Thursday, December 1, 2016

Missing my Melissa....

Struggling terribly this year...and these holidays.  Eight years coming up and it seems like yesterday. Still.

Nick & Mere include us in her family's Thanksgiving (thankful for that)...they always do a nice job.  Food was great.




Donny's nephew Andy is being deployed to Turkey soon.
Went to see him before he left.


Back to volunteering a couple mornings a week with a friend at the last school I was at...hoping being around the kids will make the holidays a little brighter.  

Staying off FB for awhile longer...I'll be in touch.

Enjoy the holidays.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sad Day

It's 1:40 a.m.  I can't sleep.

Wishing so much Melissa were here....she would help me through this.

This country just elected a person who is a bigot, a racist, who said "I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and they would still vote for me".

I thought this country was smarter than that.

This country will never be the same.

I am off Facebook, something I said I would never do, because it was my last gift from my beautiful daughter.  I'll have to find a way to keep in touch with her friends.  I just couldn't take the hatred that was there.  I read a lot, but seldom posted because I was afraid.  I'm even more afraid now.

I am proud to say I voted for Hillary.  I would rather have four years of the same than four years with a loose cannon.  We are in trouble.

The majority of the people on FB were supporting the opposing candidate.   Never thought it was this widespread.  Can't even say his name...it makes me sick to my stomach.

Just read that the Canadian website crashed...there are so many people asking about how to get into Canada.  I might be one of them...

I haven't been this devastated since Melissa died.  I'm more ready to be with her now than I have been in eight years....who knows....


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Life is good

Wow.  I can't believe the last time I was here was in August!  I think I have been avoiding it because what I REALLY want to write about is politics.  Like Fort, I have some pretty strong convictions about that, and she WOULD write about it and move on.  I need to think about whether or not I want to go there HERE.  (I do, but I'm guessing I'd lose a few friends in the process.)

Just got back from visiting dad in Florida.  It's hard to go six months without seeing him, so I'm working on getting him back to Dayton.  So far I've been unsuccessful.  Winter would not be a good time anyway, so hopefully we can get him back in the spring.  He says "I'll come home for a visit."  If I get him back here, it will be for good.

Anyway, the visit was great.   He looks great in the pictures.  But in six months time he has slowed down a lot.  Walks slower (and a little more bent over, just like his mom and sister did) and takes more time responding to questions.  Partly because he can't hear what we say because he won't wear his hearing aides!  (I'm taking notes...to remember that maybe someday I'll be 86 and I hope Nick is patient with ME).

I remember my mom talking about visiting her mother in a nursing home in Philadelphia.  My mom took a picture of her and pinned on her shirt was a picture (cut out of a magazine) of Rice a Roni.
My mom's brother, Uncle Addie, lived outside Sacramento, CA.  Near San Francisco.  I'm pretty sure Uncle Addie was grandma's favorite.  He was the oldest.  Smart and funny.  Grandma wanted everyone to know about her son.  So when she found the picture of Rice a Roni (a San Francisco treat!) in the magazine, I'm sure it reminded her of him.

The reason I tell that story is because my dad is doing the same thing.  He was pretty  close to Melissa.  After she died (of breast cancer), he started donating to any charity that had anything to do with breast cancer (whether they were legitimate or not).  One of the charities had a Breast Cancer Pin of the Month.  He was paying $30 a month for a Breast Cancer pin (and he got a big wooden case to display them in as well)!  Plus, if you made a donation, you had a chance to win a million dollars.
UGH.  Hard to make my dad understand that it wasn't a legitimate charity if they were (supposedly) giving away a million dollars (of donated money).  Anyway, he loved those pins.  One was a pink shaped ribbon that looked like a flip flop.  He wore it every day for almost a year until he lost it.  I remember how disappointed he was.

A few years ago, I made "Fort buttons" for some of the breast cancer walks we participated in.
An "in Memory of Fort" button.

When we got to his place last week, he was wearing it, right in the middle of his shirt.  He wears it EVERY day.  (I wonder if he wears it to bed!!!)  Makes my heart happy.

