I wanted to share a captured moment, a once in a lifetime moment, that makes me laugh every single time I see it. Once upon a time, oh probably 8 years ago, we used to have a bird feeder in the back yard that was maybe 10 feet from the house. The birds loved it, and so did the chipmunks and squirrels.

We would see a few different types of birds and just 2 types of squirrels, red and grey. It was a winter we had had a lot of snow, and even though we did everything from buying a squirrel resistant feeder to adding things to make it harder, those little guys found a way to get there. This one day I had noticed the feeder getting low so we went out and filled it to the max.

I go to look out the slider to see how things are looking, and it seemed like all the food was on the ground. The squirrels had learned how to jump, hit the pole, which would shake the feeder and seeds would go flying. I see this little guy munching, stuffing his cheeks all around the newly coated ground, chomping away like crazy.

Then all of the sudden squirrel-who-ate-too-muchhe comes up the stairs of the backslider , puts his one “hand” on the snow bank, and other on his belly and rubs his belly.

I do not know if he was thanking us, indicating he shouldn’t have gone up for thirds… or just indicating he won.

No matter what, it was funny beyond belief. Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy



I love when things come together, when all the elements of what could be, with the potential of it turning out good, or not so good and after all is said and done- well it came out to be okay.

20181122_190058This past weekend was just like that for me ( well for all of us I hope). We had the fortune to have my sister and her husband here for 5 days, and 3 of our grandchildren here for an overnight and a full day, and a family gathering on Saturday at our sons home, and my friend from High School here for Thanksgiving day.

I mentioned in the last post that our weekend was coming to an end. Well, now it is totally in the rear view mirror of life. The kids are back with their parents, the gatherings have all come and gone, my sister, her husband and my friend from high school have all made it home safely, and Mark and I are here with Riley. We have gone from a lot of actions to settling back down to the normal life we have.

It was fun, it was interesting at times, the kids were unbelievably great, we laughed, we played, we learned new games, we shared ideas…… we got to share family time at Jeff and Amanda’s with my siblings and their families members who could attend. Times when I wasn’t sure that things would go smoothly ( specifically the cooking of the Thanksgiving Dinner- that is always a crap-shoot because the Turkey rules- yep — dinner is not ready till the turkey is). All in all, though it went well.  Lessons learned include: cooking a boneless 3 lb turkey breast in a crockpot is awesome;  and pre-cooking the stuffing, sweet potatoes and pies worked very well.

IMG_0774As the dust settles, all the laundry is done and put away, the spare beds tucked away and folded chairs back in the storage area- I can head into the Christmas mode.

I hope you find magic as the days of December come and go.

Until later- Mrs Justa alias Cindy



I have read and seen movies reflecting back on the days of long ago. Days before people had the numerous opportunities that are available now to earn money. For many, that remains true to them today.

The thought becomes more real as life challenges face each of us. I see people on street corners holding signs asking for help, I see lines at food kitchens, all the agencies that help to feed people without.

It is hard for me to know how I would handle life if I had nothing left. I think there is an inner strength people get, a deep-rooted

clouds dark dark clouds darkness

Photo by Pixabay on

, incredible strength. Look at your past or someone you know of, and when the rug got pulled out from under their feet, when the darkness filled the skies around them, did they find an inner strength.


Back in the days of my 19th year, I stood with a friend and held a cardboard sign with her, a time when her life was totally changed and she had nothing. I remember at those moments not feeling anything but strength and determination to help her get financial help for her personal needs. We felt gratitude to those who helped us out. Our goal was not to make this a new normal for her, but to get her some hope when hope was looking the other way.

I remember myself at times when we were growing up and we found strength in how we could make things the best they could be, in times when we had little. My mom never ever made us feel poor, she found ways instead to have us see what we had, not what we didn’t.

red star decor

That first Christmas –  6 weeks after my dad passed away, mom came over to the table with a box of aluminum foil and gave us some pieces for us to make gifts for one another. We made each other ornaments, in shapes sometimes unidentifiable. But the pride of doing that was so much more then the sadness had she just said there was no money.

I am reminded of this as I see commercials after commercials with talking Amazon Boxes and Black Friday deals, and tonight I was thinking how much more effort was made with our pieces of silver, then the efforts made by buying something, just because you can.

May you find those special personal moments, create special memories in this hustle, the bustle of the holiday season. As you grab our keys, remember to grab change for the Red Kettles.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy




A Sunday morning ride,

a search for something different,

a seeking to find a hidden gem for

breakfast in Oswego.

As we were driving north into the city of Oswego, out of the corner of my eye I saw a place that looked like it might have been a small quaint place.

