Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Alphabe-Thursday..."O" as in what is OLD?

It's time again for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." This week we are studying the letter "O" as in OLD.

What is OLD?

When I was ten I thought OLD was 13. I couldn't wait to be 13 years OLD because then I'd be a teenager. I was pretty sure that would be the magic age. I'd suddenly look more mature instead of so baby-ish. I'd probably find myself busy going to dances, talking to boys on the phone, etc. I packed away my beloved dolls because I was too mature for them now (AKA too OLD) and then waited for the boys to come calling. I waited and waited.

Next I waited to be OLD...OLD enough to drive. In New Jersey that meant 17 years OLD. At 17 I could finally get a learner's permit. Yes, I couldn't wait to be OLD. On the morning of my 17th birthday I arrived at the DMV with my birth certificate in hand and was issued a permit. After a little practice I went back for the driving test and somehow managed to parallel park successfully for the very first time on the test! Yes, I was OLD and it was great.

Then I looked forward to being OLD again. I grew up in New Jersey only a few miles from the New York state line. The drinking age in New York state was 18. It was 21 in New Jersey. Yes, I wanted to be OLD enough to drink in New York state. I pictured myself perched on a bar stool with a drink in hand looking very OLD and mature. My mother had no idea. She was strict and would have had a hissy fit if she had known about my desire to be OLD. On my 18th birthday I went "up state" as we used to call it and had my first drink. It was official. I was finally OLD enough...or so I thought.

Of course, then I wanted to be OLD enough to vote and drink in New Jersey. At that time you had to be 21 for both. I couldn't wait to be OLD. I turned 21 on December 29th and was able to have a New Jersey drink right away, but I had to wait almost a year until I could vote the following November! Still, this getting OLD stuff was pretty good.

At 22 I decided I was OLD enough to get married and at 23 I gave birth to my first son. My second son arrived almost 17 months later. Now I was actually starting to feel a little OLD. Just a little bit.

Then I started dreading 30 a little. For some reason that really sounded OLD to me. My third son was born a month after I turned 30. Wasn't that kind of OLD to be having a baby? Remember, those were different times.

OK, we all know 40 is OLD. Hallmark lets us know. Those black balloons they sell at the grocery store let us know. I've even seen black roses and black icing on birthday cakes. You don't have to hit me over the head. Yes, 40 is definitely OLD. My mother sent me a dozen red roses on my 40th birthday. It's something I'll always remember. I loved getting the roses, but turning 40 not so much.

Then I started dreading 50. Yikes, 50 really sounded OLD! And to make it official AARP found me. How do they do that anyway? For the first time I noticed wrinkles and gray hair. Yes, 50 really sounded OLD.

It seems like I no sooner turned 50 and it was time to dread 60. YIKES! Doesn't 60 sound really, really OLD? I was starting to feel it too. Little aches and pains started creeping in, but I laughed them off.

How about 70? Does 70 sound OLD to you? Not to me. I'm OLDER and wiser now as I get closer to 70 years OLD. I'm starting to think 70 isn't all that OLD after all. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow and I'm much more appreciative now of the time I've been given. Life experiences will do that to you. In a little over 4 years I'll be 70 years young!

Time marches on, so hurry over to Ms Jenny's and visit other other Alphabe-Thursday participants.

Catching up...

My family came home yesterday afternoon from Comic Con in San Diego. They all seemed to have a great time with their 130,000 closest friends. Lots of people, but they said there wasn't really any pushing or shoving. The only complaint Reid had was the lack of places to sit. He said people would try sitting along the walls, but they'd come along and chase them. He does tire more easily than he did before the transplant and it would have been nice to have been able to rest more often. They all said the convention center could use more places to sit, but other than that they had a lot of fun. They bought lots and lots of souvenirs!

I had planned on getting so much done while they were gone, but it never seemed to happen. I wanted to work some more on getting all the genealogy information I accumulated during the 1980's into the Family Tree Maker 2011 program I recently purchased. I haven't touched the genealogy stuff in over 20 years and most of the information is in manila folders. So, I've slowly been scanning documentation and adding information to the program. I get six months of Ancestry.com with the program, but I'm waiting to activate it until I get all the information I currently have entered. It is taking a lot longer than I had anticipated and the five days they were gone seemed to fly by. It seemed I always had other things to get done.

