I often find my mind taking me back in time, and remember that through most of the years of my life, it was the times spent with the special men in my life, not the times away from that I remember most. me and my dadAs a very young girl, it was my dad. He was the comfort, the strength, a gift. His job had him away during the week and home on Thurs nights and back out on a short sales run, returning usually Friday nights.

Our time together meant everything to me. I remember his hand holding mine securely, his voice was deep, his love for all of us was unending. I remember his hugs, his laughter.

He used to say I was his princess. I remember how he tried to take time for each of us. and my time I saved in a vault in my mind, in my heart. It brings me comfort in so many ways.

I remember how he was one who would remind me through the years he was alive, that life never promised to be all good, me and my dad at beardsley park ctbad things happen, and that somehow the bad turns into good again.

Karen was 10 years older than me, and it is funny in the couple of pictures I have of her with me and dad, she is always looking back at me. I can only imagine I was a chatty little one.

We all remember dad in different ways I am sure. Karen was 10 when I was born, so she already had 10 years of memories before my dad times started.

Pam my next older sister was 1 1/2 yrs older than me. She and I had a lot of fun and not so fun times, just due to age, and I always felt a tad bit of jealousy from her. She too had memories of dad, and dads death took a really bad toll on her. To the point that as an adult woman, every anniversary of his death she would end up in a severe depression. Sometimes to the point of needing an inpatient admission to help her get to the other side. pam, karen me and our dad

As I got older, there have been men in my life who also had employment that required they be gone a good percentage of the weeks. I never ever regretted that, I accepted it without any second thought, because the time they were home, was valuable, treasured and never taken for granted. It is not the amount of time spent, it is how we use the time when we have it to spend. To be constantly together, 24/7; I think it becomes an expectation, I think there are moments that would be more special if they were not routine.

During the first 10 years of my life, I remember my mom, however times I remember more vividly are those in which my mom and dad were there. I wonder often how life would have been had he not died when I was 10. Time with dad, it was quality time, the pieces fit together.

As I look back on my own adult life, seneca lake 5-1990Mark was away often for his job, just like my dad was. It was how life was. When our own kids were growing up- we tried to spend quality time with them when Mark was home. We would go to some places – often places that did not cost a penny, yet their value priceless. Walks in parks, sitting on docks, camping in our pup tents, later advancing to pop-ups. Playing ball, frisbee, Yahtzee, the list goes on.

And now the times with our grandchildren, the moments are treasured, they are not routine, and we do things with them. It is the special times, times giving of oneself and really focusing on the other person, those are quality times.

AS I am off for a new week, I am going to work on quality and not quantity…

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

We live life sometimes feeling like we know exactly the next step. Our alarm clock will go off, we will get up, we brush our teeth, do whatever routine in the morning we do, and move to the next part of our day. However when the alarm clock does not go off, or there is no water pressure, or maybe we fall out of bed instead of getting up the usual way, well it kinda puts our synched life out of order.

We trust everything will go as planned, and yet there are the things that don’t.

It gets even trickier when we take the next step, drive the car, reach for something, heck even getting something from a cupboard. Everything we do we trust will end the same way.

Now we can try to protect ourselves from areas where things can’t go wrong, but we become people in bubbles. Less can go wrong, but things happen.

I was thinking about trust and faith to extend beyond flyingthe simpler bullet points of a day. I was reminded in my thoughts of this day, this fall day when this never could have been, had life been kept inside the bubble. I took this at an angle to show the freedom, the joy of the moment. Jeff trusted he would get caught, and he loved the feeling of freedom. The look on his face, the total relaxation of his body, he trusted thigs will be okay, and without that trust, the picture would have been totally different- it might have been a terrified face and fingers clutching so tight to the neck of his dad- like please don’t make me do this. But no– he totally trusted and because of that experienced something way out of the ordinary.

As we get older and heavier, that opportunity – that specific scenario – could not be, or would probably not end in a laugh. However, as we age, gliderinventors have created ways to get that feeling and beyond. I takes a lot more effort from the person achieving the liftoff, however, it needs to be accompanied by trust. Trust that the winds are right, trust your legs are ready for a rather fast run, trust the equipment was not faulty. If however, you have the trust, that sense of freedom can be yours. This person was on an elevated area, beyond the takeoff fallarea was an incredible valley, miles of land colored with the brilliance of fall.

