Best Years of Your Life: 101

I spent the week packing my son’s things for college. Tyler is my third to leave the nest, so it should be easy this time, right? Not so much. And yes, there are sudden inconsolable bouts of crying. Me, not him. And noted obsessive compulsive behavior… “What if he runs out of shampoo, I better get him two. What if he needs paper clips, sticky notes, index cards, staples… what if he needs RUBBER BANDS!” God, I think the only thing I brought to college was a hot plate and a can of soup.

I get teary as I fold his bedding, weepy as I pack snacks — he needs something to eat when he’s up late studying, don’t cha know? — and I think I even started crying when I packed his toiletries. What’s wrong with me? It’s not like I haven’t done this before!

group

The Family

Then suddenly I stop. And I think.

This kid is about to embark on the best years of his life. The friends he’ll make, the parties he’ll go to, the mornings he’ll wake up wondering what he did the night before…and the stories he’ll never tell me and I will never want to know. And, of course the education. Don’t forget the education.

I sit for a moment and take a stroll down memory lane. And I’m happy — just thinking about those years.

College isn’t just a time for education. It’s a time to cut loose. A time to get it out of your system before you enter the real world. Before you become a responsible adult with a job, a spouse, and children.

Just last summer one of my best friends from college (who happens to do stand-up comedy) told me he uses some of my college stories in his comedy act. To which I replied… If you EVER say my name (even when you’re touring another country), or TELL one of those stories when you’re in Syracuse — I will kill you. He already knew the rules. That’s why I love him to this day, and he’s still one of my best friends. I can only pray that Ty finds a friend like him in college.

So, now I go back to packing with a smile on my face. And I look at all of the stuff I bought him and I think… so what if I’ve packed enough to send him to say, Siberia for a year. That’s ok. I only have a couple days left to baby him, so I’m giving myself a pass.

Come Saturday, these will be the….wait, dare I say it? Yes, I’m going to use my potty mouth… these will be the best fucking years of his life! And I know, there’s something BIG in store for this boy! 🙂

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Why Dogs Get Away with Murder

How does this dog get away with chewing up a carpet runner and eating the homemade guacamole that I left on the counter?

Well… just look at that face. And he puts up his “begging for forgiveness” paw to boot. I may be hundreds of dollars in the hole since we got him last year, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world. 🙂

In the Spring of 2014, the girls and I held our first fundraiser  (in memory of our dear friend Sara). We wore tee shirts with the words Power Through It written across the chest — words used to describe how Sara handled her chemo treatments and battling cancer.

Sara had an inner strength to power through when she needed it most. She focused on the good things in her life — her children, her family, her friends. She was a true inspiration to all of us.

In the months to come, we realized the importance of this message…

We ALL have the strength to
POWER THROUGH IT.

Our daily struggles can be medical, emotional, financial…
work related, with relationships, and raising children…
just about anything.

After the fundraiser, people asked if they could buy a shirt for themselves.

pti cindy michSo, we took orders, mailed out the shirts, and something wonderful happened…
one year later dozens of people are wearing the Power Through It tee shirts — and spreading the message!

adirondacks

POWER THROUGH in the Adirondacks!

power through it michael

POWER THROUGH in the grocery store with mom!

power through texas

Our friend’s granddaughter shares the message in Texas!

reo2POWER THROUGH at an
REO Speedwagon Concert!

Power Through on Facebook

Sara’s family shares the message — they’re beautiful inside and out!

In the months to come, take a peek at our website to see how far
the Power Through It tee shirt has traveled!  🙂
https://powerthroughit50.wordpress.com/

Some Bunny’s In Trouble

My daughter is an avid animal lover. So am I. But she’s becoming a Dr. Doolittle of sorts.

I’m proud of all the research she’s done on-line, and her in-depth knowledge of animals. I even support her sudden desire to be a vegetarian. But my house is a couple animals short of a petting zoo. And until I get around to building a barn, and installing a turnstile for class field trips, it’s not doing me any good.

Ya see, five years ago we downsized into a very small house – with almost half the square footage of our previous home. Yet, we now have twice as many animals.

The challenge with space was immediate with Phoenix
just our two golden retrievers. But with two new guinea pigs, and a third dog added to the mix, I’m getting ready to move to a larger house, simply to experience the thrill of walking through brooklyna room with a clear path.

Most recently, bunny porch
Nicky “Doolittle”
asked for a bunny.
To which I replied “We have bunnies under the porch!”  (These really ARE the bunnies under our porch. Cute, right?)

She started her usual campaign. The non-stop chatter about why we need a bunny. How they’re fluffy, and friendly, and can be potty trained in their cage. How they get along great with guinea pigs, have the temperament of a dog, and no trouble at all! Don’t cha know!

I was strong. I didn’t cave.

Then came the photos. This is why we have our youngest dog, Forrest

forrest— I’m a sucker for those eyes. But I held my ground when it came to a bunny. I didn’t budge. I must say, I was quite proud of myself.

