Sunday, January 19, 2020

I talk to strangers

I just returned from a week's vacation in Punta Cana.  My "sister from another mister", Rose, was my partner in crime.  Rarely do you find a friend who loves you unconditionally... we are lucky to have each other.  We walk the same path and continually encourage each other to keep moving forward.
 Not only were we perfect roommates for each other,  our laughter made us a magnet for other vacationers:

To the Massachusetts Couple:  Thank you for sharing your heartfelt story, your warmth and smiles.  Hearing how you reconnected after so many years was like listening to a real life fairy tale.  If it's possible, you made drinking and dancing way more fun for us.  

To the Canada Couple:   LOVED hearing your story.... especially the part where he has her dinner waiting for her each night.... I am so glad you found each other.  Remembering his Scottish brogue and her hearty laughter will always make my heart happy.

To the London traveler: Thanks for enduring all my nicknames for you: Mr. London, London Bridge, Blue Shorts.... So glad we had the opportunity for some deep conversations... I wish a fairy tale for you - I hope you find your princess.  Life is better when shared.  The little English man who lives in my GPS is now named Alex.

To my Canada Couple with the same first names:  You will never know how much you touched my heart.  We exchanged stories with laughter, and sometimes with tear filled eyes.  We had an immediate connection.   Seeing polka dot socks will always remind me of you and your wedding story.  Your gentle kindness will always be with me.  As Dorothy said to the Scarecrow: "I'm gonna miss you most of all".

Whoever said, "Don't talk to strangers!" was SO wrong.  Everyone I meet in life has the potential to leave an impression on my soul.  I have found that going through life with my head up and a smile is  an invitation for people to reach out... 

Monday, December 30, 2019

Kissing 2019 Good-bye!

I originally wanted to title this post, "When Grief Subsides".... but that hasn't happened yet.  And I've come to realize that it may never subside.  It will just be a part of who I am now.  But I have successfully learned how to put it in a box, on a high shelf in my brain....seldom to be opened. 

This has been an interesting holiday season.  Lots of ups and downs, laughter and tears.  It was a joy to see my grandchildren squeal with delight as they opened their presents.  It is always fun to be around my irreverent children as they find humor in every little thing (nothing is sacred or off limits).  And my tears would flow at the most inopportune moments, for no conventional reason. 

I can think of lots of things that were crappy in 2019, but I decided it is better to reflect on what was good:  

  • My newest granddaughter, Riley, arrived.  She is a joy and helps heal my heart
  • I bought a new car - one that I picked out ALONE
  • I bought a house  - MY HOME.  It is a constant reminder that I am ok
  • I realized how blessed I was to be able to rely on the strong faith of others to get me through some dark days
  • I saw how old friends gathered around me when I needed them most... just to share a laugh
  • I met some wonderful new neighbors that quickly became friends/extended family
  • I have learned that I am a LOT stronger than I ever dreamt I could be

Although I can see my many blessing of this past year, I am very happy to put it all to rest and begin a new year with anticipation of the good things that await me.  Yes, I am starting 2020 with hope and a smile.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Happy(?) Anniversary

Today, Mr. Wonderful and I would have celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary.  We celebrated 38 of them together.  Today, I celebrate it alone.

I woke up with a flood of memories  - both good and "not so good".  You can't re-write history.  We were 2 crazy, love-struck kids when we got married.  We were young, poor, and full of dreams.  Family was always our top priority.  It is hard for me to remember what life was like before we were together.  I am so glad we stuck it out through good times and bad times, richer and poorer, sickness and health (and we had it all!).  It wasn't always easy, but we both worked at it everyday.  There is no doubt about the love we had for each other.

I always told our kids that marriage was not 50/50 - Divorce is 50/50!  I told them to please enter into marriage expecting to give 90% and only get back 10%, and they will never be disappointed.  I was lucky.... I always got back more than I expected. 

Happy Anniversary, Mr. Wonderful.  Thanks for the memories.  
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'Happy Anniversary, Mr. Wonderful. 35 years and counting.'Image may contain: 2 people, closeup

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

You can't make Old Friends

Had some old friends over this past weekend.  I like to call them the "High School Crew".  I am blessed to have these women in my life now.  High School is a blur to me...  We are all grown up now and our lives have nicely intertwined.

Through the wonders of Facebook, we celebrate every milestone in each other's lives - weddings, births, retirements, etc. -  as we do with all our other FB 'Friends'.   But, this group is unique because we provide a safe place to vent, rant, rave, grieve and anything else we need to do - and we support each other unconditionally.  (This is definitely NOT High School behavior.)   

We've been getting together regularly for over 4 years now - trips, plays, museums, dinners, wakes  - or just gathering to chat.  Sometimes, we are a crowd, sometimes, just a handful.  It doesn't matter if we've seen each other last week or last year.  We all know we are welcome, any time.

I am honored to be one of these women who have never ending space in their hearts to take on the joys and sorrows of each other.  

Thursday, September 12, 2019

I wonder what's next?

I am in my new home for nearly 3 weeks and so pleased to say it has felt like "home" from day one.  Within 3 days, each box was emptied and I met every surrounding neighbor.  

