Friday, October 16, 2009

I Saw God Smile Today

With all the uncertaintities in our world, unemployment, financial crisis, people forgetting how to be nice, scams, and whatever else anyone can think of, I am sure of one thing. God exists. He smiled at me today.

Not to take anything away from this beautiful phenonomen, and I wanted to share it with Terry when he came home, I took a picture of it. Actually it was a video and blogger won't allow me to upload it, so the above is not my actual photo. Then, needing an explanation of what this was, I sent my video to the local news channel. The meteorologist said this is called a circumzenithal arc and I had a great shot of it.

I always knew rainbows were a symbol for God's Promise, but this puts a whole new spin on it.


Monday, October 5, 2009

I'm Back!!!

I had been off blogging for so long I could not remember my password. How I remembered today is beyond me.

To update on the unemployment situation. I had a couple of interviews (2 to be exact). One was my former employer calling me back. I knew the people, they knew me and it was a job in my former department. I was told I was 1 of 3 people being called back for a position vacated by someone who retired. The interview went great. I left feeling pretty good. 7 days later I got a call stating that I was not a "good fit" (huh???? YOU called me). No one got the job. HUH?

I was hurt and disappointed. I would be able to accept this more graciously if I lost to someone who actually got the job. I felt used. Was it quota for NY Unemployment insurance to call back X number of people? I was so upset I made coq au vin. That'll show 'em.

I also decided I'm in control. I determine my destiny. I can look online for jobs that don't exist like I've been doing for 9 months or do something else. I applied and was accepted to community college in a 2 year program Health Information Technology/Medical Records. This all happened since Labor Day. Less than a month. I'm now applying for financial aid, grants, scholarships. Also, I have to take some placement tests since I don't have SAT's or any college math. My unemployment benefits continue while I'm in a certified training program that has job potential. I start school in January. I had actually been thinking of taking some medical terminology/coding courses long before I was laid off.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


This phase of unemployment is difficult. It is hard to search deep down and try to identify who and what you are. I know I'm a good person, wife, daughter, mom, aunt, grandmother and friend. Part of a person's identity is what they do for a living. I was a student, office clerk, secretary, lab assistant, computer consultant. I'm none of these now. So what do I want to be?

I've had this opportunity to re-define part of my identity and I'm not sure quite how to go about it. Several years ago when Ali was in 11th grade, I took in one of her best friends for 9 months while caring for Terry's mom. There were a lot of challenges, yet rewards as well. When Ali was in grade/middle school I would take kids from my Sunday school class home for a meal and a chance to get out of some pretty tough neighborhoods (streets that are frequently in the news because of drive by shootings). On more than 1 occasion things I took for granted where beyond their comprehension. Such as, 1 girl asked why I had 2 ovens. It was my dishwasher. She had not seen one in a kitchen before. Another walked in my house and asked who lived was where our bedrooms where. They all INHALED whatever I put in front of them. I ran into one of these kids 2 years ago and she gave me a BIG hug and was so happy to see me. She was barely 19 and pregnant, dad not around, but neither was hers.

Terry and I discussed way back then that we would like to be foster parents "someday". The conversation has popped up again and again over the years. It has been discussed quite a bit in these past few months. How can we make this work? What are the risks, what will it cost (in time, $$ and personal compromises). There is NO way Social Services compensation makes this a profitable endeavor. How can we make this work.

It has been suggested that I be a nail technician (by my hairdresser), a doula, nurse, medical aid, administrative assistant, sales, and caterer. The common thread in all these career paths is I am a person who is drawn to the caring of people. It is who I am. It is where I find "doing" what is natural to me. I'm not sure where to start; even to the point of which of these paths to pursue. I feel like a deer in headlights.

I have enjoyed going to Pulaski every Monday afternoon to babysit my grand-daughter while Wendy taught 1st Communion class with Ben and Josh. I never had this much time off EVER and it has been such a gift to comfort and play with Grace. I go up there about 2 hours ahead of time which gives me time with Wendy. This has also been quite a gift as we've had time to talk one-on-one. First Communion and Grace's baptism was yesterday.

