Saturday, February 28, 2015

Movie Endings

Just saw the ending of one of my favortie movies: Practical Magic where Sandra Bullock (my girl crush) and Nicole Kidman are sisters who are witches. It's just a fun, girl's movie with a very strong feminist slant. Anyway, at the end, Sandra and this cop have fallen in love and she is narrating the ending. Then she says, "These things I know for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder; keep Rosemary by your garden gate; plant lavendar for luck; and fall in love whenever you can." I love that part, and just watched it again on YouTube.

I also love Aiden Quinn in this movie who plays a cop who is investigating Sandra for murder but they fall in love.

My other two favorite endings are Glory -- about the African-American regiment in the Civil War, led by Matthew Broderick and their struggle for respect. At the end, they volunteer for this suicide mission and there is a journalist from Harper's who has been traveling with them. Matthew Broderick says to the journalist, "If I should fall, remember what you saw here." Meaning record how brave these men are. Of course, he is killed and tossed into a mass grave with his men (some of whom do succeed in breaking into this Confederate fort). Starring Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman too.
When Glory came out in 1989, I saw a segment on 20/20 or 60 minutes about how the film makers recruited homeless black men to be the extras. At first, these guys were all smokin' and jokin' and then they taught them how to precision march and it totally changed them and you saw this pride in themselves. I always wondered if any of those men were changed permanently by the experience.

And speaking of Morgan, how can you not love the ending of Shawshank Redemption? I've seen that movie 20 times and I don't watch it when I come upon it flipping around the channels, but I will make note of the time and go back and watch that beautiful ending. Hope is a good thing.

Friday, February 27, 2015

What I'm Reading

A friend sent me this, and it really is a fascinating book.... a social history of the Hamptons... so there's a lot of history, a lot of gossipy/celeb stuff and I'm enjoying it.

Last Night's Dinner

So my sister and her family came in -- had a hard time finding a parking space because all the garages were full and so they had to drive around finding a spot. I had Christmas presents for the kids, and we ordered Chinese food. It's fun to have a lot of people to get the variety of things. We had Crispy Shredded Beef, Sesame Chicken, Chicken and Broccoli (Clark's favorite), chicken lo mein and some barbecued spare ribs.

Charlotte, who is in 10th grade, has taken the PSATs and they were telling me how colleges aggressively pursue students who do well. Charlotte said she did check off yes for permission to share her scores with colleges, and some of them go so far as to create unique URLs so it would say something like

Mary Elizabeth brought her wedding album which I had never seen so that was interesting to look at.

Anyway, here are some pictures:

This is Louisa who is this great helper and seems to enjoy organizing things.

Charlotte and Clark.

Charlotte is teaching herself how to play the ukelele so she performed for us.

Louisa took this, and it reminds me of an album cover.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday Bits

I'll have some photos to post later today as my sister's family is coming in for dinner. In the meantime, it is cold, cold, cold. When Mary M was here right after I got out of rehab and I had her look for my space heater. Well, she looked and I know she looked hard, but she couldn't find it. I know it had never left my bedroom, didn't break, so it was a mystery.

So yesterday when Marilyn was here, I had her look and she looked in my whole apartment. The whereabouts of my space heater remain a mystery so I finally just ordered a new one from Amazon which will arrive tomorrow. I'm sick of being cold.

In the meantime, Marilyn got me quite a bargain. I wanted chopsticks for tonight, and I didn't know where she would find them and then we decided she'd just go to a Chinese restaraurant and ask if she could buy some. She and I discussed how much they might charge -- and I thought 50 cents or so. Well, she got six pair of chopsticks for a dollar!. She and I were talking about what you could buy six of for a dollar these days.

Anyway, stand by for Chinese feast photos!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday, again

Not much to report. After a day in the 40s, temps have plummeted and now we're going to have the coldest days yet -- tonight and tomorrow.

My insurance company is apparently balking at paying for my PT so I'm working on that.

On happier notes, here's Baby Adelyn wearing a hat which her great-grandmother knitted for her mother. That's Mary's mother who knitted it. She went for her first outing yesterday out into the fresh air.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lost in Translation

I bought a blood pressure wrist cuff instrument -- just like the kind they used daily in the rehab hospital. It's difficult to go from having every everything monitored daily to having nothing. So this instrument works well... once I figured out that 220 was the date, and not my top number of blood pressure!

