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Visiting friends

I hope to visit my friends who are homebound today. Doris is in Mary Manning Walsh and they just recently opened up for visiting. I missed Barbara’s birthday last month, my energy is very low sometimes. Haven’t found any physical problems, but some days I just don’t have the umph to go out and about. I used to think my sister was silly to only plan one thing to do a day, but that seems much more sensible nowadays.

The heat and humidity we have been experiencing is a big factor as well. We wonder how it was done in the days before air conditioning!

I look forward to seeing people, but don’t want to put them at risk, as I get out and about and may be exposed to those who have Covid but are unsymptomatic. I have been tested for antibodies, and came up negative, so it looks like I haven’t had it. My husband finally got the antibody test this week, and he has tested positive, the most you can have. He never tested positive for Covid, as we couldn’t get him tested when he was most likely sick. Now he is taking blood thinners, so can’t donate blood with antibodies in it.

We continue doing little things each day, staying safe and healthy and praying for all to do the same. Speaking out for those at risk, demonstrating for Yemen while using social distancing and masks, doing as many meetings and readings as we can via zoom and other social media. Spreading the love wherever we go.

Surgery in Time of Quarantine – Comedy Covid

Back in November of 2018, I had my 5 year colonoscopy, and they found 4 polyps, two of them quite large. None were cancer, though they were all various combinations of the kind of cells that can become cancer, left alone. We took them out, but they decided I should have a repeat colonoscopy in 3 months, to make sure they were gone and we caught it all.  In February 2019, they found a little bit of growth, also not cancer, but not benign. They took it, and decided the next one should have a tattoo on the spot, so we can see if the same spot is growing polyps again. A different person did the work, as Dr. Lu, my wonderful GI doctor, doesn’t do that tattoo surgery. Dr. Christian Hirsch did the next one, in May or so, at which no growth was found, but he did the tattoo for future reference. They recommended another colonoscopy within 6 months to a year, so March 4, 2020, I finally got it, and Dr. Lu found some growth, and referred me to Dr. Richard Whelan, who does surgery on the wall of the colon to remove sections where polyps keep coming back, who recommended surgery in 1-3 months to do just that.

Then Covid hit, and all non essential surgeries were postponed indefinitely.

Early in June, I got a call that we could reschedule the surgery for June 16, so we did. I had to get some preop work done, including an antibody test, to see if I ever actually had the virus, and I got negative results for that. 72 hours before surgery I had to be tested for the virus, and I did it on the Friday before, along with a chest xray at Lenox Hill, where the surgery will be. Got a call from the office on Monday, saying Friday was too soon, I needed to get another Covid test. I was already doing the prep (not as bad as for a colonoscopy, but pretty close), had to run up to East 77th Street and get another test (the line was much longer than it had been on Friday, but luckily my bowels behaved) or I couldn’t have the surgery! I had several calls and texts making sure I was doing the prep and that I didn’t feel ill, so the surgery was on, though now I wasn’t the first of the day, but at noon.

No one can come in with you, and they don’t have anywhere for the person who is picking you up to stay, so Daver stayed home until he was called when I was in the recovery room, which wasn’t until 5:30pm or so. Visiting hours end at 7pm, and they were keeping me overnight to make sure all was well (which they had told us to prepare for, just in case it happened). I called him as soon as I got my cell phone back, when I was in my room. The clock on the wall there said ‘5:25pm’, so I wasn’t sure when I actually got in there, I was still a little fuzzy, but he said it was shortly after they had told me I was staying overnight. I told him the surgery went well, they were pleased, but not to worry about trying to get there before 7pm, I would call him in the morning to say when to come pick me up, as it wouldn’t be before 11am and visiting doesn’t start until 1pm, so just plan on coming at 1pm and if they let me out early, I can wait in the waiting room for him downstairs. He was very relieved, as he wanted to see me, but didn’t want to waste a trip if he couldn’t see me, which would have been the case, as it takes at least an hour to get there from our apartment on the lower east side.

