...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Friday, December 28, 2007

Thinking of others...

A gift from the heart is something that someone has taken their time to make for another. It is one-of-a-kind...even if it comes from a kit or pattern. And it is filled with love.
This Christmas I gave two of my special friends basket liners that I made with each of them in mind. The liners fit into baskets for them to hold their knitting projects. I decided to secretly make my daughter one too. Her material is up above. The multi-colored material has trolls on it and the complimentary color is pink with white polka dots. Colors just for her! Pockets line the inside and out to hold necessities. In return, my daughter secretively made me the pictured doll. It is the best present I received this year. I know it was made with love. I have pulled the dolls dress up a bit in this picture so you can see her legs. It was completely crocheted - for ME! Fat Lily couldn't help herself and just had to be in the photo.
Being able to think of others and put them first is a special gift that not everyone possesses. It is unfortunate that as a parent I have to raise my children in such a selfish world. There are plenty of examples of selfishness. Too few are the examples of giving.
Where do you fit in the world? Are you a giver or a selfish taker? What/Who are the inspirations you strive to be like? How are you thought of and how will you be remembered?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas as a little girl...

Merry Christmas Eve to all. As I look at my Christmas tree and the decorations that adorn it, I recall a past that seems to have belonged to someone else.
~the hand writing is on a yellowed slip of paper; the flip side of a blank prescription, Dr. John J. Gallinatti at the top and it reads as follows:
Christmas Eve Dinner 1971
Oplatky - Host -
Bread -
D poppie seed balls -
G - Nutroll -
G - Poppie seed roll -
Sauerkaut & mushrooms -
D - Bean & Barley -
Perogy -
Lima Beans -
mashed potatoes -
Prunes -
herring marinitti -
herring sourcream -
~not edited! The "D" stands for Dolly and the "G" for Grandma Scubelek
I can't recall the afternoons, but I do know the magic that happened on Christmas Eve when I was small.
Mom would probably spend the morning and early afternoon preparing her part of the feast. Then sometime after lunch we'd have to get ready, into our Sunday best. I'd wear a fancy dress, knee high socks and my patent leather shoes. My curly hair couldn't be tamed, but was pulled back out of my eyes and into a little pony tail, topped with a bow.
Once ready we all would head to my grandparents; my dad's parents house. The ethnicity was Polish, very different from my other grandparents Italian/Irish mix. There was always an air of 'properness' or formality that prevailed at my G & G Scubelek's.
The family that gathered numbered 14 or 15. It was the four of us, my dad's older sister, her husband, their five children, my uncle's mom (Grandma Gallinatti), maybe Uncle John's sister (Sister Francis) and my grandparents. Dinner was served in two courses. First the Oplatky with the soup. I do not know if the spelling of Oplatky is correct, but it is blessed host. Every person was given a small two-inch square and expected to go around the table and greet everyone. You hold out your oplatky to another person and say, "health and happiness" as the recipient breaks off a piece of your oplatky and eats it. In return, they say the same to you and you break off a piece from their section and eat it. Once you have spoken to everyone you sit down and eat your bean and barley soup.
After soup all the other food is placed on the table and passed around. My favorites from that meal were the bean and barley soup, the perogies, the herring in sour cream and the poppy seed roll. There was so much food that I don't even recall dessert nor is it on my "list" of what we had. I recall the adults drinking coffee after dinner, but maybe what else was going on distracted me.
Sometime late in our meal my uncle, who was a doctor would get an emergency phone call. He would have to leave and go take care of a patient. A little while later something incredible would happen...Santa would knock on my grandparent's door! I do remember a few Christmas' where I was so scared. He knew who I was and how to find me! He'd pat my back and say, "Come here Lisa and sit on Santa's knee. Tell me what you want for Christmas and have you been a good little girl?" He knew me. My parents would put their hand in the middle of my back and push me towards this jolly old elf. "It's okay," they'd say. "It's Santa." After I sat on his knee and listened to his familiar voice he'd reach into his bag and pull out a gift wrapped with my name on it. He'd repeat this with all my cousins and my brother then and we'd all happily unwrap our gift.
After Santa would leave my uncle would soon return and say his patient was going to be fine. He'd ask if he'd missed anything and we'd all show him our gifts. He'd act so sad that he'd missed Santa once again.
When my grandparents moved from that home in Glen Park, Santa stopped coming to our Christmas Eve dinner. By then we were all much older and definitely wise to the voice connected with our Santa. We still gathered for that feast though. I still love Bean & Barley soup, perogies and herring in cream sauce. Today I am going to try to make a poppy seed roll.
When my mom passed away I wanted a few of her cook books. What a treasure trove I have now. Old recipes I thought weren't written down. Hand writing from several of my loved ones who no longer walk on earth. I certainly feel connected to my parents today.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bluebird of Happiness

“The gifts we treasure most over the years are often small and simple. In easy times and tough times, what seems to matter most is the way we show those nearest us that we've been listening to their needs, to their joys, and to their challenges" -- Fred Rogers

Thursday, December 20, 2007


...it oozes out of my daughter...

Little folks very active...

It's that time of year when even the "little folks", who are very busy, have some fun.

Indoor cat, Jack, would rather be warm - his curiosity is all gone. Too cold, too bright and not enough easy to get to food. He cares less about his company.

Not much snow in southern Indiana.

Friday, December 07, 2007


My good friend is an awesome baker. She made these Gingerbread cupcakes from scratch.

Within the hour I will get to sample this delectible treat.

Be jealous. Be VERY jealous!

