December 2010

Koala Okay, I hope this works. Ugg… I used this picture- cuz my head feels this way…. this has been a rough couple of days. I started getting sick Weds evening, but thought it was nothing. Well the nothing has become something – the dreaded winter cold. Yesterday afternoon/evening was really the pits, and today it is no fun party either. Just really congested, feels like my head is full of cement. Runny nose, draining  lots… uggg. I am hoping tomorrow will be a New Year and I will feel refreshed and a new woman.

This morning I was off ,so we ended up meeting for breakfast with Shawn and Pat. Well I took my first tiny bite of my sour dough toast and wouldn’t cha know it my darn cap on my tooth came out with the pin from the root attached !, So now I can not breath, can not taste and I have this hole in my mouth.

I did not want to make a scene or ruin everyone’s breakfast, so I carefully ate on the Left side of my mouth, tried to act normal, even though I was feeling poorly and bummed because my tooth—or lack there of my tooth.  I really was proud of how smoothly I pulled the whole thing off. I felt it in my mouth, so I took my napkin and wiped my mouth gently , captured the cap/[pin- than slowly, inconspicuously reaching into my purse- I had a zip lock sandwich bag with a few French vanilla creamers in it, so I took them out, placed them on the table, did a switcherooo with the cap/pin, folded the bag with my one hand and shoved it in my purse.

After we were done, and when Mark and I were in the car, I told him about my dilemma. This is a common occurrence with me, if I ever have tooth problems it is on a holiday weekend more often than not. I called the dentist, he assured me it will be okay till Monday- so for the new year I have this crater feeling spot in my mouth. Doesn’t hurt… just is annoying as all get out.

I feel bad because I got sick and ended up calling Jeff and Amanda, as we were going to watch the little guys  this evening, but no one wanted the germs spread…


the tooth- well I guess if it had to happen, this is a good time- as my dental insurance annual allowable amount is refreshed on 1-1-2011—and my flex card also starts 1-1-2011.

Last night at about 11:00 PM I went to verify my flex account for last year was zeroed out, only to find I had another 97.21 to spend today or I would loose it. So we went and bought Tylenol, ibuprofen, prilosec, and band aids. Glad I checked !! I would have been p.o.ed if I had thrown away 97 buckaroonies..

I am not sure I will make it till next year’s birth,,,, I am going to go and take a HOT shower, vicks myself up and try to sleep – elevated- on pillows… Next year is about to come, it is new, and I want to feel better when I see the very first minute of it. Happy New Year one and all… Love to all, Mrs Justa alias Cindy


This morning on my journey from here to there I came upon a woman standing on a sidewalk, she had her jammies on and rollers in her hair. She was standing next to the dog catcher truck and was passing a dog over to the dog catcher. It was a cute looking dog, looked like a young tan pit bull type dog. It was kinda funny, kinda sad, and the dog was getting tugged by the scruff of it’s neck to go with the dog catcher, the dog had it’s butt low, like it was trying to sit, and it’s back legs were kind of spread out with it’s claws in the pavement.

The dog looked puzzled, scared and innocent. From the scenario that played in my head—( since I have no idea)  – judging by the pajama lady, the dog not twisting or fighting, I am thinking it was lost, and maybe the jammie lady was watching it till the dog catcher could come.

I felt bad for the dog. It looked pretty young, I wondered if it had gotten loose. Was there a child wondering where their dog went? What was the dog wondering as it was being dragged to the side of the truck and put up in a cage?

I really felt awful for this dog. Not all Pit Bulls are mean dogs, you show them love, compassion and security and they can be like any other dog. I have known people with gentle pit bulls. So as I continued on my journey from here to there, I really felt like crying for that dog. Not knowing where or why life was doing the things it was doing.

I gotta tell ya, I know I could never work in a vet or the ASPCA.. I am too emotional over pets. I will send a donation to them, just can not see all the dogs, cats or other animals caged and looking lost.

