The Cardiologist

My Mom is in the hospital. She will be okay after a surgery that will reorganize her twisted stomach and diaphragm.  If you’ve read any of the other posts about my family you know that I am one of eight children, so our mom is not lacking for company as she sits in her hospital room waiting for the surgery that is scheduled for Tuesday morning. Each day she’s there we will be a constant parade of visitors to her room; grateful that she does not have a roommate so more than one of us can visit at a time.

When I was there yesterday, overlapping my visit with my younger brother and his wife, a doctor came into the room introducing himself as a cardiologist.  He had only a stethoscope and his ID badge around his neck — no white coat.  He explained that the general surgeon who be operating on her asked for a consultation to assess as cardiac risk.  My mother is 77 years-old and while there is risk at any age for surgery, there is bit more as the body ages.  After an almost 40-minute visit the doc said Mom would be cleared for surgery.

blue heartsNow, I’m sure you’re scratching your head; a cardiologist spent 40 minutes with one patient and he was not even going to be operating on her!? The three of us in the room couldn’t believe it either. He was simply lovely, asking questions and listening to the lengthy answers my Mom gave as she was thinking out loud to craft her responses. Maybe it was because it’s a small hospital or because the ward was not jam-packed with patients, or maybe because it was because it was 6:00 pm on a quiet, rainy Saturday night, that this particular doc was able to spend so much time with us.  Regardless, I left the hospital more confident in the care my Mom was receiving there.

I spoke to Mom this morning, she asked, “What did you think of that doctor last night?” I told her I thought he was terrific.  She checked him out by asking some of the nurses about him and sure enough, our feelings were confirmed by everyone she spoke to–he is wonderful!

Today’s thank you goes out to the wonderful cardiologist who is looking out for Mom!

Bloggers’ Doctor Stories

Catching Up in Writing Prompts

On the interview show Inside the Actors’ Studio, host James Lipton asks each of his guests the same ten questions. What are your responses?


Today, I was digging back through some older writing prompts to find something that would tickle my fancy.  I came across this one from last November.  I didn’t write about it then, so since I’m a big fan of  Inside the Actor’s Studio, I’ll write it today.

I started watching the program, it’s on the Bravo channel, with some regularity in 2003.  Some of my favorite episodes are:  Bette Midler, Billy Crystal, Bradley Cooper, and Billy Joel.  Yes, Billy Joel.  Though not an actor, his interview focused on music as an important “character” in the storytelling found in movies and television.  

Brilliant as always, I also got to hear the classical music pieces he’d written.  Admittedly, his own fingers had borne the brunt of beating on the keyboards for so long, that he couldn’t play the pieces himself; a classically trained concert pianist played for the audience. 

If you haven’t seen the show, every episode ends with the same list of questions to the guest.  I imagine they don’t come as a surprise to the actor in the hot seat, unless they’ve never seen the show.   I’ve used the list as an ice-breaker with teams I’ve managed.  It really breaks down some of the walls, quickly.  I’ve answered the questions below as I might if I were sitting on the stage across from the host, James Lipton.

Today’s thank you goes out to the former boyfriend who turned me onto Inside the Actor’s Studio.  I’ll not name him here since my husband believes I did not have a love life until I met him–these days my husband and I enjoy the show together.

  1. What is your favorite word? Joyful
  2. What is your least favorite word? Regret
  3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Really fresh outdoor air.
  4. What turns you off? Blatant ignorance.
  5. What is your favorite curse word? F*/#
  6. What sound or noise do you love?  Giggling babies.
  7. What sound or noise do you hate? Children crying in pain.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  TV talk show host.
  9. What profession would you not like to do?  Accountant.
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Welcome, Kelly!

Bloggers Who Enjoy the Show:

Ripped from the Headlines: $10,000 Grant Award!

Today’s Daily Prompt at Word Press: Ripped from the Headlines, sounded like a real challenge, something to really get my creative juices flowing, so to speak.  Here is it: Click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.

violaI went over to the (the local paper in Rhode Island) $10,000 grant endows RIC scholarship fund in honor of Viola Davis.  I thought about the prompt all afternoon, not entirely sure of what to write about today.  I’ve landed on the grant and scholarship piece of the headline.  I’m familiar with grants, writing for them, researching them, receiving them.  Grants have made my world go around since…I went to college.

Going to college, even in 1981, was expensive.  I used to say that I “paid my own way” through college, which is partly true.  But thanks to the good people of the United States, I received grants–lots of grants.  The linchpin to the successful funding of my education was the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).  The FSEOG is a grant for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.  I certainly fit that bill (no pun intended).

