Unapologetic American

"Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others." Ayn Rand

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Flooring in the 'Bury

Stayed in the southernmost house today to work on the flooring, and, if I don't say so myself, kicked butt. Got lots done (the hardest parts of the whole project actually, where all three rooms come together and meld into one...very...long...row....that all has to fit together. I won't say that there wasn't some blue language and frustration, but all in all, I'm pretty happy with my progress today.

Convinced Richard to take the night off from Smyrna also; he didn't sleep much last night and since I have all the power tools in my car (we won't leave anything in the house until we're living there since the robbery), he was kind of forced to take the night off, which is a good thing. A little reading and rest will do him good.

Tomorrow is shaping up to be a busy day; Smyrna in the a.m. for some insulation work, then pick up my father-in-law for his follow-up appointment at the doctor (I'm counting on all good news!). After that, I'll pick up Anthony at home and head to Milford; we start our next pre-puppy class tomorrow night at 6 p.m. We've got five new families taking classes to get pups; that will run for two hours, and then we'll have class right after at 8 p.m. Wednesday the bathtub refinisher guy is coming to schedule our master bath reglaze, then Mom and I will motor over to BJ's for a little retail therapy. Then I'll meet Richard in Smyrna for a few hours of work.

I'm praying this rain will end soon; it's starting to affect my mood. So gray and drizzly and cold! I actually contemplated putting the heat on today. But I resisted. This is why you need a gas fireplace...perfect for days like this.

On an interesting note, I took our truck to the dump today to get rid of garbage. We only have first and second gear in it now. I just shook my head. For now, we'll just use it for trash hauling. Very slow trips to the dump LOL.

Calling tomorrow to schedule the move of the Pod...finally feeling like this adventure will be ending at some point....getting excited about finally having Smyrna feeling like a home instead of a stick frame structure. But we're probably going to be staying there for a good while, and we want to make it a home for us. We may never leave it (we both HATE moving)...we've met a lot of the neighbors and we like them...so far, it's been a huge improvement over our neighborhood in Salisbury. Much less unfriendly...although the way it's been in Salisbury lately, everyone is just afraid to come out of their houses.

Going to try and get some sleep now, it's almost 1 a.m. and I need to be up early. Good night!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

October 2nd Already!

Time is going by so very fast and it makes me wish I required no sleep. Well, actually it's one o'clock in the morning, and I'm sitting here listening to Richard snore (yes, I'm jealous) and sleep is evading me. Thinking about all that there is to do in the upcoming weeks.

Today I finished removing all the old insulation from the new house, and am about 2/3rds of the way done replacing it. I've gone through about 5 cans of that Great Stuff, the insulation that comes in a can...love that stuff. I'm hitting every nook and cranny and hole and suspected hole...I told Richard that I was trying to make the house "tighter than a duck's behind"...I'm aspiring to an extremely low energy bill. We've replaced the heating system, are replacing the windows and I'm hanging new insulation. As far as I'm concerned, we shouldn't even have to turn on the heat or the a/c. The drywall guys will be coming on the 11th, which is perfect, as I'm leaving for New York on the 14th. After the drywall is done, the tub, sink and toilet can go into the bathroom, and as far as we're concerned, we can move in. Woo-hoo! (And, hopefully, by then the survey will have been done which will mean the town can issue our permit which will mean the fence will be installed!)

The dogs have been helping out as much as they can. As far as I can tell, Anthony is the supervisor. All the responsibility must be wearing him out. Mookie is our "nervous-Woody-Allen" dog, who constantly watches the neighborhood for any signs of neighbors.

Maggie and Roger moved in last weekend; yesterday is the day that we actually moved OUR stuff to the pod in the driveway (which will get picked up this week and moved to Smyrna); Richard and I are now in the guest room, and they have moved their stuff (and the cats) to the master bedroom. The dogs are thoroughly confused, poor things. They don't know which end is up, why we go on such long car trips to a house that has no rooms....why Mommy cries at the drop of a hat....then laughs hysterically, lol. (Not really, but maybe just a little bit.)

We've had two days of sun, and I've heard a nasty rumor that we're going to get rain again this week for FOUR WHOLE DAYS. I'm going to somehow have to get the Smyrna grass cut before the rain starts tomorrow, and leave a note for Mag and Rog to please mow the grass here. All summer no rain, and now we're getting two weeks' worth. Sigh.

Starting to coordinate our trip south for Christmas...it's looking like it's just going to be Richard, Anthony and I. Roger is going to have to work up until Christmas eve night; Max is not going to be able to take time from the new job. Very mixed emotions about all of this, but this trip is so important to my Mom and Dad. We've had one Christmas together in the last 12 years....and I miss them so very much. I know they love Florida, but I absolutely hate them being so far away. This year has been a rough one healthwise for my mom, and it's looking like my dad's crohn's disease is starting to flare again. 2011 just might be his year for surgery again. Sigh. If I could just be many places at one time, things would just be easier....

Fall evenings have finally arrived, and I get up every morning, joyfully shivering in the cold morning air....been waiting for this all summer. I actually put on a sweatshirt for a little while last week....

On a wonderful note, our Delmarva GEB region had our second graduate; Hawkeye graduated from the Heeling Autism Program on Thursday. His raisers, Sandy and Mike Calloway and their children attended, as did Barbara and Randy. Barb said that there weren't enough tissues in the whole kleenex factory for Sandy. What a wonderful/terrible day for them...but seeing Hawkeye with his new partner made it all worthwhile.

Anthony attended yet another community gathering at the Carlisle Fire Department in Milford; it was the beginning of Fire Prevention Week, and also the day before the big race in Dover. Patty and I accompanied Anthony, but nobody really paid any attention to us...only to the dog (which is the way we like it). We had lots of fun going through the fire house, and they had an actual Nascar driving simulator there, so we of course had to take a few spins around the track. All I'll say is that I'm keeping my day job.

