Sunday, November 30, 2014

It took almost 3 hours (longer than usual) for my annual clean up of the hot tub and its environs this afternoon.  That was probably because everything was dirtier than usual since the canvas covering the lattice roof continues to deteriorate (no doubt thanks to our Arizona sun) and thus allows dirt to blow through the rips.  But now it's all cleaned (and even refilled!) so once I get the new filters and chemicals at the pool store tomorrow we can turn in on. YAY! 

I'm glad I checked the calendar again.  My appointment with the orthopedist isn't tomorrow, it's next Monday.  I have so many post-it notes on December that some of them covered up December 1, and when I glanced at the calendar and saw the visit on Monday the 8th it (sort of) looked like the first Monday. 

At least I got a lot accomplished today and didn't just run in circles - though I admit I am running out of steam.  

Pokey also has a nice clean crate now (not that she ever thanks me), and in addition to a couple of loads of laundry I did actually unpack the small duffel bag I took on my trip; the big suitcase, however, still hasn't been touched since Tom brought it in last night.  That's on my agenda for tomorrow, along with a trip to the grocery store (Tom gave me a pass on that today <g>) and the pool store.

Lisa let me know that she and Chas landed safely in Oakland today.  I was sorry to have missed her visit, but they had a very early flight out this morning so coming over last night wasn't in the cards.  When I asked her if the airport had been a zoo (they flew into/out of the smaller Mesa airport) she said no, that Mesa airport was "positively quaint"!  Nice for her; I don't think too many folks flying on Thanksgiving Sunday can report a stress-free airport experience...

Once Tom got up I had a very productive morning.  I know he will really appreciate clean sheets on the bed tonight after practically living in bed the past week while sick.  My plants are all watered (though he did toss some water at them while I was gone, and everything looked pretty good), the hummingbird feeders are filled (all but one were totally empty), trash and recycling are out and ready for tomorrow's pickup, the front porch and driveway are swept (I didn't get too wild and crazy since leaves are still continuing to fall), etc.  Still need to go to the grocery store, and haven't yet even opened up either suitcase.  But it's not quite noon so the day is young!

Now I'm taking a lunch break (leftover turkey, naturally) before I attack this afternoon's chores.  Tom hooked up the hose for me so now the hot tub is draining. It will take some time to clean everything up, but once that's done we can fill it back up and turn on the heat.  I had hoped that Alex might have it all done for me when I got home as a wonderful surprise (even if his ulterior motive could have been to use it with friends...) but that didn't happen.

  As most of you know, I sure do love soaking in hot water, and as always look forward to yet another season of being in hot water... at least the good kind!

All the mail is (more or less) taken care of.  

My bank statement balanced (with one questionable "other subtraction" that I'll need to call about), the envelope I thought contained a bill from the insurance turned out to be a refund (!) of $85.70, and what bills there were turned out to be small-ish amounts.  Life is good!

Since Tom is still sleeping, instead of unpacking I can migrate to the recliner and read a couple of magazines that arrived while I was away.

My goal last night was to stay awake until 9:00 (11:00 on the East Coast.)  Around 8:50 it became quite  apparent that (short of using toothpicks to prop open my eyes) I might as well throw in the towel and trundle off to bed.

I slept in until 6:30 this morning, so I should be fairly productive today.  That's good, since there's plenty I need to do (beyond merely unpacking and dealing with the mail) after being gone for more than 2 weeks.

In addition, the December page on my calendar is packed with all sorts of commitments/appointments and an additional plethora of sticky notes.  I see the orthopedist on Monday about my thumb/wrist, the Busy Bees holiday party is Wednesday (no, I'm not prepared yet), Sylvia is in from New Zealand for a month and of course we MUST get together (and maybe sew?!?!), Mary and I had tentative plans to go down to Tucson and visit Deb for a few days the beginning of the month while Jerry is off hunting, I haven't yet done my holiday shopping for the family here (Chanukah's first candle is December 16)...

And just to add to the mix, I had 'promised' myself to start back up at the gym (haven't been since June!)  Ever the optimist, I planned to schedule Mondays AND Fridays to make up missing for the past several months.  Let's see a show of hands: how many of you think this is realistically going to happen?

Tom is still asleep, so there's a limit to what I can do until he wakes up.

But at least I can go deal with the mail.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

SATURDAY I was up early, and by 8:00 I had showered, packed, washed the sheets and folded up the couch, etc.  So I was not rushing, and there was really no excuse for me walking out the door around noon leaving behind my delicious post-Thanksgiving feast in the frig.  And my water bottle.  Obviously (with as much as I've been eating here these past couple of weeks) I was certainly in NO danger of starving before I got back to Phoenix... especially since Mom reminded me to take the last of the cashews and Hershey Kisses, which I stashed in my purse. But it was disappointing nonetheless.

BWI airport was busy, with a rather long line through security.  But I still made it to the gate in plenty of time.  Although the board there said the flight was scheduled to leave on time, the arriving plane still hadn't made its appearance by our scheduled boarding time.  At that point they announced our departure (and subsequent arrival) would be about 20 minutes late, so I let Tom know.  However while en route the pilot announced we would arrive on time.  (As it turned out, we actually landed early; go figure!)

