Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  Just sharing a few pics of our holiday - hope you are all having a happy and safe one.  We are at the tail end of a blizzard right now.  We lost power for almost 2 hours last night, so we lit some candles and watched a Netflix DVD on my laptop - it was actually nice.

We spent Christmas Eve at my sister's house - here are all the cousins:  Trevor (17), Josh (13), Cassidy (15), Christopher (he'll be 10 on New Year's Day), and Eric (19):

Jeremy and me:

Me, Aimee (my cousin Nick's wife), Shell, and Andrea (my cousin Matt's wife):

Calli and Cassidy:

Jeremy & Missy:

Calli, me, Molli & Jeremy:

Christmas morning in our new apartment:

My little stuffed reindeer that my angel Meg gave me 3 years ago (she passed away 6 months later), with her picture hanging off his ear.  This is one of those Christmas decorations that goes up first every year, in a special place where I can see it every day:

 Christmas morning - me and my sis-in-law Kelsey, with my father-in-law Richie in the background:
I expect to spend the next few weeks getting the apartment in order and everything put away... I hope to get some good pics to share once I finish.  I'm a little anxious to get through the next week - I just can't shake the feeling that 2010 was a terrible year and I want it to be over.  I have high hopes for 2011!  :)  


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Quick Update

Just a quick update to let you know that we moved into our new place this past weekend - I have been working feverishly ever since Friday to get this place put together so it would feel like Christmas around here.  I'll take some pics later to share - the closets are being done on the 29th, so I still have about 20-25 boxes to unpack once the closets are done, but it's already looking like a HOME.  I'm so happy, I could burst.  It's just so true, that you really don't appreciate stuff until you don't have it.  Spending the past 4 months as a house-guest at gram's was really starting to take a toll on me, mostly emotionally & mentally.  Christmas made it even worse - but we made it and we're so appreciative of all of the love & support we've received along the way.

As I was unpacking, I would squeal with delight when I found certain things - like my rubber stamps from TGF, All That Scraps, and Stamping Bella!  LOL  I am so itching to get back into making cards and participating in challenges!!!  Then there were some sad surprises, too - a few broken Precious Moments figurines... the worst was when I unpacked this beautiful Precious Moments nurse doll that my aunt had given me years ago... it was about 10-12 inches tall with a porcelain head and hands and cloth body... yes, I say "was" - I unpacked her, said "Oh, I am sooooo glad she didn't get broken!" - I then put her down, she fell over and her head smashed into a thousand pieces.  Such is life, right?  A year ago, I might have cried for an hour over that - more over the sentimental value than anything - but today, I have a different perspective on things.  They are just that - things.  So I threw her away and moved on to the next box.  I was quite proud of myself.

OK - sorry no pics today, but I have been too busy to take any!  I will be back later in the week, before Christmas.  Jeremy & I are off to do some last-minute Christmas shopping today.  


Monday, December 13, 2010

More on Grief...

This past weekend, I received a very nasty comment on my blog post titled "Grief" (click to see original entry).  I didn't want to publish the entire comment because the anonymous author mentions specific last names of people that I am not sure would want their names published, but I am going to copy and paste the comment here now, with the last name changed, so that I can respond to it.  Here it is:

"This is APPALLING I have never met you, but let me tell you right now, If you and I ever meet IT WILL NOT BE PRETTY. You have your whole story twisted. You have NO CLUE what the heck you are talking about. This part-

"She loved going for rides on it, something they did on sunny weekend days. On this particular sunny Sunday morning, Maryann was the one who convinced Richie to go for the bike ride. He came up with an excuse not to go, but she really wanted to. Because he loves to please her, he gave in. This is something he'll regret for the rest of his life."

Is COMPLETE CRAP. That is no where near accurate. Mary was supposed to spend the weekend at the cape with her brothers and sisters. But since Richie had just had surgery she decided to be a good wife and stay home with him. SHE IS THE MOST SELFLESS PERSON I HAVE EVER MET. "Maryann was the one who convinced Richie to go for the bike ride. He came up with an excuse not to go, but she really wanted to." Where the heck did you come up with that bull crap? That is pure LIES. After reading this I am steaming. I can't even put into words all that I want to say to you right now. They are not acting selfish. Mary is DEAD. What do you want them to do, accept it and move on like life is grand? I think not. You are so selfish and self centered. I am soooo sorry that Mary had to die, and now you can't move to your precious house in California. Wahh. How very tragic for you! And this part-

"I hope you have a hard time sleeping tonight. I will sleep tight knowing that I am a good person who would never intentionally and spitefully hurt someone else, and believe me I have put myself in your shoes."

