Mesothelioma: Virgil’s Story

There are wonderful people and organizations who dedicate their lives to help, I’m so glad Virgil found his group.

James' Ramblings

Virgil Anderson has Mesothelioma, and he asked me to post his story, which he sent to me.  Here it is:

Mr. Anderson was born and raised in Williamson, WV.  His father, a coal miner, passed when Virgil was 8 years old. Virgil worked in demolition work and excavating since high school. This required the physical tear out, and hands on removal of asbestos containing insulation in walls, ceiling, attics and heating and cooling systems. To remove this required saws and sledge hammers all of which sent the asbestos fibers flying into the air. Unfortunately for Virgil the material had to not only be freed from its location but also picked up and carried to the disposal area. Once asbestos is disturbed it can stay in the air for 5 days. On some occasions there was a haze of dust and debris that you could actually taste in your mouth. He…

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A beautiful sky on the Mass Pike

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Our son and I went off to Mass. General Hospital today to get my staples, all 37 of them, removed. Doctor Mullally had told me it wasn’t going to hurt, and for the first time ever, he got it wrong, it did hurt. Was it angonizing? No, of course not, it felt more like the annoyance of several paper cuts which can be quite aggravating instead. I kept my smile on because it is pointless to complain, the nurse practitioner worked as quickly as she could and we were out in no time, better yet we were able to get out of Boston before rush hour, happy day for us!

Anyway, before we got my staples out, my son and I had Thai food, it’s always fun going out to restaurants with our children, they both appreciate it very much, no matter where we wind up eating. We stumbled on the King and I on Charles Street, we were lured into the restaurant because they had a picture of Anthony Bourdain. Was it the best Thai food? No but it was adequate, convenient and we liked most of what we ate. We just thought that having Anthony Bourdain as a guest would have meant the food was more refined and flavorful, less bland. 

We still had a wonderful time together, laughing and talking, and that is all that counts. And my head is staple-free!

Hacksaw Ridge : a movie review

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My husband, our son and I went to see Hacksaw Ridge, my choice, ordinarily I don’t pick war movies, but I was curious to learn about Desmond Doss, the conscientious collarborator. He refused to see himself as an objector, he saw himself as playing a different, but equally important role in the Second World War being fought out in the Pacific Islands.

We all came away agreeing that this was a very well directed movie. The acting was top notch, but it was secondary when to came to the emotionally primal waves that came through the screen. It was so hard to watch at certain moments, I flashed back to Private Ryan, that was how brutal the savagery was, but also how realistic.

We were happy to have seen it, you need to be reminded how terribly horrible war is, but I can’t help asking, how do we forget so easily?

The best part of Thanksgiving

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The best part of Thanksgiving, Jack, Lulu and Stanley will back me up on this, are the leftovers. If you are lucky, you can have almost an entire weekend of no cooking, I think this year we’re set up for precisely that, no cooking until maybe Monday. 

Stanley and Lulu adore laying on the big couch, letting it all hang out, they look extremely comfy, but don’t let appearances fool you, they can get up and get to the kitchen in mere seconds. It sounds like an army mobilizing their mess tent with pots and pans flying, because when Stanley and Lulu unleash their strength from their seated positions on the couch, you have a combined weight of about 200 lbs and that weight is slipping on wood floors, straining to make it around corners and not slam into a wall. It is quite comical to watch as long as you’re in the safety zone. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today was a nice, slow day in the kitchen, our son didn’t get off work until 3:00 so we didn’t have to rush the food. Since I’m still under the weather, my husband did the heavy lifting and it was yummy, he sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon, I made the stuffing which he put into the turkey breast and tied it up at intervals, he  surrounded the breast with new potatoes, he also sautéed lamb and shrimp. Everything was easy and tasty, I napped for a bit, our son did his father proud taking seconds and maybe thirds. I had a nice piece of pumpkin pie, the spices are very, very healthy, at least that’s the story I’m going with, it sounds good.

Pumpkin pie, checked off the to do list

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Pumpkin pie is easily my favorite thing to bake for Thanksgiving. I have made other types of pie over the years, but ever since I discovered my recipe, which is a combination of a recipe from a newspaper my husband found and the recipe from the Libby pumpkin purée can, I have always made it a point to bake at least one pumpkin pie amongst whichever other pie I decided to experiment with that year, whether it was apple or pear. I can’t remember when I started baking pumpkin pie, I think it was when we moved up to Blandford and into our house, 1995 or so, maybe a year or two later.

I think it’s pretty funny that I grew up not having pumpkin pie as a part of the Thanksgiving feast. We celebrated Thanksgiving as many immigrant families do, adapting our French culinary tastes and sensibilities to the idea of Thanksgiving, which of course is a day of grace and gratitude. Our dessert for Thanksgiving was always a Saint Honoré, a gorgeous concoction of flaky dough, cream puff dough with tons of vanilla pastry cream and whipped cream, a delicious ending to our French version of turkey day, which we always looked forward to because no matter where you are from, it is a beautiful sentiment to celebrate with your family.


I know my first pumpkin pie was eaten at my mother-in-law’s house, I remember thinking it was intriguing and my curiosity was piqued so I had to find recipes to make my own. When my husband found the newspaper recipe, I think I made my first completely from scratch using that recipe. I’m pretty sure I married the two recipes when I decided to stop roasting the actual pumpkin and use Libby’s pumpkin purée and I never looked back.

The Jones ladies

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Today my mother, my sister, myself, plus one of my mother’s oldest friends had a delicious lunch at my sister’s house. As we were eating a sampling of soups, one was a red lentil and the other was an escarole and white bean soup, I was thinking of my father and how I was missing him lately, it is that time of year,  feasts and family celebration. It made me think how the three of us were the Jones girls.

We moved on to a sampling of sandwiches, roasted vegetables on a crunchy sourdough and turkey, avocado and cheese on a ciabatta, this mini feast was our Thanksgiving celebration together, the Jones girls taking comfort and happiness in good food and great conversation. 

We even indulged in a sampling of dessert; cheesecake, tiramisu and a chocolate mousse and cake concoction which were quite tasty. 

I got to smother my nephew and my niece    with big hugs and kisses, just a little bit of torture for the youngins lol. 

It was an excellent day from start to finish. My husband came and collected me after he kissed my mother, my sister and my mother’s friend hello and we are back home with the puppies. It’s now time to rest.

A snowy visit

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We got a surprise visit from our cousin Teddy, he was at U MASS at Worcester watching and cheering  his son playing college basketball and so it worked out perfectly, he came back to our house to eat and sleep over. We laughed, talked and Teddy was subjected to the usual canine inquisition, Jack takes his job very seriously, sniffing until he’s comfortable with the person in question’s vibe, Stanley and Lulu get their direction from Jack, so as long as Jack’s satisfied, everyone is satisfied.


Fantastic Beasts and where to find them: a movie review

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All I can say is that J.K. Rowling is absolutely brilliant. She has created another layer within her intricate universe full of wonder and depth. I sat there breathing in the story, the characters and the magical tapestry of New York in the 1920’s, it was wonderful, a perfect escape from what I have been dealing with lately.