Sjs59's Blog

compositions from my heart

“The Solution is Always in the Problem”…..Dr. Wayne Dyer

So, the problem is: that a man goes to the school with the intention of causing serious physical harm and/or even death to as many people as possible that he sees.

What does anyone reading think that the solution is?  My guess would be that we need to prevent that man from being able to buy a gun that will enable him to do all that harm.

This is not rocket science here.  All I want is for this man or any man or person who has the intention to maim or kill by gun to not be able to have legal access to a gun.

How do we go about preventing these persons from being able to, legally, buy a gun?

What if we were to look at gun purchases in the same way we looked at, say, getting a driver’s license?  What if people had to take a course in gun ownership and responsibility in having a gun before they could actually buy a gun?  What about a questionnaire to try to find out if the individual is competent or stable enough to own a gun?

When you prepare for having a license to drive you do not expect to have it happen over night, do you?  Why should you expect to be able to purchase a gun any quicker than it takes for you to get a driver’s license?  Why wouldn’t you want for gun vendors to be very cautious about who they are selling guns to?  After all, having a gun takes being responsible for what happens with that gun.

Furthermore, and for anyone who buys for, gives to or allows another person to use a gun that they own should be held equally accountable, as the person actually using the gun in the event of a crime. 

I do not think that anyone wants for anyone’s right to bear arms taken away from anyone but something has to be done to stop the murderous rampages that are taking place at the hands of individuals who, most assuredly are not capable of doing the responsible thing when it comes to being a gun owner in the United States. 

We as civilized people of this world, (that is what we still are, correct?), well we need to stand up and demand that our legislatures do something NOW to end this gun violence!

Gun violence is unacceptable behavior and we should not be tolerating it anymore

If present legislatures can not do anything to make it harder for unstable individuals to buy a gun legally in the US then we need to replace them with representatives who will!

Anyone who wants to go hunting and killing other human beings anywhere on this planet, in my humble opinion, has given up their right to bear any kind of arms in the US.


Memories of Thanksgiving From the Past

Wow, it’s been so long since holidays have actually felt like holidays to me.  Since I have worked almost every single holiday since I have worked in retail, holidays are “just another day” to me. 

Actually, holidays are the money making days when you work in retail because holidays and Sundays  you get paid time and a half for working them.  Sometimes we even get paid for the holiday PLUS, get time and a half if we work that day, at least that’s how it works where I work,  so a lot of people forfeit at least part of their time with family to have a little extra cash in their pockets.  At least for us though, our store is closed Thanksgiving and we still get paid for it.

With all that my family and I have been through this year, (mainly the illnesses and deaths of my sisters Malvina and Christine), my thoughts at least, this time of year have taken me back to Thanksgiving Days of the past when we were all children far removed from the worries of adulthood.

I remember how it was in school, the teachers had us make art projects to decorate potatoes to look like turkeys to be used as table decorations and we had holiday parties where all the kid’s mom’s made cookies and cupcakes for all the kids to pig out on.  I can remember how I excited I felt leading up to having all that time off to celebrate the holiday and how hard it was to concentrate on the school work right in front of me.

Celebration at our house began in the wee early hours of the morning at least for my Mom.   Her first duty of the day was the prepping of the at least 20 lb. turkey that had been defrosting for the past 2-3 days, first in the refrigerator and then in the sink in a cold pan of water so that it would be ready to roast on Thanksgiving day.

All my brothers and sisters and I would eventually make our way downstairs one at a time and then my father.  My mother always felt that he worked the hardest trying to provide for all of us so she would let him sleep as long as he wanted.  In the meantime, she would stop what she was doing with the turkey and get us all situated with breakfast, with the older ones helping the little ones and so forth then she would go back to the turkey and getting it into the oven to start roasting for about the next five or so hours that it took to be ready to eat.

The stuffing for the turkey was made with potatoes, gizzards, neck and heart from the bird.  It was made the night before and put into the turkey before it was put into the oven to roast.  For anyone who doesn’t know what gizzards are, they are what the turkey uses to digest food after swallowing it, they are in the neck region of the turkey.

 All day long we smelled the turkey roasting in the oven and I for one couldn’t wait to be sitting at the table and having some of it but there was so much to be done before that was going to happen.

My parents used to buy potatoes by the 50 lb. bag and we had to peel and cut at least 10 lbs. to have mashed for the meal later that day.  Then there was turnip to get peeled, cut and boiled and believe me, that is no easy task. 

