Summer’s gone…almost

I can’t believe July is almost over.

I was hoping to have had some time for rest and relaxation. Instead,I am working. I would have liked to spent time working in my garden. It unfortunately looks like the amount of time I have spent on it.I have enjoyed taking the girls down to the bay before, but now, I have to savor having them at the beach once a week.

We had to take Zush to the vet tonight because she has had a GI bug of sorts.Hopefully, the medicine and temporary diet change we are going to have to do will have her feeling better. It is a bittersweet reminder about how short life is, and it needs to be enjoyed.

I am determined that this last month of August will have me actually taking more time to enjoy things.They say you know what you have missed after it has passed you by.

Here’s to stopping the train, getting off, and savoring what’s left of life.

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Memory Triggered

I took a bus down and because it was cold , I got off the bus and made my way to the train platform. I had decided to take a train into town.

There was a little scene going on at the platform: a 30-ish mom with her little 6-year-old boy and she was trying to talk him into wearing her scarf to stay warm.

I was so fortunate to go on the train and who sits across from me from the mother and the young boy. He sat there proudly holding a $10 dollar bill between his fingers to pay the conductor for the fare. We started talking about the boy and I spoke to her of my nephews and their love of trains. I had an actual pleasant start to my day, with pleasant memory triggered by this mom and her boy, for which I thanked them and wished them a merry Christmas, and they did the same to me.

I felt good, for the first time in a long time.

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Daily Public Transit-The Good,The Bad, The Ugly

I am climbing on my soapbox again to talk about my daily commute.

Back in my prior life, when we lived two blocks away from the train station, life was sunny. A nice morning train, a brisk walk to work;in short, no worries.

Then our house sold and we moved two miles further from the train.There lies the rub: the bus.

I honestly hate the commute. In order to get into the city I take the bus onto an expressway, where I lose forty-five minutes to an hour one way.It irks me because it is time I’ll never get back again in my life.Traffic usually sucks.If you aren’t entertained by someones’ blow by blow description of how their life is going, how their **fill in the blank here: sex life, date life,third marriage is going, well,I know, I know, read or something** Well, there’s only so much to read or listen to. I refuse to be chained to Verizon and use my hot spot to be on-line. Then, when the bus reaches center city, I get off the bus and wait for a second bus.

Did I mention I hate personal trivial conversations on a cell phone on public transportation?
**Sigh**

Fortunately, I hope to God I get through this last stretch before I retire taking public transit. Pretty sad when I get to “treat” myself, thanks to my Flip Fitness class and physical therapy,and walk to the train station to get on a train that spares me the expressway.The indignity is I have to get OFF the train to get back on a bus to get home.

I won’t miss this at all.

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Just patiently waiting

In-epta struck again this morning.

I went a few blocks on the bus when a supervisor called the bus driver over. It would appear that he had called the supervisor to tell him he had trouble with a ride mirror on the front of the bus. It was determined that the bus would only go another 10 blocks and stop before going on the expressway.

The driver was soft-spoken,and to everyone getting on the bus he announced how far the bus was going.Great. Except I figured I’d try to get the train. I needed to get to block 9 in 12 minutes and the way this driver was spreading the news, it was hard for me to be patient.

It paid off. I made the train with four minutes to spare….whew!

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In-epta

Whoo-hoo! Septa, the South Eastern Philadelphia Transit Authority, avoided a strike on its’ railroads over the weekend.

Really?

President Obama put something into effect that a board, I guess kind of like mediators, that would hear both sides. Worse case scenario? Trains on strike when I am safely tucked in at Undisclosed Deux.

I find it incredible that my union went forever without any wage increases, and the nation-wide temperature toward contract negotiations seemed to have an ” let’s KEEP our jobs” motto. The folks on the train are so special.

Yup.They are so special that they’ll think nothing of raising train fares in a heartbeat for this contract.

…if only my salary went up to cover it.

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My Godson, College Graduate

My nephew Gregory graduates from college today.Actually, today is the college of education ceremony; tomorrow is the “everybody in creation” whole university ceremony. Jim and I consider ourselves fortunate to attend the slightly smaller(lol) affair.

Gregory has worked his way through things and even got through his student teaching and is finally done.We had some good times when I lived back at our first house and would go into town with him occasionally on the train.He even would come in to my office once in a while.I get a lot of compliments about Gregory, which I proudly accept.

