Jan 8, 2016

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Babies, Bongos and Remembering Dad

Babies, Bongos and Remembering Dad

Although it is a week into January, this Christmas season keeps on giving! My “present” this Epiphany week came not from the Three Wise Men but instead came from our two grandsons when they were visiting with their parents (our son, Jeff, and his wife, Kristi) as we celebrated Jeff’s birthday. Several weeks before Christmas, I was at my parents old house and discovered that my dad’s old bongo drums were in danger of either getting thrown out...

Jan 11, 2015

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Now, the Work of Christmas Begins

Now, the Work of Christmas Begins

When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and the princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flocks, The work of Christmas begins ~Howard Thurman Today, at Mass we read about the Baptism of Christ Jesus. This is the time when I usually take down our Christmas decorations and pack them away until the coming December. It is usually a very sad time for me,...

Jan 6, 2015

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Epiphany

Epiphany

And suddenly the star they had seen rising went forward and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:9-11...

Apr 10, 2014

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It’s That Important

It’s That Important

I don’t usually share other people’s YouTube videos, but I think this one is That Important. It’s not just teens. Every day I am out there driving I see people of all ages talking or texting. You are NOT more important than the other people on the road. STOP IT...

Nov 30, 2013

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A Little Effort Can Make a Difference...

A Little Effort Can Make a Difference

Today, another example of what happens when someone meets with something unusual in their daily work. We have all had that happen: we are going along, doing our job in the usual manner. Then, BAM! Something happens that requires a little bit of critical thinking, perhaps even a small amount of problem solving. We have had this Mailpost mailbox for almost ten years now. It is clearly labeled with the word “Mailpost.” And, yes, it is a regulation...

Nov 25, 2013

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Purring Nemo, After His Bath

Purring Nemo, After His Bath

November 25, 2013. Nemo, like most kittens, is pretty messy. He walks through his water, his formula and his food. He sometimes walks through his litterbox deposits. All of these things means he needs a bath pretty regularly. Afterwards, he usually sleeps for a good long while. If you listen closely, you can hear him purring in the video below....

Nov 24, 2013

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November Thankful Challenge Day 24

November Thankful Challenge Day 24

November 24, 2013. Today, I am thankful to be able to share these past 31+ years with my husband.  While neither of us are ever perfect,  through the years we have cultivated a life that is perfect for us – flaws and all. What are you thankful for today?...

Nov 21, 2013

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November Thankful Challenge Day 21

November Thankful Challenge Day 21

November 21, 2013. Today, I am thankful for Veterans and for those who support them by actually “walking the walk” My friends, Mary and Art James, own a company called HAYS Cleaning, based in Hickory Hills. Art is a Vietnam Veteran. Since May 2010, the couple gives back to other Veterans through the year by giving free 3-hour residential housecleanings to local Veterans. This month are not only doing the free 3-hour cleanings, they are also collecting Slim...

Sep 15, 2013

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See The Fly?

A common housefly can be a source of irritation. Or amusement and comfort. Growing up, my parents took my five siblings and I on many camping trips. On one of those adventures, a fly had gotten into the family tent. This turned into a contest of sorts when each of us would call out, “See the fly?” or “See the fly go by.” Quite silly, and still makes me laugh when I think about our dad saying these...

Jun 18, 2013

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Bananas!

Bananas are a staple in my house. They are the perfect add-in to my oatmeal. I love them as a snack after I work out, especially with some peanut butter on them. I add them to my  protein shakes, too. However, it seems that they often ripen before I can eat them all. Rather than let them go to waste, try this tip once your bananas get ripe.   Peel them, slice them up and place them on...

Jun 17, 2013

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Think About It

...

Jan 21, 2013

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40 Years of “Pro-Choice” – What Does That Really Mean?...

