Porch Time

It seems like yesterday, poof!  I was out on the street playing kickball with my friends. We would finish and run up the front step porch of someone’s house and be handed
Popsicles and feel like the luckiest kids in the world. We would see parents up and down the street peeking out windows while they were busy doing whatever adults do, making sure we were staying out of trouble. Then there were the older ones, aged, who would sit on the porch smiling with not a care in the world either, watching us. Back in those days, trouble was not playing breaking rules in kick ball, fighting over whether a ball was out or if a kid got hurt.  Life was easy as we played out there in the street. We had a whole lifetime ahead of us. In those days, we didn’t even think about it. Nothing seemed impossible.

I remember sitting on the roof top, in a few years later, as my dad fixed the antennae on weekend mornings.  In those days, there was no cable, no digital internet, just a big old tower hooked to our house.  The easiest way to the roof was through my bedroom window so I often went out there with him. What a view of the street from up there. I would sit on the shingles and get a bird’s eye view of the street while he worked away.

 I remember the day I was in my pajamas and pink curlers and accidentally closed the window!  It was locked when closed and no one heard me knocking from inside. I was stuck out there for hours!  In fear someone would see me, I hid on the backside of the roof. Three guys my age lived across the street, I was petrified that would catch a glimpse of me in my not so cool looking pjs.   My dad found it funny and was right, I had two choices, deal with it or take the 8 foot jump!  

Gone are those days of me being the one in the street, me being the one on the roof. Now I am the one on the porch.  I am not the one you would catch on a roof top either. My balance is not so great that I would feel safe up there that high anymore. I even wonder now, looking back, how my dad withstood that height and the heat so many times those days. I can swim laps and ride a bike but running around bases playing kickball would certainly lead me to serious joint pain!

Initially, it was a sad realization I am getting old and that I will never again be the one playing in the street.  I can’t play be the one playing kickball.  I won’t ever again have a future that is a blank slate.  None of us older do. But, with that said, a lifetime comes with all the turbulence, all the choices, decisions, hurdles, and sacrifices one has to make. The heart breaks a thousand times over as the years create opportunities for people to come and go in your life.  Joy and heartbreak also.

I remember learning about a dear friend Michelle Bell I grew up with dying, in her forties.  When she died, I remembered the times we spent at the park simply swinging as kids, riding in her first car (a Javelin, with a muffler tied up with a coat hanger!) , and sewing halter tops and switching tops because we wore the same size. All the silly simplest times became so much more meaningful when she was suddenly gone.  And then it seemed like 10 years was one week and then another close high school friend,  James Green,  was gone suddenly.  He had been on the waiting list for a kidney but that wasn’t even what killed him, it was a freak fall where he hit his head and didn’t recover. And there I was sitting at his funeral remembering all our notes, all our walks and talks and fast forward, we were adults and would have no more memories to share.

Not everyone you care about will be there till the end of your time. I have some dear ones that have fallen by the wayside, some from death, and some by choice, theirs or mine.   Life is like that, change is inevitable. Kickball is unpredictable too but it sure doesn’t seem so heart-breaking.  In life, you will be judged, evaluated and make a difference in some lives and in others, nothing you do will make a dent in their persona.  In kickball, it was way easier to make a difference with the kids you played with on a team. We all just wanted to get along and have success together. Don’t you wish your life had worked out so simply?

The freedom of aging and some of the peace is in knowing that you have made your path. You have lived. You have created your own unique journey that no one else can quite replicate. In one sense it does remind me of those days gone by, as a kid, you were the only one in the street that looked just like you.  And now, currently, aged, if you are like
me, sitting on the porch, you have a story to tell that is unlike anyone else’s.  It doesn’t matter, at the end of the day, whether anyone believes all of it or not,  or even hears it, you have lived it and you know it by heart. God shared in every piece of it. The reality of you and your memories are the moments that took you around the bases of your life to lead you right to where you are, now, sitting on the porch, looking back. Rest easy in the rocker. 

As I reflect on my life, I realize my blessings.  Mistakes and successes, but through it all, I survived. If you focus on those that judge you for all you did not become, did not achieve or what they expected of you,  you are left forgetting who you are and what you were given in God’s Master Plan. Create your own vision of the world and of yourself.  Aging truly has its rewards when you empower yourself to let yourself go and just be you, be real.