It was a nice day with nice people....always good to meet people in the community.

We also got to go up to New Castle to Richard's office; Anthony was a perfect office dog. Unfortunately, no work was done when Richard took him on a tour of the plant.

It's been a hard couple of months for all of us; Richard looks so tired all the time, we're both a little on edge. But we knew going in that we'd go through this. We knew at the beginning that it was going to be hard to get this done, and it would be hard not to snipe at each other at times...but we're still a team; he's still my best friend and I'm his. We're starting to talk about the "after" time...when we can go back to sharing the crossword puzzle on Sunday, watching the football games together (right now we usually can catch the Sunday night game; we turn it on and promptly fall asleep about two minutes later). This will be a finished project, and we will be all the better for it. We're hoping for a two to three year time period before we will sell the Salisbury house, and then we'll have a nice house in Smyrna, no mortgage, no debt, (no worries?)...and maybe even a late model car for each of us.

The dogs, of course, will still have about 2.5 thousand toys.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Been forever since I've updated...and I've kind of been putting it off because it has been such a long time....kind of like going to confession when I was young. At some points, I'd think that I'd just be in there most of the day, so it was easier to not go.

However, my niece Katie has a blog, and she uses bullet points to say what she wants to say. I'm totally going to steal her idea; it doesn't seem so daunting that way.

  • I've got a bit of insomnia tonight, which is odd. I was so tired when I got home from Smyrna, I thought I'd be asleep within minutes. That was about four hours ago. Sigh.
  • We're moving along on the Smyrna house, albeit not as fast as we'd like. For about a week, it was kind of like peeling an onion. Take up one piece of wood, and we'd find that underneath it needed fixing. It just makes everything take that much longer.
  • We've had the truck for about 2 weeks now, and the other day it started making a noise I've never heard in a car before. With a sense of foreboding, I took it in to Daves. Continuing it's reputation, the truck now needs a new transmission for $2800. We're trying to decide whether or not it's stupid to keep throwing good money after bad. It's Murphy's Law, this being a time we REALLY need a truck. Oh well, we'll figure something out.
  • While I'm typing this, the Real Housewives of DC is on; these people are awful and making me mad just by being on the tv. I loved the housewives of Orange County, New Jersey and even Atlanta. These people are just....stupid.
  • Mr. Anthony is now 84 pounds; a very large boy. He's become a little bit sensitive lately; we were in Lowes in Dover yesterday, and they had an animated halloween witch on display. It scared him (it was motion activated) and he started to bark at it. So we're going to stop there again tomorrow, and each day that we go by. He's also being challenged by dog distraction....only a few months to go now, and I don't want to send him without addressing both of these things. Other than that, he's a big giant joy in my life who still makes me laugh today as much as he did when he was a puppy.
  • Richard is settling in with the new job, and this week he finally sounded like he was happy about it; up until now, he's been struggling with trying to catch up after the (TMI) move, learning to do everything a different way, and assimilate to being "upper management". We went and had lunch with him this week (Anthony and I) and Richard was pleased as punch.
  • Everybody has new jobs (except me, LOL) and I'll fill you in on them next time. It's all so good. Lots to tell, but I'm getting sleepy and I'm going to take advantage of it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No Apologies

You would think that with everything that has been going on in our lives, I'd have a lot to talk about. I truly do. But finding the time/energy/thought processes to do it is something else entirely. Tonight, I skipped baby puppy class to just ingest meds and chill out with the three dogs. Been alone since around 3 p.m. after Mrs. Maggie Roof stopped by to get our suitcases to use for their honeymoon cruise. She and I talked about the "letdown" that both of us are feeling after the wedding. There's lots for me to do around here, but I'm truly missing the wedding planning. :) It was a beautiful wedding, a beautiful party; it was just over so truly fast.

First and foremost, I'll talk about what didn't happen that day...my parents were not there. They called on eight days before, and said they couldn't come; my mom, who has been having constant pain, is scheduled for hip replacement surgery in mid-June. We all figured she'd medicate herself and come here and then go back home for surgery. Unfortunately, her body had other ideas.

They tried every way possible to get here. She can't fly on a plane. She can't sit in the car for all those hours from Florida to Maryland. She's tried every drug; they all made her loopy, but none took away the pain. Her heart hurt, our hearts hurt. She was trying to convey to me that if there was any way possible, she would be there. This wasn't something she had to explain. This is her only granddaughter, and if she could have been there, she would have been there. I immediately went into "joke" mode, to try and make her laugh, make her feel better. Didn't work. We both cried. Over the next few days, I tried to talk with them every day, to let them know what was going on, what we were doing. I wanted to include them, all the while wondering if I was making it worse by telling them everything. Sigh. It was ultimately a no win situation. We forged on; I tried calling every day, even if it was just for a minute.

I immediately regretted my decision to not hire a videographer. When I told Barbara what had happened, she immediately offered her and Randy's services to tape everything for us; she said that they had done it a bunch of times for family and friends. I was torn. These were my guests, and now I'm asking them to work? But I said yes anyway, in spite of my hesitation. I'm glad I did. These are two wonderful wonderful friends.

The wedding went off almost without a hitch. Richard, Roger and I got to the Civic Center early to set up the tables with table numbers, candles, etc. We found that instead of 19 tables of 6, 7 or 8, there were 20 tables of 6. Eeeeeeek. I had a mini-panic (because I didn't have COMPLETE CONTROL over the seating arrangement and couldn't micro-manage it to death). But in reality, the problem was fixed in about 30 minutes. I then rushed to the hair salon to get my hair done...I give it about a 75 out of 100. I would have liked it less pouffy, and probably should have had more hairspray (the wind tousled it immediately). Ah well, hindsight is always 20/20. RUSHED home from there, stopping to get Leah some nail polish remover, and ran upstairs to get dressed. It was starting to get hot, which I knew was going to wreck my hair (what a shock...and which is why I wished it was a winter wedding lol). Limo arrived early....it was actually a bus with a disco ceiling. The limo had broken down and they sent this instead, which was absolutely fine.