Yeah that isn't right either. First of all, by writing this entry you are hurting the family of Mary! And I don't care if you have "put yourself in their shoes" because until this happens to you, YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND. Now don't go blaming Mary's brothers or sisters because this wasn't written by them. In fact I am not even related to the Smith's (name changed) at all. But something needed to be said about this. You probably won't have the guts to allow this to be posted but I don't care. May Mary rest in peace, and may the Smith family someday be at peace as well."

So now here is my response to this slightly threatening and certainly ridiculous comment - 

Jane, you said you've never met me.  You say you are not related to the family.  Well, I am related to the family.  I happen to know things about that day that you don't.  I do not deny that Maryann was supposed to go to the Cape with her siblings that weekend, nor that she decided to stay home with Richie because of his shoulder surgery.  How exactly does that prove that she did not want to go on a ride on his motorcycle that day?  Why did you quote me as if I was blaming her death on her?  That was not my intention at all - I was simply pointing out how awful Richie must feel about deciding to go.  I'm not sure why that makes you angry.

You say ""You are so selfish and self centered. I am soooo sorry that Mary had to die, and now you can't move to your precious house in California. Wahh. How very tragic for you!"  Where in the world did this come from?  I didn't have a "precious house in California" to move to in the first place - and since you don't know me, my family, or our situation, I guess you wouldn't realize that you sound like a complete moron because that is just about as far from the truth as you can get regarding how I felt about not having to move.  The real reasons are none of your business, but I had to address this.  
I agree with you - Maryann was selfless, loving, caring, sweet, and wonderful.  She was a devoted wife, sister, daughter, friend.  Where in my blog post do I make it sound like she was anything less than any of these things?  
You didn't think I'd publish your comment, and I almost didn't.  But the more I thought about it, the more I felt bad for you, since you are obviously in pain.  Since you didn't leave me any way to contact you, I figured this was the best way to reply.  I am so sorry that Mary died - how can you have read my entire blog post and not realize that?  How can you have read that and not felt an ounce of compassion for anyone besides Maryann's siblings?  YOU are the selfish ones, as your mean and heartless comment proves.  Why don't you address the real reason that I wrote that blog post in the first place?  Why would anyone who supposedly loved Maryann want to hurt the person she chose to spend the rest of her life with?  

My heart goes out to Maryann's family, even the ones I'm angry at - especially at this time of year.  May you all find peace however you can, hopefully not at the expense of hurting others.  I believe in karma, so it's all good.  And Jane - if you ever want to have an adult conversation without threats, feel free to e-mail me.  My e-mail address is published on my blog.  You take care now.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dear Jane

Dear Jane - 

You are right - I won't publish your disgusting anonymous comment.  Since you admitted to NOT knowing me, how dare you judge myself or my family for our feelings - especially since you obviously have no idea what is going on behind the scenes?  You should be ashamed of yourself but apparently that particular emotion seems to elude many people.  Our hearts are still broken and we are still picking up the pieces... it's been 6 months now and I am just learning that grieving is a long process that goes through many steps.  My heart breaks for the entire family and my only point was that acting like jerks will not bring her back.  I stand by my original blog post.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

20th High School Reunion!

We have been working feverishly on our apartment, I cannot believe the amount of work that goes into building something new like this.  I have spent every day for the past week painting.  All day.  So even though I was exhausted, I was really looking forward to having some fun at my 20th high school reunion!  Here are some pics of me "back then" - in the one on the left, I am 16 years old, and I am 17 years old in the one on the right (that's my best friend Tim in that one with me!):

I was about 14/15 years old in this one, I am in the lower left-hand corner: 

Now on to the reunion, 20 years later!  My friend Barbara and me, we had our sons within a month of each other 17 years ago: 

Me, Edwin, and my sister Michelle (I stayed back in the 10th grade, so we graduated together) - we took a lot of "Blakeney sandwich" pictures (our maiden name... LOL): 

Me, Nicole, Michelle: 

Me, Jenn, and Michelle: 

Me, Jenn and Dan (Dan graduated with me, Jenn is his awesome wife): 

My hubby and me: 

My sis and her hubby, Jay: 

Couldn't let Barb miss out on a Blakeney sandwich pic: 

I did not bring my camera - so these pics are courtesy of my friend Jennifer Luman.

I can't believe 20 years have gone by - we had a GREAT time and I was really glad we went!  As a matter of fact, I had so much fun that I couldn't work the next day... I was a little, um, tired.  Yeah, tired, that's it.  ;)  I needed a day off, anyway.  But now back to business - we should be moving in within the week, I'm so excited.  I cannot WAIT to feel settled, it's an awful feeling to be displaced.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy 80th Birthday!

