Monday, December 22, 2008

No room for Mom...

It's official - the dogs have won as can be evidenced by their taking of the throne. Luckily, when I snapped this shot, mom was on her own type of 'throne' so wasn't too inconvenienced.

I'm planning on taking Mom out today (bundled up so she probably can't move) to get her nails done. Even though it's cold out, this is a very necessary thing! It's particularly windy here though, and she's fairly miserable when it's cold and windy. So, we'll see. I might become a manicurist myself. Would be easier.

We've spent the last two days making and experimenting with new recipes. John is the happy recipient and official tester of most of them. I made these cookies that I dubbed 'Crack cookies' for 2 reasons: 1. They're like crack cocaine - totally addictive and 2. You crack them into bite sized pieces. They're truly marvels, and I must stop the madness!

Mom, John and I bottled our first batch of wine yesterday - 30 bottles of red (Montepulciano). There was a definite learning curve in the bottling process; just ask my previously golden toned walls in the diningroom (good thing I have a dark wood floor....). Regardless, Namaste Cellars has officially bottled its first wine, and it was delightfully tasty, just as promised by the wine store that sold me the kit and starter concentrate. The 3 of us shared a bottle (even Mom loved it) and had to drink 'just a bit more' to even off the bottles - that's our story and we're sticking to it. I'm off today to get labels and design such. We had a lot of fun and are going to delve into a Chardonnay next, closely followed by a chocolate-raspberry port. Can't wait for that one!

Niece Monya and her family were going to come down yesterday but we put that off as, by the time the ice melted down here, it was sleeting up there (just north of Hagerstown).

Channukah brought some nice gifts around here. Mom scored 5 pairs of warm and cozy socks from John, along with a page-a-day calendar (that way, she will know what day it is). She also was the grateful recipient of many new warm, fleece nightgowns and robes. I got a beautiful ankle bracelet from John. We spent most of our time in ports last time on the cruise with me trying to score one. Couldn't find one I liked, but I positively LOVE the one he got me - it's gorgeous.

John received assorted items from me, including the wine making kit. I might have made a tactical error though in giving him a membership at my gym...he was a trainer in the Marines and worked my butt off yesterday at the gym. 2 hours and many sore muscles later, we were soaking it off in the hot tub but, evidently, not all of it soaked off as I'm sore as can be today. And, as I understand it, we're doing it all over again tonight - augh. Note to self: dumb gift.

Mom gave John a great book 'A gunkholer's guide to the Chesapeake' in preparation for our sailing trips this summer on his new boat, which should be delivered in March (we've decided that the official christening will be done in my driveway so that Mom can attend). Anyway, the book is great in that it documents (in great detail) the entire Chesapeake Bay, including isolated mooring spots, nice restaurants in quaint towns, how to approach the various spots in low and high tides, and, my favorite, places you can only see by boat. We're excited to plan our trip in June for my birthday - we're hoping to go out 4 or 5 days on the boat for a nice, relaxing vacation. I've already got the inaugural meal planned - lobster!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Kids of all ages love making cookies!

So, this is Gert's contribution to the cookie-making activities. She calls it 'cleaning up' but I'm not buying it. We sure have fun in the kitchen though. And, she's much appreciative of anything I've made - I love an easy audience.

I went to a cookie swap last night at friend Kimberly's house. I was quite surprised to find that I really had a blast with her new friends - she's just moved back to MD (we missed you Kimmie!) and is integrating into a new neighborhood. Her neighbors are amazing! In fact, I don't think I've ever seen such an interesting, fun bunch of women. Most of them have dogs - 2 are fostering in fact - so I was already impressed. Victoria made the long haul up from Lusby and, as always, I won yet another $10 from her - did I mention I like an easy mark (ah....audience)? It's so good to have true friends around - we've all been friends since the early 80's and have ridden the ups and downs of each others lives. It's amazing to see how far we've all come - and, how far we all have to go!

Mom and I (and 4 dogs) are heading to the cabin on Wednesday, provided, of course, all goes as planned. We do remain flexible over here! I'm hoping to take her to the 19th Hole (a local WV bar which has 'gambling' - um, 5 slot machines). Sharyn will be in town and will stay with us on Sunday after Xmas so that will be a great time, as always. Holidays are fun over here with people just dropping by. Mom and I both enjoy the visits.

Mom's eye continues to improve but has periodic episodes of light sensitivity still - hence the Jackie O glasses. I think I can have some fun with this though with some interesting choices of sunglasses. We'll choose to consider her eccentric...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

To see or not to see...

...that is the question.

Had another follow-up appointment for Mom at the eye doctor's last week. Mom and I both noted that he was very very excited to see her doing as well as she is doing. That kind of struck us both as 1) either he didn't think she was going to do very well after the complication from the surgery or 2) he was covering his tracks by not telling us before of the possible implications. Interesting, to say the least. Anyway, the remaining stitches will dissolve so we don't have another app't for 4 months. And, the BEST part of the whole thing is that we're now free of the dreaded 4 hour drops! What a difference that makes in the routine of the day as we both were living in 4 hour increments. Now, she can sleep through the morning without me having to wake her for drops and I get to go out for longer than 3.59 hours! Yahoo!

A few days ago, she noted that she could see the tissue box out of her left eye so some sight is returning. She's been 100% blind in that eye for many years so the return of the sight is also meaning that she's light sensitive. She sits around the house most days in her cool shades - John says she's doing her Jackie O impression...

Anyway, her appetite is returning in full force, which is good. Her humor? Back 100% - whew! She's been cracking me up on a fairly regular basis again.

Pictures to the left are niece Monya's children when they came to visit recently. I actually took all 4 to the local playground (by myself!). They're great kids and easy to be around so that was a great time.

As long as Mom is ok, am hoping to head to the cabin to host a Christmas brunch for John's family - which appears to be growing! His mom and dad are here as will be his brother, sister-in-law and niece from Arizona. So, lots of people and lots of dogs at the Mansion West.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December 3rd...again

Well, it's been 19 years ago today since my sister died in a car accident in Frederick. It's hard to imagine how life has changed during this time. Her children are grown with darling children of their own. My father is now gone but, thankfully, my gorgeous mother is going strong - well, sort of.

Mom's eye is still quite painful and will be until the rest of the stitches are removed on Dec 15th - that seems like a long time away. We had a tylenol #3 party over here the other day, chased with small shots of Harvey's Bristol Cream. At least it made her smile. We're hoping to step out to Atlantic City in the very near future for a change of scenery. And, Mom and Dad both have always claimed that nothing hurts you at a blackjack table - I can verify that, having spent a fair amount of time at a table with a broken foot...Broken foot? What broken foot??! And, Dad was never more limber than when he was throwing dice (and making his numbers!).

