I have to tell you, I feel bad for those 20160819_140500 (1)who have never been loved by a dog, who have never loved a dog. For a good part of my life, a dog has helped to make me whole. I truly believe, in my life, no other living being has ever been as faithful, trustworthy, compassionate and loving than a dog.

I have had a number of dogs, various breeds, 20190204_091610-1various sizes. Each and everyone had a personality of their own, and if given attention and watching them, their lack of words does not lessen their amount of communication. They are silly, they smile, they do strange things, they fill the heart and soul with a love that is unmeasurable and irreplaceable.

I have never 100% of the time had a person greet me at the door with so much excitement and joy. Never once was a dog sitting at the door with a scowl, or a “And where were you this late” attitude that I would get from a parent at times. I have never had a better friend, never had another show unbiased acceptance for who and what I am, never felt as whole as I have in the times shared with our dog.

A dog is there when you hurt when you are sick and when you are just being. And a dog protects those who love it, to make sure danger stays as far away as possible.

I feel bad for those people who have never shared clone tag: 3559830722623208867the time with a dog. It is so easy to walk past the dog journeys on the road of life, and honestly, it leaves a person without the “inconvenience ” of having a dog. They can pound their proverbial chests and have so many reasons why they don’t like dogs, do have dogs and would never live with a dog.

A dog is not okay to be beaten or abandoned, it is not ok to lock them up and let them come out for meals, they are not JUST A DOG. If a person can not take in 100% of what a dog really offers, what a gift a dog can be, well those people should never have one.

To me, a dog is not meant to be left outside, in a caged area or tied on a chain, why would I have a dog just to make it an outside animal? Some say their dogs have thick coats and love the cold, okay– I think that perhaps those people should put on their own heavy coats and share that outside environment with that dog.

camping-KOA-Canandaigua-7-23-25-009.jpgSure you can live without a dog, and you think you aren’t missing anything because of that, unfortunately, those people will never experience the unconditional love a dog gives. They won’t know the void a dog can fill, for me…. my life has been better with a dog in it.

A dog is a responsibility, a step taken knowing there are costs for caring, feeding, and nurturing. If a person is not willing to give all the care to a dog, they should not make that step. For me, for each dog that has filled my love with so much, there is no price, no amount of money that can match how much better my life is because of them.

I also can say that when a dog has had to die, 20181223_141334the void, the soul riping loss ( for me) has been worse than the severe feeling of loss of a loved one. With that being said, a passing of a loved one goes on and on, and it feels like the world should stop as you take it all in.

The passing of a dog, it is different. It is so heart wrenching, and it can be days to not cry at a dog commercial, or looking at a photo or belonging of the dog, yet the footprints in my soul are treasured.


For me, I am so thankful to have known the various dogs in my life. Each one has been inside the house, protected from the elements. Each ones short life ( compared to our lives) has given more than I could ever have given back. If you truly watch a dog, you find so many neat qualities, neat personalities, and realize why dog is God spelled backward. A dog is not “Just a dog” and more than a person is “Just a ___”

I am going to get ready to venture into work. 20190115_083926Our dog has come in and nudged her nose on my leg to say good morning, she has had her breakfast and gone out, and now she is in sleeping with her dad, watching over him as he sleeps his last little while before araising to a new day. She reminded me how great it is to have her in our home, in our hearts, and a part of our family.

Love to all, Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy



I was listening to music in my mind, it is like I have a jukebox ready to play a song, no one else hears it, so anywhere I am, a melody, lyrics, a place in my past comes to life. This one song seems to come back over and over again.

“Cause who’s gonna know but me
Who’ll help me recall those small memories
When I’m all that’s left of this family of three
Who’s gonna know but me” Kathy Mattea

As it played I had looked up on a shelf, IMG_3644and so quietly sits this little doll. She has quietly sat in places I have been since I was 9 years old.

No one knows or even asks why, and she sits there doing what she has been doing for many many years.

This little braided blond-haired doll was a gift to me. I received it at a very scary time in my life.

