Thursday, October 31, 2013


The flights are booked. Car is rented. We are leaving for Ireland on April 15th, my grandfather's birthday. How appropriate to leave for Ireland with my husband and eldest grandchild on the anniversary of my own grandfather's birthday whose Gallagher Roots are from Donegal. This trip has been on my "bucket list" for years. I researched my Gallagher, McCaffery/McCafferty, Cafferty, Boland ancestors (direct line) and now I will walk on the ground they walked on, see the country they saw and enjoy the culture, they knew. Lately, I have felt this very strong need to go and go soon. I am not sure what my internal motivation/drive is coming from though I am sure it has much too do with the current circumstances of my life and the realization of how short life can be and how it can change in a blink of an eye.

I wanted to go for Christmas but the short notice at work and the time needed to plan was too short. (Though I have been known to throw a vacation together quickly) I also wanted to talk to my son about it. I needed his OK. I needed to know it was OK for me to leave. Had he said otherwise, I would have not made the reservations. He was "thrilled" and gave his immediate "blessing". "Mom, I want you to go and have a good time. I will be OK. If I need anything, Dad can help me". He and I are going to do some Christmas shopping via computer this weekend. We have a list from her.

In the end, we will not spend Christmas but Easter in Ireland. I have not made hotel arrangements yet though I have been searching. We will fly into Dublin and we plan to spend one night in the city before we drive the three hours "West" to Donegal. In Donegal, I want to spend one or two nights in a castle. (My grandson's request) then I want to stay in a B&B and/or thatch cottage in County Mayo preferably in or around Ballina and/or Killala.  We will drive back to Dublin and spend another night in the city before we fly back home. A "must see" in Dublin is the National History Museum of Ireland and a quick meal and beer at the Guinness Brewery. Otherwise, it is all about seeing, being and living among the locals.

To answer my own question about the internal motivation, times are tough and things look bleak. Instead of falling into a dark hole, it is about grasping the light at the end of the dark tunnel. There is not a better way of fighting through the dark night then to grasp onto the hope of a promising future. In this way, I move forward. I know that if I do not move forward, my children, my grandchildren will have a difficult time moving forward. If I have learned anything over these past three years it is "my mood" directly "impacts" those closest to me. I have come to realize that in order for those I love to "be ok" and "to move forward", I must model that behavior. Despite any internal war and/or pain I might feel, I will not fall into some dark abyss because I do not want those I love to fall into the abyss. Our hardship has not destroyed us, We found a way to close ranks. We are coming out stronger than ever despite what anyone else thinks, feels or believes.

Maybe, there is a God and maybe that God is working through us.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Ballina is the largest town in Mayo with a population of 10,056 people (2006 Census) and was founded by Lord Tyrawley in 1723 but the settlement on the banks of the Moy existed long before the early 18th century, the original name of the town was Belleek or in Irish, Béal Atha an Fheada (mouth of the ford).

Ballina town is situated in Kilmoremoy parish, named for the ancient monastic site of Cill Mhór na Muaidhe. The remains of the church and enclosure are still visible at Leigue Cemetery on the Killala road. The town nestles on the Moy plain, with the Ox Mountains to the east and Nephin to the west.
Ballina town developed as a small sea port and market town on the estuary of the River Moy, it expanded after The Quay was built in 1836. In the early 20th century coal, cement, tar, timber, and food (tea fruit and coffee) were among the items imported into Ballina. It was a significant port for the export of livestock to Great Britain until World War II. The Quay is now primarily used for pleasure boats.

The Quay, Bunree and Ardnaree are the oldest parts of Ballina town and were originally part of Co. Sligo until the Local Government Act of 1898. A castle was built later on the same site. The remains of the Augustinian Abbey dated to 1427 can still be seen on the east bank of the river beside the Neo-Gothic-style St. Muredach’s Cathedral. The Ardnaree area was disturbed by the English conquests of the 16th and 17th centuries, the most notable event being the Battle of Ardnaree in 1586.
Battle of Ardnaree: September 23, 1586

In the 16th century the Mac Philbins and Mayo Burkes rebelled against the brutal English rule. They had enlisted the help of Scottish settlers (Scottish mercenary light infantrymen). Sir Richard Bingham, governor of Connacht, surrounded the camp by night and slaughtered some 2000 men, women and children. He then went on to hang the leaders of the Burkes. The former lands of Mac Philbins and Mayo Burkes were given to English settlers.

In 1723, Lord Baron of Tyrawley established the linen industry. He brought a large number of skilled flax and linen workers to the town. The factory did not last more than thrity years. He also obtained a patent for fairs and markets which increased trade to the town. From the mid 18th century Ballina also became a garrison town with the erection of the Military Barracks and staff quarters in 1740. The Ham bridge was built in the early 19th century, which accelerated the growth of the town across the river Moy
In 1798 came the French invasion through Kilcummin and Humberts arrival in Ballina when the local garrison, under Col. Sir T. Chapman and Major Kier of the Carbineers retreated to Foxford.
The Workhouse was built in 1835 and the Courthouse and Bridewell was built in the 1840s. In 8th May 1873 the railway came to Ballina.

