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

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.


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


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.

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.


Stupid Things I’ve Done

Lately I’ve been reminiscing about all of the stupid things that happen to me. I’m not sure if it’s bad luck, or I’m just going through life waaaaayyyyy too fast.

Most recently I’ve been walking around with a nasty bruise on my arm. Looks as if somebody beat me. But when people ask what happened, I feel obligated to tell the truth — although telling them somebody beat me wouldn’t be as embarrassing.

Well, I ran down the steps in the morning, slipped in a puddle of my dog’s pee and hit my arm on the railing.

Wait it gets better.

Then, I fell backwards, landing on my back in the small lake I call “CosmoKantHoldit” and yes, I cried. The pain, the smell, the drenched clothes….this is my life.

Sometimes things just happen, and I don’t really have any control. For instance, last year I got a birdie in golf. No, I literally “got a birdie” in golf. It was taking off, and my ball clobbered it.

And other times I need to pay more attention. Like when I reached for a delicious Twizzler and accidentally grabbed my red Bic pen. And no, I didn’t eat it. I know plastic when I taste it.

I remember one of the first embarrassing stories I shared on Facebook. It was winter time and I found the front door of my car frozen solid as I was leaving for work. But, I was able to open the back door. I got in and climbed into the front seat. Well, I slipped and my ass landed on the car horn. If I remember correctly the horn sounded like “Hey, all you neighbors in your driveways heading to work…looky over here!” 

Then there was the time I was leaving work, walking to my car and drinking a bottle of water. I bent over to rummage through my purse looking for my keys and poured the whole bottle of water into the bag. Now, that was a dumb blonde move for sure.

However, I must say, the best one was when my friends and I were heading home from Boston and we took a break at a rest stop. I was a little hungry and decided to get something healthy, instead of a greasy burger. So, I grabbed an apple out of a barrel in one of the shops, and was all proud of myself for eating right. When I got into the car and took a bite I realized it was styrofoam (see my little bite mark?). APPLE

No wonder it seemed like it wasn’t the right weight for a delicious piece of fruit. Now tell me this…why, oh why, would you have a huge display of fake apples? …and let me buy one?! SEE? THIS IS WHY WE SHOULD EAT BIG MACS!

There are so many more — but this is definitely enough sharing for tonight.

A Kindergarten Moment

Today is a Kindergarten Moment, just had to post again…

little debbie

Today is Friday, June 26th. The little guy in this photo will walk across the stage today, so thought it only appropriate to re-post “Kindergarten Moment.”

grad facebookCongratulations Tyler!

This week I mailed a check to Manhattanville College; it was a deposit towards my son’s freshmen year. As I put it in the mail, I realized that over the next few months I’m going to have a handful of “Kindergarten Moments” …his senior ball, his high school graduation and the day he leaves home for college.

Why do I call it a Kindergarten Moment? Well, that’s just a term I coined a while back when I tried to make sense of why we can’t hold back the tears when we put our child on the school bus for the very first day of Kindergarten… but the next day we’re fine. What’s so different about the second day that makes it ok?

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Ode to my Daddy-O

I am one of the lucky ones. I grew up with parents who were always there for me, and still are.

So today, on Father’s Day, I want to thank my dad for teaching me:

That girls can be just as strong as boys.
To always be there for my children.
To work hard, but make 
time for fun.

I’ve always had a lot of respect for my dad — for many reasons. But the first time I realized my dad was “amazing” was when I looked through his Army books and tried to understand how anybody could have enough courage to be a paratrooper. I was in awe.

When I was little, my dad taught me the same things he taught my brother. He

dad and fishtaught me how to fish, and not to be afraid of worming a hook (no time for being a priss). He took me deep-sea fishing and we almost caught a monster of a fish, but it broke the line. I still remember him trying to help me reel it in.

Every week I had chores. And no back-talk allowed. Hard work never hurt anyone.

Yet, my dad always made sure that we made time for fun. All work and no play…. well, you know the rest.

He taught me how to drive — not just a car, but a boat, a snowmobile and a mini-bike.  I may need to blame him for the speeding tickets. 😏

He taught me to take care of my things —  after I “killed” my first car (named Fanny) by never checking the oil.