Turnips are so hard, I remember myself preparing my own Thanksgiving dinner for my kids and I, sitting on the floor in the livingroom while watching tv, newspaper spread out before me, my wooden cutting board placed on top of the paper and me striking my chef’s knife with a hammer to cut through the turnip, then, having to cut the waxed peel off of it to get to the actual vegetable to cut up and cook.  But trust me, turnip is delicious with oodles of butter and well worth the work.

I remember too of Thanksgiving day past, after my father getting up from bed, the tv being turned on, that is if we had one at the time and it actually was working that day, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade being tuned in for us to watch.  They had far fewer commercials and more parade to actually see back then probably because the parade was actually paid for by the Macy’s store in New York and not a million other businesses like it is now.  Anyway, who even knows anymore who actually owns Macy’s anymore, right?

Later in the day, as it got closer to the time that we’d actually be able to sit down and finally eat the bird, whose roasting aroma had filled the house for the greater part of the day, we were all pretty busy setting plates and silverware at the table, cutting up dill pickles, placing them with olives, sweet pickled mini onions, (which was my mom’s favorite by the way, and sweet pickles on serving dishes along with the butter, salt and pepper.

By that time, I at least was starving because I hadn’t really had anything to eat since breakfast, saving my appetite for the turkey dinner.  I couldn’t wait to sit and eat and I can remember starting to feel annoyed and irritated that it took so long for the potatoes to be mashed and the turnip to be mashed and the gravy to be made.  There were no microwave ovens then to just heat everything already prepared by someone else to just be heated up in.  Everything was made from scratch and it took real time.

Finally everything was ready and we all sat down together with everything placed on the table so that my Mom didn’t have to keep getting up and down during dinner like she normally did.  Rarely did she ever get to complete a meal with us start to finish without some kind of interruption.

It sure didn’t take long to get through the meal once we sat down to eat.  Generally afterwards, when we all felt stuffed, we’d slowly pull ourselves away from the table and find a place to go and rest and digest before the desserts were served.  Some of us helped clear the table and start washing the dishes making space for the next round later on and this is how it went.

All I know is that Thanksgiving Day back when I was a kid felt like a real holiday to me.  I feel so lucky now to have had that time with my family.  I think it’s too bad that some folks never really got to experience what I did, and that is knowing how family feels.

thank you for reading and I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving

Well, Another One Bites the Dust

Relationships these days sure are taking on the appearance of a dull, boring tv dramedy don’t ya think?  For those of you who don’t know, that is a combination drama and comedy.  Some people are overly dramatic and it ends up looking ridiculously funny.

I honestly don’t think many people have a clue as to what they are doing or why they are doing it and how what they’re doing is affecting the people who are around them.

Hey, got an itch?  Just scratch it.  Get that instant gratification and to hell with the consequences.

And have you noticed how some people have to post everything that’s going on with them on their Facebook page?  With my son’s most recent ex-girlfriend, I knew every single time she had a bug up her ass about something he did.  I got to the point where I was actually laughing, shaking my head and saying, “What is it now?”

Ah well, I think as long as people keep putting the cart before the horse, you will always have broken relationships.

You ask what is putting the cart before the horse?  Simply put, people sleeping together before they actually know who the person they’re sleeping with is. 

As many people know, it takes a very long time for some people to really show you who they are.  For others, you see who they are sooner but if you’ve already slept with them, it’s harder to get out of it and “it” then becomes “a relationship” to be “worked on” and sometimes, the working on the relationship is actually their way of trying to get you to conform to how they think that you should be behaving and I think we all know how that will end up, don’t we?  And what if there are children involved.  What about them?

Many people these days do not have the courage or the stamina to resist the temptation to just hop in the sack with whoever they feel attracted to.  They think that if they use their physical attributes, it will guarantee that the person will want to be with them forever and ever.  Or, they are afraid that if they do not give in to the person who wants to sleep with them, they could be alone for the rest of their lives.

Some people may think that because I am older that I am behind the times when it comes to relationships.  There may be some truth to that for sure.  Trust me, I do not wish to get naked with anyone that I do not like and it takes time, with your clothes on, to actually get to know someone.

I’m not an expert by any means but I know what makes sense to me.  I know myself well enough to know that if anything about you irritates me, we are probably not a good match and if I irritate you, it will not get any better in time.




September 10, 2003 and Collateral Damage

September 10, 2003 was the very first World Suicide Prevention Day.

I wonder now if Katie knew that when she took her own life.

