Do What You Love




It’s been a long, long time since I posted. Figured it was time to dust off the blog and share my thoughts. I’m still getting by one day at a time. Today life is different. I’m retired. The grandchildren are still very much a part of my life; babysitting them is my part-time job. But as the title says, I’m spending much more time doing what I love. Art. Crafting. Creating.  My heart is swelling right now because I’m excited about a new project.

A few years ago I signed up for an online mixed media course. When the next one came up I registered for that class too. The problem was, I never finished them. The materials I bought for the projects still sit in my craft room – waiting for me to turn them into the jewels they were meant to be. In the beginning the classes captured my attention. However, little by little I stopped logging in which led to feelings of  guilt thinking about all the things I started and never finished. Egyptian themed needlepoint canvas.  Stories and books I planned to write.  One day I gave myself permission to quit and not feel the guilt. The needlepoint canvas is ugly. Maybe 40 years ago it gave me pleasure, but not now.  Same with the online courses. While I learned a lot – the projects weren’t my taste. Now I’m doing what I love. Working on art that  pleases me.

The other day as I was working on another project my daughter asked me, “Don’t you ever get bored?”. Bored? Doing what I love? Never! I could do this all day. A few days before that I was shopping for more paper.  While driving home with my stash I thought about those who don’t have a hobby to fulfill them.  I felt sorry for them and said as much to my daughter. Crafting gives me so much pleasure. When I create something there’s a natural high, such euphoria it’s hard to put into words. It’s a blessing to be able to spend hours creating and experimenting. The first journal I made was a sample – to see if I could do it and want to make more. It wasn’t perfect but not bad either. Actually it was pretty good.  I was the only one who saw imperfections.  After all we are our own worst critics.  I began posting my creations in an online paper crafting group, waiting for any feedback that may come my way. The positive responses are indications I am on the right track. Any praise makes me feel sorta like Sally Field did when she won her second Oscar, “you like me, right now, you like me”.

Being bullied as a child left me with poor self esteem. That’s a story for another time, but I will say this about that – I’ve come a long way since then and I have a long way to go God willing. It’s never to late to do what you love. I suppose you could call me a late bloomer. As a child I never saw myself as creative. Truth. Mom made me take sewing lessons in hopes I’d become a wonderful seamstress like my aunt. I didn’t love it and tried the  patience of the instructor many times. She stayed late once to help me with a dress and finally threw her hands up in the air and said, “Honey, you’ll never be a seamstress!”.  Mixed media, paper crafting, painting, and wreath making have nothing to do with sewing. But whenever I thought about art, the sewing teacher’s words came back to me and I kept hearing “you’ll never be”. So I never tried. Until I was older. Now I love what I do, I do what I love. And guess what? Now I want a sewing machine!



Story Time


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Once upon a time. The best children’s stories begin that way. Ever since my daughters were young all of the stories and tales I told them started that way. Once upon a time . . . the story of Peter and Pansy, Once upon a time . . . a girl lived in a rainbow colored house, Once upon a time . . . there were three sisters. While I barely remember the stories, they have vivid memories of our evening story times and  the tales I wove out of air. The Peter and Pansy stories were a favorite of all three. I managed to tell that story over several nights, maybe even weeks. And just when it was getting good – you guessed it – bedtime! Then the next night they begged me to tell them what happened next. When the story finally ended it was not how they expected. If I remember correctly Pansy died, but by then she was an old woman. Still, it was sad for them to hear that one of their beloved characters died. All of the stories had a purpose. Not just to entertain, but to inform or to teach them a lesson of some sort. Today my daughters reminisce about the stories I used to tell them. The soft glint in their eyes and ready smiles are evidence of good memories coming to the surface.