The mother feral cat and her kitten were up on the garage roof the other morning. I went out with the food and the mother jumped onto a branch and came down the tree. The kitten must not have been paying attention because she had no idea how to get down. It was still kind of dark when I took these pictures and I tried to lighten them up a little, but it didn't help much. In this picture you can see the kitten's eyes glowing. She's at the corner of the garage roof trying to figure out what to do.

Meanwhile, she/he knew the mother was eating the food

Finally, (as I held my breath) she/he took a leap and jumped from the roof to the the ground. She picked herself/himself up and trotted down the path to the food.

I'm not sure this story will have a happy ending. I'd like to trap both of them and have them fixed, but my other cats chase them off when they see them and that will make it difficult to catch them.

Since I gave up blogger in draft I have had trouble inserting pictures in a post. Instead of going where I put the cursor they always appear at the top of the post. Then I have to go into the html and copy and paste the picture information where I want it to go and then delete it from the top of the post. It works, but it takes a lot longer and seems to mess up the spacing between paragraphs. Anyone else having this problem?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Alphabe-Thursday..."N" as in NEW JERSEY!

Welcome to this week's version of Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." This week we are studying the letter "N" as in NEW Jersey or just plain Joisy to us natives and NEW Jersey to the rest of you.

However, first things first. I had an excused absence last week, and if my mother were still here she'd write a note for me. I thought I'd quickly throw up an "M" word and the only thing I could come up with in a pinch was the MARTIN family. Here are all the MARTINS once again.

This one also appears on my sidebar because we rarely are photographed together. Since this photo was taken in 2004 Troy and his significant other have broken up, but the rest of the picture is still the same. We haven't aged a bit. :)

Now on to "N" as in NEW Joisy.

Although I live in Texas now I grew up in Joisy. That's what the natives call it. Just Josiy for short. Yes, we sometimes talk funny although I've been told that my accent has faded over the years. However, if I go back to Joisy for any length of time I can hear the old accent creeping back in.

It's funny how things are different between here and there. In Texas women carry purses, but in NEW Joisy we carry pocketbooks. To this day my husband will say, "Don't forget your pocketbook." I have to remind him that we're not in Kansas anymore. Whoops, make that NEW Joisy. At one time I carried a pocketbook just like this one.

Another difference is that in Texas people go to the beach, but in NEW Joisy we go "down the shore." Again, different terminology for the same thing. I don't think you can grow up in Joisy and not visit the shore. My friends and I spent a lot of time at the shore. We'd go for holiday weekends and then rent a place for a week each summer. I'm pretty sure our Joisy shore wasn't anything like the TV show. I've never actually seen the TV show, but I did see The Situation on Dancing With The Stars. That's as close as I've ever come. Here are a couple of pictures of some of my friends down at the shore circa 1964.

That's Peggy Calligan, Brigid Bohan, and Maryanne Baretta.

And this is Mary Schumeyer.
For some reason I still had these pictures. I'm pretty sure they were taken with my Kodak Brownie camera. (There's one on eBay right now if you'd like one of your very own.) It's nice to know that my pictures were blurry back then too.

I grew up in Westwood, NEW Jersey which is in Bergen County and a suburb of New York City. (Almost all the way to the end of the Garden State Parkway.) My mother was born in Westwood and my dad moved there when he was three years old. Weswood is a pretty little town, but there's lots of traffic. I'm a nervous wreck driving there because it's a different type of driving. Here we have lots of traffic on the freeways, but in Joisy it's lots of cars on roads that were never meant to have that many cars and it's a lot of stop and go driving. When traffic lights turn green people immediately start honking their horns. You have to have a lot of patience because it takes a while to get anywhere. NEW Joisy is the most densely populated state in the country.

It bothers me that people always think of Joisy as being Newark. (No offense to Newark.) Most people only see Newark Airport (now called Newark Liberty Airport) and think that's Josiy. I'm here to dispell that notion.

