Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Rest of the Trip

 I last mentioned Venchis Ice Cream, and here I am sitting outside, waiting for my order.....

I had told the kids to get some pistachio sorbet, if they had it, but no one remembered to order mine. So my older daughter gave me her tiramisu, which was very good.  The next thing we saw was the William Tecumseh Sherman monument. the Civil War General.......
We turned another direction, so we didn't walk close to it.  After that, we went back to our hotel. Mind you, I was being pushed in a wheelchair/transport chair the whole time and it felt as if I were in a group of bumper cars at a carnival. The streets and sidewalks are so bumpy, and there are so many people to steer around.  Yikes!

The next day, we passed the Flatiron Building, which is covered in scaffolding at present.....
A short time later, we saw a commotion on a street nearby. It was strikers from Sag-Aftra, marching in the street in front of the group offices.....

We watched for a while, hoping to see a famous actor - but no such luck. They were all in hiding that day.  

Later, we passed by the One World Trade Center, which we had toured a few years back. We also saw the Occulus.....

Here it is from the inside....

I hope that woman didn't mind being in the pic, but since she had a mask on, I suppose it is okay.  Here, I am looking from the 3rd floor down to the bottom floor, where they had placed some very odd looking benches for people to sit.  
That evening, we went to a Spanish restaurant, called ...

Among other things, they serve Tapas....Only one or two of us knew what to order, so we left it to the experts...I liked all but one thing and I don't remember what that was.  Of course, I had to have a Margarita..... It was delicious!  

Almost as soon as we left Boqueria, we saw another commotion in the streets (can you ever go to NYC and not see some kind of commotion???) There was a police car, an ambulance and a whole squadron of EMS people milling about. A crowd had formed, holding up their phones, and I thought they were watching the EMS crew. But as soon as we passed the police car, I saw what had them enthralled.....

It was the Super Blue Moon - shining between buildings. I was so happy that we saw it and that I was able to get a photo.  I posted this on Facebook, so some of you have already seen it.

The next day, we were flying back to Raleigh, so we cooled it that morning, eating breakfast at the hotel and for lunch, we walked down a few buildings to Burgerology, where we all had burgers and fries.  It was so thick I could hardly get it in my mouth!

I had opted for sauteed mushrooms as a topping; there were good, but didn't sit well on my stomach for some reason.   Then we got a cab to go to the airport (La Guardia). I will tell you about that in my next post.  


Friday, September 01, 2023

On August 25th, I left home with......

 my daughter and granddaughter, to go on a week long trip. It was to start in Charleston, West Virginia (where I was born and raised) and culminate in NYC, where my grandson is a student/teacher, getting his PhD in Paleontology.  

I was going to Charleston for an all class reunion of my High School (Stonewall Jackson), with grads from 1944 to 1989 (when the school became a middle school.)

For me, it was my 65th reunion, and I never expected to make it that many of our classmates have passed away.  The all class reunion was held on Sat, evening at the Charleston Civic Center, with 1,050 people in attendance.  The planners did a bang-up job! That is not an easy task, and the committee was such a hard-working, well-organized group.....nothing went wrong, that I could see.  

It is always nice to see old classmates, except I was often reminded of good friends who have passed away or didn't make the trip this time. I always miss those who are not there.  But it is good to see the ones who are - even if you don't really remember some of them (LOL).  Our class had 447 people in it, so it was hard to get to know everyone. And if you didn't own or have access to a car, you seldom saw kids after school, unless they lived in your neighborhood.  Charleston had good buses, but some areas required multiple transfers, and so I never bothered to go, except to go uptown to shop.  

The reunion was fun; we had a class photo taken, which is supposed to be mailed to us in 4-6 weeks.  In previous years, our photographer took the class photo and returned about 10 pm with copies for everyone, but I guess it is harder when you have over a thousand people.  As soon as I get the photo, I will post it here and on Facebook.  