I arrived for check in at 9am, early for my 10am time, but they let me come upstairs. I had to wear a mask the whole time, except when I was in my room by myself. I had to answer many questions about the prep and how I was feeling and what surgery I was there for and have my vital signs taken. The anesthesiologist introduced himself, along with the nurse who would be assisting Dr. Whelan, and asked more questions and answered any I had. I had to check my valuables, which included my cell phone, glasses and backpack, so the person in charge of them had to write up a list of everything, to make sure there was accountability. There were interns working with the surgical staff, who got yelled at while escorting me to surgery, as they were to change masks before going into the surgery and the nurse was afraid they wouldn’t remember. They helped me stand in the room while others got the surgery table ready, helping me keep my arms in close so I wouldn’t accidentally touch the instrument table and cause a delay, while they tried to find a cushion they use on the surgery table to help the patient stay comfortable in a long surgery. They had a long one, but were looking for a short one. They decided to fold up the  long one so they didn’t have to wait, after testing it to make sure it wouldn’t get in the way, folded up as it was. The anesthesiologist gave it the okay, so we were ready for surgery almost by noon, a miracle in itself!

All went well, and I woke up around 5:20pm, they told me, but they wanted to leave the catheter in overnight and I would most likely be released the next morning. Dr. Whelan said they were able to get it all either endoscopically or through the colon, no laparascopic surgery or sectioning needed, no colostomy bag, no incisions in my abdomen, nothing. He will send the results of the biopsy, but it felt soft, so he was encouraged that we got it all. It was a long surgery, around 4 hours, but all went well. Not too long after that, they wheeled me into my room, which was not private, but I had it to myself, so it felt pretty good. The nurse introduced herself, and pointed out the big board where the names of the nurse and nurse’s aide, the room number and phone number were all listed. Once I got my glasses and cell phone back from where they were kept in storage, I was able to see it and call Da, my sister Mary Kay and a couple others, to let them know how it went.

They had given me a couple cookie bars – can’t think of the word! So I had water and those and given all the prep, I was fine without dinner, which I was too late for anyway. I had to use the bedpan if I had to do anything, and the nurse or assistant had to  come, as I couldn’t get out of bed because of the catheter. I had managed to avoid having to do that in 2015 when I broke my hip and had surgery to repair it, so it was weird, but manageable, and the nurses and staff were so terrific. They are overworked and underpaid, but still gave me so much support and encouragement and did everything I needed them to do and much more.

I  didn’t sleep much, but felt really good, so I was thinking of comedy monologues and skits I could write about this experience, and perhaps that will happen eventually. The interns and the doctor came by several times, the nurses recorded the vital signs when they were supposed to, though we all kept looking at the clock for what time it was, and it was always 5:25, very disconcerting! In the morning, they said I could go home around 11am, once the catheter was out. They had to record what volume I was able to give, once I was off the catheter, but that happened pretty fast, so they were happy.

After I had been in my room an hour or so, I rubbed my face and discovered I had dried up drool next to my mouth. It had been covered by the mask, so no one had seen it, and they are so short staffed that they don’t have people helping you wash your face, like I did in 2015 and couldn’t get out of bed without a nurse’s help.  A skit started forming in my head. During the night there were different nurses for that shift, and one thought I was the patient from the night before, so there were some laughs at me looking like the other old white lady who had been in my bed last night. Another skit started to form. She had left the flowers someone had brought her, so the nurse was sure I was the same person. I told her maybe she left the flowers for the nursing staff, as a gift for the wonderful care she received. I certainly wanted to do all I could for all of them.

When Dr. Whelan said I could go home, around 10am, as the urine volume was good, and I wasn’t having too much blood in my bowel movements, though they were mostly gas, and there really wasn’t any pain, the nurse took the port out of my hand and made sure I had all my stuff, and allowed me to dress myself in preparation for when Daver arrived to escort me home. She called for a wheelchair, as she didn’t want me to carry too much, no more than 5 pounds for the next few weeks, as I heal. After an hour and the wheelchair wasn’t there, I let her pick up my bag to see it wasn’t that heavy, and let me go downstairs to wait for Da in the waiting room. He arrived within 15 minutes of me getting down to the lobby, and I was able to leave.

So it goes. Be seeing you.

