They say every face in a crowd has a story to tell, this is my story..

The news shows and newspapers all called it 'Road Rage'. To me that sounded like a disease, an affliction that can make you kill. A sorry excuse to take the claw end of a hammer and slam it repeatedly into the skull of a human being. In April of 1999 my little brother passed away. Doesn't passed away sound so gentle, even normal? David's death was neither. It was murder. He was found lying in a strangers driveway in a pool of blood. He had been punched, stomped and beaten over his entire body. I still have so many questions. I wrote this book at first for therapy and then for answers. I have found a few. I mainly realized l lost a brother tragically and senselessly. Like every other face in the crowd I have a story..and I want to share my story with you! PUBLICATION DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED LATE SUMMER/EARLY FALL :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friday Fragments...

I could not be more fragmented this week if I tried. I worked a crazy lot of hours taking care of other peoples old people..I'm supposed to be working 15 hours a week (because of my injuries from an accident) I think I trippled those hours this week. I will be very happy on pay day!
We have now had 3 winners chosen for my goal of 300 followers; for every 10 new followers I will randomly pick a winner from all followers; I really appreciate all of your support and wish you luck in winning some of the awesome prizes(((HUGS)))..we are very close to choosing #4
I quit smoking. That is it I am done! Of course I just forgot and went to get one..but they are gone..please pray for me..send me strength..I know I can do it. Hubby is quitting too so we are in this together. I have to think of something else now..     

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More from "Bristol Stomp" The Baby Parade Continues..

