Friday, May 17, 2019

I'm making Chicken Piccata

So life has thrown me quite a few curve balls lately.  My emotional, soft side wants to cry, lament and have a month long pity party.  My strong, calculating side is constantly figuring the odds and finding solutions for problems that haven't even come up yet.

I have a couple fool proof strategies that I follow (and have taught my kids to do):

1.  Sure, the road is not what I had anticipated right now.  What is the WORST case scenario?  THINK!  No, not that - I said the WORST CASE!  Yes, ok, now you know how to play this game.  Now you have permission to lose a couple nights' sleep as you figure out possible ways to deal with this worst case.

2.  Sure, the road is not what I had anticipated right now.  (See Step #1) - Think about the first solution - now TURN THE PAGE - "Can I live with the outcome after I implement this first solution?"

3.  Sure, the road is not what I had anticipated right now.  Repeat Step #2 with all possible solutions.

4.  Sure, the road is not what I had anticipated right now.   Pray.  Then pray some more.  Some people have unyielding faith, I am not so blessed.  I have to work at it.  So I pray..... and sometimes, my prayer is simply, "Lord, I can't wait to see how YOU do this!"

5. Sure, the road is not what I had anticipated right now.   Last Step: Gather some recipes that use lemons.  Rest assured, this is not the first time life has thrown you a basket full of citrus and you can only drink so much lemonade.




Thursday, March 21, 2019

What? Me Strong??

Someone recently said to me, "You are so strong!"

At the time, I laughed it off.  What exactly is the definition of "strong"?  Able to lift massive weights?  Being unyielding to outside pressures?  The ability to carry things for a long distance?  

How do I define "strong"?
-The will to live my life, day after day, no matter what obstacles are in my path.  To get up each morning and do what needs to be done to have a productive day (and sometimes, 'productive' means just remembering to breathe).

There is no perfect way to do this.  We are all just making it up as we go along.  Some of us are better actors than others.... and that gets misinterpreted as strong. 

So, if you see me walking and I smile when we meet - just hug me..... I need the endorphins so I can  appear strong to anyone who is looking.




Tuesday, March 05, 2019

If you are lucky, motherhood leads into grand-motherhood...



Our newest family member was born yesterday  - Happy Birthday, Riley!!  You are so lucky to have been born into this crazy family!!

Holding her yesterday just brought such a flood of emotions.  THIS is what life is all about.  Houses, cars, money - they don't mean a thing without the love of family.  As I looked at her gorgeous face, my brain did a quick flashback though my own life and all that has happened since I first gave birth nearly 40 (YIKES!) years ago.

"Motherhood" is my longest profession.  It has been a process with a crazy learning curve.  Every stage of my children's lives also included a growth spurt in my life.  I soon came to learn that no 2 children are alike - ever - at any time.    I am guessing that is why there is no "right way" to parent.  We all, at times, just fly by the seat of our pants and hope for the best - and we pray.... a lot!

I can't help but look back to where I was and where I am now - and my role as a mother today.  In the recent past, there were times when I have had to lean on my kids instead of being the "ROCK" I always thought I needed to be.  I am a far cry from the mom who could fix everything with a kiss (or a meatball).  But my children are also a long way from the kids they once were.  Thankfully, we all survived their teen years - because their adult years are way better to watch.

Being a grandparent is certainly a blessing..... and a gift for all the lectures, lessons, discipline, open school nights,  sports/scouting events...... It wasn't always easy, but it was worth the effort. 




Friday, February 08, 2019

sometimes, you just have to keep going

It's been a while since I've posted - for good reasons!

We left on my birthday (Jan 5) for our highly anticipated 10 day vacation to the Dominican Republic.  We were looking forward to laying in the sun, reading and relaxing - the things we do best!  We arrived that Saturday afternoon and had the most wonderful time.  We had a simple lunch, a wonderful dinner and danced under the stars to the live music.  We were in paradise!

The next day, after our room service breakfast, we ventured up to our private rooftop deck and pool.  My Prince started to enter the pool when his foot slipped on the steps - he took quite a tumble!  In order to spare all the gory details, I'll just cut to the chase.  He broke his left humerus.  We spent 2 days in the hospital, then arranged to come home as he needed surgery to repair it.

Shortly after his surgery, we were made aware that his Multiple Myeloma (which had been in remission) was back with a vengeance.   He is now receiving state of the art treatment (immunotherapy).  Asking my faithful readers for prayers,,,,

January had been an eventual month - One must remember that all events are not always reasons to celebrate...

No need to look back.... I am concentrating on the road ahead....

 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Christmas: done our way.

I guess it is true when they say "the older you get, the faster the time goes".  I feel like we were just lounging by the pool - and now we are getting ready to spend Christmas week with our families.

I am so glad we have decided to make the season more than just the "obligatory exchange of gifts".  Neither of us 'wants' or 'needs' a thing.  We work everyday to have a happy life, without stress or drama.  We truly enjoy each other's company - and that's a HUGE plus since we are both confirmed home-bodies.  After a couple years, our lives have nicely entwined and we are genuinely content all the time.  THIS is our gift to each other.  