Greg is not done, though. He has been accepted by St.Joseph’s University in their master’s program.
I hope he knows how proud we are and how happy we are for him.

He’s a good guy!

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Running on Empty

It was a long day today.The only break I had ? I managed to catch the early express train home and that was an unexpected surprise,

The trick was, after I came home, to walk the girls, then I came back in to make us a somewhat healthy dinner. After all, I started the day with heat to tweak my metabolism. I went and filet a bone in chicken breast or two.We had a baked sweet potato and mixed vegetables. There has to be some thought to make a “healthy” dinner so I am going to give it a shot.

We’ll see how far this goes.
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The wayward wind

I worked late tonight.

Add onto that the fact that the regional rail system lost power for a bit due to the weather. There were 1,000,000 people, or at least it felt like this, with me on the platform, waiting for the train.The last time I was on a train that crowded was when the Philadelphia Phillies won the world series in 2008 and people flocked to town to their victory parade.

I hear the wind howling as I sit here by the window typing.I have to get up early tomorrow so I hope this wind isn’t going to keep me up .

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Bittersweet

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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.

May Be so? May Be no…..

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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!

Working things out…

So my life has become my desk, of late, due to a ton of work that has come in.
Basically, I am averaging 3 hours a night overtime; by the time I get home it’s 8:30.
It’ll have a reward in the long run, but it’s been a struggle to get through the day
to get home to Jim and the girls.

I love the fact that you end up with some off time in your mind,like waiting for the train and/or bus,
and you get to think things out. I have been going over some things and things seem to be pretty good,
albeit busy right now. Almost makes you wish for a slow day.

I am blessed with great friends: they may not be many in number, but they are worth gold to me.
I am blessed with a wonderful husband, who is right there with me not before or behind me.
I am blessed with being the age I am and taking care of the fur girls.
God has me where he wants me right now.
God is good ALL the time.

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Boomtown Rats….

…have the right idea-“I don’t like Mondays.”

Met my nephew Greg this morning and went to the train: there we found out the train is 10 minutes late. Greg, being an understanding guy, knew the 10 minutes translates into me catching 4:07 train home &4:40. He said go get the bus,Cioci.

Hopefully the day will improve!

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Hurry Up and Wait…

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Once again, my train line treats the folks like me like dirt.

So what if my train line eventually ends up in the suburbs. If you live in the city,
well, it’s like you are a non-entity,that is, until they start counting their money from
you for train fare.

Yesterday, they allegedly had electrical problems on my line-the line that runs cars as old
as I am( 53) so we had to wait another 30 minutes for the train to eventually arrive.

I am sure if I was on one of the suburban lines, I would be home lickety-split.

**climbing down off the soap box**

Tiring Thursday( and the day just began)

It’s incredible how the thought of being home has weighed me down,mentally, this week.
Normally today I’d be thinking at least I am off tomorrow, but alas, this week I am not.

I could fall asleep right now. Never mind the huge amount of work I have, but I just would love to curl up,
like George Costanza in Seinfeld, under my desk and nap.

There’s going to have to be a dedicated amount of time to clearing piles of work, then, unfortunately,
there will be a ton of folks appearing who need hands on help with whatever issue they have. Hopefully,
we will busy up so the end of the day will be here like that.

Although when I came in this morning it was dark out, I caught a glimpse of dawn breaking at the train station.
Here’s hoping you have a sunny day.

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Rainy Monday Reflections

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As with previous Mondays, I came to work today with my nephew Gregory. We stood at the station and waited.

…and waited….as the rain came down….

The train finally came, and to my surprise, Greg called it, we got a new train on Septa’s line. It was no excuse, however, for being late. Greg so succinctly reminded me,” Uh, it’s raining…”

So we get on the train and we had to sit across from each other-no big deal there. However, I was going to take a great shot, but the conductor stood in my way.

A girl, who you can see in the picture, had her cell phone reversed with the screen facing her so she look AT herself while she was putting her make-up on. It came back to me…morning commutes in a car, bus, trying to put lipstick on..and the eternal hand mirror in your handbag. I wonder if hand mirrors have made it into the Smithsonian…lol…but I had to admit, she was using her head, er, phone. I definitely wouldn’t have had the idea to use it as a mirror.

Hell gettin’ old.

Mixed up day

Today has had a hell of a start.

