Tuesday, February 25, 2014

High Blood Pressure…

It was just a matter of time before I would develop high blood pressure, medically known as hypertension. My mother had it for years and was taking medication for it. My mom and I have the exact same temperament. Everything that happens, from the smallest annoyance to a major headache, sets us off. So I always knew one day I would have to face the music and deal with this health issue.

Now hypertension doesn’t have any symptoms, so it’s pretty hard to figure out something is wrong on your own unless a major consequence occurs. I do see a doctor regularly, about once a year, but maybe that’s not enough. Last November you may recall I was whining about a bout of bronchitis that I was suffering through. When I went in to be checked out and for medication, the nurse told me my blood pressure was high. I stored the information in the back of my head because I was still unpacking, the holidays were approaching and the weather was lousy for weeks. I considered it may have been a momentary thing and that my blood pressure could have gone back to normal on it’s own. However, I am not one to take chances with my health after having a couple of scares in my lifetime.

On Sunday we went to my aunt’s birthday party. Before going to the party I stopped at my cousin Maria’s house so she could measure my blood pressure. I wanted to know if it was high and if so, how high. Then I could make my doctor’s appointment and give him some numbers to work with. Well, first Maria uses her hand held blood pressure device. She takes it twice, after giving me time in between, and it comes out to 157 over 84. Okay, that’s enough to scare me because I know the (old) normal is 120 over 80 and I have no clue if I am in the danger zone. She decides to take me into her bedroom where she has a more advanced technological machine that reads it for you automatically and she is thinking this will confirm her other readings and we can be more sure. Well, at first the machine kind of malfunctions and gives a bad reading, so it has to be reset. Then it looks like it works, except now the readings are even worse…174 over 86...something outrageous like that. She doesn’t seem to be concerned, but I am. I felt like I had "one foot in the grave" as my mom used to say. I don’t know what to make of this except an appointment to see my doctor on Thursday afternoon. I may need medication to get it under control, but I would like to try and control it with diet in the future, if possible. The last thing I want to do is have a long row of pills to take every day for a half dozen conditions. I already take Fosamax and calcium for my osteoporosis, which my mom also had.

Getting older is a real pain in the ass. Doctor appointments and pills. Waiting in the office and waiting at the pharmacy. But what can you do? Neglecting your health only makes things worse and harder to fix…sometimes the damage is irreversible. So I would rather err on the side of caution. And, if you are reading this and have been neglecting your health, or maybe putting off an appointment for a mammogram or other screening, you should stop right now and pick up that phone. There is never a good time to see the doctor, but the best time is before something serious happens.

And next I am going to make an appointment for my mammogram, it's been a year snce I have done that!

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Aunt Mary’s 90th Birthday Party…

My Aunt Mary with her son, Paul (next to her)
and my family standing behind
My Aunt Mary turned 90 on Valentine’s Day, but the weather made it impossible to celebrate it that weekend. My aunt has been in and out of the hospital many times the past two to three years. I went to see her just a couple of weeks ago at the hospital. She couldn't breathe one night and it had snowed a lot. The ambulance couldn't get through the streets, the fire department had to help. They could not use a stretcher due to ice, so a few men had to carry her into the ambulance. When she got to the hospital, they ran tests. She had had a heart attack (not her first) and two strains of the flu and pneumonia. That was a Tuesday night. I went there on that Saturday afternoon. She had already made a ton of progress and was chatting with us and asking about my girls. After we were there a while she told us we could leave, that she was fine...and she was. Along side her bed were discharge papers! My cousin, Maria, glanced through them. I was alarmed that they were releasing her too soon. Her family had to consider taking her to a rehab until she could get around on her own. But, about 3 or 4 days later, she was released and able to go home. My aunt Mary is amazing! God Bless her.