 

My Father was a writer

I wish I could write as well as he did. He worked as a journalist, but was always doing other jobs, looking to find a way to get published as a writer. He wrote jokes for a local radio show, picking out stories from the newspaper that would make good fun, and writing the history of his high school. My sister has his clip book from his early newspaper days, I can’t wait to be able to visit and read them with her. But I miss his letters most of all, they were so full of wonderful insights and funny stories and just great writing. My cousin Bill was a great letter writer, too. I am sorry I waited so long to discover that, each of his letters is a treasure as well.

I started saving my father’s letters soon after I moved to New York City, but wish I had every one he wrote, which started when I visited my Uncle Leo in Kansas with my Aunt Kate when I was 10 or so, and continued every time I was away from home. Sophomore and Junior year of high school, I was in the convent, so he and Mama wrote to me. She wrote once a week or so, but he wrote 2 or 3 times a week, and it was a treasure trove. He died six years after I moved to New York, when he was 62.

After Mama died in 1990, my brother Mike took Papa’s writing, as the eldest and a writer as well. After Mike died in 2000, his wife and daughters thought we should have his stuff back, so they brought it to us. Mary Kay, my sister, found in the collection a bunch of letters that Mama wrote to Papa when he was in the hospital for two months, probably when she was pregnant with me, we think. What a revelation! When she was writing to me, it was very brief, newsy, but it felt like she was only writing to make sure I heard from her – she was going through a bad time and didn’t feel Papa would represent her well.

These letters to Papa were to her love, showing him how much she needed him to come home, asking his advice about every little thing she thought of – 3 and 4 pages long, each of them! We were so upset that we hadn’t thought to read them before she passed away, to ask her about them and how she managed to live through those two months. And she drew rough sketches of the room she was wondering if they could turn into a nursery for the new baby – what an artist! I always thought my cartoonist brother Tim got his artist bent from Papa, as he was the writer. But Mama had worked as a draftswoman during the war, earning $25 an hour, before she had any children, right up to when she had Mike, their first child. She told us she was scared she would lose the baby falling off the drafting stool (she was only 5’2″), but couldn’t afford to quit before she had to when she had the baby. It never occurred to me how talented she must have been to earn that kind of money in the 40s!

When I wrote back to them, I wrote to them both, trying not to encourage putting one against the other. I never felt my letters were as good as his, but Mama saved them, so I found them after she had passed away. Good memories! One of these days I will have to look up the ones I did save, and share them with my siblings, and see if they have any of theirs as well.

And I do try to continue to write regularly, to my sister, my cousin Bill up until he passed away last month, my brother, my friends. Letters are a dying art, but I love them. Only way to get them is to write to those who will respond, so I keep it up.

And this blog helps me too. So it goes.

 

Mother’s Day in a time of pandemic

For me, since 1990 when my mother passed away, Mother’s Day is not that different. Mom is in heaven, so I do try to send Mother’s Day greetings to my sister and sister-in-law and all my friends who are mothers, and I send donations to Pax Christi Metro New York so they will be remembered by an organization that works for peace and justice, and not just spending on chocolates and flowers. After all, the first Mother’s Day proclamation in 1870 was all about working for peace and not letting mothers encourage their children to kill other mothers’ children for any reason whatsoever.

But in this time of pandemic, people can’t get together with their moms who are alive, and grandchildren can’t hug their grandparents unless they live with them. Having a mom who is no longer with us is not a problem, for once. My sister lives with our grandchildren, and are home schooled by their other grandmother, so they get to visit all the time. They did call me, thanks to my son Patrick, so I got to hear their voices on Mother’s Day. My sister called later in the day, and the two of us got to chat a while, as we do on a regular basis. I called my mother-in-law, who lives in Florida and has dementia, but she didn’t answer the phone. I spoke to her daughter, who lives with her, the day before, so I know they are doing all right, though my sister-in-law has osteoporosis and was experiencing migraines the last few weeks, so I keep on praying for them. Can’t visit, as Florida has a two week quarantine for folk from New York, and I can’t afford to go there that long.

My other sister-in-law, the widow of my oldest brother Mike, lives in Maryland and her grandkids live nearby and visit from the car for Easter and Mother’s Day, and post pictures on Facebook so we all can see them that way. Thank goodness my niece is a good photographer! I haven’t seen them in person since my sister’s 40th wedding anniversary party.