We headed north thinking we would go to the restaurant that is off the side of a hotel and over looks the Oswego River. But alas.. it does not open for breakfast, so we headed back down south a bit and I asked Mark to drive past this place I saw.

We found it… and yes it was a small Mom and POP restaurant… We went inside , there were maybe a total of 5 booths…. a counter that was like the old ice cream parlors…. memorabilia hanging on the walls.. We thought we had found the perfect spot.

We got to sit in a booth after they cleaned it up from the last people. They had fairly full  menus, and coffee,  and prices not bad.

We each ordered an omelet… Marks vegetable, mine bacon and cheddar( well done). I ordered Italian bread and if they did not have any—than wheat would do. Mark went for a biscuit. It took quite a long time to get our order… and as we sat there sipping our coffee and observing our surroundings… we both silently were thinking this was going from good not so good. There was a 6.99 breakfast buffet ( that is what they called it ) which consisted of 4 different  aluminum banquet pans with just one burner under them ( it could have had 2-3. 0 In the hour plus we had sat there NO ONE had done anything with the food in these containers… no stirring, no replacing, no checking for if it needed replacing or stirring.

Finally our meal came out andimagesCAFNID1Y I poked my omelet ( I always check my eggs to make sure they are well done… and white goop came out… uuuck !!! In times like this…..I always have to find my inner self control button.. because I felt like throwing up!. The toast was buttered when the toast was already was cold, the food was not really warm. And I got Italian and wheat toast. In my mind I am thinking … “GO the eggs… do not complain…. … just grow up!!” and than there is another part stating “ Do not get sick, have it cooked thoroughly” Mark flagged down the rather stressed out waitress and asked if they could cook the eggs more—I requested  it well done. They took it back, flipped it on the grill for a mega second..and brought it back…. and from then on—she was not smiling at us any more… it was like we were the enemy.The omelet  was not really much better…so I left it and wolfed down the toast..and the spare toast… and to top it off… we had to rush home after because it gave us both the “I GOTTA GO NOWS”

I gotta tell ya…. it is 9 hrs later now..and I am still kinda queasy… What is so darn hard about cooking eggs totally? Needless to say.. the “gem” we thought we found was not!!!.

100_0379Than this afternoon I was thrilled that the weather held up, sunny, warm… got to work on the area under the sign for our development we live in…


All in all… even with the yucky omelet… this weekend was ducky… Smile Hope you had a good weekend too… Love to all Mrs. Justa alias Cindy

100_0544In the past 2 week we have gone to 2 weddings. This is a lot for us… we do not usually have weddings to go to. As I watched the workings of each wedding,  I was amazed at how the brides special day is so long worked up to.

Dawn and Evans first danceEach of these couples did outdoor weddings. Each planned the whole ceremony and reception after…and even though each was outside weddings… the weddings were unique to the individuals.

When all is said and done… it is the day for the bride and the groom..and everyone else is there to witness them promising before all present and God that they will remain true to reach other till death . That is probably the BIGGEST promise a person can make. Think about it… TILL death you are promising to stay with your new spouse.

At each wedding we knew the people in the wedding pretty darn well, and it was strange to see these woman ( one our niece..the other a close friends daughter) … who so clearly in my mind were just little girls not so long ago…. to see them beautiful, standing before a man they have committed the rest of their life to.

I want to say to the man— “take care of her” she is precious to me… but I did not… because obviously the man will—that is why they chose each other. And the ceremonies and receptions were THEIR ceremonies and receptions… it was their day.. their dreams….both special to them…and we felt blessed to have been asked to come to them.

100_4393Our wedding anniversary was this past Friday… we have been together for 27 years… married for 16 of them. As I watched these 2 separate couples exchange their vows… I was wondering what it will be like for them in 27 more years? Living a life with someone..means they see you in your best and worse times. To have that person be there, unconditionally through the laughter and the tears… that is priceless. I wish the best for both of them…

Today was a catch up day.. I have been feeling pretty disjointed with how busy we have been… I think I am a country girl.. a person who loves being home… I love the Saturday morning cleaning and making the house feel fresh… ( something I have not had time to devote to at the level I like to do it , in the past few weeks) I ended up working some on it yesterday..and most today…

Mark was not feeling too his leg and hip are really bothering him… This morning  I went off to church , came home and finished all the stuff I love doing around the house… Than tonight I went out to the garden…this has been a tough year on my aspirations to garden…and I am really glad there is not a farmers market depending on my produce… But tonight… I tied up some pretty heavy tomato plants, picked 6 ears of corn and broke off about 3 cups of Italian lettuce… I have home made tomato sauce with slightly seasoned chick breasts simmering in it in the crock pot..made a salad.and little brown rice….3 of the 6 corn on the cobs…. ummm….. it felt good to eat from the garden.

