Monday, July 26, 2010

Brown is a wonderful color!

Tonight our SGrandson earned his Brown Belt in Kempo Karate! He has taken it non-stop for about 4 years, and a few years before that he took lessons for a year-until he broke his leg! (Not in Karate).

Tonight's test was an entire lesson of demonstrations of his Codas(routines), and then he was put thru a long exercise where he was lying flat on his back, and had to scoot around to defend himself with his legs only-kicking a big cushion that a Black Belt was holding.

Then, he needed to "Spar" (think fight with pads on their head, hands and feet) each member of the class. If an opponent scored a point against him, he needed to do certain exercises (10 crunches, 10 jumping jacks and something called a bumble butt or something like that where he needed to get down on the ground and get to his feet not using his hands-try it with pads on-very hard).

Then all the Senseis (Black Belt instructors) each spoke of his efforts and his goals. Then they awarded him the Brown Belt.

SHusband went with me, he didn't want to miss this big milestone, he rested all day, and it worked out-they had a working elevator for him and everything! Life is Good.
After he is awarded his new belt, they place his old belt (purple) around his neck so he can add it to his collection at home. SDaughter has decorated his bedroom by lining the belts up end to end and streaming them around the room near the ceiling.
We were so happy to be there to share this honor with him. We love you Liebchen!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer fun

So, here it is summer of 1956 or 57 I think. My dear, generous SBrother #1
had just received or bought himself (?) a plastic rocket on a big rubber band, and he let me play with it-really, I didn't sneak it.

We don't have a lot of pictures when we were kids, I wonder if many from this era did? I had red plaid shorts, saddle shoes and a smile that celebrated the special use of this toy.

We were living in the Kenfield Projects. The back of this post card picture states that it is "the first housing development operated by the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority located in a pleasant, residential section of the northeast part of the City. Adjacent to Kensington High School, it is convenient to elementary schools, churches and the Bailey-Kensington shopping center. The 46-acre site contains two-story row-houses and three-story apartment buildings. Units range in size from one to three bedrooms."

On the right of the picture is our yard-of course it seemed much larger then. I can remember our yard was shared by the next door neighbors-the Probst family. We had a fancy yard because we had flowers bordering the one area, and out of view we had a small peach tree near the backdoor that produced hard-as-a-rock little green ovals-that of course we tried to eat. Did we also have a struggling Lilac bush? Or just wanted one-can't remember.

We lived in a three bedroom apartment-and because we had a basement-we were much better off than those living in the Langfield apartments. Hoity-toity has many layers.

Five kids, one parent, three bedrooms, SGrandma Viviani for a few years, relatives visiting from out of town occasionally. SUncle Jack stayed for a time while looking for a job before moving SAunt Rosie and SCousin Susie up to the big city. For a short time, this same family lived with us while their house was being finished-we actually tied two bunk beds together to make room for more to sleep.

Tad crowded-but we didn't know any different, most of our friends were in the same situation. It is amazing how many people fit into that kitchen when SM and SGV made holiday and special occasion dinners. I remember when the project management painted- we had a choice of tan or green and one time SM painted the kitchen YELLOW on her own. I always thought that yellow was a great kitchen color after that.

When we went to school-P.S. #82 (Easton, Weston, all around town, 82 is the best school around!!!), the school population consisted of the "project kids" (and here we were lumped were those poor kids in the Langfield projects-much to our chagrin), and the regular kids who lived in their own homes. It made a difference, but was manageable. When we went to High School (4 of us went to Kensington and SB#1 very smartly went to Burgard Technical School-he always had a plan) the socio-economic difference was very apparent.

The garbage cans were mostly red-rust and white from gas stations-they originally had grease or oil for the cars I think. I can remember some had the flying phoenix looking bird stenciled on them-would that be from the Texaco company? Who knows.

The metal pole at the end of every walkway was put to use when stringing clotheslines. What was a dryer? We had a ringer washer for many years. And catching fingers in the rollers was not pleasant.

Behind me in the picture, also on the right, you can see an asphalt space-that is where we would wash SMom's car sometimes on Sundays, and then she would take us to the Hess and Bement Ice Cream store on Harlem Road for an ice cream cone. Just past that space there is a wood trimmed triangular area barely visible-that is one of the areas that when the older kids like my SBrothers and SSisters would be "home" in the game "Ravioli". I think it was really called Revelers or something like that-but basically just tag played in the dark-you needed to tag home before being tagged by whomever was stuck with being "it". I remember a big mess one night when SSister #2 tore a boy's shirt during a tag process. In those days we did not have a lot of clothes and this was a big deal. This is the same SS who used steel-toed shoes for kickball-making that ball fly!

