Do Thundershirts for dogs really work?

As soon as I see lightning, or hear thunder, the feeling of sheer panic overcomes me. It’s the same feeling I got when my mother-in-law was about to visit.

Although two of my dogs are fine in a storm, my one golden retriever, Cosmo, turns into a lunatic and it’s CRAZYTOWN in our house. There is no calming him, and no rest for the weary. 😦

He paces like an expectant father, cries at the back door…then cosmoruns away when you open it, and finds comfort in relieving himself on the upstairs hallway carpet.

And, he’ll get hist 100 lb. body in bed with anyone who will allow it — even if it means suffocating them. But how can you say “no” to this face?

Last night, during a thunder-storm, I slept on the couch in the living room with Cosmo’s head on my belly, petting him all night and telling him the world was not coming to an end. Eventually he fell asleep, and so did I.

I woke up at 3:30 this morning to find my other pup, Forrest, curled up in a ball making a nest out of my legs. Somehow I managed to walk my stiff mangled body upstairs to bed.

So, I may buy him a doggie Thundershirt… it’s cheaper than doggie therapy, right?

Thank you, Mom… for putting up with me!

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’d like to thank my mom for putting up with me and my shenanigans, and always standing beside me even when she could’ve run away screaming.

We are very different people. She’s always doing the right thing, not a trouble maker. She never smoked a cigarette a day in her life, and almost never touches alcohol — with the exception of a well-made Fuzzy Navel on a special occasion.

She’s always working to help others. And no matter how much she gives of herself, no matter how tired she gets, she never complains.

So, to my sweet mother, thank you for:

  • Not spanking me when I hid by your expensive floor length white drapes (after sneaking a chocolate pudding), and forever ruining them. But instead, taking a picture and laughing.
  • Being involved in every activity of mine as a kid, even though I must’ve embarrassed you because I was the weird one.
  • Teaching me to work hard, and not to expect a hand-out from others. This one came in handy big time!
  • Accepting that I would spill my milk at dinner every night.
  • Always having the good sense to keep me safe from the sun’s harmful rays, without hatssacrificing style.
  • Being patient the day Ricky and I pretended to run away from home. I guess you had a feeling we weren’t going far with that can of Campbell’s soup and one of your big chocolate chip cookies in our runaway pillow case.
  • Calmly cleaning up… after one of my friends vomited all through our house on graduation day. And mom, thank goodness for Facebook because the culprit finally came clean 30 years later. It was Larry Rothang… and he apologizes.
  • Just shaking your head as my friends and I returned from a crazy night out before heading to college, and I rang the doorbell so you’d answer it and see me on the front porch hugging an orange traffic cone.
  • Being honest enough to tell me when I’m too hard on my kids, too petty, or overreacting. Because…. I still do all of that stuff, but not as much.
  • Pretending to agree when I tell my kids “I was the perfect child,” and not selling me out like dad does.
  • Being my role model. Someday I want to grow up to be just like you. 🙂

mom

I love you, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!!

A MOTHER’S DAY MESSAGE

Today I wanted to share a post with you from one of my best friends ever, Cindy Buckley-Koren.

Ya see, in the Fall of 2013, our friend Sara passed of breast cancer. As you can imagine, it was devastating.

Her best friend, Michele, suggested we do something in Sara’s memory. So we held a Dollars-for-Scholars fundraiser and were able to award two scholarships in memory of Sara, and two more in memory of ALL of our classmates who left us too soon. It was more successful than we could’ve imagined.

This spring we launched a website. We named the site Power Through Itbecause that’s what Sara did — for six years. Her brother Dan captured that phrase in his eulogy to Sara… one of the most moving and touching speeches I’ve ever heard. It’s on the site if you’d like to read it.

But, the website wasn’t built just for the donation and fundraising pages — we wanted it to be a place where people could share their stories of friendship, family, strength, courage and most of all, love. 

We all “Power Through” life’s challenges. And challenges come in all shapes and forms.

