Sunday, September 26, 2010

Old Photos of Dad

I've been busy scanning old photos for Dad's funeral next week and thought I'd share some of my favorites.  I can't help but smile when I look at some of these.  I have more and will share them as time allows.  Things are kind of hectic right now.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chicago White Sox Win!

Today the Chicago White Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3.  How do I know?  I get an E-mail update from Major League Baseball.  Why do I get that update?  I've been getting it for a number of years so I could keep my Dad informed.

Dad grew up in a suburb of NYC, but around the age of 12 he became a Chicago White Sox fan.  It seems the members of his Boy Scout Troop decided to pick teams to root for and Dad got the Chicago White Sox by default.  He said by the time they got to him there weren't too many teams left, so he picked the White Sox.

Dad making the tag, his brother Robert as umpire, and his friend Clarence sliding into home plate. 

The White Sox have never had such a loyal fan.  It would have been so easy for Dad to become a Yankee fan at sometime over the years, but he never succumbed.  The White Sox were his team and that was all there was to it.

Sometime in the 1950's Dad discovered that he could pick up the Baltimore radio station on the car radio.  So, whenever the White Sox played Baltimore  Dad would sit in the hot garage and listen to the game.  Of course, he often got to see them play on TV when they came to town to play the Yankees.  I guess that's how he became a die hard Yankee hater.  He took his baseball very seriously.  Once in a while we actually went to Yankee Stadium when the White Sox were in town.  Dad enjoyed seeing his team in person.

Dad's only been to Chicago a few times in his life and never for a game.  He followed his team in the newspaper, The Sporting News, and the sports reports on TV and radio.  For most of his years that's the way he kept track of how they were doing.  This was before cable or satellite TV.

Finally in 2005 they beat my Houston Astros in the World Series.  Dad was ecstatic!  It was a dream come true for him.  At the time he was living in NJ and he'd call me in Texas after each game and we'd rehash what we had just seen happen.

In 2006 Dad moved to Texas and lived nearby in Assisted Living.  For the first time in his life he was able to see most of the White Sox games.  I signed up for MLB TV and would bring Dad over here to watch their games online.  He was that 12 year old kid again.  He'd sit in front of the computer screen watching excitedly.  Just about everyone in Assisted Living knew he was a White Sox fan and after a win he'd be so excited on the ride back to the facility.  He couldn't wait to share his good news.

Sadly, Dad's Alzheimer's progressed and he had to be moved to a nursing home a little over a year ago.  This year for the first time he no longer asked me how the White Sox were doing.  However, every day the aides made sure he wore his White Sox cap.

Yesterday he took a turn for the worse and for the first time spent the day in bed without his cap.  Early this morning the Chicago White Sox lost their oldest and most faithful fan outside of Chicago.  I'll continue receiving those E-mail alerts from the Chicago White Sox because then a piece of Dad will always be with me.

I like to think they won today's game for Dad.  Thanks guys.  You never knew him, but he sure knew you!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

World Alzheimer's Day

World Alzheimer's Day is coming up on September 21, 2010.  I received the following message from the Alzheimer's Association and signed the petition.  Can I ask for your help too?

My Dad who was a brilliant man with a wonderful personality is now under Hospice care for this horrible disease.  The disease has progressed rapidly in the last few weeks and my Dad no longer knows me or speaks.  Most of the time he forgets to swallow which makes it difficult for him to receive adequate liquids and nourishment.  Remembering to swallow is one of the last things to go.  Alzheimer's is a very cruel disease.

I'm afraid a cure or decent treatment is still a long ways off, but perhaps by signing this petition we can help others in the future.

Subject Line: It's Time for a Breakthrough
Dear friends,
Alzheimer's disease steals the future from millions of Americans. It robs spouses of their companions and children of their parents and grandparents; it erodes the health and financial resources of caregivers.
I just signed a petition calling on Congress to make Alzheimer's disease a national priority. Will you add your voice?
Your signature will be delivered to Congress on September 21, 2010 World Alzheimer's Day.
Together, we can make Alzheimer's a national priority.

Thank you!

Better days...May 2005.  Dad enjoying lunch on a dock in Galveston, TX.

Dad with Reid, Troy, Keith and "Shelby" in our backyard.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Thank you Ms. Jenny.  This week's assignment is any color, black, or rainbow colors.  That makes it so much easier for me.  I didn't think I'd have time to participate in Ms. Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday Rainbow Summer School this week, but I found I already had some pictures I could use.  The pictures are from years past and I guess that's kind of cheating, but at least I'm here!  To see more Rainbow Summer School posts head over to Jenny's blog...Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."

