Tag Archives: Janice

Pizza Pie for the Nurses in rehab… and a “Virtual” Pie for Jan in Boise

10 Apr

 

Pizza Pie

Cheese Pizza from Napoli Pizzeria

Yesterday was the last day my sister Janice could be here in Florida for a while… and it was also the day our nephew Wayne arrived from Memphis.   Usually at meal times we try to eat with Dad in the dining room but on this night we decided there was cause for celebration and so we called Napoli Ristorante and Pizzeria to order a pizza.  We discovered that there was a special on Tuesdays and so instead of getting one pizza, I ordered an extra one for the nurses who have been caring for my Dad in rehab.  It seems that bringing food (which I view as showing a little love) to those who care for our loved ones is a nice thing to do because sometimes those people (who work 12 hour shifts) don’t have the chance to take care of themselves properly.   Hey, just because this blog is about pies it doesn’t mean that I have to make every one… I just have to give them away!

Dad enjoyed the little bit of pizza he ate and we were able to spend time together as a family almost oblivious to the reason that brought us all together.  It was a good moment in an otherwise very stressful time.  In fact, while Dad doesn’t look “great” in this photo, Janice and I both know how far his recovery has progressed.  Just last week he was lying in a hospital bed eating what they lovingly refer to as a “soft, mechanical” diet and yesterday he was sitting up in a wheel chair making jokes and eating pizza.  We have come a long way and I am thrilled!

Dad with Wayne, Janice and Karen

Wayne (in his Navy Uniform), Dad, Janice, and me

One last thing I’d like to share is this phone call I had with Alaska Airlines agent Jan in Boise.  I wanted to extend my visit here so that I could be present for the surgery that my Dad was scheduled to have this next week (my original ticket had me leaving yesterday morning).   When I dialed the number for Alaska and told Jan what I needed to do and why she listened, took the information, and found me a return ticket for next week.  Then she told me that the change in fare was $58 and there was also a $100 change fee.  I asked how to appeal the change fee given the circumstances and then said, “Never mind.  I’ll worry about that when I have more time.”  Jan asked me to hold a moment and a few minutes later came back on the line and told me that she had asked her supervisor and could waive the change fee for me.   I was truly amazed and deeply touched that she did this on her own; in a time like this, every act of kindness is so powerful and appreciated more than you will know.  So, to Jan in Boise I would like to send a virtual pie for her assistance and her compassion – Alaska Airlines is lucky to have you!

“There’s very little in my world that a foot massage and a thin-crust, everything-on-it pizza won’t set right.”  
―     G.A. McKevett

A Quick Trip to the East Coast

25 Sep

The Old North Church in Boston

Last Tuesday I flew to meet my husband, Emile, in Boston where he was to attend a conference for the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA).  Wednesday, while he spent the day attending the conference, I took a walking tour of Boston.  Once I left the Hyatt in Cambridge, I walked over the Harvard Bridge towards Boston.  It was then that I saw Fenway Park and wanted to get a closer look.  The stadium was closed (no game) but I was able to get an inside view of it via a little tavern called “Bleacher Bar“.  Wow.  I think every ball park could do with a place like this!

Fenway Park

After that, I decided I needed to see the Old North Church.  You remember that this was the church where the signal was given to warn the patriots that the British were approaching (One if by land, two if by sea).  As I tend to be geographically challenged, I approached a couple and asked, “Am I heading in the direction of the Old North Church?” to which one of them replied, “I’m not familiar with that church.”  What did he just say?  Anyway, I found that I was indeed heading north, and kept on walking.

Tombstone of Paul Revere

After a nice long walk (and asking directions of a few more people) I found my way to the Old Granary cemetery where Paul Revere, Sam Adams, and the victims of the Boston Massacre are buried.   On Paul Revere’s headstone, people have left small stones and coins (maybe because he was a silversmith?) and it is said that out of respect for him, even those who could use the change do not disturb it.  I don’t know if that is true or not, but I can tell you that I felt that I was in a very sacred place – and I can’t say that I feel that way often.  And then, less than a mile away, I finally made it to the Old North Church.  Imagine, all that history concentrated in such a small area!

Later, on my way back through town I came upon the Museum of African-American History, but even though it was only 3:30 it was closed! (the magazine article I’d read about this place listed the hours as 10-4).   I’d been especially looking forward to seeing the exhibit entitled “The Color of Baseball in Boston” which tells the little-known stories of players of color and the teams that they played on.   I’m sorry I missed this exhibit and hope I’ll have a chance to see it on my next trip to Boston.

After my long walk back to our hotel, I met up with Emile and his fellow food coop managers and we took a tour of Boston on Segways with a company called (remarkably) Boston by Segway.  It was a little bit scary (for me) at first, but within a few minutes, we were all zipping around town.  It was AWESOME!  Without a doubt, this is a really great way to tour the city.

The next few days are a bit of a blur!  Thursday we drove to the western tip of Massachusetts….

had an amazing lunch…

And spent a night with our friends Susan and John.

Emile and Susan

Friday we headed back east towards New York where we had lunch with our niece, Grace, in the town of New Paltz and then went on to a homecoming dinner at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.  Whew!

