Sunday, December 22, 2013

I'm alive and well!

October was a blur, November was two cataract surgeries, and I'm not sure what happened to December! I can't believe Christmas is so close, and on December 26 Rapid Rover comes at 5 a.m. to pick us up for a 7.30 a.m. flight to Seattle!

Us is me, Steph, Dan, Toast and Whiskey. Their move to Portland is really happening! Dan's car arrived at Manda's today, the pod with their belongings is en route, and we fly out Thursday. They'll spend Boxing Day at Manda and Ben's, then Friday they'll drive to Portland- a 4 hour drive- and the pod will be there and they'll move into their apartment. Steph's car has been sold, and she'll get a company car out there. 

I'll stay with Amaryllis and her parents until New Year's Day, when I have an 11 a.m. PST flight back here, and back to work January 2. Amary is so bright and alert- we facetime frequently- and I can't wait to see her again. They had snow on Friday! It was 50 here!

I've done some sewing, and it felt great. Some receiving blankets and burp diapers for a baby shower, and some flannel pillowcases for Mom, Manda and Ben. Mom had bought 3 panels that make a baby book each, and I sewed them for her. 

Now I have the urge to crochet snowflakes for next year. I've never used crochet cotton, which is like string. I printed a free pattern from a website, and I have to get the cotton and the tiny little hook. I figure I'll take it with me to Manda's and work on it in our down time. 

I've only read a few books this month. I'm not sure why, I did most of my shopping online. 

Sly and Tina have us trained well. When you go into a bathroom, Sly races ahead, jumps in the tub, and looks at you expectantly. He wants the faucet turned on to a trickle, so he can drink. His other trick is racing to the slider so he can be let out onto the porch. He loves to watch the birds and the squirrels.

Tina sits on the table next to Ralph's recliner and looks at him til he sits down and puts a towel on his lap. Then she gets on the towel and settles in. 

And that's what's going on in my world!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I'm still here!

I was so not in blog mode! Since the last blog entry, I've had cataract surgeries with lens implants to both eyes. The first time,  I was terrified! Everyone who has had it done assured me that it's so easy, but I was still afraid.
It was kind of surreal. They give you some happy juice in the IV, and you kind of drift, and the next thing you know it's over! With the first eye the doc recommended I get the super lens, because of my astigmatism. I did, even tho it wasn't cheap. The second eye only needed the standard lens.
I still taking drops in my eyes, and I have to use cheaters for anything close.
My first post from the iPad!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

More Sadness

Manda's eighteen year old cat Sunshine AKA Kitten died. Friday morning. Kitten started her life here in NJ. Heather was working at our local grocery store and someone found two tiny kittens in the storeroom. Heather brought home one, and a co-worker took the other. Kitten decided Manda was her person. 

When Manda graduated college and moved to Houston, she came home and took Kitten to Houston with her, where Kitten was happy to be an only cat. She bonded with Ben during their evacuation from a hurricane, and looked to him to protect her. When they were transferred to Seattle, Kitten flew with them there. 

Kitten had a long and happy life, and died next to Manda with Manda petting her. What more can any of us ask? 

Deaths come in threes, (no matter what Ralph says), and the third was Ed and Jeanne's ancient little dog, Missy. Jeanne said even when she was deaf and almost blind, Missy knew when it was mealtime! She slept in a suitcase in the closet, and she'd emerge when it was time to eat. Missy will be missed by Ed and Jeanne. 

All the arrangements are made for Florence's viewing and funeral and burial. Her apartment is all cleaned out, and her clothes have been donated to Goodwill. We have two boxes of her "stuff" here. We were saying how sad it is that everyone has their treasures, and when they pass, what do you do with them? 

Tomorrow morning I go for visual fields testing, to make sure there's no glaucoma, then my cataract surgery can be scheduled. The doc will implant a special lens to correct the astygmatism, and give me wonderful distance vision. When the second eye is done, I won't need glasses except to read, and I'll be able to use cheaters for that! I've worn glasses all the time since 4th grade! I'll have to get my eyebrows done! I can buy sunglasses that aren't prescription! Wow! 

And the beat goes on.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A sad day

I had just gotten to work this morning when Ralph called to tell me that his mom passed away. She had gone to the nurses station for pain meds, which they gave her. The nurse did the charting, turned around and Florence was gone. Very peacefully and quietly, which is what we wanted for her. She had her 91st birthday last week.

We meet with the funeral director tomorrow afternoon to make the arrangements. 

When Ralph called me, I contacted my girls to let them know. Heather immediately felt like she had to do something, but didn't know what. Ralph told me to stay at work, since there was nothing to be done today. I did, but I was antsy all day- I felt like I should be doing something. It ended up that Heather and the kids came up when they got home from school, and Steph and Dan came over, and we all went to the diner to eat. Tomorrow morning Heather is coming up and she and Ralph will go wash Florence's clothing and donate it to Goodwill. 

After we see the funeral director, I have an appointment with the cataract doctor, and hopefully can get a date for surgery, and hopefully it will be soon. 

And the beat goes on.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Ten days ago I started coughing my head off at work. By the time I got home, I knew I was coming down with bronchitis. I had it last year at this time, and it was awful. I took tussin DM and went to bed, and was in bed mostly all weekend, exhausted and weak. I was able to get a doc appointment, and was given my first ever neb treatment- whew, does that make you jittery! I was put on a medrol pack and an inhaler. 90% of bronchitis is viral, which means treat the symptoms, but no antibiotic. By then Ralph had it too. 

I was out of work 4 days, and slept most of them. Yesterday and today I came home from work and slept for 2 hours. I just can't get over the fatigue. The wheezing is gone, and the coughing is mostly gone. Ralph is still coughing, and has only been able to lay down to sleep the past 2 nights. So I kind of lost a week! 

I only read 8 books in September, all from the library. I was even too sick to read! Forget quilting, my head was too fuzzy. I did a little crocheting near the end of the week. 

Florence continues to decline. She doesn't recognize Ralph most of the time, and she's in the wheelchair all the time, and the aides feed her. She just turned 91, and it's so sad. 