John and I spent last night at Brookside Gardens, strolling through and enjoying the Chrismas Lights. It was a beautiful night and we had the gardens all to ourselves. I had been to these years ago and it was a totally different experience - crowded, not much fun. This year, though, it was pretty magical.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another Email List..

Ok, one of my oldest friends (well, she did just turn 50 but I meant longest around - 40 years now) sent me this. I'm not sure if she remembers that I was bred a Jew but I remember she's 1/2! So, Sharon, here's my answers.... (That's Sharon and her darling son, Dylan, on the left)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Usually Safeway shopping bags. If I feel like going fancy, I add a twist tie...Isn't it the gift that counts? Oh, wait, it's supposed to be the thought....I always get that wrong

2. Real tree or Artificial? Had a Chanukah bush once but, with 5 dogs running around anything with bark inside the house is way confusing (pun fully intended).

3. When do you put up the tree? ** See #2 above.

4. When do you take the tree down? ** IF I put up a tree (you're not listening....), it would come down after the first dog pee...

5. Do you like eggnog? ** Is this a Jew question designed to throw me? Of course I like eggnog - but, I prefer to just hold the eggnog and serve the brandy

> *6. Favorite gift received as a child? ** Ah, one I can answer. That would be our first basset, Wrinkles, given to us for Chanukah when I was 6. Mom and Dad put a red bow around his collar. They gave him to the family but, it was clear from the very first day that that dog was mine - the start of many bassets. In fact, I used to raz Dad that it was his fault I'll always have a smelly, thick headed basset instead of a nice Lassie-type dog.

7. Hardest person to buy for?: Sophia. She's just impossible!

8. Easiest person to buy for? Me. I find it quite easy to spend double my daily allotment on myself during the holiday shopping trips.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? ** I'm not exactly sure what this is but I sleep nude.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Ha ha ha. This is a great one. Requires no response.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Tough call but, an ex-relative (thank the Lord for small favors) once gave me a 3" stone carved elephant which wasn't even from India. I wondered about the statement underlying..

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Well, I don't watch many movies but I think that SNL skit about Chanukah Harry is pretty hilarious

13. When do you start shopping? I actually shop all year. See #8 above.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Um......NO (is that the correct answer?). I have, however, been the receivee of a few - see #11 above

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Candy corn - No, WAIT - wrong holiday....Potato Pancakes.

16. Lights on the tree? WHAT TREE????

17. Favorite Christmas song? Oh, that would have to be that Snoopy song about the Red Baron. You know the one - it la la la, um, hmmmm, hmmmmm, hmmmmm....Well, everyone knows that song...

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home, home, home!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's (and don't cheat by looking them> up)? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet ,Cupid, Donder, Blitzen &> Rudolph -

Note to readers: I stole that from Sharon's answer. But, it just figures that she'd remember them all. She's the type who practices all year. I'll bet $20 she knows the Dwarfs too.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? ** Ok, just ONE more time - THERE IS NO TREE.

*21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? I'm the type that sneaks around and opens them prior to Xmas, if I can find them. The problem with this is that the givee usually knows about this as I 're-wrap' in Safeway bags...

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Getting generic Xmas cards. Hate those things. Don't even open them.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Eh, I'm a fan of blue.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner ? Candy corn.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Here's Sharon's reply: Sounds corny but Peace and Prosperity and Good Health (and, the thing is, dear readers, she's being truthful).

Sounds just like her, doesn't it?

Me? I have my eye on this diamond necklace down in the islands...or maybe that fancy BMW.

26. Who is most likely to respond to this? Oh, I pray no one.

27. Who is least likely to respond to this? See #26 above.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Well, Mom and I are always very thankful for each day we have together and Thanksgiving was no different - the food was just better. John, his folks - Sonny and Rose - and Mom and I enjoyed the expected turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and a few new dishes thanks to John's crew. As Sonny says - we spent 2 days cooking and we spent 15 minutes eating. True, sort of. But, what was different this year is that the guys willingly got up and cleaned the entire kitchen afterwards, leaving us ladies to languish at the table with pumpkin pie, chocolate chess pie, and nice fresh coffees, all the way around – just as it should be! Bobbi and I swapped side dishes - she was mashed (potatoes) and puffed (cheese); I was sweet (potatoes) and stuffed (mushrooms).

Mom's eyes are sensitive to light right now so the picture at the top is the 4 of us wearing our sunglasses at night. John, as predictable, was napping when this was taken. He misses all the fun. The other picture up top is Sonny, totally blinging out.

John and Sonny spent about an hour de-mousing the kitchen by fixing the holes behind the cabinets. Why on earth I hadn't figured this out, oh, 12 years ago when I first started having mice problems is beyond me. Hopefully, Mickey and Minnie will not be guests in the kitchen again. One nice side effect of having the mice around though is that I have to fully clean every cabinet at least once a year. Means that I throw out the old stuff (to make room for the new...).

Took Sonny and Rose up to the attic today to see the old house up there - when my house was remodeled many years ago, the roof on the second story was raised about 4 feet over the old, original tin roof of the farmhouse so you can see the old house up there. Quite interesting and, if I get around to it, I'll snap a picture to post. It's really a very cool attic. Speaking of which, Mom and I think that the ghost is becoming active again - at the very least, something is going on and this time, it's not mice or raccoons. Killian has not alerted though so I'm a bit leery of calling it the ghost as he hasn’t been around for about 2 years now. Killian is the only dog that alerts and follows the thing around when the ghost is around. Not sure if that’s a measure of his intelligence or stupidiness….

Mom is the only one to have actually seen the ghost. She ran into him in the upstairs hallway a few years ago when she was coming out of the shower, wrapped in a towel. Interestingly, I specifically had not told her about the ghost as didn't want to spook her (pun intended). She saw him on her own and was not the least bit put off about him being there. Dad, on the other hand, did not like the dude. The ghost used to grab his ankle in bed. I always thought Mom was goofing on him but she swears it wasn't her. He’s a very warm spirited ghost though. I’ve had people who claim to be psychic tell me about him when they’ve walked in the front door. And, I specifically remember coming to this house when my friend, Sherry, owned it back in the 80’s. I remember coming in the front door and feeling an overwhelming feeling of welcoming. That’s what this old house is…great place. Well, except for the mice (grumble, grumble).