Now, in honor of Mother’s Day, my friend Cindy has shared her story. A story of a mother’s unconditional love for her child, and how she helped him power through his struggles with Autism. Please take a moment to read it. It’s called “That Man is Fat.”

The Art of Giving

This year, my friends and I will watch three of our children walk across that stage, and graduate from high school. We’ve already started planning their graduation parties and comparing notes. Being a single mom…it can be a little overwhelming — the invitations, decorations, food, etc. But it’ll get done.

As I sat there looking at my “to do” list, I received a phone call from my friend Michele. She said “Ok, here’s the deal…” then rattled off at least a half-a-dozen dishes that her and the girls are bringing to my son’s party. The next day I had more offers from my family and neighbors. So, it looks like I can breathe a sigh of relief.

I don’t know how I got so lucky, but my friends and family are always there when I need them. I don’t even have to ask. And I’m not sure if they’ll ever really know how grateful I am. That’s why I’m writing this post.

They have mastered the “art of giving.”

Giving, because you see the need.
Helping, because you can.
Expecting, nothing in return.

But, of course, if you can pay it forward — you do. And I will.

Last year I had a similar experience. I ended up in the hospital, unexpectedly, and was out of work for weeks. Again, these “angels on earth” came to my rescue.

  • Someone to bring me to the emergency room — and patiently stay with me for hours on end, not knowing what to expect.
  • Someone waiting at my hospital room, to greet me — as I was being admitted.
  • Someone to support me, by arriving late at night just to walk beside me as I was wheeled into surgery — and to stay with me until they knew I was okay.
  • Someone to visit with me, and bring me the make-up I so desperately needed — while cheering me up the following day.
  • Someone to take the day off of work — just to drive me home.
  • And someone who (anonymously) donated all of their vacation time at work — so I wouldn’t lose a paycheck.

All Angels.

It didn’t stop there. Once home I had dinners delivered, groceries dropped off, visitors to check on me, flowers to brighten my day, and a personal chauffeur since I wasn’t allowed to drive. I don’t know what I would’ve done without them.

So, to my friends and family, I want to say “thank you — from the bottom of my heart.”

And I hope, that others are inspired by you. You’re the best!

SHE SAID “YES” TO THE DRESS

Today my future daughter-in-law picked out her bridal gown. She looked absolutely stunning! I’d love to post a picture, but I’ll have to wait until after the wedding.

Once she announced “this is the one,” a few of us got a little teary — she just looked so beautiful. I can’t wait for my son to see her for the first time in this gown, as she enters the church on their wedding day. Yup, another Kindergarten Moment. 🙂

My friend asked if I looked for a mother-of-the-groom dress while I was in the bridal shop. Well, no, but luckily my Facebook friends have offered a few suggestions.

What do you think?

dress 1 dress 2 dress 3

The Life of a Candy Striper

When I was 14 years old, my friend Cindy and I signed up to volunteer as Candy Stripers at a local hospital. Each weekend we’d report for duty. We were never assigned to work together — somehow, they knew we should be separated.

At the end of each day, we’d compare stories. And boy did we have stories. My only regret is that I never kept a journal.

One of my jobs was to go room-to-room with a cart that contained items from the gift shop (candy, magazines, personal care items, etc.). One patient, an older woman, asked if there were slippers on the cart. There were.

She asked if I’d help her try them on. I agreed. When I brought the slippers to her, she lifted up her gown and extended her legs. But, Oh my God!, she didn’t need to lift up her gown that far. My 14-year-old eyes were burning!

Somehome-alone-fearful-facehow I kept my composure, got the slippers on her feet, made the sale and went on my merry way. [In later years, when I was telling my friend that story she replied “She had no feet?” I guess I didn’t tell the story quite right.]

Between the two of us, my friend Cindy was the bubbly one… cute as a button. It even said so in her personal file. Not that we peeked or anything.  😉  And when she had “candy cart duty” the old men would hit on her. Where have you been all my life, sweetheart? they’d ask, with their dirty old man smiles …and never mind the marriage proposals!

