Glendalough, Co. Wicklow Ireland

Glendalough, Co. Wicklow,  Ireland

This could have been a very short story. When I was born, my mother and father lived near Highland Park, a high plateau area between Queens and Brooklyn, close to my Beatty grandparents’ home in East New York.  Family legend has it that one day an aunt lost hold of my carriage, and it began to roll down a sloping sidewalk towards busy Hillside Avenue. Stopped in time by someone walking up.  My Guardian Angel?  There was more to come.

As we all do in time, I’ve faced my share of “dangers, toils and snares” along the way,  but am still here in my 80th year. In pretty good shape for the shape I’m in. Eternally grateful to have come this far, mostly intact, only slightly scarred. My rousing rendition of that grand old hymn, “Amazing Grace,” at Sunday Mass sometimes startles people nearby.

A while ago I began to to think I may have earned a memoir, even if just for family and friends. Therapy for me, maybe help someone else stay strong, not give up. Besides, picturing my plight in print diverted me from troubles. God’s bargain package deal for a  lifetime journey covers both blessings and trials. There’s no free ride.

Among my gifts:  Loving, caring parents.  Happy childhood in a comfortable home.  When my dad died at 45, a mom who courageously raised three children alone.  More than a few true friends.  Tuition free Queens College degree.  Before it was trendy — At 38, married a good man.  At almost 42, after prayers, tears, tests and surgery, gave birth to what the doctor pronounced “a perfect baby boy.”  At 52, decided what I wanted to be when I grew up, returned to Queens for an M.L.S., worked as a librarian for 21 years, pension and medical benefits for life.

Some of my challenges — Struggles with depression since adolescence, two adult hospitalizations. Breast cancer, mastectomy, chemotherapy, poor prognosis 32 years ago. My husband’s callous downsizing, then his sickness and death.  Our son’s cancer the next year.  Hurtful, even malicious, words and actions — some from loved ones — more painful than than bodily injury.

But I’ve been too busy hanging on for dear life, haven’t had time to do more than jot random notes now and then.  My working title: “The Perils of Eileen:  Still Hanging in There.”  My inspiration:  the intrepid heroine of the silent movie serial, “The Perils of Pauline,” first filmed in 1914, not long before I appeared on the scene.

Born in Brooklyn in 1931, I’m now the same age as Grandma Moses when three of her colorful folk paintings were included in an exhibit, “Contemporary Unknown American Painters,” at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. George Eliot’s  inspirational line is taped to my refrigerator:  “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Though gymnast might be a stretch!?

Played by the actress, Pearl White, Pauline cleverly foiled her wicked guardian’s pernicious schemes to collect her inheritance by hastening her death.  She’s seen on a boat rigged with explosives. Held captive by sinister gypsies. High in the sky, drifting away in a runaway hot air balloon. Trapped in a burning building. Just a few of the evil villain’s dastardly plots. Never fear. Brave, resourceful Pauline always survived at the end, sometimes with the help of Handsome Harry, her faithful fiance. Not to worry. She’d be back again, ready and able for another adventure.

Later, what came to be called cliffhangers left the hero or heroine in a petrifying predicament, the audience in suspense till the following episode. Hanging from a cliff as the dirt crumbled away.  Tied down while  moving closer to a circular saw.  Bound to a railroad track as the train chugged nearer. Not rescued till the next chapter.  I haven’t encountered any of these calamities  so far. However, in the mid 1960’s, I fell through one of the infamous gaps between Long Island Railroad cars and platforms as the train was ready to leave  Laurelton for New York City’s Penn Station.

Imagine the trailer:  Running late that frigid winter morning, I dashed up the stairs, sprinted to an open, empty doorway — all other passengers had boarded — started to step over the space, slipped on a patch of ice, and dropped feet down to the gravel bed, head not visible above the platform. Over 40 years after my horrendous experience, a young woman was killed by a train in Woodside in 2006, after falling through the wide opening there. Long Island’s “Newsday” then ran a series of articles exposing the many accidents and lawsuits not disclosed till then. How I survived in a future post.  Hang in there.

