my big moment was WANTING to continue this since I started on this past Halloween.Usually I start something, with the exception of my behavior modification class, where I lost 40 pounds and then stopped when Mom got sick-mentally I just was too exhausted from caregiving to continue.When I lose interest I stop. The walking has been different.

Your steps are recorded on the fit bit zip and then you synch it to your computer.It doesn’t lie.If you did 5,000 steps it shows it. If you did 18,000 steps it’ll show that too.

The past two nights it has been pleasant and it the 20’s. Yes, I know, a regular heat wave.I felt like a slacker it I didn’t try to go to 15,000 because the weather was not quite that bad.I am proud to say I went over 15,000 steps both days.I don’t want to say I have an obsession with the number, but hey, it’s an accomplishment.

I will sign off for now, because I have to synch my fit bit with my Mac, and then I am showering and off to bed.I,like Charlie Bucket in Willie Wonka, have found my own golden ticket.

15,000 steps.

It’s a good number….for now.

FitBit_Zip_475

Melancholy Overload

A buddy of mine had posted a picture on Facebook tonight and it showed a plate of pizzelle cookies and some wine.Gee, I thought, what a good idea, until I remembered that my pizzelle maker is down at Undisclosed.

**sigh**

I think of other things that I could be doing up here, or, over the weekend, reverse it to down there, and whatever I am looking for always seems to be in the opposite place.The girls and I have been doing our walks, and I look around at their favorite routes and wonder to myself if they’ll miss it.

**sigh**

I stop and think about the history of this house that I am in right now, and it is the last place that my entire family was together seventeen years ago. Yes, I know that you take the memories with you but,……

**sigh**

We are going through the holiday season right now and I am trying hard to keep in the spirit. It really isn’t easy, and as my buddies would say, when you are down there full time, things will be good and different and you will feel better.

I like to think that I am ready to move forward into a new chapter of life. I just wish I didn’t feel the need to think I am going to need an ativan chaser for it.

Biting me in the Butt

The finality of the move is getting to me in little ways.

I went out this morning for a walk to add to my steps and bought my BFF and maid of honor, Denise, a jalapeno bagel.It was probably the last time that I’d do that. When I was in college I had worked at Independence Hall for the National Park Service.The building I work in now, The Curtis Center, is across the street from it.When I was out getting Denise’s bagel I took a picture of Independence Hall. How many times in my life have I done that? Won’t be doing that too much any more.Actually I am glad I did that back in the day, because I can’t really tolerate crowds these days.

A few other things have gotten me: my first “retirement” card, my first person who was leaving work for vacation and coming back after I’d be gone…the change is starting.That’s what they say, right? Change is for the better?

All I know is that I have gotten to the point where the reality of it is biting me in the butt.

Snow

We have the first snow of the season tonight here in northwestern Philadelphia.

It was drizzling when I got in from the doctor, and as I looked out ready to take the girls out for their walk, I was shocked to see the snow laying on the lawn and on the cars. I understand that it is November,and the news has been saturated about the polar fronts and cold plunges coming, but hey, they never said it would be here tonight…lol.

It is a comfort because we have been wearing away at the seasons we have left in the city.The snow is announcing it’s almost time!

IMG_4244boathouse

Ending of meetings

…I hope!

Today at lunch time, my union had a speaker on retirement health and welfare benefits. It had been touched on numerous occasions before, but one more time wouldn’t hurt,

Whenever these meetings occur, I take notes,and tell Jim about it. He, Inevitably, says,”well what about q, w and x.” I swear up and down they covered it in the meeting, but not to Jim’s satisfaction.I tried something new this time-I taped the meeting on my phone.Hopefully, everything will be pretty good.

It’s a pleasure to be at this point of a career and look at final meetings. It is a day you never really expected to come about.

IMG_4009dc47mtg

The Tudors- Saint Thomas More.

When I went to Mass this morning, the priest talked about St.Thomas More and his part in history during the reign of King Henry the Eighth of England. He was an aide to the King, yet when made to either sign a document to say that the King was the head of the Church of England, he refused.

When he was sentenced to die for not signing it, he, Thomas More, went to his death saying he was the king’s faithful servant but God’s first.

Jim went to Saint Thomas More high school and really, that is all that I really kept in my head.The episode of the series, the Tudors,really splendidly played what was probably close to what is the truth.You felt the angst he felt when his wife came to him in the tower and asked him to sign the oath. As a Roman Catholic, I really never got anything in-depth on the life of Thomas More.

It grabbed me, the series of The Tudors.As a history major, I thought I knew more. Obviously there was a lot more for me to learn.

IMG_3731mint

Living out of a Suitcase, sort of…part deux

So, gentle reader, I was true to my word.

I logged off the computer last night and tried to figure out how to lose the weight out of my handbag.I did manage to figure out a few things to get out of my suitcase, er, handbag. I went through item by item and asked myself what was really needed on a Monday to Thursday basis. All the cards I need, MAC,medical, work id, business cards, and the like are in my little zip up had case, along with the entry access card to my office. I decided to take a little cash out of my wallet, leave my change purse at home, and throw a little cash in my card bag, and today, it worked.I am hoping it will suffice.I figure I’d give it a week to see if works out well.

As I usually have pants on, my change has been in either my pant pocket, or when I get a shot, I throw it in my card case and emptied it tonight.Fortunately, I pretty much bring my food in so what ever I have bought hasn’t been too much.

Normally I put my handbag into a tote bag, because in the tote I carry my lunch and a bottle of water.When I was coming home today,well, it was fabulous. I can’t remember when I carried anything that was so light.

Periodically I will update you on the “state of the handbag.”We’ll see what will win out: a lighter handbag, or, if things start creeping back in, retirement.You know what retirement is right? The ultimate emptier of handbags…**grin**

161412567106_1_0_1Squaredaway2

When the Going gets Tough

I was ready to pack it in today.

Seriously.

There comes a point when you are tired of being the work mule. When people are displeased with me, I hear about it.Work need to get done?**Raising my hand**..it gets dumped on my desk.But there comes a time when you get tired of being dumped on.

I have people telling me don’t say anything,you’re almost done.

Enough is enough.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Welcome to the beginning of my work slow-down…..

Maybe folks will get the message.

20121112-160316.jpg

End of the Summer Season

Yup, I know Fall doesn’t start until late September.

As I sit here and type this, I am looking out the window and looking at the late summer lawn and garden.Part of me is genuinely sad, as I am sitting in the room where both my parents passed away in 1998 and 2012.That thought and looking at the outside really makes me feel the passage of time.Part of me laments the fact that I used to go swimming in the summer with Zush, and the fact that we are both getting a little older, well, Zush goes in and I keep her company going up to my mid-calves.