My favorite Eddie turned 10! How did that sweet, tiny baby turn into a handsome young man so fast? He rides dirt bikes, kayaks, loves his dog Honey, and reprograms his mom's iPad! 

Ralph also had a milestone birthday, he turned 65. Because he is my dependent on insurance, his new medicare is his backup. 

Ralph downloaded an app to put pix on here from the iPad, and if I ever feel totally human again I'll play with it. 

Work is great, other than the whole getting up early in the morning to go there part. 

I'll leave Amaryllis and Steph and Dan for the next post!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

I'm still here!

I haven't been in blog mode. I was having trouble with my right eye, the vision was just off. I went to my regular eye doc, who took some pictures and said that I have cataracts starting, but he didn't think that was the problem. He thought something was happening with my retina- not what I wanted to hear! So my primary gave me a referral to a retinologist.

By the time my appointment came up, I was a nervous wreck, convinced I would lose the sight in that eye. I asked Ralph to go with me for moral support and for another set of ears.

After a short exam, the retinologist said my retinas are fine, I have cataracts and that's what's causing the blurriness! I could have cried, I was so relieved! Cataracts are so fixable! I now have an appointment with the cataract doc, as the retinology group doesn't do cataracts. I'm so happy to live now- 40 years ago when my Mom had cataract surgery, she was in the hospital for 8 days. She said they stuck her with needles all around and in the eye! Now it's all drops, and you're home on the couch by lunchtime. 

I was so worried about my eye, I haven't been able to concentrate on much. I did a little bit of sewing, and no crocheting. A little reading, a little computer time. And it's Labor Day weekend, and fun time is over! Back to the Salt Mines on Tuesday!

And I'm working on pix.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Amaryllis Jane has arrived in Washington!

I flew to Sea-Tac Airport on July 12. Manda's due date was July 15, and Amary arrived on July 19.
The day after I arrived, we went to the Space Needle for brunch, which is a fabulous, though pricey, experience. Sunday we went out to lunch, then to a yarn store and a quilt shop. The rest of the week Manda was working from home, so we'd go out to lunch each day, and she'd work and I'd read or play on the iPad the rest of the day.
Friday morning Ben woke me up 6ish to tell me Manda was in labor. At 9.30 we called Heather, our resident labor expert, and she advised Manda to call the doc. She was told to head to the hospital. Things progressed rapidly, and baby was born at 12.54 p.m. Manda and Ben took a good look at her, counted her fingers and toes, and announced that her name is Amaryllis Jane. She weighed 8 lbs, 14.2 ounces, and was 20.5 inches long.
The evening the pediatrician said she is perfect, which we already knew. The hospital is set up with labor-delivery-mother/infant rooms, so Amary never left the room until she was 24 hours old and had to go to the nursery for bloodwork. Ben went with her, then they were discharged! Even though she's a good weight, she still looks so tiny!

Amary is now 2 weeks old, and I came home Thursday. She's staying awake longer, and showing an interest in her surroundings. Manda sent me a pic last night of her carrying Amary in a sling. Amary's working on sleeping for a long stretch at night, so Manda can get some real rest. 

I just put the question up on the HGTV boards how to post to the blog pix from the iPad, and I hope to be able to do that soon. Amary puts me in mind of Heather when she was a tiny baby, with the same shaped head and dark hair. 

I'm so glad Amary was born during the summer, and I was able to spend almost 3 weeks in Mill Creek. 

Back on the home front, Florence is not doing well. Ralph was spending nights there, with an aid being there 3-11, but that was really hard on him. This week he and Frank had an aid start 7p to 7a, and Ralph goes up 3-7p, which is a pain but easier on him. 

And so it goes!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Almost ready to go!

I fly to Sea-Tac tomorrow night! I leave Philly at 6 pm our time, and get there at 9 pm their time. It's a 6 hour flight, with a 3 hour time difference. Rebecca is picking me up at the airport, just in case. My clothes have been shipped, and I have to just take a tote bag as a carry on. 

We had a scare last night, DMIL Florence fell in the bathroom and her hip hurt, so the asst living sent her to the ER. Ralph was in the ER with her all night. The xray was negative, so they sent her back. 

I had a dead battery in my van the other night, luckily in the garage. We'd done a bunch of errands during the day, so it could have been worse. The battery was under warranty, so we didn't have to pay full price for a replacement. 

Manda, Ben and I are going to the Space Needle for brunch Saturday, unless Baby Girl arrives before then. I've been to the one in Niagra Falls, years ago, and the view was fantastic, so I'm looking forward to this. 

I'll have a social life in WA! My online friend BJ wants to meet up, and so does another casual online friend, Handie Annie. It's fun to meet up with women that I've been talking to online for years. 

I'm not a happy flier, and I haven't flown since December 2009. But 6 hours in the air vs 3 days on a train is no contest. I haven't not flown due to fear, it was due to being so sick in early 2010, then needing and getting a new knee. No word from aetna about when they and Kennedy will be dealing with each other again. 

I'm taking my iPad, Kindle, and a crochet project. My boarding pass is printed out, and I have a list of things to pack tomorrow morning. I'm as ready as I'll ever be!

And so it goes!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Stephanie is 30!

Thirty years ago today Stephanie Susan was born. She was tiny, at 7 pounds, and a few days early. We thought she'd be born on the 6th to share John's birthday, but she wanted her own birthday. Contrary and bossy, even being born! She was positioned "sunny side up" and when she decided to turn and be born, she doc almost missed it. The nurse was yelling "pant don't push" and Ralph and I were panting. 

Steph was the only baby that we didn't have a name picked out for ahead of time. Ralph wanted Alicia, and I said only if I died in childbirth. I don't remember having a favored name. After two days, the nurses gave us a name book, because she had to have a name to go home. When we got to "Stephanie" we both liked the name. Susan was because my middle name is Sue, and Ralph's grandmom's name was Susie. Stephanie Sue sounded like a country western song, so we went with Susan. At the time, the movie Grease 2 was on HBO, and all of Heather's friends thought Steph was named for the character in the movie. 

Manda was just over 2, and Stephanie was a mouthful for a toddler who didn't talk much, so she became Bepps, and she'll still answer to it. 

