Mark


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 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

 

 

There was a very popular song from the mid-1970s that Paul Anka had done and Kodak used it as an advertising jingle. The lyrics are very meaningful to me- and as I take photographs and look at photos from times gone by, as I reminisce on times captured in the Windows or my mind and heart, well this melody and its’  words- it plays in my head.

“Good morning, yesterday
You wake up and time has slipped away
And suddenly it’s hard to find
The memories you left behind
Remember, do you remember?

The laughter and the tears
The shadows of misty yesteryears
The good times and the bad you’ve seen
And all the others in between
Remember, do you remember
The times of your life? ………..

Reach out for the joy and the sorrow
Put them away in your mind
The memories are times that you borrow
To spend when you get to tomorrow

The seasons are passing one by one
So gather moments while you may
Collect the dreams you dream today
…….. will you remember
The times of your life?

……….
Do you remember the times of your life?”

For me, as this weekend with family enters its last day and a half, the June-2013-029_thumb.jpgmoments already created and those yet to come, I want to remember the laughter, the realization that we were all placed in the places we are now, because of the roads we have traveled. My wish is that everyone has those moments, those “TImes of Your Life”, that can play over and over again as the days become moments in our journey, little monuments or landscapes.

Until later, Mrs. Justa alias Cindy

       I am sitting here listening to nothing but the hum of the modem next to me. The dog is sleeping and Mark has just said he was going to bed. I am tired, yet not feeling like I can get to bed quite yet. These last 4 months have been anything but easy for me or for Mark either. He has been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder for a long time. I am trying to pinpoint the actual diagnosis and I think it was around 2004. Before the diagnosis, there were times of extreme energy, and extreme “insight”, extreme anger, enlightening, followed by significant depression and paranoia sometimes on both sides of the spectrum.

  After the diagnosis, as we looked in the rearview mirror of our life, we realized that the times of behaviors that were not his normal self-were most likely  cycling through mania or depressions, and we could pretty much pinpoint the cycling was once every 4-5 yrs, and through the years it became more frequent, cyclical and seemed to be certain months/seasons each year.  After the diagnosis and medical treatment, 3 hospitalizations, and after trying a few types of medications, the docs for the meds that worked for him. Meds that helped to control the highs from getting too high and the lows from getting too low.

Well, this last manic episode, the current one, has been going on for 4 months, and it has been probably the most fluctuating, and high energy one yet. There have been quick decisions, fast changes, to the point that from one moment to the next it can feel like the direction changed  360 degrees. Now I am not saying the changes (as I step back and look are bad, )they are just rapid, and for a non-manic person, it is really exhausting.  I am doing my best to keep up with the latest changes, and I think when everything settles down, we won’t regret the changes, but he will be looking at it like he ran a 1000 mile marathon, and with his disabilities, that would be an impossible feat.      (20180314_193806.jpg  This photo represents the speed and number of thoughts and changes these last 4 months have been like )

Everything he has done, he has learned, he has made happen has been with the best of intention. To secure our future, our kids future, and their kids future. It has been 4 months of very little sleep, learning about how investing works, evaluating and adjusting our vehicle situation, thinking about where we live and where we may want to live in years to come, reaching out to family he had not spoken to in a very long time, realizing life is precious, and analyzing every nook and cranny of our life. He has not meant to, but cannot stop talking at times, assuming how an interaction will go that has not yet happened and having conversations with that person before the event even materializes ( if it ever will)

So that is why I am here typing,  the silence right now is priceless. I love him to pieces, and I am sure he has no idea how many words he can say in a short period of time, or how all the things that make sense to him, are hard to process for me, as his mouth cannot keep up with his mind or his thoughts. I read an article on being in a marriage with a Bipolar spouse, and one of the things mentioned is to deep breathe, well I have been a deep breather for a long time, but I have taken it to new levels, my lungs have got to be the clearest they have ever been.  All of the symptoms mentioned he has displayed, and FINALLY, I feel we are starting to calm the symptoms down. It has got to do a number on his body, the non stop everything, the emotions from ecstatic to such anger and rage, the lack of sleep, the continuing fast pace of his brain, and feeling like he is in a fog at times, that all has to take a toll on one’s body.

  HE tries frequently to take off for a bit to give me a break, and even though it is nice he does that, the mania can contribute to more new ideas, more changes. He will take his kindle and cell phone and head off to the library, or Dunkin Donuts and work on things he is doing there.

His doctor just doubled his one medication, and that is slowly working so he can sleep through the night. Last night was the first night he slept more than 2-3 hrs. Yeah, I think he actually slept for 7 hrs last night. I too was sleeping, as it has been a ride and a half. He said he does not feel as scattered or spinning as he has been. He tries to appreciate my needs during the day, but it is not easy for him.    I have learned many times over that Bipolar is not able to be managed without professional care. That med management or therapy might each work, but for the best care, you need both. The therapist should be one who understands bipolar disorder and also how it affects people in different phases of their life. As a person ages, the disorder takes on different characteristics, at least that is what I am witnessing.

