I gotta tell ya, this is now rolling into my least favorite time of the year. The best thing that happened this time of year was my niece and sister were born. But I am reminded every year of the pain too.

I can not help by go back to  1963

100_002710 years old is  supposed to be a time in our lives where the road to adolescence is being paved and laid down… where Barbie dolls and Roller skates are changing to 10 speed bikes and sleep overs. When it is still okay to get tucked in at night, and you want to be brave and not have the night light on…when you knew pretty soon you no longer could sit on dads lap very comfortably, where the dreams of becoming a teenager seemed to be coming more real.

Yes… a time when life begins to change…and for me.. it changed all right.

It changed for our whole family. I’ve written about it before… and yet it all surfaces again..each year. My dad had one into the hospital –he  went in on my 10th birthday with a heart attack.

My mom was VERY pregnant and she would drive to the hospital every evening with the 5 kids in the car, she would leave us in the lobby at the hospital, and she would go up and visit him.
We were not allowed to go up there. So volunteer women would take moments to stay with us in the lobby. They brought us paper to draw on, tried to distract our worried thoughts, my sister was 11, me 10.. the next in line were my brothers 5 and 6 and my sister 2. Night after night –we would wait for mom to come down….and she would drive us home. She was due on Halloween night.  But that night came and went,… and still no baby. On November 1st… dad actually waved to us in the lawn of the hospital from way up on his hospital; floor. He looked like a small image way up there, but knowing the moving image was dad was so comforting. I remember waving so hard my whole body was twisting..I thought my arm was going to pop off…..

Than on 11-2- we went in and mom came back down after visiting and said we could go up and see  him… he was coming home in the morning… We loaded in the elevator, anxious with joy… gitty..giggling in the elevator.. the laughter kind of echoing… I remember the volunteers who had now gotten to know us pretty well..they had tears welling in their eyes as they saw our smiles…. up we went… the door opened… a wheel chair around the corner and dad was there… there was a window that the chair was put overlooked the city… each kid got to go to him, sit on his lap, hug him, tell him what ever came to mind…. laughter..I remember laughter… …and than the next. I waited in the back ground.. I wanted to be last… I remember the feeling of the strength of his hands as he held me on his lap… he had Old Spice on…I  remember the smell. I remember the secure feeling… a feeling of he hugged me , kissed me…. and said I will see you in the morning…

The ride home was like floating on a cloud… the anticipation of morning and daddy coming home was more excitement than I have had since than…

At 11 that night mom went into labor… she called a neighbor to help her get to the hospital … a different hospital.. She called our sister in nursing school to come home and be with us… she got there… it was scary… now mom was going too…. we tried to sleep… and before 7 in the morning the phone rang… oh it must be the baby news… it was a man… He asked for my mom… I said she was not there—she was having a baby… he asked who was there… I said my sister.. she was 19… he heard her voice… he asked her if she was the oldest one there..she said yes… he hung up the phone.. We were all puzzled… I remember sitting in the corner..hugging my knees, rocking back and forth.. in a trance almost… saying in a soft mumble… “Daddies dead/…daddies dead…” I did not stop… I kept saying it… and than the phone rang again…. I remember my sister kind of yelling at me to stop saying that… It was another doctor… he apologized for the previous call..and than he said… your  father died this morning…. The death of my father when I was 10 years old , changed my life forever. …Bam… our life as we knew it was changed …. my sister called the other hospital… left a message to give to our mom who was in the delivery room…. and a miracle happened… the same moment dad died..our youngest sister was born.

And than 35years later—to the day—the time.. our mom died…in her sleep….so that is why this time of year… I like to zoom by 11-3 kind of quickly. I say happy birthday to my sister… the pain and loss I have is separate from the joy of her… but it is tough.. It does not get easy…

So as these days come closer… I find myself not looking forward to the weeks to follow…and than things get better again.

Mom, Dad . I miss you so much… and Dad.. thanks for that hug and kiss on my cheek..had I known it was the last…I would have never gotten off your lap.

