Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Accidentally In Love

"So I said I'm a snowball running,
Running down into the spring that's coming all this love
Melting under blue skies
Belting out sunlight
Shimmering love

Well baby I surrender
To the strawberry ice cream
Never ever end of all this love
Well I didn't mean to do it
But there's no escaping your love

These lines of lightning
Mean we're never alone,
Never alone, no, no

Come on, Come on
Move a little closer
Come on, Come on
I want to hear you whisper
Come on, Come on,
Settle down inside my love

We're accidentally in love............."
~ Counting Crows lyrics

Personally I think Adam Duritz wrote these lyrics for me...... I was guarded - but yet I was the snowball running.

The single Dad and I were knitting this relationship tightly....quickly.....with ease. No issues regarding the kids - they were still singing their made up song "Lovey Dovey" to us....requesting more dinners, movie nights and "family" events for the new season around the corner. Spring.
I'm finding this new relationship not overwhelming- not even a hint of missing out on the opportunity to move to my home away from home. New York will not be moving to any other location....we can always visit there together.
After all, the single Dad has a brother who lives upstate NY and a sister-in-law living in New Jersey.

Spring is here.
It's my birthday. Sometimes I forget how "old" I really am. Age was only a number in my parents household.
Well, maybe with the exception of my father. When he was asked how old he was- he would tack on a year or maybe two- just so he could hear "Oh, no...you do not look 55!!!" Vain? Perhaps. My mother on the other hand, didn't care if she were 45 or 50. She looked fantastic no matter what her age. Her Ivory girl skin was due to not worshipping the sun.
Like my father I was a sun worshipper. I loved the outdoors. The beach. My summer working - cough cough- at the beach I used baby oil. Again- what the heck was I thinking- apparently all the lecturing my mother did passed right through my young brain....after all, what did she know about tanning with baby oil. Her beach attire usually consisted of an adorable bathing suit- covered up with an adorable trendy coverup- with a wide brim hat & Jackie Kennedy sunglasses! {laughing}

My birthday - the kids and single Dad have plans for me. Grilled Tuna steaks- cake & ice cream - and sweet gifts from the kids. Handmade items. THE VERY BEST KIND! Single Dad gives me a romantic gift- candles from B&B, Victoria Secret perfume and beautiful silver earrings. I always enjoyed the month of May.....but this particular year May was by far- the bestest! {smiling} As we sat outside on the deck of single Dads apartment- we talked about a summer vacation. Beach? An amusement park? Both? One thing that single Dad and I agree on is if we choose a beach trip- it will be a location we are able to rent a beach house- right on the beach- no packed in like sardines beaches- clean beaches- no boardwalks. We decided on the Outer Banks. We can drive to locations for sight seeing- dog friendly- beaches are clean- surf fishing and plenty of other fun things to do. The only "problem" if any when we booked our vacation for June- was our house to rent wasn't directly on the beach- it was one road over. No problem, the road did not have much traffic. It sure looked perfect according to the online realtor. We all can not wait!!

June 2004.
Outer Banks!! We are packing up the single Dads new Honda Pilot. Kids- check. Luggage - check. Food- check.
Boogie Boards/Beach Chairs- check. Dog items- check. CD's and DVD's for the 10 hour car ride- check. Money/credit cards- check. Camera(s)- check.
We are on the road- we stop for fuel {both gas & coffee}. About 30 minutes into this drive on Rt. 83, we begin to hear this horrible humming. A loud horrible humming. Like an airplane was flying very low over our vehicle.
What is going on? Single Dad ask me to look out my window to see if anything came loose.....try doing that while the vehicle is going at the speed of 60. I decide to take out a compact mirror that was in my backpack- like a spy in a movie I held it out the window- and there goes my compact mirror. We get off the next exit to find a hardware store.....seems as if the straps were not holding our items on top of the new Pilot down tight enough. Maybe we should have planned this trip with the TRAVEL TURTLE that was offered to us- no?
Nah....we can do this- with nylon rope the single Dad purchased at the mom and pop hardware store. Well, our stuff wasn't going anywhere- but for the next 9 1/2 hours we did not speak to one another. The acoustics were unbearable. The humming was more like a helicopter now circling above the vehicle. If the single Dad needed me to give an exit- he would tap my knee....then I would yell "15B" or "HERE>>>RIGHT HERE!"
The kids had no issues- along with this new Honda Pilot came head phones......they were nestled in their seat belts watching movie after movie. Or China Doll was sleeping. Heidi & Sam that was another story. Sam did manage to find a spot to lay down in the back - beside some luggage- Heidi was having more issues with the sound. Once in awhile I would see single Dad look into the rear view mirror and laugh- the poor dogs ears were pinned down as if she were in a wind tunnel. Or he would smile and look over at me mouthing "I love you"...."can't wait to hit the beach"! WHAT? We stopped half way to eat and stretch. Let the dogs out of the sound machine.
The warm sun felt nice....stretching was even better.....but that darn humming sound was still lingering in my ears.
I have to laugh now thinking about our ordering session at McDonalds. We were talking so loudly the employees flipping burgers would peek out from under the grill cover.....why are they looking at us so weirdly? China Doll and Freckle Boy were a little embarrassed but didn't dare say anything- or this momma was going to steal their soft headsets and make them suffer right along for the next 4 or so hours.
I do believe it took us 2 days to finally speak in a low tone.