AS I was out there.. the humidity feeling like 120%..air thick…temp stifling…. I realized this is August.. Fall is next month…soooo I am not going to complain about the humidity..the RIley 7-19-2012 003sweat that I am still not used to having it run down my face, back, legs, and that makes my clothes stick to me… nope… cuz my body would rather be warm than cold.

Our little girl Riley is still at the kennel ( grr can not pick up on Sundays)…. but Mark will get her in the AM> She is such a sweetie…. we miss her when she is not here…

We are looking towards  the future… and things seem to be settling down after the next 2 weeks… Phew… I am kinda looking forward to getting back into some routines!.

Love to all.. hope your summer has been as blessed as ours has been.

Mrs. Justa alias Cindy

100_4274_editedI was reminded of a rather embarrassing time a few years back , when I chose this photo to be my desk top on my home computer.

It is funny how various life events are lodged in our emotions somewhere… snuggled up in cob webs of yester-year..and than poof. something wipes the webs away..and the emotion wakes up..BOOM!

This is in Bar Harbor Maine. We had walked out on this dock and we were admiring this restaurant.The windows were all along a section with table that looked out on the pier.

It was quite quaint..quite in we went for dinner. We get in there, they asked how many.. ( I love that—there are 2 of you standing there and they ask how many…) We said 2. So they brought us back to the area that looked over the pier.. See the tables were meant for 2…and do not order much food!..There was not much room on the table.

So we ordered drinks… they came..the waiter asked what we would like… I asked if the salad or pasta dishes were prepared separate from the seafood… he looked at me and said”Why do you ask?” My response was I am pretty allergic to fish… and can not eat anything with fish on it. ( He acted like I was the only person in the world with a fish allergy..) Now perhaps Bar Harbor Maine—at a restaurant on a not the place for a fish allergy person to go…. Off he went…. he was gone for what seemed like an eternity… than he comes back and said the chef has asked us to leave. That they do not want to serve us.

First I thought he was joking.. I am like Ha Ha Ha..waiting for a smirk….…. but he was not smiling… he was kind of looking uncomfortable but standing firm on his words… so what we had sipped from our soda was the extent of the meal… They told us we could go without paying…

So with my head down.. 100_4146feeling really embarrassed, I walked out with Mark… Now there is not a lot of hopping places in Bar Harbor at we headed back to the hotel and 1/2 way there we  found a pizza shop…. It was the best pizza and they kept fish separate from the other stuff!!!!!!

And as I look back..if they could not promise they did not mix fish with all their other foods… well it was better to be told that than to stop breathing there… Yeah I am sure Mark would rather look at this picture and remember us being asked to leave… than remember them removing my body from there..

After all these years though.I am still feeling a little embarrassed….Time to tuck those emotions back… stretch out the cob webs and move on… Life… unpredictable..but worth every darn minute of it. Love Mrs justa alias Cindy

Did you ever feel like you are not sure what the right answer is about.ANYTHING!!!

Like—do we live like we are broke every day, save like crazy, and than in the future find our money is worth nothing..and we missed opportunities to go places, see the world, have HBO on the cable, have an IPOD, I phone and “I” anything else?

Do we pay off our mortgage as fast as possible..only to find out we can not afford to live in the boonies…and no one else would want to either?

Do we pay off any loan quickly..only to find we did not save enough by doing so?

Do we tell people WHAT WE REALLY THINK??? Or do we take the passive role and keep the REAL thoughts way deep inside?

Do we live on eggs, pasta, tomato sauce, sandwiches and cheap frozen veggies ,so that we can put money away to pay everything off?

Do we take out “food insurance” and buy months of food that has a 25 year shelf life—for lots of $$$$..and than God forbid we need it—if the world was ending..why would we want to be sitting there chomping on dry old food..and watching as others suffer? We would share..and than all the preparations for months would end in days or weeks..and in the would still be the end. Just a bunch of us got to eat and watch the world go through what terrible thing was happening, only to have it happen to us too.. None of us are better than the other..however how many of us are treated like they are less than another? 

What do we do with the little bit that is in a 401 K?

The list goes on and on..and ya know what..I do not think any of us knows the real answers. Some will choose a pathway that will not work for another.

Me… and Mark—we are trying to pay off things as soon as possible, but we are not rolling in the dough… … we are trying to save where we can, we have few vises, but are we doing right by what we are doing?

October 2011 012I just do not know. So as I ponder these thoughts of life, I am off to pay bills, make a grocery list and continue on with a weekend of sunshine and temps in the 50-60 range, being THANKFUL for no snow yet, and for the clean water from the faucet and the life that we have.

To all those out there, I send my love, my wishes for you to have answers that I can not seem to find…and enjoy what ever the weekend is bringing to you. Love, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

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