Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21st is a Great Day

Happy Birthday Aubree Clair Marie Zysk

6lbs 11oz

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Past Present and Future

I am tired this morning. I had a difficult evening that resulted in a difficult night. There were so many emotions floating around as I tried to decorate for Christmas. I have not been in some of those storage containers for four  years. All those special tree ornaments and carefully wrapped and stored Santa's and snow men. I came across a ceramic ginger bread house in which the words mom mom and pop pop were lovingly painted on the sides. I came across a stocking I had purchased that Christmas for Jason. Then I came across the snowman stocking holder that hung that stocking from my mantel over the fireplace in that once upon a time house. The emotions overwhelmed me. I sat on the floor surrounded by memories and sobbed. Sobbed for a little boy who no longer celebrates Christmas and for a life that no longer existed because of the choices made and the events that followed. Sobbed for myself, my granddaughter, my son and all the christmas seasons past and future. 

The decorations still remain in the spot I left them last night. Today, I may be welcoming my fourth grandchild and second granddaughter. Somehow life goes on despite the pain and I look forward to surviving another day.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Boland's Bakery

'Boland's Bakery' was the largest bakery in Dublin in the late 19th century. It was founded by the Boland family. The company would have sold a number of products such as bread, biscuits, cakes, confectionery and flour, although over the years the biscuit became the company's main product. The original bakery was off Capel Street between Mary (Abbey) Street and Little Mary Street. The Boland family lived on Capel Street.

Following the death of Patrick Boland (father of future MP and Olympic champion John Pius Boland) in 1888 the company was floated by the executor of his will Bishop Nicholas Donnelly, his brother in law. A number of members of the Boland family remained shareholders in the company

The company had a number of production facilities around the city such as the buildings around Grand Canal street and Dock as well as a distribution network. Vans with the company name on it were a familiar sight up until the last quarter of the twentieth century.

Boland's Bakery building on the corner of Grand Canal Street and Macken Street (then Great Clarence Street), now the Treasury Building, played an integral part in the 1916 Rising and was occupied by √Čamon de Valera.  Also during a dispute when unemployed demonstrators, led by the writer Liam O’Flaherty, occupied the Rotunda Hospital, Boland's Bakery in Capel St. donated 500 loaves to the demonstrators.

In the late 1970s Boland's merged with Jacobs Biscuits Ltd., to form Irish Biscuits Ltd. with much of the production moved to premises in Belgard, Tallaght. Although many products were now being produced in Britain and labeled as the Irish Brands.  In 2004 production at the Tallaght facility stopped. Irish Biscuits were taken over by a number of foreign companies eventually ending up being owned the French Groupe Danone. In 2004 it was sold to the Irish Fruitfield Food Group.

The name survives today in a number of brands produced by Jacob Fruitfield Food Group, such as Custard creams, Cream crackers and Bourbon creams. The name Boland's Mill on Grand Canal Dock is still clearly visible

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ready for Aubree's Arrival

Josh sent this picture via text message today. He did a great job on the nursery.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I am having a really difficult time Christmas shopping this year. I went to the mall after work this afternoon picked out some things for the littlest nephews and niece and left the basket in the middle of the store and walked out. I tried a second store and stood reading Christmas cards to a son. I became increasingly sad put the card down and walked out of that store too. By the time I drove home I was irritable and broke down in tears. It is 15 days until Christmas Day and I cannot bring myself to shop for gifts, decorate or even put up a tree. The only gifts I have been able to manage were books for Ava from Amazon, sneakers and cleats from Dick's from Joey to Ava, a couple of Nike hoodies and gym bags for Shaun & Nikolas. That is all I have been able to manage and that shopping was the result of someone else picking it out and me ordering it online. I tried writing a list. The list sits in my handbag. I am expected to put something together for Christmas Eve and I am afraid I will fail. I have to keep it together for my other children and grandchildren however so far I am scoring a big zero.

I am functioning. I have not missed a day at work and I now write and send books to four different young men in prison on drug related charges. I do it because they have no support. I do it because I believe reading is a positive coping skill and educates the mind and keeps those in prison out of trouble. I do it because I care. I do it to be a service to others. I do it to keep my mind off my own problems.

I am a different person today.

Yesterday I received word a tree fell on the house in Cape May. I was notified and sent pictures by the development staff and I did not get upset even though I am sure it will be a huge expense. I went about my day at work doing what I do everyday. I had come to the conclusion it could have been worse. The tree fell on the screen room . It could have fallen on the main house. I found myself feeling grateful and not upset. When I got home to our place in Plymouth last night a pipe burst in one of the bathrooms. It scared the shit out of me as it sounded like an explosion. Good thing we were home from work because the pressure of the water shot out like a fire hydrant towards the ceiling and flooded two rooms. Bill & I were a sight soaking wet trying to turn off a valve to the water. The water was cold and we were soaked head to toe. By the time the emergency plumbers came I had called it a day with a glass a wine as a dozen of towels used to dam the flow of water were in the washer machine. Wet Vac and blower later, the hallway outside the bathroom and one of the bedrooms is still damp so I do not know as yet if it will need to be replaced.  We did discover that there was work on the water main in the street that day which caused an increase in air pressure in the pipes which resulted in the pressure being so high it burst the pipe.