My brother calls his son and Suzanne, Bart’s mom, every week, if not every day, so they are doing well. He lives alone, but stays connected with them and us as well. We are not as good at reaching out to him as to each other, but we try.

My sister has zoom calls with her daughter who lives in Texas and her siblings, so even the ones who don’t live with her get to be in contact each week. It is not the same, but it is better than nothing.

May we all remember how to stay in touch after this is done. Meanwhile, stay safe and healthy! And share the love!

Happy Birthday in heaven

As I age, there are more people I know in heaven than here on earth, it seems.

Yesterday, my brother Brian, the second oldest of my siblings, would have been 74 years old. He died at 61 in 2007, a year younger than our father, who died in 1978 at 62 years of age.

Today, April 17th, Sr. Thomasmari Gore, MSBT, would have celebrated her birthday – she died in 2015 on Dec. 29th. I never asked her age, I think it is a rude question, especially for  someone of her generation. I hope she is celebrating with all who are up there, especially Fr. Thomas Augustine Judge, CM, ST, the Vincentian who founded the Missionary Cenacle Family (STs, MSBTs, BTMI and MCA), Mother Boniface, the first General Custodian of the Sisters (lay women with public vows) and Dr. Margaret Healy, the first General Custodian of both the MCA (lay people who are missionaries in the providence of their everyday life) and the BTMI (lay women with private vows), the lay branches of the Missionary Cenacle Family.

At this time of Corona Virus, so many are losing family and friends and are not able to gather to mourn in person. I wasn’t able to be present for Sr. Thomasmari’s funeral, as I was away in Ohio with my family. I have missed many aunts’ and uncles’ wakes and funerals because I was in New York and was not able to be there. My brother Mike missed Mama’s funeral in 1990 because he had thrown out his back driving back from Ohio, where we visited the week before her death. My brother Tim and I took pictures of her in the coffin and all the flowers, so he could see them at least. It was very weird to be taking pictures with her – our brother Matthew walked in to see what we were doing and turned right around and left. Too morbid for him! My sister-in-law and my nieces weren’t able to come for Tim’s funeral in 2008, so she took pictures of the lobby at Studio 54, where he had worked, as it was down the block from where they were seeing a show in his honor. A wonderful tribute that he appreciated, I am sure!

We need to share our stories. Though we can’t be together in person, we can call, email and write our stories to make sure those histories aren’t lost. Think of all the things you want to share about your friend or family member who has died, write them down or call someone to let them know. Shared grief is lessened, shared joy is increased, so don’t forget to share, however it works for you.

Sr. Thomasmari is the one who encouraged me to be a leader. I took Bible classes at St. Emeric’s, where she was coordinating all the classes for lay leadership there from the Bronx Pastoral Center. She saw something in me that led her to believe I could do more. I became the Religious Education Coordinator at my parish with her help. Eventually, when she was chaplain at NYU, she got me to give a talk about leadership as a woman in the Catholic Church, along with a female minister and rabbi, representing their faiths. She was instrumental in many women’s lives, enriching us with stories of faith and empowerment from many cultures.

I visited her at the Motherhouse in Philadelphia, when she could no longer work in ministry. She was still reaching out to see what more could be done for the communities with whom she had worked. She had worked with the Chinese community in Philadelphia for many years, and treasured her statue of Mary from their culture. She tried to get me to connect with them.

My brother Brian, at our brother Mike’s funeral in 2000, said ‘I couldn’t get this many people to come to my funeral if I gave out free beer!’ Mary Kay, our sister, and her husband were there to say goodbye to Mike in the ER in MD/DC, but she and Dr. Ray went back to Ohio before the funeral. Ray had patients to see. All Brian’s siblings, Monica his outlaw wife, and friends were able to be there for him in November of 2007 in Ohio, but it was a small crowd. We put up pictures from his life, filling two cardboard sheets, and told many stories, but we want to hold on.

They are missed. Don’t forget. Share the love.

Be seeing you.

Applying on line

I have been trying to apply for unemployment since Friday March 27th, but because I didn’t check out my on line site carefully enough, I had to do it by phone, and of course, with so many others applying, some of whom have no computer available to them, the phone lines are busy and overloaded.