Got to the church and found the bridal party, who immediately offered me a Smirnoff Ice. Tempting, but I hadn't eaten a thing all day, and I didn't think it would be wise to imbibe. Headed back to the front of the church, and started seeing everyone. I was so emotional....so many people came from so very far away. Tears. Stop. Tears. Stop. Tears. Stop. Thank goodness I had grabbed one of Richard's hankies from the drawer before we left the house. It was awesome...I stood there and greeted people and listened to them tell me how beautiful I looked. I'm actually thinking of putting the dress back on next Sunday and standing at the back of the church. I liked the compliments. :)

Kevin walked me down the aisle to my seat; at that point, Martha and I stood to go up to the alter to light the candles that would be used later to light the unity candle. She was nervous, and we clasped hands and walked that LONG walk up to the top of the alter (it wasn't really long, just seemed that way in heels). We lit the candles, and turned and walked back towards our seats.

Now this part we had planned beforehand, but didnt' tell anybody. When we got back to our pews, we faced the front of the church, then turned towards each other, and high fived.

It got a laugh. (Oh, I live for the laugh, don't I?) I think it calmed her down a bit, and we both grinned from ear to ear.

The bridal party came in, all looking so handsome and beautiful. I actually was thinking "this is really happening". The flowers, red roses and white tulips, were in beautiful contrast to the bridesmaid's black dresses. The ushers had red rose boutonnieres to match.

Then Richard and Maggie appeared at the back of the church. Pachabel's Canon in D started to play (Maggie didn't want the bridal march). I saw her and her father, and immediately started crying. I choked it down, looked at Martha, and she started crying. We kind of did this back and forth crying thing; I'd get under control, and she'd start; she'd get under control, and I'd start.

Maggie looked so so beautiful. So, so happy. Richard's eyes were shining. Maggie was beaming.

The ceremony was over so quickly. I just wanted to sit there all day and watch these two people declare their love to each other and to God and to all of us for the rest of the day....I didn't want it to end. But it did. They marched back down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs. Roger Roof. Our hearts wanted to burst with happiness.

It was a beautiful beautiful wedding.

Tomorrow, I'll write about the reception. :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Oh Blogger, How I've Missed Thee

I know that it's still February, and it's winter. But it's just so cold! I'm tired of the snow. I want it to be warmer (but not hot)...I want I want I want. Sorry, just had to get that out of my system.

Much happening in our lives; Biggest news? Richard has accepted a promotion with Testing Machines; he's going from blue collar to white collar, which means that his travelling will be greatly reduced. He's going to have an office that he'll have to report to every day, and a title, and minions and the like. He's also going to have to relocate. Me too. We're moving!

This was all part of the plan for the future, just not the immediate future. TMI will be opening its' doors in New Castle, DE in April, 2010. Richard's contract that he's signed stipulates that he must live within one hour of New Castle. Whoa!!! Timing is everything, right? So maybe I shouldn't wish for spring so soon. We have Maggie's wedding, and now we have a move to plan; we have a house to sell, we have a house to buy. I guess that's why I've been waking up at night in sheer panic...how are we going to get this all done?

We started looking at property, and at house plans. Diane sent me a plan that we both fell in love with; it's very open, it's on one floor, and it's perfect (except for some minor adjustments for the Christmas Tree closet). We looked for land in Milford, Harrington, Dover, Farmington....there's plenty of land available.

But wait. We've got to sell this house first. Uh oh, it's time to finish all those projects! It's time to get rid of all our crap! It's time to pull our hair out!

It's a bad time to give up cursing for Lent. :)

There's a foreclosure house in Debbie and Christian's neighborhood, and while looking for property, I happened across it...and it's way out of our price range. But it led me down another path...why don't we wait to build? Why don't we get something small, and very cheap, and live there for a few years until the market picks up? We can rent this house to the kids, buy a foreclosure house for as little as possible, live beneath our means for a few years, sell this house when we can get our price, and then use that money to build our new house, sell the little house, and move in with (hopefully) no mortgage and no debt (or as little as possible). I've been listening to Dave Ramsey in the afternoons, and reading his books; he says "if you live like no one else, you can live like no one else". He advocates no credit, cash only, eat rice and beans (figuratively) to save money, drive an old car, and sleep easy at night. Our foreclosure house plan fits right into that scenario.

We're actually hoping to see one of the houses listed this weekend. It's in Hartly, DE, way out in the boonies. It's going to go to auction at a minimum $68,000 bid; we drove by, and it's a little manufactured home, with a big boat, and a big camper in the front of it (no wonder they couldn't pay their mortgage) and a HUGE satellite dish in the front, which made us laugh. Detached three-car garage, one acre of property. Needs lots of love.

I'm so excited at the prospect of all this. It's about a 180 degree turn from how it's been recently...always acquiring stuff, things, spending on this and that. Richard and I have lamented about how we miss the simpler way of life; how it was when we were younger. I think we're both ready for this change. Scared to death, but ready :).

Thursday, January 14, 2010


The sun shone today and provided central Florida with warmth; most of the "ghosts" were gone today. After a cool start, we hit the high 60's, almost 70 degrees. It was divine. I'm really starting to think that I did bring them this cold snap...it's leaving almost at the same time I do.