This is right down the street from where I grew up. It's called Bogert's Pond and there's a waterfall and at one time there was a mill. (Not during my lifetime.) George Washington didn't sleep here, but he and his troops did stop and rest. (I'm not sure how they know that, but there's an historical marker saying it's so.

There's a lot of history in NEW Joisy since it was one of the 13 original colonies. Some key battles of the Revolutionary War were fought there. (We've all seen the picture of George Washington crossing the Delaware in history books.)

In Texas most people hop in their cars and drive to work in bumper to bumper traffic. One thing Joisy has is mass transit and it's wonderful. Right in Westwood there's a train station.

You just hop on the train and ride to Hoboken and from there cross into New York City. Just sit back and leave the driving to someone else.

In the area of Texas where I live most of the houses would be considered new in New Joisy. Most of this area was developed starting in the early 1960's when the Johnson Space Center came to town. In New Joisy there are many older homes. This is the house I grew up in. My parents had it built and I was three when we moved in. It's still there, but the people that bought it raised the roof and completely redid it. I've only see the outside, but it looks very nice. This is how I'll always remember it.

This is the house my mother grew up in and was probably taken sometime in the 1930's. It still looks pretty much the same.

This is where my Dad grew up. Many years ago the street was paved and the house has been remodeled over the years, but the basic structure pretty much looks the same.

In Texas they have barbecue and in Josiy they have Taylor Ham which is also known as Pork Roll. Instead of barbecue joints they have diners in NEW Joisy and I really miss them. There's nothing like a gooey, runny egg sandwich with Taylor Ham.

At one time our local Kroger had Taylor Ham, but I haven't seen it in a while. You can order it by mail from Jersey Pork Roll if you'd like to try it out. There are also some recipes here.

I miss diners so much that I set up a diner scene for my dolls. I call it Jeff's Jersey Diner and there's even Taylor Ham on the menu.

See the window above the diner booth? You can't see it in the picture, but I put a photo of the Westwood Train Station behind the window so it looks like that's the view out the window.

Growing up there was a soda fountain called Conrad's in Westwood and it's still there. On one of my trips back to Joisy my friend and I went to Conrad's for old time's sake. This is Peachy enjoying a milkshake.

I used to get chocolate Cokes at Conrad's. I love chocolate Cokes and there was actually a hamburger joint in Seabrook, Texas that made chocolate Cokes, but unfortunately they never opened again after Hurricane Ike. Now I make my own chocolate Cokes and I'm sharing my secret recipe with you.

Open one can of Coke. Pour it in a glass and add ice. Add 2 teaspoons of Hershey's chocolate syrup and stir well. YUM!

OK, "youse guys" get over to Ms. Jenny's now so you can visit some more Alphabe-Thursday posts.

Edited: 7/20 - I am having trouble leaving comments on blogs that have the little pull down menu where you indicate how you want to leave a comment. I always choose my google account, but for some reason it keeps asking me to sign in (when I'm already signed in anyway) and then when the sign in screen appears and I sign in again it keeps asking me to do it again and again. I'm sorry, but I can't leave you a comment. I've had this problem with around five different blogs today. I'm hoping tomorrow things will clear up.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What's going on...

Reid was down at MD Anderson for a good chunk of Tuesday having all the scans and tests.  Then on Wednesday he had a blood draw, a pulmonary function test, and his appointment with the stem cell doctor for the test results.  Later in the afternoon he had the clinical trial drug/placebo and that ran late.  So, we left the house at 6:00 in the morning and didn't get home until 7:00 or so in the evening.  It was a long day.

The results were inconclusive.  He didn't light up on the PET scan which means they didn't see any active cancer.  That's good.  However, on the CT scan an area in the mediastinum increased a little in size.  The doctor called it very unusual.  The area can't be biopsied because it is difficult to reach and would require major surgery.  So, he's going to wait and see.  Reid will have all the scans and tests again in two months.