When I was 9, I was admitted for simple tonsillectomy. It was in June, I remember the excitement of being able to be through with school early because of my surgery. It was also a time of anxiousness and chaos because we were about to move from Skaneateles to Bayberry, into our very first new house and not a rental.

The hospital had a ward for all the kids getting the surgery. It was little an assembly line that day. When I arrived with mom and dad it was surreal in a way, the kids were all in stages of the procedure day. Some scared and waiting their turn, some sleeping after they had had their surgery, some getting sips of cool drinks, and some- yeah they hit the top and got a little dixie cup of ice cream. Dad saw me looking around at the “unknown what next expressions” and he said in a little while I will be able to drink and get ice cream.

Off to surgery, I remember my trembling on the stretcher from being scare. My mom and dad tried to tuck the blanket (it looked like a large receiving blanket ) and talking so softly to try to help me calm down.

The operating room was huge, and this man put on my face a clear mask, the stuff tasted like something I will never forget, aether. Next thing I know, I am back in the ward. As I became aware of the room and my parents, I also became aware of my sore throat. I felt super sick, and they kept telling me to not throw up. However, there was an emesis basin ready if I did.

And low and behold, I needed it, and the was lots of red blood … the cold drinks and ice cream rewards changed to a rush return to a procedure area because my surgery had torn an area and they had to work to stop the bleeding. It was terrifying, I felt alone,  and the man doing the procedures did not speak English very well, and kept saying to me “one more time” as he held these long cotton covered type rolls and pushed them in the back of my throat using his very large gloved finger. It hurt, it was awful, each gauze roll tasted like crap, I was not supposed to swallow as he did this ( but I did swallow one in the process) After the 6th one more time, that huge finger came into my throat and a clamped my teeth down and literally bit through the latex. He was dancing around and saying ouch… and that was his last “one more time.

They took these swabs and somehow ties them together – one tight against the outside or my nostrils, string thru my nostrils and another was attached at the back of my throat. I was not going home, I had to stay overnight.

When I got back to the ward, dad had this doll sitting on my nightstand. He said she would watch over me when he wasn’t going to be there. See mom was pregnant for Martha, and there were 4 kids at home – 11,6,5,2,.. we were in moving mode, and plans just took a turn because I could not come home.

All night long though, this little doll became my comfort, she watched over me that night and still has, all these years later. IMG_3644She has been everywhere I have lived since I was 9. She has gone through the moments of sadness and joy, the various events of my life. She has been comforting, encouraging, and show patience. But most of all, she represents the love of a parent a love that lives on long after their earthly bodies have not. And not once has she let me down… she always has the angelic look that everything is going to be ok.

I wanted to share her with you.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy



So as I was making my weekly grocery list on a pad of real paper, with an actual pen, I was thinking- hey I could just go online, and order this all.. and …. nope— STOP…. I am going to continue to go out and shop for groceries. I enjoy seeing others, I enjoy making sure what we are buying is what we intended to buy, …

Well, this got me thinking… I think as the world continues to advance, to become more virtual, we have to remember to have real-life experiences. We need to interact with face to face, real life, and reach out and touch moments.

To see peoples face on face time is a great tool, because people can be in places you can not be, and have a20181103_151343 conversation with them. However, doing face time with people that are just a few miles away, well I feel that going outside and seeing them might be the option to take.

We can now go to our computer, cell phone, tablet or probably talk in the air to “Alexa” or “Google” devices, give a list of things we need from the store, and have it delivered to our doorstep, or have someone waiting to load it in our car.

Instead of face to face, touch the items, one can buy virtually anything without going out and seeing it. And God forbid it not be what we expected from the image online we ordered it from. Instead, had we just gone to a local vendor, a store, a warehouse and seen it, felt it, looked it over, well then we know what we are buying.

Now everyone ( including me) can make all the excuses and reasons why this is so great. It keeps me away from germs of others, I do not need to deal with long lines, it gives me more time to fill up my day with a bunch of other stuff. Heck before we know it we have fit what used to be 36 hrs of actions in an 18 hr day.

