Monday, April 30, 2012

My empty nest... or so I thought

I haven't written any blog posts since October of last year.  Nor have I really read any blogs (unless they showed up on networked blogs on Facebook).  My daughter sent me a link to a blog to read and then I started checking out the blogs I was following before.  This got me to write a new post.  Not sure how long I'll last.  Let's see how this goes.

I thought I'd just catch everyone up on what's been happening since last summer.  You all know my oldest kid, Gina got married last July.  Great wedding, fun times!  Gene is still my favorite son-in-law.

Not a whole lot has changed in the past year (maybe that's why I stopped blogging). 

My son (typical middle kid... only son, my only leftie, my only blonde kid when he was little) moved to Buffalo, NY to go to grad school and get his Master's degree in Applied Economics (whatever THAT is).

My youngest kid decided not to go back to college after her freshman year, despite the fact that she made the Dean's list. Dani really wanted to do hair, so she went back to the Pittsburgh area, moved in with her boyfriend (possibly my other future favorite son-in-law), and went to Cosmetology school.  She finished, took her test, got her license and has been gainfully employed since the end of last summer.  And she's a damn good hairdresser!  

A few months ago, Dani calls me and asks me if she can move back home "for a while" this summer.  How long is "a while", I ask.  Um... a year?  Is Dustin coming with you?  Yes. So, softie me says yes, even though her empty nest will no longer be empty.  Dustin wants to work for a year before applying to grad school, and living on their own at this point is too hard, financially for them.  And she doesn't want to work in the Pittsburgh are (where they'd be living with Dustin's parents in a very small town.  The commute for a decent job for her would be a good hour each way) She says they'll help with utilities and stuff.  I made a deal with them that they wouldn't have to pay rent for 2 months if Dustin gets all my gardens into shape.  He also wants to plant a vegetable garden behind my garage.  Go for it!  So they'll be moving home in mid-May.  Dani made a quick weekend trip home last week with some stuff and to go on a job interview at a salon in our area.  She also got her job back at the outlet store she's worked at for a few years, at least until she can get comfortable in a  hairdressing job.  

Then, a few weeks ago, my son call me.  Mom?  Can I move home for a while? sigh.  My empty nest is getting smaller and smaller.  Apparently, the classes he needs to take for this next (and final) semester have been cancelled and he's going to do this semester as independent study.  No need for him to live in Buffalo if all he needs to do is email his work to his professors.  And his job at the college is finished anyway.  So he will also be moving home in mid-May.  He came home this week and brought some stuff with him.  Tim did inform me me that he's only staying until the end of June when he can move in with a buddy of his.  Now he just needs to find a job.

So I'll have 2 of my 3 kids back with me for a while.  Time for me to get my house back in shape (I admit.  I've been lazy about cleaning.  Without Mr. Anal Retentive living here to make sure everything is in order, I've become somewhat lax OK, I've become a slob.  There.  I've said it.  

I"m thinking I wish I  could afford a cleaning lady, but I'd have a lot of cleaning up to do before I could even think about something like that!  

Sigh.  Guess I better dust off the old vacuuming cleaner and get moving.

Good thing I like my kids now.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Teeny Favor.

I have so many friends who live all over this country and indeed, around the world.  If anyone wants to help my great nephew out, I'd appreciate it and he'd be so thrilled!

My sister, Peggy's grandson Marty has a postcard project at school. The class is collecting postcards from all over and the class will learn all about the places in the postcards. It would be great if people reading this would send him a postcard from their state/country. If you'd like to help out, here's where to send it:

Marty C.
c/o Mrs. Prahm's Class
Saint James School
830 W. Broad Street
Falls Church, VA 22046

Please send a postcard, please! Thanks!

This is a yearlong project, so if you want to participate, and are afraid of missing a deadline because you live far far away and the post takes weeks to get here, don't worry!

Thanks!  Thanks!  Thanks!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tenth Anniversary. Never Forgotten.

