Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I have not blogged for 2 months and 2 days.  My husband would be satisfied that I began to blog again after a "symmetrical" span of time. (Unfortunately for me - the "eclectic" chick - he has hang ups about symmetry - NOT that he actually even reads my blog...)

As you know from my last post, my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in September.  He passed away quietly on November 28th.  I was paralyzingly sad.  And in all honesty, it wasn't until Christmas Eve that I was able to feel lasting, pure emotion again.  I distinctly remember the energy shift. But that is for another post.  I wanted to share something else with you today.

My father died in the middle of the night.  Around 5 in the morning I returned home to my husband's waiting arms and we sat over coffee and talked about my father.  Bob LOVED my father.  In fact - of all the men in my life, he is/was the only one my father could not rile up.  Now of course, he didn't carry the baggage my brothers and I carried, so that is understandable.  But in the past, he very often brought clarity to my endless frustration with my father, seeing the man even though he could be a HUGE pr**k (you know you were, Dad!)  he really was - deep down.

As the morning began to dawn, Bob happened to look up the hill to my father's house (we live across the dirt road from him) and he whispered, "Omg - Jo!  Look!"  This is what we watched.

Now - I have seen sunrises over my father's house before, but none like this.  That is not to say that they don't happen all the time - as I am not watching the sunrise every morning - but...on THIS day?

Late that same day, I was driving on the highway and became aware of a spectacular sunset that could only be for my benefit.  I am posting the pictures below but know - they do not do the moment ANY justice.  I, in fact, have witnessed hundreds of beautiful sunsets in my life - but this one?  On THIS day?  It will stand out in my mind forever.  

The sky - framed in fuschia - was the richest, deepest shade of back-lit baby blue I have ever seen.  The blue was painted with streaks of glowing gold clouds that shimmered blindingly.  I was talking on the phone (I know - while driving????) when I saw this and HAD to pull over - TWICE!

There is no doubt in my mind who that sunrise and sunset belonged to.  In my breath stopping grief, I was witness to a whisper of joy - my final gifts.  Thanks, Dad.  I love you. ♥♥♥    Don't be yelling at Mom up there, though, ya hear?

♥Daddy JOY♥

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Not Alone In The Dark

So - a longgg time ago - or was it just in September?  I guess it feels long ago...I took my father to the ER because he appeared to be unwell.  3 weeks and a Stage 4 terminal illness diagnosis later, I brought him back home.  Now -  the details are all very sad and as I mentioned in an earlier post, my heart is as heavy as it has ever been.  But that is not why I am writing today.

Today I am writing because this afternoon, I was bear hugged by my old friend Chucky - Father Chuck now.    I grew up with Chucky and he went on to become a priest right out of Xavier High School.  I have seen him exactly three times since then.  Once at his father's wake, once at his brother's untimely funeral and today at my father's side.  It was so JOYful to be with him - if only for a few minutes.

What I've discovered in these 5 weeks is that people really are amazing.    And compassionate.  And caring.  I have heard from people I never dreamed I would hear from.  I have visited with souls from my past who have come to see my father.  And, I have been held up, by those who love me most.  ALL bring me JOY in this joyless time.  I've missed all these people from my past but I've only just realized it - as they file one by one past me - to reach my father.  And although I am always surrounded in my daily life by people who love me, I have a greater love for them all now, as well.  Not because they "do" things for me.  But because they care enough to - send a text "How are you today?"  "How's your Dad doing?"  "Do you want to go out and get away for a bit?"  "I love you."  And they call to make sure I don't need anything.  And they stop in to say "hi".  And they send me good energy every day.  Who knew all those small things would be so important?

Yes - this is not a happy time in my life.  And honestly - the JOY was flying by me, but I just wasn't there to catch it.  Being swept up in Chucky's strong arms was what it took, for me to look around and see that the JOY was still there.  I just needed to open my teary eyes and reach for it.

So even in these sometimes, dark days - there is light.  That infrequent smile from my father, the twinkle in my Uncle Al's eyes that I have missed, my cousin Cindy's beautiful face, those texts from near and far, the emails from people from my father's life asking about him, trying to schedule a visit...they ALL hold me up and you know, I can even see the blue sky and sun again.  Yup - there IS still JOY in the dark days...don't ever think it's NOT flying by waiting to be caught.  Trust me - I know this for a fact.  ♥♥♥

Monday, October 10, 2011


I'm too tired to write but I DID catch some JOY this weekend.  This sums it up...


Witness the beauty that radiates from within your soul

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Although my heart is heavy right now - perhaps as heavy as it has ever been - I found this leaf at my feet this morning. And I experienced 1 brief breath of - you guessed it - JOY.

My heart was lighter - if only for that moment.  I'll take it where I can catch it. ♥♥♥


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Today - my friend Linda sent me this photo and it was instant JOY.  Perfectly timed, as there is very little JOY in my complicated life right now.  Thank you Linda! ♥♥♥

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


First day of school today!  Woohoooooooooo!!!!!!  I pushed sent the three little pigs out the door and off to the Emerald City schools and...yipee!!!!  I'm free!!!!!

