Monday, December 29, 2008

December 29

19 months

82 weeks

13,920 hours

And I find that I can sit and remember the details of that night/morning so sharply that it is like I am there again. Coming home is a blur, but sitting in the hospital and touching Jim, a cold Jim, and realizing that he was dead adn that it would be the last time to touch him, to see his face, to feel his hair and I can remember running my fingers thru his hair. It hurt too much to touch his skin, it was too cold, but the hair, feeling it is a still very vivid memory.

835,200 minutes

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Jimisms - a unique to Jim way of doing something. He did it, he could explain the reasoning and he made it all seem to make sense.

1) "No natural Exit"
When in a parking lot and you go to leave, following the way the parking pattern goes and the way the street you want to reach is angled, yet when you get to where there should be an exit....there isn't.
Jim would say that the lot had no natural exits - the instinctual way to leave the area, but instead there were the exits planned by men.

2)"Better safe then sorry"
This is buying something, like a cd or a tool, because you can't remember if you have it or where it is. Jim usually didn't know that he had the item already but would know that he needed or wanted it. I found lots of screwdrivers and there are about 6 cd's that are doubles and the second ones (or maybe the first) are still sealed/never been opened.

I found myself doing this the other day while at Home Depot. I knew that I needed duct tape, knew that we had some at home, knew that I had no idea where it was, and bought another roll.

3) Not sure what to call this one, but Jim would fill the gas up to a certain 'offbeat' amount. He would stop at 20.10 or 30.30 or some such. He said it was so that when he looked at the checking account he would remember that was for the gas.

This is another Jimism that I found myself doing. I am not even sure why because I don't look at my statements that often. I guess it is because it was a habit with him.

I know there are more things that he did throughout life that were so ingrained they were even realized as a habit or a quirk, so I will be back with more later.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Friends - thank you

Merry Christmas!

I would like to take a moment and thank family and friends. For helping turn what could have been a pretty horrible holiday into something tolerable. By being there for me in a subtle way. For opening homes and allowing me to spend time. Allowing may not be the best word, but sharing is. Sharing in the friendship that is twofold, mine for them and theirs for me.

A party and a dinner and just a 'spend the afternoon' has helped. I knew that the traditional brunch at my Dad's was not going to be possible, not last year with no car and not this year with no Dad there. I would be looking for him, expecting him. My friend Elaine, when she heard I was going to be sitting at home maybe doing laundry, stepped up and invited me to her Mom's brunch. It reminded me so much of times when I invited friends to my own mom's for thanksgiving or easter when they had no place to go. This is what friendship do for each other.

My brother called me bright and early this morning to say thanks for the gifts I sent out and to see how things were here. Me and the dogs were up, both of us fed and we were watching A Christmas Story. That is a family tradition here, one that Jim started and that I will carry on. Besides loving the movie, we always thought that the young Jim looked a little bit like Ralphie, and that made it special. The glasses and the blonde hair.

Have a Happy Holiday!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Night air

It’s past midnight and I step outside,
Inside, our kids are in bed and the cat wanders around
Here I find the air is cool and I exhale.
My breath shows in the night air.

I miss you.

I think this and feel the volcano that simmers below begin to rise.
Hold on there. Not now.
The pain is reigned in and resigned.
The breath like a dragon's, dissipates into the darkness.

With every breath I take,
With every breath exhaled.

I miss you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Time Travel.

One of my favorite themes in science fiction. Several excellent books come to mind. Replay by Ken Grimwood and Time enough for Love by Robert Heinlein is another.

I am not going to go into the thought of what if I could go back in time to tell Jim....something. Exercise more? eat right? don't get that job?

Rather the question came up on a social internet board - What would you do if you were transported back to early September 2001.

He said -

I was watching the pilot episode of the American version of "Life on Mars" recently. He is a time traveler and it is set in New York City. The main character (Sam, if it matters) doesn't believe he's in 1973 until the big reveal at the end of the show where he turns around and sees the World Trade Center.

Well, that's quite a shock for him. It was for me, too. I wasn't
expecting it and it surprised me how much it hurt.

But it got me to thinking. If you were to go back in time, through some accident, whether a warp hole or you got stuck in Doc Browns Time Machine accidentally or whatever, and you arrived in early September 2001, with no documentation from the future, nothing that would not exist in that time frame, how would you convince people you were from the future and how would you stop 9/11?

