On The Cusp of Christmas


It just doesn’t feel like Christmas season.  Tomorrow is December 1st, and it’s 55 sunny degrees outside. 

When I was a kid, the whole month of December was exciting.  There was snow, school vacation, Christmas, friends and family.  As an adult, I find myself cringing at December’s taxes, bills, shopping, cooking, cleaning, deadlines, etc.  There are so many distractions that just seem to come at the wrong time and take away that special feeling of Christmas.  This year, on top of everything else, my truck broke down.  Right smack in the middle of all my other financial obligations, my truck will cost me somewhere around $1200 to fix.  Merry Christmas…

I’m just not feeling it…









50 Years In Five Minutes


Although his birthday was on Thanksgiving day, it was the following Saturday that his right-of-passage actually birthed itself.  It was a small, intimate crowd of close friends who gathered to celebrate and honor our friend, Andy.   All along he kept saying he didn’t want a party, surprise or otherwise for his 50th.  No problem, we kept telling him, we were all too busy for that kind of nonsense anyway.  HA!  He was totally surprised, shocked and a bit overwhelmed when he realized we had master-minded this event without breathing a single word to him.  We weren’t sure if he was suspicious or not, until we saw the look on his face at the reveal.  He had no idea…

Mulled hot cider with spices and Rum, food, decorations, games and gag-gifts awaited their turn to shine at the party… and shine they did!  Everything was perfectly planned and well executed except one little detail…. everyone was late!  When Andy walked in, it was just Sheilah and I yelling SURPRISE!  With that, we kicked off the party without the gang, who later strolled in, tails between their legs for being late.  Oh well, the party went uphill from there.

Great job on the gag-gifts everyone!  I have pictures to prove what I can’t post on-line.  Very creative, interesting and hilarious.  I’m sure we’ll be laughing about this for years!

Sheilah made a tender CD for the gala event.  It was a five-minute glimpse of Andy’s life.  It was well produced and allowed all of us to watch Andy changing through the years.  It was a special event, and big fun was had by all.  I was happy to be hosting it for a man who is undeniably worth it.

“It’s cute that you try…”

A Silent Hero Thanksgiving Tribute


He walks the woods all day long, regardless of the weather, looking for abandoned, maimed or hurt animals.  He searches for coyotes to corral and protect them  from areas that could be harmful to themselves and to people.  He’s been known to work around the clock if an animal is in danger.  He has become mother to baby raccoons when their mother was killed, and has raised a squirrel who can’t stand up on his own.  He will drive hours just to be sure these animals are put in a safe sanctuary for their protection.  He gives presentations to educate about the animals that share our neighborhoods, and how to co-exist with them.  He is committed to educating the public so when faced with potential harmful situations, we know how to react, instead of panic. 

He is a 20-year Army Vet with a reoccurring painful back injury.  He is the man who spends endless hours putting little flags on every soldier’s grave for Memorial Day, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day.  He is the Veteran’s advocate that fights for their rights.  He is the one they go to for help when there’s nowhere else to turn.  He is their voice, their last chance.

He is a father, a step father, a husband and a son-in-law.  He is a brother and a son, a nephew and a cousin.  He is a friend and a leader.  He is the glue to all the drama that surrounds his life and the leader of the pack of 10 animals he saved and owns.

He is funny, charming and a blast to be around.  He is a goof-ball.  He is very deep and charismatic.  People, like animals, are drawn to him.  He is a clone of his father, who would be so proud.  He is a simple man who speaks volumes with his actions. 

He is my only sibling, my brother.  I am thankful he hears me.

Give thanks to those who deserve it.

Treasures Of The Past


Over the weekend a friend of mine asked if I would help her clean out a barn loft recently acquired by her and her husband.  Of course I said yes!  I could only image the potential “stuff” we’d find up there and the fun we’d have just uncovering the unknown.  I couldn’t wait to get up there.