I was able to get through eventually and begin to fill out some of the necessary paperwork, but then I had to speak to a representative, and the lines are busy. Now, almost two weeks later, when I finally get through, I get the same message, you need to speak to a representative, but the lines are all busy helping others, call back later this week.

There is no separate line for those who need to speak to a representative, if you need to file or continue to file by phone, everyone calls the same number.  I have been calling daily since March 27th and mostly I get a busy signal. When I do get through, mostly I get a message that we are really busy right now, use the website or call back later. Occasionally I get that message in Spanish. I don’t really know much Spanish, but I recognize enough to know it is what I have been hearing in English. I am glad they are doing that, as it must be even more frustrating for those who speak Spanish to call the line and when you finally hear the voice, it says something only in English.

My husband, who was put on ‘furlough’ on March 27th, was able to do his filing online, so we are hoping his checks will start coming before we run out of money entirely. I did finally fill out my application for Social Security this week. I will turn 68 this month, so I am eligible and have been for two years, but I had so many 1099 jobs that my Social Security is not very much. Compared to nothing coming in, it is looking very good right now. I was able to do it all online, so am hopeful it will be processed quickly.

With the libraries closed, folk who don’t have a home computer or a smart phone have no access to computers, so have to use the phone lines. So many are unemployed, this is a Catch 22 situation. I imagine they are hiring people to work at unemployment, but the people I have to talk to are the ones who know what they are doing. I am praying they are staying safe and healthy somehow!

My favorite activity all year since 2007 is volunteering for two weeks at Trinita, a family development program that my spiritual family, the Missionary Cenacle Family, runs in rural Connecticut for 6 weeks every summer. The program brings families from urban settings up to Connecticut for a week, where they explore a theme as a family, with pool time and arts and crafts as well as peer group work on the theme, all run by volunteers. This year, because of the Corona Virus, they have had to cancel that program this summer for the first time since it was begun in 1923. I hope and pray all the families will be safe and healthy and all the volunteers and staff as well.

This has been a most bizarre Lent and Holy Week. Our whole lives are altered. May you all reach out with your hearts, since we cannot touch one another, and share the love that we have been given in whatever ways we can devise. I am so grateful that I live with my husband, so I at least have someone to hug and hold. I call my friends, especially those who live alone, and invite them to call if they get desperate for at least phone contact.

Share the stories of that kind of contact, and encourage everyone to vote so we get some leaders who don’t abdicate responsibility or look for what profit is in it for them. We, as a country, have one of the lowest voter turnouts in a developed country. Imagine what we can do if we change that number to 87%, like one of the other developed countries! Double what we got in the last election! Check out my friend Tom Cahill’s blog, A View from the Ledge for more information on this and many other interesting things.

Do what you can, and pray, especially for those who have no other recourse.

Be seeing you!

 

 

 

April is no fool this year

I didn’t have the heart to play April Fools’ jokes this year. We just didn’t feel like being silly.

My husband has been furloughed, but was able to apply online for unemployment by going online at 6am. I have to speak to a person, and have not been able to get through as yet.

The trip I was going to go on with the Missionary Cenacle Family got cancelled, but I am trying to stay in touch with everyone by email and phone. So far, several friends have had it and are recovering, though one is still very sick. One who has recovered is donating her blood with its antivirus as soon as they agree to take it.

I am supposed to have surgery on May 12 to take out a section of my bowel, to prevent any cancerous growth. Not sure if they will postpone, they say they know about April, not able to predict that far as yet. I have had colonoscopies that show growth, not cancer yet, but the kind of polyps that do become cancerous in too high a percentage to ignore. A friend had to have a biopsy to see if his lung cancer came back, and it did, but stage 1, so it can be treated with radiation now. Good thing, as they are calling the preventive surgery ‘elective’, which is not being allowed in our Corona Virus time.

Having any other health issue during this time must be very scary. I am glad I am relatively healthy, don’t have to worry about going to a doctor’s office for chemo or radiation or dialysis. We all keep praying and doing what we can to help those who need it.

Not being able to go to Mass daily, as I usually do when I can, or get together with others to create some theatre, means I am frustrated. Knowing others are dealing with much worse problems helps me keep things in perspective.