While I was up in the attic, ran across a box of old photos and yearbooks that Dad must have stashed up there. Have spent a few hours scanning in some old pictures and will work with Mom to identify who is who. A lot of our family background is not known as we originated in Russia (Minsk) and, evidently, there’s not a lot of information available about the original family. The pictures are fun though. I have noticed that I do suffer from 4th child syndrome in pictures though – there’s a thousand pictures of #1 child, Mike. There’s 2/3 as many of #2 Ron. There’s 1/3 as many of #3 Steph. And, little Lori? Well, there’s 3 so far, in toto…hmph….The good thing is that I still look like myself (anyone every see that Bill Cosby routine about ‘don’t I look like myself?’ If not, find it on the web. Funny…. Anyway, even in the pictures of when I was 2 or 3, I still look like Lori, only littler. Don’t get me wrong – I was never little. The other picture down there is my Bubie, Dad's mom, Fannie Burdoo nee Zivirin. I still have gorgeous watch which is hanging around her neck. I believe she was around 18 in this shot.

Oh, update on Mom - when we went to the doctor last week, he removed the two most irritating stitches which we though would help with the pain. It did, but temporarily. She's still not up to her game although, after 2 whiskey sours yesterday, she reported that she no longer cared. Back December 15th after another very long 3 weeks.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Didn't have any new pictures uploaded so chose one of my favorite of Killian - note to self: Never leave Killian with Bobbi and a can of mousse.....
Well, where last we left it, Mom and I were going back to the eye doctor for, we hoped, stitches removal. No go. We have another appointment this coming Tuesday where, hopefully (fingers crossed), she'll get the stitches out. She's still in a fair amount of pain which I've been dulling with tylenol #3 (having used all of the percocet she had). I joined her in a tylenol #3 party two nights ago when a large wooden bowl (thanks a lot, Uncle Al...) fell straight onto my foot. Thought my toe was broken but appears to only be a painful bruise. Sure am glad it ended up being just a bruise - would have been a huge bummer to try and hobble around the house with another broken toe.

Sophia and her sister are coming over today to hone their oatmeal/raisin cookie making skills. Her sis is heading to Australia to visit her friend and said friend has requested oatmeal/raisin cookies. So, we'll be in the kitchen most of the afternoon. I'm glad they'll be here as Mom really does perk up when others are around. I tried to get her out last week to go shopping with me, but she was so pitiful looking when I asked her to come with me that I caved in and let her stay home.
John set me up with a nice fire in the new woodstove before he left this morning to head back to WV. The dear is working with his father on completing the basement of the Mansion West (that would be the cabin in WV). Should be very nice when done. It's something I've wanted to do from the very first day I bought the place. I'm thinking of taking Mom up there over Christmas - we did this last year (Bobbi came up) and had a great time, just relaxing. It's so pretty up there. And quiet...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Well, another delayed posting but I have a good reason – Gert’s been keeping me quite busy post-surgery. Surgery didn’t go exactly as planned – the cataract was so bad that she hemorrhaged while the operation was being performed. The doctor told me it would be 20-25 minutes and 60 minutes later, I was really getting concerned. The nurse at the counter continued to assure me that she was fine so I went back to my book, still uneasy. Well, she was ‘fine’ but not quite ‘dandy.’ I went to the recovery room where she was all bandaged up and cracking jokes with the nurses so I felt better, although she reported that the doctor, during the operation (where she was awake), said ‘Uh oh – we have a problem…’ Maybe not the best bedside manner ever. Anyway, she’s had quite a bit of pain during recovery, prompting 2 additional visits to the doctor to check the healing. She’s healing as expected at least. Aftercare includes drops every 4 hours which she was not the least bit interested in learning how to do herself. So, my days are based around 4 hour windows – at least it forces me to plan activities while I’m usually much more of a free-spirited girl.

John was instrumental in moral support during the first week of aftercare. He stayed right here by our sides, making runs to stores, dealing with dogs, making dinner, etc while I focused on Mom. She’s feeling much better now and has another follow up visit today to the doctor. I’m hoping he can take the stitches out soon as they’re creating daily discomfort still. But, I think we’re past the worse of it. Hopefully.

I find it interesting that we Burdoo women tend to lose our sense of humors when we’re ill. It’s the first thing to go and the first thing to come back. Returning humor means we’re on the mend. The other night, after I had chided Mom for quite loud burping and no ‘excuse me,’ (well, we weren’t born in barns….) she was in the kitchen where she let a loud one rip. I was in the livingroom and just decided to let it go. She tottled into the livingroom a short while later, sat down with a loud sigh and said ‘I have a question – if someone burps and no one hears it, does the someone still have to say ‘excuse me? Is it like a tree that falls in the forest and no one hears.’ After laughing, I replied that I’d heard it, loud and clear. She looks at me and says ‘Oh….. . Excuse me.’ Needless to say, we rolled.

Worked on a new oatmeal cookie recipe which John deemed ‘cookie store worthy.’ Mom liked them too, but I could tell that the original oatmeal/raisins were still the favorite. Eh, it’s good to mix it up once in a while. We’ll see how Sophia ranks them as I froze some for her. She’s a fan of almost anything baked.

John and I are mixing up a batch of wine which should be done around the holidays – problem is we set it up in the corner of the living room to ferment and the entire living room now smells like a winery. Not bad at happy hour, not so good during early morning coffee...

Our Christmas mice have returned…sigh. Mom saw one run across the kitchen floor 2 nights ago with 3 dogs in close pursuit. Of course, not one of the dogs let out a bark to alert me that anything special was going on. Nice. They bark like crazy at ‘intruders’ walking on ‘their road’ but a real threat in the house? Nah, they’ll just deal with it themselves – Not.

Anyway, upon close inspection, it looked like it was just one mouse (I’m pretty good at judging numbers…usually) and, this mouse must have liked alcohol as it had nibbled on a bunch of my wine corks. Interesting. Never had an alcoholic mouse before. So, I set traps.

Got up this morning and slowly opened the drawers to check the ‘take.’ Had 2 unfortunate suspects which I ceremoniously dumped in the trash outdoors. Opened the last drawer (where the corks were stored) and found myself peering eye to eye with Mickey, in the (living) flesh. And, he wasn’t the least bit perturbed by the drawer opening as he kept nibbling away at the peanut butter on the trap. He was tiny, a baby. I slowly closed the drawer, feeling pretty badly about the expected demise of said baby.

Sat in the living room waiting a while before re-checking. I opened the drawer and found him, still alive, but his little paw was caught in the trap. Oh good grief. Ugh. This wasn’t good. Not good at all, especially for me, the ultimate animal lover. I was torturing a mouse....

