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Summer Begins

Summer begins tomorrow, June 21, at 1:04 a.m. Hubby spent the morning of Father’s Day planting his tomatoes. With all the bad weather, the ground was too wet to get the plants into the ground. He even got a blister on his hand because he did too much. He put the mini tomato plants in several five-gallon plastic pails on the side porch. The pansies that I planted in big pots and placed under the upright yews are thriving. They love the cool, wet weather. Hubby has even had to cut some of the roses from the front trellis because they are covering the electric flag.

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What a nice time Hubby, daughter Sue, pal Eileen Burke, and I had at the Friendship Social at Florian Hall on Sun., June 9. Dennis Walsh, who organized the event, greeted us in the lobby. Pal Eileen Collins beckoned to us to come and sit with her. It was Eileen who introduced me to the twice-yearly event a few years ago. The event benefits those with special needs and/or disabilities. Eileen was sitting with her friends Caroline Innello and Marilyn Ferrara. We were later joined by Diana Scarborough. (I had already seen Diana and her husband David earlier in the day at the Walmart in Quincy.) Our friend Marty Allen was there early, as usual, preparing the food tables. The music, provided by “Gifted Fingers” Joe Peters, had already started before we came into the hall.

We talked about lots of things while we were waiting for the hall to fill. We were all thrilled that Burger King has a soft-serve ice cream for 50¢. I also found out that our friend Marie Schallmo had surgery on both feet. I could not believe that she had both feet done at the same time. (She is “a better man than I am, Gunga Din.”) I wish her a quick return to good health. I also learned that Kitty Eastman suffered a broken pelvis in a fall. I wish her a quick recovery also.

There were some politicians at the Social. City Councillor Rob Consalvo, a candidate for mayor, was the first to come to our table. Then came our longtime friend, Rep. Marty Walsh, also a candidate for mayor, who was followed by Ayanna Presley, also a City Councillor, who stopped by our table for a few minutes. Paul Barry and his lovely wife Grace were at the gathering. I had a long chat with my friend Peter Woloschuk. I questioned why he was using a cane. (He had recent surgery.) After seeing some of the guests at the Social, we both agreed that were, indeed, very fortunate. Then I had to laugh. Peter asked me, with a straight face, if my blood is green when I have a cut – because I am so Irish. I told him that I even have little shamrocks running through my green blood. Then we both laughed. While Peter and I were chatting, organizer Dennis asked a great gal, Shannell Grant, to sing. She was positively wonderful. I congratulated her personally as we walked out of the hall.

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Then the food lines were open. The food was wonderful. Some people attending the event had made some of the items on the tables. (I had a little piece of fudge that was sinful; the person who made the fudge is my new best friend!) I did have a ham sandwich and a cookie, along with great coffee. I asked Dennis whom he would like to thank for helping to put on this social for people with special needs and disabilities. His list was quite long: the Utility Workers of America, Local 369; the Building and Trades Council of Boston; Local 369 Retirees Group; the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester; and Greenhills Bakery. Domino’s provided pizza later in the afternoon. Lopez provided pretty little centerpieces for all the tables. Dennis also wanted to thank Florian Associates for their hall. Dennis even brought me over to meet his mother Jean, who is a resident of South Boston. Before we left, Dennis had someone distributing a new flyer announcing that the next Friendship Social would be held on Sun., Oct. 6, from 4 to 8 p.m., at Florian Hall. We’ll be there. It is always a great time.

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On Wed., June 12, Hubby, pal Eileen Burke, and I drove to the Carney Hospital for the Senior Supper. The topic for the evening was “Healthy Eating on a Budget.” Nancy Dowling, a registered dietician who is Carney’s outpatient nutritionist, was to be the guest speaker. When we arrived, Bob Angland, the security officer at the front desk, welcomed us to the supper. He said he would see us downstairs in the cafeteria. Our pal Gilda was sitting at the next table to ours as we sat down. She told me that her invitation to the supper had an SWAK written on the back of her envelope. (SWAK means “Sealed With A Kiss.”) She hinted that Bob, from the front desk, had written it on her envelope. (I must tell Kathleen!) We also saw our pal Peggy Canty sitting at another table.

Sister Paula began the supper with a poem called “Heart Prints,” a take-off on the popular “Foot Prints” poem. Nancy Dowling was then introduced. She told us that she has been the Carney’s outpatient nutritionist for 10 years. She also said that she had written about “Quick and Healthy Eating” for the Boston Herald for seven years. There had to be just five ingredients for the paper. She also had to keep the preparation time under five minutes.

The first ingredient of her recipes was protein, found in meats, beans, and fish. No. 2 – The starch ingredients should be just one cup. No. 3 – Vegetables are important, especially items like carrots and cabbage. Nancy said that frozen veggies were just as good as fresh. Canned vegetables, however, were not so good as fresh because there is too much salt in canned products. The No. 4 ingredient was liquid, which could provide flavor the dish. The final ingredient, No. 5, was one or more seasonings. “Salt is definitely a no-no,” she said Lemon, onion, and garlic are excellent seasonings. “Bell’s Seasoning has no salt,” she told us. “Mrs. Dash is also good.” Eat chicken with no skin and also fish, but not in a shell. Ground turkey and chicken are good. So are red bell peppers. Chili powder is also a good seasoning. Nancy urged us to eat at home more often so we can control the ingredients. Yogurt and oatmeal also good ingredients to use. At the end of Nancy’s talk on nutrition, Barbara Couzens announced that the next Senior Supper would be held on Wed., Sept. 11.

Then we were treated to some lovely music by our favorite Carney singer, a lovely gal named Jordan, who was accompanied by our favorite keyboardist, Nancy Conrad. Jordan began with “The Sun‘ll Come Out Tomorrow.” She followed with “It Had to Be You,” “Blowing in the Wind,” “To Dream the Impossible Dream,” “Yankee Doodle, and finally, “God Bless America,” by Irving Berlin. Our table had some great singers! I was very proud.

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I am not a big hockey fan although I wish the Bruins well in the quest for the Stanley Cup. I am amazed at the ability of Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask, especially in the playoff games. It was a long time before I could even pronounce his name. I finally Googled him on the internet and discovered that he was born in Finland, thus the reason for the odd name. I hope that he continues his expert performance this week.

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During the past few weeks, I have visited the Anticoagulation Unit at Carney Hospital several times, which is more often than my usual monthly visit. I had to have a bone-grafting procedure in my jaw. My friend and nurse, Diane Iadonisi, RN, helped fax the results of my Coumadin level to my oral surgeon. (Dr. Leibovici would only do the procedure if the Coumadin level was in the correct range.) Diane and her co-woker nurse, Patty Thorne (also an RN), take such good care of us Coumadin patients. Thanks, gals!

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I was sorry to learn, from my friend Barbie, of the death of James Kelley on June 7. He was the husband of Barbara (White) Kelley, a former librarian at Boston Latin Academy. He was the father of James and Matthew Kelley. In his obituary, wife Barbara thanked the entire staff of the Boston Dialysis Center, of Dorchester, who took outstanding care of Jim for 14 years. (He was their longest patient, God bless him.) I send my sympathy to Barbara, to their sons James and Matthew, and to his siblings.

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This is a French proverb, which is an appropriate saying for this time of year: “It is by believing in roses that one brings them to bloom.” Hubby and I do believe!