I feel depressed.

The hope I have is for the future.

The hope to finish out my time here in the city and pray that the future is kind to us all.To actually live in a house with my husband that is ours and with our furniture and belongings and things that are ours is something that I am patiently waiting for. I hear Jim say about how is going to miss his job, and yet, I am leaving mine to move as is he, and this was the first time I heard him express that.Wow…something else to mull over in my mind,

I mull these things over in my head, and although I know I am more than ready to leave, I can only pray that we all survive the transition.

In the crispness of fall, hopefully, things will be comforting to us and we all will be alright.

021

August is the Cruelest Month

…for some folks.

Children who aren’t necessarily fond of school sound a lament all through August, while, at the same time, trying to savor the last days of summer.I would imagine teachers are partially in the same boat.

It’s a mixed month for me.

I lost my Dad on the 24th of August in 1998. It was a humid stretch of weather. We had Daddy at home,to allow him dignity of being where he was most comfortable and most loved. We were fortunate in that we had good people from the medical field monitoring him, and he had us, his family taking care of him.

When Dad passed, I managed to get through it thinking one thing. As a child, Daddy always took the last week of August as his vacation week.I found it very fitting that he went on his last and “greatest” vacation at that time.

Then, I turned around 5 years later, and picked August 31st as my wedding date.I chose that date, because I was thinking Dad and that wonderful vacation time, and thought what a wonderful way to remember that time, by choosing my wedding date to come full circle for the month of August.

So for me, despite some lows during August, it’s been not that cruel for me. It starts my favorite time of year.

IMG_3085

Blog #1,000

“I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song.
I’m twenty-two now but I won’t be for long
Time hurries on.
And the leaves that are green turn to brown….”

Paul Simon wrote these lyrics for a Simon and Garfunkel hit circa 1966 called ” Leaves that are Green”.I thought this was an appropriate start for the blog numbered 1,000.

I started this blog in 2011, when I was 51 years old. I was sharing care-giving duties for my Mom with Dementia with my brother.I was married for 9 years back then. I had crappy knees and was waiting to get knee replacements.And yes, I was thinner,

So on the occasion of this blog #1000, so much has changed.

Mom is gone, I am happily married, next month, for 12 years. I have new knees and a belly because emotion still gets the best of me.I am working on that, though, and trying to get things together.

Jim and I have a new home and we’ll be occupying full-time in a few months.I, knock wood, am on the road to retirement.My girls are still with me: Zush is 12 and Kasia is 5. Jim and I are trying to set up housekeeping and farming down here at Undisclosed.The emotions are mixed at folding up our tent and leaving the big city, but more times than not, we are more than ready to leave it behind.

This blog has been therapy for me to vent and also to keep the memories of what has happened, be it good, bad or indifferent. It also has been a way for me to share my stories and experiences with you, dear reader.Thanks for reading and being here for me. I appreciate the fact that you check in with me and the family. For that you have my thanks and a giant hug.

Thanks!

And to quote the tag line from the Beverly Hillbillies…”You all come back now, hear?”

005

Working for the weekend

Sometime before I turn 65, I hope to relax on a Friday.

People have often told me how jealous they are of Undisclosed and our ability to go there. What folks don’t realize is we try to dean up here Thursday night and Friday.After that comes the packing.Dirty clothes for washing over the weekend, food to restock the pantry,clean clothes,things that we’d need down the house and the like.

In short, It’s a job.

Comes Sunday I have to reverse the procedure and multiply it by the fact the, quite frankly, you just don’t want to come back to the city.Last summer we thought we’d never have to ride in shore traffic again, and yet here we are,repeating the process.

Come on, retirement!

cropped-cropped-feb8wind.jpg

Ugh…the saga continues.

When I left work on Thursday, they had me unplug all my electrical gadgets, as they were doing something over the weekend and were afraid the place was going to explode**read extreme sarcasm**.

I got in today and had to retrace their steps, which took most of the morning. The one thing they have neglected to do and get my phone going.Not really a good thing.I tried every which way of Sunday to fix my system, so I opted to do back up work instead-God knows there’s enough of it.

The only saving grace was that I was only five minutes late getting in so going home, hopefully, will not be too bad.

They say spring is only three days away…..***hah***

20130621-124912.jpg

Sitting and Waiting.

My laptop sits on a little table off in a corner of a room, where I can actually look out a
window to see what’s going on in the yard and street.

It has been my window on the weather world of late.

I have beautiful views of a winter wonderland and at twilight it’s even more magical.

The threat of more upcoming storms has me here sitting and waiting and thinking. It’s become like a mantra in my head: snow, ice and rain. Ugh!It has gotten to the point where the front must be getting closer because the pressure in my sinuses is flaring up.As I sit here thinking of ice, I am lamenting the fact that my yak tracks (ice shoes) are in the storage locker.If it is indeed icy tomorrow, one bus route will probably be rerouted.When will I find out? Uh, when I am waiting at a corner for a bus that will never come.

April,anybody?

017

New Year New Heat

So I have gone back to exercise class after the break.

I have decided to tweak stuff a little more: I am adding heat to my diet! They say that your metabolism, when you are over 50,may need a little help, and upping your intake of spicy food might help.Taking one tiny step for me, I had jalapeno cheese this morning.Granted I know I am going to have afterthoughts about eating this, but I figure you have to start somewhere.

I’ll keep you posted.

001

Rough

I make sick calls for my Church, bringing Communion to those who can’t make it to Mass.

Last night I stopped first and saw my buddy Sue. What a rough visit.

Her condition is going downhill.Her husband, although he probably knows it, doesn’t say it.
So when he is out of the room talking to my husband, Sue and I talk about a lot of things.
Basically we talk about dying.

Her quality of life is getting poorer by the day. She was speaking of how she can’t get in
the car and ride any more.She can’t walk Eby, her dog.As ahe speaks to me, the tears fall
from her eyes. Her degenerative brain disease obviously hasn’t gotten to her emotions
yet, although she told me yesterday her eyes are starting to fail.

I did manage to make her laugh though.

We talked about her leaving and eventually seeing her family again, as is the belief or
the faith we share.I told her that one day I would come to see her and she wouldn’t be
there.I looked at her straight in the eye and asked her who’d have the last laugh?

She said she would, of course….and we both started laughing.

Hold a good thought , or say a prayer for Sue if you would, please.
It’s rough,leaving one spot behind.