“The only differences between the Herod of old and the Herods of today are in the weapons used and the number of victims. Herod used swords and spears to kill the Holy Innocents. Today’s Herods use abortion, “The Pill” and other chemical weapons. And whereas Herod killed a relatively small number of babies, today’s Herods have butchered literally hundreds of millions … with no end in sight!” ~Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, HLI Interim President,  Spirit & Life Newsletter, December...

May 10, 2012

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It All Started With a Dance…

  Love is like an earthquake: unpredictable, a little scary, but when the hard part is over you realize how lucky your are. ~Anonymous Today marks what would have been my parents 54th Wedding Anniversary. Four years ago, my folks renewed their vows at the 4:00pm Saturday  Mass on their actual anniversary, May 10, 2008. For years, my parents were regulars at the 4:00pm Mass; it was wonderful to share their special renewal with the church community of...

May 9, 2012

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When Momma’s Happy, Everyone is Happy...

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving Snug and cozy in my mother’s arm, adorned in...

Feb 25, 2012

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Remember the Born Alive Infant Protection Act?...

“President George W. Bush signed the federal version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act in 2002. The federal bill passed the U.S. House in an overwhelming 380-15 vote, with a majority of outspokenly pro-abortion representatives supporting the legislation. Even after NARAL withdrew its opposition to the federal version of the bill, Obama had continued to oppose the state version.” The Born Alive Infant Protection Act was passed on the Federal level in 2002. This act provides protection...

Feb 4, 2012

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Life’s a Dance

“Life’s a dance you learn as you go Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow Don’t worry about what you don’t know Life’s a dance you learn as you go” ~John Michael Montgomery Some fifteen or so years ago, my husband and I regularly took ballroom dance lessons. At the time, our sons were young and we really needed some time together away from the house and kids. Our neighbor’s daughter would graciously babysit the boys while we went...

Jan 23, 2012

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Obama: Government, Privacy and Dreams...

“As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right. While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue—no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to...

Jan 22, 2012

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Pro-life – The Only Choice

On this day, in 1973, abortion was made legal in the United States. Since that time millions of unborn babies have been killed. While some may call this “choice,” I call this tragedy. Today, in remembrance of this anniversary, I am sharing the words of others, words of life. To me, life is the only choice.  “He who denies that human life begins with conception does not need to contend with religion, but science. To deny this certainty...

Jan 20, 2012

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What Do They Mean By “Choice”?...

“If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people to not kill each other? Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.” ~Mother Teresa January 22, 2012, marks the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the legislation that legalized abortion. On that day, pro-abortion groups are sponsoring a “Blog for Choice Day.” I am joining other...

Jan 15, 2012

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That First Kiss Revisited

I originally wrote a version of the following piece in my journal following the delivery of my oldest son. Today, I celebrate the 23rd anniversary of his birth. I reflect on what I wrote all those years ago and realize that many of my concerns were very real and worked themselves out in their own way and in their own time. I look at my oldest son, along with his two brothers, and I feel confident in writing that...

Dec 26, 2011

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Fun With Comcast

Calling Comcast about a bill increase is always fun. For me, it goes something like this: Me: Hi, Will, yes, I love Comcast! However, my 6 month promotion just ended and my bill went from $110.67 to $131.85 per month. What can you do to make my plan more economical? Will: Sorry, Mrs. Hoogland, the only thing I can advise is to drop your TV service or your Internet service to the next lower level. We do not...

Oct 6, 2011

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Ladies Home Journal: Dispelling Myths About IUDs?...

But because we live in an age of science, we have a preoccupation with corroborating our myths. ~Michael Shermer In the November 2011 issue of Ladies Home Journal, tucked a few pages after recipes for Sticky Buns, smart phone apps to give you dietary willpower and information on diabetes, there is an article called, “The Best Birth Control You’re Not Using.” The article is about IUDs (intrauterine devices). It is on page 146 for those who get the...

Sep 4, 2011

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And Boys Will Be Men

You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was. Abraham Lincoln   This year has been one full of big changes in our household and family. This weekend I was looking through some old photographs and found many that were scout related. All of our boys joined Boy Scouts of America when they were in first grade. Our oldest is an Eagle Scout; the middle one reached the rank of Star; and the...

