January 21, 2014

Happy birthday Mom

Wishing my mom a wonderful 85th birthday today.  

Nutroll making November 2013

What a difference a year makes - this time last year we didn't know that my mom's aortic valve was not working well.  In fact, it wasn't working much either.  But she has recovered well from open heart surgery and this past weekend, we celebrated "Peg-palozza!"

My oldest brother flew in for the weekend on Thursday.  On Saturday, my parents, brother, niece who is staying with my parents, along with my husband and I traveled to North Jersey to meet up with my nephew who lives in North Jersey and son, who is now a New Yorker, at the restaurant where my nephew is a manager.  We enjoyed a long and leisurely late lunch where there was much laughing and carrying on.  And on Sunday, we all met up again at a restaurant in my Pennsylvania home town where my niece works for another lunch.  It was a weekend of eating, story telling and lots of laughing.  A perfect way to celebrate my mom, who has a wonderful Irish sense of humor.

We also got to attend an open house at the home that my mom's family lived in (for almost 100 years) and recently sold after my uncle's passing.  It was sold to some young house flippers who did a wonderful job fixing up the house.  We were able to relay some great stories to the patient real estate brokers who were not fazed when 11 of us in my family showed up and none of us were buyers!  In fact, my mom was born in that house 85 years ago, the baby in a family of 8 children.

Of course, today we celebrated with a snow storm.  Good thing I visited yesterday because getting out of my driveway was kind of hairy today!

November 28, 2013

On being thankful

This Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for.  Even more this year than in years past.

I am thankful for my wonderful husband as we celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary today.  He has been my rock, a terrific father and my best friend.

I am thankful for my awesome son, who has given me the best name, Mom.  I am more proud of him every day.

I am thankful for my parents.  I am so blessed to have them at 91 and 84 years of age and still going strong.

I am thankful for my brothers - I love them both so much.

I am thankful for their families - my sisters-in-law, my three nephews, my niece and my nephew's fiancé.

I am thankful for the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital who took wonderful care of my mom during and after her open heart surgery.  You all rock!

I am thankful that my husband has a good job and allows me to be a stay at home wife and mother.  And this year, it allowed me to be a care giver to my mom and a helper for my dad.

I am thankful that my son has a good job, and will be starting a new one in January.

I am thankful for a loving God, who listens to my prayers and always answers them.  Even if I sometimes don't like the answer.  But He know better than I what I need and He always provides.

I am thankful for wonderful friends, some near and some far.

November 20, 2013

Atlanta in October

While I still haven't gotten pictures from my husband, I will post with limited pictures of my own.

My oldest brother attended college in Atlanta.  And after college, he settled there.  I miss having him close, but we keep in touch and that helps.

So this year, for the first time since the '96 Olympics, we traveled to Atlanta for a visit.

We had a few things planned for this trip - so here's a summary:

Thursday we traveled to Kennesaw to visit with blog friend Sue and her husband.  But on the way there we stopped at Livi-Rae of the Double Diva's fame so I could get fitted for a bra.  It was a great experience.  Then off to see Sue who out did herself as a hostess.  This is the table - just look at that wonderful spread.
 Sue has an absolutely beautiful home.  And to my husband's delight, a lot of cars!  Our husband's got along great and the afternoon was just wonderful.
 Our hostess with the mossest and yours truly.

Friday we ventured into Atlanta to Olympic Park and finally got to see our brick that we purchased during the Olympics.

Then we hit the CNN center.

Saturday we were off to Dawsonville for the 46th annual Moonshine Festival.  It was a cacophony of cars and noise as running moonshine was the early beginnings of NASCAR.  

I think there were about a thousand cars there, most of them classics with a few new ones thrown in.  My husband was in car heaven!

Saturday night, we got to see the legendary Leon Redbone in concert - he was great!

Sunday was an easy day of visiting - a little shopping and dinner out.  

We had a wonderful weekend visiting with my brother and sister-in-law.  Can't wait to visit again!

November 12, 2013

Trip #2

Ma'am you're out of order!