The woman sitting in the middle seat next to me was about my size, so there was no 'spillage' from her seat and I had plenty of arm room to work on my needlework.  I had hoped to get through the next section (which has lots of those pesky quarter stitches I dislike) but once I realized I had made a mistake I put it away.  Not sure if I'll have to rip out most of today's work or will be able to fudge it - but certainly did not want to deal with it today.  So much for making good progress as long as I was stuck in my seat for hours.

My flight was uneventful, my luggage made the same trip I did (always nice to see it appear on the carousel) and Tom picked me up.  Sky Harbor was mobbed with folks waiting to fly out; sure glad I'm already home.  

Somebody delivered a lovely penguin scarf to the house the day I flew out, and it was waiting for me on my desk tonight. Unfortunately there was no note with it - and Tom, of course, can't remember who it was other than "one of the quilting ladies."  So I have no idea who to thank!

Tom still sounds sick, but he says at least he's finally starting to feel better.  Estera and Ben took good care of him; they brought Thanksgiving dinner over to him on Thursday, and chicken soup on Friday.  Note: On Thursday Phoenix tied the record high for Thanksgiving Day, hitting 87 degrees.

Alex just stopped by to say hi.  He just got back from snowboarding in Flagstaff today (yesterday was White Friday, the opening for the season), and is off to party in Tempe with friends.  Unlike him I'm pretty tired, and (as Dad used to say) tomorrow is another day (to unpack, sort through the mail, upload pix, etc.)  Good night!

Friday, November 28, 2014

FRIDAY I was happy that Andy and Sandy slept in a little today after working so hard yesterday to host such a wonderful Thanksgiving feast. While they packed up to get ready for a quiet weekend at their beach house (and celebrate their 31st anniversary) I looked at the pix of their two recent vacations.  The frame was on and scrolling last night, but I never got a chance to look at it.  They got some absolutely wonderful pix up in Alaska, which is on my bucket list - my favorites were the shots of the whales.  (Tom, Lisa, and Alex have seen whales, but not me...yet!)  I recognized many of their shots of France from the trip Mom and I took there in the spring of 2013; and while Monet's gardens in Giverny may not have been quite as glorious in autumn, I was glad to see that there were still plenty of colorful blooms for them to enjoy. 

Andy and Sandy provided compartmentalized containers for everyone to pack up leftovers last night, but I figured I'd pack up mine (for the plane trip tomorrow) this morning.  Little mix-up in communication, and when I got ready to do that the goodies had already been loaded into the van.  But luckily the ice-chest was get-attable.  My gourmet lunch for tomorrow includes turkey <duh!>, deviled eggs - and some of that yummy chocolate cake Lisa and Eric brought.

We had a teaser of snow flurries on the ride back over to Riderwood this morning, but nothing like I saw on the news later in Bethesda and Rockville.  And (naturally) now that I'm getting ready to leave on Saturday the weather is going to be in the 60s on Sunday and Monday.

This afternoon I got to watch Cause for Paws that Mom taped yesterday (lots of adorable dogs) and then the Robin Roberts heart-warming special, Thank You America, also taped from yesterday.  In hopes of getting something done I got out my needlework, but both shows turned out to be ones I really wanted to watch so I didn't make much progress.  Maybe tomorrow on the plane - if I'm not squished by the person next to me and have room to maneuver.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Hope everyone got to their destinations safely; still no word on whether Lisa and Chas made it to Arizona without too much hassle.  Yesterday's storms in the Midwest and other parts of the country no doubt added to the airports' already stressful holiday travel issues.  Our weather seems to have left, and even the cars that weren't scraped off yesterday are doing a good job of losing their snow cover as the temps are in the 40s.

I got up early enough to leisurely read the paper and take my shower, and then I parked myself in front of the TV to watch the 88th Macy's parade at 9:00.  Mom, who grew up in NYC, still remembers that November day in the 1930s when she got to watch one of the early parades out the window from the warm comfort of "someone's" office instead of down on the street with the rest of the crowd.  I was perfectly content to watch on TV from the comfort of Mom's couch while I worked on my needlework.  

What I did miss was the usual aroma of roasting turkey wafting from the kitchen; I didn't get to enjoy that until this afternoon when we arrived at Andy and Sandy's house for the festivities.  Everyone made it, and there were 18 of us: Andy & Sandy, Ivy, Ed & Charlie & Harry, Allen, Rachelle & Bob & Jonathan, Lisa & Eric and Virginia & Jared, Lucille & Dave, Mom, and me. FYI Mom was not the oldest one there (by a fair margin); there were four nonagenarians, ages 90, 91, 92, and 95 celebrating with us today.  We feasted on all the usual fare, and a very good time was had by all.  I tried not to overeat - but it was hard with all that delicious food!

Lisa and Alex called to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving (from Chas's parents' house in Scottsdale) but Tom hadn't felt well enough to leave the house and join them. When he called me a little later he sure sounded miserable.  Poor guy.