Life has been full of trusting, we trust in relationships, we trust in our day to day activities, our jobs, our everything……and yes we also trust we will be cleaning the bruises- whether inside or outside, and some scars that show the roadmap of my life. I want to always feel that feeling that life is going to be okay, that feeling I get every time I remember that fall day with Jeff. I never ever want to stop trusting that even when things don’t go quite as planned, the trust and faith are so important.

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



I am kind of amazed at the attitude of some businesses, some employees, some people who do just enough to let a person know they exist, but not enough to be done to the full need. There are plenty of people who do things well, that attitude is not gone, it is just frustrating when it is the other way.

Today it just happened to be a dealer for Honda. But it does not start and stop there. I am sure you have experienced the same thing more often than not. We received a notice in the mail stating we need to call our dealer. It seems our car has a defect within the software that can cause gas to go into the oil.

Now a couple weeks ago, we actually had the car there for an oil change early because the oil did not look right and smelled like gasoline. The service folks said it was nothing to worry about and our VIN number was not listed, so basically away with you.

Well, Honda sees it differently and wants us to be aware that we need to get the vehicle in for the repair. So Mark calls there this morning, he asks for service, he is put on hold for God knows how long by the receptionist, as jolly Christmas music plays in the background. When the service department never picks up, the receptionist comes back on and tells him the service department is very busy, and can’t answer the phone, someone will call back.

4 1/2 hours later, Mark calls back…. again jolly Christmas music, and no one answers, and the receptionist comes back on again to say the service department is very busy, and can’t answer the phone, someone will call back. Mark says- “You said that 4 1/2 hrs ago” . She apologized and said someone will call, that the phones are busy because people are calling back because no one has called them.

No one has called back yet. I think if the company cared about the customers, someone could at least return a call to help to get an appointment scheduled. Or just to give an update on when we might expect a callback. But no, nothing. And this is supposed to be ok?

It seems there is a thought process that some people have, that so much effort is good enough, but to put only part effort in, no matter what it is, is not something to be proud of. IMG_0767

Briella did these puzzles, and she never gave up, she concentrated and gave them her all, you can see her self pride..




You can see it when the boys helped grandpa and cleared the deck of snow last winter.

It just makes you feel good to do something and do it well.             To do a task, and give it 100% attention, that is self-satisfying, it feels like a sense of accomplishment.

Life is like that, no matter what it is. Our interactions with others, our time by ourselves. Time with our youth, at work, in public or at home… we need to set examples and help others see how doing it fully-     (whatever “it” is)  is something we all should strive for. From the moment we wake up until we go to sleep, no matter what our actions, our task, our missions are, no matter the scenario, we need to be the best we can be. Driving, living, walking, doing… do it and do it well…

Okay, that is my thought for this moment in time.

Until later, Mrs. Justa alias Cindy


We all have had times when we have had done to us, or we have done subtle hints to someone else. Those times when someone, something is almost unnoticeable but”speaks” volumes. A moment of actions or nudges of our senses to direct us in a direction or action.

This morning I had a subtle hint from Riley. She does it most mornings. She never barks and seldom whimpers to request help or indicate she would like you to do something. ( Now if you are someone coming onto her domain and she senses “stranger danger” or is so excited you have come to visit the quiet life we have here- she will make vocal notice you are here), but the day to day stuff, she is the queen of subtle hints.

It is 4:30 AM, and that is the time the adults need to wake up to pee. But it is 4:30— we have more sleep time. 20181111_145134I nestle back under the flannel sheets, drift back to grab that next hour, and there is a cold wet nose that feels like it is 4 feet long- on my cheek. A nudge or two of that nose, just to say “HEY, did you forget something?”  See she loves that last sleep time to spend with us, totally under the covers, down at our feet. We lift the covers, I say “under” and 99.9% of the time she is under there way past the time I get up.

She won’t bark to go out. She comes and stares at you.


The “staring” from under my desk” when I am working

Now if you are not noticing this dog STARING at you, trying to levitate you with her visual trance, well she becomes a little less subtle. She may lay her head on your lap and stare up at you like a lost puppy. If that does not work, there is the getting on paw up and nudging you by moving her paw back and forth. Still too dense to “hear her” – well that calls for standing on her back paws and the front ones become a canine masseuse, at first I can think “awe she is giving me a back rub’, But if that doesn’t make me stop working or whatever I am doing at the time, the whimper will finally start. She does not go in the house, she just does not do that, unless she is sick. She is a persistent little one thankfully, because reading, or computer work, well it is easy to get lost in what I am doing and totally oblivious to the mime-like dog we have.