I just noticed in the picture that a neighbor across the "court" had awnings above their doors. We did not have one. Those I think were the rich neighbors-the Busch family-he of the world famous 4th of July productions. And those red and white metal oil cans were used by the teen boys to throw a firecracker into-sounded like a bomb. Great competition for Mr. Bush.

In the first court we used to play games called "Red Light:, Hopscotch, and Categories (chalk drawn grid with topics which you need to name as you jumped after you threw your rock or bottle cap-like "Boys Names, Fruits, etc").

We played 7-up against the brick wall outside our kitchen door with a tennis ball-clapping your hands up to seven times before you caught the ball thrown at the wall. Their were many variations of this-you could let it bounce, or spin around before catching. Amazing what you can have fun with before the electronic and TV age. We would make doll clothes for my little bride doll out of scraps of material. I so sucked at that!

I can remember our first TV-a huge cabinet and a small screen-but a TV, in OUR living room.

We had good friends, good times, and that is what I now choose to remember.

No one has a perfect childhood, ours maybe had some times that were very bad, but compared to others.....

We survived, and now we are what our experiences have made us: All survivors. Tomorrow we will have a picnic with four generations-grateful that SM is well enough to attend-with her purple walker and her great love of all the Generation 4 kids that she can't wait to see.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

May she rest in Peace

I just read that my Dermatologist has died. She was only 47, very kind, dedicated to her patients and seemed to really want the best for everyone. She only took new patients who had a history of cancer, and she ran a free clinic for cancer patients that could not afford care. Many of my family were her patients, and I know we will all miss her for her kindness and level of dedication, but more importantly because she was a good person. May she rest in peace.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Meatloaf on my face, Feeling Youngish and other stuff

First the meatloaf reference: My Dermatologist had me put some nasty chemical peel meds on my nose, eyebrow and ear to burn off pre-cancer and new cancer spots. It was a three week treatment, the first night it felt a little stingy. What I wouldn't give for that little stingy feeling for the next three weeks. It burned like a son-of-gun going on, drying in, and after it was washed off the next morning. In other words-all the time. Then after it was done burning, it started to scab, so if you put that visual together-burn and scab-VIOLA! Meatloaf on my face. The treatment finished one week ago today, and it is just starting not to hurt if I move my eyebrow or wiggle my noise-What would the Bewitched Lady have done-out of commission for three weeks!

My SSister#1 had to do this treatment to her entire face TWICE last year, and her neck and her hands and forearms. She was unlucky to get more of the melatonin-free Irish skin than did I. It was amazing to me that she was able to do this. She was very sympathetic whenever she would see me.

You can not wear makeup with this process, BUT, last Saturday, was SHusband's 50th HS Reunion. How could I go without make-up? Well, I should have. When I gently put on this real light make-up I have that is whipped, it did camouflage the color, but not the texture-as I say to my SGrandson when he says some boy horrible thing, "I have three words for that: DIS GUS TING!"

It was so gross to have all the those beige layers on my noise and wrinkly edges sticking out. Then the bad news, when I came home, I washed off the make-up immediately, and with it unfortunately came all my hard won scabs-so I bleed like a stuck pig. Four steps back. Today, it is only itching-a good sign-itching means healing. So, maybe I will get away with doing this only once?? My ear still looks like I started, so that is probably wishful thinking.

Next topic, Feeling Youngish. Well this should really be entitled feeling a tad younger than others, but really right on their cusp. At the aforementioned reunion, most were at least 6 years older than me because that is what SH is.

Most spouses were age appropriate, there was only one that I could call a trophy wife-and she was in her forties!

SH was so excited to attend, It was in question last month, but we sent in reservation and money, hoping for the best-hey maybe that is what helped him to feel better??

It was so nice to see so many fellow alumni of his stopping at the table since he was not able to move around. His fav teacher-Science was there and he was also very pleased to see SH. You can tell it was not a forced kindness.

They had a Frank Sinatra Songs sing-a-long, and other popular tunes from 50 years ago. I was familiar with all the songs, SH even sang. Thank goodness for large font song sheets for us.

The "creme d' la creme" student body members as SH called them-the popular ones/officers were there, and they led the evening, still setting the pace. You could see many were loving life and some were really feeling their age, but all seemed happy to be there. Did I mention that 3 hours before we needed to leave, SH asked for his clothes that he would be wearing that night, and was dressed and ready 2 hours before we had to leave-not too excited. I was happy it worked out for him-a once in a lifetime event.

Other stuff: SMom fell again, went via ambulance to ER, no new stoke, but there are definite signs that the stroke in May caused more residual than we were expecting. She now has to use a walker-so hard for her to give in and do that. She was so proud that she was one of the few who didn't have a walker in her new assisted living residence. But she has left leg weakness, unsteady gait and can not afford to have more falls.