I quickly considered the options – death by drowning (couldn’t), death by trash (just really couldn’t allow it to starve to death, in pain, in the trash can), death by broken neck (since, in a past life, I’d killed quite a few lab mice, I know how to do this but have put those skills behind me..) a trip to the vet (a ridiculous option, even to me). So, apologizing profusely, I threw a kitchen towel over the entrapped beast and took the entire bundle outside to the far side of the driveway where I pried the trap open and let him go.

Now, Mom and I live on 1.68 acres. You’d think, with all that land around, he’d take off for wide open spaces. After all, in all of those Disney specials, the mice are dancing in fields, moonlight shining on their furry heads. But, Nooooo…this was no Disney mouse. He ran quickly, listing heavily left, right over my foot (leaving a small trail of blood…ugh), straight back to the safety of his nice warm house. This mouse probably had never been outside, dancing on two feet in the moonlight. And, I couldn’t catch up to him so, now, I have a handicapped mouse in the basement somewhere. I doubt that his crushed paw will stop him from re-entering the cork drawer so, tonight, I shall put out a small dish of wine for him…..poor thing, he deserves that much.

Ah well… long as he stays out of the good Bourbon, I suppose that’s ok for a bit. I do plan on having a sit-down talk with the dogs today though. They evidently don’t understand the rules…If Barley was here, he at least would have howled, but he's 'on vacation' with John's folks up in West Virginia. Figures. The one time I need his loud voice, and he's away....

Monday, November 3, 2008

On turning 92 and such musings...

Well, my 'baby' hit 92 on the 28th! The grand day was celebrated with a small gathering of friends and family at the Mansion East. Everyone brought a dish and, of course, Sophia provided the mainstay of food with her chinese fare - had ribs, coleslaw, cornbread (that was my contribution), along with delicious fried rice, 5 spice chicken wings, and assorted accountraments. A great time was had by all.

The day came too quickly though as I had just returned from our trip to Florida the day before. Luckily, John's folks are back in town for the winter and helped out with assorted duties making the house ready for company. Sophia had stayed with mom the last 2 days John and I were gone so the house was already looking pretty spiffy (thanks a million, Sophia), but, with 5 dogs around, there's always something to do (sigh).

Now, the trip to Fantasy Fest was just da bomb again this year. Bobbi and I had rented a gorgeous condo, smack dab on the water this year. It was a far cry from the townhouse of last year as it was just totally gorgeous and huge. Bobbi and her sister, Debbie, beat us down there but we made up time on Wednesday when we finally got there. John was totally amazed at the sights and sounds of the town as it's quite wild during Fantasy Fest. Pretty much anything goes and, well, anything went! Had a total blast. John and I left the day of the big parade as neither of us is into parades or crowds. So, Friday and Saturday found us safely ensconsed in a hotel right on the beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't what you'd call 'cooperative' but that didn't stop us from having a great time. It was nice to just sit by the sea and unwind. And, we did quite a bit of sitting and unwinding.

Today is cataract removal surgery for dear Gert. Her left eye is totally blind from a very hard cataract that has to come out. The eye doctor told us that she was lucky it hadn't turned into an emergency situation and shattered as it was that bad. So, off we will go for an app't at 10 and surgery at 11. It's really not that difficult a surgery and, since I've have lasik and am familiar with eye surgery, I've been able to quell some of mom's uneasiness about this one. Really not particularly concerned. There will be some aftercare needed but, hey, that's what I'm here for! We've spent the last 3 days putting drops in every 4 hours (anyone see that My Name is Earl where he has to put eyedrops in the old lady? It's kind of like that only my old lady doesn't bitch about it. Great episode though).

Ok, will add pictures to this post later. Just wanted to get it done and off my 'desk.'

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Playing catch up again - sigh...

Well, the month has just flown by. Mom continues to be quite the pink one and, in fact, has gained 6 pounds as shown on her most recent doctor visit! Chunky Monkey attributes the gain to oatmeal cookies, but I say it's the nightly banana splits (hot fudge, please, and whipped cream too) that seems to be the culprit. Regardless, she's doing quite well. In fact, she's decided to have the cataract in her left eye removed November 4th. It's quite dense so has to be removed using the 'old method' involving cutting and stitches - it just is too dense to be handled with the newer laser method. She's fine with this though, and the prospect that she might have some sight back in her left eye is tantalizing. Poor dear is 100% blind in that eye. Of course, this gives me some latitude in my facial expressions as long as I'm on her left....

Our outing yesterday included mani and pedis for the 'ladies' (that's me and mom, for clarity) and then a late lunch at La Mex where we met up with John on his way back to his house in WV. Evening was spent being slugs again as we watched a movie on TV. Rita enjoys these slug times the best - especially when Matee is back up in WV at John's. In fact, we're currently down to just 3 dogs (positively quiet around here) as Barley was also shipped off since I'm heading out of town tomorrow.

Ok, heading to FANTASY FEST in Key West again. This is THE spot to be this week. Bobbi and her sister, Debbie, are setting the pace, having headed out last Saturday. John and I will follow tomorrow for 3 days of decadence before we hit the beach in Ft. Lauderdale for a night by ourselves. Dear, cherished friends Jeff and Sophia are filling in for me in my absence.

Will spend the day I get back getting ready for Gert's 92nd (yes, that's not a typo - it's ninety-second) birthday on the 28th. Having a small party for friends and family over here. Mom's requested ribs and, of course, there's Sophia's amazing chinese food. Anyway, have about 15 people dropping by the Mansion East for a small party to celebrate the day. So, my baby is about to be 92! Totally exciting. We're so very lucky to have her here with us.

As I was preparing for her birthday, was looking for some photos. Here's a few of my favorites:

That's granddaughter Elena, great-granddaughter Rachel, Gert and granddaughter Monya there.
Dad does Elvis below (perhaps it was a mistake to show Dad my hair piece...):
Great-granddaughter Nora, GQ Joe (my favorite picture of him), and my favorite photo of my darling darling folks (I snapped this one on our last trip to Laughlin ):

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Well, we already know the answer...

To gamble - again! Headed down to John's boat yesterday to close a window left open and toted Gert along. Of course, John's boat is only steps from Chesapeake Beach - one of the few spots in Maryland with slot machines. At least we're getting better - in a short hour, we'd only dropped $20 (mom) and $40 (me). So, perhaps we haven't gotten the 'win' thing down yet but at least the 'lose' thing is lessening!

