Happy Birthday Jeffrey

As I promised, the end of August is nothing short of spectacular, today is Jeffrey’s birthday. A day that was filled with equal parts joy, fear, happiness and gratefulness. 

Dear Jeffrey,

I know I’ve talked about this before, but when you were born I was terrified. You were born with water on your lungs and doctors were telling me that you would never be “normal”. That you would always have breathing issues and never play sports.

You certainly proved them wrong, you grew up to play almost all of the sports! Soccer, baseball and football, you ran, you played, you swam and were fearless.

You climbed the heights, literally, I could never turn my back on you because I would find you on top of the refrigerator.

As soon as you learned to talk you never stopped asking questions, or saying things that would just take my breath away.

One day when we were passing a Fire Station you said that you wanted to be the one to fix the fire trucks. I said you don’t want to be a fireman? You said no, I want to make sure they can always go save people.

You were three years old, to think that a 3 year old could have that kind of awareness was mind blowing.

You were born with an old soul, I fully believe that, you were always old for your age. I don’t know if that is because you spent a lot of time with adults in your formative years or just because that is the way God made you.

You would also say things like you missed playing with Jesus in heaven and would wonder if the hot air balloons would take you to heaven when it was your time to go.

Of course there was also the time in Neiman Marcus, when i was hugely pregnant with your sister, that you said very loudly “Why won’t you marry my dad!” I had to explain, in front of two very shocked older ladies, that your dad and I were in fact married and your dad had been teasing you when he said we weren’t. I also couldn’t wear my wedding ring due to swollen fingers, so that didn’t help.

I love your heart son, you are an amazing father, husband, brother and son. When I look at your life I am in awe of all that you do, you are a good man, you continue to amaze me all of the time.

I love you so much and I hope your 35th birthday is amazing and filled with as much wonder as your first birthday was.

I hope you know how proud of you I am, how much I love you and how much I appreciate you in my life. You were a gift from God after much darkness.

Happy Birthday Son,



Jeffrey and Grandpa Reno
Jeffrey 18 months old

Life and all that

It’s been awhile since we last parted, a few things have happened, fun and exciting for me, maybe boring for you. Read at your own peril.
First up, moving almost complete, I just have a few big things to get at the old abode. Then, completely done and new life can start in earnest. New life equals major aloneness, as that is my choice and I am completely at peace with my choice. I believe God is telling me that I need this, to commune with Him and to be myself again.
Next up, Mother’s Day was a complete success, not in the things I received, but in the company. Minus Alex, but I saw him Friday night, so that counts.
I had a lovely lunch at Jeffrey’s home, his gracious girlfriend, Amanda, gave up the whole day being about her (she is a mom and a great one at that) and allowed me to celebrate my motherhood day in her home. She also made the most amazing desert, with berries and cream cheese, but it didn’t taste like cream cheese. I really need to get the recipe.
Elizabeth Anne was there to help me celebrate as well. Along with Tess, a good day indeed as I got to drive Tess back to her mom and spend even more time with her. Then Alex’s amazing girlfriend, Elicia, came over and helped me put assemble and put up shelves! A bookshelf and a garage shelf! She is incredibly handy, and helpful and sweet, we like her a lot.
Friday was our first family dinner in the new home and it was a rousing success. Have I mentioned how much I love my new home? All tile and wood except for the two guest bedrooms. Tessa claimed her bedroom already, with the disclaimer she will not be sleeping in it. When she visits me she sleeps with Gigi and all is right with the world.
I had taken a break from the gym to get my life in order, next week begins the torture anew. I have my smoothie ingredients all ready for the coming week.
I tried the new mask from Mary Kay last night, it is the Clearproof deep cleansing charcoal mask. I have seen the ones that you peel off, those look incredibly painful, this one you wash off. I liked it, my face did feel smoother after washing it away. I will be using it again to really get the full benefits from it.
I had to get Direct Tv with the move, as Uverse television wasn’t available. so far the only complaint is that it doesn’t offer MeTV, I love MeTV. I am particularly vexed as they will be showing Battlestar Galactica, the original, and I won’t be able to see it! I love that show, who didn’t have a crush on Starbuck back in the day. Oh, wow, I just put that together, Starbuck as a child and Starbucks as an adult. I have issues. However, as a particularly insightful therapist once told me, I embrace the issues that I enjoy and get rid of the ones that are detrimental to my well-being.
Thanks to Elizabeth Anne’s suggestion I watched Anne with an E on Netflix. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have now seen all of the episodes and can hardly wait for season two.
In my opinion, they nailed the language of the day, it was much more formal than we use today. I really like that, I love florid language, descriptive, picturesque. I moved on to Medici, first episode was tangled, moving back and forth between different points in Piero de Medici’s life. It’s interesting so far, I’ll give it a chance, since I won’t be watching the original Battlestar Galactica any time soon.