Sep 3, 2011

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And Another Year Passes

Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~Gloria Naylor Today marks the third anniversary of the death of my dad, Remo. Three years without him here. How did that happen? During that last year of his life, I attempted to picture what my life would be like without my father being there to talk to, to laugh with, to hug. The reality does not match the vision. At times, the reality is much more empty...

Feb 27, 2011

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Take the Time

If a dog jumps into your lap it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing it is because your lap is warmer. – A. N. Whitehead We have a saying in our house that Jethro, our first cat, goes from person to person to “steal their warmth.”  At times, I find this annoying, particularly if I am trying type on the computer. Other times, I find it endearing, such as...

Feb 19, 2011

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SB 136: Killed But Still Kicking

On Thursday, February 17, 2011, Senator Edward Maloney killed SB 136. When I heard the news, I contacted his Chicago office to thank him and to ask if he will continue to pursue the registration of homeschooled students with the Illinois State Board of Education. I was told by a woman in his office (Jackie) that the senator was still in Springfield and that she did not have a lot of details. She did inform me that “any...

Feb 16, 2011

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Contact Sen. Ed Maloney to Oppose SB 136...

Please contact Sen. Ed Maloney, and let him know that you oppose SB136. This bill proposed all non-public students be required to register with the state. Now, he plans to amend it so it only affects homeschoolers. Registration is not necessary and it will be costly – this does affect the entire community. Please call/fax/email Sen Maloney to oppose this bill. His contact information: Email: emaloney@senatedem.ilga.gov District Office: 10444 South Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60643 (773) 881-4180 (773)...

Feb 16, 2011

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Tell Senator Ed Maloney to Withdraw SB 136 – and Do Not Amend It!...

Yesterday, thousands of homeschoolers traveled to Springfield, Illinois, to attend a hearing regarding SB 136. This bill would require non-public school students to register with the Illinois State Board of Education. It is sponsored by State Senator Edward Maloney, 18th District. This happens to be my district. It seems Sen. Maloney plans to amend SB 136 so that the language specifically references homeschooled students. I have several questions about this bill: I am wondering how a bill can...

Feb 14, 2011

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Sen. Ed Maloney discusses SB136 on WLS Radio...

Earlier today, Senator Ed Maloney discussed SB 136, the proposed bill to regulate homeschoolers in the State of Illinois, with Cisco Cotto on WLS radio. There is a transcript of the discussion here: http://www.triviumpursuit.com/blog/2011/02/14/transcript-state-senator-edward-maloney-joins-cisco-cotto-on-wls-am-890/comment-page-1/#comment-265978 I have made several attempts to contact Senator Maloney, who actually represents my district. His office in Worth, as listed on his website, is closed, with a big “For Rent” sign in the window. The phone at his office in the Beverly community goes...

Feb 12, 2011

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SB 136 – A Hot Topic for Illinois Homeschoolers...

Earlier this week, I wrote in to the SouthtownStar Newspaper about the proposed SB 136 bill, put forth by Sen. Edward Maloney, 18th District (my district), here in Illinois. The same day that the newspaper published an abridged version of my letter (see my post on that here), it also published a letter from one Dana P. Zigmund. Today’s post is a comment I wrote on the SouthtownStar’s website in response to her letter. Below is Ms. Zigmund’s...

Feb 10, 2011

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Illinois: Trying to Regulate Homeschoolers...

Last week, Senator Edward Maloney, Illinois 18th District, introduced SB136, which will require non-public school students to register with the Illinois State Board of Education. This would include both private school students and homeschool students. I recently wrote in a letter to the SouthtownStar, after reading a column about the subject by Fran Eaton. Below is my letter, in its entirety. Fran Eaton’s piece, “Homeschool parents ask, ‘Why state registration?’” raised some good points regarding the proposed Senate...

Jan 20, 2011

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Ask Them What They Mean By ‘Choice’ Blog Day is January 21!...