Took Mom to the eye doctor today down in Bladensburg. Her first thought was that we were close to Chesapeake Beach. Uh oh. I believe I've created a monster. Next stop is probably
Atlantic City!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

To gamble or not to gamble - that is the question.

The answer? To GAMBLE! Took Gert up to Charlestown the other day for a few hours. Actually managed to get her out of the house 4 days in a row - a record! Anyway, back to Charlestown.

Decided to run up for just a few hours. Got there, lost about $40 each and decided it would be safer to just eat lunch. So, after 'dining' (in quotes for a reason...), we hit the machines again. Dropped a total of $180 between the two of us which we both considered a triumph as we'd taken $200 a piece (grand loss could have been $400)...It's the small wins in life that are so much fun. As we were leaving, Mom looked at me and said 'I wonder if they know I just wanted to rent a machine, not buy it.' Typical Gert comment.

Sharyn visited again overnight with Gert so John and I hit his house in West By-God for a quiet evening. Sharyn, Gert and I did a pretty good power-shop at the local Kohl's for cool weather wear for Mom. It's tough keeping a 91 year old warm, but we managed to pick up a bunch of sweaters, nightgowns and robes - all in about 15 minutes. Also got the new woodstove delivered to the Mansion so should be able to keep her toasty warm - at least on the first floor!

Talked Sharyn into hanging out another day so Bobbi, Sharyn and I went to Pelican Pete's to endulge our crab needs. Delicious crabs, especially for this time of year.

Mom's 92nd birthday is rapidly approaching - October 28th. I'm still amazed by her every single day. John and I spend a lot of time just sitting around the livingroom and talking with her. She's so much fun.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

To know Gert is to love her

Niece Monya sent over this email where you send personal stuff around to your personal address list so that the people closest to you should, well, know you personally. Here's Gertie's answers...

1. Do you like blue cheese? No.
2. Did you ever smoke? No.
3. Do you own a gun? No. Dad did.
4. What flavors Kool Aid was your favorite? Grape.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Yes.
6. What do you think of hot dogs? I can take em or leave em.
7. Favorite Christmas movie? None.
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coffee.
9. Can you do push ups? (Children beware...).... When it was necessary.
10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My diamond bracelet.
11. Favorite hobby? Reading
12. Do you have A.D.D.? No
13. What's one trait you hate about yourself? Sleeping so much.
14. Middle name? None.
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment.
A. Dogs
B. Eating my potato
C. Eating my chicken in the refrigerator
16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Tea, Coffee, Coke
18. Current hate right now? Hearing ambulances.
19. Favorite place to be? Nowhere special.
20. How did you bring in the New Year? Watching tv.
21. Where would you like to go? No special plans.
22. Name three people who will complete this? NA
23. Do you own slippers? No.
24 What shirt are you wearing? Pajama tops.
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Never had a set.
26. Can you whistle? No
27. Favorite color? Blue
28. Would you be a pirate? No.
29. What songs do you sing in the shower? None.
30. Favorite Girl's Name? Lori
31. Favorite boy's name? Sam
32. What's in your pocket right now? Kleenex! A box full of kleenex.
33. Last thing that made you laugh?
35. Worst injury you've ever had? Cutting a finger. Stitches.
36. Do you love where you live? Yes.
37. How many TVs do you have in your house? 4, I think.
38. Who is your loudest friend? Sadie Singer.
39. Do you have any pets? Yes, 4 dogs and a favorite, Matee.
40. Does someone have a crush on you? No.
41. Your favorite books? Tuesday with Maury.
42. Favorite Sports Teams? Redskins
43. Favorite thing to cook? Matzo ball soup;
44. What song do you want played at your funeral? Oh SHIT!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Playing catch up - again....sigh

Well, seems like blogging is a commitment and, with all my other commitments, well, you can see where my priorities lie. All is well though at the Mansion East, and Gert is pink as can be. She's doing quite well. although the summer has flown by with hardly any excursions. But, with all the friends surrounding us, we've had a pretty good time just sitting at the Mansion.

Sophia has been filling in for me most Saturdays as it's sort of the best sailing weather ever so John and I have taken the opportunity to hit the marina on Saturdays. So, John and I try to sail, Mom has the side benefit of getting excellent chinese food, weekly (one of the reason Mom's clothes no longer fit....that, and, well, oatmeal cookies). John and I tried to sail a few weekends ago with Lorne and Victoria but the weather gods were against us. We got to the marina early to prep the boat only to find not an inch of wind blowning. This actually worked to Vic's benefit as, at 8:45 she finally called (they were to be at the boat at 9......typical Victoria...sheesh.). Anyway, she called to report that they were just getting up - late night with friends, nephews, et al. After hemming and hawing, John and I decided to crash at their place as Lorne's power boat was back in the water and, wind or no wind, that thing was going out! So, we drove down to Lusby to board the IrROCKtional and off we went. Boy, did we GO! I spent most of the day falling on my butt as I refused to believe that one had to hold on to go over a wake at breakneck speed. Took a very nice unintentional dive while trying to get back on the boat once - the crew held up 5.0 but I think it was closer to a 9.7.

We ended up going to a 'beach area' which, well, was a 'river area' as the tide was in so sand was not available. But, ended up sitting, floating, and chatting most of the day away anyhow. We're nothing if not flexible! After we tired of sitting, floating and chatting, we took the boat over to the Tiki Bar where we proceeded to, well, sit and chat. Had a great time. Pictures will be forthcoming as they're in the camera still (a problem with digital cameras...).

Last weekend, John and I tried to sail but ended up sitting on the boat, at the bar, listening to music. Had a great time as can be witnessed by the picture at the left. John and I sort of specialize in these types of shots. Sailing or not, it was a totally glorious day.

So, today finds me down in Wilmington, NC, visiting Sharyn while John remains home with Gert and 5 dogs (did I mention that I have the best boyfriend ever?). Sharyn and I did a fair amount of beach sitting yesterday, which is the same game plan for today. Since the beach was deserted except for a few folks, we decided to feed the gull. Luckily, neither Sharyn nor I require much entertainment....The shot to the left is proof that they really do get pretty aggressive!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On updates and, well, not...

Well, it seems like time just flies around here! Since my last update, I've returned from a fantastic (that's 'f'ntastic' to you, Bobbi and Nancie!)cruise from Ft. Lauderdale. John and I boarded the Enchantment of the Seas for a 4 day cruise which was supposed to go to Key West, Cozumel and then back. Due to the hurricane though, we got diverted to Nassau instead of Cozumel. So, August 29th found us in the same town in which I rang in my 50th with dear Bobbi just 2 short months ago. Not a problem though as John and I made our own fun. Did the requisite jewelry store shopping (visited a gorgeous necklace that I'd fallen in love with in June. Luckily, I fell more in love with its case-mate, an emerald/diamond number which was just too expensive...), cocktail sipping and, this time around, we found a great beach where we stripped down and hopped in for about a 4 hour float. A great time was had.