Ahhh… the memories are so fresh…. Take time to let those close to you know that you love them, thank them, spend time with them…. for life comes…and life goes… We have no guarantees of anything… Love to all. Mrs Justa.. alias Cindy


On our way to the family reunion last week we had to stop and fuel the pick up. As I sat 001in the truck with Riley, a van pulled up. It was heart warming and brought things in perspective as I thought about these people who got out of the van. A woman, a teenage daughter and a couple of young kids.  “Daddy” was driving…

How surreal it must be for a military person when they are taken out of the regimen of being deployed to who knows where, seeing who knows what, for a very long time… and than all of the sudden..poof—you are all of the sudden  into a life you had put on hold…a role that was natural..but must feel kind of awkward initially. 

Heck I remember when Mark would be gone for a week.. and than come back on the weekend—the kids waiting for his arrival so we could all do stuff together..and for me..I was just over living a week solo with one child..and now to adjust to 2 parents and 2 kids. These guys and gals are gone for months on end..

It was neat to see..yet sad in a way..for the emotions, the memories, the longing to be together are all components that need to be balanced and dealt with.  I hope they are adjusting and okay…

Riley is getting stronger every day. Her vet appnt on Tues. evening was a meet and greet—and because her appetite and drinking water were less than good. She had bouts 018of diarrhea and we wanted her checked out. The vet checked her over pretty thoroughly and feels that Riley is having some psychological issues that are causing her the lack of eating and drinking. The vet went and got a 101 Dalmatians kids plate with some morsels of food and a couple of apple/cinnamon dog biscuits… the dog literally inhaled the food. ( This was like taking your car to the shop and it won’t do what it was doing for you…) The vet actually says that she believes the dog is associating the dog dish with the kennel and all the trauma she has gone through with being abandoned/lost.. and living in the kennel, …. so on the way home we got her her very own Corelle plate and she is eating like crazy. She had lost 2 pounds the first 8 days we had her..but I believe she is on the road to being healthy now.  We did find out she in not a puggle ( beagle pug mix) instead she looks to be a Beagle Boxer mix.  She is the most friendly, gentle dog I think I have ever run across. Riley in the crib 002 We are blessed to have her.. She and the cat get along… that is until tonight…. If the cat sees that Riley has decided to sleep in the cats bed… there may be some tension from the black cat !!.

This evening we are in the office after going up to the lake at sunset..and Riley was laying on the floor… she had to pee—so I let her out..when she came back in the office she leaped into the crib… Imus is unaware at this point..but I have a feeling there will be some groans once this new situation  is discovered!.

As Mark says.. “She’s got the life of Riley!!”

Love to all, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

Being a parent means we protect1000 island trip 049 our children when they are young. We want to make the world safe for them and we want to guide them through their years of youth. I was reminded of this today , we went to Alexandria Bay , and we took an Uncle Sam’s Boat tour around some of the Thousand Islands. As we were Boat touring around, a rather large ship came towards us..I took this photo- to me it represents that protective, loyalty of a parent. This ship never once made this eagle leave it’s nest on the top of this buoy….

Father’s Day is here. And well it has been now 48 years since I last had the chance to give my dad a hug, or sit on his lap, or tell him I loved him… 48 years ! That is a long time.. In years it is a long time..but in memories it seems much less.

1000 island trip 133His teachings are instilled in me, his reprimands when I was doing something wrong-well they made me who I am… and the one thing that totally amazed me is not once in my short time of life with him, did I ever hear my mom and dad argue, disagree, or get angry with one another. They loved us equally, they supported each other, and they never got in the way of the others disciplining one of us. As the years have passed..I think about how unusual that magical it is.

AS we sailed around the islands I was thinking about dad, and as I carefully  held onto the camera,I  did not lean over the railing, I walked slowly carefully  looking at where I was going.. I smiled..because that was my dad talking to me…from the corners of my mind..

I love you dad !. Happy Father’s Day to all… Mrs Justa alias Cindy

I would not believe it..but  yikes…It runs in the family… playing, rough housing and than falling on your face…. …

As Brandon will say.. “Happens”  as he lifts his hands and shrugs his shoulders… “Happens Gamma”

me and a fat lip 001

Here I am, 3 years old, I was all washed and dressed in a pretty dress… the photographer had not yet arrived at our apartment to do family photos…

who was rough housing and running around  and around…. hmmmm…. ME!!!

My mom and dad heard a blood curdling scream right after a thud… and well the pretty dress was blood coated, my face was red from tears , and the photographer was pulling in the driveway…

So mom whisked me off, cleaned me up, found a dress for me to wear and somehow.. they got me to smile. Fat lip and all !.

