Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Home has never actually been a building to me. It's always been a feeling of belonging. It's family. I've lived a lot of places in my life and as long as family is near I've been okay. I grew up in the D.C. area but it was never home. Home is where your family is from. I guess you would call it the "old country." I drove back to West Virginia on Saturday for my Aunt's funeral. Driving home. Every time I go back there I never want to leave. I feel home. I feel like it's where I should be. Where I want to be. For now, I live in Pennsylvania but one day I will be able to go home to stay.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Goodbye Aunt Dot

I grew up calling her Aunt Dot but her name was Dorothy. She was such a special person in my life. Always has been. Always will be. I don't recall a time when she ever had an unkind word to me. When I was a toddler, Mom and Dad moved from WV to D.C. to live with Mom's brother; my Uncle Jack. Their son, Michael, my cousin, was three months older than me. Eventually my Dad found a job and we moved to an apartment of our own. We lived in D.C. until 1968 when the race riots were going on. We moved to Waldorf not far from where Uncle Jack and Aunt Dot lived. By this time our little family had added another daughter and a son while theirs added two more sons. A daughter didn't arrive until much later. Michael and I attended T.C. Martin elementary together. We were in the same first grade class. Mrs. Hagwood. Aunt Dot made a lot of my clothes. In particular I remember a blue skirt and a plaid wool skirt with attached suspenders. It was scratchy on my legs. The next year we moved to Riverdale so Dad would be closer to his job while they moved to Landover. At that time Uncle Jack was a D.C. cop. Many things happened over the years. They moved to Virginia where I met my first husband who was a friend of my cousin Gary's. He helped on the farm they lived on. I don't remember where Aunt Dot was but that summer that I met him she was gone for a few days. I came down to stay and cook for the family. They really didn't need me because Aunt Dot had taught them to be very self reliant in the kitchen. They were all better cooks than I was but I loved staying with them, loved the farm and had a wonderful time. When Aunt Dot came home she told my mother that I put things away and she couldn't find anything. That was funny! That summer we visited many times and I think I spent a month or two with her. I loved every minute of it. After Ralph and I married and had little Ralph we moved to Staunton. We didn't live there long. Jobs were hard to come by and to keep. While I worked as a temporary secretary my Aunt Dot would keep little Ralph for me. She loved watching him and I remember her saying he was a funny baby. Always talking to himself or doing funny things. After we moved to Pittsburgh, Joe was born. We went back to WV a couple times a year; reunions, weddings or funerals. Always making sure to stop in to see Aunt Dot and Uncle Jack. After Phil and I married we continued going down to visit but not very often did we get to WV the last five or so years. My health was bad with the cancer plus Uncle Jack and Aunt Dot have been in and out of the hospital. My cousin Laura kept in touch with me through Facebook and also texting. She let me know that her Mom wasn't doing good and the doctors told them they had done all they could for Aunt Dot. I prayed to God asking for mercies for Aunt Dot and peace for the children. This morning God answered that prayer by taking Aunt Dot home to heaven to be with her Mother and other members of her family. When I go back home to WV it will be hard to be at the family home without Aunt Dot. She was the best baker I ever knew. Her cakes were amazing. I wish I had learned half the things she tried to teach me. I don't recall her complaining although she could have. I remember hearing her cry out at night from the intense pain in her legs. She suffered with that pain for years and years. I am thankful that God ended her pain and that she's no longer suffering. My heart breaks for her children, my cousins, and her husband, my Uncle. My heart breaks for me because I won't see her until I meet her again in heaven. She was a good one to send cards and always called throughout my illness. If I could take one life lesson I learned from her and that would be to remember the sick and needy. She was a good woman and I wish I was more like her. God bless you, Aunt Dot. I will miss you very much. You are much loved.

In a few minutes it'll be Thursday

I had the clock set for 7:45 this morning and slept right through it. One eye opened and looked at the clock at 9:35. One thought crossed my mind and that was that Rosalind would be so mad at me if I didn't show up to help her at the chapter house! I knew I couldn't let her down so I finally slid off the edge of the bed and crawled into the bathroom.