That sort of led me to reading the instruction manual, and this company is in dire need of a translator. Here are the warnings about this instrument (word for word!)

  • Disturbance of blood circulation patient uses under the doctor's instructions.
  • Treatment on the basis of the measure result yourself is dangerous.
  • This product only use for human body blood pressure to measure.
  • Please make sure to use the special-purpose wristband. (this is the only one that makes sense, sort of)
  • Don't disassemble, repair or transform by yourself.
  • It can not be used for baby or people who can not be right to express their willing.
Of course, it's important to be right to express your willing, right?

More Snow

New York snow has stopped; DC snow continues.

Mary says the snow conbtinues to fall.

Here we go again--- SNOW!

Fran's snow:

Fran writes: 12 noon on Connecticut Ave (as seen from my 9th floor apartment). Streets and cars were blanketed within a half hour. So dreary. Forecast now calling for for 1-3 inches then turning to rain. But temps are warmer (now 24, with real feel of 17 deg and will be warmer on Sunday. I was out when first snowflakes started falling and air felt like a heatwave compared to last few days. But bring on the hot chocolate!
Stay warm and safe.
Mary's snow:

This is Mary's front yard and street.

As for me, it's half snow/half rain but the temps are supposed to go up by tomorrow.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Doings

Mary is home-home, and all is well.

File this under TMI -- if any of you have ever taken water pills, well, mine seem to cause "normal" activity and every so often -- boom! Maybe that's the wrong sound effect. More like rush to the bathroom. A lot. It's probably good to say they are working, but that cumulative effect can wear you out!

What I'm reading:

Melissa gave me this book while I was in the hospital, but I didn't read it then. I also was gifted with a copy of The Goldfinch which has been on the best seller list for a while. This Still Life book is about a one-famous photographer who has fallen on hard times. She sublets her NYC apartment and moves to this bungalow in the country where she feels as if she is a fish out of water.

She is also short on cash, and so part of this is rethinking her whole financial situation. I joke with someone that if we go belly up financially, we can sit on a piece of cardboard over the subway grate and he'll say, "I used to own an airplane" and I'll say, "I used to have someone come to my apartment to give me pedicures." So I find the finance part interesting. I never take that part of my life for granted.

We're in single digits on the thermometer with snow and ice on the way. We are all happily awaiting Sunday where it is supposed to get close to 50 degrees. Can't get here soon enough. Even the Hudson River is frozen.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

All is Well

Mary is back in her room, feeling good, but tired and all went well.

Hotel Recommendation

So if you're ever in Baltimore Inner Harbor area (hopefully to pick up a lottery winning check, sight see, or some reason other than visiting Johns Hopkins), Mary definitely recommends the Sleep Inn. It is an old warehouse building transformed into a hotel. Great rate of $89 a night, which taxes kick up a bit more than that.

But Mary said checking in last night and an interaction this morning couldn't have been friendlier or nicer.

So here's her room:

This is the desk and TV

Mary said this came out pink, but it's actually gray and white.

Hopefully Mary will take a nice nap in this great looking bed later today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday Check In

First and foremost, please send good thoughts Mary's way as she is having eye surgery at Johns Hopkins on /Thursday morning. Right now, she is happily ensconced in a hotel near the hospital (it's outpatient) in Baltimore. Her surgery is around noon and then she has to go back the next day (Friday) so she's staying at the hotel. I hope she can take a nice nap when she comes home from the hospital tomorrow.,

Winter continues to clobber us on the head (ok, not as much as Boston) but we're having record cold tomorrow and Friday. It's supposed to be 50 degrees on Sunday and it would be nice to open the garden door and let some fresh air in.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

More Unrelated Items

Yesterday, I meant to plug Progresso Onion Soup. I love French Onion Soup, and I thought I'd give this a try. It's just 100 calories for the whole can (the front of the can announces 50 cal per serving) but the whole can is more realistic. I have to say it's pretty close to the real thing. I had some part-skim mozzerella so I sprinkled that on top.

Second: Mary was stunned by a flock of robins on her deck today. Haven't seen any birds here, but Mary's neighbor said the robins are attracted by the holly berries.

The robins on Mary's deck:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Unrelated Items

RIP Leslie Gore -- It was her party, and she'd cry if she wanted to... I remember when that song first came out. When I see photos of her now, her hair looks so weird, but we did the same thing -- the "flip" hairdo!

