A little blather…

I managed to get to the doctor before Sonnystone became an ice rink, but had to wait a few gloomy, gray days to pick up my Rx and get started. My mood has been as dreary as the days, so I’ve Tried to cheer up by planning our upcoming Disney trip. Unfortunately, that approach only moved my despair over to my current girth.

I need to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks — haven’t we all been there? I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to get caught up in one of those “eat right and exercise” scams, ya know? You don’t get a body like mine overnight, folks; it takes years of moderate alcoholism, neglect, and sundry damaging behaviors. I feel like I’ve been driving around with my “check engine” light on for quite a while now, and it’s time to do something about it. Really, though, 5 pounds would be good so I’ll fit into my Vacation clothes a little more comfortably.

Two weeks of counting calories won’t kill me, but I often cockily think I “deserve” to pig out. Recent diagnoses should give me some motivation, and I do love to try some new recipes. I cooked up all the red meat in the house last week, finished up most of the sugary snacks I had laying around, and made up a menu of healthy meals for the week.

I would really like to start walking on a regular basis, something I’ve not done since pre-Covid days. (Covid sure did eff us all up, smh) This time of year walking at the mall is the best place, so I wonder if any of you walk there? or would you like to? It would be fun to meet up and see if I can still walk and talk at the same time.

I’m scheduled for some tests this Monday and there will be more doctor consultations coming up, but I’m sure it’s all going to make me stronger and better, and maybe even a little thinner.

Currently streaming through my brain:

Have a good week!


Catching up with myself

Last week was moving right along, winter-as-usual around here with all its boredom, so I was happy to get out and have a routine x-ray. It’s always a great time to have people tell me how great I’m doing “at your age”. Yes, and aren’t I?

This year, there was a change. No cancer, thank-you-Lord, but a couple of other worrisome findings: bronchiectasis/pneumonitis in my left lower lobe; atherosclerosis of my coronary arteries and thoracic artery. This is new from last year, so maybe I’ve caught things quickly, eh? But I’ve been resisting taking cholesterol-lowering medicine for a couple of years now, so I feel guilty and crazy and kinda freaked-out. I’ll see my NP and get started on those meds, and maybe some steroids for the inflammation?, but I’m considerably humbled as I realize that even I, the healthy one with the good genes, can wear out.

I spent yesterday pouting and moping, having an interior argument with my inner bitch, fighting back all the “you should have” or “you know better” or the worst, “you’re a nurse, for gott’s sake”.

I did my usual praying and the general message from Beyond was: “I know we have talked about this extensively, this inevitable decay of All of creation”. Yes, We have talked about it, A Lot, I countered, but in a general way, not actually Me! I thought I was special! Silence on the other end has led me to believe that perhaps I’ve not been listening as well as I ought…

I had to calm myself as I imagined I’d never be able to “finish” my writing, or that I’d not feel like traveling . I began to see those efforts as meaningless and spent a while like the Teacher in Ecclesiastes:

What do people gain from all their labors
    at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go…

My attitude was like Prince…

…We’re all gonna die
And when we do (When we do)
What’s it all for? (What’s it all for?)
You better live now
‘Fore the grim reaper come knocking on your door

After a dark walk through the past, I came out better…just like Prince, again: Am I going to let de-elevator break me down? Hell, no! Let’s Go!

One of the healthiest habits I’ve learned in my life is to look at reality and accept it. Non-resistance is as important for my heart as it is for my soul, so some meditation has brought ’round my perspective. These sorts of changes generally provide opportunities to Grow in understanding, compassion, and faith, as well as physical health, so it’s kind of exciting, in a nervous kind of way. I’m grateful for the medicines we have today; they may even be able to reverse what the radiologist saw. I’m so thankful no cancer was seen. I’m glad I feel so good.

I’m hard at work on what is now going to be a book, converting my blog posts over to Word and editing like mad. The blog itself (www.allmyancestry.wordpress.com) is still intact, though the book will contain updated material, some of which changes the whole chapter, so it’s more than just checking punctuation; good inside work.

We’ll be leaving for Disney in 3 weeks, planning on 2 nights at the campground, 3 at Pop Century. We’re still working on getting the bedding in Goldie right and I’ve ordered a foam mattress that I hope works.

I hope you don’t take this post as complaining, as I mean it as just an admission that I did a lot of griping and mulling yesterday. I know how good I’ve got it. I know how to make changes in my lifestyle to support the addition of meds. I’m just saying, this is a major change in my Mind and it will have an effect on the rest of my life, however long that may be.


True Confessions

Good morning and how are you today? It snowed a little last night, just a light dusting on the grassy areas, not quite enough to be pretty.

We’ve fallen into our usual winter-ness routines: doing nothing, then resting afterward. Actually, I should only speak for myself as Casey stays busy on maintenance of cars, keeping the fire burning, and he even fixed my dining room chairs that have been shaky for a decade or so.

My laziness is legendary, but the internet and its myriad rabbit-holes makes me even less productive…especially for the last several weeks as I’ve obsessed on Harry & Meghan, the dastardly duo who have bombarded the world with too much information, and most of it quite damning to themselves. . What was meant to bring down the British Royal Family has backfired spectacularly, exposing their lies and Harry’s sad mental illness (me mum was killed by the paps). My mouth just drops as I read their ever-changing versions of what happened in the 18months they were part of the Firm, now three years after they left London for Tyler Perry and Oprah. The memes are hilarious, the snarky comments make me chuckle, and as many of the late-night talk show hosts join in ridiculing them, I feel somewhat vindicated in my disgust with them. If you disagree with me, please don’t bother to argue – you won’t change my mind. The vilification of King Charles and Queen Camilla has actually rallied people around the Royals. The only people who are impressed with Harry’s “poor” childhood are the same who think Diana was a saint… Oh, and wasn’t it nice of Harry to admit the Royal Family are not racist? And only 2 years after their accusation on O? He’s made himself a laughing stock with his todger talk and I’m exhausted by it. What a whiner!

I Swear, I’m going cold turkey, stopping my sordid addiction to the Montecito Shit Show.

The Jubilee preparations continue. I have built two spotify playlists, one with songs that have impacted me personally throughout the years, and another that starts in 1953, choosing a pop song to represent each of the last 70 years. The second list has been especially fun! Starting with Patti Page (my earliest star-crush) singing “how much is that doggie in the window?” and ending with Harry Styles’ “As it was”, it is quite a walk down memory lane. It still needs some tweaks, partly because I spent the 90s listening to country music and don’t recognize many of the Pop hits, or even the artists! Around here there used to be 3 country music radio stations to every one Pop station, but nowadays I think many of the country stations have switched to Jesus music. There is a HeavyMetal station, though, so Metallica still thrives in So. Indiana…

I’m keeping up with my book challenges and editing All my Ancestors. That’s about it, kids. I want to get down to Nashville this coming week-end for the Flea Market if the weather is halfway decent. Till we talk again…


Reading Challenge

My annual Reading Challenge over at Goodreads is set at 24, a goal I can Usually meet with ease. This year, however, I have added a new objective: read one book from each section (there are 10) of the Dewey Decimal System. I love non-fiction, so it didn’t seem like much of a strain to accomplish, but as I reviewed the System, I’m realizing there’s a lot more there than meets the eye.

What did we do before a common system of classification was used in the library? It must have been a real pain, especially for someone who was the slightest bit OCD. Enter Melvil Dewey, who had been arranging his mother’s pantry goods since he was a little boy. In 1873, at the age of 25, Dewey patented the decimal system that bears his name, and it began to be implemented in 1876. Called the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), it is built around ten main classes, ostensibly covering the entire world of knowledge.

Each main class is divided into ten more divisions, each having ten divisions of increasing specificity. It is “arranged by discipline, not subject”, so a topic can be all over the place. Given that there are ten main classes, one hundred divisions, and one thousand sections still makes it a bit unwieldy, but the handy-dandy card catalogue became my good friend when trying to do research, as it pulled together the subject of research in a coherent fashion. I mean, seriously, there is a Lot of Knowledge in a library…

I decided to start at Willard Library, partly because it is my very favorite library ever, but I also thought it would be easier to choose a book with less inventory. The 000-100 section is really a lot of reference books, also newspapers, periodicals, Guinness Book of World Records, etc. and it didn’t leave me much choice, so I chose a book called “An Uncommon History of Common Things”. Meh. The Things were common, but I didn’t find their history so uncommon. Does anyone read a book like that all the way through, beginning to end? I don’t, kids, so I skimmed through and it’s ready for return — and it counts as a read, by my rules — and I make the rules here.

More interesting than the book I chose is what I learned about Melvil Dewey, a true example of not judging a book by its cover. In addition to devising the Decimal System, he helped found the American Library Association and the first library school at Columbia University in 1884; he was also the New York State Librarian from 1888-1906. When Columbia University balked at admitting women to the Library School, he started his own school with 17 women and the help of other female teachers. Seems like a real forward-thinking guy for the feminists, right?

Wrong… Melvil Dewey has also been called a misogynist, racist, and anti-Semite. While some biographers credit Dewey with being a champion of women in the workplace – he called for greater employment of women in libraries when most women worked as domestics- it is difficult to grant him that title when multiple women accused him of sexual harassment. He was fired from his NY State Librarian because of his very public refusal to allow Jews to be included in a country club he founded. He paid off several of the women (there were many) who brought charges against him for sexual harassment. In fact, his worldview influences his decimal classifications as he neglected to include any Black history or writers within it. You can notice right away that in the Religion section, 9 of the 10 subcategories are Christianity, with only 1 for “other religions”. Librarians began the work of “decolonizing” the categories quite a while back, and the Library of Congress uses a completely different system that is similar, but more open to changes.