Steph just got her Master's Degree, Summa Cum Laude, from St. Joseph's University in Philly. It's in Fire Science and Public Safety Administration. She also got engaged this year to Dan Ruscansky, and they've set a wedding date of 10-12-14. 

They're away this weekend celebrating her birthday, and the  horde of dogs is here annoying my cats. The dogs are getting up there in years, and Toast can't do steps or jump at all. Whiskey is more limber. 

And the beat goes on! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1

The year is half over! How did that happen? I think June was as long as the other five months put together. Manda is 38 weeks today! Baby Girl will join a lot of other July babies- Steph, Dan, John, Nadia, Juliette, Helen, Polly, my late grandfather, Mackenzie, and Connor.

Today starts our first full week of summer break, finally! I've finished up the crochet projects that I wanted to get dome before Baby Girl arrives. Now I'm using the accuquilt Go to cut up fabric from the scrap bin into 6 inch squares. Nice, mindless activity. 

Ralph started swimming lessons! I'm so excited- it's the first step in getting him on a cruise ship! When we were talking at Sharon's about a dinner cruise off Cape May, he said he thought taking lessons would make him less afraid of the water. He was able to find a series of lessons that started last Monday. He feels like he did well. Of course, we had to run out and get him a bathing suit before he could start. 

My baby will be 30 this week! I was 30 when she was born, so this is the year that I'm double her age. To celebrate turning 30, she and Dan are going away for the weekend, which means the dogs are coming here. It'll be their first overnight stay since the cats arrived, which will be interesting. The dogs are used to cats, but we don't know if the cats have ever been around dogs. 

I'm mailing my clothes to Manda this week, so I don't have to pay the airline for luggage costs. And I'll only need one tote, to carry my pillow, iPad, and Kindle and their chargers. All the electronics that are so important to me, that didn't exist 10 years ago. Amazing! 

And rain! I'm so sick of the daily monsoon that we've been having! And when it's not raining, it's so humid and hot that I don't even want to be outside. I'm looking forward to the cooler temps of WA. 

I read a lot in June! 24 books, 14 on the kindle. I only have one book on request at the library, because I won't be here for over two weeks. 

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Another school year ending! Finally!

The kids got done Friday, and staff has to go in tomorrow. June was such a long month, and knowing that our district is the last to get out doesn't help. But the end is in sight!

And Ralph is home! He went off on Amtrak to visit Manda and Ben- 6 days total travel time, 8 days visiting. He worked thru and completed their entire to do list! The cats and I really missed him. They're used to having him around during the day, and I'm used to him being here at night. 

We just turned the AC back on- it got to 80 in the house, and the humidity is awful. While Ralph was gone, all it did was rain and rain! 

Aetna and Kennedy Health haven't made nice yet, so no new left knee for me. The right one will be a year old this week- that went fast. 

July 12 I leave for WA! But I'm going the sensible way, via a 5 hour direct flight. I'll just have to suck it up and pee on the plane. I'll be there til the end of July, and the day after I leave, Polly and Randy arrive. Baby Girl is due July 15, and the docs don't let anyone go more than a week past due date. I'm not a happy flier, but the train would turn me into a raving lunatic. 

I just finished the baby cocoon, and I'm working on the matching hat. I've also read a lot this month-15 books already! 

I'm planning my next WA trips. In November we have 5 days off for convention, and I'm heading out. Heather and the kids may go with me. The day after Christmas Steph says she'll go with me, and she said she'll go over Easter break with me as well. She and Dan are also going over Labor Day. 

We were at Sharon and Jim's for Connor's and MacKenzie's birthday parties yesterday, so we got to visit with Frank and Charlotte. Steph and Dan came along, and were telling us about a 2 hour dinner cruise off Cape May, and Ralph said he'd be willing to try it! Yay! A good step in the direction of a cruise! 

And so it goes!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day- another Hallmark Holiday!

After a week of alternating rain/monsoons and nice days, the humidity is creeping up again. At least there is a nice breeze blowing. 

Last night Steph and I went to Julianna's dance recital. The classes of little kids were adorable, and the older classes were very talented. But it went on too long. Some groups did five or six dances- enough already! We were zoning out by the end, and of course the owner of the dance studio had to thank everyone and their uncle for their help. 

Afterward we went out for pizza, and happened to go to the place where a lot of the dancers and families went. Julianna was thrilled to be able to run around and play with her friends, and Steph and I got to visit with Ed and Heather. Steph and I left around midnight, and the party was still going strong. 

And today is Father's Day. I miss my Dad everyday. Fathers play such an important role in kid's lives- I think a lot of the problems with kids in poor urban areas is that they don't have the positive influence of a father. Unmarried moms do their best, but it's not always enough. 

To go off on a tangent, I really hate the term single mother. What's wrong with widow, divorcee, or unmarried mother? And baby mama is the absolute worst.

When my Dad died, I lost the only person in the whole world who thought I was perfect. Lots of people love me, but they recognize that I have flaws- lots of them. Dad never saw the flaws, he just saw his Punkin. 

Facebook is buzzing with Father's Day wishes this morning. My niece Juliette had the greatest post- she thanked her dad for being the man who taught her that she should be treated like the wonderful person she is. I've only met Juliette's dad a few times, but he must be one fantastic dad. 

My son in law Ed O'Flynn is a fantastic dad. His favorite thing is to spend time with Heather, Eddie and Julianna. My son in law Ben Briles will be a dad next month, when Baby Girl arrives. He will also be a hands on, attentive dad. He already reads to Baby Girl, thru Manda's belly! My nephews Kevin, Jim and Joe are all great dads too! Joe is new at it, since Joey is only almost 5 months old. 

So even tho it's a Hallmark Holiday, Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

It's Amanda's Birthday!

I can't believe Manda is 32, and will be a mom next month! When they were home for the baby shower, we were going thru pix of her. Ben wants a big bald smooshie baby like Manda was! Whatever Baby Girl looks like, she'll be adorable. Right now she's almost 35 weeks, and about 5 pounds! 

I sent Manda the absolute best birthday gift, and they retrieved the gift from the train this afternoon! She's thrilled with her gift, LOL. 