It has been a wonderful year: a vacation, an engagement, a wedding, and the announcement of a new grandchild in 2019.  It will be good to see ALL our kids AND grandkids within a 4 day span - a perfect way to close out a year filled with blessings.  

Merry Christmas.... from us.




Wednesday, December 05, 2018

OCD? Nah, I call it a cute quirk

My prince and I spoke for a long time before we actually met.  One of the questions he asked me was, "Which way does your toilet paper face; over or under?"  I thought it was an odd question, as I had NEVER given this any thought, so I replied, "I have 3 bathrooms: one is over, one is under and one is a literal crap shoot".

Turn the clock ahead a couple years:  All 3 bathrooms in our home have the toilet paper coming over the TOP of the roll.  I was informed, quite a while ago, that this is the CORRECT way.  I laughed this off, once again - and thought to myself, if this is what makes him happy, so be it.  It was a tiny task that would bring him so much joy.

We spent this past weekend in a quaint hotel in Pennsylvania.  Shortly after checking into our room, my prince announced:  "The toilet paper was all wrong, but don't worry, I FIXED it"....

All I could do was smile and be reminded of those endless conversations leading up to our first date.  

He is special.... and he is all mine ...  I couldn't be happier.



Tuesday, October 30, 2018

we will grow by another 2 feet!

We are expecting a new granddaughter at the end of February.  Such excitement!!  My heart is so happy.

Letter to my new granddaughter,

"My precious angel, just anticipating your arrival has made my heart grow beyond what I ever thought was possible.  Your sister has given this family so much joy and she has paved the way for you - as she will do for the rest of your lives!  

Apparently, there is no "cap" on how much we can love.  When we first learned of your impending arrival, I remember feeling my heart beat just a little faster.  Simply hearing those words was enough to make me love you.

You will be blessed to have an amazing family who love each other so much.  I know all families love each other, but we are a special group.  We are loud and we are emotional.  We hug and kiss each other hello and good-bye even if we see each other everyday!  We will all teach you different things, because we are all good at something.  We make every gathering special - even if it is just a Wednesday night!  There are no boundaries in our family - we watch over each other and celebrate life.  We welcome everyone - all friends, and friends of friends easily become part of our family.

I love watching your mommy's middle expand as you grow.  I am feverishly working on a blanket for you (just as I did for your sister).  We are all counting down the weeks until you are here - then.... "Let the spoiling begin!!"

Love you to the moon and back,
Grandma 


Monday, October 15, 2018

My Leap of Faith

As you know, I jumped ship earlier this year and embarked on my own business.

I have a partner that I worked with for 18 years, but have never met in person.  Yes, I went into this venture with both eyes open.  I spoke to this person everyday, several times a day, for 18 years.  There was no questions that we would be perfect partners.

Two weeks ago, I took a trip to Texas.  I finally hugged the person that I had so much faith in.  He escorted me around our warehouse and offices.  It was the sweetest journey for me, as this was OURS!!  We have a common goal and superior work ethics.  We are a united front and are determined to succeed.  Sounds like a winning combination to me!

Someone was aligning all the stars for me.... happen-stances occurred at just the right time.  
I have taken many leaps of faith in my life..... but this leap was definitely facilitated by a higher power... So grateful to have "someone" watching over me.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

You never know who you will touch in life...

I've known her since she was in middle school.    I remember vividly how she and her family traveled so far  to be at  Mike's wake.... she said she "needed to be there" as she practically grew up as part of our family.  

She was recently widowed with 2 young children.  My heart broke for her.  I understood how much her life was going to change.  I tried, so hard, to say the words I thought she needed to hear..... words I needed to hear just a few short years ago.  She had become a member in a club that no one wants to join.

I now hear that she has someone in her life.  Someone who makes her happy.  I hear that she is smiling again.  I am told that I was the inspiration for her to go on.  She drew from my strength and knew that if I could find happiness again, she was going to give it a try.

I am so grateful to have been a part of this young lady's life - both when she was an impressionable child and later, when she was going through the worst days of her life.  

Moral of the story: Just be who you are.  Don't let others change you.  You can only be the best "YOU".   You may never know who will cross your path .... or what an impact you will make on them.   Maybe, just maybe, you will be lucky enough to hear how you made a difference in someone's life just by being who you are.


Monday, August 06, 2018

We got this!

So it was bound to happen - our first stumbling block.  Something that just sits in the middle of our roadway and we have to figure out a way to get to the other side.  There are over 75 years of marriage between us - we've got this, right?

Yes, we got it..... but it was eye opening.  

We realized that our world is not just what happens between us  - we know how to do THAT well!   We live a peaceful, mundane (read that: 'without drama'), loving life.  At this point in our lives, all we want is to be happy.... everyday.  We both know that we are equally responsible for that happiness and that is our only goal.

It doesn't matter what the stumbling block was.  What matters is we found a way around it.  We did not let it upset the life we have both worked so hard to achieve.  

