Something new…..

Well folks, I learned something about myself this week.  My husband and I came to the conclusion that we are dinosaurs, a dying breed.  We were raised with a completely different set of rules.  Rules of behavior, etiquette, and yeah in a lot of ways morals.  Yeah, times have changed, the social climate has changed, hell the whole world has changed, I agree.  Here comes the “BUT”……

I taught my kids those same rules because I felt they were important.  Manners were so revered in my youth, they set you apart, I was always so proud to make my parents proud!  I just couldn’t stand to see any disappointment in my parents eyes, especially my Pop!  I felt that my behavior reflected back on them, good or rotten.  As a growing adult, I still felt the same way.  As a parent, these things are even more important to me!

We recently sent a gift.  We were very excited to send this said gift.  It meant a lot to us to acknowledge an event in their lives.  We tracked the delivery of the package, the package was delivered and we waited to hear from the recipient.  Of course, you want to hear that they liked it, or loved it, or it was a wonderful surprise.  I think as a society, we all still like and want to be responded to when we do special things for people we love.  A validation of a sort.  Especially in this “instant message age”, you can drop a text, e-mail, even post on a facebook page.  Plenty of ways to respond…..

I was disappointed and yes, hurt when we didn’t hear anything.  I talked to my Mom, Steven, our daughters, and my sister.  “Am I being unreasonable?”.  After a very long conversation with my daughter, Colleen, she reminded me of something I have said many times.  “You have to decide whether you can give without expectations, or whether you need to hear that “Thank You”.”  Well, she was right!  This was all about MY expectations.

I’m so glad we raised such smart kids, lol.  Colleen was so right.  I am the one who was projecting my expectations, I needed that confirmation of receipt, and I wanted to hear that they loved it!  I was a tad unreasonable!  Our daughter Maureen, reminded me that I could feel that way when my own children didn’t acknowledge, but not others.  The parent learning from her kids, see I am getting old fast. lol.  Once again, a dinosaur!

I have learned something very valuable from my kids and about myself too.  I just don’t know if I am ever going to be able to adjust, I find I like hearing from that someone I send a special item to.  The anticipation of their reaction, the joy of hearing the happy tears, excited voice, or a picture on Facebook, knowing that it made a difference to their day,  I need that!

The alternative is just not something I can swallow.   So, I keep learning new things about myself.   I will definitely ask myself that big question the next time I go to send a gift.  I thank my parents for the exceptionally great teachers they have been.   Truth be told, the shoe is on the other foot now, Mom.   I am my parents, bursting with such pride when others comment on my children’s fantastic manners.

May that circle stay in motion for many generations to come!   Cyn


Posted in journeys, Reflections | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gift…..

Fortunately for us, the Tubb’s Fire never caused us to evacuate.  We definitely had some powerful angels watching over us.  The fires started on Sunday nite/Monday early morning,  the National Guard had shown up and a curfew was in place, we still had no gas, the air quality was atrocious, and the fires were still jumping around.  Some folks were evacuated and cleared to return several times, we still was no idea when our wonderful fire fighters would be able to get a handle on this storm!

Due to this tragic turn of events, Steven was unable to get to work.   He didn’t know if the job site would still be there, Sonoma was burning too.  So many people were unaccounted for, in transition, and struggling to find some footing.  My boss sent a text out to our team, asking us to text back “OK” if we were safe.  Luckily, all were accounted for and safe.  There were so many of my co-workers who couldn’t get to work, understandably!  I was supposed to be on leave, but with Steven home I took a drive in to see if they needed help.

It was the first time I had left the house in days.  My home town looked like a war zone.  No gas left at the stations, all intersections were without power, with visibility making it so very dangerous to attempt to enter.  The ash was so thick you had to use your windshield wipers to see.  Raley’s had no power, they were open, using flashlights to help folks get water and non perishables.  All of the perishables were being loaded into trash bins.  It was so quiet, it was almost tangible.  Folks were in shock.

