Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Here's to all of you

And so the years draws to a close.  We all survived, perhaps even thrived or barely slid by, succeeded, conceded, settled, forged on, accepted, rejected, cried, laughed, hoped and prayed in times of desperation and in times of celebration - and without ever setting eyes on any of you - or any of you upon me - we shared in all of this together.  Amazing.  our hearts are intimate, known and vulnerable to one another and I feel so very close to all of you. 

 I feel so blessed to take all of you with me in to 2011 and that you have allowed me the privilege of following all of you into 2011 as well.  Your shared wisdom, love, support, gifts and talents, family traditions, happy and sad times told, understanding and support are so precious to me.  

2010 certainly brought its challenges into focus and so too it showed kindness and miracles and blessings.  Life is like that, huh?  :-) My Mom literally coming back to life was our greatest joy and blessing - my eldest daughters distance my greatest heartache - and every possible wonder and sorrow in between these highs and lows have all been known.  And here I am, writing to all of you today to say your presence in my life made the wonderful that much more wonderful and the sorrows more bearable.  "thank you"  and "Happy-healthy New Year to all of you" 

Saturday, December 18, 2010


for all the children this Christmas season and all year too, I pray for your suffering to end and that you feel the light of hope in your hearts.  Amen

Thursday, December 16, 2010

About "HELP"

Such a great song  - we all need "help" from time to time, right?  And sometimes we are the helpers - it is an ebb and flow.  For all the help you have so freely and loving given and for all the help you have allowed me to bestow I am forever grateful.  "Merry Christmas".....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wild WOrld

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Like an echo across a vast canyon.....

And so it is that this most blessed season of hope, miracle, promise, love and joy - there is also sadness, sorrow, grief and loss. And I am not the bearer of such bad news nor is it my intention to dampen any spirit - I am, however, acknowledging that amidst the 'fa-la-la-la-la's there are tears.
Each of us is fighting some kind of battle, or battles - health challenges, loss, fears, resentment, anger, perhaps rage or dare I say the unspeakable feelings of hate -

Yes, amidst all the love and joy and hope there is suffering. I, like most of you, rise above such sorrow and celebrate the birth of Jesus and honor family traditions and spread love and good news and humbly give and receive. 'Tis the season.....'

As you all know - my eldest daughter is estranged from us and it hurts my heart so. I sent her a card with family pictures and also gifts for the children. She called.................and I could hear her speak - she said all the right things - the 'thank you's", and the "I love you's and updates on the baby. Her voice? It was an echo, across a vast canyon - I could not get hold of the origin or the place and space from where her words came - I could hear her - but the echo was in the distance - so far- so lost in the space of time and distance - I ached beyond expression.

This echo, this vast space of time and distance - leaving me unaware of where she really is was quite profound - when I got off the phone I shivered and held my arms across my chest, rocking - remembering when I held her in my arms and tears fell silently down my face and I wished her 'home'...... 


Monday, December 6, 2010


I awoke to a lovely gentle snow this morning - so soft and pretty to watch.  I stepped out on to our upper deck and breathed deeply as cold snow flakes fell on to my hair and face....each flake like a promise of new hope.  I was so excited to wake Skipp - "honey, it's snowed -, it's still snowing - everything is white!"  He joined me on the deck - we stood silently in each others arms as the softest flakes landed on us so gently and quietly - I/we felt SO alive. 

I especially love the reflection of the tree in the pond out front.  I love the first snow - each year it's beauty and meaning magnify as I realize how precious and fragile life is.  
My wonderful sister-in-law spent the afternoon with me yesterday - she wrapped ALL our Christmas gifts.  She is an artist and so detailed. She did a beautiful job.  I am so blessed to have people in my life like Sherri so willing to help - wanting to help -  I am humbled by her gracious giving of her time and talents to me. She asked me a question about my "Thanksgiving' letters and why I did not post my daughter Jennifer's.  I explained that only those who sit at our Thanksgiving table get a letter - however, I did write one for Jennifer, as well.  :-)  And thank you Sherri for reminding me and I am thrilled to post it below. 

Thanksgiving 2010


First and foremost is how you make me laugh, mostly at myself as a result of your quick with and never let anything slide approach, from a BIV to having MS - you have a way of easing the moment by getting me to laugh.  “Thank you’.

I truly love that you live close by - that we share in one anther's daily lives and help one another without being invasive.  I feel so good when you stop by with Joel and Zak or alone - it is always fun and loving. I know you understand my loss over your Sister and the choices she has made - and I know you have tried to stand up for me and that means a lot. Some things are just not resolvable.

I think you are so beautiful, inside and out.  I love how you decorate your home and your flare for antiques and old fashioned nick-knacks.  Your home is lovely - and I so appreciate how you love to cook and that you ask me for recipes or how I make whatever.  I always love how much you love family tradition, especially Christmas eve and now, these Thanksgiving letters.   I am so thankful that family matters to you and that you care about these traditions.  I find comfort in knowing that you will carry these family traditions on when I am no longer here to do so.  The magnitude of that hope fills me with great joy.  “Thank you”......

