Some people in life are like the Rock of Gibraltar. It is a reference used for hundreds of years in varying settings, gibraltarbasically thinking of them as a place one can rely on for support, providing confidence, never faltering.

And when that Rock isn’t feeling 100%, it is like the universe is not aligned.

My mom was like that, the dependable person, always supporting, never showing signs of weakness, or inability to perform at her best. Like an ever-ready bunny. On those few occasions when she just was not at 100%, I felt like nothing was for certain if that makes sense. Also, I felt like I wanted to help her, but since she didn’t really let anyone know how they could help her, I would do little things to appear like I was making a difference, but maybe I wasn’t.

I kinda do the same thing that mom did,. I rarely ask for help, and I have the infamous to do list, I just keep ticking along, step after step. and I get things done.

Well, this week has not been that way.

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I have been battling a lot of upper head congestion, and an annoying as all get out cough, and just not feeling right. It is an effort to do things that normally just get done. Mark is offering to help where he can, – the God, but I just want to feel better.

Ya know I am sick if I sleep in- or go to take a nap. Yesterday I got up at 1PM. And I have gone to bed at 11PM the night before. That is totally not me. Nope, I am a 5-6 hr sleep is enough person.

Today though I worked on the taxes, Mark helped, and we got through them. Damn- THANK GOD for ONLINE ability- and THANK GOD for TURBOTAX !!!! I can not even imagine being half as smart as turbo tax is !

Now that is done , it is one thing off the TODO list that was like a staple line on each of my to-do lists since 1-1-19. So I am giving into this crappy last few weeks, and not going to do more than necessary- hopefully tomorrow will be me— back to being me. I hope this finds you as strong as the Rock of Gibraltar… I will look forward to that strength, that shield of indestructible armor tomorrow.

Until later— Mrs justa alias CIndy



We all have had times when life can seem overwhelming, or a day is coming quicker than we want it to and we have so much to do to prepare for whatever that day is marked for. It can be a situation at home, at work, a special event, a party, a wedding, a change-in-life event. The bottom line is, we can be all focused on the moment way before it happens, and it can stress us to the max.

One thing I have learned from life,

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and also have to steadily remind myself that I have learned it is you get to the peak of the mountain one step at a time, if we look up at it and know we need to get there, we see it as one giant step, but it isn’t.

It is true for every single thing really. A shawl is crocheted one stitch at a time. A novel is written one word at a time. A driveway full of snow is cleared one step at a time.

img_0814.jpgNature itself takes one step at a time. If it did not, we would not experience a walk through deep snow or sand between our toes.  How many grains of sand make a seashore? How many snowflakes does it take to make an inch of snow?

That currently is how I look at everything. The important thing is we take those steps. We have our lives in order, we lessen the “good intentions” and turn them into works in process, and at some point a completion, a check off the to-do list of life.

Just think of all the things that would never be- if the focus on the summit discouraged the process to begin. If the thought of the finished bridge made it overwhelming to begin…

I currently am updating a reference sheet of our life, it is a good intention, meant to do it a zillion times in the past few YEARS, and now I will take the steps to get it completed for right now.

A reference sheet of life informs those who might be covering for us if we are sick, or have to be away for a while, or when we leave this earth for our permanent home. It tells who is owed what, what insurances we have, what accounts we have, is there a will, who is the lawyer. Where things are filed and kept. It is never finalized, as things will change, but it needs to be updated and checked for currentness probably every year at the max.

I looked at ours and it has information that is no longer accurate. So that is my mountain summit for right now. One word at a time, one line at a time– it will feel good to get to the top.

I hope you have a great day, take one step at a time. Until alter, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

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 am thinking today about how sometimes children will see something, or say something, and you have no idea how they had that insight. 20190205_183848How they knew. This is Jeff at the age of this example.

For the first couple years of his life Jeff and I had lived in Prattburg, NY.  I had been there for 3 years before Jeff was born. It was a rather small town in the southern tier of NY and neighbors were a ways away from each other.  My husband at the time worked in Rochester, so that was 1 1/2 hrs each way. Needless to say, it was not a place where you would be if you were looking for suburban life.

I had met a couple of women, wives of friends of my husband, Billie Jo and Lindy. Before Jeff was born, the 3 families became an extended family. Once Jeff was born, our kids played together and Lindy’s father in law, well he was “Papa”. 1549409114870-e894c1df-9a70-4475-b5f9-047ba5d6e5c8

Papa took me in and Billie Jo in as pseudo daughters. He was a great man. Cooked incredible Italian meals, and loved every minute of life. His laughter was jolly, his heart real. The kids were his extended grandkids. When I was pregnant, he often took me to the OB appointments because it was 45 minutes from our house. He and Billie Jo were part of the group who were at the hospital when I went in for having Jeff. As Jeff grew, Papa would visit him, daily. Jeff grew to look at Papa as a grandfather, he loved Papa and Papa had a way to have kids melt as he entered the room.