After the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, Ballina Urban District Council changed the town’s street names to honour those patriots killed in the Republican cause since 1798. Knox Street which was named after a landlord family was changed to Pearse Street, Gore Street was changed to Lord Edward Street, Arran Street to Tone Street, King Street to O’Rahilly Street and John Street to Casement Street.


Five hours later and I await the appearance of the sun or least the dawn. The last time I looked at the clock was 1:36am. The alarm went off at 5:30am. I am very tired. Writing helps. My living journal! Tonight. Pray for sleep.


Can't sleep. After a hour of tossing and turning, I gave up and took myself out of bed and into the recliner. I am repeating last night. I cannot shut down my mind. I am worried. God in your mercy, please do not take him away from me.

I spent the evening looking at all things "Irish". Tomorrow I will book the flights. That will be step two of the process.

One of my patients got up from the chair, walked across the room, stopped in front of me, pointed a finger and placed me on blast. Two other patients in my group thought I needed protection. It happened so two..... three.... Before I knew it the scene was over. It was a wrap. I managed to convince the others I could handle myself...I remained calm. The patient walked out of the room. I walked into the Director's office. Administrative discharge. It is never a good idea to threaten staff in front of a group. Especially if staff is the therapist. Felt freaked out in the comfort of my office. My feathers rarely get ruffled. That sort of threat was a close call. I was one finger away from being punched. You have to have a thick skin to work with this population.

I really need to sleep. I am not good without sleep. One night I can survive. The second night gets risky. By the third night, I am a disaster waiting to happen. I am like a small child. Cranky without sleep or when hungry.

What will tomorrow bring?

It is tomorrow.

The sun will not rise for another 6 hours.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

All the Smiles in the World

Cannot prevent a rough night. The mask I put on during the day has a way of removing itself when the night falls upon me. Last night was an especially bad night. That feeling of fear engulfed me and no matter what thoughts I tried to replace or self talk I spoken, the fear felt enormous. Therefore, I spent the hours telling myself to "give it up to God" Just before 5am, I got up and went into the shower to remove the cobwebs and ease the tension in my neck and head. Bill got up earlier than usual and put the coffee on. I am drinking my second cup waiting for the sun to rise. Even on my days off, I watch the sun rise. This is my time. My moment of meditation and inner peace. In just a few minutes, I will put the suit and heels on, grab my lunch bag, water bottle and purse and begin my work day. Meatballs sit in the refrigerator waiting to be cooked for tonight's dinner. I make a mental note that I have to deposit a check in the bank on my way home, review the day's one on one sessions, group, meeting, complete paperwork on a pending discharge, wonder how many admissions came in overnight and how many I will need to assign to counselors.

The sun is creeping up behind the hills in the distance with colors of red and orange. Another day has come.

Monday, October 28, 2013

O'Donnell Castle

Click to enlarge
Donegal Castle, by the banks of the river Eske, was built by Hugh Roe O'Donnell in 1474Red Hugh O'Donnell - fought bravely against the English in many a battle, one of which is commemorated in the song "O'Donnell Abu". Sadly, his last great battle was to be Kinsale in 1601 when his army marched non-stop from Donegal and were badly defeated. The tactics decided in the castle prior to the battle were to have significant ramifications for the country.
It is said that Red Hugh, aware of his imminent fate, destroyed the castle before leaving, "to prevent this fortress of the Gael becoming a fortress of the Gall". On capture, the English were able to fortify such castles and use them as a base to attack the Irish. However, this is what happened with the castle being granted to Captain Basil Brooke in 1611. He extended the manor house to the existing tower house and is indeed claimed to be the architect responsible for the layout of Donegal Town Centre.

After passing through several generations of Brookes before falling into decay in the 18th century, the then owner (the Earl of Arran) placed the castle in the guardianship of the Office of Public Works in 1898.
Only in recent times has the castle been restored, furnished throughout with Persian rugs and French tapestries. Writing about the castle's history, the author John M. Feehan goes as far as to suggest that the whole history of Ireland for three hundred years was decided within the castle walls before Kinsale. He recommends that we should "step up to them, touch, and say a silent prayer for the brave men who blundered so badly in those far-off days".


The castle is now a hotel and one which we plan to spend a night or two. We decided to go over Easter instead of Christmas. I took the first step and asked for the days off. We are planning an April 15th departure and will fly into Dublin spend one night before driving west to Donegal. No tours for us. We want to explore the country, meet the locals and enjoy ordinary life. We will stay in a castle while in Donegal. However, we will stay in a rural cottage in County Mayo.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


My great grand mother Agnes Bridget Boland McCaffery (McCafferty) was born in this tiny village with a population of 500 people before she relocated with her family to Ballina.

 Killala , County Mayo in the West of Ireland


Killala (in Irish: Cill Ala) is a picturesque seaside village six and a half miles north-west of Ballina in north Mayo, famous in Irish history for the part it played in the 1798 rebellion.