The In-between Week

Christmas has passed, and it was a good Christmas, filled with my beautiful children, Tess and the Irishman.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the overuse of superlatives in the American language, it has become ubiquitous. It’s ordinary now to see awesome, great, amazing or fantastic, when in fact what the person is talking about is good, ordinary or in some cases it really is extraordinary, however it is not amazingly awesome. I myself am guilty of this phenomenon, I must ask myself, when did this happen?
I don’t remember, in my younger years, using hyperbole so much, however in my middle years, I find myself doing it on, embarrassingly, an hourly basis.
Since this is the week of New Years, and a time when people typically make out lists of things they are going to give up, I thought I would start with my language.
So, here goes, my list of things I am going to work on in 2016:
1.) I shall give up the overuse of superlatives, only using them when they are warranted. Not callously tossed about, given without thought, without measure.
B.) I will only buy shoes I need, not have to have, will die without, I have a ton of shoes and refuse to buy things I don’t need. Elizabeth Anne, I need you to keep me on the straight and narrow on this one.
III.) I will learn to use Alexa efficiently, right now I am just bugging her to find Dean Cain for me. She is balking on that task, so, she and I will learn about each other and I will learn her ways.
A.) I will make more of an effort, that’s it, you can fill in the blank with this one.

That’s it, that’s my list, in a nutshell, I am not one to give up things I know I will not be able to. However, there are things I can change, and those I will work on.
I would love to hear what you are going to work on, try to change, or even give up.
It is time now to put away the Christmas decorations, get the house ready for New Years, I will be making my 15 bean soup with the leftover honey ham from Christmas. Also cornbread is on the menu. Jeffrey will not come over for that as he is allergic to beans and hates when I make that. I do fully expect to see Alex and Elizabeth Anne and maybe a few others.
Oh and I have one more, I will be going through my closet and getting rid of what I don’t wear. I seriously need to do that, it’s embarrassing.

Happy Birthday Jeffrey Andrew

Dear Jeffrey,


I still remember the day you were born, 30 years later and it is still crystal clear. They took you two weeks early, that’s what they used to do with scheduled C-sections. The doctor told your dad he looked like a Japanese tourist, he was taking so many pictures.

I knew you were a boy from the start, I’ll admit, I wanted a girl due to fear, I had already had one son and lost him, I couldn’t handle the thought of it happening again. Then you were here, in all of your baby perfection, then they whisked you away and put you in the Neo-natal unit. You were born with water on your lungs, common for a baby born of a scheduled C-section back then, as they took you too early.

I had to go home without you, it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, go home and look at the empty crib. Taking you home was one of the happiest days of my life, you were an amazing miracle, who cried a lot.

Watching you grow from a baby to a toddler to a little boy going to kindergarten, then middle school, then high school then adulthood, it all happened way too fast. I wish I could go back and do it all again, I would do a lot of things differently. I would listen more, talk less, play more and tell you more often how much I love you.

I still can’t believe you are thirty years old, I am so proud of the man you have become, the parent that you are, you are still that miracle in my life.