Jeff would always go and find a toy to show him, and Papa would act like it was the first time he saw it each time. About a yr after My husband and I had separated, and I moved with Jeff closer to Rochester, Jeff saw Papa very infrequently. I found out that Papa had been in the hospital. It was in June 1985, I remember  I gathered quickly pictures of Jeff and mailing them to the hospital with a card. Lindy told me later that Papas face lit up when he received them

Not too long after that, as I was driving to daycare, Jeff held firmly in his car seat, I saw Jeff look almost to the horizon and raising his head slowly as raised his head to the sky- as far up as possible.

I asked him “Jeff what are you looking at?”He looked at me, with such innocence, such sincerity, and seriousness and with the words I will never forget he said: ” I just saw Papa go up in the sky”. I thought that so unusual, so amazing that this 3 yr old, this precious child saw something and knew what he saw. I tried to support him, and tell him it was probably clouds in the early morning, maybe Papa was looking at Jeffs picture… jeff gave me a little smile. He knew not what that meant except the facts of what he saw and shared with me.

This weighed heavy on my mind and so after work, I made some calls to see how Papa was doing. I was told that  Papa had died earlier. We went to the calling hours, and after a lot of thinking, we felt that Jeff should go too. We felt he would be able to finalize that Papa was always going to be special to him, and we felt him seeing him in the casket would be better than wondering if Papa was going to visit. We got there, and there was a step in front of the casket, Jeff stepped up and had quite a little discussion with Papa, knowing that he could not respond. I know I was crying, over watching the innocence of Jeff, and also the loss of Papa. We brought Jeff into the meeting room area, and as we got ready to leave, he pulled my hand and said: “Wait, we have to tell Papa goodbye.”  He walked over, climbed up the step, put his hands on papa and told him goodbye and he loved him.”  That pretty much did me in…   The incredible experiences we cannot define, the things that happen, the precious innocence of youth, the unexplained blessings.

Until later, Mrs Justa, alias Cindy



This past weekend I took the AARP On Line-Driver Safety  Training course, my 3 year certificate was about to expire, so time to refresh my mind and acclimate to changes there may be in traffic laws. One road signspart was describing sign images and road markings, I had to fill in what they were for. It was amazing how many signs we deal with just with driving! The signs all have meanings, and the more advanced we get, it seems like the more signs there will be. If you miss a sign, it can be detrimental to us, our passengers, and those sharing the highway with us. As I went through this, I could hear Jeffs little toddler voice and giggle in my mind.

When Jeff was about 30 months old, we had a huge life change, my marriage had become a separation and that required Jeff and me to start traveling quite a bit.  A 2 1/2 yr old who is used to being home with mom all the time, well traveling was a new experience. We traveled From Prattsburg to Liverpool, and then once we had an apartment in Honeoye Falls, we traveled daily to his new daycare center, and I went off to work.  We would sing songs and jibber back and forth, and during our journeys, I made up and we played a road trip game.

I would tell him what the pavement signs meant- it gave him something to see all the way from point A to point B. I loved it, and am so thankful as he aged he did not think it was a requirement everytime he was in a car. But in the 2-3 yrs of his life, well it brought us laughing and focusing on the road ( literally ) .

The game was this: he needed to see if we couldpavement marking pass or not- ( even though I do not pass on 2 lane roads most of the time.

AS I drove, depending on the the yellow lines he would say “PASS”, or “NO PASS”, or “THEY PASS”, or “WE PASS” It was such a joy each time I would say he was correct. It helped to make the miles an experience, and not just an expectation for him to sit in his Strollee Car seat and be expected to just be quiet. HMMM, I wonder if subconsciously he still thinks “PASS”, or “NO PASS”, or “THEY PASS”, or “WE PASS” as he drives down the highways?

As I wandered my way through the pavement and road sign section of the class,  I thought about way back then and smiled as I identified the pavement markings and the road signs.

Until later, WATCH THOSE SIGNS– they are everywhere you go…. Mrs Justa alias Cindy


As I think of life and the challenges it brings I am reminded of my grandmother. The first 4 yrs of my life we blessed with her presence. In that time though, this woman left a lasting impression on me. She had lost her vision before I was born. My mom had told us she had undergone surgery for glaucoma and her optic nerve was so damaged that she lost her vision.

We lived in an upper flat in Bridgeport Conn, and it is amazing what I remember from those beginning years of my life. We lived there together, my parents, my grandmother, my older sisters and me. Karen was 10 yrs older than me, so I am sure she remembers much more than I do. Pam was 1 1/2 yrs older.