A former friend, mocking my modelling Pauline, once sarcastically remarked:  “Eileen, you could never be in a silent movie!”  She was wrong. My son, after graduating with degrees in Psychology and Communication, his chemotherapy and radiation treatments for Hodgkin’s Disease completed, enrolled for classes at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.  At that time he aspired to be a movie maker, stand-up comedian, or both.  He starred me in an assignment, a silent film, and got an A for his opus “Lights Out for Grandma.” Told me his classmates chorused “Aww” when I died at the end, silently and dramatically.

While dreaming his dream, he toiled as a  waiter in several Pittsburgh restaurants, including a Friday’s where he met his future wife, working there part-time till she finished college.  Now she’s a Speech Therapist in a children’s hospital.  He’s an Occupational Therapist in a nursing home.  Who knows what they’ll decide to be when they grow up?

I loved being a librarian, but since childhood had wanted to be a writer, often reading treasured books — “The Bobbsey Twins,” “Little Women,” “Jane Eyre” — by flashlight, under the covers, way past bedtime.  I’ve since written poems and children’s stories, timidly sending some to magazines and publishers.  None accepted.  Gave up trying. Unlike J.K. Rowling, determined to deliver Harry Potter, her brainchild, into the world.

But I do know a little of the thrill of publication. “The New York Times” printed my terse comment on W’s Iraq fiasco.  And “Newsday” accepted two letters, one about the LIRR Woodside fatality, and another about breastfeeding’s protection about breast cancer after a Long Island pollution study failed to find a definite association. And came close when Mothering” magazine first accepted, but then rejected my article:  “Missing Link:  Vital Connection” on the same subject.

I’ve had what can kindly be called A Motley Career.  Back in 1953, with my  B.A. in English i  hand,  TIME Inc. hired me as a file clerk in “Time Magazine’s” Letters to the Editor Department, where a tear or two sometimes plopped into a folder as I pondered: “Is this all there is?”  So I learned to type and take shorthand, and in 1954 transferred to the new “Sports Illustrated Magazine”as a secretary in the Advertising Department.  “Mad Men” got it right!

After seven itchy years, I found more meaningful work at Dr. Tom Dooley’s MEDICO Foundation. When he died the next year, at IBM Communications. Then, as an elementary school teacher in the South Bronx, very briefly. Seven sensible years as a legal secretary at Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn, Esqs. Five blissful years as a full-time mother. My son safely launched in kindergarten, part-time jobs in the community. After my mother’s sudden death and the family drama that followed, I bravely boarded what in library school was pretentiously called Librarianship.

You’e noticed I’m hardly at a loss for words,  happen to be the latter of two Irish types. Private and closemouthed.  Outgoing and talkative. In  1969, on my first visit to Ireland with my sister and a cousin, I couldn’t miss the chance to kiss the famed Blarney Stone, a custom said to bestow the ability to speak the blarney,  the gift to beguile and cajole. It’s possible that smooching that stone polished my powers of persuasion, resulting in traveling with Honey this trip. The doting Aer Lingus attendants said she was the first pet ever allowed in the cabin.

I’ve never had a problem showing my feelings either, and had honed the facility in a summer acting class at NYU.  When I phoned The Irish Department of Agriculture about bringing my dog to Ireland, I tearfully pleaded my cause —  At my age, this may be the last time I traveled to the land of my ancestors. Honey was an emotional support animal, certified by a mental health professional as my necessary comfort companion for flights on Jet Blue and Southwest Airlines.

Kissing the Blarney Stone is a sly, wry way of pulling the leg.  Literally and figuratively. Back in 1969,  a jolly man — he enjoyed his job — grasped my ankles as I lay on my back on the castle floor, stretching my neck outside a wall opening to peck the designated  block of rock. Somewhat uncomfortable, but not dangerous —  a grating underneath prevents plunging to the ground in case the guide slips his grip.  My kin looked down on the daffy procedure. The custom was beneath their contempt. They’d never lower themselves to such an awkward position. Puns intended.   Their loss.  Might have loosened them up a bit.

Fabled, beautiful Ireland is the birthplace of my maternal grandparents and paternal great grandparents, probably most of their forbears.  My husband’s grandparents and great grandparents on both sides were born there, too. He didn’t really need to ask if I’d mind going again the next year on our 1970 honeymoon.  This year Aer Lingus made another offer I couldn’t refuse, and several days after our arrival my son and daughter-in-law joined me and Honey in Dublin.