I learned two things yesterday. Do not expect anyone to understand that you may actually be concerned about a tree falling on your shore house because OMG you have a shore house so the response is lukewarm. Second, things could be worse. When you have experienced what I have experienced in the last few years and managed to survive (barely intact but survived) there is few things that can rattle my bones.

Did I mention I am a different person?

Once upon a time it took very little to rattle my bones. I took many things for granted. I had many expectations. At times I even thought I was better than others. I was a bit stuck up. I was smart. Received more than one education. Worked hard. Career minded. Had a very supportive family. Experienced many things. Traveled. I had this amazing life and had it taken from underneath me in one night. It happened to me. It could happen to anyone. If you take things for granted you can lose them in a matter of a hour, a day. Everything you ever thought life would be becomes something you never thought possible. I never thought the events and consequences of today would ever be imagined a few short years ago. 

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Brown & Garner

I read with interest the events which have occurred in Ferguson and New York City this past week. I debated whether or not to write my viewpoint on the events which have gained national attention. I believe in following the law because without the law there would be chaos. I am not against the police officers in this country as a whole.That being said I cannot understand the justification in discharging one's weapon 12 times on an unarmed man or watching on video as an older man is placed in an illegal choke hold which goes against written police policy and was ruled a "homicide" by the Medical Examiner's Office. In both cases the secret grand jury came back with no indictments on the police officers in question. Maybe the grand jury in the Ferguson case received inaccurate testimony and could not reach an indictment.  Maybe the grand jury did not have concrete evidence to press charges? It is difficult to make a decision with conflicting information. Maybe Michael Brown did run towards the police officer and the police officer felt justified in discharging his weapon? Maybe the police officer thought Michael Brown had a weapon and the police officer discharged his own weapon in self-defense? What we do know about this case is the police officer discharged his weapon 12 times in which 6 of those bullets entered the head and chest of Michael Brown and were the cause of death. What we do know is the toxicology report showed Michael Brown had cannabis in his system. Did cannabis in his system mean he could have been violent. I doubt it. I never heard of anyone getting violent from smoking pot. Is cannabis illegal in St. Louis. Yes. Did Michael Brown break the law? Yes and No. He had cannabis in his system which is against the law. Was a crime committed that facilitated the confrontation with the police? We will never know because there was no arrest, charge, trial or conviction and one of the participating parties is dead.

Eric Garner allegedly was selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. His attempted arrest lead to a chokehold which is forbidden practice by trained police officers in New York. Digital video clearly displays the chokehold and Eric Garner saying "I can't breathe". The Medical Examiner ruled the death as a homicide. Another grand jury came back with no indictments. What? The grand jury came back with no indictments? Why? Contributing factors of obesity and asthma is not the cause of death. The cause of death was suffocation. The man could not breathe as a direct result of being choked recorded on video.

Where I worked we are trained in "Handle with Care" with yearly mandatory retrainings. If I ever attempted to place a person in a chokehold whatever the reason I would be on the fast track of unemployed. As a mental Health worker, I follow a strict set of ethnics that clearly states, " do no harm". If I break that code of ethnics whatever the reason I lose my license, my job, my ability to practice in a clinical setting but most of all my integrity.

Both men were black and unarmed. Both police officers were white and armed. Both black men are dead. The punishment does not fit the apparent crime. The police are trained to protect the citizens. Those who enforce the law are not suppose to break the law however it is done everyday in this country. Take a close look at our politicians. 
 We do not live in a post racial society. We should live in a post racial society. Have we not learned anything from the 1960's Civil Rights Movement? Hasn't history taught us anything?

Everyday we hear statements such as "Innocent until proven guilty" however in all reality it appears the statement should be "Guilty until proven innocent". Depending who you are is how you will be treated. I will never cosign violent protests that result in destruction. However I understand it. The squeaky wheel gets attention. An oppress people without a voice and is not heard will succumb to violence because that is what history dictates. Every war in history is about being heard. We are called the United States because of the Revolutionary War. Think about the Civil War and the World Wars. Women Suffrage. We really do forget our history.

I had a conversation about the incidents that occurred in Ferguson and New York with a colleague/friend whom I greatly respect who happens to be a black man. I asked him what he thought about the events/outcomes. He replied "I expected it".

When are we as white folks going to wake up and come together with minorities as one people? I think it pretty sad that the events in our history could lead my friend, or any other person to just expect that injustice would be done.

Part II will follow as I have a hell of a lot more to say.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Aubree's First Doll

I came across this doll over the weekend while in the mountains with my grandsons. The doll is made of porcelain and the wig with its curls and the face with its green eyes reminds me of Ava however this doll was purchased with Aubree in mind. Of course, Aubree will be too young for a doll such as this so I placed it in my china cabinet until she gets older.

Nikolas's 10th Birthday Weekend

 Woodland Inn Mountain Escape

Japanese HibachiRestaurant