This weekend the weather was beautiful…and so was my Aunt Mary. I walked into the party room at the restaurant to see her seated at the table in the center of the back wall, the room had two long tables extending from each side of her table…like a U shape. I walked over to greet her and she tells me to sit near her. She is in great spirits, wearing a beautiful pink chiffon dress and the cameo pin my uncle Tony had gotten her many years ago. On her wrist was a bracelet with several small cameos that came from Italy. My Aunt Mary always loved parties and family get togethers and yesterday was no exception. Everyone was taking pictures to preserve the memories of this special day. My aunt was surrounded by her children, Maria and Paul, her grandchildren, Frank, Joseph and Deanna, her sister, Angie, and a lot of nieces, nephews and friends. As we are chatting, my aunt tells me she feels a little chilly. I tell her that maybe she should open my gift. We open the package together and in side was a shawl I had gotten her. We slipped it over her shoulders right then and there. Now she is a little more comfortable. Out with the food!

The restaurant served many plates of appetizers family style: a mozzarella and tomato salad, a calamari salad, stuffed eggplant, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed clams, garlic bread. There was plenty of wine at all the tables. When I wasn’t pouring myself half glasses of wine, my husband was and when he wasn’t looking, the waiter filled my glass to the brim a couple of times. The entrée hadn’t even come out and I was feeling happy and very full. For the entrée they had a chicken and sausage plate with potatoes, peppers and onion and a dish of penne with tomato sauce. Everyone was enjoying the food and the company. Then my Aunt Mary started to talk and everyone else got silent. She wanted to thank everyone for coming. She said in times like these, when most families drift apart, she was happy to say that her family always remained close. And, with a tear trickling down the corner of her eye, she told us how much she loved us all…those of us who were there and those of us who weren’t. It was very touching.

My Aunt Mary's Family
Bottom Row: Deanna, Maria, Aunt Mary, Angie,
Back Row Center: Joseph, Frank, Paul

It is only fitting that my Aunt Mary was born on Valentine’s Day, a day that celebrates love. My Aunt Mary has always been a wonderful, loving person. She has a heart of gold. She raised her family and worked hard her whole life. She has had more than her share of health problems. She always seemed to have endless patience with children and loved being around them. I really never heard her complain much about anything. And, because of her, we will all have many cherished memories of the Thanksgiving and New Year holidays that were always celebrated in her home. She inspired me to try and make all the holidays special for my children too.

My aunt’s memory is a little faulty, as you might expect, but no worse than mine. She kept asking about my parents, how they were doing. Whenever she does, I don’t have the heart to tell her they have been gone a long time. I just tell her they are well, but not able to go out much any more. She always tells me to send them her love and that she misses them. I have all to do not to cry myself. My Aunt Mary is all that we have left of her generation. We have lost so many loved ones over the past 30 years it brings tears to my eyes as I write. She has given us many a scare the past couple of years, but her positive attitude always pulls her through. Her last recovery seemed almost miraculous. Not only the recovery, but the short time it took her. I’m very thankful and feel blessed that she not only bounced back, but was able to come out and celebrate her birthday in style.

At the end of her little speech, she talked about how good her children were, how good her grandchildren were and how blessed she was to have them. Then she said, “I’m the only one who’s a stinker.” Everyone laughed. She added, next year we are all going to do this again. There is nothing I would love more than to be able to celebrate my aunt’s 91st birthday with her in 2015. Happy 90th Birthday Aunt Mary…and many more!

My Aunt Mary's Thanksgivings: http://ninaspetpeeves.blogspot.com/2011/11/my-aunt-marys-thanksgivings.html

My Aunt Mary's New Year's: http://ninaspetpeeves.blogspot.com/2012/12/happy-new-yearpast-and-present.html


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dylan Farrow And Her Molester...

I find subjects like this very hard to write about. So I can only imagine how difficult it was for Dylan Farrow to publically expose what was done to her when she was seven years old by her abuser. Her very public letter, published in the New York Times, sounded very real, sincere and detailed to me. I believe her. I cannot imagine living in a world where your abuser is celebrated and revered and honored for his accomplishments. There is no escape from reliving the horrible acts that were done to her when his name is always in the media and he is surrounded by celebrities and critics and on the recieving end of accolades. Where can she run? Where can she hide from it all? He called her a liar years ago and he continues to do so today. It's sickening.

