Thursday, April 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Our little guys were supposed to be with us today, but the younger one got sick, and now they’re not coming. Nanny is sad about that, and I know Poppy wanted to garden with them. Maybe next week we’ll get another chance to visit.

For today’s throwback, I’m going waaaay back for this one:

I once wrote about my very unique high school – a small, private girls’ academy that is no longer open. It began operating in the mid-1800s in three brownstone buildings. The rooms kept their original charm throughout the years with fireplaces in the classrooms and ball-and-claw bathtubs in the bathrooms! Rich marble and dark paneling could be seen everywhere and ancient windows and doors abounded. The real charm, however, lay in the spirit that pervaded those halls. It was an aura that caught you almost immediately, and it dwelled in you long after you left.
Graduations were a bit different there. No caps and gowns for us; rather, we wore white formal gowns. We each had a “flower girl,” who presented us with a bouquet of red roses, and we received our diplomas from a bishop! That tradition existed from the earliest days of the school, and it was based on a European model. The picture here is from the archives, showing a graduating class from 1913. 

It’s fun to reminisce when I see old photos!



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

People I Meet

When I traveled into the city for work many moons ago, I went by high-speed transit trains. I had time during the rides to either read or people watch. I enjoyed the latter because I realized how many individuals peopled our earth. There were different faces every day, none of whom I knew, and at times I felt humbled and even insignificant. In an effort to bolster myself, I used to choose one or two of these unknown people and create fictions about them. I had a world full of espionage or romance or mystery every day, and my own stories became better than my books!

As I moved into the world of academia, my fictional world disappeared because I had interactions with all the people I met. During those years, I knew hundreds of people – students, siblings, parents, other teachers, administrators, supervisors, and visitors.  I no longer needed to invent story lines; they just occurred in real life. The plots may not have included any cloak and dagger intrigues, but the characters showed me all facets of humanity – the good and the not-so. Some people just drifted in and out of my life; others left lasting impressions. I enjoyed meeting them all.

Now, I don’t get to meet many new people, nor do I even see many. My world became smaller when I left the workforce, and the cast of characters dwindled significantly. Even though my husband’s business world was filled with people, he doesn’t miss it at all. It even takes nudging from me for him to stay in touch with people. He’d be perfectly content just seeing as few people as possible. Not I – I really like being with people, talking, laughing, interacting. Unfortunately, my day-to-day lifestyle precludes such action. I rarely go anywhere, except to my mother’s home. I rarely entertain, except for family. I rarely have opportunities to meet new people.

What I’m finding, though, is that lately the people I meet aren’t ones I really want in my life. Yesterday, my PCP’s office rep said they’d ‘gladly’ complete the recertification forms for my handicapped placard. Two hours later, Ms. Nasty called back to say the doctor wouldn’t complete them without seeing me. That’s an office visit which includes a co-pay. I hate that office anyway – not h/c accessible, not pleasant workers, long walks to the exam rooms. I wanted to leave, and now I can. I’m going to call a doctor nearby to be my new PCP.

Then there’s the lady I met at my mother’s. She’s pushy. Her father is now a resident, and she’s always ordering people around. She’s a little snip of a thing, maybe in her fifties or sixties, and always nicely dressed. She used to smile at me when she arrived, but that all changed last week. I was arranging our chairs, while my husband went to wheel my mother in. Well, little Miss Snippy barges into our group, pushing her father’s big Geri-chair. I smiled, said hi, and politely told her that a group of us would be sitting there. She sarcastically looked around and said, “Well I don’t see anyone but you!” Again, I tried to be polite, and I explained that my mother and husband would be there in a minute, and a friend would be joining us. Again, the sarcasm came, “Well, where would YOU like us to go.” I was taken aback slightly with her attitude, but before I could respond, she huffed away, mumbling, “We don’t go where we’re not wanted.” Seriously?

So, lately, the few people with whom I’ve had any conversations haven’t been pleasant. My dealings with them made me glad I didn’t see them all the time. Maybe I need to take a train ride! Is it me, or are people getting nastier?



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tidbits for Tuesday

Lots of loose ends in the old brain. First here are some pix – not great, but a general idea.

All my Easter displays

Daffodils where snow once lay!

