Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And they're off...

Gma G is on her way here for a week!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


An update on my grandfather...

He's doing well in his new home, though now that he has "wheels" (a walker with wheels), he has apparently taken to wandering. He now has an aide who stays with him at night to ensure he remains in his apartment.

He is on a new medication that may help with some of his memory issues.

He has gained 10+ pounds. This is excellent news as he was really thin the last time I saw him.

My aunt and uncle are planning to bring him to my parents' house for dinner this Sunday. I hope that works out so I can see him while I'm up there!


I did well with the tracking for about two days. I think my tracker is blank since Friday. I did excercise almost every day over the past week... I'm now halfway through Season 1 of Six Feet Under from watching on the treadmill. On tap tonight: step aerobics on the Wii... I can do that while watching the Caps woop the Penguins. :)

Change from last weigh in (3/17/10): -2.6
Change since starting WW (6/08/06): -13.4
Pounds to new, doctor-approved goal: 18.6

Friday, March 19, 2010


Crocus! (or is that crocii? cocuses?) At any rate, FLOWERS!! In full bloom!! Around my mailbox!! Yay spring!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Suckage. I finally dragged my fat ass to Weight Watchers today. I knew it wouldn't be pretty. But I need to go. And I need to start tracking again. That's my problem. I've been doing the exercise. I need to work on the eating. As in, how about I only eat when I'm hungry!?! That might work.

So, I got some trackers and I've written down everything I ate today. I'm doing well. I have 14 points left for the day. Here's hoping THIS time is the time I truly re-dedicate to doing this... because my clothes really don't fit anymore and pretty soon I'm going to be relegated to wearing burlap sacks.

Change from last weigh in (2/03/10): +5.6
Change since starting WW (6/08/06): -10.8
Pounds to new, doctor-approved goal: 21.2

Friday, March 12, 2010


What's worse? That these signs are even posted in the restroom in my office building, or that grown adults were obviously engaging in some sort of behavior that necessitated their posting?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

90 things...

As you can tell, my grandfather is on my mind a lot this week.... Back when he turned 90 (in 1994 if I'm doing my math correctly, which is always questionable) my dad, uncle, and aunt had a big party for him. I solicited things from my aunts, uncles, and cousins... things we love about Grandpa. 90 of them. Then I laid out nice and pretty, printed them up nice, and matted and framed them. I'm not sure where that print is now... I think it's hanging at the house at the shore. Anyway, I dug up the file to share here. Apparently I didn't save the final version because there are some "xxxx" lines in here. That's very unlike me. If I stumble across the final file at some point, I'll fill in the blanks.

90 Things We Love About You

...are caring
...are an Eagle Scout
...can almost set a clock by your afternoon martini
...took us for walks on the hill-to-hill bridge
...passed your love of swimming onto your kids & grandkids
...are generous with your time
...love blueberry pie
...played trumpet in the Leheigh University band
...know how to waterski
...never miss remembering a birthday
...have read enough books to fill a library
...took us to watch the steam trains in Bethlehem on weekends
...always brought us cool t-shirts from your cruises
...make a mean split-pea soup
...taught me how to mow the lawn with an old-fashioned mower

...married Irene Fabozzi and started our family
...took us to church with you
...started going to Avalon in the 1940s
...are conservative
...gave us all a warm, happy place to celebrate Thanksgiving
...had a Model T for your first car
...ate Grandma’s green bean casserole, even though you didn’t like it
...have always shown a loving interest & concern for your grandkids
...always humored a certain little girl who insisted on sitting next to you at mealtime
...cruised through the Panama Canal... twice!
...took care of Am when she needed help

...love of opera & classical music (& romantic & baroque &...)
...ongoing battle against crabgrass & weeds
...tolerance of your grandkids, great-grandkids, & “great-grandpets”
...love of books & reading
...decision to buy a house in Avalon
...ability to stay calm with chaos all around you
...plentiful garden
...hard working nature
...phrase, “I see ‘the Bums’ won/lost”
...knack for telling a great story
...beach tag paperweights
...sense of humor
...“magic teeth”
...love of history
...ability to eat blueberry pie for three meals a day
...interest in fixing things around the house(s)
...love of crossword puzzles
...fabulous memory
...sense of fairness
...love of hot peppers
...appreciation of learning
...attendance at countless plays, musicals, concerts, & sports events
...devotion to scouting ideals
...acceptance of all of our animals

...still ride your bike into town for the paper
...sat for hours at the kitchen table picking crabs with Grandma
...once pulled the boat back to the house after turning it over while skiing
...have always welcomed us into your home(s)
...showed us Christmas lights the day after Thanksgiving
...shared with me your love of the sea
...taught me to be handy
...lived in Kentucky as a child
...were the first generation of Leheigh men in our family
...used to keep a boat in Norristown during the summer to go skiing on the Schuykill River
...showed me how to be inventive
...took us for walks in all kinds of weather
...never laughed at the kid who got sick everytime he went on the boat
...hang your clothes out on the line to dry
...have affectionate nicknames for people

...taught me to be self-sufficient
...once punched a hammerhead shark in the head
...taught me to be frugal
...water-skiied longer than most people would
...camped with us when we were scouts
...are pious
...instilled the principles of hard work, sincerity, and kindness in our parents,
which they, in turn, passed on to us
...have an electrical engineering degree
...are more active in a day than some people are in a week
...helped us all discover the seven seas... or at least the bay and the inlet that to a child was a whole new world
...helped keep the power on during WWII
...taught us about making wine
...show us how to read and fold a map
...still make dill pickles every summer
...love us and listen to us, no matter how busy we all get

A little odd to look at this photo (from the 90th birthday party) now... one cousin's now-wife was there, but chose not to be in the photo. One cousin's then-girlfriend is no longer in the picture (no pun intended); maybe we can photoshop in his current girlfriend of several years because she rocks! One cousin's then-wife is not anymore. And my brother's wife is not in this picture, either. I guess she wasn't there, but I don't remember why.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Of giants...