Now that I have grandchildren the story times are less frequent, but much more pleasant. When they lived with me this past fall and winter there were times they objected to bedtime. There is no better way to calm a cranky child than a story well told.  Snowy and Blowy were born. A story so simple in it’s beginnings, yet also one that could go on and on. Snowy was a snowman who came to work at the North Pole for Santa. He got his name because he could make it snow and snow and it was also why he got his job. He created large amounts of snow to hide the entrance to Santa’s castle. When he met Blowy (who could blow snow around like you never saw) it was love at first flake. Together they are still snowing and blowing around Santa’s castle. Even the adults in my house were known to use Snowy and Blowy to their advantage. For example, if they kids were misbehaving they weren’t going to get a Snowy and Blowy story that night. (Boy did that work!) Eventually Snowy and Blowy  married and had two snow children, a boy Blizzard and a daughter, Icicle (Icy for short). Even the snow pets had snow related names. The cat’s name was Slushy and the dog’s was Drift. Blowy’s dad was none other than Frosty and her mom was Flurry. I had a lot of fun creating this family of snow people. In Snowy’s first adventure he melted on a trip with Santa one  Christmas Eve when he stowed away and stepped off the sleigh onto a hot roof in Florida. Santa managed to bring him back to life by bringing his blue heart back to the North Pole. Using Santa magic and Snowy snow he became a snowman once again. I even found two stuffed snowmen toys. One with a green scarf and hat (Snowy) and one with pink (Blowy). The fun part about them was they had a microphone inside and repeated what you said. Perfect additions to the Snowy and Blowy story.

By springtime Snowy and Blowy were on the back burner. The grandchildren moved with their Mom and Dad into a home of their own. But every once in a while I would get asked, “Tell us a story. Please??”. While baby sitting Lola and Harper one night I got a request for a story. This time with a twist. I had to put all of the little stuffed toys they brought over into the story. I looked at the assemblage of toys on the coffee table and wondered what to do. There was a white cat hand puppet, Lola’s pink bunny Fluffy, a round robot from Star Wars and some kind of Shopkin toy – a cookie with a piece bitten off. I know very little about Star Wars and even less about Shopkins. Boy was I in trouble. I figured this would be a lame story, not my best, but I didn’t want to make it my worst either. Then I spotted my dancing Frosty the Snowman toy Harper left out. Ah ha. Inspiration struck. I borrowed from The Land of Misfit Toys in the old Rankin-Bass Santa TV special. The toys were so lonely because no one wanted them. The cat didn’t meow, it barked. The bunny had just one ear. The robot wouldn’t stop beeping no matter what you did. And the cookie? Well she had a smile on her face but couldn’t stop crying. The robot especially annoyed her. The telling of the story was crazy. Here I am with the cat in one hand barking like a dog while holding down one of the rabbits ears with the other. Then moving to the Shopkin and bawling like a big baby, while trying to make the robot beep all the time. In between beeps the Shopkin cries and tells the robot to shut up. Laughter from my audience. Great – I’ve got them hooked. Then Frosty stops by and asks the toys why they are so lonely. And the kitty barks out why. Frosty can see and hear for himself why these toys are unloved. So he brings them to Santa’s castle and they are fixed as good as new. The cat meows so sweet. The bunny has a new ear. The Shopkin cookie laughs and her attitude matches her smile now. And the robot? He still beeps, but only when you push his button. Santa made sure  the toys found good homes. The End.

I always loved to write. I started a journal in high school and more or less kept at it over the years. I don’t do it as often as I did in the past, but maybe that’s because my life is on an even keel now. I wrote every time something bothered me. Sure things still bother me but I have different coping mechanisms in place to deal with those feelings. When I was bored or couldn’t sleep I would go to the place in my mind where the I kept my make-believe tales. So many of them over the years. The one about the girl born in the 1900s and her life through the years – sacrificing herself for family and work. Then getting a chance to do over, becoming younger and younger until a beautiful young girl replaces the tired, old woman. ( A fantasy for sure!) Or the “winery story” as I call it, about a family of winemakers and the passions and intrigue that take place over several generations. And I have one about a famous AM disc jockey with a successful talk radio show who plots to assassinate the first African-American president. (And no, I don’t have any ill will towards the President. I am a fan. This was in my mind a before Barack Obama was elected. ) There’s a new book in my head most of the time. I wish I would write them down. All of them. I have some darn good ideas. Like the book I started called Standard Elimination. A futuristic tale of health care gone wrong in the 21st century. (In this book, a standard elimination is a clinical abortion to weed society of unhealthy individuals.) If I don’t finish this one soon, most of my ideas will soon be truth, not fiction. Part of my problem is discipline and distraction. I have to school myself to write my blog. I also get distracted easily – Pinterest for crafting and cooking ideas. My tablet for games to make the time go by (and also for Pinning). And then there’s the commitments to my sister. So a book is a mountainous task for me. Even though the time for resolutions is past, I am going to resolve to write more. Starting now. Well, I’m writing now already – but not enough. So I am going to try to put one of my books or stories together. Sort of like the nano rymo challenge where you have to write so many words in one month. All I can do is try.

