Friday, March 31, 2017


Bill left for Florida this morning. His father is dying of end stage heart failure and has very time left on this earth. He is under hospice care. It has been a stressful sleepless week receiving information and updates via through third persons in which the information was not always accurate. Retiring to Florida is a great idea unless you are sick or did not prepare for retirement correctly financially both which are the case as it pertains to Bill's father. His siblings are discussing funeral arrangements and it appears those arrangements include cremation in Florida and a service in Pennsylvania. It is difficult to watch your husband grieve because he is losing his father. I remember how he grieved when his mother died ten years ago. I cannot imagine the pain he is feeling. I still have both my parents and I dread the day when I lose them. It does not matter how old you are you still grieve their loss.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Beautiful Raina

Dressing Aubree for Her Baptism on March 18th

Lynee called me the night before the Baptism and asked if I wanted to come to the house and help Aubree get dressed for her big day. Originally, I was just going to meet them at Church at the appropriate time. What an honor it was to help this little girl get ready for her Baptism. She was so excited to get into that beautiful white dress and I enjoyed every moment of it. I will cherish that memory forever. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


It was an emotionally challenging day at work today. Patient number one was getting ready to discharge today. Treatment was successfully completed. Vivitrol administered. Prescriptions filled out. Doctor seen. IOP set up. Then, as she waited for her parents to pick her up I received a call telling me her probation officer was in the lobby with an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant for a possession charge. I went to the female building and braced her for the events that would be shortly unfolding. I had her call her parents. I copied two sets of discharge paperwork including completion certificate.  I got two envelops and place a copy of each set of paperwork in each. I packed one envelop with her things since her parents will be coming to pick her stuff up then I walked her over to the lobby with another set of paperwork to give to the probation officer as proof that she successfully completed an inpatient program and received the Vivitrol injection. They handcuffed her and shackled her which I personally thought was "overkill" for the charge. I talked her threw the ordeal and walked with them to the car.

I work in a profession where 90% of the patients I encounter have some sort of legal involvement as a result of substance abuse. I speak with more probation/parole officers, judges, attorneys and DA's than I could ever count in all different counties/cities throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Honestly, I feel like I am an attorney myself at times. Advocating for people is very much like an attorney. You should see the arguments I prepare to get patients more inpatient time from insurance companies. This profession is not for the faint of heart and one better know how to speak and write because one does a hell of a lot of it everyday. Whatever happened to the days where a patient laid on a couch talking while the therapist listened and never said a word. Yeah. That kind of therapy does not exist anymore. Today, therapy is advocating, teaching. doing case management while helping someone cope with their substance abuse, mental health, legal and family issues. It is about finding someone a safe place to live dealing with DHS or CYS workers conducting family session and teaching family education. It is about court continuous, visitation, trauma, educational and employment issues. It is about paying an overdue bill or applying for food stamps. It is about finding peer or recovery support. It is about every part of a patient's emotional, physical and spiritual health.

I believe a good counselor can balance it all and still have compassion and empathy. So many counselors burn out or get jaded in this field because the success rate is low and the relapse rate is high and the work is exhausting both mentally and physically. I personally believe it is the best profession in the world. Maybe that is why I am still working at it years later to the point where some of my coworkers who have not been in the field very long ask me how I manage to still be doing this type of work when in fact they are burning out. The only answer I can come up with is the love I have for the work and the fact that some people have gone through terrible things and if they survive the perils of their existence and land at my door step  then I am going to help them with my best effort. I firmly believe in HOPE.

Monday, March 20, 2017

We Said No to the House

After careful consideration and in-depth conversation, we decided to forego the house in Blue Bell. We decided to focus on the property in Roxborough and get it ready to sell. We have already notified our tenant via certified letter of our plans and contacted a realtor. The plan is to list it by June 1st. In the interim we will stay here on a month to month lease until we can assess the situation as events unfold. I think it is time I came to terms one way or another with the house. Yes. I could continue to rent it however I am not the landlord type and I never ventured out to be a landlord. It came upon me at a time when I needed to move out in a hurry because I did not feel safe. Six years have past and now it is time to address the house issue. We notified the development in Blue Bell of our plans to withdraw from the town house and though we lost some money on the deposit, I am content with the decision. It is time I move on because I have been stuck.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Decisions, Reality, Avoidance, Moving On