Not that I need an excuse to go up there, but it was a reason. That is what I'm missing being unemployed, a reason to do something - today, for it can always be done tomorrow. I have enjoyed just being home. I also miss not being in touch with other people, so I need to move on from this freeze frame.

While I've been sort of looking for a job, Terry gets a call from a former employer (17 years ago) and wants to talk with him about a job. Long story short, he is switching jobs. The salesman at this place is retiring and the other can no longer be on the road due to health issues. The only name that came up from customers and the 2 salesmen is Terry's. He wasn't even looking and he got a better job! He is already so much more relaxed. After 40 years of being on the road and to be put inside doing counter work was killing him, literally. Time clocks are not his thing. He also said that when he's on the road, he gets to choose who he talks with. Inside on the phones and the counter you get every type of lunatic all-day-long. There is no escape. Another thought we're tossing around is whether to sell our place and move to Oswego County near Wendy/Patrick and the kids. How do we make that work?

So as not to drag out this saga any longer, we are going on vacation to Virginia this Wednesday. Alison is joining us. We will be staying at Terry's sister's home, right on the York River. Private beach and dock. Being near the water always centers me. Eating seafood & wine is also very nice. Being with family is especially important as well. It will give Terry and I time to talk about our options away from here. At the end of the day is not the time to really discuss what lies ahead. He is so wiped out by then.

I will let you know what we've decided on when we get back May 21st. I will also be meeting with some professionals to discuss a path that is healthy for me and my family.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Savor The Day

Each day brings beauty. Some days I have to look very hard, but it is always there. One days beauty is not the same as the next.

Today, it may be difficult for many of us to find the beauty, as our sweat Emma Rose is in heaven. I can't say she left us, for she will be forever with us. And although your Uncle Terry and I did not physically hold you, we hold you in our hearts.

Tomorrow will bring a different beauty.

Good night Sweet Pea.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Pictures

Sunday was a spirtual, fun, tiring and long day. We went to church and the service was moving and powerful. We went to the Saturday night vigil the night before as well. The vigil service was the most spirtual experience I've had in a long time. Tears filled my eyes more than once. Emma Rose you were in everyone's prayers.
Gracie fell asleep in my arms.
Patrick's parents had just arrived from Florida the night before. We are so blessed that Wendy's in-laws are such fun people. We love being with them. Also, Patrick's brother Terry (there are no less than 4 Terrys between the 2 families) and his wife Lisa and 3 kids were also there. Lisa is soooooo very pregnant. She looked ready to deliver at Christmas and is extremely uncomfortable. Her youngest was 13 lbs. No gestational diabetes. Lisa is due the beginning of May. Keep her in your prayers.

Gracie is getting SO big!
Nana and Cousin Sarah

Our little Easter Bunny!

We brought Bama with us to the service and she said she enjoyed the service very much. After church we headed up to Wendy and Patrick's.

Bama, Ben, Gracie and Josh

Just as we arrived home my mother, brother and nephew arrived from Rhode Island and New Hampshire. They are here this week. I'm glad my sister decided to take this time. It gives us all the chance to visit. My nephew, Peter, is signed up for the Marines immediately after graduation. He will be leaving for Paris Island July 3rd. He's a great kid and I'm glad I'm getting the opportunity to meet him again. Last time I spent any time with him he was in grade school. I wish him all the best and pray he stays safe.

By the end of the day, I felt the same as Grace.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Adventures in Costa Rica

Ali is spending this week in Costa Rica with school. This week course counts as her science credit. Ali read a 700 page book on facts of the Rain Forest and a report of each chapter has been completed. She will have to write a paper at the end of the trip.

Alison's trip began on Saturday morning at 1:30am leaving campus. As the plane touched down in Atlanta, the plane blew 2 tires. It took over an hour for a bus to come out on the runway and they missed their connecting flight. I think Ali thought this was a premonition of how the trip would go. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Alison called last night (Monday) from the beach in Puerto Viejo. They hiked through KekoLdi Indigenous Reserve. They spent the rest of the day with the Bribri Tribe, observed tribal use of native plants and animals. As the group were mingling with their hosts, Alison noticed a snake inches from a women's barefoot. It turned out to be a VERY venomous viper!!! Alison got credit for finding the first snake. She also told everyone all the facts about this particular snake. The tour guide high five'd her. Ali said that she is amazed at how much she is learning and how much she already knew and it is being used now.