My Grandpa was a giant.

Not a giant in terms of size. Certainly not. If anything, he was and is probably a little shorter than average. Especially now. No, he was a giant in that through my young eyes, he was amazing.

I have a brother and five cousins, making Grandpa a seven-time grandfather (and a three-time great-grandfather to boot). I was first and my youngest cousin is the only other girl--with five boys and more than ten years between. I'm sure we all have different memories, so I can only share mine.

Grandpa was somewhat of a study in contrasts. Strong, yet gentle. Intimidating, yet kind. Active, yet passive. Brilliant, yet down-to-earth. Tough, yet humorous.

I vivedly remember jockeying to sit next to him at family dinners--large and small... mostly small as I was relegated to the kids' table for large family dinners. I don't know what was so special about sitting next to Grandpa at dinner, but it was a HUGE deal to this little girl! Perhaps it stemmed from him "saving my life" when I was a mere tyke. You see, I was on the dock with Grandpa and I picked up the end of a coiled piece of rope and started walking backward. Problem was, the rope wasn't attached to anything. While Grandpa was pulling up the crab trap, I backed right off the other end of the dock. Upon hearing the splash, he came over and plucked me out. No harm done. Almost 40 years later, I still love the water. But Grandma had a conniption, and I'm quite certain Grandpa never heard the end of it. It's still an oft-told and laughed about story in my family.

After Grandma died in 1986, I mostly saw Grandpa at the shore. He started his day with a swim in the bay and followed it up with coffee, two fried eggs, and toast. Every day. During the day he kept busy with a seemingly endless variety of activies fit for an active retiree and widower living at the shore: tending to his garden, sitting in his yard waging battle against the crabgrass, rowing to the little island in the bay to check his mussel traps, scrubbing barnacles from the bottom of the boat, pulling up and checking the crab traps on the dock, reading, listening to his opera music, riding his bike into town for the newspaper...

There was ALWAYS a book within his reach, and he has probably read a large percentage of the books at the local library. I remember how excited he was when the library at the shore was enlarged. More books! His passion for reading has been passed to his children and on to at least some of his grandchildren. I know my brother and I are both avid readers, and his great-grandchildren all love to read, as well. Not a bad trait to pass along.

When I was in middle school, my dad and my grandfather tried to teach my brother and me to waterski. For my part, it was a disaster. The one time I actually got up on the skis, I did a face plant right into the water. But Grandpa skied that day. And he was in his 70s!

As the years went by, there was a diagnosis of (and recovery from) prostate cancer, less weeding, a smaller garden, no more mussel and crab harvesting, and less boat scrubbing. He dropped the morning swim. The crab grass won. The print in the books got larger, and the bike rides to town became less frequent as he battled balance issues.

But still he swam every afternoon. And every afternoon, he had his gin and tonic.

Over the past five or so years, there has been decline--quite noticeable to me because I, unfortunately, see him only twice a year. Less presence in conversation, greater memory of the past than the present, weight loss, more issues with balance, cataract surgery, forgotten names here and there. Normal for people in their ninth decade. Not normal for giants.

His days began to revolve around his favorite chair... the one from which he could look out over the bay, hold court over those gathered in the living room, and see who was coming up from downstairs. He still enjoyed reading and listening to his operas. But there was significantly less activity. For safety reasons (and probably not necessarily by his own choice), he went out in the boat only when someone took him and swam only when someone swam with him.

Today Grandpa moved into an apartment in an assisted living facility.

At 95, he is but a shadow of once giant self.

Today, he has good days and bad days.

On his good days he is the same engaging, inquisitive, engineering-minded Grandpa from my youth. The one who had an answer to any question an adoring grandchild could come up with. The one who would take his teeth out for the tenth time that day just because it fascinated those same silly grandchildren. The one who was quick to tell his grandchildren to "keep it down," and just as quick to tease his great-grandchildren years later by pretending not to know their names and calling them "Charlie," "Jake," and whatever else came to mind, much to their giggling amusement.

On his bad days he is confused, angry, ornery, and at times even belligerent.

Today, from what I'm told, the bad days outnumber the good ones.

Today, I hope that with the assistance he'll receive going forward, the good days will soon, once again, outnumber the bad.

Today, I am excited about the many opportunities he will have for socialization, activities, and learning in his new home... and I hope he will be able to take advantage of those opportunities.

Today, I know he will be safer in his new home than he was in either of the homes he has lived in for most of his adult life.

Today, I think my family is comforted by the fact that he is in a safe environment and help is a few steps away should he need it.

Today, perhaps the shadow shrunk just a little and the giant gained back some of his lost strength.

I really hope the caregivers at Grandpa's new home have training in the care and feeding of giants!

Monday, March 1, 2010

In like a...

... cat? dog? horse?

Today is March 1, and March is supposed to "come in like a lion and go out like a lamb."

I wouldn't call today's ambiance that of a lion; however, it's not a complete reversal, as I wouldn't call today lamb-like, either.

Mother Nature seems to be a bit confused. I just hope she sorts it all out in the next 30 days.

I will NOT be a happy camper if there is roaring at the end of the month...