 The internet is such a wealth of information, and there are forums and support groups for anything you can think of, BUT I do feel the internet can also be a trigger for the mania to be refed as it is trying to slow down. There is so much coming at us from all kinds of areas, it can be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

So as I sit here in silence, I am thankful he can sleep, I am spending some time praying, talking to God, I am trying to gather my thoughts and I am thankful for all the positive things that have happened and also thankful for the support of our family members who have been there through all of this. It has not been easy, not for me, or for him. Thank God for our children, for our grandkids, for his mom, for our children’s spouses, for our friends who understand and for our church.

 One of the MANY things that have been accomplished in a very short period of time, is he signed up for a domain name and will have a website up and running hopefully in a few weeks. We need to take time to dedicate solely to that, to design the web pages and have the platform for him, for me, for others to post on and for him to share some of his thoughts, some of his experiences, some of him that is what makes him the incredible person that he is. So be watching for his blogs to start on his very own website in weeks to come.  There will be things written, that come from his mind through his hands and end up as words on the screen, things that I do not know, things that show what makes him who he is.      So thanks for reading this, thanks for your time. Say a prayer that the meds will continue to slow him down a bit so he can see the world,  so he can stop and hear things being said, so he can stop and see all the gifts God gives us every single minute, every single breath, every single day.

Until later….                                     Mrs Justa  is signing off.

 

 

After we came back from the first family reunion,100_1023 which was my side of the family,3 weeks later  we went to a camp site North East of Lockport NY and had our family reunion with our kids and our kids kids.

This is the 2nd year we have done this and it is really nice to do it.

We can focus on one another and being less people it is a great way for the cousins to play together and our kids to spend time together.

Life is so darn short, life is so darn busy, we just do not get together enough. We were there for 2 full days, leaving on the third day in the morning. 100_1065As I look back at the time I think I was most moved by just watching the interactions and realizing that all of this could not have been possible without Marks and my children. Adrianne and her kids came out on the 1st full day we were there for an afternoon and evening, her husband unfortunately was not feeling good and could not make it. She said maybe next year she will plan to camp the full time too… It was awesome to spend time with them.

The other part that was special to me was 100_1061some one on one time I was able to spend with Emily. Emily is now 16 and being a teen is not easy ever, I think it is tougher in 2013 than it was when I was a teen. Emily is a smart young lady and she has a pretty good sense of humor. I just like spending time with her. That was special.

I also love time with our kids and their spouses, it is so neat to watch them interact, like they just saw each other the day before, we did miss Josh though. The time separated seems to disappear. And their kids – our grandkids are funny to watch. Jeff and Amanda’s kids are 3 and almost 5 and Adrianne and Josh’s kids are almost 2 and 4. 100_1053So they go right up the totem pole of toddler ages. They walked around, they rode bikes, they watched as we tried to fly kites, they played until they dropped with exhaustion. The magic of the fire, the wonder of the sunset, the toasting of s’mores, the memories are priceless.

I feel blessed to have this opportunity and I look back at all the bumps in the road, the hills of life climbed, the slopes sometimes slipped on—they all led us to here. And ya know what— every tear, every smile, every wonder, every pray— it was all worth it. 100_1114

Until the next post…. hang on to the blessings that come before you..watch for the simplest things that mean so much. Love to all, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

One of the things that the boys faamily reunion 2013 (2)did was come over to our site and use sidewalk chalk and draw on our driveway. We moved our truck down to give them room and kind of create a boundary line form the park road.

They decided to draw emergency vehicles… the top big one is a police car, the middle was an ambulance and the bottom one became a fire truck.

a little later on I needed to move the truck back up in the driveway about 5 feet. Then I was going to go in the camper and get stuff ready for dinner . The boys wanted to join me. Being the truck is pretty high up in the air, I told the boys they had to get in the truck and I would move it. ( That way I did not have to worry they were in the driveway as I moved it.)

From LONG ago— if I had a kid in a vehicle, before I closed the door I would say—“Hands on heads” ( that way the fingers were not going to be in the door frame… ) So I had the boys pop up in the truck on the passengers side and I said “Hands on heads..” I saw they were both doing that and I closed the door. faamily reunion 2013 (55)I moved quickly to the drivers side and opened the door…I had to laugh as Brandon said “ Gamma how long do we have to hold our heads?”

After taking the photo, I released them from position !!

Camping is a time to remember that you have places things go, and they need to get back in their place when you are done with them. You want to make sure what ever it is, that you have what you need and know where it is…

Like the shower stuff goes in a tote bag, you go to the shower, almost methodically take things out in a certain order, and put them back after. I was a little anal with the shower, wanting to make sure it was clean when I got in and clean for the next person. So on the tote bag, in a pocket was a spray bottle of Mr Clean and a squeegee. I really did not mind spraying it before and after, and felt that I was helping somewhat to make it more comfortable.