Jeremy's grandmother, gram, celebrated her 80th birthday last week.  Gram is the one who takes care of us - Jeremy and I and the kids are currently staying with her, she is such a wonderful and giving woman, and I am so thankful to have her in my life.  Here she is after birthday dinner, waiting for birthday cake:

Blowin' out the candles:

Gram with auntie Marcia (her daughter):

Despite whatever problems we have, our family is blessed.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I had about ten different titles in mind for this blog post - some of them included things like "Shameful and disgusting, or just sad and pathetic?" and
"Asshole in-laws"
but I decided to keep it short and sweet, and call it "Grief" - since that's what this is all about, anyway.  I don't know if anyone will read this, but I have to write it.  Every ounce of my being is screaming to do SOMETHING - and writing is what I know how to do.

As most of you are aware, my father-in-law was in a terrible motorcycle accident back in May.  Feel free to go read my blog posts from that time period, as I've written about this previously.  The accident happened on Sunday, May 30.  The day before Memorial Day.  But before I get into why I'm so upset, let me explain a few things.

Richie (Jeremy's dad) met Maryann 21 years ago, I believe.  They dated for several years and were married in the spring of 1993.  Richie had been married twice before, he had Jeremy with his first wife (they were teenagers) and then he had 2 beautiful daughters (my sisters in law Brittney & Kelsey) with his 2nd wife.  Neither marriage lasted very long, for many reasons - but the bottom line was that they weren't in love.  When Richie and Maryann got married, you  just KNEW they were in love.  By then, Jeremy and I were living together and pregnant with our son Trevor.  We were also married in 1993. 

Richie & Maryann were a few years apart in age - Maryann being about 6 years younger than Richie.  They did not have any children.  They built their lives together and they enjoyed each other.  They spent a lot of time with their friends and had a very active social life.  Jeremy and I didn't spend much time with them, unfortunately, something I regret now.  But life gets busy and we had 2 young children and our lives were just completely different.  Jeremy was raised mainly by his grandparents (Richie's parents), although his dad played a very active role in his life.  Maryann and I liked each other, but we were not "close" - I wish now that we had spent more time getting to know each other, but I have always considered gram my mother-in-law and she is the one I have always been close to.  I think the age thing had something to do with it - Maryann was only 12 years or so older than me, so our situation was a little... different.  But I loved her and cared about her and knew that she loved my husband's dad with all her heart - which means she was good enough for me.  What else can I tell you about her?  She was a travel agent, a job she truly enjoyed - and she had good relationships with her co-workers, everyone liked Maryann.  She loved flowers and plants, she loved to cook and entertain, and she loved her family - I've heard over and over and over again that Maryann was "the glue that held her family together."  This is even more evident now that she's gone, but I'll get to that. 

Anyway - life moves on and kids grow into teenagers and adults start reaching retirement age and life just goes on and on... except when it doesn't.  Richie bought a Harley Davidson motorcycle a few years ago - Maryann LOVED it.  LOVED IT.  She loved going for rides on it, something they did on sunny weekend days. On this particular sunny Sunday morning, Maryann was the one who convinced Richie to go for the bike ride.  He came up with an excuse not to go, but she really wanted to.  Because he loves to please her, he gave in.  This is something he'll regret for the rest of his life.

Having just recently read the accident report, I can pretty much tell you exactly what happened.  Richie and Maryann were driving down a stretch of road that was a bit winding - a car in front of Richie was turning left, and Richie tried to swerve to the right to go around him... but he "low-sided" the bike, dropped it onto it's left side somehow and slid into oncoming traffic on the other side of the road.  One car avoided them, but the next hit them both - essentially running them both over.  Maryann was killed almost instantly.  Richie suffered from collapsed lungs, 2 broken legs, and various other broken bones and contusions.  He was life-flighted to UMASS Medical Center in Worcester and he actually died briefly during this - he was resuscitated, something he says now he is angry about. 
I am not going to go through the next couple of torturous months - they were awful and I've written about them already.  But what is happening now - I just can't NOT write about it.  I cannot believe human beings can behave this way and live with themselves. 

Maryann's family was understandably devastated at the loss of their beautiful sister, daughter, aunt.  However, they have treated Richie in a less-than-admirable matter right from the very beginning.  Don't get me wrong, I understand anger is a step in the grief process - but let's be very clear here - Richie was a very careful driver, who Maryann trusted with all of her heart.  He was not driving while under the influence of anything, he was not driving negligently... as a matter of fact, the speed limit in the area where the accident occurred was 45 mph - it was estimated that Richie was driving between 27-29 mph.  Richie LOVED this woman - he would never have knowingly put her life at risk.  This is Maryann:

It's now been over 5 months since the accident.  Richie is healing physically, slowly and not completely, but he's getting there. Emotionally, mentally, psychologically, though - that's another story.  I can't count how many times he's made comments about how he wishes he had died instead of her.  I can't tell you how much it hurt my husband and I when Richie told us he was changing his will to reflect a DNR - do not resuscitate.  He no longer has much of a will to live - everything he ever looked forward to is gone.  The future he had planned with his soul mate no longer exists.  He is quite literally heart-broken. 