Out of the blue, I got two issues of Martha Stewart Living today. Maybe they hope I"ll decide to subscribe, but I don't think so. The issue has a regular feature: Martha's Calendar which tells you what Martha is doing each day and it's almost a parody of itself... she is baking birthday cookies for her dog, but yesterday she was forcing forsythia.
Mary got a new shelf installed in her kitchen which made her one happy lady. Here it is:

More snow expected tonight; no end in sight with the cold. Wish I had an electric blanket!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Slow and Steady

Maybe a lesson (maybe??) I need to learn is to slow down. I remind myself that it doesn't matter that it takes 10 seconds to put on my shoes or 2 seconds. Mary really unpacked all the clothes so I'm left with all the "miscellany" which is hard to dispose of. Luckily I'm not a hoarder! I've been tossing and sorting and trying to make my apartment as normal as possible.

I don't remember a time when I wanted Spring to come more!

Milo finds warmth

I'd do the same, but we have no sun here -- just cold, and I mean COLD!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Saturdayt Report

Slept in blessed dark and silence until noon today,.. and have just sort of puttered along. I can do almost everything myself, and am grateful (really) to be using a toilet. Got dressed, cooked, did some laundry, did some work-work, was rude to whoever at Citibank on line far, far away was trying to help me and really was of no help. A typical day.

We're supposed to have snow tonight, and it really is cold. I have a small space heater which I can't find. Mary really searched when she was here. I know I never had it upstairs where I am, know it didn't break... so where the heck is it? Oh well, I'll save on my electric bill!

Milo's a Cool Cat, too, says Mary

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentino's Valentine

Fran says:

Valentino (appropriate name for the occasion), wearing his love glasses, asks, Will you be my Valentine?

Friday report

Yesterday's trip home was a dream comparing it to the last one. This is an ambulette service that the hospital uses so I felt good about that -- that they needed to keep the hospital happy and not just one individual. The driver was an older Russian man named Illya and he was wonderful. He helped with all the luggage and then helped as I went up the dreaded STAIRS outside.

I got my foot on the first step ( 10 inches) and could not lift myself up. Mary was there and I said to her to do whatever she had to do to shove my ass up that step. Well she later told me she just sort of worked as a block so I couldn't move backward, but wasn't pushing me forward. She reminded me that the first was the worst.

Then I did the next two, the next step and there were three to go. Illya came and held out his hand so I could push up against the railing and he pulled my hand. He kept saying, "Take your time" but I am overly aware that -- well, in my mind, he and Mary are thinking "how the hell long is she going to take?" when that is nowhere in their minds. I would say it took me two minutes or less to make it up the stairs. I felt like giving myself a medal.

So Mary got me settled in; I laid down around 3 to 5, just with Mary there and the TV on quietly and I probably slept for 15 minutes. Mary left around 6 and I was OK on my own.

Got groceries this morning (delivered).... I didn't mention that Marilyn came by yesterday and went out and got all my prescriptions filled and Mary left today about 2, but couldn't get on a train until 6 -- we'd forgotten about the holiday weekend.

How do I feel? I feel emotionally battered (still) and just weary. Physically I feel tired, but am doing what I need to do to take care of myself. I remind myself that each day it should get better.

Thank you to everyone who remembered me in thoughts, prayers, sent me stuff, helped me in 100 different ways. I appreciate it.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Home again

Safe and sound, but I'm worn out so I'm going to lay down for a while and Mary is here and all is well.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday Progress

Today, they took me away from the "beginner" steps in the PT room to the real-life steps in a fire exit stairway... a real flight of steps. I walked to the steps, went up and down the flight, and they had a wheelchair waiting for me and I said I would walk back to the PT room which I did.

The cheerleaderly "high five, Miss Pat" aside, I knew my PT guy was really stunned. He told me he had never had someone do the steps for the first time and then be able to walk back to the room. I overheard him telling some other PT therapists what I had done. So that made me feel good that it wasn't the fake motivational encouragement. That's probably unfair to say -- both to me and to my PT guy but I would rather have a muttered, "nice job" than a squealing "high five!!!"

Arrangements have been made for the ride home. Mary is coming to be my "escort." That's what they call it.

Then Barbara came today and I'm about 3/4th packed. Barbara worked like a demon, and we sorted and threw away and I looked like a hoarder which I'm not. I still had Christmas cards and other things... clothes that weren't mine... a whole bunch of stuff to get rid of. So we are hyper organized.