With any luck my next post should begin with Once upon a time there was a girl who wanted to be a writer and so she wrote and wrote and wrote . . .

This is not The End.

Ta Ta for now.


Reclaiming My Voice

I lost my voice. Or maybe surrendered it is the apt word. Renounced it. Gave up. And I am not a quitter. That’s what I did though. Life got in the way. So now I am trying to get back on track. Returning to write about what is important to me. It doesn’t matter who hears me, who reads me. This is for me, it was always for me. I’m back. I found inspiration in the post of another blogger. Her fight to find her voice again influenced me in a most positive way.

OK, so where was I? Mother of the Bride? Turning 60? Sheesh, that seems so long ago, but really less than a year. I am going to be a grandmother again. YEAH! Happy about that. Can’t wait to meet my little man. A boy in this family at last. After three daughters and two granddaughters finally a grandson to look forward to.

When my daughter and son-in-law asked if they could stay with us until they found a house, we said yes immediately. To have our granddaughters around every day to share fun times with was too good a deal to pass up. However the stress on us older folk who are set in our ways began to set in quickly. I think the feelings were mutual. When you are used to living one way and have to adapt to another way it can cause tensions. I think we were all happy on moving day. The younger ones excited to turn their dream house into a home, my husband and I happy to have our spaces back. Rick has his music room and I have my craft room/office. A place for everything, so much storage. (More about that later.)

Life is good – almost. I became Power of Attorney for my sister and also the payee rep for her Social Security. This in itself is worthy of pages and pages of venting and angst. While I gladly took on this extra burden – that’s what family does – we take care of our own, what started out as taking her to appointments a couple of times a month turned into two or three times a week. Still, I am trying my best to help her. Even if I have to sacrifice to do so. It’s who I am.

I manage to carve out some “me” time when I can. Since my hours at work have been cut, my Friday’s off have become days to do my own thing. Mostly I just clean house and run errands so then on Saturdays I can do whatever. Last weekend I had a hankering to fix up some fizzy bath bombs, so homemade bath products were on my radar. The sleepy time lavender bath bombs were really nice. Thank goodness for Pinterest to provide inspiration. Or should I say pinspiration! There are several other projects I have in mind. I’ve been looking at some mixed-media paper crafting and thinking of making a photo book. And I want to try making a faux capiz shell hanging, maybe a light.

Finding my voice again is a happy thing. Which brings me to this-

IMG_4083 (Edited)

And it is It truly is.

Ta ta for now.

Turning 60


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The birthdays ending in zero have never given me much pause, and this one was no exception. I celebrated my 60th birthday a little over a month ago. I use the term celebrated with good reason. Months before my actual birthday I decided to honor my 60th year all year-long. I made plans to go to Italy later this year with my aunt as a birthday present to myself. “No party for me!!”, I warned my family. I didn’t want any fuss, just a new camera to take to Italy. They didn’t listen to me and threw a huge surprise party anyway. Oh, it was fun. A lot fun. Everyone should have a surprise party just once. They are so much better when you have no idea what’s happening.


Boy, was I surprised!

There was a live band courtesy of my husband. He hired a couple of musician friends from way back to sing and play with him. Elise was in charge of everything else – invitations, food, drinks, and decorations. Katie got me out of the house on the pretext of taking me out for a mother-daughter outing for Mother’s Day. And when we got home after our afternoon out – SURPRISE!! And it truly was a surprise. Out of all the guests I was happiest to see Johanna there with her boyfriend TJ. It’s not often all three of my daughters are together. I am blessed to have a family that cares for me enough to plan this.

Katie, Elise, and Johanna

Katie, Elise, and Johanna

Not long ago I took one of those crazy quizzes on Facebook. You know the ones I mean – this one promised to guess how many years I had left to live. I’m superstitious about those kind of things. I don’t want to know the answer to that. Especially since I was diagnosed with cancer nearly 19 years ago. I feel like I’m on borrowed time anyway and I didn’t want to hear I’ll be dead tomorrow. Much to my astonishment my answer was I had 44 years left. Not bad, right? I shared my results and my comment was, “If I’m healthy, I’ll take ’em!”. Of course those quizzes are just make-believe. But who wouldn’t want to live to over one hundred years and be healthy.