More later on her treats...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

OMG!!!!! Ahh-ha moment... and Modern Technology

Weird, scary, eye opening, getting older...just a few words to cross my brain this week. Also, no-way-possible, OMG, and humm...maybe that's why we found those results...
Another word in my current vocabulary, menopause?. Note the question mark does need to be attached to the end of that word.
Yes, I did take a home pregnancy test this week. Yes, I am on day 45 of my normal 26 day cycle. Yes, my husband did have a vasectomy 13 years ago. No, I have not participated in any extra-curricular activities! Sammy Hagar hasn't knocked on my door yet.
As I sat waiting those two long minutes for the results I totally knew would be negative, I had one of those "Ahh-ha" moments. I suddenly thought, this is probably why we found those pregnancy test results from my mom when we were going through her house. She probably didn't think she was really pregnant. But, this is the first step in ruling things out. Mom ended up having a hysterectomy at the age of 50. According to what I have read, peri-menopause can start years before true menopause sets in. I am only 43. Is this early to start this cycle of my life? I can't ask my mom about her "issues" at my age. We didn't talk about such things. Mom wouldn't have used a "home" pregnancy test either. They may not have been very common then and if they were they certainly were costly and not completely reliable.
I am SO glad to know that I am not pregnant. I have never regretted the fact that my husband and I have decided to stop having kids when we did. It was the absolute right choice for me/us. Being pregnant was tough on my body. I do believe pregnancy exasperated my blood pressure issues. Also, I'll admit it, I am selfish. I want time alone with my husband again. I love the time we have with our kids, but I am looking forward to the day when it is just the two of us again.
On Monday afternoon I told my children what was up. I don't want them to think their dad and I were trying to get pregnant again. I want them to be informed. Shortly after that I sat in the orthodontist office waiting on my oldest as he had his retainer check up when my youngest called via cell phone. "I have news to share Mom," she said..."I started my period."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Aunt Hootie and Kyle...

At "Little Rock"...Gettysburg, PA. November 23, 2007.
When Kyle was just learning how to talk he called everything "Ba". But there was one thing he named. When someone would point to me and say "Kyle, Who's that?" He'd reply, "Hootie!"
Over time, my husband started calling me Hootie. In crowds I'm the only person who will answer to that name.
It's not right to have a favorite. So I'll not use that word. That said, I don't know what it is about the connection I feel to Kyle. I can't explain it. I don't even have to say anything to him when we are together. I just feel a certain closeness that exists. I love all my neices and nephews, but Kyle...there is something special at him. :)

Thinking of my Grandma...

The waiting is over.

On Saturday, Nov. 10th I saw my grandmother for the last time here on earth.

May she rest in peace.
This picture was taken on November 24, 2007 at The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indians in Washington, DC.

Wall 4.3.

Teresa Simonetto

TERESA RITA CASSIDY SIMONETTO CROWN POINT, IN Teresa Rita Cassidy Simonetto, age 88 years, formerly of Crown Point, IN and a current resident of Hebron, IN, passed away Friday, November 16, 2007 at Hartsfield Village in Munster, IN.

Teresa was born July 30, 1919 in North Braddock, PA to the late Henry and Margaret McGreehan Cassidy.

On January 3, 1938 she married John Ambrose Simonetto of Albia, IA, who preceded her in death on April 12, 1986, in Gary, IN in a double wedding with her late brother and sister-in-law, Reno and Bernice Simonetto Galletti, also of Gary. Surviving are three sons: Joseph A. Simonetto and wife, Tamara of Munster, IN, Michael G. Simonetto and wife, Theresa, of Roswell, GA, John A. Simonetto and wife, Charlie, of Marysville, TN; a daughter, Pamela M. Simonetto Pampe and husband, Bob, of Winchester, VA; seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Preceding Teresa in death were daughters: Carol (1940) and Patricia (2006); a brother, Patrick; and a sister, Betty. Teresa was an active member of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic parish in Valparaiso, IN; a member of the Lakes of Four Seasons Fire Auxiliary; the Red Hats Society; the Miniatures, Dolls and Quilting clubs; a member of the National Audubon Society, a Blue Bird Trails of Indiana award recipient; a St. Anthony Auxiliary member and receipt of a special honor from the American Red Cross Blood Services division for donating so many hours of her time on behalf of their organization. Teresa left many gifts behind to those who knew her. She passed recipes, bird lore, gardening secrets and the love of books to anyone who met her. Nature was her best companion. Orphans and needy children held a special place in her heart.

Friends may call on Sunday, November 18, 2007 from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. at Burns Funeral Home, 10101 Broadway, Crown Point, IN. Prayer service will be held on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. A funeral will be held at Burns Funeral Home on Monday, November 19, 2007 going to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 509 W. Division Road, Valparaiso, IN for a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. Services will terminate at the church with cremation at the Burns Funeral Home Crematory. Private interment of the cremains will be held at a later date. Donations can be sent to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.

Published in The Times from 11/17/2007 - 11/18/2007.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Old Churches...and Fate...

This weekend I went to an old Catholic church for a funeral of a great uncle who had almost made it to his 97th birthday.
The church was unmarked on the outside. Only a large cross with a broken heart was planted near the door with a sign that read "For the Aborted Children." My husband and I had to ask some parishioners if we had the correct location. As we walked in the door it was like we were stepping back in time. The whole church felt like stuck in the late 40's. There was not a single bit of evidence of any improvements or updates. I went to a steel tank that was labeled 'holy water' and I pressed the tap to expel a small amount of water to bless myself. Old habits are hard to stop. Although I don't practice Catholicism any more, I feel a level of respect that must be paid to God and the church.
This large statue of the Infant of Prague was on our left. This was my mom's favorite saint to pray to. I felt her spirit must be near by.
The service was spoken in English by a Croatian priest. He looked a bit like Jimmy Kimble's parking attendant - Guillmo, and he sounded a bit like Andy Kaufman's character, Latka.
The stain glass windows in the church were gorgeous. But seeing all the confessionals made me feel like we were in a religious prison. I was quickly reminded why I needed a different church in my life...the Catholic faith is too confining for me, too judgemental. I need to be mentally challenged, allowed to interpret the writings in the gospels, make my own choices, feel that all who worship God are good - not just those who practice like me.
No blinders on...we are all God's people.
I am a huge believer that things happen for a reason. A week ago while I was out walking I found a set of house keys. I thought they must belong to a child walking to and from school since I was near an elementary school when I found them.
After contacting several of the parents whom I know have children who walk to school I decided to take the keys to the school office and go write a note on the sidewalk in chalk. While I was writing my note two men in a utility truck pulled up. I asked, half jokingly, if they lost a set of keys. The first man said no in a voice than said 'very funny' but the second man said, "as a matter of fact I did, about a week ago." He went on to describe the keys I found.
That, my friends, is fate. It was meant to happen. I don't know why yet. Maybe that man just needed to be reminded that good is in the world. Maybe I just needed to be reminded that little actions can have big rewards. My reward was that wonderful feeling I am still having from knowing I was able to do something good for someone I don't know.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Afternoon surprise...

