Monday, January 15, 2007


If yuns are lookin' for us, we be moved...come an visit us in our new blog-home...

See you there!

Jan and gang!

Monday, November 6, 2006

way behind...

I know!  I'm so far behind, there is no chance of ever getting caught up.  Really, I have not been kidnapped, or in jail.  I have not run away with the mailman, the milkman, or the cute clerk from 7-eleven.  I have been busy.  Here are a few of the things I've been doing:

Yeppers!  Got me a new puppy.  Her name is Linda Lou.  She's an English Mastiff, she's now 11 months old and weighs in at about 95 pounds.  She does need to put on a few pounds.  Mastiffs are known for their gentle nature.  She's a sweetie.  They say she's a small boned mastiff and will probably end up being 135 to 150 pounds. 

This isn't really a good photo, but since my size 8 shoe is included, it gives you an idea of how massive her head is!

Monday, July 10, 2006

To do

This came from Lorette, the Knitting Doctor's blog.

Life's to do list - I've bolded those I've gotten around to:

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight

28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 10 provinces
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced

76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an illness that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care

143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone's life

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

This happens way too fast!

After a fun filled 4th celebration yesterday, this morning I woke to the reality that life whizzes by way WAY too fast.  Proof?  This:

is what sat in the drive.  Andy (left) and TJ, his best friend.  Andy, as you know, graduated high school last month.  On Monday, TJ graduated from Pittsburgh Techincal Institute (with honors) and now has a degree in Graphic Design.  The next step is right around the corner for both of them...but first...

A few days with Chuck the jeep, the 'yaks and of course the bikes on the shores of Lake Erie.  It was hard enough to think that Andy was old enough to be out of this?

To my credit, I did not cry.  I am proud and so happy to see them grab a bit of  life by the ass that it makes it okay...

Now I'm off to boss Tony around.  If all else fails...there is always the dog!


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

Tomorrow I will help my kids celebrate Father's Day by honoring their father, but a part of me will be remembering my father.

In August, it will be two years since we released the man we loved to his higher power and said our good byes.  The last thing my father heard was my voice reminding him of those here who loved him and would miss him, and of those he loved that had gone before him.  The last thing he felt was a kiss good bye and my hand squeezing his. 

I should share memories, but where to start?  I have many.  Instead, I will share what I said at his memorial service.   Those of you who were with us on that day, I thank you again for coming.  Those of you that couldn't be there in the flesh, but read these words, please bear with me.  Those of you who did not have the pleasure of his company, this is your chance to know the man I knew and loved as Dad.


Me and my father, Tony (May 11, 1925 - Aug 8, 2004), on my wedding day.

Memorial service for my father, August 15, 2004:

A few weeks ago, I sat with my family and watched the democratic nation convention. I sat and wondered just why John Kerry’s daughters were standing there, telling dumb stories about their father. Oh, I knew that they were there to help him get the nomination, but why the dumb stories? I wondered how they got the courage to tell them to all those people.

Today, I think I have the answer. They wanted us to see their father, not as a war hero, not as a politician, but as a man, a father, a personal hero. That’s why I chose to speak today. No, my father wasn’t a politician, although he fought in the war, he wasn’t a huge hero, but he was man, a father, my hero, and I do have a hamster story. No, he didn’t give it CPR, but he did tear down part of the bathroom wall to rescue one.

Those of you who knew him, even slightly, knew that he was a man of few words. A quiet man. He had so much to say, he was so intelligent, I sometimes wondered if the fact that he had eight sisters had something to do with it.

Even without words, he was a teacher. He taught by example. The most memorable of those lessons came when hewas trying to teach me how to parallel park. After ten minutes of trying to instruct me, he ordered me out of the car and directed me to sit on the side of the parking lot and watch him do it over and over. It must have worked, I can parallel park a school bus.

There were other things that we learned just by living with Daddy: Work hard. Act responsibly. Save a few pennies here and there. If you read the news paper first, put it back in order. Family is important. Almost anything can be fixed with enough duct tape, and most of all, help other people when you can.

This is the way most of us will remember him, helping people. I lost track of my cousin, Ed, twenty five years ago. Two years ago, I found an email address for him. I wrote and asked if he remembered me.

"Of course I remember you," he replied. "Uncle Tony’s daughter." He then went on to tell me how my father helped him get his first car running. I guess that’s how he remembered me, Uncle Tony who helped get his car on the road’s daughter. Humbling, but still a proud moment. Some of my most cherished memories are of the times I got to tag along while he helped family members.

There were things he did, over and over, that didn’t make sense when I was a teen and knew it all, but later in life, it sunk least some of it. I now know why he checked the water and oil in my car each time I pulled in the driveway. I now understand why he used to drive past my house in Conway on his way home from Ambridge to Baden each night. I now see why he worked all those hours and always tried to put a few dollars away. I can even understand why he spent countless hours of his free time helping his family. I can only hope, in years to come, that we, my brother and I, and our children, can show that we studied under the master and have learned our lessons well.

Of course, like all fathers, he pulled a few fast ones on us. I’m proud to say that I did catch on...eventually. I now know the truth about Christmas and I know that the road doesn’t always go past one of his sister’s houses, no matter where you are going. I still don’t know how he always knew who had fresh cookies and hot coffee ready. Guess I never will.

My father loved his family, and we loved him.

My parents just celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. By that time, my father didn’t understand the concept, or remember that my mother was his wife. Over the years, huge chunks of his past were lost, he didn’t understand the relationships he had with any of us. He told me that he didn’t remember me living in his house and when I reminded him that he was my father, he asked how old I was. When I told him, he demanded I tell him how old he was. He didn’t believe me.

Undaunted, he forged new relationships with us. He didn’t remember that we were related, but it didn’t matter. He learned to love and enjoy the pack of wacky people who claimed to be his family.

When his memory loss became so severe that he didn’t remember marrying my mother or her name, he gave her the most incredible gift of all...he renamed her Hon and fell in love with her all over again.

It delighted us to watch him reach for her hand and kiss it, to see them share jokes that no one else understood. The last time that he was admitted to the hospital, they sent him for a CAT scan. It made the nurses’ day when they left my mother in the hall and closed the door between them and my father kept calling, "Hon! Hon!" and blowing her kisses.

You know, we have been losing my father, in bits and pieces, for ten years. We’ve been saying good bye to parts of him all along, but the shock of losing him is still profound. He loved us, was loved by us, and will be missed.


When I decided to speak today, I wondered if I would be able to do it. A friend of mine assured me that God would give me the strength to do what I had to do. Although our heavenly father has given me the ability to stand here and speak, I’ll not be greedy, just thankful. I hope now you’ll see that my father was a hero too.

Thank you for coming to honor my father’s memory and for sharing our grief. By sharing it, you have lightened our burden...God bless you.



Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Lack of imagination?

Are these my kids?  When I was making dolls and teaching doll making classes, I thought I was queen of imagination.  I thought my kids had it too...until this weekend!

Tell me that this isn't a definite lack of imagination:

Tony works on a golf course.  He had Sunday off.  What did he do?  Took his father golfing.  (Since they did not invite me, I have no recent photos of Tony golfing, so here's my favorite old know how mothers are, can't stop showing you photos of their babies-here's mine!

Know what Andy does for a living?  He works in a kayak shop.  Guess what he did on Sunday, his day off?

Yeppers...he went kayaking!  The big difference was that they dragged me along to take photos...lots of photos!

That's Andy again.  They keep trading boats, so I have to look for the yellow (this week) helmet. 

Above:  My adopted kids:  TJ (Andy's tall bike friend) with the yellow boat.  In the blue boat is Kailyn, Andy's girlfriend and in the water is Jon, Andy's co-worker who is half fish, I swear!

The hike down to the stream was tricky for me, at best.  I kept telling the kids that if I lost my cane, they would have to carry me back up the hill.  Needless to say, they were careful, they watched over my cane more than they watched over me!

Even though I have this thing about sticking my feet into a kayak (you can't see them, it flips me out!), I had a wonderful time on dry land.  The kids are great, the stream is beautiful and I'm sure they will ask me (and my camera) to go another time.

Sunday is "'rents" day here on the hill.  Mark's father and my mother have standing dinner invitations for Sunday afternoon.  Both Mom and Dad were here when I got home.  I was instructed to get dinner ready...QUICKLY...they were starving.  After a fast dinner of whole chickens on the grill and grilled fresh pineapple, they ate and ran.  Just in time, too.  After an early start and all that fresh air, I was ready to check my eye lids for light leaks. 

Thursday, June 8, 2006

We did it!

Put yesterday down as one of the most stressful one of the year. 

Strike that...make it one of the stressful ones of the decade.

Come to think of it, I have been preparing for that day for years and years.  About 15 of them, to be exact.  That's the day I stood on my porch on Pillow Street with my toddlers, watching the neighbor kids going off on their first day of school.  I was crying, knowing that the day that my boys went to school and then graduated was coming way too fast.

Yesterday it came.  Andy graduated from high school. 

I cried.

True to Andy's imagine, his mode of transportation was unique.  His best friend, TJ, came to accompany him to the school:

Yes, they cause plenty of commotion when they ride those tall bikes!

The weather was perfect - we heard thunder in the distance, but there was a breeze in the stadium.  The graduating class was nearly 600.  With nearly 4500 spectators, they  marched them into the stadium in a line that seemed never ending.  Of course, my tears started to flow with the first notes of Pomp and Circumstances and continued to flow through out the entire ceremony!

I can't believe how efficiently the entire ceremony went.  There were the appropriate number of speeches with the required number of jokes.  They got those kids announced, seated and out the door again in about 90 minutes. 

Afterwards, everyone took advantage of the beautiful evening sun for photo opportunities.

Best friends for years, Andy and TJ.  Yes, we took photos of Andy with his proud parents.  Why am I not showing them?  I told you, I cried from the first Pomp of the first Circumstance!

Andy couldn't wait to ditch his cap and gown and came out of the school ready to roll:

Afterwards, Andy and TJ prepared to leave...

And as they rode off into the sunset, we, the proud parents watched.

We made it!  Three out of four done and graduated.  We'll do this again next year, Chapter 4.  Makes a mom proud!

If you want me, I'll be weeding the shady garden while patting myself on the back.