It was hot, then it was nice, then it was rainy, and now the heat is starting to creep up again- ick. 

I'm working on what was a secret project, but I told Manda about it. It's a baby cocoon, something that I never heard of til 2 weeks ago. Sorta like a baby sleep sack. It took me forever to get a hang of the pattern, but now it's moving right along. It might have a hat to go along with it. 

11 more school days til summer break. Not vacation, because vacations are paid and summer break is not. I'll go to Mill Creek right before Baby Girl is due. 

Jake's birthday is tomorrow. Even tho he says on facebook that he'll be 27, he'll really be 13. Every time I see the kid he's taller! 

And now it's bedtime!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's too hot!

For the past few weeks the weather has been totally goofy. 90 one day, 60 the next. High pollen and then rain. Right now we're in a stretch of 90+ degree days. Ralph finally broke down and turned on the AC this morning- he was painting and Sharon came to clean, so on it went. It'll be on til at least Sunday. 

I had a routine doc visit today. It was supposed to be a pre-op clearance, but since Aetna and Kennedy are still at a standoff, no surgery can be scheduled. Afterwards, we met Steph and Dan for dinner at Burger 21, where they have the best over sweet potato fries and dips. Poor Toast had to go see Uncle Vet, and now she's on meds. 

It's almost the weekend! And it's getting closer to the end of the school year, and to the time when Baby Girl will arrive! This week she's 4.5 pounds and the size of a pineapple! As Heather said, hopefully her head isn't pointy like a pineapple! 

The cats don't like the heat either. They stretch out on the tile floor, and were thrilled when we turned on the AC. 

So it's spring in Jersey!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

We live in the land of the free because of the brave. We have a lot of Veterans in our family. Ralph served in the Navy in Vietnam, my Dad was Navy in WWII and Korea, my grandpop was WWI, also in the Navy. Uncle Pete was another Navy guy. My cousin George Yardley is recently retired, and his son George is still serving. Ayesha is out, thank goodness, and safe. Ralph's dad was a Marine. My mom had Uncles in various branches of the service. My internet group has Carol and Sandie, as well as a lot of husbands. Bob Lemoine is another Navy Vet., and David Doone also served his country. Jean's son Jim was yet another Navy Seabee. Thanks to all of you! 

Today is also our 41st anniversary! We share the date with Brian and Jackie, who are celebrating their 18th. 

We slept in til almost 9, then went to Bob Evans to use our breakfast coupon. When we got home, Ralph went to the Memorial Day ceremony at the Monument, and I started laundry. 

I started a new crochet project, which I'm not ready to talk about til I make sure it'll work. I spent the last two days looking for the mat for my accuquilt, as I have a quilt project I also want to get going. I went thru every bin in the dining room, the closet in the sewing room, and finally found it hiding under two bags in the guest room.

The builder finally fixed the leak around the skylight! So now Ralph is re-building the closet in the guest room. When he finishes that, the containers of fabric will be able to go back in the guest room, and the dining room can go back to being a dining room! Imagine that! 

And May is on it's way out! Freakiest May ever, weather wise. Heat, humidly, pollen, cold, wind- we've had it all this May. 

And so it goes!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

So proud!

The Oehrl/Garemore family are kind of slow starters. It takes us a while to figure out what we want to do, but when we decide, it's full speed ahead. Amanda, is of course the exception- she knew what college degree she wanted, started right after high school, and went straight thru and graduated, then later went to a different college for her Master's in Physics. 

I was 28 when I started college. I had a husband, a house, a couple of kids, dogs, and cats. But I decided I was ready. It took 7 years, and a change in majors, but I did it. Graduated from Rutgers with a BSN. I kept my goals realistic- I wanted to have a 3.0 GPA, and I managed a 3.1. Not that a single person has ever asked! 

Heather was another late starter, but again, when she decided she wanted to go for a BSN, she forged ahead and got it. 

And then there's Stephanie. She took some classes, but didn't have a major in mind. She got a job for a temp agency, and they sent her to ISO- Insurance Services Organization. As soon as she started there, they loved her and went thru the steps to hire her. They also encouraged her to go to college, and paid for it. She got her associate degree at Camden County College, and then applied to Holy Family University, which offers a degree in Fire Science. She did fabulously, and should have graduated with honors. Silly college said that since she didn't do all her classes there, they could give her honors. She was robbed!

 She then applied to St. Joseph's University in Philly, for a Master's in Fire Science and Public Safety Administration. Her work kept paying for the classes and supporting her. She just graduated from St. Joe's, Summa Cum Laude! We are certainly not surprised, but we are thrilled and so proud of her!

She didn't walk, because- and how ridiculous is this- it costs over $300 to walk! All the tuition money she paid them, and they want her to pay to walk? Not likely. 

Congratulations Stephanie! We love you and we're so proud of you! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Hallmark Holiday!

I'm sure the person who started Mother's Day did so with the best of intentions, Take a day to honor your mother, tell/show her how much she means to you. Then Hallmark got hold of the idea, and boom! Commercialization! On the radio Friday they were having a big debate as to whether men should spend the day with their wives or mothers. One wise reader suggested spending the day with both. 

Another one is Grandparents Day, which Hallmark invented several years ago- I refuse to acknowledge that one. Or maybe I should buy Hallmark stock and be a cheerleader for all the Hallmark Holidays! 

And maybe some families do need the nudge of a holiday to spend time with moms. My family never has- I talk to my mom almost every day, and Ralph sees his mom at least twice a week. My girls either call me or I call them at least once a week, and Manda and Steph email me almost every day. So I'm blessed that way. 

Manda, Ben and Kitten, along with Becca, are all moved in and making good headway with unpacking boxes. Kitten is managing the steps just fine, which was a worry for Manda. And Ben cut his very own lawn for the first time! 

No word from ortho about aetna, so I guess they're still not playing well with Kennedy Hospital. 