The barn was huge, the loft just as big.  How did the old farmers get up and down those short, steep staircases?  Greeted by piles of bat doo, mice droppings, dust, boxes, bags and furniture, we just looked around in awe, not knowing where to start.  I’m thinking this loft was where they kept the hay for the horses stalled below.  It only had a short loft door at the front, where old western movie memories tell me they used to shuck the hay up there (shuck?).  We open the short loft door and are instantly assaulted by the sun pushing its way in, only to expose all the dust we were surely ingesting.   The post and beam log ceiling held together by pegs were screaming strength and structure built to last.  As I studied it for several minutes, it took my breath away .  With so much character I was taken back to a time I’ve only read about and seen in movies.  It was surreal.  I suddenly wanted to put on a cowgirl hat and boots, maybe even a holster with a gun.  Screw the petticoats, I wanted to be that girl.  Yeah, this loft was full of memories and secrets stored away from yester-year.  I wanted to know them all.

On to the stuff!  To our surprise, every single box was unopened!  Yep, clearly a shopaholic / hoarder was ordering things and just storing them in the loft, without even opening the boxes as they arrived in the mail.  When we first realized what we stumbled upon, we couldn’t believe it; then we dove in opening box after box as fast as we could.  It was like Christmas, the box contents were so random we had no idea what we would see.  After a while we started to see a pattern of brass pineapple lamps.  All sizes and shapes, she was clearly into the “welcome” lamps.  Not being a brass pineapple lamp fan, I didn’t take any.  We did however, find all kinds of primitive things, fabric (ohhh the fabric!), vintage clothing, prints, frames, books, furniture, hook rug thingy, braided rug wool strips, wooden carvings, old-fashioned baby leather shoes, baking tins, etc.  I could go on and on about all the cool things, but what started out as a journey for the stuff, turned into a memorable, exciting day of history.  I was, at the very least, honored to be asked in the first place, and then grateful for the experience.  It was wonderful, different, and so unexpected!  I was able to get lost in time and just wonder what it must have been like in this loft with all this random stuff.  We had a blast trying to figure what she did for a living, or why she never opened anything.  We came  up with different scenarios and stories, but we really have no idea.  Every box had a note “thank you for your purchase”.  We had several ideas and walked away with several pieces of history. I loved everything, but even without the stuff, I loved the day.  I’ll never forget the day in the loft when I look at my treasures of the past.  It was a perfect day!  Thank you!

It’s Exhausting Being Me

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After a long day of hard play, Lizzie takes a power nap to gear up for round two…

Warm Spots and Silver Linings


This week my son completed two days of interviewing for the internal job he was recruited for last month.  Last night we continued to talk about the interviews and he happen to mention one of the questions asked by one of the panel members (yes, there were panels of people interviewing two separate groups over the two days) was “What is the hardest decision you’ve made in your life?”  He said he thought about it a moment and gave a short story of when he was in fourth grade I gave him the choice of either staying in NH or moving to VA.  He went on to say he chose to move with mom to VA and the experience was amazing.  Nonchalantly, he went on to explain how I was the most influential person in his life, how I had gone back to college, graduated with honors, and basically gave him the life tools to adapt and overcome anything in his life.  He said I was the role model that showed him nothing could stand in the way of anything you wanted.  He talked about it like it was everyday chatter, but his words kept circling around a warm spot in my heart.  Wow!

After he finished, I said “For the record, I would have never left you behind.  I simply wouldn’t have moved.”  He kind of looked at me with wide eyes and I told him I just wanted him to make the decision so he didn’t feel forced.  Did he really think I’d ever leave him behind… with his father?  Oh hell no!  I’d never leave my boy.  Glad we got that cleared up.

Although the journey to VA was short, and ended in devastation, I would do the whole thing over again if given the chance.  We learned so many things, saved a few lives, loved a few dogs, made a few friends and came back better people.  Silver linings can’t be bought, they must be earned.

And Then It Happened… She Got Out

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Yep, yesterday Lizzie managed to escape.  I got a frantic phone call at work that she was running wild in the neighborhood and dashed home.  Amazingly, I called her and she came.  This dog has potential.

Pictures taken last Sunday. 

Lizzie making herself at home …








Lizzie with new friends…







J wins the stick…

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