Monday, August 29, 2011

My Retirement - Picking Up the Pieces

Irene is done and gone, and I am doing OK


A worker removing sandbags Monday at Dyers & Bleachers on Main Street in Manayunk. I think we have all heard enough about Irene.  She was a bad storm, wasn't as destructive as expected in some areas, but for others, it was a disaster.  I had a bad weekend, including holding fort in our basement for an hour because we were alerted that one of the storms passing through my town could spawn a tornado.  That did not happen, but I had quite a bit of anxiety waiting for the time to pass.

The rain came down in sheets but the wind gusts were not the  50 to 70 mph that had been forcasted.  They were in the 25 to 45 mph range, but that was more than enough to put some of my trees in a slanted position.

Flooding on Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 29.

There is quite a bit of flooding and some people chose not to heed the warnings and drove into water, only to have their cars stall or float away.  You have to wonder what could be so important that they had to go out during a Category 1 hurricane.  There are some very sad stories today because of mistakes people made.

Reporter covered in possibly toxic foam reporting on Irene.

Newscasters were on the job for close to 72 hours.  Weather junkies were in their glory. I know it was important to get the latest updates as this was a serious situation but it was constant and they talked ad nauseam, repeating the same stories over and over.  The stations posted their people where the wind was the strongest, the water was the deepest or where the weather conditions were the worst.

Boys just have to have fun
 The reporting went on for almost three days. We were grateful to have any comic relief. 

On Sunday, Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm and the rain subsided.  Then at about 5 pm, the sun came out.   We put the deck furniture out again and sat down for a "sigh of relief" dinner.  It feels good to breathe out again.

Today, myself and those in Irene's path, bagan the cleanup.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Retirement - Batten Down the Hatches

Waiting for the storm, and doing OK.

Thar she blows.
Satellite picture of Hurricane Alex
 Most of the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states are getting ready for Irene.  It is story #1.  Since hubby came home from work, the weather channel has been on in two rooms of my house.  Not only will we have anxiety about the storm when it actually happens (if and when it heads our way), we have to have at least two days before to prepare and worry.  I understand about preparedness, however, most of us can do little about it and will stand our ground and hope for the best.  I am not on the coast, where the worst scenerio is being shown, but we expect to get a peice of it. The TV weather people live for these times and are in their glory telling us about every little possibility of this storm, over and over and over again.

About five or so years ago, we had plans to go to the Outerbanks in North Carolina.  About a week before we were going to leave, the weathermen were talking about doom and gloom for that area because a large hurricane was in the Atlantic. I was concerned but still looked forward to a vacation in a beautiful home on the beach with my friends.  The day before we were to leave, I got some news from my doctor that I had a medical problem and driving to North Carolina was out of the question.   Three days later, when I returned to the hospital for a test, they cleared me, so hubby and I  packed the car and headed down south, into the eye of Armageddon.  Hey, I love my friends.   The sky was cloudy, there was no wind, and the storm never came.  Instead, the hurricane rounded the Outerbanks, turned into a tropical storm, and came right up to the Philadelphia area (where I live) and dumped quite a bit of water and caused some flooding.    Meanwhile, we had a great time drinking some Margaritas, while looking at sunsets from our deck overlooking a calm sea.

Yes, I am nervous about Irene, but it is out of my hands.  Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day and even if it is not, I am going to find a way to enjoy it.  Actually, I will probably be collecting my almost 150 potted plants from my gardens and putting them under my deck - just in case.  Maybe Irene will just take a right and head out to sea.  I am hoping for the best, but will be prepared for the worst.  I do think that other areas like NY are in for quite a nasty ride, but where are you going to put 8 million people.  There is just so much you can do. 

My plan is to stay safe, be reasonable and stock the house with bread, milk and wine - again, just in case.

Stranded: A man walks along a seaside park as Hurricane Irene passes to the east of Nassau on New Providence Island in the Bahamas

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Retirement - Shake, Rattle and Roll

The earth is shaking but I am doing OK.

It would never happen here!

A picture of damage in a road, after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.I live on the east coast where we sometimes get the remnants of hurricanes, an occasional tornado, but nothing earthshaking.  I was cleaning my cupboards and had my dishes on my kitchen island.  All of a sudden, the dishes started to rattle.  I thought I had not stacked them correctly and rearranged them.  A few minutes later my son Andy called me to tell me that we just had a 5.9 earthquake.  Wow!  We don't have earthquakes, the west coast gets them.  The news stations are saying it started in Virginia and was felt as far as New York.  That is quite a large area to be affected.  Buildings are being evacuated in some areas, but have not gotten any news of places around here. 

This has been quite a year for the earth. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Company is coming

Busy, busy, busy, but I am doing OK

Fun times ahead!
Company will be here in a few weeks and it is a reason to clean up, spruce up and fix up. You need to have visitors once in a while to spur you on to tackle those projects that you have put off .  Hubby doesn't seem to have the energy to do the painting and repairing that I would like him to do, but he works hard all day, so I don't nag.  It will be up to me to do the DIY projects and I plan to get this ball rolling quickly before my enthusiasm peters out.

100 abandoned houses, abandoned, architecture, black, brick, depressing

On the whole, the house is in pretty good shape, it just needs a little TLC. It is nothing that a can of paint and a few nails won't fix.

The guest bathroom is in need of an update.. Hubby worked on it  awhile ago and it serves its purpose but needs a little touch-up.  Because my visitors are family, I will get some Charmin.