Yep, I am.  Because I need to get photos from my husband from trip #1 to Georgia the last weekend in October, I'll post about trip #2 to Nashville the first weekend of November first.

Nashville was girlfriend's weekend with my bff Nurse Nancy.  We were looking for a getaway weekend and thought that because I've never been to Nashville, and she's only been there once for a conference, and since the Southern Living Idea House was there, that Nashville would be a fun place to visit.

Day one found us on an early (7 am) flight from Newark.  It was uneventful.  We landed in Nashville and proceeded to get a rental car - and since it was a girlfriend weekend, we chose a VW Beetle.  While it was a fun car, it is not for one with bad knees!  We ventured into Nashville, with a few bad directions from Google Maps and a detour for construction, we finally made it.  First up was a tour of the Ryman Auditorium.

We wandered through town and found that there sea a very, very noisy motorcycle weekend going on.  My eardrums were throbbing thanks to the woman in front of us, who was obviously enjoying some drinks and encouraging the cyclists to rev the engines  - most of which were Harley's.  After mass we ate at a great Mexican restaurant - very local place. We called it a night as we had been up since 4 in the AM to catch our early flight out of Newark.

Sunday morning we ventured to the Southern Living Idea House at Fontanel, the former estate of Barbara Mandrell.  This was one of the reasons we chose Nashville for our weekend. It was a great experience to see all the innovative designs and materials used.  Of course we had our won criticisms too.  We are both looking for ideas for our further retirement houses, so looking at show and model homes is a fun thing to do.

First, a few things I liked.

 Cool rain chains.
 Interesting wall paper.

 Cool tile designs.

Interesting light fixtures.

A few things I didn't like were the location - the rear of the house backed up to the road, which I didn't expect.  The kitchen, though large and beautiful, lacked wall ovens, which I have come to love so I don't have to crouch over to use it.  There was no wine fridge which surprised both of us since we fully expected one.  There microwave was installed in the island and was a pull out drawer style.  I couldn't figure out how to clean the top if anything splattered.

We then headed to the Opryland compound to check it out.  Nurse Nancy attended a conference there and was anxious to explore a little more.  So explore we did.

 Beautiful atrium areas.

 Decked out already for the holidays.

We didn't get into the the Grand Ole' Opry - they are getting it ready for the Christmas Rockette Show.

Saw this interestingly dressed woman outside the Opry and again inside the adjacent mall.  Weird.

We met up with Nurse Nancy's cousin for dinner - she's an Army Captain who flies Apache helicopters!  And later went to see Last Vegas to round out a busy day.

On Monday, we headed to the Nashville Antique Archaeology  Store - the second store owned by Mike Wolf of America Pickers fame.  

Cool building and lots of neat stuff.  I settled for a t-shirt.

Then to Franklin Tennessee to see fellow blogger Lauren of The Mental Pause Chronicles, who recently relocated back to her home town from Connecticut.
Mama and Nurse Nancy in a quick shot the parking garage.

After a tour of Franklin and lunch at Puckett's, we headed to The Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson.  It was a glimpse into my retirement as my husband has informed me that when we retire, we are going to visit all of the presidential homes and libraries - just what I wanted to do.  Oh, and we are going to visit lots of antique car museums too.  Aren't' I a lucky girl?

 The rear of the house.
 One of the log houses on the grounds.

The final resting place of the president and his wife.

We were up and out the next day to head back to Newark and reality.  All in all, a wonderful girlfriend's weekend.  Well, except for the cold I caught and, after three trips to two different doctors and one to the ER with an asthma attack brought on by the cold.  I guess we must all take the bad with the good.

October 20, 2013

Possible retirement community????

Last month, we took a trip to North Carolina to visit a friend of my husband's from working in the insurance industry.  We were supposed to visit in April, but my mother's hospitalization with pneumonia and congestive heart failure necessitated postponing our trip until she was stable.  So we took a long, long weekend and visited.

Our friend lives in Southport in a planned community.  My husband has been there before with a group of guys to play golf and was really impressed with the area and was anxious for me to check it out too.  I loved it too.