Ralph put in a new thermostat last fall, and it worked fine all winter. Friday he was downstairs and heard a hissing from the heater, never a good thing, and smelled a smell. He turned off the heater (along with the hot water!) and we called Dan M. the heater guy. He and Ralph decided the thermostat has most likely fried a control on the heater, and he'll be out of Wednesday to fix it. That means showering at Mom's for a few days- good thing we only live 2 blocks from her! 

I'm still hooked on that stupid Candy Crush Saga game, along with half the world. But I have cut back on the time I waste on it. 

Sly and Tina are settled in well. Sly loves the porch, and the window in our bedroom. Tina loves the basement, and sitting on Ralph's lap. Sly will come up and head butt you til you pet him. I still miss Miss Millie and Cliffie so badly that thinking about them makes me want to cry. 

And so it goes!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

It's May!

The weather has been gorgeous- 60's and 70's during the day, chilly at night. A few nights we were able to sleep with the windows open, which makes the cats very happy. The weather in the midwest was terrible, with May snow. We were afraid Manda and Ben would be caught in the snow, but they lucked out and didn't see any. 

It's been a quiet weekend- my favorite kind. We went to Bob Evans for breakfast yesterday, and they have new thing- 4 servings of several items to go for $5. We got chicken salad, broccoli cheddar soup, and cole slaw to go. For once we thought ahead and took a cooler with us, and Ralph was able to buy hoagies supporting some organization. We went from breakfast to Office Max and got a new desk chair- the other one was leaning to one side. 

On Thursday I took a half day off work and went to the Memorial Service for Roseann's father. The service was short and very nicely done. We got to see her grandchildren at the funeral luncheon, which was also very nicely done. 

Niece Brittany has a new baby boy, and I just finished making him my usual baby gift- an afghan, a few oversized receiving blankets, and some burp clothes. 

I've gotten hooked on this dumb facebook game of Candy Crush, and I'm wasting entirely too much time on it. I'm trying to cut down, as of today. 

I'm between crocheting projects. I got out a baby afghan that I started years ago, and I have to sit and figure out how to follow the pattern. 

Baby Girl is a spaghetti squash this week. Tomorrow Manda will be 31 weeks- not real long to go! 

No word from ortho, but I didn't expect anything. I'm resigned to waiting til August at least. Knock wood, the knee pain is constant but only about a 1-2 on a scale of ten. 

I went into Joann's Fabric to buy a specific magazine Friday, and only bought it! I was most proud of myself. I looked around a little, then pictured my shelves and checked out and left. 

And the beat goes on!         

Sunday, April 28, 2013


I saw ortho Friday. I was already to book my other knee replacement surgery. I had talked to Aetna, and they said a waiver was possible. But Mrs. Parker, the surgical scheduler, told me the rest of the story. A waiver is possible, if I had out of network benefits, which I don't. And I'd be stuck with a several thousand dollar balance! And Dr. M. only usually operates out of Kennedy. Mrs. P said she keeps hearing rumors, and they all have the date of May 31, so maybe something will change. 

So it looks like no new knee before the arrival of Baby Girl. The other possibility is having it done when I get back from WA, and missing the beginning of the school year. If Aetna and Kennedy have made up. The xrays look awful, bone on bone, and don't reflect the pain that I'm having right now. So I'm in a waiting pattern, and Mrs. P will call me when she hears something concrete. 

Barbara was down yesterday afternoon, and she quilted this year's Farm Fair Raffle Quilt. So that's two baby quilts and a full sized quilt that went up on the HQ this month! I'm getting more comfortable using the big machine.

Today I'm making crockpot lasagna, which will also serve us tomorrow. Manda told me how to make pulled pork in the crockpot, so I got the shoulder roast and that can cook all day Tuesday. Yesterday Ralph made hot dogs on the new grill, and we had potato and macaroni salad with them. 

I talked to my friend Pat on the phone yesterday. We hadn't talked in a while, but we always pick up liked we'd talked to each other 5 minutes before. 

Mom Florence has fallen twice this week, with (knock wood) no injury. She said she had a good time at the shower last week, but we can tell that she can't tell which of her granddaughters is which, with the possible exception of Manda. 

Manda and Ben had settlement on their house! From the pictures, it looks really nice, and will be a great place for Baby Girl to arrive. Next weekend they go to Nebraska to a midwestern baby shower, then Manda's flying days are over for a bit. 

April is almost over. I've read 12 books this month, only 2 on the kindle. The rest were from the library. I put together and quilted the two baby quilts, and I made six oversized receiving blankets for Baby Girl. 

Sly and Tina are settled in. It'll be six weeks tomorrow since they came to live here. They love the basement and the porch, and Tina jumps on Ralph the minute he sits down. Sly is starting to sleep with us occasionally. Marco emailed Ralph that Tina never sat on his lap! I'm sorry Marco had to give up his cats, but they sure got the better of the deal! 

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, April 21, 2013


It was such a nice weekend, and it went by entirely too fast. Friday evening Ben and Manda arrived at Philly Airport. Steph and Dan picked them up and whisked them off to look at a wedding venue that is being considered. I was talking to Mom on the phone when I heard giggling in the kitchen, so I knew they arrived. We called John, who was also up for a long weekend, so he could come see them. 

We stayed up late talking and visiting. Manda is almost 29 weeks pregnant, and looks adorable. The reason they came to Jersey was for the baby shower we were giving them. 

Saturday morning Ralph and I went to get the cake, and then Ralph went to get his mom. I drove the cake, Ben and Manda to the shower. It was at Masso's Red Pine Inn in Glassboro. Heather and Steph had done some decorating, and arranged some games. 

After everyone got there, the buffet was opened up. The food never disappoints at Masso's. After we ate, one game was played, and the gifts started being opened. Everyone had been asked to give a book instead of a card, and they got a wonderful selection of books. They got beautiful gifts, and a lot of gift cards. Our family and friends are practical, and anything large was either shipped to them, or they were given a picture of it and a gift card or check. 

Halfway thru the gifts they took a break, and the cake was cut. The rest of the gifts were opened and admired, and another game was played. More visiting and table hopping, and then it was over!

Steph and Dan, Heather and Julianna, and Mom and John came back to our house to eat leftover shower food and admire the gifts. A lot of the gifts were able to be packed in Manda's suitcase and the Vera Bradley diaper bag that Pat sent her. 