“The undeniable fact is that those who defend the destruction of innocent human life in the form of abortion and euthanasia cannot confront the moral issues, nor can they confront the history that proves beyond a doubt the similarity between their reasoning and that of the most heinous murderers of history.” ~ Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, HLI Interim President, Human Life International e-Column, September 24, 2010 Tomorrow, January 22, 2011, marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the...

Jan 15, 2011

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Christmas Eve 2010

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day; their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the word repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!” ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Our Christmas Eve was truly a blessing. David and I were able to attend the late Mass with our sons, niece and my mom. We were fortunate to have a fellow parishioner snap this lovely photo of all of...

Jan 15, 2011

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Remembering Uncle John

“Trust in God’s timing. It’s always right.” (This essay was originally written on Monday, December 20, 2010.) I am trying to keep this saying close to heart today. This morning, my dear Uncle John was called home to heaven at 9:45am. To some who saw him, but did not know him, he probably looked like just another elderly man, toting around his portable oxygen for the past couple of years. To me, he was always the man who...

Sep 2, 2010

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Remembering Remo

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.  ~Clarence Budington Kelland My dad & his mom I came across this quote and immediately thought of my dad, Remo Zappavigna. This September 3rd marks the second anniversary of my father’s death. Sometimes, it seems as though it has been forever since Dad left this earth; at other times, it seems like yesterday.Over the past couple of days, I have reminisced about...

Aug 26, 2010

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It’s That Time of Year

The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives. ~Robert Maynard Hutchins Yes, it’s that time of year. No, not Christmas, but the beginning of the school year. Like the quote above states: the object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives. For most of my son’s lives, their education was acquired in the non-traditional form of homeschooling; living life and learning have always gone hand-in-hand....

Jul 24, 2010

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It’s All in the Family

Today, I had the pleasure of attending a family reunion. This was for my dad’s side of the family, the Zappavigna’s. Dad was from a family of six children. As with many families, my paternal side had experienced some unfortunate separations over the years. Earlier this year, my Uncle Mario died. At his services, his children, along with many of my cousins, my siblings and I, lamented over how many years had been wasted due to misunderstandings about...

Jul 12, 2010

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Chase Bank and Creative Finances

Back in the day, as my sons like to say, my husband and I refinanced our mortgage with Washington Mutual Bank (WAMU). We liked them so much that we moved our other personal banking accounts to them, too. Fast forward a few years and Chase Bank has taken over control of WAMU. It wasn’t immediate, but rather gradually that we noticed some changes being made to our bank, namely, Customer Service. Where we once had excellent customer service,...

Mar 26, 2010

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An Early Memory

“Memory is a net.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. I remember going to a school playground with my grandfather. This is one of my earliest memories. I recall sliding down the slide and my Grandpa Quinn caught me at the bottom. I think I was about 4 or 5 years old, with my hair in pigtails and my bangs fringing my forehead. I remember wearing a dress that day, and the cool metal of the slide chilling the backs...

Mar 16, 2010

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Patsy and a Mouse

“You’re never too old to learn something new.” “Right click, left click! Open a window…wait, what is a window? Oops, what did I click on?” This morning, my mom, Patsy, proved that she has the makings of a computer geekess! Several weeks ago, my oldest son rebuilt a nice laptop for my mom. This morning, we finally had the chance to explore it together. I have to say I was pleasantly surpised to watch Mom giggle and chuckle...

Mar 5, 2010

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Quotes for Friday

I stumbled across some quotes today as I was reading through some magazines. What are your thoughts on some of them? “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” ~Andrew Jackson “No one has an exclusive on opportunity. When the sun rises, it rises for everyone.” ~Chinese proverb  Thought for the day: What would you do in life if you knew you would not...

Jan 25, 2010

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Is Silence Really Golden?

” I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”  ~Elie Wiesel Yesterday, our priest gave an excellent sermon on the sanctity of life. He has been one of our priests since I was a child. He is about the same age as my folks (a year younger, actually); we share the same...

