April 17, 2014

  • Remembering Dorothy Ann

    Three weeks ago my “sister cousin” died. We were babies together…just 7 weeks difference in age. During the Great Depression of the 1930′s; my father and his older brother…my Uncle Ernie, rented a house together for their young families. Everyone got along well. Our mothers had been good friends long before they married brothers. Aunt Ruth played the piano for my mother’s voice recitals, etc. and they were high school and church buddies. Dorothy Ann and her sister Ernestine were my very first playmates. Ernestine was a year and nine days older than D.A. and the smartest one of the three of us…a brilliant girl who graduated top of her class in high school and college. We three girls shared so many times together growing up. Dorothy Ann and I shared a one room plus kitchenette and bath apartment when first “on our own” away from home.

    These last few years were hard with Ernestine’s death….they lived together for over 30 years after D.A. and her husband separated, and there were so many health problems and physical limitations. I’m glad I got to do some Facetime with her two days before she died. She wanted to leave the hospital where she was being treated for pneumonia. She said she wanted to go to the lakes. We’d reminisced about some of the good times we’d spent at Lake Shawano during one of our phone visits. Her daughter said that wasn’t possible, so she then said she wanted to go see Joyce (me). That was nixed too…couldn’t drive from Milwaukee to Indiana during this bad weather. Then feeling a bit frustrated she kidded them and said she wanted to see a parade. She just wanted to go home so much. Her daughter called me to say she was home and receiving hospice care but wanted to talk to me using the Facetime app we had on our phones. I didn’t realize it would be the last time to see her and hear her voice….but glad I at least told her I loved her and would try to visit soon. I did fly to Milwaukee to attend her funeral.

    We 3 in 1939-40

    Sweet gentle Dorothy Ann 1932-2014

    Sweet gentle Dorothy Ann 1932-2014

    This past weekend I came across one of my lists made last winter about “things to do this spring”….At the top was “Sell this condo before cold weather comes again and go see Dorothy Ann.” She was a loving mother of 3 and grandmother of 10…a sweet, gentle soul and an ardent Cubs fan and a wicked Cribbage player!

    I am already missing our Facetime phone calls.

February 14, 2014

  • My Valentine

    Here’s a sampler done by my late husband. He had to keep his hands busy when he had to give up pipe smoking so turned to the counted cross stitching…hooking rugs proved to be too hot in the summer. He put his “LLL” initials in in but stitched MY name at the bottom since he was doing it for me. The words really are a harsh reminder to us about the wages of sin and certainly not romantic, but this very large sampler is like an eternal Valentine and expression of love for me. There are many Christian symbols in this. Can you see some of them…besides the Tree of Knowledge and Adam and Eve I mean? He made so many nice samplers for me and our daughters and for friends’ children’s weddings. He was a talented fellow and found this way to express his artistic side.

    From Genesis

    From Genesis

January 24, 2014

  • Soup’s On!

    I got ambitious this Thurs. and my German genes which demand neatness and order overpowered my Irish “messy ain’t so very bad” genes, so I re-arranged all the stuff in the freezer part of my refrigerator. Now I have all the soups I’ve made and frozen in one part where I can see them…15 bean soup (15 kinds of beans), chicken taco soup and vegetarian vegetable soup. And tomorrow I’ll make a pot of broccoli soup and freeze part of it. I’ve gone through the chili so will make some more of that soon too! Love the Wendy’s chili soup recipe with lots of sweet peppers and celery in it but may do it vegetarian style this time. This zero weather means soup on the menu EVERY day for me!

January 23, 2014

  • What Will Be…Will Be

    The view from my kitchen window this January….
    Winter storm Jan 2014

    I haven’t posted anything for such a long, long time. The doctors decided I’m doing so very well, I really don’t need to have another stent since other arteries have taken over. I really was so glad about that!

    In the meantime, I still have a “For Sale” sign in my front yard….did have one cash buyer make an offer….so insultingly low I turned it down. I’m motivated but not desperate! And I don’t want to take a loss. A couple did look at my place a couple of days ago and liked it but are just looking since their own home has to sell first. Perhaps things will pick up in the spring when things are all in bloom.

