Sjs59's Blog

one tiny voice among many

Dancing in the Livingroom

Dancing in the livingroom to rock and roll songs,

sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

Splashing one another in the puddles after a warm, summer rain,

sometimes a lot, sometimes a little.

Walking together in the mornings for exercise sake,

some times slower, sometimes quicker.

Cranking up the radio in the car,

sometimes singing, sometimes not.

Alas my dear child,

these are a but a few,

of the many memories I have,

from knowing someone as beautiful and special as you.

RIP Katie

5/15/75 – 9/10/03

Starting to Again Feel…….

the descent cycle of this roller coaster ride I call My Life.

Yesterday I was in Westfield, the last place we went as a family before my daughter Katie died.

As I walked along Elm St. looking for the business that I was interested in finding, I found myself thinking back to the day we were last there.  I think the event was called “Taste of Westfield”.

They had food tents from different restaurants, amusement rides for the kids and musical entertainment for everyone.  The featured band was the “Beaver Brown”  band……I’ve loved them since I heard their music in the movie, “Eddie and the Cruisers” and I really wanted to see them perform.

Katie had worked that day and after she got out, she and I took my grandkids so that they could go on the rides and hopefully have a good time being there.  My son Adam was meeting us later.

With each side street and alleyway I came upon, I found myself asking myself, “was this the one?”   I was looking for some familiarity to remind myself which alleyway we had stepped into to allow the kids to finish their ice creams, away from the crowd of people mingling along the street and sidewalks of Elm St.

I couldn’t remember which alleyway it was for sure.  

Eventually, I found the business that I was looking for and my thoughts went back to the business at hand.

It is August again and every year, so far, since Katie took her own life, my everyday life thoughts are infiltrated by memories of how my everyday life was and events of “back then” and what might have happened to cause my daughter to do what she did.

I remembered after Katie’s death,  how that day in Westfield,  Katie seemed so irritated and how I tried so hard to get her out of it and I actually thought then that I had succeeded.  Now I think, I did not succeed. 

A couple of weeks ago, I also came across some negatives when I was going through some old photographs.  I thought they were of pictures that I had put together on a collage for my son and it might of been lost through some unfortunate situation so I had pictures reprinted from the negatives.

When I looked at the pictures after getting them back from the printers, I realized that they had been taken only a month or so before Katie died and my mind took me back to a place of trying to see in the pictures what I might have missed seeing when my daughter was here and alive.

Why doesn’t depression really show in pictures sometimes?  Why can’t it even be seen when you are with someone every single day?  Was I oblivious to my daughter being in so much pain?

My heart is broken.  It will never be unbroken.  

I can not go back in time and nothing can be undone.  I live my life with a quiet acceptance of  what is and feeling the feelings that go along with the loss of my child’s life is permanent.   From that lowest of low point, everything else is a slow, painstaking creep up to the top of the roller coaster chute.

I know that the descent is going to come back…..always.  On a roller coaster ride you cannot have the highs if you do not have the lows so you just have to brace yourself and hold on tight.  At least now the lows are not as  frequent as they once were and my memories of Katie are more about how she lived rather than of how she died.

Thank you for reading.


Short Garden Update

So far everything in my garden is doing well.  

Since the last time I wrote about it, I’ve planted my zucchini, spinach and onions.  They really don’t look much like anything yet, but I know before long they’ll be growing like crazy.


new growth 002 new growth 003


In the top picture, green bucket, is the zucchini and in the lower picture is the spinach and onions.  Sorry, I don’t know whether the green sprigs are spinach or onions yet.  They’ll be more distinguishable in time, I’m sure.

Also, I decided to give each tomato plant it’s own bucket and already I’ve got my first flower that will turn into my very first tomato.  I’m very excited that, so far, my garden seems to be doing so well.


new growth 001


I will continue to periodically update on the progress of my garden.

What’s Broken?…….stepping up on my soapbox

I wish I knew how to fix what is broken in today’s world.  

I wish I knew what it is that is broken.  

I know I’m not alone.

It seems like every day in the last 3 or 4 days, someone is going off on a shooting rampage or stabbing rampage and killing and wounding innocent people…….WHY????

How does this keep happening?  

Does everyone suffer from a mental illness or are we all just a bunch of self-centered, self-indulgent, self-motivated and any other self related label that applies, individuals with no sense of reality who thinks that the world should revolve around us and when it doesn’t we get pissed and have an enormous hissy fit?

I mean, come on now.

Whatever happened to treating others as you would want to be treated?

Whatever happened to people exercising self-control?

Have we become so accustomed to and accepting of so much violence going on in the world that we think it’s just another “normal day”?

How have we gone so far from being able to relate to one another on a human level?

Some people can’t even feel a connect to their own family members and can kill them so easily……how does this happen?

I, unfortunately, do not have a solution for fixing what is broken in this world.  How I wish that I did.

It’s no wonder that everyone suffers from anxiety and depression….you just never know when it might be your turn to experience the carnage.

It’s like the proverbial “elephant in the room” that no one wants to talk about…….the hidden land mine that can go off at any time and anywhere. 

Dr. Wayne Dyer says that, “the solution, is always in the problem”.  So what is the problem, what is broken that these horrific things keep happening?

My personal opinion, these suggestions couldn’t hurt and for what it’s worth-

turn off your device and tune back in to life….at least long enough to notice that those are people sharing the space that you’re in.

Stop indulging every whim that your child has….be willing and brave enough as a parent to be able to say “no” to them and not worry about whether they’re going to like you.  Look to the future and make decisions based on what kind of people they will be living in our society.  Teach them that no one gets their own way all of the time and how to handle disappointment.

Give people your time… attention to what they are doing and tell them or show them that you noticed…..that they matter to you.  Sometimes all people want is to feel appreciated.

So like I said before, I don’t know what the problem is with people and I do not know what the solution is but hopefully we will figure it out…..soon.

Now I will step down from my soapbox…..thank you.




Vegetable Garden with a View

Thursday I planted my vegetable garden.  

Up until then, I was waiting for the rental manager where I live to have our “vegetable garden” plot of land turned over by a tractor.  Needless to say, he never did.

Well, like my Mom always said, “time waits for no one”, and I had to get the veggies in the ground.  As it is, we really don’t have a very long growing season in this part of the country so as soon as we can and the threat of frost is passed, we like to get the plants planted.

I’m actually very excited to see how well the plants do in the buckets on my balcony.  That’s right, everything is in buckets and so far, they don’t look like they’re shriveling……knock on wood!

Everything but one in the white buckets are vegetables.  Everything else is a perennial that I rescued from the flower garden that I tried to have below on the ground which, seemed to me, to be sabotaged by the landscaping company that was hired to do the lawns here at the apartment complex where I live.  (A whole other story in itself which I don’t have time to get into right now).


my veg garden 001


With the help of my brother Edward, I’ve planted potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers and green beans so far.  I still want to add zucchini and maybe some lettuce and swiss chard…..I’ll see.

I expected that I would merely get a ride from Edward to go buy everything I needed to get started but he was very generous and gave me the soil, the plants and the seeds…..all except the potatoes…..those were mine and I got all the buckets from where I work.

Oh, and one more thing, they’re all being organically grown.

I think in a way, I’m kind of glad that the site manager didn’t follow through when he said he was going to have someone come in and turn the soil for us tenants to have a garden this year.  

I doubt that everyone who planted would be interested in growing organically and I’m sure that some of the pesticides would have been transferred somehow to mine from theirs.

I do think it’s unfortunate though that a lot of families that live in the apartments here are not going to be able to plant a vegetable garden.  It’s such a waste of land as far as I’m concerned.

With the way the economy and everything is these days, people would save so much money by growing their own produce if they can and it is so much better when you can control, to a big degree, what goes on or in what you are eating.

I’m excited about my garden and I can’t wait to see what comes from it.  I will also post pictures from time to time to let everyone know how it’s progressing.  

Thank You All for Your Patronage

Me:  (cheerfully) Hello

customer 1:  (matter of factly)  Can you slice my bread?


Me:  (friendly) Hello

child of customer: (oblivious) Can I have a cookie?


Me:  (enthusiasticly)  Hello

customer 2:  (without even looking my way)  I’m just looking


I love my work.  Cake decorating and baking is what I’ve always loved doing, for as long as I can remember.  Most days I even enjoy working with all the people that I work with…..we’re like a dysfunctional family at other times, but not often, which is a good thing.

The business that we’re in is referred to as a service industry….we are here to serve the customer.  Not all, but most everyone in this line of work is in it because they really like what they do.  

How else can you explain people staying for 5, 10, 15 and 20 years or more in a place where a lot of people really aren’t shown any appreciation for what they’re doing….on a daily basis, I might add?

A lot of the general public are under the misconception that a job in a supermarket is somehow not a real job.  Believe me, it is a real job and it is real work and not everyone could do it if they had to.

Try if you can, to imagine what step by step actions it must take to fill every single shelf in the entire store….it’s a lot of space to fill isn’t it?  Do you really think that can be accomplished if someone does not take the time to think about what needs to be done?

My work day begins by first checking to make sure there are no specially ordered cakes for me to do.  Then I have to go out onto the selling floor to check the cake case and make a list of everything that is missing from it.

From there, I have to go into our freezer and find everything we need for the cake case.  This is a complete project all in itself. 

When I first enter the freezer I am immediately faced with the dilemma of having to move at least 4 racks full of heavy product including the boxes that are thrown on top of them.  

Then I might have to climb up on a step stool to try and reach a full box of product that is still out of my reach at the top of the heap of boxes on the top shelf and, if there’s no one to help me, try to maneuver it to the edge so I can get it to topple over and not hit me on the way down to the floor.  All while freezing my fanny and fingers off to the point of frostbite in some instances.

Once I finish that little maneuver, I then have to push a heavy U boat (flat storage space on wheels), loaded with, for instance, over 20 heavy boxes of  unbaked muffin dough out of my way so I can perform the task I just completed on the other wall of the freezer on this side of the freezer.

Once I get everything labeled and put out into the cake case, I then have to make or put together what we did not have already made in the freezer. So back into the freezer I go to get all the product I need to make the cakes I need.

Some days though, it’s a real challenge for me to get all the work I have to do done because over the years, personnel in the store has been decreased quite a bit and I sometimes get a lot of interruptions.

Interruptions are a good thing though.  It’s where I get to interact with our customers.  

Most people I encounter are very nice and respond in a positive way when I greet them but there are always going to be some who can’t be bothered to even say hello….

That’s alright though.  Thank you all for your patronage.   Without you I would not have a job that I love doing.



Expectations and Disappointments

I should be vacuuming and dusting before I get ready to go to work but my keyboard was calling me, so here I sit tap, tap, tapping out this message.

This morning as I was out walking my dog a little after 8am, the thought of what I expected today kept popping into my head.  You see, today is my birthday and on days that are holidays and such, I have a tendency, I think, to have certain expectations.

I didn’t used to, not since I was a kid.  I think I kind of grew out of it after my own kids were born.  I even tried to teach my kids that if you don’t expect, you don’t get disappointed.  Having some of the people in their lives that they had, I thought it was important for them to get this particular lesson.

However, in the years following the death of my daughter Katie, I think the thought of expecting certain behavior from the people around me kind of crept back into my psyche without me even noticing it happening.

In my reflections this morning over the past 62 years of my life, the thought hit me like a wop up side the head.  Dr. Wayne Dyer calls it an “epiphany”.  

I all of a sudden was aware that I do this a great deal in my life.   It’s like I expect people to behave a certain way because that’s how I think they should behave and when they don’t, I’m disappointed.

It seems lately I’ve felt a lot of disappointment and it’s caused me to feel sad, lonely and down right miserable.

Granted, this time of year is always sad since Katie passed because May 15 is her birthday and she in not here any longer to celebrate it but that does not usually monopolize my thoughts as much as when she first passed.

I think now I am causing most of my own misery by expecting things to be a certain way.

So this morning, as I was walking with my dog, I told myself, “No more expectations”!   When I got back inside, I got 2 texts from 2 different people, wishing me a happy birthday.  What a nice surprise.

My intention from here on out is to not expect people to behave a certain way and maybe I won’t feel so disappointed and miserable a lot of the time.  Also, if I don’t have expectations and let life unfold before me, everything I get is a gift.


My Best Mother’s Day Presents Ever


I don’t know who made up Mother’s Day but I wouldn’t doubt it was someone who wanted to make some money on people’s emotions and it took.

Judging just from what we prepared in our store for today,  I would imagine that a lot of people have spent a lot of money to show their Moms just how much they care.

For me, “my” day causes me to reflect on all that is emotionally entangled in the importance of the day.  Most days I try to not put too much importance into a certain day being a holiday but rather it being just a Monday or a Tuesday, etc.  But Mother’s Day, my kids’ birthdays and a few other days during the year it’s hard for me to think of today as just a Sunday.  

As much as I try, the significance of today creeps into my thoughts and the emotions take hold.  My feelings change sometimes from one minute to the next, sometimes from high to low and then back again…..kind of like a rollercoaster ride.  But the things on Mother’s Day that make me happiest and make me smile the most are these presents my kids have given to me years ago and are some of my most prized possessions. 


img083kid's work from the scrapbook 040katie & adam's school work...mostly katie 003katie & adam's school work...mostly katie 032

Wishing every mother a wonderful day.

Drama, Who Needs It?

It is beyond my comprehension how some people can work so closely with others for years and never become emotionally attached at some level.   How does one do that?

I wonder what it is they lack or possess that enables them to come to work every single day, engage in personal conversations with their co-workers, gaining insight into who the people they’re surrounded by are and then go home and leave it all there.

I used to think there was something wrong with me that I become attached to almost everyone when I work very close with them for a long time.  As a matter of fact, I deliberately make an effort to connect with people I work with to try and make the experience of work better.  Isn’t that what most folks do?

I think it would be easier for me to understand if the people who stay detached refrained from any personal conversation and concentrated only on work conversation, then I would be able to see how their detachment could maintain in tact for years.

It’s really kind of sad when you think about it… go through your life, keeping everyone you meet and spend a significant amount of time with always at bay. 

All I know is that life is hard and work is hard and if you have an opportunity to make it a little better for yourself while you’re here or there, why not try?

I do realize that I am different from others in the sense that I may have a greater need then they do when it comes to feeling an attachment to people that come into my life.  

I believe that most people are in our lives to show us something about ourselves and when I end up in some situations I always ask myself, “what am I supposed to learn from this?”, especially if it turns out to be a negative situation.

I guess that is what’s most baffling to me sometimes.  Because I do make such an effort to connect to people and I feel that I have succeeded in doing that and then realize because of the other person’s actions that we have not connected at all, it really throws me off.

At first I’m not even really sure that their behavior is different at all because it’s so subtle.  I do however, come to realize because of their lack of conversation with me and their definite, deliberate physical posturing when they are talking with others, it is a very deliberate, calculated message to me that I am not included in what they have to say…..I am being, for lack of a better word, “shunned”.

When you grow up surrounded by so many other individuals, you do learn about being “shunned” or “ignored” when one of those individuals is annoyed with you.

Once I finally get the message though, the mystery is solved for me and it becomes just, “oh, ok, I’ve gotten too close to someone you want to be close to and you’re jealous so you’re going to behave like a baby”, and life goes on.

It’s just unfortunate that it sometimes has to be this way but what are you going to do?   It’s all small stuff to me.  I’ve already had enough drama in my life.  I do not have to create my own.

“This too shall pass”

Tales of the Ageing

I don’t even know anymore if it’s an ageing thing or people just not paying attention to what they’re doing.  

Maybe those of us who are getting up there in years are just taking what we have learned over the years for granted and operating on “auto-pilot”.

The two following stories are true and I do have my sister’s permission to post the story that she related to me yesterday.  (she, BTW is 63 years old)

The other day she was out somewhere with her granddaughter and she had to go to the bathroom.  She stopped at a McDonald’s to use the restroom.  Without even looking, she entered the restroom and noticed a couple of urinals on the wall.  A large one and a child sized one and all she thought was, “hmmmm, they’re putting those in here now?” and continued on over to the stall.

She told me that the stall door was closed so she asked,”is anyone in there?” and that’s when the door suddenly opened a tad and the man sitting on the toilet smirked and told her “yes”.

I was laughing my fanny off when she told me and so did everyone else that she related the story to.

Then later on I went out to dinner with some very good friends of mine.  Afterwards, when we were walking out to the parking lot, I suddenly found myself in a heep on the ground.

I was mortified.  For one thing, I had a witness to it right there with me.  

After I quickly got myself up off the ground, I looked back to see what might have caused me to do it and discovered that I had stepped off a curb that I didn’t even realize was there.   I felt like such a dope.

For another thing, it hurt like a SOB and not just my pride either.  I didn’t dare look at the damage that I did until later when I got home.

However, when my friend and I were in the car, I burst out laughing because I felt like such an ass…..what else could I do?

When I did finally assess the damage, I had bruised my right shin, both knees and slightly twisted my left ankle.

I don’t think it’s a matter of getting old though, I think a lot of us just need to pay more attention to what we’re doing.

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