Key West was also a blast as I started the day off right by taking John to one of my favorite spots - breakfast at a local off-the-beaten-path spot - Pepe's. Bloody Marys ensued, a gorgeous omelet and the best homefries this side of Cuba. Walked around and acclimated John to my 'other' hometown. Walked around the Marina and drooled at the pleasure boats, drinks at Sloppy Joe's, shopping at Fast Buck Freddy's, drinks at Hog's Breath, drinks at....well, you get the idea. Waddled back to the ship in time for sailing (quite a feat after a day of Key West). Interestingly, we'll be back there for fantasy fest in October. That's Rasta John on the left.

Came home and 'relaxed' back into the homestead with loads of clothes and major vacuuming. Not sure what happened but the dogs must have exploaded as the floors were just coated in fur! Of course, that happens around here anyway. Which brings me to the 'Furbicator.' For those of you dog owners, this thing is worth the very hefty price tag. It strips the undercoat quite easily. Killian is about 10 lbs thinner! Amazing invention.

Gert's doing quite well. Did mani/pedicures last week and was quite jealous that her nail color is much better than mine. Amazing how many people mention how gorgeous her nails are when we go out.

Mom and I went out yesterday to buy a woodstove to try and stave off the huge increase in oil costs we suffered last year - heating bill quadrupled - ouch! Did lunch with John at a vietnamese pho restaurant where the utensils proved to be quite a challenge with a 91 year old. Those goofy spoons just don't work too well in arthritic hands. But, she managed to still proclaim the meal 'delicious' and it was. It's amazing to me though how much I learn daily from her - she's really got a truly positive outlook about everything. Situations are not 'challenges,' they're just something to deal with. And, we end up getting very creative sometimes.

Sophia has been over the last 3 nights, making fantastic dinners. I've repaid the debt by doing baking so she's good on fresh bread, oatmeal cookies, banana bread (yesterday) and marble pound cake (today). It's a damn good thing that I don't like this stuff! Mom's certainly appreciative and she's showing it. Bought her some stuff in her normal size which was too small - she thought the stuff shrank until I gently noted that the stuff was brand new and maybe she was expanding....funny.

John and I were going to take Mom down to Saint Michael's this weekend to go on a 2 hour sailboat ride on a charter but got concerned about the long commute and wearing her down. With the Bay Bridge damaged, it will take at least 2 hours to get there, then a 2 hour sail and 2 hours back = 6 hours or an exhausted Gert. So, that's out. We'll find something else to do with her. John and Mom have a mutual admiration society - of course, part of Mom's fascination with John is that John is the owner of Mom's dog...Matee.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On Puppy Love

Ok, we're all in love over here with the Davids new puppy, deemed 'Scooby.' Scooby is a darling 25 lb, 9 week old pup (yes, that's BIG!), on his way to being between 140-160 lbs. He's a Dogue de Bordeaux, or, in terms of you non-dog people, he's the same breed as Hooch from the Turner and Hooch movie. Absolutely gorgeous pup. The Davids, especially David2, are already way enamoured with the pup. Barley and Hops were great with him but Killian, Rita and Matee were harded to win over. He already outweighs both Rita and Matee added together! Killian insisted on teaching him puppy manners which he did fairly gently - let's put it this way, there were no bites! A successful meeting.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Unwanted visitor...

So, after dousing myself with gasoline while filling up the lawnmower, pumped up the tire and starting it up, drove it to the backyard to find that, once again, the blade won't engage. Should have known the type of day it was going to be right there.

Decided to do a bit of pool maintenance and thought about a quick dip but then thought better as water was a bit cold. Added chemicals, peered into the blue water while daydreaming about being in warm water somewhere with a cool mimosa when....what's this? Can't be. What the....?

My visitor peered at me questioningly as he (?) cozily swam by and dove into a pile of leaves on the bottom. He must have been feeding on the remains of...well, never mind.

Lesson learned....nevah, evah get into a pool without knowing exactly who your neighbors might be!

Dog Days of Summer

7 of them, to be exact. We've got 4 pups of our own, we have Matee right now, and, currently, we have Bobbi's 2 girls, Wheezie and Naiobi too. 7 dogs is a LOT. Luckily, everyone gets along pretty well. Actually, Matee has been having some control issues which is amazing considering 5 of the dogs outweigh her by 50 lbs. All in all, a fairly quiet evening ensued anyway. Picture to the left is the closest I could get to getting all in the frame - that's Naiobi, Matee, Hops, Barley and, that brown blob in the forefront is Killian saying goodbye...Rita was having none of it, having put herself back to bed safely in her crate.

Took Mom to the nurse yesterday for a tuneup. She was deemed fine and her blood pressure is back down to 120/60 - excellent. Headed to the mall in celebration where we exchanged a robe John and I had bought her last month (too big). Bonus was that the robe was on sale for 25% off - score!

Came home and just relaxed after our big day out. Have friends coming for dinner tonight and dear Sophia is treating us to a chinese surprise dinner. Her chinese is always most welcome (and, considering the fact that I don't have to cook, I love her even more for it!).

I came across this video of Mom I took earlier this summer at the cabin. I had been spraying bugs and she was marveling at the fact that the spray worked so well. Here's her imitation of a post-sprayed dying bug (well, we have to keep ourselves entertained...):

Friday, August 22, 2008

I've heard of tying a red ribbon on a doorknob...

But, never heard of 2 hanging bras! Came home yesterday to the sight in the picture at left. Laughed out loud as I put my key in the door. Mom was sitting in the livingroom, laughing right back. She said that she'd hoped the mailman would have seen them (and come in!) before I got home. Funny little thing.

I went to Bonefish with Jeff and Amanda for cocktails and found Eli (the manager) there. So, he made Mom the crabcakes like she likes them and, after a few martinis, I toted them home for her dinner. Delicious. I had the ahi tuna which, if you like sushi, is the best in DC. Sure beats the tuna martini at Clyde's lodge which used to be my favorite.

While I was at Bonefish, Mom called and reported that Matee was having slight problems breezing. This phenomenon is not particularly unusual for a dog blessed with almost no nose. I told Mom how to hold her to aid in the cease fire of lung retractions which she did. Matee calmed down and all was well.