Seven days in North Carolina we had perfect weather. Rain maybe once during an early morning- but the sun returned for us. The beach house was perfect. Each morning we had our coffee on the 2nd level deck watching the sun dance over the ocean water. My fear of heights wouldn't allow me to enter the Crow's Nest. After breakfast we would round up the gear and take off for the beach. We would take the dogs for the morning part of our stay at the beach- Sam wasn't into the ocean crashing into him but he enjoyed rolling in the sand making his version of "sand angels". Heidi enjoyed the crashing waves but drank way too much salt water and would give the special effects of a fountain squirting from both directions (sorry for the graphic details). I would walk the dogs back to our house- hose them off - and set them up in the enclosed sun porch where they too had a great view of whatever dogs decide to ooh and ahh over.
We were having a great time at the beach, touring the local islands, boogie boarding, eating (bland) but good local seafood, night time walks on the beach, collecting cool shells and taking tons, I mean tons of photos.

Whenever I'm on vacation- unlike most people- I don't really get homesick. I enjoy each and every moment of the time away from the daily grind of work- or what life can throw at us. The beach gives me a chance to escape. And maybe it is short lived but it is a fantastic short lived escape.
Our 7th day is coming to a close. As we pack up we all know what is in store for the 10 hour road trip. The HUMMING monster!! It's something we can not fight- we can not run from- we only accept the fact that the hum will be with us until we arrive home.

Less than one hour into our drive we get stuck in a traffic jam. It's not a bad thing- the single Dad and I can talk to one another and laugh and chat about our first family vacation together. We hear yet another sound- not a hum- but a loud grumble and then a spat! Heidi is trying desperately to climb around the pet guard to get away from whatever is happening in the very back of the Pilot. What is happening back there? Again we hear this nasty spat sound.
Oh man! Freckle Boy sounds the alarm- Sam is puking all over the back! We get out of the line of traffic- pull over to the side of the road to find dog vomit all over the luggage- Heidi frantically jumped out of the vehicle (can't really blame her the odor was horrible) and Sam sitting there just looking like a doofus. The single Dad handed Heidi over to Freckle Boy as we cleared out the back and cleaned what was smelly and wet. Using our beach towels we cleaned Sam off. Instead of becoming furious and allowing tempers to fly- we try to make the best of this situation. Again, one we couldn't control- or could it have been? Maybe not feeding the dogs their morning meal before we headed out may have helped - or not.
If this was the only inconvenience great- but knowing what was in store for us while driving- cleaning up dog vomit was no problem! HUM!!!!!!

Oh my goodness we make it back to PA in one piece- no dog issues- the kids are both sleeping- we are home and for the very first time I was glad to be home! It took another 2 days for our hearing to return to normal.

We made some new memories- can't wait to see the pictures!
WHAT? No digital memory card in the single Dads camera? What happened to my new camera?

Thank goodness for memories.

Life Lesson: Always remember to check your camera for its memory card & borrow the TRAVEL TURTLE!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Chicken Scratch from 2000-04

Today I found a few scribbles of chicken scratch that was on a note pad from many "workshops" and classes from the past. At least once in your life you had to experience an instructor or professor who spoke in flatline tone
During the days of sitting in a perfectly square classroom located downtown- no windows
I would need multiple cups of Sparky&Clarks to keep me awake. And....I would write as my cohorts doodled.

A snippet of what I can read of my own chicken scratch........

*Climb K2 *Help to end Dog Fighting *Help save the planet
*Read more on global warming *Put an end to puppy mills *Eat healthier (?)

*Find a way to end racism *Spend more time with my mother

*Attend more Yankee games *Move before 2004 *Drink less coffee

Read the following again: *Where the Sidewalk Ends *Falling Leaves *Where the Heart Is
*It's a Wonderful Life *Zen for Dummies *A Boy Called It

Places to return to: Holocaust museum - Strawberry Fields - Naples Florida (probably to find those cute dolphins & seniors in their speedos) - Road Trips with Gracie - Paradise Island - Vegas - China (adopt more babies) - Tibetan Temple ceremony

So what did I eventually accomplish? By now, you know I'm not living in New York- and I haven't returned to swim with the Naples dolphins.....I did however return to watch Yankee games.....and I took road trips.....but I didn't return to the Tibetan temple.
I read all the books again. After learning that my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson disease, I wanted to try and spend quality time with her- it was getting difficult- watching my mother who was very independent, healthy and strong willed take a major step into the unknown. Her mental awareness was beginning to take it's own journey. I've asked myself since if her mental health was affected by this disease before the physical signs surfaced. She wasn't herself. A woman I wasn't able to speak to more less like at moments. My father took on the roll as nurse. not always a good thing This situation was not healthy for either one of them.
I researched Parkinsons and Lupus. Later to find she was in the beginning stages of Parkinson related dementia. Even with this knowledge I found myself getting so angry with her.....selfishness on my sleeve again. What and why did this have to happen to my mother- the person I needed to speak with- I had topics that were important to me- topics I wanted/needed to speak with her about and get off my chest. And here I sat speaking to this woman- my mother- listening to her ask me....what's your name?