Late in the afternoon yesterday I had a visitor on my old Bluebird house.
I am not sure what kind of owl this is, but I'll be reseaching in soon. She sat on the house for at least 5 minutes. Then she was circling over head making the area Crows very upset.
I always wonder when I see birds of prey hunting at unusual times if that means bad weather is ahead. It seems like they are good predictors as well as preditors.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Have you heard of this show? It was the greatest in it's time. I was a senior in high school when a group of friends and I would watch it. It came on in the early mornings and we all watched it before school. Arriving at school we'd chat about the episode. I recall us all having characters who we became during the school day. Star Blazers was our "other" way to make it through the school days.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Words From Your Cat....by my daughter

When I sit down I say, "Feed me!"
When I lay down I say, "Pet me!"

But you'll do those commands only if you understand correctly...


Today I wandered around looking for a nice photo of the changes happening outside my windows.

Tomorrow I think I'll have to wander around a bit more!

My grandmother moved into a new "home" today. I hope she can still see all the beauty around her. I was hoping to get a picture of a deer for her, maybe tomorrow.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Night time thanks addition...

Well I woke at 3:44 AM and thought of one more thing I am thankful for:


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday, a time to give thanks.....

Today I am listing those few things I am thankful for.

I am thankful for:
my daughter - I have a reason to watch romantic comedies
my first born - he reminds me of myself
double meanings - they bring corny-ness and laughter to my day
fall colors - they remind me how nature adapts
cat rubs - they make me feel needed
sunshine - it's warmth fills me with peace
my friends - just because I like them
my husband - if I'm the yin, he's my yang
biting my tongue - sometimes I need to be silent and just listen
god - because no matter what happens, I have hope and faith


Monday, October 15, 2007

Another day dawns...

Life has a way of bringing us fresh beginnings over and over.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Background updated...

To my critics...Is this any better?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Background, sadness, Jasper, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!!!

Once upon a time...there lived a sad peasant girl. She grew up the oldest of three children. Full of responsibility and good morals. When she grew up she found out that life is not fair. She had two children of her own and her youngest drove her wack-o!

The peasant girl was full of woe. If you just looked at her blog you could see it in her background choice.

Maybe someday the peasant girl will start to enjoy the world around her and not be so scared. What is there in life that we need? Nothing. We could just die. So, why change a background? Who cares? No one reads this anyway so who cares?

"I do!" Said a fair princess. "I love blogs, and pretty peasant girls! What else is there on the internet to read?" Life is great and everyone should get to change it up, or their backgrounds! Especially the sad boring ones, hint-hint!"

"I don't write with quotes! And I won't change my background until six years pass and Jasper comes to rescue me!"

"There is no Jasper! It's all in your head woman!"

Jasper is real...he just hasn't come into my life yet. But in six short years I will break free from this sadness that encumbers me and run free in the fields with my Jasper!

"You forgot your quotation marks, and you don't live by a field, and there is no Jasper!"

Dreams my dear. They are the little things that make life worth living....even if it's not fair. Now speaking of unfair...DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Never! You'll never catch me alive, Ha! Ha! Ha! I guess what I'm trying to say is: What is a rose without any thorns, there must be something bad to all good or else it is not worth pricking yourself to pick it. But Your blog is neither good nor worth looking at unless it has some petals to go with those thorns. So CHANGE YOUR BACKGROUND!!!!!!!"

Profound, but you still need to go do your homework. This conversation can go on another day. Until then...six more years and then ahh, Jasper!

Conversation over...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

No news...

No news is just no news when you are waiting to hear what is happening to a loved one in the hospital. You wish you could make time speed up, but then again, you think maybe I don't want time to speed up. And the worst part is not being able to do a darn thing except wait.

Patience...I wish I had more, or better handle on my lack of.

I wonder if those closest to the situation really know how much I care or how upset/worried I am. Do they know how much I want to be there to lend support but don't want to over step my bounds or step on their toes? Do they know how much I wish they'd call me several times a day with an update, yet I fear my ringing phone. Do they know how much I feel I need to be strong but don't think I can face death so up close and personal yet? I know I am still dealing with my emotions from last October and November. I really do wish that all the people I know or will come to know never had to die. Wouldn't that make things easier? But life is not easy and it's certainly not fair. We build relationships only to have them succumb to the reality of life and this world. And, I know that those closest to the situation really have no control of things either. They are just closer to the situation and probably feeling just like me.

I need to get out and walk. I will play my music loud and try not to think about my waiting to hear any news. No news also builds patience, I think.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Appointment keeper, Boring, Cook, Chauffeur, Dreamer, Emotional, Fragile, Glue, Housekeeper, Invisible, Justify-er, Killjoy, Loving, Maid, Nag, Organizer, Pleaser, Quiet, Responsible, Slave, Servant, Thinker, Unworthy, Value-less, Wishy-washy, Worry-wart, X-tinct, Yawner, Zookeeper

Friday, August 24, 2007

What "Child" are you?