In August of 1798 General Humbert arrived into Kilcummin pier from France and combined with the Irish forces against the English forces in the area. This year is chronicled in Irish history as the Year of the French and a book and television history celebrate this unique event.
Consequently, Killala has become a popular location for the historian and in fact was used as a major location for the 1981 multi million pound film "The Year of the French". In 1998 Killala celebrated the bicentenary by twinning with a town in Chauve in France.

Killala Round Tower

Killala's skyline is dominated by a round tower, dating to the 12th century, a testament to the historic distinction of the village as an ecclesiastical centre. The Killala round tower was most likely used as a belfry and is one of the best examples of round towers in Mayo.
In the centre of Killala there is a Church of Ireland cathedral, built in 1670 over the remains of a ruined Catholic cathedral that had stood on the same site. The adjoining graveyard has a 9th century souterrain with numerous chambers.
The origins of the Killala diocese date from the time of St Patrick who appointed his disciple, St Muredach, over the church there - dating back to 442 or 443 AD.


The area is rich in archaelogical remains such as:
  • Rosserk Abbey (founded in 1400 AD as an early Franciscan Friary)
  • Moyne Abbey
  • Rathfran Abbey (Dominican Priory 1274 AD)
  • Meelick Castle
  • Humberts Rock
  • Céide Fields (the oldest enclosed farms in the world) are a short distance away near Ballycastle.

If my husband can get off from work around Christmas, there is a good chance I will be here!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Root Beer

Good Time at Terry and Regina's house in Royersford tonight! Regina made the dinner and I brought the wine. Played with their chocolate lab "Root Beer". He is the sweetest dog, full of energy and huge! He is well trained by his owners. Of course that is until I come over. What can I say? That dog loves me!

Friday, October 25, 2013


I ordered the third and final holiday ham today for my son. All three boys and families have a ham on the way.

Did I mention I am glad the weekend is upon us and better yet, I have off from work?

I think my mother went away for a long weekend with my sister and her friends. Why I do not know for sure is because no one told me. Welcome to my family life! We are thick as thieves.

I ate a slice of chocolate truffle babka from Panera Breads. Totally delicious and sweet.

I asked my oldest son what his Thanksgiving plans were. Truth be told, I am looking for an invitation as I will probably work (I volunteered) however if I do not work or receive an invitation, I will probably try and spend the day out of town though I do have to work the following weekend. My middle son will be with his in-laws and my youngest son will be with his father.

I want to take the grandsons out to dinner and/or spend a day with them. I have Halloween cards for them. Trying to schedule some time with them is tough because of sports. I did spend time with my granddaughter and she received her card. My granddaughter is busy with cheerleading, swimming and daisies. They are all growing up.

My renter replaced the bounced check. This time I deposited the check in my savings account, so if it does not clear, I will not mess up the checking account.

I went to the salon after work last night. I liked my hair last night. However, I am not so sure tonight.

My office at work is like a furnace. They really need to lower the heat. My office is on the third floor of an old mansion and it is too cold in the summer and too hot in the winter. They never seem to get the temperature right for the building. I can handle the cold much better than the hot. I hate the heating system as it feels as though the moisture is being sucked out of my skin and hair let alone, I cannot breath. I dress in layers but that does not help the dryness. Then, there are the chemicals housekeeping sprays to clean. Good God!

The next few weeks are going to be tough. I am very lucky to have a job I like. It helps to stay busy. At times, I wish I had someone to talk to. Yes. I have Bill. Sometimes, I wish I had a female to talk to. I am sure I will be fine. I always find a way to survive no matter what. I teach my patients to face their fears, I need to practice what I preach. I have been a lot better with facing my fears. God knows, I have had little choice in the matter.

Today was dress down Friday at work. Jeans and boots were the order of the day, instead of the usual suit and pumps.

Trying to decide how to spend our weekend. Bill wants to take advantage of the Fall season for photography (his side job). I looked into our usual haunts such as Gettysburg or Mountains and some of the old favorites Arlington or Baltimore. Nothing final. I must admit Bill is a wonderful photographer. Take a look for yourself   

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another Day in the Life of Me

I ordered Holiday Hams to be delivered to the boys today. I ordered them earlier than last year and two out of three will receive them next week so they can be enjoyed. I began this practice a few years ago. It is a new tradition. I generally order them for Christmas but I wanted them sent out early this year. Christmas will be simple this year. Everyone will receive gift cards. I cut back a lot last year. I will give to the same folks I gave to last year. Most importantly, I will give to my children and grandchildren. Once upon a time, I had Christmas Eve open house every year. This will be the third year in a row I suspended that tradition. I send hams and go to their homes. I volunteered to work both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day so that others can have off. I do not have small children or have to drive hours to see family.