Took Dad to the hospital early; Mom had a doctor's appointment early afternoon. We had a quiet day, doing house stuff, trying to accomplish everything we wanted to accomplish at the beginning of this visit. Walked the dogs. Had lunch. Mom went out to the backyard and surveyed the frost damage. I took that opportunity to take my camera, and get some nice photos of Augie; spent some time doing puppy massage on him. He ate it up, laying in his yard, his mom there, all the mulch he could munch on (and nobody saying no), and his "sister" there giving him a massage. It was a good and peaceful time with him.

Mom's doctor visit went well; he checked her Coumadin level, and it looked very good. I loved this doctor, who I had the opportunity to meet while she was in the hospital. This is my parents' GP, the "good" Dr. Reynolds, as one of the surgeons referred to him. He is a doctor who will not schedule more patients than he can see in a day; he actually spends time with each patient. He seems to have very old-fashioned values that you don't see in the medical field too much these days....almost worth moving south to find such an unusual M.D. :)

Picked up Dad then and went back home. Dad put Augie in the back of the car, and I took my bag of very stinky, very tasty dog treats and as many tissues I could stuff in my purse.

Dad couldn't come into the room. He looked so torn as we went in. We had a few minutes with Augie, and then the doctor and two of the vet techs came in. It was a five tissue farewell; it was also such a blessing to see all of these people feeling as we did. They were all crying right along with us. We were all down on the floor, and it happened so very peacefully. He truly just went to sleep, with his head in my mom's hands. She was the last person he saw, and he went over the bridge surrounded by people that loved him. Watching all that happened today, I felt sure of what I said to Mom and Dad, that it had been his time. As sad as we all were, when we finally left the room, I saw my dad hug my mom so tight. He took her hand, and then he took my hand, and we walked out together.

Getting back to the house, we all appeared to have been run over by some kind of truck...even Cassie. She was unusually quiet. We ordered a pizza, and surprisingly, ate it all up. We then sat together, looked for funny things on television (settled on two old Seinfelds) and all went to bed early. I've finished packing, and can just enjoy a bowl of cereal and coffee before it's time to leave for the (1) doctor and (2) airport.

It's been a long ten days; not the trip we had all planned (the plan? two hours in the surgery center and home); but I'm so thankful that I was here for everything. Dad said before "oh no, we're going to have to cook and clean ourselves". Ha! I baked more than I cooked (not that there's anything wrong with that), and my cleaning skills are less than stellar. But I'm ready to get home to my house, my family and my pups. I'm ready to get back to my life; it's been suspended since the middle of December with Maggie's graduation coinciding with Mom and Dad's visit and going straight through until now. Been a great break.

It's a new year, with new things happening. A wedding :). Max starts training for the fire department on the 28th. Richard's company will be moving to Delaware perhaps by the middle of spring. We have a new class starting pre-puppy classes, four pups are ready to head back to New York, and Mr. Anthony is going for his jacket in the next few weeks.

Godspeed, Augie Doggie.

Onward and upward, people.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hard Decisions

When my dad picked me up at the airport last Tuesday, we had a good hour to talk on the way home. We talked about lots of things, the upcoming surgery, the past "house flood", the new carpets, new toilets, new ceiling in the garage.

Also Augie. He asked me to just look, and to tell them what I thought about how Augie was doing. I guess to have an "outsiders" look at him. I think that our hearts and minds can be clouded by love, especially when it comes to our animals. I told him that I would, and I would keep my own feelings out of it (good luck, right?)

I spent all Thursday and Friday with Augie, as Mom and Dad were at the hospital all day, both days. All the rest of the days, I walked him, I let him out and in, I took him to the woods for short walks in the afternoons. He had bad days, and better days; but honestly, he had no good days. Poor Augie doesn't live anymore. He sleeps, he eats. He goes outside, and has a terrible time going back up the stairs. I told my mom what I thought yesterday, and she said that she'd call the vet next week and go in a speak with her; ask her if she thought it was time to say good-bye.

This morning, she had to call the vet to get more painkillers for him...I listened to her speaking to these wonderful people at the vet, and all of a sudden she was saying that she thought it was time, she wanted to bring him in. She broke down on the phone, and my mom doesn't ever do that. She's private, and kept apologizing for crying. All of this made me start crying (you all know I have NO problem with tears in public, and am very demonstrative of such)...Augie's been around for so very long, 13 years.

I told Mom and Dad that I wanted them to do it while I was here; they have always been there for me, and I'd like to be there for them this time. My dad didn't understand at first, and kind of second-guessed doing this, but after a few minutes, realized that it was the right thing to do. I remember that feeling when it got to be the time to take Roxy for that final vet appointment; it was a panic-filled feeling, thinking that there had to be something else we could do instead of this.

My eyes are filling as I'm even thinking about doing this tomorrow. We all know it's the right thing at the right time. But it's just so damned hard.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Beautiful Day in Florida...almost 56 degrees today!

It actually was a really beautiful day, sunny, crisp and a bit chilly. Nothing wrong with that.

Mom is coming along slowly; she's walking more than I thought she would at this point, which is great. She's leaning more on tylenol than the pain medication, and really is only taking the tylenol at night. Dad and I took down all the Christmas decorations outside, and got all the blanket "ghosts" off the plants.

Mom and Dad head off to bed around 8, so I'm sitting here watching The Office, and laughing all by myself. I love this show.

It's been a rather slow day around here, so I had to keep myself occupied. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

From Balmy Florida....24 degrees and falling....

Oh my. It's so cold :) I actually feel for these poor people down here, so unused to the cold weather. Their bodies are acclimated to much more temperate weather. I actually saw snow flurries last night. If you are here on vacation, you picked a very bad week. On the way back from the airport, we saw someone water skiing; I figured it was a vacationer who was determined to get a little water skiing in....in a wetsuit.