Thanks…appreciate it!

20130703-085046.jpg

Bad air quality days

Waking up this morning, I was greeted by the weather station informing me of the warning for a
bad air quality day.

I wonder how much of this is done due to holes in the ozone layer, industrial pollution and the
like.I remember as a kid we never heard warnings like this. The worst you had to deal with then was
high humidity.As you are going through your day, and you get to be in my age group(+50),you
sound a little wheezy.

I really can’t escape the bad air days in center city-after all, you work in an office building where the air has poor circulation.

I think Mother Nature tries to get our attention: I shudder to think of how much more that we
have to experience.

100

There is something about comfort

002

…and you don’t realize you don’t have it, or its altered, until it’s gone.

For 11 years, we had a marvelous old house where things worked, gardens were to be had, plumbing worked,
and it was a pleasure living in our house.Then the house sold.

We moved into my late mother’s house, with our belongings crammed in**even after we threw a ton of stuff away**and between the amount of estate stuff, sibling stuff,it’s enough to even make me claustrophobic.

Then there is the house, aka Undisclosed location II,and hopefully, by the time that we get down this weekend, we might see some walls up and a roof.

Oh, that only a flush toilet be close behind…lol

Autumn -hopefully around the corner

Today is the type of day that has the promise of fall written all over it.

The windows are open, air conditioning is off,blanket is back on the bed, and it is a pleasure not to be mopping sweat all of the time. When the girls and I were out walking, the flowers that we saw back in June when we first relocated are showing their wear.The only thing that would make it awesome is to see the first leaves turn , but I know that is yet to be.

A buddy of mine has her almost seven-year old son as a barometer of passing time. When you have only your family as a barometer, well, we just watch the seasons change and are grateful that we are all still here together to see it and take it in.

Enjoy your Friday!

007

Weather or not..

It’s Friday, which gives purpose to the fact that it’s supposed to rain.

Not that I am complaining, mind you. I went through the barometric
pressure headache that predicted this current patch of weather.The
front comes through, and bang, the headache goes. Amazing that
weather can affect a body: I am constantly amazed by that fact.

The leaves are turning a richer shade of green apropos of late
summer, and even with the overcast sky,it is a pretty day.The breeze
is going through the bushes in the next yard.The girls and I are getting
ready to go for our stroll between the raindrops.

Enjoy the day!

20130628-073402.jpg

Savoring peace and quiet

When you are stuck living in a metropolitan area and have to rely on public transportation,
you really come to love summer, unless your bus isn’t air-conditioned.

Coming into work today, my neighbor and I discussed the fact that school was soon to start again
and how we had better take advantage of a nice quiet bus for a few more weeks.

It is not only students who carry backpacks, but the bulk of them seem to do and they always
seem to hit people on shoulders as they go by. Not that most are doing it intentionally,
but with some I wonder.Don’t kick me kid-I am not making you go to school.

When you are in a field like I am, and you are talking and listening to folks all day,
you have to learn early on to savor any quiet that is in your life.Granted when school starts,
most of the kids are quiet coming in because they are still sleepy.There are always a few that
are wired up from the night before.

I never had to put up with this on the train and oh, how I miss it. I sneak in 1 or 2 times a
week on it , either home or to work, and it is such an adult pleasure.Doesn’t make me miss my
token days at all!

003

Sing around the campfire…

We have returned…

Old Undisclosed is officially gone.

It is quite funny to pull up and look at a space that looks better suited for growing a field of corn or something. Our little cottage that was in the rear now stands forlornly in the corner of the lot, wondering what happened, no doubt.

The flip side is as the house is down, the corresponding amount of mud has increased.I didn’t have enough foresight to bring some larger old rug to take care of the messy shoes and dog prints.I am sure ,though, that we’ll be eyeballing the new house as it goes up, and I’ll be able to bring something else down.

The fur girls are somewhat content to be down, although they no longer can run around in reckless abandon, as the fence in the front is down.We have them out walking and they seem to be happy.

Jim will be meeting with the builder later, so it is quite nice to feel,albeit a pin hole,light at the end of the tunnel.

Stay tuned.

Me and Kate

20130524-160110.jpg

I just read an article about the Duchess of Cambridge’s post maternity style.

Evidently it is to warm for the royal track suit and clothes of that line just
yet.Maxi dresses and caftans are expected to be seen, according to royal watchers.
Something that will be nice and light and flowing for the summer heat.

Great!

I saw a picture of Kate, Wills and Prince George where Wills was holding the
baby. Gee,my belly could match Kate’s right now. Didn’t I feel good when I
saw that. Maybe I will adapt a caftan wardrobe and try to lose weight as
my sister, the Duchess of Cambridge will…

Hmmm…might be worth the thought!

A good buddy on a downhill slope

015

In prior blog posts, I had written about my friend with a degenerative brain disease.

She had been diagnosed about 5 years ago, and has been going slowly downhill, which has been
so hard for us who love her to watch.We hang in there with her though, because she, even in her illness, is a good friend.

If you can’t find the prior post, she is a former neighbor who made friends with me from the day I moved in,eleven years ago. Her fur-child is Eby, a beautiful male golden retriever. We used to tease about Zush being Eby’s wife-we had many a good chuckle over that. Fortunately Zush is spayed so no worries for me.

I can remember her illness coming on as if it were yesterday. Jim,Zush and I were with her and Eby walking the trail of the Wissahickon. She was complaining about feeling off-balance sometimes, which I said maybe the doctor would tell her it was vertigo.

It wasn’t

I always would walk up twice or 3 times a week when I lived on the block, and we would chew the fat for a while. As her condition has deteriorated, I kept that up,until when we moved this last month. Now I only get to see her once a week.

Yesterday was her 62nd birthday.

If you are of some free time, please throw up a prayer or good thought for my buddy. No one should have to go through what she is.

Lament for a house

Three and one half years ago, my husband bought us a house at an “Undisclosed location”.
Sure it was a weekend get away and I did manage to have an actual week off there last year, but it was cozy, it was comfortable and the back room was bright.It was a good spot to spend a third of our week at, which we seemed to do year round.

We had to get serious, as when my husband sold our house in Philly, we were turning our minds to retirement living, We decided we needed a rancher.Not that this old house isn’t, but, we wanted a house to live the rest of our days out in.

This weekend, the demolition crew comes in and knocks it down.Fortunately I will be up here with the fur girls, as we need the air and to be away from all of that. Plus, if I was there, I’d be a little teary-eyed, so better I keep the memories I have of the house with me.

