Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring in Florida

It is a beautiful day! I am reminded of the opening lines of "White Christmas", the part hardly ever heard: "the sun is shining, the grass is green, the orange and palm trees sway".

I am more and more settling into our house, and my life, in Florida. It really is becoming home. There is still much to be done in Philly, and I guess I will always echo Auntie and refer to it as "up home", but I am more and more anxious to move the rest of our "stuff" down here. 

Mostly, I can't wait for DH to be here full time- I miss him when he is not around. But he is so loving and generous, and insists I stay here while he finishes this year of teaching up there.

I truly LOVE our little house here!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Wanamaker Christmas


Tomorrow I am going to see the Wanamaker's Light Show. Yes, I know, Macy's...but it will always be the Wanamaker show to me. 

I hear it is different. Someone said they got rid of the dancing fountains- I sure hope not, I loved them. I know that the magnificent voice of John Facenda has been replaced by Julie Andrews- who has a lovely voice, but is not the iconic voice in Philadelphia. And, I hear it has been shortened. Oh well, we all know nothing is ever as good as it used to be.

I am going with a former student to "do" the Christmas thing downtown. The Light Show, the Dickens Village, and lunch at the Reading Terminal Market. I would prefer lunch in the Crystal Tea Room on the 9th floor of Wanamaker's, but alas, that is also a thing of the past. 

But, it will still be fun. We will start at the Eagle, of course, the most famous "meet me at" in Philadelphia.

I am looking forward to a trip down memory lane, and the view through the eyes of a much younger generation. 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

White Advent


This is a picture from one of the news channels of a street near downtown Philadelphia this morning.

It has not been a good couple of days for Philadelphia weather forecasters. Sunday we were supposed to get "a coating to an inch in the northern and western suburbs". It started 3 hours earlier than they predicted and lasted longer. We got 8" in parts of Philadelphia, and up to a foot of snow in several areas within a 25 mile radius of center city, including south and east. In fact, particularly south, as most of Delaware got clobbered. Today we were prepared for 4-6", most schools and even some colleges and universities were closed, people were encouraged to stay home if possible, etc. Guess what? We got about 3", the main roads were clear throughout, and even our little one way streets were clear by 1:00. Now, I am NOT complaining!!! I am always on the side of "stay home in snow unless you are a policeman, fireman, hospital worker," etc. there are not a lot of people who "need" to go to work in bad weather, just a lot of companies and businesses that make employees come in because business must go on. Actually, no it doesn't need to go on, but, that is current, stupid society. 

We did get a few smiles today watching the Weather Channel. Poor Jim Cantore. He has gotten such a reputation over the years for being in the places where things are the worst, that I have frequently heard "if Jim Cantore is in your town, you need to leave". Well, if you missed it, Cantore was in Baltimore today, where it hardly snowed, and the temperature stayed high enough that it melted as soon as it hit the roads. TWC would go back to him every so often, and he'd be standing there, trying to find something to talk about. Another thing you sometimes here said about Cantore is that he gets to travel all over the country. It never actually gets to see or visit anything, because if he is there, it is usually likely that everything is closed. Today, he made a half-joke about going to the Aquarium in Baltimore since there wasn't anything to report. I hope he did!

The good news is that Advent advances and our preparations for Christmas with it. Today I am washing all the lace and sheer curtains from the first floor, putting snowflake clings on the windows, and hopefully, hanging wreaths and putting in window candles. So, one step closer to decorated. Christmas is coming quickly, but we will be ready! (Maybe, lol!!!)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A long and pretty useless week.

So, somewhere, I caught another cold. Spent basically the whole week either in bed or the recliner and accomplished very little. I did a little bit of online Christmas shopping, and worked a few rows more on my current crochet project, but that's about it. Next week is another round with doctors and dentists. Yeah, that's plural on the dentists- I now need a dentist, a periodontist and an endodontist. Have I mentioned before that I hate my teeth?

In the "missed" column are both the Cardinal Dougherty Christmas party and the Delco Flybabies Coffeefest. Two special groups of people whom I spared my germs. 

I have been having mixed feelings today about the large amount of stuff going around the Internet about Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. I have visited Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial twice and it is a somber and amazing experience. I agree that the men and women who died that day should always be remembered and honored. It is a pivotal, defining moment in our country's history. I only hope that the ubiqitous reminders do not generate a prejudice against the Japanese for the generations far too young to remember 1941.