I really could do without the additional weight gain that had the nerve to sneak up on me. I never worried about weight and my height was good at hiding any additional pounds here and there. No one told me about weight gain after menopause and the fact the weight falls in the belly area. I want to know why it is called MEN O PAUSE. Are we pausing the men in our lives? Seriously? I did some reading on the subject and was surprised that muscle around the belly turns to fat once estrogen levels drop. In order to combat the belly fat, a post menopausal woman must reduce her daily calorie intake about 50 to 100 and exercise 40 minutes every day. Sounds simple? Right? I am still trying to figure the 40 minutes in a 10 to 12 hour work day EVERY BLESSED DAY and does that mean tread mill and weight lifting or can that be walking and biking. Then, there is the cold winter months. Does this mean I have to give up that tasty dessert or glass of wine? Do they sell sugarless and fat free wine? Does sitting in a hot tub count for exercise? If it does I am so very in. I have come to the conclusion that I am not aging gracefully.

Why must one's supervisor send a group text message to all the counselors at 715p to notify us that we must be in the boardroom at 915a for a meeting with the CEO? Does not give me a fuzzy feeling.

I noticed I am writing more. I am writing nearly every day. Boring!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


We have treatment team everyday. At this treatment team sit nine counselors, director, and UR. We discuss patients. We get ideas. We get support. We also discuss things like patient awareness, teamwork, etc.. Yesterday, the director brought up patient awareness and began to share about a patient whom he had a conversation. The patient told him "I" and "yes" that would be "me" was the "best counselor he ever had and he had been in three rehabs this past year".

I am humble on two fronts; the patient saying this and my director bringing it up in treatment team.

It is nice to know that the work you do can actually make a difference to another person. I really work hard. I really put my entire self into this profession. I am humble and grateful because I know it is not about me but about the person who is ready to change. I was just in the right place at the right time.

Monday, October 21, 2013


I came across the following article and I wanted to share it here. Maybe someone will come across this site and the article may just be what that person needs to read. Because I teach Family Education and counsel those with addictions I thought it may be a good article to present. I am also a mom and I must admit that when I read this I began to swell up with tears. A mother's pain for her child is the greatest pain. I truly believe that. Addiction is just one aspect of pain. How many of "us" moms have sat in a dark room and sobbed in silence? How many of us shut our self off from the world? How many of us had people in our lives whom we thought were supportive only to discover they were talking behind our backs, putting us down, judging us before they walked away? How many of us pleaded and begged God then discovered God was not there or worse yet began to believe God never existed? Do not get me started on the guilt and blame. What did we do wrong? What could we have done better? Why did we not see it? What kind of mothers are we? We do not need anyone to make us feel bad, we are really great to do it to ourselves. After work today, I stopped at the Acme on Ridge Ave. I have not shopped there since 2011. I like to grocery shop at the Acme. I am not fond of Giant or Weismann's and Whole Foods can be costly. I grabbed a shopping cart and walked down the aisles and I felt "normal". Sounds kind of crazy to feel "normal" in a grocery store. I have not felt "normal" in a long time and to have this feeling was wonderful. It is the simple things in life that carry us.

"With the door shut and lights off, a mom is crying. She pours her heart out to "God," and then screams at Him, asking why He doesn't respond. She doesn't answer the phone, call her friends, get dressed, or do her h...air and makeup like she used to. In fact, she doesn't do anything like she used to do. Her work suffers, her relationships suffer, her life has become one of regrets, mistakes, and sorrow. She sits in the dark thinking of all the things she did wrong in her life, begging forgiveness from God, from her friends, from her family, and she wishes she could die. Her friends and family have nothing to give her, they are secretly relieved when she doesn't talk to them anymore. So she pores through the internet, through books, watching The Doctors, Oprah, and Dr. Phil looking for solutions, for answers, for help . . . and there is none. This wounded, broken mom is an addicts mom. And I know this mom personally. She was me, the Executive Director of The Addict's Mom. She was Barbara Theodosiou, the Founder of the Addict's Mom. She was Kathy Frasier, our Regional Director. She was one of the thousands of moms we have met who have joined The Addict's Mom groups. For Barbara, Kathy, myself and the thousands of women like us, we have found hope, inspiration, resources, guidance, solace and we have gotten our lives back. For we have found, we are not alone, and we have found empowerment here in the groups of the Addict's Mom.  This is for the mom who doesn't know we are here yet. It is for that mom sitting all alone in a dark room. She is sobbing, and railing at God, she doesn't know where to turn, or who to reach out to. She believes she is a failure, a fraud, for she believes a lie. A lie that tells her she has let down the person she loves most in the world, her child. Help spread awareness of the epidemic of addiction in this nation. An epidemic that has touched 23.5 million Americans. And if there are 23.5 million addicts, it doesn't take much figuring to realize there is double that many people who love them: moms, dads, spouses, sibling, grandparents, friends, and even sadder children. Every addict has someone who loves them. Someone who cares and is wounded, someone who needs help almost as much as the addict does. Please help that person, that wounded mom,  Please don't let them think they are alone any more."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

And Then

Bill won! I got up out of bed and went out to a few stores. As a result, I now have food in the house. He now has a new pair of computer glasses ordered. Neck still aches. Head still aches. Spent most of the day watching new shows as well as season finalities. I started watching Mary, Queen of Scots and finished watching the White Queen. The verdict is out on the Mary, Queen of Scots and I love the White Queen though it is not exactly based on REAL history. The problem with being an avid lover of history is when one watches shows that do not exactly follow history.