My grandmother though, singer-closedeven though she had not literal sight, she did amazing things. We, as children, needed to make sure we did not move furniture or leave toys on the floor.  I remember wanting to help hold my grandmother’s hand to help her at times. In the apartment, I remember there was this sewing machine and it seems like it was in a corridor or a hallway. She loved sewing, and even though she could not use her eyes, she used her sense of touch. This sewing machine was totally manual. singerWe would open up the table and she could sit at it, put her feet on the pedal plate and as she pushed up and down on the treadle, the machine would sew.  I would watch her sew aprons, napkins, things the had square pieces of fabric. My mom must have cut the squares of material, but my grandmother would sew the pieces together, rocking back and forth on the treadle. If something moved out of place, I would help her by getting it.  I loved the time with her and I remember trying to imagine not seeing, and amazed by her ability to not let that stop her.

I do not remember her doing things in the kitchen, but I also remember her holding me on her lap.March 1953 with Gramma and first birthday (2) It was a sense I just always remember being there. This picture is me on her lap and Pam next to us.  I remember bedtime stories as she “read”. Pam and I would help turn pages as she seemed to be at the next part of the story, and sometimes we would tell her she skipped a page.

When you are born and people are a part of your life from the start, they are a part of why the sun rises and sets. You just know they are there. I truly loved her, Dec 1954 with grammaher embrace was comforting, her love was welcoming, her determination to live life to the best she could, she was such an inspiration to me. I often wonder if I ever drove her crazy. Pam and I were so different, she was more subdues, me I think I was always kinda silly, active, and hmmm probably a little overwhelming at times.

I remember the day I saw her last… I was 4,  she was at the sewing machine and she said was unable to lift the needle, her hands were not working. I remember her being frightened, and me being scared and getting my mom. I remember an ambulance coming, the men who came and got her, and as they drove away, not understanding what was happening. That was the end of that chapter in my life, she never came home. When she left her earthly home, ended up in her eternal home, she may have left the world in a physical sense, but the things that matter, her soul, her spiritual gifts, those never died, and as confusing as it was to me at four, her determination, her accepting adversity, her unending appreciation for each moment, that lives on. What a blessing she was to me, she helped to lay the foundation blocks of my life, and to remind me that life was never promised to be easy, it is a gift and a matter of attitude how we handle it.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

Lessons we learn in life. I was once told a VERY long time ago , as I experimented with things, that I would remember these moments in life. I do remember a lot of crazy things I did, and  to this day  I can not even imagine why i did some of them !

As the temperature drops and the wind chills 20181205_074029-2bring it to the negative  double digits .. yeah BELOW ZERO, I would like to share a moment that you need not repeat- nope this is one of those many things I recommend you just take my word for .

Now, most people would not even have thought of this in the first place, however, I might just save one person from this rather memorable experience.

Let me paint the picture- first back when we were kids, we played outside no matter what the temperature was. We loved gathering with the kids on the block and we would do things depending on the season, temperature and weather. Sometimes we would do things to be funny. This was one of those moments when an action resulted in a science experiment, even though it was not meant to be that.

There were a bunch of us together on our front porch, it was really cold out, snow everywhere, and the sun shining. I was being a wisecracker and somehow thought this would be funny. ( Well it was to all around me… at first)

I was pretending I was my mom, carrying in a hand full of groceries, storm-door-handle-1and I did a little skit- the kids all followed me as I put on this make-believe skit… I came to the storm door and demonstrated how she did not need to put the paper grocery bags down she could just bend over and open the door with her mouth. I bent down and put the door handle totally in my mouth. Immediately the kids laughed, HA HA Ha…oh such fun, and immediately I was wishing I had not thought of this really not so smart move.

Yep- my tongue and lips were feeling like they were permanently a part of the front door. I could not move, I was stuck and everyone was roaring laughing for a few seconds, the laughter changed and became more like a terror for all. No one could go in the door to get me help. So one of my siblings ran to the garage door screaming “Mom, Cindy is stuck to the door, come quickly.” She first came to the front door, and upon opening the inside door saw me bent over with my face at door knob level- I am sure she glimpsed a look of terror in my eyes. she closed the door- and I heard her going down the stairs to the garage…

Mom came running out, and at first, she asked something like “Did you put your mouth around the doorknob?”  If I had not been in such a panic I might have said something I would regret later…. , but the tears were only making matters worse. My mom, she was a fast-thinking troubleshooter, so she calmly told me to breathe deep breaths. She told me the warm air would help to melt the attachment.  TA DA…… She saved the day, but not without the mom questions like ” What were you thinking ???” ( Well that was not very easy to answer) … and she ended with her comment she said to me OFTEN.. ” Bet you will think twice before doing that again !”

So as it is getting super cold…. please take my experience and do not put your mouth on ANYTHING outside. My mouth still remembers the pain…

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

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