Saturday, September 7, 2013

A TOUGH MONTH AUGUST

This has been a tough month--this August that began on the 2nd with a request that Hospice be brought iin to help with the care of my Aunt Anna.  She had jsut returned from an emergency stay at RI Hospital ICU where her  breathing difficulties and her sudden seizure activity signalled a real down turn.  I did not realize how anxious it would make me to see her failing.
I guess that she is so associated with  that whole parental generaton and the fact that she is the only one  left makes me feel that her  loss and changes are   another way of losing my mother. She  shared our lives together and she has  had all those memories.
Now I  am so  influenced by her moods and changes. Every time I see her she  is different and I simply don't know what to expect..  I guess that nothing  stays the same and all change is unpredictable, but we think when we are younger that we can predict things and that we have  some control over  events. Wrong on both counts--but the illusion  gives us confidence. Now I need to find  a way to be confident that change will  be for the best--as we age and weaken that  confidence seems  unrealistsic and just plain wrong.
I need some help with this.

Can Pawtucket be a destination?

Why not?  We need to  make better use of thr  rivers that we have here. I love the new  greenway along the 10 mile River  that can be accessed on Armistce Blvd near the Pawtucket Country Club.  I am always amazed  by how populated Slater Park is by families enjoying their picnics and various  events.  I  am also impressed by the beauty of the new bridge spanning the Blackstone near the Division Street Bridge. i would like to see  the  development of a river walk with  places to sit and  a coffee or tea house along the bank that leads from the  new bridge back towards City Hall.
The prime piece of real estate is  from Apex and  across Division to the new  piers on the  river.  How could it be to develop the China  connection and builed a  genuine Chines Garden  in that area.
It seems to me that eventually the plan to devekop tje whole of the Bkackstone Valley as a national park from Pawtucket to Worcestor will move forward.  So  why not have other  attractions in place to stimulate tourism   and to help create more experiences for people?.
Look at what was created in Lowell Mass.  Who  will be our Paul Tsongas--who is the political figure  with the courage and the clout to make this happen.
I wonder if it could be Donald Grebien.  Someone  should step up and see that  Pawtucket is in a place to move ahead.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A CLINKER IN THE BUCKET ?

I had been so happy when the sign went up on the building on the corner  of Armistice Blvd and to think that a new Irish pub was opening.  But I did not  go to check it out.  I wanted it to be good and I wanted it to have  Irish food as well as drinks. Finally for brunch last weekend I ventured inside. The decor is jsut right--it does not try too hard and it's not trying to be some snug  in a Dublin bar. It's more like the   neighborhood bar of a small town in Ireland. Nothing fancy, but clean and plain and  comfortable. and the  barkeep is friendly.
I  looked a the menu eagerly--but something  basic was  missing. More than one thing.  Let it be said  that there cannot be an Irish  breakfast withour Irish  brown bread  and/or soda bread. Is that my opinion or a fact--you tell me.
Another thing that an Irish pub must have is Irish music. Do any of you remember the BLARNEY STONE the bar that was  on Dexter Street in down town Pawtucket. Now they had a great jukebox.  So get some Irish music --there is so much of it around..
They do have  a good variety of beers  in the PUBLICK HOUSE.  So that is a great plus.  Also need a full supply of every Irish whiskey and  a selection of Scotch single malts.
Could certainly use more  fish in the menu--more salmon and more  mussells.  Can never have too many mussells.  Certainly need a  lamb stew--especiall in the winter. Also need more pictures  of Ireland or  Irish   people or even Irish Americnas especially from the old neighborhoods.  So I am glad the Publick House is there --I just wish they cared more about making some Irish soda bread. Surely there are  people in Pawtucket who still make Irish soda or Irish brown--my mother made  both.  .

Sunday, August 11, 2013

HIDDEN GEM IN THE BUCKET

Two good friends had been telling me for a while about a small, hidden bar and restaurant buried deep in my  own neighborhood. Finally, they pushed the issue  withan invitation--we will pick you up at  6PM on Friday and take you there.
So we drove the three blocks to a  tiny corner  bar with a sign to tell us we were at the HERITAGE TAP.
walking into the cheerful small bright and clean space, we took a booth and within minutes had a cold pilsner set  before me. I was  one happy camper.  Then came the delicious  fish and  double baked  potato and cole slaw and peach and  rhubarb pie. All fresh, all made  there and all delicious.and in my neighborhood. Only a few blocks from my house, but I was unaware of its existence.  We all agreed that we will be back--our goal to eat our way rhough the menu. This type of evening  is the best of Pawtucket--people doing great things every day with no fanfare--  no sense that  this was unusual--just solid home cooking.

