Sunday, February 6, 2011

I'm going to try an Etsy-related widget here.

It's called Pocket Shop and is billed as a portable version of my esty shop for blogs or websites.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


With the preparations for Thanksgiving dinner, and then the following downtime, I wasn't able to post my Thanksgiving blog earlier.

I hope that everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a wonderful day! (I hope those of you who don't celebrate Thanksgiving also had a wonderful day!)

I had decided to go ahead and make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, even though I wasn't sure how many would be here for dinner. My elder son and his wife recently moved out of state and are just getting settled and my younger son was not sure whether he was scheduled to work. So we thought that there might well be just my husband, the medical student who is living with us, possibly one of his classmates, along with me for dinner.

Come Thanksgiving, I tend to channel my Mom, who cooked for holiday meals as if we were being visited by a battalion (at least), who'd been on short rations for a month, so despite my conscious decision to pare down the menu, given that the turkey would be about 12 to 14 pounds, there was going to be FOOD and leftovers galore, but I decided to go ahead with the turkey.

Wayne,the med student,suddenly had a contact from a cousin who wished to visit this week and we agreed not only to the visit but to have him join us for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Then we heard that there were some students from Taiwan that were friends of his cousin, who had been in the country for about six months, studying at NYU and they asked if it might be possible to invite them.

So, where we thought that we might have four to six people,we ended up with eight. (It turned out that my younger son and his girlfriend were not able to come, after all.)

We had a wonderful time! The three girls were delightful; very enthusiastic and curious about the custom of Thanksgiving and the food. They enjoyed everything and even took pictures of the turkey! They were unfamiliar with Reddi-Whip and this provided an some impromptu entertainment.

They were completely enamored of my dog, Meka and our cat, Carolina.

The conversations were enjoyable and easy.

It was wonderful to be able to share dinner and our home with people we would never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. It's good to see ourselves from another point of view!

Another benefit was that it cut down on leftovers, though it still didn't eliminate them completely!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11

Of course, today is Veteran's Day, the holiday previously known as Armistice Day, but before it was either of those, it was my grandmother's birthday.

My maternal grandmother, Anna Brilinski Mattes was born on November 11, 1891 on the Lower East Side of New York City. She was one of three children; she had a brother and a half sister.

The family was not well off and she went to work at what we would consider a very early age. She worked as a domestic, a "mother's helper" for a wealthy family at 15 years of age and married my grandfather at 18 years.

She had three biological children and provided a home for one of her nephews when his mother died. She also provided short term foster care for babies with health problems.

Most of my childhood she and my grandfather lived in the apartment beneath us and they were a very important presence in my life. When I was quite young, I remember walking with her to neighborhood shops, but these became less and less frequent as her arthritis worsened. She gradually became more and more housebound, but was still central to the family. When my uncle's wife died, he came to live in the apartment for a couple of years along with his daughter, who spent much of her time with my brother and me, more like siblings than cousins, until her dad remarried.

She was an excellent cook but as time went on and her mobility decreased, my mother took on much of that role for holidays and family gatherings.

The entire extended family used to visit frequently.

She died on June 10,1961, just short of my 16th birthday. On the day of my birthday, one of the gifts I received was a card and sugar cube corsage (as was the fashion in those olden days) that she had already bought for me and had ready.

I have my grandmother (Mom-Mom) to thank for a number of things, among them:
1. A love of food
2. A good basis in cooking skills
3. A predisposition toward arthritis
4. A hearty and infectious laugh that I'm told is like hers
5. Great enjoyment of company /socialization
6. A love of singing
7. An impatience with pretension and self-promotion

Happy Birthday, Mom-Mom!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My Dad, Matthew Waddell was born on November 4th, 1915 in Glasgow, Scotland and came to this country with his mother and sister at age 7 to join his father who had preceded them.

Even as a child, so the family story goes, when asked his nationality, he would say that he was "Scottish by birth but American by choice".

He was a young man of 17 or so, in the midst of the Depression, when his father disappeared. Within the next couple of years, after high school, as a means of helping his mother, by adding some income to the household coffers, while removing a mouth from the dinner table, (and to satisfy the urge to travel that seems to be inherent in many Scots) he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps.

He worked in several C.C.C. camps at various locations in the western US, doing infrastructure improvement and forestry projects. He learned valuable skills and got to see parts of the country he would not have seen otherwise.

Here he is at a camp in Montana:

Later, he became a merchant seaman and when World War II broke out, he volunteered for service, because due to a punctured eardrum, he was not eligible for the draft. He became a medic in the army with the rank of sergeant. Much of his time in the military was spent in sea duty, accompanying troops, back and forth between Europe and the U.S.

Just about that same time, he also met my mother and they married in 1942. They spent much of their early married life with numerous intervals of separation due to his military service.

Here they are as newlyweds:

He had several jobs after the war until he began work at Chase Manhattan Bank, where he worked until his retirement at 62 years.