We were opening for the first time in days, there was a skeleton crew.  But, with the need for essentials it seemed prudent and right to open the doors.  The most urgent needs were underwear, socks, and shoes.  So many had to flee in just their night clothes.  As people came through, I just hugged strangers, asked after their families “was everyone safe?”.  Cried, yes cried with many!  This wonderful city was pulling together and leaning on each other to get through this.  You might not have personally lost anything, BUT we ALL had loved ones who had lost everything.  The news that my Aunt and Uncle’s home was gone brought the loss even closer.  The events had touched all of us, one way or another!

It was only Wednesday, October 11th.  So much chaos, so much uncertainty, so much Hope.  Upon returning home after work, the Hospice nurse was visiting.  My mother-in-law was slipping fast, we were now in comfort mode.  The trauma of just getting her home was taking it’s toll.  I was so grateful this fire had allowed Steven to be with his mom when she needed him most!  Mixed Blessings, my Grandma used to say.  The end was nearing, we both knew it.

The next few days we stumbled through with evacuation threats everywhere.  KSRO radio was really the only link to what was really happening.  We were on pins and needles waiting for the Sheriff’s “nixle alert” to go off on our phones.  New information, delivered by a new technology!  Concise, correct, and reassuring.

On Saturday morning, Steven went to check on his mom.  She had passed away during the night, peacefully in her sleep.  While waiting for the mortuary to arrive, Steven walked outside.  He found a burned section of a book page, right under his mom’s window.


Call it what you want, but for us it was a comfort.  It was a sort of message, we both felt that the fire had given Steven the time to let go.  He had given his all, loved her on her terms, and had no regrets of any kind.  We walked with her out to the mortuary hearse.  The man I loved, fell apart.  You are just never ready to say goodbye, even when you have said it all already!  We just held each other in the driveway and cried.

The fire had given Steven 5 full days!  What a gift ……Cyn

Posted in Family | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


October of 2017 was a horrific month!  On Sunday afternoon, October 8th, Steven picked up his mom from our Kaiser Hospital.  It was a fight to get her home, but Steven got all the arrangements made and picked her up around 3pm. Our son Shamus, came by to help get her into the house and comfortable.  The wind was really kicking up a mess but we settled in for the night…….

At 2am, Steven’s phone starts ringing in earnest.  His co-workers were being evacuated due to a fire.  They were calling us because our area was listed as an evacuation area too and they wanted to make sure we were okay.  They knew the situation with his mom and were concerned.  They all had family to stay with to ride out the storm, so to speak.

We made a pot of coffee, we were wide awake now! Stepping outside onto our back porch, the whole sky was bright freaking orange!  We do not have cable, by choice, so we immediately turned on our local radio KSRO.  There was not just one fire but a storm of fires all over Santa Rosa, Rincon Valley, Bennet Valley, Calistoga, Napa County…………  Booting up the computer, to get a better idea of what was happening, Facebook was alive with activity and the pictures were horrific.  Our hometown was under attack by a fire.


My Uncle, Niece, Nephew had evacuated safely!  My cousin and his wife had evacuated safely.  By this time our road was a parking lot of families evacuating to safety.  Our neighbors had a yard filled with their family.  The frenzy of hugging and tears as they assured themselves that they are all accounted for and safe now!

By now the news started to flood the media.  Kaiser Hospital was frantically evacuating patients!  Thank the Good Lord Steven had gotten his mom home!!!  The fire had jumped the 6 lanes of Hwy 101 and was rapidly moving in our direction.  As we sat on our porch, one by one, our children checked in.  Having heard of the evacuation notices not too far from us they were worried.  We were fine.  As were assured them and calmed them down, the propane tanks 3 miles off and the Gun Store were engulfed with flames.  The popping and percussion from the blasts were felt and heard.