Today it is fourteen years since I last saw my beautiful daughter Katie alive.  It’s hard for me to believe sometimes that so much time has passed and at other times, it still feels so recent.

That Wednesday was a beautiful, sunny, late summer day much like any other we had enjoyed before that and yet, I knew there was something different that day.  I felt it.

Since my son Adam was separated from his wife Bridget and had been living with Katie and I, naturally I thought I felt like something was going to happen with him.

It was on that morning that Bridget brought the kids by so that Adam could talk to them.  I had heard that she was planning on moving herself and the kids out to the mid-west somewhere but I never did get the entire story about that and I doubt that I ever will.  If that was true, I was concerned for my son and how he felt.

Because of everything that Bridget had done to cause so much pain, I was concerned that it might be Adam who would do harm to himself or someone else.  It never occurred to me that Katie also, was in a great amount of pain as well. 

I guess I just wasn’t paying attention to Katie as well as I should have been.  She and Adam had never both been in crisis mode at the same time before, that is, that I knew of.

God,  how I wish I had done something different that day.

I knew that Katie felt disgusted and disappointed about a lot of things in her life not happening the way that she thought that they should and she wasn’t very happy about not having enough money to be able to do some of the things that she wanted to get done but never in a million years would I have thought that she would take her own life.  Never!

When I got home from work that night and found Katie’s lifeless body, saying that my life changed forever is a huge understatement.  Something inside me broke that night and I haven’t been the same since.  I know it isn’t a break that anyone can see but it’s there, believe me. 

Here it is, fourteen years later.   My life has changed considerably.

I had only three grandchildren at the time, the oldest being four years old and the youngest probably about one.  Not too long after Katie’s death, Bridget became pregnant again and my fourth grandchild was born.  They are no longer in my life on a regular basis and I have been excluded from almost every single important event in their lives.

One granddaughter in particular wants nothing to do with me whatsoever.  She will not even acknowledge me as a person, not to mention, her grandmother.

This is ok with her father, my son.   He does not see it that she is disrespecting me.  With that, he and I agree to disagree.  All I know is that if he had treated my parents the way his daughter treats me, I would have tanned his ass and he knows it.  Regardless of whether I agreed with what my parents said or did, I didn’t let anyone get away with showing them such disrespect.

For the first four or five years I walked around a great deal of the time kind of like in a fog just trying to get my head around the fact that my daughter was dead.   Gone!  One day she was here and the next, not!  Not to mention the fact that she had taken her own life. 

My life went from where I was seeing Adam and Katie daily and my grandchildren on a almost weekly basis to hardly seeing the kids at all.  Adam and Bridget didn’t even bring them to the reception after Katie’s funeral.  Every time I talked to my son, I asked him to bring them to see me and he always had a reason why he couldn’t.  After a while, I started calling my ex-daughter in law to set up times with her for the kids to visit because I got the impression that she was the one who made those decisions and what did she say?, that it was Adam’s responsibility to bring them to see me.

For a very long time I started to think that I really had done something to hurt the kids and that was why Adam and Bridget didn’t want the kids to visit me.  However, over the years, I get a little more when my son and I talk and what I surmise now is that because my grieving had changed me so much, they didn’t care much for how I acted around the children.  I guess I was acting too sad and then the reason was that I was talking down Nana even though it was okay for Nana to blatantly talk me down anytime she felt like it by telling the kids how much she hated the “word” Memere.  Now you tell me, if you were a kid of three and you heard that, what would you hate, Memere or the word Memere?

Truth of the matter.  Adam and Bridget offered for me to come and live with them after Katie died and I declined the offer.  I think that is where I made my mistake.

Yep, a couple of days after Katie died I was in shock but I had not lost my common sense.

I had not forgotten that up until the night of Katie’s death, Adam and Bridget were separated.  She was still stouping her then boyfriend/now husband.  Did she really think that I thought she and Adam would get back together because Katie died?  The first thing I thought of was that she was looking for a live-in babysitter and it was not going to be me.

I guess Adam and Bridget had forgotten that I had given up benefits and seniority at work when I quit my job to be the babysitter of my grandchildren when Autumn and Sami were toddlers and that they did not want to pay me for doing it?

Anyway, enough of the sob story of my life.  “It is what it is” is the latest most popular phrase being used these days.

All I know is, like they say in AA meetings, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired” and it’s time for me to start taking the blame for how I am being treated.

My problem is that I keep waiting for my son to show me that he cares about me.   On Labor day all I wanted was to talk to him.  You see we usually talk to one another at least once a week.  It’s one of the crumbs that he gives to me and that I so gratefully accept from him.  So I called him.  I figured with it being a holiday, he would be able to talk and because I knew I’d be busy all week running around for my sister Malvina, that it would be a good day for us to talk.  He didn’t answer his phone and I still haven’t heard from him yet.

But this past week I had an epiphany.   According to Dr. Wayne Dyer, “we teach people how to treat us”.

That’s right.  All my kid’s lives I put them and their needs before my own.  I never treated them like they were the family pet that only got a hello smooch and then put back down on the floor when I was done.  I didn’t walk around eating my food in front of them before I thought to feed them.  I was up in the morning before they were, getting their clothes and breakfast ready.  I was there when they needed an emotional punching bag because their father had disappointed them and let them down once again.

I never expected to get back all that I have given for my kids but I did expect that they would have learned from my example of how I treated my own parents.  What I know now is that I have been too accepting, too understanding and too afraid that I would lose the people that matter the most to me and I settled for a lot less than I felt I deserved.  I thought that eventually my loved ones would wake up and realize that they needed to treat me better but I’m beginning to think that only happens in the movies and I figured it won’t matter a good GD to me when I’m dead if that’s what it took and I am not getting any younger here.

The truth of the matter is, there is nothing more to fear, I am alone and people can only give what they have inside to give.  I am living with the death of my daughter, I can live with anything else I am given.

I am ok and thank you for reading.  Still loving and missing my Katie.







What do YOU see?

Do you see the disability or do you see the person when you see her?

This is my sister Malvina.

It isn’t melveena, lavyna, or elvyna,,,,,names I have heard her called over the years.  Her name is Mal, (short a), vi, (long I), na, (short a),  for anyone who remembers being taught in school about their vowels and their sounds.  It was my father’s mother’s name.

Presently she is being treated for leukemia in the hospital and I took this picture of her the other day.


Personally, I don’t think she looks that much different than any of us.  I do know though that many people do recognize fairly early on after talking to her, that there is something very different about her.  Malvina is mentally challenged.

At her birth, Malvina was deprived of oxygen and as a result, she suffered some damage to her brain.  It takes her longer to process information and also to respond to the information she has processed.  She does not and never will process information the same way a fully functioning person does and if that’s what you expect from her, you are the one who will always feel upset, irritated and annoyed.

Malvina has also had a couple of operations on at least one of her eyes when she was about seven or eight years old to help improve muscle control and focus. 

When she was a baby the Doctors told my parents that they didn’t know how much my sister would be capable of learning.  Back then mentally challenged people were called retarded and they had separate classrooms for the learning disabled or slow learners.  Those classes were called “general auxillary” or GA classes for short and everyone knew the stigma attached to being in the “GA” class.

When we were children, my parents told the rest of us that Malvina was “special”.  

I used to think that meant that my parents thought that she was better than the rest of us but I realized after some time and growing up a bit that they meant that she had special needs and that her behaviors were always going to be sometimes different than ours.  It also meant that we needed to watch out for her well being and help her when we could.

When people meet Malvina for the first time, they have an opportunity to be a good person or a bad person and over the years, it seems there are far more people interested in taking advantage of her rather than being a real friend to her.

People can get Malvina to do just about anything for them especially when it comes to money.

For as long as I can remember, except while she was married to her husband Joe, (because he didn’t take crap from anyone), Malvina  was prey to a lot of people.

What a lot of people realize about Malvina after talking to her is that she is not always capable of recognizing when they are treating her badly.  I have even asked her if she knows and she said she doesn’t and that is how people get away with doing it.

I know it’s hard trying to have a conversation with someone who does not “act” or think like the average, so called, “normal” person.

In that respect, I would say that the average “normal” person would be the one who is challenged mentally.   What do you think?

I love my sister Malvina.  I see her as an amazing person.  She has learned to read, write, and count even though some didn’t expect she would ever learn these things.  

I remember she and my mother in the kitchen while my mom was getting supper ready.  My mom would be peeling potatoes or something else and Malvina would be reading from a book.  Almost every other word she was asking my mom, “what is this word?”, and my mother would look in the book and tell her the word.  After a while my mom stopped telling her the words and made Malvina start sounding out the letters and putting them together to form the words for herself.  She was bound and determined to learn how to read and never gave up.  Today she still loves learning something new and is eager to do so.

She’s been married, (even though no one ever expected she would be) and she and her husband used to spend their vacations traveling all over on bus trips.

I have to admit, I have had my own issues with Malvina and did not just overnight become so understanding and accepting of her.  It has taken a long time for me to get to the place that I am with her now.

When I was a kid, I used to resent the fact that I had to stick up for her in a lot of situations.  I used to think that if she only walked a little different, the other kids wouldn’t notice so easily that there was something so different about her and maybe they wouldn’t pick on her as much as they did so I proceeded to try and teach her to walk the way I thought she should walk. 

Needless to say, it didn’t work.  Not because she didn’t try to learn to walk different for me but because I was smart enough to realize as a kid that I was asking her to be someone that she wasn’t so I stopped trying to teach her to be different.

In a family, especially when you’re a child and have brothers and sisters, there is sibling rivalry.  I don’t care who you are, it’s there and if you say otherwise, you’re lying.  Hopefully you eventually grow past needing that in your life.

I have seen Malvina have outbursts of frustration when my younger siblings have teased her or tried to force her to say something she didn’t want to say or when someone accidently touched her and she wasn’t expecting it.  She literally looks like she is flipping out and anything she’s near goes flying when this happens.

However, with that being said, what I can honestly say about Malvina is, I’ve never heard her talk behind anyone’s back or seen her be deliberately mean or rotten to anyone.  I’ve never heard her laugh at or make fun of anyone.  She never tries to force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do and she never tries to get them to be anyone that they’re not and she is accepting of everyone.  Which is a hell of a lot more than I can say about a lot of folks these days.

The only person I’ve seen her express anger or frustration over is herself because she cannot sometimes be, think or do what someone else wants her to be, think or do.

What more can I say?  She is who she is and I love her just the way she is.

Thank you for reading.




Little Miss “Blues Clues” Crying Again

“I Can’t help it,” she said, “it’s just the way I am, I’ve always been like this.  It’s not my fault that I prefer the first born over all the rest”, as she walked past the open door of the room with the baby, the child I had nicknamed “Little Miss Blue’s Clue’s” because she loved that children’s show so much, standing in her crib, crying, again, because she was being left at home, again, when others were being taken out somewhere to have some fun.

This was the mentality of my former in-laws and my ex-husband. How it was perfectly ok to favor one child over the other.  This is how they treated my daughter Katie and it had lasting affects on her feeling of self worth.

I, on the other hand, was raised in a home with eight siblings and the mottos were, “the more, the merrier”, “there’s always room for one more” and “the kids eat first”.

I have to admit, I do understand how some family behaviors seem perfectly acceptable within the confines of that family.  For example, we were raised with the notion that it was perfectly ok for my father to, (sometimes, not always), have a steak for supper when we were only having stew or hamburgers for our supper.  Or for him to have some foods saved in the refrigerator just for him.  The reason being, he was the bread winner providing for all the rest of us and deserved certain privileges.

It wasn’t until I had a family of my own that I saw how detrimental to a person’s self-worth that this way of thinking could be.  You end up feeling a great deal of the time that having something is better than having nothing and you become accustomed to settling for what you get, even though it may not be what you want or feel that you deserve.

My mother also believed that the relationship that she had with my father came first, even before us.  She told me once, “I was with him before I even knew you.”  This way of thinking I do agree with.  Relationships are important and they take work and real effort on the part of people who are in the relationship in order for them to work. 

Also, both people should want the same thing.  They should both really want for the relationship to work.  If you really don’t care whether or not it survives or that it’s just a stepping stone for you to get something else, you will get exactly what you have put into it.

It is not just relationships between couples that need to be worked at in order for them to survive.  Any relationship with any person that you place any value on, must be worked at in order for it to survive.

I have always tried to make an effort with people I care about to show them as much as possible how much I care about them.  I happen to believe that “actions speak louder than words” and it’s important for people to see by my actions that I mean what I say.

Much to my dismay however, I have to come to terms with the fact that sometimes, no matter how much I try, some relationships in my life will not survive, no matter what or how much I do to try to show the people that I care about how much I care.  They will simply have nothing to do with the relationship or with me.

I wish I could simply say, “their loss” and be done with it but the sadness lingers a great deal of the time over the loss.

I wonder now, if it had been me who uttered those words mentioned above, would my life be any different than it is now?

My heart is telling me no, probably not…..what will be, will be. 

One thing that I do know however, is that love for someone does not end simply because they make the choice to not be in your life.  You learn to simply carry on without them and grow stronger as a human being.



First, You Have to Care

It’s been my experience that in order to be able to do anything and do it well, you first have to care about whether or not it is done well.

That may sound very simple to some or very common sense like but when it comes down to it,,,,most people these days don’t give a crap about how well something is done anymore.  They just want to be able to say, “it’s done”, so they can move onto doing something else.

My thing is, does it really make sense when you do something to have to have someone else come behind you and have to finish what you started or to have to do it over again because you didn’t do it right?

Carpenter’s have a saying, “Measure twice, cut once” and my father used to say, “if you’re going to do something, do it right or don’t bother doing it at all!”

I don’t understand why it is so hard for some people to care about what they’re doing.  No one gets praised for doing half-assed work,,,,trust me.

Personally, I like it when people know that I’ve done a good job with anything I do.  Not so much because I get praise, but because it makes me feel good about myself knowing that I was capable of doing what I did.

When I was parenting my kids, I always thought about what kind of people my kids would become.  My goal was for them to become decent human beings but I also knew that they would have to be able to make their own way in the world that they lived in and for that they needed to be able to think for themselves.

Kids are not going to be able to make any decisions for themselves if you as a parent do not give them the information to be able to choose wisely from.  I think that when you deny your child any part of their life that can be beneficial to their decision making, you are denying them growth as a human being.

For instance, my ex-husband tried to teach my kids that it was ok for them to not listen to me because he didn’t agree with what I said.  He also told them to not tell me certain things that he didn’t want me to know about and what that taught my kids was that Mom was the bad guy and that they had to lie to me.

I never felt the need to destroy the character of my ex-husband to make myself look better to my kids.  I knew too that it wasn’t going to help them or be best for them if I was to do the same thing that he was doing.  Like my Mom used to say, “two wrongs don’t make a right!”

I always felt like someone had to be the bigger person,,,,the grown-up and just do what would be best for the kids in the long run.  I knew that eventually, they would see for themselves what was what and they did.

I don’t think a lot of people really think about all that kind of stuff.  Granted, some do, thank God, but there are so many who leave all the teaching to tv, day cares, schools, churches, etc.  And when that is the case, as we all know so well these days, anything can happen.

Teaching a child right from wrong is the responsibility of the parent and whether you believe it or not, it begins from birth.  There is no right age for you to begin teaching him or her anything.  You have to begin teaching when the circumstance or situation presents itself to you and you can’t always be saying, “but they’re only a baby.”  This is an excuse for not wanting to do the hard stuff associated with being a parent.

Some people might say, “yeah, but don’t you first have to know right from wrong in order to teach it?”

I used to think this was the case but now I think it’s all about what we choose to do.  The parents who teach their kids the wrong way are, in my humble opinion, choosing what is best and easiest for themselves, not their kids.

Anyone who has grown up in our society knows what is right and knows what is wrong.  It is the selfish ones always thinking about themselves that always choose to do the wrong things because they simply do not care about anything or anyone but themselves.

Being a parent and raising a child to be a decent human being is work.  No bones about it!  If you love and care about your child, you will be willing to do what it takes to help your child become the best person that he or she can be but,  first, you have to care.

Thank you for reading.



Two Little Trashpickers

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.

I’m remembering how my sister Christine and I rummaged through trash cans when we were little kids, looking for stuff that we thought was still good.

We would sometimes get outdoors early on sunny, summer mornings before the trash men came so that all the stuff that we thought might be useful to us, wouldn’t be gone before we had a chance to get it.

I’m smiling to myself now as I sit here writing, remembering how we would walk along William Sands Jr. Rd., one trash can to the next, stopping and peering into the metal cylanders to see if anything good was visible to the naked eye and worth digging any further into the trash to find out what it was.

Most of the time we only found real trash but every once in a while we would find a real gem like an old pair of high heels that some lady was all done wearing or an old pocketbook that looked like it still had more wear in it.

We would sometimes wonder, “why were they throwing this or that out?”, it still looked good to us!

This was back in the day before being a germaphobe was the “norm” and before there was any such thing as “sanitizer” that you carried around with you every where you went, to have, “just in case” you got too many dirty, filthy, nasty, really bad germs on you.

Believe me, we definitely picked up germs along with everything else when we went trash picking,,,,,it was unavoidable.  I’m not even sure if we washed our hands when we got back home,,,,probably not though because kids don’t usually think to do those things unless they’re told to, right? 

My sister and I never really went any further than the other end of the street from where we lived because we had to stay within hearing distance to my mother when she called or my father when he whistled.  One quick, sharp, screeching, “swisheeep” from him and we knew we had better get our asses home, or else, but quick!

Those days are so long ago now for me but I can still remember how I felt then being there with my sister.  We were a pair, a twosome, compradres,,,,,friends.  She was the leader and I followed her lead.  She was my big sister and I trusted her that she knew what she was doing and I wanted to be with her doing what she was doing, always.

Believe it or not, my sister Christine and I still go trash picking.  Not so much from one tin can to the next but in second hand stores, flea markets and tag sales.  Occasionally though, there have been the random sightings of “good stuff” heaped up on the curb somewhere and we have stopped, but nowadays, I prefer that she would stop at night, in the dark, so that we aren’t seen doing our trash picking thing.  What can I say, we do change along the way, don’t we?

I feel so lucky to have the family that I have.  

Thank you for reading.

“Lord,,,,,,Take the Wheel!”

I love this expression!  I heard it from my boss.  It is a great expression for when everything becomes so muddled up and impossible to deal with, which, by the way, happens a lot at the place that I work.

I like to think of this expression as a shorter version of the “Serenity Prayer”.  I use this prayer a lot in my personal life.  I have to.  Since my daughter died, it’s hard to deal sometimes with my life.

I know a lot of people have a lot of horrible things happening to them as well and believe me, I sympathize.  I accept though, that no one gets through this life without feeling some pain and it is what you do with that pain which matters.

Fortunately or unfortunately for me, depending on how you want to look at it, I always seem to have to muddle through the “what ifs” and the “what am I doing to create this situation?” and the “what can I do different to change this” kind of thing first before I get to the conclusion of “letting it go” and letting my higher power take care of it.

It’s just the way I am and there doesn’t seem to be any way of getting around that process.  Believe me, I’ve tried!

I don’t think a lot of people know that I am an introspective kind of person.  I am always looking inside myself to try and figure out what I can do different to change some situations in my life.  

The lesson I learn from going through the thought processes I go through is that some things are not meant to change.  At least not in my time, but maybe in my Higher Power’s time and it’s only when I get to that conclusion that I feel peace.

Along with that sense of peacefulness that I feel after tormenting myself from being so long with the thoughts, I also am reminded that I am me.  There is no one like me and there is no one who can replace me.  

I still have the capability to love someone who is present in my life or chooses not to be.

I also do not have to teach people to hate someone else or put someone else down in order to have those people love me.  

I have always known that I am enough for me and it is someone else’s loss that they will not get to experience something more than what they have been told up to this point.  I believe that someday they will open their minds and open their hearts and they will be capable of figuring things out for themselves.

My greatest fear used to be that the unthinkable and unsayable would happen to my children.  Now that something horrible has happened, there is less fear once I get it all figured out.

I sometimes get caught up in the fear that I will not get to experience what I think that I am entitled to experience because of who I am.  It is that that keeps me in a place of unrest.  

It is only when I work through the fear and the feeling that I need to do something to change things that my fear dissipates.  

That’s when I know that what I’m doing is the right thing for me to do.  It just feels right!

Thank you for reading.




A Trip to England Usually Happens to Other People, Not Me

take off from Boston

take off from Boston

When Jackie, (one of my third cousins I connected with doing a family history search), first talked about me visiting her in England, it was just that, talk (for me anyway).  

Yes, I very much would have loved to meet her but taking a trip to England was something I never thought I would ever really, actually do and when she started talking to me about going, I told her it would probably never happen.

For one thing, I was terrified of flying…..I really don’t like the idea of having so much space between me and the ground!  Simple as that!  To have to fly for such a long time?  I thought, “no way, not me!”

Then there was, where was I going to get the money to take a trip like that?  I’m not independently wealthy or anything like that.  I virtually, like most people, work pretty much paycheck to paycheck and it seemed an impossible mission for me.

Then there was the idea that it wasn’t me who had been  particularly interested in taking a trip to England.  It was my daughter Katie who might have loved it but that was no longer possible for her.  However, the thought had been planted and every time Jackie mentioned it, I started thinking more about it.

Thought is a funny thing though once one has been planted.  It’s like a flower or vegetable seed planted in the garden.  Given the right elements, it just seems to grow and grow and becomes what it is supposed to be and that’s kind of what happened with the thought of going to England.

Every time I talked to Jackie on the phone, at least a very small part of it became conversation about me going to England.

Sometimes even without planning it, your body starts to make the motions that take you in a certain direction when you really had not planned for that to happen.   You just kind of do the next action which is required next when the thought pops into your head.

Just for the hell of it, I opened a new savings account and had money deposited directly into it so that I wouldn’t even see it to be tempted by….you can’t miss what you don’t see, right? and then I just kind of forgot about it for a while.

And, every once in a while, I would check out airlines on the web and see what flights to England were going for.  I would see that it was a lot of money and would go back to not thinking about that for a while.

Then came the day that in our conversation about going to England, I said,”ok”  I committed myself to making the trip.

Almost immediately I thought about backing out of it because I was so afraid of the flying.  All I thought was, “how the hell am I going to do this?”

My bank account grew and I started to feel more and more like a trip to England might be possible for me, that is if I decided that I wanted to fly all those hours it was going to take to actually get there.  (Trust me, I did actually look into taking a boat).

What finally made me make up my mind to go to England was the fact that Katie would have loved going and she couldn’t.  I made going for her more important than going for myself and I would take her, in spirit, with me.

Jackie in our conversations up until the time I was to leave, was always talking to me about not thinking of the actual flight.  She kept telling me to think about where I was going instead of the how I was going to get there part of it.  

Eventually I stopped focussing on how much space was between me and the ground and started to think about what I was going to do to get through the five hour flight from Boston to Iceland and then another couple of hours to England.  How on earth do you sit in one spot for five hours and then get onto another flight for two more hours?

Just think about how fast your ass falls asleep or starts to feel the littlest of uncomfortable when you’re sitting anywhere for any length of time.  And here you are on a plane, over the Atlantic Ocean?  How does one manage that?

That’s when I had the idea of listening to books.  I started seeing commercials for a new audio book service that could be downloaded to your phone and I thought that would be the perfect way to spend my time in the air, crossing the Atlantic Ocean…..have someone reading to me.

Unfortunately for me, my phone told me I didn’t have enough memory to hold the books.  Eventually, I had to buy another device and some cds of the books, download them to my computer and onto my device from there.  I know, a lot of work but I thought it would be worth it in the long run so that I could be distracted from the actual flying.

So, there, it was decided….I was going to England.  Now to decide on when to go was the next issue.  But because the date hadn’t yet been fixed and the ticket not purchased, I still had the idea in the back of my mind that I could, should I want to, could still back out of it if my fear of flying took over me.

And that is pretty much how it went for me over the course of more than a year.  That’s right.  It was well over a year, almost two from the time Jackie and I first started talking about me going until I actually flew to England.

In the meantime, I let my savings balance grow, periodically checked prices of tickets with different airlines and also looked for the flights with the least amount of stops.  The less upping and downing there was of the plane, the better I liked it.

Then Jackie and I had the dreaded for so long, (by me),  conversation about planning and picking the actual date and time that I would be making my trip to England.  There could be no more beating about the bush for me, humming and hahing, I had to commit, one way or the other, so I did.  I was indeed going to England. 

Jackie and I settled on a date and from then on, everything I did was to prepare for my trip to England.  I kept checking airlines and prices and when the price finally dropped below $1,000.00, I bought my ticket.  I knew that was the best deal I was ever going to get.

My trip to England was an awesome experience.  The flights were fine and I didn’t feel afraid and except for seeing that my suitcase zipper didn’t hold up when I saw it on the conveyer belt in England and an overnight stay in the bus station in Boston when I arrived back in the States, I wouldn’t have changed anything about my trip.

There was even a way to view those two things as positives as well.  As for my suitcase, I wrapped two of my bungie cords around it before I left home, anticipating that I might need them coming home if I bought stuff and needed to keep two cases together.  And in the bus station in Boston, I met another lady traveler who lived in Connecticut and had just arrived from South Africa where she had been visiting her son for about a month, we looked after one another for the night.

Never in a million years would I ever have expected that I would take a trip to England and I did.   It’s okay to feel afraid, but you can’t let your fear stop you from doing something that is otherwise a wonderful thing to do.

Thank you for reading.sam_0471 sam_0468 sam_0466 sam_0464 sam_0463

buckingham palace

buckingham palace


kensington palace

kensington palace

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kensington park

kensington park

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entering the underground

entering the underground

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canal boat we road on

canal boat we road on

the family church

the family church

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lady di's memorial

lady di’s memorial


althorp....lady di's family home

althorp….lady di’s family home

fresh from the atm

fresh from the atm

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the back garden

the back garden

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taking off from logan

taking off from logan

london sights

london sights

take off from Boston

take off from Boston


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