Over the course of two years a lot happened…

One time I was admitting a patient and couldn’t find his room. I had this poor man walking all over the hospital. Unfortunately —  he was a heart patient — and my dad’s boss!

I became accustom to the man on the 2nd floor who yelled vulgar obscenities due to Tourette’s Syndrome, saw way too many naked old people, and a young mother gave me the blow-by-blow details of her home birth.

One patient asked me to be her “look out” and watch for the yellow get-away car, and another accused me of drinking her juice…then spitting back in the cup to cover my tracks. True story. But poor Cindy. She witnessed the worst of them all. She saw a a fellow candy striper slip and fall in a pile of…. well, you know.

But at the end of each day, Cindy and I would have quiet time. We’d sit and visit with the elderly in the Extended Care Unit. They couldn’t be placed in a nursing home because of their extensive medical conditions. I think the patients and candy stripers mutually enjoyed each other’s company.

And we definitelyl learned some life lessons too. Some things that can scare a young teen, became so familiar to us. We learned how to stay calm, and have what I think is called… compassion. Someday, we may be here, ya know?A young hand holding an elderly hand 665 x 400

To this day, hospitals don’t scare me. Not everything is sunshine and roses. We get sick, we grow old…we just need people to be there for us along the way.

Even now, 35 years later, when Cindy and I are out with the girls — if  we excuse ourselves from the table you often hear us say “Gotta Peeeeee!” as those were the words of one of our most beloved patients, and will forever be embedded in our brains…. and her, in our hearts.

The Adventures of Underdog!

If you’re a fan of Facebook, you know today is Throwback Thursday. I don’t have an old photo to share, but I do have an old memory…one that makes me laugh every time I think of it.

When I was a kid I was a fan of that cartoon Underdog. My neighbor, Joey, and I would play a game where I’d go and hide, then yell “Underdog” as loud as I could. He’d come running with his cape on and save me — just like Underdog would save Sweet Polly Purebred on the show. And he’d always say those words “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!”

underdog and polly

One time I yelled “Underdog!!!” and he didn’t show. I figured I wasn’t yelling loud enough, so I tried again with more gusto “UNDERD-O-O-O-O-O-G!!” …again, no Joey.

I wasn’t even really hiding. He was on the side of my house when I left him, and I was in the back yard. I was pretty sure he could hear me.

I yelled again, and again, and started to get embarrassed because I’m sure the neighbors thought I should be committed. The minutes went by, and being a hot summer day the sweat was dripping down my face. I started to wonder …Where in the world are you, Underdog?

I searched all over for my friend. And couldn’t find him anywhere.

Finally, I went to his home. How was I going to break the news to Underdog’s mom that I had lost her son.

When his mom answered the door she said  “Oh, are you looking for Joey? Underdog’s inside eating a sandwich.” 🙂

Syracuse Landmarks

Last year I took some photos of Syracuse Landmarks to hang in the halls of the healthcare facility where I work. I know Syracuse gets a bad rap because of the weather, but we have some pretty awesome summers — and I have to admit — I love living here. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to take more photos soon. Syracuse University is next on my list.

Until then, thought I’d share…

Columbus Bakery – best bread in town!

columbus bakery front columbus bakery oven columbus bakery inside

NBT Bank Stadium – Home of the Syracuse Chiefs

NBT Bank Stadium NBT Bank Stadium Ticket Stand NBT Bank Stadium Entry NBT Bank Stadium Chiefs

Dinosaur BBQ-Any weekday see “bikers” and “suits” enjoying some ribs.  🙂

Dinosaur BBQ Dinosaur BBQ Mural Dinosaur BBQ from 2nd story

Cool statue of an Erie Canal mule and his handler.

Erie Canal Mule

Heid’s of Liverpool – Best dogs and coneys around!!

Heids

St. John’s the Evangelist – breathtaking.

St John the Evangelis

…thanks for taking a quick tour!