In a previous blog post I wrote about loss in my life, well, here’s another chunk. People say “how exciting”…it’s not for me.I never asked for much and what I had I was always comfortable with. We’ll see what happens.This picture I have attached really doesn’t do the house justice, but at least it gives you an idea of what it looks like.

R.I.P to my cozy,sunny spot.

001

Loss

I’ve had a lot of loss in my life, as I am sure most people do.
Maybe less than some, or more than others, I don’t know.
That’s how I have been feeling with moving like a nomad from
tent to tent.

The house I grew up in ended up sinking when an uncapped water
main,due to a strike, washed away the foundation.From what my parents
and I had experienced, I always said it took 10 years off all our lives.

So I had to move.

I moved on my own for four years, since I never had the dorm experience
my brothers had.My parents were dismayed, but I told them,er, promised
them when one of them got sick, I’d move back to take care of them.

My father got sick.

Dad passed away and I lived there taking care of Mom until I got
married in 2002.

I married Jim and we moved into a three-story Victorian house on the
edge of Fairmount Park.We were surrounded by trees on our walkway,
and Jim planted his trees over the years.

The house was sold a month ago.

Jim told me yesterday that they took a good deal of the trees in
the front of the house away.It was like someone stuck a knife in my heart,
because it will always be MY/OUR house, I know, I know-new folks
tweak the house the way they like it. It still hurts.

In the meantime, we are camping out in my parents deteriorating house,
which is owned by me and my 2 brothers.So we are living in one floor.
It’s the house that I saw both my parents pass away in.

Loss, again…..**sigh**

Sometimes I really hate my life.I just wish there’d be a gain in it
once in a while.

007

Sleep

I ** heart** sleep.

Don’t get me wrong, but 6 hours is pretty good for me. I remember a time where I was a bear without 8.

It’s all about change, I guess- change and age.

Sure, babies are celebrated when they sleep through the night. Kids want to stay up all night on weekends and summer, but give them a school morning and most of them need a front loader to pick them out of bed and get their day started.

As the ” clubbing” years arrive, I have witnessed many people dragging themselves in on zero-2 hours sleep and try to convince folks they are great!

At my age, I am glad 5 hour energy is only a commercial to me, not a diet staple. Medications**legal prescription ones,’natch**also add to sack time. Then there are those of us who have to get up through the night, through one reason or another,and upon returning to bed, try to coax ourselves back to sleep.

I am not a fan of heat. The only **good** thing, IMHO , is that it wears on you and wipes you out, thus handing you sleep on a platter…lol…I am not proud: I’ll take comfort any way I can get it.

Here’s hoping you got a good night’s rest and have a good day.

20130708-065826.jpg

H&G Hawaii

So here I am sitting, humid wind blowing through the windows, and what am I watching? HG tv where they are trying to find homes for folks. Most of them have a 600k to 800k budget.

Uh, ok.

Have got to give them that, yes, it is paradise. I am getting to old- all I can see in their future is typhoons, tropical storms, hurricanes- whatever.

I appreciate Undisclosed,with our weather, and even with Hurricane Sandy in the recent past, well, it just seems a wee bit safer than an island in a big ocean.

What’s the old saying?

Nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

20130623-102110.jpg

Rain

It’s been a somewhat rainy week.

While at Domicile 2, I try to work at least 1 box a day, so it is, indeed, a slow process. The fur girls have been patient, so Jim is taking us on a road trip to Undisclosed a little later today. I think I can safely say, the break will help us support mental health.

Have a good weekend!

20130614-100039.jpg

Hating every second

I really abhor the thought of returning to “Domicile2”.

Jim wants to clear things out but as I say to him, there are 3 people involved in this house. Quite simply it is not his call.

The prospect of going back and making room and then all that follows really sucks too. Too much change is rough.

Now if it were only 12/10, things would be great…….

If only ….

20130608-222121.jpg

Packing it all up.

Today is my last day in the office for the week.

The grand move has commenced.

Jim and our neighbor have started moving some of the stuff. They threw a few random
calls to me along the way, as I have to work until 5PM. I am sure the fur children
are just waiting for me to get home and see what’s up. There are so many factors
going on at the same time, that if I get through this without getting an ulcer,
I would consider my self blessed.

I’ll be blogging along the way, and ask for your good vibe and prayers, ’cause
Lord knows I need them.

Thanks, Gentle Reader.

20120529-195358.jpg

Is it November yet?

What was the old saying? These are the times that try men’s souls….. Or in this case, mine.

I truly believe that if God brings you to it, He’ll get you through it. So I have me faith on getting me through this change,successfully, and by His grace Jim, myself and the fur girls will make out ok.

Of course this weather is of no help,and the fact that Jim is running around like a madman makes me more nervous. Somehow sleep and a meal have lost meaning to him .i told him I want him around….

I have always hated drama and yet it’s amazing how life throws it at you. So on behalf of Jim, the fur girls and myself….keep the prayers and good karma going this way- it sure is needed

20130603-154012.jpg

Room with a view

The picture below has been my view every morning for the past 10+ years. It overlooks my neighbor’s property, over the Wissahickon valley, and catches some of the city skyline. Many a Fourth of July we caught nice fireworks from that window.

Things change. This is probably my last Friday looking at this view. Zush, Kasia and Jim have spent a lot of family time in this house and we all have slept in this bedroom. Family and close friends have passed away, people have moved away,children who were once knee high are in junior high- in short, things go on.

There will be other windows, none with this stained glass, or view. All I can do while the fur girls are dozing on the floor, is to hold the moment tight in my heart and tighter in my mind…..

…..that,and pray for the best, Keep holding good thoughts- sure can use them, especially this week.

20130531-104026.jpg

The irony of Heat

I am out of gas.

Some serious boxing and cleaning were done today in this heat. So what am I laying around with the fur children watching? You got it-the movie of the same name. Jim is upstairs on line and should be down here soon with us. We enjoy DiNero and Pacino, so here is where the comfort is.

Come on, November!

20130530-190015.jpg

Can’t escape it anywhere

So after nightly moving and packing at the old homestead, I am in the office.

What do you think is going on? Things are getting all moved around here. File
cabinets, mailboxes, cubicle walls….makes you wonder why.

Anyhow since there is no rest for the weary, I am going to tread on through
this 90 degree heat today with my Time-Life operator headset that STILL has
me sounding like I am talking through 2 tin cans, and carry on.

After all, isn’t that the British thing to do ?

Keep calm
and
Carry On.