Don’t know what made me think of him today, but I was thinking of the lead singer of one of my favorite boy bands of the early 1970’s. I had the biggest crush on him and even wrote fan letters to the band and have autographed pictures of them squirreled away. I found a recent You Tube video of him singing with his old band mate. Some things are better left alone. Wow. I almost didn’t recognize him. He looked like a retired desk jockey – and worst of all he had a comb-over! At least he didn’t have the “bar code” style made famous by Don Rickles. I forgot his appearance as he began to sing and concentrated on his vocals. He sounded pretty good on the first song. But I couldn’t get past the comb over. And the way he screwed his face up while singing that I thought was so cute forty years ago looked painful now.

Who am I to criticize?  The past forty years have taken their toll on me too. My middle has to go. I tried on a top today at Kohl’s. Not. Good. Looked better on the hanger.  I have my mother to thank for my good skin and minimal wrinkles. But I have myself to thank for the extra inches around my waist. I have to get up and move it. I’m starting soon. Tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. Soon, I swear. Especially if I want those extra 44 years. Oh well, at least I don’t have a comb over to worry about.

philadelphia story

Outstanding piece. How many more women have to give up their lives to this disease before a cure is found?

putting the grrrrr in Grimes


The terrors of the early AIDS epidemic. The unknowing. The limited treatments. Inadequate funding. Living within a limited timeline. Dying before your time. All while watching your friends around you die, from the very disease that you fight. With over 40,000 deaths a year during the height of the AIDS epidemic, these numbers startled the country. Shook us to our core and demanded that we all do more.

Eerily, the same thing is still happening today. At the same rate, with over 40,000 women dying of metastatic breast cancer (stage IV) each year—averaging 108 deaths a day. Again, 108 women, just like me are dying every. single. day.

I was again  reminded of this disheartening statistic by researchers as I attended Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC)’s yearly Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference in Philadelphia this past weekend.  An event that took every bit of my strength, as it is tough to do…

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I’m excited and happy for Katie and Mijo as they plan their vow renewal ceremony and reception. Maybe this time I’ll relax a little more. After all this is my second time as mother of the bride. I’ve been doing some research online and wondering just what the duties of the M.O.B are. This was something I never considered before.  I perused and also Both of these sites have been around for a long time and are very popular with brides. I didn’t realize things like this are so specific. Here are a few the most common duties for the M.O.B. and how I plan to tackle them.

Shopping support – I helped Katie shop for her first dress. (Yes, there is a second one.) She was dead set on this dress. Not my fave, but she was the bride and paying for it so I let it pass. When she went for a fitting she found out there wasn’t enough fabric to let the dress out even a teeny bit – Hello, Bridezilla! However, this time her sister Elise was with her and style maven that she is, picked out “the one”. I love this new dress. I really do. I can’t wait to see her in it and cry a little bit too.

Researching traditions and finding family heirlooms – Piece of cake, I got this. I’m going to pin my great grandmother’s gold cross in her dress. Nearly every bride in my family has worn it on their wedding day. My grandmother, my mother, my aunt, me, my cousin, and now Katie will too. It’s a lovely piece and a wonderful tradition.

Go to contact – Wait a minute, give my number to the caterer, florist, venue, and who knows what else? I don’t know about that one. This is Katie’s wedding and she has very specific ideas on how she wants it to go. I’m staying out of the way on this. Except for the venue – since her dad and I agreed to cover that I guess I have to be the contact person there. I have the easy part.

Playing Host – Can’t wait! I’m going to rock that and make sure all of the guests have a wonderful time while Katie and Mijo enjoy themselves. Don’t know how I’m going to do that and watch Lola and Harper at the same time. Because I sort of volunteered to watch them and keep them out of trouble.

Communicating outfit choice with the groom’s mom – Well, I have my dress and I haven’t done that. The M.O.B. is supposed to buy her dress first and then tell the groom’s mom. What, so they don’t clash, or buy the same dress? Oh well. I’m not going to do this one. It won’t bother me one bit if she buys the same dress as me. Unless she’s like a size 4 and rocks it better than I do.

Day of dressing assistance – As much as I’d like to help with this, I know Katie has other ideas. She may be getting ready at her place with the bridesmaids and I’ll be getting ready at my home. So I suppose I will see her before hand to give her a squeeze and wish her well.