Maintaining our relatively new relationship at this stage of our lives has been surprisingly easy.  Both of us being widowed after long marriages, we knew what it took to have a happy life together.  The important things were already there: shared morals and values, a desire to love and be loved, and the ability to talk about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. 

There are bound to be other hurdles along the way.  That's a part of life.   But we have already lived through the worst days of our lives before we even met.  

We can handle anything.  

(The Prince read this and promptly asked me, "What was the stumbling block?"  So grateful to have this man at my side everyday.)





Monday, July 02, 2018

"cousins - loosely described"

We just returned from a "family" party in Jersey.  My cousins have hosted this party for the past 13 years - (other cousins, myself included, have taken turns hosting it years prior).  There can be up to 100 or more people in the yard at any given time.  This year, it was rather small - just 60 of us.  A nice portion of the group have shared DNA - the others married into the family or are good friends who have become family throughout the years.

We brought Jamie with us this year.  It was so nice introducing her to all her "cousins" - yes, we are all cousins.  The Prince once commented that he has second and third cousins and he just refers to them as "friends".   That will ALWAYS make me laugh.  In my family, if you show up for 3 consecutive events, you are a COUSIN.  And if you miss 3 consecutive events, we will complain about your absence,  but you will still be our cousin.

There is a strong bond amongst us; one set of shared grandparents.  All those Sunday dinners at Grandma's house... the good food, hugs and laughter, the comfort of being surrounded by so much love.  My cousins may miss a family party now and then.... but I can't think of any who opted to miss a wedding or a funeral.

Who wouldn't want to be our cousin??



Thursday, June 21, 2018

Advice for my grandchildren

I have a wonderful life.  It is not without ups and downs - and there certainly has been richer and poorer, sickness and health.  I've experienced true love and sorrowful loss.

As this blog was always meant to be my diary of sorts for my grandchildren, I can't help but offer some advice now and then along with the anecdotes of my daily life:

Remember to take each day as it comes.  You cannot re-do yesterday or predict what tomorrow will bring.  You can only be present today - make the most of it. 

Learn lessons from your past -  not everything will turn out as well as you hope, but do not dwell on what 'might have been'.  Just make a mental note of what you could have done better for next time.

Never forget that no one EVER changed an outcome by worrying about what the future might hold.  If worrying burned calories, it might be worth a try, otherwise, it is just a useless effort that robs the day from you. 

Always choose to be kind.   You will feel better about yourself if you only see the good in people.  Negativity can easily creep into your life if you give it a place to take up residence.  Fill up your empty spaces with love and kindness.  I promise you will never regret it. 

Always choose to be happy.  YES, it IS a choice.  The days will pass, all of them will be 24 hours long.  You get to choose how to spend it.  Personally, I've been happy and I've been miserable.  Listen to an old lady, "Happy is WAY better".  

If you are going through hell - KEEP GOING - don't stop to take pictures!  I've been through hell so many times, I could give guided tours!  Remember, if you walk a straight line,  you can only go half way in, then you will be on your way out.  Don't look back... it happened.... it's over.  Life goes on.  

Get used to the fact that not everyone will like you.  If people WANT to like you, they will find 100 reasons to like you.  If someone does not want to like you, they only need to find one flaw that will resonate.  Bottom line, just make sure you like yourself.  Let everyone else make up their own minds.

Believe only half of what you see - and NONE of what you hear!!

Be grateful everyday.  

Remember that God answers all prayers - and sometimes, the answer is "no".

Last tip for the day:  MAKE MEMORIES!  Enjoy all that you do.  Love with all your might.  Laugh until it hurts.  When in doubt, always give a hug.  That is how you make a memory.  


Friday, June 01, 2018

Old Dog, New Tricks?

It has been over a month since I resigned my position of 18 years.  I was a little apprehensive, at first.  Leaving the house by 7:00am was the norm for so long, I was worried that "having no where to go" each day was going to be a huge adjustment for this old lady!

Jump ahead a couple weeks:
Having my own business has been the most exhilarating experience EVER!  Being a self-motivated individual, there was NO chance of me giving less than 100% to this endeavor.  My body adjusted to the new lifestyle in about 10 minutes.

Before: Jump out of bed, shower and dress, feed dog, have coffee, kiss the Prince good-bye - battle traffic to get to my office.  Work 8 straight hours and battle traffic to get home.

Now:  Mosey out of bed, feed dog, have coffee, read the paper, have breakfast with the Prince and kiss him good-bye as I head back up the stairs to my office.  There is a shower at some point during the day.... and sometimes I put on real clothes rather than just clean pajamas!  There is nothing but serenity in my office - even while putting out fires.  There are no raised voices.  Around noon, I venture downstairs to have lunch with the Prince.  If the weather is nice, we even lay in the sun for a while before I head back to my little haven.  When I feel I am done for the day, I close my door and resume my life as a treasured fiancee'.

There have been some crazy changes in my life these past 3 years.  I had no idea where my life was headed.  I took more than one "leap of faith".  Someone is watching over me, because I seem to always wind up in a better place than I was before. 