And, to this day, my dad is a joker. I still

thumb 1remember his first prank. He’d make me believe he was pulling his thumb off of his hand, as I’d look in disbelief. And I’ll admit now, I was kind of worried one of these times it wouldn’t go back on.

He still has a sense of humor.
He’s still there for me every step of the way.
He’s a great dad, and an awesome grandpa!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!! Thank you for everything and I hope you have the best day ever!

Parents Say the Darndest Things

My parents, the snowbirds, returned home from Florida last month; it’s so nice to have them back in New York. And yes, that GRANDPARENTS AT PLAY sign is hanging in front of their place in Florida.

When they first got home, my son and I stopped up to their house on the lake to help them unpack. However, according to them, it wasn’t necessary. They never want to bother anybody and they can do everything themselves, “…don’t cha know.”

At one point I saw my dad lifting a heavy box out of his van…“Don’t lift that box! It’s too heavy!” I yelled. To which he replied “I’m not lifting. I’m carrying.” Hmmm, really?

Then later he asks my son to get the ladder out from the garage and lean it up against the roof. And I’m thinking….”What the hell is he up to?”

He admits he plans on going on the roof to seal a skylight. I thought he was joking. He’s turning 80 this year and he’s going to climb onto his roof? Oh, Sweet Baby Jesus. However, this is the man that re-sided his entire house when he was 70.

Again, I interject. “Dad, you can’t go up there. It’s not safe, and it looks like there’s a soft spot near the skylight.” Then I get the ‘I know that…I’m not an idiot’ look from my father, right before he says… “Well… I’m not going near the soft spot!” 

Just then my mom chimes in “Oh, it’ll be fine. It’s just up there a bit.”

It’s just up there ‘a bit?’ The ROOF… is just up there ‘a bit?’ Wait now. What’s going on here? My mom usually backs me on these things. Oh for Pete’s sake she’s gone to the other side — my dad’s side — where 80-year-old men hang out on their rooftops fixing things. Even I wouldn’t do that …and I’m Sally O’Malley and I’m 50!

Sometimes I wish I could hire a camera crew to follow them around.
1. For safety reasons.
2. To record their conversations and see what they do.

For instance, a while ago my daughter told meexpecant mothers
that my dad accidentally parked in the EXPECTANT MOTHERS parking spot at the grocery store. To which my mom looked at him and said “Dick, is there something you’re not telling us?”

I must say, they are a riot. And I’m not going to be the one to tell them to act their age. 😉

One day I will post a list of “mom-and-dad-isms” because there is no doubt, it’ll be a great read.  🙂

The Psyche of my Crazy Dogs

Every morning I go through the same routine with my dogs. It’s not a normal routine. I think they’re all a little bit crazy, or maybe a little bit genius.


Koda is 11 years old and one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. There’s one thing you need to know about Koda; he has anxiety disorder. And, one of the things he’s afraid to do is walk down the three back steps of the deck even though each step is about 8″ high. But — he’ll jump off the front porch because it’s only one step. And, Koda does not like to walk on hardwoods (although, taking a nap on the cool floor is fine). So, every morning I need to line up carpet runners from the living room to the front door — with virtually no floor showing — for him to go outside. When he’s ready to come back in, I open the door and wait. He looks at me. He sits there. He won’t come in. That is…until I go back into the house, close the door, and pretend he missed his opportunity. Then, when I re-open the door he will ALWAYS come in.


Forrest is the youngest of the three dogs turning one next month. Forrest will jump the fence in the back yard, so I can’t simply open the door and let him out. He needs to be on a runner. He knows that I’d like him to go out before he gets fed in the morning, so he walks around the side of the deck and pretends to go to the bathroom, then comes back in. I caught on to what he was doing when he needed to go out again immediately after eating. And, when I get the dog food bowls ready, he immediately sits down and raises his left paw to shake because he thinks he needs to do this in order to get fed.

cosmo coustaeCosmo will bark at the back door every morning to go out. When you open the door he refuses to leave the house. He just sits there and stares at you. Now, the door is open, he needs to go to the bathroom, and he won’t leave the house…until I step out onto the back deck and personally invite him outside. As God as my witness.