I will never forget going in the SPCA and seeing Indi, sitting on this cot , in a cage, quiet as a mouse, puppy dog eyes, looking right at me , as if to say…

“Please take me home… “  and we did…………..I wonder who is looking at that puppy dog from this morning… just kinda took my heart and twisted it… poor thing. Love to all, Cindy alias Mrs Justa.

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The holiday weekend has past and the family folks have gone to their homes here and there. It was neat to see each other, all our different personalities and places we are in life, yet with a common bond. That none of us would have been there with our kids, our grandkids, our spouses, our significant others, our friends… without the bond of love that was formed by my mom and dad.

We love to see each other, we have our laughter, we see the different things people bring for the $20.00 gift passing, and we really enjoy the moments we have together.

My one Niece and her beau came down for the holiday weekend, they  live in Northern Vermont – she wrote on facebook a very meaningful statement…

“What a wonderful Christmas! I am so blessed.”

Another Niece is in the Navy, away from here- in Turkey—she wrote… “Merry Christmas To All!… Bless all my fellow military serving over seas on this day away from family and friends… And to all a good night “

and my kid sister who lives with her 2 kids and husband in Alabama wrote

“…we missed being with everyone for Christmas eve…….We were there is spirit!!! Love you” 

I began to think about my other family members and friends…  and than tonight- we pulled in from the gym at 8:00- the answering machine was blinking ( this is not a normal occurrence) and it was a voice from long ago— asking me to call him, giving me his number in Texas. The voice did not need identifying, he has a special voice… Mark and I knew who it was in a instant.

I called him, we talked for a pretty long time, his laugh is the same—even though since we spoke last ( about 5-6 years ago) he has had life challenges, jobs that have helped him survive, battling prostate cancer and the most amazing news was a couple years ago finding out that the reason he has been dependant on glasses – and difficulty with his vision ( he was legally blind !!)  since he was 6 years old ! – was due to some pretty gnarly cataracts. He had them removed, he had the artificial lenses put in and poof- he only needs glasses to read. Wow.. how totally amazing that gift must have been to him.

And as I think about each of these people…and many more that are in my heart, in my mind, in my past.. I am thinking that no matter how many miles away…. we all see the same moon, the same stars, the same sun.

My love is being sent to all of you, and I can not wait till that next sometime I will see each of you again.  but until there, remember that I am looking at the moon, at the same time. Love to all, mrs Justa.. alias Cindy


As Christmas has come to a close almost.. I am feeling the sense of  of accomplishment in getting to today. I really feel for the past month there are to-do lists longer than the days.

I just downloaded the photos from today and yesterday and decided to look  back through the photos from 12-25-2009 and I came across this photo of Mark last year…. exactly a year ago. We were at Amanda and Jeffs house on Christmas night.

This is still 2 months before we started the weight loss journey, one that we are still on, but we have made progress.

here is Mark today>>>>>>> 100_6922_edited



As I look at these photos I am thinking the accomplishments made to get from November through Christmas are nothing compared to where he has come in 10 months.

It is a long hard journey and one we hope not to ever go through again. It takes commitment and a total change in the way we think and what we do.


I looked a little further and I came across this- here I am last Christmas. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin,so I can imagine how I made others feel. I still have a ways to go, but I am not dissatisfied with my progress either.

We are all in charge of our own lives, and  if we want to make life hard, well we can do that, but no one has anyone to blame but themselves.100_6985

So whether it be all the anxiety of gifts and preparations for Christmas, or whether it is what you are going to do in your professional life, or our personal life, journeys can be long and we need to remember that we are responsible for our actions.

As I look at the health issues and obesity, I am thankful I have not had complication that were irreversible, I am glad that I have tried to eat sensibly- I am thankful that blood pressure meds and cholesterol meds are no longer in Marks meds he takes every day. I am glad that this weekend ends the 2010 Christmas chaos and that it is not a blizzard outside.

But you know what… I am thankful for the magic I got to see in the kids eyes this Christmas. I am thankful that tomorrow the kids come out here for a few hours and we chill. 100_6845

And I am thrilled that we made it, all of us, somehow, we got through the hustle and bustle , we got through the money issues and we are on the other side. A place where more focus is on day to day living and not all the extra stuff.