002

Hard enough as it is…

…with me being sick over the weekend and all, I was lucky to have my girls for
company. So when it came to me coming into the office this morning, they weren’t
too happy, nor was I, to leave to get in here.

I worry about what they realize in the changes going on; I try to reenforce
that we all are going someplace together, unless Mom and Dad have to go to work.
I have worked to give the girls some degree of security, and hate for
circumstances to undermine it.

I have to laugh because they both, when I am feeling low,know that, and come
to me and give me that look: the it’s ok Mom, we are here.

Don’t know what I’d do without them.

20130526-111208.jpg

Fur girl and Mom malaise

Too much has been going on lately for the liking of me and the girls. Us gals stick together, as they have been the last few days with my cellulitis .. They have been patient, and you KNOW they know something’s wrong or different .

We are comfortable with our routines, but now without me walking them…they know they have to make do, each walk fills me with melancholia. Even if you pass this way again, it just isn’t the same.

We girls will go forward,and try to keep new routines but in new places.Wish us luck!

20130525-140430.jpg

Just hating every minute of it.

20121123-103635.jpg

I always took pride in having some patience-not a lot, mind you, but some.

I am working on a system that I read in the paper “may be delayed”…uh, telling staff
is not an option?

My radon house with a whopping 4 that had to be corrected seems to be pulling water out
through the stone of the cellar floor, and we don’t know what this is going to
mean to us time wise.

We got a survey done and again, we wait for returned phone calls.

**tapping my foot on floor while typing**

Is it Thanksgiving yet? Just wishing….

Friday Five

It’s been a while so here goes…

I am grateful for the delicious cool front blowing through the area this morning.
It makes the fur girls and myself oh so comfy not to sweat.

The birch trees we have planted along the side of the house are nid=ce and green and protecting the house
with lovely shade.Not only pretty, not only home to the birds, but shady!

A chance to have a three day weekend away from city issues and bumps and
bruises-the body and mind are both grateful .

An opportunity to get some good fur girl walking in to get all three of
us in shape-go team fur girl!

For all my good friends and your support for me, please always feel it’s right
back at you!

Have a great weekend.

20130504-202915.jpg

Bittersweet

025

My nephew, Gregory, took his last final of the term yesterday at
Temple University, where he attends. Each semester, we would manage
to either come in together on the train, or at least to meet up
one way.

If things keep rolling along,it’d be a bit harder to get to a train
in the morning.I kind of see myself, unfortunately, being a bus
commuter. Oh how I will miss the quiet cars on the train.

But as Dorothy says to the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz,

“I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow.”

I’ll miss our train rides, Greg, but old Cioci will always be
there for you.

Weighing heavy on the mind

It is rough when you have a lot of life’s issues on your shoulders.

You depend on prayer and your faith, but what is it that gives you freedom from fear? A pretty strong faith! I don’t care if you are religious or not-good friends I am always thankful for, and I still need prayers so things pick up .

Thanks!

Mood matching weather

It’ll all be worth it in the long run: isn’t that what they always say?

The wait, the worry, the roadblocks,the lack of cooperation. ..all for change, and to leave the comfort zone you have been in for 12 years. The annoyance of waiting for work to get done. Jim wringing his hands in agitation….**sigh**

Lots of obstacles in the way: prayers would be great this week:we really need help from high, and here too.

20130511-103635.jpg

**Sigh**

The speed at which we went from zero to one hundred was too fast for my heart and my soul.

Change isn’t always painful, or so they say.When you are a big sentimental fool, change can break your heart;I know, it’ll heal again. Still doesn’t lessen the pain though. Especially when It seems all you go through is loss.

Prayers greatly appreciated.

20130502-205131.jpg

And we wait….

We just want to accomplish something.

Patience , when warrented, can be my strong suite, but there comes a point, you know? It’s the waiting for the next step to be announced …

The fact that all the overtime in work isn’t helping mentally, either , on the stress. The girls look at me when I come and are so happy to see me~ they thought I left them.

Oh well, another tortuous day- hope yours is better.

20130502-075210.jpg

May Be so? May Be no…..

Kasia22110

The Shingleman household is still clenching teeth to start of the month of May,
waiting for stuff to get moving.

The wonderful conductor on my morning train this morning was having a rough start
to May too .He announced a wrong stop…gotta watch so his trolley doesn’t fall off the
track.

May finds me still dealing with a zillion hours in the office dealing with issues,
and wistfully looking out the windows in the afternoon as my Queen Elizabeth solar doll
just waves on and on and…..

Here’s hoping May is a good go for us all!

**Clenched jaw**

Things are still going rather quickly right now and I would kill for a
Dramamine that would take away the nausea from the motion.

Topple that with the fact that a front has moved through the area and
I have got a tension-sinus headache that would kill a whale.

Jim has been giving me periodic updates on what’s what, so I wouldn’t
be surprised if my nerves aren’t totally shot by days end.

Don’t forget your umbrella!

003

Zero to one hundred and then poof!

001

The past couple weeks have been non-stop for me and they went by in a particularly
quick rate.

Once again work is keeping me busy, but there seems to be no rest for the weary.Have
to attack my Mom’s house, finally and get rid of a ton of stuff. It’s going to be
hard, but I know I can do it.

Flip side is maybe I’ll br too busy and will forget to eat…hah.

Please hold good thoughts for me, as I try my best to get through the next few weeks.
Prayers, if you so inclined, are always appreciated.

Thanks, gentle Reader.

Toxic

One of my BFFs, Denise, had just posted on Facebook and I thought it was spot on.

It had to deal with it being comfortable and not guilty at the point of losing
toxic people in your life, no matter who they are, friend, acquaintance, employer,
fellow employee, whomever…

No one has the right to have you feel small or belittled. You have to do what feels
right or good for you.

This is a theory I can strongly stand for, and am going to make a conscious attempt
to do.

20120918-204707.jpg

Clenching of the jaw….

Things are really amazing in life, you know?
You can go from 0 to 60 MPH in a heartbeat.

Then, in the next breath, you get news that old buddies are on the verge of their last heartbeat.

Please hold a good thought for us as we get caught up, momentarily, in life’s speed up.

Hold a peaceful thought for my old friend, who managed to become diagnosed with cancer in
the seven years since he retired. He is losing his battle, and may his trip be a
peaceful one.

20130401-161954.jpg

(Wishing I were …) Fit Friday

It’s going to change.

My back is killing me. I got my knees replaced. An end piece of the algorithm is NOT to have a stomach grow as an end result.Gravity is a bitch in that respect, because the belly, I feel, is pulling from the back.The comfort has to return!