Friday, August 9, 2013

sometimes it's perfect in the Bucket

I ended my last post  with the mention of going to Spumoni's for dinner with our good neighbors. I have been to Spumon'is many times-- some times it is good--sometimes it is just okay--it is never bad. But that night it was perfect.
Every aspect of the meal was jsut right--in fact I turned to my friend Doris, and said  "I feel that I have finally ordered the right thing here--it is so perfect."
What did I order?  I ordered one of the specials that night  Whole belly fried clams With them I  chose the salad  and the mixed vegetable option.
Let me say that the clams were sweet and clean and not at all greasy. They were tender and carried still the freshness of the sea.  The mixed vegetables were brightly colored and still on the edge of crispness and were  more blanched than boiled. Again the medley of the  summer squash and the  carrots and brocolli tasted  perfect for the season.
After much urging by my companions, I agreed to share the cheesecake with strawberries. It was a revelation --so creamy but not heavy and the sweetness that came through was of the strawsberries.
Sometimes surveys about Rhode Island  claim that people here are unhappy.  One thing that they cannot be unhappy about is the food.  If they are,  I would bet that they have never lived outside  Rhode ISland and they have come to take the excellent range and price of foods for granted.  Do you have any idea  how many  years you can live in a place and neve have a meal as good as the one that I enjoyed at Spumoni's--well I can tell you that in 26 years in Cincinnati, I  could not duplicate that experience.  Most places that are not coastal simply do not have the  ingredients or the taste  to make such a meal.
Also I must add tha tthe service was great: Of course, my friends are regulars, and the waiter knew and greeted them but he was a bright and  witty person who in the famous Pawtucket style extended himself to joke and comment with us  about local and sports news.
So  a perfect meal in the BUCKET--go for it!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Change of Status--Hospice


Four years and four months ago-- that is when  I got the call in 2009 -- that my Aunt had been found after a fall and a heart attack left her with very little heart muscle and  heard the words of the ICU  nurse  from Rhode Island telling me in Ohio that they did not think she would last the night. Well, Anna proved them wrong, and she recovered in the next year --it seems like a long time-- but the time to begin hospice for my aunt is here.
After a terrible bout of respiratory  distress, she spent over a week in the ICU at Rhode Island Hospital. It seems that she has some serious lung damage. The doctors asked about smoking, but she has never smoked even one cigarette. What this deep and old lung damage probably does reflect are the 40 years that Anna worked at Corning Glass Works in Central Falls, inspecting the glasses as they came out of the furnace. When she came home in the summers in those sweltering July days in the 50s, she would sit on the porch while my mother used a fine tooth comb to  get the glass particles out of her hair. She literally sparkled in the sun. One can only imagine what she breathed in of these  glass fine particles. The fact that  Anna cannot breathe  has caused her blood oxygen to decrease and  this has  put a burden on her weakened heart.  I could not bear to see her confused and frightened and yet, I feared that hospice was a kind of  admission that she was in an endgame. And I was not sure of that.
After meeting  and talking over her situation with doctors and nurses, I was convinced that she would get better care  if she had hospice at the nursing faciluty. Yesterday after much thought and prayer, I signed the papers to change her status.  As soon as I got back to the  little house in Pawtucket, I felt a surge of relief and a kind of quiet certainty that I had made the choice that would give my aunt more comfort, more care and more peace.
My good neighbors often go  out for dinner and I called and asked if we could go together. My husband and I drove the other couple to their favorite place, Spumonis--and  I  suddenly felt the relaxation of  having some strain removed, and  I  knew that I had done the right thing. for  my Aunt.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

An extraordinary woman Anne Hutchinson

Today I went to a dedication ceremony at an idyllic woodland site  --Founder's Brook in Postsmouth, RI.
Marking the 375th annniversary of the founding of a new colonial community by a woman. And what a woman-- a mid wife and a free thinker, Anne insisted that women could read and preach the   Bible.  Anne had already been found guilty of  heresy and  expelled from the Bay Colony.   Folnowing the heroic example of Roger Williams, Anne and her husband and many children moved to Portsmouth.
The event today marked the first  prominent   memorial to her and was  the occasion for the dedication of three  stone benches inscribed with her words. The event was organized  by the Friends of Anne Hutchinson and  wuth the help  and support of  Foss Media, an organization devoted to helping to bring history alive and dedicated  to the idea of  freedom. Using the slogan of the Woonsocket Patriot, an abolitionist newspaper published from Woonsocket with the  rousing slogan--We Chronicle Freedom.