I'm spending the night here, and once everyone left I helped Andy & Sandy with the cleanup.  (That's when my kitchen skills shine.) We had all the food put away, pots & pans washed, first dishwasher load run and put away, tables and chairs back where they belong, etc. by 10:00.  Sure beats waking up to a dirty kitchen!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WEDNESDAY we did not awake to snow, just rain.  And since the revised forecast for today predicted  temps to remain above freezing (though falling throughout the day) we assumed we weren't likely to see any of the fluffy white stuff.  It still seemed a good day to stay in, however, with steady rain coming down.  If the weather had been nicer we might have gone looking for a new recliner for Mom.  Hers does not have a handle, so she has to lean back to get the footrest to engage, and then push down on the footrest with her feet to tuck it back in before she can stand up.  She's been having trouble getting the footrest back down, and I just assumed it had to do with waning strength in her legs.  But when she told me last night that this was a recent development I wondered if maybe the mechanism just needed a little oiling.  I tipped the chair and applied WD-40 liberally, and voila, problem (more-or-less) solved.  She should probably still replace the chair for one with a lever, but at least the situation is less of a crisis - which means she can take her time finding one she really likes instead of settling for the sake of convenience.

By 10:00 this morning I had finished my sole "must do" for the day (making the deviled eggs for tomorrow) when I noticed that snowflakes were drifting down amongst the rain drops.  If the temps continued to drop throughout the day (as predicted) we figured we might see the snow start to stick (which it hadn't so far this morning) although by 10:30 it was definitely snowing huge clumps with no rain mixed in any more.

The Netflix that arrived in yesterday's mail (Wish I Was Here) is one that is on my to-see list, unlike the one we watched yesterday (I think it was called A Wanted Man) which was not the sort of movie Mom would watch, and after 'watching' it she has no idea why she ordered it. So between watching a movie, playing more Rummikub, and keeping track of the changing weather outside the window, we passed a very relaxing day... for a change!

By late morning the snow was sticking to the ground and cars, and I realized we might <g> need the squeegee tomorrow. So I bundled up and went down to the car to get it so I could bring it upstairs to wash off all the mud after yesterday's use at the cemetery.  That also gave me an 'excuse' to go out in the snow; can't remember the last time I got to see to snow...  Once the squeegee was clean I went back downstairs and cleared off the windshield and all the windows.  That way if it turns colder we'll be less likely to have to scrape a serious layer of ice off everything before we head "over the river and through the woods" tomorrow.

By the time I'd cleared off the car the snow was trying to turn back into rain, and not long afterward stopped altogether.  But by 2:00 it was snowing again; guess it just couldn't quite make up its mind.  The flurries continued throughout the afternoon, but were wet enough that they weren't really sticking to much any more.  By the time we finished dinner it seemed to have stopped.

Tom called today, and is still down with the crud.  Unless he feels considerably better tomorrow he plans to just stay home and skip Thanksgiving. That's gotta be disappointing, but partying isn't much fun when you feel crappy (and no one wants to catch what he's got!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

MONDAY NIGHT I did attend the movie, and while there were no surprises in the plot it was certainly enjoyable. Plus I learned a lot about the game of lacrosse (which wasn't hard since I'd known practically nothing about it beforehand.)

Remember the crappy cold I suffered through in the days right before my trip?  Shortly after I left for Maryland it got Alex, and last night I found out that Tom has been down with it for the past three days.  Sounds like it made him just as miserable as it did me, but it also sounds like he is over the worst of it, and (with a little luck) will be all recovered by Thursday.

It was an amazingly balmy day here yesterday (incredible for late November) when Cindy met us for lunch.  The temps actually soared into the low 70s (!) although there was quite a brisk wind (one gust almost blew Mom over) so that negated some of the effect.  Today it's back to the more seasonal 50s,  but a winter storm is expected to arrive early tomorrow - certainly not good news for all the holiday travelers!  At the moment it looks like we could get an inch (or possibly three) of snow tomorrow, so we're both glad that it's the one day during my visit that we have nothing planned and can hole up here with movies and Rummikub. Even if it just turns out to just be rain (the forecast map has us close to the line) we really don't need to be out driving in it, wondering if/when the roads could turn icy.

Mom and I both both woke up early so I've already crossed off my most important 'to do' item for today: boiling the eggs so I can devil them tomorrow.  Mid-morning we headed over to the cemetery to say hi to Dad.  I still miss him, and think of him all the time - hard to believe it's been more than 5 years - but especially around Thanksgiving, my favorite family day of the year.  And of course nobody carves the turkey like he did!  The gravestones at this cemetery are all flat on the ground, and Dad's was (again) getting covered in mud and in danger of disappearing - again.  I cleaned it as best I could (the squeegee in Mom's trunk helped considerably) but next visit I'll be sure to bring better tools with me.

Speaking of cemeteries, this past weekend was the unveiling of Bev's headstone in Connecticut.  Her daughter Perri posted a picture on Facebook yesterday for those of us who couldn't be there.  Bev touched so many lives, and while I knew her longer than most (over 60 years) she is also missed by so many others. It's especially tragic that she didn't get her final wish, to hang on long enough to spare her parents the sorrow of burying a child.  Her father just died last month (at 99) and her mother is still going strong at 95. Despite "choosing" the right parents (with good aging genes) she lost her battle with cancer in March at the too-young age of 63.

After the cemetery we stopped in to visit with Marge and Merle, family friends for the past 35 years.  He's dealing with numerous (and serious) health issues which means they can't get out much, so they were especially appreciative of our visit.  From my seat I had a view of their spectacular holly tree, all dressed in red.  I meant to take a picture when we were leaving, but we all know how that goes...