On Sunday morning, we met with my birth mother's granddaughter for breakfast at First Watch. It is always nice to see her, and nice for my granddaughter to meet her too.  Then we left, on our way to our next stop:

Cleveland, Ohio, where my brother-in-law lives with his wife and his daughter and her family. Unfortunately, his wife had been taken to the hospital and was facing surgery, so we didn't get to see her this trip.  But we went to his daughter and her husband's home and saw their two adorable kids, whom we had not seen in 6 years.Her husband loves to cook, and he put on a Mexican feast for us (although he is Italian). The tacos were delicious and she made street corn which was really scrumptious!  Prior to the dinner, we had chips with guacamole, melted cheese, salsa, sour cream and all the trimmings. We enjoyed it all, very much, and mostly seeing all of them and catching up on family news.  

After 2 days in Cleveland, we drove to Dubois, PA, where our Best Man and Matron of Honor live, and had brunch with them and their daughter, at a place called Dutch Pantry. I heartily recommend it, especially their apple dumplings (or fritters). They were delicious!  I had not seen Cindy, their daughter,  since the 70's, when they lived in Colorado, so I was very happy to see her again!  We saw Joe and Fern last September, when they came to our home to visit us, and it was special to see them again, and talk of old memories.  They seem to miss Jim as much as we do.  

After breakfast in PA, we drove to our final destination - New York City.  Route 80 from Cleveland to NYC is a good road, and we were lucky not to encounter much construction or bad traffic.  We arrived in NY about 5 pm. so traffic was bad there, and it took a while to get to our hotel. After we arrived and checked in, my daughter had to return the rental car (to Brooklyn, no less) and that took her about an hour.....she rode the subway back.  My older daughter had flown to NYC that morning, as we were all going to see one of her sons. The granddaughter with me on the trip is his twin. 

We had dinner that night at Patsy's, 256 West 58th Street; it opened in 1944, and was a favorite of Frank Sinatra's.  

                Sorry the menu is sideways - I can't get it turned correctly......
My chicken piccata, delicious and filling!

The potato croquette was so good!  

After dinner, we walked around and went to Venchi's ice cream....well worth the trip. I will continue this travelogue in a few days, as it is too long to write all in one post.  


Friday, August 11, 2023

On August 3rd, I had to have gallbladder surgery. I spent 6 days in the hospital......


Edited below!

I want to tell you that I had some of the best nurses I have ever dealt with. This was Wake Medical Center - Cary. 

We have had a long history with "Big Wake", as we call it, the large medical center located at the eastern entrance to Raleigh. My youngest child was born there in 1971, and then when she was 2, she spent a month there, due to pneumonia and empyema. 

In 2007, when Jim had his massive stroke, they took good care of him for 2 weeks and then housed him in in-patient PT for 2 weeks.  He recovered better than anyone could have expected. 

In 2014, I had open heart surgery there, spending 12 days. I did fairly well.

In March, I think, I was sent there from the Apex ED, because I swallowed a pill that went down the wrong "pipe" and spent nearly 24 hours in ICU, because that was the only bed available. Once again, I got excellent care.  

So when I started having lower GI tract symptoms,  that lasted for 11 days, we went to the Urgent Care and they said go to the ED. The one in Cary is closer, so we went there. I was admitted for tests, and as I was patient # 25 waiting for a room, I had to spend one night in the ED. Care was excellent. I had a CS, MRI, Endoscopy, and numerous blood tests, and all of that led them to tell me that my bile duct was blocked with sludge....which usually precedes the formation of stones. I was advised to consider surgery right then, while I was already a patient. I thought about it and decided it might be a good idea to go ahead and get it out, because to delay might bring on a full-blown gallbladder attack, which I know to be excruciating pain, as my mother had it.  