Pretty sorry when the dreariest of winter days is better than your mood…
Heating pad, anyone?

20130222-113916.jpg

Friday five

Happy that it’s a beautiful day, and even though weather changes are in the air, the sun feels good.

Zush and Kasia had worked their magic on some home bound folks and seniors: so proud am I of them.

Glad Jim and I decided to be retired for the next three days: should be
interesting if we survive…lol

I’m not looking forward to the busy season starting on Tuesday… Makes me appreciate each moment.

So grateful we are all together, on our respective feet and paws…

Have a fabulous weekend!

20130215-133253.jpg

Chef Jim

Last weekend, we watched the Food Network.

Due to our juicing, we started paying attention as Giada DeLaurentis was doing promos for her meatless meals.

Chef Jim perked up right away.

He made her lentil burgers ….and I was impressed! He really was getting into making them.
He even was talking, as we ate them, on how he’d tweak the recipe.

It would seem that our juicing days have moved up a level.

At least we are trying!

20121204-185423.jpg

Rockin’ & Rollin’

We are out west at March Mountain, celebrating the end of the old year and start of 2013.

What is interesting is that my friend, Juls, has her son and his band, Capture the Crown, also staying here. I think it’s neat, even though I am a little old for Tyler and his Aussie band mates, they are great guys. It truly is a change- hanging out with a screaming band!

It’s good to be together with friends, and to share special times…laughter is great!

I’m blessed!

20121230-215651.jpg

Greg

Today is my nephew Gregory’s birthday.

Talk about change and hard work. Greg always was a good student, but while attending Temple University, I have seen him apply himself and watched him mature to a 23 year old man who knows exactly what he wants in life.

Greg often would come down to the house and leave with me for work. We’d people watch on the train, and more times than not, he’d accompany me to the office. He’d talk to my co-workers and leave them laughing.

Happiest of birthdays, my Greg. We are all so proud of the fine young man you have become.

Sto lat!

20121219-002807.jpg

American Idol alums

We are at our neighbor’s and he has Palladia on… It had Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood on and for a second I was transformed in time back to watching American Idol.

It was funny, because I am remembering how they were when they first got on tv. Young & innocent and slightly apprehensive as they approached the mike. Now they are polished and show people who really have come a long way: their accomplishment has been tremendous .

Usually, I’d say it makes me feel older , but hey, the show was just on yesterday , right?**wink**

20121201-234004.jpg

Thirsty?

We are going through a lifestyle change, the Shingleman and I.

Juicing.

Yup, we are trying one meal a day as nutrition via juicing. Yup. I know. Nutrition, skin, pulp… but guess what? We are giving our dining menu a rest and I, for one, haven’t had this many veggies since before my radiation, close to 19 years ago. I fancy myself a decent cook, but heartburn has been hanging with me for a while. I’ll try this.

I had a thought tonite while Shingleman was doing the juicing. I know I am going to burn in hell for it.

The pepper, celery, kale, cucumber, broccoli, carrot and apple juice was really tasty…..

Just needs a shot of vodka. LOL

20121113-190404.jpg

COFFEE TALK

It’s almost October.

It’ll be a funny October for me, with Mom not being around.

My brothers birthdays are in October. My Dad’s birthday was in October. I always, as Mom got older, picked out the cards at her request, and it was bittersweet toward the end, to have her scribble Mom on the card, When it came to Daddy’s birthday, we always remembered him and both would be quiet with our respective memories, and once in a while, I would tell her a story I remembered about Dad, and she would smile.

So here I sit, typing away.Coffee cup at a safe distance away from my Mac, and I find myself remembering the past.

It’s good when your memories are, on the most part, pleasant.

 

Eleven

Tomorrow is the eleventh anniversary of 9/11/2001.

It is truly a date that changed history, Once I got home, Mom and I met with our friend and neighbor, KJ, and we comforted each other and offered some prayers.

Before the day got terrible associations, two of my BFF’s , Juls and Kath, got married to their husbands, thirty and nineteen years ago respectively.

It is terrible to have to balance terrible historical events with happy times.

I love both Juls and Kath-they are the best! May they have many more happy years together with their spouses, and
wonderful memories to brighten their future. Both Shingleman and I , along with Kasia and Zush, send tons of love and hugs!

20120910-203041.jpg

This is a shot of me and one of my BFF’s Juls. … Need a current shot of Kath

Laying low before the storm

Today is a nice day. There’s a nice breeze going when you are by the bay. We put the air back on because the humidity is back.

The weather forecast is calling for a bad storm later, with winds and hail. We are going out now so the girls won’t go stir crazy later.

Just a good day to kick back and take it all in.

20120908-133809.jpg

Friday gratitude 5

How grateful am I to have had a chunk of time off. It gave me the chance to relax, spend quality time with Zush, bond tighter with Kasia, ….in short, a chance to kick back.

The weather cooperated enough to get us dog walking daily and savor the peace and quiet .Thankful, I think, all three of us are.

I was so grateful to step away from the office and kind of experience a taste of retirement. I am ready for it!

Shingleman is coming down today-always nice and grateful for having him in my life.

My final gratitude moment is for hydrocortisone cream/ rubbing alcohol/witch hazel… Mosquito bites are almost tolerable!

Have a good weekend!

Sutures for a BFF

One of my BFFs, Juls, is taking a page from book.

She is having shoulder surgery Friday.
** working the beads**

Being in the big city with a lot of university hospitals, and being an old pro with doctors, well, let’s just say I don’t care for pain, especially when it wakes me from a sound sleep.

I know surgery is scary, but know you’ll hold a good thought for Juls on Friday.it’s always good to get your health back.

20120829-201725.jpg

Just can’t seem to win

We seem to currently be going steady with a grey cloud over us.

Jim, the habitual realist/pessimist-me? Habitual realist/ optimist. All we want to do is retire and move to Undisclosed full time. Well, we seem to be turning corners, and are looking around them optimistically for change. It seems all we are looking out at are more brick walls .

Well, nice to know that the sucky timing of this runs parallel to my theory of this year nine into ten being a long, long year..,it’s got to get better!

20120716-200208.jpg

A break from Undisclosed ….

This weekend, our scene will be a little different…we’ll be out in south central Pennsylvania visiting one of BFF, Juls and her husband Tim. We’ll be celebrating Juls’ birthday,albeit a week later.

The house is in peace and quiet heaven, and the gals are happy because they play with Ginger and Lily on March mountain; in fact, dog play will be a highlight of the trip.