Saturday morning, we drove back to Boston to board separate planes.  Emile is now back at home in Ashland, and I am visiting my sister, Janice, on Staten Island.  My days have been much less hectic here, but we do fit in a 4.5 mile walk along the boardwalk each day.   I’ve seen a few friends… but mostly, am happy just to spend time with Janice.

With my friend Laura!

With my sister Janice on the Boardwalk

But what would all these words be about, if I didn’t throw a pie in the mix?  Who could resist making apple pies with the abundance of apples in every store and farm stand?  Not me… and so, I baked two.  One for my brother-in-law to take to work to share with his buddies… and one for an old friend who is dealing with some health issues right now.

I’m tremendously  grateful for the chance to take such a fun-filled trip… and truly grateful for the dear friends and family that we have.  This short vacation has reminded me of just how very blessed we are.

MacIntosh Apple Pie

Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has  many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
Charles Dickens

 

 

Day 341: My Cousin Darren

12 Mar

Darren and me back on Staten Island

A few months ago, I returned to Staten Island to help celebrate my cousin Guy, and his wife, Diane’s, 25th wedding anniversary. My cousin and I were both married in the same year, 1986.  My wedding was in August, and his wedding was in October.  If you follow baseball, you may remember that the N.Y. Mets made it to the World Series that year. And won!  But that is beside the point.

In 1986, a week or two after our wedding, I moved to Ashland, Oregon, with my new husband.  Since that time, I have been back to Staten Island many times, but there are some people that I never get to see.  One of those people is my cousin Darren.  He is like me in one big way: he moved away from New York and only returns for a visit now and then.  The anniversary celebration was one of those times… and for the first time in more than 25 years, I spent time with my cousin Darren.

Darren was born the year that I turned 13.  The funniest (or strangest) memory I have from the time he was little was when I was walking with him (at about age 2) and my sister, Janice, who was about 5.  My boyfriend, Michael, was watching them with me and we were walking through the neighborhood when a lady came up to us and said, “The children are so cute… are they yours?”  I was fifteen years old!  and far  too stunned to say anything at all!

Darren and I caught up a bit at the anniversary party… and he honored me with a dance to repay me for babysitting all those years ago.  A few days ago I mailed Darren a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie for him and his son, Tommy, who he named after his Dad. I want to thank him for the memories from those long ago days… and send him love and good wishes for the future.

Cousins are different beautiful flowers in the same garden – Author Unknown.

Day 286: Lorelie

17 Jan

My sister Nancy had her first child when she was only nineteen.  Maybe she knew that her time on this planet was limited and so she did what she could while she was here.  Or perhaps she wanted to leave a legacy because she saw so many of her peers leave too soon.  Whatever the reason, Nancy had two boys that she saw to young adulthood before she died.

After we lost Nancy, my sister Janice and I tried to fill up the space that she left for the boys.  Janice lived nearby and did quite a bit for them.  I lived 3,000 miles away and did what I could.  Eventually my nephew Jimmy moved out to the west coast.  After that I was able to see him more often and when his daughters were born I was only a few hours drive away.

Yesterday, Jimmy and his girlfriend Pearl came to visit me and they brought along his daughter Lorelie.  This child has the beauty of her mother and the impish energy her father had at her age.  But what’s most amazing to me is how much she looks like her grandmother, Nancy.

This morning Lorelie and I made a Chocolate Pecan Pie to take back home with them.  She helped stir and taste the batter and she licked the bowl when we were done.  She absolutely wore me out in just a few hours…but I wouldn’t miss a visit from her for the world.  And one of my life’s goals is to be the best Great Aunt I can be… for my nephews, for their children,  and especially for Nancy.

To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die.
Thomas Campbell


Day 86: Billy

1 Jul

Today is my youngest cousin’s birthday. Billy was born the year after I graduated from high school, and while I was around for his first few years, I left the east coast before he was ten years old and so I only saw him on those occasions when I returned home for a visit.

About 17 years ago, I was home for a family gathering and learned that my uncle was seriously ill. As soon as I had a chance, I phoned him to ask how he was and to see when I could visit him. My uncle told me that he had cancer and that he did not want me to see him but preferred that I “remember him as he was.”

Shortly after that phone call, Billy called. He asked if I knew that Uncle Ritchie was dying. I told him that I had just spoken to him and that he told me not to visit him. There was a short pause and then Billy said, “And you’re going to listen to that shit?” I thought, “Well, that’s what Uncle Ritchie said” but then I knew that I had to go and visit my uncle one more time.

My sister, Janice, drove with me to his house. My Aunt Donna let us in and brought us to my uncle’s room. Uncle Ritchie was drowsy but perked up when we entered the room. He seemed far away and started talking about a date he had been on many years before. It was a moment before I realized that he thought that I was my mother – and he was reliving a memory from many years past. After a short time, he seemed to realize that it was me, and not my Mom, that he was speaking to. He teared up (I think we all did actually) and said, “You look just like your Mom.” I suppose I did resemble my Mother when she was my age. And while I was relieved that my Uncle finally knew who I was – I also very glad that I was able to let him relive a happy memory when he needed it.

Two days ago, I sent my cousin Billy a Brownie Pie (via Priority Mail) for his birthday. I wanted to thank him for encouraging me to do what was so very important. I am truly grateful that I got to spend that special time with Uncle Ritchie, and I know that he appreciated it as well. Cousin, I hope your birthday was tremendous!

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