On Wednesday Seattle Genetics (the company running the clinical trial Reid is in) announced that the Oncologic Drug Advisory Committee recommended unanimously that the FDA grant accelerated approval of ADCESTRIS (the trial drug) for patients who relapse with Hodgkin's Lymphoma after an auto stem cell transplant.  This is based on very promising results to date.  You can read about it here.  Usually the FDA follows their recommendation and I believe something will be known by the end of August.  This is big news in the Hogkin's Lymphoma world.

From what I've read this is the first new drug for the treatment of Hogkin's Lymphoma since the 1970's.  Hodgkin's is a rare cancer with a normally high cure rate.  However, when patients relapse it's not so good, but there is not a lot of research done like there is for other cancers.  So, the news from Seattle Genetics is very exciting to us.

This is how I understand things, but remember I'm no scientist.  In order for a person to be diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma they have to have cells called Reed-Sternberg cells.  They've been present in all of Reid's biopsies.  That's what makes it Hodgkin's.  Seattle Genetics' ADCESTRIS seeks out a certain marker in the Reed-Sternberg cells called CD 30 and latches on to the cells and destroys them without damaging a lot of other cells like regular chemo does.

This is the first time I've heard the drug called ADCESTRIS.  I'm glad they gave it a name that I can pronounce.  It's been called brentuximab vedotin in all the previous things that I've read.  Seattle Genetics is a relatively new company and this will be their first drug to make it to the market.

So, if Reid relapses (and he's been given the placebo in the trial) they will be able to give him ADCESTRIS.  This is true even if the drug doesn't get the fast track approval from the FDA, which it probably will.  This is the big incentive for being in the trial, and I feel Reid is very fortunate.

So, we are hopeful that the thing they saw in the CT scan will not amount to anything, but we've got ADCESTRIS in our back pocket for now thanks to Seattle Genetics.  I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to this company that I hadn't even heard of a few short months ago.

Jim, Reid and Troy leave for Comic Con in San Diego on Wednesday.  This is the trip we planned for them many months ago before Reid's stem cell transplant.  I know they're going to have a great time.  Well, Reid and Troy will anyway.  I'm not sure it's really Jim's thing, but he'll bring his Kindle along and that will keep him busy.

Meanwhile, I'm going to work on a few projects.  Don't worry if you don't hear from me.  It just means I'm busy getting things done.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blogger In Draft And An Update...

Anyone else use Blogger In Draft?  They've made some changes recently and I guess it will just take time to adjust.  It seems as if everything is different now, but in time I might like it better.

I haven't been reading or posting much lately, but I purchased Family Tree Maker 2011 and I'm trying to enter all of the genealogy information I've had in manila folders since the 1980's.  With so much online now I'd like to take up where I left off a couple of decades ago.  I've been slowed down because I entered some information incorrectly and I'm trying to figure out how to fix the mistake before I move on. 

I was also recently contacted by someone who might be a relative.  Her grandfather was listed in the 1900 Census as being a brother of my grandfather, but my mother told me that he had lived with the family for a while and then returned.  She didn't think he was ever adopted by them and she didn't know if he was related.  The person that contacted me had been told something completely different.  She had always been told that he was my great grandparents' biological child and they weren't able to keep him.  A mystery to be solved.

Today Reid is having all his scans and tests down at MD Anderson.  Jim took him down this morning for his first appointment at 6:30 AM and I think the last one is around 3:00 this afternoon.  Tomorrow he has to be down there by 7:00 AM for a blood draw, a pulmonary function test, and his appointment with the stem cell doctor.  We'll both be with him when he gets the results.  By all outward appearances he seems to be doing well, but we never know until he gets the results.  Afterwards he has an appointment for the clinical trial drug/placebo, so it will be another long day.  Your prayers are appreciated.

Another feral cat had been showing up at mealtime.  I had seen this cat over the last couple of years and assumed it must have been a male because it never appeared to be pregnant, but I never could get close enough to get a good look.  Then we brought our other cats inside while we had a tree taken down and slab work done.  I still put food out for the feral cat and when I went out one morning I saw a kitten run under the deck.  Guess I was wrong about "Blackie" being a male. 