    I AM getting tired of being so neat and “uncluttered” to the point I forget sometimes where I have stored the personal items and pictures that had been on tables….even my late husband’s ashes! My friend Elaine noticed the container with Leonard’s ashes was not in its usual place on the table with the bowl of lovely stones to place on top of it, in recognition of my husband’s Jewish heritage altho’ cremation is taboo. I also had a lovely olive wood statue (made in the Holy Land) of Jesus the Good Shepherd next to his ashes since my husband had become a Christian on his own at the age of 10. I had to think for awhile about where I’d stored it… then it came to me and without thinking how it would sound, I replied: “Oh, he’s in the hall closet with Jesus.” Elaine had lost her husband the year before, but that really made her laugh until she cried. “Maybe they’re having a nice conversation in there” was her comment. We both may have lost our dear husbands but not our sense of humor.

    I’ve decided what will be…will be! Remember Doris Day’s hit song with that title? “Que Sera, Sera.” Always loved it. I’ll bend in the wind and roll with the punches! And I’ll try to stay warm in this zero weather.

September 19, 2013

  • Stuff and the Best Laid Schemes o’ Mice an’ Men

    I was up at 6 a.m. and by 8 o’clock I was at the hospital to see my cardiologist for my 6 month check up. I didn’t know it would turn out to be a 5 hour appointment! The doctor will be putting a stent in my right coronary artery…the one with 100% blockage. Since I hadn’t taken medicine or had anything to eat or even to drink except a little water after brushing my teeth, they gave me a stress test and also checked my carotid arteries….plaque build up there too.

    “Dr. IQ”, he has a most unusual name so everyone working with him just use the first two letters of it,….anyway, he says I’m doing really very well considering the extent of my coronary artery disease. I’ve never had angina pain or some of the other symptoms usually associated with CAD. However, I have sometimes felt light headed, which is one of the symptoms…sometimes that is just from dehydration. So everyone SHOULD heed our First Lady Michelle Obama’s message to drink more water! After all, it is the best of all thirst quenchers and has no calories, plus drinking more H/2O improves regularity and one’s skin too. And the price is right too!

    I spent time on the treadmill for the stress test to get my heart rate up to 118…walking fairly fast uphill did it finally. The other part of the test…lying down with arms and hands resting above the head…piece of cake easy. Pictures of my heart were taken automatically while the camera thingy sort of moved slowly over my torso. I almost fell asleep during those two times! But I was worn out by the time I got home this afternoon and kept nodding off. I decided to forego the ladies’ bible study meeting tonight at church and just rest. I skipped the cardio rehab place since I figured I had lots of exercise in by walking in our large hospital….in trying to find the cafeteria and getting to and from the parking garage area, etc.!

    I suppose my surgery will be scheduled sometime later this month. And this will no doubt nix any of my plans to sell my condo and move to PA before cold weather begins. That’s okay….really gives me more time to dispose of stuff I’m not taking with me when I DO sell and move. I’m hoping my three daughters will take some of the things to their homes and families…some of the good stuff anyway! I plan to keep cleaning and separating stuff in the closets and on the shelves….stuff I must keep….stuff I’d like to keep….and stuff I will never miss! That’s life…it’s messy sometimes….cluttered with too much unnecessary stuff.

    Life is “iffy” at times, and we roll with the punches and must accept and be willing to change plans. This reminds me of the famous line in the poem by Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!” (Not that I’ll experience pain or be grieving over disposing of a lot of the “stuff” I have or revising plans made.)

August 19, 2013

  • Remembering Schafskopf

    Back in 1939 to 1941 we lived in DePere, Wisconsin. Mom and Dad, for fun, played a card game called “Sheepshead” or “Schafskopf” almost every Friday evening with two other couples in our small apartment building (5 various sized apartments) located above Mr VanGimert’s tombstone/monument making company. Sheepshead often was played in the many small taverns in town, over a dozen in a two block area. Farmers would come in town every weekend to play and drink beer. They were sort of like the poker halls in other American towns.

