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

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


As we go through life we plan for things. We plan for trips or places to live. We plan for futures, and we plan for retirement.

As I sat in a local diner tonight with my husband, our table was in the center. Around us were other table and booths lined the walls. It seemed to be mostly patrons who were well known, and who seemed to be much older then we are. It felt as if we were in a dinner theater in the round. With the play being skits of people lives. IMG_3115People came in and left, waitresses cleared the tables, kind of like at a play when the light get turned down, the curtain falls, and another scene comes to be.

I felt surrounded by people who probably had made plans for their lives, and probably health reasons and life setbacks, well they changed their plans. As one man had come in with his wife, he was trying to move into the booth, his left side was not coordinated and weak, so as he slid in it was like his right side was pushing the left side in. He said to her, can you believe this is how we ended up, as she tried to help him get situated. Plans can get washed away, or reshaped. We can endure or let them take control of us .

Couples here and there, obviously some with significant health challenges, none who appeared they could be north-south travelers. It made me wonder what does the future look like? 20181014_173258No one knows. The best plans can be dissolved in a moments notice. I think we have to accept that just because we plan it to be a certain way, that does not mean it will be. The sun rises and sets, and we have no idea what is next.

As we went to leave, a man was walking out in front of us. He had been joking with the waitresses, he had a nonstressed face, he needed a cane, his stride was not fast, but gingerly. He told us he was 91, he came there every night for dinner, he said he lives alone. He loves to talk with the gals and seems to look forward to coming there. We complimented his outlook on life, and he said he lives life lightly, doesn’t have his head down, he looks up all the time. He did not talk about heartbreak, but I sure he has had some. He displayed a love for what life offers him a minute at a time. Appreciating each sunrise and sunset.

I think that is how we need to be. We can plan, and realize those plans can change in a heartbeat. It is hard enough to plan for the next few days or weeks, let alone the future of life.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

Today marks yet another year of life. The moments are but 20181223_141334footprints, soon to be washed away, yet leaving impressions in our memory banks. A year of hopefully some positive that happened, a year for some filled with one or more life-changing moments, and a year that some may want to run out of as quickly as possible.

I have a friend who married a man that is her soul mate. I mean to the max. The love you see in their eyes when she talks about him- about them- in their interactions captured on photos, it has been a truly blessed year for her.

I have a friend, 20171019_174502she is a soulmate friend, we think alike, we just know when the other needs a call, a text, a visit, we say the same things, .. well she and her husband retired. They totally changed their living situation, sold a home, bought a place in Florida and have a permanent park setting on a lake in Upstate New York… Part of her time south, part up here. Oh, they had some major bumps along the journey, but all in all, looking at their smiles and stress-free facial expressions, it has been a good year for them.

Mark’s and my year, whoa, we look in the rearview mirror of that, and it has been full. We started the year with a 6-month mania for Mark, the incredible changes in our lives during that time and the challenges for him to face the 4 1/2 months of climbing out of depression. I experienced changing my department at work in August due to my place of employment being acquired by a very large company and learning oh so many new things. It is a good thing, just a big change. We spent some fun rewarding times with the grandkids and spent some great times with family. We helped Marks mom as she transitioned from an apartment to an Assisted Living Environment. Yes, it has been a year.

I think about life, each breath, each step, each second is like a snowflake. By itself, it may not mean much, but add them together and it creates memories, it creates opportunities. And as quickly as a snowflake can melt, so can the moment be gone. I look back on the year 20181205_074029-2.jpgand think of all the things different, of the few more aches that might be there at times, and I wonder what lies ahead.

I long to treasure each moment, to look for the good in everything, and to be the best I can be.  I am thankful for what has been and what is yet to come. I realize that life is full of changes, of hurt and of happiness. I feel blessed that I am aware of the presence of those who have passed on still being here for me in their subtle ways. I feel thankful to have been blessed with my husband, our kids, and our grandkids. I am thankful for my siblings and all the members of our family, my friends, the church I attend and thankful for living my life in the comfort of God.

As I look ahead, sept-2011-stuff-036.jpgI do not know what each day will bring, but each breath I take, each step I make will be with the intent to be the best I can be for that moment.  The saying “moss won’t grow on a rolling stone” will continue to be a reminder to keep moving…  So as I end this year with this post, I wish all have time to reflect, to look ahead. Happy New Year. Until next year, 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


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