I ran around the house putting paperwork in my DAR bag to take with me. I brought the dogs back inside and loaded everything in my truck including some things I wanted to take to Joe. Then I remembered I hadn't washed my hands after bringing the dogs back in and Reno slobbered on me. Ugg. That was so gross. Back inside, I ran upstairs to wash my hands and then back downstairs and, locking the door behind me, I slammed it closed.

I walked over to the truck and climbed in, looked at the ignition and screamed NO! I left the keys inside the house. No keys to the truck and no keys to the house. Dagnabbit! I started thinking of who to call. An hour later I was inside the house, grabbed the keys and off I drove! Thank you, Ralph and Jess!

When I got to the chapter house there were two people working in the library plus one working with Rosalind and Fran working in another room. I spoke to both of them for a little bit and then went downstairs to work on the folders for the district meeting this Saturday. When those were finished we all left.

I had to stop by Rosalind's to pick up chapter stationery and envelopes, then back home I went. It was almost 4:00 when I got home. I put the dogs back out then fed my chickens, goats and ducks.

Phil didn't get home until 7:15. We had sandwiches for dinner. Left for Acme Lake to work with Bella but Freeman Falls Road was closed. We decided to go to Donegal Lake but didn't get there until 7:50. It was getting dark quickly so Phil worked blind retrieves with Bella while I filmed it.

Only three more weeks until the NAVHDA Invitational! Only about 100 dogs are invited to test for their Versatile Championship. Bella is one of them. She qualified last year with her Utility Test Prize I. This is her second attempt and we're praying it's all good! She and Phil qualified back in 2008 and she tested in 2009 but didn't pass because she couldn't find the shackled duck during testing. She kept trying to bring back the bird crate with all the birds in it! They've since eliminated that portion of the test. I think she and Phil will do well. They're both more relaxed. Last time I was still going through chemo and I know that weighed heavily on Phil during training. This will be better, I just know it!

OOOOPS! And, yesterday we experienced an earthquake on the east coast! It was a 5.9 centered just outside of Mineral, Virginia about 90 miles from D.C. and a whole heck further away from me but I felt it and thought at first that the marcellus shale drilling going on was blowing my house sky high or that I was hallucinating. Well, good to point out that I was neither blown up nor hallucinating. giggle Both good to know! My first earthquake. Hopefully I'll never experience another one.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So much has happened in such a short time

Ralph, Jessica and Lilly have moved to a townhouse closer to his work. It's very cute and has a large kitchen plus the rent is lower than what they were paying at the house. The only downside is there's no view like the house on the farm. Another positive is no crazy landlord!

I finished putting together the handout for the district meeting next week and printed off copies for the attendees. Next, I need to write my speech for the chapter meeting on September 10. My topic is "9/11 Remembered."

There's so much going on in September! I'd like to go to the PSSDAR wreath laying ceremony at the Flight 93 Memorial at Shanksville on the 11th. The 13th is regent's club meeting at Mrs. Weir's farm. Our 22nd anniversary is the 16th. The 18th is our Peggy Shaw Society meeting and also Phil and Bella's Versatile Championship test at the NAVHDA Invitational in Ohio. The 19th is the beagle club meeting and the 23rd-25th is the beagle club field trial.

Oh, and my four year cancerversary is on September 5; as if I could really forget that it's been four years! One day at a time.

My PET/CT scan is supposed to be sometime in September. My calendar is filling up fast so I hope they let me know soon when it will be! Follow up with Dr. V on October 6.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lilly's 1st Birthday!

Wow! It's so hard to believe a year has passed since my granddaughter, Lilly, was born! She started walking this past week. She has 10 teeth now and can say a few words. She is such a sweet little girl.

Jess and Ralph had a birthday party for her yesterday and invited all of the family; Feldmans, Packs, Puffenbargers, Todaros and Urbans. Wonderful food, awesome cake and lots of fun watching Lilly open her gifts! My sister and her partner even came up for the day.

We had Dixie and Jassmine overnight Saturday. Joe and Chrystal picked them up yesterday and followed us to the party. Jassie was so excited to go to Lilly's party. She drew pictures for Lilly and wrapped up a book to give her.