Now that I am on the other side of this rather weird experience… I can laugh …so here goes…..  on Weds….it was hot and humid, so I decided to wear capri pants that day. Well I  wanted to get my A.M shower and thought that I should shave my legs, so I  made sure I packed the razor—along with all the other stuff… I went over and cleaned the shower, turned on the HOT water..ahhh…. got the razor out and went about my business, when all of the sudden I felt a stinging… I cut my leg !! ( I had not done that since I was 13 !!!) So here I am… all I have is my soap, a scrunggie, shampoo, Mr Clean, clean clothes, my dirty clothes, a white towel and a squeegee. So I am frantically spraying the shower , trying to hold my leg up in mid air and press on the area, as hot water is pouring down on me, wondering how the heck I am going to get from the shower to the camper. I still had to wash my hair—so I did that on one leg- the other kinda swinging back and forth in the air, my body swaying with it…. occasionally needing to grip the wall and I am envisioning me totally loosing my balance and falling out of the shower with my less than taut wet body slapping on the floor..and who knows who would be standing there looking at me… fortunately that did not happen- . But I was still in a predicament – see if I lowered my leg it was going to bleed- so I am trying to maneuver around in this rather precarious position. I knew no one in there..and was thinking ( my mind was like a slot machine –tick tick ticking..) I am looking at my clothes, my white towel and finally came up with tying my slightly used underwear around my leg like a tourniquet and hobbling faamily reunion 2013 (16)back to the camper.  I was relieved to see I had not brought my capris there—for the underwear would have been showing as it soaked up the blood… as I walked back. It was a definite Girl Scout move !!.   I slowly dried off my body, quickly towel dried my hair, did the Mr Clean squeegee process—all as I wobbled on one leg…. then back to the camper.. Oh I can assure you that I carefully stepped ..as I did not my make shift tourniquet to fall off on the pathway… I got in the camper—and put on a rather tight band aid, shared my experience with Mark… and chuckled at the what could have beens as I rinsed out the blood…

Looking at my leg today- I am amazed my process kept it from bleeding—I did not nick it.. I skinned it about 1 1/2 inches long !!. dang !! No wonder it stung… HA.. the joys if improvising..the joys of camping…I love camping… but think my bath bag will now include band aids.. LOL.. Have a great night..more family reunion thoughts to come again soon… Love to all, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

family reunion 2013 077 (7)

Well another year has past for our family reunion. I am from a family of 9 brothers and sisters, one sister has died and our parents are both deceased. We live in various parts of the country and we try really hard to get together. This year there were some of us, not all of us. This year we went back to the State Park my mom had chosen so many years ago. It was really not bad, we got heavy rain one evening, but the base of the fire was strong enough to withstand the rain and light up some more logs. It was neat to see the cousins spend time together. family reunion 2013 077 (15)Wish my brothers who could not make it had… it was strange not to have them and their families there. We were missing some nieces and nephews and their kids….

We had no cell phone coverage, we had electric on the sites and public bathrooms. Some people tented, some had trailers, some hoteled it….  all seemed to have a good time.

As we entered the weekend and started to observe things, we came to realize there was a passing of the baton so to speak. When we started to go to this part- we were in our 30s and our kids were 7 . Now we are some  of the elders and our kids have kids of their own. Jeff and Amanda became the dinner site- we all gather together for dinner, a dish to pass and eat our family reunion 2013 077 (21)meals, talk, laugh and end it with a nice campfire and s’mores and memories being created.

Adrianne has not been to a reunion for years- but I bet she would like to sometime in the future.. she had mentioned tenting it at some point with her family… and heck if they are more on the line of hotel people, there are some people who do stay in hotels. One year we rented a cabin off site and one year we rented a cabin in a town near by….—that is an option too,.….their kids will be a better age next year… hmmm….maybe they will come too.

The transition was subtle at first, but became more apparent as the clock ticked to 10 PM and Mark and I were headed to the camper to call it a night… leaving behind the 30 something year olds and the younger cousins. Yikes.. we were the “older relatives” who went to bed early…

The kids seemed to totally love the camping experience, and I have to admit I soaked in watching their smiles, there sense of adventure, and looking at how totally exhausted they got from being outdoors, faamily reunion 2013 (89)from going “creeking” and from building sand castles.

I thought about all the electronic devices and the automation we have in our homes- and even though they are nice… … (as Mark says to the boys… _)

“this is living… it doesn’t get any better than this !”

And ya know what he is right!. Regardless of our various challenges in life,

regardless of our stressors our hectic sometimes lives… when we got here—the waters smoothed, the days were peaceful, the experience was something I am so glad we got to share…the only regrets are the people who could not be there…. but than again –we do have next year !!.

So I am off…. kinda chilling tonight…. reminiscing …feeling blessed. Love to all… Mrs Justa alias Cindy,

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