Happy Birthday, Candy

Today would have been my dearest friend, Candy’s birthday. Last year I sent her a 3 lb wheel of Vermont Cheddar Cheese and New Hampshire Maple Syrup. The year before I sent her a Red Velvet Cake, her favorite.

I sang her happy birthday and all was well. Neither one of us knew that last year would be her very last birthday on this earth.

Just over a month later, Candy was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. I will never forget the night she called me. She had just gone to a walk-in clinic for her cough. They x-rayed her lungs and found the masses.

She called me sitting in her car in the parking lot. She knew. I kept trying to explain away what the doctors had found, but Candy being a nurse knew.

July 15 13 005How lucky I was to have been her friend all of these years. We could go for a while not talking on the phone and then one of us would call the other and it was like we just talked yesterday. It was always easy to talk to Candy. She understood me in so many ways, that no one else did.

1471833_10152064816746499_671583404_nWhen Candy and her husband visited us back in 2013, they both fell in love with our Greta. So much so that a few months later they got their very own wire-haired dachshund. Aurora went everywhere with Candy and she was the real joy in her life.

FB_IMG_1548898268358Candy was an identical twin. I wrote to her sister Mary and spoke to her last week. Needless to say, she is feeling an unimaginable loss. I knew this would be very hard for her. Firsts are the worst.

I was not only blessed to have been Candy’s friend all these years but during her last days on this earth, I was able to give back to my friend all that she had given me, by caring for her.

Oh, how I miss this wonderful woman. But as I told her the last time I saw her, “Love never dies, Candy. I will see you next in God’s Garden”.

Happy Heavenly Birthday!

In Memoriam September 11, 2001

I think we all can tell you where we were, and what we were doing on that fateful day, in September.

September 11, 2001

It was a beautiful day here in New Hampshire. Sunny, bright, clear with blue skies. I was taking a shower getting ready for a dental appointment, while Jack was working on shingling the house. It was a day like any other here.
Hubby had the TV in our bedroom pointed out the window so he could listen to the morning news.

Suddenly, I felt a hand on my arm and Jack told me I had to get out of the shower now, something was happening. I was a little dazed and confused. I shut the water in the shower off and grabbed my towel.

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Jack and I sat in our family room watching Fox News, ABC, and CNN. A plane had hit one of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in downtown New York City. Jack, as a former Airline Pilot knew immediately, that it was no accident.

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While we watched, suddenly another plane came in and hit the other Tower!
We were both in shock. We listened to reports. No one was saying terrorism, not at first. But both Jack and I knew.

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I look at this picture, and I know that none of those innocent people got out alive. That thought brings me to tears each time I see it.

We watched the Tower’s come down, one and then the other. We knew people had died. We just didn’t know how many.

At 12:30 I drove to my dental appointment. There was not another car on the road. Not one. I got to my dental appointment and found that I was the only patient that hadn’t canceled that day.

When I got home we watched the TV all day. I called my family and my close friends. Just to hear their voices.

It doesn’t matter your political affiliations, or how you feel about the war. What matters is on September 11, 2001, innocent people died in New York City, In Washington, DC and in Shanksville, PA.

People like you and like me. Just because they were Americans. That was the day I learned that we are no longer safe here at home.

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I also learned that when our country is attacked in such a manner, we pull together and unify.

God Bless all who lost their lives that day, to their families, who will never be the same, and all who serve this country each and every day to protect and defend us.

September 11, 2001: Basic Facts

Chronology
8:46 AM Plane crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
9:03 AM Plane crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
9:17 AM The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shuts down all New York City area airports.
9:21 AM The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) halts all flights at U.S. airports. It is the first
time in history that air traffic has been halted nationwide.
9:38 AM Plane crashes into the Pentagon. Evacuation begins immediately.
9:45 AM The White House evacuates.
10:05 AM The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:10 AM A portion of the Pentagon collapses.
10:10 AM Plane crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
10:22 AM The State and Justice Departments, as well as the World Bank are evacuated.
10:28 AM The World Trade Center’s north tower collapses.
10:45 AM All federal office buildings in Washington, D.C. are evacuated.
1:44 PM Five warships and two aircraft carriers are ordered to leave the U.S. Naval Station
in Norfolk, Virginia to protect the East Coast.
4:10 PM Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapses.

The Flights
American Airlines Flight 11
From: Boston, Massachusetts (Logan Airport)
To: Los Angeles, California
Lives: 92 people on board
Crashed into North Tower of World Trade Center at 8:46 AM

United Airlines Flight 175
From: Boston, Massachusetts (Logan Airport)
To: Los Angeles, California
Lives: 65 people on board
Crashed into South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 AM

American Airlines Flight 77
From: Washington, D.C. (Dulles Airport)
To: Los Angeles, CA
Lives: 64 people on board
Crashed into the Pentagon at 9:38 AM

United Airlines Flight 93
From: Newark, New Jersey
To: San Francisco, California
Lives: 44 people on board
Crashed into rural Pennsylvania (southeast of Pittsburgh)

Victims
Victims came from more than 90 countries around the world.
The following are the number of people who died at each site:

World Trade Center 2,823 (includes airline passengers)
Pentagon 125 (not including plane victims)
Flight 11 – 92 people on board
Flight 175 – 64 people on board
Flight 77 – 64 people on board
Flight 93 – 44 people on board

The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m, the times the Towers were hit. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.

Fact Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC
August 15, 2002

 

A Memory – Arnie

This Post I wrote nine years ago today. I was telling Savi and Quinn the story and read them this post and we all laughed. So I decided to share it with you all again. I think I was a better writer back then, or perhaps I took more time. In any case, it’s inspired me to do better with my future posts! So, without further ado, here is a post about the amazing Arnie.

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This morning Hubby had to go off to help a friend with some logging on his property. He packed a bag of snacks in case he got hungry, and called Fritz to his side, then with Arnie watching his every move, opened the door to go. Arnie slipped by him and raced down the stairs in hopeful anticipation, that he too, would be included in the outing!

“Arnie!” Hubby called to him. “You come back up here right now!”

Slowly, Arnie made his way back up the stairs and sat down next to my feet. Hubby reached down and patted him, but Arnie was not invited to go.

Fritz and Hubby left and Arnie raced into our bedroom, which overlooks the driveway. He jumped up onto the steamer chest that’s in front of the window and put his front paws on the air conditioner and watched!

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He whined and cried as he watched them get into the Jeep.

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Before they started to drive up the road.

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Eventually, I got him to hop down and keep me company as I went about my chores around the house.

Two days ago, I wore my favorite pair of dangle earrings. They’re golden hearts, and I love the sheer simplicity of the workmanship. In fact, I love them so much that I bought my cousin Janet the same earrings in silver. She loves them too. At her father’s Memorial Service we both wore these earrings without knowing that the other would wear them.

Anyway, I was tired the night I took them off and I put them on the table between our two chairs in the family room and promptly forgot them when I went off to bed. The next day, I went to get them and there was only ONE earring!!!

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I searched high, I searched low. I went through the garbage, I checked pockets of my clothes. I looked under books, under phones, and under the laptop computers. Nothing. I spent several hours looking, even eying the four dogs, wondering if they had swallowed it!

Today, resigned to the fact that the earring was gone I went back to the shop I got them at to see if they had the same pair. They didn’t but offered to try and find them for me.

I came home, feeling quite sad but, well it is only a thing and things can be replaced eventually and so I should not dwell.

The phone rang and I answered and while speaking to my neighbor, I looked down at Arnie, who was tucked under the table. He had his stuffed soccer ball under there and sticking out of the ball was something shiny!

I jumped down and grabbed the ball and there it was! My other earring!!!

There are a few theories as to what happened.

  1. Arnie found it when he was walking around and stuck it into his ball so it wouldn’t get lost.
  2. Arnie likes women’s jewelry!
  3. Arnie brought his soccer ball up into my chair when I was in bed and while toying with the ball, got it close enough to the earring to hook it into the ball.

In any event, I am thrilled to have my earrings reunited! They really are my favorite pair to wear when I want to dress up.

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So Arnie can sleep wherever he wants tonight, and there will be a nice piece of steak in his food dish too!

Arnie, my hero!!!

Memories on Saturday Morning

Mostly I do very well. I try not to dwell on the accident, and the greatest loss of my life, the death of my six-year-old daughter.

Oh, I miss her like crazy, but in order to go forward in my life, I had to put all those emotions and feelings in a box and place them in a storage unit on a shelf in my mind.

Katie was a sweet and loving child. She was quick with a smile and her laughter put a smile on my face.