The Home Redux: My mother’s nursing home started to get lax again, and I had to step in and bark. This time, the aides/nurses kept losing her foot rests and not using a special device she needs, so her feet stay steady. One nurse and one CNA actually brushed me off when I questioned them. So, I went up the chain of command, and I got swift results. Now, that manager checks with me daily to be sure the orders are being carried out. I hate being the heavy, but my mother’s well being is at stake, and I have to advocate for her.

Placard: NJ has a new process for handicapped placards. The application/certification must be renewed every three years. I called my old neurologist since he did the original certification. He only does it if the patient comes in for a full visit. He charges a lot and won’t accept insurance. So I said forget it. My PCP office said they’d do it at no charge. So, I’ll drop off the paperwork today. Even though my SIL is a doctor, I think a lot of them stink!

Weather: We may get rain later, but right now, it’s gorgeous outside. I love riding along, seeing everything in bloom. My dogwoods are just about opened, but not quite there yet. I think by the end of the week, they’ll be in their beautiful glory. We have the little ones coming on Thursday, and I wanted to let them garden, but I’ll have to be sure they won’t be in a lot of mud. And tomorrow we’ll have gale-force winds!

Tanning: I used to always get a gorgeous summer tan, but when the warnings came, and when MS    hit, I avoided the sun. I do miss having a tan, though. I tried a salon tan before my daughter’s wedding. Four visits, and I looked good, but it was a hassle. I have trouble applying the sprays myself. Then on Satan’s Website (aka Pinterest) I saw a homemade tanning solution. You add 2 tablespoons of cocoa to a moisturizing cream and spread on your skin. My questions: wouldn’t it attract insects? Wouldn’t it be sticky? Would it really dye the skin, or just sit on the surface? I think I’ll try it on a small area and see how it works.

Cutter: I really want a Brother Scan and Cut©. I love all the features, and I could use it for so much.  Unfortunately, the cost is a little high ($400) and I just can’t justify it. If some $$ drops in my lap, that little gem will be mine!

That’s all I’ve got. HAPPY EARTH DAY – be kind to our planet.



Monday, April 21, 2014

A Day of Nothingness!

After several days of cooking and preparation, today is my day of doing absolutely nothing!  Seems like a waste, I know, but I need it to recharge my batteries! I can sit outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather, I can snap some photos, I can sneak in a nap, or I can read. Whatever – today is my day.

By last Friday afternoon, I had finished all my precooking, and everything was ready for warming. By doing it in small, slow steps, I kept my strength and sanity. I plan to do the same process each time I have a big dinner coming up. I also had a final count by Friday. Unfortunately, the original number of ten had dwindled to four, but that was fine. It just meant getting more plastic containers to send home food with anyone who wanted it.

Saturday was a good day for me to straighten up and rearrange all my Easter/spring d├ęcor. The little guy set things up the way he liked, but Nanny changed it. I also got some jelly beans to display (and eat) in vases. The table linens came out, and the napkins went into the spring rings I made years ago. My husband polished some extra silver for me because I liked the spring look of them. I had my chosen outfit cleaned, and I was all set.

Yesterday, we had gorgeous sunshine and fairly comfortable temps. I could wear my pale blue top and blazer, with my little Easter bonnet pin. Church was mobbed, but it’s always that way on Easter. We visited my mother afterwards, and then it was home to finish everything. I made the devilled eggs while my husband picked up my son and Kasey the dog. By the time they arrived, I had the breakfast room table filled with goodies, including my salmon spread. When everyone was ready, we had cocktails, and my one son offered to help me get everything ready. I made a yummy glaze for the ham – apricot preserves, a dab of yellow mustard, and bourbon. Once the meat came out to rest, all my pre-made dishes went in to heat up. I cooked the green beans and asparagus, plus a creamy cheese sauce for the latter. Rolls went in to heat, and everything was plated and served. I just purchased a cake, but cut some fondant tulips for the top.

My husband bought me some beautiful plants, and when the little ones come later this week, he’ll let them help to plant them in the front rock garden. Because I was busy with the meal, I didn’t get gifts or cards, but I felt that the meal was my present. I didn’t get any other candy or do up baskets, and no one minded.

Now, I get my day off, and I can breathe a huge sigh that I was able (with help) to plan and prepare a great day. (Maybe photos tomorrow.)



Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Fragments

The week flew by, but this time it really was because of busy-ness!