You made it, you got the hard work done and got the privilege of sitting on the porch.  You get to watch the game of kickball and watch others run around the bases.  Enjoy the view and reflect on the path you took to get there.  You made the circle back home.


God's Grace is Among Us

The confusion over the identity of who you are by some people is not something that can be understood by simple explanations. Some people don’t want to hear them because they have foregone conclusions. Who people are often more felt, intuition, or experienced by interactions. The test of time can be revealing also, more so than by simply taking an experience and placing judgement without knowing all the facts. Live your life going off your gut, guided by the light of God when and if you decide to evaluate people and try not to be judgmental.

Many times in life we are faced with crossroads with people, those near and dear to us and those we pass in work and interpersonal relationships. Associations bring conflict; it is a fact of life. Stronger is the person that can face these head on and resolves them. The ones that can merely classify them quickly and walk away without forethought is the person that thinks life is simple that no one deserves a second thought and takes people for granted, the gifts of others is not to be taken lightly. Living a life with regret is a hard thing to overcome down the line. Looking back, some you left in the dust you may find would have been your best adversaries.  

Each person you will meet in life has value and was brought into your life for a purpose, part of God’s master plan. Be certain you uncover the reason. There are those who are truly meant to float in and then fade into the woodwork of your past. They are stepping stones for your future period. But there are also some that are the fabric of your being, those that built you up and helped you become the person you are and could have built up more, if you had stayed involved, engaged. The test of time is the ones that stuck through it all with you, helped you preserve when times were tough.  Who was and would have been there when you head was low, when you didn’t win, and still had your back?

If you find those people walk away from you without a second thought, the sadness can be painful but the reality is you gave what you had to give without conditions. And we are called to love and give without conditions. Expect nothing in return and then you are altruistic. In a perfect world, we are returned love unconditionally and friends reciprocate. We are trusted, not judged and given lead way to grow. In reality, not everyone has the ability to love or be a true friend, partner or family member for life. Growing pains may be, to some, learning the difference.

Working with someone who is quick to judgement and doesn’t appreciate your efforts is equally disheartening but par for the course of employment in today’s times. Know that the compassion comes in handy and you are the bigger person for having the strength of character to accept fate, a rejection f sorts and move beyond. Everyone doesn’t have to accept you as you are, but then again, many others will, free of their own prejudices and constraints.  Being hateful for the person that degrades you or pushes you away nets nothing but internal hatred for others or makes you no better than the person who pushes your goodness away. Rise up, take notice and move on.  

To live in peace requires an ability to let bygones be simply that, part of the fabric of your past. One must learn to let others let you go, let you be part of the fabric of their past. Even when the pain of letting go seems hard, hurtful or disloyal to you. Life is not about always winning but knowing when the ship has sailed and you are not meant to be onboard. Learn when the energy to hop on board is a sacrifice to your own inner peace.

Fighting for the right to be a part of someone’s life should not be a constant battle. We need to recognize God is who we must prove our loyalty to in the end, not to men or women on earth, not to those who betray our confidence or goodness and our faith. In the end, He will see that we receive our bountiful and the right people love us the way we were meant to be loved and received in his grace.

You are goodness,
Full of a heart of gold,
Don’t let anyone,
Turn your spirit cold.

You have a mission,
To make your life a shining light,
Others may try to cut you down,
But just hold your candle to a higher height.


MLK Jr Effect on Children

My son was born into a white American family. We started relatively poor. I was 17, pregnant and in high school. His father was a factory worker at a chemical company, 23 and wondering how in the world he was going to support a wife and a baby.  I went to a free clinic. It was the beginning, I suppose of the American Dream.

As we struggled in a one bedroom apartment, we made major head ways and moved to the fancy living accommodations of a two bedroom where no longer was my son living in the hallway, outside the bedroom and in-front of the bathroom.   Our furniture became more than plastic crates and I could buy material to sew curtains for all the windows and life was good.

Before long Jimmy Carter had passed a bill that allowed us to buy a home with a government subsidized loan. We moved into a white neighborhood with our starter home that, to us, was going to be our only home. It was small, compact, but it was ours!  It had rooms the size of my laundry room in my subsequent homes but I was overjoyed. As another child came along, we were truly feeling God was looking down on us smiling. We were middle class in our estimation.