There is plenty of evidence, that came out years ago, to more than suggest this little girl was telling the truth. This was not a little girl coached by her mother, to say evil things about her father. To come to that conclusion would make Mia Farrow, a loving mother to all her children, the evil monster. That is the only defense that the molester had, to redirect the focus and blame on someone else, to cast doubt on the child's accusations. But, no matter how hard he tries, there are facts in evidence that he cannot explain away.

Here is an interesting and well researched article that presents the facts of the case concerning what happened to Dylan Farrow: Facts considered by the court. If you haven't read Dylan's letter to her accusor, you can find it here: Dylan's Letter to Her Abuser

I recall the horror and shock when, on the heels of these accusations, Woody Allen (yes I said hs name), married his "daughter" Soon-Yi in 1992. He was 56 and she was 21. He married her right after his breakup with Mia Farrow, who he never "lived" with, but did adopt two of her eleven children, Moses age 13 and Dylan age 6. Allen was sleeping with Soon-Yi when she was about 18, for a year before breaking up with Mia, who learned of the affair in 1992. Mia went to Allen's apartament and "discovered six nude Polaroids of Soon-Yi on his mantle, her legs spread open."

I am not a lawyer, judge, or jury. I don't need evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to come to my conclusions. The facts speak for themselves. Dylan speaks for herself. Who can we believe? Who should we believe? I am satisfied that Dylan was molested by her father and her mother did everything in her power to protect her as soon as she foundout. Unfortunately, the scars and pain she suffered have not gone away and probably never will go away. She is living a lifetime sentence in her own personal prison, while her abuser receives lfetime achievement awards.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Justin Bieber, The New Lindsay Lohan?

I'd be remiss if I didn't blog all my rantings and ravings about Justin Bieber's series of incidents. I don't wnat to give Justin a free pass just because I have been busy. It seems while I have been involved with moving the past 12 months, Justin has been busy breaking the law and getting into trouble.

Starting back in February 2013, Justin was allegedly photographed with his "lil" friends, Za and Twist, and some blunts. In March he turned 19 and celebrated with underage drinking, showing up late for concerts, and collapsing on stage during a London concert. He returns to the US only to spit in a neighbor in the face when he complains to him about his wreckless driving in the neighborhood. In April 2013 the Swedish police find marijuana and a stun gun on his bus. In July 2013 he is videoed pissing in a mob bucket in a New York City nightclub kitchen...remind me not to eat there. In August 2013, there are a couple of club altercations. He take a little break in September.

In October he assaults a tour manager in a South Korean nightclub. In November 2013 there is a little sex scandal in which a woman photgraphs him allegedly spending the night with her and then he is caught coming out of a brothel in South America...you got to hand it to him, the kid gets around. Later that month he is detained in Australia when they find weed on one of his entourage members. In December 2013 a girl passes out in his mansion while partying with Justin. In January, 2014, he gets in trouble for vandalism when he throws about two dozen eggs at a neighbor's house...I know I'd be pissed! Five days later the cops raid Justin's house over the egg incident and find drugs, Molly/Ectasy, but arrest Justin's "lil" friend, not him. While on Miami beach Justin is stopped for drag racing, fails a sobriety test and is arrested for a DUI. He resists arrest and is found to have an expired driver's license. And, just like Lindsay Lohan, he is out and about after a slap on the wrist.

Interestingly enough, Justin happens to be a Canadian citizen, unlike Lindsay. People here have gotten so fed up with him they have started a petition to get him deported. A petition of this kind requires 100,000 signatures for the US government to consider looking into the matter. Last I heard, Justin's petition has 255,740 signature to be exact. And, they want to revoke his green card. Here you go:

"We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture. We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked. He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nations youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society."

