A Day Too Soon

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I was just saying yesterday that we managed to make it through January without a death.  It seems for the past few January’s (or more), we’ve experienced at least one significant death of friend or family.  I thought we had made it through this one, but I spoke a day too soon.

This morning I came in to find an email from my friend saying their beloved dog, Morgan, passed away peacefully in his sleep last night.  Morgan was a beautiful 13-year-old Golden Retriever who loved everyone.  For the past couple of years he’s had difficulties with health, but he always seemed to bounce back.  In fact, last weekend he went on a ski trip to Rangeley, ME with friends from the lake.  No one knew it would be his last trip.  Another friend said it was the first time he’d pawed her hand for food.  I told her I think he was saying goodbye and telling her he loved her and her family.  Morgan was her neighbor and would spend hours on her deck, or dock, just hanging with them.  He was the dog that always came to greet you when you went over to visit, whether it be on the driveway or on the dock, Morgan was always waiting for you with his tail wagging in excitement.  If you saw him at someone elses house, he was always quick to come and say hello when you walked in.  He never barked or begged.  He was the iconic man’s best friend.

Morgan will be missed.  He lived a good quality life and was loved by all.  In fact, Morgan lived a better life than most people I know.  The lake won’t be the same without him, but he will live on in memories and stories.

Rest in peace Morgie.  It was a pleasure to know you…

xoxox

 

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“That’s My Son”

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Like most little boys, organized sports is encouraged at a young age.  In NH, you have to be five years old to actually play on an organized team outside of school.  While my son grew, he tried all sports offered and seemed to love, excel and master mostly in basketball (although he does have a great broken collar-bone football injury for the record).  With quite a basketball history career behind him, he continues to play in two leagues to this day.  I attended every game, away or home, every fundraiser, banquet and party there was to support him and his team.  I cooked, baked, sewed, volunteered and had the team over for dinner so many times it almost put me in the poor house.  I would get so excited watching him play that when he made a basket, I would stand up in the bleachers, arms up in the air, yelling “That’s My Son” !  Yeah, I was that mom.  Of course my son would always look up at me with pursed lips and daggers like “Geez, mom did you really just say that, again?”  I was so proud of him, I couldn’t help myself.  He was the Captain and the star of the team.  The crowd would go wild when Jeff was running the ball.  At night before bed, we would always talk about the highlights and the lowlights of the game.  Just when I thought I was in the clear, he would always ask me to stop doing ‘that’.  Of course I always agreed, but never did.  Ooops.

Yesterday was my son’s 24th birthday.  Where does the time go?  While I was shopping for a birthday card, I came across one that said “That’s My Son” printed on the front of it.  I was immediately taken back to the bleachers with a giggle and a smirk.  I had to get it. While I was writing it out, I wondered if my son would read the words and be taken back to yesteryear when I would stand up and cheer with excitement, or if he would shoot me daggers at the birthday table.  With friends and family around the birthday dinner table, we laughed, ate, joked and then had Carvel ice cream cake and gifts.  I watched him as he opened my card.  His face said it all… he remembered and chuckled as he rolled his eyes when he looked at me.  I asked him if he remembered when…, he cut me off and said “ohhh I remember”.   It was priceless. 

I continue to be proud of my son for so many reasons.  I also continue to throw my arms up in the air and yell “That’s My Son” whenever the urge strikes me.  Yeah, I’m still that mom!

It’s been the best 24 years of my life because  –  That’s My Son!

Samantha’s Personalized Creations

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As a Martha Stewart follower, I’m always intrigued and drawn to innovative designs and creations, especially different ideas.  Every now and then someone special crosses my path and I just have to tell everyone about it.  Last week a very close friend of mine sent me a link to “Samantha’s Personalized Creations”.  ‘Sam’ hand molds custom clay animal figures per your request.  You send her a couple of pictures of the animal you want crafted, tell her a bit about the animal and what you’d like to see, and she puts it all together.  I decided to check it out and contacted Sam.  I sent her three different picture views of Lizzie, so she could see one blue eye and one brown eye.  Although I wasn’t sure of turn-around time (I told her no rush), she had completed it the same day!  I was blown away when I saw my order was ready only hours after I placed it.  Who does that?  Samantha’s Personalized Creations does! 

Definitely a site worth mentioning.  Check it out below.  I’ll be back for more! 

http://www.etsy.com/listing/91520703/reserved-for-sbj11-custom-made-polymer

From The Mouths of Babes

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The old saying “from the mouths of babes” stems from the fact that children have a raw honesty when they speak from the heart.  My ‘babe’ has grown into a man who speaks with a passionate raw honesty that cannot be denied.  Last night my son came home from watching the Pat’s game (go Pats!) with his dad.  We said our usual hello’s as he took off his coat.  He had a look on his face that held my attention, I waited.  I could see him constructing the words in his mind, I knew he had something to say.  I also knew he needed me to listen.  He still had that look on his face.