I remain eternally grateful.


Monday, May 07, 2018

Make a sharp left turn - I am heading that-a-way!

So, I took another leap of faith and left my job after 18 years.  Who could have predicted such monumental changes in my life in these past 3 years??  

There is definitely an "outside force" leading me down new paths.  In these past years, there have been so many signs along the way, gently guiding me to make huge, life-changing decisions.  Whenever there was a little doubt, there would be another sign assuring me to keep going.

I always told my kids that you can not live your life while you are looking backwards.  It is hard for me to NOT look over my shoulder to see where I have been.  But, I always promise myself to 'just take a glimpse' and then focus my eyes on the road ahead.

As with all my decisions these past few years, I am excited about what the future holds for me as I walk this new, challenging path.  

My life has had many ups and downs, twists and turns.  I have learned how important it is to 'stay present in the moment'.  A task I am still trying to perfect.  I seem to have it under control during the day..... it is the middle of the night that is giving me trouble.  Hey, I'm a work in progress!

I am proud to say that I have one ritual that will never wane.  As each day unfolds, the first order of business is always to be thankful for all my blessings.  Afterall, gratitude is the key that unlocks the door to happiness.


Friday, March 09, 2018

Grateful for the Winter Blues!

It's been a crazy long month.  Between rain, snow, frigid temperatures and this Upper Respiratory Thingy that the Prince and I have been passing back and forth, our extra-curricular activities have been severely limited.  Fortunately for us, we are both "home-bodies" and the 'confinement' has not been a punishment at all.  

We have managed to pass the days by reading, doing crosswords and jigsaw puzzles.  We watch movies and catch up on the endless shows on our DVR.  We cook together and sometimes even manage a little house cleaning. 

It is nice that we always seem to be 'on the same page'.   I am sure our easy-going attitudes are the result of just wanting a happy life together.   Having come from long (good) marriages and losing our partners has definitely changed us.  I believe we have a different perspective on life now.  We understand that all the little things (the everyday things that might annoy other people) do not matter at all.  We know how precious and delicate life is.  

Whereas neither one of us is religious, we both have deep faith.  Several times a week, at least one of us will mention how grateful we are for our good life together.  We both thank God for all we have everyday.  

If we can teach but one lesson to our grandchildren, I would choose Gratitude.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happy First Birthday, Jamie

Happy Birthday, Jamie!!  I said this to you on the night you were born, and here it is one year later, already...

You have brought us more joy that you will ever know.  We have watched you grow from a little marshmallow into a feisty one-year-old.  Your face holds endless emotions and you never cease to make us laugh.  

After raising our own families, it has been a treat to share in your development.  We remember the milestones of our own children, but we were so busy with life, that we often forgot to revel in the miracles that a child offers.   We are so fortunate to have you close-by and have the opportunity to see you often and witness your tiny achievements.   

You might never realize how much you are loved.... from Heaven down to earth.   You are blessed to have Grandparents who see, hug, and kiss you all the time.  You also have a Papa in Heaven who smiles down on you and watches over you everyday.

Jamie, you are such a blessing to this family.  We can't wait to see what the future holds for you.  Happy Birthday, little one.

Love you dearly,
Grandma and Grandpa

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, baby and closeup
Partners!!


Grandpa and Jamie



4 Generations 




Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Where should we go next? The back yard?

We recently returned from a vacation.   Spending every moment with someone, day and night, for days on end is a true testament of compatibility.  

I am not really sure what exactly makes us click:
  • we read
  • we relax in the sun
  • we do crosswords
  • we eat
  • we like an occasional cocktail
  • we dance
  • we can talk about anything
  • we can be quiet together
  • we are grateful
I am thinking it is probably a winning combination of all those things. 

With the exception of that job I go to each morning, for us, everyday is like being on vacation.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Am I not living up to YOUR expectations?

As we began this new year and I celebrated my birthday, I was saddened about the people who are no longer a part of my life.  (I am not talking about Mike, as he will NEVER abandon me!  He will always be a part of my life.)

I am talking about the people who have chosen to judge me.  The 'old friend' who claimed that I am not the same person I was.  GUESS WHAT?  I will NEVER be that person again!  How could I be?  That person will never exist again.  I am figuring that this is the same complaint of the others who have decided it is best to keep their distance from me.  

Let me clear up some points for those that are curious:
1.  Widowhood is NOT contagious.
2.  I am single, but I am not a threat.  
3.  I was forever changed when he died.  My life, as I (you) knew it, ceased to exist.
4.  I had to redefine myself and my life.  I had to forget all the future plans that I had in my head and start over.
5.  This happened to ME, NOT YOU.
6.  Lastly, it is ok if you can't handle the new me.  I am a lot stronger now than I used to be.  I am living my new life now.  I did not choose this path, but I am on it. 

I am luckier than a lot of people.  I have met someone wonderful who accepts me just the way I am.  He is not threatened by my independence.  He sees all that is good in me.  He soothes my heart when it is hurting.  He closes his eyes to my shortcomings.  He has accepted me as a package deal and has welcomed my children (and dogs) into his life.  He makes me laugh every single day.
     