One gorgeous, sunny afternoon, wandering a long time by myself in lushly blooming Mount Usher Gardens, I saw a woman across a stream and called out: “How do I find my way out of here?”  She crossed over a small bridge, and led me to a refreshment pavilion where my son and his wife were waiting. We’d walked different ways. Barbara, a Dubliner, was much taken with Honey. No dogs permitted in the park!  Barbara took a picture of my pet, saying she would write about our chance meeting on her blog, “Just Add Attitude.”

When I read the post, Honey’s photo attached, I knew that’s how I could tell my story.  That day I’d been led to take exactly the right path.  Barbara cited Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” so I’ll return the favor and quote Herman Melville’s Ishmael as he wisely observes:  “I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right, that everybody is one way or other served in much the same way — either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is, and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each others’ shoulder-blades, and be content.”

These words didn’t make an impression when I first read “Moby Dick,” but struck me when Peg Bracken repeated it in her “I Hate to Housekeep Book,” a title that caught my attention as a newlywed.  Ms. Bracken was cautioning us not to judge careless homemakers  — we can’t know what worries may be distracting them. Melville was saying we should be there for one another, have our shipmates’ backs in stormy weather. To belabor the metaphor:  We’re all in the same boat.

I now know that faith and endurance are rewarded. When a door closes, anoone or more open.  Disturbed by an irritating grain of sand, an oyster covers it with a lustrous pearl that wouldn’t otherwise form. Troubled waters have sometimes made me change course, navigate to a safe harbor, mend my sails, chart a new route, then set to sea again. (Couldn’t resist. Slipped my moorings.  Got carried away on the tide.)

 To be continued, God willing.

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This morning, on the way to WaWa for my customary French vanilla decaf coffee, plain donut for dunking, and “The [real news] Washington Post,” I turned on Tredmore Road and saw a curious sight — a woman and two young children, sitting on folding chairs near the curb, holding up small handwritten signs. Couldn’t make out the message as I drove by — probably young entrepreneurs offering refreshments on a hot summer day, with mom supervising sales.

As I came near, all three held up the signs, hopeful smiles fading as I kept going. Felt a twinge — sorry I’d passed them by — decided to stop on the way back.  A boy about five — he reminded me of my grandson Nolan — and his sister, maybe six, were selling ice pops for a dollar, though none were in evidence.  And it was their aunt who’d encouraged the project while their mom visited their new baby sister in the hospital, kept there because of complications at birth.

I asked for an orange and an apple ice, gave each child a dollar, and they filled the order in the garage where the pops were kept frozen. I was their first and only customer, said the aunt.  They’d been discouraged and had started to walk away when I arrived. Now they were delighted, both beaming and dancing around, waving the money. The boy  suddenly ran and gave me an enthusiastic hug.  Worth more than a dollar.  Priceless.

This afternoon Angel and I visited Havre d’Grace again for a walk on the boardwalk, water for her and a coffee ice cream float for me at the Promenade Cafe. After, we relaxed in a gazebo,  met a retired kindergarten teacher, Myrtle, and her son Charley, who proudly told me: “Today’s my mom’s 103rd birthday!” His mother added emphatically: “And I’m in very good health!” Which she certainly seemed to be.  Charley told me he’s had cancer three times, last time seven years ago, when doctors said he’d only live three months.

You never know who’ll you meet when you stop along the way.  Or what you’ll learn if you do.


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Recently realized it’s been three months since I wrote “Out Like a Lion.” And suddenly it’s the Fourth of July — time flies whether or not fun is involved — and I wanted to send my loyal, intrepid followers greetings and good wishes on this anniversary of our nation’s independence.

This year we had a four day celebration since today’s a Tuesday — and we needed every one of them, many of us weary of the constant turmoil  in Washington and the world. Our so-called president seems more unhinged every day while his fans still adore him.

Outrageous tweets.  Bizarre behavior. Alternate “facts,” Health care plans on life support.  Environmental protections dismantled. The Russian question. And more. Our founding fathers would be scandalized and horrified.  And we have to worry about Putin in Russia.  Kim Jong-un in North Korea.  Conflict and unrest in so many countries —  Britain.  Russia.  Israel.  Palestine.  An endless list.