I am so grateful that you show your love for Nana and that you were there every step of the way when she took ill.  And you also were so helpful in making sure I got to see her too.  Your visits to the hospital, doctors and transportation to dialysis are HUGE acts of love and kindness.  I sing your praises all the time about how helpful you are, and how lucky we are to have you close to us. For all you do and so much more I “thank you”, with al tht I am, with all that I know to be right and good and loving, I “thank you”......
And remember Jen,
 I love you......NO MATTER WHAT


thanks Sherri..  :-) and how many of you know what  BIV means?  :-)

Now, about "hope-the tree".  Oh my goodness - she is dieing  not much left to her. Sherri gave me a beautiful ornament for Hope - a jeweled peace sign, so sparkly and lovely - and we hung it proudly on our Christmas tree. I knew that Hope-the tree was barely hanging on for some time now and I was SO afraid to even say the words that "hope is dieing".  My goodness.  I now have a gorgeous "Hope-box", box of hope - all of the items folks have sent for Hope-the tree are now safely in the "Hope-Box".   So HOPE IS ALIVE in the "Hope-Box" 

So as you can see HOPE is alive with all of the hope folks have sent me now filling the new "Box of Hope"!!  It was really hard to take the items off of Hope-The-Tree and place them in their new setting - but it is done.  Hope never dies - it may change its setting but it NEVER dies.  

Below is a picture of our manger and our tree and our dining room table. The manger is the same manger I grew up with.  The animals and Joseph, Mary and Jesus and the Wise Men were my grandmother's- they are almost 100 years old.  I am so honored to have this manger to display each year.

Look closely at the tree and you can see the beautiful jeweled 'peace/hope ornament Sherri gave us. Also, all of our ornaments are 'collector-series'.  Skipp has been buying me ornaments for almost 20 years.  Each one, each set is so meaningful, about love and family and hope.  And also I have ornaments my Dad made right before he died and ones my kids made when they were little.  It was hard when I hung Kristie's on the tree- she was seven when she made it and we were so close.  Oh how I miss my little girl.  :-(  Please continue to pray that her heart will open and she will see and feel the love and light of her family, once again.





Sunday, November 28, 2010

ELISA- Pronounced "Elizza"

Lovely, yes?  Our gift this Thanksgiving - the following letter I wrote after dinner since it was a surprise she was coming - AND I did not know her until after....... Elisa is from Italy, here just 8 years.  Her accent and Italian style is so heart warming and pure - the letter speaks for itself -

Thanksgiving 2010-

Dear Elisa:

The immense joy began the moment you came through the door with Dolan.  You were a beam of light, a  breath of fresh air, a loving spirit, beautiful energy and a loving presence felt by all. You filled the room in the best of ways.

I am so grateful you came for Thanksgiving dinner. People often ask, - “Is there such a thing as love at first sight?”  I can say, without a doubt that there is because it happened with you.  Your lovely spirit and beautiful sound are like poetry, song and verse blended in harmony.  I love how you speak with your whole self - your body moves in rhythm with your words and expression making being in your presence a total and wonderful experience.  Being in your presence was such a gift to me - there are no words to convey the truth of that completely.  Your appreciation of our home and its meaning meant so much - and I watched as you absorbed our traditions and creative style so lovingly and how well it blended in to you - and how you “fit” so well in to our humble world.  I was overtaken with delight.

You had no idea how much I needed to have YOU here - I didn’t even know it myself until I felt the gentle beauty of your presence filled our home. As you melted over, around and though us I realized that I had sorrow I was hiding and loss I was grieving and pain I was covering and the lovely blanket of pure love you swept over us overpowered all the hurt and covered me with pure and natural joy.  “Thank you”    Your energy and natural intent and loving purpose is like no other I have experienced in a very long, long time.  Hallelujah!

I am so grateful that you are ‘with’ Dolan and that you are loving him.  Knowing that brings me great joy and relief and hope.  It was such a gift to me to have you join us for the Thanksgiving holiday.  What you ‘brought’ just by being you is such a blessing and amongst one of my most treasured gifts this year

Love Gail


Our day was wonderful and bountiful in so many ways.  I hope all of yours was too.  And I am SO happy to tell you all that Elisa is joining us for the extended Christmas celebrations and family traditions. I am so looking forward to her excitement and all that she brings of her loving self.  - and one more thing.  She plays piano - classical piano - I was mesmerized by her talent. She sat, before the keyboard facing the picture window in Dolan's old room, now our music/guest room. The view beyond was lovely, of a deep November day, naked trees and gray-blue sky - and her fingers danced across the keys and the sound filled me, filled the room and I was in heaven.  

I miss them both and I cannot wait until December 23rd when they will be 'home'. Hallelujah........

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Notes Of Thanks

A humble time of gratitude, shared blessings and perhaps silent desires for those not here.  It becomes a blend of great joy, and  truth be told, tears of sadness for those I miss.  More so for those still alive that have lost their way - and cannot find their way home - and especially to you my daughter - I leave the candles on in every window and the light of love in my heart to guide your way home.  