Anyway, I’m ready for the 100s now, Philosophy…just one book? I learned everything I know about Philosophy from watching “The Good Place”…well, almost everything, but you should watch it if you get a chance. (It doesn’t count on the reading challenge.)

I decided to vary the library I visit, so throughout the month of January you may see me lurking at any of the branches, looking for the card catalogue.

We’re off for a Sunday Drive.


Hear Ye! Hear Ye! ‘Tis a Jubilee Year!

Time, Time, Time…see what’s become of me: in February of this year, I’ll turn Seventy…

I’ve been planning a year-long celebration of this momentous occasion ever since last February when I turned 69, wading bravely into my 70th year. At first, I thought I’d begin the festivities on my actual b-day, but now have decided that the entire year must be one of Jubilee. I share passing this landmark with nearly everyone who went to high school and nursing school with me, so I’m in good company. I’m hoping that all my friends – regardless of age — will come together for a Sonnystone Garden Party in July. Mark your calendars for that second week or so, and watch this spot for more info. If that doesn’t work for you, let’s just meet up for lunch sometime this year!

In addition to planning this gala, I’m looking forward to finally taking that Long Drive in Goldie, visiting the New Yorkers on St. Paddy’s Day, and more WDW (of course). I hope to get the Family History printed and there will be changes to the blog. It’s time to pull out the mandolin and brush up on some chords. Bring on fresh piano music! Refresh my reading challenge and strive again for 24 books this year. Maybe Windsor, England? Amtrak sounds like fun. Jubilee years are packed with pleasure, so here we go!

Resolutions? Ha! I plan to stay healthy, happy, and Curious… There’s still so much I want to learn, especially the stuff I thought I already knew…


Looking Back

We had our Family Christmas Wednesday and the Love was Everywhere!

It has been a wonderful year here at Sonnystone! Various and sundry ailments kept us from traveling as much as we would have liked, but we did go to London, a long-time dream! Our gardens weren’t award-winning, but I’m proud of the “new” firepit area that we designed and planted. Most important, we enjoyed the company of Family, Extended Family, and Friends throughout the year. I hope one of them was You, dear reader, and if not, why not?

Onward to 2023, my Jubilee Year!


New York at Christmas…

Christmas, 2022, in New York City,

featuring the Jose’ Family, mostly Emma and Eliza,

in 47 seconds…

Our Christmas plans have Completely changed due to expected winter storms on the New Yorkers’ travel dates.. They’ll be coming in between storms (fingers crossed) on the 26th and we’ll have a Sonnystone Christmas on the 28th. A good thing, too, as I have No presents bought! In fact, I’m headed out now to search for the grandies’ gifts.


The Countdown begins…

The days have been flying by and my excitement is building. The house is merry and cozy, Casey had a great day of birthday-ing on Wednesday, and Samantha and I had breakfast with Santa at the Zoo yesterday.

Nova and her boyfriend, Aiden, (or is it Jaden? Braden?) went to a couple of dances last night; they attend different high schools, so they must keep it even… She is having a great time and that makes me smile.

I’ve hauled out my Christmas clothes and eliminated the ensembles that don’t fit anymore (you know how clothes shrink), so new plaid leggings and a red flannel are on their way to fill in the gaps. I’m obsessing over the weather; we are flying out of Nashville and the drive down worries me. It’s supposed to be wet and cold, but not quite icy and that’s the worst kind, even with my new tires. I’m thinking we’ll do a more leisurely daytime drive the day before and stay overnight. That just sounds less stressful all the way around.

Just think, this very time next week I’ll be walking out of Radio City Music Hall, having watched the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, heading over to Bill’s Burgers for our traditional post-show meal. For the last two years we’ve had to miss the performance due to Covid, so this will be a sweet reunion.

— 2019 Me, Eliza, Emma at the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular —We were so Young!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that Melissa and her family moved last August. Their new pad looks zehr cool, even magnificent, in the pictures, and I can hardly wait to stand out on her balcony and watch the sunrise or sunset, or go to the rooftop garden, or play some games in the gameroom. They all seem to be very happy there and I’m so pumped to soak up some Love from my NewYorkers.

In the meantime, I’ve been going through my old Christmas posts and thinking I’ll start a series of “Ghosts of Christmases Past”, but I really don’t have time, so it seems it has been an exercise in nostalgia…and a very pleasant one. We’ve had some Great Christmases, for certain, but I do believe this Christmas is going to be one for the Books.

