It’s my birthday.

Today is my birthday. The first birthday I’ve ever had without my mum. I knew this would be a tough day and not just for me. It’s tough for my dad too. We’re still lost without her, and I expect we will be for a very long time.

My mom always made one of my favorite meals for my birthday dinner and always ALWAYS made me apple squares instead of a cake. It’s times like these that I once again realize what a remarkable woman she was and just how much she loved her family. Even without her here I am in awe of all the things she did on the daily that were so meaningful.

I’m so blessed to have had her for my mum and for all the little things that were so insignificant at the time but are monumental memories now. I’m also so very lucky for my increasingly close relationship with my dad since her passing. I’ve always been very close with both my parents, but my bond with my dad grows stronger every single day. He’s a wonderful dad. He loves me and would do anything for me.

Dad bought me a really lovely card and put money in it. He said he didn’t know what to get me for my birthday. Once again, another thing my mum would have taken care of. I know my dad feels bad about that, though he absolutely shouldn’t. I know he would love a sign from above pointing him in the right direction. I know it hurts him as much as it hurts me that she’s not with us.

But… with all the tears and tugging of the heartstrings today, it was still a good day. So many well wishes from family and friends near and far. Lovely cards from so many coworkers. Flowers, cake, lunch and gifts at work. Lovely dinner and a yummy cake shared with my dad. I’m very lucky, and I know it… because my parents set a great example for me and they brought me up with love, compassion and respect.

What more could I ask for.

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Autumn… for a hot minute

Autumn is my favorite season.

Crisp morning air flows into warm days and then into perfectly cool nights. Activities in autumn are reflective and traditional… leaf peeping, apple picking, cooking hearty and soul warming meals, baking (of any kind), fire pits, big comfy sweaters and all those warm colors everywhere.

Perfect.

Autumn Leaves
Image Credit: https://www.ethos3.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/5-content-marketing-conferences-to-attend-in-fall-2016.jpg

This past weekend was a great glimpse into the season ahead. But it was just a tease. There will be summer days still ahead. And Indian Summer… that always pops up in late October without warning.

I can hardly wait for autumn to stick around for more than a few days. There were so many things my mom and I did during the fall. I’m really going to miss her as the season comes into its own. I’m not sure it’s possible to miss her any more than I do now, but I have a feeling today’s mourning is going to grow exponentially with each seasonal tradition that goes undone.

It’s been 144 days… not that I’m counting.

Cancer is such a bitch.

This week though…

This was a very, very long week. Not quite sure why, but I do know it wasn’t just me. Every night that I left the office and rode the elevator down with people confirmed it… comments about how long the week is, how long the days are etc. were echoed by all. I’m sure the weather had something to do with it, but seriously… it was a hella long week.

I’ve felt lousy for a couple of days… feverish, body aches and a killer headache. I know I’m overtired but there’s something else going on. In my typical libra fashion… I try to self diagnose. I, in no way, shape or form, have any business trying to figure out anything medical, so I popped a couple of Tylenol and got on with it.

Today I went to have my yearly mammogram. First time in my life my mom didn’t accompany me. I was surprisingly fine… until I got back in the car. You see, not only did my mom and I do pretty much everything like this together but my appointment was in the same building where my mom had her chemo treatments.

Photo credit: Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center

The last time I was in that building was April 18th… the day before she died. It’s truly an amazing facility filled with the most genuine, gifted and caring healthcare professionals. I had a little chat with my mom when I got back in the car, wiped my tears and headed on my way.

Photo credit: hiddenboston.com

I had brunch with one of mom’s closest friends at one of mom’s favorite places. I met yet another person who knew my mom and offered their condolences… which almost always makes me feel like I’m gonna lose it and start bawling right on the spot… but I held it together and had a lovely visit with a wonderful friend and her beautiful grandson.

I ran some errands and made it home between downpours. Chilled out for a bit and got a nice surprise when the mail came. Perfectly timed happy mail. I couldn’t have planned it better. Nothing earth shatteringly exciting, but it made my little planner nerd heart skip a beat.

Perfect way to end this crazy long week.

