Is my book what you came for?  Then link to my free book: A Gift from the Heart

Introduction:

With AOL Hometown being discontinued (sad day) I am forced to find a new “web home” and WordPress seems to offer the resources and flexibility that my fit my style and thus, here I am!  So, with intent to both Blog and host web pages here, we are off and running.

Jim & Pam, and life is very good!

Jim & Pam, and life is very good!

Check out my background in the Pages to the right, beginning with ABOUT and continuing with a little background in the pages below that.

Also, check out the link to my free book, A Gift from the Heart, offered in memory of my heart donor, Roberto Cuebas, who back in October of 1994, lost his life in Brooklyn, NY, but in doing so, saved mine when his heart was donated and transplanted to replace my failing heart over in Philadelphia.  But wait, that’s what the book is all about, so go there to read the full story of the many years he and I have shared since that gift of life was donated.

Jim Gleason
e-mail: GleasonJim@aol.com

So each Summer we take a ‘seashore vacation’ to the Jersey shore, usually that means a trip to Seaside Heights, a throwback to my childhood week-long stays at grandma Ella Mae Crouse’s shore home on M-Street there.  These days, that vacation is very short, like an hour’s late afternoon drive of 60 miles from home to the shore where we walk the boardwalk, stop for dinner on the boards and turn around for that drive back arriving home by 9pm.

Recent years with my knees getting worse and worse with age, that walk on the boards would be limited to about two blocks, then sitting down to dinner, followed by one block back, sitting on a bench and a request for Pam to go get the car rather than my walking that final distance.  Monday this week was a perfect day for our annual ‘vacation’ trip and so we left home about 3, arriving at the boardwalk in Seaside about 4, very curious to see how they had recovered from Sandy and the later boardwalk fire.  This time we parked at the southern end of the amusement area and found that handicapped parking was free, a nice surprise.  (prior years we parked on the street midway along the long boardwalk ride/games areas, minimizing the walking)

Seaside banner

Must admit we hardly recognized the area that I had been so familiar with these past 50+ years.  Gone were the pier and log flume rides, etc.  Instead there were brand new wooden walkways, sandy picnic table eating area with a dozen or so palm trees followed by a beach buggy ride attraction ($10 for one seat, four laps around the hilly sculptured beach area, a 5 minute ride – very tempting, but no, we didn’t do it…).  We walked without pain the long boardwalk chatting about how things were so different and what a great job they had done in rebuilding what had been showing its decades long age before the storm & fire refresh these last couple of years.

 

One of Pam’s aunts actually owned the famous carousel ride and she recalled riding it free for too many rotations while mom talked with that aunt, she and her sister getting dizzy  from that too long repeated (free) riding.

Seaside carousel

 

 

 

 

 

We stopped 3/4’s of the way to enjoy a nice seaside dinner, then continued the walk to the northern end before turning around to start back.  seaside boardwalk scene 2015

Ok, I confess that we stopped on a bench to watch the surfers as the bright sun began to set, resting both the pain-free replaced left knee and the as yet undone right knee (which was showing some signs of complaint, but nothing like prior years).  What a difference from last few years of feeling like an invalid!  This was a very pleasant new adventure again, pain-free walking together, enjoying the beach and crowded boardwalk scenes of such an entertaining variety of people.  Can those girls wear any less, showing off both pretty and odd body scenes without shame or concern, constantly pulling what little they had on to cover back up what they were showing off?

Walking back to the (free) parked car, we drove down Ella Mae’s M-Street home as part of the annual tradition, honestly not being sure with all the renovations which house was hers, but we took pictures anyway (smile).  Ah, such wonderful memories of childhood days that each of us grandchildren got to spend with her!

An hour or so later we were back home, ready for a good night’s sleep in our own bed after enjoying that fresh sea breeze of the Jersey shore.

Seaside amusement machines

 

Total spent on 2015 Summer vacation: $25 (which includes $2 on the impossible to win
crane amusement machines and a turn of the wheel of chance or two,
also impossible to win) and not counting gas for that 120 mile round trip.

No sunburn and not a bad way to celebrate life and that new knee!

Yesterday on a minor food shopping trip, I found something very unique on their clearance rack: very small (lest I say ‘tiny’?) vials of a milk flavoring liquid (‘MILK MAGICMilk Magic: Liquid Infusions for Milk” it said on the label…) that were reduced from $3.99 to just $0.99. Looking closer at such a deep discount there were four flavors: Orange Cream, Cookies & Cream, Cotton Candy and (just plain) Chocolate, each vial good for 24 milk infusions (I love that product description).  Now I ask you, wouldn’t you have wanted to try at least one of those, especially for just 99 cents? Hey, I’m just a kid at heart (no pun intended with that ‘heart’ reference – smile!) and can’t pass up a bargain, even more so when it involves unique and sweet flavors like that. So I bought one of each.