Second Dance – Maybe this should be the third dance. Dad and daughter dance, son and mother dance, then the wedding party – which means I’ll get my turn on the dance floor with my husband. I’m looking forward to dancing and having some fun.

The duties for the mother of the bride aren’t so complicated. Common sense mixed in with a little tradition and love. It’s going to be a wonderful party!

Becoming A Pet Parent – Again

About four years ago I decided I wanted a dog. It was several years since our collie/lab mix Charlie died and felt my heart healed enough to let another animal in. I didn’t want just any dog. Not a puppy. Not a new being to housebreak, no time for that with a family of full-time workers. So an older dog. Young enough that his joints didn’t creak and wasn’t too tired or lazy to play. One that didn’t shed. A must after having two hairy dogs that shed year-round. I scanned the pet ads weekly for awhile and even went to check out a schnoodle at the local humane society. Adoption papers were filled out but sadly the dog went to another family. Just as well – he seemed too frisky and not the pleasant lap dog I envisioned. After awhile I abandoned my search. It was not to be.

Imagine my surprise when for my birthday three years ago my daughter Elise came home with a kitten rescued from her workplace. A cat! I don’t want a cat! I didn’t hide my disappointment too well and made excuses. I’m allergic, etc. She was upset. Elise meant well – but it was a cat. I was done with cats. We lost three cats over the years, two to incurable illnesses and one was hit by a car. No more cats for me. I wanted a dog. However, the kitty couldn’t go back where he came from so I reluctantly accepted him. I glimpsed a black ball of fur as he skipped out of her arms and ran away to hide. She scooped him up and handed him to me. I took one look at that little face and the scared green eyes peering at me. Will you be my Mommy? Would I? It didn’t take long for me to fall in love – well like. I liked him at first, love came later – but not too much later.

Now what to name him. This is where Elise and I disagreed. She wanted to call him Fitzgerald, but since he was my cat I claimed naming honors and called him Chachi. Everybody knows Joanie Loves Chachi….

Chachi was a real sweetie. He used his box from the first and almost every time after that. A normal cat, eating, playing, and a lot of sleeping at first.. Yet he was different in many ways from our other cats. Loveable when you got to know him, Chachi liked to sit in your lap or right next to you. Our other cats were a bit standoffish and preferred to be by themselves. Shy around strangers, he hid when we had guests. Only to come out looking for attention when they were gone.

He was so scared those first few days. While learning about his past, I understood why. There are quite a few feral cats on the grounds where Elise works. Chachi’s mother was one of those cats. The rest of his litter mates along with his mother were killed by coyotes. He was coaxed out of a drain pipe and came home with Elise. Poor baby. No wonder Chachi was so skittish at first.

It didn’t take long for him to become a true member of our family. After having three girls, Chachi was the boy I always wanted. Even if he was a cat! When I came home from work he would look up from his resting place and meow a greeting to me. I would pet him, talk to him and we bonded. I gave him many nicknames, Chach, Mr. Chachi, and my favorite Tiddy Bits. Chachi gave me a look at the last one, that said “Really, Mom?”, but he answered to them all.

Chachi was strictly an indoor cat. Never caring to venture outdoors, it never seemed to hold any interest for him.. The door garage door would be open and he would just sit there peering out but not moving. We always wondered if it was because of where he was found. If only cats could talk. He had a way of communicating though, intuitively he knew when you were not feeling well. Chachi would come up and lie right on top of you putting his face next to yours and rubbing your cheeks. So sweet.

And that part about him not being an outdoor cat? He got out just twice. The first time I didn’t know until I got a call from the vet telling me my neighbor found him. Thank goodness we had him micro-chipped! The second time Chachi went missing for about a day and a half. Because we were used to him and not concerned about his absence, we didn’t realize it at first. When we did, Elise and I panicked. I made up fliers and walked down the street and put one in every mail box. By the time I got to end of our very long block I got a call from Elise. She discovered him safe and sound in our back yard. I flew home. Boy was I glad he was OK. We feared the worst – hit by a car or eaten by a coyote.

Chachi was such a good guy. He let me dress him up for Christmas and Halloween. I bought a red and green hat with jingle bells on it for Charlie. When I found it in my Christmas stash, I put it on Chachi. Can you say photo op? Oh and the witch hat and ribbon Halloween collar? Too cute. He let me put it on him and wore it long enough for me to snap a few pics. Like I said if only cats could talk. He tolerated my silly nonsense because I was his Mom. I fed him and changed his box and let him sleep on me. I was in love with the little critter.