Mr. Murphy has followed me here...and brought his law with him. Wednesday morning, my mom shakes me awake around 6:30 a.m. She had been bitten by a tick the previous week, and woke up to find a red ring around the bite mark. She had remembered that Max had had the same thing happen to him, and wanted to know if it looked the same to me. It did, albeit much smaller than Max's....much earlier noticed, I think. We all had the same thought at the same time. "Is this going to screw up the surgery?" I voiced my opinion that I didn't think that it would affect it; inwardly, I wasn't so sure. Off they went to the "doc in the box".

They returned a few hours later, with a prescription for penicillin, and a green light on the surgery.

Thursday comes, and off they go, first thing in the morning. Hours passed; around 9 a.m. Cassie and I set out on a long walk. We walked all the way to town, and down to Lake Dora. It was kind of nice; downtown was deserted (too cold for anyone to be walking the streets), and it was pretty much me, Cassie, the loons and an egret that was perched on the trunk of someone's car. We walked for awhile, and got back at 11:30 a.m. Spoke to my dad, and the surgery on my mom's ankle and knee had been a success; however, after the surgery, her heart went into atrial fibrillation. They took her from the surgery center over to the emergency room at the hospital, hooked her up to monitors, and said that they might keep her overnight for observation. They put her on coumadin, and started watching her. Unfortunately, it's a pretty small hospital, and they were filled...no beds. She and my dad were in the emergency room until almost 11 pm. STRESSFUL, to say the least. But she finally got a room. At this point, everyone is just concentrating on her heart...she was in a bit of pain in her ankle, but not too bad, she said.

Saturday morning, I went with my dad to the hospital early, and got to meet the osteo surgeon, and then her regular doctor, who informed us that my mom would be coming home that day. Hooray! It was 11:15 a.m. when we got the news. Figured it would take awhile to get out of there. "Awhile" is not quite the word. The hospital is small, and being Saturday, had a skeleton staff. We actually wheeled her out of there at 4:45 p.m. It was a long day for all, but the result was worth the wait. :) Bonus...the Jets won their playoff game last night. Yes!

Today was routine; some housework (vacuuming, laundry, dusting), taking care of the patient with my dad, headed into town to see what's new in Mt. Dora (I could have spent more time down there, but may head back before I go home), walking the dogs in the woods, and then back to lay on my mom's bed with her, and watch movies (We Were Soldiers and Gladiator), with my dad keeping us apprised of the score on the game.

Tomorrow we schedule doctor visits for the surgeon, the cardiologist and the regular doctor.

I miss home; the hubby and the kids. Two days away is kind of like running away to vacation, not being responsible for anything that you usually do at home. When day three came, I was really missing Maryland. Today Richard told me that it was kind of boring around there without me. I really did think that he was going to enjoy the peace and quiet....maybe he just misses Anthony.

Speaking of Anthony, he doesn't really miss us at all. Debbie is watching him, and she sent this picture today. Looks like Ink has replaced us in Anthonys heart... :) Miss that little guy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Christmas I'll Never Forget

I think that lots of people were expecting this Christmas to be a different type of Christmas than they were used to. The economy, especially, was the number one reason. People are cutting back, they just cannot afford to go overboard (and compete with themselves on the number of gifts they gave last year vs. this year). I include this family in that group. Christmas gifts have come all year, in the form of car insurance being paid, cell phone bills being paid, supporting at least three or four full-time employees at Peninsula Auto through our wonderful, person, cash-for-clunkers (that we are still having repaired at regular intervals). If this goes on, Peninsula may be able to afford to open a second location.

Then Tuesday night, five days ago, everything changed. An 11 year old girl, Sarah Foxwell, went missing. An amber alert was issued, there was already a suspect in custody. It was cold and it was dark. It was three days before Christmas. She was wearing a tee shirt and red pajama pants with Christmas trees on them. The fact that her pj's had Christmas trees on them made it even more poignant for me. This was a girl who was thinking about Friday; I remember being 11, and as Christmas approached, I was hard pressed to think of anything else.

Tuesday night turned to Wednesday night. Wednesday night turned to Thursday. Searches all over the county. Rumors were spread, and then discounted. Professionals came from all over to help with the search; the community wanted to help, but Sheriff Lewis asked that we wait, and let the pros do it.

And still it was just so cold at night. I couldn't get the image of the tee shirt and the red pajama pants with the Christmas trees out of my mind.

I spent Thursday getting ready for Friday. Last minute gifts, cooking as much as I could cook to bring dinner over and celebrate with Mom and Dad Demers, and Celine, Steve and Leah, who were coming from New York. Thursday night we went out for a family dinner, all of us that could (missing both Maggie, who was about three blocks away from the restaurant, working, and Katie, who was actually working at the restaurant we ate at). We left the restaurant; Sheriff Lewis gave a press conference. He was calling for volunteers to help search. Whoever could, please show up at Shorebirds Statium at 7 a.m. the next morning, Christmas morning.

I talked about it with Richard and Max; we all wanted to go and help. I spoke with Maggie and Roger, they wanted to come. We all thought that it would be a small number that could turn out; we wanted to do something. I made an executive decision that Richard should stay home; he had taken Anthony for a short walk in the cold, and it really really bothered his hand. We weren't sure what conditions we would be walking in, we weren't sure how long it would take. I know it bothered him to be left behind to "man the house"; it bothered me to leave him alone on Christmas morning, to wake up to an empty house.

We left at 6:40 a.m., stopping to pick up a friend of Max's on the way. I was impressed, because I don't know that I would have done that at 18 years old.

As we came upon Shorebirds Stadium, I felt my chest tighten and the hairs stood up on my arms. There were so many cars there already...so very many people had come to search. We parked the car, and got on line. Maggie and Roger arrived and joined us; as we waited to sign in, we passed boxes and boxes of food, cases of water and soda, the Station 7 restaurant's mobile unit serving hot food to the searchers. So many members of law enforcement, almost all of them looking tired, none of them sitting down. We signed in, and went inside the stadium. Lots of people were there. Sleepy people. Anxious people. Black people and white people. Old people and young people. More men than women, and quite a few young people. Nervous laughter, quiet conversations. We heard from the sheriffs, the troopers and the county attorney. We were going to separate into groups of 10 or so, and would be given our areas to search. Seems simple, right.