Life Lesson: Never let a day go by without saying I love you Mom.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Scrap Book

China Doll & Freckle Boy ~ Rainforest Cafe 04'

Friday, March 26, 2010

Big girls don't......blame others.

I survived my next sighting of the single Dad. However, I did commit to other invites with friends and purposely arranged other activities for China Doll and I to do- circulate with our other friends, spend mommy/daughter quality time together......thinking if I do not answer the phone or the door- perhaps this will all settle or go away.
This lasted about a week- China Doll was driving me crazy asking when we were going to see Freckle Boy and the single Dad again.

Christmas came. Celebrations continued while China Doll was on holiday vacation from school- and I had a few days off from work. Where to go for New Years Eve? New York? The Harbor?
Or a friends house for their annual New Years Eve festivities. I opted to stay home...until the topic came up with the single Dad and his freckled face son. Why not go downtown and celebrate with the kiddos? I personally found activities/cultural events slim in this small city- I worked there and unfortunately never found too many places of interest. Maybe this was due to my "spoiled-ness" of bringing in the new year in other known *places*
My arm didn't need twisting- but I did want to investigate what entertainment was scheduled for New Years Eve. We certainly wouldn't want to invest in those cute little buttons you wear on your coat- and find the entertainment to be sparse.

I was pretty impressed with the festivities of the evening.....good coffee from Take Five, Irish dancers, Italian food, kids enjoyed a local rock band and other fun entertainment down at the old time square.
It's almost midnight- I'm impressed that China Doll didn't find a corner to curl up in and fall asleep. We are all watching the rose drop with a thousand others.....it's almost midnight. Happy New Year! China Doll who was standing on a curbside planter jumped into my arms like a flying squirrel....I barely caught her in my arms! I smiled at the single Dad and wished him a very happier New Year- better than any other year. He smiled back and wished me the same. There was that stare again.....what is with that stare?

We drove home again in that uncomfortable silence- except for Freckle Boy who was fully awake asking those boy questions- where do the fire works come from....he's hungry (again)....can we rent a movie (it's 12:45 am kid). China Doll fell asleep almost immediately after her seatbelt was fastened. We arrived at 79 Royal and like last months trip to Hershey I jump out of the car with my house keys ready- grab my sleeping angel and thanked single Dad for another great time. Heidi went out for her nightly potty break- right outside my front door- no walk to hide by the pretty green dumpster- pee and lets get inside for some much needed sleep. And thats exactly what we did.

New Years Day.
China Doll and I went over to my parents for dinner. The Florida family members were still in PA visiting. This was a short visit for us....China Doll needed to get a good nights rest- the holiday stretch was about to come to a close for all of us. With this new year- a new opportunity should be coming our way- a phone call from one of the six agencies I applied with should do just fine.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened within the weeks to follow. I'm working and without my fellow caseworker. I now had every caseload. On call rotation every 4 weeks instead of every 6 weeks. Things are getting a little hairy in the shelter. Clients becoming violent- sneaking out past curfew to catch the corner drug dealer for their night time fix- smoking crack in the shelter laundry room (really dumb) - and then there would be the single mom taking off in the middle of the night with her 6 kids all under the age of 7. Try explaining that to C&Y the next morning.
I would at times become a little annoyed at government employees in my field when they would complain about the small amount of "extra pay" they received for their on call.
Extra Pay? What is that? Oh, yeah and the politicians who claimed there was no homelessness or drug abuse in PA. You wonder why they gave me headaches!
I would go home and rub Buddhas belly- burn some incense and grab my yoga mat- all is well for now.

The single Dad is calling- we continued our friendly dog walks, kid related stuff and the occasional no kids dog walk. He still came to get my dog on certain days. After weeks of walking her on his own, my dog, the one I payed for is becoming overly attached to this single Dad. Almost to the point where she could care less about the hand that feeds her. Don't bite the hand that feeds you.....you may end up at 118 Royal!
Heidi was growing out of her satellite ears- she was looking more like a German Shepherd Dog. Her graceful stance and majestic walk- that is when she wasn't being carried back to my apartment by the single Dad. This dog was getting spoiled rotten- and I mean you could smell the rot beginning to rotten before it rotted! I'll admit, I've spoiled my pets but this time I was not to blame.