I pray for you every day, that you have great joy in your life, that you have people who truly appreciate the person you are and that you continue to have an amazing bond with your child.

Today on your birthday I want you to know that I love you beyond words, that you are still that miracle baby boy. I want you to know that you are without a doubt one of the best things that ever happened to me.


I love you,



Funny Life

Life is funny, nothing is random, nothing is happenstance, we are where we are supposed to be and lessons can be learned every day. I had to work yesterday, Sunday, I do believe we all know how I feel about that, I like my weekends. However, it had to be done if I wanted the 4th of July off. So off to work I went.
A lot of people were there, I was surprised at the amount of worker bees on the floor. Typically, in my experience in a major telecommunications corporation, Sundays are a filled with a skeleton crew. Not yesterday, needless to say a lot of fun was had.
I am now sitting by such an interesting young man, he is a little younger than Jeffrey, he writes, produces and sings his own music. He gave me one of his CD’s and it is really good, I am going to give it to Alex so he can listen as it is hip hop and Alex loves that music.
Anyway, this particular young man also reads a lot, so, in the spirit of carrying on the tradition, I suggested he read Joseph Campbell, and start with The Hero with a Thousand Faces. A great read, and very thought provoking, the first time I read it is when my BBFF suggested it and loaned me his copy.
Then we had a rousing discussion regarding the material, I know the same will happen here as well. I am going to read it again so the material will be fresh in my mind, I do love a good discussion.
In case you missed Saturday nights show you can go to http://www.convosate.com and catch up. You can actually hear me talking about my near death experience; I am still in awe at how much God protects me.
It really is amazing when one thinks about it; I am the clumsiest person around, yet I am alive. Amazing.
It is off to work I go, 3 more days, then I am off for four, without using a vacation day! How awesome is that! I hope everyone has a great Monday, I know I will because I will be working with excellent people!


Another jam-packed weekend is done; I am exhausted, trying to think of when I will have time to sleep. Not anytime soon. Next weekend is the family reunion, so excited about that! I can’t wait to see everyone, I will only be able to go up for one day, not the weekend, but it is one day I will get to see everyone.
This weekend started with me getting Tess after work on Friday, she got to spend the night! Saturday morning was up early, we had a girls breakfast at IHop and then shopping for the day’s festivities.
Everyone came over; by everyone I mean Jeffrey, Elizabeth Anne, Alex, Tessa, the Irishman’s three children and his ex-father-in-law. A packed house, seeing that it is summer it was time for hotdogs on the grill and pool time afterward.
I am still exhausted, I awoke today to rain, thunder and lightening, I so want to go back to sleep! Alas, I am still in class and cannot call in for a vacation day, so up for coffee, picking out something that will help me stay relatively dry and off for more learning.
Training is going well, I think we only have one or two more weeks, not really sure, then it is on the floor we go. I am excited to get to the work, nervous as well, like any new job. The only real way to learn it is to get thrown to the wolves.
Well, it’s a short one-today people; I am off to get dressed to begin my wet, soggy drive into work.