Our television watching is currently dominated by what my DH and DS have termed "Christmas Beatdown Movies"- so titled because they beat you over the head with love and the spirit of Christmas. One thing we have determined- Larry Levinson is in some way responsible for at least half of the CBMs available. Hallmark Channel was originally our primary source for CBMs, but there are also some, of a different quality and tone but still ok, available on Lifetime. Yesterday we discovered the UP channel, and they seem to offer more serious CBMs with a higher caliber of story and acting. 

We enjoy figuring out where the plots came from. There is a "Groundhog Day" CBM, many versions of "it's a wonderful life", a "Mannequin" CBM, actually we've already seen 2 of them. They all include a predictable cast and an even more predictable plot, but if the actors and/or the writing are decent, then they are enjoyable. There appear to be certain actors for whom CBMs are their primary incomes- they do at least one every year. So, a common question as we watch is "what else was he/she in?"

So, that's what I've been doing lately.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

World AIDS Day



Twenty years ago I lost one of my dearest friends to AIDS. He was funny, loving and incredibly talented.

I met Marcus during our first days at LaSalle freshman year. We were friends throughout college and stayed friends for the rest of his life. His talent on stage was stunning. I remember seeing him in the national touring company of Bubbling Brown Sugar. The show opened with an almost completely dark stage, yet I could pick him out in the darkness by the way he stood. Years later I picked him out from a block away in NYC- I could not see his face but could recognize his beautiful way of moving. 

He always called us the "Odd Couple"- the black, gay dancer from Germantown and the Irish Catholic girl from Kensington. I have many memories beyond watching him on stage- lunches in NYC, almost getting arrested in NE Philadelphia, and especially, his way with my children. He encouraged both of them in their interests in performing. One of my most special memories is him teaching my daughter to sew the ribbons on her first pair of toe shoes.

He called me, almost 2 years before he died, at Christmas time- he was in Philadelphia and wanted to get together for lunch. There was something in his voice and I had a knot in my stomach from the moment of his call until I saw him. We met in a familiar tavern in Chestnut Hill. We chatted the usual catch-up stuff: his work, my husband and kids, his sister and her kids, stuff like that. Then he told me; he was sick, it was AIDS. The knot in my stomach tightened. It stayed that way until he died, when it was replaced by the hurting hole in my heart. 

Today is World AIDS Day. I remember Marcus with love and a great sense of loss. I think of him often, but the red ribbons all over the Internet today are a harsh reminder of what his death has meant to many people. I still love you, Marcus, and I still miss you. 


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am sitting here, when I should be in bed- tomorrow will be a long day! But I am happy to be able to report that I expect it to be a nice day.

The house is not ready, but is close enough that it won't be stressful to get there. The turkey is defrosted and the brine is ready for very early tomorrow morning. The Showtime Rotisserie is ready to give us a great tasting turkey in a very fast cooking time. I'm very much looking forward to dinner and tomorrow evening.



I had a wonderful time this morning. It was "Spirit Day" at Little Flower, and I went back for a visit. The girls are so cute and friendly, and the adults were all very welcoming. I was very blessed to end up there when they closed my beloved Cardinal Dougherty. I still miss Dougherty, literally every day, and I don't know if I will ever completely give up the anger for the fools who closed us, but at least I went to a warm and welcoming place when we had to leave CD. I was reminded, forcibly, of how much I miss teaching and the daily interactions with kids, but a few trips up and down between classrooms, offices and the auditorium, and I was also reminded just as strongly why I can't teach anymore. 

The miserable weather is also making me long to be back in Florida- I am just so not liking winter anymore. But, it is down to a little more than 4 weeks until I can go back and I need the time to sort and pack, and determine what goes there, what stays here permanently, and what goes when there is more room in the car than will be available this trip.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!







Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Day of the Doctor, indeed!!!

Well, it has been seen- the 50th Anniversary show of Doctor Who. It made me smile, it made me laugh, it came close to making me cry. I won't be posting any spoilers, in case anyone reading this has not seen it yet. All I am going to say is that it is one of those things that, when over, leaves you with a smile on your face and a real sense of contentment. 


The Day of the Doctor!

We are now into November 23, the Day of the Doctor! We had a short discussion earlier this evening, settling our plans.

So, the TV is now set to BBCAmerica, from which it will not move until the end of the day tomorrow.

Tea and biscuits is the menu during the show.

All electronic devices which could be a distraction will be turned off.

So, don't try to call, message, text, PM, whatever to me tomorrow- I will be busy with the Day of the Doctor.


Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22

November 22 always resounds with me, for more than just the obvious reason.

When I was 8, I had already developed a deep love of playing the piano. Because it meant so much to me, I chose St. Cecilia, the patroness of musicians, as my confirmation name saint. So, November 22, the feast day of St. Cecilia, became *my* feast day,  because it was the name I had chosen rather than the one my parents had chosen for me.


The second reason for November 22 being special is one I share with all Americans from that time. I was in 6th grade. I remember almost nothing about grade school, fortunately, as it was generally an unhappy experience. I cannot even tell you, for sure, who my 6th grade teacher/nun was. But the afternoon of November 22, 1962 is an image frozen into my mind. I sat next to a girl named Andrea Sicilia, in front of a cousin named Jimmy Dougherty, and in the third row, third seat. Two faceless sisters standing at the door. Mother Superior on the loud speaker. Shock and some hysterics- the main reason I remember Andrea Sicilia's name. 

The rest of the weekend passes in a similar haze- I remember it, but only in specific flashes. Mostly those of Mrs. Kennedy, a few of the family. I do have one clear memory. I am sitting in the back room at home, watching the TV coverage. I am sitting in my little rocker- it is way too small for me now, but I am so skinny I can still squeeze into it. I am home alone, as I had organ duty at 8 o'clock Mass, and the rest of the family has gone later because my brothers had to sit with their classes. Oswald is shot by the man in the grey hat. Chaos on the TV screen. No one knows what happened. They don't know who did it. I keep screaming at the TV "it was the man in the grey hat!!!!" No one is home for me to tell.

We, all of us old enough to remember this terrible weekend, have stories and memories like this. 



Much later in life, November 22 gained another meaning. In 1963 I was unfamiliar with C.S.Lewis' writings. I found the Narnia Chronicles in high school, but only discovered his theological writings much later. I was fortunate to find these. I have had an increasing problem with the Catholic Church over many years. It seems the older I got, the less the institutional Church lived by the theology I had been taught when I was young. I went looking for a way to stay Catholic in a Church that I began to resent more and more. C.S.Lewis provided me a way. He writes about God, and our relationship with God. He writes about them in terms of essential theology. He writes about the common experiences of grief, death, etc. and where our faith plays a part in these experiences. 

From him I gained the ability to identify myself as a Catholic even though I had lost much respect for the Church. I came to cope with the idea that I love the religion but just not the institution that represents it. That ability to separate myself from the manifestation while clinging to the essential has supported me for many years. November 22, 1963, is also the day that C.S.Lewis died.



So, November 22 is always a jumble of feelings and memories for me. I remember and relive the sadness of a day that changed the world I would grow up into, I am reminded that I chose wisely at Confirmation as St. Cecilia has always continued to allow me the joy of my music, and I am grateful for the writings of a man who was a large part of saving my faith. For me, it is a day of great significance.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Not so depressing!


That last post was really dismal- which kind of matched how I was feeling. So, I spent some time playing with the iPad - which I just noticed is down to 10%,  so I better be quick with this post.

Saturday is the 50th Anniversary Special for Doctor Who!!! It seems impossible, living in a mostly Whovian house - I introduced my son to DW when he was about 2 and he's been crazy about it ever since - but there are actually real, live people out there who do not know that this Saturday is the biggest day in DW history!

I love Doctor Who!!! I - yes, me!!! - actually attended a Comicon in the early 80s to see Tom Baker. For the uninitiated, Baker was the 4th Doctor and my first Doctor. The first time I ever saw Doctor Who was in the late 70s, on WHYY late on a Saturday afternoon, like about 4:30. The first episode I ever saw was Pyramid of Mars. Yeah, I'm a Doctor Who geek!!!

Well, I must admit that when I start thinking about, reading about, and watching preview clips of, the show on Saturday, I get positively giggly!!! It is going to be AWESOME!!!!! Not only do we get both the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) and the 10th Doctor (David Tennant), and we get their companions Clara and Rose, but we also get John Hurt as the War Doctor!!! Just saw a clip from a talk show with John Hurt saying that when he signed on he had no idea how big this was! Surprise!!!!!

In order to prevent spoilers from ruining the show for anyone, the show is being simulcast, around the world!!!! Every Whovian in the world watching together, at the same time!!!  Even my husband, who freely admits that he "doesn't get" Doctor Who, will be watching, because "this is a big, big event". 