I'm thinking orange again because it's such a nice Fall color and I'm so ready for Fall.  Here are the kids enjoying Halloween in past years.

This was one of our Halloween parties...


We always enjoy carving our pumpkin each year...

A day at the Pumpkin Patch...

(I's a little early.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010


It's a day I'll always remember.  I was getting ready to go for my morning walk at the mall and Good Morning America was on as background noise.  I wasn't really paying attention.  Then all of a sudden I heard something about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center.  I stopped what I was doing and watched.  That's when I saw the second plane go into the second tower.

I ran to the phone to call my Dad in NJ and tell him to stay home.  He was in his 80's and drove every day to Port Newark which is right next to Newark Airport.  I knew traffic would be horrendous and didn't want him caught in the massive traffic jam.  He had heard the news and had already decided to stay home.

I guess like most Americans I stayed glued to the television for many days.  On the one year anniversary of 9/11 the Houston Chronicle published a special section and something I wrote was chosen to be included.  The yellow newspaper clipping still hangs on my refrigerator door.

One year after 9/11 I wrote that my heart would beat faster every time there was a news bulletin on television and that I would say a silent prayer every time a plane flew overhead.  Sometimes my heart still does beat a little faster when there's a news bulletin, but I no longer say my silent prayer for every plane that flies over.  You have no idea how many planes are in the sky until you attempt such a project, but for a while I felt like I had to say a prayer to keep those planes up in the air.  I know it sounds silly now, but that's how the trauma of 9/11 affected me.  To be honest now I don't even notice the planes in the sky most of the time, but after 9/11 I heard every single one.

In 2004 my son and I went to NJ to see my Dad.  We took a quick trip into NYC one day.  I really didn't want to see the World Trade Center site, but somehow we ended up on a subway from Hoboken that took us into the World Trade Center subway station that had just recently reopened.  We crossed the street and I took this picture.

The people were pouring out onto the street from the subway.  In that moment I realized that life does go on even after such a horrible disaster.  Life is changed forever, but it does go on.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

ALPHABE-THURSDAY...This post is short and sweet!

It's time again for Alphabe-Thursday Rainbow Summer School sponsored by Ms. Jenny Matlock over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  This week we are studying the color violet and I'll try and keep this post short and sweet.

I'm kinda cheating and stealing Ms. Matlock's idea by posting a couple of our wedding pictures.  What do you think?  Are the bridesmaids and maid of honor wearing violet?  Actually, the maid of honor is my sister and she's to my left.  Her dress was actually a couple of shades lighter than the bridesmaids, but you'd never know it from this picture.  The bridesmaids all wore the same shade of violet, but the bridesmaid next to my sister looks like she's wearing a darker shade.  It's just the lighting and the toll 40+ years have taken on the picture.
Perhaps outdoor lighting will be more realistic?
I tried touching these pictures up, but I have no idea what all the different things in the photo software program do, so I usually just end up darkening them.  I fooled a little with it, but I don't think it made much of a difference.

Actually, when we got married I thought the dresses were lavender, but I was desperate once again and decided to call them violet for today.

When I look at these pictures I realize that we haven't kept in touch with quite a few members of our wedding party.  We've moved around a lot over the years and just lost contact.  Most of them have stayed in the NJ, NY, CT area.

Now head over to Ms. Matlock's blog for real violet pictures!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


I've always loved Franco-American Spaghetti.  When I was pregnant the first time there were only two things I could eat...when I was able to eat at all.  One was the Shoney Big Boy Sandwich and the other was Franco-American Spaghetti.

I guess it was four or five years ago that I noticed the name Franco-American disappeared.  However, the same products now had the Campbell's name on the label.  That was OK until my spaghetti disappeared from the shelves of Kroger and HEB.  They were still selling the Spaghetti-O's, but they're quite different from the spaghetti.  There's a completely different flavor.  I just assumed the spaghetti had been discontinued by Campbell's.  I was so wrong!

I never grocery shop at Walmart, but needed a grocery item while I was there.  I was strolling up and down the aisles and to my surprise stumbled upon my old Franco-American Spaghetti now known as Campbell's Spaghetti.  It had not been discontinued.  I bought a bunch of cans and have been in Franco-American Spaghetti heaven ever since.

It's so easy to make.  Just follow this recipe.  Open the can and heat until it bubbles.  Enjoy.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


I posted an update here on Reid's visit with the Oncologist on August 27th.  This past week he had his appointment with the Radiologist on August 31st, and I'm feeling a whole lot better now about what was said. 