The logistics of arranging such a large search with professionals must be daunting. Doing it with all those professionals, and then adding in 3000 untrained volunteers must have seemed an almost impossible task. But it got done in about 2 hours. We stood as patiently as we could and waited; everyone was just so anxious to just do something.

Finally we got our assignment. We were going to search Perdue, the headquarters and the processing plant off of Old Ocean City Road. We loaded into cars and drove over there. It was the four of us, plus about 25 other people. We split up; our group searched the fence line, the woods next to the plant, the railroad tracks. We were told not to touch anything that we found; we were to look for anything that looked like it didn't belong, anything that was out of place. We came upon a drainage ditch that was frozen almost completely over. We stopped and looked at it, and were trying to find the reason for the non-frozen part. There was a steel plate covering an access to the ditch, and I went and lifted it; all the while I'm thinking in my head "my god what if she is under here I don't want to see this". But she wasn't. She wasn't in the dumpsters, or in the brambles. She wasn't on the side of the bypass. We walked and walked, and I was so scared that I would find her or I would miss something that would lead to her. We walked through snow, and mud, and water. We just kept walking and looking; poking and peering. We found nothing. Between the two groups, we searched the whole property. We made it back to the cars and were told that searches were called off for the day. We were to report back to the stadium and check in, and then we could leave.

We got home around 1:30 I think. Went into ninja cooking mode, mashing potatos with one hand, frosting a cake with the other one. All of us just wanted to sleep; we were tired, but I think we just wanted to escape what we had done that morning. The last thing we wanted to do was go anywhere...but it was just what we needed. We brought dinner over, we had shrimp and stuffed mushrooms. Ham and potatoes. Cake and pie and more pie. And wine. A few extra glasses of red wine.

They found her around 4 pm. Max got a text message saying that they had found her. I told him not to believe it until it's confirmed....which it was a few minutes later. It was the ending I expected, but one that I hoped would not come. Someone said that she was found in an abandoned chickenhouse. That was oddly comforting news to me; I thought again of the cold, the rain and the dampness.

Lots has been said about her family; this is not the time for judgment. This is the time for taking care of our child, and taking care of all of our other children. Use your anger and frustration to let your elected officials know what happened here in Salisbury, and let them know that things must be changed so this will never happen again.

I talked with God a lot yesterday morning, as we walked through forest, and briers and mud, through riverbanks,and along the bypass, and everywhere else we could see. He was there with us yesterday. For me, Christmas suddenly stopped being about things; Christmas was the people who came out to look for the little lost girl.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

HOORAY for Baggy Pants

NEW YORK (Dec. 18) -- A career criminal massacred three members of a family in their apartment but fell to his death when he tripped over his own baggy pants.

David Karp, AP
Workers from the medical examiner's office carry the body of a murder suspect who fell to his death from an apartment building fire escape.

Police said Hector Quinones, 44, shot and killed Carlos Rodriguez Sr., 52, and his 24-year-old son, Carlos Rodriguez Jr., then stabbed to death the younger Rodriguez's grandfather, Fernando Gonzalez, 87, according to reports in the Daily News and the New York Post.

The elder Rodriguez's wife, Gisela Rodriguez, 49, and her daughter, Leyanis, 28, walked in on the carnage. Quinones heard keys in the lock and opened the door for the women, police said.

He shot the mother, who was grazed on the head by a bullet but managed to run from the apartment. The killer was just about the grab the daughter when his low-slung pants fell down and he tripped, the Post said. That gave the young woman the chance to run into a back room, where she found the bodies of her brother and father.

Quinones yanked up his pants and scrambled after Leyanis Rodriguez, who climbed onto a fire escape, screaming for help to construction workers on the roof of a nearby building, the Post said. The attacker followed her onto the fire escape, but once again his drooping pants fell and he tripped, plunging three stories to his death.

Estella Carrino, who manages a street-level bicycle store in the building, said she heard the body hit the ground.

"He had no jacket on and his pants were down. He was very dead," she told the Daily News.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Finky Inky Got the Job

Rockland County Police Department has hired Miss Finky Inky.

She'll be a star at her new job; I'm still digesting it.


Aunt Eleanor's 70th Birthday Party

This weekend Richard and I, Richard's dad Ronnie and Diane all piled into the car, and made the trip to Patterson, NY to Anthony and Kelly's home for a surprise birthday party for Ronnie's sister, Eleanor.

What a wonderful party! So good to see family, to hear stories, to laugh, enjoy good food and good wine.

The best gift? What it was all about? Eleanor's reaction to her brother coming all that way for her birthday. It was priceless. We all cried.

Friday, November 20, 2009

November 20, 2009

I walked a mile with Pleasure.
She chattered all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me.

-Robert Browning Hamilton, "Along the Road"

Today we went to Bethany Beach, DE, to St. Ann's Church, to attend the memorial service of Lisa Cavalluzzo. Lisa was 45 years old, and she lived in Delray Beach, Florida.

I pray she finds now what she had been searching for all her life; I pray her parents, her brother and sister, her family, will be comforted. I pray that we learn from our sorrow.

There was a time in my life that I walked the same roads that Lisa did; I found my way back. I wish that she could have done the same. There but for the grace of God go I. When I found out the terrible news, I called my Mom. I wanted to talk to her, to tell her I was so sorry for the awful decisions I had made in my life at one time. I was sorry for putting them through so much pain and anguish. I was sorry for choosing the easy road, the road that didn't involve personal responsibility. I read the mass card that was given out; on the back was the Serenity Prayer. How many times had I read that? I thought of Lisa, and wished that she could have lived it.

How do you find the right words to say...they don't come. I saw my family, my parents there in Lisa's family today. I saw the sadness enveloping the family. There but for the grace of God go I.

Sometimes we're so busy living day to day that we forget what is important in this short life that we have. Tomorrow is never promised. Live today as if it is indeed your last one. Don't hold grudges. Tell your parents you love them. Tell your children you love them. Kiss your dog on the lips (ok, I know I'm pushing it here).

Lisa, I hope that you rest in peace; Mr. & Mrs. Cavalluzzo, Joe and Regina, my prayers are with you always. I hope that you can all find comfort in the love from your family and friends.

Ink Update

Today should be Ink's last "interview" with the police department that is interested in her. She might be released as early as today. (Can you tell that I'm gunning for her to fail this police test?)

How convenient that we'll be up in Paterson NY tomorrow....a mere 30 minutes away from the kennels.


(Psst. Inky. Today's the day where you want to be a crazy, running around, not listening, stupid, jackass dog. Don't listen to anything anybody tells you. When they tell you to heel, you need to jump on people. Use your nails. When they tell you to down, run away as fast as you can. Bark loudly at people. Scoot your butt along the floor -- that's a good one. )

New Bumper Sticker

Saw a bumper sticker on a car in front of me the other day. It read:
"Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8".

When I got home, I looked it up (thank goodness for Google). Seems this saying has become popular according to Google stats!

Psalm 109:8
"Let his days be few; and let another take office."

I'd like one of those stickers!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Little Maggie...Not So Little Anymore

I wanted to share my newest pictures of little Magnolia Leigh. Poor child. How awful of me to make her put on wigs and then take pictures. She's going to hate me when she brings a boyfriend home, and her Mom and Dad take out these pictures.

For the record, I had the complete cooperation of her mother.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Time Marching on at an alarming rate....

So much has happened since I've been regularly posting; life moves on while we're busy making other plans.

As of right now...Richard and I had a nice three-day weekend in Florida. Flew into south Florida, where Richard had a small job, and then drove up about three hours to Mount Dora. We got off the plane in Ft. Lauderdale, and walked over to Hertz; they have the car sitting there with the trunk open. I had asked what kind of car we were getting, and was expecting a mid-sized something. We put the bags in the trunk and closed it, and then I saw the Mercedes symbol. I said "holy crap Richard, it's a mercedes!" We were tickled. Very nice car; drove nicely, cool stuff inside. My dad was appropriately impressed; Richard told him that we knew we'd be driving them to dinner that night, and couldn't show up in just any car. :)

We of course, had to take some pictures with it before we took it back.

We got to see Augie, and I was very sad when we left, and shed some tears; it's probably the last time I'll get to see him.

He's old, and he's struggling a bit. That's going to be a terrible day in my parents house. They love that boy so very much. I just hope they both have the strength to do the right thing for Augie when the time comes. This poor sweet boy.

Mr. Anthony comes home tomorrow from Debbie and Christian's house; Debbie told me she's in love, but she's tired! Anthony viewed little Maggie as "his size", so she was fair game; he wanted to play with her like he plays with his brother, and those little puppy teeth are like pins. So restrictions had to be imposed upon the visiting little black puppy...but all in all, Debbie was thrilled with him, and I got lots of positive feedback from her. She's coming to Salisbury tomorrow to drop him off, and I cannot wait to see him.

Spent today looking for the "perfect" gift for Aunt Eleanor's 70th birthday. Finally found a nice frame after about six hours of shopping. Saw Santa in the mall, and asked him why he was there so early. He didn't have a good excuse, just like the stores not having a good excuse as to why the Christmas decorations are put out in the stores before halloween is over!

Participated in a Guiding Eyes conference call this evening from 7:30 until 8:30 pm; looking for new ways to recruit raisers. I think that the economy has hurt GEB (as well as every other charitable organization, probably). Our region is the only one that consistently has new raisers...whatever we're doing, we're doing right.

Trying to get the other raisers to get their pups out and volunteer for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign. Be a good way to get the organization noticed, and very good practice for the pups.

I'm typing this with one eye closed, so I'm ready for bed. Tired tired tired. That damned air they pump into the malls. It'll get you every time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just fed Ink the last dinner I'm going to feed her. That made me incredibly sad.
Gonna miss her.

But, on the other hand, I can't wait to see what she's going to do for someone else. That's above all, above all.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's as good a day as any to start writing again. It's gotten to the point where it's like with a friend you haven't been in touch with for awhile, and the longer it goes on, the harder it is to pick up that phone, because you feel baaaddddd, but not bad enough to suck it up and just make the call. Today's a good day to suck it up and start writing again. Much much much has happened over the summer, our lives have gone in different ways. But, for the moment, things are calm and steady, which is a welcome relief.

It's been a very gray, very dreary, rainy day. Perfect weather for this day. Every year, it seems to ebb; the coverage, the documentaries, the ceremonies for 9/11. But I seek them out; about a week before, I start to look at the History Channel, the ID channel, National Geographic channel. I start to watch, and watch everything I can that is related to the attacks. This year I even ordered a documentary from Amazon that's only been broadcast once (in my defense, it's an awesome film, and I've wanted Richard to see it for years). It's not come in the mail yet, but I know I'll sit down and watch it as soon as it gets here.

I don't know why I keep watching these things; maybe I'm just still trying to understand why it happened.

Did you know that you can see pictures of the jumpers after they landed? They are on the internet. Why? What's the purpose of having these pictures available to anybody? To strengthen American resolve? Not likely. It's more like a sick voyeurism that fuels our society. I imagine that you can pretty much find a picture of just about anything on the internet. I've certainly found some unusual ones, but I tend to focus on the funny, not the gruesome.