Alison is awaken by monkeys (outside) at the crack of dawn. Similar to roosters, I suppose. They have seen 2 and 3 toe sloths, toucans, monkeys, etc. She is taking lots of pictures. During the hike yesterday the guide stopped at a tree and found a nest of termites, plucked one out and ate it. He offered one to Alison. At first she declined and then she thought, I'm here to experience everything I can and she ate a termite! Said it tasted like chicken. Kidding, she said it tasted like a peanut.

Alison took Spanish in high school and a semester her freshmen year in college. When she knew she was going to Costa Rica she bought a Learn Spanish tape. Alison said when people would order things at the coffee shop she works at, she would translate the order in Spanish in her head. If the guide isn't around Alison is the one who can translate for the group. How proud am I???

Today they will hike through Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge along beach to Punta Mona (Monkey Point). They will observe sustainable methods of agriculture, harvest items for dinner and prepare dinner from local fish and garden fare. After dark they will look for nesting leatherback turtles on the beach.

Alison told her dad that one thing she has learned is that if you work hard enough for a goal, you can make it happen, even in tough times like this. It was only day 2 of her trip and said it was already the best week of her life.

Terry and I could not be happier either. We are so thrilled for her. I don't know what this trip will mean for her in the future, but I do know it will make a huge impact.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Uplifting Experience (pt. 2)

I cannot say enough about the staff, nurses and the doctors who took care of me on Thursday/Friday. It was obvious they all enjoyed being there. When I complimented the care I was given, the nurse would tell me how much she enjoyed her job. She accredited the office manager running a tight ship, but also believes in having fun. It showed.

I took one pain pill on Friday when I came home and a couple of Tyenol before bed "just in case". I have not taken any meds since. I did laundry, and dusted and took a nap. I feel wonderful.

I'm not sure what I look like yet. I am so taped down and gauzed up, a little swollen and bruised. The unveiling won't happen until Friday. Right now they look like the Bride of Frankenstein.

I do know how the women in very low dresses on the Red Carpet keep everything in place. There is NO execuse Janet Jackson for that fashion malfunction at the Superbowl a couple of years ago. I think I could outsell Billy Mayes's Mighty Mendit. This stuff is strong.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

An Uplifting Experience (pt. 1)

When I was 12 and many of my friends were wearing bras because they needed to, I was still in "training". My mother will tell you I would throw myself across the chenille bedspread crying that I would "never be a woman." My younger sister outed me when she saw me stuffing my bra with tissue. The summer between 8th grade entering 9th, my training paid off. No one needed to ask me what I did that summer - I grew breasts and I was proud. So were my breasts, standing firm and high.

During my teens and 20's they maintained their perkiness. I wore good bras as my mom advised. I did not flaunt, they were just a part of me. Mom told me that gravity would not be my friend and I should do all I could to provide proper support. One size does not fit all and I spent the extra bucks on the good bras.

I never regretted spending the money, but I do resent the fact that I can't go into Victoria Secret unless I want to purchase perfume. I could never understand the water bras. Really? Women want more on top and are willing to use water balloons. Although, they are a lot more natural looking than tissue.

If I thought I was on the large side before I became pregnant, I did not know what I was in for. I remember saying that if I got any bigger I could feed a 3rd world nation. Huge does not begin to describe it. I was so grateful for my breasts when I nursed Alison. They nourished Alison with the nutrients she needed and the closeness we felt together is an experience I will cherish forever.