I want to thank each and every one of you for your friendship, love, shared wisdom and truth, kindness, inspiration, hope, family events, both great and small, triumphant and tragic, love of nature and the arts, your gifts and talents, dreams and humor, illness and health,  For all your support of me and appreciation for my truth and life I "THANK YOU" all.  

As you know, I write, 'Why I Am Thankful For You Letters' every year for folks who have Thanksgiving dinner here. I have been doing so since 1992. Originally, I would number the reasons I was thankful for whomever.  That only lasted one year since everyone compared notes as to how many 'reasons' were listed on their note.  Too funny, huh??  :-)

Here are this years.  Just three.  It will be simple, lovely, peaceful, delicious, blessed and filled with gratitude.
Thanksgiving 2010

Here we are - another year of glorious love and honor - understanding, kind support, music, so much laughter, embraces, tears of despair, tears of joy, meals shared with criss-crossed place mats, glasses of wine, oh yes the wine, morning coffee, all the Monday night “YAYS” and all those perfect Tuesdays and Wednesdays anticipated and delighted in.

YOU make my life possible - our life possible.  - “thank you”.....

We got our Gracey Blue this year - she is part of our pack now.
 I continue to be in awe of how you never complain.  It seems I need more help at times and you just go with the flow. I know how hard it is for you to deal with your job, but you do so we can have insurance and security. I feel your strength and deep love all the time Skipp - you are a pillar of hope, strength, love and protection.  I am SO lucky to have you as my husband, my partner, my best friend, my lover and dance partner - the one I share everything with, -  it is always and ONLY you.

If ever two people were destined to live life together it is you and me - I love that you call me every day - 20 times a day - when I hear your voice I still get a lovely shiver and when you say “I love you” I still soar so high and when you look at me and I see the love in your eyes,  I melt.  When we had that fall together and I saw the hurt in your eyes my heart broke in a million pieces.  That one ‘flip’ crystallized so much - the powerlessness I know you feel because you cannot take the MS from me and for me too - to have to surrender to that reality with and for you and for me as well.  It rocked our world, huh?    But we  made it through and beyond and are now stronger for having done so.  We are survivors and more.

I love our life together and our peaceful happy home.  I am so grateful that I have you to share in all of my days. I am comforted and content, safe and protected, loved and nurtured, and saved - ALL because of YOU.  “Thank you” and I love you...
Your girl forever,


Thanksgiving 2010

Dear Dolan-

I am impressed by your commitment to your writing and getting your stories published.  I am thrilled that you seek my critique and opinions of your stories.  That means so very much to me.

I also am in awe of your ‘high status’ and respect in your teaching community.  You teach workshops and have developed ground breaking techniques for the classroom which have and will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of students and teachers alike for years to come.  At such a young age you have created a legacy.

I love that you call me, a lot.  I feel your care and concern in your words and humor and interest.  I am SO thankful that I matter, that I am worth your while and time and that we have a strong,  respectful and loving relationship. It is in the moments we share that I am most often delighted, uplifted, happy and grateful.  Being present with you in any moment is one of my most precious gifts.

As I look over my life and what matters and to whom I matter - YOU are at the top of the list - in the top five. :-).  You provide a balance of thought and opinion like no one else I know - it is both startling and refreshing.  Your clarity and confidence often amaze me - the intensity of your beliefs have overwhelmed me and your intelligent, honest and well informed opinions often empower me. I will tell you that there are times, when I am faced with dilemmas and like that show, “What Would You Do”, I think, “What Would Dolan Do/Say?”  And I am prompted in the best of ways to deal with the situation.  Cool huh? You are wise beyond your years.

I will end with telling you that I am filled with gratitude to have a son like you.  I adore you and believe in you beyond measure - “Thank you” for all that you share with me AND for all that you illicit from me to share with you.  Our ebb and flow is perfect.

I Love you Dolan


Thanksgiving 2010

Dear Mom-

This year certainly has had it’s share of life’s challenges, I am in awe of how brave and strong you are as you faced each one.  Your faith continues to inspire me and give me hope as you turned to your God in moments of total despair and in moments of pure joy.  As you surrendered to harsh realities you found beauty and understanding and gratitude to balance your world.  So often your faith was tested and each and every time, your faith won.

I was privileged to watch you literally come back to life - with laughter and song and appetite and mobility and self care and hopes and dreams - they all re-surfaced like gifts waiting to be opened and appreciated.  You unwrapped each one and began to live fully again.  Oh Mom - like the moth to the butterfly you have emerged - more beautiful than ever - and that sparkle of blue still shining in your eyes.  I truly have witnessed and lived this life-giving miracle that together,  you and God created.  Hallelujah!

I am forever grateful for your seasoned wisdom, unyielding faith, empowering love, and gentle humor.  I love how you love me.  I love and enjoy our daily talks and that somehow, being so close  to you, completes me.  I am forever thankful that you are MY Mom - and that our lives are so lovingly blended in the very best of ways.