The discussion went on from there amongst us friends to come up with different ways. Bomb threat? Go on the air with Howard Stern? Call the FBI and try to convince them with info you know because it was revealed afterwards?

I wondered if there was a way to stop the planes from even taking off or maybe finding a way to get on the plane and stop it there. I did like this solution, one man said

This one is easy.....I don't have to convince anyone of who I am or what I know. All I have to do is get them to take box cutters seriously and accept the idea of a kamikaze airliner.
On September 8, I will hijack a plane using a box
cutter. I will threaten and scare a few random passengers and order the plane to "buzz" NYC below the level of higher buildings (ie, to make it clear what COULD
happen). But I will ultimately allow the plane to land safely.
The Powers That Be will now take the box/knife as a serious weapon and the idea of a kamikaze airliner will be presented in a manner that can NOT be ignored.

If I couldn't do that for some reason, I would do a combination of trying to get the story out to the government, law enforcement and the media, while also calling in bomb threats and such to the airlines and airports and the buildings. If I had time, I'd talk to someone at every company in and around the twin towers and also to the firefighters and cops. Maybe all of that would be futile, but I'd try.

I mean, really, if you call the FBI and say you are from the future and you know for a fact that 19 terrorists are going to use box cutters to crash airplanes into the World Trade Center on 9/11, they are either going to think you are a kook and ignore you or they are going to think you are in on it and come arrest you.

Some of you may remember the details sufficiently that if they believed you, you could maybe point out people involved, what flights from what airports or whatever, but I have to admit that most of those minute details have flown from my mind after 7 years.

I remember the anger, most definitely, but other than Flight 93, I couldn't tell you the flight numbers of the other 3 planes. I don't remember the names of the 19 guys. I suspect I'm not the only one. And even if you did remember those details, how would you get to somebody high enough to stop it? How would you convince them you weren't making it up?I think it would be very frustrating to watch as 9/11 got closer and closer and nobody believed you and you couldn't stop the tragedy.

In the book I mentioned Replay by Ken Grimwood, the main character is transported back to his college years in 1962. He doesn't understand at first but as he realizes it he starts making money on sports events and then suddenly realizes that he can save Kennedy. He tries and fails. He then watches them arrest some other than Oswald and this person gets executed like Oswald did. The book goes on from there and he relives 5 times.

The questions that time travel raises have always interested me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Moon

I am driving down the highway and looking at this absolutely beautiful full moon. The crispness of the night air must help because the moon is like crystal hung in the sky.
It reminds me of when Jim and I went climbing. Climbing to the top of the house, to the roof. Back in 2003 Mercury (or maybe Mars?) was closest to Earth for a few days/weeks. And it didn't happen that often. I can't remember the details. I just remember it was a big astrological deal. So Jim and I pulled the old telescope out of the box in the basement and he set up some ladders and we went up to the top of the house. Two stories up. Oh boy.
This was no easy thing. First, I have a weird fear of the vertigo feeling that comes from being up high. I can't stand on the edge of a balcony that is more than a few stories up. I hate and refuse to go on ferris wheels and roller coasters. Though, with trust, thru the years, I got on them with Jim. Still scared, but able to hold on to him. But that's a different post.
Climbing the first ladder was okay because Jim kept a hand on me the whole time. Then there was the second roof to go up and that was a bit worse. I ended up shutting my eyes and keeping them closed most of the time! He worked with me and with his voice helping, soothing me, and I got up there. Once we got up to the top I was okay. The rowhouses in our area all have flat roofs. I could stay in the middle and not have to look over the edge. It makes it easy to sit up there at night and watch the stars. We did this for 3 nights running. And it was beautiful.
There were many things that alone, I would not do, but with Jim, well, it seemed okay. He made it okay. With a hand to grab and him talking to me, I could almost sometimes handle it. Often I would get my muster up, get on the ride or such and then lose it half way through. This happened on a ride we went on that was set up like a ski lift (those little chairs) and you rode over the park and looked at the beautiful view. I can't remember the park now, maybe Hershey, maybe one in NH.
Maybe I would have been okay if there had been someplace for my feet to set on. Having my feet dangle really thru me into a tizzy. I ended up with eyes tight shut and Jim moving his feet over so mine could rest on his. I peaked at the great view that he was telling me about a couple times but I was so glad to hit the ground I almost kissed it.
Poor Jim, he was an adventurer and always wanted to go on the thrill rides and me, I just wanted to watch. He had a dream of going parachuting and taking as many of his siblings as would go. He wanted to get a hot air balloon to experience that feeling of flying. As close as he could get. I think if his sight had been better he would have loved to be a pilot. He would have enjoyed that.
This post turned into something other than talking about the moon. Well, I can go back to the moon just by saying there were many many Moons that Jim and I shared. Walking in the moonlight in Boston, with dogs running in front of us. Driving in the moonlight as we traveled - Jim prefered driving at night when the roads were clear. Me, sitting on the stoop, the moon shining at the end of the street (see photo at top) and waiting for Jim to come home from a long days work.
A very special memory is one of the moon sending beams of a very special light to play on my man's skin and give us a magical time of love making. We were in this house, we were just married and we were enjoying ourselves. Jim commented on how the moonlight seemed to be seeking out just the right spots to highlight on me and I kissed all the spots it highlighted on him. We giggled and caressed and were entranced. Knowing this love is such a wonderful thing.
And with that I end this post.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