So we’ll drive down to Nashville on Thursday, fly out to LaGuardia on Friday, Party with the JoseFam, fly back to Nasvhille and drive home on Tuesday. I’ll be in touch.


Still Thankful…

Thanksgiving 2022 was…different… As you know, my New York grandies spend their Thanksgiving holiday in Philadelphia, PA, where they compete in the Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas (pronounced uh-rock-tus); this is a regional championship contest where placements can lead to qualifying for the All-World’s Championship held in April. My local fam, the Jrs, spend Most of their Turkey Holiday Week-end with my daughter-in-law’s family, but they always pop in for the Macy’s Parade and some lunch.

Samantha spent the night-before with us. About 2:30am she woke me up, sick to her stomach. I hoped it was just excitement and that it would pass, but it didn’t. She wanted so badly to feel better, but it was not to be; we made it almost an hour, but that was the longest spell between trips to the toilet. I called her Dad to pick her up around 6am and we called off the get-together. I sent half of the food over to them so I wouldn’t be eating for six. We watched the Parade and that’s about it.

But I don’t need a Day to remind me to be thankful. There are so many people who I love and remember daily in my prayers. I’m just sure you are one of them.

The rest of the week-end we’ve spent putting up the Christmas decorations. We have a busy season planned: NYC from 12/9 – 12/13 (Radio City Christmas Spectacular on the 11th); The New Yorkers then visit us from 12/18-12/23 and we’ll have a Full-Family, All-together-now Christmas celebration on the 21st. This is the first time since 2020 that my entire family has been together! That really cuts short my gift-shopping time, so I’m anxious to get started this week after the crowds die down.

It is my intention to pick up the blogging during this festive season. I’ve been writing/editing over at my Ancestry blog and it’s time to set that aside and share some of my own stories, keeping you up to date.

Casey has a birthday this week, #68. He just refuses to catch up to me! I’ll see you there!


Encounter with Gen Z

I had the Jr. girls out at the Mall on Friday, first time I’ve spent with the 14-year-old in a bit and it was extra-fun. We were at Game Stop and I was perusing a rack of Popmarket Vinyl Figures- you may not have heard of them. There are all kinds of Pop figures in vinyl, covering the current culture of movies, music, anime, and I’ve bought a few Star Wars characters for Nova. My eyes suddenly stopped at a figure in the center of the display and I did a double-take. How did a Frank Zappa figure find its way into that stack of pop-culture heroes whose names I don’t recognize? I was tickled and got a little excited, starting up a survey within the store starting with the youngsters standing at the cash register…

Hey, kids! Do you know who Frank Zappa is? Ever heard of him?

They looked at each other, shook their heads no.

I tried to explain as I picked up the figure and carried it around to the counter, Have you heard of the The Mothers? The Mothers of Invention? (Blank stares) Let’s see, I don’t think he ever had any real “hits” other than “Please don’t eat the yellow snow” and that’s not a good example. He was a guitarist, but he defied genre, playing jazz that rocked…

The young man on the ladder joined in, saying, I like jazz from the 40s… I knew I’d lost them, so decided to mess with them a little… Maybe you’ve heard of his children, Dweezil and Moon Unit? They were laughing now, the girl said, Okay, now you’re making stuff up…No, I’m serious! You know the soul patch? They’d at least heard of that… Well, Zappa Invented that… Now they know…

It just seemed to be so random to find Zappa in that setting and trying to explain his music was difficult. Back in the 70s I saw him three times. Once with a group of girlfriends up in Indy where we were first in line at the doors, hours before they opened. One of my friends convinced the security guards that we Needed to use the bathroom and he let 3 or 4 of us in. At the time, Frank was touring with Flo and Eddie, doing the whole “Live at Fillmore East” album; after we went to the bathroom, we sneaked out to the seats, where we watch Zappa and the Mothers warming up? going through sound checks and deciding on the set list. I loved that concert, one of my favorites. The other two times he was playing with the Mahavishnu Orchestra (John McLaughlin) and it was avant garde, not my favorite stuff. Still, he was Amazing, truly one of the best guitarists of our age and a freaking genius.

Though a lot of it is rated PG, of course, my children listened to Zappa, especially “Dog Breath”, and “Peaches en Regalia” and Even the grandies are familiar with “Call Any Vegetable”… I’m sorry that Gen Z isn’t hip to him, but maybe one of those kids googled him and will become a fan…

So I bought the Zappa figure, even though he looks Nothing like Frank…he looks more like Captain Beefheart (another obscure reference) or Johnny Depp. I’m not sure you could get Zappa’s nose right on vinyl, and his hair was way longer and messy. But it’s the thought that counts, and I’m happy to have him on my shelf…

And I hauled out the Zappa music to welcome him…