She had a kind heart and loved her family deeply, especially Amanda. She was a good friend to many.

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I wasn’t thinking about her, at least not actively, when I was out the other day. I was driving around doing errands and as I slowly drove down Main Street, I saw a little red-haired girl, skipping down the street, laughing and holding the hand of her mother. As she skipped, her red curls bounced around her head.

For just a moment I was taken back in time. I could see Katie in my mind, doing the same thing with me.

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The mist of time was all around me and I could feel Katie with me. I slowed my car, and looked to see if, if, …

This was all for a split second or two and then the feeling left me, as I could quite plainly see,  this was not Katie.

That’s when I recalled that for the first few months, years, I used to search for Katie in large crowds. Part of me not wanting to believe she was really gone.

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This has been on my mind the last few days as I wondered if I should share this story on my Blog. I have only written about Katie on the anniversary of her birth and death. But this does happen occasionally to me and it breaks my heart all over again.

When I lost my dearest friend, Candy, I sat holding her hand and when we talked about the end of her life, I told her that real love never dies. I truly believe this.

I guess for me, for the part of me that still yearns for my little girl, I still feel all that love, and I guess I see her in my mind’s eye.

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One day I know, we will be together again. After all, real love never dies.

 

Traffic Jams

I recall growing up on Cape Cod back in the sixties and being aware of the influx of tourists starting in May. Our otherwise sleepy town would suddenly grow to an almost intolerable size. Jokes were made, that we needed to dismantle the bridges which allowed tourists onto our beloved Cape Cod. Anyone who has been caught in a 6-mile long traffic jam can relate to this.

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So where did I relocate in my grown-up years? To the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. And what did I experience today (Saturday) as I headed home (North) from my daughter’s home? Yes, traffic. Bad traffic! I mean, honestly, I am not sure I have seen it this bad in New Hampshire, ever! In fact, when I got to my exit off of Route 93, I was backed up a half a mile, just to turn onto another highway!

Traffic

Now there were people who were stressed, with kids in the backseat feeling the boredom of a long, hot ride, but then there were people like me, who decided that they couldn’t change the situation, so I put on a playlist of my favorite songs and sang out loud, while I was doing the old stop and go on the highway.

It brought me back to those long-ago days on Cape Cod. All these travelers, trying to get to the same spot to have the vacation of their dreams.

And me, growing up, living in that special place! And now living in the lakes and mountains of New Hampshire! How lucky is that?

So, instead of getting upset with the traffic, I smiled and realized that I was a very happy girl living in this beautiful spot.

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TBT: The Beach & Me

I guess you could say I am a beach baby. Since I was 6 months old I have spent part of every Spring, Summer, and Fall at the beach. Listening to the waves lap against the shore, and feeling the sun soak into my bones. I just knew from a very early age that the beach, the ocean was my home.

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I was a bit of a fish, really. My mother was concerned that I would swim away over my head and had a rope on me until she was certain of my abilities. Those came from swimming lessons at Surf Drive Beach, come rain or shine, thick fog or freezing cold water temperatures. I did not care. The ocean was in my blood!

img680Yes, that is me. I am thinking I am perhaps 6 years old. At my beach, Surf Drive Beach. The one place that fills my soul.

Over the years, I have been many places where I felt that same kismet! One such place was Barbados, where the ocean also called my name. This is actually a full-scale picture I am cropping, but I told Jack when I die I want this picture published with my obituary! Even if I am 90!

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I was 29 years old in this picture, and for once in my life skinny! And I remember how much I loved that bikini.

I’m at the beach now. Somewhere. It’s warm and I am happy. Solitary happiness on the beach. My idea of a grand vacation.

Anneliese’s Eyes

In the Harry Potter books and movies, during tough times for Harry, when he meets his parent’s friends, they almost all say the same thing.

“I would have known you anywhere, you have her eyes. You have your mother’s eyes.”

Lately, I have noticed that as Anneliese has aged, I look into her eyes, and I see Greta. Anneliese is so much like her mother in so many ways. She is spunky and feisty, and she is also not afraid of anything!

Greta was a wee bit more affectionate than Anneliese is, but Anneliese has her own way of showing her love for us, her owners.

Here is dearest Anneliese. Looking up at me with love in her eyes.

20190516_053000And here is her Mum, Greta, also looking at me. Oh my, how I miss this little pup. She was so devoted to me and I miss her constant presence.

20180516_111141So, when I look at Anneliese, and I see her mother staring back up at me, it is almost like Greta is soothing my broken heart. What a joy it is to see Greta in her daughter’s eyes.

Now I understand what JK Rowling meant when she wrote: “You have her eyes.” about Harry Potter and his mother Lily. It isn’t all about color or shape, rather it is about the soul and sweetness of the person, (or in this case my pup Greta and her daughter, Anneliese).

Sixty Years & Counting!

Sixty years ago today, at 12:01 PM I made my debut into this world. My mother did not recall anything of my birth, as she chose to sleep through the delivery. In fact, all I have heard about that day was that Mom was hungry when she woke up, and they brought her a turkey sandwich.

November 17 Babies

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I love being sixty! For many reasons. I love that I know so much more than I did in my twenties. I love that my heart is full of love and happiness. I love that I still see the goodness in people. I love that despite experiencing the worst in life, I am not only alive but living a truly wonderful life!

Being sixty means that I’m looking at things I did in my past, that I do not want to repeat. It means I’m being more selective now about my plans and my time, because I understand that time is running on my clock, and I do not want to miss a thing!

I made a short montage of pictures from birth until the present day. I am so grateful to my family and my friends for always being there for me, and always loving me. What a great birthday gift that is!

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Happy 40th Birthday Katie

Many of you know that besides Mandy, I had another daughter, Katie, who was killed at the age of 6 1/2 (click the link to read that story) by an impaired driver. Most days I get along very well, however, there are certain days that I find myself missing her and longing for her. Today is one of those days.

Today Katie would have celebrated her 40th birthday.

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Kathleen Alynne was born at 5:29 AM on November 8th, 1978. She was two weeks late and I had begun to feel as if I were part elephant. In the delivery room, I remember asking the nurse to clean off her head because the blood made it look red. She laughed at me (She also had red hair) and told me that this was it! My child was a redhead!

Katie was a neat kid and we all loved her. She had a wicked sense of humor, yet was also sensitive and empathetic, which was strange in one so young.

Her loss is bothering me a bit more this year probably due to the fact that I have been feeling angry that we were robbed of so much of her life.

Of course, she missed so much of her own life too. I wish she was here to meet her brother and sister, to see her niece and nephew and to be enjoying her life.

I think of what she would be like at 40 years old, where she would be in her life, and how many kids she would have. She once told me she wanted 5 children! That made me laugh. But she did love kids, so who knows.

Here is a montage of some of the pictures that I like the best. She was a real joker in front of the camera, almost always had a smile on her little face.

I know one day Katie and I will be together again, and that we will share an eternity, but for today I miss her something fierce!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!

Calendars

There are times when I will look at a picture of my grandchildren and I think I must be the luckiest woman alive!

Take this new one of Quinn. He was on a Field Trip with his Class at School. They went to a Farm with Pumpkins and Apples and Farm Animals. It was a chilly day and there he was. All dolled up in his Loggers Vest and Hat. Looking absolutely adorable!

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My heart just melted and is continuing to as I look at that sweet face and that wonderful hat!

There is also my sweet Savannah Rose. She is quite toothless right now, but still as beautiful as ever!

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The most wonderful part about these two sweeties is that they are not just beautiful to look at, but they are both really nice kids. I like being around them, I love doing things with them, and I love listening to them tell me all their thoughts and ideas.

What got me thinking about them is that I have started to work on my 2019 Calendar. Every year I use Walgreens to make a large calendar for our family room. I use my favorite pictures, put the important birthdays in it, anniversaries as well, and just have fun doing it. But how does one pare down hundreds of pictures to fit into a 12-month calendar?

One year I think it was 1992, I was in Costco in November. I was in the book section when I saw the 1993 Calendar. On the cover of the calendar was a picture of our farm! It was a New Hampshire Calendar and there was our Farm! I quickly bought a dozen copies to give as Christmas presents!

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I also learned that unless they name your Farm, they do not have to pay you for the right to use it! That’s okay. Not only did I give it as gifts, but I also framed one and have it to this day! Our much loved Farm!

I think the nicest thing about that Calendar was that it gave us a formal memory. We sold the farm shortly after this and so I can look back as much as I want at that beautiful picture.

 

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