Please tell me my dogs are not the only ones that are nuts.

The story behind Power Through It.

Awarding four Dollars-for-Scholars scholarships tonight to Cicero-North Syracuse graduates in memory of our dear friend Sara, and all of our classmates who left us too soon. The “Power Through It” saying was inspired by Sara’s brother Dan, as he spoke at her funeral. Beautifully written.

Power Through It

by Danny Percival

1919652_4375135033418_6498874249908000996_nMay 17th 1965 – that was the day the Percival family received a new addition – Sara Dean – and for me it was love at first sight – in the 48 years since that day she has been known by many names, Sara, Scooter, Scoot, Mom, Aunt Sara & The Chosen One. Let me explain the last one, this is an affectionate name (sometimes) that Doug and I called Sara from time to time and this past 4th of July we witnessed the great humorous side of our sister. For years every 4th Scoot, Doug & I have a ritual of going to town by boat after the fireworks to see old friends from our summers at the lake. Well, this year for some reason our parents didn’t think it was a good idea and we were like “Really?” After some discussion between…

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Stumbled Upon A Funny

I found a folder of old pictures that I took over the past three years. They were vacation pics, so I was browsing through…

First, I came across some photos from Old Orchard Beach, Maine where my daughter and I have vacationed a few times. After a day on the beach, we’d always take a drive to see some scenery and lighthouses. Beautiful place to visit, huh?

me100_5839  mAINE 2


Next, I found a few pictures from Sebastian, Florida where my parents live…these were taken down by the pier one night at dusk.

100_6167 100_6168


And last, I found some photos I took in New York City… just taking a stroll through the NYU campus. I thought I was genius taking a “Caught between the moon and New York City” shot.

100_6076 moon and NYC

But one of my favorite pics, was this darn squirrel.
Kinda wish I could eat my lunch like that.

Squirrel in NYU Park

However, I remember when I was taking this picture, my first shot was quick, just in case he ran away. The woman on the bench below must’ve thought I was trying to take her photo, so she hid her face.

Now, over two years later, I just noticed the heading on the newspaper she was reading.



Cat Gangs

Yes. That’s right. I said Cat Gangs.

What’s a cat gang? Well, it’ a gang of cats. They roam the neighborhood and are up to no good.

I had my first experience with a cat gang a couple of summers ago. My daughter and I were heading home and one of our favorite songs was on the radio, so we drove around the neighborhood for an extra minute or so to listen to it. We had no idea what was about to happen.

True Story:
A “cute” black and white cat ran in front of my car. I slammed on the breaks, stopped the car, and got out to make sure he was ok. I didn’t see him in the front of my car so walked to the back where I found him sitting in the grass just looking at me. I was so thankful he was alright.

As I waked around the back of my car I saw another cat sitting at the end of his driveway, staring me down. It didn’t really give me the creeps until I saw a third cat about 15 feet up the driveway and a fourth sitting quietly under a shrub close to the road.

It was then I realized that the black and white cat was being initiated into a cat gang.

The next day my daughter and I took a walk on the oppositecat gand leader side of the neighborhood. We saw cats at every turn. Just sitting there, staring at us, like targets. What was going on? A cat gang on every block? Who was the leader? The term “Cat got your tongue?” took on a whole other meaning.

I posted my story on Facebook. My good friend, Pat Campbell, an educator and very worldly woman, shed some light on the situation.

cat nip twoShe informed me that there was increased activity in the dealings of catnip, or “NIP,” on the streets. That more and more kittens were being born — never knowing their fathers.    too many kittens

Worst of all, it was becoming a vicious cycle. A cycle that may be hard to break.

Each night, as I tried to sleep, I could hear the screeching “catcalls” and I’d find their droppings in my landscaping — which meant they were close by — watching our house. In the morning they’d run out from under my car and I feared for my life.

I welcomed the cold weather, forcing them off the streets. But, now that the warm weather is back…I look at my dogs, and pray for their safety.
my dogs