The Radiologist said the mass had increased in size, but not significantly.  She said that if there were cancer cells he would have lit up on the PET scan and he didn't.  She feels that it could possibly be inflammation from the radiation or the way the CT scan was done.  I probably don't have this exactly right, but it had something to do with the way he might have held his breath or was positioned for the scan.  I know the explanation sounded good to me at the time. :)  I do know she wasn't too concerned and that is what is important.

He is supposed to start watching his cholesterol because it's high and there's a chance that the radiation will have affected his coronary arteries, so he should be diligent about taking care of his heart from now on.  She was pleased with the pulmonary function test.  It was exactly the same as it was before radiation.  It's no better, but more importantly it's no worse.  He goes back to see the Radiologist  in three months.

The Oncologist and the Radiologist have both now said pretty much the same thing.  We're grateful that things have gone so well.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Alphabe-Thursday Rainbow Summer School - INDIGO

I've been patiently waiting for the color indigo so I could share a very special part of my life with you during Alphabe-Thursday Rainbow Summer School.  Please visit Ms. Jenny's blog Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent..." for a list of my fellow students and the links to their blogs.

Growing up in NJ there were commuter trains that would stop at the local train station in the morning and the evening.  There were also freight trains that would pass through during the day. 

When I was in the fifth grade my friends and I would walk downtown and sometimes walk along the train tracks.  When we'd hear a train coming we would quickly put our pennies on the track and hide.  For some reason we thought we'd be in trouble if the engineer or conductor saw us.  After the train would pass we'd retrieve our flattened pennies from the rail.  We would play this little game over and over again until we ran out of pennies.

One day as we walked along the track we heard a weak meow.  We started scanning the track and there between a couple of railroad ties was a tiny white kitten.  He was probably six or seven weeks old and looked up at us with the prettiest dark blue eyes.  He weakly meowed again.   We knew we couldn't leave him there, so I picked him up and we all headed to my house as quickly as possible.  When we arrived with this skinny little creature my mother took pity and offered him a dish of water.  He drank and drank.  We had no cat food so Mom opened up a can of tuna fish and gave him some.  He gulped it right down.

Mom decided we should take him to the Veterinarian to be checked out.  He was a little underweight and slightly dehydrated, but the Veterinarian pronounced him healthy.  His beautiful blue eyes sparkled and the Veterinarian commented on the unusual shade of blue.  He said they looked like indigo to him and he had never seen a cat with such beautiful eyes before. 

Mom agreed to let me keep him and all we needed now was a name.  Because of the Veterinarian's comment about his eyes my Mom suggested the name Indigo.  After a family vote the name Indigo became official.

Indigo knew he was my cat and would sleep most nights on my bed.  When I had a bad day at school it was Indigo who would have to listen to my tail of woe.  If I was sick it was Indigo who kept me company while I rested.  In the morning it was Indigo who would wake me up with his scratchy tongue on my cheek.  We were best friends.

In 1968 I got married and moved away.  I missed Indigo and eventually my husband and I got our own cat.  Indigo now belonged to Mom and Dad.  Whenever I came home for a visit he would hear my voice and greet me with a meow.  I loved those visits and Indigo would once again curl up next to me at night.  My husband would joke about being displaced during those visits. 

Eventually old age started to catch up with Indigo.  We saw him gradually slowing down.  Finally, the call came late one night.  Mom wanted to let me know that she and Dad had made the painful decision to have Indigo euthanized the next morning.  I knew I had to be there for my best friend, so against my husbands advice I quickly packed a bag, jumped in the car, and headed north.  I drove through the night and reached NJ around five in the morning.

At 9:00 AM Mom called the Veterinarian and was told to bring him right in.  I held my little friends paw as he slowly slipped away.  I've had many cats in my life, but never one as special as Indigo.

Now you can understand why I was looking forward to this week and the color Indigo assignment.  It has give me an opportunity to share my very special friend with you.   Now head over to Ms. Jenny's blog for a list of my classmates and links to their blogs.

I hope you've all had a special imaginary friend in your life too. 

Yes, Indigo is my imaginary friend.  He only exists in my mind because I was desperate this week and couldn't think of anything else to post.

Can we talk?  What kind of a name is indigo for a color?  I can understand green, blue, yellow, etc., but indigo??? 

Sorry, this was the best I could do.  Please don't flunk me Ms. Matlock.