What led me to look for pictures of the jumpers was that I've been thinking about them for the past few days. I was thinking about how horrific it must have been in those buildings to have come to that decision. Was it that, or was it the last bit of control they had over their own lives? If you look at the pictures, some of them look like they are flailing wildly as they fell, yet some look posed and peaceful. I think about their families. Did they recognize them? Could they tell? Would it be better to have that memory, then to have nothing at all, the way it it was for most of the victims' families.

Thousands and thousands of images from that day; they never cease to move me incredibly. I wish more people looked at them. It is frightening how quickly complacent we've all become.

For me, this will always be a day of memory, and of sadness for all of the victims and the people who lost them.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

GEB Puppies on the Today Show

One of the boys featured in the video is Ink's daddy, Alex.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Five Greatest Sentences That Are Incredibly Relevant Now

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy
out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another
person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to
anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because
the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets
the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get
what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any

5. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

Adrian Rogers, 1931*

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What a Week it's Been for this united states...

In the category of 'celebretard worship', they're dropping like flies. First, it was Ed McMahon, which made me a bit sad, as he and Johnny Carson and he entertained me as a child (when I snuck staying up and watching The Tonight Show on the black and white tv); but he was old, and it was his time to die. He had a long, and mostly good, life.

Then Friday came, and the news that Farrah Fawcett had died. Another death expected, as she had had such a long battle with cancer. It bothered me that she never married Ryan O'Neill in the end; they just ran out of time. And it bothered me that her son was in jail when she died. Ah, what we do to our parents. Ah, what we do to our children.

Friday afternoon came the passing of Michael Jackson, which shocked (and didn't shock) me. To look at him, he look like a time bomb just waiting to go off. Many many accolades, all news stories revolving around him. King of Pop, child-molester, wacko-jacko. He was an incredibly talented individual who was a prime example of what environment can do to a child. His father took his childhood in all ways and shapes, Michael Jackson was determined to be a child when he was older. Was he a pedophile? I don't know. Where there people around him only to use him? Definitely. It is a tragedy that someone that is so brilliant and talented and wealthy would have such an unfulfillable life. It's just sad.

I thought the cycle of three was done.

Then this afternoon, Billy Mays is dead. Holy crap. This starts the count again. Now I'm waiting for two more to go.

I would have thought for sure that Billy Mays would have had something that came from as seen on tv to keep him alive.

Sad. Our pop icons are dying.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Direct from Salisbury, MD via The Colbert Report

Salisbury on the map once again. This is a very very funny video, taken at Mitchells Marshall Arts, regarding a pretty neat program for senior citizens called "cane fu". The Colbert Report, of course, makes it really funny with random statements from the students of cane fu, and compares the "cane fu army" to a sleeper cell.

Good to see something other than the canonization of Michael Jackson.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Enemy Within - Cane Fu
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMark Sanford

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Pelosi SmartCar

Ok, it's a bit over the top, but funny/true/funny/true.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Cop Tasers 72 Year Old Woman

Sounds horrible, right? The video is edited to elicit sympathy for the kindly old great grandmother. I'm going to try and find the uncut version...it comes across quite differently. This shows the power of the media...a story can go one way, or completely another way, depending on the editor.

I hope that when I'm 72, I've lived enough life to know when to shut up and do what the officer tells me to do, and when he says "I'll tase you" I won't respond "Go ahead, I dare you".

Just proves that age does not always bring wisdom. :)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Life lessons...

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written.

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone...
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay cheque.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion, today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day and Demolition

Saturday morning, we went to the rental place, and got ourselves a sixty-pound jackhammer. We didn't know how to use it exactly, but we quickly figured it out. Heavy? You betcha. Efficient? Hell yes.

We worked from about 3:30 until 7:00 pm, Max and I; we made it about three-quarters of the way around. Fortunately (for us) a huge and terrible Maryland thunderstorm come through. It was hot, and the storm brought the promise of cooler temperatures. The physical aches and pains I was expecting didn't really happen; we were really, really tired, but not terribly sore. Sleep came quickly; it was a good kind of tired. So often I feel emotionally tired rather than physically, especially when I'm not feeling very well. I so prefer the physical exhaustion...it makes for a good, honest nights sleep.

Sunday morning brought Mother's Day...a beautiful bouquet of roses from the kids (Maggie, Max and Roger), and a sleep-in, read the paper in bed with tea morning (actually, we do that most Sundays); the aches and pains that I had expected previously had visited sometime over Saturday night, but it still wasn't as bad as I thought. There was no way we could start hammering before ten; I'm sure the neighbors didn't appreciate all the noise, but before ten on a Sunday morning, even I would be complaining.

We only had about one-quarter of the concrete left to do; maybe it was because we knew what we were in for, maybe it was because we were sore...but that small space took us three hours. Granted it was the large area around the stairs (which is twice as wide and twice as thick), but it seemed endless. But we slowly kept at it...and finally, it was done.

Poor Richard didn't get to play with the jackhammer, but we let him try it for a minute. If you look in the picture, the pose he has is almost the same as the pose of the man on his shirt. Funny!

Ta Da!

After a thorough cleanup and rejuvenation (a shower and a caffeine pill) we headed out for our Mother's Day gathering. Diane and Joe were nice enough to host this years fete'....we brought an appetizer (which so needed more spice) and Mom and Dad brought shrimp cocktail....and then we had Chinese food. Yum. It was a really nice, low key dinner with our family, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Joe and Diane have a really big, really gross snake in their birdhouse (I hesitate to think about what happened to the bird!), and we didn't get to see it, but we did see the skin he had shed. It was at least 5 feet long. Ewwwww.

Joe had made dessert (chocolate chip cake YUM)...it was a really nice day capping off a really productive weekend.

Here's more results from the demo: