Friday, December 27, 2013


"ACT THREE" we are. Almost the New Year, 2014.  I was quite amazed at the presents I received from my guy.  His choices, in many ways, defined many aspects of my life, and his too.  Glitter, compression socks, matching shirts and caps that say "Skipp & Gail's Wine Tasting Services", (cool, huh?), a flag for my scooter, a lighted cover for my Kindle, sparkling bangly hair combs, to name a few.  I was thrilled and overwhelmed.  I cried when I opened the flag and flag holder for my scooter. I never wanted that on my list.  But so be it....

Our Christmas Eve meal was traditional Italian with some add-ons. It was all so delicious and loving and warm and happy.  A few tears but way more laughs.  Christmas brunch was amazing.  Our traditional Jewish buffet with bagels, lox, smoked salmon, cream cheese and potatoe latkas.  Delish!  Later folks relaxed and Skipp and I prepared for Christmas dinner, a spiral glazed ham, broccoli-corn casserole, two quiches, more latkas and home made apple sauce.  As I sat at our table, there were six of us, Skipp and I, Dolan and his girl friend Natalie, my Sister Nancy and her son Ethan - all gathered around a festive table of reds and greens and candles and a bounty of food and blessings.  I felt something I hadn't felt in a long time. A satisfied tired. Let me explain...with MS I feel fatigued which is heavy and all consuming. But on Christmas I felt a glorious tired and was joyfully laden with love and family and good food, wine and blessings and gratitude.  The obvious difference I felt between fatigue and tired thrilled me to my core.

As we move forward in "ACT THREE" we are hopeful and prayerful.  Grateful and optimistic.  We have some valid fears too. Such is life...........A family member is going through the diagnostic process to find the source of some concerning symptoms.  We are all holding on and hanging on together as the journey continues and  questions are answered.  I cannot write about it just yet.  Please send prayers for all good outcomes.  So far, so good!!

My daughter announced that she and her guy are getting married in January.  A small union officiated by a Justice Of The Peace".  They will have a reception in the Fall but don't want to wait any more on getting married.  They seem very much in love.  We are going to have the JP come to a local restaurant and perform the ceremony, just ten people in attendance. We will host the evening, proudly.  A small buffet of hours'deurves and wine.  Skipp will bring his guitar and sing to her, of course.  :-) It will be a simple, loving and elegant event.

"ACT THREE" is a time of simple pleasures and blessings realized every day.  I am thrilled when I  enjoy a glass of wine, and feel loved and am aware of my blessings (like being regular!!) for one,)  :-),   The secret to a happy life regardless of the ACT lies somewhere within those events, ya think?  :-)

With love and hope for us all

Monday, December 2, 2013


I haven't posted in a while, I know.  I feel my blog has run its course, is coming to an end. Seems many readers have dropped off and fewer and fewer leave a comment. I understand.

It is time for new traditions, memories to be created, while still honoring some of our old and comforting traditions and recipes and family keepsakes.  I miss my Mom a lot! last year we were so busy with the huge move that the chaos distracted the loss. This year? I feel ever emotion of loss and also every memory of what was AND her love is every where, eternal within, ingrained and alive. Such a gift!!

":ACT THREE" IS TAKING CENTER STAGE.  :-)  I may re-name or start a new blog titled "ACT THREE".  I am thinking about it.

Here are some pictures..

Thanksgiving bounty, so many blessings

 Our festive bungalow decorated for Christmas.  Warm and cozy.

And so the Season is here. A time of hope and promise to sustain us throughout the year. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season filled with the love of family and friends and blessings.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

North of 50%

A dear friend of mine sent me an email the other day expressing her sadness that I wasn't yet 100% in being over an MS related symptom I have been managing as best I can.  Her words struck me because I realized that I haven't been 100% for quite some time.   I am rather used to my less than 100% status, in fact, anything "north of 50%" is a good day.  Seems, when, whatever I am managing leaves me less than 50% 'normal (whatever that is) then my world is quite focused on the issue rather than simply 'being, living', doing, and not so -self-absorbed with the task of managing.  So ya, 'north of 50% is do-able......

Below, are some pictures of me on my new scooter and one of me and my Sister at our town 350th celebration festival. Definitely 'north of 50%!! It was freeing and sobering, humbling and bittersweet.