Monday, November 24, 2014

SATURDAY NIGHT we watched one of the Netflix Mom had brought along, just in case we found time to watch (which isn't always the case.) It was a foreign film (with subtitles) called Captain Abu Raed, and had won Audience Choice at a major film festival; we all certainly enjoyed it.  The story is about a janitor who works at the airport (in Jordan) and is mistaken for a pilot by some of the underprivileged children in his neighborhood.  

SUNDAY we had a relaxing morning.  It was considerably nicer than the day before when I got up - as in 20 degrees warmer!  After breakfast, when I put out a leftover pear core and a peanutbutter-smeared pinecone for the critters, I barely needed a sweater.  After a leisurely lunch (when we polished off the last of the 3 different pizzas from last night) we said farewell to the Eastern Shore and headed home; I rode back with Andy while Mom rode with Sandy.  Andy and I talked the whole way, catching up on this and that, which was nice.  It had been way too noisy to talk much at Rachelle's wedding (plus we we seated at different tables for the dinner) and we were also seated at different tables at the scholarship dinner.  

The big excitement during our drive home was that we "almost" got hit by a plane.  We were on Route 50 when a small plane came out of nowhere from behind some trees to land at a local airport. The pilot touched down at the very beginning of the runway, which was adjacent to the highway.  When I said something about our close call Andy agreed that the pilot 'did seem awfully low.'

MONDAY I woke up today not feeling very refreshed; it had been extrememly windy last night, and I woke many times during the night to what sounded like a freight-train rushing by the 6th-floor windows.  Luckily there wasn't any place I needed to rush off to this morning.  It's been a leisurely morning of eventually showering and then catching up on the newspapers that had piled up over the weekend.  

I'm glad Cindy will be able to make it for lunch today (after having to cancel plans last Monday) and assume I should <g> be able to stay awake that long instead of crashing face-down into my crab soup.  The bigger question is will I still be functional after dinner tonight?  It's one of Mom's bridge nights, and I was planning to attend the 7:00 movie Crooked Arrows (about a Native-American lacrosse team that sounds like a feel-good story) but if I'm too tired by then 'them's the breaks.'

Waiting to hear how Lisa's move went yesterday (from Haight-Ashbury to a house in Palo Alto), but more importantly, how a friend's visit with her oncologist goes today.  Of course I'm hoping that the news will be the best possible, that she doesn't need to have chemo!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

FRIDAY Sandy picked us up after lunch and we headed down to the shore for the weekend.  Andy was a presenter at a One-Day Bootcamp Trial Training for Young Lawyers (case of the day was Sacco and Vanzetti) so he was going to drive down in the evening afterward.  The three of us had an uneventful drive, and not long after our arrival we headed off to dine at the new Yacht Club (figuring, correctly, that the house would be warmed up by our return.) We were just entering the restaurant when Sandy's cell phone 'rang' (gotta love Andy's barking ringtone) with the latest crisis. Andy had misplaced his van keys, but as it turned out his spare pair was NOT with us in Sandy's glove box (at least a 3-hour drive from Baltimore) as she feared, but at their home.  The other good news was that Eddie was available and willing to drive over to their house to retrieve the keys and deliver them to Andy downtown.  Never a dull moment!  Andy arrived at the beach house not long after 9:00, so I was still awake to greet him after his long day.

SATURDAY It was in the low 30s outside when I woke up, so I declined to shop the weekly Farmer's Market (which runs every Saturday, year round) in the park that abuts their property.  Sandy likes to shop there whenever they are down for the weekend, and did pick up a couple of things.  

While Sandy was shopping I looked through the manual for Evidence Boot Camp with Andy Levy (he teaches Evidence one semester each year at the University of Maryland Law School) and 'debated' certain rules and distinctions.  Always enlightening to discuss law with him.

After lunch I bundled up and walked over to the park's community center for today's small craft show.  There wasn't much there that interested me, though I did buy a raffle ticket for a stunning batik quilt.  Someone has to win, so it could be me, right?

We whiled away the rest of the afternoon playing Rummikub and nibbling on all sorts of goodies (kettle corn, bay seasoning potato chips, and chocolate) and drinking wine.  I was the only one who never won any of the games, but I'll probably survive my shame.  Instead of going out to dinner we decided to just stay in and continue our healthy eating: pizza!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

WEDNESDAY We lunched at the Pub with the ladies of Stitch & Bitch (Ann, Cynthia, and Carolyn), all of whom I know from previous visits.  I ordered my usual, the delicious crab soup, and also 'forced' myself to eat the kettle chips.  (There's a reason I don't keep potato chips around the house!) Afterward we trooped up to Carolyn's apartment, which is the same floor plan as Mom's except it has 'bump outs' in the sun room and living room (not available when Mom and Dad moved in) which give nice added room.  We sat around and stitched (first time I'd picked up my needlework since I'd been here) and talked some more until it was time for us to head back and get ready for our big evening.

