Thursday, December 31, 2009

Celebrating Dad's 100th Birthday

Monday December 28th would have been my Dad's 100th birthday. My brother Jim had the idea of the five of us - me, Kathy, Jim, John, and Jeff - getting together to celebrate him and share memories at a gala dinner. Some of us started the day by visiting the cemetery and laying a wreath on Mom and Dad's grave. Then Jim and Michelle, John, and Angel and I went to visit the old neighborhood in Ridgewood. Big mistake! The block was dowdy, not the bright sunny street of my memories. The old three story brownstone looked all beat up. The stoop that Nanny had once scrubbed with a brush weekly was gone - replaced by brick steps. The old gate and fence looked frail and sad. The entryway was unwelcoming. I peeked into the hall from the vestibule, at the stairs to Nanny's apartment, my once upon a time safe haven. They looked naked and empty, devoid of the anticipation and love that filled little Eleanor as she climbed them so often to the peaceful grandparent nest. Maybe the worst was the cascade of cable wires hanging down the outside of the building, along with all the garbage bags in the gate. Even the little bush was gone. Overall we all felt it was depressing. I guess you can't go home again.

Happily, our celebration at Koenigs was just that - happy, relaxed and enjoyable. In a private room with Christmas decorations and a fireplace, we traded memories,enjoyed good food and celebrated Dad. The five of us were seated up front of the two tables of family. I am proud that my sister and brothers love and respect each other and keep in touch. In the days and weeks to come, I will post my memories of my Dad.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

Merry Christmas to All!

As another year speeds to a close, I am grateful for many blessings: family and friends; new adventures and opportunities to grow. My health continues to be stable and I get plenty of exercise walking to my part time job in lower Manhattan and in my beloved Botanical Gardens.

What a glorious time my granddaughter and I had in Italy on the Cathedral HS trip in February, thanks to my pal Sister P. We toured Rome, Pisa, Venice and even San Marino; but our favorite city was Florence. I will never forget the early morning trek over snow slicked cobblestones in Assisi to attend Mass at the basilica. In August I visited my daughter and her family in California and was there for the big fires. Scary! We also took mini-trips to San Francisco, Ft. Ross, the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, and Legoland.

My daughter Tina is still home schooling and doing her amazing comic strips on her blog (you can get there by clicking onto "My daughter's blog" on the sidebar). Chase is 13 and growing taller and handsomer by the day, with his curly dark hair and dimples. Sierra has enjoyed more time with us; one day she accompanied Angel to the Senior Center plus trips to the Zoo and Gardens with me! My son coaches Sam's Little League team and we went to a game to see Sam pitch. Also enjoyed Sam's Celebration of Learning Day in May and a minor league ballgame in July.

We spent lots of time with my sister Kathy and family and her new grandson Braden. Kathy and I took a trip to Pennsylvania on Halloween weekend to visit all of my H. cousins' new houses. It is a joy being with them and their families. I am looking forward to being together with all my siblings - Kathy, Jim, John and Jeff - to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our Dad's birth on December 28th.

A theme of 2009 - friends. I even wrote a poem, "Shoes". From the past - got to visit my dear friend Mary, 94 years young, in California and was surprised by a visit from the H.'s, Ann and John. Frequent friends - Pat N. and I saw South Pacific on Broadway. Wow! My Met Club pals meet faithfully every month. Phone friends A. and cousin Jan call often. New friends from my job and from my Spirituality Group.

Just like me, my "toys" are aging, so I bought a new car and a new laptop - thank you Reed for setting it up. I co-authored a blog about elder poverty on, and have a chapter in a book to be published next Spring. Happily many poems came to me this year. Click on the sidebar to read a few.

Although 2009 was a challenging time economically for many of us, it gives you an opportunity to put things in perspective, to understand what really matters in life. And to realized you don't really need all that much stuff. And so I look forward with great hope to 2010.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Technology overload

Haven't posted for awhile. I got a new computer and have been trying to get used to it. Thankfully my son-in-law Reed set it up because I am clueless with all this new technology and wish to remain in a state of ignorance - in that realm anyway.

Does anyone care that the new technology, especially communications technology, evolves before one gets a chance to learn how to use it? In my case I don't even know about the existence of new thingys and they are already obsolete! Is it only me who wishes for a law that would do away with one form of communication before a new one is permitted to be invented?

Right now I still love old fashioned snail mail and hand written Christmas cards (another reason I haven't posted lately). I will tolerate voice mail and I do love e-mail. But why do we need faxes anymore?

Finally, I refuse to twitter, tweet, facebook or blackberry. I think I'd even give up my cell phone. I guess I'm really getting old. Good for me!