That's a dream catcher on the front of my basket.  There is a scarf around the steering column which I need to change to a brighter one.  Ya think?
Today is a beautiful day.  It is cool and dry, breezy and sunny.  Old friends from "The Trail" are coming for lunch. And my heart soared as I watched my guy sweeping our deck and readying our bungalow for our guests arrival.  I was thrilled at his sense of pride, of 'home' - which has been a long time adjusting to - we are home, and today? We are both north of 50%!!!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Progress Executive 4 Blue

And here it is, my new scooter.  Just ordered it, great deal, on sale, free shipping and it will be here this weekend.  I cried after I ordered it though.  A humbling surrender to what is. Also a smile for the added freedoms it will allow me to get about further and easier.  Still,my heart aches by this truth,  this "it",  reality,  quite harsh to absorb.  And I am, absorbing, accepting, on my way to the relief of surrender...........stay close to me, I need you all.

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Dad's wooden step ladder -

This wooden step ladder has seen years of wear and paint and stain and wall paper paste, sweat and on and on.  It allowed my Dad to change ceiling lights and fixtures, put up curtain rod hardware, paint trim and window sills, doors and walls, spray for bugs outside and knock down a wasp or hornets nest, repair screens, store things on higher shelves, climb on to the front porch roof to retrieve a frisbee or a kite or ball.  I don't recall him rescuing any cats from trees but if the need arose he would have using this wooden step ladder.

This ladder has a place in our family history.  It IS our family history.  So I decided to share it with all of you. :-)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


 On my way off the stairs
And, I, we are in and afloat.

Hot and humid enough?  My God........for the most part I stay in the A/C and avoid the heat and humidity.  This weather causes such havoc with MS symptoms.  I also learned some things about myself, having MS and being in water.

I can't swim any more.  I was stunned by this reality.

  I made it in to the pool and was in the four foot end.  I stretched out to swim from side to side and sank like a brick.  And I could not right myself upward to stand again either. My legs could not kick enough to keep me afloat and my arms could barely keep my head above water as my lower half sank.  I struggled to the side, spitting and sputtering water and once safe burst in to tears of relief and anger at how my body betrayed me.

I had NO idea I could not swim. In most all situations I can assess with amazing accuracy what I can and cannot do, like climbing a higher step or navigating about an outdoor landscape unfamiliar to my routine and so forth.  I never even considered NOT being able to swim.  I think my lack of self awareness was the most shocking because I pride myself on my intuitive sense and ability to assess risk, etc. Had I known.......or been aware, well.............

So, as you can see I have a two-whaled float device and also a large tire tube (not seen here), and my Skipp, (seen here), :-) ,   to keep my head above water, literally.  Little by little I will re-learn how to use my legs in water.  Who knew?

Also, finding my way to the pool over three decks and up and down stairs with and without railings and high steps in to the pool and out....I am refreshed, exhausted and cooled to the core afterwards and also my feet don't burn. Amen....

And so too the one year anniversary of my Mom's passing has come and gone this past July 13th.  Hard to believe it's been a whole year.  I miss her and remember her and feel her loving presence and spirit every day.

I put one of her favorite songs on FaceBook, sung in her native language-Italian, and by one of her favorite tenor-opera singing groups, Il Divo, "Hallelujah".......sit back and enjoy.......

Friday, June 28, 2013


Our home and some of our garden on THE TRAIL.......

our yard in Winter.......

I could go on and on and fill pages with pictures but those of you who have followed my blog have seen all the holidays and decor and colors and hues and gatherings on THE TRAIL......

It seems like the final closing details took forever, they did. But today it is final -  the Trail has been transferred to the new owners.  Our hearts are so heavy.  I will share the letter I/we wrote to the new owners:

Dear Elizabeth & family-

We leave here with many wonderful memories and our wishes that you enjoy a wonderful, peaceful, loving, bountiful life here where you and many find comfort, solace, hope, music, laughter, love and strength. It is good here.

A few things we want to share with you.

First about the garden.  You will be truly in awe of its beauty and aromas.  The butterfly bush, the one between the two evergreen bushes which needs to be cut back to about 12" in March, not before. (We did it for this year) It will grow high and should be surrounded by a metal cone type support so it stands upwards.    Wait until you see the hundreds of butterflies.

