For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Losing My First Pet

When I moved away from home, I was lonely.  I had my own apartment with no roommates.  I would come home from work to an empty apartment with nobody to talk to - and I would miss my mom and dad and sister.  This was back in the days when a long distance phone call cost 75 cents per minute and I was making just enough money to get by.  I missed eating dinner with them, watching TV with them, and even if we weren't interacting, I missed just knowing I wasn't alone.

When I guy I was dating told me about a litter of kittens,  I jumped at the chance to get a "roommate".

I named her "Neko" which is the Japanese word for cat.

Neko was my very first cat that was all mine.  

We bonded quickly and she eased by feelings of loneliness.
I would no longer dread coming home from work to no one.
I had someone there who was happy to see me.
I loved her so much and took my motherhood role to heart.

When I went home to my parent's house,  she came along too,
even though my family cat wasn't very pleased.

When I got married and went away on my honeymoon,  
my parents took Neko home to Vermont to babysit while I was gone.
Upon our return,  I was told that she had gotten run over by a car 
and she was gone.

I had never lost a pet before.
The grief I felt was overwhelming.
I remember going back to our apartment and crying the entire night.
Vance stayed up with me and helped me through it.
Neko was only two years old - way too young to die.
She was supposed to be with me for so many more years!
It was so unfair.

Two days ago,  my daughter Annie lost her cat, Jerome.
After adopting Jerome in May,  she discovered he had
a very bad case of ringworm.  She had been bathing and medicating him for the past month, attempting to rid him of it.
But Jerome had other serious health problems that she was unaware of.
She had to say good-bye to this adorable, loving friend 2 days ago.

Jerome, like Neko, eased the homesickness Annie felt 
and gave her a buddy to come home to.  From the moment she stepped into the cat room at the humane society,  he stuck to her like glue.
He chose her.
And the feeling was so very mutual.

It's wonderful how our hearts can love so quickly and completely.
But it's so painful when our time together is cut short.

I just got back from visiting Annie in Rochester.
I had to make sure she's ok because 
I really do know 
how she's feeling.

I've lost many other pets since that day back in 1984,
 but the first was the hardest.
Every one of them has left me with so many happy memories
and every one of them has made my life richer.

Monday, July 13, 2015

It All Began Eight Years Ago...

On June 7th, I received a special gift.  I've written about this before - back in 2011 -  Maid Marion Blog Post - but now the story has an ending.

Last month, I was presented a rose bush named for my mother, Marion.
It all began a week after my mother passed away in 2007 when I went to our local garden shop to get roses for a memorial rose garden.  I spent many hours with a wonderful, warm lady - Marci - who helped me that day in so many ways (with roses and a shoulder to cry on).  Before I left, I asked Marci if there was a rose named Marion.  My dad was grieving deeply at the time and I thought it would be a great gift for him.  But Marci couldn't think of any with my mom's name.

That simple question was the end of my involvement.  Marci, however,  did not let it go.  Over the next few years,  she had contacted England's largest breeder of roses, David Austin, and relayed my story along with the suggestion that they may want to do a "Sherwood Forest" series with roses named Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, and Maid Marion.

To sum it all up - David Austin took Marci's suggestion and the Maid Marion was available for the first time in the United States this year.

Marci presented my "Maid Marion" to me at the June 7th meeting of the CT Rose Society at Woodland Gardens - where the story began eight  long years ago.

It hadn't bloomed yet when I received it,
but it didn't take long.

It is sweetly scented with petals of so many shades of pink!
Quite a beauty - just like my mom!

So many thanks to Marci and David Austin Roses for making this happen!

“Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you.”
—Zig Ziglar

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

23 Years Ago...

This is a picture of our house 23 years ago today!

Kerry Leigh, shown here at a whopping 5 minutes old,
had come into the world! 
We didn't know then how much laughter and joy 
she would bring to our lives.

On her first birthday,  we actually wore matching 
Laura Ashley outfits!  LOL!

At two years old, she was the life of the party. 

She wanted to be "Belle" at 3.

This "Aristocat" was the cat's meow at age 4!

The Disney theme continued on her 5th birthday!

This picture was taken before the guests arrived for her 6th birthday party!

Her 7th birthday party had a "backwards" theme.
Kerry is the girl with her hands on her knees and the huge smile!

We celebrated her 8th birthday in Alaska with her cousins.
My sister's gift was the "Spottie Dottie" blanket.
Kerry was a huge Spottie Dottie fan!

For number nine, we had a party at the swim club.
I always loved this picture of Kerry!

Annie couldn't believe Kerry blew out 
all of her candles on her 10th birthday.

No big party for eleven, but we had our favorite raspberry cream cake!

Twelve was spent in Burlington with her grandparents
and a scrumptious ice cream cake from Ben&Jerry's.

Another raspberry cream cake for 13 - no time for a big party with summer softball games going on!

We missed taking pictures for a few years,
but we managed to capture Kerry's happiness to turn 16!

Kerry's cousins were with us for her 17th birthday!

Cats and cartilage piercing was the theme for #18.

Nineteen was the year of Bieber (and cats)!

Twenty was the year of an odd cat cake and a trip to Sweet Frog.

We visited Kerry in Burlington to be with her for her 21st birthday.

Just last year, we had raspberry cream cake with her friends, just a few days before leaving for the move to Nashville.

Who will she be celebrating with this year?
Possibly her main man, Fletcher.

How is it possible that twenty three years have passed already?
Kerry has grown and matured into a young woman
with a big heart full of compassion for others.

We couldn't be more proud. 

We couldn't love her more!