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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Choices Made Then...

Every single day we make choices. Sometimes we make really big ones which we may or may not have agonized over and sometimes we make instant choices with little thought. They can all change the outcome of our lives in some way. They can all create pain or pleasure in our future and we seldom have a clue, regardless of how well thought out the decision may have been, what the pain or pleasure might be.

We have always had pets in our home. When the kids were here, we had cats, dogs, rodents of varying types and fish. Always wanted pets in our lives and still do.

Our furbabies have kept our empty nest from ever feeling any less than full. They make us smile, give us someone to talk to when one of us is gone or busy. They make us laugh on days when absolutely nothing is funny, except them. Sadie turned 12 in May of this year and Jake turned 13 two weeks later. They are senior furbabies now and we see them not playing quite so much, Jake has aches and pains in his hind legs and sneezes in a weird way, Sadie has allergies and otherwise seems good. They both have cataracts and Jake doesn't hear much, but Sadie lets him know if he needs to be barking an alarm.

They see their doc once a year for geriatric check-ups and this year for heartworm tests. Both were negative for that. Sadie has developed a heart murmur and anemia. Jake's liver enzymes are very high. Doc isn't sure why or if we can correct this; he will have another test this week for more in depth testing. Sadie we will check again in 6 months, unless she develops symptoms, in which case we will be re-checking sooner. At this point, both are asymptomatic. While this is good news inside of a big box of not so good news, it's a slap in the face reminder that my babies are aging and I need to be prepared to accept that they will not outlive me, likely.

The decision to get another dog when our last little princess passed just a few months short of her 18th birthday, was never an option for me, but Roomy was a hard sell. That is until he saw Sadie sitting on the toe of his work boot, front feet on his shin and little black eyes looking right into his a full 6 foot away from hers. Then, well, it was all over. He was in love.

Jake was just as quick to fit into our lives a few months later. He was almost a year old when he came to us and by the second day, one would have thought they'd grown up together; he the older and she the younger, they fell right into a pattern of family. We all just fit together.

Over time, Jake has become a Momma's boy and Sadie is all about Roomy, she's a Daddy's girl all the way. They each love both of us, but clearly, given the choice, he chooses me and she chooses Roomy.
I do the bathing, the doctor visits, the pill giving, the human chew toy game Sadie enjoys now and then  and he plays fetch and feeds them. Wonder why she likes him best?  LOL  The real wonder is why Jake likes me! He is all about FOOD and that comes from Roomy.  But, I am the one who swims with him and swimming makes Jakie a very happy pup.

Looking now at facing the inevitable loss of our babies, not now, but not many years from now either, I still would make the same decision we made back then 12 years ago. The love in your life that comes from furbabies is unmatched by any other love. They love unconditionally and they give without expectation. They only want love, food and to be with their humans as much as possible. Unless they are our babies, then they also want treats and carrots. Lots of carrots, please. And they want doggie beds of their own for when they don't want to be on the human furniture. And they want to go bye-bye often, please. Every time the car moves would be best.

The decision to adopt these two has lead us to a ginormous amount of pleasure and ultimately it will break our hearts. The pain of losing either/or is unbearable. No question. Yet, it was a good decision because I truly believe it is always better to have known love and lose it than to never have known love. I know that no one would have given these two more love or better lives than we have. I know that when they are gone we will be devastated and we will again open our hearts to the ultimate heartbreak and adopt again. For me, a home without a pup isn't quite a home for me.

For now, I will keep a close eye on each of them and give them only the best of everything and, as per the doc, no salt and no table food. This does not make them happy, but it will help preserve their health. It is the new law and Roomy has stopped the table feeding, finally. And most importantly I will, as I have since day one, appreciate the privilege of being my furbabies mom. I will touch them as often as they want or need it and I will enjoy every moment of our time together. I will continue to love and be loved.

Like so many decisions in my own life, this one turned out to have a good deal more good than heartache, but the inevitable heartache will be massive. The bottom line, yes, worth it.


 Living in the and always. ~ Jo


Monday, August 26, 2013


Nope, never is not a word I say often. Since most anything can happen, saying never is often just a waste of air. Never is a long time.

Never is all the time we have left. There are things I can say "will never" about...

I will  never be young again.  But I will never be this young again, either.

I will never have another child. But I will never not have a child in my life because I will seek them out.

