Mother’s Day

IMG_0012

We had celebrated Mother’s Day with my sister Colleen on Saturday.  Well, it really wasn’t a celebration.  My niece M. has challenging feet and the three Day sisters met up at Harry’s Shoes on the Upper West Side.  The store was filled with weathered souls whose feet had the look of gnarly winter branches.  In amongst the winter grey heads was M.  looking overwhelmed as the youngest client in the room.  On the cusp of adulthood, her foot challenges have damned her to shop in places with those beyond her years.  There will be no stories of dancing the night away in 4″ heels or any fanciful shoe purchase.  Hers is a future of sensible shoes.  We were there to rally her on and catch a visit with each other amongst the footwear.

As luck would have it we met Amhed, the shoe salesman for problem cases.  He held M’s foot, asked her where the pain usually was and diagnosed what shoes would be best for her.  He had such a magical manner that we all wanted to put our feet in his hands.

We imagined asking, “Tell me what is best for these feet Ahmed!” Eyes batting naturally as this is a dream sequence.

You’ll be pleased to know we resisted the desire and let M. be Cinderella for the day.  Ahmed searched the store keeping in mind her young age and brought back boxes upon boxes of shoes.  “He asked about the comfort of her toes and arches while we three sat on the sidelines swooning.  Eventually, he found her 3 pairs of shoes and one in particular screamed adorable.  A girl damned to sensible shoes at an early age rarely can look down and see such cuteness wrapped around her toes.  We three were so thrilled that all of the shoes were purchased.  M starts her summer internship in a few weeks and we wanted her to start with her best foot (wear) forward.

St Peters Church back garden

I am so sorry that I didn’t take any photos of the purchased shoes.  Instead, I am showing photos from a week ago of St Peters Church in Chelsea.  Warmer weather is here and the flowers are just beautiful

Switching topics completely, this month marks the beginning of my 5th year of being NED (No Evidence of Disease).  This is an anniversary that is celebrated and noted in my head only.  You don’t throw parties to remember moments like your lumpectomy or mastectomy.  I don’t even want to think what the cake would look like.  I digress.   My big Woo Hoo has been dampened with the diagnosis of Osteopenia.  I don’t have Osteoporosis yet but if things keep up the way they do it is likely going to be part o my future.  I’m now in the midst of testing and will be seeing a physical therapist to learn what exercises I should be doing.  As it turns out, Pilates and Yoga don’t build bone strength.  I will let you know what I learn and welcome suggestions from those who are facing the same challenge.

In the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying the month of May.

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Scammed

Daffodils by lace 2

The flowers above are from my father’s garden.  I picked the ones whose yellow heads were  kissing the ground.  I’m not sure why they felt the need to bow but it gave me every reason to snip.  Heads lifted, they made a lovely bouquet.

After returning from my whirlwind tour of the south, I drove out to my Dad’s house the day after I returned.  I promised to join him at his bank to open new accounts.  His ego had been bruised and his funds nearly depleted.  In an effort to protect him, my sister and brother had shut and closed everything down that had to do with his finances.  I was there to help him open new accounts up and arrange for transfers.

It was my brother who overheard a conversation my father was having.  It seemed odd and he questioned him further.  It was then that my brother learned that my Dad had taken a phone call and the caller told him he was owed a refund.  They wanted to send the money to his bank and needed his account numbers.  Years ago my father would have hung up on the caller.  Now his days are a slow dull drip and his mind isn’t as sharp as it once was.  This combination makes him vulnerable and maybe it was the companionship of the conversations that lured him in.  Before any of us realized it, he had given the information out.  He firmly believed he was getting money back.  It was pure luck my brother overheard one of the conversations  and realized what was going on.  Many phone calls with my sister Lisa pursued.  She has taken over the role of family counsel with a naturally fair and even temperament.  She looked into the account on line and was able to see $2000 was scheduled for transfer out.  That’s when she and my brother moved to close his accounts, call the fraud department and stop any transactions.  It was 9:00 at night and none of us was sure if the scam had been caught in time.  Morning light brought good news.  He still had his money in a now frozen account.

“Those bums really got me.”

My Dad kept repeating that at the bank.  He was shaken up but I reminded him, “Lisa and Rob stopped everything, you’re just inconvenienced.”  I know this isn’t what he means but I will not to stress him further.  There is no need to embarrass him but build him up a bit as a hard lesson was learned.   The scammer continues to call but my father doesn’t answer the phone anymore if he doesn’t recognize the number.  This in itself cuts my Dad off even further from the world.

When we reported this to the police they said this crime is common and there is nothing they can do.  I feel for the other lonely souls who have innocently given their information away.

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A whirlwind trip in Florida

Hat in Shadows

I am home.