Granted Justin committed these incidents literally all over the world, so no one place has his complete record, unlike Lindsay. But isn't it sad that all these young entertainers can think to do with their money is drink alcohol and do drugs? I haven't heard anything on Lindsay recently, and I hope that means she has been getting help to stay sober. It's sad stories like that of Cory Monteith and Philip Seymour Hoffman that should be a wake up call to everyone. Those who are addicted and the people who love them, should take action now. There have been too many memorials to say good bye, too many lives cut tragically short. Is this the best we can do...just stand by and say goodbye? Is there no good way to prevent these things from happening? People who are addicted to drugs are mentally incapacitated and can't make the decision to save themselves. They not only put their lives in danger, they put others' lives in danger. Instead of finding Hoffman and getting him help before he died with a needle in his arm, they are now busy, after the fact, looking for the people who gave him the drugs. Why can't drug rehab be mandatory for known addicts before they kill themselves? Maybe that's a simplistic way of thinking, but it's sickening to wake up and read about one death after another when these deaths could have been, should have been prevented.

Wake up Justin! You've been blessed with a lot of things in life, the most precious of which is life...and you are taking it for granted and throwing it away!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bridgegate and Chris Christie...

For the first time in a long time, I finally saw something in a Republican politician that I liked. Chris Christie came across as a take charge, no nonsense, down to earth, calling it as he sees it, leader. I saw him in action during storm Sandy. He was impressive enough to sway my thinking into believing I could actually vote for him if he ran for president in 2016. Even our Governor Cuomo, who is a democrat and may throw his hat in the ring in 2016, was not the strong leader I thought he needed to be. These are hard times in every sense of the word. People around the country are struggling with so many issues and these constant bouts with extraordinary and devastating weather events are more than we can stand. Too many people are still not back in their homes due the the damage from Sandy. It's hard to believe.

Fast forward to Bridgegate. I did a lot of reading about this scandal and I watched the very long, televised press conference that Christie had after the scandal broke. He sure seemed sincere in his apologies and his insistence that he didn't know anything about it's planning or execution. I hoped he was telling the truth. Surely, he would not compound the stupidity of this whole mess by adding his denials of any knowledge, especially if there was evidence out there that he knew something or even gave the orders to close the lanes on the George Washington Bridge. If there is proof he knew anything about it at this point, he could kiss his political career good bye.

A couple of things bothered me though. First, he said he had just learned of the fact his staff was involved the morning before the press conference, but later said he had lost TWO nights sleep. I caught that, but then the media highlighted it and questioned it. Everyone was asking why, if he only found out the day before, did he lose two nights sleep? That in itself isn't so incriminating. I'm sure there are many reasons why he could have lost an extra night's sleep. But now there is a second thing weighing on my mind. David Wildstein. Wildstein is the person who ordered the lanes of the George Washington Bridge closed based on an email from Bridget Kelly saying, "time for traffic problems in Fort Lee." Wildstein answered "got ya," as though he had understood her short command and had done this sort of thing before.Wildstein knew Christie in high school. Someone at the press conference asked Christie about their "friendship." Christie downplayed the relationship, saying they went to high school together, they passed each other in the hallways, they haven't seen each other in 20 years or more. Really? Because this doesn't have the ring of truth to it. Why? Well, a special position was created for Wildsten in the Port Authority by the request of Christie, namely Director of Interstate Capital Projects paying over $150,000 per year. A position that never existed before and is being done away with now that Wildstein resigned on the heels of the scandal. Who believes Christie would ask for a position like this for a guy he barely knew existed in high school? I don't. I have some serious concerns about it. To top it off, Wildstein, in an effort to save himself from prison time, is offering up evidence that Christie didn't tell the truth on some matters during his press conference, for immunity. Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien were subpoenaed to submit documents for the investigation and I heard she refused.