Jan 23, 2010

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A Fundamental Right?

“….is it surprising that today we have become so morally blind (for wickedness blinds) that we save the baby whales at great cost, and murder millions of unborn children?” ~Alice von Hildebrand, The Privilege of Being a Woman Yesterday, January 22, 1010, was the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court decision which deemed abortion a “fundamental right” under the Constitution of the United States. I do believe that this decision has led to a complete...

Dec 30, 2009

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Perhaps the Grinch was Correct

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.” ~ Dr. Seuss (1904-1991), American author of children’s books. From ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’. ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ is one of my all time favorite Christmas books. What is not to love? Here we have the story of the old curmudgeon who detests Christmas. Instead of living privately with his own misery, he seeks to make those around him...

Dec 24, 2009

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Counting My Blessings

“If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep, and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings…” ~Irving Berlin, from “White Christmas” For the past few weeks, I had been struggling to find the joy in this holiday season. It is the second one without my dad; my uncle (my dad’s brother) is nearly ready to join Dad in heaven; and I have been sorely missing several other loved ones who have long left...

Dec 23, 2009

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Sugar Cookies, Pizzelles and Fudge

Last week, my sister mentioned that her boys would love to come over to meet my feline children. Her family had adopted two kittens over the past six months and it seems they have fallen under the spell of the purring furry kids, too. Since the kids are on Christmas break, I invited them to come over to my home to meet the kittens and to do some baking. The gang arrived in the late morning to meet...

Dec 21, 2009

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It’s “Merry Christmas, ” Not “Happy Holidays”...

A recent conversation on Facebook was started when a friend of mine posted that she did not want to hear “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings,” but rather “Merry Christmas.” Her reasoning was quite sound: Jesus is the reason for the season. I do agree with her. Discussion ensued about Christmas programs now being called “Winter Programs” or “Holiday Programs” so that those who do not observe Christmas may be included in the festivities. There certainly has been a...

Oct 8, 2009

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Meet Kitty Number 3!

Last week, I adopted a new kitten. She is a domestic short hair, about six months old. I named her Ellie Mae Mews. The shelter I adopted her from, Catnap From the Heart, had been calling her “Muse” because she has so much to say. Ellie Mae has made a smooth transition into our household. My other two cats, Dexter and Jethro, seem to enjoy having her for a playmate. My dogs, Kelly and Chelsea, do not seem...

Aug 2, 2009

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Friends, Family & Fate

You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet those people you can’t forget. Those are your ‘friends.’Once again, life is showing me that people are placed within the lives of others for a reason. I originally met my friend, Beverly, some 13 years ago when her son joined the Cub Scout pack at the local school. Through the years we have been like sisters: we have laughed and cried together, we...

Jul 3, 2009

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Two Kittens and Ten Months

July 3, 2009. Today is the ten-month anniversary of the death of my dad, Remo. This morning, I had a few moments where the loss was tearing at my heart. I was sitting in the living room, looking out the front windows, recalling a July day last year when I drove my dad by the house to see the way my husband, David, had landscaped the yard. Dad admired the new bushes, flowers and paver blocks. This morning,...

Jun 28, 2009

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Along Came A Kitten

Jethro became a member of our family back in October 2007. He was a mere 6 days old and still had his eyes closed! He, and his five litter mates, had been abandoned near the criminal courts building where my husband works.Due to his young age, I had to feed Jethro kitten formula. I found myself mixing up kitten formula every two hours for the first week! I’d never even made bottles for my kids, yet there I...

Jun 28, 2009

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Meet “The Boys”

I realize that I may be in serious danger of becoming the “crazy cat lady.” Apparently, this condition has slowly taken over my life these past 18 months or so, since the acquisition of my first kitten, Jethro. It was furthered by the addition of my second kitten, Dexter, this past October.I have always been a self-proclaimed dog lover. I never really considered having cats because many family members are allergic to them. However, the addition of “the...