We do not have to go to a movie- nope we can sit in the comfort of our home and watch the movie, stop it when we want, and put it back on after we pee, or grab a drink, or stretch, AND we can watch it in our jammies. Now I am not saying this is wrong, it does, however, take away the “going out to a move” experience. The smell of the popcorn, the darkness as you sit on seats in rows that are on an inclining floor.

There is nothing that replaces taking a trip to a planetarium. The music, the narrator, 100_0446_thumb.jpgthe feeling you are in a spaceship in orbit as they show us the universe, the night sky.

To show a child a firefly cupped in your hand, or to show them virtually via a YouTube image– well the magic is definitely in the first option.


IMG_0468Playing games, 20181119_190236yes real hands-on , touch the pieces, not only hear the voice of your opponent but to see their eyes, to laugh in the same room, that is so much a component of that experience. Oh I know we can get games and our opponent is part of the game, we had this one game where we could choose the country and type of opponent we wanted. A man calling you “Chap” to a down-under voice teasing when they are about to whomp you. It, however, takes away the real socialization.

Virtual convenience is nice, however,IMG_0767 we as adults, our kids, our grandkids, our friends, we also need to keep our social skills up, we need to take advantage of the value of being real- in real time… to be able to interact and not feel lost in the world.

We can in balance embrace the various incredible things that are available to us, things to make our life easier… yet we need to be aware of what is important at the end of the day, what is a need, what are we doing as a “cop-out” or because it is just less demanding of our time… and what is a want.

Thoughts to ponder…. Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy





The holidays are in full swing right now. People going totally bonkers shopping here and there and buying baked goods and gifts and this and that. We had some shopping to do and I totally dreaded the thought of Saturday, 2 weekends left before Christmas and the crowds.

So we hit the stores by 8 AM. yep smartest move of the day. We did not have a lot to get, I had baking to do- I wanted to make some special things for a special time tomorrow.  The goal was to be home and baking while people are out there fighting for parking spaces, and huffing and puffing in line because they are being inconvenienced by waiting in line, yep- got home before the shoppers had their first cup of coffee.

We even finished our journey with a coffee and Dunkin, and some relax time before heading home.  20181215_114907Then the fun times began. This is the end result of my first of 4 treats…. mixing ingredients together and grating apples up, and poof apple muffins about to bake.

While these were baking I started project number 2- making an apple strawberry pie for us to cut into small pieces and freeze, taking one out every once in a while for a small treat. That went in the over when the muffins came out.

While that was baking it was time to make cinnamon donuts and donut holes. I bag each separately and put them in the freezer for a treat. Mark likes to get one for a breakfast type item with his AM cup of coffee.

As the donuts were cooling before their deep freeze, I took the apple muffins and kept some out for tomorrow and the rest individually frozen for sometime in the future.

Last but not least the pie came out and in went a dump cake to cook to a yummy delight. – that too for tomorrow. Finally after hours and hours of shuffling, and mixing and cooking ta da……. ( The pie has “I LOVE YOU” on it, but it is hard to read. )20181215_171616

The dump cake and plate of muffins all set to go over to our special treat.

Tomorrow Adrianne and Josh, Caleb and Mackenzie are coming to Phoenix for a family dinner at Amanda and Jeffs and their 3 kids.

I am looking forward to having everyone in the same place. Adrianne and Jeff have been brother and sister since they were 3. swimming-at-camp-1990-001.jpgLots of years have gone by since then, and Mark and I both tried very hard to have them always feel like they were brother and sister.

I always loved this picture, because it is one of many that shows what I mean.

This was at a pool at a campsite that used to be near here- it is now closed …. Yep, we tried to make weekends special…. we had a pop-up camper and would take them camping on weekends when our schedules allowed. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday, but it was a while ago.

So tomorrow we once again will all be together. The time will be way too fast, and all way special. Life is short, we have one chance at each minute. and tomorrow, I am going to try to make every minute a treasure. Whatever you finish your weekend with, I hope you too treasure the gift each minute is.