10kMy college experience was amazing.  I made the most of it; I was an RA, on the orientation staff, class president, had lots of friends, and tremendous memories to last a lifetime.  I could not have been as successful as I have been without the college degree and I couldn’t have made it through college with grants. In fact my grants totaled more than $10,000 over four years!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

Meme and Lily

I love these Weekly Photo Challenges, it gives me an easy way to “show” you what I’m thankful for.  I think I may have missed the deadline for the one about Thanksgiving, of course.  As described in the DPChallenge, we’re to show something that is about the holiday, the time spent with family and friends, a photo that exemplifies “Thankful”.

Here’s mine.  It’s my sister Sue with her six month-old granddaughter.  The room was full of the noise of conversation and eating, but Miss Lily found the quiet of her Meme’s shoulder and snuggled in for a brief nap… thankful for a quiet place to rest her head.


Gravy and the Wooden Spoon

Tonight my twenty-something niece is hosting her first holiday party, from the looks of what’s posted on Facebook it might just be her first “grown-up” hosting.  It reminds me of the time I first hosted a holiday event.  I was living in Vermont in the early 90’s and there were quite a few of us who were not going to be able to get to the Thanksgiving dinner…no turkey smells, no cooking pies wafting through the air; inconceivable.

house in fair havenThe bunch of us who hung out together, and worked together, decided we would share responsibilities for cooking a complete and entire turkey dinner.  There were roughly 14 people who would be joining us in my two-room apartment.  We moved the kitchen table from Liz’s apartment and moved it into my living room; her table tucked up next to mine, with various rocking chairs, a loves eat, and a few actual kitchen chairs, comfortably sat all of us.

dinner todayNot only was it the first time I cooked a turkey, it was certainly the first time I made gravy to go with it.  I’m personally not much of a gravy eater so didn’t think about how to make it until someone asked if there would be any.  I tried to remember how my Mom would get things ready on Thanksgiving day.  I’d watch her make the stuffing every years so there was no need for a recipe.  The gravy on the other hand, I was clueless.

cookbookThe Betty Crocker cookbook I owned had a recipe for turkey gravy, using cornstarch as a thickener, so I gave that a try.  I’ve been known to be somewhat impatient–apparently making gravy is not a race and patience is the key to success.  When it appeared the gravy was not getting any thicker I would add a little more cornstarch, when it got too thick I’d add more broth…and so it continued.  By the time I was “done” , I had transferred the liquid into a bigger saucepan, and, when all was truly said and done, the wooden spoon I was using to stir with was standing straight up in the middle of the brown goo in the pan.

gravyDinner guests had arrived and I was pleased with how the apartment looked and smelled.   There were plenty of munchies prior to the main  course and dessert items filled a card table in the corner.  When someone asked for the gravy I poured what I could into the serving dish and passed it along.  While I was just slightly horrified, the dinner guests were lovely about “pouring” the gravy on their mashed potatoes.  “It has good flavor,” someone said.

Today I want that those gracious guests for choking down my sorry excuse for turkey gravy.  I have since learned how to make a smooth, velvety, perfectly seasoned treat, to cover the aromatic slices of turkey, the mound of stuffing, and mini-mountain of fluffy white mashed potatoes.  Enjoy!

Thanksgiving, Briefly

Our Hosts
Our Hosts for 25 Years
Sue and Paul
Meme and Lily 2
Meme and Lily

The same for a quarter century,

We gather at Sue and Paul’s.

We eat, we talk, the boys go for a walk,

And a grand time is had by all!

Sharing vino

enjoying dinnerCarol and Nan

Aunt Judy and Lily

Ready to EatUncle Phil and Liam


15 pounds of carrots, done!

Every year for more than a few, the evening before Thanksgiving some of us girls gather for a gab-fest, glass of wine, and listening to the Sound of Music soundtrack.  Our purpose for getting together is to peel the vegetables for Thanksgiving dinner.  How many  pounds of potatoes and carrots are peeled depends entirely on how many people are expected.  How much wine we drink while peeling….depends entirely on how much we have to talk about; or as it turns out tonight, how tired we are–we didn’t drink tonight for fear of falling asleep while peeling!

This year, one of the bigger in recent years, there will be thirty people for dinner.  For the most part everyone at the table is somehow related to one and other; if not by blood, by the fact that for the past twenty-five years the dining table at Linden Street, is where Thanksgiving happens.   Sue and Paul are lovely and brilliant hosts.  Conversation is lively and engaging, and there is at least one full dessert for each person who has a seat.

As the blessing is said, we’re reminded of the sorrows, joys, challenges and successes of the previous year.  This year there is so much to be grateful for and it is difficult to pick just one.  So, I’ll pick two that I know as a family we are grateful for this year!!  Liam and Lilyanna!

liam walk
Liam makes great “strides” in school!
Miss Lily
Sandra and AJ welcome Lily to the family!