For at least 10 years I have been suffering from neck, back, shoulder pain. For the most part, I learned to deal with it. This past year, however, the pain was increasing to the point were I was close to tears on a daily basis. Pain was radiating down my right arm, I had difficulty blow drying my hair, reaching for plates out the cupboard, I was tired, miserable, loosing sleep. I don't believe my neck/shoulder pain is due to just to the weight in front. I had trauma to my shoulders in my 20's, I have some arthritis and degenerative disk disease. While I know the cause of the pain is not due to one thing, I also believe the cure is not one method. I had x-rays taken, physical therapy, chiropractor (2-3 times a week every week since November), 2 nerve blocks, and cortisone shots. When you feel this bad, it is very hard to do exercises, because your whole day is consumed with pain. It's depressing. This past week I had my second nerve block and for the first time in years woke to no pain. I had forgotten how that felt. I was elated. I have a little pain now, but am delighted in the amount of relief I have. I can live with this. Now that I know I can have this pain-free or at least minimum pain for the rest of my life I want to make sure I don't get to where I was in 2008.

It takes a lot of work to keep "the girls" at bay and to camouflage the size. You do want people to look towards your eyes now and then. When you're extremely large, it is difficult to maintain proper posture, which severely compromises your spine which affects your entire body. To stand properly with shoulders back, head high, tummy in, you literally throw your breasts forward. Which only causes eyes to focus on what greets them first. I try not to go into the round shoulder slump.

With the extra duty support and the wide straps over the shoulder, the mere weight in front pulls me forward and the straps cross a nerve that triggers the intense pain. This week I will have breast reduction surgery. I'm nervous. Not so much about the technical part. I have spoken to women who have recently had this procedure done by the same surgeon I have. They could not be more pleased. The staff is wonderful. My PCP recommended this surgeon as "the best in the city". The women I've talked with feel better not just because a weight has been lifted from their shoulders (literally), they feel better in their clothes and have more energy. Physically and mentally. I am nervous as to how I will look. Not as others see me, but how I see me. My whole body dimensions are about to change overnight. I don't think I'll look like a freak to the outside world, but I am concerned how I will look in the mirror with no clothes on. I am parting with a big portion of my life.

If this were an enlarged adenoid, swollen tonsils, inflamed gall bladder, an appendicitis, no one would be able to tell you had something removed. Even if it were my ovaries being removed because they were hurting me, no one would look at me and think my appearance had significantly changed. This will be quite obvious.

I am grateful for the progress in the technique of this procedure. Sensitivity is expected to be the same, scaring is very, very minimal, healing is quick. I will look normal, just different.

I won't deny that I am looking forward to a smaller me. I want clothes to fit properly. Perky is good. Good body image is very good, especially when I have to find a job. It is the abnormal size for my frame that is freakish. I don't want to be self conscience or in pain keeping the breasts in place with the support bras (underwire). Ever have one of those wires break through the material and stab you for the rest of the day? The grooves in my shoulders, the redness under the breasts, keeping that area dry during the summer so rashes/infections do not come about is part of the daily routine. Cheap or unsupportive bras will give the girls free range, flip-flopping everywhere and nobody needs to see that. I am looking forward to maintaining the reduced pain in my neck, shoulder, back. I am looking forward to be able to purchase a dress.

I am finding that yoga is a good form of exercise for me. Low impact, breathing, stretching all of me is working in the maintenance of my neck/shoulder health.

Once I have had a few days to recover, I will update where I am mentally, emotionally, physically.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I have lived in the Northeast my entire life. I love the fall here. Bright orange and red trees, cinnamon, apple picking. Love the fall. Then spring - the smell of new earth, returning robins, days getting longer, newness of life. Love the spring. Summer boating and picnics, pools and light cotton blouses. Love the summer. Winter, the trees. The snow and ice look so beautiful on the trees. I took these pictures last March of my back yard.

A close up of the same part of the yard:

This picture is after an ice storm and the sun setting. I loved the way the color danced on the trees.

Soft fleece, fires in the fireplace, a sip of brandy, a good book and appreciating the sun when it does poke through the snow and clouds. I do love winter.


About this time of year, pictures of tropical islands look mighty inviting. I need some of that warm sand between the toes feeling. The forecast for Friday in our area was a couple of inches - a dusting one might say. This was what I had to "dust" of my car Saturday morning.