Trying to reach out to reach out to those without computers, or who only have access in public libraries, which are closed now, means relying on photocopying and mailing things to them. Not having any income means this is a risk that my husband would prefer I not take.

A couple friends have had elderly relatives pass away and they are not sure they will be able to have a wake or funeral any time soon. Prayers we are offering, and will continue to offer, things are being live streamed, people are being as inventive as they can, but ultimately we will deal with what we have to deal with and trust God will provide. God’s time is not our time, so we don’t know when relief will come, but we know it will come.

Be seeing you.

Lent is a time in the desert

. . . but this is the weirdest Lent I have ever experienced. We are trying to use this time of self isolation for reflection and listening to our God, but are very distracted by worrying about being able to pay the rent without any work.

My husband’s coworker tested positive for the virus last Monday, so everyone at his office is working from home. He was home because he had a fever that day, but still feels like crap, though the fever is gone. Not sure what it is, on Saturday he got so short of breath when we went out grocery shopping that we took him to urgent care. There we discovered that they are no longer doing testing there. The doctor who saw him recommended he either go home and see how he feels, or go to the E.R., where they might test him or they might not. We opted to go back home, and he still feels like crap, but the shortness of breath is not as bad as it was on Saturday, and still no fever.

Sunday I went to church, where we are allowed to go and pray quietly, as long as we keep 6 feet away from each other. On the way home I ran into my downstairs neighbor, who has tested positive for the virus, as of Thursday. He had a fever for 5 days when he went to the urgent care last Monday (they were still testing there then!), continued having a fever each day through Thursday when he got the results, felt better on Friday, but Saturday again had a fever, so is trying to take it easy. He also got short of breath midweek, just walking his dogs, but feels better now.

Everyone else I have spoken to is doing all right, but most of my friends are in the over 65 or immune system compromised bracket, so we are self quarantining and sanitizing and washing our hands a lot, so far, so good.

Friends and family are posting lots of positive things on Facebook and their blogs, and all are recommending checking on your elderly or living alone friends and neighbors, make sure they have what they need, and, as a friend of a friend and Cleveland Catholic Worker says, we reach out with our hearts, even though we can’t touch one another with our hands right now.

May you be well, and take this time to reflect on how God is calling you to be good, do good, be a power for good in the providence of your everyday life. May St. Joseph and all the saints watch over us, and help us to help one another and survive our orange president and the idiots who think this doesn’t affect them.

Be seeing you.

My granddaughter turns 10 this month!

Double digits are so amazing! My best friend Pam Mitchell’s grandson Charlie was born the day before my Brianna, so I try to send presents to them both. When Charlie was born, I got a text from Pam saying ‘He was born’ and the time and inches long. I was confused at first because I had been told the baby was to be a girl, then realized the text was from Pam, not my son Patrick or my sister.

My first grandson (Joshua, Sept. 20) and her second (Desi – Aug. 3rd) were born weeks apart as well, two years later. Maybe they will meet someday, mine in Ohio and hers in Wisconsin – so far.

I have been looking through old pictures and spending much more time than I had planned because it is such a joy to see them as they are growing up. I only get to Ohio to visit every few months and usually only for a weekend or a couple days more than that. Visiting is just wonderful, I really wish I lived closer so could come more often.

If only someone in Ohio or Michigan or Wisconsin would hire me as an actor then I would have a reason to live there and the ability to visit more often!

I need to get my new picture printed and uploaded to all the sites, so I can get more acting work.

Joyous Solstice, Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Working at Radio City gives me an excuse to be late with my Christmas letter this year. Not sure what my excuse was in the years I didn’t work for the Christmas spectacular, but so it goes.

If you know me, you know I am late a lot. I used to be on time for everything, and am still on time for work, and even early, but for the things I volunteer to do I am invariably late.

I just got a jury duty notice – having postponed before, I have to serve this time. Starts on January 14, so it should work out. It is grand jury, so we’ll see how it is set up this time. One time I had to serve one day a week for 6 or 8 weeks, I hope they pick a day that is not too full of doctor appointments and other possible conflicts.