Andy and Sandy picked us up and we headed to the University of Maryland Law School in downtown Baltimore for a special evening.  At the end of Andy's first semester of law school (December of 1978) he became critically ill and was not expected to survive.  When he did, my parents endowed a scholarship fund in his honor to which I have contributed each year.  When that scholarship became totally funded, they started a second one specifically for disabled applicants.  Last night there was a dinner to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the scholarship, with many of the recipients attending.  It was heart-warming to hear what the scholarship has meant to each of them, and what it had enabled them to achieve.  Most of them were 'paying it forward' by the way in which they have chosen to use their education and skills.  We also received a packet of letters written by some of the other recipients who were unable to attend the dinner but were also quite appreciative of of the opportunities given to them by virtue of receiving the financial aid.  Dad, who put himself through school and knew the value of an education, would have loved to have seen how the scholarship had impacted so many lives since its beginning so many years ago.  When Andy spoke at the end of the evening I discovered that the Dean at that time had tried to convince Dad to put the money into the Dean's Discretionary Fund, but Dad (always a huge proponent of education) felt strongly about funding a scholarship.  At the time it was the first such scholarship at the law school, although since then other families have followed suit and created a scholarship in someone's honor or memory.

THURSDAY We we lunched in downtown Silver Spring with Mom's friend Judy, who has known me since high school.  Of course I've changed a little <g> since then...but so has Silver Spring!  Mom had the latkes, and Judy and I both ordered the blitzes. I could have stopped at that, but Judy (who was treating) insisted I have dessert, so I caved in and ordered the Big Fat Chocolate Cake.  Let's just say that when it arrived (with 3 forks, as I'd requested) it was enough to feed an army.  I divided it into 3 portions and we did our best, but none of us could finish our 'slice'.

There was some 3D artwork at the restaurant that intrigued me, so when we were leaving I stopped by the manager's office to get some info on the artist. Later when I looked him up on the internet I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised to discover he's out of MY price range...

More Rummikub (mom is on a roll and has been beating me) and then off to dinner with Lucille and Dave.  Even though we'll see them on Thanksgiving it'll be nice to visit with them tonight.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TUESDAY started out relaxing enough.  I read the paper, fixed some of Mom's earrings, and made a couple of phone calls.  I also tried to figure out why Mom gets at least 3 duplicates of each incoming e-mail (since she was forced to change over to g-mail because of Riderwood's imminent campus-wide wifi.) My internet research showed that this is apparently somewhat of a widespread problem, but the fix (involving IMAP) made little sense (all right, NO sense) to me so I decided to call Google in hopes that I could speak with an actual person who could walk me through the solution.  Unfortunately with the time difference they weren't open yet.  I decided to take my shower (we have a lunch date today in Bethesda) until I discovered there was no water!  Of course I immediately called General Services, and the woman on the other end informed me that they'd had to shut down the water unexpectedly but "it should be back on within the hour."  This was a common enough problem when I lived in The Canyon so we always kept water on hand, but as far as I know it rarely (if ever?) happens at Riderwood.  Luckily water was soon restored so we were able to shower and leave for lunch on time.

We found the restaurant with no trouble, and even though we were 10 minutes early Ann was already seated and waiting for us.  It was a bittersweet luncheon: Ann (and Arthur, who died in October at the age of 99) lived next door to my parents when I was growing up, and her daughter Beverly was my BFF since we were toddlers.  Sadly Bev lost her battle with cancer in March.  The three of us reminisced about happier days, and plan to get together again next time I'm in Maryland.  Lunch, by the way, was scrumptious.  At Ann's suggestion I ordered the Chesapeake Crab Tower ("layered with fresh mango, avocado, fresh tomato, cilantro, old bay and mayo seasoned jumbo lump crab meat served with a side of arugula with passion fruit dressing") that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Driving home I detoured by our old house on Dameron.  In many respects it looks just as it did back then - although the driveway, which had seemed so long during my childhood, had definitely shrunk.  Strange how that happened...

As expected it was quite nippy today; when we left for lunch the car thermometer was registering only 30 degrees out. The temperature had climbed to 31 by the time we left the restaurant, and soared all the way to 32 when we arrived home.  I think today is supposed to be the coldest day, and the temperature will gradually warm up in the coming days.  Amazingly, the rosebush outside the door is still blooming!

Monday, November 17, 2014

SUNDAY Andy arrived to pick us up right on schedule, and even with extra-heavy traffic on the beltway (and a bit of weather) we made it to La Ferme (the elegant French restaurant where the wedding was being held) on time.  Despite having the entire restaurant at their disposal for the wedding it was quite crowded (there were about 100 guests in attendance) which made it difficult to move around.  But it was a lovely ceremony and dinner, although between the band and the acoustics it was much too noisy for easy conversation.  Rachelle's father (my uncle) jokingly asked me at dinner if I was able to hear the band or did I want them to crank up the volume. Every time the band did take a break, everyone (at our table at least) was thrilled! Jonathan mentioned that Nancy Reagan used to lunch often at La Ferme, and I will say that my dinner was absolutely delicious.  Rachelle and Bob both looked radiant, and it was especially wonderful for her that her mother Helen, who recently moved to an Alzheimer's care facility, was able to attend, along with her still-active 92-year-old father (who danced up a storm with Rachelle to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy!) When he asked me to dance, I was able to pretend it was my Dad (his brother) who I still miss dearly.

MONDAY we awoke to rain and fog, but since we had no plans to go out it didn't matter.  Tomorrow, when we will be going out, it's supposed to be much colder - by about 20 degrees. Figures....  Originally today we were supposed to have lunch here with my friend Cindy (who lives in Falls Church, VA) but a medical emergency with her significant other's elderly mother forced cancellation of that.  Hopefully we will be able to find a date to reschedule our get-together before I head back to Arizona... although my calendar doesn't have a lot of wiggle room!