Blood Will Tell

Today I am coming to terms with what I thought I was; yes what, as in ethnicity. Family lore has it that we are part Native American on my grandmother’s side. A claim she vehemently denied, one we seriously thought she was not telling the truth about.
Allow me to digress for a moment, for Mother’s Day Jeffrey and Elizabeth Anne got me the Ancestry DNA test, I sent it in. The results came yesterday, I have always wanted to know exactly what I am. Now I know.
0% Native American, not even a small trace, I have more Spanish than Native American. Scandinavian, now that one was shocking to say the least, there are zero Viking stories in our family history. I now understand why I am so fascinated with Norse Mythology, this is starting to make sense.
The strongest bloodline that I have is Western Europe, which totally makes sense due to Thomas Testerman coming from that region in 1774. No Dutch or Scottish the way Grandma always said, surprisingly Irish, which I never believed.
I don’t know where to go with this information, I am not what I thought I was, I now begin a new journey finding out more about the genetic code I am made of.
Scandinavian makes sense in a way, because I am in 1642 in my research of my Grandmother’s side of the family and I am still in America. Since the Vikings discovered this country earlier than anyone else and settled here, it is not surprising we are made up of these brave people.
So, here is what I am: 52% Western European, 23% Scandinavian, 16% Irish, 4% English, 4% Spanish/Portuguese and a trace amount of Western Asia (Turkey/Syria region).
All in all, 100% American.
I told Tessa we are not Native American and she said I could have told you that. Then I told her we were Vikings, she nodded and said well yes, I have the hat. I should have just asked her what we are. Throw in Italian and Czechoslovakian
and you have my children. We are all such a mixture, it makes us who we are, whom we identify with is up to us.
I will have to adjust my inner thinking about my ancestral bloodlines, the research will continue and I will continue to be incredibly proud that I came from people that knew what they wanted and survived great hardships to attain it. To carve out a place for their progeny and future generations, and I will also be purchasing a Viking hat and Thor’s hammer.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day has come and gone, I know I usually talk about my own fantastic mother, however, I thought I would tell a little bit about the people that enable me to have that title.

First and foremost I am so beyond grateful to God that He gave me the ones he did, I seriously cannot imagine life without them. I don’t want to, the thought is unimaginable. I wish I could take credit for their personalities, quirks and genuine awesomeness.

Jeffrey is the most caring father, I love seeing him with Tessa, guiding her, sharing a sense of humor with her and loving her. He builds Legos with her on the floor and plays petshop as well, he really is an amazing father this this wonderful little girl. I could not be prouder of the man he has become, I wish I could take credit, however, I can’t. Jeffrey has a quiet strength, a quiet sense of humor; don’t mistake his quietness for weakness. He is one of the strongest people I know, I am so happy that God entrusted him to me.

Elizabeth is the most capable person I have ever met in my entire life, whatever needs to be done, she does it. Watching her with her four-legged children, and two legged, her birds only have two legs, I should have said fur and feathered children, is a revelation. She has always been good with animals, from the hamsters, birds, chinchilla, dog, cats and everything in-between, you can see what kind of person she truly is. Animals and children love her, she reminds me so much of my grandfather in that respect, animals and children flocked to him as well. She is now engaged to a man who comes with a child, she tells me that is her contribution to my grandmotherhood. I’ll take it. Her sense of humor is well developed and she has a knack for firing off zingers. Once again I cannot believe I was chosen to be her mother, incredible.

Alex is the baby, and in my eyes he will always be the baby, he has gone through a lot to find the path to manhood. I am incredibly proud of the way he has gone through certain things at a young age that would fell adults. He is turning into the man I always knew he would, thoughtful, sensitive and intuitive. I am in awe of his fortitude, I know he will continue to grow and thrive in spite of the adversities that have been thrown his way.

All three have a wicked sense of humor and when we are all together the zingers fly around the room at a pace that is hard to follow for a lot of people. We once had a guest for dinner that likened us to the Adams family, I’m not sure that is an apt description. We don’t moonbath, nor do we have wilted roses as centerpieces, I think this particular person had a hard time following the humor. There is nothing that gives me greater joy than having them all here with me. Listening to them regress into childhood insults, then flying forward to adult concerns is such an awesome thing to watch.

These are the people responsible for me being able to celebrate Mother’s Day; I celebrate them on that day. Their awesomeness, their humor, their caring spirits and their ability to make their mother still feel like she needed.

Funeral Planning

Am I really the only one that wonders what people will say at their funeral? I wonder that a lot, what words will be spoken when I am gone? What stories will be told of my life?

I asked the Irishman last night what he would say at my funeral, he said he would not be able to speak at all, as he would be too upset. Then he said he didn’t want to talk about it, he doesn’t like to think about death. I think about it all the time, one of my hobbies is planning my funeral. You have to prepare for these things, I have been to a lot of funerals and you cannot leave things to the living.