This past year was the 50th anniversary of me graduating high school, and I was able to be in Ohio for the celebration. I went to Lumen Cordium, an all girls’ Catholic high school – okay, you probably figured that out by the Latin name. It is now a Senior Citizen’s Home, called Light of Hearts (which is the English translation of the high school name). We usually have an all class reunion at the newly renovated building, in the auditorium, and it is a lot of fun. Our class has the most attendees, usually, mostly because the graduates who live in Ohio have been gathering monthly ever since we graduated, I think. I haven’t made any of those meetings, but do see them on Facebook, and have connected with some classmates and former teachers through Facebook as well. I have been able to come to a few of the all class reunions, reconnecting with the Sisters and former teachers who also attend, and some of the Fall celebrations at the old school, they have great prizes, food and crafts, and all the profits go to keeping the seniors who can’t afford to live there anymore able to continue. One day, that may be me, too!

Had some health adventures this year, having some large polyps at my 5 year colonoscopy last year, had to have another at 3 months in January, then another in March to mark the spot where the biggest polyp had left some growth in January, but it hadn’t this time, so I am okay for another 6 months or a year. Had some more skin cancer and grafts to cover the wounds, but all is healing well again. Got new pictures on October 9th, have picked one resume shot, but need to pick a couple for postcards and maybe a commercial shot, then get them all printed so I can start using them!

Da had some health adventures as well, a leg clot that appeared in July, just as I was heading to Trinita. He had to give himself blood thinner injections daily for a couple months, but is able to do without them for now, though the clot is still there. It hasn’t grown, but it isn’t going away, either. He hopes to be able to do physical therapy so his legs will stop hurting all the time, but they changed our insurance again, so the copays are increased and they reduced his bonus, so life is very frustrating. I was able to go to Trinita, though I felt like a terrible wife to leave him on his own while I enjoyed myself in rural Connecticut! Though our theme was Saints and Superheroes, I felt like neither.

I had the Pax Christi Metro New York retreat, met for a Pentecost one day retreat in Stirling in June, which went very well, thanks to (Carmen Banegas, my assistant, who translated into Spanish for all) Sr. Sara Butler, MSBT, Rosa Tirado, BTMI, Regina Arias, MCA and Fr. Ralph Frisch, ST, who were the panel to talk about what Pentecost means to them and their branch of the Missionary Cenacle Family – the spiritual family to which I belong. In August I went to the Women’s Retreat in San Alfonso, the Redemptorist retreat center in NJ – next year it is August 25-27 – and planned to have the MCA retreat in October in Philly, but noone but one signed up for it, so Angel and I went on retreat by ourselves, and met with Sr. Terry Ahern to go over the plan for next year, got new dates which hopefully will work better for everyone – Oct. 16-18, save them!!! Please! In November, Terry Panzera and I were to give the retreat we gave last year in Philly in Stirling, NJ – again, noone but one signed up for it, so Terry and I went on retreat with each other, and it was terrific, sorry you all missed it. December 7, Followers of the Spirit Cenacle from Wareham, MA, planned a terrific one day retreat on the Eucharist at Trinita, I hope they or our new spiritual guide, Fr. Gustavo Baloco, ST, will plan one for Christ the King or whatever day works for next year!

In between, I worked at Radio City for whatever concerts or graduations I could, in addition to the Christmas show – still going on through January 5, 2020! I continue working for WorldStrides, as an OSC and a Field Specialist, at NYU – now as an employee, not full time, but on the payroll, which involves way too much paperwork and online computer stuff – still playing patients for student doctors to interview, very interesting work, but at the same pay rate since I started over 15 years ago. Not to mention Ellis Island Stories, still going strong. This past January I bought a mustache and have done several shows as William Patrick Drain – if Irish – and looking very much like my brother Matthew or my real grandfather William John Flanagan. I also continue visiting homebound friends and working the elections and various other jobs I get.

Da continues working at the company that treats him horribly since 2001, for less money than he earned in previous years, as they seem to deduct his insurance that they pay for from his salary, and you know insurance premiums go up each year.

Many good friends passed away this year, including my sister’s husband, +Dr. Raymond R. Land at 83, but still a shock, as he was always so active. Daver’s favorite aunt also passed away, +Jo Shafer, the last of his father’s siblings still alive.

We love hearing from you all, and keep you in our daily prayers, as I hope you do the same for us!