All of nature had conspired to develop into a FIRESTORM.  Residence reported the fire dancing on top of the ground, swirling and jumping from place to place.  It was burning so furiously and unpredictably in no fewer than 10 locations now.  Our gas was turned off by PG&E for safety.  Steven contacted his cousin who works for Cal Fire at the command center.  He told us to stay put, he would give us a 30 minute window if we needed to evacuate his mom.  So we did what everyone around was doing…… loading up cars with essentials and hooked up to the trailer.  We gathered his mom’s medical supplies and fervently prayed that we wouldn’t have to move her.

With his Mom on oxygen and it’s now 3am and we couldn’t see more than 30 feet in front of us.  We hurriedly turned on the air purifier we had bought a few month earlier for the dust created by the house construction next door.  So thankful we had it, it kept the air clean for her.  The ash was falling like snow, huge pieces of paper, leaves, and debris were everywhere.  The neighborhood was now on watch for cinders catching our area on fire too.  All we could do was sit and wait it out.

That was just our first 2 hours of the first day of this fire!  Cyn



Posted in journeys | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


Howdy strangers.  My Mother-in-law’s journey came to the end of the road in October.  If you are new or have followed some, she had breast cancer and Myasthenia gravis.  She battled for 16 years.

Have you ever been exposed to the 2-children syndrome (as we refer to it)?  Some of you have experienced it and are nodding you heads, some are wondering what in the blazes is she talking about.  I am referring to parents who only have 2 children, especially when they are the same sex.

One child is the reliable one, the one they turn to for important matters, the child who gets the job done, and they can count on.  This child they never fail to criticize, nothing is ever good enough to earn praise (and believe me they live to receive that praise!)

The other is the favored child, the one who is never criticized, who can do no wrong.  The child who intentionally leaves all the responsibility to their sibling, it’s not their job – they’re too busy to be bothered, but is there with their hand out to “get their share”.

Sound familiar for any of you?  It is so common, we have seen it so often in our lives.  Well, my husband was the “reliable one”.  It wasn’t an easy journey for him, but I am glad that my schedule was flexible enough to accommodate most of her needs.  The last six months, she required around the clock care.  It’s a good thing she lived with us, we were able to be there for her.  She asked to be able to pass from this life in her own bed.  My husband was able to make that happen for her and she passed peacefully where she wanted to be.

My husband is still working through all the financials and chores that need to be done.  It is an adjustment for him, and me too yes.  The holiday’s were difficult, the room empty.  Family filled that gaping hole with loud boisterous laughing and fun filled companionship.  We still go to tell her we have an errand to run, things of that sort.  Our dog Chewbacca for weeks, went to her room to check on her, he was confused that she was never there anymore.

Adjustments of every sort are on the menu daily.  But, this too will slowly become a seamless transition and the healing will continue with remembering the fonder memories.  Also, the comfort of knowing with certainty, that you did all that was asked of you every time!

God Bless and here’s to a great New Year!  Cyn

Posted in Family, journeys | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Woman’s Prerogative…..

I changed my mind!  Way tooooooo many times, if the truth be told.  But in the end, I have to be wild about the outcome.  The finished product has to talk to me, one way or another, good or needs improvement, sometimes it’s even “go back to the drawing board!”.  There are even times I just put it away for another day!  An idea will come along and I will pull it back out and finish with a flourish.

Well I tore apart my cat afghan square, just didn’t like it at all.  I’m not sure if it was the yarn or what, it just had to go.  I am supremely pleased with this cat square.


I also replaced the edging on the brown cat also, thinking it might be more pleasing……


It’s a little better, I definitely think it’s the yarn!  I will hold it in reserves.  Only time will tell, back to work.

Posted in Needlecrafting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do We Do It?…..

When you see a Greyhound dog, do you ever remark, “Why would you ever want that one, it’s too skinny and not very attractive?”  When you see a Bulldog, do you ever comment, “Their too heavy, I wouldn’t want to be seen with that one?’  What about a Poodle, “Oh look at all that messy curly hair, who let them out like that?”  Oh and let’s not forget the Dalmation, “That one couldn’t find his way out of a hole, stay away from it”.  Hmmmm?