I love you Mom, forever, and “thank you”



I was moved to laughter and tears writing these three letters this year.  Each one so purposeful and true.  I hope all of you have family and friends that you could write about.  And please remember to send prayers that my oldest daughter finds her way home.  Thanks.

Love to you all and "Happy Thanksgiving"


Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Gold Coin

The first picture of the gold coin exemplifies, in one humble offering the purpose and meaning of my life's work.  Skipp and I hung on his every word as he approached me and said.  "I have something to give you...........you see, I received my ten-year gold recovery coin a few weeks ago.  I shared my story and I told them my recovery began with you - I have a life because of you so I want to give you this coin...." He placed it in my hand and Skipp and I burst in to tears. We all hugged forever.  Over 10 years ago he was one of my first clients when I was the Halfway House Manager and he has been 'clean' ever since and has been a counselor assistant for over seven years.  

The next picture is of the 'group gifts' from my co-workers.  The book is a "Gail's Memories" book that Ashley (whom I/we lovingly call Sophie-Lennon) created and designed.  It is filled with written memories that dozens of my co-workers have of me that they hold dear.  I laughed and cried at each wonderful entry.   The glass globe has butterflies in it which is Rushford's insignia and it has an engraving which reads 

"Gail, for all those to whom you have given a voice we thank you.  Love, your Rushford family"

Next, my beautiful cake and me with my cake.  It was a strawberry short cake.  Delicious.

Then, me and Skipp - He was so emotional, proud and overflowing with and for me.  

 Next, a hug - one of many.

Then, Ashley (Sophie-Lennon) and Tina.  Two of my dearest friends and two of the three party planners. Ashley was once my intern.  

On to Rosann - the other party planner.  She and I go back over 10 years as co-workers and friends. She even gave a speech, a "roast" of sorts.  I was thrilled.

And last, a picture of 'the gathering' - folks having fun.  :-)



Thursday, November 4, 2010


I am so honored that so many of my blog-land friends shared with me about their intent and their affection for me.  I feel so close to so many of you and I needed those affirmations.  "thank you"   :-)  I have been a tad vulnerable lately - October has it's own historical agendas and as much as November is my most favorite month, it too carries it's sorrow. When November arrives I am quieted by the naked trees, the darkened earth and the dried leaves blowing about in the gray wind. I  am inspired to light a fire in the wood stove and simmer hearty soups and stews.  I feel the promise of snow in the air and I hold tight to the quilts and comforters to keep the chill off my body as I curl up on the couch and watch the sky deepen and the naked branches sway-  almost reaching for the leaves that once were attached. I feel safe inside - nothing can harm me in here.  As November 9th draws near I am called to honor two monumental occasions - my Mom's birthday (she will be 87), and my nephew's 'death-day'.  (he was just 32).  The two forces collide every year.  We gather as a family to honor both -  and the power of these life-changing realities often brings us to tears, always to song, and moments of celebration and darker moments of "why".  But together we join - in honor and memory.  This year Skipp and I are making a lasagna and bringing it over to my Sister's/Mom's place.  Her other two sons will be there, and my Jen and Dolan - my Mom, of course, - and also my sister's brother-in-law. As most of you recall, my sister lost her husband of 40+ years, two years ago, come this January, - so having his older brother be with us is quite special.  My sister's sons name is 'Clayton' - he is also my God child.  My Mom's name is 'Louise', or her Italian name is 'Liberata'.   If you can, on November 9th, stop and raise a glass or say a prayer for both of them,  thanks.  :-)

Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday.  We are already planning our strategy to shop, prepare and serve. My stuffing recipe is, well, amazing - if I do say so myself.  :-) I am getting ready to write my "Why I Am Thankful for You' letters that I write every year for anyone who sits at our Thanksgiving table.  Some years were tough given the variety of characters my daughters were dating at the time.  Oh my!
The rain is pounding down today as I wait for a dear, dear friend to visit.  Seems she, like so many of us, is in transition. I value and appreciate that we are solid - no transitions but rather a firm hold on what is right and good between best friends. What else can I say?  Perhaps only to tell you that I believe  all is as it should be and that each day, every breath and every step taken is a gift - every hug, life giving, every expression of love - a blessing, To all f you I send  hugs and love. 


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Basic truth - Yoohoo

It seems I have gotten away from the purpose of my blog - to explore the value of truth - its purpose in the life's journey and how each of us has a truth or truths, an "it" or "its" that we wish were not in fact true, but ah, they are true and this blog is about encouraging people to find theirs and embrace them for dear life.  For not to do so is a life of running and escaping and purging from ourselves the very spirited essence of who we are - people spend life times doing just that. 

I have shared many truths here and in doing so it seems that others, (some) have found a freedom and a strength to do the same.  I wonder though, how all of you really are doing?  I got to tell you that lately I sense a distance, or a lag in connection from some of my most avid followers.  Yoohoo, do you see me?  Have I done something to offend?  Yoohoo..............Oh I know folks are busy and life demands our attention else where - there are just some folks I miss seeing - hearing from.  Yoohoo.............