At supper last night I ‘infused’ my low fat milk (healthy at least before I doctored it up, right?) with that Orange Cream flavor, just one squirt and I had a light orange looking glass of milk to try. Nice and cold, delicious and so I had to add some vanilla ice cream to keep it that cold and add that layer of white cream on top. Talk about ORANGE CREAM! “Wow!” What a delight! Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you – it was delicious – definitely “Orange Cream” as in those kids’ favorite Orange Creamsicles we so enjoyed as kids.orange creamsicle

 

Each day we need to find some delight and it really is all around us, just waiting to be celebrated like this. You too will have some delight in your own life today and I do so hope you recognize it and reach out to grab and celebrate that with both yourself and friends like like I am here. What delightful life infusion will you discover out there today?

PS: As I was sharing this just out of curiosity, I went on-line to search the product and turns out there are two more really interesting flavors: Blue Raspberry and Strawberry Cream. milk magic 6pkAlso discovered there are no sugars (or calories) added with its use. Neat! Definitely going back to Acme today to buy more at that price. Amazon had the six-pack price at $32 (plus $4.99 shipping) and were out of stock, so that 99 cents is definitely a bargain.
PPS: Speaking of bargains, did I mention that Acme had a sale on their Nabisco cookies, $2.49/each, but get this, if you bought three of them, you got two half-gallons of Turkey Hill ice cream for free (usually selling for $4.99 each)! (FREE: My favorite price!)  So, of course, now we have cookies to go with that infused milk and ice cream to add to the glass to keep it cold and make it a ‘ice cream float” – Ah, life is so good!!

Now go get yours . . .

With my left knee replacement surgery now out two months+, I was looking forward to a recent air traveling to Atlanta for a UNOS board meeting as a final test of this new painus-airways-express-erj-195_4562_t-free functionality. In prior trips with both knees aging and no cartilage left, travel was painful with a typical assigned airport gate being as far from the main terminal as you can get – i.e. a distant Gate F79, meaning a very long walk with several stops to rest both arthritic knees along the way.
Of course now with that test underway, my assigned gate was B2, the very first gate past security! On the return flight, it was gate D21 in Atlanta, so I felt at least this would be a good test. Wouldn’t you know it? Gate D21 was the first gate of the spoke off the central hub, so again just like B2, the closest one! Where were they when I couldn’t walk?
Upon returning to Philadelphia after three long days of meetings and this late night return we arrived at the furthest B gate and even with the up hill ramp midway in that long walk I’m pleased to report a ‘no-pain’ experience with no need to stop and rest. I can’t tell you how much younger I felt with that, and yes, even the right knee that has had nothing done to it, was pain-free. Doctor upon my release confirmed that when one knee gets fixed, often the other previously pained knee improves and that has been my case, so very thankful for that.

He assures me that when its time to do the second knee, “You will know it!” and for now, despite my willingness to do it when needed, that right knee is doing just fine.

. . . plain pink and “Mystery Chicks” flavored marshmallow Peeps!

We were talking about the newly released special flavored Peeps this weekend and how we wouldn’t buy them at the current asking prices of $1.99 (and more), waiting until they go on sale.

Well, Pam found them at Walmart for $1 each and so we have tasted just one of each flavor (all too sweet) and guessing the mystery flavor challenge as being (according to Pam’s tasting): Kiwi flavored – imagine that.  My favorite as of now is “Party Cake” – smells like cake, tastes creamy like cake, perfect. But my other favorite just for its great smell is their “Bubble Gum Peeps” – smells exactly like my childhood Fleer’s pink bubble gum – they did a great job with it.  Of course these get so much better when aged and hardened, if we let them age instead of going back for ‘just one more.’

Try them out and let us know your personal favorite, or your own guess as to the Mystery Chicks flavor as you see it.  And, fact of the day: 5,500,000 peeps are ‘born’each day!  We have 60 of them here now (well 60 minus 6 we’ve tasted).

Life is just a bowl of . . . (not cherries but…) Peeps:

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Life is so much richer when one enjoys a hobby in their busy lives. It really doesn’t matter what that hobby may be, even if its just sharing on social media like this.