Even 10 years later, it's difficult to remember that fateful day. A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001. It's still so hard to write about it, so here is my blog post from 3 years ago.

In Honor of September 11, 2001

Where were you when it happened?

I don't think there is an American alive who doesn't know where he or she was and what they were doing when they heard the news about the attack on New York and Washington DC on September 11, 2001. I was driving to Kutztown, PA to my job at the restaurant my ex-husband and I owned. I was listening to Good Morning America on my car radio when Charlie Gibson reported a plane crashed into Tower 1, the North Tower of the World Trade Center. They didn't know it was intentional at that point. It wasn't long before the 2nd plane crashed into the South Tower and the world knew America was under attack. I rushed into work and put the TV on. The employees and I spent the better part of that day and indeed the rest of the week, absolutely glued to the TV, watching in horror as the government tried to get a handle on this horrific event. Our business took a major nose dive as Americans stayed in their homes, afraid to travel anywhere.

I have a friend who was in the air, flying home from France on business when the towers were hit and his flight was diverted to Canada. He somehow managed to get his hands on a car and he and a colleague drove home. It took hours to get over the Canadian border.

I knew 2 people who died that day. On the night of September 11, we got a phone call from Greg's sister, Rita. Rita's husband, Bryan had a sister named Deborah Jacobs Welsh. Debbie was the head purser on Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, PA. She was the first person to die on that flight. Debbie tried to keep the terrorists out of the cockpit and they slit her throat. What a shock it was to get that phone call! We didn't know Debbie well, but we saw her from time to time over the years when Rita would have a christening or First Communion party or something like that.

The second person I knew was Maria Behr. Mia worked as a Securities Trader at Cantor Fitzgerald in Tower 1. She is the sister of Dr. Edith (Delmi) Delmar Behr. Delmi's son was friends with my son, Tim. I remember Tim coming home from school on the 12th and telling me they can't find Max's Aunt Mia, that she worked in one of the towers. I told Tim they probably just can't get in contact with her because communication was really bad at that time. It wasn't long before we found out the awful truth, that Maria was in the Tower and that she did die that day. Mia was a beautiful, vibrant, sort of wacky woman who had so much going for her! She left this world way too soon.

Our restaurant was in a college town, and for most of that week, the place was like a ghost town. No one came out, whether they were afraid of more attacks or just glued to the TV for news. But that Saturday, we were so busy, with families... parents and their college children, coming in for lunch and dinner. You would have thought it was Parents' Weekend, but it wasn't. These kids had just gotten to school 2 weeks before and Parents' Weekend wasn't for several more weeks. It was just parents feeling the need to see their kids and spend time with them.

So that is my memory of September 11, 2001. It is a day that I will never forget. If you get a chance, visit Ground Zero in New York City. Say a prayer for those who lost their lives that day.... all the folks who were on those planes, the brave police and firefighters who entered those buildings, the people who worked in the towers, the brave military men and women who were working in the Pentagon in Washington DC. Pray for those heroic people on Flight 93 who fought the terrorists, knowing they were going to die, but realizing they must do this or many more would perish along with them. Pray for the loved ones left behind. Praise God for those brave souls who found Osama bin Laden and served him the justice he deserved.  I just pray it never happens again

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Party for my brother in NJ!!

My brother, Michael has accepted a job with the US Army in Saudi Arabia.  His youngest child just graduated from college, he's a widower, and he says it's now time for him!  So he has a one year contract (that I'm guessing can be renewed), and will be leaving for Fort Bragg next week for orientation and maybe some kind of training before heading to Saudi Arabia.  

His oldest daughter is throwing him a Bon Voyage, We'll Miss You, Dad party at her place today!  It's always a good time when the Mack Family gets together!

Want to try your own Six Word Saturday? Go see Cate at Show My Face and link up!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What are you afraid of?