August… already!

It’s probably my busiest month… lots of things to celebrate, fresh air to breathe in and memories to make and fondly remember.

August came in hot… and humid. The A/C has been running 24/7 for the last week or more. On top of the high heat we’ve experienced some pretty strong storms. Downpours, thunder, lightning and flash flooding. It’s messed with some plans, but nothing 24 hours couldn’t fix.

A postponed party on Saturday afternoon led to a night of margaritas and Mexican food with my two bffs followed by a Sunday of mimosas and bbq to celebrate two adorable little boys. Not a bad weekend at all.

I got some fun happy mail this week too. A couple of enamel pins from Papa Llama brightened my week. The functional introverts pin matches my favorite tote! I’m really pleased with this Etsy purchase… one of the better ones, I’d say.

So far, so good in August. Lots more to come!

Summer Sunday

My favorite moments are unplanned and genuine and those that bring happiness. I had one of those this morning. I made breakfast for my dad and myself. We do big breakfasts on Sundays around here. Today it was French toast with bacon and fresh fruit.

After breakfast, both Zoey, my 13 year old Cairn Terrier, and Lola, my mom’s 13 year old Cockapoo, has a bite of French toast sans syrup from my dad. I had saved them each a wedge of watermelon.

Zoey is just one of those dogs that you marvel at. Her disposition and temperament are just fantastic. I’m so, so lucky that she’s mine. She’s pretty cute too. She is also the foodiest dog I’ve ever had. Zoey loves to eat but definitely has her favorites. One of them is watermelon. She came outside with me and could barely contain herself when she saw the watermelon wedges. Since Lola didn’t want to join us, Zoey got them both.

It was just a few minutes but cherished none the less. My mom would have loved it, which makes it even more special. Just a small few moments in time that will truly stay with me. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture to have meaning, and this one proves it for me ❤️

It’s been a minute…

Let’s be real… it’s been a couple of years. Blogging is something I’ve always wanted to keep up with, but it’s always taken a backseat and been a bit tough for me. So much in my life has changed since the last time I was here. Some small changes and some ginormous ones. Some good, some great, some completely and debilitatingly awful.

I won’t bore you with all the gory details, but I will say this… you really do find out who your true friends are when things go to shit. I know who they are. I treasure them more than they will ever know and they will have my love and loyalty for eternity. Framily ❤️

Okay so highlights since I’ve been blog-m.i.a… I got myself a new job with new responsibilities, challenges and amazing friendships. My company rebranded and put on an incredible party at Fenway Park. I bought a new car after 17 years. I finally went to a Patriots game and was lucky enough to sit in a luxury suite and go down on the field after the game. (By the way… the Pats won!) I visited our Las Vegas office and got to go to TPA Summerlin, the Vegas Strip and Top Golf. I went to a Red Sox game with my dad and had awesome seats behind home plate (thanks to my boss).

In a nutshell… I’ve laughed a lot, I’ve cried a whole lot and I’ve survived.

Here’s to fresh starts and beautiful memories… those in the past and those yet to come!

Cheers!

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If you’re wondering, this is Justin Cabernet Sauvignon… and it’s delicious!

Memorial Day

It may be a day of cookouts, beaches and the unofficial start of summer, but Memorial Day always has me filled with gratitude for all those who have served our country and given their lives to protect our precious freedom.

37,000 flags, each representing a life lost during service, have been placed on two plots by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Boston Common.  The flags represent fallen heroes with Massachusetts ties through the Revolutionary War. This exhibit started in 2009 and grows each year with the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund is able to further research into military records.

This is an amazing, awe-inducing site to see. Pictures don’t compare to seeing it in person, but this one by Javier Mejia of IGersBoston is stunning. 

Here’s another by  Andy Robinson/Boston.com staff. 

This gorgeous and moving installation will be in place through sundown today, Memorial Day, at which time they will be packed up and stored for next year’s installation.

It’s an amazingly beautiful day in Boston and my grill will be on this afternoon. I hope whatever you have in store for this Memorial Day brings you gratitude, peace and happiness!