...taken from Wikipedia...
Though uncertain, the traits assigned to each given day probably parallel traits assigned to planets, the Sun, the Moon represented by various Gods in Norse, Roman, and Greek mythology. For example, the English word Friday stems from the Norse goddess of Love, hence the notion that children born on Fridays will become 'loving and giving.' In addition, the word for Friday in many Romance languages is derived from the word 'Venus', the Roman goddess of love and beauty; other days of the week follow accordingly. There is also the likelihood an ancient rhyme had evolved over time and lines were reassigned to different days for cultural reasons, as in the case with the final rhyme for the Sabbath day being identified for Sunday instead of actual Judeo-Christian biblical scripture identifying Saturday as the Sabbath. In fact, a strict historical review of the rhyme would more correctly have the verse read:

Sunday's child is full of grace. (Christian day of worship)
Monday's child is fair of face. (Mon=Moon, with its 'face')
Tuesday's child is full of woe. (Tues=Týr, Norse 'God of War')
Wednesday's child has far to go. (Wednes=Woden 'The Wanderer')Thursday's child works hard for a living, (Thur=Thor, Norse god)
Friday's child is loving and giving. (Frida=Freyja, Norse 'God of Love')But the child that is born on Sabbath-day (Saturday=Sabbath)
Is bonny and happy and wise and gay.

Adam Fox ("Oral and Literate Culture in England 1500-1700" p182) quotes the Elizabethan Thomas Nashe. Nashe recalled stories told to "yong folks" around a fire which included "tell[ing] what luck eurie one should haue by the day of the weeke he was borne on". Nashe thus provides evidence for fortune telling rhymes of this type circulating in Suffolk in the 1570s.

Friday, August 03, 2007

End of Summer....

It's beach time for our family vacation. School will start way too soon.

For awhile we will be transported away to where pirates once roamed and sea turtles still rule the sand. We will play card games, work on building puzzles, watch movies, take walks, play in the sand and surf, and eat together.

Three generations will interact. Balance, patience and tolerance are life lessons we will take away from our time together.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fariy Tales and Dreams Can Come True

Lately I have been receiving a lot of e-mails from Classmates.com saying someone has checked out my "profile". Is this just a scam? Maybe. Probably. But in case some one should Google "Lisa Scubelek" maybe this will pop up as a link.

This Lisa Scubelek did attend Boone Grove High School. From there she traveled to Bloomington, Indiana to attend Indiana University: a state college, respectable and all her family could afford. Although her father died before her brother and Lisa could finish their degrees, he and her mom would have been very proud of these first generation kids going to college.

During college Lisa met her future husband, Chris Kroll. In 1986 the two were married in late November. From Bloomington they moved to Indianapolis and then Fort Wayne, Indiana. In the late 1990's they were able to happily return to Bloomington, Indiana - Chris' home town. Chris and Lisa have a 15 year old boy and a very-soon-to-be 13 year old girl. This November they will celebrate 21 years together. Should more information be needed, please feel free to contact Lisa through this Blog.

To my former classmates and friends: I hope life has been good for you. I'd love to hear from you and do wonder where others are and what they too have been doing. I attended my 20th class reunion and doubt I'd head back to another. The friends I hung around with in school were not in attendance. Either they couldn't make it OR they didn't graduate from BGHS the same year I did.

Life is too short not to enjoy it. So, enjoy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

1372 Leeward Road, LOFS

written on June 15, less than two hours until it officially left our family....

In less than one hour you will belong to someone new. I remember seeing you as a new born - or even earlier! Just a bare piece of field land...that's what you were. Just north of us was a horse farm - boy were the flies thick in the summer, and huge too! Sometimes the few cow that lived north would get free and roam the golf course, they sure loved that special grass! I remember the call mom received from Karen next door, "Pen, do you see what I see?"

I remember the construction equipment that knocked down your weeds. It exposed your rich soil and made piles that were excellent for a young boy and girl to ride their bikes over.

I remember every stage of your growth. From the basement and foundation being poured to framing, to duct work, electrical and plumbing work to drywall being installed. I remember dreaming with my brother - "here's where my room will be" and walking through the framed walls.

Every day during your creation I remember riding my bike from the campground with my brother to check on your progress after school. Darn that winter though, no bikes, early darkness and we needed mom or dad to drive us to see you.

We moved in the spring of 1975. I was in the 5th grade and due to turn 11 in just a few days. I had the first slumber party on your floor in the living room. There were probably 10 girls in a circle giggling and happy.

I remember when our family grew. Hearing the news of our new baby around your kitchen table. What a conversation THAT was. After that a "new" bedroom was added downstairs. The baby would be upstairs...Next to ME!!! I was so happy.

I remember listening to the police scanner all the time. Our parents were volunteers in the Fire Dept. and for the Emergency Response Team. I don't recall us having more than 13 channels on our TV - Either cable didn't reach Four Seasons or our parents couldn't afford that luxury...maybe it was both things. So the scanner was entertainment. Plus there were so few houses here at the time. I recall it being us, the Sexton's, Noonan's, Lazar's, Derdowski's, Luke's, Schoon's, and the Blair's. Just a few other houses were nearby too. We kids would play Frisbee or freeze tag out back on the edge of the golf course and it would drive Mr. Blair insane! Mr. Schoon let me fish off his pier or set sail at his house whenever I wanted.

In the summer Tuesday mornings were Junior Golf Days. Everyone took lessons and played. We'd all ride our bikes to the pool most afternoons. What a great community to live in.

I do recall sadness here though too. Lots of fire calls dad would go on - not too many total house fires, but enough. Several emergency runs mom would go on. If they involved a child and she went out at night she was sure to come home and wake me just to hug me and hold me tight. Two incidents I particularly recall involve when a good friend of mine had a 16 year old brother who shot and killed himself - in the mouth right through his head. That was really tough on mom. The second tough run was when a kid we knew got into a really bad motorcycle accident. I can't remember his name now, but I know it was Mike K. He didn't die. He did go through years of recovery. He stayed close to mom and eventually grew up to become an EMT-A himself.