Sweet sounding words for this tired soul. The past two weeks were an adventure none the less. Well, not so much an adventure as a journey involving work and friendship. Mostly friendship even in the case when work was supposed to be the focus.

Path in Captiva

I flew to Florida two weeks ago starting in Orlando, driving to a town outside of Tampa,  a bit of resting in Captiva for a company event and then finally conference meetings in Charlotte.  It was a nightmare to pack for and not as exhausting to live as it sounds.  I met with a variety of friends in each of those citys.  One is caring for her mother whose wandering days have been reduced to the challenge of leaving her hospital bed to a chair next to it.  My friends near Tampa are now dipping their toes into the luxury of retirement.  A chill goes up my spine still muttering those words.  How could my friends be retiring?    It does not seem that long ago that we were in our 20’s.  We used to drive up the coast at 3:00 AM to catch a ferry to Block Island for a weekend in the sun.  Now we sit and discuss ailments, misbehaving parents and I confess we got very excited finding flip flops with arch supports in a local store.  If we don’t sound ancient enough, we actually took a Sunday drive in the afternoon and enjoyed it!

Colleen had come along for the ride too.  I had warned her about the work part of this trip but after 4 feet of snow this past winter, she didn’t care.  It was the promise of sunshine and warmth that she couldn’t resist and seeing a few old friends.  I enjoyed having her ride shotgun in the car.

Chair in Captiva

The final portion of the trip was a work related event.  We spent four days with my colleagues on the beach.  I was not looking forward to it at all.  Standing in my bathing suit with anyone in the blaring sunlight is a nightmare let alone my coworkers.  It would be different if I still had the body that dashed up to Block Island.  THAT would be fun.

Instead of getting my 20 year old self back, I bought a coverup.  A fun one that made me look good but not like I was trying too hard.  It softened all of the lumps and bumps.  Standing with my coworkers wasn’t so bad after all.  We had fun and dare I say, maybe even became friends!

Palm trees along the beach

 

 

 

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The promise of blooms

Pussy Willow bud

 

Hey, it’s almost spring.  Yes, it’s cold and grey outside and I’m still wearing my winter coat but the pussy willow is in bloom.  My grandmother used to say,”Ja, Ja.  Za pussy villow is za first flower und spring is not far behind.”  I always laughed as by the time these little furry blooms arrived in the yard, I was more than ready for sunnier days.  Bring on those higher temperatures, I’m ready!

This past weekend I set about decorating for Easter and the Farmers Market had bunches of Pussy Willow and Peach branches not yet in bloom.  I bought them as they harbored promises of blossoms for the days to come.  I like the idea of promises.

Sticks

 

I admit that I had a hard time this year organizing for the celebration.  I’m told there was a blood moon that was causing havoc with everyones horoscopes and blamed my disorganization on that.  When things are going bad, it is always easier to point to outside factors than own the reason yourself.  Saturday night I still wasn’t sure I’d have everything ready.  Chairs held in storage for a year seemed to be crumbling at the touch.  It was at that hour I was so happy I had delegated parts of the meal to my siblings.

“What can I bring?”

That question would have been answered years ago with a sweet, “Just yourself.”  This year I said, ” the salad course.” and “the vegetables” and of course the most important item, “Wine, bring lots of wine.”  Gone are the days when I need to do it all with that special touch of twee.  I used to be amazing and my celebrations memorable.  At least I hope they were memorable as I would spend weeks preparing special butterfly cookies and tiny pots of grass for the table.  I don’t have the time or energy for that anymore.  Branches holding the promise of buds was all I could muster this year.

Buds

I did make a wonderful leg of lamb and at the eleventh hour, it all came together.  Everyone had a seat though not all of the seats were at the table.  Another small snafu was I had more guests than there was actually room for.  We made due and it got kind of funny.   The conversation flowed punctuated now and then by howls of laughter.  The salad course was amazing as was the tray of asparagus my brother made.  In fact, all the dishes and courses were wonderful as was the wine.

Easter Table I’m hoping you had a wonderful Easter too with a seat at or at least near a table!

Next week I’m headed to Florida to visit friends and warm my frozen bones.