Mom called back in 5 minutes to report that Matee's eyes were bugged out as large as normal but her eyes (Mom's) were about 10 times their normal size. I again emphasized that breathing issues are not just for the elderly anymore and Matee was fine. Mom said that she realized that but 'nothing is going to happen to this dog on my watch.' I knew I'd left the dogs in good hands - all 5 of them.

Matee gets in bed with Mom each morning that the dog is here. She curls up against Mom's legs - she likes her sleep every bit as much as Gert does. They generally tottle down the steps around 9 am, together, as always. Matee and Gert are in total awe of each other. I think they're soulmates. Rita fills in when Matee is gone so all is well at the Mansion East.

John is in California until Tuesday but was kind enough to leave behind some home roasted coffee he's been experimenting with. I love this stuff so much that I'm about to enter into the home roasting arena myself with my first order of beans from Sweet Maria's website. I have to limit myself to two cups though as it's much more potent than pre-roasted beans. I doubt I'll be at Starbuck's nearly as much as I have in the past as this stuff makes Starbuck's coffee seem like water. Amazing coffee.

Ended up the evening by sitting around the deck with Jeff and Gert shooting the breeze for a while. Have a doctor appointment (tune up) for Gert today and taking her shopping for a bit after. Nice to get her out on a gorgeous day.
Below is one of my favorite pictures of Killian. Cracks me up. Don't tell PETA...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The eternal optimist

So, I bought Mom a lottery ticket for the week. She's been seeing 'Baby Row' (translates to 1, 2, 3 for you non-gamblers). Anyway, she's been seeing the numbers all around on license plates, on bill boards, etc. So, I put a crow bar in my wallet and shell out $7 for a weekly ticket. I came home and gave it to her with a 'good luck' and got on the internet to research when it hit last.

So, I look at her and said:
Great. It's last hit here in Maryland April 4, 2004.
She looks at me and, quick as a whip, she said:

Hey, great! It's due!

I think that's the secret to her aging so gracefully. The glass is always half full to her.

Jennifer's trip here was nice. Rita is a bit shy with new people but she was willingly approaching Jen toward the end of the trip. Jen's dog allergies kicked in though. This is NOT the place to be if you're allergic to dogs! Had some nice dinners on the deck though with friends, and Jen and I did some minor shopping - got new quilts for Mom's bed and mine too. Mostly just hung around the house though.

Took her shopping this past week to look for, well, ladies undergarments. She had the staff in stitches. It sure was a lot of work, though, for all involved - and, it took 3 of us! Hope we don't have to do that again anytime soon.

John's off for 6 days to San Francisco (lucky stiff) and Bobbi is in Las Vegas celebrating her birthday until Saturday so Gert and I are pretty much on our own here in the near future. We tend to get into trouble this way so we'll try to behave. Have a bunch of friends coming over for barbeque dinner on Saturday night so that should be fun.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Community Bridge in Frederick

Took Jen and Mom to the Community Bridge in Frederick yesterday. John and I had wandered upon this thing earlier this year, and we both knew immediately that Mom would love it. So, I've been looking for the right time to get Mom up there and when yesterday dawned to be magnificent (!), I knew what was on the agenda.

The Community Bridge is in the canal area of downtown Frederick and is an area painted in the trompe d'oilel (spelling might suck) style. In other words, it's a plain old cement bridge painted to look anything than plain old cement! So, that wall behind my loved ones is all painted to look like stone. You can't see the images inbedded as they're faint and, unless you focus the camera directly on them, they disappear.

Anyway, in 1992, an artist had a vision to beautify the area. He asked the community of 17,000 or so what items represented 'community' for them. He got thousands of replies and incorporated these replies in his paintings. He's obviously quite talented as his paintings are a delight to view.

The bridge and surrounding area are painted to look like rock. Inside some of the rocks are the scenes depicting community. There's hands touching, wedding rings resting on each other, dolphins and geese. There's children climbing trees, alphabet blocks, birds and a myriad of other items hidden. There's painted statues that are amazing to view. It really is hard to believe that they're not 3D. In fact, Mom, Jen and I all agreed that there were parts where we got confused about what we were seeing or not seeing. As Jen mentioned, a good artist has the ability to do that.

If you're close by, take the time to go see this thing. It really is totally amazing and worth the trip. Afterwards, Jen treated us to cool drinks at a local coffee house where we sat at a checkerboard table and Jen and I played a rousing game of 'checkers' with dice that she had in her purse (for some reason, the coffee house didn't have any checkers - Imagine that). Anyway, the winner was....well, never mind. That part isn't important.

Came home and made some great spaghetti (Aunt Mildred's sauce recipe can't be beat). A nice evening was spent just talking and catching up on the balcony.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

101 things to do with a 91 year old

Once we explained what a Harley was, she was off and running!
Well, John and I both failed miserably in training Gert on the inhaler, but Bobbi (being a mother) made a breakthrough last night. Coman, Bobbi's son, used to have exercise induced asthma so she had to work with him to use an inhaler before he played sports. Bobbi even wrote down instructions for Mom which Mom dutifully took to bed with her so she'd have them in the morning. So, Mom's currently working on technique. I also bought her a saline solution spray which seems to have helped a bit and nasal strips which go across the nose to open the passages wider. So, we're on our way over here!

I was vacuuming the livingroom a while ago and saw her sitting in her chair with her inhaler in her hand. I turned off the vacuum and asked her what she was doing. She looked at me and said that she was waiting for the housekeeper to be done so that the nurse would come on duty. Cracked me up. Now I suppose she's waiting for the cook as it's lunchtime. There is no rest for the weary!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

She never inhaled...

Well, spent the better part of the day and most of this evening still trying to get the idea of using an inhaler into Gert. Bobbi, however, might have made the breakthrough and, before she left tonight, she jotted down notes for dear Gert to review before I try to make her inhale yet again. Perhaps Bill Clinton and Gert have something in common....maybe I should call him...oh, wait...he didn't inhale...

The middle of the day was spent at the eye doctor for Gert and then lunch at a small bistro up here in Germantown. Had a nice time before heading home for Gert's nap.

Dropped Gert off and got her settled in her chair and headed out again to the pharmacy for the purchase of a nasal saline spray (much easier to use than an inhaler) along with those nose strip thingees (note to self: small/medium doesn't cut it.). Mom reports that she's breathing easier currently so that's good. Spending a nice relaxed evening watching a movie. Not a bad evening at all.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My first try at a slideshow is above - let's hope this works.