OK...that is not so impressive. When my daughter and I reached the parking lot down the street to do some shopping, this is what we encountered. These mountains don't last long because they are carted away in dump trucks within a day in preparation for the next storm.

In an effort to chase away the winter blues we decided to have a tropical day dinner in Pulaski, NY February 21st. Pulaski is in the news quite a bit in the winter. This little town averages 250 inches of snow per year. The menu was jamaican jerk chicken, mango salsa, mojitos, red stripe beer, sweet potato fries, key lime pie and pineapple upside down cake and jamaican coffee. Grass skirts optional, but no wool or fleece allowed. We were trying to blind our eyes and cover our ears to the snow and wind action outside.

February 21st is also Bama's birthday. Her 88th this year. Here Bama is enjoying a mojito:

Even though Grace was born in late December, it was 61 degrees that day. It has not been that warm since. I don't think this little cub will wake until this cold weather passes.

Notice the hula dancers on her outfit :-)

I love the seasons of life.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Night Out With the Siblings

Last year Mom gave us all gift certificates to Outback for Christmas. My brother Bob and his wife Lisa; my sister Sharon and her husband Dean; Terry and me.

We decided to make it an annual event on Saturday, February 14th. We expected we would have to wait, but Outback does offer Call Ahead, they do not take reservations. Lisa called 2 hours ahead and were told it would be at least 4 hours before we could be seated! For at least 2 of us that means eating dinner at our bedtime. So Bob and I sucked it up and figured we could sleep in on Sunday (ha - church obligations). We all have such a good time when we're together. Six hours feels like 1. At the end of the night our sides hurt from laughing and if we could it would last longer. But with families and different sleep schedules it isn't easy to have all 6 of us together.

Dinner took about 45 minutes AFTER we were seated. The only thing my brother looks forward to is the sauteed mushrooms/onions. Yeah, they ran out on the order before his.

We declined dessert and went back to Bob's for a taste of dessert wine I brought. Chocolate Wine from the Cooper Winery in Va. How can you go wrong with that? It sure made up for the missing mushroom/onion order. Thank you Sherry and Hugh for sharing this treat with us. It has been well received. My brother savored each sip.

Hopefully one of these get togethers will include my sister Brenda and her husband Jerry(R.I.) and my sister Jen (Calif.) Until then, this will have to do:

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Stuff. I'm tired of it. Everywhere I look there is stuff. I try so hard to minimize. I am a tosser. The rest of my family is not.

Never know when you might need "this". "This" goes to something..... "Just put it over there for now".

My mother-in-law. The matriarch of saving stuff. In the 3 times we have moved Bama in the last 9 years we have thrown away, donated and sorted more STUFF than anyone can imagine. Four carloads of costume jewlery. More books than some libraries (at least 7 truckloads). Yarn, craft materials, office supplies, nail clippers/files, paper, clothes, shoes, purses, blankets......

We had the difficult task of moving Bama to a nursing home at the end of January. Difficult for us because deep down we know this is her last home. Difficult because the physical work it takes. Difficult because moving equals stress for everyone. Difficult because we were tasked with sorting out once again what to keep, what to toss. Difficult because Bama's first words when she saw her room was "This is where I'm staying for the rest of my life?!" At first she was sharing a room. Thankfully Uncle Sandy (chaplain at the nursing home), arranged for a private room. :-)

A lifetime of possessions had been reduced to a very small closet, 3 dresser drawers, a tv and a chair, a bed and memories, real and imagined. Is this what life boils down to?

Last night Terry and I visited Bama, decorated the shadow box outside her room. Bama LOVED it. As we were leaving, Bama said "I like it here. It is easier to manage."

What does withstand time is family. I can live with that.

*Dress made by Aunt Laurie

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Alison's friend at college, Rachel, lives in Tucson,
AZ. Rachel has two dogs, a teacup Yorkie named Mia and a Lhasa Apso, named Pookie. "R" went home for the month break and for her to bring her dogs home, it would have cost $800+ to have them fly home with her. Terry and I told her that was ridiculous and told her we would watch them for the month. So with our two mini-long haired dauchshounds Link (red) and Roxie (black) we had 4 dogs with a total weight of maybe 50lbs.