Back in September, we started a workout program together.  We’ve both always been passionate about working out, giving it our all, and we both have tendencies to let life get in the way.  We did well for a few months, then one thing after another, we stopped with the promise of getting back into it.  The holidays came and we stopped talking about it.

He turned to me and said he wanted us to get back to working out together, regularly.  We are a team, we work well together and we push each other.  He wanted a commitment and was giving me a week’s notice so I could get mentally and physically prepared for our journey.  He talked about our workout plan, food, dis-order and failure.  There it was, the look.  My son said he’d failed us the last time by not keeping us on track.  I told him he did not fail us, we failed us.  We let life get in the way by putting everything and everyone else before our own goals.  His face said it all, he was harboring all our failures himself.  All of the success in my life was born from even more failures.  It wrecked me to think I’d contributed to my son’s feelings of failure.  I also felt he needed me as much as I needed him to do this.  I told him I was in.  We started talking about our plan.  For the next week we are going to get an unused room in the house ready to work out in a few days a week and go back to our gym the other days.  We talked about schedules and commitment.  When I went to bed he came in my room and told me he had started a journal when we started working out together in September.  He said he was going to give it to me for Christmas but since we quit working out, he didn’t.  I asked him if he still had it, he said yes.  I told him I would love to read it.  This morning I saw it in email.  It brought me to tears.  He wrote about pushing each other, triumphs and tragedy’s.  He made an entry every single day and commented on progress and personal gains.  He wrote about leaning on each other and commitment. 

Who knew almost 24 years ago I’d give birth to a child who would grow up and save my life?  Where all my friends and family are afraid to bring up sensitive subjects with me; my son, with his raw honesty and courage, will broach any subject, no matter how uncomfortable.  I admire the courage, and the intensity.  He’s not afraid of anything, not even me.  I so admire that.  With more of a gentle manner about him, he’s like me.  I can always trust him with the raw truth, whether I want to hear it or not.

Perhaps it’s because his dad and I divorced when he was very small that we’ve been very close.  Perhaps it’s just because I only had the one child.  What ever the reason is, I have always felt blessed and very fortunate to have such a tight relationship with my son.  He’s a lot like me, which is very evident when we argue.  But, we never stay mad for long, because we love, and trust each other deeply.

He’s the one person who knows everything about me, and still likes me.  He doesn’t judge me, even when he doesn’t agree with me.   He’s throws me a bouy when I’m sinking and then becomes the rock to lean on when I’ve gone too far and can’t get out of my own way.  We communicate.  We count on each other.   He makes me look good as a mom.

The Truth Prevails

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Back in April of 2011, I hired a local contractor to build a simple 12 x 12 pressure treated deck off the back of my lake house.  After a myriad of unacceptable mishaps, I fired him and demanded my deposit back.  He in turn stole (yes stole), the deck off of the house without returning my deposit.  The police were instrumental in assisting me with the return of my deposit (or partial deposit as he chose to pay), with pictures, documentation, and police reports, which I ultimately used against him in a court of law in December.  I also have to give kudos to the Building Inspector and a neighbor/friend.  Their testimonies in court sealed his fate.  Yesterday the court rulings were in the mail when I got home.  Not only did I win the case hands down, the court appointed all that I asked for, plus court fees… and interest! 

The truth always wins!

Whether it be stealing a deck off of someone’s house or applying a fraudulent inspection sticker on your car, you may get away with it for a while, but in the end, you will not win.  If you can look at yourself in the mirror without remorse, ask yourself if it is worth it; for in the end you will have to live with your decision, and possibly nothing else.

WELCOME TO THE TEAM !

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My brother and I spent some time at the lake over the holidays.  He could hardly control his excitement when he swore me to secrecy about an announcement that would be coming out in January.  He was recruited by Camilla H. Fox- Founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote.  Their mission: Project Coyote promotes educated coexistence between people and coyotes; we do this by championing progressive management policies that reduce human-coyote conflict, supporting innovative scientific research, and by fostering respect for and understanding of America’s native wild “song dog.” 

He was recognized and recruited for his expertise, knowledge, hard work and passion for his love of coyotes,and all wildlife.  He has spent countless hours in the pursuit of preserving coyotes, while educating the public on how to co-exist with them.  He has trapped, cared for and released sick or injured coyotes back into the wild and followed their progress. 