I remember seeing the body of a high-school kid being pulled from the big lake, by the pool. Our parents made a bunch of us watch as a lesson not to swim where we weren't allowed. His body was white and bloated. That imagine along with the feeling of the cold muck that goes between your toes when you step into the lake has been enough to scar me for life. I don't swim in lakes.

I did sail my sailboat on them though. I remember the 4th of July in 1976 sailing with my dad on the big lake. The wind was strong and the boat flipped. I was wearing a preserver, but my dad wasn't. He didn't know how to swim. I was so scared. I lost my glasses and I was worried about my dad. I can't recall if that was before or after I saw the body being pulled from the lake. I do remember my dad and I holding on to the boat and him trying to calm me down. He didn't panic like me. He calmly said, "Lisa, you've done this before. Tell me what we have to do to right the boat." He gave me something else to focus on. He told everyone when we made it back to shore how smart and brave I was.

My emotions are really hard to control as I am writing this. I am mourning your loss dear house... and I know you are just a house...how silly I am. Three minutes until closing starts. I am glad I am not there. I am sitting in the dining room right now. To my right is the extra lot my parents owned. It's lush and green. Tall trees cover it now. Again, it was a bare farm field when we first met. I ate cherries from two trees for breakfast and snacked on super sweet mulberries. It a far cry from the field lot it use to be.

Last night I realized that half of all the people who have ever lived in this house are dead. Dad built you and then 14 years later he died in bed. He was very happy here. And although we lost him here, it has always been a place full of good memories. I got dressed with my bridesmaids in this house. All my pre-wedding pictures were taken here.

I am recalling proms and homecomings, graduations and baby showers, birthdays and holidays, funerals and sad times, tornado storms and winter blizzards. Your walls have remained strong.
You have helped give us the extra strong foundation our family needed. You're the last common, solid thing which binds my siblings and I together.

Mom couldn't die here...your steps were too much for her. But she did get home to take a few last baths here. Thank you house for giving her that simple pleasure.

I know my home is no longer here. I slept for the last time in my old bedroom...with my own children near by.

I miss my mom and dad. I'll miss this old house. But I will cherish every memory I've been given.

Thank you house.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Aging life...

On Wednesday I sat in a doctors office with my Father-in-law while he had a test done. When we walked in he had to sign some papers. He signed his name and he had to date the papers. He asked what the date was. As he signed "June 20th" a lump formed in my throat. It was 22 years ago that my own dad had died. I hadn't even thought about it until the date was spoken out loud.

I was with my FIL because my husband (his youngest son) and his wife had other commitments. This was one of the reasons why we moved back here almost 10 years ago. If my FIL received bad news in the office I wasn't so sure I was the right person for this job.

Fortunately for me, no information was immediately forth coming. Maybe today he'll/we'll have some news. The procedure turned out not to be what my FIL thought it was going to be. He could have driven himself; they didn't put him under. He had to drink some barium and they took scans of his body every 15 minutes. He was expecting an endoscopy. He was very nervous though through this. His hands were so fidgety - not like him at all. And he talked a blue streak. The procedure took a lot less time than we thought. In the end, I was more than glad I could be there for Dad. Just having someone with you for reassurance has got to count for something. I'll go with him again too. Even if it's for the same kind of test. No one should have to go in for any testing alone.

I'm still not excited about hearing his results.

The other side of aging is that my first born turned 15 yesterday! Wow am I getting old, but I look SO good: not at all like the mother of two teens. I can't believe he's 15. He's taller than me now, his hair is longer too! What a smart kid he is. His interests are reading, music and gaming. He particularly likes JRR Tolkien, researching, old-rock and roll (Led Zeppelin and Van Halen, etc.), Texas Hold em', his GameCube games and good food. Only occasionally will he had a bad attitude about things. He's a pretty easy going guy. He's got a little bit of my "pleaser" personality in him. I don't necessarily like to see that.

I do realise I am a very lucky person having the children and family I have been blessed with.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Indiana's Coach Hep, another GBM loss?

So having all the knowledge I have of GBM and living in Bloomington, Indiana it wasn't a surprise to me that Coach Hep died this morning from a brain tumor. But information has been kept very private (rightly so), was it GBM? Only 18 months for his battle. He was 59.

I feel for his family. I am sure they were able to cherish their time together. I hope that with Coach Hep's battle maybe some more information about brain cancer was gleamed. There is a Proton Therapy clinic here in town, hopefully it was used and useful and can help others in the future.

I still have a lot of unanswered questions...what causes primary brain cancers? Can we prevent them? Am I at risk? Are my loved ones and friends at risk? Is it environmental or genetic? I have compassion too...it's hard to watch someone you love be unable to control what is happening to them. It's hard to know what to say and what to do to help them. What a demeaning disease brain cancer can be.

God bless you Coach Hep. We'll all say an extra prayer for your family.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Note to the silent reader...

Dear Silent Reader:

I know you have read my words. At least I KNOW you have read some of my words, maybe not all of them. I know you have shared this Blog too with others. Hopefully you will have the time to read EVERYTHING posted here. Because I have read my words from the past and been transported right back in time, and I know you will be too. Anyone who is a "survivor" of losing someone to GBM will understand most of the raw feelings listed in this blog.

As for the personal "family" comments, those are ours alone to fully understand. Any person who reads this and has a family can most certainly relate in someway to the family comments. No family is perfect. Have untruths been written here? Not in my opinion, and this blog is just my opinion. In fact, I think all my comments here have been verbally spoken too. If they hurt, welcome to life. As I have commented before, I am a "pleaser". In life I try to make people happy...that's who I am thanks to my parentage. When you share this with others you cannot form your own opinions. Some people in your life have been hurtful and mean as long as I can recall, and that goes back to my very early childhood (actually pre-birth, but my memory is a little foggy from that time).

The day that my father died my life completely changed. I was totally pushed away and set free to face the world alone. I would say the same thing happened to my brother too on that day. Fortunately for us we stuck together. Not everything has been smooth for us in our relationship, but no matter what I would do anything for him. I truly feel I could call on him at anytime too and he'd do anything for me. We have an unspoken bond.