These two dogs fit in so well with ours. It's almost like we've been together for their entire lives. Link and Mia play and sleep together. Mia was Santa's helper this year.
Taking a mid-morning snooze with Terry.

Dinner time at Camp "B"

I'm not sure where I'm suppose sleep. I had my bed pre-warmed every night. But at 52, I NEED the "cool spots" during the night!

Don't worry Link and Roxie, I understand Rachel will be going to Italy for 2 months this spring to study painting. I have a feeling your playmates will be back.
Thanks Rachel for letting us take care of your two babies. We had more than a few laughs with them.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Change in the Wind

When I woke this morning and half way opened my eyes I could see it was snowing pretty hard. Living in Syracuse, NY it's a pretty common site in January. As I listened to the morning news I heard we were caught in the middle of lake affect from Lake Erie (unusual to get this far north) AND Lake Ontario. I was a little annoyed that the dogs with their internal alarm clocks were waking me at 5:30am. The usual time I get up. Didn't they sense that today was different. So very different.

After 23 years of working at Syracuse University, a place that I truly love, I am no longer a part of this community.

I was one of the casualties of yesterday's layoff. At 10:00am yesterday there was an email notice that a FULL department meeting was called by the VP for 4:00. At noon I had a personal invite to meet with the VP at 2:00. Does not take a mensa member to figure out what was about to happen. The 2 hours gave me time to go through a whirlwind of emotions. What I did promise myself is I would not let them see me cry. I would hold my head high, ask questions and not let them BS me. And I did what I set out to do.

My "separation agreement" (don't separations eventually lead to divorce?) is fair. Terry and I will be ok for a while. It just seems weird to be in my fuzzy slippers and bathrobe at 10:00am on a Thursday. Being that I was in network security I know standard operating procedure and of course all my access has been removed...including my email. Email will be turned back on, but my address books are there. My manager had tears in his eyes walked back up to my cubicle to get my keys. On the way he said he has connections at various places, not sure what is open, but he is more than willing to make a few calls if I'm interested. The VP said the same thing. So it's not me, it's them. :-) This is a view from my building.

I love this campus. I LOVE seeing the freshmen coming in August with their parents, all wondering what this milestone in their lives will mean. Anxious, happy, sad, hope all expressed in their faces. I feel like that now. I have had a few tears well up, but I have not cried. I am too afraid I will not stop. I have a lot of support from friends and family and that makes all the difference.

Terry and I have decided that it will be best for me to take some time. And I am. I have a few ideas on the back burner that I will investigate. I will definitely need some new training and I am quite positive I do not want to be tied to a computer all day. I like people so much more than a machine. So I am going to try something new. Something challenging and rewarding. It will all be ok. Who knows, what lies ahead may be just what this gal needed all along. What I got gipped on was saying good-bye and a blow-out retirement party and I will miss the 5 weeks vacation time.

As soon as I get a permanent email account set up, I'll let you all know.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Meet Grace

Pop-Pop and Oma made the treck up to Pulaski so Pop-Pop could finally hold his newest grandchild, his first granddaughter. It was love at first sight as evident below

Oma had a chance to get some snuggle time as well.

Nothing beats the feeling of a child falling asleep in your arms. The peace we each feel cannot be outdone.

Mom knows this feeling too.....

Even new big brothers know there is something mystical and special about a new baby sister.
Welcome Grace. You are so loved.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


What better way to start the new year than with a new blog? My other blog was no longer speaking to me, so there is NO way it could speak to anyone else.

New Year's Eve was nice. Terry and I went to dinner with another couple, had some champagne back at our house in front of the fire. Very low key and that is fine with me. Ali called at midnight and I had to be awakened to wish her a very groggy HAPPY NEW YEAR.

I will be making a standing rib roast. Seems kind of extravagant for the two of us.

Terry has to work tomorrow. He's been home for 3 days now and I haven't been able to get a thing done. Saturday we will go up to Wendy's to wish Patrick and Ben a Happy Birthday (Sat & Sun respectfully). Grace will be celebrating her first week birthday! Pictures will be taken!