Out of the blue Katie, my oldest daughter, fell in love with a cat and wanted to adopt it. Her lease has a no pet clause so she asked if the cat could stay with us until she found a place that would allow pets After much deliberation on our part and plenty of cajoling on Katie’s part Dad and I said yes. Katie was recovering from a miscarriage, physically and emotionally; Gertie seemed to fill a void. Since Chachi’s personality could best be described as chill, we thought they would get along. However, he wasn’t ready to share his home with another “cat”. It took some coaxing, but eventually they formed an unlikely truce. Chachi would hiss at Gertie and she’d give him a look that said’ “Oh, really?” and walk away. Now who was the chill cat. Used to being in a shelter with other cats, she was oblivious to Chachi. But not to his food dish or litter box. I gave up trying to feed them separately and just put extra food out. Eventually Chachi tolerated Gertie’s presence in his space and would swat at her tail. Or stalk her. It was funny watching him.

When Chachi began to act different we were a bit concerned but not overly so at first. With Gertie eating out of his dish, it was difficult to tell how much he was or wasn’t eating. We didn’t notice any signs at first, but I made a vet appointment when Chachi began to act strange. Lethargic, not eating, and hiding under my bed even when there was no one around. Chachi had a fever but nothing serious seemed out of whack so we went home only to be back the next day. He saw the vet twice more in three days. He was no better, if anything getting worse. Blood tests were normal and X-rays only showed gas from his esophagus to his rectum. Gas? What was this mysterious thing he had? The vet recommended a specialist after the X-rays. This was beyond her scope and she wanted Chachi to get better.

We were hopeful that this vet would be able to help. He hadn’t eaten in a week or so and was obviously not well. She performed an ultra sound which showed nothing out of the ordinary. However, she wanted to examine his throat and needed to put him under general anesthesia to do so. I consented, anything to find out what was wrong and make Mr. Chachi better. Well, she discovered what she called “shmoo”, a cottage cheesy looking mucus that coated the entire back of his throat. It was so thick she had to use a tiny catheter to intubate him because a normal tube wouldn’t pass through the shmoo. His throat was cleaned of all the gunk and tissue samples were taken to be biopsied. Chachi had a rough time waking up from the anesthesia and was kept in an oxygen cage until he woke up. We were able to take him home that same night. We still didn’t have a definitive answer as to what was wrong and we hoped that with the goo gone from his throat he would get better. We were given instructions on feeding with a syringe and how and when to medicate him. He was prescribed three medicines, a painkiller, a steroid and an antibiotic. We medicated him and fed him and he still seemed weak. I just assumed it would take awhile to recover from the surgery. I remember being under anesthesia and how long the after effects lasted. Elise and I were vigilant. Elise more so. Feeding him, fussing over him and chiding me when I wasn’t doing something right and reminding me when it was time for his meds.

Syringe feeding him became more difficult. It was hard to get more than a teaspoon down him at a time. That seems like so little, but then he was nothing more than, skin, bone, and fur. I called the vet again and was told the bleeding from his nose would stop, don’t wipe it away – let it scab. I did and it did. A small victory. We took it one day at a time. When he lapped out of his water bowl on his own a couple days later, Elise called to tell me. I had a mental celebration. Maybe he was going to get better.

I was on jury duty that day and couldn’t have my phone with me. When I got out of the courthouse I had several texts and missed calls from Elise. I called her right away and she described some erratic behavior by Chachi. Later that night I witnessed that same erratic behavior. He was having a seizure. Perhaps the third one that day. He had a mild one earlier that I dismissed until I saw this. Poor Chachi. I called the specialist and made an appointment for the first thing the next day. He never made that appointment.

Opening my heart to Chachi was easy. Saying goodbye was hard. He had two or three more seizures that night. The last and final one I witnessed was something no pet parent should have to see. He hardly spoke the past week except to growl at me while trying to feed him. In his final seizure he convulsed and reared his head and the most pitiful howl came out of this throat. When it was over he laid down and never came up again.