Fort & Grandpa 

Grandpa & Fort...still.

We didn't want to disrupt his routines, so we went to see him mid afternoon every day.  Took him out to dinner every day and on Sunday, took him on a "Sunday drive", just like he did with us when we were little.  He really enjoyed that.  We drove down A1A to Sebastion.  Captain Hiram's, one of his and mom's favorite places on the Indian River.  





We took him to the VFW to visit his friends.  He doesn't get there as often as he used to (which was EVERY day)...but they haven't forgotten him.  In fact, he's like Norm in CHEERS.  Dad walks into the bar and everyone looks up and says "IRRRRVVVVV"!!! That makes my heart happy too.

Dad and his friend Betty at the VFW
and of course dad was invited to sing @ Karaoke!


We were able to get together with my new friend Emily (I wrote about Emily a few posts back) - she 
found Melissa's blog when she read the article Melissa wrote for the Cincinnati Weekly.  Didn't take her long to realize that she and Melissa attended Ohio University at the same time - and had a lot of things in common.  She sent me a beautiful letter via FB messaging after she learned that Melissa passed away.  She and her husband and boys moved to Melbourne a couple of years ago.  When she realized my dad lived there, she sent me a message.  We met for the first time about a year ago.  They had us over for dinner on our last visit - we took them out to dinner this time.  Wonderful family.  Three adorable little boys...and I know a LASTING friendship has been made.

Dad and his buddy Ryan - he loves this little guy!  Emily & Ryan have visited dad a couple times too!

Me, Jonathan, Emily & Ryan

Our last night there we decided to take dad to a place that is just a couple of blocks from where he lives.    We've seen it on the water and were curious - it's always busy and looked like fun.  It's called Squid Lips - now our favorite place in Melbourne!  It's right on the water, has a sandy area with picnic tables and indoor seating.  Perfect for us.  Plus music daily!  We all enjoyed it and the food was great too.



I didn't even notice this sign.  Dad did.  That's exactly what he did...grabbed a beer.  Couldn't run like hell, but that was ok.  He was perfectly safe right where he was!  And he knew it.  I called multiple times the week of Hurricane Matthew.  The weather channels estimate was landfall somewhere close to Melbourne.  The staff at Victoria Landing assured me that the building could withstand a Cat 4 hurricane, the windows are hurricane proof, they had plenty of food, generators and extra staff on hand.  I told dad to eat the ice cream in his freezer in case the power went out. "Our power isn't going out" he told me, more than once.  Then I told him to get a flashlight and put it next to his bed, in case the power went out in the middle of the night and he needed to go to the bathroom.  "Our power isn't going out" he told me again.  I also told his phone and I probably wouldn't be able to talk to him for a couple of days.  All I can say is "Father Knows Best".  I was up until 4 a.m. watching the weather channel.  It came very close to land in Melbourne, but never made landfall.  I was exhausted in the morning.  But I called dad around 10 to see if I could get through.  He answered the phone and said "I heard a little wind last night, but slept through it."  Hmph. He slept through a hurricane and I was up all night worried about it!!!!  I guess I should listen next time.  Had an interesting conversation with Emily & Kevin about their preparations for the hurricane too.  They live on the barrier island (not far from where we stay on the beach).  They had a mandatory evacuation and ended up going to St. Petersburg for the weekend.  They packed up anything they didn't want to lose (their kids wanted to take all of their toys), Kevin took a couple of tubs to work, and they took all their pictures off the walls.  Fortunately, they had very little damage.  Their was a lot of debris on the island, which is going to take months to get picked up - there were huge piles of debris up and down A1A - all the way to Sebastion. In dad's neighborhood, lots of debris and an uprooted tree.  And Victoria Landing's power never went out.  Father knows best :)

Monday night special - a double order of fish & chips for $1 more!  Delicious!  Dad & I shared :)

Dad & his buddy Ed at Happy Hour at Victoria Landing. Ed is a Navy man too!

Cincinnati Kelts 13th Annual Breast Cancer Fundraiser

Netti & Pauly did it again.  This fundraiser seemed to be the best attended yet.  Hoping that the Cincinnati Enquirer does the story - it's supposed to be in the works as we speak.  Don't know when it will be published yet.    
Another successful fundraiser and a surprise to boot...Pauly presented me with Fort's Hall of Fame Jacket.  Very emotional.  She would be SO honored (embarrassed, but honored!)

Donny & Kat.  Her dad has made the breast cancer ribbons for every fundraiser! Thanks Kat's dad!

Pauly, me, Netti.  The best organizers EVER.

Fort's blazer.  Someday I'll tell the story about Fort & blazers.

The Boys...

Fort often ended a post with something about Andrew.  So I try to do the same...only now it's Andrew & Max.  

That's Max in the middle.  They were lining up right in front of us.  I love unposed pictures!

Pamma & Max

Our friends Carolyn & Randi came to Andrew's game.

of course so did Pamma & PopPop

Funny story about Max.  He's been texting me a lot lately on his iPad.  Yesterday he texted me and said "I'm on the bus."
Last week we were texting back and forth and I was saying goodbye and I said "I love you SO much" and Max said "I love you more than the supermarket"...?????
Not sure what that means, but yesterday he texted the same thing.  I guess that's a lot.  I HOPE that's a lot.  Silly boys....

I was up for every sunrise on the beach.  Great way to start the day.

As beautiful as the sunrise is on the beach - I think it's more beautiful over the mountains. I stopped at  7 a.m. to take this photo.  It was on our way home from Florida, in the mountains in Tennessee.  
Life is good.























Friday, August 26, 2016

The Big 6-0

Well, I made it.

The BIG 6-0.  The way this summer was going, I didn't think I would.  Wondering now if this birthday had something to do with my struggles this summer.  Oh, I know it definitely had to do with the fact that Melissa wasn't here to celebrate with us (our 40th anniversary AND my 60th birthday).  But maybe it was THIS birthday.  I mean...when you turn 50, maybe you are only half way home.  You could possibly live to be 100.  But 60?  You won't live to be 120.  So now I'm more than half-way there.  UGH.

So I decided to start the final lap in a positive way.   Now when I say final lap, it could be, say 10-15 more years?  Maybe?  I don't want to live to be 100, really.  Donny & I have already talked about this.  We bought a new mattress last year - should last us 15.  So maybe the last mattress we'll ever have to buy!  I bought him a sentimental card after he did so much for my 60th birthday - he really went all out.  One of the things the card says is "I'll love you forever".  He said "well, easy to say NOW.  Forever isn't that much longer."

Funny how you think about things the older you get.

We really have decided to do it up right, finally.  Starting with this 60th celebration for me.  Originally I told him I didn't want anything. That was when I was in the depths of depression and anxiety the middle of this summer.  Started back on antidepressants and things eventually started to get better.  I was back and forth on this party thing.  Then he made some phone calls (and so did I) and there was no turning back.

I'm glad we celebrated the way we did.

Lots of people who have been an important part of my life (and Donny's too) were there.  Really meant a lot to me.

Mary Kayser bought me this unique bracelet @ Webster Street Market (Mary Clifford's favorite place!)

Susan Westbeld and her dad joined us for the celebration.  He is grandpa to Andrew & Max.We went to one of Kathryn's games @ Notre Dame together.  They loved talking to "Grandpa" and he loved talking to them too!


Angie (Melissa's best friend) was there.  Kind of like having Melissa there...

of course my baby was there too.

Shelly, a long time friend from softball came too.  She was my rock at Melissa's funeral. Love her.

Lacy, Kent & Colbie came too!  Following Fairmont girls basketball (Lacy is the coach)gets us through the rough months in the winter.  Now she runs the 5K.  She's been an important part of my life in the last 7 years...

Denise, my good friend from Fairmont days (our KIDS Fairmont days.)  They have been good to us too in the last 7 years.