Lastly, Rachael Maddow pointed out something interesting on her show. We all have a hard time thinking Christie would condone wrecking havoc on Fort Lee just because the mayor there didn't endorse him, especially since he admits they didn't ask for his endorsement. But Maddow looked closely at the timing of the event and what happened just before the lane closure went into effect. it seems that Christie, for the first time in I don't know how many years of NJ history, decided not to give a supreme court justice a lifetime appointment after he had served seven years with a very good record. This angered the state senate because there was no reason for it. So in retaliation, every appointment Christie made to fill that seat, was rejected. The night before the traffic jam, another candidate had been rejected and Christie was pissed. The president of the senate lives in Fort Lee. Maddow's theory is that the lane closures were in retaliation for this situation and had nothing to do with the mayor. It seems to make sense. Does that mean Christie knew what was about to happen or did his staff orchestrate the whole thing without his knowledge? Did the governor tell them to do what they have to do to get back at whoever, but he doesn't want to know the details? I don't know. I imagine that happens all the time. Of course, when he asked them about it they lied and/or said nothing. That may be the way it is done to protect the reputation of the leader, so he can say he knows nothing, and the underlings become totally responsible and the scapegoats. Heads have to roll. Some key people close to Christie lost their jobs. But that didn't end things and subpeonas are going out. If there is anything incriminating out there it will surely come out. Its just a wait and see game.

I don't know what to think or believe. The whole idea was asinine from the get go.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Move Is Over, But It's Not...

I haven't been blogging much at all. As many of you know, after 25 years of living in one house, we moved to a new house back in July. I've had work done on the house and got most of the unpacking done. Then a got bronchitis back in November and that got the best of me for three weeks. When I recuperated, I had to deal with the holidays which I was very much looking forward to in our new home.

I stopped the unpacking and switched over into decorating mode. The tree we had at the old house took some abuse on the way over here and it was too wide anyway. So, my first mission was to get a new, slender tree that would fit perfectly just about anywhere. For the first time I got some nice garland to drape on the banister to the stairway upstairs. Had to get a couple of things for the windows and door too. I kept it simple because I didn't want to overwhelm myself after all I had to deal with the past few months. Thank God I was able to do just about all my shopping online and I started early. But, on the down side, I now had MORE boxes around the house and it looked like I was taking ten steps back instead of making progress. As soon as the tree was up, I wrapped what was in the all the packages and put them under the tree, to clear up the congestion.

Ever since putting the house on the market, I kind of fantasized about the holidays. I thought about baking and cooking with the girls, their usual ritual of wrapping gifts, decorating the tree etc etc. But, in all my reverie, I forgot something...the girls aren't babies any more...they are not even in college. They don't have the kind of time I was looking forward to. No winter breaks, or Christmas vacations. They work. And, they work different shifts. My older daughter gets home at seven at night, while my younger daughter works from three in the afternoon to eleven. They are like ships in the night, their paths cross only on Sunday and Monday nights. I was sad about it, my visions and hopes for the holidays deflated. They knew it too because I never keep my feelings to myself.

To try to compensate for my disappointment, my younger daughter took a week's vacation before Thanksgiving and my older daughter cleared her weekend so we could go shopping all together. It was a nice weekend for shopping and eating. The girls tried to coordinate their time so they could wrap gifts together. Things were slow where my older daughter works, so they were giving employees days off and working at half staff. My daughter took off the days her sister was off so they could be home together with me. Unfortunately, my younger daughter wasn't able to get Christmas Eve off and we had to make the best of it. Maybe this year.

All is all, the holidays turned out to be very nice. Everyone liked their presents, I made all their favorite meals that week: turkey, pot roast, lasagna, and we got to visit our relatives too.

I am finding it hard to get back to the unpacking. I think all the snow has put a damper on my motivation. I am just trying to keep my floor cleaned most of the time. I'm looking forward to spring, like most of the country. This winter had been brutal and relentless. I need to get everything done before the holidays sneak up on me this year!