My son, by now, was attending a middle class elementary school with mostly all white children, hardly any black children or any other minorities that I knew of. He had grown into an excellent student for the most part. One of his stand out skills, early on, was writing so it was no surprise to me when he was asked to participate, one weekend in fifth grade in the Governors Competition for Writing.

As I dropped him off, I remember seeing him walk in a neighboring school with about one hundred other kids coming from the District we lived in, all looking like they came from neighborhoods like ours, or better. I left and picked him back up a few hours later.
As we drove home, I found out that he had won an Honorable Mention but not placed in the top 3. I was quite surprised he hadn't won or placed because I knew he was by far the best writer in his grade at his school. I tried not to show any emotion and asked him what the subject matter was that they had to write about.

My son told me they were asked to write an essay describing who they would spend a day with if they could with anyone they wanted to alive or dead in the world.  Then they were to explain what would they do, say or ask. For his paper, he told me he had picked Martin Luther King Jr. I was shocked, here sat a white middle class boy, who, of all the choices in the world picked MLK Jr.

He then went on to tell me the content of his paper. It was about all the questions he would ask. He wanted to know what it was like to live in a world where MLK Jr was oppressed, treated with a lack of respect and how he rose above it. My son wanted to know how difficult it was to confront hate and be so filled with hope.  He was planning on asking him if he thought things had changed since he died, if black children were treated fairly and if not, what should be done. And one of the most profound things he said was that to simply be with him would be an honor.

To quote Representative John Lewis today, on the 50th Anniversary of MLK Jr being assassinated :

Dr. King taught us to be brave, to be courageous, to be bold. I don't know where America would be, where many of us of color would be, were it not for him. 

His legacy was to speak up, stand up. When you see that something isn't right or fair, you have to do something — you have to get in the way. Get into good trouble.

Reflecting back, the paper my son wrote symbolized to me what racism is not. It showed me that hate is taught to children, it is not innate. My son was willing to listen to the oppressed and learn from their experiences to be a better human being. I was proud that day of my son. I am certain it played a part in him not being given a placement for his paper but I really couldn't care less. In my mind, he won. Oh, what a better world we would be if we all just shut up and listened, learned, cared and changed!


A Story Not to Be Forgotten, Writer Mary Adele Cluck

Growing up in an Italian family is growing up in a vibrant family with lots of personality!  It makes for an interesting cast of characters and perhaps that had something to do with Mary Adele’s initial love of using her imagination and reading at a young age as a means of escape. 

Buffalo was not a prosperous place to grow up either, more of a city of hard-working folks with just enough income to put food on the table. Her parents insisted her, the oldest and her two younger brothers attend Catholic schools.  Those in that parts of NY were some of the traditional hard-nose typed type you read of where the nuns could be cruel and the rules rough on children.  

I found it fascinating getting to know Mary Adele Cluck given her background as both
an Italian and a New Yorker; we had that in common and both landing up in Florida. Her life is an adventure down a path with so many twists and turns where she always seemed to come out a bigger better person.  Life hasn’t always been easy for her but she weathered through all the storms.

Mary Adele credits part of her winning attitude to her role model, her mother.  This parent was a beacon of light believing in all her choices and wanting to share in her daughter’s life struggles in any way she could.  Her mom took time and effort to be an active part of her life when some parents pushed their kids away. This instilled a sense of worth and value in her. 

As Mary transitioned her career from as varied positions as medical assistant, working for the railroad, to Wesley Chamber Executive Director, and many others, she developed skill sets along the way, moving the compilation forward to each subsequent role making her more successful at each.  Mary Adele left her mark where ever she was at. She also managed, in the middle of all these transition to volunteer and serve 13 years in the Army Reserve! 

Nothing has ever held Mary Adele back from pursuing her dreams.  Education was one she placed a high premium on and was unrelenting on wanting to obtain. So no one who knew her was surprised at 42 years old when she went to college and pursued her Bachelor’s Degree. And then at 50, she set out and received her Master’s making her even more marketable. She proceeded to teach as an adjunct professor in marketing.

With her love of education, Mary Adele was caught up in reading and combined with her imagination; early writing was a natural outgrowth for her. Having stories published by Reader’s Digest and Teen Digest showed her that she had the ability, at a young age, to appeal to readers. 