She walks with it if you remind her, it seems she never uses it in her apartment-I saw that today. That was distressing to me since her last fall was in her apartment. We can only support her, remind her and hope for the best. I put some purple duct tape on it since that is her favorite color, and it would add some bling. We have our family picnic this Saturday, and she really does not want to take "that thing". But, it is what it is.

While sorting through her many boxes of photos the other night I found a wee beige piece of paper folded neatly into a small rectangle with a rip almost thru and thru. Opening it up I recognized the feel of the paper to be some sort of official document, and that it what! It was the Marriage Certificate of my maternal grandparents. The certificate showed their marriage date as July 19, 1915, and I found it on July 18th, 95 years later. I was doing the happy dance I tell you! I quickly showed to SH, who is all things historical, and he carefully placed it in an archival sheet protector. I then scanned it into my computer and passed it on to the family via e-mail. How wonderful that a piece of paper could survive all these years (this certificate was actually issued in 1940), and because of computers, it could be shared with so many instantly.

And last week, another good bit 'o news for SDaughter-she passed her last of 4 teacher certification exams! She is a CERTIFIED TEACHER. Now if she could get a job, the dream and the effort would be rewarded, and maybe the student loans paid back more quickly? Lets hope.

SSon had a week of vacation in the beginning of July. This year it did not rain the rain of the century like it did all last year during his time off. We did stuff all week, he went swimming a bizillion times at the State Park, went to the Big NEW WaterPark at the local Six Flags Park twice, he drove a go-cart, ate enough ice cream to start his own stimulus package for the dairy industry. Had an " off the list because they are too unhealthy FISH FRY" (for those of you not from Western New York, this local meal is a piece of breaded, deep-fried fish, a glop each of macaroni and potato salad, cole slaw and rye bread and BUTTER. I like to think of it as heart attack on a plate, usually washed down with a few cold beers-Non alcoholic in his case), went to a movie, out to breakfast with SM, SS#1 and her SHusband, attended a family picnic on the 4th, drove around for two hours in a nearby town while we tried to find fireworks on the wrong night (ice cream helped), and the best thing of all, we went to a driven-in. This area used to have at least 10 drive-ins when I was a kid (50 years ago), but now we have ONE, and it is an hour from our house. I promised, so we went. The movie he wanted to see was shown second, could it get any worse for me? That movie started at 11:45. I hurt just typing that. What person in their right mind, having lived to a ripe old age starts watching a movie at 11:45PM? My plan was to sleep during the first two movies, then wake up and drive home. But I was so sure that we would both fall asleep and be there the next day when the sun came up, with drool on our faces, that I changed my plan to stay awake instead. The mosquitoes helped my second plan, and the kid smoking in the car 1 foot away from us-even though there were only 10 cars in that particular screen area-he choose to park right next to us-how very, very, nice, well he helped me stay awake because you can not sleep while you are whinning. We could not close the window-it was too hot, the AC drowned out the sound which now comes from your radio. ( How many of you admit to driving away with the speaker attached?)

SS fell asleep from 1am on, and everytime I poked him, he would slur, "I'm awaaaaake", and then fall back asleep.

On the way home, SS mentioned that it has been 25 YEARS since I took him to the drive-in. Whoops. Well, my excuse was, with the new high backs on the car seats now, you can not see from the back seat, so I couldn't take him when Hubie was able to go also, and then they closed all but one, and, and , and. Home was not arrived at until 2:30am..........

We agreed that when we go in another 25 years that SGrandson will need to pick us up and drive us. I asked SGS about that, and he said if I was still kickin' he would. What a little brat.

SGS was at camp last week, perfect timing for me to rest up after the vacation week, since I usually stay with him 2 days a week while SD works. So, I had a week of how do I put this-doing nothing. Oh sure, I cleaned the bathroom, but really that was about it. If it couldn't wait until this week-it was not happening for me. I had a few nice little visits with SM, lunch with SS#1, pot luck dinner at the park with friends, and a few lunches out with SH (one we counted as our anniversary celebration). All in all, a great break.

Here I end this long story that will be out on kindle next week in stores and web sites near you with a picture of SGS at camp. Look in the background of the picture to know what he was going to be toting.

Thanks for stopping by SFriends. May you have Peace in your heart.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Because this is WNY

Because this is Western New York (WNY), you will hear me complain twice this week on totally opposite ends of the weather spectrum.
Last night and tonight it is COLD. 55 degrees at 10am this morning. Of course all who live in WNY do not pack away ALL their blankets/afghans during the summer. We had a nice heavy one on the bed last night, and so far it seems that tonight it is a 3DNE (3 Dog Night Equivalent)=At least two blankets and socks.
This weekend it is supposed to be near 90 degrees. So, when next we meet, I will still be cold-but this time because we will have the AC in the window and cranked.
For those who live outside of WNY, we have a saying here-if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes.............