Time for Angel and me to go to bed.  She’s got an early vet appointment in the morning.  Blood work for her Cushing’s disease.  But she’s doing well, thankfully, now about 10 years of age. When we found each other three years ago at Fallston Animal Rescue Movement, they said she was about seven then.

Sorry to say I’ve had another bout of depression, back in Sheppard Pratt again in June.  Out in time for Nolan and Jack’s shared 5th and 3rd birthday party in a park — 20 kids, parents, pizza, pinatas, masks. And Maeve will be one year old on July 15th.  So good to be home.










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It’s the last day of March, nothing like a lamb — rainy, chilly and windy.  Strange weather we’ve been having — some 70+ degree days, people wearing sandals — then frigid temperatures, snow, and winter coats again.  Deniers of unusual global climate change are delusional.

Missed posting in February, though a made an unfinished attempt on February 28th. A lot’s been going on.  A trip to Massachusetts for the Hogans’ annual St. Patrick’s festival – bringing my Irish soda bread, of course.  The next week went to a Celtic Celebration concert by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra — third generation Irish descent, and the songs, dances and rousing bagpipes of my ancestors move me — roots go deep. Best of all, weekly overnight visits to Bethany, Kieran and my adorable grandchildren. Volunteer work at a hospital. Exercise classes at the senior center — hanging in there.

I promised epiphanies back in January — hope you haven’t been in suspense!  Reminded me of Al Francken’s Stuart Smiley, in the glory days of “Saturday Night Live,” gazing in a mirror,  affirming himself, murmuring “deep thoughts.” Now Senator Francken from Minnesota, it was wonderfully ironic to see him  — deadpan, with a sly downward glance — skewering our so-called Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.

Have had glimmers before, but understand more now — brace yourself!  It’s a miracle we’re even here at all — think of the odds, the multiple possible combinations of sperm and ova. And God charges a fair fare for an amazing lifelong journey — challenges to try us, then blessings and joys if we keep faith. We’re all in this together — I couldn’t have managed without loving family, friends, and my angelic pet Angel.

The trees are blossoming pink and white in Maryland.  Ducks and geese are pairing up on the pond in Bynum Run Park — babies coming soon. Tomorrow, I’m sowing grass seed on the bare patches in front of my patio.  The condo’s pool passes will be ready for Memorial Day weekend.  And America will survive the ignorance and incompetency of our so-called President Trump. (So unhealthily puffy looking — so full of himself.) Anyway, springtime is a time for hoping.

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I’m back!  Haven’t been up to writing since I posted “A Harbor Full of Grace” in October.  Tried to stay hopeful, kept moving however I felt, but my depression worsened and I was admitted to Sheppard Pratt the end of November — spent my 85th birthday there on December 3rd, dear Kieran visiting with cupcakes for all. Was in Harford Memorial Hospital last year on my 84th — really don’t want to make this a tradition!

I’ve become something of an authority on the merits and demerits of various behavioral health centers — mental isn’t mentioned much. Sheppard Pratt was absolutely the best — caring, excellent staff; private room and bath; varied, decent food; music, exercise and other therapy programs;  Lexapro, a different anti-depressant; and ECT (shock treatment).  I’d been reluctant, and my son was apprehensive at my age, adding I’d been somewhat forgetful after it was administered in 2000, sixteen years ago.  But it was effective again.  (And I don’t remember being forgetful before.)

Kieran wryly remarked I’d been admitted to Mercy Hospital on Long Island soon after “W” Bush was elected president, courtesy of Florida’s hanging chads and the Supreme Court.  This time soon after Donald Trump’s mind-boggling win.   Coincidence?

Have been home for a month — happily celebrated my granddaughter Maeve’s Christening, Christmas, and the New Year. And my family, friends, and pet Angel have been loving and comforting. I’m grateful for every simple pleasure — reading The New York Times” and “The Washington Post, sipping my now decaf morning coffee.  And when I see that our soon-to-be-presidentTrump has once more erupted, tweeting praise of Putin, maligning the media for reporting what he says and does, insulting our “Intelligence” agencies, castigating  critics — I’m wide awake, don’t miss caffeine.  Behavioral Health, Donald?