Second - please be sure and put up a humming bird feeder out front - they will be waiting by May 1st.  The feeder is overdue to be in place out front.  They come every year.  You will be truly entertained and inspired by their flight and beauty, chirp and humming.  Glorious.

The lilac bush/tree has been pruned two years and may need a third year so it comes in full, The lilacs smell delicious and are so lovely.  Enjoy.

 The wood Stove  - it is such a wonderful accent and source of warmth, lovely ambiance and comfort.
Keep covered barrels, at least 2 filled with kindling wood.  We gathered kindling every year along the woods edge and in the woods.  Always fun.  Keep the barrels on the deck for the Winter.  Have your seasoned wood delivered - the truck can back up right near those two trees where we have our wood stacked. (Which seems to have dwindled down since January - perhaps taken by someone in need of warmth).

 The iron wood holder out by the deck should be moved on to the deck for the Winter and kept full for easy access - and the iron wood holder inside should be kept full so you are sure your wood is dry for burning.  Also, keep kindling inside as well so it is dry.

The colors and hues in this home are lovely.  In the Fall the shadows in the dining room are breath-taking, hints of green and burgundy and deep violets - stunning.  The view from the upstairs back room is the best in the house.  Just sit in front of the window and partake of the nature that surrounds.

The master bedroom skylight is so amazing - you can see all the elements, the moon and stars, sky and storms, rain and snow, clouds drifting by - all so beautiful...

We hope the rest of 2013 and many years to come  bring you joy and peace, health and freedoms to live as you believe is right - this home is a haven that will become the essence of your love and spirit - as it did ours - we leave some of our truth and love in the shadows, corners and space between here and there - we are forever ingrained in the design and memory of our life on the Trail....keep a candle or two lit in the windows because someone is always lost and will look for a light to guide them home...

Gail & Skipp and Gracie Blue

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The gardenia corsage is tradition. Hallelujah!

Mother' s Day was many things.  I was so happy that my daughter Jennifer decided to keep alive the time honored tradition of the gardenia corsage.  You have all seen pictures of my Mom with the gardenia corsage I bought for her on Mother's Days in the past.  And this year, our first Mother's day without Mom, my daughter gave me a gardenia corsage.  I was moved to tears of joy and hope and feeling loved.

Below,  I am proudly wearing the beautiful gardenia corsage.  The next picture is of Dolan, me and Jen enjoying some sun on the deck.  It was a beautiful day.

Skipp made a lovely breakfast earlier for me and my Sister. We had blueberry blintzes, apple-wood bacon, croissants, coffee, strawberries and orange juice.  SO delicious.

Jennifer brought lunch all made.  Chicken quessedillas, nacho fixins and home made apple and peach mini tarts. Dolan traveled in from NYC to spend the day and it was wonderful to have two of my kids with me on Mother's day. And of course Skipp and my grandson Joel and my Gracie-Blue. I was surrounded by love.  :-)

My eldest, Kristie, remains distant. Not even a phone call.  Very hurtful.  Her choice to remain so distant continues to be a painful mystery.  Someday she will have many regrets when  I am no longer here for her to choose  to forget.   Enough on that.

I will conclude with one of my Mom's favorite songs.  Skipp sang it at her funeral mass, at her prior request!  KD Lang's version is one of my favorite renditions.  I will post Leonard Cohen's as well - After all, it is his song, sung as only he can.  So passionate.

The anticipation leading up to my first Mother's day without my Mom here was intense and so emotional.  The day itself was a celebration of all that she is to us and all the love we still feel from  her and for her in all things. as well as all that I am to my kids, well, two out of three of them anyways. That's a song, "Two out of three ain't bad"......

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Road Less Traveled

It's been a while, I know.  Not really much to say it seems.  I am at a bit of a cross-road - well, actually  it feel  more like a road less traveled.  And by that I mean our new home and surroundings. As cozy and beautiful and priced right and on and on as this all is, I/we miss our "home".  So this road, much less traveled is still foreign - I even feel a bit lost here.  My familiar, my safety is within Skipp and me and Gracie - our 'pack', our unity, our love. our traditions, old and new.