I couldn’t be prouder of, and for, my brother.  It is official, he is the Massachusetts Representative for Project Coyote. 

Allow me to gloat, while I post the announcement below:

John Maguranis – Massachusetts Representative

John Maguranis served as a United States Army veterinary technician for more than twenty-years, caring for a wide range of animals from bald eagles to bison. Upon retiring from the army ten years ago and following his love for animals, John became an Animal Control Officer for a small town near Boston, Massachusetts where he has been able to put his veterinary skills to work for wildlife. John quickly recognized the unfair press regarding coyotes and started a campaign to educate the community about why coyotes matter ecologically and why they deserve respect and appreciation. John has since provided over 100 public and private presentations about living with coyotes, empowering communities and Animal Control Officers (ACOs) with the tools, information, and resources they need to coexist with coyotes. His presentations have been requested from organizations that include the National Park Service, the Appalachian Trail Association, and the Boston Park Rangers. He has provided classes to the Animal Control Officer Certification School for Massachusetts and working with Project Coyote will expand our outreach to the animal services community.

John’s love for the environment, wildlife, and ecology has driven him to become a strong advocate for America’s Song Dog and conservation issues. He has worked collaboratively with many organizations and researchers throughout New England on policy related issues and field research while advocating for better treatment of coyotes and all wildlife. John’s passion and engaging personality have been instrumental in helping to foster educated coexistence and compassionate conservation throughout New England. His ability to distill information from scientists, researchers and biologists and present it in a way that is meaningful and memorable has earned him recognition throughout the North East.

Eleven

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Last Sunday (a week ago yesterday) while I hiked with my dog, took my mom to visit my aunt and complained about having to go to work the next day, a little girl I’ve never met, took her own life because of bullying.  She was eleven.  I didn’t hear about it on the news and didn’t hear about it at work until late Friday (the 13th) afternoon almost a week after the tragedy.  I happened to overhear co-workers talking about the wake.  I was stunned to find out this eleven year old girl was the daughter of a co-worker, someone I know very well, someone I think very highly of.  I don’t know how this eluded me for almost a week considering the fact that I watch the news every morning, and it seemed everyone at work had gone to the wake.  Everyone but me, that is.  As the details starting to flood in, I decided to attend the evening calling hours, until I heard it was open casket.  That changed my mind as I knew I’d never be able to sleep again. There’s no way to reach my friend at this time so I signed the on-line condolence website… and cried all night.  I can’t even imagine the pain, and I knew my friend had to be mess with this.  I hugged my son and never wanted to let go.

Mom and I set out to go to the funeral on Sunday.  We were running a bit late and figured the chapel service was over and went right to the Celebration-of-Life afterwards.  The place was packed, although not a familiar face to me.  Mom and I happened to sit with a very nice woman who said she facilitated the eulogy at the chapel.  She also said not to expect to see the parents anytime soon as they were having such a difficult time saying their last goodbye’s.  We waited all afternoon, watched video’s of the sweet child, looked at pictures and listened to stories.  I wanted to see my friend, hug him and tell him how sorry I was.  He never showed, or at least not while mom and I were there.  My heart broke even more as I had visions of a broken man trying to say his last goodbye’s to his precious little girl. 

I learned more about my friend, and his family in three short days, than in all of ten years I’ve worked with him.  He’s a gentle giant, loved by all.  This I knew.    His daughter, although lighter than him, looked just like him.  She was a pretty girl, with a shy, curious look about her.  Watching the video of her singing in a talent contest a week before, I looked for signs on her face that would indicate this precious child had so much turmoil in her head and heart.  I saw nothing.  I then wondered if my friend had ever seen any signs.  So many questions…

It struck me odd that the room was segregated with all the people who had come out to honor and celebrate this little girl’s life.  Blacks on one side, whites on the other.  It was then I realized the girl’s mother must have been white, not that it mattered.  It almost felt intrusive to me, to be learning all these very personal things about my friend.  I learned that this was his second marriage and he has three grown children from the first, and rumors of grandchildren.  Wouldn’t these details be something he would have shared with people if he’d wanted us to know?  I was torn and suddenly turned to mom and said we should leave.  It suddenly became too personal for me and a bit overwhelming.  I just wanted to hug my friend, I didn’t want to be privy to his personal life, the rumors, the speculations, the stories.  Just a hug from one friend to another, just to let him know that I’m here and I care.  My heart breaks for you my friend, my shoulders are strong should you need to lean.  My arms are open should you need a hug.  It’s the least I can do for a friend.

Life is short.  Make a difference every single day. 

Love, peace and strength… to all of you.

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