I can't say that I have a particular thing I want to do, or eat, when I get home. Here are some desires:

  • To sleep in the dark with no TV on (right now, sometimes there are two TVs going in my room and my roommate sleeps with the light on
  • To have food that is hot (not spicy, but temperature wise) and not from a steam table
  • To wash the institutional stink out of my clothes and remove the nametags -- when I say stink, I just mean that they use Grade F detergent so everything has a vaguely unpleasant smell and dingy look to it. I need my Liquid Gain and dryer sheets!
  • To regain my dignity and my modesty.
  • To have a decent salad and other fresh fruits and vegetables. I am not saying this in a "diet" way, but 95% of the fruits and vegetables here are canned.
  • As much as I appreciate and enjoy Mary and she will help me, I am sort of looking forward to being alone which I have not been in weeks. I am not saying, "leave me alone" -- not at all, but I do want to be physically alone for at least some time.
One more day, and I am supposedly out of here at 11 am on Thursday.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Going Home

Got the word today that I am officially homeward bound on Thursday -- now in the process of making all of the arrangements.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday report

Not much to say about today; other than everyone is talking about the weather. PT starts again tomorrow so we'll see if I can earn an A-

Mary's furnace conked out so she sent me this photo of her substitute. Looks quite cozy to me. Hand me a quilt and a good book and I'm set.

PS from Barbara who just wrote:
I just saw Mary's fire on your blog, and I thought you'd like to see mine up here in CT.  I'm sitting in front of it right now with a book!  (The andiron cats are named Bashful and Nashville, and keep us company on those weekends our real cats stay in NYC.)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Saturday/Baby Adelyn

Dull day in Flushing. Not much to report.

Meanwhile, here's the latest baby photo with Adelyn rockin' in her jeans.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday report

I got another B+ today - did walking and the stairs twice... then all the upper body stuff. In order to get an A-, I have to do the stairs twice and walk this certain distance so maybe on Monday. My guy told me he only gives an A when you go home.

Am continuing to do work-work so all is well. I am fantasizing not about a specific food, but about food that is HOT, not spicy hot, but temperature hot. I am so sick of steamed, room temperature crappy food. Having said that, I wouldn't turn down some pepperoni pizza or chicken lo mein.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday Progress

My PT guy came to my floor today and I walked the circuit here which is farther than downstairs. I thought I did a good job, and asked for a grade, He gave me a B+ -- but said he is a tough grader. Then I went downstairs to do more -- upper body and I did the stairs. My PT guy claims I don't put my entire foot on the step and he thinks that's dangerous and I told him I have big feet and they don't always fit.

Anyway, I got a new roommate who I really like. She is a great conversationalist, my age, now retired, who worked as an exec asst for the CEO of a huge ad agency so she has lots of stories.

Life goes on in Flushing,.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday Progress

Had another good PT session where I did the steps twice and walked "the circuit" -- that's like a shorter version of walking around the block.

Today, for the first time, a vague release date was uttered: "the end of the month." The PT people have to recommend it, and my OT and PT people agreed.

Tomorrow, instead of going downstairs to the PT room, they are coming up here to get me ready to actually use a toilet. Ah, what a thrill that will be to be back among adult human beings again.

Howie the Dog

Mary's niece (and Howie's human mom) says hewas building a fort out of his bed.

Monday, February 2, 2015

More Monday Progress

Had a very good PT session where I walked further than I have previously -- I also felt as if I was walking more "normally" and not on the last yards of a 100-mile death march.

But what I am happiest about is that my wheelchair is so low that I can't get out of it by myself and so when I come back from PT I have often had to sit there for a long time before someone would help. Today I got out by myself, on the first attempt, changed clothes and now can work. I don't know if you can appreciate how good it is to not be dependent. So I'm feeling good about this progress.

Monday Progress

Today was shower day and I stood up in the shower for the first time (as opposed to sitting in a shower chair.)

When I told the nurse who dispenses pills and takes my blood pressure every morning this feat, she said, "Your therapy is going well and soon you will be going hone."

I continue to not ask for a specific date, and just keep rolling along. I do see progress, but I'm happy for it to continue.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Progress

I am officially off oxygen, except at night, and the nurse this morning said that will make me "easier to release." I feel like a wounded penguin who is going to be put back in the wild. I wish I cared about Super Bowl, but I don't. Just doing some work-work with the TV on in the background.