I will never not love someone or something. I need love.

I will never regret having become a mother which lead to becoming a grandmother.

I will never look back at my life with regret. It changes nothing and makes me sad. No benefit.

I will never intentionally abuse another soul. Ever.

I will never say never about anything in my future that could possibly happen. I have learned that things do happen which I would never have perceived.

Never has a purpose in our language, but for me, it's just a word that keeps me in line. Because I am trying to live the rest of my days without regret. I have only one giant regret in my 63, nearly 64 years and I don't intend to amass anymore. But the road of never is not one I dare to travel frivolously.

NEVER wonder if I care what you think, nor if it matters to anyone what's in your mind, know that it matters and that I care.  Leave a few words, if you'd like so that I never have to wonder what you won't ever do. 


Sunday, August 18, 2013


 My last post was all about my wonderful 3 days with autism. Yep, in a nutshell I wrote about the gifts I received from two boys I have loved from afar for a couple of years and finally got to physically connect with and laugh with and fill my heart to overflowing. I am framing a couple of the pictures for my office walls or shelves because now the moments are memories and I want to hold on to them always.

This posting will be NOT about the boys, so much. This three day visit also included some adult time with Amy McMunn Schindler, Hillary Dana-Rumi and Andrea Coventry along with Jennae Buiniski Moran and Ellie Bruczicki Bradley and very brief encounters with Roland Schindler, Julio and Fares Rumi.  Those guys just sorta passed through our time together, but deserve a little mention because they WERE there and I did get to meet them all. This trip was about the kids and the ladies.

Walking up to the front door of Amy's house, I felt no nerves, no trepidation. None. What I felt in that 50 foot walk was nothing but excitement and glee. I could see her standing in the kitchen as I approached the door. My heart sort of leaped a bit, she is real. She is as beautiful as the photos I've seen and she is smiling and coming to the door with open arms. I could hardly hug her enough. My Amy was hugging ME. It was awesome. I imagine I will see that 2 minutes again and again in my head as I think of this trip, which I shall do many times.

Rusty sat politely, tail wagging, up on his behind, front paws raised to give me kisses and a proper greeting if I would just kneel to his height. I did so because I never refuse puppy love and certainly not from such a handsome and polite little man-dog. I really LOVE Rusty.

We had a short visitation and tour and I met Will and then I met Trey and the respite worker Julio all while Amy was busily preparing snacks for the ladies and chatting with me while we passed our first hour or so in each other's company. Very easy. Very natural. Very much what I knew we would be together. She the age of my youngest child and me, well, older than Will had imagined and he did tell me this the next day.  Bless his heart.  LOL puppy love.
When Hillary and Andrea arrived for the wine and snacks, the hugging continued, the chatting, the getting to know each other, (like we didn't already) continued. We laughed, we sipped, we talked and when Roland got home to take over the boys, Hillary, Andi and I left for dinner and Amy went to talk with a mom who had a newly diagnosed child with autism. While we missed her at dinner, we so respected what she was doing, that we simply carried on. We shared a fabulous walk along the Erie Canal and dinner at a Greek restaurant in Pittsford. Oddly, they had some lovely wines and we each had a little with our dinner. The three of us seemed to me like old friends who hadn't gotten together in a long time. I was not the new kid, or the visiting relative, I was just another friend. So good. So pleasant and so relaxing.

Day two began at 6:00 a.m. for me. Now, let me remind or inform you, if you don't know me at all, I am NOT a morning person. Not ever up any earlier than I naturally wake up except for very important things whose times I cannot control or for people who are THAT dear to me. Okay, so they tell me the Public Market is a must on my visit and I love Public Market's so I'm all in. Then they inform me you must be there early or you miss all the good stuff and breakfast there is great. This is the dear friend part, I agree. I am to be at Amy's by 8 a.m.  Okay, I can do this. Amy suggests 8:30, I'm good with that. Turns out to be 9:00 is the better time, so by my arrival at her home, I am actually awake and nearly human with 3 large cups of coffee already consumed. 

The breakfast was really good and a lot of fun. No wine. A meal without wine is called breakfast, so we adhered to that.  Shopped the market, got some produce for the locals and I got some cool nail colors for a buck a bottle. BARGAIN.  Mostly I loved just walking around the market and seeing all the people, produce and enjoying Will's excitement, too.

The winery was next on our agenda. A local and beautiful winery that give tours and tastings! Breakfast is over so we're good to go with the winery tasting.  Long story short here, we tasted first and toured an hour or so later. Tasting was delightfully fun and really good wine, and resulted in some healthy purchases; tour was not good because we had a not friendly nor child loving guide and Will was totally into the process and Amy could not keep up with the crowd and got us yelled at more than once.  Tour guide needed some lessons in public relations, but somehow, we managed to giggle our way through and only embarrass Will a few times. Will the rule follower, us not so much.

The end of the tasting...note empty glasses and big smiles!

That evening we took Will and Hillary's older son, Joey with us to Ellie's house for a little after dinner get together. Dinner was at a Pub with really good food and excellent company. The boys behaved better than most adults present and we all left with full tummy's and smiles. The Pub also had wine. No pics here.  Hummmm.  Well.

The evening was so fun and Jennae joined us with her son which meant all the boys were outta there, for the most part. Except when Will decided to puke and then needed some cuddle time with me. WITH ME!  I loved that, he is just the sweetest thing.  And I didn't have clean-up duty as Jennae, Amy and Ellie went full speed into cleaning mode. And really how many women does it take to clean up a little barely digested dinner upchucked. I just had to cuddle with the oh so sorry and oh so adorable Will.  All good!

Between Andi's stories, Hillary's commentary and Jennae and Ellie and Amy's two cents worth all the general fun and silly conversation the evening passed in a flash! These ladies are the best company, seriously, drunk and funny!  Oh, I meant to say, beautiful and funny.  Stupid autocorrect! 

The last day of my visit was an adult lunch at the Owl House and featured a delicious if not oversized bloody mary. I shared. Food was great and the atmosphere was unique and quaint and I loved every minute of this gathering. I also got to sleep in on day 3.  :-)

We returned to Amy's home and sat around the living room while Hillary's little one, Jules, played with Trey's vacuums and other toys and along with enjoying him, we continued to talk and giggle and interact with Will occasionally and I sat in with Trey and his therapist for a few minutes and got to enter and pose with him in his vacuum room for a picture. Special treat for me, for sure. ♥  The whole afternoon was just relaxed and fun and made me realize what wonderful humans I had attached myself to in such a short real life time. Perhaps because we have all had many hours of online talking and joking and even sharing personal things, but the feeling was of old friends, not new ones. Very special. We may have also had a few adult beverages during our visit. At some point here, Fares Rumi came to collect his baby from us so that dinner could eventually be an adult affair. It was to be a spicy meal, so Will did not have any interest in joining us.

A quick stop at the mall so I could ride the beautiful carousel with Trey and we were off to dinner leaving Roland and Julio with the fellas two at the carousel and the other two in the Game Stop.

Our farewell dinner was Mexican and authentic and fabulous. The drinks here were large and delish. Except this is where Amy remembered that she doesn't like tequila, after ordering a giant fish bowl sized margarita. Andi ordered the same, but had no problem downing hers! Brava, Andi!  Hillary went for the normal size and I went with the white russian in a mug. Amy's was the only one left on the table when we made our way out.

Back to the hotel...hugs all around. BIG HUGS. BIG THANK YOUS. In my room a few big tears. I was missing them already.

My rehab began the moment I got into my car to head back to Michigan. New York was wonderful, fun and I hope to return before too long, but I must finish rehab first!  ♥

I suspect I will relapse on my next visit.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Power. I had it. I loved it. I want to tell you about it. I had the power to travel to meet some people I had loved for a couple of years now and I DID it. I took the opportunity and I DID it.
That's what power is and you can have it, if you reach out and take it!

This past Sunday evening I got into my brand new car with a small suitcase and a bag of gifts and headed toward Rochester, NY.  It's an 8 hour drive and with Roomy's encouragement, I got a jump on my trip.  You see, I wasn't expected on the other end until Monday evening. I simply couldn't wait.  I drove a little over 3 hours, got a room and jumped up Monday morning to complete my 5 hours.

I got to my hotel in Victor, NY early afternoon and called Amy Schindler to tell her that I was in town and heading over. It was about 6 miles to her house. 

 Before I could pass out even one gift, Rusty gave me a loving and warm greeting. He was my puppy love for the next 3 days.  What a good boy!

The girls! Hillary, Amy and Andi...oh, so happy to meet, hug and face-to-face with each and all! Love them.

 Gifts were passed out to Amy, Hillary and Andi...then to Will and Trey. And Will gave me my first gift, the long awaited meeting and holding Yin Ling, the gecko. She is so cute and Will loves her so much! I felt and still feel, so blessed to be allowed to share gecko adoration with Will.
 Trey asked to "blow green", though I had no clue what blow green meant, Amy assured him that I would love to blow green and I was surely willing! Turns out, blow green means blow up the green balloons and blow them up, with direction from Trey, is exactly what I did. He was so sweet to me and I loved this interaction which I had not even hoped for. I was in heaven by this time!  Second gift! HUGE!

Will serves me a lovely glass of wine.  Look at that face! This is day 2, we are friends now and have had several wonderful talks and played a couple of iPad games and loved on Yin Ling a few times.  Gift 3.

Grandma Jo is a happy woman.
 Later than evening we went to Ellie Bradley's house for a really nice chat session with wine and kids! Hillary's son, Joey and Will and another friend, Jennae's son, aka Duece, not using that name anymore, oops!  Ha ha ha ha
Anyway, this is Will cuddling with me after a little stomach upset from possibly eating a bit too much too fast and upchucking mid party. No problem. All was forgiven and he felt fine, but the cuddling was a fantastic gift to me. I love a good cuddle and he was so sweet and so sorry and so adorable and well, I love this guy. Period. 4.  HUGE.

Above*^^^^^*the famous vacuum room and Trey agreed to pose with me in that special room. The gifts just keep coming. I am now pinching myself. What a sweet and funny boy he is and how special I felt being allowed to blow green, pose in the vacuum room and play a game with him, sort of!  He ended the game quickly and Amy, Andi and I just had to laugh because clearly the game was over as he swept his hand over the table.  LOL  Gift 5.
The beloved Carousel. Although I was not permitted to share his seat, silly me for asking, I was directed to the highest of the three horses directly in front of him!  LOL
I share his love of carousels and I was happy to climb up on that horse in front of him and ride his beloved carousel.
The gifts just kept coming. Another GIFT 6!

There were many more unnumbered gifts...they seriously just kept coming.

I returned home after 3 days of fun, laughs, wine, food and most importantly the gifts of friends who know no limits when it comes to welcoming a visiting friend. I am so filled with this entire group of people and so in love with each and every one of them, that words are just not enough. Just not enough.

These boys touched me in a way I don't think I have ever been moved. They were not surface givers, they are all from the heart givers and I was the luckiest recipient ever!

I hope you smiled seeing these pictures. I may have shed a tear or two as I posted them. Will, calling to me from another room, "Grandma Jo, can you come here?"- Trey locking eyes with me momentarily and smiling at the green balloon-Amy's face as I walked into her home, smiling, hugging, giggling-Rusty sitting and giving me kisses and running to the door each time I came in. The baby Hillary shared with us so generously. Giggling and smiling and cuddling with a baby is good medicine. Andi's sense of humor and ability to keep up with Amy's alcohol cravings!
To each of you...cheers!  Thank you and a lifetime of love to each of you.  It was an incredible 3 days and I truly hope one day we can do it again.  It was magical. I am so blessed and so full of your gifts my heart may just pop!

You see, I have the POWER, the power of  LOVE.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Something has to change around here!

Ever said that? Ever done anything about it? Well, if you have then you already know it always starts with the first step. Little gets done by skipping the first step and trying to begin a new anything in the middle.

Want a new job? Then you start by researching available positions you might be qualified to perform. First step. Then you might narrow that list to jobs you'd like to have. You know, the ones you would enjoy going to rather than dreading another day at the office, whatever the office might be. If you just start sending out resumes without researching, you might well end up settling for employment rather than the right position. The First Step is important.

Planning an event? First step might be selecting a location and then securing the date. Venues have a tendency to mess up your perfectly selected date, so let that be your first step. It will save a lot of follow up calls if you start at the beginning.

Life is full of first steps, for certain.

Maybe a good one is to find a best friend before you fall in love. That would be a really good plan because best friends do make the best partners. Falling in love with your best friend often turns out to be the second best step you've ever taken.

So, what are some of your most important first steps? Were there any you skipped only to return and have to start all over?  Any that you skipped and never looked back?