 

 

 

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March memories and such

Highline March is a raw month.  The weather has been described at times as lion or lamb.  No matter which, it is never beautiful. My first pet, a cat named Ebony, was born on March 12.  He was taken from his mother too soon which made him very attached to us.  We used to celebrate his birth with ice-cream cakes, song and gifts of catnip.  We’d decorate for the celebration and I realize now it was an excuse to cheer up a rather dismal month.  Ebony would have been 44 last week.  Within the last 31 years, Saint has been added to his first name.  Because he was our first cat, we did not know how unusual it was that he liked to sleep in a doll carriage with doll clothes on.  Well, the clothing was my idea.   Returning home from school, he’d be waiting for us in the carriage ready for an afternoon of dresses and walks about town.  The perfect cat for a house filled with young girls. ChickThis past weekend the girls got together again at my Dad’s house.  My brother lives with him and announced months ago that he was taking a vacation this week.  Realizing my father would be alone, my sisters, nieces and I met up at his house.  It was a “chick” weekend with the lone rooster.  We cleaned and organized his kitchen a bit and talked for hours around the big oak table.  Serious, humorous or just about nothing at all.  Sometimes, my Dad removed his hearing aids as it is easier to watch us talk than actually listen.  He whistles when he is happy and this weekend the house was filled with the sound of unrecognizable song. Fifty Shades ofMy niece J. is caught up in the Fifty Shades series.  We keep asking for book reviews and it is my niece M. that gives it.  She is not as enamored as J.  I long for the days when it was Harry Potter she devoured.

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Watch out for the icy cold wind!

Wreath at Eileen's

I came home tonight and suddenly realized my Christmas wreath is still on the door.  It’s not the one pictured above but one made of pinecones.  I somehow missed that window from seasonally perfect to outdated eyesore.

Crap.

A few weeks ago a gust of wind on one of those 3 degree mornings kissed my face.  That’s how I remember it anyway.  My face burned and then a few days later the headache began.

Steam and Herbs

My grandmother was born in 1896 high up in the Swiss Alps.  She said, “Ja, Ja” a lot as English was not her first language.  She had  a home remedy for just about everything.  When I was young fevers would run through our house knocking everyone down with illness.  When it was really bad, she’d show up with potions and remedies.  Our heads would be put under a towel hovering over bowls of herbs steeped in steaming water.  Soups and special teas were conjured up in the kitchen.    I wish I could remember more of what she did for us.

I knew I had a sinus headache and tried the “old ways” for a bit even muttering, “Ja, Ja” to try and conjure the spirit of my grandmother.  I can now attest to the fact that singing “Ja, Ja” does nothing.   My head pounded and I seemed to function in a fog behind the pressure that was building.  I held my head over a steaming bowls of herbs with a towel tent overhead.  It felt good and comforting but it wasn’t a cure.

Soup

I even made chicken soup from bones in my freezer from roast chickens past.  They make the best soup base and in the past three weeks I used up my stash which I had been collecting since August.  I was down to my last handful of bones and not feeling any better when I decided it was time for drugs, real drugs.  I think there is a country song in this somewhere.

The walk-in clinic agreed I had a major sinus headache.  Drugs were prescribed and the fog has been lifting.  That’s probably the reason I finally noticed the wreath on my door.  My biggest fear now is what else I will suddenly notice in the next few days.

Tomorrow we’re expecting a snowstorm and now that I’m feeling better, I’m hoping to take the skies out for a bit of cross-country.  I will be covering my face tightly to keep any wind kisses at bay.

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Valentine’s Day to warm the winter chill

Heart cutter

Valentine’s weekend is coming to a close. I have to confess I enjoyed myself for none of the reasons you would think. It turns out jumping on a trampoline isn’t good for nerves trapped in scar tissue. That is if you haven’t bound “the goods” sufficiently. I didn’t and the pain was so intense, I thought my cancer had returned. This Easter will bring my fifth year benchmark and admittedly, I’m haunted by the thought that I will become sick again. During the second week of my new pain, my yearly appointment with my plastic surgeon came up at Sloan Kettering. While in the area, I stopped in with my breast surgeon who checked things out and explained how it was scar tissue and severed nerves causing my pain. “Calm down, you’re as clean as a whistle. I like problems like yours.” My surgeon said this while smiling broadly. It was a huge relief and a bit embarrassing all at the same moment. Still, I was told the trampoline wasn’t a bad thing to do in the afternoon. I just needed to keep my breasts and the tissue within from moving so much.

I ate too many of these.

I ate too many of these.

 

Fear had swirled around in the back of my head for two weeks but it also organized what is important to me right now. Seeing friends, my photography, saving for a new home and purchasing the right athletic attire. The work life balance thing I’ve mentioned before is still very much out of sync. I decided Valentine’s Day weekend was going to be devoted to the desires that demanded my focus when fear ruled the back of my head . Stop dreaming and start doing was my mantra. I had dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen for a while. I also spent a bit of time at the Apple store with a genius who answered burning questions about Yosemite and other bits of technology that my creativity is dependent on. I came up with new photography projects and dropped off the last of my film rolls from the Scotland trip. It really was, the perfect weekend.

The temperature is now 7 degrees outside and threatens to dip even lower later in the night. My radiators are clanking a tune that goes back to my childhood. It’s a bit of a lullaby. I’m hoping all of you are warm and had a wonderful weekend too.

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