He received the video game in the mail from amazon. He is always grateful and never fails to call and say "thank you". If they were all as grateful as he.

My problem is I am not living in the day. I am so worried about the future that I am not living in the day.

Lately I have been feeling it is time to retire. I always planned on working until I was 70 years old. However, I recently have been feeling I may not want to work past the required 67 years old which makes another 13 years of employment. Why does 13 years suddenly feel DAUNTING? Funny, if I worked for the Federal Government, I could have already retired. Wishful thinking. Lately, I feel too tired and too old to keep up this fast pace. I really have aged in the last year. Blame it on Menopause or thereafter or blame it on stress or age. I do not know. I just know I feel older and tired. I look older too. I never had lines on my face until this year.

Funny, I always end up writing about nonsense.


Bill asked me what the chances are that he will get me out of bed today. I am thinking the chances are slim to none. I have been awake four hours and I still am here in bed with laptop, and down comforter pulled up passed my mouth, I have had two cups of coffee and a slice of wheat toast
courtesy of Bill.

I may just have to give in to this depressive state of mind at least for today.

I have been surfing the net, playing games, watching silly "you tube" videos. I do not feel ambitious to do anything else. I am surprised I even wrote anything.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hold On Let Go

I feel like if I let the tears go I will not be able to stop them. I have been keeping them back all night. On the way back from his house we stopped at a pub for dinner and two tears rolled down my face. Immediately, I held them back, took out my I-Phone and began playing a card game. I have learned to change my thoughts by games, books and music. I do a lot of each every day especially when the work-day has ended and the weekend is upon me.

I miss the black cat. I felt sad when we drove by the vet. I am going to take care of the other cat when he leaves.

Full moon tonight. I wonder if it is impacting my mood? I believe in nonsense like that. The moon was incredible as it rose into the night sky. Full. Bright. Abnormally large. A Halloween moon. I heard she is going to a Pumpkin Patch tomorrow. It will be a nice sunny 60's weather day. If I could, I would head up the mountains. I can't so I won't. I would really like a hot tub or massage for my neck. It is 8 days of headaches. I wonder when they will end. I have had headaches my entire life. When they start, they can go on and on for days and the pain scale can be extremely high.

As a club member, there is an appreciation weekend with special rates for the weekend of November 1st and 2nd. I am debating whether or not to take advantage of that. Truth be told, I do not need a special rated weekend to escape the chaos of life. I am pretty good about taking them and skipping up the mountains or west to Gettysburg. I like my downtime.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Just Me

I was told by a patient I was sweet. Hmmm? Sweet? I have been told a lot of things but sweet was never one of them with the exception of when I was a child. I believe my mother called me "a sweet child". I would refer to myself as firm, honest, straight forward with a desire to never sugar coat anything. I can be soft, sometimes emotional and sensitive, over-thinker, worrier, realist, talk too much and sometimes too loud but sweet. I wonder.

I believe I am really good with the 20 something year old males. I have to credit my sons. They taught me everything. Therefore, I can relate and understand the male creatures because I managed to survive raising three such creatures myself. Raising my boys taught me how to be a good counselor especially to boys the same ages. I guess if I was honest, I am pretty good with the females as well as the males.

The young adults (these days) are involved in heavier drugs with severe consequences. When I was a teenager in the 70's, there were drugs but heroin was something only those in gangs messed around with. I grew up in the age of pot smoking, beer drinking, LSD, Coke and Angel Dust. It was before the invention of crack and popular heroin usage. Rehab was rare. Crime rates were low. In the Jack in the Box crowd, we were broken up into three groups. The ones who went off to college. The ones who went into the military and the ones who became the addicts. Today, we are counselors, nurses, pharmacists, business owners, computer programmers, cops, teachers, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, retired military, still in the military, and some are dead as a result of drug and alcohol abuse, use and consequences there of.

Many of us are still friends. Many of us still spend time together. Clubs, dances, bars, concerts have been replaced by weekends away, dinners out and backyard BBQ's. Wine replaces beer. Most of us wear glasses, are alittle overweight and stressed out, talk about kids and now grandkids.

We look different. We talk different. We still feel the same.

I have no idea how I got on this subject. I start to write and end up with the stuff above. Good Lord!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sleep Eludes me

Sleep eludes me tonight. I laid awake the last hour and decided to get up and write. I do not want to lay for hours getting frustrated over an inability to fall asleep. Yes. I have to get up at 530a for work. Yes. I will be tired.  Now I have a glass of chocolate milk as company. It is strange that I cannot drink without the chocolate.

So what is keeping me up? It could be the check that did not clear from the renter and the transfer of savings into checking to cover it. I am not sure how I am going to handle the situation and pray that this does not become a habit on her part. I cannot afford to pay the mortgage for the house without the renter's check. Maybe I am awake because I have an earache compounded by five days of headaches. Maybe I am awake because Bill's contract with Vanguard expired and he started a new contract with Apple Vacations and the third day into the job, he gets a swollen right eye that prompted him to leave work early to go to the doctor to have the eye checked out. Tomorrow, he has to go to another doctor for eye and even the possibility of a trip to Will's Eye Hospital in the city. Pretty good reason to be awake, I think. Maybe I just have insomnia.