Mom and I played some Rummikub, and I was on a roll and won all of today's games.  Mom has been feeling a little guilty about winning most of the time at her Thursday night games (after being invited to join an on-going group) so I figure that it's just her comeuppance for that.  We also watched Wordplay, a 2006 documentary about crossword puzzles which focused on Will Shortz (NYTimes crossword puzzle editor) and the annual puzzle-solving competition, held in Stamford, CT, that he started many years ago.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching it, and would even like to watch it again! 

We rendezvoused with the bridge crew downstairs for an early dinner tonight before they headed off to play this evening's game.  My retelling of our trials and tribulations Saturday evening trying to get to the pre-nuptial dinner astounded everyone. Now I'm heading off to watch tonight's movie downstairs, Chef, which Mom's already seen and recommends.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

FRIDAY I woke up feeling considerably better after a good night's sleep.  It was a lazy morning around the apartment.  After yet another brief power outage I wanted to reset the time on the telephone for Mom.  Despite having the (so called) instructions and trying multiple times, I never did have success. Who writes these "instructions"?

After lunch Mom went to play her Friday afternoon bridge game; I caught up on my E-mail and blog down in the lobby (wifi in all apartments at Riderwood should be functional by my next visit) and then headed downstairs to check out the Fall Festival craft show.  A very nice selection by residents, but nothing I needed to buy.  Then it was off to Target to buy what I did need: underwear!  Pretty nippy out, so I was very glad to find a parking spot not too far away.

SATURDAY I was thrilled to wake up feeling fine.  Hallelujah!!! It's been a long week of feeling crappy, but I finally seem to be back-to-normal (no comments from the Peanut Gallary, please!) Mom and I spent a delightfully lazy day around the apartment.  I enjoyed reading the Washington Post (wish the Arizona Republic would get with their program) and once I get back I will be sharing some of the articles. In the afternoon Mom and I finally got in some games of Rummikub and then watched several taped episodes of Jeopardy.

In the morning I had looked into possibility of accessing Uber via the computer, but at this point I'd still need a smart phone to do that.  (Of course I have enough trouble with my dumb phone...) So in the morning I called Sun Cab and arranged for a cab to pick us up at 6:30 and take us to tonight's pre-wedding dinner.  Let the celebrations begin!

UNDERSTATEMENT WARNING: things did not go 'quite as planned'...  We, of course, were seated by the door by 6:20, awaiting the arrival of our transport. When it had not appeared by 6:40, I called Sun Cab to get an ETA.  That's when I found out that they "did not have a cab in our area" and that a driver had "not yet been assigned" to us.  When I inquired when they had planned to call us and let us know, the woman on the other end of the phone said, "Oh, we don't do that."  After more unproductive conversation about what 'making a reservation' means, I asked to speak with a supervisor. She said she'd she if she 'could get permission' to transfer my call!  Though I was on the phone with the supervisor until close to 7:00, I made no progress with her. She refused to answer my actual questions, and merely answered with patronizing statements like "I can tell you're frustrated."  No shit Sherlock!

With limited options (like checking back with Sun Cab every 15 minutes for an update of the situation) I tried plans B (seeing if Riderwood's transportation service had a driver available: no), C (calling another cab company, which also had no cabs in the area), and even D (accosting visitors who were leaving and offering to pay them to drive us to Chevy Chase; the first woman was off to the theater, second one's sister had just had brain surgery today old and had been with her 92-year-old mother all day, etc.)

I tried calling Rachelle (the bride) to let her know we'd been unavoidably detained, but she didn't answer; when it went to voicemail I sent a text.  I was unable to call the hosts because there was no phone number on the invite, only an e-mail address; even got a phone book at the front desk and tried looking them up, but they weren't listed.

When I made my final check to Sun Cab at 7:30, there was still no cab in our area, so Mom and I were discussing our options.  All the dining venues at Riderwood were closed by then so we discussed where we could drive to nearby. But by then I was so aggravated I'd pretty much lost my appetite and figured we might as well just head back upstairs and rummage around in the freezer for something.  As we were standing up to leave the cab pulled up.

We weren't more than a mile or two down the road when Rachelle called in response to my text. When it had gotten to be 7:30 and we weren't there yet (dinner was set for 7:00) she knew something must be wrong since Mom and I are always prompt.  Everyone (about 20 people) was waiting on us, but we told them to go ahead and start without us.  Which was a wise plan, because on the way we got hung up in a massive traffic jam.  Apparently there was an accident on the beltway (we saw the tow truck heading there) and traffic was stop and 'go' the whole way.

Debbie & Jamie's house turned out to be on a hill with a steep driveway, and then a walkway to a flight of steps (with no railing) leading into the house.  I was helping Mom up the stairs when her walker started rolling back down the walkway, but in order to grab it I would have had to let go of Mom, so we watched it pick up speed and then go careening down the hill.  Which by that point was actually pretty funny, even then.