At the back of her mind, always was the ideal of writing and printing a book. 
With the encouragement of her husband Ed Cluck, she tapped 
into her passion for children and contemplated more seriously pursuing her life goal.  Her and Ed had just finished sponsoring 13 exchange students over several years in their home from many countries. With the end of the program, she had the time to balance work and write again. And so it began.....  

Her drive for children’s books came strongly from her ability, as she puts it “to tap into a child’s feelings of being lonely and not having friends and being different.”  So many children experience this and it leads to such feelings of isolation. This seemed like a very healthy way to address it, fun and creative.

Mary Adele always wanted to be someone different and leave a legacy behind.  In writing, she knew this was a way to be remembered and impact one of our most precious resources in life, our children, the makings of our future.  As she described, “Too many children don’t get the opportunity to simply be children these days. To take a child into a different sort of reality with a twist would be memorable and perhaps leave a lasting impression.  I can do something about this through my writing.”

In reading her book, Princess Alana and her Magic Kingdom sold on Amazon, she accomplishes this quite well. Her character comes alive to heal the loneliness of a child. In the process, it lets the reader realize we can and should be allowed to escape with our minds from the madness of the world.  To daydream is healthy.

Parents and grandparents need stories like this to reinforce the importance of being creative in thought, and taking vacations with our imagination. Also it reinforces the value of friendships free of drama where there is no judging, being helpful and not being
hurtful. This story-line shows the heart of Mary Adele which is certainly to be remembered for a long long time. This indeed is exactly what Mary Adele Cluck set out to do and has accomplished! With more books on the horizon, her dream and Alana, also the name of her niece, will live on for years to come. 

Click here to order Princess Alana and The Magic Kingdom


Tessie Tests Us

As I sit here, wetter than the dog, I wonder why I didn’t jump in and lather up with doggie wash. Or
is it called doggie shampoo since she is hairy all over?  Man, can my dog splash in the tub! And I thought the grandkids were like whales in the shallow end of the pool in the bathtub, Tessie has them beat by a mile!  Puppy adventures are extraordinary and so easily forgotten or nobody would ever get one again!

I looked at puppy, wet down, minus her labradoodle curls and she was a skinny runt with long legs, barely recognizable. I had to admit, she was comical. I thought about taking a picture but stopped myself knowing it would be downright embarrassing to her for others to see looking so goofy.  How pitiful does Tess look wet!  Quickly I got her out of there, well actually twice she half jumped out and I not very politely shoved her head and shoulders back in there.

Next was the trip to the bathroom with the cool air from the blow dryer to aid with drying her. Never
having been graced with curly hair, whew, what a surprise was that. Earlier today I did my first mini trim job on her, taking off just a bit of her hair. That bit I cut off must have been enough to make it spring back into action. Blow drying it after the bath, her hair was like a slinky being put up for the day!  Bouncing but not behaving!  She was a sea of poodle curls and not loving the air coming at her. Her mouth was wide open showing me her new teeth coming in as she tried to bite air. Oh great, I am sure to be treated to gas later tonight, compliments of Tessie!

Due to what the trainer calls’ “counter-serving” Tessie is now going away to Camp. Maybe we should call it school for the delinquent or strong willed child.  We called who our vet recommended “Sit Means Sit.”  And then they found out she knows the command sit but her sit is short-lived, like most everything because her attention span lasts about .yeah, that long, a period at the end of a sentence.

Counter serving, by the way, is the dog that has incredibly long legs and can reach up to the top of the counter. Tessie likes to see what is going on there that has my attention. Also, it is imperative she find out if there is anything available to steal, chew or just look at.  If she doesn’t see anything of interest in front of her, she just moves along down the counter with her feet on the ground and her paws sliding down the counter.  Yeah, others think it is cute, funny or whatever. To us, it is aggravating and to the trainers, it is a definite no-no, right up there with the jumping on everyone.

So after spending some time with our little gem, the trainer and I were in agreement, a simple few training lessons is never going to be enough for Miss High-Energy Low on Attention Span Puppy
especially given her breed. Heck, this great trainer had a horrendous time getting even eye contact with Tessie. I think Tess sensed she was going to make her mind and thought, “the hell with this lady.”  So, Tessie will be boarding with them for 10 days and come back a changed lady instead of the Tramp. Get it, from the Disney move…..

