Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Beginnings

It's that time of the year, a time for resolutions, a time to say goodbye to the year and reminisce on the good and the bad.
I woke up this morning to a beep on my cell phone from Buzz telling me the roads were pretty bad if I had to go to work. Giving me the best route to take always helps from someone who has been out in the snow.
I looked out my window and a heavy, wet snow had fallen through the night. As snow goes, this was beautiful. No plows or salt trucks, schools are closed for the holiday and no need to get the roads cleared quickly. A truly beautiful sight.
It's been an eventful year for me. Leaving one job, taking another. Finding a new lifestyle. Making new acquaintances. Friends having significant medical problems and one literally fighting for her life. Family visiting. Steelers winning a Super Bowl and Pens winning the Stanley Cup. Monkeyboy's team winning, winning, winning. Bean moving a bit from dance and exploring sports. A party in the heat of the summer for neighbors to meet and talk with one another on a beautiful summer night. Peg and I dancing and singing in the kitchen at midnight cleaning up after the party.
All in all, it's been a good year. I don't generally make resolutions, but this year I am going to write down at least one thing that I am grateful for each day.
Monkeyboy had some minor surgery yesterday and appears to be doing well. Bean has to have some teeth pulled in the new year for her braces.
I hope everyone has a happy and safe new year. May this year bring more happy things and the strength to deal with the not so happy things. Do you make resolutions for the new year? Care to share them if you do? And how was everyone's holiday? Christmas here was a combination of laughter, presents and fun. My grab bag gift was a great success. It was M & M's with my picture on them.
Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I hope this holiday brings health and joy to you and all those about whom you care.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Winter Has Arrived in Pittsburgh

Of course, I knew it was coming, I just have been spoiled with the lack of winter weather, but alas, yesterday was an eye opener.
I was scheduled to work at Phipps at 9:30, so knowing that it was raining and possibly going to sleet, I left the house at 8:30. When I backed out of the drive, I realized that not only were the streets wet, but icy as well. Strange, I thought, since the temperature was above freezing.
I thought it was just my street, and the main street did seem a little better. I live on top of hills and when I went to go down into the valley all streets were closed, with emergency vehicles blocking the streets. Apparently, five cars had piled up and a number of them were off the side of the road. So, I went back home to wait for it to warm up. Gave it an hour, then left again to the same situation. Finally the roads opened and I proceeded slowly down the hill and on to work.
I work with Kay, who always has amusing stories. She told me that she joined a senior citizens exercise group with the anticipation of spending some "alone" time exercising. Her husband decided to go with her, much to her chagrin. Her husband was quite an athlete in his younger days and scoffed at the slow pace of the group. Kay became annoyed, of course, and decided after the exercise part she would go on the treadmill. She began to use it and her husband decided to try it also. Fortunately, for the annoyed Kay, there was an older woman between them, so there could be no direct violence from Kay. Kay set her treadmill for the appropriate speed, which her husband found to be much to slow. She caught him from the corner of her eye, punching the button, punching it, punching it...because of course, it wasn't going fast enough for an athlete. Suddenly the speed caught up, and Kay could not help but smiling, because her husband looked a bit confused. Finally, she heard him shout..."It's going backwards, it's going backwards!" She, in disgust, didn't say a word while the little old lady explained to him that it doesn't go backwards, it's the way the treadmill goes. He finally slowed it down, and was walking with his hands firmly planted on the handles. The older woman left and a younger lady got on the treadmill and began to jog...not holding on. In order to impress the younger lady, Kay's husband let go of the handles and sped the machine up again. No, he did not fall off, but Kay left after he put his feet on the side of the treadmill and said he had enough.
The same man yesterday went out in his robe and slippers to get his newspaper. (Remember, it was icy). Kay asked him if he shouldn't get dressed and put his shoes on, since it was raining. No, he said, it was fine. She watched him attempt to walk up the drive. One step forward and three slides back. But not to give up, he kept trying, almost falling. Kay's thought was she had to do something or she would end up taking care of a very cranky man. So, she went to the garage, got the car out, drove up the drive, told him to get in the car and drove him back down the drive and into the garage. She never said if he got the newspaper.
Yes, winter has arrived in Pittsburgh.
Happy Winter.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I usually begin my posts with a title. I can't think of one for this, although I will at some point.
Tonight I am sad.
It is fairly late on a Friday night. Yesterday I learned that a good friend was in the intensive care unit. A freak series of events landed her there. She has cancer. A healthy woman, never any problems to speak of before this event. It happened about three weeks ago. She fell. She is now in intensive care. How does this happen? I cannot "wrap my mind around this" as the saying goes.
Remember my friend, Linda, that I have mentioned here. She also has some significant medical problems resulting from what physicians found in surgery that she had.
Both of these women are intelligent, caring, funny women. I love their sense of humor, their spirit, their "are you kidding me?" attitude.
I sit here, after two glasses of wine (is it more?) thinking about how much I care about them, and how helpless I feel.
I work with a young man at work, Christian. He is majoring in neuroscience and has helped me understand some of what is going on medically with my friends. I thought it would help, but it doesn't.
I talk to my friend's sister, as well as to Linda's husband. They sound strong, ready to do battle, ready to help no matter what.
Both women are facing some very difficult times ahead. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I Am Not A Scrooge

There is a tradition here in my community. The Sunday after Thanksgiving women gather at a local church and make wreaths. Real ones. I don't much like doing this. I bellieve that you can buy a nice wreath at K-Mart, or, if you like a real wreath, McTighes. But alas, every year I am made to feel guilty and end up making a wreath. This year was no exception. ST buys the greens for our group. Does a wonderful job of it, they are fresh and full of sap. This year, again, Bean came along. Thank goodness! She ended up pretty much making my wreath.
Usually there is a woman playing the piano. She plays Christmas carols, just to get us in the mood. She wasn't there this year, and one can only imagine where she was. This year they had CD's.
The older women in the church make cookies and tea. I don't much like tea. The young girls in the church serve the cookies and tea. I do like the brownies.
My goal is to cut the greens, wire them together, throw them on the form and go home. Oh, yes, and to wash all the sticky sap off my hands.
Some of these wreaths are quite elaborate. And beautiful. One woman's job is just to make the bows for everyone. Luckily, I saved mine from years past.
Ginger made it a point to tell everyone that I didn't want to be there. Mippy made me the most annoying nametag. Bean was the only one who understood my reticence and made most of my wreath for me.
One year Monkeyboy went with us. He decided he would be in charge of the broom and do the cleanup. The broom was larger that he, and he had somewhat of a difficult time maneuvering with all of the ladies. While sweeping, he hit a woman on the head with the broom much to Mippy's chagrin. She claimed it was a former teacher who never liked her anyway. That was the last year Monkeyboy came. Don't know how he gets out of it every year.
I got my Christmas cards ready to go. Most of my shopping is done, so see...I am not a scrooge.
Thanksgiving was wonderful...hope yours was also. So very much to be grateful, family, chocolate chip cookies. The turkey was actually cooked this year, to perfection, if I may add. The kids decorated the tree and my house, so that is done also.
Things are going well at Phipps. We have a great group of people there that are fun to work with and who make the days pass quickly. Well, for the most part.
Pitt lost the conference game yesterday. It was a nail-biter. Hopefully, the Steelers will do better today. Ben is playing, so we can hope. It's cold, Tim, so wear something warm to cheer.
On a more serious note, my friend, Linda, had her surgery and needs follow up treatment. Please keep her in your positive thoughts and prayers.
Have a great Sunday.