Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

I wish all of you a day filled with friends, family, fun, too much food, lots of booze and much love!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Cheer

I was all prepared to sit down and use this entry as a bitch session, but last night I went to bed feeling pretty good and spent some time reflecting on the week.
Sunday we (almost the whole clan) had dinner at Lauren & Mike’s house so we could see their incredible tree and Christmas decorations. She made wonderful turkey meatloaves and Jean brought a cake to celebrate Thierry’s birthday, albeit a bit early. We all had a great time.

Monday I worked a bit and had a wonderful massage. Not feeling well over the past month and being cold all the time, I found myself constantly in a crunched up position. My neck and shoulders ached terribly and I felt that it had to do with my bad posture as well as the neuropathy. The guy I went to was wonderful! When he worked on my neck and around my shoulder blades you could hear things crunch and pop. I had to ask myself why I waited so long, and signed up for another session next week.

Wednesday we met Lauren and Mike at the train station and we all headed up to New York. The main purpose for the trip was to see John Stewart and a taping of the Daily Show, one of our favorite TV programs.

When we checked into our hotel we were given the option of getting a suite rather than two separate rooms. It was a great idea which we took advantage of. We had a two-bedroom, two-bath suite with a kitchen area, complete with an oven, microwave and refrigerator.

Shortly after we put our clothes in our rooms we took off for lunch and then went to the Guggenheim – one of our favorite museums in New York. Lauren and Thierry walked and Mike kept me company in a cab – my days of long walks are, unfortunately, over due to the neuropathy in my feet. The gallery had a show called “Chaos and Classicism” which looked at Italian, French and German art during the period between the two world wars. The exhibit was intriguing, and they had some magnificent early Picasso pieces that I adored. There was also a gallery of Kandinsky works from the period 1922-1933, another favorite.

After enjoying the exhibits, we taxied back to our hotel. We picked up beer, wine, cheese and olives and relaxed in our suite before heading to Tribeca. There we had a good dinner at Locanda Verde, a restaurant partly owned by Robert De Niro.

Thursday was the big day, when we were to see John Stewart. After breakfast we took a walk in the neighborhood and found a furniture store that carries a chair I was anxious to show Thierry. I thought it would make a great addition to our living room – especially since the chair we bought just four years ago seems to be falling apart. We ended up buying two and delivery is scheduled for January. I am so excited! They actually are recliners – but don’t look like recliners. Yes, I am at that stage where I need a recliner!

Everyone walked me back to the hotel then took off for Rockefeller Center. After their power walk, everyone met me at Macy’s. We walked around a bit, but it was bitter cold the few days we were in the City. We took a cab to Hell’s Kitchen where the studios are located and found an Irish Pub to warm up in.

 We had lunch and drinks (not Lauren, however) which made the two-hour waiting period to show time fly by. At one point a couple of regulars came in and the bartender started to mix Manhattan’s. Mike and I watched him, and having been satisfied that he knew how to make them, we ordered two. He made the Manhattans with Maker’s Mark (bourbon). They were great – although I think Mike is used to having his Manhattan made with Canadian whiskey. Bourbon is a little harder to get used to.

We enjoyed the taping of the show and got to see Mike Huckabee, who was John’s guest. Although I would never vote for him in any election, he can be a good interviewee. The show was a bit solemn as John wanted to talk about a bill Congress is ignoring, which would provide aid to the individuals who responded to the 9/11 attacks and are now suffering illnesses as a result.

Rather than go out to dinner that evening, we went back to our hotel, picked up some soup and egg and potato salads and brought the cheeses and snacks back out. The next and last day was a sunny one in the City, but still a bit cold. We walked around after breakfast, bought some books and then relaxed until check out.

Yesterday was Thierry’s birthday. Thierry took the Christmas Tree out of the box and set it up. I had a visit from two new house-cleaners. Oh JOY! They came in here and tore everything apart (well it seemed that way). Four hours they spent here, I am so pleased with their work. If they are willing to come back into the city – I would be thrilled to have them here.

We then picked up Kirk and Lisa and headed to the parent’s house for dinner. Jean cooked a wonderful meal with help from Ann and Joan. Juan made morcilla (blood sausage) and he found a kindred spirit in Thierry when it comes to this gastronomic delite. I did not try it but a few at the table did; some even liked it, including Thierry! Then we once again sang happy birthday to Thierry. Jean’s friend, Teresa, arrived from Spain on Thursday. Teresa is a reflexologist. There is nothing more soothing than having your feet worked on, and that is what she did. Oh I was in heaven.

When we got home, Thierry and I decided to go out for a drink – not something I do too often these days. We had a nice time at a local bar and got home before midnight. I then spent some time on the phone with my dear friend Barbara on the West Coast, getting to bed after midnight would you believe!

I went to bed with a big smile on my face with thoughts of what a great week it was!

PS:  Thierry finally got the lights to work on Curlew.  Here she is decked out for the holidays!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I am well aware of the fact that it has been two weeks since I wrote my last blog. We had visitors from Holland last week (that is excuse number one). The second excuse is that I have had a hard time getting myself to type as I have been pretty negative lately and feel that anything I write will be a downer. As I type this, I am also thinking that that is the reason I started this in the first place. Not to wax political or philosophical, but to share how I feel, both mentally and physically as I go through this treatment. It seems that I get very down a few days after my treatment – which is usually around the same time the side effects kick in.

Well, I have decided to write something and keep it positive, this time! I may write again in a few days but don’t promise that it will be a happy, life is wonderful, piece.

As I mentioned above, our friends Jeannine and Carl visited us for the first time in our new home. I think 1993 was the last time they were in the US. They are a wonderful couple who are fun to hang with. They are also very independent, and didn’t hesitate to go off and spend time on their own. I think they timed their trip well, as the city is resplendent in its holiday attire.

We took a ride out to Longwood Gardens in the suburbs to visit the only horticultural center in the Philadelphia area with an indoor conservatory. Spread over 1,000 acres, the development of Longwood began in the 1930’s by a wealthy businessman, Pierre DuPont. It had been a long time since I had been there, and was pleased that Jeannine (and Carl) seemed to genuinely enjoy the surroundings.

The weather was really quite good while they were here, with only one day of rain. Timing was also good as I had chemo on Thursday during their visit. This meant that I actually felt close to being human for most of the week. We had dinner with my folks and dinner later in the week with our friends Lisa and Kirk. They got to experience a Macy’s Christmas sale and saw the incredible show in the lobby of the Comcast Center – a must see if any of you come to Philadelphia.

They left on Saturday, and we were sad to see them go, but thrilled that they took the time to visit.

This chemo treatment went much better than the last. I guess my feeling so poorly after my last treatment had to do with being ill the week of my treatment. I have actually worked quite a bit this week, but do crash pretty early in the evening.

Thierry and I will pick up our tree from my sister’s basement this weekend (it’s a fake!), and gradually begin to decorate for the holidays. Thierry doesn’t like to put the tree up until (at most) a week before Christmas. Thierry put lights on Curlew which we should be able to see from our window – but something went amiss – maybe we’ll have a picture in my next blog.

The big news – which brings me great joy – is that Lauren is pregnant! I have pictures of the ultra sound if anyone is interest. I decided I will begin to brag now as I am not sure how long I will be able to brag when s/he is born – which may be around July 15th.

We are looking forward to a busy week. I have much work to do and we leave Wednesday for New York. We are going to the Daily Show on Thursday, which was made possible by Mike. Hopefully the weather stays around freezing (unlike our trip three years ago when it was 0oF) so we can walk and enjoy the city.

Today was a pretty good day… I’m hanging in there.