If you want something done, then you have to do it yourself, why would you leave your final act up to someone else to plan? I would not do that; you never know what people are going to do with you.

I am not one of those people that say things like oh just put me in a pine box and throw me in a ditch. Yes, I have actually heard people say that, horrifying, why would you want that? A funeral is actually for the people left, a chance for them to have closure, to say goodbye and see you later. It is their opportunity to reflect and be happy that you’re free, free of earthly constraints, free of aches and pains, free of heartache. You have made it, you are going home, this is a celebration!

I do wonder though, what will my children say about me? What will Tessa say? Will Elizabeth tell stories of my clumsiness? Will Jeffrey tell about the time I took him to a Rangers game? Will Alex talk about our lunches? Will Tess tell about the times I took her to the park or Old McDonalds? Will they know how much I loved them? That they were my entire world?

A funeral is not for the empty shell left behind, so plan well my friends, this is your last opportunity to plan a great party that will allow the people you leave behind an opportunity to say goodbye. To begin their life without you in it, a pine box and a ditch is not comforting. It is ridiculous to say things like that, and thoughtless to the ones left planning it, do your own planning.

If you plan your own funeral it takes all of the guess work out of it for the ones left, they don’t have to make decisions, they can just reflect, smile, laugh and cry without the stress of picking out a casket, songs they think you would like and a service. If you do this for them you lift a burden from their shoulders, it is your final gift to the ones left behind.

It is not only my hobby planning my own funeral; it is my final gift to my children and granddaughter. I am taking everything out of their hands so they are stress free and can actually begin their grieving process unburdened by decision-making.

So, what would you say about me at my funeral?

Busy, Busy, Busy

This has been a very busy, fun filled weekend indeed; I hardly know where to start. Let’s start with Friday, Tessa’s class was singing for the school Friday afternoon, so off I went. She did so good, I am so proud of her, she actually had a big part and she just got out there, in front of everyone and sang her little heart out.

There was no Friday night dinner, as the Irishman’s girls had a dance review happening. Instead we decided to make it Saturday, the Irishman had chosen the menu, only fair he should be there to partake.

Saturday, Tessa’s class was preforming for the Onion Festival, so off we go to that, we were all there, she did beautifully once again. This time in front of more people, she did not inherit the shy gene.

Then it was lunch, steak, corn on the cob, grilled asparagus and Caesar salad, we got a new grill. Jeffrey put together the grill, Jeffrey also cooked the steaks, he seasoned them perfectly. Everything was so good, Tessa got to play with the girls, we all got to eat. Good food, good conversation, fun times with Jeffrey, Elizabeth, Alex and the rest.

I am exhausted from all the prep work; shopping and cleaning up, I do believe today will be spent relaxing. By relaxing I do mean doing laundry, I need to get caught up today is the day.

Tomorrow is another fun filled day at work; I am hoping to hear good news, like more co-workers got new jobs. So far 7 people that I know of have been offered new jobs. That makes me happy and hopeful for the rest that are affected by this round of layoffs. Make no mistake, my job is not safe, the rest of us will be gone by November. I am actively looking for a job within the company; think good thoughts for me people.

I am thinking good thoughts for all of those that are under the gun so to speak right now. The majority are good people and good workers, I am not going to name names, there is one that I do not have an ounce of pity for. He/She has treated his/her co-workers horribly, so much so that if anyone there does not like them on a personal level.

Sometimes you cannot like how someone does business, and still like him or her on a personal level. This person is not to be trusted with anything, it’s sad really, when you think about it. We are all on this earth for such a short amount of time, 110 years really isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things. Why make everyone around you miserable just for your own enjoyment? That is the question I find myself asking, with no answer in sight.

Oh well, I hope everyone has a great day and keep looking up cause that’s where it all is! (Yes, I quoted Kidd Kraddick)

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