To my silent reader, just remember, Love is not something that can be bought. It is always around and sometimes we don't realize how strong it wraps around us.

To any silent reader wondering in life what is around them I offer this suggestion: Look back at old pictures. Look at the smiles on the faces of those around you when you were little. Maybe you will happily see the truth in your life of those people who love you more than you know. There are people in all our lives who loved us when we were too small to care for ourselves. As we grow, if those people haven't died, they still love us deeply. We, in our growing, have become independent and have pushed away. It's what is suppose to happen. Sometimes too many negative and hurtful opinions get stated in front of small ears. How unfair to those small ears. Those small ears aren't able to make their own opinions and they trust the adults around them.

Again as a "pleaser", I try to always balance out stories told in my household. There is good in all of humankind. The young ears in my household will have enough challenges to face in life as they grow. Life is not fair. I think we all need to know there are people who you can always count on, who have loved us since we were born.

Later I will comment on my latest adventure: saying good-bye to a house from childhood.

Any reader who feels brave enough is more than welcome to leave comments. But, if you just want to continue as a silent reader, so be it.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Moving on...

Well, My brother called me this week to casually let me know that our sister did indeed take all of the Consolidated Edison (ED) stock (my part would have been 610 shares). Sad and selfish, but not unexpected. Guess she felt she did indeed deserve it.

And, my mom's house did sell. The offical closing will be on June 15th. We will have until the 30th to clean out what we want. The empty lot next door is still available, but the end of the estate stuff is drawing near.

I wonder how much my siblings and I will communicate after this is all over.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Continuing life...new concerns...

Yesterday my husband called me to tell me he had a "talk" with his dad's doctor. Without breaking any HIPA laws, the doctor alluded that he is "concerned" about my FIL. For the past two months we have been concerned too. Dad has lost a lot of weight without trying. He is lethargic and pale looking. He has been to the doctor and the doctor at first said nothing seems to be wrong. He did have a cold/virus a few months ago and the doctor gave him antibiotics then. Apparently the doctor has run some blood tests on dad and wants to do a stomach scan.

Dad is anemic. I don't know if he knows that yet. The doctor should be telling him soon. My husband and I will just have to wait and see how things play out. Then we will do whatever we need to do to help the situation.

Life is never boring. Is Leukemia in our future? Stomach Cancer? Dad has just seemed "Off" since spring break. I don't know how else to describe him.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A year of memories...

This past weekend started a year of vivid memories for me. On Sunday it was a year ago that my family and I drove north to visit my mom in the hospital the day before her surgery. I would end up staying there for two more days while my family came home.

I can't believe it's been a year. A year ago I was sitting with Art in the recovery/ICU waiting room. Today would have been my mom's 20th wedding anniversary to Art. It's so sad to know they are both gone. What a difference a year can make.

I am not really looking forward to Mother's Day since I was up north with my mom for that last year too. It was when she said, remembering that she use to work for a brain surgeron, "I knew people who got this disease and they weren't around 6 to 8 months later."

I am hating being alone right now. My mind reflects too much and it makes me scared, sad and lonely. I am trying to get things straight in my brain, work out my emotions...I need to talk, but no one needs to hear my thoughts nor wants to hear my ramblings. Thank goodness I can write here. I need some control.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Friends...and dreams

Dreams are such powerful things.

Just after my step-dad died I drempt he was standing next to my bed as I slept. My dream woke me abruptly. I felt like he was coming to see me to tell me he was okay. When I told my grandmother about my dream she told me it meant he needed prayers. She said when people visit you in your dreams it means they aren't settled and they need prayers. She seemed freaked out by the fact that I dream pt about Art. I decided to keep my dreams to myself when speaking to Grams. I like the idea that Art's okay better.

When I was up north last November during the time when I knew my mom was close to "crossing over" I felt several spirits all around. One was my step-dad again. I found myself trying to talk to him and tell him it was okay. He needed to come and show mom the way. I was sad that I didn't "see" my dad. I did feel something pulling on me at night when I slept. I mean really tugging on my arm. Maybe that was my dad?

I do know that this March I felt a huge sense of relief knowing my mom and dad were together once again on their anniversary. I haven't had anyone that's passed away visit my dreams since mom died. Maybe Grams was right? Maybe people who die only visit you if they need you to pray for their soul.

A few weeks ago I had a different sort of dream. I drempt I was eating dinner or lunch with my husband, my daughter and an old friend of mine from high school. I haven't thought about this old friend of mine in years. I guess I was worried that maybe he had died. Maybe he needed some prayers? I decided to Google him. If he could be found and was still alive I wanted to tell him thanks for making my high school years so fun. I've tried in the past to find him - before our last high school reunion, but no luck. This time I had a hit! And lucky for me I did find my old friend!

I don't want to disrupt his life, or mine for that matter, but I do want him to know that I have always thought he was a neat person and I am glad our lives crossed.

I truly feel that in life everything happens for a reason.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


There is less pressure with only one family to think about on a holiday.

I know my sister is busy traveling back home and my brother is with his in-laws. I will head to my in-laws in a few hours.

I was able to focus on my own family last night. We decorated eggs, then I filled the kids baskets close to bedtime. Although both my kids are really too big for the Easter Bunny to visit them, they aren't too big to receive a basket full of chocolate bunnies!

This morning, after church we came back to a relaxing family day. Dinner will be nice tonight. I am so lucky to have in-laws that live only a few miles away.

Easter is the season of new beginnings in more ways than one.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Entitlement, Money and Greed...or True Colors

Wow. I have spent the past few weeks in a sad, verbal battle with the baby of the siblings. She has said some very hurtful things.