"I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal."

--Vita Sackville-West

I am just the blog of quotes this week. This one was on my nieces Facebook page and I read it and felt it hit me deep inside. It is amazing how the power of just a few words can capture the feeling.


A scene from one of my favorite books and authors

"God is an iron," he said. "Did you know that?"
He went on, "If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron."

I have always appreciated, noticed and even chuckled at ironic situations. I find myself in one now. I agreed to move to baltimore on the promise that we would only be here for 5 years. Five years to renovate and relocate and rent the house out. Those five years were up in May 2007 and Jim got out, but I had to stay.

I would have stayed here forever with no more whining if I only knew. Jim was ready to go, we had put in transfer applications at his job and things looked good. So maybe in 2010 (8 years later) I can get out of here. I just want to have a place for the dogs to run around a bit like our old house in Boston. Grass would be nice.

Another favorite quote, from the same author -

Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased — thus do we refute entropy.

Writing and sharing of my pain has lessened it. Sharing the joy I have found in life since that tragic moment, increases the joy that life can give.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Lights that guide us

Found on a friends memorial page. The page is a memorial to their beautiful three children, now angels and shining down from above.

Yeish kochavim she'oram magia artza
Rak ka'asher heim atzmam avdu v'einam
Yeish anashim sheziv zichram mei'ir
Ka'asher heim atzmam einam od b'tocheinu

Orot eileh hamavhikim b'cheshkat halayil
Heim, heim, shemarim la'adam et haderech, et haderech

{There are stars up above
So far away we only see their light
Long long after the star itself is gone
And so it is with people that we loved
Their memories keep shining,
Ever brightly, though their time with us is done.

But the stars that light up the darkest night
These are the lights that guide us
As we live our days these are the ways
We remember, we remember.}

Meditation by Hannah SeneshEnglish translation by Jeff Klepper

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cookies and Lights

Three and a half dozen cookies later......

I started with peanut butter Kiss cookies. I used both chocolate kisses and 'candy cane' kisses. The chocolate held the kiss shape a lot better, the candy cane became a striped circle of chocolate and candy cane flavor. Not bad, in fact kind of a neat design.

And yes, that is Mercury, patiently waiting, waiting, waiting for one to drop. He was out of luck.

I then mixed some sugar cookie dough and tried the cookie press. I think the dough was a little soft. It didn't respond well to the press for the first half of the making. I ended up having to press the dough onto the rack and then with a knife carefully slice it off the press. It worked to a degree.

I also mixed some sugar cookie dough up and made two logs. One is a reddish/dark pink color and one is the plain. I am going to chill them and then roll them flat, put them on top of each other and then roll them up into a log and slice. The idea is spiral cookies. I hope it works. I can't remember the exact sequence of what to do, I am running from memory of making them with my mom.

Ah Mom. We always had logs of cookie dough in the fridge for fast slice and cooking. Thinking of this, I am realizing now, years later that she was probably doing this because the 'toll house cookie' came out in the stores. She knew she could do the same thing cheaper and figured out a way. Or, maybe even an easier explanation...that is how she learned it from her Grandmother.