We fell in love.  We have made the conscious decision to "live happily ever after".  We both know how precious life is and we live a good life.  

This may NOT meet your expectations of me.  Obviously, I have higher standards.








Thursday, January 11, 2018

Close the book on 2017


We thoroughly enjoyed the holidays this year.  We hosted some and were guests, as well.  I am a "planner" so there was no 'last minute rush' for anything.  We were able to really visit with everyone instead of being "chief cook and bottle washers".  The days were comfortable and happy (read that: No Drama).  I am just going to call it  "Our First Christmas Miracle".

We have been enjoying the "post-holiday season".  Having no plans and the bonus of a snowstorm that kept us house-bound seems to be what we do best.  You know you are with the right partner when "staying home" is your favorite thing to do.

Our "to-do-list" is very short at this time.  The only thing on it is: RE-CHARGING OUR BATTERIES....... It is taking longer than I thought...... I think our batteries are solar powered.  We need some sun.



Monday, December 18, 2017

Our Christmas Letter

We have received a few Christmas letters lately and that made me think about what we would write should the need arise: 

January:  
I turned 60 - I never paid much attention to age, but it is a milestone, nonetheless.   The Prince and I went to Florida for a quick get-away.  We spent 10 days together, day and night and we STILL wanted to be together after that!
Happy Birthday: Brianne, Courtney, Dennis, Christian, Lisa, Michael

February:
The Prince and I became officially "engaged".  He surprised me with a pez dispenser and a ring for Valentine's Day.  Yes, "we are one", as he has proclaimed many times.  Two days later, we sat in the waiting room of a hospital anticipating Jamie's birth - "our" first grandchild.
Happy Birthday: Jamie 

March:
Serious renovations continue on the house.  The family room, bathroom and dining room have all been "made-over".  We are now moving the show upstairs!  We have been busy shopping for the Master Suite Project.  

April:
We shared a hospital room for a couple days - Well, he had the bed, I had the chair - but he beat pneumonia in record time!  And the Master Suite is complete!
Happy Birthday: Samantha and Allison

May:
Put my house on the market.  Sold my house.  Short story and a happy ending.

June:
The family grows by another 2 feet!  We welcome Colette!!  We celebrated the Prince's birthday - YES, EVERY YEAR is a milestone!
Happy Birthday: Bobby, Colette, James

July & August:
The 8 weekends of unending "yard work" paid off!  Enjoyed our yard and pool - and was so happy to share the accommodations with our family.... 
Happy Birthday: Aidan, Gretchen, Napoli

September & October
Our renovations continued outdoors.  I earned my "union card" as the Prince taught me how to build decks and erect sheds.
Happy Birthday: Suse, Eve, Michelle

November:
Prepared for the holiday season by putting up "Our first Christmas tree" before Thanksgiving!
Happy Birthday: Brett, Ryan, Stephanie

December:
Looking forward to celebrating Christmas with our enormous family.  So grateful to count our blessings everyday.
Happy Birthday, Oliver!

It's a little boring, but it is OUR life - and WE LOVE IT!





Tuesday, December 05, 2017

....another blessing....




The Prince and I recently went to my nephew's wedding.  I knew half the people there, many of whom I had not seen in a couple years.  It was truly my pleasure to introduce the Prince as "My FiancĂ©” to those who had not met him yet. 

It warmed my heart to see how these people (whom I know for decades) warmly greeted my Prince.  They shook his hand and  embraced the moment.  Every single one of them would hug me afterwards (many with tears in their eyes) and say, "It is so good to see you so happy, once again."


There was a lot of love in the room that night..... Sure, it was a wedding and everyone was there for the bride and groom..... But, for a while, I felt like the most loved person there.   



Thursday, November 30, 2017

New Traditions

The Prince and I recently put up our Christmas tree.  We both have decades of Christmases under our belts.  We have wonderful memories of the past - our own childhood and watching our children's excitment throught the years.

It makes sense  that we cannot have traditions when we have no history.  At this stage of our lives, I think it is wise to sit back and watch as our children create the traditions.  We can happily  become participants in their lives as often as we are invited. 

This is our time to make new memories.  This  tree and  ornaments are all new..... they  are representative of our life.  A new beginning after suffering sorrowful losses.   

That tree makes me smile everyday.  I think about how we carefully picked it out - and how we shopped for all the ornaments.  Lots of smiles, giggles and hugs that day....

My Christmas wish - I wish all our childen will realize how precious a good relationship is.... how it is a wonderful gift when two people make a commitment and make that commitment a true priority in their lives.  

Thankful for my prince.  Thankful for our wonderful life.  


Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Re-writing the script

As the holidays approach, once again I find myself looking back over the years  - with smiles and tears.

I was so young when I married - but I knew it would last forever.  He filled my heart in a moment and I knew there was nothing that would ever tear us apart.  Move the calendar ahead 38 years and I realized there was something that would come between us.  "Til death do us part" was my new reality.  This was not part of my plan.  I wrote the story - this is not how it was supposed to end.  It was MY story - how dare God change the ending....

Time goes by.....

Along comes a man who also fills my heart in a moment.  Could this be real?  This was not in my book.  He is loving and warm.  He has his prioirites in order.  He is widowed after a very long marriage, as well.   He is a package deal (kids, their partners, and grandchildren).  He makes me laugh.  He loves me.

I'm am forever grateful that God has decided to be the editor of my story.  

Friday, November 03, 2017

I wanna be a Teamster!

The Prince and I have worked feverishly in the yard to make things neat and orderly.   We put up 2 new sheds in the pool area - one at either end.  It was so nice to have a place for everything, and everything is it's place.

It was SO nice, in fact, that we just kept going.  Next, we decided we needed a shed behind the existing wood shed on the side of the house.  First step: build a deck to support this shed.  This entailed 2 trips to Home Depot to get the necessary 4x4's and 1x6's.  Happy to say, the deck was built in one afternoon.  Erecting the shed, however, seemed to take days!!  There were a few hiccups - mostly, injuries sustained by me (ceiling joists falling and hitting me, a slip of a mallet to catch my finger....) Eventually, it was completed and it was worth all the work.

Well, like the classic book, "If you give a mouse a cookie"..... our construction continued.  The Prince declared that we needed a proper walkway (read that 8'x40') to get to the newly erected shed.  This consisted of a huge wood delivery from Home Depot.  Who knew building decks would be so much fun (?).  We also  replaced and enlarged a decked area on the other side of the house for our trash cans and BBQs.  

I am proud to say that I now have my own Screw gun and The Prince has promoted me from Apprentice to Foreman!  

I am thinking, with the Winter fast approaching, I'd better come up with some indoor projects before the Prince runs out of steam.  (After all,  I need to perfect my new found skills....)



Thursday, October 12, 2017

"On the road again"

We recently took a trip to visit The Prince's daughter and her family.    There is a lot of planning when we embark on this journey.  Hotel reservations, arrange boarding for the dogs, stop the paper, pack the car , wrap some gifts for the kiddies......  you get the idea.

Finally, we hit the road!  We are mentally prepared for a 4 hour road trip.  We have an array of things to listen to (but we usually talk most of the time) .  - I pack a variety of snacks: salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy - NOTHING HEALTHY.  We expect traffic at the usual locations and finally, we are out of New York!  

It was a delightful ride - the Delaware Water Gap was an array of color.  The music was especially entertaining - we sang our hearts out!  THEN, out of nowhere, we are forced to merge lanes and travel single file "at the speed of a snail.....going uphill...on an icy surface".  We did 2 speeds - SLOW and STOP.  What should have taken 30 minutes, took over 2 hours.   There is no amount of snacks that could placate a saint in those conditions!   Eventually, we made it to our hotel.  We both fell soundly asleep knowing that the next day was going to bring a flurry of activities with the grandkids.

We had an early breakfast and headed over to start our day.  When 2 kids scream with delight and run into our arms, we both know that no amount of traffic will ever stop us from making this trip in the future.  It was a happy, busy weekend  - we made wonderful memories.  

You know everyone had a good time when it is so hard to say good-bye.... "...'til next time, little cherubs...."




Tuesday, October 03, 2017

a sweet moment



Saw a TV show last night where the character was lamenting over the death of his wife.  He was wondering if he would ever be in love again.  His friend told him that he will most definitely find love again and his tombstone will read, "was fortunate enough to be loved by 2 wonderful women in his lifetime".

I reached for The Prince's hand   -  he squeezed it and said, with a tear in his eye..... "Yes...and you will have been loved by two wonderful men..."



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"Grandparents Day"

"Grandparents Day" seems like a silly holiday created by the greeting card companies.  Of course everyone reveres their grandparents!  Who else loves you unconditionally while breaking all your parents'  rules???

My Grandmother was a wonderful role model, mentor, advocate and friend.  She taught me so much without ever lecturing me.

I remember standing on a little bench and ironing handkerchiefs.  I was SO excited when I graduated to pillow cases.  To this day, the smell of steam coming out of my iron brings my grandmother to me.

I remember frying meatballs for the first time in her well-seasoned cast iron frying pan.  "Don't touch them until they have browned!"  Today, I use a similar frying pan and her technique has NEVER failed.

I remember her telling me to "change the air" in the baby's nursery.  All year long, she would have me  close the nursery door and open all the windows in there to remove the bad air and let in the fresh air.  I still do that in our bedroom!

My grandma told me that babies need to cry now and then.   It helps their lungs grow.  She proclaimed that hiccups helped their "insides to get bigger" - and (my personal favorite) when babies smile while they are sleeping, it's because an angel is talking to them.

My grandmother made every visit to her like a holiday.  She went to several different stores to get the groceries.  She cooked all our favorite dishes and sent us home with plenty leftovers.  There was always a special treat in her candy dish - and she emptied that dish into a little bag to send home with us, as well.  

I am so blessed to be able to close my eyes and picture my grandmother's hands.  I can still 'smell' her perfume.  I am named after my Grandmother ....... we called her Grandma Angela.

I have asked that Jamie call me, "Grandma".... it will be a wonderful tribute to my grandmother.




Monday, August 28, 2017

A Different Life

Life is so different these days.... Being a wife and mother for so many years, there are things ingrained in me that are just hard to "undo", but certainly much has changed.

I am no longer a wife.... I am choosing never to be a "wife" again.  I am not 20, (yes, that's when I got married!).  There are too many things that complicate a "legal union" at this stage of our lives.  That being said. I remain a "treasured fiance'" - and I am happy.  The Prince and I have a comfortable life together.  We have slowly defined our roles in the house.  Sometimes he takes the lead, sometimes I do.  We work well as a team, no matter what the project.  We both understand that a happy, successful relationship is "give and take" - NOT 50/50!  Let's face it, between us, we have over 75 years of marriage under our belts.  We entered into this relationship wanting the same thing - a happy life with a partner by our side.

I am still a mother.  Have been for nearly 40 years.  That will never change.  I am a parent, confidante' and role model to my children and my sons/daughters-in-law.  I am a "pseudo-parent" to my kids' friends when they need a shoulder or advice. I am a Grandma, Guga and Nanny to a host of little ones.

I have found that life will put many people in my path and each one will help define me as a person.  I am pleased to see that I am still learning, growing, and improving (I hope).  Each chapter brings new challenges and small changes.  I realize that I am a "work in progress".  

I must never forget that life can take a sharp turn, at any given moment.... but I still make plans - I like to give God a good laugh now and then.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Turn the page...

It surprises me how such a strong willed individual like myself can feel so unnerved at times.  Vulnerability has no boundaries....

My house is sold.  For the first time in 37 years, I am not a home owner.  It's a little like flying without a parachute.  Suffice it to say, I have taken a serious "leap of faith".

I believed this man when he said:  "I love you".  
I trusted him when he said, "I will never hurt you". 
He stole my heart when he said, "We are one". 

And so begins the next chapter of my life.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

No Four Leaf Clover Required!

In my quest for a gratitude-filled life, I often look to my Prince and think how blessed I am to have found such a good man, (a second man), in my lifetime.  He is patient and kind, giving and loving.  To me, these are the most important qualities a man can have.

I hear people telling me over and over how "lucky" I am...... they said it about my marriage and they are now saying it about this relationship.  I've said it before and I will SCREAM it from the highest mountain.  LUCK HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS!!!

A successful relationship is made up of 2 parts:

  •  Two willing participants who want the same things in life.  
  •  Two people who have the same morals and beliefs.  
  •  Two individuals who want to work as a team to have a good life.  


It is not enough to "find" the right person..... you must be the "right partner".

I promise you, there is no luck involved.




Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Bucket List

The Prince and I were watching TV the other night when a woman talked about her "Bucket List".   The mere mention of this list pushed my brain to the limits! 

Whereas I am certainly in the "last half" of my life, I have never given much thought to making a Bucket List.  I have heard many people talk about travel and exciting adventures.  I've even heard them talk about death-defying activities (i.e. skydiving!).  I can honestly say that I could die  peacefully without having experienced any of those things.

Not sure I have an actual list - but I know there were always things I wanted to experience in my life:  

I wanted to be in love - and I've been graced with the opportunity to have that TWICE.   My son said it best: "How lucky are you to have been blessed with 2 wonderful men in your life?"

I wanted to be a mom -  I am a mom, a step-mom, a 'second' mom, a mother-in-law and a grandmother!  I savor every moment - all the pride and joy along with the trials and tribulations.

I wanted to be happy - the day I realized that happiness was a choice was a true turn around for me.  Happiness IS a choice for EVERYONE and I choose it everyday.  I am sure there is a long list of things that are not 'perfect' in my life, but, thankfully I can't really think of any at the moment.  I can, however, make an unending list of all that is good in my life!

I am thinking I have achieved my "bucket list".  I am grateful that I recognize all that is good in my life and I never take a day of it for granted.    




Monday, June 19, 2017

And the family grows by another 2 feet!

There is nothing more exciting than welcoming a new baby to the family:

                                                                        Oliver

                                                                             Eve

                                                                  Samantha

                                                                       Jamie

                          Would all like to introduce you to:
                                                                  "Colette"

Welcome to the family, Colette.  There are many uncertainties in this world - but one thing you can always count on:  You WILL be loved!


Friday, May 19, 2017

5/26/15 Two years later




Mike,

It's hard to believe that 2 years have passed since you've left this earth.  Early on, I thought I was going to die of a broken heart.  The chest pains were fierce and they were real.  I soon came to realize that it was simply grief.... the physical manifestations of the saddest emotion.  I later understood that this pain was the result of losing someone that I had loved so much.  
I am truly grateful for having loved so deeply and being so loved by you.  It was, indeed, worth the subsequent heartbreak.   

Eventually, I learned that I was not a helpless widow, but a very capable woman whose heart hurt.  Because of your love for me, I knew that I did not want to spend the rest of my life without feeling that kind of love ever again.

Turn the pages to 2 years later.  I have met a wonderful man and have allowed myself to fall in love once again.  We often talk about you and you remain alive in my heart, afterall, you taught me how to love and be loved.

The kids are amazing.  Your sons are truly wonderful men that would make you so proud.  They both watch over me - from a safe distance - while tending to their own families.  They are smart, witty and talented.  There is no project that they will shy away from.  I can see so much of you in both of them.  You taught them well... 


Your daughters are strong, vibrant women.  They, too, keep a watchful eye over me (from a safer distance!).  They speak their peace and demand respect.  They are intelligent, beautiful inside and out and KIND.  I am enjoying watching their lives unfold. 

Our chldren are all supportive and loving, not only to me, but to each other - and that's the greatest tribute to US.

Jamie, our newest granddaughter, is delicious.  That little angel has softened all our hearts.  She is truly proof positive that life goes on.  

I have changed in many ways since you left.   I don't take crap from ANYONE!!  I have learned to put toxic relationships on a back burner - where they cannot hurt me.  I stopped watching over the kids like a mother-hen.  I am no longer their safety net - they are MY safety net now!  I am mindful of all things in nature - as you would point out over and over.  I still look for your signs, and when they appear, they always make me smile.

Rest in peace, as I am fearless and I am happy, once again.






Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Is it Wednesday? Another Mother's Day....

Once a year , on the second Sunday in May, America celebrates Mother's Day.  More flowers are purchased on this occasion than any other.  Restaurants are bombarded with families.  Hallmark has a field day.

My children have asked me repeatedly about this coming Sunday.  My answer remains the same each time.  No need to fuss on this Sunday.  

I am blessed to have children who make me a part of their everyday lives.  I hear from them regularly (read that: everyday) and I see them often.  They check on me, they confide in me, they ask my opinion.  They show their love in the most subtle ways everyday.

I am so proud to be the mother of these kids.  I don't need a National Holiday to be recognized as a good mom.  They let me know it everyday.....

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Another step forward....

So my house is up for sale.  Another step forward in this new chapter of my life.  The house is way too big and it is silly to carry that expense at this stage.  The kids are all supportive of my decision.

My children were not raised in this house, therefore it is not so hard to let it go.  We made wonderful memories there - had lots of family functions.  Those times will live forever in my heart.  

What does amaze me is how much crap we accumulated in the last 13 years!!!  AND, there are boxes in the garage that have never been opened since we moved them here!!   Everyone knows how happy I am when I am throwing stuff away.  The Prince often jokes that if he stands still for too long, I will either wash him or toss him in the garbage!

I must give accolades to Uncle Little Michael (aka, The Godfather) for making this as stress-free as possible.  He has boxed things, tossed things, and moved things - all with a smile on his face.  He would often say, "Mom, what is causing you the most stress?" - then he would do something about it. 
Thank you, my son, for all that you do.

I could not have predicted where life has taken me these past 2 years.  I am a firm believer that God has His plan and that is all that matters.  I work hard everyday to live in the present.  

The goal is to stay focused and keep smiling.  


Monday, April 24, 2017

Define "family"

Define the word "family"...... BUT, think about it before you do..... REALLY think about it....

There is immediate family: parents and siblings

Which later on encompasses: a spouse, in-laws, and your children

Which then includes: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins

Then you add:  the friends you've had forever - and their kids/grandkids

THEN, the unthinkable happens (A death) and your family is fractured.....


If you are fortunate, someone special may come along and your family tree can start to blossom and thrive once again.....

Add: "Someone special", his children, their spouses, their children....


I am thinking "family" is not a 'thing to be defined', but a feeling.....  I am so grateful to be able to 'feel' again. 



Monday, April 10, 2017

We are 4...

We are 4 widows.  We met a little over a year ago.  We became friends in an instant.  We understood each other.  We supported each other.  We helped each other move forward.

We are 4 widows.  We had all been married for 35+ years.  We were all faced with the everlasting change  in our lives.  We understood that it was more than just losing a spouse.  Our lives, as we knew them, ceased to exist.  You can't explain that phenomenon to someone who has not experienced it.   People will say they understand.  Some people even think they understand.  Some might even "write the script" on how they think we should proceed with our lives.  

We are 4 widows.  We are always there for each other.  Somehow, we always know the 'right' words to say to comfort and support each other.  One of us can start a sentence, and the others will be able to finish it.  We get it.  We have learned how to curse like sailors and cry a million tears.  

We are 4 widows.  We have walked together to begin our new lives.  This was was not a path we chose, but a path we were put on, side by side.  We have helped each other realize that we were not 'broken', but just injured and we would eventually heal. We now know there will always be scars, but those scars will fade.  We have taught each other that it is possible to laugh again - really laugh and cry happy tears.  We have learned that it is possible to love again.

We are 4 vibrant, strong, sexy, incredible women.