On this particular day after I arrived home from work- a phone call from the single Dad came right as I was making my famous macaroni & cheese. It was his birthday- he was asking me if I would like to join him for a drink. You mean no kids and adult beverages where I do my hair and put on makeup? I never fed China Doll so quickly- and I had her up at my sisters studio apartment in less than an hour. I managed to find a decent pair of jeans (no tatters or holes in the bum) and a flirty shirt that was (thank goodness) already ironed. Make up, hair done and my cool black high heeled boots (this man is 6' 2"). We went to a local restaurant with relaxing atmosphere and calming music for those of us with jittery nerves. That would be me.
I couldn't remember even talking (I was told that I did talk- a lot) but I listened to every word this single Dad had to say. How long he lived in New Jersey- what happened to his football career- what drove him back to PA to work in real estate- and what he was hoping for that night on New Years Eve. A kiss- but the Chinese flying squirrel ended his step in and just kiss her idea.
That night after single Dad drove me to my apartment- I made two phone calls. One to my sister to find out if China Doll was going to spend the night at her place and the other to my Dr. Phil leader to let her know what just took place. I'm very fortunate that I still have hearing in my ear- Dr. Phil leader screamed in the phone "I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN!"
Yeah...what did just happen?

Needless to say our kids were off the chart with excitement about this "date". China Doll took priority to spread the word....after all she was sitting at the kitchen table when I received the "date" phone call. Freckle Boy was already talking marriage. And the two kids together would sneak into the other room to write a song and then perform it for us. Romantic dinners were planned (by the kids)- dinners out with the kids (how romantic can you be at Outback Steak House). Freckle Boy purchased a $2 ring at his elementary school store for his father to give to me on Valentines Day. China Doll and Freckle Boy couldn't help themselves with their behaviors. I'll admit at times it could be rather annoying. But deep inside these two young souls were two very happy kids. Innocence at its finest.
Single Dad and I were in a good place with this new level of our "friendship".
He seems so content.....and ready to move on....no real trust issues with this man....no games...what you see is what you get.
For me I had the trust issues. Smack me- I know. Many of my friends wanted to shake some sense into me. One of my coworkers pulled my hair as she was firmly telling me to snap out of it!
Snap out of the I Can't Trust mode?
There was a ton to weigh out with this relationship. Where was it going? What happens if I move- do I ask him to move to NY with his son? Will Freckle Boy attend school in NY one week and the other week in PA...yeah, like that would even be possible. Do I ask this father to give up his custody and move with me- selfishly yeah I thought about that- but I cared for this little guy with freckles who needed his father. So no that was never thought of again.
And beyond all that mentioned- do I really want to get involved seriously with a man who has a child. I know funny right? My selfishness was worn on my sleeve. I couldn't think about single Dads feelings or Freckle Boys. Only my own. Even worse, China Doll makes it very clear to me she does not want to move- now.

I received a phone call from NY. It's the middle of February. I'm already at the point where the teenage girl tells herself she loves this guy. He is the person I want to see when I get home from work- and the last person I want to see at the end of the day.
As much as I tried to spin the wheel and have the clicker land on TAKE THE JOB.... I kindly informed the caller- no thank you. I just turned down the job that I have waited almost one year for. My ticket out of PA. Our new beginning.
Who do I blame for this? Heidi? Yeah, that dam dog just sat on all my eggs.

Life Lesson: Be a big girl- no more blame games.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

I just need to say...........

To my readers~ supporters~ and critics (giggling)
I just need to say Thank You!

After reading a few comments and now receiving e-mail on my postings I can not help but laugh to the point of...well...you know.
I'm flattered to find my "words" enjoyable for you to read- so far.
I am trying not to make my journey sound as if it is a poorly written script for a Life Time movie- I do hope it doesn't sound that bad!
So I'll apologize if it gets a little sappy or I sound like a hopeless romantic (because I really am).
Sharon, I would so deserve that slap....or the phone call from you! (now laughing loudly thinking about your e-mail)
And if any of you know Sharon personally- no cheating!

Everyone have a wonderful weekend....enjoy this fantastic sunshine!!!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Scrap Book

The single Dad
Freckle Boy
China Dolls future employers ?
China Doll with her karate instructor ~
A Merry Christmas~ 03
Gracie and her handsome family~

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

And so it continues..........