So I thought it was time to get back, perhaps, to the original design and purpose of this blog,  "Basic truth".   And the basic truth is ....I feel like folks have lost interest and therefore have slowly lessened or in some cases, ceased their visits :-(  I understand..  So I guess  I will just write, as i have, however it makes sense to me in keeping with the 'basic truth'..

I believe 100% that our truth denied is our life denied and to live that life of denial is an exhausting endeavor and it is never ever completed.  I know that some of my truths and yours too are quite harsh.  We cannot change the fabric of our designs, the experiences that are us are always part of us , good or bad it is ours to face, reconcile and honor. As October comes to a close, and some of my harsh "its" settle within - I realize how lucky I am to "know" and NOT need to hide or run from what I know.  As much as the truth is tragic it is mine to behold.  They blend with my celebration and victories, each with merit and purpose to be held and offered, and humbly shared.

As Winter closes in and the stillness overtakes my world I am content in my life to "be" as I am.Oh there are things I wish were quite different. I wish mobility was easier and without pain - I wish for more time with Skipp as his job has some long hours some days.  I wish my Mom was not suffering. I wish my oldest daughter Kristie would find her way home. And yet I am truly blessed to have Skipp and my Mom and to be able to get around as I do.  I am excited for Thanksgiving approaching and all our wonderful Holiday traditions.  I love that Dolan calls me every day and that Jen is close by to be part of each other's day to day lives.  We have wood for our wood stove and food in the frige and warmth in our hearts and our home.  We have music and laughter and faith.........we have love, an abundance of love.....Amen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dad (re-post)

The picture up and to the right is my Dad holding my son, Dolan. He adored him. :-)
I apologize for the lack of focus on the photo to the left. It is my Mom and Dad - outside their retirement home just one month before my Dad died - He passed on October 22nd, 1984. The photos above are of our side and back yard views - Autumn is struggling to become vibrant with color - it is more subtle and demure - and yet still is inspiring and promising. I love cloudy Autumn days so much.

The week before my Dad died he was on a mission. It is as if he knew. On the Thursday before he died (he died on a Monday)....he and my Mom came to my house. Dolan, my son was just 7 months old. I remember my Dad saying to me - "Gimpy, (he nic-named me that when I broke my leg when I was eleven), anyway - he said - "Gimpy, if I keep hanging around here this kid is going to start calling me Daddy.". :-) This particular day he wanted to be sure that I knew how to drive my Mom to her sister's house about 30 miles away. He knew how important those visits were to my Mom and her sister. On the way back he was telling my Mom what to do should he have a heart attack while driving. On the Saturday he helped put the roof on the VFW hall of which he was a proud member. On the Sunday he helped his neighbor put together their entertainment center. He was happy to do it. On the Monday, he started his day with a hearty breakfast. Then they went to my sister's house to take care of their youngest son, Ethan - the two older boys, Josh and Clayton were in school. My Mom and Dad took Ethan to Josh's school for an event - and then returned home around 3:15. My Mom was downstairs coloring with Ethan, and my Dad went out on my sister's back deck. Josh headed off to dance lessons and for some reason went out the front door rather than the back deck - they never used the front door. And the Mom that was picking him up, for some reason, backed in to the driveway rather than pulling in - had she pulled in she would have seen my Dad. Clayton came home with his dirt bike which he always put under the back deck - but this day he did not do that and he too came in the front door. My Mom decided to color another picture with Ethan - and then said to Clayton - "go check on your Grand Pa, I hope he isn't raking leaves"!! Clayton did go check and my Dad was laying out on the deck - Clayton yelled for my Mom to call 911 - but it was already too late. My Mom screamed so loud that neighbors came running - and so that is what happened 25 years ago this October 22nd - it was 4:00.

My Dad was a vibrant, proud, hard working man. A real man's man' as the saying goes. People who know me know his fun sayings and antics because I say them and do them (most of them) often. :-) I learned how a man should treat a woman by watching how my parents loved and cared for one another. I learned what it meant to be a real friend, a good son, a loving brother, Dad and neighbor by watching my Dad. I can still recall when the neighbor across the streets house caught on fire and my Dad wanted to go in to rescue her and her dog - the other neighbors stopped him - she and her dog both died that night. My Dad never got over that. I remember when our next door neighbor left his wife and three children. The son was devastated - my Dad invited him over and did what he could to be there for him. My Dad built us a bomb shelter~!! Underground!!!! My Dad's motto was that every day he should make someone laugh. :-) And to always pick up hitch-hikers and take them as far a possible to get to their destination. We crossed state lines many a Sunday doing just that!!!

Every year me, my Mom and sister go to Chatfield Hollow state park and pick greens to make head baskets for my Dad's grave, Clayton's grave, (my sister's oldest son), and now for Kelly's grave - Clayton's Dad who just died, as most of you know, this past January. Chatfield Hollow, in Killingworth, CT is where my Dad worked as a member of the Connecticut Corp of Engineers as a young man - age 17. He and his crew built ALL the bridges in Chatfield Hollow. Every year we go we are reminded of his talents as we stand in awe of the detail of the beautiful bridges in the Park that he helped build. Also, Killingworth is where their retirement home was. :-) He came full circle.