Tick Tick Tick… time flies by… and poof…now I have a son….

 Jeff 1985 smashed face 001Jeff is 3… We have made arrangements to go to the media days at Johnson Park … and don’t cha know it..the day before… Jeff is rough housing.. running and bam….falls on his face….he got his front teeth loose, skinned his nose and upper lip… was sore….


We were able to go the next day…, we got to watch Pete marching for New Channels, we got to watch the festivities… Jeff’s face was super sore….

Now tick


                     tick in time….

now Jeff has a 3 yr old son.… and—you guessed it….during a rough housing session with his little brother and second everyone is laughing and having a wild time… the next second …. poof…… a slipped move..and this little guy lost a tooth !.

He really does not look too bad for having a tooth fall out… and his spirit is pretty good …but Now the face smashing tradition lives on…

HMMM will Jeff and Amanda’s 1 yr old hit his face when he is three?

I did not think fat lips were hereditary… but now I wonder???

It is strange, because when stuff like this happens… the kid has the physical injury..the child cries at first…. then settles down some…but the parent feels a zillion times worse…it hurts to see your kid get hurt….you relive the cry… the incident… you wish time could go backwards…. but we can not all live in bubble cages… to live..there is a chance of getting hurt…The dentist told them he sees LOTS of little boys who bump their faces and lose a tooth.

100_0049Life is full of bumps and bruises… and kids will get hurt no matter how hard we try to protect them. Like my new famous philosopher says… “Happens Gamma… Happens”

Sleep tight little man… be strong…. you look kinda cute with your front tooth out!. Thankfully  you did not get more injured- you are a tough little guy !.. Tonight this post is dedicated to you!

Love to all. Mrs Justa alias Cindy


Life can be a jumbled bunch of puzzle pieces- they begin to look alike but do not fit in the right places.

I was going over a health care plan with a friend who is looking to see if her live in boyfriend would be covered under her plan. They are expecting a child and she was wondering if she could go with a family plan…. 

Well we scanned over the eligibility part of her plan, and we got thrilled to see it covered spouses, children and domestic partners. We thought this is great. He is self employed, a really hard working guy, and has not the money to afford a single health plan on his own.

We started to read the details of the plan ..only to find out the those pieces of the puzzle we thought fit…well they do not fit. Why???because to have domestic partner coverage—it has to be someone of the same sex.

I was floored…. I am not criticizing people who chose to live with lovers of the same sex—and the way of the world is more and more rights for the gay and lesbian people..but to discriminate on a heterosexual no married couple ! This plan  makes the heterosexual committed live together couples impossible to get health insurance..but if you are homosexual and live in committed to one another—than bam—health insurance is a non issue. And if you are a woman, you can have coverage for a child— but only for the other parent if they are another person of the same sex… I am amazed—I mean how is this right? The intent of this is not to say if homosexuality is appropriate or not… or if living together heterosexually is okay without marriage… but the scales on this health plan are definitely unbalanced.

Pieces of puzzles in life—dec 2011 001it is nice what they line up, they interlock, and start to make a picture. Like at Christmas time, when the cards come in and everyone’s life’s pieces are shared with a moment of cheer.They interlock together in emotion, in the moment of realizing there are people out in the world who care for you and you for them….

There are so many loop holes in life though, as I look at the the percentage of nay-sayers, the evil and hatred in the world… I feel we have puzzle pieces that fell out of different boxes..and to not get caught –someone picked them all up and threw 100_6282them in the same box. Patience will help to get each piece together… wisdom and looking for sunshine behind the darkness. We need to try less hard to make the fairness in the world, for just like in this person’s insurance issue—we have worked so hard to show a smaller percentage of people they are treated fairly—that we totally overlooked a much larger percentage.

There has to be a way to balance the scales, to work for the good of all, and to bring opportunities for good work to all… Oh what a blessing that would be… May you find pieces that will fit together…Love Mrs Justa alias Cindy


Well the winds are still whipping, but they are coming so hard that any snow we got here at the house has blown across the pavement on the main road. The roof is pretty much cleared off, and the driveway and steps are pretty slick- kinda like they were sand polished with all the blowing of snow.