And in the middle of all this heartache, he is being treated like a piece of shit criminal by the family of the woman he devoted his life to.  Their behavior was less than exemplary from the very beginning - very cold and uncaring towards our family, making comments suggesting that they were the only ones who had TRULY suffered any kind of loss and even going so far as saying things directly to Richie like "You took her away from us." 

Let me tell you - this man was lying in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of every opening of his body - blood pressure sky-high, intubated, about as close to death as you can be, and yet kept trying to pull the tubes out and asking "where is Maryann?"  with tears in his eyes.  I'd like to tell you, but I can't even express it adequately, how awful it was not to be able to answer him - as we were instructed by the hospital staff for the first couple of hours.  Let me try to explain what it's like to have to sit with a social worker and prepare for how to tell your dad that his wife is dead - knowing full well that he's going to blame himself. Let me tell you that when my husband had to go in that hospital room with the social workers and doctors and have them turn off the pain medication so that he'd understand what was being told to him, and had to say "Dad, I'm so sorry - Maryann died..." - let me just tell you that words cannot express what that felt like. 

Let me tell you also how awful and heart-breaking it was to have late-night conversations with my husband, with him telling me that he completely understands why his dad feels the way he does, because if he put himself in his shoes, he'd want to be dead, too.  And it was a little scary to realize that I felt the same way.  When you have a good marriage, when you really feel like you married your soul-mate - well, I guess even the thought of losing that person takes your breath away.  When it actually happens - it's literally heart-stopping. 

So to realize that this woman's family was blaming Richie, and even being downright rude and obnoxious to our family members - it was like a kick in the head when you're already down.  It's now escalated to them filing lawsuits trying to get control of Maryann's will and asking the District Attorney's office to prosecute Richie for "negligent homicide by motor vehicle."  As a matter of fact, I believe he received the citation for that one on Maryann's birthday.  Nice, huh? 

Now in the meantime - remember we were going to move to California and then all kinds of stuff happened and we realized Richie kind of needed to have us around and all that... so yeah, Richie was making us a little apartment in his basement, because we had already given up our rented home and after talking with him and Brittney and Kelsey, we all figured it would be mutually beneficial for us to live there - he would be helping us out, but we'd also be helping him.  For some reason I truly can't understand, someone in Maryann's family called the city to pretty much make a complaint about the apartment... that was the last straw for me.  They are mean, petty, juvenile, they should be ashamed of themselves and I do not know how they sleep at night.  I was feeling today like I wish I could so something to hurt them back - and then I was in tears for thinking that way even for a minute.  I am NOT like them - the worst part is that Maryann would be absolutely disgusted and ashamed of them, and I am absolutely 100% sure of that.  I just don't understand - none of this is going to bring her back, and Richie has been punished more than enough. 

I feel better now.  I hope one of you stumbles across this blog and realizes how foolish, selfish, and just plain mean you are being.  I hope you have a hard time sleeping tonight.  I will sleep tight knowing that I am a good person who would never intentionally and spitefully hurt someone else, and believe me I have put myself in your shoes.  I have a sister who is married - I have gone over this thousands of times in my head and I would NEVER treat my brother-in-law this way if the exact same situation happened, and my sister is my best friend.  I would be devastated, of course, but I would find an appropriate outlet for my grief and emotions, which would definitely not include ruining the life of someone she loved.

But hey, that's just me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sunset on Sonoma County State Beach

Now this is something you definitely can't watch on the East coast - the sun setting over the ocean!  While in California, Jeremy and I sat on Sonoma County State Beach watching the sun set, it was just gorgeous:


Have I mentioned I cannot wait to go back?  ;)  Peace.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Route 1 - Sonoma County to Mendocino County

So here are the pics from our 5-hour drive up the west coast of California, from Sonoma County to Mendocino County.  We set out in the afternoon and returned just as the sun was setting - it was gorgeous.  I had almost 100 pictures, so I tried to be "picky" with what I shared, so as not to bore you... but man, what a beautiful ride.  Here we go:

 Yes, this is the ROAD you see below.... it literally has cliffs on each side:

House Jeremy and I claimed as ours (hee hee - and either one will do...):
 I just love this picture, something about the barbed wire... I don't know, I just love it:

Wild peacocks!  ha ha ha  We were cracking up:

   So there you go!  Gorgeous, no?  Yes.  I cannot WAIT to go back. *sigh*  I will have more pics to share of our road trip returning back home... we really do live in a beautiful country.  Peace.