After everyone else left, Ben, Manda and I stayed up til after midnight. Manda is very concerned about Kitten, who is 18 and in declining health, and we talked about that., and about the house they are buying. 

This morning more leftovers were eaten, and Ralph brought Mom Florence over for meatballs. Then Dan and Steph picked up the parents to be and they went for a walk at Paintworks and then got lunch. Manda was in need of a panzarotti, and the rest got sandwiches. All too soon it was time for them to pack up and head out. They are in the air right now on the way back to Sea-Tac Airport. 

It's been a long while since I cried when they've left, but I did today. Mill Creek is all the way across the country, and today I feel the distance. I'm so happy that they are buying a house, both have jobs, and Baby Girl will be arriving in July. I just miss them. Part of it is that we have no idea when they will be back. Baby Girl will be so little at Christmas that it's real doubtful that they'll want to travel with her. Plus a new house comes with a new mortgage, and flights aren't cheap. 

I'll be going out to pamper Manda after Baby Girl is born, so I'll see them in late July or early August. In the meantime I'll have plenty to keep me busy. 

And, sigh, tomorrow is Monday again.   

Monday, April 8, 2013

The party's over

Spring break is over, and I went back to work today. Every day I say I'm going to do a post with pix, but Ralph's never around when I want to post. Tonight he's around, but he's got a lap full of Tina cat. 

It's 3 weeks today that Sly and Tina came to live with us. They are settling in very nicely. Sly loves to look out the window, and he sleeps under our bed- and he snores! Tina hides out in the fabric closet, and has gotten over her shyness with us- as soon as Ralph sits down, she's right there! 

Last week was Easter, and we had a great time at Mike and Donna's. I got to give Baby Joey his bottle and hold him for a while. We had so much food! Ham, lasagna, ziti and meatballs, and the things I made. Donna made a fabulous sangria, and I had 2 half glasses before switching to iced tea. 

It was wonderful being off for a week. I got the two baby quilts for Baby Girl up on the HQ and quilted them. I'm very happy with how they came out- now I need to bind them. I also have flannel to make receiving blankets and burp clothes from. I also took a nap several days, read a little, and cooked a little. Friday I took my mom to her eye doc appt- two hours of my life I'll never get back. Her appt was 10.20, they took her and several others to the back, where she said they sat for an hour til the eye doc saw her. The patients were all old, and they must find waiting that long acceptable- I sure don't. All the people waiting, me included, were complaining to the receptionist. I told Mom if she ever has to go back, I'm making the appt and making it clear that there is a limit to how long we will sit. 

And I really am going to get pictures up!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The cats are here!

Our ten year old pre-owned cats arrived Monday. As the previous owner, Marco, was carrying them up our steps the handle came off the carrier and they rolled a couple of steps. Not a great beginning. When the carrier was opened and Ralph left the room, they went into hiding and stayed hidden til the middle of the night. 

Sylvester, the boy, is huge! He's at least 20 pounds! His sister Satina, "Tina", is smaller but still hefty. We thought she might be invisible for the first few days, because we never saw her. The last few nights she's been sociable at 4 a.m. They're still exploring their new house. 

Eventually they'll stand still long enough for me to get pictures. 

We're going to Mike and Donna's tomorrow for Easter dinner. I made Joseph's Trifle, banana split dessert, and cream cheese/tomato dip tonight. Tomorrow morning I'll make pineapple stuffing, brussels sprouts, and crescent hot dogs. We're taking Mom Florence with us. She enjoys going to Mike and Donna's- as soon as she sits down, Mike hands her a glass of wine. 

Tomorrow is also Big Mike's birthday- he'll be 57. 

We're off from work all week. Monday my car is going in the shop to get the oil changed, brakes checked, and the window motor checked. Friday Mom has an eye doc appt. This is the 3rd one she's had- she has a habit of cancelling if snow is forecast, without waiting to see if it actually snows. 

My goal for the week is to make Baby Girl's quilts for the shower, which is coming up fast. She's the size of an ear of corn this week. I just finished her afghan. 

And another week is over!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

It's spring! On paper, anyway. We're supposed to get snow tomorrow, but the last several times snow has been predicted, it's been only a dusting. We'll see. 

Steph and Dan will be home this afternoon, so the dogs will go home. They've been really good all week, we only had to go out in the middle of the night once. It'll be nice to go back to our no-dog routine. And the cats are coming tomorrow! Ralph keeps forgetting to ask their names. He's excited that they are coming to live with us. 

Baby Girl was a large mango for the past week. We're giving a baby shower for them on April 20, which should be fun. I've gotten some small, cute gifts for her. And Manda and Ben bought a house for Baby Girl! They have settlement right after the shower. The house is in Mill Creek, their preferred town. It looks beautiful in the pictures. 

We have a short work week- half day Thursday, off Friday and the whole next week! I'm ready for a break. I used 4 sick days in September when I had bronchitis, and one personal day in October, for Dave and Juliette's wedding, and I've been at work every other day. I have 31 sick days built up, and I'm hoarding them. I learned when I was so sick in 2010 and used 70 sick days in a row, to not waste them, because you never know what is going to happen. 

I plan to use the week off to construct two crib sized quilts for Baby Girl. I was in Joann's Fabrics, and took pix of the baby panels with my phone. Ralph emailed them to Manda for me, and she picked the ones she liked. I also have flannel for some receiving blankets and for burp cloths. 

Julianna was named a STAR at school! And Eddie went to the Meteor race with Ed, and took his bike, and he was taking scores back and forth. 

Today would have been my grandmother Alice's birthday. Next Sunday is Big Mike's birthday. Mom has been teasing that he's now the patriarch of the family, since he's a grandfather. But she adds that she's still the matriarch, which trumps patriarch. 

Ralph is off on his Sunday morning visit with his mom. She's continuing to decline, and he's so sad. 

And the roofer guy finally came, and diagnosed a leak by the skylight. It needs flashing, wood, and shingles, but will cost a lot less than I was afraid of!
Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Top of the Morning to You!