Dinner (once we finally got there) was delightful; I got to meet Bob's family, and also see some folks I hadn't seen since my brother's wedding in 1983!  Afterwards Rachelle and Bob, and his teenage son Jonathan, drove us home; if we'd waited for a cab we would no doubt have ended up spending the night at Jamie and Debbie's.  Before we could actually leave there was a slight snafu with the seatbelts, but eventually we were on our way, getting home shortly before midnight.

SUNDAY We leave for the actual wedding in a couple of hours.  At least we don't have to deal with a cab today; Andy and Sandy will be picking us up.  When asked this morning if he would arrive in a more timely fashion than last night's cab, Andy said we'll just have to wait and see.  LOL

Friday, November 14, 2014

THURSDAY I worried about hearing my alarm at 3:00 - but it turned out to be a non-issue since I woke up 2:15 and figured I might was well stay up.  The shuttle was actually early - I got a text saying he'd be there at 3:43 - but I was ready to go so it was no problem.  I'd ended up packing all my bulky winter clothes in one mega suitcase instead of two regular ones (no idea where they disappeared to) and when I went to check in I weighed in at 54 pounds.  Good thing I had packed an empty duffel on top (for a weekend trip to The Institute) and was able to repack at curbside; otherwise it would've cost me $75 for an overweight bag.  By the time I got through security, down to the gate, and picked up my pre-board "permission slip", it was a respectable 5:20 and I didn't have to wait too long to board.  

The plane was full (has anyone flown in the past decade on a flight that wasn't?) but we left on time and didn't encounter any turbulence until midway through the flight.  After I had my breakfast and did some crossword puzzles I felt my 'energy' flagging and vegged out in front of my iPad screen playing solitaire and a few other games.

Seated at the back of the plane I was virtually the last one off the plane, and moving slowly, it was no surprise to me that I was the last passenger to arrive at the luggage carousel (which had not yet started dispensing bags.) What was surprising was the fact that there were only about a dozen passengers loitering in wait.  Seems my row-mates weren't the only ones making connections in Baltimore.  

The second bag to appear out of the chute was my duffel, and next was a huge burgundy suitcase.  I grabbed them and headed to the curb where Sandy was waiting.  We were seconds away from heaving the suitcase into the trunk and driving away when a woman came up and said it was hers.  And she was right.  I apologized and then marched back into the terminal, where (sure enough) my actual suitcase was waiting patiently.  I knew I should have attached some colorful ribbons to help me distinguish it!

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing with Mom for a while before I unpacked, which was when I found the notice that my suitcase had been subjected to one of the random TSA searches.  Found a second note actually inside my toiletries bag.  I also made up the bed in the pullout couch in the den (knowing I'd 'likely' be tired later) before we headed down to dinner.  Which was delicious, as always here.  There was a birthday celebration (at the table next to us) for John... who had turned 103!  We all agreed that he looked decades younger.

Mom stayed downstairs for her Thursday night Rummikub game and I headed upstairs to get comfy and read for a bit.  In the elevator a couple mentioned there was a bluegrass concert scheduled for tonight at 7:30.  Sure sounded good, but by 7:00 I was fading badly and knew there was no way I was up for attending.  Instead I decided to take a hot shower and get into my Jammie's.  Which was when I discovered/realized I had no clean underwear to put on.  Did the inspectors steal all of my (plain cotton) panties? I distinctly remember putting a bunch in the pile of clothes to be packed Wednesday.  At least I'm pretty sure I remember!

Intrigued by the blurb on the back, I started reading LITTLE BEE (by Chris Cleave)  "We don't want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this: This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice you hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again - the story starts there... Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds."

Usual "I'm away from the home computer and apologize for the lack of entertaining pictures" disclaimer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I woke up at 6:20, still hacking away.  My first thought was to check-in for my 6:05 Southwest flight tomorrow.  Only 15 minutes 'late', so I am definitely surprised that I ended up with such a low boarding number, B 59.  Wish I knew the secret!!!

Here's hoping I can still score my preferred spot, an aisle seat in the back of the plane; otherwise I'll be constantly bothering the person in that seat, climbing out on my trips to the bathroom.

I am still coughing hard.  While I'm no longer seeing stars when I cough (which is definitely an improvement) I now feel the cough in my back by one of my shoulder blades.  Could it be a sore lung from all the hacking? 

Of course if I am still coughing tomorrow (and given my slow progress that seems fairly likely) folks by me on the plane will not be at all happy with me.  Methinks I need to find a serious cough suppressant!

On the plus side, I think I am feeling a little better, which is hopeful!

Monday, November 10, 2014

I got some sleep last night, courtesy of NyQuil.  Woke up at 4:00 and took another couple of capsules and went back to sleep until 8:00.  Of course I still feel crappy, so it's questionable how much I will get done today.

The one thing I did have to do this morning was arrange for the Super Shuttle to pick me up at 4:30 Thursday morning.  Is anyone surprised that no one wants to take me to the airport then?  (And Laura - don't even offer!)  Turned out that the pick-up window they've assigned me is 3:50-4:05 a.m.  So it looks like instead of 'sleeping in' until 4:00, I'll be getting up at 3:30. 

Won't Thursday be fun?  

Especially if I don't start feeling better!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Scratchy throat, cough, runny nose, fading voice - basically I've been feeling pretty crappy today.  In fact I never even made it out of my PJs.  I've been drinking lots of Emergen-C and certainly hope to feel better tomorrow!