He had many interests, a great sense of humor, was widely read, and enjoyed life! He and my mother were an extraordinarily complementary couple. My mother was an extremely practical person. Dad was the more whimsical partner. This carried through all aspects of their life, even decorating, and made things like wallpaper shopping, quite the adventure and an early case study in negotiation for us children.

He was a great dad to my brother and me! He was very involved in our school and church activities. Family trips were always fun, whether we were fishing, going to a museum, walking around and in our own city or traveling to places like Washington, D.C., Gettysburg, or, much later, St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands.

We were very involved with both our nuclear and extended family, so family time of all sorts, visiting relatives and celebrating birthdays and anniversaries were important to both my parents.

Here he is with me at the zoo: a family picnic, shown with my Grandmother and me at about 4 yrs:

He and my mother had the chance during his retirement to travel and they made the most of those opportunities.

He maintained his interests in photography, reading, language, tinkering and home repair. He was a completely devoted grandfather to all four of his grandchildren.

Both Mom and Dad dealt with serious and ultimately terminal health challenges in a brave and dignified manner.

Dad spent the last 6 months of his life in our home in Brooklyn and died May 3, 1992.

He taught us about fidelity, passion, relationships, patience and good humor.

Thanks Dad!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Weekend!

Last week we noticed a swelling on the ear flap of Meka, my assistance dog.

I researched the symptoms and they fit those of aural hematoma, which is caused by bleeding between the layers of skin of the ear.
I took him to the vet and he was, in fact, diagnosed with an aural hematoma.

The vet stated that the treatment with the best chance for permanent resolution was surgery. We set up a date for surgery on Friday 10/29. She did drain it with a needle but advised that it would likely refill again, but would give him a bit of relief until the surgery could take place( if by chance, it actually resolved, the surgery could be canceled).

So, at 8:30 AM on Friday, we brought Meka in for his surgery; we picked him up again at 4 PM.

He came home with a bandage on his head and one on his leg where the IV was.

We were instructed to remove the bandage the next day and use the Elizabethan collar whenever we were not able to directly observe him to make sure that he didn't scratch or paw at the stitches.

We also have an anti inflammatory and antibiotics we need to give him.

He was fairly lethargic the rest of the evening, but went out readily for a brief relief break at about 11pm, then we all conked out.

Photos below:

Yesterday when we got up David went to the kitchen and the kitchen light blew out and blew a fuse, we thought, but actually blew a breaker further along the line. So, we had to get maintenance and it was determined that the fixture had a short, so I had to quickly do some shopping online to decide what I wanted and where to go for it.

I went to Home Depot and got some fixtures and got back as quickly as I could so that the maintenance man would still be available to install it. He did. I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with the first choice of placement, but at least we have light where we need it, the breakers aren't tripping and I can have things moved later if necessary.

Because the maintenance man was working on the ladder in the kitchen, I didn't get lunch until 2:30 PM, then needed to do a couple of errands and went to Mass at 5:30.

Later, we removed the dressing on Meka's ear. The wound was still pretty raw looking.

I re-bandaged the ear and for overnight we placed the Elizabethan collar on him ( no photos of that yet).

He bumbled about in a pathetic fashion, trying to judge where this thing will fit and where it won't and how to move with it. At some point during the night, he decided to join us in bed, a very rare occurrence without an express invitation. In true doggy fashion, he made himself comfortable. The cat moved to another location, then another. Meka continued to spread out and David was soon clinging to an edge of the bed with an edge of the blanket.

I slept through most of this and woke fairly refreshed.

Today we plan a relaxing day, no plans except to greet trick or treaters!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tornado in Brooklyn and Exercise Milestone

Last night we had a very bizarre storm here in Brooklyn, with thunder, lightning, hail and lots of wind. It might have been a tornado, they hadn't definitively classified it yet. Lots of trees were downed. Today the weather report stated that winds were clocked at 109 miles per hour. Very dramatic and scary.

This week was the first time I was able to do three water aerobics three times in the week.

I got to the afternoon class twice and an evening class on Wednesday!

Below are a some photos of the storm and aftermath.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Our cool spell here in Brooklyn is over; it's heating up. We're moving into the high 90's.

We're having some friends over this evening, about six in all. In the past, we've watched the fireworks from our living room window, but this year and last, the location of the fireworks was moved to to the Hudson River on the West Side of Manhattan rather than the East River, which is visible from our living room.

We'll still be able to see some of the highest bursts, but not the full show. However, while this will change one part of the "tradition", it won't dim our appreciation of our time together.

I prepared a menu that I'm pretty sure that everyone will like; won't blow the calorie budget too badly and didn't require massive amounts of prep.

While I think that I will likely go somewhat over my limit, I've planned ahead, so that I meet my nutritional needs and minimize the damage.

Since this change is supposed to be for life, there has to be room for celebration and variation in our circumstances, so I'm not worrying about it.

I'm also giving some time to thought and prayer for our nation.

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Independence Day weekend and that those of you who are traveling have safe journeys!

The first photo below is of a flag and bunting bedecked Brooklyn Borough Hall, the others, of fireworks past: