Sjs59's Blog

one tiny voice among many

The Snow is Finally Here

storm of the century 001

Today we got 14″ of snow on top of the 8 or 9″ we got last week. This is the New England weather I’ve been most familiar with all my life.

At about noon today, the maintenance crew at the apartment complex where I live started to remove the snow from the sidewalks.  Right now there is twice as much snow as there was then.

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Also, I was just watching the plow clearing the snow from the parking lot that I can see from my dining room window.  I wonder, did it really make sense to that plow driver to pile the snow up right in front of the dumpster to the point of where it’s buried?

Now, thanks to him, the maintenance men have a lot more work ahead of them…..that is of course, when all of them, (3), get the time after they finish clearing all the snow on all the sidewalks throughout this 144 apartment complex, fronts and backs of buildings.

I can remember when I was a kid, my father had a system when it came to removing the snow or for doing anything……basically it was, use common sense.  

I know he would definitely think that the plow driver did not use common sense.

My father was something.  I don’t remember him ever, voluntarily, taking a day off from work because of the weather or being sick.  Come hell or high water, he went to work.

The only times I can remember him not going to work were the times he dislocated his shoulder, (he did that twice), and the time he broke his back helping to carry a refrigerator up the stairs and it slipped and fell on him.

I remember too when I was young,  my father coming home, sometimes around 7 p.m. after a long day at work that began before 5 a.m. and having to shovel out his parking space before he could park the car.

When my sisters and I got to be about 10, 11 and 12 years old, we would help him shovel out his parking space.  One thing he always told us, no matter what it was we were doing, “if you’re going to do something, do it right.  If you don’t, someone else has to come along behind you and do it over.”

Shoveling snow is hard, back breaking work especially if the snow is heavy and dense but I can remember loving being out in the dark with my father and my sisters, on William Sands Jr. Rd. helping him shovel just because we were out there with him.

Later on, as we got older, it wasn’t quite as much a treat anymore to be out shoveling out my father’s parking spot.  Most of the time, it was us doing it before he got home from work so he wouldn’t have to.  Not because we wanted to but because our Mom told us to and it was done as good as if my father had done it himself.

Not necessarily because we had to but because we wanted to.  We had learned from my father that in doing a good job, you acquire a sense of pride and accomplishment in yourself.

Things really have changed so much from when I was a kid. Nowadays many people no longer care whether they do a good job or not…..they just want to get it done.

The plow driver burying the dumpster in heaps of snow is a perfect example of the half-assed work I’m talking about and don’t even get me started on how well the sidewalks that I have to use to walk to work on are cleared….not enough time right now to go into that particular little pain in my ass.

Anyway, the snow is finally here.  There is lots of it and at least it’s much easier to walk on than all the ice that we were getting earlier in the season.  

Grateful for snow and not ice and thank you for reading.

So Where is all the Freakin’ Snow??????

This is New England for crying out loud….we are supposed to have snow, not this bleepin’  ice!!!!!  At least when they clear a path in the snow and it’s packed down, you can walk on it without slipping and falling on your ass and possibly breaking something.

I’m so mad because I just had to give up 5 hrs. of time and a half because I can’t get to work.  I can’t even walk down the sidewalk in the front of my apartment building.  It’s a thin sheet of ice, just enough to make it impossible to walk on.  My body is getting old and I’ve gotten very afraid of falling and hurting myself really bad.

Not to mention how I’m leaving everybody who is there at work, working hard, in a lurch….like my boss, who is the best boss I’ve had since I’ve worked for this company.  I feel like I’m letting her down terribly.

I know right now she is probably not too happy with me and that she has to deal with one more thing that seems to be the nature of and normal for our business these days but I know she will appreciate that she would have done the same thing if it were herself in my situation.

And wouldn’t you know that since I’ve ordered some cleats to walk on ice with, the weather couldn’t cooperate at least until they arrived within the next couple of days.  OF COURSE NOT!!!! 

Watch, once I get them, it’ll probably snow for the rest of the winter and I probably won’t even get to use them at all.

I know this would be a situation that is perfect for the use of the Serenity Prayer but since I’m not yet at a point where I can immediately turn to prayer……I NEED TO JUST RANT…….OKAY?  arrrrghhhh!!!!

Okay….now I feel better and I will just say “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference……thy will, not mine be done.”,  Amen.

Thank you for reading.



“Here’s what’cha can’t have Benny”……..Minnie Driver in the movie “Circle of Friends”

That is exactly how I feel sometimes……..the world is full of wonderful things, people and situations but it hasn’t been my lot that I am supposed to have them like everyone else.  

My life is such that I constantly struggle against the effects of not ever having a lot of positive, opportunistic things happening in my life like I see so many others having.

I used to be much more optimistic but it has become much more work for me to maintain the optimism.

Just one point right here that I’d like to stop and make though, is that contrary to what some might think, I am not looking to be pitied when I write what I write, I am merely expressing, with honesty, the feelings that I have and that I go through occasionally.  I know that “this to shall pass”.

Don’t get me wrong, I do know that my life is not supposed to be exactly the same as anyone else’s.  Everyone on this planet may have many similarities in their lives but they’re not supposed to be exactly the same……I know this.

I also know that most people have periods of time where things happening in their lives are not always positive……I know, that’s life……I get it!

I guess my point is that even though I know all this, I sometimes go through periods where I compare what I’m getting to what others are getting and in my eyes, it just always seems like I am getting less than what other’s are getting.

When this happens, after wallowing in self-pity for a time, (sometimes a lot, sometimes briefly), I have to start reminding myself of the things that I am grateful for having in my life instead of focusing on what I don’t have.

And for here, right now in this minute, I am grateful that my fingers are working and I am able to type this out.  

I am grateful that I woke up this morning,

that I can breathe,  

that my son Adam called and wished me a Merry Christmas,

that my legs and feet worked the way they were supposed to and I was able to walk my dog earlier,

that I had my beautiful daughter Katie in my life for 28 years,

and so it goes.

Gratitude is the mender for me…..thank God I can still think of things to be grateful for.

I know that others will still end up with different things, people and situations in their lives that I will not get but no one is getting anything that is supposed to be mine either.

Everyone gets what they need to get to help them to become the best human being that they can become…..this I know !

Thank you for reading and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Ah, so Where Do I Start?

This morning I was out walking my little dog Etta and again, we had the great misfortune of running into a know-it-all, not giving-a-damned about the rules and doing-what-they-want kind of dog owner who proceeds to tell me what is WRONG with my dog and how I can FIX her.

It really baffles the shit out of me how they, who allow their very large, wormerwiner, (is that how you say it, not sure?), anyway it’s a very large grey dog with pink colored eyes, to walk a good distance ahead of them with the dog leash dragging behind it aaannd, never picking up the large dump that the dog makes along the way.

For one thing, I already KNOW my dog is neurotic so shut up already.  That is why I walk her when there is little to no chance that we will encounter you in the morning or later on in early evening when I walk her again.

For another, she is a rescue dog and I know now that she was probably abandoned downtown by someone exactly like you who allowed her to do exactly as she wanted when she was a pup and when she got older you didn’t like it anymore and didn’t think it was quite so cute anymore.

Furthermore, if you think that in the last five or six years that I’ve had her I haven’t tried to retrain her to not do the things that she does that are so undesirable, you’re wrong.

Etta’s incessant whimpering, whining and getting over excited about almost everything is probably the direct result of not being taught anything about decent dog behavior.

The way Etta behaves, it’s as if she has two separate personalities, her indoor or “at home” personality and her outdoor personality.  

At home, except for her whiney ways, she does pretty much everything I tell her to do….for the most part, she listens!

On the other hand, when we are outdoors, she does not listen to anything I tell her.  It is a constant battle for me to try and get her to behave in a normal, calm, well behaved dog way that I could take anywhere.  I can not even take her past a certain point in my neighborhood without her whimpering and hyper-ventilating….it’s really so embarrassing sometimes.

 I have had choke collars, shock collars, brought a rolled up newspaper with me, a crunched plastic bottle to make noise to get her to pay attention to me, tried giving her praise or treats for behaving good and nothing I have done has changed her neurotic behavior.

And one more thing I should mention, is the fact that every time I try to teach Etta, or discipline her outdoors, I seem to run into another dog owner, whose dog, btw, is, of course, walking them, if you know what I mean?, telling me that they are going to call “Animal Protection” on me because I’m being abusive to my dog.

I meet people too along the way that think that Etta’s whimpering is cute and keep encouraging her to do it more when they say “oh, what’s the matter, it’s alright, etc., etc.” or something to that effect.  I’ve had the thought of putting a sign on  my dog stating to please ignore her whimpering because I am really sooooo, so tired of telling so many to ignore her.

I love my dog so much.   I just wish it wasn’t such a challenge to get her to behave in such a way that I could take her anywhere with me.  

It would be so great to be able to even just take her for a ride in the car without her freaking out and whimpering and crying all the way to, for instance the vet, and then all the time we are there in the waiting room and then all the way back home again.

In the summer I used to love going to the outdoor concerts and I would love to be able to have Etta come with me but I can not.   She’s such a great companion to me at home and it’s such a disappointment that I can’t take her anywhere with me.

I guess the reason I’m writing this is to ask people out there when you encounter dogs and dog owner’s along the way and you think the dog is behaving badly and the owner is not doing anything to try and control it, don’t interfere.

Ignore the dog, especially if it is making a lot of noise so you will notice it.  Keep walking….the dog does not need your attention unless the dog owner allows it and only when the dog behaves in a calm, quiet state, otherwise, you are a part of the problem, not the solution.

I do realize that I am the only one responsible for how Etta behaves and I won’t stop trying to get her to behave in a calm, quiet way when I take her outdoors but I would really appreciate it very much if everyone I run into while I’m out walking her, would just mind their own business and let me do what is necessary to try and teach her to behave better.  Thank you.


Letting Go

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they need to see that for some things you just need to let them go.  Things like situations that you try your darndest to rectify and nothing you do is ever enough.  Your efforts sometimes may even make the situation worse if you do not stop. 

I am at that point with a situation in my life.  I have to let it go because my self-worth is deteriorating as a result of my still trying.

The one thing about myself that I constantly have to work at is keeping my self-esteem in check.  

High self-esteem is not a natural occurrence for me….it is something I have had to build up over my lifetime and it is an ongoing effort to maintain.  If anything, it is a natural occurrence for me to want to tear myself down….especially if with all my efforts, situations do not change or get better.

Also, what does not help is that I have had plenty of people in my life who want to tear me down too.  It’s kind of like a “catch 22″, when you have low self-esteem your actions give it away.   Everything you do says who you are.  People who have less self-esteem are attracted to you because of it….the cycle just keeps going.

What is very true about me too, is that I am a stubborn person….very.  I really hate to quit or give up on something until I have exhausted every idea that I can think of and it still does not change the situation.

Some people seem to know right away to give up on a situation.  I do not.  I believe that we are given situations in our lives to teach us things about ourselves.  I just don’t know how much or how little I am supposed to do before I give up, or give in to it.  Perhaps for me that is the lesson here to be learned.

When I begin to feel like who I am as a person is compromised because of all that I am willing to do to get someone to see me as valuable and worth while in their lives is when I finally see that it is time for me to let go of the situation.

People are going to see what they want to see no matter what I do or how well I treat them.  Some people just do not have inside of them what it is I want for them to have.  They are not capable of giving me what it is that I want so I have to just rely on myself and do the thing that is best for me in the long run…….let go of the situation and believe that everything is going to turn out just the way it is supposed to.


Clutterer’s Anonymous?

I sometimes look around my apartment and wonder why I ever divorced.  Just think, if I still had that husband, I may not have all this clutter surrounding me.

Yes, he was a definite deterrent to all the clutter in my home.  Every time I turned around he was going behind me, cleaning up and throwing away everything that I thought I wanted to save.

One time he even threw away a greeting card that his Aunt had given us and it had money in it.  Believe me, he had no quams about digging through the trash that night after I told him what he had done.

But seriously though, clutter is a serious issue with me because I can never seem to decide what is worth keeping and what I should throw away.


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This is one example of what I’m talking about.  Both in the basket and the bag are papers that I am going to shred because it has my personal information on it.  The problem is, there is never a convenient time, when I have time that is, to shred it.  

Either it’s too late or too early to be running the shredder in the apartment building where I live.  I do not want to disturb the neighbors with all the noise.

Another example is my desk.  Believe it or not, for the most part, I do know what’s in this pile……it is stuff that I need to file away so that I can find it when I need it, said with a sheepish grin and red, embarrassment face.

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What’s funny, (not in a ha ha way), about being a clutterer is the fact that I seem to be oblivious to what I am doing sometimes until I notice one day that it is done.  At that point though, I become thoroughly disgusted with myself and get angry that I have let it get like this.  It’s very frustrating to say the least.

I know of no one who enjoys being a clutterer or who enjoys living like this. Personally, I like neat and orderly, I just don’t seem to know how to keep it that way.

I have discussed this with a few others who do this and who shall remain anonymous……we keep trying to find a legitimate reason for our cluttering.

Some seem to think it’s heredity and some think it’s learned but whatever the reason, it always makes one feel like crap about themselves and yet, we keep doing it.  I seem to keep cluttering no matter how many times I’ve vowed to just throw stuff away after I’ve looked at it but I can’t seem to stick to my decision.

This got me to thinking the other day that maybe like in AA, one has to first admit to having a problem before they can do anything to change it.  So consider this post my admission to being a clutterer. 

Now that I have taken the first step by admitting it, perhaps I will finally stop cluttering.  

Well, I guess one can always have the hope at least.


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.


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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.


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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.




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