What's the first thing I did?  Went and had a facial!  Ahhhhhhh - love my Janine.  We just blab blab blab.  Then I got  giddy about all my free time on the phone and called Kay - because...

 I CAN!  

And we went out to lunch at Savvy Tea.  FUN!  Then...

I took a power nap!  

Now don't get me wrong, you know I love my three little pigs!  I just don't love being with them 24 hours a day, 8 days a week without a break for - 75 days.  Eeekk!

No - I do love them.  I even have an internet scrapbook devoted to them.  Check it out:

Dear three little pigs, (focus on the insanity part)


This is from the book The Help.  Loved the book.  Adored the movie.  I vow to tell them this every day.


Ain't THAT the truth?
Utoh - I'm screwed.

And their Daddy is the BEST example!

And of course, what's a little love for your kids without a little humor?  Uhuh...

Ummmm - alot of humor?  :)

Yeaaaa - I'm laughing...

maybe not so much.  

This is me after 75 days...

But all in all, I try to teach them this:

I love that.  Choose JOY.  It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?  

So little pigs - you truly ARE the beat of my heart.And I'm so glad you're back in school! that's what it's alllllllll about.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Do you think an "act of god" is telling me I am supposed to can this 21 day habit thingy?  I'm done.  I tried.  I tried again..."ova" as those Boston Red Sox fans almost always often say at this time of year.  (heehee)

Speaking of baseball...it's getting down to the wire, Red Sox fans!!!  Suddenly the Yankees are leading the charge for the Pennant.  Could we be 1 and a half games ahead as of this post?  Of COURSE we are.  We're the Yankees!  It's Fall.  It's TIME.  SHOCK!! And would the Sox be 2 games behind in the loss column?  

Speaking of Yankees...OMG - did I catch JOY the other night when my beloved boys of summer came through on Game 3 and took the 3 game series against the Red Sox.  What was even MORE joyful was that a rabid Red Sox fan who I just happened to have a bet with on that series, had to post on Facebook "Yankees Rule".  Woohoo!  Now that's JOY, kittens!!!!  (What a good sport my friend is!)

So - my boys won again today and the Sox got annihilated by lost once again to Texas today.  Tsk tsk.  Jeter got 5 RBIs (a 3 run homer!!!)  Love you Derek!!!  Nick Swisher?  You ROCK, baby!  Caught a wee bit of JOY in that game...uhuh!

Catch y'all later, friends.  Hope I didn't offend!  It's all in good fun.  :)


Saturday, September 3, 2011



I'm back.

From where?  You ask?

From an amazing 6 days.

Really?  Were you on vacation?

Haaaaaaaaa!  Ummmm - not egggzactly...

Oh...do tell!

Ok, maybe I shall.

7 days ago, Miss Hurricane Irene crashed through our world leaving a path of destruction in it's wake like no one in our small town has ever experienced.  It wasn't the kind of horrors seen in say - Hurricane Katrina or Andrew or Ike.  Although our shoreline towns took an incredible beating and one in particular had houses just blown up.

Just before we were married, my husband and I actually lived on the beach, about 2 houses down from the below homes.  Just horrible.  My heart goes out to those who lost so much.  But luckily, few lives were lost and that is important.  And amazing.

In our town, the destruction took form in the way of downed trees and power lines.

This is a pic of my friend Lynn's property.  You get the idea...

Our property was relatively unscathed.  Amazing!  But...

we lost power for SIX days.  SIX DAYS!  Have you ever been without power?  For a day?  2 days?  SIX DAYS??????

It was an interesting time.  The first day was novel.  The 2nd day, a nuisance.  The 3rd day, wow this isn't ending.  Day 4, ummmm WTF?  Day 5 - I gotta get a pedicure!  

And day 6 - this is kinda relaxing!  WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????????? 

I don't know how to explain it.  Of course, I did my share of whining, commiserating, BOILING POOL WATER...but all in all - this experience held quite a bit of JOY.  Amazing!

We were one of the lucky people who had a pool and a hot tub as a water source.  Obviously, you don't drink  or cook with that water but it was an endless supply of water for toilets and washing dishes.  We also had a gas cooktop (and a grill of course) so we were able to cook a variety of meals.  Although the dish washing got REALLLLLLY old, so the cooking  went by the wayside on about Day 3.

Anyway - do you realize there's not much to do when you don't have power?  I personally was paralyzed.  While some of my unlucky friends were cleaning closets and tending to their littered and beaten yards, I was sitting on my front porch, monitoring facebook, texting with friends and reading.  Yup - essentially doing NOTHING.

WHAT a concept!  I mean - it sounds like I am such a slug and I am, as much as possible! but with 3 kids under the age of 12, all I could think of was surviving - the next meal, swabbing the decks with anti-bacterial wipes, filling the fresh water containers...