Add to that kind of lost feeling is my health challenges that increase in symptom intensity as soon as the warmer weather begins.  MS does not like the heat.  I tried a new medication to ease some of the nerve pain but it didn't work.  I tried though.

The other 'road-less-traveled is that Mother's day is fast approaching and it is my first one without my Mom here on this earth to celebrate and show how much I love her and how much she means to me.  Every Mother's day, for as long as I can recall, has been about my Mom - what to have for dinner, buying her a gardenia corsage, picking out her card, and just being together.  Oh how I miss her.

And I know all the language about how she, and her love are within me forever, and that I can still celebrate her and honor her - I know!  And as wonderful as all that is, it doesn't put her in my arms to hug and sit beside her and share a meal and pin that corsage on her jacket.

And there is my Mom - Mother's Day 2011, with her gardenia corsage.  Lovely, isn't she?

And then, come July 13th, it will be the one year anniversary of her passing.  Oh can that be, but it is true.  Truly, this is a road-less-traveled.  A new path I am forging.  There have been many paths before this and there will be other paths down the road......I just need to keep traveling - staying the course as the road, my road of life, continues is all quite different now, from a norm I once knew......and even as I write this I can see all the new norms over the years to which I have adjusted as they happened, as well as some, actually many, I have created.  For some reason this particular time of travel feels like a road, upon which, I am struggling to gain my footing -  I take a couple of firm steps forward and then stumble and stall.  I pick myself up again and keep traveling along.

I pray for peaceful surrender and empowered wisdom as I move forward in this time of unyielding truth and change.  To revel in the freedom of once again arriving despite the odds.  Amen....

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Eighty three years together

 My Aunts Honey (Martha) & Dusty (Isabelle)  Aunt Dusty just passed away Wednesday.  They were in separable for 83 years.

Here are four of the sisters - Dusty, Honey, Marie, Louise (My mom).  Not pictured are Aunt Connie and Uncle Tom.

There were six  kids born to Anna and Alessandro. A set of twins were born still right before my Mom.  Sadly, as well, is that their father died at age 39 leaving my amazingly strong grandma with six kids to raise on her own.  They were raised with love and faith and tradition and Italian culture and honor. They were close and took care of one another.  My Mom dropped out of school at age 15 to go to work to help out as did all her siblings before her. She worked at the Brass Shop making bullet casings during WW11.

Back to my Aunt dusty and Aunt Honey.  Their story, quite unique. They never married and lived with my grandmother until she died at a young age, 60.  They stayed in the apartment for a while and then became housekeepers for priests.  They worked as such for thirty years.  They were live-in house keepers.  The secrets they hold remain just that, secrets.  They retired to Senior Housing in their town where they lived together the rest of their days. Aunt Honey, the youngest is now 83, Aunt Dusty was 86 when she passed.  They have been together every day for 83 years.  Can you even imagine?

My Gram used to buy them matching clothes - so over time they dressed exactly the same.  After Gram passed away they continued this tradition and always dressed exactly the same including jewelry and matching wigs. Even their food choices were identical.  At any family gathering they would share everything so they each had half of what the other had - their plates were identical.  I guess I could say they were a tad eccentric, perhaps odd,  but at the same time it is what we knew and came to love and honor for all of their days.

Aunt Honey is doing okay, considering.  She has strong faith and a good sense of humor, as did my Mom. I think that is the key to life - to being happy and accepting - to settling in and doing what is necessary to meet challenges and enjoy moments every day.

Three of the sisters were nic-named the "Dolly-Sisters!  Connie, Gil and Louise.  This came to be because at the start of family picnics or holiday gatherings these three amazing sisters would do a singing and dance routine tht always got us all on our feet in applause.  Here is one of the songs they sang and danced to.

Oh such a wonderful memory.

 And so it was that these sisters and one brother grew up strong and kind and loving and faithful.  Aunt Honey now the sole survivor.  God Bless her.  The service for Aunt Dusty is Wednesday.  We will all gather and pray and remember and honor her beautiful life knowing her next life is beginning with all of her family that passed and are forever at our Lord's eternal banquet table - she will rest in peace..... Amen..

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A day in the life.....