LasagnaI plan on using my best china and crystal as I want to impress.  Right now I am planning the menu.  I have chosen quite a few gourmet items that I think they will like.  I will just have to remember to remove the cellophane before serving.

My guests are wine affectionados.  Hubby has been busy checking out the stores for the very best to serve. We also have some fine wine that he made about 30 years ago from a recipe that has been handed down for generations.  I have been told that if you add a bottle or so of vodka to it,  you have pure heaven.

Time's a' wasting and I need to get on the stick.   I have so many more ideas that I want to put in place. My adrenalin is pumping now!

Can't wait to see Chris and Fay so we can celebrate, once again, the closeness and love of family.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunny Side Up

Vacation time is over and I am doing OK

The Son of  the Old Philosopher, (1959)

A few weeks ago the Sunday supplement in our newspaper printed an article on how to be happy.  Amidst all the bad news lately, I thought that maybe it would be a good time to check this out. One of the questions in the quiz was "What piece of happiness advice from a Disney movie is actually backed by scientific evidence?"  They gave four choices and the answer was "Think Happy Thoughts" from Peter Pan (the boy who never wanted to grow up).  They said that just imagining yourself laughing can reduce sadness.  I can agree with that because laughter not only lifts your spirits but also everyone's around you.  However, laughing all the time can get you a bed in the funny farm also.

I feel that I am a relatively contented old soul, my personal life has been good, and I consider myself  pretty lucky to have experienced so much love in my life.  However, I do suffer from  Irish Worrying Syndrome, otherwise known as IWS.  Currently there is no medicine or cure for this affliction and it is hereditary.  I married a Polish man hoping that this malady would be diluted in the genes and my children would escape this curse.  I forgot to check though to see if there was a disease called PWS and apparently there is.  Our descendants have no chance. However, now that I have that information from this article, I will sing my heart out and make the worrying go away.  Just listen to Elmo, a young philosopher:

 I am wearing my big happy face now!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

From Sea to Shining Sea

Packing up soon and doing OK.

jersey-shore-gallery-teaseI wonder about this popularity of the  phenomenon called  Jersey Shore.  It is a reality show about this group of characters in their mid-twenties who butcher the English language, make rude and crude remarks, fight and argue, and mainly talk about nothing. However, they do attract a large international audience (30 countries).  I have never seen the show but have observed excerpts and watched the cast as they guested on different programs. I don't get it. What is so interesting about them?  My college educated daughter loves to watch it and I just shake my head.  I have heard some people call it their guilty pleasure.  It's not mine. I can think of many more pleasures that I would love to feel guilty about.  When I spend my time watching TV,  I look for well-told stories, funny comedies (they are few and far between) and entertainment on public television.  Yeah, time has passed me by, but I am OK with that.

This month I will be vacationing at the New Jersey shore.  No, it is not Seaside Heights where the Jerseylicious gang hang out, but rather a family-centered town where you can't even order a glass of wine at a restaurant.  That won't bother me as I am reminded of my adventure in California and almost falling on my face after one glass of their fine wine.  True, it was a combination of six varieties, but I have been careful since that incident.  The old grey mare ain't what she used to be.....

So, in the span of a few weeks, I have visited both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans.   There is a myriad of differences in their cultures,  but they have one thing in common - the crazies.  Judge for yourself.
Jersey crazies

California crazies

I really think California is holding all the cards in this contest.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Emergency, Emergency

Spending time with  my granddaughters and doing OK

False Alarm

Anxiety, Panic & Health     Living with Health, Wellness and Wholeness No one would ever describe me as a calm, passive person.  When things go awry, I have been known to be excitable.  I do not realize I am doing this and think that although my blood feels like it is running through my body at an extreme rate, I am showing no sign of this to the outside world.  I also think that I look like I did at 40, so you see I tend to lie to myself.

Yesterday, while watching my granddaughters, an alert came on the TV.  We were expecting thunder storms so I just thought it was a weather warning that they seem to constantly stream across the airwaves.  They do this so often lately, I tend not to pay too much attention. However,  this was not from the media, but rather an official government warning.  It stated " This is an alert to immediately  evacuate Chester County."  They gave no reason and no information, just get out of town - now.   Since I live in Chester County with a nuclear power plant within 5 miles, and also had my grandchildren with me,  my adrenalin started pumping a little faster.  I looked at all the TV channels but they had gone back to their regular programming.  How could this be since they had just told 1/2 million people to evacuate.  My grandchildren, who were in another room, playing on the computer and watching the Nickelodeon channel,  also saw the announcement and became frightened.  I called my son and husband who were at work in the county and they said they had not heard anything about this.  I have no radio so I piled my grandchildren in the car to listen to the news station and was going to drive around the block to see if there was any movement in my neighborhood.  Again, nothing.   I then knocked on my neighbor's door hoping they would  know what was going on.  They were  aware of the warning and were also in panic mode.  However, on checking the Internet they saw that there was an incident about 30 miles away where a hydrogen tank had partially exploded.  The evacuation was for a few block area in the county and people were asked to leave their homes just around the site.  Along with relief, came anger and some vile words, which I saved for when the children were not around.  How could this happen, how could they make an announcement like that?

Last night I listened to one news program hoping they would explain this incorrect broadcast.  Again, nothing.   So why doesn't anyone apologize for making this misstatement.  I can usually find some humor in situations, but this one I can't.  There wasn't any mass-exodus, no accidents, no one physically hurt, but they scared quite a few people and it certainly doesn't instill faith in our emergency notification policies.


 I am really mad!