Today is January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, remembering the Magi’s visit to the Christ Child in a humble Bethlehem stable. My Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary states that epiphany also means: “a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something,” and “an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking,” and “an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure.”

I may have come across a couple of those of late,  wanted to publish this today since there may be a metaphorical, metaphysical convergence here — old English majors can’t resist them.  Will tell more in a future post.  But for now I wish you and your loved ones — even some you’re not that crazy about — a happy, healthy, blessed New Year, and only troubles you can handle with the help of God.

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Angel and I drove to Havre de Grace again a week after the family visit — one of our favorite outings since moving here, only about 20 minutes from Bel Air.  Nobody here pronounces “grace” the fancy French way,  but as in “Amazing Grace.” A good, old flat American “A” is fine with Maryland folks.

A bit of background. Named for a port in France, this charming Harford city, more like a cozy village, is situated where the Susquehanna River meets the Chesapeake Bay, and is a historical area.  In the War of 1812, the British burned and plundered the area.  Now, thank God, it’s a haven of peace and serenity.

The day began gloomy and cloudy, but weather reports were hopeful, and we were rewarded by the sun appearing at noon and a gentle breeze blowing from the water.We both like walking to the lighthouse and back — besides being good exercise, we always see smiling faces, hear friendly greetings, and are both delighted when children run over to ask shyly:  “Can we pet your dog?”  We’d be disappointed if they didn’t!  Had a nice conversation with a young woman who’d lived in Jackson Heights before moving to Maryland, and gave birth to her only son at 41 as I did.  Small world.

Then, walking slowly with a cane, a man coming back the other way, abruptly announcing: “Dogs aren’t allowed here.” But he looked pleasant, not annoyed, so I said I’d seen the notices posted, nobody ever stopped us, and though we may not look like it, Angel was in fact what’s called a “comfort companion,” and I definitely needed one. That’s all I meant to say then, but suddenly found myself sharing about my depression. And was abashed when he told me he was on many medications, had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease over two years ago. We hugged each other, said we’d trust in God, pray for each other, hoped we’d meet there again. And I promised to put him in my next post. So,  John Barton, I did.

When Angel and I got back to the Promenade Grille I ordered the best bowl of New England clam chowder I ever tasted, with a side of three hush puppies, one of which I shared with my friend — couldn’t resist her melting, pleading eyes, though I’ve been careful to keep to her diet and give her Cushing’s Disease medication — she’s much improved now,  even her tail hair has grown back luxuriantly. Adds more zip to her happy wagging.

Indulge this old former English major if I quote Emily Dickinson here:  “Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul.” I’ve been feeling little flutters now and then.

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Wrote one sentence yesterday — last day of the month again — on the premise of “well begun is half done,” for a post to be called “September Song,” but never got any further after Kieran and Bethany asked me for dinner and a sleep-over. Mixed up and baked an Irish soda bread, threw Angel’s and my stuff in a bag, and off we went to Baltimore.

Nolan and Jack ran out of the house barefoot to meet us on the front porch, laughing as they sniffed the warm bread.  And there inside was baby Maeve, so responsive at two and a half months, smiling, making happy sounds, waving her arms and legs as we talked to each other. And there was mommy fixing dinner, salad and lasagne for tonight.  Then daddy was home, roughhousing with his sons, letting them slide down his back head first as he held their ankles, then cuddling Maeve.  And gramma got to hold her again, giving her a bottle as she looked steadily into my eyes.

We ate a big chunk of the soda bread this morning —  Jack mostly just the raisins in his slice. Nolan asking for a second piece smeared with cream cheese. I was looking forward to watching his soccer practice after breakfast, but coach called to cancel because of rain soaked, muddy field. Declined invitation to accompany them on alternate family amusement — sneaker shopping for the boys at Kennilworth Mall.  Hugs and kisses goodbye, drove home, missing them all the way.