Saturday morning I went into my daughter’s room to wake her up. There sat her guinea pig cage. And next to it sat a second cage. A large, brand new bunnystoney
cage. A cage that housed a fluffy, sweet, cuddly bunny.

I was livid! And… how does a 15 year old, who doesn’t have a car or a driver’s license, buy a bunny from the store and sneak it into the house? Believe it or not, with the help of one of my high school “friends.” I use that term loosely.

My daughter’s best friend lives on our street. Her father graduated with me from high school. He was always a joker…well, more of a wise ass. Once he knew she wanted a bunny, and I didn’t want her to have one, he offered to help her commit the crime.

I wasn’t strong enough to return my new grand-bunny to the store. But, not too weak to ground my daughter. The question still remains… how do I get revenge on my neighbor/alumni/ex-friend?

Should I give his daughter a pony? My friend suggested a ferret. Another tipped me off that her daughter’s cat is due to have a litter of kittens, and she’d be happy to give his daughter a couple of them. The possibilities are endless.

In the meantime, I’ll play with my new grand-bunny (who does act like a dog, even jumps up on our laps and kisses us), and the two guinea pigs, and the three dogs and figure out some way to get my revenge.

But I have to admit…with this bunny, and the added responsibilities, came a miracle. My daughter actually said, “ I don’t want any more animals.” There is a god. 🙂

Eagles Among Us

I took a hiatus from my blog recently as I focused on graduation activities, and finalizing details on a golf tournament fundraiser to honor the memory of dear friends. But, now I’m back. 🙂

Yesterday, as we were finishing up the tournament, I was thinking of all the loved ones in our graduating class who have passed… unfortunately, over twenty now. And I couldn’t help but feel as if they were ALL right there with us.

It did my heart good to see sponsor signs throughout the course that honored the memory of our fellow “Golden Eagles.”
class sara

And I believe they were right along side of us… listening to our stories, laughing at the stupid things we did as kids, and saying “Here’s to good friends!” as we raised our beers more than once.

As a matter of fact, I believe 100% they were there.

For those who know me, the topic of “the other side” is one that has intrigued me for years. I’ve read dozens of books about people’s experiences with signs from loved ones who’ve passed. And to be honest, I can’t explain a number of things that have happened to me personally.

I’ve seen toys with no batteries suddenly working, smelled cigarette smoke or perfume when nobody’s there, and found dimes in the oddest placed — like the shower. I’ve seen things move on their own (thankfully I had witnesses for this one), had dreams that seem way too real, and once I asked my grandma to help me find a pair of missing glasses and they appeared a few moments later on my dresser.

And what I love even more, is hearing other people’s stories. Even skeptics. Once they know I believe in signs from the other side, they’ll open up and tell me one of their own. They would “come clean.” I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, but I can remember every story I’ve ever heard.

I’ll share any experience I have, even at the risk of people thinking I’m crazy. And, I make sure to acknowledge any sign I receive. If I’m missing someone and their favorite song pops on the radio right at that moment… I just say “Thank you for that.” I would assume even angels like a thank you every now and then.

So, when I’m sad over losing someone, I stop and think…. they are in a place of pure love, beauty, and joy. A place with no pain. And I’m assuming they can fly around which is an added bonus. And, I believe with my whole heart, they can continue to share in our lives — and be with us anytime they please. So, when they say “hi,” I make sure to always let them know… I got the message, and “thank you.”

Golfing with Ghosts

Thank you Phil… Very touching.

The Phil Factor

It is a talent of the soul to discover the joy in pain—-thinking of moments you long for, and knowing you’ll never have them again. The beautiful ghosts of our past haunt us, and yet we still can’t decide if the pain they caused us out weighs the tender moments when they touched our soul.” ~Shannon L. Alder

golfstinks.com golfstinks.com

I’m golfing with ghosts, or for ghosts or both this weekend. What I am doing is returning to my hometown to spend the weekend with two of my childhood friends. We’ve known each other since we were in diapers and will still know each other when we’re in diapers again. I think that’s a pretty amazing thing. If you’ve read either of my novels, two of the Golden Boys characters in them are based on these guys. In addition to my two life long friends, I will also be seeing…

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When You Stumble Upon That Perfect Photo

I’ve been so busy lately, I really miss heading out with my camera…just looking for that perfect shot.

Like the time this giraffe at the Brevard County Zoo in Florida found a
juice box on the ground — and decided to drink it — just as I walked up.

giraffe

Or when I was walking across a small bridge in Long Island,
and three swans showed up in perfect order.

swans

Or when you catch your dog snuggling with his favorite kitty.

koda w kitten

And sometimes you see the sun rising — at that perfect moment.
cross

Or you walk by the doorway to see your pups sleeping in perfect harmony.
dogs sleeping

Or you somehow catch a sparkling photo during a fireworks show.
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY EVERYBODY!!

fireworks