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For the love of Molly

"A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty." ~ John Grogan



December 27th 4:15pm:

I just saw one of the most heartwarming reunions ever. I am sitting in the MSPCA Angell Animal Hospital waiting room. A beautiful Newfoundland was being discharged from the hospital. I got the feeling that he has been here for a while. His family was waiting in the reception area. The double doors opened and the big Newfie (as they are nicknamed) came barreling through the doors and literally into his family’s arms. You could hear then cry with delight as …

To My Friend

You know it is never good news when your phone rings twice at 8am in the morning. As I heard Todd’s voice, I knew something bad had happened, but I never would have thought that the news was that you had left us so suddenly. How can that be? I never got to say good bye…I never got to thank you.


I am so sad. Yes, I am sad for my own loss but even more so, I am so sad for Harry, Aaron, and Chris. I am sad for your Twisted Sisters Jen and Mary. I am sad for all the clients you touched through your work as a caregiver. I am sad for our congregation. I am sad that we will not get to sing together at the Cantata this Sunday. You were always giving so much to other people. You are so loved my friend.


You were one of the first people from church to befriend me and welcome me into your home. You and Harry welcomed me into your family and I so enjoyed the cookouts, the dinners out, and watching football in your living room. I enjoyed our chats. Thank you for making me feel welcome.

Thank you fo…

Christmas Thoughts

Well, I tried the blog thing again. I spent well over an hour trying to write some heartfelt piece about Christmas Eve when I was growing up. Then I hit delete because it seemed to lack depth and humor. So instead I am going back to my “list” format since it is easier (I deserve easy once in a while) and well, more fulfilling.




Today, my thoughts have been focused on Christmas but since I have mostly everything done I need to do (except for baking), I have time to write about it instead of getting ready for it. I cannot apologize for this. It is one of the few benefits to being out of the workforce.




• One of the best Christmas gifts I got as a child was an Atari game system. Everyone else had one (including our cousins) and Dennis (my brother) and I wanted one more than anything. Santa brought us one and now looking back, times were tough for Santa so I am not sure how he pulled that one off…maybe it is better not to know how he did….



• I admire the fact that there were years my mother …

A Bunch of Disorganized Thoughts

Sooo….I have spent at least two hours in the past two days trying to write a blog entry and I just cannot do it. This has happened before and it ticked me off then too, but I forgot how I got through it (I have problems remembering things and it kinda sucks). I think that maybe part of the problem is I just REALLY want to write so badly, but I am having too many thoughts at once. I try to develop an idea and it’s just a disaster. I decided that tonight, I am just going to write down all those thoughts and stop trying so friggin’ hard. I am not promising it will be worth reading. Chances are, it will not be. But, it works for me…for now at least! Who knows, maybe one of the ideas will someday turn into something worth reading…



• I have turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine to help deal with my autoimmune disorder. I know that will make a good writing piece, but I can’t write about it at the moment…not sure why. I promise, I will work on it because I know it is very important.



• I thi…

Gossip

Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. ~ Proverbs 26:20


Life seems to be passing by so quickly lately. I suddenly realized last week that Thanksgiving was right around the corner, making Christmas less than six weeks away. I love this time of year, now that I have learned to not get caught up too much in the “tasky” part of it. I have more of an appreciation of what the holiday season is supposed to be about. This is not an easy task considering how bombarded we get by the media, the retail industry, our family/friends and ourselves with messages about how the holiday season has to be as perfect and as happy as rainbows and puppy dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I love to shop for presents, bake holiday treats, and put up the Christmas tree just as much (and maybe even more) than the average Joe, but for the past few years, I have tried to find a focus for myself during the holidays to make sure that I get through the holiday season with some purpose and appreciati…

The Shore

"I could never stay long enough on the shore, the tang of the untainted, fresh and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought." ~ Helen Keller

I love the ocean. More specifically, I love the New England coast. When I was a child, the beach was a place we vacationed as a family once or twice a year. Memories of riding the waves with my dad, walking the beach with my mom looking for seashells, and playing skeeball with my brother on the boardwalk are as fresh in my head as when I was 10 years old. Even as a child, I remembered the thrill of smelling the salty ocean air from the backseat of our 1970’s style Chevrolet Caprice Classic as we descended towards our cottage or rental apartment. I equated the beach and the ocean with fun, love, and good memories.



As I grew up into an adult (for the most part!), I got too busy and too complacent to take the two hour or so hour trek (each way) to the shore on a regular basis. In my 20’s I would go with friends for the day from time …

Trust

“We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone - but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy” ~ Walter Anderson


“Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have trusted other people. They have trusted me. I have had my trust broken. I have broken other people’s trust. The idea of trust seems like such a basic concept, but in reality, it cannot be more complicated. We are all human therefore making the concept of trust neither black nor white, but with unfortunate amounts of gray. Merriam Webster defines trust as: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. How do we have assured reliance on anything in a world of people who are constantly testing our certitude?