She gets walked daily by the driving range. Lucky for her, several golfers in our community are bad hitters and balls land way off the range on the walking paths. Those balls get spotted by Tessie and thus dog walks consistently include a game of chase the ball. This is great fun and wears her little butt out so it has an added bonus.  It is hysterical to watch her overrun the ball, try to apply her brakes which are her legs too long currently for her body.  She lands up splattered on the ground like a deer on ice!  She looks up with you with her raccoon mask like “What the hell just happened?”

I have to say a real shocker is how much Tessie loves car rides. Never have I had a dog that enjoyed the car. With her, there is no drama, no panting, crying, barking or pacing. She simply sits in the back seat and occasionally looks out to see who is out there and possibly if any good looking dogs are tailing us. 

I still have bite marks, as soon as some heal, new ones form. Oh yes, she gets reprimanded, toys given to distract her but in time, that doesn’t work either. This puppy is high energy and smart.  She is learning right along with us, what works and what doesn’t.  And then there are the times, though rare, when she is the sweetest loving thing in the world.   But all in all, I think we’ll keep her! 


Past Teen-Age Loves

They met outdoors, where the sun shines and trees blossom in the spring 
huge in the park unhindered by man. It was a sweet relationship that didn’t’ last
all that long but had its moments of bliss, moments sealed with a kiss and a few tiffs.  There even was a special time sharing hopes and dreams on the telephone, just two young high school kids in love, in love with being in love.

The funny thing about being young is you see what you want to see.  You talk about things teens talk about, looking at the world through the eyes of youth and innocence.  This is part of the beauty of youth, the imaginary mind of seeing all things possible, of believing in fairy tale endings. 

We grow up and meet some of those past love interests that slipped through the grasps of our fingertips in the past.  And as adults, through the trials and tribulations of experiences, we have matured and changed, some of us anyways. Our value systems may have changed. Some people, no doubt, change more than others, some develop more character, fine tune their value systems and become more compassionate.  Adults we knew as children can become catalysts for change in our world; champions for causes for helping fellow human beings have opportunities to advance their lives so that there is no semblance of a caste system anywhere. Some adults are content just existing, enjoying moment by moment. The range of ways we approach our lives is as diverse as people are unique. But what we evolved into is quite often not what any of us envisioned as teens.

Thus teen love interests were usually not meant to last. Connecting with these old love interests can be precious and can be disheartening. Waking up to the realities that, when you were young and innocent, you were like so many youth today, only seeing people through the eyes of idealism and not realism is a hard fact to face. You were human!  You were fallible to wanting to believe something that was not true. Age truly does sharpen your intuition and make you a better judge of character and what matters to you and yes, to those other potential long ago ‘love interests.”  Seeing that those people you thought were so wonderful are on quite different paths of how they define happiness from you and right and wrong is important so you do not live with regret.    The kid that was arrogant may still be or not be at all. The one that seemed insecure may have grown into a man quite full of himself. The girl that was the prettiest may now be someone who is focused on more important things.  Seeing these changes can impact us in positive ways.

Someone told me awhile back that I saw them through youthful eyes still. Looking back, they were right; I see them through idealist eyes, the way I wanted to see them, not for who they are.  I thought they had changed, maybe they had or maybe they were that way all along and my innocence never picked up the signs.  I wanted my value system today to be theirs so that a bond would still exist and we could be friends. When the morality and character are so vastly different, the odds of having a friendship dissipate.   Relationships don’t work that way. People are meant to move in and out of your life, not everyone can stay.  Learn what you can about past relationships and how you viewed those people as a youth but let go of those innocent eyes, of looking at past lovers through dream-struck visions because the reality is they are flawed individuals too. Their paths may have been meant to cross over yours again but may not be meant to stay.


Tessie's Back

Okay, here it goes an update from the woman who will never win Puppy Owner of the Year Award but also, the most honest!  Bet you are wondering what life has been like in my world with Tessie. Suffice it to say, a bitch of an adventure!

It hardly seems like there is a minute’s peace unless she is napping. Those afternoon naps are the best time of the day to get things done, until she hears movement, ouch,  then she is up and ready to
rumble.  However, one day, we were out and about in the house and no sound of the scraggly rug rat underfoot. As we said her name after about 15 minutes, there was no response. We searched all the usual sleeping places calling her name to no avail. Finally, the only door closed in the house I slipped open. Staring back at me was Tessie, still as a mouse, ready to pounce.