It is not like I never get insomnia.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


He told me he held a grudge for years because I did not notify him when his godfather died. He had just completed 8th grade and was down the shore with his friend and their family. I do not know why I did not tell him. Truth be told, I barely remember those days after his death. Apparently, I did not inform my son until he can back from the shore when my brother was already interred. What a horrible mistake that was. Why did I not tell him? He had a right to know. Did I try to protect him or was I in such shock I never remembered? I cannot answer that question. What is done is done. I never knew how much it impacted my son. He never told me until years later. He said he never got to say goodbye. I kept that from him.

I have made so many mistakes. So many mistakes in raising my boys.

Under the Weather and Reading

Headaches and neck pain have over come me this last week. I worked all last week with a headache only to spend the remaining day of the weekend (Sunday) in bed. The only relief I will get is when the headache breaks. I stayed home from work to accomplish that task these last two days. So far it is not working.

I finished the book on Rose Kennedy. It was interesting though critical of her. What I learned from this book was
  • She was spoiled.
  • She was entitled and knew it.
  • She was obsessed with weight and image.
  • She had a lot of house-hold help including maids, cooks, nurses, governesses.
  • She liked quiet.
  • She traveled a lot alone.
  • She left the important decisions up to her husband.
  • She was in Paris when her father died and never made it back for the funeral. The same thing when her mother died.
  • She helped raise (or her house-hold helped raise) her sister's Agnes's children.
  • She spent a lot of money on clothes, travel, hotels, jewelry but was cheap at the same time.
  • She loved the spot light then escaped to be alone.
  • She never changed a diaper, cooked a meal, or cleaned her house.
I think I am jealous of her. Not really.

I am going to start a new book called "The Plantagenets". I believe it starts in the 11th century. The Plantagenets ruled before the Yorks or Lancastrians who ruled before the Tudors.

Should be interesting if one likes history as I do.

I would really like this pain at the base of my neck to stop hurting.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cat Cat 7/2010 to 10/2013

He passed away overnight. My heart is broken. I know he is a cat but he was a special cat. Sweet and Funny, Cuddly and Loyal.
He was born in July 2010 and we adopted him and his brother in October of 2010. He was the healthier of the two as his brother had eye and ear issues. He had a cute personality and forever felt the need to sleep wrapped around my head at night.
 They were adopted for my granddaughter and though she loved them both she favored Cat Cat (her name for him) because he would allow her to pick him up and carry him around. Shark Shark (her name for him) would never allow her to do that.
We are going to miss him.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Growing Rate of Opiate Addiction in Knoxville TN.

Oct. 11, 2013 at 7:15 PM ET
The child, seen in this Sept. 19, 2013 photo, was born dependent on drugs his mother took during pregnancy.
Wade Payne / Thunderhead Photography
Baby Jason, a 3 1/2-week-old boy born hooked on drugs, is given medication to ease withdrawal at East Tennessee Children's Hospital in Knoxville. He's part of a trend that predicts some 800 drug-dependent babies in the state this year.
On an average day, neonatal nurse practitioner Carla Saunders faces two dozen babies born hooked on drugs, infants so sick with the pain of withdrawal that they cry nonstop, claw their faces and writhe in agony at the sound of a voice or the touch of hand. But that’s just the average.
“Today, it may be even higher,” says Saunders, who staffs the 60-bed intensive care unit at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville, Tenn. “It’s been as high as 37.”

The babies are part of a grim trend in Tennessee, where a new report shows that the number of newborns dependent on drugs their mothers took during pregnancy is higher than ever — and experts say it should be a warning to the rest of the nation.

“At the current rate this epidemic is progressing, we are projecting more than 800 drug-dependent newborns by the end of this year,” said Dr. John Dreyzehner, the commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health.

Already this year, the Volunteer state has counted more babies born with symptoms of withdrawal from opiates — a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS — than they saw in all of 2011.

Because Tennessee is the first state to require reporting of NAS, experts say it’s a harbinger of a worsening national problem of pregnant women addicted to prescription painkillers and other opiate drugs — and a reminder of the toll substance abuse takes on the tiniest citizens.

“At best it represents a significant amount of human suffering and at worse, we’re concerned about what might follow the child throughout life,” Dreyzehner told NBC News.

Stopping pregnant women from using drugs — and drug users from becoming pregnant – is the key to easing one of the worst consequences of America’s ongoing prescription drug crisis, he said.
'They were just flooding us
'Overall, an estimated 13,539 babies were born with NAS in the U.S. in 2009 -- or about one every hour-- according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That’s nearly triple the number in 2000, researchers said.
(No government agency tracks NAS cases, although Tennessee is a start and Florida is considering requiring reporting, experts say.)