So, Saturday afternoon, at 2:50 PM (did I mention that the show is going out at EXACTLY 50 years, to the minute, as the very first episode?) we will be having special snacks (for what is a TV event without snacks?) and turning off all phones and other electronic devices, and sitting mesmerized in front of the TV, knowing that there are literally dozens of millions of others doing the same thing!!!

Yes, it really is quite enough to make even this 61 year old, old lady, quite giggly!!!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Still trying

Well, clearly I am not doing well on the daily posting. It is not that I have nothing to write, it is just I don't do it. Not sure why.

It's doctor week 2. Last week I went to the Rheumatologist, the dentist, went with DH for a cardiac stress test, and took Mom to the Orthopedic surgeon. This week it's the Ortho for me, the Ophthalmologist and the GP for mom. There's more coming up- some fun, huh?

Looking forward to Thanksgiving- not looking forward to the massive amount of cleaning necessary.

So, that's my cheerful report for today.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sad news

This picture has been running on Facebook, including my own page, since July. Sadly, Roy has been found, dead. One more CD tragedy; there have been too many. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I've been bad.

Well, I clearly fell completely off the posting wagon. It has been a bad week. Frustration and exhaustion abounding. Absolutely nothing I wanted to share. As things turned out, this was a bad month to try this.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Wiped out!

As I get older, this darn Fibromyalgia seems to get worse. I am not sure if it actually does, or if it is just that at my age, anything makes a difference.

I am sitting here, in the recliner, which is as close to vertical as I have gotten today. Everything hurts. My daily meds made enough of a difference to get me from the bed to the recliner, but even with that I needed an extra dose of the stronger PRN pain killer to ease, somewhat, the aching in my shoulder and arm from two days of driving. 

At 61 years old, and fast approaching 62, can I blame the Fibro or am I just getting old?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Quick check-in

This is really kind of cheating, but I drove for 2 days and I am too beat to think. Back tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Not doing so well, am I?

So, here it is November 6th, and this is only my second post this month. Ah, well.

Doing this from my iPad, so I have no idea what this will look like. Here's the deal: I am on my way north to Philadelphia. That does NOT make me happy. BUT.... I am going to see my dear, darling DH tomorrow night, so that part is great. I am going to a wedding this weekend, and that part is great. Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming, so those parts are great. The rest of it? NOT so great.

My mother has scheduled a multitude of doctors' appointments that I am expected to drive her to. I will be seeing several doctors. I will be seeing the dentist, several times. Yeah, not a lot of fun.

But there will be time to catch up with friends and students whom I have not seen in a while, or even a long while. We will be going to DS's Charity Quizo next week. I will get to go to First Friday next month with the CD faculty, and also, there is the CD Christmas Party. I have lunch dates with several former students coming up, and I intend to go to LF's Spirit Day, for one last visit with the now (I cannot believe it!!!!) Senior Class. So, it looks like the positives will probably outweigh the negatives. Why only "probably"??? Because yesterday afternoon I was in the pool at the club in Florida, and somehow I don't think there will be any outdoor swimming in Philadelphia in November. So, it is north to sweatshirts and warm coats, but hopefully, no boots. Florida, I will be back in a little more than 7 weeks- I WILL MISS YOU!!!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I'm Back!!!

NaBloPoMo November 2013


Well, if you look on my sidebar, you will see the link that is also posted right above this. That is the National Blog Posting Month badge- and I have committed to posting every day in November. I am off to a late start, which will surprise no one who knows me, but I will catch up, for sure.

What have I been doing and what do I have to write about? 

Well, I have been living in Florida in the new house, following the Creative Memories bankruptcy proceedings avidly, doing very little needlework of any kind, visiting yard sales and estate sales looking for items for the new house, making some friends here in the development, learning about and joining some of the activities and functions here, talking to DH daily if not more often, spending time with Auntie going shopping and church and stuff, becoming an official Florida resident, starting to get the house organized the way I want it, playing my new, wonderful piano.......yes, I have been busy!!!

I will use the daily posting from NaBloPoMo to share the stuff that is important to me, or anything that I think will be of value to anyone who still reads here. 

Since this is November, it is Thanksgiving and that is something I want to include. So, for today, I am thankful for the blessing of this sweet little house. It is "practically perfect in every way". 

See you tomorrow. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A TRULY SAD DAY


 

Today, my husband began his last year at Girard College. This would be a happy event, were it not for the fact that *his* Girard College, the school where has worked for 40 years, and which has been educating orphaned and poor children for 165 years, is closing in June.