For myself, and my best friend, Ray, we have shared the hobby of fresh water tropical fish for over 60 years now. In those early preteen days, we were lucky to have enough money to buy (or go catch in the pond in the woods) one or even a pair of some colorful fish, be they guppies or neon tetras or whatever. As the years past and we could afford more, the tanks got bigger and their contents of colorful plants and fish got more plentiful and varied. Now, as Ray and I are both in our seventies, we enjoy pretty much free reign in retirement to catch/buy just about anything our heart desires. But even then, we love the ‘good buy’ and travel far and wide on our fishin’ trips, no longer putting stiff knees through painful paces lugging and launching a canoe into the river to catch naturally, rather driving in comfort to fish stores searching for that special opportunity when we can get that normally $3.99 catch for a $1 on sale. We stop for lunch at Joe’s Crab Shop and share the ever new conversation and reliving memories of this lifetime friendship.

Then we come home, alternating between that first stop being Ray’s basement of 22 tanks, or my own home of three large tanks. We take time to admire each other’s latest catches and the busy life in those tanks before saying farewell with a traditional hug to drive the hour back to our own home and releasing the new fish and plants there. Don’t you wish you could see those tanks? Well, as it turns out you can, on-line in YouTube vivid living color. Come, drop by our ‘fish rooms’ and share in our lifelong hobby that is still a shared bonding for over 60 years now.

Link to Ray’s fish room (with over 13,000 views!):Rays tank http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6q1c1D3y25U

Link to Jim’s fish room (with music): bow tankhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mnw_VQgAz8

(if you enjoyed these, be sure to search YouTube for more using “Ray’s fish room” and “Jim’s fish room” as the search terms – there are more such treasures posted for your viewing pleasure)

So, what is your hobby? None yet? Search your heart and go get into one. It’s a lifetime of learning and enjoyment and relationships with fellow hobbyists.

While I really don’t have much time to dedicate to postings here, too busy just ‘doing’ each day, all day, it was amazing to me in looking over the site statistics to find that there have been over twenty-three thousand views of these reflections so seldom posted.

Thank you for stopping by to visit and share my adventures in this social media way.  While some I may recognize as special friends, the other 99% of those visitors, like yourself, are just friends I haven’t met yet passing through life together here.  You make my day in a special way when I happen to come back and check on things like today in seeing those amazing stats.

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Until we meet again, stay well my friend, and enjoy life each and every day as I do.

. . . finally made that visit to my original cardiologist, Dr. Kathy Magness and her nurse, Janet, to give them both hugs of gratitude for these 20+ years post heart transplant due to their care back then. I was under her care for two years leading up to listing for transplant when, with an ejection fraction of just 17, she said in words I can still hear clearly today, “Mr. Gleason, it’s time. You need to cease employment and go down to see the experts.” I tried to get an appointment with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania heart transplant team, but they were booked and we had to settle for one two months out. Dr. Magness took the more direct route. While attending a dinner event the next evening with them, she reviewed my case and next thing I know, we had an immediate appointment and the rest is history, as they say. From mid-September of 1994 I stayed in the hospital on supporting drips as a 1A listed candidate until this heart became available, October 19, 1994.

At one point during that stay, it was decided to implant a pacemaker due to my strange heart rhythms through the night. As I was being readied for that surgical procedure (a minor one to implant a device about the size of a deck of cards in the chest), who appeared at my table where I was getting ready but Dr. Magness. She gave me a little gift I will never forget, a smiling small teddy bear from her nurse, Janet. If you have to go under for a procedure, let me say its a very pleasant way to loose consciousness with a smile and later to awake to her gifted bear when I awoke.

Over the years since, I have often talked about that special loving care and never forgot their love and support. Upon this year’s 20th anniversary of the transplant, I so wanted to go back and say thank you in person, but distance and a busy schedule kept that from happening. Yesterday, after a family visit with grandchildren and my son and his wife, we were driving within stopping distance and finally “did it!” – what a wonderful moment to show both of them the results of their work some 20+ years later. We hugged and I shared our new TRIO post-transplant cancer project with them as further evidence of how this heart keeps paying it forward. With Janet retiring at the end of January, this visit came just in time. Yes, I had sent Christmas cards each year, but this was so very special to share this ‘new’ heart with them, the first time they had seen it in action since that fateful pass off over 20 years ago.

PS: One regretful afterthought – so sorry I didn’t think in that excitement of the visit to take a picture to post here. Oh well, next time, but not so long til that next visit.

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