Change is good: spending time with friends? Even better!

20120705-202944.jpg

Cheese-y

I don’t think I am asking for a lot.

I buy sliced cheese from the deli. As do a million other folks, I grab a number at the deli, I’ll buy a pound of turkey and a pound of cheese.

Sliced cheese. You know, so you have nice slices to melt on a burger, make a party tray, sandwich,…whatever…

Yet it seems time after time, I get a glop of cheese. When they slice it, they put it on the scale, and lay it one slice on top of another. Secretly, I’d swear they get the package after they slice it and smoosh it with their hand. I don’t know:is it me?

I am tired of standing at the kitchen counter with a knife to separate slices of cheese only to get chunks of a few slices break off at one time. I ask nicely to slice the cheese not too thin, and yet, I open up the package and get dairy tissue paper.Really.

As we were checking out at the register, after the cheese was wrung up , I walked over to the customer service desk and showed them the cheese.She said” return it”, to which I said so I can get a pound the same way?

You can put this in with my Dunkin Donuts rant…all I want is my cheese sliced the way I want it. I guess it’s too much to hope for.

20120630-192542.jpg

I’m melting-g-g

My husband’s nephew, Tom, called me today while we were in the city: he wanted to take Jim and me out for dinner, since he was at the Jersey shore, and we would be.

We got to the spot, and early enough for happy hour, and although we were melting, the cold beer made us forget ! We had Dungeness crab, conch fritters, mussels in red sauce,and clams casino.
Good company, nice bay breeze, and calories…..rough start to the weekend!!

20120629-204833.jpg

Kasia

It seems that my little Kasia is getting older.

Shingleman had the little girl out running with other pups in the field. Evidently she stayed by her Dad and actually was sweet in public! What a pleasant surprise.

Here’s a new shot of baby girl Kasia

20120616-201826.jpg

Worn out

Well, tomorrow is day four of jury duty. It has been awfully intense, but definitely a life experience .

They say change is good, and it is. I have made new friends and it is incredible what people do in a group to relieve the strain of a capital trial.

Tomorrow is another day: here’s hoping it’s a good one!

20120611-211514.jpg

Legal Eagle

Tomorrow the whole ball of wax commences.

My godson Greg Miziorko will meet me in the morning and we will ride the train together into town, albeit he gets off at Temple, one stop before mine.

Change is good,and sitting on a jury is a daunting experience. I hope my hacking will be calm, and the experience is good. My iPhone is permitted in, and it is not allowed on in the court room.However, below is a new pair of sandals I bought to celebrate!

Ally McBeal, eat your heart out !!! Lol!

20120604-204126.jpg

Change of address

Well, all the drama in the office has hit the fan for me today. I was informed mid- morning I was getting transferred back to my prior position.

I had worked that position for five years. Quite frankly, I left to make a lateral move to another area that was short staffed. Now that all of my buddies retired, there was no one left to do my original job.

Hopefully, things will quiet down for me on the job, and that would be a good thing! ** here’s hoping!**

Keep on keeping’ on

So a zillion people are coming to me, telling me how sorry they are to hear that I am going through stuff…, gee, good news travels fast- now if only someone would tell ME about it.** sigh**

It would seem yours truly has been drafted to move back to an area and they need an old body to fill a desk. Nothing like being treated like an old tire that no one wants. Shingleman says , hey just count the days you have left there.

Hell, I’d sooner be gone already!

20120501-233629.jpg

Cooling off

Thanks to environmental factors, spring has been non-existent this year, which has been something par for the course.Add insult to injury, both here and at Undisclosed, both streets are torn up thanks to water main work.

This translates into the taste of dirt mixing with heavy pollen in my mouth and nose every time I go out with the girls. I know: really attractive, right? Pollen and allergies are working overtime, so if you didn’t sound like you were coughing your lungs out, well, you do now!

Recently it got a little cooler, and Mother Nature treated to some pretty floral sights. Thanks, Old Girl… Appreciate it!

20120419-033931.jpg

Wishing it were over…

…and I could wake up on Monday.

One holiday that always was tied in to my upbringing and childhood was Easter. There was always the Holy Week services, walking down the hill with two or three of my classmates on Good Friday and we would go to all five of the parishes in the area and say a prayer. As I got older, I helped a few friends decorate the altar for Easter Sunday and pin the grave that the crucified Jesus would lay in on Good Friday and get the side altar for exposition on Holy Thursday and through the weekend.

On the secular front, when nephews were younger, I would go to the local confectioner in town and get everyone an Easter egg, including my Mom, who was a coconut creme girl.I would always buy my Mom a white hyacinth for Easter, kind of in homage to all the Easter processions I walked in as a kid. My brother Bob would always get her a grape one. My Dad, when he was around, always got her an Easter lily. When I was in high school, my brother would bring home a horseradish root which was divine. See, it was as if it were homeopathic we would take turns with the grater and a bowl while sitting on a stool on the front porch and we would grind our own horseradish. Who needed decongestant? Bobby and I both still have Philadelphia sinuses, so we didn’t mind.

When I was a younger, the Polish tradition dictated that we are up early Holy Saturday morning, as the priest would be coming to your house to bless your Easter table. You would have a carved butter lamb on it, Easter basket, your kielbasa, babka, which is Polish cake/bread ,your horseradish, farmers cheese,hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper, wine and oil and vinegar on the table. All had some significance for the Risen Lord. As we got older, we took the baskets, and my brother still does, down to church to have the food blessed.

For six of the past ten years, I would have an Easter brunch here for my family, and then go to Jersey to one of Shingleman’s sister’s for Easter. The past four years were quiet for me, as I was watching Mom with Bob. It was the best, and saddest time with her, as her faith was steadfast, but you knew there was an expiration date that you just couldn’t see yet.

I really don’t know how I am going to get through Sunday. Yes, I have the memories of my Mom, but when you go with other people, they really don’t care HOW you are feeling. For all they care, your grief stopped when you put your Mother in the ground, It’s not that easy. Somehow, I guess I am going to have to try to get through it, wishing instead I could be alone with memories of Mom. I just hope people will leave me alone, as things have been on the edge for both Shingleman and myself, and we are shot. We are good actors, because when people see us, they don’t figure it out. Our smile goes off as quickly as it goes on. We have both been through a ton since the holiday, and, quite frankly, we are still going through it.

I would happily trade places with the younger me who walked in Easter procession in 1967. The current me is so deep in emotional loss that it almost takes my breath away, as it is that intense.

“You can’t go home again.”……if only I could.