So, we've been pretty busy around here with company for the last month or so. John's parents just went home to Arizona yesterday. Had some great times, nice dinners and relaxed evenings with them here at the Mansion East. Put Sonny to work cutting grass on the tractor - I think he was secretly pleased to be away from all the estrogen!

Sharyn came into town for the week, much to our delight. We really appreciated the visit! Even though we didn't make the RV, we had a week of fun. Sharyn and I did a fair amount of cooking - Gert did a fair amount of eating. Sharyn stayed with Mom a night so I could get away to the Mansion West with John for a nice evening. The next day, Sharyn brought Mom up to the cabin where much merriment was had. Lots of deck sitting, napping ensued.

Bobbi, Sharyn, John and I spent a very nice day on sailing around the Chesapeake and then enjoyed a few hours at the local tiki bar - Jeff looked in on Gert (thanks Jeff!). Gorgeous day on the water - made it back to dock just in time for a summer downpour. Even that didn't dampen the atmosphere (pun intended).

The girls did a great brunch at Blackstone's in Frederick - Belgium beer for the 'youngsters', a bourbon and coke for Gert and we were off and running. Had planned on doing some shopping but ended up 'running' for naps instead. Did the requisite trip(s!) to La Mexicana and propped Mom up at the bar where she's always a big hit.

Sharyn, Jeffie and I went to DC one day to the new Crime Museum (don't bother). LOTS of reading and walking. Nothing special.

Mom's got a new medication - an inhaler to aid in breathing. Now, you wouldn't have thunk it would be as difficult as it's been to get a 91 year old to understand how to use an inhaler. I believe I overdosed on the stuff the first night while trying to demonstrate. I wouldn't have minded so much if the stuff was fun, but the only side effect I got was crystal clear breathing.

Actually, trying to teach Mom to use an inhaler is akin to teaching a duck to drive (I'd bet on the duck). So, we continue the quest for knowledge. John helped out last night with a new perspective which actually may have gotten through. We'll see how that goes.

Niece Jennifer is coming to visit for 10 days from Florida this Thursday. Will head to the cabin next week for a few days with Mom and Jen just to relax. It's really delightful up there.

Mom continues to do very well. A bunch of us went out to dinner the other night and she was the bell 'o the ball, holding court at the head of the table. Amazing, wonderful woman. More later.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cardiologist Appointment

The doctor ordered an EKG and a nuclear stress test. After making sure that the nuclear stress test was not harmful, we proceeded.

For the nuclear stress test, radioactive dye is injected into the arm. The dye is formulated to target the heart but usually is absorbed by the stomach, pancreas and other assorted innards. The appointment is designed to be 5 hours with a one hour lunch break. The lunch break is necessary as digestion of food rids the dye from everywhere but the heart, thereby leaving a nice pretty picture of the heart to be taken. The dye forces the heart to believe that exercise is occurring so this test is given to those who can't take a standard stress test involving a treadmill.

Over the 4 minutes it takes to inject the dye, 95% of the population suffer side effects including tightness of the chest and/or throat, flushed feeling, headache, etc. These are fully expected and, after making sure that Mom understood she was in no danger, we proceeded, but we prepared for 4 minutes of possible side effects. As the doctor and I questioned Mom about every 45 seconds about side effects, we were all amazed at the fact that the only side effect she reported was a very very slight tightening in her throat. Those of us who know my mama very well know that she belies convention, and this is further proof that she’s just not like everyone else. In this case, we were all grateful.

Lunch time found us at That’s Amore where John walked over from work to meet us. Mom was in fine spirits, having been over the worse part of the test. We laughed and joked through lunch. Now it was just going to be a waiting game as we returned to the cardiologist office.

I watched the Nuclear Technician hook Mom to the cameras and start to take the pictures of the heart. I was absolutely amazed to watch the computer screen display a 3D vision of my mom’s heart beating. It was really fascinating. Even with my little bit of medical knowledge, I could see the valves working beautifully pumping the blood. I could see the aorta and the chambers of the heart. I was in awe.

The technician asked Mom if she wanted anything. Her reply was a 21 year old blond man. The guy laughed and said that he wasn’t 21. Mom looked this middle aged man up and down and up again and said ‘I’ll wait.’ We were rolling. The guy called her his girlfriend, and she was just lit up.

Final prognosis, and I’ll quote the doctor: ‘You have the heart of a 16 year old.’ Even he was amazed at how well her heart is working. She has just a bit of CHF which is to be totally expected at her age but….Amazing. She has some thickening in the top portion of her heart which is why she’s experiencing episodic shortening of breath. The choices are to do further studies (angiograms which are invasive) or just to make an app’t next year to check again. Obviously, the choice was the latter – the doctor allowed us to make the choice and seconded it loudly. Before he left, he asked if he could have a hug and a kiss. I rose to accommodate the request but, alas, it was for dear Gert.

Came home and put Mom to bed at 3. She slept until 7 when she got up for a light dinner. After assuring that she didn’t need anything, I went to bed at 8 pm and slept through to 4 this morning. Nice evening. We all breathed a sigh of relief.

I’ve gone ahead and called off the RV trip though as have to take her to her regular doctor next week for an inhaler – she’ll use this probably daily as prophylaxis against future breathing difficulties. I wouldn’t chance taking her on the road now anyway as we’re both still quite fatigued from the recent excitement. Sharyn (who was going to accompany us on the trip) will still come to us for the week as she wants to be with Gert a while. If Mom’s well, I’ve got some day trips planned – such as tea at the Ritz-Carlton (they’re supposed to have a stupendous tea, and I think it’s just the place for 3 ‘ladies’ to lunch). Sharyn and I will also go to the cabin for a few nights, hopefully, with Mom if she’s up to it. If not, Mom will remain at the Mansion East as we trip off to the Mansion West.

I also realized that, in my quest to give her a fun summer, I’ve been taking her out on days where there is a heat advisory or the air is not good for the elderly. I’ll make more notes in the morning before we schedule our outings. This could result in impromptu cancellations but it’s the best you can do with a 91 year old in tow.

So, all is well again. John’s folks are still in town so they’ll be over for a few nights this week along with some friends for a nice, relaxing grilled dinner.

Oh, I’ve started revamping the Mansion East back yard. It’s amazing looking! For those of you who remember the mud pit, it’s no longer there. I have GRASS, and PLANTS, including the rose bushes I’ve always wanted. John’s Dad planted the roses for me which was very sweet and much appreciated. Pictures follow.
Also, one of my friends asked if she could submit questions for Mom. Absolutely! We're not guaranteeing she'll answer them, but I will certainly ask and document answers. Submit away. Either add a comment to the blog or email me at