My father would have been 92 today. Not a day goes by where I don’t miss him.

Came into work with my nephew Greg, and we proceeded to spend a week on a Septa train this morning. Needless to say, I clocked in 1/2 hour late, and Greg had to get off the stop at Temple, because his time was limited.

I had an amusing chat with my seat mate on the train, as we exchanged barbs that only two women who have commuted for over 30 years can let go with.

It can only get better!**fingers crossed**

As if the day isn’t long enough….

So today is the 11th of October….

My oldest brother turns 65 today. I remembered being at his college graduation-I can NOT be that old..after all, I am the baby sister.

I am up to my armpits in traffic.
Why?
I left the office, got all the way to the train, FORGOT something important, went back, decided I already missed 2 express trains- I might as well get the bus.

HUGE mistake.
**snaking along at 10 mph**

I make sick calls for my Church.According to the time at the front of the bus, it’s 5:52pm. I told them I’d be there at 6pm.

Did I mention I worked until 5 today?

Thanks God, for letting me take off tomorrow.

Appreciate it!

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Bittersweet Pleasure

When I come and go the office, my train is called the Norristown line.

For four years, I’d hobble with my bad knees, sometimes to the bus when caregiving for Mom, but ALWAYS in a hurry leaving the office. There was a husband to talk to, and also care for, fur children to take for a walk, and of course, chores to do. When it would be my night at Mom’s, I’d have to hurry to relieve the caregiver .

When I got off the train, it hit me. I was in the next chapter. Mom has been gone for 2 1/2 seasons. I can take my time walking home to my family. I don’t mean to make it sound that I don’t want to hurry home to Jim and the girls: I do. It is the highlight of my day.

I just realized the mad dash of caregiving being done equals a leisurely walk home.

Truly, a bittersweet moment…..

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PS-I used a shot of Shingleman for this post….he’s my rock and reason I come home!

Hahahahaha…

It must be Monday.

I camped out on the train for ten minutes in the heart of beautiful North Philadelphia.

I come in to see I have to go thirty rounds with the time clerk regarding my leave time.

My cubicle neighbor who normally works 11-6, is in at 7:19, blaring “White Wedding”…

On the bright side…

I put two feet on the floor this morning: some people can’t , or won’t.

I do have a job.

I get to go home to a wonderful family.

I’m blessed.

 

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. 😉

A little apprehension…

..because my day did not start off too well. The highlight of the morning is that my cell phone is exactly where it shouldn’t be, that is, at home.Trust me, my friend, you do NOT want to hear what the low-light was. Now I have a Kcup of vanilla biscotti Folgers and a scone and I am feeling a little better..lol.

I have been suffering the past three weeks with some gastrointestinal issues. A good friend of mine who subscribes to this blog is in the hospital with gall bladder issues. Argh! Not the curse of anticipating retirement!!! Is it the fact that I am patiently biding my time to retire so now I am going to enter the wild wonderful world of GI issues? God, I hope not. With my cancer history, I have a wonderful gastroenterologist who practices at the Fox Chase Medical Center, so I get to make the trip all the way out to God’s country( that’s how it feels for me, who has to travel by train) and hopefully, the physician and I will begin to unravel what’s going on. I understand my buddy, Duch, has come out from her surgery well, and although I have been around the block once or twice, I hope that this “whatever” I am perking doesn’t involve that route.

It’s the end of November.

Here’s hoping December holds no surprises.

My day is better than yours..NOT

Should know that when the day starts and mercifully I am at home with Jim, and running late, and need a ride to the train-not a good sign.

Make it to the fore-mentioned train by the skin of my teeth. Situated, comfortable, until 2.5 stops later…the lights on the train flicker…Hmm…don’t subway cars do that? Not trains?Well, then the fireworks started as the train lost its’ pantograph and the power that went with it.**thanking education from two nephews on trains 101 as they grew up**

Joined the huddled masses out to North Broad Street in hopes of catching a bus. Got to City Hall and caught a second bus. Got off at Inepta headquarters to get a note to excuse the lateness**read sarcasm here, as employer probably won’t accept it**, and then kicked in with eighty thousand worth of titanium to clock in by 7:223am,sweating oh so gracefully as I strode down to the office.

Hopefully, my coffee will settle me down and things, well, I am shuddering to wonder what the REST of the day will bring.

Hope yours is less stressful.