Mother & Son time

My Mother-in-law is staying with us this weekend at the Undisclosed Location. Jim’s sister, Kathy, has a week off, so we invited his Mom down to spend the weekend. His other sisters will help the rest of the week , basically, because Mom is pretty good, but she’s 93..

Jim’s buddy lost his Mom and her funeral yesterday made hit home that his Mom is basically the last one left. As I type this, the two are watching old music clips on You tube. I am glad they are having quality time and both of the are appreciating it.

I will be letting them go: time for me and our neighbors walk our 4,2 mile walk.

Happy rainy Saturday from the Undisclosed Location!

20120324-122023.jpg

Day off for us both

We are wrapping up a wonderful stretch of time here @Undisclosed, and hate to leave.

Jim had the morning off from his deli job, so with the rest of the day? It was awesome!

Pups were always walking, and I managed two days walking 4.2 miles a day with my neighbor friends. We saw friends and tried to relax and just hoped Jim’s pain gets better.

Hate to leave- can’t wait to be here full time!

20120220-143841.jpg

Faith is…

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen..”

One of the many things I am so thankful as I begin the new era of my life without my Mom is how she brought me up.

I am no saint, but she truly worked on instilling faith into me. Hey Mom? It worked.

Three cancers I fought through: I had faith.

Losing my Dad? Now my Mom? FAITH.

I know that she has  been greeted and is safe and secure in heaven. It is so funny, as in our “black” humor,Bob and I have been talking to each other saying who has Mom tonite. Last night we said it was Paul, the undertaker…and we joked about making him tuck her in tight. Well, not to fear: God has her wrapped up tight and she’ll be secure forever.

Sleep tight Mom.

On the flip side from yesterday..

…When I am at home with Jim, as opposed to watching my Mom at night, I get to ride the train into the office. When the train pulls into the station, I am able to walk underground up to a block before my office , so it’s not too bad during the winter.

I was walking through the mall area this morning when I came in, and walked by a Dunkin’ Donuts, where a guy, who I had recognized, had turned first, looked at me and said good morning. I, naturally, wished him a good morning back. I really don’t know this guy outside of riding the train for the past almost ten years, but the mere fact that he recognized me and spoke to me not only made me feel good, but started me thinking.

There are people I know from an almost daily commute on the train. Take, for instance, my friend who is a physician’s assistant at Hahnemann hospital. Do I know her name? No, as we sit in the quiet car every morning and on the way back. We pantomime our good mornings and smile, and when we are frustrated at something about the transit authority, we’ve been know to pass notes back and forth. An acquaintance from, of all places, my brother’s street, who, I am embarrassed to say, for as many times as I talked to him on the train platform, well, have never asked his name. Then there is Jim, who I have been getting the train with since I first got married-he works for the transit authority and loves to tell me stories, while waiting on the platform, about inspecting train tunnels..**shudder**..but, entertaining none the less.

Outside of maybe two handfuls of true “friends” that I have met working at the same spot for 27 years, I’ll miss these guys too. Not enough NOT to leave, but there will always be a warm spot in my heart for you all.

Oh, for my buddies Juls and Duch, here is a sunset of shot of my hopefully future transportation- the Ferry. 😉

Yup, it’s that time of year again…

…and I am not talking about Resolve stain cleaner. Just curious if anyone is making any that they want to share.

I know I have resolved a lot throughout the years; some were successful, others not. They always say those who forget history are condemned to repeat it, so it is with that in my mind I entered this poll onto todays’ posting. I’d like to think that I am smart enough to realize that a lot of the resolutions made either aren’t realistic, or are easily brushed aside by mannerisms you never intended to change anyway.Hey, though, I will give you and “E” for effort.

In the meanwhile, I am pleased to announce that the creamer is still out of my coffee, and I intend to still make the 100 calories cuts as my nephew Greg found the article suggesting it. After all, little things mean a lot, right?

No pretense here.

The picture you see is a neighbor’s house at the Undisclosed location. It is only part of his light display he puts up yearly, and the picture, I will be the first to admit, does it no justice. But it is probably the biggest piece of Christmas you will get from me.

My Mom’s mental state is down to a 4- when she first got sick she was iand 8 and THAT was severe. The best you can have is 30. I got off the phone with my brother, and we were talking about Christmas. I really don’t care, knowing the chance of actually getting a caregiver who will work is slim and none.Some things are expected, at this point of the game. Mom’s birthday will be Sunday, and 89 will be the magic number. Will she know it’s her birthday? No. Will she recognize me? No. I went to get her a birthday card and looked at the verse: would she understand it? No. So I got her a bunch( 9 pair) of fuzzy socks, as that is what keeps her feet the warmest while she lays in bed. She’ll think it’s just socks-no clue it’s a gift and that’s fine.

My godson Greg has a birthday the nest day and mine is three days after that. Once again, there is no spirit. I am just plain washed out. I will celebrate Greg’s birthday with him on Monday, but mine will just be another day, spent waiting, and praying.

So in lieu of a Christmas greeting, here is the picture of the Undisclosed Location neighbor’s lights.

Merry Christmas.

Getting ready to retire and….

 

…This is what I got today in the office, complete with a 23″ inch screen. I had laughed when I opened up one of the items that gets used on a daily basis by this government agency and the type had to be in 36 Font. I told the IT guy that this truly must be the computer for the old on the way out heads, because you never saw the font that large anytime or anywhere else.

I have been thinking the fast few days about this being my last Thanksgiving on the job. The last of 27 Thanksgivings and 27 Black Fridays. Will I miss it? Fighting shoppers on Black Friday morning in order to try to swipe in on time? No. I will miss my friends, though, and on this Thanksgiving week, not only am I thankful for them and my friends outside of the office, but for all of my friends and family. As twisted and dysfunctional we may all be at times, you all have a special place in my heart, and for that I am truly blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mar

Change..

No matter what happens in life, change always has a hand to play. I would guess that if there was no movement, our lives would be a stagnant pool of the same thing on a daily level.

Some change may be for the good: we may not initially like it but it is for the good. Some change we might absolutely abhor, but our hands might be tied and we have to take it. Some change we look forward to-if not immediately, then eventually.

I consider myself to be one of those who laments changes, one who looks back and wistfully wants change to go away. I acknowledge that I dolefully accept change, with all the crankiness an almost 52-year-old can muster, I just never realized that at this age is a little young to say ” I remember when…” and I am not necessarily in a nursing home.

So please pardon me if I am a little cranky now, as sometimes, change is like cold oatmeal-lumpy and rough to get down.