I definitely do not have all the answers to such an expansive question or even to the concept of trust itself. However I do know what I have learned from my experiences. The most important thing I think…

~Spontaneity~

"Spontaneity is the quality of being able to do something just because you feel like it at the moment, of trusting your instincts, of taking yourself by surprise and snatching from the clutches of your well-organized routine a bit of unscheduled pleasure." ~ Richard Iannelli


Everything in my life used to be very well planned. I always made plans for days, weeks, and even months in advance. I guess you can say that it went with my type A personality; which I have been working VERY hard at changing! Not that there is anything wrong with planning ahead; many times you have to. But what happens to us when every day becomes a series of planned events without any room for the unplanned and the unexpected? Don’t we lose some of the magic in our lives when everything in it is so planned and organized?



My brother and I are totally opposite in so many ways, not in matters that really count such as our character. Rather, the way we live our lives tends to be dramatically different at …

~Perseverance~

"Perseverance is a positive, active characteristic. It is not idly, passively waiting and hoping for some good thing to happen. It gives us hope by helping us realize that the righteous suffer no failure except in giving up and no longer trying. We must never give up, regardless of temptations, frustrations, disappointments, or discouragements." ~ Joseph P. Wirthlin


I had no intention of doing another blog entry this week; especially because I have other writing that I wanted to do. However it’s been one of those days where I need to write what’s first and foremost in my head and right now, that is the subject of perseverance.


I have had some significant medication changes lately for my autoimmune disorder. We can call it Sjogren’s Disease but the reality is, I don’t think anyone is particularly convinced that this disease is the sole diagnosis, even my doctor. That is the problem with autoimmune disorders; there are about eighty of them and accurate diagnosis for many of …

~Balance~

"Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some." ~ Robert Fulgham


I have tried several times today to get down the topic I wanted to blog about. I had a lot of ideas, but nothing seemed to develop from those ideas. I definitely had things I wanted to say; that’s how it usually is. My mind just becomes consumed with all these ideas and how I want to develop them. For some people who write, it’s a fiction story of some sorts that they want to get out on the page. For me, it’s my ideas about people and life in general. But sometimes there are so many, they all get jumbled up and I can’t focus on a particular topic. Then I just decided to start writing and not worry about a topic and sure enough, I realized that the topic I needed to write about was: balance. Funny part is: I was going to write about balance about a week ago and then I got so busy and well, out of balance that I forgot…

~Killing them with kindness~

"Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day." ~ H.Jackson Brown, Jr.



A few years ago, I was having a particularly difficult time at my job. It wasn’t the actual job that was the problem, but the environment that I worked in. The stress was really starting to affect me. I could handle the stress of taking care of sick children and their concerned families. The big problem was the interpersonal communication with many of the staff that worked both on the unit I worked on and even more so, in other departments within the hospital. It seemed like many times, staff members just couldn't (or wouldn't) treat each other with respect and kindness. Then I started to think that maybe I was part of the problem because of how I was dealing with all of these difficult interactions..


I remember one day I called the radiology department to schedule a patient for a CT scan and I was verbally attacked by the person on the other line when all…

~Living Fully~

“The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; a man may live long yet live very little.” ~ Montaigne



I attended a wake last night; my first one in quite a while actually. It was for the grandmother of a dear friend of mine who I met in freshman college English class at UMASS. Nana was 93 years old when she died and had lived a full and vital life according to my friend Lauren. I had only met Nana a few times in my life, the most recent being so long ago I could not remember when it took place. However Lauren and I go back twenty-one years and I know her Nana meant a lot to her, so I make the trip to Boston’s North Shore to pay my respects to my longtime friend and her family.



It was one of those wakes where although people were understandably sad about their loss, there was also a lot of laughter and great memories. There were many significant and candid photos surrounding the funeral parlor room and it was obvious from the words exchanged and th…

Looks Can Be Deceiving

I am not a big television fan lately, but I am completely hooked on this show called “What Would You Do?” I don’t know if you have watched it, but basically ABC sets up situations with actors and cameras to see what real life people will do when faced with real life uncomfortable situations. They present all different types of moral dilemmas and then we get to see the unsuspecting victims of the scenarios either rise to the occasion of advocating for their fellow man or fail miserably, which they then try to explain their way out of to host John Quinones.


So recently, there was an episode that depicted two female actors, who were maybe in their twenties, parked in a handicapped parking spot. They did not have the required handicap plate/tag and the theory behind it was that neither one of them was disabled, therefore illegally using the spot. Then someone needing that handicap spot pulls in and has nowhere to park. The woman needing the spot asks them to move their car but the girls …

Finding God

Church isn’t where you meet. Church isn’t a building. Church is what you do. Church is who you are. Church is the human outworking of the person of Jesus Christ. Let’s not go to Church, let’s be the Church.” ~ Bridget Willard





My soul felt empty and my spirit was restless. This is how I felt several years ago when I made the decision to switch religions and attend a non-Catholic church. Difficult times can do that to a person, make you question God and wonder where he is. For some people, God does not have to be in a church; people say they worship God in nature or by their occupation. I tried that. It didn’t work for me. That’s not to say it doesn’t work for other people, but I was looking for something different.