True story from a Kansas State Highway Patrol officer:

I made a traffic stop on an elderly lady the other day for speeding on U.S. 166 Eastbound at Mile Marker 73 just East of Sedan, KS. I asked for her driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. The lady took out the required information and handed it to me. In with the cards I was somewhat surprised (due to her advanced age) to see she had a conceal carry permit. I looked at her and ask if she had a weapon in her possession at this time.

She responded that she indeed had a .45 automatic in her glove box. Something---body language, or the way she said it---made me want to ask if she had any other firearms. She did admit to also having a 9mm Glock in her center console. Now I had to ask one more time if that was all. She responded once again that she did have just one more, a .38 special in her purse. I then asked her what was she so afraid of.

She looked me right in the eye and said, "Not a damn thing!"

(Joanie talking here)  I want to be her when I grow up!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

John's Latest Health Update

This should be the last update until late October.

John had an appointment yesterday with his oncologist, Dr. Sunita Nasta at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  It was a good appointment, once we got into the exam room to talk to her.

John thought he needed to be there by 10:30 for labs, but he really wasn't scheduled until 11:30.  That was fine.  He got his blood drawn, then we went to eat at the Potbelly Sandwich Shop, which is attached to the hospital.  Great little place!  There are several across the country.  I had a lot of meals there when John was HUP for his transplant 2 years ago.  I enjoyed the roast beef with provolone sandwich, while John had the Italian.  We both got Broccoli Cheddar soup, since it was Tuesday.  YUM!!

So we go back to the Perleman Center to wait for John to be called.  John spent most of the time talking back to the TV which was set for a news station (CNN maybe, not sure)  Not all the patients were waiting for Dr. Nasta (but it sure felt like it!).  She only handles lymphoma and leukemia.  But still, this place was hopping yesterday.  John's appointment was for 11:45.  They called him into the exam room at 2 pm.  Sheesh.

Not long after, Dr. Nasta came in.   She didn't look concerned, like the last time.  She told us that the 2nd PET scan had her puzzled.    They had the scan repeated because John was showing activity in his chest, with a couple of nodes lighting up (showing signs of cancer) but the nodes were very small, about the size of a bee bee pellet.  The 2nd scan showed a node lit up in the groin, but the ones on the chest were gone.  The 1st scan didn't show any activity in the groin.  I said the node was like a gremlin, hopping about on the scans to confuse everyone.  

Dr. Nasta has determined that the cancer is not showing signs of returning at this time.  She did, however, ask for a CT scan of his pelvic area to be done in 3 month's time, in October.  She doesnt' want John to get another PET scan because she says he'll be glowing in the dark if he gets any more! (PET scans are nuclear and CT scans have less radiation).  John had just gotten to the point where he was seeing her every 6 months but now he's back to every 3 months, at least for the time being.

She does want to be told if John loses 10 lbs or more (he's already lost about 10 lbs, but that could be because of his diabetes) , if he develops a fever repeatedly or if he gets bad night sweats.  

So the final diagnosis is that John is still in remission and he's coming up on his 2nd re-birthday on August 28!  And yes, we do celebrate it!  So stay tuned for another update around Halloween and hopefully, I'll still have good news!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Unbelievably hot.  Thank goodness for a/c!

Want to try your own Six Word Saturday? Go see Cate at Show My Face and link up!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday's Music Moves Me

This week's Mon days Music is a Freebie theme.  We can put up whatever we want!  So I chose a few of my all-time favorites.  XmasDolly is one of the hosts of Monday's Music Moves Me.  You can follow the ink and see what other folks have contributed!

This first one is my very favorite version of  Beethoven's Ode To Joy.  It's the funky rendition of Joyful Joyful from the movie, Sister Act 2.  

I've always loved Petula Clark!  Here is My Love, from 1966.