Food: Yesterday, I completed my pineapple casserole and mac and cheese. Both are tightly sealed and quick frozen until tomorrow night. After I finish writing, I’ll make my spinach quiche and start the devilled eggs. The meats are purchased as are the veggies. After we visit my mom, I’ll go to Wegman’s to get dessert (I just don’t want to add another chore liking making a cake) and some jelly beans. Tomorrow, I’ll just do little things, and on Sunday, I’ll pull it all together. I find that by spreading everything out, I don’t get overwhelmed with MS fatigue. I hope it tastes good!

Ants: When we returned home from my daughter’s last week, I noticed a little ant by the back door. I brushed him out, and forgot about it. Then when I went upstairs, I found a few little ones on the corner of the vanity. I smooshed them, but began to watch. Sure enough, more appeared. I didn’t have time to remove everything and seek the source – my normal approach – because the little guy required my attention. So my husband went out and bought little traps. Viola! They’re gone. Once I have time, I’ll be tearing apart the vanity and making sure a nest doesn’t exist. I really work at keeping everything clean around here, and the thought of bugs makes me nutso!

Spring: It sort of came in glory, and then disappeared for a while! We had nice warm days, then torrential rain on Tuesday, and the temps dropped. Wednesday and yesterday, I needed a jacket outside. Today, it’s chilly now, but I’m hoping it will get warmer. The weekend looks fantastic! The cold didn’t really bother the plants, though. Our tulips are still blooming – I’ll try to cut some for my table. Our dogwood looks ready to burst open any day now. And the magnolias came quickly, and are now shedding – they always do that. If you look at the trees, they’re either blossoming or have that wispy pink, white, or green look. I love spring, and I hope it lasts!

Books: I finished The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud, but I didn’t enjoy it that much. Now I’m reading another Laura Lippman – After I’m Gone, -- and it’s pretty good. A local author – Lisa Scottoline – has a new one out now – Keep Quiet – which I have ordered. (Sad – her mother just passed away in the middle of her book tour.) I still have three books here to finish, and several more on my library list.

That’s all I have to offer. After Easter, I need to get my writing here more organized.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday


I wish I had access to all my old photos, but I have them stored at my daughters. I would love to have shown a photo of my siblings and me at Easter. I have a ton of those kinds of pix because we dressed up each year and my parents loved showing us off! I still have some photos here, but none are that much of a throwback. So, I’ll have to wait until I have time at my daughter’s home to rifle through the bins and get some that would be appropriate here.

In the meantime, I have to get to work on making/freezing some sides for Sunday’s dinner. My husband is at the supermarket now getting my ingredients. (He just called a few minutes ago with questions. I’m accustomed to that call by now!) Today I want to make my pineapple casserole and possibly a mac and cheese. Tomorrow, I’ll get the spinach quiche completed and I’ll make some devilled eggs. I’ll leave the asparagus and green beans until Sunday, along with the appetizers. I have my list, and I’ll just check things off as I finish them.

My usual Thursday with the boys may or may not happen tonight. Husband needs to go to the store, and the boys each have projects which may or may not be completed. I told them either way is fine. I’ll put on a pot of soup and have lunchmeat available for sammies. They’ll get back to me by early afternoon. I’ll see them on Sunday, so it’s not a big deal. My SIL wants to have Easter dinner at their house, but I can’t take the noise of his big family. They understand, and my daughter said she needs to do things very simply as she recovers. The big draw is the new bar area they had built in their basement. It’s huge and looks fantastic, but I wouldn’t be spending my time there at all – too many steps. So, I’ll have the meal here for my boys and possibly my nephew. In a way, it’s hard for me to let go of the reins and cede control of holidays; however, it’s also a relief not to have a house full of people. Time marches on…

 So, in a way, that’s my throwback minus the photos – memories of bygone Easters. I won’t go way back to my time as a child, but I’ll remember the days of my own children’s youth. I can see them in their jammies hunting for eggs around the house (the Dad had to get down early to hide the hard-boiled eggs that I decorated the night before.) The rule here was a good breakfast first, then just one piece of candy. I used to make cute baskets for them, and I included all their favorites. Then it was upstairs to get into their new outfits and off to church. I always had Easter dinner here, and my parents, aunt, and others used to come to celebrate. The kids were always off from school for the week following Easter, and we would plan various trips.

It was a fun time that eventually gave way to just one Easter basket with fewer items, and a smaller number at the dinner table. As my grandies grow, I hope they’ll have some good memories centered on Easter, but I’m afraid I won’t be the one providing them.