Alex went to the Cardinals' game today with a friend whose father couldn't use his season tickets.  They really enjoyed his great seats (second row, on the 30-yard line) at a great game.  (We watched for him on TV whenever they showed the stands but never did spot him, although at one point he was on the Jumbotron.)

What was NOT in the plan was to wake up at 3:30 this morning.  

At that point I figured it was too late to take something, and ended up reading for several hours.  However I'm very happy to report that at least I was able to fall back asleep (around 6:00) and slept in until 9:00.

I checked on the weather forecast for my upcoming trip, and the Polar Vortex that was in the news the other night will be arriving the same day I am.

 'Highs' will only limp into the low 40s, and (naturally) also be accompanied by rain.  Here it's tank-top and flip-flop weather, in the glorious, perfect 80s.  (Which explains why I live here, and no longer in a place that entertains Old Man Winter!)

Guess I'd better make the most of our sunshine and delightful weather
while I can!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Second day in a row I've had an NPR coincidence.  

Today on FaceBook a friend posted a picture from Humans of New York.  Just a couple of days ago I listened to an interview on NPR with photographer Brandon Stanton where he mentioned how strangers he'd only met minutes ago would open up to him, talking about life experiences they hadn't even shared with their familes.

Wonder what tomorrow's NPR coincidence will be?  

The PLAN is to sew, the GOAL being to finish up a gift project
so I can pack it up in the next couple of days.

Dinner was delicious (of course - Tom cooked!) plus we had the pleasure of Alex's company after work (and before he headed out for his Saturday night in Tempe.)

Despite ASU's best efforts after my last post, during the third quarter, to squander their sizable lead of 17 points, they did win the game... so there is likely to be a "little" celebrating and partying over there.

Despite burning the candle at both ends (and melting it around the middle) and talking about how he's really looking forward to logging some ZZZZZ, this Saturday night is one he just couldn't pass up.

This morning Patti picked me up and we headed to the mall.  Our first stop was Penney's, and it was very successful.  In less than an hour we were done shopping for me, and I'm pleased with my purchases.  I'm also assuming I'll sleep better tonight, with no shopping nightmares. <g>

Patti also had some shopping to do, and once that was taken care of we lunched at Pita Jungle across the street.  Yummy (as usual) but way too much food - so I brought the leftovers home to Tom for his lunch.  Made him happy.

On the way home Terry called; her birthday quilt Dancing Waters had arrived safely, and I'm happy to report that she loves it.  As soon as she can she'll have someone take a picture of her snuggling under her new quilt. In the meantime, here's a quick pic I snapped before I mailed it off.

Patti helped cut/pin some brown pants for me so later I could sew the new hem.  With a couple of new sweaters from this morning's shopping spree I now have several new outfits.  She also helped me (finally) repot the palm out front; it was seriously root bound, but with more room now it should take off.  Speaking of 'taking off', Patti then trimmed my hair so my bangs are no longer in my eyes.

Matt just called to let me know that yesterday he passed the written exam I recently helped him study for.

So on all sorts of levels it's been a very good day.  And it should get even better; Tom is currently prepping a big batch of chicken for the grill, and when Alex gets off work he's going to join us for dinner.  The ASU/Notre Dame game is on in the background, and the Sun Devils are currently (in the 3rd quarter) well ahead of the Fighting Irish (34-10) which must be making lots of folks here very happy.

Friday, November 7, 2014

It was a good morning as the Word Wizard.  The kids are always so glad to see me, and I got lots of hugs around campus.  One of the 1st graders (who usually struggles but did well today when I picked her name out of the jar) wrote me a precious note:

FANTASTIC! I luv the wrd wizird

While waiting for a second grade class to return from Art, 
I decided to be a couch potato and browse through the books. 

 I was excited to find one about Pale Male, a red-tailed hawk who lives in NYC; just yesterday I'd heard a wonderful segment about him on NPR.

Tom went to Sprouts this afternoon for produce, while I went to Fry's for meat and a few other groceries.  But even though my list was fairly short I had to make a second trip, to Walmart, because Fry's didn't have several of the (basic!) things I needed.  Two grocery stores in one day... could be a record for me!

At my suggestion, Shelley brought Emmy over again after school today for a short session on that pesky long division.  Progress is slow, but hopefully going at it each day will eventually be worth it.

After I left Kinko's yesterday I stopped in at Ross (basically across the street) in hopes of finding something to wear to Rachelle's wedding.  Sadly I didn't find anything - and merely reinforced my "I don't enjoy shopping" feelings. 

Sometimes I wonder where weird dreams come from, but there was no real surprise about one a few nights ago: I was shopping for something to wear to Rachelle's wedding, and while I was out on the floor looking in a mirror and deciding on a (HORRIBLE) dress someone went into my dressing room and stole my clothes!

  I'm hoping that Patti, who has a 4-day weekend (and likes to shop) will take pity on me and go with me to help me find something.  I'm running out of time!  

I wasn't expecting Tom home until tonight, but he called late yesterday afternoon to say he'd made it to Vegas and would be home sometime that evening.  Except for getting to see Lisa again (they did a museum in Oakland on Wednesday) his recent trip was a bust.

Now it's time to wave my magic wand 
and get ready to go WORD WIZARDing!