All in all it was a fun morning. I am putting some laundry in and now going to sloth for an hour or two with the dogs on the couch.

I picked up some lights to decorate the front window of the house. I decided to not go the traditional lights and found instead some really nice snowflake shaped lights. They are large enough to be seen as snowflakes and there are only nine of them so they won't overwhelm the window. I am also going to cut out some snowflakes myself and put them on the glass. The lights went up with no problem but I can't figure out how to hide the tape holding them to the glass. I need to check Home Depot or such. They do look pretty.

It was a fun afternoon. Warm cookies, cold milk and cutting out snowflakes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fortunately and Online Shopping

This is probably a vent or maybe a pro/con post. I ordered a few things online this year for christmas. The first of the four orders came today.

I am going to jump here to one of my favorite childrens books is one I found at a library my friend worked at. It is called Fortunately and it's basically a good things/bad things happens to this boy on his adventure book. It makes for a fun way to deal with the curves that life sends you. For some reason I feel like I may have posted about this book before.

Fortunately by Remy Charlip

Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party.
Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away.
Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane.
Unfortunately, the motor exploded.
Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplane.
Unfortunately, there was a hole in the parachute.

What else could go wrong as Ned tries to get to the party? Readers will cheer as Ned's luck turns from good to bad to good again, while clever illustrations tell the story of his wacky adventure and narrow escapes.

So the book goes that way, my story goes this way -

Fortunately I found online some gifts for family.
Unfortunately I did have to pay for them.

Fortunately, my order arrived very quickly.
Unfortunately it was the wrong item.

Fortunately I could reorder the right one.
Unfortunately it would take a few more days to get here.

Fortunately when I called Customer service they said, oh, we will credit your account and you can donate it to charity (pretty cool) and we stop there and we wait to see what happens when the other order arrives.

Next -

Fortunately I was able to find the stereo headphones I wanted. Unfortunately I got an email saying they took my order but now realize they are out of stock.

Fortunately it is a gift for myself and I don't have to reship it.
Unfortunately though it means I may get it after christmas.

Next - well we will see what happens next....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I can't believe it but I am actually looking around the neighborhood and thinking of christmas lights this year.

In thinking about it, I thought about the box of them in the basement. I don't think I want to hang them. They were 'our' lights and decorations. I sort of like the idea of getting my own, but then flip over right away and feel sad that I won't use 'ours'.

The trick is also that Jim was the decoration guy. He hung the lights, put up the tree and all that. Me, I just will be happy with a table top tree and some lights in the windows.

I don't know what I will do yet. But if I do anything worth showing, I will post a pic here!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just more pics

Just some more pics from my Thanksgiving day weekend.

This one is a friend of mine I never met in person till that weekend and we have been friends via online message boards for going on two years now. She lives not far from my bro and it was great to finally meet and hang out together.


Here is the Thanksgiving crew on Saturday before my plane was to leave. My older brother is on the far left, 4 years older than me.
My great nephew Jack at age 2 has renamed everyone in the family. Mostly because he can't wrap his tongue around some sounds and spits out something close. Grandmom is Nona, Granddad (my brother) is Deedo, Great grandpap is Frufoo and so on. I became Gabby. Short for Great Aunt Betsy. This was not his creation, it was my brothers. Jackjack was happy to call me Besse. I think my brother wanted me to have a fun name. I don't know when, but at some point I started to call him Jackjack and it has stuck with me. That may be Gabby's name for her Great Nephew.
This is Jackjack at the Thanksgiving day Table. He was given a turkey leg and gnawed on it. He liked waving it around more than eating it.

My favorite pic of the visit - Jackjack is a Thomas the train nut and they set up the trains for around the tree. My brother has a control that makes the train go and stop and the whistle blow. Jackjack is listening for the train.

Here is Jackjack and Deedo walking back from the visit to the zoo and the festival of lights that was held there. Jackjack was able to tell us what almost every animal 'said' and was especially good at elephants and penquins.


Monday, December 1, 2008


I would like to print this blog out - if anyone reading has any suggestions on how to do this - please comment. I am not looking to print it as a self published book, what I have seen online (blog 2 print) makes that too expensive (unless there is a cheaper way) But maybe a way to reformat it to make it print friendly so I could print it out myself.

Oh, I am trying new formats within the Blogger world to see what may be better for printing.