Last Sunday we all went apple picking at a Churchville farm — donuts and cider, sitting on the floor of a big wagon on the way to the orchard, Jack cautiously choosing only a few, Nolan asking for help carrying his heavy bag. Then to the casual Promenade restaurant at Havre de Grace marina for lunch, followed by joyous sliding and swinging at the harbor playground. Sat contentedly on a bench with Maeve on my lap — with a short break to show Jack that Gramma could still pump a swing — Bethany and Kieran keeping track of Nolan and Jack.

To make up for all this fun, I went to the Abingdon Y this afternoon where I staunchly pedaled an exercise bike for 40 minutes — a personal record. First time Kieran dragged me to his Baltimore Y a couple of months ago, I lasted 10 minutes under protest. He’s  disappointed when I admit I haven’t been “working out” — three days a week is his goal for his nearly 85 year old mom. I’m allowed, for variety, to now and then walk the treadmill at my condo community center.   Wanted to make him happy today.  He was.  Didn’t mind my rewarding myself with a Friendly’s coffee Fribble.  My idea of exercise is a leisurely walk with Angel on a beautiful day, but this doesn’t count, says Kieran.

Started a new antidepressant, Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine), three weeks ago, prescribed by nurse practitioner at Harford Memorial  clinic — cheek swab for DNA showed this medication to be more effective for me.  I’d googled and found that Effexor (Venlafaxine) and Trazodone were to be “used with caution.” Had been feeling groggy for several hours after waking in the morning. Now I’ve learned that Wyeth makes both Efexor and Prestiq,  and that there’s little difference between both.

Trying to keep moving rather than moping at home. And have registered for classes at senior center beginning next week:  Toning and Stretching on Mondays, and Line Dancing on Wednesdays. Started the latter a couple of years ago but dropped out when I couldn’t keep up, was usually on the wrong foot — most took the beginner class over and over, knew every step by heart. But thought I’d give it another try. Better than an exercise bike or treadmill, for sure.

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Some slightly amusing incidents at Hopkins Bayview to lighten the foregoing:

After several days of eating large portions of bland, lukewarm food, became what is euphemistically called irregular.  Went to medication window, told humorless technician I needed laxative. He silently turned around and picked up a syringe.  Alarmed, I gasped:”Is that for me?”  Back still turned, he filled the syringe, mumbling:”It’s for someone else.”

When he visited, Kieran brought the tweezers and small hand mirror I’d asked for, and a nurse supervised as I plucked, standing at a sunny window.  Non-glass, dim mirrors in bathrooms for safety reasons. No nail clippers or files allowed at all.

I wore same long pants most days, hadn’t brought many clothes. One morning,  for a change, put on knee length denim skirt.   Nurse followed me, tapped me on the shoulder saying:  “Please go back to your room and change into something else.”  Apparently concerned that the narrow back slit would reveal a scandalous peek at my thighs.

By the way, had dinner and stayed overnight at Kieran and Bethany’s Saturday night — so good to see them and wonderful grandchildren again. When I went to get car, heavy rain began, dangerous storm on my way home, I was invited to stay. Didn’t want to take Kieran’s temporary bed in guest room, but I did, gratefully.  My son  in charge of Nolan and Jack  in room next door — Jack sometimes wakes crying.  Bethany and Maeve together in another room for nighttime breast feeding.

Kieran slept on futon mattress on floor in dining room. And Sunday morning persuaded me  (very reluctant) to work out on exercise bike at the their Y in Baltimore, and added me to their family membership.  Knees and insteps a little sore today.  But intend to go regularly to Abingdon Y — my son claims exercise boosts spirits.

Collected Angel at Kieran’s, drove to noon Mass at St. Margaret’s, stayed for blessing of the sick as I’ve done before, then to moving  memorial gathering for Charlotte, my good condo neighbor,  who died after bravely enduring several illnesses.  Her family served a generous lunch for relatives and friends in our community room, and spoke movingly of their happy times together. I’ll miss her in apartment C next door.

Have appointment this afternoon with psychiatrist at Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace who monitors  medications.  Not sleeping well with Trazodone at home.  And  an hour or so after taking 150mg of Efexor with breakfast, start to feel groggy and confused. I keep moving anyway, but it’s hard after not much sleep. Had to correct lots of typos on this. Will close for now and take Angel and myself for walk around condo, increasing our melatonin and endorphin levels.

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