Living here is like a nice bowl of cherries or attending Korean summer bible camp…however you look at it. It’s all cherries and happiness time for me.
In recent days I’ve had wonderful friends stop by for chats, some bearing good things to eat. It’s always this way. If I were still living at home alone, I would not experience this kind of activity. Family yes, but my friends at home work and I couldn’t get out and about to see them except infrequently. Everyone is busy and I understand that. Moving here separated me from lifelong good friends who I didn’t see all that often, but it put me in a position here where I am surrounded by people, some have become good friends.
I have an open door policy here so anyone who wants feels welcome to enter anytime. Most often, they just walk down the hall and wave as they go by, but even that is better than sitting home alone, as I would be if I were still living in Ellsworth. There are people working on the jigsaw puzzle in the lobby or having coffee at the coffee bar all the time…day and night. So, if I had a spell of loneliness, I could always find someone to chat with at any time. Insomnia goes with old age so someone or another is roaming around. I really do like the people who live here as they come from all walks of life and are interesting in their own way.
The main highlight of recent day visitors was Tyler who was able to come from Cincinnati for a short weekend. He was here Friday night for our Five-Hundred-Thousandth Annual Palace Soup Supper, a day of football with his dad in Manhattan on Saturday and back to Cincy on Sunday. That’s a lot of road time for such a short time here, but he doesn’t seem to mind. We love it that he can be here, even if only for a few hours. Tyler does good work, good things.
Todd, Karen, Ally, Jan Paull, Lynn Taylor, Ann and Terry Headrick were all here before we split up and went downstairs to eat chili and chicken noodle soup.
Other friends have been in and out: Ellen Morgan came by for green tomatoes and a visit, Lynn Taylor stopped for a glass of wine and a break from working pie detail for the soup supper. My neighbor, Carolyn Eland, was here for a wonderful afternoon of chatting about family, music, ballet, travel, politics and other topics of common interest. She loaned me a couple of books her PhD brother wrote which I’m enjoying reading. Faithful friends, Ann and Terry, we in and out a couple of times, once bearing beer and hard cider. Yum.
Dalene Anderson and her daughter, Leah, came by to deliver a case of Two Buck Chuck’s wine from Trader Joe’s. I really appreciate that. Dalene, whose dad lives here, is a peck of fun and I love it when she’s here visiting. She and her sister, Karen Collins, and their kids and grandkids are frequent visitors and delightful/fun folk. They’ve become wonderful friends. If I weren’t living here, I never would have met any of them. That’s one of the special things about living here. I’ve made so many wonderful friends just by living here and being part of the big family of friends of other inmates.
Jovita Christensen who lives up on the 6th floor by Ivy, stopped by with a pan of homemade cinnamon rolls and my neighbor, Hazel, arrived with a bowl of wonderful baked apples, warm from the oven. Jovita and Hazel both have reputations for being excellent cooks…and are famous for their baked goods.
Margie dropped by with two Harry and David pears that were wonderful and stayed for a glass of Malbec. I go through a lot of wine. Red wine is especially good for old people, they say. No one here argues about that.
I was downstairs when Barbara Houdek arrived with one of her famous Dutch apple pies, so I bought it at the food sale. It was fabulous. I shared some of it with Hazel, Ivy and Margie. Barbara still makes angel food cakes from scratch…no mixes for her…and beats those egg white with a whip by hand.
Last week Ally was here running errands so I had her drop me off at the Korean Restaurant where I had a wonderful bowl of Korean Ramen chicken veggie soup that was both steamy hot and spicy hot. It was wonderful. I spent the afternoon at the restaurant visiting with Joomi and Tim and reading a Lee Childs book that was easy to absorb in bits and pieces. The restaurant is light and airy, the odors that waft through are wonderful and I just blend into the wall paper. Later in the afternoon Joomi made bananas Foster with scoops of ice cream that she, Tim and I devoured. They are very nice and treat all their customers like the family we are. I love that place. It’s my home away from home.
Mabelle Maes, another neighbor of mine, stopped by for some of Ally’s tomatoes. She accidentally dropped one on the floor and it rolled under a table and a couple of chairs where it lodged up against the wall. In a jiff she was down on her hands and knees and under the table retrieving it even though I insisted she leave it where it was. I can’t pick up stuff off the floor and do periodic pick ups with one of the half dozen picker-upper tools I have strategically placed around my apartment.Mabelle is agile as a fox….and 96 years old. She’s another good cook. The other day she brought me a plate of monster cookies she’d baked.
Amy Hoffman left a bowl of white chili in my kitchen that was wonderful. Ally arrived with potato soup, chili and other good things. Somewhere in the mix Karen came and changed the sheets on my bed. She keeps me in a clean bed and runs lots of errands for me. Without help from her, Todd and Ally, I’d have a difficult time living where I do. They do wonderful things for me.
I also caught up with Mackenzie yesterday as she came to my rescue on a computer problem I was having. As usual, she sorted through it in short order and walked me through a fix. It was not a common problem and should have only happened if I were using two monitors. Kenz loves living in St. Louis, works for Asynchrony where she’s a senior web developer learning new things all the time, lives in a wonderful complex, has good friends who do interesting things. Tyler spent the night with her Thursday on his way home so they had an opportunity to catch up on cousin news.
I’m looking forward to this weekend as grandson Drew and his girl friend, Christy, will be here from Boulder for a quick visit. It’s always fun to catch up with them as they lead very busy, interesting lives. Since that is the weekend of the KU vs K-State rivalry everyone around here will be drawing up sides for their team and donning all kinds of very old, worn out college shirts and hats. We’ll have special gatherings for the game.
The same is true for Halloween Happenings, which is the 31st. There will be a “Draculas Diner” the 31st. I’m not sure what that is…is it a dinner in a diner which maybe should be Dracula’s Diner Dinner…or it is supposed to be a dinner for many Draculas…as in Draculas’ dinner…or are there lots of Draculas in a diner? Grammar is grandly abused around this place which doesn’t help the split-infinitive-challenged crowd. It will be an evening filled with Bloody Marys, spookghetti and eyeballs, Frankenstein fingers…etc. But, the best thing is that the employees bring their children to the Palace after dinner so we can pass out candy and see them in their cute costumes. That is always fun.
Lunch was especially good today…nice fresh fruit, good cheeseburgers with warm buns and good toppings, potato salad, and much, much better than usual baked beans. I took some of Ally’s mustard sauce, a sliced jalapeno pepper and fresh tomatoes to top my burger. Hazel, Ivy and I enjoyed our lunch and lively conversation. Doris wasn’t there at “her” table and we all miss her enormously. She has something contagious so we can’t visit her. She is one very special lady.
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