Bear with me here!  I have never ever heard a comment like that.  All I ever hear is, “Oh, they are so cute”, or “Your dog is beautiful!”  We never seem to criticize the animal kingdom, all God’s creatures are beautiful in their own way.  We travel just to see these majestic animals in their own habitat, visit zoo’s to admire and take pictures galore of our favorites, or sit for hours in a field just to catch a glimpse of a rare bird. Face it, we accept them at face value, just the way they are! Right?, of course right!

Why then do we do it to each other?  We are God’s creation too, yes?  We are all individually beautiful, talented, and praise worthy beings!  Why do we pick each other apart?, to make ourselves feel better?  Sadly, that is probably partly true.  Why can’t we celebrate our differences, enjoy our diversity, have tolerance for others individuality?  We all bring a special brand of personality to everything we do, but so many are judged by their appearance, or nationality, or religion before they are even given an opportunity to be introduced.  Introduced you ask, Yeah introduced to you, to a social setting, to a new job, as a new neighbor, etc.

There are so many reasons, conditions, contributors that come into play.  Everyone has a different set to deal with.  We don’t wear signs announcing, “I have a hypo thyroid”, “I have been abused”, “This is my first day of being able to walk in 3 years”.  My the list could go on forever!  We all have a story.  We all work with the set of circumstances we are dealt and strive for all the love, happiness, peace, achievement and friendship we deserve.



Please spend just one day, to start, smiling at strangers, greeting a passerby with a warm “Good Day”,  finding the beauty in your surroundings, complimenting a stranger or even a loved one during your day, even a “That color looks fantastic on you!” will light up a strangers face.  It is contagious, it should be contagious, think of it as a social infection – a powerful one at that.  A super power!  With just that first day, not only will you feel the warmth of a smile returned, a kind remark to your compliment,  an opening to a conversation with a complete stranger, it becomes an infectious impulse to look for the good and positive, and force the negative away, far away.  Teach it to your children too!

Sorry for the rant, I am striving to head my grandchildren in a positive direction.  Keegan has ACC, it is not a visible disability.  She is judged all the time because her peers (and their parents) can’t see it.  She learns at a slower pace, but dammit, she gets there.  She is in a regular classroom, due to the fact that she is too smart for special ed.  The teasing and hurtful words, I believe, are taught at HOME.  Everything that comes out of the mouth of babes, is just regurgitation of all the nasty, ugly comments they hear their parents make.  Monkey see, monkey do syndrome.

Keegan is working so hard this summer to improve her math and reading, so that she isn’t referred to as the “dummy”.  She is amazing to me,  Yoda would say “Strong she is in determination and perseverance!”  The school has basically just been pushing her through each year, she is probably just under 2 years behind.  But, when the school had given up, so did Keegan for a while.  Together Keegan and I are striving to catch up as much a we can.  Mark my words, She Will Do It!  I have seen her achieve what ever she has set her sites for in the past.

Please, think about my words as the 4th of July approaches .  We need to be kinder to each other.  What makes us a strong country IS our diversity!  With much love….Cyn



Posted in Family, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cat’s Meow…..

Oh, it so great to start a new afghan!  This time it is a request from my daughter Colleen.  She has a good friend who has gone through a very tough time, this past year.  She is a cat fanatic.  Her work space is abounding with cats everywhere too.  We had seen a picture on “Pinterest”, of course.  It’s all their fault, they send me emails every day and I can’t resist!  They draw me in with pictures of items they know I will be interested in and BAM! there goes an hour or so down the rabbit hole. lol.


This is the from Etsy that someone Pinned and we saw the picture.  I thought of buying the pattern, then looked through my cross stitch patterns and decided to try my hand using my pattern instead.  It is very close to this one.  I have a whole bunch of remnants from prior projects and this was a fantastic way to use some of them up!

Here is my first square…..


The jury is still out on the ribbon around neck, will revisit this as I get more squares done.  Colleen approved the pattern and we are a go for more crocheting!

Till then…..Cyn

Posted in Needlecrafting | Tagged , , | Leave a comment