Until later… Mrs Justa alias Cindy

I was thinking this past week about learning something new or doing something repetitively and what is the end result.

Last weekend, we had the Black Belt Ceremony I mentioned a few posts back. Those individuals did not just wake up one morning and poof could work in synchronization with a stage full of other, they couldn’t make those moves and stay focused just by thinking about it.

This thought surfaces a lot to me. Everywhere we go, what we see, our jobs, our walking, driving, interactions, those improve often by doing them over and over again. This becomes even deeper of a thought when we get into every day.

I was reminded the other day of our day to day life. While I was in a waiting room, I overheard a person say on her cell phone that she prefers to text people, and not have them call her. She said to the person on the phone something about being more comfortable communicating that way, she can put down what she wants without to SAY.

That comment she made, well it made me think about all the things we have at our fingertips to make life easier, to be able to move at a faster pace. Each thing has its benefits- however, they should not replace the more personal, hands-on, practicing talent, task, interactions or skill.

When I have been trained, and when I have trained others. The teaching included showing the pieces to the action being taught, having the other demonstrate the action/ talent/ skill being taught, and letting the trainee do it themselves over and over again, but having the steps checked until it is assured they know it more naturally. I currently am going through one of those teachings, showing and demonstrating times in my life. Learning a new role at work, listening, taking notes, seeing it done, and having the “baton” passed so I can demonstrate I am becoming more comfortable and confident in each step. As the days pass, and I look back a couple months, I realize how far I have come, yet am realistic at the journey ahead as more processes and steps are introduced and one day become something I am proficient at. 20160826_104327

Even though life is like that, we need to make darn sure before we take the “easy” way, we have personally become comfortable in a more personal way. We need also to understand practice makes us more proficient. From learning how to walk, and being able to walk… to learning how to add, subtract, speak in an intellectual conversation, cook, doing a game, reading a book, the list is infinite.

Virtual meetings, training, communicating makes so much of life so much better. We can jot a thought in an instant message at 2AM, and the other person can get it whenever they are awake…  Yet, there is a fine line when we could realize that our personal relationships, our whole life has become virtual. If life gets to a point when we could move away, go to a different city, state, country, and our life would be the same, no one would even know we moved, that is a  message that we have not only taken advantage of the virtual life conveniences, we have let them take over us.

When was the last time you …. fill in the blank? And if the power was off / the internet down/ ( that list goes on and on too) … do you know how to improvise?

When was the last time you looked into a personal eyes and spoke – face to face? When was the last time you touched a deck of cards or held a book? Have you ever done a no electronics evening or weekend?

Even though the modern conveniences make life able to be more productive, more chaotic, more impersonal, we need to stop and not let it replace the 3D life we are blessed with. I would rather hold a child’s hand, then hold a cell phone and screen chat.IMG_3468 I would rather sit at a table and play a game of ( the list is so long… ie: cards, Yahtzee, Scrabble, Sorry, Trouble….. and on and on) than to only ever play it on my electronic device.

Yes, the books on our electronic devices are great, and being able to do a 1000 piece puzzle and never worry about that one lost piece or someone messing it up… those are all great. I just do not to ever become so dependent on the “no touch” that it becomes me.

As this weekend begins, I am looking forward to what the day will bring, who will I personally see face to face? Who will I talk to and not type my words to? What will I do that is hands on? What will I remember more vividly because of those one to one moments? I am off to experience life and all there is in the minutes ahead.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy





6-25-2012-Syracuse-and-Oswego-NY-004_thumb.jpgOh boy, it seems like every single Election time that I have experienced in my life, they get nastier and nastier. The ads on TV are almost nauseating. She did this, he did that…instead of totally focusing on themselves and what they see as their contribution to each of our futures.

After MONTHS of rather pointed shots at one another, it is kinda hard for me personally to see the sense in all that money for advertising.

My intent of this is not to specifically talk about one side of the fence or the other. Political parties should be a personal thing. Not something that is what you wear, but more something you trust is the best for you.