As I prayed over Chachi that afternoon I asked God to make him well, yet I resigned myself to whatever happened. Lord, your will be done – not mine. We lost Chachi that night and still have Gertie. Even I thought she may be responsible. A carrier with no sign of disease herself. The vets assured us this was not so. Gertie is an old girl, 8 years old. My mom’s name was Gertrude and was called Gertie by friends. A coincidence?

As Dr. Seuss said – “Don’t cry because it’s over – Smile because it happened.” I’m smiling at my memories of Chachi and making peace with Gertie. I’m liking her more and more…and like leads to…well, love.

WWGD (What Would Granny Do)

Most grandparents love to spoil their grandchildren, fill them with treats, then send them home. Me too. Except when Lola and Harper moved in with us I couldn’t do that. They already were home. Giving the girls sweets had them jumping all over. My energy levels were no match for theirs. I changed my hours at work to accommodate Katie’s job. After working an 8 hour shift then being with the girls another 6-7 hours, my early hours were starting to take a toll. Katie found a second job to help make ends meet, working most weekends into the wee hours. That meant getting up in the middle of night with Harper to change her, refill her bottle, and soothe her until she fell back asleep. Sometimes I brought her into bed with me and Rick so I could get some rest.

I’ll be honest – I admit I’m not too fond of housework. My housekeeping standards reached an all-time low with the girls around. Katie was home with them in the daytime, so she kept up with the girls messes to a point. But if dust grew on the side tables and seldom used dining room table, oh well. Thank goodness for those twice monthly weekends with Daddy. At least my house got a thorough cleaning twice a month. And candles. I could light candles.

It wasn’t crazy all the time. I managed to organize some fun things to do. I consider myself a crafty person. Every holiday I made a point of creating something with the girls. We made Christmas cards with their hand prints one year. Those turned out real cute. For Easter, Valentines Day, and Halloween we usually made cards or some sort of craft. There were important milestones celebrated – Harper’s first steps, Lola going on the potty all by herself. Moving from a toddler bed and a crib to a “big girl” bed was a huge step. Katie, Lola, and Harper shared a bedroom. Having bunk beds gave them a little extra space in their tight quarters.

I didn’t expect to be paid, but set guidelines so I wasn’t taken advantage of. Having a live in hairstylist was a nice perk. So we made deals, childcare in return for hair care.

Giving up some me time was a sacrifice. I saw it that way at first. I began to channel my mom, thinking to myself WWGD (What Would Granny Do). My kids adored her, she watched them whenever I asked. They could be a handful, especially since we had three in diapers at once. But no complaints from her. She even kept diapers at her house so I wouldn’t have to lug a huge bag over. So I tried to be the best Granny I knew how to be. It wasn’t always easy, life never is.

While commiserating with my coworkers about my plight, I came to realize that many of them were in the same situation. It’s much more common than I thought. According to a US Census Bureau report published in October 2014, about 10 percent of all children live with a grandparent. (Source: U. S. Census Bureau, 2012 American Community Survey. For more information, see <>) Many more grandparents act as babysitters and caregivers. I see it when picking up Lola from school. I’m not the only elder person there. Yikes, I’m elderly? Let’s leave that for another post.

Ta ta for now….

In The Beginning

I created this blog to chronicle my life after our daughter moved back home with her daughters. Lola was almost 4 and Harper, just a little over a year old. Mayhem occurred on an almost daily basis as they adjusted to their new living arrangements. That was nearly two years ago. My intentions were good, but when life got in the way – my blog was put on hold.

Times have changed. No longer a full time granny, my status bumped down to part-time and I couldn’t be more content. Sure, I miss seeing my grandchildren all the time but now I relish the free time to pursue my hobbies and interests. (This blog!)

So what happened? In between Harper learning to walk, talk and climb up and down our stairs and Lola growing from toddler to a little girl, Katie found love again. The Happily Ever After kind. Now remarried to a wonderful man, she’s moved on and out on her own in more ways than one.

What will I blog about now? The girls still come over. They continue to delight, amaze, and yes, annoy me at times. Our house is going through renovations and more to come in the future. Married over 32 years, 3 daughters, the eldest are twins. Besides reading and writing, one of my passions is crafting. Give me a glue gun and I’m good to go. And finally, I’m a breast cancer survivor. Nineteen years on Halloween. That in itself is worthy of a blog of it’s own. I’ve plenty of stories to tell and can’t wait to get started on my next post.

Ta Ta for now…..