We DID borrow a coveted generator on Day 3 which powered our fridg and some lights etc but not water.  By that time, everything in the fridge and freezer had gone bad, but the generator made life much easier - ESPECIALLY because I didn't have to sit in my car to charge my precious IPhone!!!!  My lifeline to...well...MY LIFE!

That's how I stayed in complete touch with the Yankee/Red Sox 3 game series - Yankees RULE! all my friends and relatives.  Through facebook and texting.  Amazing!

I think what I found interesting - perhaps even from an anthropology point of view - with no power, people's lives slooooowwwed down and we actually visited with each other.  I had coffee with friends in the morning either on my front porch or theirs.  We were invited to evening barbecues by people who had generators that fully powered their homes where we ate and drank talked and laughed for hours.  We spent some wonderful candle lit nights with friends who weren't lucky enough to have generators.  Just amazing!

We were offered showers, laundry use, water, ice, power availability to charge phones - it was simply JOYful to live so simply in this way.  Obviously - for me - this experience was different simply because I had a planned 4 weeks off from the gym.  So I wasn't consumed with working.  And as I said - I had more resources then many.

But my kids never whined once.  They made the best of it and spent their days being kids.  It was positively delightful to watch them ride bikes and play wiffle ball and climb trees and essentially be KIDS!  No stupid computer games, tv, Wii, etc.  I honestly am so proud of them.  So many of my friends complained about their kids whining and fighting and boredom.  Not mine.  Amazing!

Late yesterday afternoon, we were hosting a cookout because - well - we might as well!  SO we are all sitting on the front porch, beers tanq and tonic for me in hand when I looked up at our porch light and just started screaming.  My husband JUMPED up, "What?!  What!?  Is it a bat!  A spider????" looking at the light the whole time - NOT REGISTERING THE GLOWING BEACON!!!!!!!

So our time in a bubble came to an end.  And in it's twisted way, I am a bit sad.  The rhythm of this lifestyle was starting to take hold.  The thought of getting back to real life is kind of bumming me out.  Back to rushing around, computers and tv, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, getting kids ready for school, re-designing my kitchen, closing the pool, opening the gym, laundry, vet visits - you get the picture.

My friends will razz me endlessly when they read this post.  Especially those STILL without power.  But I know that something a bit on the magical side occurred in my world and quite frankly, I caught JOY!  


(On day 6, I found this little gem blooming all by itself - total beauty JOY)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

1)  Well, in short order, Hurricane Irene will be upon us.  And then she will be gone - just like THAT - surely leaving a path of destruction.  The worst inconvenience?  Bada Bing!  NO POWER.  Aghhhhhh.

So we are sitting at lunch yesterday blabbing, blabbing, blabbing and  Robin or Laurel (can't remember which one) starts telling me how, when we were in the hardware type store earlier,  I made a joke about having a Hurricane Party, and some woman looked at me AGHAST,  jeez - I was KIDDING, lady!  I'm a responsible homeowner too, you know! 

Then they started busting on me, because everyone was frantically snapping up this and that in preparation for a life without power - flashlights, batteries, candles, ice, water, bread, milk, eggs  (Kidding!  We were in a hardware store, silly!) and what am I frantically purchasing?  

A french press.

Whattt!?  It's so I can have coffee in the morning if we wake up with no power.  What's wrong with THAT?    

So yea - I caught JOY from that belly laugh!  (I still think it was an important and necessary purchase....shhhhhh.)

2)  Today, there was a dog adoption event in our town.  I took the kids down to repeatedly say "no", "no", "NO - you can NOT get another DOG - please recall your last fight over who wasn't going to walk the dog 5 times this morning." look at the sweet babies.  Check it out.



I think Andrea was adopting this cutie!  This pup looks kinda like my Daisy!  Her name is Willow!

3)  I am making this JOY #3 today.  I asked my friend Laurel if she was planning on adopting this pup because she wouldn't leave his side.  You know what she said?  She said, "No - but I have fallen in love with him and I really want him to be adopted so I am staying here to talk to everyone that inquires to make sure he gets a family."  THAT was sweet JOY.  I love you, Laurel!!!!

Cutie patooty

This one broke my heart.  All she wanted to do was snuggle in and not let go.  Sniff...I hope she got a family.

There's Karen and Lynn!  Really close friends of mine.  Karen was VERY involved in bringing this event to our town and Lynn is a volunteer.

Awwww - Eileen and her new baby, I think.  I think she adopted!

And these next two pictures are that baby doll's new mom and dad!

Hey Bud!!

This dog is sooo darn cute.  I think this is the dog my oldest was BEGGING me  to adopt.

Here are the hotdogs!!  Little Nathans and Hummels that they are!!!

So even with Irene on our heels, people came, people looked, people adopted.  I was told there were about 40 dogs and 4 hours into the event, only 15 dogs were left.  How awesome is THAT!  

Ok - gotta run but know this.  I wasn't a real doggy girl or at least I didn't think I was - until Daisy.  So remember:   Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.  Caio.