Hard to believe my boy, Dolan, is 29.  He is happy and living a good life in which his passion for writing is the focus.  Wonderful.  He has been published in magazines, co-edits another and a publisher, albeit a small one, just asked for his book manuscript.  Wow!
Once, he bought me a Cat Stevens CD because of this song - sayin' it was between Mother and Son -  so beautiful......

He still calls me just about every day - and I am always the first one to read any of his new stories, poems, writings and so forth.  My opinion matters!  Such a compliment.

Skipp and I went to Brooklyn to celebrate his birthday Friday in to Saturday.  Quite an endeavor for me, a physical challenge, but I  managed fine. I am filled with gratitude for my meeting the challenges as well as I did.  I am a bit wobbly today but it was worth it.
Here are some pictures of our wonderful trip to Brooklyn.

 Heading over the Robert F Kennedy Bridge
 A view of Manhattan from the bridge
 The 'Dumont' cafe - a lovely real New York style cafe - small, quaint, weathered wood floors and accents, gorgeous gay waiters, .....great food and atmosphere....
Delicious bloody mary
That's water, not wine  :-)
 Our tiny yet lovely hotel room at LaJolie
 Me, trying to show my purple hi-lites, can you see them?
 The Brooklyn Star restaurant where we had Dolan's amazing birthday dinner-celebration
 Dolan and Natalie - how cute are they?
 There we are!
Dolan blowing out his candle on his birthday dessert which was chocolate bread pudding with apples and cream!!

And so the evening went on with good food and a few drinks and lots of laughs and blessing after blessing of family, love, hope and bright futures.  I reveled in his world - celebrated his life and loves - I felt such joy and pride and contentment.  Hallelujah!!

Skipp and I were back at our hotel room by 9:30 and tucked in watching a movie drifting in and out of sleep by ten.  The traffic whizzed by non stop all night and the lights and sounds of the city reminded us of how much we love our country home  :-)

We enjoyed a lovely continental breakfast served up by the hotel and the coffee was delicious as were the croissants, bagels, danish and fruit.  What a treat!!  We hung out leisurely savoring our last couple of hours away.  We were on the road home by noon and finished our time away with a light lunch at a local pub.  The sun was shining, the sky was bright blue with in between bursts of frozen drizzle, but it  mattered not.  We sat for a long while, eating soup and salad, holding hands, talking of our life, our love, our bungalow, our blessings, our simple wish to just maintain and be able to get out and about together for the rest of our days.  Make a little love, do a little dance, get down to life......

and there you have it........................

Sunday, January 27, 2013


 We stopped for a bloody mary - it was so good  mmmmm
Above is our 'Town Beach' very quaint and peaceful.
 More of our Town beach
 Our Gracie-Blue growing up.  She is about 80 pounds now.

And ending with  the moon against a dark Winter's night sky.

We enjoy our weekends together.  Skipp is off on Friday and Saturday.  Sunday is his long day, and then the other days he is home until 3:30.  We are adjusting.

Our Town beach is lovely,.  The houses around it are mostly 16th century homes - all restored.  There are barns, and grape vines on over hanging wooden trelaces  and fences and widows peaks atop roofs - iron gates and horse troths now as flower boxes.  We try to explore every weekend and as we were out and about I was in the  mood for a 'bloody-mary'.  We went to a local pub and had one and it was delicious.  We are adjusting.

Gracie is all settled in.  She is happy being where ever we are.  Such an amazing, loving 'pack-dog'.  She is adjusting.

We were inspired by the Winter moon and wish we were better photographers to capture just how beautiful it was.  Hopefully you got a hint.

So, life is unfolding as it should here at our Bungalow and about Town.  We were boggled and bummed when the buyers for our home on 'The Trail' backed out in the 11th hour so now we are back to square one.  The clock is ticking for this short-sale deal to be viable - and that reality is harsh as it reminds us of how powerless we are over some things -  we cannot control any aspect of this.  Faith and trust are very important right now - we are adjusting

Well, the sun is shining today so I am going to get outside with Gracie - set a spell on our deck in the sun.  This I can control.  This I can do.  :-)  ALl of our blessings, and 'can-do's become more evident in times of powerlessness in other areas of one's life - perhaps that is why we go through such times - to remind us of all we are blessed with and all we direct in our lives amidst the uncontrolable.  Amazing huh? Looks like, we are adjusting.....