We were lucky though…we did not get the foot to 1 1/2 feet it sounded like we might. I have no idea how much snow came—cuz the wind took it away.

This just might be the last100_0264 doozy of a storm- heck March in Thursday…

I could not believe all the laundry I had to do.. gee! I did all the throw rugs, the weekly laundry, sheet towels and stuff, and a comforter.

I just heard the dryer go off for the last time.. Phew…

Now I can focus on not listening to the dryer singing it’s little jingle every time it is done. it is kind of a peppy song, like a clown song…

100_0268Needless to work out was here…. cleaning, steamed all the linoleum floors, laundry , standing crunches , toe touches and the KETTLE BALL>

Now this little guy may not look harmful- but after doing reps up , down, sideways, over the head, swinging squats..well I am a bit sore.

I kettle balled during Marks nap, and during cooking time for dinner… so I got it in 2 times today… I can not believe how ruthless this contraption is !

Tomorrow is the gym though… need to get some cardio in. The weather should be better – and I am thinking bike, elliptical and treadmill for tomorrow. This week I ended up doing lunch time walks on the days I did not hit the gym…I prefer the gym… I really love going to the gym.

As I was going around100_0270 the house dusting, cleaning and doing laundry… I came upon this guy..he is perched on the head board of the twin bed Brandon sleeps in when he has been over….it is like this little guy is watching over him while he sleeps. As I looked at the face I thought how nice it would be to have the comfort of that cuddly little face staring at me. It is as if to say everything is okay…

AS I moseyed around I saw another comforting little face… 100_0271this one is lives in the crib.. Same comforting look though… watching the world to keep things safe as the sleepiness turns into slumber…

It brought me back to my younger days when my mom and or dad ( on the very few days he was not traveling for his job) would come in my room , sit on the side of my bed and tell me a story.  Than as they got up to leave, they always bent over and gave me a hug and kiss, and tucked me in…the comfort of being snug in the bed.. sheets and blankets taut ….a crisp pillow hugging my head and shoulders…. and knowing I was loved….

It saddens me to think there are kids out there without that experience. It comforts me though to also know there are children who will have the same memories as I do…Bedtime is a special is the gateway to sleep… the ending of a day.

I hope you have a good night…. here is a cyber tuck in…

Love to all.. Mrs. Justa alias Cindy

camping and fathers day weekend 2011 046Happy Father’s Day to all you dads.. natural dads, step dad, there to help as a dad-dads.

Today was your day. I hope it was a nice one, you deserve it !

Dad’s Day at our house was really neat. We had a nice time.

I had asked Amanda if she thought she and Jeff and kids could come out on Sunday for a cook out. She needed to check, as they have a zillion things going on, life just goes too fast for our own good sometimes.

Well she was able to check and did find out Sunday late afternoon/early evening was able to coordinate with me.camping and fathers day weekend 2011 042 So than I called Adrianne and asked if she and her hubby and daughter could come out for Father’s Day- as a surprise. She said yes my plan was underway.I figured they would arrive and Mark would look out and be surprised the were there in our driveway,,but it worked out even better.

Mark had gone in to take a nap and  was cutting some serious “zzzzzsss”… so they arrive, I signaled to them that he was sleeping and so they came in real quietly and than I pointed to the bedroom and suggested they go in a wake him up.

He had no idea they were coming, so it was kinda “Sci Fi” looking as Mark opened his eyes and his brain was trying to make sense of why his daughter was standing next to him, as she held her daughter.

camping and fathers day weekend 2011 049A great surprise..and Jeff and Amanda were able to come out so Father’s Day was grandfathers day too !! He not only got to spend time with our kids,,,, but with all our grandkids too. We had plenty of food, laughter and special moments.

AS I listened to them all enjoy one another, and I listened to our kids talking to each other, it reminded me of all the years we had as our kids were growing up. Oh how I have cherished those moments camping and fathers day weekend 2011 045deep in my soul….

being a grandparent is way cool…. being a parent—well to me it was a blessing entrusted in me, that I have done the best I could with the responsibility.

Happy Father’s Day to all… and to my dad…. Man am I thankful you were my dad and sorry we only had 10 years together on earth… I miss you and love you dad !!

Love to all, Mrs Justa.. Alias Cindy

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