The bottom line is that she feels entitled to more than my brother and me. She told me LEGALLY she didn't have to do anything, but nice her had our mom's IRA split three ways; she could have taken it all. And, I should be grateful for getting something from my step-dad's will because he didn't even intend to leave me anything. AND, this is the kicker, luckily for my brother and I (as far as our relationship with her is concerned) our mother lived longer than 30 days past our step-dad. Although his will contradicts itself in three places, he stipulates if our mom doesn't live 30 days past him things should go to mom's minor child. Did I mention that Art wrote his will when my sister was like 9 years old? She's going to be 27 in two months. Luckily for my brother and I, mom lived 31 days. My sister said, and I quote, "And, if mom had died one day sooner, Art's entire estate would have been going to me. Then you really would have hated me - what would I have done then? Sincerely, I don't know. I'm glad mom waited one more day so I wouldn't have had to make those decisions."

It's her 'SINCERELY, I DON"T KNOW.' line that's killing me. A few weeks ago when she told me she was taking the stock I did tell her I was shocked and that from where I stood it looked like she was being a spoiled brat. She was the one who took mom in her final days to have her will re-written and came out of the deal with mom's car (all else was to be divided equally). She was the only one "allowed" with a key to the house per the estate attorney (so she said), she has been taking things left and right out of the house - way more than my brother or I. But, we did say take what you need, we are older and our households are more established. This additional, "I'm taking this stock" seems over the top. Why is she doing this? If she was intending to take this all along then why wasn't she more forthcoming? She also recently told me she thought I was being 'silly willing to lose my sister over $23,000.00' and in the end I would have "plenty of money" anyway.

My sister blindsided me during my spring break when she told me she intends to fully take one of Art's stocks. In January she had told my brother and I that the attorney she has been working with said Art's will was contradictory to itself and that the best and easiest thing to do was to transfer everything into mom's estate and then split it three ways. Why the change? Or was there never a change, she just wasn't speaking the truth? Do I trust her now? No. Do I think there is trouble in her paradise? Absolutely.

Back when our mom was dying, and I mean she literally only had a few more days left, my sister's husband was putting a lot of stress on her. He told her he felt neglected. He missed the old Eileen. AND, I know they were feeling financially in a crunch. Now the gravy train has stopped from my mom for my sister. Death obviously makes it hard to personally buy things for others. The gravy train has a finite amount of dollars still in it. I think within the year it will be dry. What will my sister do then? How long will her marriage last? She's pregnant with her second child. If her husband was feeling neglected when her mother was dying how do you think he's going to feel with two children now? I think my sister will end up alone and then my grandmother will say, 'poor Eileen, life has been so unfair to her.' And then Grandma will end up footing her bill. I hope my aunt and uncles are wise to this. My sister's head is still full of hateful comments my mom and grandma said over the years about my mom's siblings. My sister also acts a lot like my mom and grandma...if you don't do things the way they think you should you are a bad person.

Looks like my sister's true colors are showing. Looks like she's going to have a difficult road ahead of her. Life lessons are not fun to learn. How unfortunate for her that she hasn't been able to really grow on her own. How sad to be 27 and still so dependent on others. How sad to be so hurtful.

Will her comments to me fade away? Probably not as rapidly as she would hope.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

It's always warm by my birthday...

My birthday just happened on March 23rd. I like to start saying "It's always warm by my birthday" to my husband in late January. Every year he gets to tell me that I am crazy and it will not be warm. I persist and say, it will be and I can and will be wearing shorts.

When we were first married I was usually right. Of course I was warmer blooded then and would wear long pants only from Thanksgiving until March 1st.

Living in Southern Indiana doesn't assure one of warm temperatures in late March.

This year the weather is cooperating with me though. I am wearing my shorts. The grass is green and the daffodils, hyacinths and crocus are blooming. The Bradford pear trees have busted out of their protective flower buds and are turning white and showy. My house windows are open, the heat has been off for a week and we even have slept with the windows opened at night. It's currently 81 wonderful degrees.

I am realistic and know it is still early spring. Cooler weather will be back. I doubt it will snow any more, but I am still in Indiana. Anything is possible.

What great birthday weekend weather. Thank you angels above for smiling down on me with the warmth and sun. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Another loss...but another angel above...

I just found out today that a cyber aquaintance of mine who had GBM like my mom passed away on March 11th. I am so sad for his family.

I can imagine being in his wife's shoes - we are probably about the same age. Yet, I can't quite imagine being his wife. I know what this disease can do to people. How strong she must be to have witnessed and weathered Glioblastoma Multiforme. It steals from us who must go on, emotionally. It tires us out and makes us wish for things we know are inevitable. We don't want our wishes to happen, but we do, how torn this disease makes us. I wanted the end for my mom, but I wasn't ready even when that moment came. If it was my husband, I would be so lost. With my situation, I had my family to come back to. My heart is breaking for this wife I don't even really know. She's too young to have lost her partner.

I know what it's like to be a child and lose a parent to GBM. Quite frankly, it stinks. Did I tell her I loved her enough? Did I make her comfortable enough? Did she know it was me? Was there more I could have done?

And then there is the wonder...the doctor told me the chances of me getting this disease are practically nil, but what if? I am her flesh and blood. I have inherited lots of other things from both my parents. How can the doctor be sure? What if? What if? What if? It's too scary.

Life is too short. We do need to live each day to it's fullest. Being sad is part of the process of grieving - this I know. Those who have gone before us would want us to enjoy the time we have here.

Everyday I am trying to see God around me. Today I am seeing the change of seasons. New flowers are blooming and the sun is shining. I think I saw a smile in the little yellow crocus at my lawns edge. It's telling me to LiveStrong.

I need a bit more time to heal. I am working on it though. I hope my cyber aquaintences family will be able to smile again soon as they recall the fun and love they shared.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Yesterday I met with a therapist.

I told her all about last year. In the end, her jaw was on the floor. She said that just by my mom dying that was more than enough to go through.

Her advice is that I am fine. I am normal. I just need to give myself time and keep talking about my feelings.

All things I all ready knew. I just needed that reminder that I am okay.