And so this October I honor you Dad for all that you are - the legacy you left behind from bridges to values to love and to ethics to faith and to marriage and mankind. For the lives you saved in WWll and the lives you touched every day of your life. I have learned so much from you and I love you.


rest in Peace Dad.......

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reuben Pasta Bake

 The pictures are tricky to line up with bloggers new system for adding imagesThe last two pictures above are of the kind of day it was yesterday for our pasta bake. It was mostly cloudy all day with peeks of sun.  The trees are still green with some color appearing.   It was a windy and chilly and wonderful.  Jen and I had a great time making our Reuben pasta bake.  I told Grizz I would share the results and the recipe.  So here it is. We doubled the batch:

2 pounds large curly elbow macaroni
(cook, drain, add i/2 stick butter, mix and and set aside.

saute one pound pastrami cut in bite size pieces, add one 12 ounce can sauer kraut and 1/2 stick butter - saute until heated well

add one 16 ounce jar of con queso cheese sauce (I used medium, there is mild or hot as well ).   and 1/2 cup parmesian cheese to pasta, add pastrami and sauer kraut to pasta, mix well.

pour into baking dishes, 9x13, sprinkle with plain bread crumbs, dot with butter, bake uncovered 30 minutes - and when served drizzle with warmed thousand Island dressing.   A very filling and comforting and delicious meal for a chilly Autumn evening.  
Love Gail

(I lost  my signature template, again,.    eesh.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Two Out of Three

I love that he sends it to me first.  ME!!  My son Dolan is a published writer, so talented, and of high intelligence, intent, passion and wit.  And he sends his  writings to ME first for MY opinion.which he values.  I love this part of our relationship SO much.  He is an amazing young man, a teacher of High School English as a second language at an International School to a very diverse student population. He is a playwright, and was a member of a comedy troupe for several years that performed at Caroline's Comedy Club in Manhattan.  He is a gentle and kind and very funny young man.  I believe in him and his life's dreams and goals and most of all I love that we are so connected regardless of distance and time allowed we are connected, solid and enjoy our relationship very much.

His recent published story is in a magazine called "The Lifted Brow" and is circulating in book stores in Australia.  He is very excited. 

My middle daughter is doing  well.  So much better since the days of "The Intruder" which, those of you who have been following this blog for a while know how awful that was.  She lives in an adorable farm house just down the road from me - I/we like her boyfriend and her son is doing great.  She is working and living well. She is a big help to me and also to my Mom with rides to dialysis and so forth.  She is SO funny and makes me laugh like no one else can.  :-)

My oldest daughtre Kristie is the lost one - so far from all of us here both in distance and in contact of any kind. It is so heart breaking that she has abandoned her family.  We have yet to meet the new baby Damien and know very little about her life, the baby's father and the people in her life.  Her secrecy is chosen because she is in a deception that runs very deep. I have tried all I know to reach her but to no avail.  I remain open to her - loving her no matter what and leaving the candles lit in all the windows to light her way home.  I miss her so much it hurts beyond words.  :-(

Anyway - two out of three ain't bad. sigh..... 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Our dear young friend was married - Ashley, to Pete.  She was my intern some years back and has gone on to become a LMFT.  She is stunningly gorgeous and a fun,  delightful, humble, bright loving soul that I adore and so does Skipp.  We re-named her - "Sophie Lennon", saying that if we ever had a daughter we would hope for one like her and would have named her "Sophie Lennon".  :-)

I did well navigating the beautiful, spacious hotel.  I had a small melt-down when I was waiting to get on the shuttle bus from the hotel to the reception.  It was a huge bus and folks had already boarded. I was embarrassed. - unsure if I could manage the steps and so forth.  My fears were calmed by the time the second bus arrived and I boarded without incident.  phew........

The ceremony was simple, loving and so beautiful.  The reception - elegant, classy and fun.  AND - I walked on to the dance floor with Skipp and WE DANCED  an entire slow number.  It was wonderful to be moving and swaying and connecting totally in dance.  I was so grateful.  :-)

For some reason blogger wont let me add a video - it would have been "Have A Little Faith In Me" - by Joe Cocker - perfect song for our dance.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

October is MY month

WARNING - ***Some sexual content towards the end*****

October - arrives every year.  For the most part I am thrilled by the ever-changing temperatures to cooler and dryer and all the vibrant spicy colors and the smells of wood fires and stews, soups, pies and flavored coffee.  It is a promising time of year.

And so too it is a time to reflect, honor truths and realize the power of a healing journey. Some of my biggest "it's" are in October - it is when the teacher first kept me after school and ________________, And it is the big session with the priest when he hurt me in the name of his drunken Jesus.  I can still feel the back of his hand across my face when I resisted him.  It was so awful. October holds many memories.  And I have a right to feel them, honor my truths and believe in the power of healing. For years I ran from myself and what happened with the teacher which brought me all the way to the priest.     After what he did to me it was the only time I ever wanted to die - because to live in the light of such truth was just too much.     But it wasn't too much.  I stood up and faced myself and screamed in the light of day my worst fears and memories until that which was killing me began to give me life.  My life - as it truly was, no hiding, no running, no escaping - no death wish - I was finally free - finally real - finally in the light and I have been ever since.  Hallelujah!