She had found her way in the walk-in closet which allowed her to walk in but, once entering, the door has to be pushed back out to open. Miss Smarty Pants doesn’t have that trick down yet. Note to self, great place to put puppy on a time-out!

Why is it that our puppy prefers wrapping herself around the base of the toilet to sleep rather than the comfy places in the house? Though the bathrooms are cleaned religiously, it seems rather uncleanly to be sleeping here. Every time I catch her, it is fight against her will power and mine to pull her out from around it. The one good thing I will say about the struggle, by the time I am done, the bottom of the bowl is extra shiny!

Puppies are so cute, to everyone else but their owner!  When we take her somewhere, like to the vet’s, she is so demure and innocent. She is cooed over and told she is one of the best puppies they see. I brush off the compliments about the cutest knowing full well that is said to every puppy owner. What her like kids grow up to be teenagers, ugh!)

Some of my closer friends have had the privilege or rather disadvantage of seeing Tessie in her
normal stage, hell on four paws, or rather none!  She prefers flying at you like a Frisbee and has no breaking power because you are it, your body, wherever she hits! ‘ No’ means you want more of whatever she is doing wrong!  Nipping is her way of saying hello and she loves repeating greetings.  She is the hostess that has to be the center of attention and makes us look like first time dog owners, which neither of us are!  We frequently get asked “Are you putting her in dog training?” Yes is the answer and we have been in it before, numerous times,  but have never had a Tessie before. Can I stop here?

This puppy is not an eater. In fact, it is a wonder she puts on weight. We switched dog foods, tried watering the food down. Cut back the times she was fed to see if she got hungrier, pet her while she was eating, and finally gave up. We suppose she will eat when she is hungry and she does, but not nearly what the vet said she should eat. But she grows and eats some.

And like the other day, finds other things on the ground she prefers to dog food, like other dog’s poop. Unfortunately, I did not pull the lead hard enough to get her away before it hit her mouth. So here I am, with Miss Tessie, her pretty pink lead with hearts on it, my puppy just having been brushed all pretty walking through the front yard with a large turd half in her mouth and half hanging out. As she is chewing I am trying to retain my composure. As I battle internally telling myself yes, I must do the unthinkable, I remember I have baby carrots in my pocket. I had brought them out to give her not realizing someone else left her something disgusting to munch on.

So I bent over, with carrot in hand and yelled at her to drop it, spit it out as if she would understand
and waved that damn carrot as if it were the best damn thing on earth to no avail. She was not letting go of that turd, no way no how. I was not getting out of this easy!  I saw she was chewing it which made my stomach turn and thought I saw her start swallowing part of it and pull the other part in her mouth. Okay, I told myself, just go for it so I stuck my finger in her mouth and flicked it out yelling all the while thinking hell, I will take a bite from her but darn is she is chomping on someone else’s dirty deed. I flipped that turd as high and hard as I could and silently wished death on the person who did not pick up after their dog! Thank you very much!

Playing on the floor with Tessie requires the utmost attention. One evening, as I was messing around with her, she was climbing up my back. She was getting abit rough and I held her off. I should have known to stop the play right there.  I learned a second too late, puppies don’t have brakes on play time and sometimes go too far. My ear let me know, as she bit it. I held my hand to it, and when I pulled it away, it was full of blood. Yelling for my husband, I couldn’t help but wonder if I lost part of my ear flap. Lucky for her I didn’t or I would have had to retaliate!  Puppy’s mouths are danger zones sometimes.

Drama seems to abound with Tessie. Even when I am leaving her and putting her in her zipper cage. I zip one way and out pops her head the other. Having a smart puppy makes the owner feel stupid. I
swear she is laughing half the time saying “Gotcha!” Even throwing in a treat in the back of it, she grabs it much quicker than you can zip it up or says, “Hell with the treat, I am coming out” and heads for the door regardless leaving me with an empty crate looking at a dog treat left behind.  When I finally get her in the darn thing, she creates a racket to let me know how ticked off she is. And darn if I don’t  feel guilty. How do puppies do that? Give you that puppy face and make you fall in love with them all over again like the first time you saw them and they said “Take me home!”

Well suffice it to say, as many times as I say “You love her, you can have her” I think I will hang on to her awhile longer. We seem to be getting a grove going now but sure have our bumps along the way.  She is a lover at times and those cuddles make all the other things fade at the end of the day from memory.  And then, the sun comes up……. Tessie’s awake!