    Sometimes after moving back to Indiana, Dad’s Wisconsin brothers would visit and play this popular card game, so I was taught how to play it as a teenager….since sometimes they needed another player. It really is a very complex and difficult game with lots of strategy….harder than Contract Bridge in many ways. After so many years, I’d forgotten how to play it so googled it to read the rules again. Yes it is extremely complicated….one of the things about it I had remembered!

    They say some Wisconsin farmers would gamble their livestock or even the farm away when playing this game! I remember some of the terms: picker, the blind, the fail cards, schmearing, and going for “least”, etc. Outside of Wisconsin, not many people have even heard of this fascinating….and often addicting game! 

      

     

     

      

     

August 10, 2013

  • Exercising and Getting Creative Too

    I was very, very good this week in exercising every day at the Cardiac-Rehab Center. I manage to work up a sweat and get my heart (pulse) rate up 30 to 40 beats higher than at rest. It really helps to have an “exercise partner” … a person nearby to converse with to make the time pass….or seem to pass….more quickly. My doctor told me I didn’t need to lose any weight, but since I’ve been going to the center the past 3 + months, I have lost around seven pounds….just by exercising more than before. I’m also getting good biceps. In the meantime, my condo is still for sale. It’s been on the market almost a year. Unfortunately there are about 6 or 7 others in this condo community also for sale, and the local housing market has a long way to go…..and I did bury St. Joseph upside down by the “For Sale” sign and did all the prayers and the Novena for nine days including the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. My cousin in New Mexico who was a very successful realtor for more than 20 years and who also is Catholic by the way….and a former nun to boot, said it works about as well as tossing chicken bones over the left shoulder. Will do that next, ha!

    For fun I’ve been turning photos in to paintings via PhotoMania. Here are some that I’ve done of the daughters, etc.

    From left to right: Daughters Andrea, Val (aka murisopsis), Stephanie, G’ma Joyce, and granddaughter Colleen. It is fun to do this. I did notice Val’s eyes look dark brown instead of their actual color…..but still fun and very addictive too!

    Fro 

June 8, 2013

  • It’s Not Summer Without a Big Brim Hat!

    I was cleaning out closet and saw some of my summer hats, three which I’ve not worn for ages, just gathering dust on the top shelf. I got them down and decided I’d wear one to church tomorrow if it’s not raining! Everyone, especially fair skinned red heads like me, need to keep out of the sun’s harmful rays! So why not wear these hats this summer. I have yellow and turquoise colored ones just like the brown one below….plus a lot of others resting safely in some rather ancient round cardboard hatboxes! Those boxes are as old a my children who qualify for AARP membership. I’ve always loved hats….especially big brim picture hats. My Grandma Bessie’s used to let me try on all her hats when she was redecorating them with colorful silk flowers she’d purchased to get them ready and looking like new for the for the spring and summer….she would have made a good milliner. Below are some of the favorite big brim hats I’ve worn. 

June 3, 2013

  • Interesting Exercise Buddy Today

    I exercised about 80 minutes at cardiac rehab. The last 45 minutes went fast since the fellow next to me was so interesting and talkative….retired telecommunications professor emeritus, Steve Bell, who was also former ABC news anchor and foreign correspondent during the Vietnam War days. He’s also a close friend to Ted Koppel (close enough to be godfather to one of his children) so brought me up to date about Koppel’s family. I always liked Ted’s daughter Andrea Koppel when she appeared regularly on the TV news programs. Anyway, having an “exercise buddy” always makes the time go fast. Bell said he’d be sure to remember my name since is wife’s name is also “Joyce.” The first photo of Bell was taken in 2012…he does have a portable oxygen unit and now has to walk with a cane…and is almost 4 years younger than I am…I am blessed. The other photo was taken when he was news anchor for ABC’s Good Morning America. I meet some very interesting people in the cardiac rehab center!

    Photo

    Photo

May 21, 2013