The endoscopy made me cough a lot after, and by later that night, my ribs were very sore, as well as my stomach muscles. I worried about how that would affect me after surgery, but it was scheduled anyway for 7 am on the 3rd. Despite the fact that there was an NPO sign on my door, and I knew I was not supposed to eat, when the tray was brought in, I grabbed the coffee cup and downed it - totally forgetting I was not supposed to even have water that morning.  Then I opened a strawberry jello and took 3 bites, before it dawned on me I should quit.  The upshot of all that was they had to delay surgery by 2 hours. I was sorry for the surgical team, but they seemed to take it in stride, for which I was thankful.  

I had anesthesia two days in a row (endoscopy and surgery) and I hate the effects of it at the best of times, but I am destined for "foggy brain" forever, I suppose.  The aftermath of surgery was that I was so sore I could hardly get up out of bed. Thanks to modern medicine for pain killers, so badly needed at that time. recovery was slow, and I felt like the proverbial pin-cushion, having had 5 IV's (which kept coming loose) and gobs of other needle sticks. My belly is so bruised that I look like I have been hit with a "cat o' nine tails". But everyday I am improving, and I am so very thankful for good care and proper testing. 

Some of the nurses who were stand-outs in my stay there were Jeremy in the ED, 

and, of course, I have lost part of my list, darn it. If I find it later, I'll fill in the lost ones, but here are the rest I can find:  Nicole, Nykesha, Dr. Dye (he looks like my first boyfriend!), Katrina and Sabrina.  Sabrina is a nurse supervisor and she showed extra care when she came in to help me when my nurses were busy. We got to talking, and she said she thought I should write. I told her, "I write a blog." I gave her the name of it, and an hour or so later, she came back, raving about it. She really lifted my spirits and she gave me a wonderful hug, which I needed.  Sabrina, I hope you are reading this someday soon. I will never forget you. 

***I found the rest of my name list of outstanding nurses:  Hannah, Sally, Tiffany, Misty, Patty and Michelle in gastro.  All of you made a very good impressions on  me, and I don't really impress easily!

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Trivia Night at our clubhouse

 As many of you no doubt know, I live in a 55+ community. We have a wonderful clubhouse with all sorts of things to do. A few years ago, some people formed a trivia club. About twice a year they have a trivia night. Tonight was one... You enter and after paying your $2.00 entry fee, you pick a card to choose a table number. I chose table 3, but when I entered the room, I mistook the table number and sat down at Table 5. I knew a few people at that table, so I felt comfortable there. But soon, I was made to move to table 3. I had neighbors at that table too, so I enjoyed being with them, and met 3 other new people. 

The trivia tonight was based on a game show similar to "Family Feud", where you are asked to guess what 100 other people said to certain questions. I think it is called "America Says....", but I have never seen it.  

Long story short..... our table won the first prize! Since everyone who enters pays $2, a sizable purse develops. The prize amounts for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes are determined by how many people attend.  Tonight, we had 14 tables of 6 (mostly)...about 84 people. 

Every one at our table received $ we each made $8, and we had a lot of fun!  I did get upset once, when the category was "horses" and we were supposed to come up with the words that made us think of horses (each starting with a certain letter.) I had said the answer to the letter "C" was cowboys, but I was voted down and they put another answer on that line.  They were wrong!

But we still won first place, so I guess it didn't matter.  YAY!

Monday, July 17, 2023

I am Looking Forward to Two More Trips

Near the end of this month, I am going to Hilton Head with my granddaughter and her fiancee. I love spending time with them, so this is a special treat. Jim and I owned a townhouse on Hilton Head back in the late 80's/early 90's. I have not been back in about 8 years....and I know it has changed a great deal since then. Jim and I always loved going to "The Earl of Sandwich" a quaint restaurant in Coligny Plaza, so they have assured me, we will head back there. The last time, we sat outside . A small creek/lagoon runs under the deck and I looked down and saw frogs, lizards, small fish and tadpoles. I love being out in nature, so that was special. That will be a short trip, however. 
 In August, my daughter and granddaughter and I are going back to my hometown (Charleston, WV) for an all-school reunion. There are over 1000 people signed up, who graduated from 1940 to the 1980's, when the school was changed to a junior high. I doubt there is anyone alive who graduated in 1940, but almost anything can happen! My class roster showed 447 graduates in my class (1958) but not many of them signed up for the reunion. However, we are having a luncheon that afternoon at a country club, and I expect to see about 30 classmates. We always have a lot of fun at reunions. I never understand why more people don't attend. Many of us live far away, but a good many still live in that area, and they still don't come. It's their loss! 