This is Blackie eating in the garage:

The kitten is like a ghost and there's no way I can get close enough to take a picture.  I tried taking one through the window, but it's not very good.

The kitten looks older...maybe three months?  We'll get the trap down this weekend and put it on the deck so they can get used to seeing it.  If they're still around in a few weeks we'll try and catch them and have them fixed and vaccinated.  I had hoped there would be no more kittens after we had the others fixed a year ago, but I'm afraid there are a lot of ferals we just never see.  If only people would spay and neuter their pets.

Take care...

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Alphabe-Thursday..."L" as in too many LAWYERS

Welcome to Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  Check out Ms. Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants and information on how you can join in the fun.

Yes, I've been following the Casey Anthony trial.  Mostly I've had the TV on as background noise and then I'd rush in during breaks in the trial and listen to the TV LAWYERS dissect everything that was said or done.  I have mixed emotions about trials being telecast.  Yes, I do enjoy following them, but I hate to see them turned into a media circus. 

I'm really tired of all the "expert" LAWYERS giving their opinions.  There's just too much of that going on.  Personally, the LAWYER I dislike the most is Nancy Grace.  I caught a few minutes of her show after the verdict.  Yes, the verdict was disappointing to most of us, but Nancy Grace really likes to get people fired up and she'd better be careful.  There are plenty of nuts in the world and it doesn't take much to get some of them riled up.  The last thing we need is some crazy person taking a gun and shooting a lawyer, juror or an Anthony family member.  I heard Casey's parents left the courtroom quickly after the verdict because there have been death threats made against them.

Since the verdict I've heard comments made about the jurors too.  My personal favorite is the one LEGAL "expert" that feels the jurors were victims of the Stockholm Syndrome because they sat across from the defense table and formed some kind of relationship with Casey.  Then Nancy Grace commented on how they wouldn't even talk to the press and got on the bus and left town.  Of course, it was said with sarcasm.  I believe they've been away from their families for weeks and with the press stirring up emotions it's probably not safe for them to be identified at this time anyway.  I don't agree with their verdict as I would have liked to have seen Casey convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, but I wasn't on the jury and they were.  I respect their opinion even though I disagree.  The talking LAWYERS on TV shouldn't be listing some of their flaws on television juror by juror.  Have you seen that done?  At least these people showed up for jury duty and didn't try and get out of serving like many citizens in this country do.  I don't believe they went into this case with the idea of getting Casey off.  They listened to the evidence presented and didn't believe the state proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Yes, I've had it with LAWYERS on TV. 

If you're called for jury duty don't make up an excuse and try to get out of serving.  That's another one of my pet peeves.  I believe we should all be honored to serve.  The American system of justice isn't perfect, but I believe it is the best in the world and we should all be willing to do our part when called.  I had a friend that told me she'd never tell me again how she got out of jury duty because I made her feel guilty with my little lecture.  She had breast cancer many years ago and would see her Oncologist once a year for a check-up.  When called for jury duty she'd tell them that she was under the care of an Oncologist and they'd excuse her every time.  She wasn't exactly lying, but she wasn't exactly telling the truth either. 

Let's honor Caylee's memory by showing up for jury duty and proudly serving.  That's something constructive we can all do.

Now go pay Ms. Jenny a visit so you can visit other Alphabe-Thursday posts this week.

Edited: July 7th, 2011 - I just realized I had inadvertently written "Let's honor Casey's memory..." when I meant Caylee's.  It's Caylee's memory we want to honor and I've changed it in the above post.  It's was definitely a typo.

Saturday, July 02, 2011


Today I'm joining Beverly over at How Sweet The Sound for Pink Saturday.  For a list of participants and information on how you can join in on the fun head over to Beverly's blog.   This week we're showing pink and/or July 4th pictures.

I don't have any pink to show, but I do have some pictures I took at our local parade on the 4th of July in a previous year.  Yes, I actually took one of my vintage Chatty Cathy dolls to the parade.

She was all excited...

She couldn't wait to join in the fun...

She proudly joined the parade down the main street of town...


She decided it would be better to just sit and watch...