Last night I dreamt about my grandma. She gave me a really big book. On one side of the book there was a bible. On the other side there was a bunch of family history. It was a strange dream. I haven't spoken to my grandma in a week. I do need to hear her voice. I know she has been really sad with the loss of my mom. Truthfully, I will be surprised if she can make it through the next year. I was very surprised that she made it through my mom's birthday.

Today would have been my mom and dad's 45 wedding anniversary. It's the first anniversary they have been together in 21 years. Wow. I bet there is a big celebration going on in heaven today.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Tomorrow is the anniversary of my mom's birth. She would have been 65. I got a note today from a friend of hers telling me she was thinking of me, my brother and my sister. She said she wasn't ready for my mom to be gone yet.

I cried and cried. I feel like I could cry again.

Monday, February 05, 2007

purging and a trip

Why do we buy trinkets? Once we are gone will others understand their emotional value? Whose job is it to toss away memories? Why do we hold on to items from our past? How do we remember without needing something tangible? How can others understand us without that tangible item?

Two weekends ago I went to San Diego for a much needed break from life. My sister-in-law had a conference and invited me to share her hotel room and free-time. I had two days alone to explore. What a wonderful treat. I live my life always thinking of others: what will we eat, what will we wear, are things clean, what needs to be done when, do we have the money, when will we go to bed...life as a mom. This trip I was able to just focus on me. I ate what I wanted. I went where I wanted. I thought of no one else. What an amazing experiment. I actually can think of only me!

I spent two days not even once wondering what others would think or how would they react. I went to a Maritime Museum. Very cool. I asked questions I was curious about. I looked at things I wanted to see. I did however miss my family. My son would have LOVED the ships. Especially the HMS Surprise. I went to a mission. I walked around in its peace and serenity. I prayed for my mom, dad and step-dad. I thought about the people who walked there long before me. What wonderful deeds did they do? How kind were they to others? In the past I bet this was a place filled with people who thought not of themselves. I payed silent tribute to them. I felt very welcomed there. I went to Point Loma, the actual point. I saw the lighthouse and statue of Cabrillo, the first person to land on what we know as San Diego. I saw the SS Reagan leaving port, full of our service men (and women?)heading into duty. Sisters, brothers and parents on the clifty shore with me. Lots of pride all around. I also saw whales spouting. It is whale migration time and the rangers and folks around me said the blasts of water we saw were whales. I won't argue. I think they were whales too.

During my time away from my family I kept looking at gift shops. I kept thinking I should take something home for each family member who was important to me. They should know I was thinking of them while I was away. But, would these trinkets mean anything to them? Should I spend the money? Would they like what I bought? Would these items be looked at once and then put into a drawer and forgotten? What about anything I might buy myself? Would anyone know its importance to me in five years? Two months? or even in two days? Why did I feel compelled to buy something? Look at my mom's house. It's a place full of things long forgotten that now my siblings and I get to sift through and pitch. Would the right person happen upon the right item and know, or recall its importance? So many stories.

In the end, I did buy gifts for all. Note cards for my mother-in-law, chocolates for my father-in-law. Hot chocolate mix for my husband, a shirt with the HMS Surprise on it for my son, as well as some unique Lego's, a smashed penny and a key chain. For my daughter: a pen with ships that float from one end to the other in it, a bracelet, Lego's, a smashed penny and a key chain too. Little things. For me, a silver and mother of peril turtle necklace. Lots of photos and a memory stuffed full of sunshine, warmth and new desires.

I want to spend more time in my life enjoying me. It's hard for me being a mom and separating myself from my "job". Others need to see me too, not just me the mom. Going north to help clean out the house allows me to see my mom, step-dad and dad as the people who made up them. Not them as their job-selves. Does that make sense? I think we buy trinkets not only to think of others, but to allow those in our future to be able to decipher who we really were.

Friday, January 12, 2007


So last weekend I met my siblings. We actually all acted like adults, go figure!

No tears, no anger, no yelling, no sadness...well, not much sadness. It is pretty sad to look through your parents things. It's kind of the kind of thing you wish you COULD do while they were still alive. We do have questions we wish we could have answered. Like, what ring did a guy name David buy our mom BEFORE she met dad? Forever to be unanswered I guess. Also, why did they keep certain things? Were they sentimental? And if so, what's their story?

This weekend we are taking our whole families north and have rented a trash bin. It really is time to get rid of a few things. Our mom and step-dad were pack rats. No doubt about that. This weekend we will get a chance to see how far the apples fall from the trees. Can we all still agree about what is trash?

I guess we will see.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Tonight my siblings and I will meet at the old house. We need to discuss our plans on dispersing with the memories there. Both physical and emotional memories will need to be gone through.

Three children. Three sets of emotions. Three different ways of doing things. One roof.

I wonder if we will cry, argue and or hold grudges. I wonder how we can get through this. How do we physically get rid of things and how do we emotionally get rid of things? How do we get through this and not have hard feelings and still love one another? Or do we lose those relationships in the end? What will prevail and what really matters in the end? Our parents created the three of us, but did they ever think we'd be there for each other later in life? Does any parent ever think about this part of parenting? I haven't. Do I care if once I am gone if my kids love one another or stay in touch? Honestly, I think it's not my concern. I really only care if they love me and are good human beings. That seems selfish but honest. Maybe my emotions are just jaded right now.

It will be interesting to see what this weekend brings.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Looking for Joy

Depression is around me now. I feel abandoned. Yes, I have my husband and kids, but I feel like that's it. At times I feel blase about life. Who cares? Why do anything? It doesn't really matter in the end. And then at times I see the beauty and wonder in the little things...birds singing, gorgeous sunrises, the constellations.

I thought having 2006 end would help things. Maybe I need more of 2007 to go by to see the difference. I know I need to give things time. I really need to be able to laugh again and know it's okay to laugh. There are those constant thoughts in the back of my brain that I am alive and my parents aren't.

I need balance. This is normal. I know it is. Things will be fine, in time.