It's November- China Doll and Freckle Boy have been spending free time together playing board games or taking advantage of a sunny afternoon in the park. There are play dates scheduled: roller blading, ice skating, movies and Game Boy playoffs.
There are even scheduled "times" for the single Dad and this Mommy: doggy runs at the park and dinner out with the kids. Who would have guessed that this single Dad was so nice- and fun to be with. Funny thing is- I knew his cousins from high school and his aunt and uncle. I knew a little about single Dads family business- well, they had good ice cream- but that isn't what made this man genuine- so likable. Having this new single Dad as my friend wasn't so bad after all. I would talk about my move of course- just so he remembered I was not about to stay living at 79 Royal forever.
We talked about our past, our goals, our kids, our families and just life. He was a tad intimidating because he is so intelligent! He's all business. He's handsome. He's great at this job called "single parenting". And then there is me: I'm monkey business- I'm torn jeans and flip flops- I'm silly- I'm an animal activist- I'm in love with life.
He eats veal. His NFL future came to a halt. He takes life seriously. His political views are serious. His family is very important to him. Me: my family is very important as well (common interest)- politicians give me headaches- I don't cook- I have gay friends- I work with homelessness - I eat way too much chocolate- I'm still in love with life. He accepts my sense of humor. He's a well dressed businessman.
He likes my passion to help those in need. He likes the fact I can bounce back from a soured situation. He is starting to smile more. {great!} And he begins to walk my dog without me! What?
Yes....this all started one afternoon when China Doll and I were heading out. I didn't have time to take Heidi to the park for her daily run with her new BFF Sam. The Dad comes and takes my dog- yes my dog to run and get her exercise. But- this didn't stop at just one cold afternoon. Rainy days I didn't feel like going out- the single Dad came and took my dog-yes my dog out for her run or a nice leisurely walk.
My neighbor who was also single, asked if she could "rent" my friend the single Dad.

My coworkers were beginning to tag this friendship. They were just wrong....so wrong! I would warn them- and repeat- he's a friend- that's it. I'm moving. I'm moving- remember- I'm moving!!
China Doll did have friends from school, and she met some very nice girls her age to play with in our community- however, she really enjoyed playing with Freckle Boy.
She also liked Freckle Boys dad. Which was a good thing- after all we spent a lot of time together. So to me that was important.
Once again my coworkers who played the Dr. Phil role so well were telling me the reason for China Dolls "acceptance" of the single Dad is because she would like her mommy and the single Dad to "hook up". It was time for them all to just shush up!
I let them know there would be no more talk about my daughter, my dog, my friend and my love life or what ever they felt the need to analyze about me.
One coworker (after dropping to the floor in laughter) felt the need to harass me about the single dad who takes my dog for walks without me. She would ask who would bother to do such a thing....and pick up the dogs poop!
My coworkers never even owned gold fish - so why would they understand that it was a rule in our community- you gotta pick up the poop! So enough.

Thanksgiving comes and passes. Always way too quickly for me. I enjoy Thanksgiving. We are preparing for Christmas. My all time favorite holiday. I dislike very much that we have made Christmas so commercialized. Plastic Christmases- midnight shopping- mall hours extended. If you can not go out and purchase your gifts two weeks before the holiday then something is wrong. {snarl} However....I do love to spread this holiday out as long as I can.
China Doll and I would begin decorating Black Friday. We had traditions. We would make cocoa and bake cookies or make popcorn. We watched favorites like- White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Grinch and plenty of other holiday shows. We invited friends over for dinner parties. Tree trimming and caroling.
This particular year my family decided to rent the community center for our dinner.
We had extended family visiting from Florida. It was going to be a very busy and fun Christmas season!

My job search in NYC is slow-but I am receiving some calls back from agencies I had applied with. I was truly hoping to hear from Homes for the Homeless- but no such luck. I'm trying not to get discouraged- so I decided to extend my job search to other boroughs of NYC. My plan is to live in Long Island- and commute like most people....and as for China Doll she was going to attend private school. (Catholic)
China Doll attended Catholic preschool - as a matter of fact the same school that I attended. As I sit here typing today- shaking my head- I wonder what was going through my mind at that time. Did I have a tiny small thread of Christianity sewn into my inner lining? Did I fully push God to the side? Regardless of what I was thinking about with China Dolls school options- I had every intension of making it "right".

Gracie (LeeAnn) and I never really talked about spirituality. I'm not sure why -now and then. Maybe we were just so comfortable in our friendship- it didn't really matter to us who was worshiping whom or what. Missing her terribly- I tried to keep her in my life loop as much as possible. She was very busy with 4 boys and a husband who was settling in at a new law firm. Our monthly meetings in Towson or Gettysburg were not happening as often- as a matter of fact- they kind of took a back seat for a long time. Big mistake- never do that with a friend!
Sharon and I would have chats on the phone- or send fun mail (via stamp&mailbox)
to one another. Love fun mail!
Sharon has a sister- Patty. Aunt Patty and I became close over the years. Patty lives in Florida. If she would get the chance to visit- we would always enjoy catching up at a local tea room or sandwich shop. China Doll and I visited Patty right after our move to 79 Royal. This is when China Doll decided to become a "vetranan" and attend "University of Busch Gardens". A friend of mine recently reminded me that China Doll wanted to be Siegfried & Roys personal vet. She certainly would have her work cut out for her....but the benefit of choosing her own white tiger would be awesome. {laughing}
It was important for me to stay connected to these wonderful friends- they supported and loved {us}. I cared and loved them just as much. Something else to be so thankful for.
The single Dad lost his brother to cancer in October. His grandmother died shortly after. I felt bad that I wasn't a better friend to him then when we first met.
Our conversations continue while walking the dogs....or taking the kids for dinner....or skating. He talks about his family. His parents. His brothers and their wives. I like him. He's got this enchanting quality about him-like no other guy I have been friends with. Most of my male friends would be there for me no matter what. But this single Dad has something about him I just can't put my finger on. I never hear him swear...he rarely raises his voice to Freckle Boy......he's patient....he's hiding something- he's faking it- he's gotta be faking this.

Don't ask me why I shared this (once again) with the Dr. Phil crew. They already had us pegged as the next Brady Bunch. It takes a lot for my Italian temper to blow- but once it does- it ain't pretty. But on this occasion I'm finding this to be quite entertaining. I wouldn't share any of this with the single Dad. The only thing he knew about shelter life was my schedule and there was a lot more homelessness in PA.
My family knew about the single Dad. How nice they thought. But now their granddaughter/niece was about to act as a reporter for the National Enquire. My sister/Aunt Debbie would frequently ask China Doll about the single Dad and Freckle Boy. China Doll would give an update without editing. We are ALWAYS together.....he calls mommy and she calls him back.....the Dad comes to walk Heidi for us............and we are going to Hershey Park next Saturday..........!!
If I didn't know any better- I would place a bet that my sister was contacting the Dr. Phil crew and they were all somehow getting the little National Enquire informer to hand over the goods.
This is getting out of hand. Why is it so hard to just have a friend who happens to be divorced, with a child, with a dog, who is also charming, handsome, gentle, kind, handsome, has family values, morals, educated, hard working- did I mention.......handsome?

Hershey Park Christmas Winter Wonderland- it is very cold out. China Doll and Freckle Boy are getting on rides - the only available rides for this cold December night. There we were the 4 of us looking like a ready made family. Brady Bunch- no...I look nothing like Carol and well...the single Dad looks nothing like Mike.
China Doll certainly does not have hair of gold like her mother. {why do I bother to type this} Well, you get the picture.
And then this happens- China Doll takes the hand of this single Dad....hey girlie- your momma is over here! We were heading over to a food court to purchase cocoa and french fries. The freezing cold temperature was probably a good thing- my head began to spin. I drank my hot cocoa down like it was in a shot glass. What was happening? I told myself to ignore this....that China Doll only grabbed his hand because I lectured over and over how important it is to hold my hand or another adults hand that is with us....so, he was with us...she just held his hand instead of mine. But did he have to keep smiling at me all night?

I know once we arrived back to 79 Royal- I jumped out of the car quickly.
Like any long car ride- China Doll fell asleep. I grabbed her before the single Dad could get out of his car to assist.....I yelled thanks for driving- it was fun and unlocked my apartment door. I hoped not to run into him while taking Heidi out for her night time potty break- so I walked around the corner of my building next to the beautiful green dumpster.

Life Lesson: My 7 eggs are safe- need to collect 5 more.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Scrap Book

Halloween night 03'
I've never seen a prettier Mulan
My parents celebrating an anniversary

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Knock Knock- who's there?

It's now late October and 79 Royal is hopping with excitement. New puppy, family events, birthdays, karate and Halloween. I'm looking forward to a concert my coworker and I purchased tickets for two months ago. We are in line to get into the arena to see Nickelback- when my coworker (out of the blue) asked me if I would ever get married again? Married? How about serious date-again. What's up....what is she planning? Secretly did she announce to her best guy pal from church that her coworker is single? Is she trying to set me up with the friend who is along for the evening (he was very annoying) ....what possessed her to ask this question- and why now? If you know Nickelback- this wasn't a concert to sit and chat about my love life- lets wait until we are seated at the opera.
I had trust issues anyway. Would I, could I, and should I trust again?

On this particular Saturday- the October sky threatened rain, but China Doll wanted to take Heidi over to our community park for a walk. No problem.....we bundle up and head over to the park. I don't think we were even there for 15 minutes when this little guy came walking over to us....he had a dog on a leash......he's getting closer and I'm thinking- great, my vet told me to keep Heidi away from other dogs until she receives all her boosters.....unless the other dog is healthy, has it's shots....blah blah blah. How is this little guy to know if his dog has the blah blah blah. So I say- don't bring your dog too close please....he doesn't hear me.....he's smiling and his dog is running full speed towards us. I'm now holding Heidi in my arms...she's squirming to get down and play when this little guy with freckles (enough freckles across his nose and cheeks that I had this urge to take a sharpie and draw the constellations) is asking China Doll if she would like to play. She says yes.....Freckle Boy hands over his leash that is attached to a very cute Golden Retriever puppy named Sam. What? Okay, you know I love animals...but this was not on my agenda. China Doll and Freckle Boy are running down toward the jungle gym area- so I give in and allow Heidi to play with Sam. Leashes are getting tangled- barking and nipping and then they finally flopped on the ground together. Puppy timeout.
Twenty minutes of this and I'm now asking Freckle Boy where his parents are.....where does he live- when I notice this man in a grey hoodie standing by the pine trees looking down our way.
He's far enough that it isn't making me too uncomfortable, but then he doesn't leave either.
So I walk towards the kids and tell them we are going to walk down to the community center.
Now I notice this man in the grey hoodie walking down towards us (picking up his pace) so I pick up Heidi....grab China Dolls jacket.....yell for Freckle Boy to follow (after all I had his dog) when he ask why I'm running- he looks back again and says my dad is coming. Okay so it was my "mom instinct". Oh, so that's your DAD in the grey hoodie? {feeling rather silly}

Freckle Boys dad finally reaches us with a concerned look on his face- why is this woman holding my dogs leash- and most of all why were you running from me?
He says nothing to me at first- walks over to his son and quietly scolds him. Apparently Freckle Boy was to wait by the pine trees for dad. So to get over my sheepish feeling- I do my best academy award "I'm shocked" act. By this time Dad is (kindly) trying to explain to me what happened...to apologize- when the only thing that flies out of my mouth is "does your dog have it's shots"....... Dad looked at me like I had six heads.....or maybe he was thinking I was the biggest snob in Royal Court. ( it was plastered all over his face)

After the introductions fail, I call China Doll over to inform her we are heading home- when Freckle Boy states his dad could watch them play if she wants to stay out longer. NO!
Um, I mean {clear throat} no thank you. Freckle Boy and China Doll say their goodbyes and maybe one of these days they will be able to play again in the park together. {{don't hold your breath Freckles}}
The embarrassing part of all of this was that Heidi is howling at the top of her little lungs.....trying to jump out of my arms.....struggling to see over my shoulder at her new (so she thinks) friend Sam. Get over it girls.....we are not staying here- long.

It's Halloween. China Doll and I planned to go over to my brothers neighborhood to Trick-Or-Treat with my sister-in-law Cathy. China Doll is dressed up as Mulan.
As we prepare to leave- there is a knock at our door. I look through the peep hole and it's Freckle Boy! He's asking if China Doll can go with him on this spooky festive night. Sorry kiddo we have other plans. Oh, and there's the friendly dad again. I wave. I see cute Sam.
Geez....I hated the fact that I was being so rude. That wasn't me at all. I like people.
But...I just didn't want to get involved with this little guy and his parents and their dog on a friendly level- not when I had other important planning to do.
I say no thanks quickly again- quickly because out of nowhere Heidi Mae is whining at the top of my stairs....pacing and then she does a real full out bark. (her first one!) She's one smart cookie- but come on now- they only met once. She runs over to the love seat trying to jump up and look out the window at her friend. Plants get knocked down- my pillows are on the floor.
Good golly....let's take this bundle of nerves along so she can release some energy walking around my brothers neighborhood while China Doll collects her treats.

Knock knock. I remember it was one of those days where I just felt like doing nothing.
China Doll wasn't home this Saturday afternoon.
I answer the door. Freckle Boy.
No....she isn't home today. Freckle Boy is standing on my front porch (alone) talking about stuff. I ask him if his parents are home. He tells me his dad is cleaning and doing laundry- and his mom is home. ? Okay- whatever. I send him on his way.

I am not sure but it was probably only about 2 hours later. Knock knock.
Now, I have this sense of humor that not everyone gets. I remember asking Freckle Boy if he would help me clean out my refrigerator. If you knew my homemaking skills then- we didn't have much in the refrigerator- China Doll and I ate out often or at my parents. Freckle Boy is shy- but he tells me EVERYTHING! {laughing} His parents are divorced. His dad lives two buildings over. He lives with his mom one week- the next his dad. I don't make this kid clean - but I do make him cocoa. I'm beginning to like Freckle Boy.
Knock knock. It's Dad. Freckle Boy was only to come down and see if China Doll could come out and play- then report back to Dad.
You know....I'll go. Let's take the dogs running.
Am I insane?? We go to the park. I'm being much nicer to this single dad with crystal blue eyes. After all, for some reason my dog loves him.

Life Lesson: Heidi is about to sit in my egg basket!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


When I noticed this photo - my senses took over. Fresh growth- perfect path- the smell and sounds of nature. And my journey.
Besides having the strong urge to move to the concrete jungle- I always appreciated nature.
And yes, there are plenty of beautiful parks and recreation areas in NY- so leaving PA wouldn't damage my "sense for nature".

My eyes follow the path- trying to figure out if there is even an end. Where does this path take me? Who would I meet? What do I encounter? How long will I be walking on this particular path?
Does it really matter how long I am walking on this path?

My life seems like a never ending path- my spirit is positive when I say this- no regrets (well maybe a few) I have so much to be thankful for.

I've met some wonderful people while I was walking on this path......and I have encounter some amazing things......and some not so amazing......however, I'm still walking......and I can not wait to see who or what I come across on this journey. {smiling}


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Scrap Book

China Doll took this photo- Heidi Mae 03'
*Double Trouble*

Scrap Book

Aunt Cathy visiting the new furbaby- Heidi Mae with China Doll
Little Miss Heidi Mae
China Doll with her Heidi Mae (the dog that will change everything!)

The road ahead.......

To know the road ahead, ask someone coming back.
~Chinese Proverb

Memorial Day has come. China Doll and I are hosting a cookout
at our apartment. We are roasting hot dogs and burgers - as well as veggie burgers for the vegans. Tons of delicious desserts.
Our place is full of family and friends- reggae music is on- we have our deck decorated with mini patio lights and chinese lanterns.
My mother who was diagnosed with Lupus right after China Doll came home was in good spirits. We (siblings and our father) knew there is more to just the lupus tugging at our her health. My mother would have her ups and downs....but lately it seemed as if her health was on the down side. Tremors were increasing making her strength weak. My mother wouldn't discuss her health with us- she was always independent- not wanting anyone to worry about her- but we were not blind to her symptoms. If we so much whispered "are you going to call your doctor".....she would become upset. So we say nothing for now.
On this day at 79 Royal- she is having a lot of fun.
We all are. I even receive some positive comments about my move to NYC.
Finally my family and friends are getting it! Woo-Hoo!

Shortly after Memorial Day- our Aurelia was beginning to show signs of her old age. 11 is old for a dog. Aurelia was China Dolls "Nana" (from Peter Pan). She was a very good dog- protective and obedient. I always thought since I rescued Aurelia from an abusive home- she was giving back what we gave to her- love and loyalty. I made a hard decision after returning home from work and finding Aurelia not able to move from her comfy pillow. It was always her routine to greet us at the door.
My father picked up China Doll from school for me on this particular day- and they were minutes from our apartment. I carried Aurelia down 13 steps to the front door thinking if I would get her outside for some fresh September air - some miracle would happen.

I knew it- my father knew it. I called my vet.....and made arrangements for China Doll to stay with Aunt Debbie while my father and I took Aurelia into the veterinarians office. Pop Pop gently told China Doll that the angels were going to take Aurelia to heaven. Sadly, watching my little girl say her good byes- with tears in our eyes we drove away.
China Doll heard these words once before- when she was only 4 years old. Our beloved Bella died at the age of 14- one week before Thanksgiving (at our old home). Don't ask me why I told China Doll Bella went to heaven. China Doll trusted me on that too- her Bella was with the angels in heaven.

That night China Doll slept with me. My bed was shared with not only my crying second grader, but a few stuffed friends. One stuffed life-size Rottweiler who resembled Bella, our very fat cat Sir Clementine who continued to nibble my feet during the night- and a collection from Build A Bear Workshop.
We cried together. And then I would hear China Dolls little raspy voice during the night asking- "Where is Aurelia"......"Where is heaven"......"Is Bella and Aurelia with God"?
And my answers: Yes, Um....up in the pretty fluffy clouds, and yes, they are both together - in heaven.

Our cozy apartment felt empty without Aurelia. China Doll would at times ask me if we were going to get another dog. Honestly, I wasn't ready for that yet. But I knew one of these days we would add a new furbaby to our nest. Wanted to wait until after the move.
A friend in NYC who was the supervisor of the NYPD K-9 department informed me there was a breeder who had a litter of pups due to be tagged in a few weeks.
China Doll and I took a road trip to the breeders home to tag our new addition. (yeah, so much for waiting) I'm in awe with this stocky little male (bully of the group) while China Doll sat on the ground surrounded by all his litter mates- but one.
Most of these bundles of bouncing fur were spoken for except for two females. The female who I thought would be best suited for our lifestyle was tugging on China Dolls hair....her shoe laces....my sweatshirt string....you name it. But before I tagged her with a little red ribbon on the puppy collar- the smallest of the two females walked over to China Doll and curled up on her lap and fell asleep. China Doll had a smile on her face that could have lit up the entire town. This furbaby was the one!
The little female who stayed hidden in the corner while her litter mates jumped and nipped during our visit decided to choose China Doll as her new best friend. After the red ribbon was tied on her puppy collar- we scheduled a time to come back and pick up our newest addition.
I was told it would be about two more weeks.
China Doll was thrilled and so was mommy.
We drove home that evening trying to decide on a name for our puppy. After a tough decision- we both agreed on Heidi Mae.
Heidi Mae wasn't scheduled to be picked up until October 14, one day after my mothers birthday. I received a phone call from the breeders daughter telling me that two of the puppies will be transported to Washington DC. They offered to meet me in Maryland with Heidi to save a longer road trip. I agreed to that offer- even though traveling to NY for me wouldn't be a bad thing. {{wink}}
I surprised China Doll by having Pop Pop (my father) take her to karate class. I bribed my sister to drive along with me- of course so she could hold the bundle of fur.
Debbie agreed (reluctantly) and we headed for Maryland.
The timing was perfect. China Doll and Pop Pop arrive shortly after we do. China Doll was so excited to tell us about the stripe she earned in karate class, she didn't even notice Heidi in my arms. But when she did- forget about that stripe!
Never in my wildest dreams would I think that this new addition to our family would stir up her own recipe for our life here in PA.

Life Lesson: I'm up to 7 eggs.