America’s prescription drug abuse problem is no secret. Drug overdoses have exceeded motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. since 2009. Some 17,000 people die each year from opiate overdoses, more than quadruple the number a decade ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This year, CDC officials warned that the problem was growing worse among women, with painkiller deaths spiking five-fold between 1999 and 2010.

Pregnant women are no exception, according to the 2012 study, which found that maternal opiate use also jumped five-fold between 2000 and 2009.

In places where the prescription drug problem has been particularly bad – New England, Florida and the hills of Appalachia — there’s been a parallel rise in drug-dependent babies, experts say.
Saunders, the Tennessee nurse practitioner, first noticed the problem in 2008, when her hospital saw 35 drug-dependent babies. By 2010, that number was up to 115 and by last year, the hospital hit 287.
Baby Jason, 3 ½ weeks, is held snugly by Chuck Morgan, a volunteer 
‘cuddler’ with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
Wade Payne / Thunderhead Photography
Baby Jason, 3 1/2 weeks old, is held snugly by Chuck Morgan, a volunteer "cuddler" at East Tennessee Children's Hospital in Knoxville, Tenn. The child was born dependent on drugs his mom took during pregnancy.
“They were just flooding us,” she said. “I thought, oh my god, this is the tip of the iceberg. We’re going to have to take on the number one problem in the country.”

Babies born to mothers addicted to drugs arrive with the same substances in their systems, typically prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin. When the effects start to wear off, the infants go into withdrawal, with all of the symptoms and distress of any adult user.

“In general, they are crying 24/7. They are inconsolable,” Saunders said. They claw at their faces, they have tremors, they go rigid with pain and stress. The babies have trouble eating and suffer from frequent diarrhea, which leaves their bottoms bleeding and raw.

Caregivers try to ease the babies through withdrawal, which can take about a week, with soothing care, including swaddling and rocking in dark, quiet rooms. But many infants have to be dosed with morphine or methadone, also opiates, and then slowly weaned off the drugs.

“It is extremely labor-intensive. These kids can be as labor-intensive as our most critically ill newborns,” Saunders said.

The issue has been recognized for years, but it’s getting worse, not better, said Dr. Mark Hudak, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville, and lead author of American Academy of Pediatric guidelines on NAS.

“I think that the problem is continuous and relatively little progress has been made as far as babies affected,” he said.

'An entirely preventable situation'The costs of treating such babies is rising, too. The charge for treating a healthy newborn through TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, is about $4,200, while the cost to treat a baby diagnosed with NAS is nearly $67,000. State Medicaid programs bear more than 77 percent of the burden for NAS charges nationwide, the 2012 study found. 

One reason the issue is so intractable may be that many addicted women don’t realize they’re at risk, experts say. New data from Tennessee show that 42 percent of mothers of drug-dependent newborns used only substances prescribed for legitimate treatment. Another 30 percent used illegal drugs and about 20 percent used a mix of both.

Anger is the natural reaction of many who encounter drug-affected babies writhing in pain, but Saunders and other health experts said that reaction doesn’t help anyone. Even a short course of opiates can lead to dependence and many pregnant women can’t stop ‘cold turkey,’ she said.
“Any one of us is an accident away from being an addict,” she said.

State and federal regulators have cracked down on prescription drug use, adding stiffer warnings to labels and making it harder to get and abuse the drugs.

But the key, Dreyzehner said, is not only to target drug prescribing and availability, but also to make sure that doctors and patients – including would-be mothers – recognize the risks well before pregnancy.

“What’s critical is that this is an entirely preventable situation.”
JoNel Aleccia is a senior health reporter with NBC News. Reach her on Twitter at @JoNel_Aleccia or send her an email.

Daily Living

Six hundred dollars poorer. A late night emergency Vet visit. A three year old cat with a blocked urethra. Let's hope the emergency procedure worked to unblock the urethra. I cannot believe I cried over the cat last night. Oh yes I can. I am a softy.

I think I am going to have to call my doctor tomorrow and make an appointment. My head still hurts and it has been several days of headaches.

I am on chapter five of the audio book.

I ordered another book last night before the cat episode.

More rain.

I am not permitted to talk about her but I will say yesterday was wonderful.

The weather is changing evident by flocks of geese flying in formation.

No more nightly summer sounds of crickets.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

This and That

Hopefully, I will meet her for breakfast before I meet him. I am really glad it is the weekend. I have so much tension in my neck, my head hurts. I need a hot-tub. Turn-overs at work equal a lot of assessments and discharge plans. I seem to get all my patients at once and Have them all discharge at once.

I discovered a cool lazy way to read books. It is called Whispersync for Voice. You download a book and you can either read it or listen to it or switch back and forth. I download the books on my lap-top as well as I-Phone. I am reading Rose Kennedy presently. If I listen to it, it is 14 hours. Good way to go to sleep at night. I joined an amazon book club for 14 dollars a month.

I guess I will go back to that coffee, possibly add a few aspirins for this headache, pray the rain stops (day #4) of rain, and get my body in gear. Happy Saturday!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Grandparents Have an Important Impact on their Grandchildren's Lives

Changing roles of grandparents: Are more raising their grandchildren?