I had been raised in the Catholic church and had dutifully gone through all the rites associated with that including CCD classes, premarital classes, etc. I didn’t agree with many of the church’s teachings but it was all I had ever known. As a result, I found myself in a spi…

~Fear conquered~

"The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public. ~ George Jessel


Have you ever had something you are deathly afraid of doing? A thing that just thinking about it makes you sweat, shake and maybe even throw up because you are so nervous? That is how I feel (felt) about public speaking. Now I know that this is not a novelty. Many people I know (if not most), have some level of anxiety when it comes to speaking in public. However then there are others like myself who actually can get themselves worked up into such a panic, that it can interfere with the task itself.
I have always been like this but I have found throughout the years that certain situations are worse than others. For example, I taught classes to nursing assistants when I worked as a nurse at a hospital. I didn’t particularly like it, but felt that it was important for career development to do it. I did find that teaching the classes was not as difficult as …

~Courage~

“Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


The soldier who is fighting for freedom. A fireman who rescues a woman from a burning building. The teenager who fights a long battle with cancer. What do all these people have in common? They have courage.


For some people, courage seems to come naturally. For most of us though, it is a huge feat in facing our deepest fears and insecurities. No matter how it is used, demonstrating courage is very risky. It can end up in us getting injured. We could make a fool of ourselves in the process of being brave. Having the courage to face our fears can result in us being disappointed. Sure none of these situations sound very pleasant, but what is the price we are going to pay for sitting by and not facing that which makes us afraid?


Merriam-Webster defines courage as: the moral or mental strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. The ke…

~One Year Later~

“Whenever you see darkness, there is extraordinary opportunity for the light to burn brighter.” ~ Bono


Oftentimes, people mark certain changes in their lives by particular dates. There are the usual suspects such as wedding dates, birthdays, and such. Then there are the not so usual ones. I realized while I was driving today that it is August 2nd therefore making yesterday August 1st. I know, my ability for basic math is astounding. I tend to remember dates in which something significant has happened to me, and yesterday it was one year since I moved out of my house and into my apartment. That may not be significant to you, but for me it was the beginning of what I hoped to be a new start, a fresh beginning you could say.

I find this ironic because I am thinking that the significant date should be the day I went to court for my divorce (yes, I am in the 50% failure rate), the date it was final, or even the date when I decided to actually file for divorce. But no, August 1st sticks o…

~Selflessness~

"A person starts to live when he can live outside himself." ~ Albert Einstein


I have to be honest, I have two things I would rather be doing now besides writing this blog. The first is working on a short story for my writing workshop and the second thing is watching one of the three movies sitting on my coffee table. However it has been one of those days and I have decided that the best way to deal with that is through blogging about selflessness.

I am struck today with what it means to be selfless versus selfish. I will skip my usual dictionary search that I usually do to check my definition of blog topics and I am going to write on this topic inspired by a conversation I had with a friend (we will call him that for now) who was very close to my heart. This friend and I are having some serious communication issues . Over the past few years, I think I have gotten good at trying to see what role I play when communication issues arise. I know I sometimes jump to conclusions and…

Top 10 Ways To Get Out Of The Hospital Alive

"A hospital is no place to be sick." ~ Samuel Goldwyn

Anyone who has spent any amount of time in a hospital is aware of how difficult it is to be in one. Between being sick, emotional stress, lack of sleep, a million people in and out of your room, overworked nurses, fresh right out of medical school residents, etc., it can be nothing short of a nightmare. I have had the distinct pleasure of being hospitalized four times in the past year and a half and I think I have learned a few things along the way that may be worthy of passing on. Hopefully you will never need to know them but just in case, here we go:



1. Always carry a list of your medications on you either in your purse or your wallet. This is especially important if you take multiple medications. I know, you are going to sit back and say "well I only take one or two, I know them by heart." Trust me, when they are hooking you up to all kind of machines and sticking needles in you left and right; it is hard enou…

Molly and Me ~ Part Three

I was on a mission; one to save my dog from the hell she was in and one to save my sanity. I was fully aware that my regular vet just was not being very helpful because they did not appreciate the severity of the situation and in all honesty, did not have the experience to deal with this issue. A family member told me about an animal behavioral program at Tufts Veterinary Hospital and she thought maybe they could help Molly. I was willing to try anything at this point. I knew financially it would be difficult but I was willing to rearrange my financial priorities, even if it meant accessing my emergency fund.


It was truly one of the best decisions I ever made. Molly and I established a relationship with Dr. Ogata at the animal behavioral clinic and after leaving a two-hour evaluation, I walked away with the one thing I needed more than anything and that was hope. We then started what would be a very arduous journey that involved several different medication trials as well as a behavi…