I used to have a Best of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons album that I'd play really loud when I was cleaning.  This song was written for just Frankie Valli.  His producer didn't think it was a good song for him, but he recorded it anyway, and I'm sure glad he did!  You're Just Too Good To Be True

Oh!  Now this song brings me back to 1969, when I was absolutely in love with this song and BJ Thomas!  I played this song over and over and over again!  sigh!  Hooked On A Feeling

And last, but certainly not least (and forgive me if I did this one before), when I was in 8th grade, The Cowsills stole my heart, Barry Cowsill in particular!   The TV show The Partridge Family was based on The Cowsills, a family band with mom and all the kids singing!  Sadly, Barry Cowsill lost his life in Hurricane Katrina.  This is my very favorite song of theirs.  Here is The Rain, The Park and Other Things.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday's Music Moves Me: I heart Broadway

HEY!!  Remember me?  I haven't done a Musical Monday in quite a while!   I guess I sort of took a break from blogging for a while and I'm getting back into it.  Anyway, Dolly told me that this week's theme was a Patriotic song or a Broadway hit tune.  Well, I don't know if you know this, but I am a Drama Mama!!  I'm also patriotic, but I really am a Drama Mama!  I might even get that as my license plate!

The reason I'm a Drama Mama is because my 2 girls were bitten by the acting bug.  Both girls were in at least 1 or 2 high school musicals when they were in grade school and little kids were needed.  Then, as each girl went to high school, they joined the Drama Club (Gina was President her senior year and Dani was Treasurer her Senior year).  Gina had the lead in her Junior (Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz) and her Senior year (Narrator in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat).  Not to be outdone, Dani had leads too!  In Junior year, she was Amazing Maizie in Seussical the Musical, and in her Senior year, she was Little Red Riding Hood in Into The Woods!  

Both girls have amazing singing voice!  Not sure where they got them.  I can't sing to save my life and their dad can carry a tune but that's about it.  I spent a LOT of time, volunteering at the school.  I made the programs for 3 plays a year for about 7 or 8 years. I sold tickets, I worked in the costume shop, I sold T-shirts, and I drove those girls to a lot of practices over the course of 11 years! 

Gina went on to earn her degree in Theatre, with a concentration on acting/directing.  She now writes and does voiceovers for commercials.  Dani went to college for theatre also, but decided by the end of her freshman year that she REALLY wanted to do hair!  So she went to hairdressing school and is getting ready to take her state test for her license.  Don't be surprised, if, a few years down the road, you find out that Dani is working for a studio in California, doing hair and make up.  And trust me, if it happens I'll be shouting from the rooftops!

Oh my!  I really do seems to be rambling on!  So, to get to my selection for this week.  A few years ago, I absolutely fell in love with the musical Wicked.  Everyone knows what Wicked is about, so I won't get into that.  This song, For Good is at the end of the play.  It's a duet with Elphaba aka Wicked Witch of the East (Idina Menzel) and  Galinda aka Glinda the Good Witch (Kristen Chenowith).  It's very poignant, and I cry every time I hear it.

So, without further ado, I give you...

For Good

I'm limited:
Just look at me - I'm limited
And just look at you -
You can do all I couldn't do, Glinda
So now it's up to you
(spoken) For both of us
(sung) Now it's up to you:

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you:

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend:
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you:

Because I knew you:

I have been changed for good

And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for

But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share

And none of it seems to matter anymore

Like a comet pulled Like a ship blown
From orbit as it Off it's mooring
Passes a sun, like By a wind off the
A stream that meets Sea, like a seed
A boulder, half-way Dropped by a
Through the wood Bird in the wood

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
I do believe I have been changed for the better?

And because I knew you:
Because I knew you:

Because I knew you:
I have been changed for good.

Marie, at Xmas Dolly reminded me that I should join in to Monday's Music Moves Me again.  Why not take a stab at it!  Each week is a theme and it's fun to see what everyone comes up with!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

John's health update

John had his PET scan redone two weeks ago, on June 28.  He couldn't get an appointment to see Dr. Nasta until July 26.  So he called on Friday to see if they'd give him the results of his scan.  And it looks like the test NEGATIVE!!  And he's still in remission!!!  Woo hoo!  And WHEW!!!

I'll be doing another update after his appointment at the end of the month.  But it was a relief to hear this news!!