We are contemplating a major change in our lives. We have until the 20th of March to decide if we want to renew our current lease or move into this house. Apartment living has its benefits especially where we currently reside with our doorman and amenities such as a pool and gym not to mention the basic upkeep of the place as we do not even have to change out a light blub if we so do chose. We have ample space with our high ceilings and large rooms and walk in closets. Though we could use additional space such as a room for Bill to work on his photography. The design of the house would give us that space plus a little more however it comes with a price tag

It also means we need to make a decision in regards to the house in Roxborough. A decision I have placed out of my mind for six years. It is time I came to terms with it so I can move on. Though I believe I have moved on from those dark days I do not believe I have moved on 100%. I feel stuck and very indecisive about this house in Roxborough. It does not help that I was raised Irish Catholic which equals a belief in superstition. You know the usual stuff. Do not open an umbrella in the house or place your shoes on the table as well as a belief in jinxes. Can a house be evil? Can a house be bad luck? Can a priest bless a house to remove evil? Bill suggested I speak with a priest as to ease my mind. Then of course there is that known fact of "one cannot go back". Going back changes nothing. Which takes me right back to decisions. I feel like I have lost my self-confidence in the decision making process. Just because one avoids does not mean it no longer exists. I added some pictures of the house in Blue Bell that we may or may not move into. It has 2.5 baths, 3 bedrooms and a den.

 It has ample closet space.

A stair case that separates the living and dining room.

 The house is in a community and the community has amenities such as a pool, gym, tennis and basketball courts and a playground. There is also a creek complete with ducks.

It is a community of townhouses and the house we are considering looks out into a field vs. a parking lot. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Back in Time

I drove by my childhood home in East Falls this past weekend and I was surprised to see this house abandoned and in disrepair as this house held so many happy memories for me. I have not lived here in 47 years.

How many times I remember going in and out of that front door. I played Jax on those front steps more times than I could ever count. The first floor was our living room. The second floor was my parents' bedroom and the third floor was the room where my brothers Michael and Artie slept. There was a flag pole outside their window and I remember how that flag flapped in the wind. Once I thought a bat hung from it though I wonder if that was my imagination as I had such an incredible imagination as a child. We did indeed see our share of bats as Laurel Hill Cemetery was one block away and known for the bats that found refuge there in the 1960's. I spent many afternoons riding my bike or roller skating in the street in front of this house. It is sad to see something that held such wonderful memories be left standing without any windows. When my parents' lived here the house and yard was beautifully maintained.

Look at the brick work. It looks as if it was once painted over and now the paint is peeling. Who would paint over brick? The first floor windows was the location of the dining room and kitchen. I remember my mother playing cards with her neighborhood friends in this kitchen. I used to love to hang out and watch. Behind that second floor middle window was the bathroom and the window towards the back was one of the windows to our playroom where I spent countless hours playing with my dolls and where my imagination went wild. The windows on the third floor on the left was where my brother's slept and on the right was where my sister and I slept. My sister and I had the back bedroom. Once upon a time there was a beautifully maintained side yard. It is full of garbage today.

The back of this house held the shed that led to the back yard. Once my grandmother slept in that shed when someone tried to break in the back door of her house which was two blocks over on Ridge Ave and my grandfather and uncles worked nights at Midvale Steel. My grandmother flew out her front door and ran over to my parents' house and the only door open was the back door to the shed. These were the days before cell phones and if you did not hear someone knocking or in my grandmother's case banging on the door one slept in the shed. Behind that second floor window was the back of the play room and behind the third floor window was the bedroom my sister and I shared. I remember looking out from that window to the yard and all the adjoining yards that met up with our yard. That was the yard where my baby ducks swam. Yes. I had ducks as a child.

It saddens me to see how this house deteriorated in the last 47yrs. Neighborhoods change. Time goes on and we can never go back. Even in my adulthood I often dream of living in this house. It represented a very happy time in my life. It was a time I had my friends Linda Kenney, Kathy Conboy, Marlene Caruso and Margie Gallagher. It was a time of carefree days with no worries or concerns. Days spent jumping double dutch, playing with dolls, roller skating, bike riding, splashing under the fire hydrant on hot summer days, sitting on the front steps on hot summer nights.

You can never go back except in your memories.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Youngest and Oldest Grandchild

Aubree is a leftie like her Uncle Joe.

                                                              Shaun is up to my height.

New Jersey State Aquarium

Bill and I took Aubree on her first trip to the Aquarium and I must say I have never seen a child so excited to see the wonders of the ocean. I have taken my other grandchildren to the Aquarium when they were younger and after a while they became bored. This was not the case with Aubree, she stood in absolute wonder and grabbed a hold of my hand while she pulled me from exhibit to exhibit as she said over and over again "More Mom  Mom".