Friends, families, employment, relationships may never mend or new ones ever form, precious moments are all torn apart by nasty comments or cynical actions. Once upon a time, in a land long ago, we talked to one another in person or, in a letter, or on the phone. The voting was personal, at least in my life. We did not flaunt with the support of our 800 friends on social media how the political figure is either a blessing or a curse. We did not have the capability to unfriend a “friend” in a keystroke those who did not believe what we believe, our friends were really our friends. A person you knew you could call at a moments notice, and they would be there for you.

And ya know what, at the end of the day, all the people go about their day to day activities, our new elected officials start focusing on their new roles, no matter what we do, our days go on, and if we don’t like it– well do not fret- in only 6 months the next 18 months of political jargon starts again – this time for a major election. BUT FOR NOW- I am so looking forward to hearing about how this product is better, or where to get the best vacation memories from.  Ahhhhh…..

Have a great day ! Mrs. Justa… alias Cindy



Whoa, this is a tough concept to grasp. Personally, I am surprised I have any teeth left after the times’ life has kicked me in them. I would think it is safe to say that by the time we reach even 20-30 years old, we have had some not so good times happen. If I listed all of mine, well it would be a tad longer than the novel Moby Dick. For today I am going to reminisce on one.

First I have to admit as the bad moments seem to engulf my life, there is absolutely no one or any way I can think of, see, or believe that there is anything good from it.


Life is like pebbles on the shore, some pretty some jaded

It may take years or decades to even have the courage to look at those times from afar. However, personally, I have been able to see the whole picture the further and further away I get from it.

There are times I do not know the whole picture, components I should not know, will never know, and that too is intended to be. Sometimes I just have to step back and comfort my pain with, the thought there was a reason. No one has the answers, and none of us can know why God’s plan hurts at times.

This particular realization I am looking at today, it took me 40 + years to look in the tapestry of my life and see some light in the dark colors.

For the first 10 yrs of my life, my family continued to grow in numbers ( a new child every 1 1/2 to 2 yrs )and we lived in rental places. I had 4 yrs of life in an upper flat in Bridgeport Cn, that followed with 3 different home in the Skaneateles NY area.

Four months before I turned 10, my parents found and bought a home in Bayberry. This was such an amazing event, it was fairly new, in a suburban neighborhood, we could walk to school, to church and stores, we were safe playing kickball in the street, we had lots of other kids, places to ride our bikes for hours without ever leaving the community, a great place to raise children, and mom could be a stay at home mom, comfortable with the safety of her more dependent children as we frolicked outside like happy puppies.

And then 4 months into this life, we were blessed to be in , boom….  the month of my 10th birthday, our dad was in the hospital he had had a heart attack. Mom had told us when dad came home he would be in a wheelchair at least until he regained his strength, we knew life was going to be way different.

Well, he never left that hospital, my mom at that time was 9 months very pregnant with her 6th child. Mom went into labor on the night before dad was to come home, a neighbor took her to the hospital, and the next morning VERY early… dad had died and mom gave birth.

I gotta tell you that moment in our lives was hard to figure out the whys. It was a time when it would be easy to not believe in anything. We had the cutest new sister, and dad never came home to enjoy the new addition to our family. Plus our “stay at home mom,” could no longer be. Mom went to college got her bachelors degree as she worked as a teaching assistant during the day at the local school district. Pam and I ( 11 and 10) became the child care in the after school/ evening times.

For years it was not easy, but looking back now… had we not had that bought home, where would our family have ended up?  We owned no residence before that time, I think in the plan of life, coloring in the grays with brighter colors, the move to Bayberry was one of those times when the bad, really also was a blessing for our future after dads death.

We were safe, we had a precious bundle of joy to help ease the pain, we  had neighbors helping neighbors, people helped us without ever being asked, so even as heartwrenching, as deep the hurt was, as scary, and as dark as those moments were, we were in the best place considering the whole picture.

Once I really looked beyond the pain, I was reminded once again, that life was never meant to be easy, but life is a blessing every single day I see the sun rise and set.

Until later, my love to all… Cindy, alias  Mrs. Justa

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