Don’t get me wrong- I truly love Christmas time…. I am not doing a Grinch thing—I am just feeling the end of the 100 mile an hour feeling, I am just  looking forward to normalcy returning to life, and for the gym being opened ( it was closed today)

Tomorrow afternoon, it shall be fun… a nice way to end the long weekend.

Next weekend we are blessed to have all three grandkids over with their parents- and another time to accomplish controlling what I eat, what I do…

Be safe out there, enjoy each day and each person along your journey… but most of all— be good to YOU. Love to all, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

100_4665 Traditions … traditions that have lasted through the years and lived on after the people who started them have passed on to their reward.

Traditions, somewhat altered, edited in a way, but the base still exists.

Christmas Eve… well since I was born, Christmas Eve was at my moms house. Basically until I had moved out- it was logical it was there- heck that was where I lived.

But after I grew up and many years later was married, and after that divorced and again married- well that tradition has remained. The meal has changed, to a new tradition, and my mom has been gone for quite a few years now, but her house is now my brothers home, and my brother and his wife always host Christmas Eve. Now the meal is beef strogenoff with egg noodles- and let me tell you it is GOOD!!! All my local siblings and their families, and my brother and his wife’s children, Jeff and Amanda and their children, we will all be there.

100_4667 The gift exchange- well that has changed too. It was getting pretty expensive to buy for everyone- and if money was tight, you knew the gifts being bought were not what you wanted to buy, and it was a chance the receiver would not really get much use out of it. So now. well it is fun…. we each buy a 20.00 gift, and than we draw numbers. Whoever is numero uno- picks first, than every single person who follows can steal numero unos gift – or anyone who has chosen a gift …..if they like it better.

In years past, the hot items contained alcohol in them and the 21 and older folks had their eyes on anything with drinking attached to it. Other things go from hand to hand too- like fountains, and gift cards… The younger kids- they are name drawn- so they will receive age appropriate gifts.

The night is fun, it is refreshing to not have the hassle of trying to figure out what to buy for 20 people.

Another tradition is my sugar cookies. I make them EVERY Christmas. And people seem to look forward to them. They are fun to do, and pretty yummy. It is one of those things that I make and can not really instruct anyone else how to do them, cuz I do not measure for the frosting- it is more a little of this and that and somehow it comes out the same.

This year will be a little weird, my niece is in Turkey, in the Navy- and she really loves Christmas. Maybe she will be there on Skype. HA—there are a few Christmases that she popped her face in front of me when I tried to take a photo. She has a terrific smile, and ya just had to laugh. So all in all… tonight will be fun.

Tomorrow – well we are still trying to adjust to Christmases as the years go by. Our kids have their own kids, and really Christmas morning should be without pressures of packing the family and going to parents homes- so we may go over to Amanda’s and Jeff’s in the AM and watch the grandkids as they experience Christmas morning. Than we are going to have a small turkey breast dinner here, just the 2 of us. Maybe go to Lights on the Lake- that is a neat light show in Liverpool, and just enjoy the blessings life has given to us, and be thankful for all we have. I think maybe I will put in “It’s a Wonderful Life” too… I just love that movie……………. ( Mark… not so much )

So “Merry Christmas to all…. and to all a good night … “…..((real original )))   Love to all Cindy… alias Mrs. Justa

What do you like about Christmas? brandon, fami;y, 2008, 2009 076

What does the season mean to you?

What memories does it bring to the surface?

What feelings open up?

Are there moments that you love?

Or moments that you hate?

As I think about Christmas of today and of Christmas past, the answers I would have to these questions would be many. Here are a few.

I love Christmas time because it is a time of magic in the eyes of a child. A time when innocence is preciously apparent and dreams of things we can not touch come to the forefront.

I love how friendly most people seem. Smiling more, even though they are wrapped up in the materialistic part of the season that seems to drown out the real special times of Christmas. I love the lights, and I love getting the tree out of the shed and trying to figure out the faded color codes on the branches. I love Christmas Carols playing as the decorations are getting brought back to life from their hibernation in tight sealed bins, locked in a dark shed for the past year.

I love opening each bin from the shed- it is like a new beginning as I pull out each item and remember a time long ago when we obtained it.

I love looking at every ornament- there are quite a few photo ornaments of Jeff as he grew up, one for each year, and as I unwrap each one from tissue they have been wrapped in for years, I almost go into the photo and remember the time it was taken. It can be a melancholy moment , because it represents years of life changes. Not that life is bad, but it changes with each year that passes. 100_6752_edited

I recall the woman who has since died, who made this strand of lights that are complemented by various calico strips of material neatly tied between each bulb. She was a woman who had had much heart ache in her life, but she always had a smile that would melt away cold feelings and bring sunshine everywhere she went. At her calling hours, she was dressed in a sweatshirt that had hand prints from all her grandchildren. And as she lay in the casket, so still and at peace, she still had that grin of hers. These lights bring back this woman to me, I feel the warmth of her presence for another year.


As I look at Santa, he was bought way back probably 18years ago, for 9.97 at K mart… I remember how it felt kinda bad to buy him, because money was so tight, but than it felt good to have him at the foot of the stairs, welcoming anyone who came.

It made Jeff smile with pride when he saw we had a Santa outside that lit up.

I remember how much that meant to me to see his smile. He loved to help decorate, heck one year he had every strand of lights we had strung around the ceiling , in his room, down the hallway…but it was his way of feeling the magic, of living the special wonders of the season.

I loved the look on Adrianne’s face that first weekend after we had decorated, when she came I remember Jeff and Adrianne’s anticipation on those Christmas Days when my shift at the Hospital was 7-3 and we did not start the gift opening until 4:30 in the afternoon.

And I remember feeling the satisfaction at the same time when I was with the patients , they did not want to be in the hospital, so we tried to make it a special day for them .

As I hear the carols and put things here and there, I go back in time to many years ago, being a little girl, and the wonder of the season at that time for me. The sitting on Santa’s lap, the trying to fall asleep when my heart was too excited to stop pounding hard, the being sure I heard Santa on the roof, the waking up at 6AM and wanting the whole house to wake up too, the orange in my stocking each year…the turkey dinner, the laughter, the joy of giving, the popcorn strung on the tree, the smell of a fresh apple pie, a frosted sugar cookie, candy canes, ribbon candy, ginger bread men, the manger, the magic…………………

Yes there are so many memories, brought to life each year. I focus on the good things, seems like life is much nicer when I do that.

So what does Christmas mean to you?  Do not stress out these next couple of days, try to find time to just STOP and feel the wonder. Merry Almost Christmas to all, Love Mrs Justa..alias Cindy

Have you ever had that one place that you looked forward to each Christmas Time. That one house or two that went all out. Not quite like the Fockers or Chevy Chases Christmas Movie.
When Jeff was a little to an almost grown up  tyke, he and I would go out every week , a couple nights a week, and just drive around and look at holiday displays. There was one house in Liverpool that we made sure to go check out each year. They had all kinds of Santas and angels, and snow men and lights. It was so incredible. We were bummed when they moved.

Well there is a new place in town- 100_6832 we check it out every year. Mark and I went on Sunday night. This place is unbelievable.

This year they have added a reindeer over their pool area that might just give a little tike a night mare. This sucker stands about 20-30 feet tall. 




It gave me the hee-bee jeebies…. 100_6830_edited

Their entire yard, front and back is filled with air displays. This year they have 2 containers at their driveway for people to contribute a non perishable item for the food bank- which I think is totally cool.

I have no idea if they shut things down at night. I would hope so, as they have some things set up that will blast out music if you clap.

If we took Brandon there we would have to stop and get out and walk so he could really take it all in. it is really cool they do this. And lots of people go check them out .

Merry Christmas to them and to all… I hope you can find a festive place… just like this one. It just makes me smile. Love to all, Cindy alias Mrs justa….

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