Brandy and I have settled into a routine and I am surrounded by serenity.  I continue to start each day by being grateful for my blessings.

The past couple days, I found myself looking back at the events of the past 4 years.  In retrospect, there have been so many highs and lows.... I only allowed myself a brief dip in the pity pool even though the "lows" were devastating as the "highs" were plentiful.

I am blessed to have been deeply loved by two wonderful men.  I am honored to have held them both as they left this world.  I am part of their fairy tale.  Their fairy tale had a happy ending as they lived happily ever after....  

My story is not over yet.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Peace comes from within

I thought I knew how to grieve - apparently NOT!

When Mr. Wonderful died, I ran the gamut - I cried, I got angry, I made peace.... I did that over and over until acceptance kicked in.  So, naturally, when the Prince died, I figured it would be the same way.  I was SO wrong.

I cry and I get angry - but there has been no peace.... 

My kids are mourning the loss of a wonderful man who made their mother smile, a man who became their friend, a man who became a grandfather to their children  - in essence, a man they truly loved and loved them back.   They are surrounding me with support and a fierce will to protect me.  They understand my second loss in 4 years and are fearful of me spiraling into a black hole of depression.

So why don't I have peace?   I could get all philosophical here... but the truth is, peace comes from within.   I finally put the pieces together:  

  • I cannot have peace when my kids are worried about me.  I need to show them that I am okay.

  • I cannot have peace while I am living in what used to be "our home".  Whereas the Prince made it clear to his children that I am permitted to live here for as long as I want; when he died it ceased being "our home".  It is now an empty shell... a piece of real estate to be sold to the highest bidder. 

Today, I close on my new home.  A home I purchased by myself for myself.  Today, I will show the world (and my kids) that I am okay.  As that old saying goes, "Today is truly the first day of the rest of my life.... my new life."  

Today, I am at peace.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The "good-bye" I could not say....

The following farewell was written by daughter for My Prince:

Good evening.  For those of you who do not know me, I am Allison, Angela's daughter.

We are all here today to celebrate the life of Dennis.  I know I can speak on behalf of my mother and my family when I say we just wish we could have been a part of it for many more years.

I also believe that I speak for everyone when I say "thank you".  I feel that Dennis would be so proud of the respect you have all shown him be being here today and honored by your presence.

Angela and Dennis would often read quietly together, and sometimes silence is just as valuable as shared words.  It made me think of something I once read:  "You can't skip chapters, that's not how life works.  You have to read every line, meet every character.  You won't enjoy all of it.  Hell, some chapters will make you cry for weeks.  You will read things that you don't want to read, you will have moments when you don't want the pages to end.  But you have to keep going.  Stories keep the world revolving.  Live yours, don't miss out".

That's exactly what Angela and Dennis did.  They lived their story.  They were both brave enough to keep going.  And because of their bravery,  and the love and strength in their hearts, they got a bonus chapter that most of us will never be lucky enough to read for ourselves.  The love they shared was life changing.  Their chapter was a true love story, there is no denying that.  And now we will continue with our own stories, albeit heavy hearted.... but, we are all grateful that Dennis was a part of ours.  He has touched each of us in his own special way and we will forever treasure those memories.

Thank you  for letting me share my thoughts and feelings with all of you.  

"Dennis, you may be gone from our arms, but we will forever hold you in our hearts"

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Sometimes, the fairy tale has a sad ending...

The Prince is losing his battle with Multiple Myeloma.  It is so hard for me to comprehend that in October there was "no evidence of disease"... and now this.

I have no words... I am numb... I am frozen in time.  Can I take care of him until he takes his last breath?  OF COURSE I CAN.   Can I understand why we are on this path?  NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE.

Family and friends have been so supportive... so warm and loving.  They all say the same thing to me "I am so heartbroken for you two".... Please, please do not let us be the source of your heartbreak.  When you think of us, please think of the wonderful life we enjoyed, albeit short.  We were given this chance at love and laughter everyday for the past 3 years.  

When I think of Dennis, I will remember all the little things that made us laugh.  He reads me the paper every morning - starting with the back page and moving forward.  I know more about hockey, golf, baseball and football than any woman has a right to know.  My personal favorite is the way he LOVES to read me the obituaries - and if he sees the last name of "Jones", he swears he worked with that guy's relative - because there  is only one Jones family on Long Island, right?  We carefully navigate the puzzle page, some he does, some I do and some we do together.  

He has an incredible thirst for minutia!  Something would pop into his mind and he would research it all day and give me a full report: ex. what island in the South Pacific has the best vegetation -  He studied this stuff like he was going to be a Jeopardy contestant and this was going to be the final question!

He loves music - well, not all music - he loves HIS music - We danced in the kitchen and sang on long car rides.  We took dance class for 3 semesters - always the beginner class.  we figured at some point we would be the best in the class..... that never happened!!

He has taught me so much about life... most importantly, he showed me that I was capable of falling in love again.  He truly earned the title of "Prince".

(Dennis died 4 days after this post....)

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,

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

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: 

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

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 

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.  

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

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

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

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

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.