For years, in October I would intensify my escape with self harming behaviors.  Every feeling was numbed.  Every memory pushed deep inside - unreachable.  And now?  Every memory and feeling is available to me.  I choose how much thought and honor I want to give to my truths and in that I am empowered,  My "it's" no longer haunt me or have power over me - I cannot begin to tell you how truly life-giving truth is - regardless of the details - self truths in the light are purposeful and of great value, sources of strength and power - it is when I hid then that I was weakened and afraid and on the run from my self.  No more - Never again!! 

I will spend time in my brook this month, feeling the cool waters and muddy and rocky bed on my feet - I will remember everything.  I will cry and scream as I feel and remember the teacher penetrating me, the priest too, hurting me so much - his hands every where - the weight of their bodies on mine - me, hardly able to breathe ...... the surrender when I gave in to their force.  These are some of my "it's", forever..................

And also October 22nd - is when my Dad passed away. I miss him still. every day. And this month we start to remember what he did the last few weeks of his life. Me, my Mom and my Sister - we will re-live all the days. It is all quite bittersweet.

October is my month to emote. Not hide or cringe or fear but to stand up tall - lift my face to the sky in full truth and light and "be"...Amen.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A good experience

I was surprised that I even went.  It was my first time back to my place of employment since leaving there on disability a year ago. I had a lot of projected fears to overcome before I walked through the doors. I pondered for a few days. The occasion was a 'work-bridal-shower' for my dear friend who also was my intern at my work. It was important for me to go for her regardless of how unsettled I was about how I would feel going back.  I want you all to know it was wonderful.  I was so well received and attended to.  I felt as if no time had passed and that I still had a place in the hearts and minds of so many of my co-workers.  The Vice-President herself said,  "your blood is in this place and you were the best Half-way-house manager I ever had!!  :-)  How's that??? And, if that wasn't enough, -  as I was leaving, the elevator stopped on the second floor which is where my office was for years - and I hear this voice calling my name...."Gail, do you remember me?"  I struggled to recall her and she just chimed in , You were my counselor three years ago and I have been 'clean' all that time 'til now....and I had a baby!!""  I wished her well and told her how good it was to see her and as the elevator door closed  I heard her say to the other clients,  "that's Gail, she was my counselor three years ago, she was the best......!!!""  Can you even freaking stand it??   WOW!
I was on a cloud the rest of the day!!

I simply wanted you all to know of my good experience.  :-) 

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Family Gathering

A family gathering - one filled with so many blessings and promises.  Four sisters, together at last.  All so loving and adorable.  My Mom - 87 come November- Louise (Italian birth name - Liberata),  My Aunt Marie - 90 come January (Italian birth name - Gallucci)  Aunt Dusty 85 come April (Italian birth name - Isabella)  Aunt Honey 83 come June -(Italian birth name - Marta),  their brother Tom, (Italian Birth name - Giatano) and their sister Connie (Italian birth name Concetta) have passed away.  And there was a set of twins born after my Mom who died at birth.  My grandmother raised six children on her own when her husband died of pneumonia at age 39.  Aunt Connie had kidney failure and was on dialysis for 8 years.  Aunt Dusty is on dialysis only starting a few months before my Mom.  Whom, as you all know, is now on dialysis.  To see them all together was such a gift.  Aunts Dusty and Honey never married.  They went from living with my grandmother to working for priests as housekeepers at various rectories for 30 years.  Can you even imagine?  And wow, do they have stories untold.  They also dress exactly alike, and I mean exactly.  They look like twins although they are three years apart. :-)
See picture below and enlarge so you can see them better.  amazing huh?

  And here are the four sisters together, below. My Mom is in the red, next to her is Aunt Marie, then Aunt Dusty and then Aunt Honey. 

And 6 of the nine first cousins were all there, as well.  Our oldest, Tommy Boy,  second oldest, Sandy, then Patty, my sister Nancy, me, and the youngest, Lenore.  One of our cousins, Nick, is in Florida, another-Lucy, was sick, and Anthony couldn't make it.

We had a wonderful time together.  Tommy-Boy was in from Colorado so we gathered at cousin Patty's house for our mini reunion.  We even have a family "song" which we wrote when I was a kid.  We would meet to plan family outings and events and always open our meeting with this song.  Here are the words to "The Rels"

We are the rels you see
formed from a happy family
our meetings are never planned in advance
we meet when we can
and usually by chance

we always have laughter
and plenty of song
our refreshments are many
but never last long

our motto is to love and be strong
and with unity
we will never go wrong

rah rah rah!!

cool huh??  :-) 

One of my cousins was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and it has metastasized to the liver.  It is stage four.  We all offered our love and support and continued prayers and hope.  I don't want to say which cousin due to privacy,  I am sure you understand.  It is a difficult time for many in our family and we are fortunate to have such unity of love and support.  So this reunion was special in so many, many ways.  The tears and laughter were abundant as was the food and wine.  We broke bread, ate, drank, sang, laughed, cried and reminisced.  It was all so wonderful. 