Peg.  My favorite Principal.  I told her I was a little nervous about working for a female principal,until Skip (previous principal) said she was Irish Catholic.I knew she'd be ok.  Not only a great Principal, but a good partier too. 

Jaye & Marianne - St. Helen's friends who are back in my life.  We have our own little support group (we are all taking care of elderly parents).  Bloody Mary's once a month at Trolly Stop.  Works for all three of us!(Jaye and I were in the same second grade class together - Mrs. Doocey.  Didn't realize it until Jaye brought yearbooks to one of our "sessions'!)

Bobby & Penny.  Bobby's dad and my dad were friends growing up. I guess I've known Bobby since I was born!  Now we are in the same club together (they lost a son also).Now Andrew & Max's best friends - we spent a weekend with them camping and boatingat Indian Lake.  A new adventure for the boys.  We'll be back!

Me and Mange.  

Randi & Carolyn... our new friends from Compassionate Friends.  We have so much in common (not just the fact that we all lost a child).We do a lot with them now - 5K's, traveling, just getting together. We have a lot of fun together!


The Franz family.  or some of them.  This is the family that Melissa said she wanted to be a part of...she called us "Franz wannabes."  HUGE family and they allget along (kind of - most of the time)...plus a LOT of fun.



Jan & Ron - Donny's youngest sister.  We are pretty close to them too!

Mike (Donny's brother) and Mere, my beautiful daughter in law :)


Bruce, Shelly's boyfriend.  He's from England.  I just LOVE to hear him talk.

My cousin Sharon and her husband Jim.  Jim tells everyone he used to change my diaper...well they DID babysit us.  I doubt if he ever changed a diaper though!

Me & Matthew (my sister Sue's son)...I'm now his Pammom.Happily.  Missed my sister at this party too.

Me & Greg - Denise's husband.  

Jennifer - best friend since planning our 15 year reunion.  25 years!  
She's been a blessing in the last 7 years too.

Mary Kayser, me, Mary Clifford.  Great friends.  Mary C helped with the party - she LOVES shopping - took care of the decorations.  Thanks Mary!


Got some flowers for my birthday!


Dinner at Ladder 11 with Donny's family for my actual Birthday.


Donny was SO good to me for this birthday.  He knew how much I struggled all summer, so he INSISTED that we have this celebration.  It was amazing.

But the best part was on my birthday...he found a card for me from Melissa. It was PERFECT.  SHE would have picked this card...




Made me cry.  Happy tears.  (plus a little $$ for casino...Melissa would NOT have done that. First of all, she wouldn't have the $$, second of all, she HATED gambling.  But the card was perfect.)Nick & Mere were extra generous too...a nice gift card to Flemings.  Not a restaurant that we would normally go to.  Looking forward to THAT too.

So here I am.  60 years old.  Where did the years go??????  I only have a a few left (compared to what I've HAD) so I'm going to try to enjoy what's left.  

Will start with following the boys and their games this fall.  We love that.

Andrew - 3rd grade now.  Plays offense and defense.  He is IN the entire game. Really proud of him!  And he loves school too!  

Max.  On his 7th birthday - at Andrew's football game. Hasn't celebrated HIS birthday yet because it was Andrew's day.This one has MORE energy than he knows what to do with! I was there yesterday to get him off the bus - he got off at the cornerfarthest away from their house.  I asked him why - he said "so I can get exercise on my way home!"  I like how he thinks.  


Fort would be proud of them.  And I think she would be happy with me too.  In fact, I know she was...with her dad too.  On my walk the other day, when I got to Delco (exact same spot it happens EVERY time )- the song Father's & Daughter's came on my radio.  It's the song she & Donny danced to at her reception.  She got my attention.  Then I heard her say (and I HEAR her voice) "Tell dad thanks!"  I'm guessing it was for getting me my birthday card.  She was always good about THAT too.  I have more cards from her than I can count.  And I am SO glad I kept them.  

So here I go...more adventures for ANOTHER decade.  

Cheers to 60 years!