Yes, "officially" Girard College will remain open- but only as a day school, grade school. This, to me, is a true abandonment of the children Stephen Girard established the school to serve. This is the most egregious violation of his will, ever.

I truly believe, and always have, that Citizen Girard (the title "citizen" being the one he MOST valued) would have had no complaints about who the children were who attended his school- his will, and its wording, were a product of his time and experience, and only that. 

However, his will was very clear that his school was to be a home and a refuge for its students, and now his college is violating that trust.

It is, for me, a heartbreaking finish to the 40 years that my husband has dedicated to Stephen Girard's children. With the closing of the high school and the dormitories, Girard's dream for his children (for so all Girard College students were considered) is ending. It is incredibly painful and traumatic to see your life's work dismantled.

Looking back on the closure of Cardinal Dougherty, my teaching home and my husband's alma mater, makes this year at Girard doubly painful for both of us. I wish we could have afforded for him to retire before this- living through this ending is already terrible and can only get worse. I remember, too well, the pain experienced by those men and women who had spent their entire careers at Cardinal Dougherty.

I pray for the Girard community. I pray for the children who will be forced out of their home, and into new and strange schools. I pray for those who will now never receive a Girard diploma. I pray for the teachers, houseparents and staff who will be losing their jobs. I pray for the teachers who must go through this year of pain and trauma, and while experiencing their own sadness and stress, must cope with, and support, the children they see every day in their classrooms. I pray for those on the staff at Girard who are themselves graduates of Girard; their pain must be extraordinary. I pray for the senior class, the class of 2014, who graduate as the last class from Girard College - a sad and solemn legacy.

Mostly though, I selfishly pray for my husband. I pray for him to have the strength to survive the daily, mind-numbing, ongoing and constant knowledge that the school he loves, the school he has given his entire adult life for, is ending. I do not need to pray for him to have compassion, or for him to love the children, or for him to remember why he is there. All of that comes naturally to him, as naturally now as it did 40 years ago. But strength- the strength to go on each day, to go back and face each day there, to not despair because of his own grief- that is what I pray for him.

Friday, August 23, 2013


So, where have I been for more than a year?

Well, I have traveled almost 25,000 miles since I last posted. I have been to Hawaii with my husband which accounts for about 1/2 the miles. (The picture above was taken on a Honolulu street near Waikiki!) I have also made 12 trips to Florida and back for most of the rest.

We have bought a new home in Florida, although we are still based in Philadelphia, but not for long. DH is going to work at least one more school year. I am, and have been, on medical leave from teaching- the last school where I worked was just too much for me. I spent a lot of last year in Florida, and hope for more time there in the coming year.

My mom in Philadelphia had multiple medical issues this past year, including a broken hip. Our Auntie in Florida has also had medical issues. And, DH had major surgery in the spring.

So, I jaunt back and forth from Philadelphia to Florida, depending on where the sickest or most needy one is.

I miss going to school each day dreadfully. I miss the teaching, the students, the real work. BUT, I do NOT miss the latest curriculum changes, the revised lesson plan format, the increased paperwork load, the constantly changing schedules, the data input demands and expectations. It was these, and not the job of teaching, which pushed me into such poor health, with pain and exhaustion an every day crisis, and which meant I had to make the painful decision to take a long term medical leave.

So, I am back. I am still scrapbooking, both digitally and traditionally, and I am following the ongoing bankruptcy drama at Creative Memories. I bought several more Hawaiian quilt kits while there last summer, so those get my attention sometimes. I am still crocheting, and also dug out my old knitting looms last year and did a lot more with them, and with several new looms, of course, lol. I have not touched a stamp, or a marker, or watercolors in that time, but they remain on my shelf, and will be going to Florida for future use. I pull out the tatting shuttle on occasion, but not frequently, and those supplies will go to Florida as well. And, I still read voraciously.

Before I post again, I will be revising my sidebar- eliminating a few things that are no longer relevant and adding a lot of new stuff that has kept me busy and amused during my limited free time in the last year.

It has been so long that I don't know if anyone is out there who will still read this, but it serves me well as a sort of diary, remembering what was going on and how I felt about it when different things happened.

So, I am back. Yes, really.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

WTH???

Is it just me or is anyone else tired of "genius criminal masterminds" on TV?

"Bones" last night and now both "NCIS" and "NCIS:LA" tonight.

Add in really forced "cliffhangers", and the annoyance factor totally maxes out.

Enough is enough and too much is definitely too much.