 When we leave Charleston, we are driving to Cleveland, Ohio, to visit my brother-in-law and his family. We saw a few of them at Jim's funeral, but some couldn't it will be nice to see them again. After that, we will stop in Pennsylvania to visit our Best Man and matron of Honor, and their daughter and grandchildren (I hope). It will be a quick visit, as after that, we will drive to NYC, to visit my twin grandson, who is there in school, getting his PH.D. in Paleontology. His sister will be with us, and his mother will join us in NYC for a few days, and then we all fly home to RDU. It sounds like a long trip (in days), but it really isn't, as our time in each location is short. I think I will need a vacation after that vacation!

Saturday, July 01, 2023

July 2 would have been our 59th anniversary...

The second photo was taken two years ago, near our 57th year. How can I get through this day? I had so hoped we would make it to #60, at least. On our 25th anniversary, we didn't have a party or go anywhere fancy to celebrate because that was the year we had to pay for a large Rehearsal Dinner for our oldest child. On our 50th, we didn't have a party or go anywhere fancy to celebrate because Jim was not really well enough to travel. So I was counting on our 60th to have the blowout I thought we deserved. Lesson learned: do not count on the may not happen the way you want it to, and the people with whom you want to be. Make the best of the present may be all you have. Think kind thoughts of me today.....I need them. I miss him terribly, although I will admit to enjoying a well-deserved rest, after a long time of caregiving. Caregiving is not easy (in the best of times) as many of you no doubt know. I needed a rest - but his death is not the way I had hoped to accomplish it. He is out of what must have been severe pain now, at least, I can take comfort in knowing that. Happy anniversary to me, and to any and all who may be celebrating today!

Friday, June 09, 2023

A Trip to Virginia Beach and Richmond

 Last weekend, my baby daughter and I went to Virginia Beach for a very short trip. The Cavalier Hotel, a landmark up on a hill at the beach, had been remodeled and we wanted to see it as well as the new Marriott on the beach across the street from the Cavalier. 

My husband's aunt and uncle used to take him and his brother to the Cavalier in the 1940's, when he was 5-6-7 years old. It was quite fancy back then, and even better now. The new beach hotel is very nice; our room was terrific and the balcony great (over looking the water), but the outdoors around it was wonderful. An infinity pool, with chaises in the water, easy access to the beach on a sloping concrete ramp, and the sand is packed tightly so that it is easy to walk on to get to the water. There are "clamshells" with 2 chaises for use by hotel guests.  They also have an indoor pool. I didn't see a hot tub, and that was the only minus I'd give them. The flowers surrounding both hotels were lush and colorful and varied. I'll show pics later in this post.  

When the old Cavalier was open, they had a pavillion on the beach, with a bar and wooden dance floor. I remember dancing there in the 60's, but by that time, the floor was damaged and had holes in it.  Their history reports that at one time, the Cavalier was the largest user of Big Bands in the east; all the big names played there, and it WAS the place to be in the late 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's. Then other high-rise hotels started to spring up and the Cavalier went down in looks and service. The "new", remodeled one mimics the glamour of the early days, although the section on the beach is considerably smaller and has no dance floor, that I could see.  

Below is the pool at the Marriott.  It was too cool to get in. 

The view from our balcony, looking back to the Cavalier.

The view to the beach from our balcony.

Below is the beach area for the Cavalier.

Beach access...easy to navigate...

The full moon, from the far eastern end of Virginia Beach. 

My breakfast:  eggs Benedict with tri-color roasted potatoes!

Hydrangeas on the front of the hotel, on the beach.