It's St. Patrick's Day! My grandmother was Alice Carson from County Down. She and her sister Charlotte emigrated to the US in the 19teens. They almost missed the boat because they were getting their hair done! They were orangemen, or Irish Protestants. Alice married my grandfather, Michael Joseph Oehrl, who had a German family history. Pop was a lapsed Catholic, and Alice hated Catholics to the point that she wouldn't call him Michael, which is a traditional Irish Catholic name. She always called him Joe. I grew up hearing terrible things about "them goddammed fish eating papists." 

Even as a kid, I knew they were a nuts on the subject of religion, and I think their constant ranting actually made me more tolerant of other religions. When I started going out with Ralph, they referred to him as 'that nice young man that Holly's seeing. He's Eye-talian, you know." 

My dad was named Joe, and I think being raised among all the religious rants made him turn against all religions. He joined the Navy as soon as he could, and got outta Dodge! 

Other than their religious fanaticism, my grandparents were good to us. They thought my brothers and I were perfect. Alice kept her Irish accent til the day she died, in 1988. 

Steph and Dan are in Florida, so the dogs are here. The first night they settled down fine, last night Whiskey was restless so I didn't sleep well either. 

Looks like we're getting a couple of cats! A friend of a friend of Ralph's on facebook is getting divorced and has to give up a ten year old brother and sister cat. Ralph is finally ready to have another cat in his life after Cliffie died in December, and after some conversation on facebook, we're taking the two cats after the dogs go back home. The owner describes them as goofy and sweet, and as ten year olds, they're probably mellow. I'm not up to a real young cat, but mellow is good. I've seen a pic, and they're both white and gray, which is different than our last couple of cats. 

I'm still churning out the ruffly scarves, and giving them away as fast as I make them. I sent three down to Morgan with Steph, and I have a pile to be mailed to Manda. 

And now back to the laundry!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Pi Day!

It's a geek thing- Pi is 3.14, so it's celebrated on 3.14 by eating pie. Boeing is big on Pi day celebrations, which is great for morale. Manda made a cherry pie to take to work. 

We have big news! Steph and Dan got engaged on the second anniversary of their first date. It wasn't a surprise to anyone, but we're happy for them. 

My internet group has gotten me totally hooked on Castle. I'm working my way thru the seasons of episodes. It's fun watching the relationship grow between Castle and Beckett. 

This time change is awful! Yesterday I had to come home and nap. And I hate, hate, hate getting up in the dark. It's unnatural. But I do like the light after dinner. 

Ben and Manda's house hunt continues. They know there's a house for them, they'd just like to find it and get moved in before Baby Girl arrives. 

Julianna got a STAR award at school! 

I'm reading a really good book by J.A. Jance, part of her Ali Reynolds series. It's called Left for Dead, and has a lot of twists. She's one of my favorite writers. 

We're getting into sad anniversary time. Tomorrow it will be the 6th anniversary of the death of my friend Barbara's dad, and three weeks later will be the anniversary of my dad's death. I still talk to Dad, but not every day. I even have days that I don't think of him, and I thought that would never happen. 

I'm still making ruffled no crochet scarves. As fast as I make them, I give them away! They take no concentration, other than counting to 9 over and over.

Tomorrow is Friday and payday!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunny Days!

It's so nice and sunny and beautiful outside! Last night I set my bedside clock ahead, and reminded Ralph to do his. This morning I slept in, then got up and went and got my hair trimmed and went to Michaels crafts to get more scarf yarn. Then I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a bagel for my brunch. 

I know I haven't blogged in weeks. I felt so lousy for almost 3 weeks! From nausea, to a head cold, to a chest cold, back to nausea- I was going to work and that was it. 

Last weekend I did feel well enough to go to Julianna's and Mom's birthday party. Julianna is very into something called Monster High, and she got a bunch of the ugliest dolls I've ever seen! And their arms and legs are interchangable! 

It was nice to visit with Jeanne, Michelle, Charlotte, Sharon, Pam, Heather and Steph, Mom and Donna. The kids ran around inside and outside, and sang a lot of karaoke. The men were in and out of the garage. Our family parties are always so much fun! 

Mom Florence is having more and more falls. The asst living people are concerned, and asked for a hospice eval. Hospice guidelines have changed, and you no longer need a terminal diagnosis. The eval was done Friday, and they've taken her on as a patient on a 90 day trial. They will provide an aide to help/supervise her showering- one of her falls was in the shower. She'll see a nurse twice a week, and they'll have a priest come to see her. 

Baby Girl Briles is a dancing girl, Manda tells us! Two weeks ago she was the size of a banana, last week she was a carrot, which is weird, since I see as banana as bigger than a carrot. 

Next week the dogs come to visit for a week while Steph and Dan head to sunny Florida!

My insurance company and my hospital of choice aren't playing nice right now, so I can't schedule my knee surgery yet, which is really annoying. 

I read a really good series of books by Tasha Alexander. They take place in Victorian England, and the main character is Lady Emily. Emily married to get out from under her mother's control, and a few minutes later her husband went on safari to Africa and died. Emily was not in love with him, but during the course of her two year period of mourning she reads his journals and falls in love with him. Then comes word that he might be alive! 

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Feeling ick.

I've been feeling blah all week, coming home and going to bed and skipping dinner. This weekend I started with a cough, and think I might have bronchitis again, so I'm taking the cough meds my doc recomments. Heather and Ed are in Florida for a long weekend at the Daytona 500. Steph went to their house Thursday, and stayed til yesterday morning. Ralph told me to keep my germs home, and he went off to watch the kids and dog til Monday morning. Good thing, all I do is sleep and cough. 

Last Saturday night Ralph, Mom and I went to Steph and Dan's for birthday cake for me. I knew Heather, Ed and the kids would be there, but it was a surprise to see Frank and Charlotte, Mike, Donna and Jacob, Sharon, Jim and their kids, Mike and Sam, and Joe and Ali and baby Joey! There were lots of munchies and a wonderful cake from Sweet Eats. 

I had taken the bag of scarves that I've made with me, so that Heather and Steph could go thru them. I had enough that every one of the ladies could have one, even the two little girls. So we looked like a festive bunch! Ralph just shakes his head, he doesn't "get" the whole scarf thing. 