Family is a powerful force.  Yes, family.  Amen.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

House of Lies

The air is a bit damp tonight, following much needed rain storms.  The wind howled and the leaves shivered and were tossed about.  The force was magnificent.  I do enjoy the power of nature.  Autumn is approaching quickly and with certainty.  The colors are deepening more and more and the shadows continue to bounce off glass table tops and through windows and glass sliders.  I feel I am in a swirl of ever changing color and deepening.  I bow to the Master, surrender to the force, face the wind and dance in color. Despite the continuing pain of this recovery I move with courage,   and I am cautious yet determined.  

I wonder where strength will come from to face other life's mysteries that are unfolding.  I am watching a house of lies crumble - one escaped, one is still trapped.  I become the reason, the one to blame - it is not true.  I stay strong, outside the house of lies, with the light of truth visible - it cannot be darkened.  I find comfort in that amidst the fear for those still in the house of lies.  I surrender more deeply, believing in truth - light - love. And those no longer inside are free to speak and seek truth - and others are coming in to the light.  And the house of lies is weakened. This is a long time coming - I stayed in the light - I clung to the truth - I did all things with love.  
Still, there is an ache in my heart.  The house of lies still stands, weaker, but it still stands.  I have nothing more than truth and love.  Tell me that is enough.  Please. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

When French Toast is a Miracle!!!!

Time to pick up, lace up, tie up my boot straps and mosey on. The weather is certainly on my side -cool, dry, breezy and filled with promise of the colors that will soon blanket my world. Vibrant oranges, golds, copper, browns, burgundy, rich yellows and spice. I am already smelling soups and stews simmering on the stove, the warmth and smell of our wood stove taking the chill out of the morning air. We are adding to our wine rack, wines of rich red color, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Charas.for a brisk evening with some soup and crusty bread. Or curled up by the fire with some aged cheddar and sesame crackers.

I/we have turned a corner so to speak. We stayed just this side of that turn for over a week - as we wrestled and reconciled the events of late. Now, we are beyond the hurt and fear and settling in to our lives, as they are and with deep gratitude. We are truly blessed.

And my Mom called yesterday morning. And what she said was prayer and music to my ears. She said, "I am going out to breakfast with Nancy (my Sis), for french toast.!!!!!!! There are so many blessing and miracles in that one statement. I told her it was the best news of the year!!!!!

I/we will savor these blessings and miracles today. I will feel the cool breeze on my face as it tosses my long hair about. I will do my exercises outside today and work through the pain and continue healing. AND, three of my dearest friends are coming later and bringing dinner and birthday cake to celebrate my birthday and another one of our circle of friends birthday. How great is that? AND last night a wonderful couple that I reconnected with after years via Face Book came over and we SO enjoyed out time together. They are loving and kind and beautiful and I/we are thrilled to have them back in our lives.

So, all things considered? I'm okay today, more than okay. :-)

Friday, September 3, 2010


The above two pictures speak for themselves. I hit my left side harder and this is the bruising on my arm and elbow. I decided to not post the picture of my butt with the bruises on my left cheek!!

For three days Skipp and I have been in emotional turmoil. Every time we make eye contact we start to cry and kind of clutch and grab on and grapple as we emotionally re-live the fall and the details of it, - all the while intertwined in a desperate moving hug of sorts. Hair and faces are gently stroked, hands held tightly, huge sighs and big tears, heads get lowered on to hands or on to shoulders and a perpetual back and forth of the head that means "no,,no, no"...... words are spoken of apology and "it's not your fault", more tears, more details, more "if only's"..... heating pads, Tylenol, moaning, and so we wrestled with every emotional detail for three days. Exhausting.

It seems that 'one moment' has impacted us harshly. And although we certainly realize the flip on to Wal-Marts pavement was traumatic, what we are experiencing in response is bigger that that and we couldn't seem to reconcile why until today.................. this "flip" is a microcosm of a bigger reality we grapple with and live with and manage every day. Ever since my M S diagnosis and when I have a 'flare-up' Skipp desperately wants to 'fix" it. His desire to help and fix comes form the depths of his loving heart and soul and he agonizes that he can't. When I flipped over in the rollator and he couldn't stop it , it re-enforced, and crystallized his powerlessness and mine too. As much as we are facing this illness together we are powerless, to a degree, over it's path just like on Monday when I began to flip backwards Skipp fell over with me - he couldn't stop me nor himself. We are in this together - sometimes both of us are going along for the ride. That certainly was the case on Monday.

And I am not saying there aren't many things we do to manage this disease together and individually. Regardless, sometimes I/we just have to hold on and hope for the best. It is in those times, when powerlessness is evident and the truth is driven in like a crooked rivet - it is a test and or a testament to the human spirit and strength - and sometimes we pass with flying colors, sometimes we barely make it, and sometimes, well...............you know.