13 hours ago
I don't know about you, but my grandparents had a huge impact in my life. Their history, their values, their sense of family and service informed how I was raised and how I have lived my life. My parents were incredible grandparents, inspiring our children to be of service as well and to view family as the most important source of love and inspiration.

The role of grandparents is both constant and fluid. Both stable and ever-changing. Today, millions of people who are grandparents are also doing double duty as parents, providers, caretakers and caregivers. Millions of grandparents are raising the next generation; retirement is not even in their playbook.

My grandparents were well-known — millions are not. They toil in obscurity and yet their work caring for children is hardly acknowledged or validated. NBC is changing that by shining a spotlight on some grandparents pulling double duty.

As They Grow Up

I believe the days of Happy Meals and Kid Menus are history. My eight year old grandson ordered salmon with a side salad for dinner and ate it! The days of cheap dinner dates has also come to an end. Ouch! The Pocket Book is hurting!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

National Apple Harvest Festival

We drove out to the National Apple Harvest Festival this morning, parked, jumped on a bus, then arrived at the festival. There were hundreds of vendors nestled in the valley of beautiful hills. The leaves are changing into colors of red and orange. Bands played. There was a petting zoo and story time for kids which Nikolas totally loved. There was an Indian Dance. Apples. Apples and more apples. We ate Carmel apples, apple cake, apple turnovers, apple butter, apple cider and plan old apples. I am surprised we are not "apple out" yet. Wild Bills supplied their old fashion soda. We purchased two really nice metal mugs and filled them up with root beer from a barrel. We ate BBQ Pulled Pork which was tasty. We sat on bales of hay. We walked and walked and OH My God, walked on this Fall day that had summer weather.

Afterwards we drove 10 miles south to Gettysburg and this is where we are spending the night. The parks are closed down as a result of the government shut down. However, we have been out here so many times, it really does not matter if we hit the park. True to this genealogist's heart, our room overlooks a cemetery. An old Cemetery.

 Trying to get Nikolas to smile at the camera is nearly impossible as he is at the age where he rather make faces at it instead.



National Apple Harvest Festival Weekend

We are heading out to Biglerville to attend an Apple Harvest Festival then we will spend the night out in Gettysburg. The government is shut down so the park will be on lock down. Gettysburg is close to the Apple Festival. Nikolas is joining us. His brother has a football game this afternoon.

When I asked Nikolas if he wanted to go he answered, "I would love to go. I like apples". LOL! 

Friday, October 04, 2013

Codependent Life

 We have been carrying around the weight of the world. We have taken on responsibilities that aren't ours in an attempt to mold, manage and control the pain in our life. We really only have 2 options; 1-admit our powerless & and begin the road to recovery or 2- continue in our present situation of uncertainty & and misery and hope that things won't get worse. Happiness or existing-the choice is ours.
We have been so busy taking care of everyone else's needs that we haven't had time for our own. When we begin to give our own life top priority we are surprised to learn that it is a full time job.

We can't give something away that we don't have. If we don't honor, respect and love ourselves, how do we know where to start to love another in a healthy way.


Thursday, October 03, 2013

Another Day in the Life

It was an interesting day. Let me just mention that by 10am I was ready to leave work and crawl home. What was it about today that everywhere I looked, walked, passed on by I saw another patient doing something they were not suppose to do and had to redirect. By 10am, I was ready to close the office door and call it a day. Welcome to Residential Treatment! Welcome to average current patient being between 18 and 25. I am working in a Frat House.

I really enjoy the young folks when they are not hanging out the window, sliding down the banisters, screaming across the parking lot, climbing out the fire escape.

I have the perfect job. I can "play" mother to a house full of youngsters.

Of course three of the nine counselors are fresh out of graduate school. I enjoy them too. As a matter of fact, I believe Michelle adopted me as a mother figure as she is planning her wedding and showing me wedding venues to see what I thought. I really like Michelle. She is sweet, tiny and wears the cutest dresses.

It was a very long day. The day ended with a dinner date with these guys.

What a blast! They are too funny! If I want to laugh, place these guys in my way. They are growing up. They are funny and smart and totally adorable. Not to mention, they are as Irish as Irish can be with those blue eyes and freckles. They also enjoy each others company. You can tell they love each other. Grandparenting is the best!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Father vs. Dad

I sent him a card. It has been several years since I sent him a card. He is going to be 80 years old October 4th. Yes. My biological father, the one who did not raise me, the one I refer to as father vs. Dad will be 80 years old. He lives in South Carolina on a ranch and raises horses. Last time I spoke to him was 5 years ago. At that time, his daughter from a second marriage was living nearby, unmarried, no children, training horses. He was 27 years old when I was born, an officer in the United States Navy, a career military man. When she was born, he was 46 years old, retired from the military, an engineer at a chemical company in Southern New Jersey. Seven years after her birth, he would move to South Carolina.

Me (Days)

Her (Days)

5 years ago (Pelion, S.C.)

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Hello Red Peacoat

You have Arrived. Now I need cooler weather!