The staff at work has taken to the scarves big time! And one staff member goes around arranging everyone's scarf every day, so we look like fashionistas! 

It's so totally strange being alone in the house- not even a cat! 

And the beat goes on!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mid February

This is me with the first scarf I made. It was so easy, that I've made several more and bought more yarn. 

Wednesday was my 60th birthday! Once upon a time, that sounded so old! Ralph got me candy and 2 dozen beautiful roses, for my birthday and Valentine's Day. Manda and Ben and Baby Bell Pepper Briles sent me Godiva chocolates, and Steph and Dan gave me a King Cake. 

I took the King Cake to work yesterday, to share with the staff, and I gave my mom a piece. It's like a huge Danish! It's a Mardi Gras tradition, so it's only available this time of year. Another staffer brought apple cake, another brought little cinnamon rolls, and another brought soft pretzels, so we nibbled all day. 

And today is a trifecta- Friday, payday, and a three day weekend! yay! And it was 60 today, tho it will be in the 30's over the weekend. I came home and took my Friday afternoon nap, and when Barbara called me at 6, I had to ask if it was a.m. or p.m.! 

And the beat goes on!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's February!

Baby Joey is almost three weeks old already! Check out that head of hair! 

We got some snow last night, about 3 inches for us. North Jersey and New England got a lot more from Winter Storm Nemo. 

My school went on a field trip yesterday, to the Wells Fargo Center in Philly to see the Wings Lacrosse team play. I knew the basics of the game, and it was interesting- it moved really fast. The kids seemed to enjoy it, especially the part about eating while watching the game. 

I've made six  no crochet sashay scarves so far, and just bought more yarn. They're so pretty, and work up so fast! 

I just read the first three books of a new series by Brenda Novak, called the Whiskey Creek series. Each book is about a different one of a group of friends, and the other friends are supporting characters. I read the second book in the series, "When Snow Falls" first, and liked it the most. Cheyanne, the main character, has always felt different than her low life mother and her sister. Cheyanne has what may be early memories of a different family. Her dying mother, Anita, says Cheyanne just thinks she's better than anyone else. Anita can't remember where Cheyanne was born, and there's no birth certificate available. Then a private detective comes around. A really good book, and highly recommended. 

I also just finished Shadow Woman by Linda Howard, one of my favorite authors. Lizzette wakes up one morning, looks in the mirror, and doesn't recognize the face in the mirror. She also has a two year memory gap. Memories start to come back, and her life is in danger. Another really good book. 

We had dinner Thursday night at Bertucci's with Steph and Dan. Steph is in her final semester of getting her master's degree from St. Joe's, and Dan has gone back to school to take IT classes. We had a nice evening of visiting with them. Even tho they only live 2 miles from us, we don't see a lot of them- we're all so busy. 

Manda and Ben's best man and groomswoman, Kyle and Danielle, had their baby boy this week. Zach is a cutie! 

And tonight we'll see the Garemore side of the family, at Sharon's house for her Zach's 12th birthday party. 

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday evening

I'm finally getting the hang of posting pix from other than easy share! This was at David and Juliette's wedding reception. Ralph, me, Ed, Heather, Manda and Ben in the back, and Steph and Dan in front. We had a really nice time- it was at a  B&B in W. Va. 

New grandpop Mike says baby Joseph is shaped like a bowling ball and opens one eye like Popeye! 

We got a couple of inches of snow Friday night, and it's been cold enough that there hasn't been a lot of melting going on. But by Wednesday it's supposed to be back up in the 50's! 

Sandra, one of my internet group, has gotten me hooked on the TV show Castle. TNT runs reruns of it Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and I've been DVRing them. It's quite addicting. 

I'm working on a ruffly scarf from sashay yarn. Kinda sorta crocheted, and easy enough to make. 

I'm in between sewing projects, have to figure out what I want to make next. Ralph has the closet of the guest room ripped apart, removing the damaged sheetrock, and a lot of my stash bins are in the dining room. The dining room looked like an actual dining room for about five minutes. 

And tomorrow is Monday again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Babies and more babies!

Joseph holding Joseph. Look at the head of hair the kid has! Such a cutie.

And Manda and Ben have gone public with their announcement of Baby Briles!
2013 looks like the Year of the Baby! Niece Britt is also having a baby boy this summer, and Kyle and Danielle (best man and groomswoman from Manda and Ben's wedding) are having a baby boy next month.
We're all thrilled about all these babies coming!

And it's COLD! 19 this morning, with a windchill of 5! January is showing it's teeth!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Birth Day!

Welcome to Joseph Michael Oehrl, born today shortly after midnight. He weighed in at 8 lbs, 9 oz, and his proud grandparents are walking on air.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Halfway thru January!

I have a bunch of blogs that I read regularly, and enjoy. Some of these women just quilt up a storm, and they make me feel like such a slacker. But then I stop to think. The most prolific quilters (and bloggers) are not employed outside the home, which means they have the time to quilt, not to mention blog every day with lots of pictures. 

I'm jealous of their time, but not their lives. They do a lot of community service, which I don't do. But as I've always told my children, you can have time, or you can have money. You can't have both. So for now I'll settle for money (not a huge amount, but enough to get by), and enjoy the knowledge that I'm contributing to a pension and social security, so I won't be eating cat food when I'm an old lady. 

My mojo is doing well! I bound a quilt that has been hanging around for quite a while. It's a belated retirement gift for a friend, and once it's given I'll try to post a pic. I have my wonderful new camera, and I have to sit down with Ralph and try to figure out how to post to here. It can't be that hard- I hope. 

I've been an active participant on the HGTV message boards for years- since July 2003, which is when I started learning to quilt. Every Friday I start a thread called Sew & Tell, where people tell us what they've finished, and what they're working on, and post pictures. Two weeks ago I started posting a companion thread called What are your crafty/quilty goals this week. It's turned out to be very popular, with people posting goals, then coming back and telling the rest of us if they met the goals. 

After a week of unseasonably warm temps, the weather is now rainy and chilly and raw. January reminding us who's boss here. 

And the beat goes on!