The community has plenty of golf courses, pools, club houses with restaurants, croquet, tennis and a club for pretty much any activity you can think of.  They have a service group that raises money for many good organizations.  The people we met were friendly and welcoming.

 The view from our friend's deck, overlooking the fairway.

We took our bikes on the ferry to Bald Head Island.  This fellow greeted us on a dock overlooking the water.  We were there for about 10 minutes and he didn't move.  
 The Bald Head Lighthouse provided a wonderful background for a quick pic.  This was taken near the end of the day when we were sweaty, smelly and had ridden our bikes for about fifteen miles all over the island.
My husband captured our friend and I walking to check out some houses on the turtle preserve part of the island.

So we looked at some houses and  found one we really liked.  Of course, we are just a little too far away from retirement to think about purchasing, but we will definitely add this area of our list of places to consider.

Our weekend was fun and relaxing.  And gave us lots to think about.

August 30, 2013


No, not that kind of tripping!  Yesterday I had lithotripsy for a kidney stone.  A new experience for me, but not an awful one.

A few months ago, I experienced symptoms that I thought were from a UTI.  Went to the doctor, got an antibiotic and they went away.  And then they came back.

Because the second and third time they came back, the only symptom was pain.  So I headed to my Ob/Gyn who sent me for a pelvic ultrasound.  No problems there.  So it was off to the urologist.

She sent me for a CAT scan.  Now if you know me, you know that I am very claustrophobic.  The last time I had a CAT scan, I was on the verge of a panic attack.  This time, I was a bit more composed and got through with minimal problems.

And then the phone call came.  The day of my follow up visit with the urologist, I got a phone call to have an X-ray on the way to the visit.  And at the office, I got the good news - a kidney stone lodged between the kidney and bladder.  And the first course of treatment is lithotripsy.

So, off I went yesterday, armed with knowledge from the internet about what would happen.  And it wasn't bad.  I was under anesthesia for the procedure and afterward, was up and walking about.  The pain was minimal, and mostly from passing the stone fragments.

Today I am taking it easy, moving mostly from the couch to the bathroom.  Straining my urine and collecting the stone fragments.  I'm thinking that they might look nice in a locket???

July 24, 2013


It's been months since I blogged.  Too many months.  Many reasons.  Mostly I've been busy because of those reasons.

After our Daytona trip in February, March flew by like a whirlwind.  My nephew came to visit for a week and that meant airport trips, driving him back and forth to see my parents and a quick day trip to the Jersey shore.  He lives landlocked in Texas and missed the Jersey shore.

April was not so great.  One of my mother's sisters passed away shortly after Easter.  She had heart disease and memory issues.  The week after her funeral, my mother went into the hospital with pneumonia and congestive heart failure.  The final diagnosis was aortic stenosis and a blocked artery.  Without surgery, she would only have about a year to live.  The surgery would need to be done in Philadelphia.  Two days after she was discharged, her only living brother, a bachelor, passed away.  And because her only living sister is in a nursing home also with memory issues, my mom became the executor of his estate.

Fast forward to May and a visit to the cardiac surgeon confirmed that she would indeed need surgery. And it was set for the 23.

Sparing the details, her surgery went well and she had no complications, except that she needed to have a pacemaker installed five days after the open heart surgery.  Eight days after her initial surgery, she was released and went home.  And now, almost nine weeks after her surgery, she is doing well and able to return to doing many things.  Most of the first six weeks home, I was at my parents' house as the designated caregiver.  I am so privileged that I have been able to do this.  And with out the support of my wonderful husband, who encouraged me to be there to help, I wouldn't have been free to be there.  And the help of my oldest brother, who came for a week so that my husband and I could attend a conference in California that was planned a while before her surgery.

One thing that struck me was that my dad, after 62 years of marriage, was truly her pillar.  He is amazing.  At almost 91, he does so much around the house that my mom has problems doing.

So, now that life has settled down a bit, I hope to get back to writing.  And getting my house back in order!