Monday, September 26, 2016

The Birthday Boys

Before I go back to catch up on what happened in the last month or so, let me take a moment to acknowledge two grandsons with birthdays today. (Notice I said “a moment”? I thought I could just click on my Blogger dashboard and carry on from there. BUT while I was gone something changed and I was sucked into a Google vortex. I got back, I think, and if I have trouble with photos, this new lap top is going out the window.)

Fifteen years ago Ernie was in Chicago where his sister was having surgery and I got the news that Liz was in labor (it was touch and go, because both she and Kate were due within five days.) I so clearly remember Benjamin's birth and walking down the hospital corridor, trying to get ahold of the lucky grandfather who was at Rush Memorial hoping for my call. And here is Ben on his first day of high school—not as bad he had expected. His high school campus contains three separate but linked high schools and it is enormous. Ben says he has got lost once in a while, but things are getting better!

Thirteen years later Peter and Lucy’s son Joe chose the same day to be born.

Joe has just started taking swimming lessons and is thoroughly enjoying the experience. He has a ways to go to catch up with his Maryland cousins, but it’s a start!

There, I did it. Watch this space.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ten Years Ago . . .

 . . .  I posted this photo marking the fortieth anniversary of our wedding, August 10, 1966.

We reached fifty today.

More tomorrow—I do want to mark a few pieces of history for my grandchildren in the future, but the weather today put pay to some of my plans. Suffice it to say it was hot, hot, hot. Dinner tonight at The Hill, three wonderful days in Ohio with everyone together.

And here are some of the swimmers, Olympian or not, from the outstanding swimming program in Montgomery County, Maryland. They answer to the name of Ament (Theodore and Linus) and Ledecky (Katie.)

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The New Normal

That is a phrase that has been bandied about around here, especially by one of my daughters. But as I began to think about it, I realized that we (mainly I) have reached a phase in our lives when nothing will ever be the same again.

My mind, my writing skills, my thinking skills can no longer be described as merely rusty. These attributes which were always sharp are slowly fading. Not to the extent which bothered Billy Collins, but I am sure it will not be long. (And I have not forgotten how to create a Blogger link: I have a brand new Apple LapTop and have not quite figured out how everything works.) Things these days are quantitive. Look how many posts I wrote ten years ago. They were, for the most part, longer, smoothly written and I can assure you that I never sat for fifteen minutes trying to remember a noun or a verb. If the one I wanted did not come immediately to mind, I made something else up. Queen of the workarounds.  Not only was I Queen of the workarounds, I was also Queen of letter writing. Now I find it so hard to write a decent, or any, letter. When my sister in law was alive, she could always count on a letter from me. These days my family can perhaps hope for an e-mail and perhaps an occasional decent (but always typed) letter.

The only reason I am plugging on just now is for my grandchildren. I want to fill up my ration of twenty “pages” so that they will have something tangible to remember us by.

Oh, this new computer! I remember when I got its predecessor I couldn’t get anything right, but gradually I figured it out—photos, albums, in iPhoto and in Flickr. Now I must start all over again. First it was a lost WiFi connection. Then it was my new Microsoft app. which the man who sold me the package said would not be difficult. Thanks to Ann Marie at the Partridge Creek Apple store I can now write a letter in Microsoft. I think there is a special place in Heaven for people with her patience. How nicely she asked if there was a reason my computer clock was two hours off. Now I have just discovered I cannot scan. Is that because I have a new lap top? New drivers needed?  Do I have to make another long phone call?

As I worked my way through more photos I was astounded how many showed us eating, as in entertaining friends and family. I was always cooking, setting the table—clean table cloths, Christmas plates, odd bits of Waterford,  even a set of Wedgwood. All this for an ever-growing family and family members visiting from the Mid-West and England. Three or four years ago two of my daughters took over Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I think that was after they saw me drop the turkey. And now Lucy has a house just perfect for entertaining and wants to be included in the roster. How can she do that with two kids under two, I ask? You did, they say. Four under five, in fact.

Mine is not the only life that is changing. In September two grandchildren will be going to college. That will amount to changes for their families, not for me. In fact, as I think about it, changes have been going on slowly for years. I just didn’t notice them. I don’t do much in the way of sewing. All those soft toys and girls’ dresses I meant to make—I found a large box full of size 4 year dresses that never saw the light of day. The garden this year was full of weeds, but I can claim medical problems for that.

Yes, there will need to be changes. Big changes. I will let you know. I may even illustrate posts if I can figure out the scanner. And I promise you, future posts will not take ten days to write. This one did.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

First She Was Catherine . . .

 .  .  . Mary Ament, then Katie Ament, then Kate Ament, then Kate Bernas, then Mom and so it goes. Today we wish her a Happy Forty Eighth Birthday. In less than three weeks she will be accompanying son no. 1 to St. Louis to start his University career.

No coincidence that today is the Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Loyola. But we never thought of Ignatia.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Hole in my Head

I have been home for about eight days after having had the surgery I mentioned in my last post.

The operation for which I  had reluctantly signed up was, as it appears on the discharge papers "Retromastoid crainiectomy microvascular decompression, fifth cranial nerve (trigeminal nerve)", or MVD. I cannot give you the IRL for the YouTubes of medical training videos—nor would I want to. I had thought that the extensive recuperation period would give me leisure to catch up on my posts, and to write to friends. Instead I slept a lot and wobble. I seem unable to type and often to read. I have watched some Wimbledon . . . actually TV isn't too bad.

To make matters worse I have a new iBook and am finding it difficult to use. Certainly confusing, probably something to do with installing Microsoft Word after Apple had transferred documents in Microsoft 2004.

I'll be back on the grid with a working computer, a hole still in my head, but hopefully no trigeminal neuralgia pains.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Alea Jacta Est

I have started several posts in the last two weeks. I have made lists of people to write to and to e-mail, but never actually written. My garden is totally neglected. The laundry is pretty much up to date, but nothing is ironed. I have ignored phone calls.

Let me just address the why. I have written before about the condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia. I have had it for several years and of late I have had too many flare ups for my comfort. My neurologist had never been in favor of surgery, and when he did send me to a neurosurgeon the latter announced I was "too old". When I spent a couple of days in hospital a month or so ago, I woke from a nap to find a man sitting on my bed. He had ridden on his bike from his nearby home to talk to me. Long story short, he was a neurosurgeon newly arrived in the area. He had worked with Peter Janetta who had pioneered Microvascular Decompression surgery, which is now widely used throughout the country. If you are really interested, you can look it up. After numerous tests I am considered a viable candidate (this man has operated on a 94 year old woman) and I will have the surgery this week. I have no idea what the recovery will be like for me, but I am hoping I can make up my un-done tasks. Well, maybe not the gardening.

In the meantime, the die is cast.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Two Down, Twenty to Go

The first two grandchildren have graduated: distinguished young men, off to college to be shining examples to the world. How distinguished they look! The gravitas!

Whoops—wrong photo. How about this? Manny with some friends and Patrick with Ron and Kate. The time has gone by so fast and soon there will be more. I can't help wondering how many more graduations I will get to see. I don't think that's melodramatic. Just practical.