It is funny, but being unable to speak she speaks loudly at times. I was baking this weekend, and I would look to my right, and Riley would sometimes be sitting at the sliding glass door, looking out, almost like she is at attention. I noticed her there, her position was so perfectly postured, I asked: ” Do you have to go out?”… She stood, she wagged her tail and yep that was what she wanted.

Imagine being unable to speak words? Imagine only being able to talk by a nudge, a stare, a gesture.

The world is full of so many things that can not use words. Today it is Riley I am focused on, but there will be other times to share.

Have a great day everyone, Until later, Mrs. Justa alias Cindy


How we handle situations is our choice. We can get really frustrated, or take a deep breath, and realize it is the way it is, and react in the most positive way possible. Now the most positive way just brings the reaction a tad away from sometimes screaming, wanting to stomp our feet or saying things we did not want to say.

Today I took a 1/2 day off. IMG_3596The temperature was going to be in the 50s, and we wanted to bring a few things to a very special person, a surprise of sorts. We are about an hour into the trip and Mark and I were both thinking the same thing—- we put the things in a gift bag, but it has a Christmas theme… what if we take those special items out of the gift bag, and transfer them to a regular canvas bag, so as not to give the impression it was for Christmas, avoiding the awkward feelings of them not having something for us… .

See years ago we had stopped buying adult friends and each other Christmas gifts because we and basically every adult we knew got things they wanted and needed throughout the year. The pressure and stress of making sure that we got the right gift, of not forgetting someone, getting something the other wanted,  worrying that the other didn’t spend more, feeling flustered over what they wanted- it became the focus instead of what Christmas is about. So the gifts, well we get special gifts for the kids.

Other than that, we really do not exchange gifts except 🙂 at the Christmas Eve gathering at my brother and his wife’s home. They graciously have a Christmas Eve stroganoff family gathering and all adults and teens get a $20.00 gift. It is a $20.00 gift that goes under the tree. 20171224_171650.jpgNo labeling. It is meant to be a gift that is serious not a gag gift. And something that if you got it back- well you would love it. We all draw numbers, and each person will take a gift starting at the poor sucker who is number one. As each person opens the gift they chose, they can look around at already opened gifts and swap with someone who already opened a gift. So theoretically that number one person 20171224_172604does not want to get attached to the gift they opened because it could get taken from you, and then the next person down who opens a gift might want the gift poor number one got in the last swap. Being these are the only gifts we get, we really like the thoughtfulness that goes into the gift someone else put into their purchase.

So back to today…. we wanted to take advantage of the warm weather and bring these things to her. We stopped 1/2 way there, we grab one of our canvas bags, and go to do the switch, only to realize, we have the wrong bag. At first, I am thinking we could turn around, and add another 2 hrs to this venture, that thought went before I even said it. Then I was really upset with me because I was who took the one gift bag and put it by the door to make sure we remembered it.

I looked at Mark, anticipating his disappointment but instead, he said well, I guess we’ll have to go back another time. Then we were thinking that we can just mail them. He tried to comfort me, he did not display anger or disappointment, ( even if he felt like it cuz I know I did ) he could tell I was bumming big time, and he said it will be fine.

Now as we continued our venture, I begin to get out of the moment and into the future. THANK GOD we decided to stop, intending to move the gifts to the canvas bag. Crap can you imagine the scenario if she had been handed this bag, took out the gift, and I am thinking holy crap, what would our expressions have been? How awkward, ya can’t tell a person that it really wasn’t for them, or laugh it off and take it back….and it was not something that would have even been meant for her. I am sure graciously she might have said- ” Oh thank you” or “oh you shouldn’t have” with a kind of questioning tone and wondering what were we thinking.!!! IMG_3596.jpgSo as we proceeded down the highway, we had a nice visit, and well the things we have, we can get to her later.

The gift that almost wasn’t, is in the car, and I truly believe that had a dab of spiritual intervention. The scenarios of how it could have been are laughable now… it was a nice drive down, a nice visit, and the gift that almost wasn’t- well it still is…

I hope you find the holiday season memorable, enjoy the people, the laughter and take time to remember what Christmas is about.

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





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