My baby parade continued.  In October we found out Heather was expecting.  I was scared for her.  We all were.  If anyone deserved a miracle, it was Heather.  I had no doubt God chose the right parents for Kyle. I was in awe of the way she loved and protected that baby.  Just imagine how scary it would be to deal with feeding tubes, gagging and endless doctor visits.  Not to mention the constant fear of not knowing how long your child would live.  Yet here she was this amazing young woman making it all look so easy.
            Joan was scared.  I think she was more frightened than Heather and Matt were.  Joan wanted more than anything for Heather to experience what it was like to have a healthy baby.
            I will never forget the afternoon, I was at Joan’s house and Heather called.  All the testing had been done.  Joan answered the phone and just started crying.  I panicked and started to cry.  The baby is 100% healthy, she screamed.  We both ran into Joan’s bedroom and sat on the bed and cried.  Once the news sunk in we immediately started planning the baby shower.  Wishes do come true was the theme.  Ten days later we found out the baby was a boy. It was a difficult pregnancy, on Heather.  The baby was fine.  She had a cyst on her ovary that caused extreme pain and injured an abdominal muscle.  It was going to be a long couple of months.
            Was I dreaming or had it really been five years since the trial ended.  Julia was five.  She would be starting school in the fall.  It seemed so unreal.  What had I done for the last five years?  It was like a dream.  I had started a business, finished school, became a NOVA board member and became very active in the organization and politics.  Not to mention my family was expanding by leaps and bounds.  Why did it all seem like a dream?  I felt like I was on the ceiling looking down and not really participating in any of the life that was happening.
            When the envelope appeared in my mailbox from the state victims advocate office, it was real.  Jimmy Galione was applying for parole.  He had been sentenced to five to ten years.  It could not happen.  He could not be released.  I called my NOVA advocate and asked what we could do to stop his release.  Our only recourse was to write letters to the parole board.  We were not allowed to appear at any of the meetings.  I was scared.  I was in no way shape or form emotionally ready to even fathom the idea of him free.  I hated Judge Heckler.  All the feelings I had at the sentencing came flooding back.  We all wrote our letters.  There was nothing else we could do.  We waited.
            March brought more baby news.  Jill was expecting again.  The news came just in time to soften the blow of the sixth anniversary of David’s death.
            Time was beginning to soften the pain around the edges.  I was remembering more of the happy memories with my brother and dwelling less on the horror of his death.  I still had my moments and could not control the images of that night when they snuck up on me out of no where.  I did my best to get past these moments.
            Heather called to tell me her water had broken.  I met her at the hospital.  She seemed nervous, very nervous.  Her labor had barely started so I knew it would be a long night.  Visitors came and went throughout the day.  I was staying.  Matt’s sister, Dawn did not have children and had never experienced the joy of seeing a baby born.  I was excited for her.  I had the nagging feeling that I needed to be there so I stayed.  I sat in the waiting room and worried.  We knew the baby was healthy but I loved Heather like my own daughter and I was worried.  The nurses were kind enough to allow me into the room to visit.  Matt, Dawn and I talked, laughed and did every thing we could do to pass time.  Heather was comfortable and sleeping.  Then the craziest thing happened.  Matt became extremely ill and had to be taken down to the emergency room.  Dawn went with him.  He was admitted and stuck.  Once we received the news of Matt being admitted Heather’s labor started to progress quickly.  I was able to stand in for him.  Something told me not to leave that hospital.  I was so happy I could be there for Heather. 
 When I saw the chord wrapped around the baby’s neck. I froze.  Please God do not do this to her, I begged him.  The doctor shot me a warning look.  Do not say anything I read in his eyes.  I prayed so hard.  I found myself assisting in removing the chord from the baby’s neck.
            On July 13, 2005 Ryan Andrew Schoell was born.  He was blue and his lips were bright red from his lack of oxygen.  He recovered within seconds and was crying.  I looked out the huge window and up at the beautiful morning sky and thanked God and David.
            The picture of Heather holding that gorgeous little baby was magical.  He was perfect.  Within minutes of his birth the room filled with friends and family.  It was another great moment that would be etched in my memory forever.
            I enjoyed spending time with Matt’s mother Maryanne and his sister Dawn decorating the nursery.  Heather shared with me she did not want to go back to work and leave the baby.  I offered to move in and care for him.  I had seriously been planning my great escape and now I was committed.  I had resigned myself to the fact that I was leaving with the clothes on my back and what little else I could carry.
One afternoon shortly after my decision was made there was some pushing and shoving and terrible screaming.  It was about the amount of time I had been spending with Heather.  The next afternoon I called Birna (she had a truck) and my girls and within two hours I was moved in with Heather and Matt.  My life was once again my own.  I was so relieved.  I felt safe for the first time in years.  I had to come up with a plan, a life plan, but for now I just wanted to relax.
Shortly after moving in with Heather and Matt I received the news my brother Frank and his wife Cheryl were expecting.  I was thrilled!
I had so many grand children and my brother Frank, only four years younger than me, had no children of his own.  He had Andrew and Alexis his step children and to put it lightly he adored them and they where more than enough for him. I was really proud of the way he fell in love with those kids. He already was a great Daddy.
This baby was due the week David died.  I was not comfortable with that thought to tell you the truth.  I thought again about what Allyson had said and I felt better about the date.  David was sending these babies to us from heaven and whenever God decided to have Frank and Cheryl's baby enter the world would be just fine.
I was still feeling the joy of this news when the letter arrived from the parole board.  Jimmy Galione was going to be released from prison.  I was devastated.  What was the parole board thinking?  Our letters were not good enough?  We didn’t deserve just a little more peace in our lives?  Would he get out and kill again and put some other family through the nightmare we were enduring?  Would he or his family harass us again?  I had so many questions.  Would it finally be the time for the district attorney’s office to act on the other arrests?  I was quite sure Galione would not cooperate with them.  Why would he do the right thing?
I left it up to my daughter Joan to stay in touch with the police.  I could no longer handle the rejection.  She was working with the Bristol Borough police now so I hoped she would be able to get some answers.
It was that day I decided to write this book.  I had kept a journal so I took it out and read each page.  I read all of the newspaper articles, my daughter Jill had kept so meticulously.  I acquired the court documents.  It was painful and slow going at first and then the words came.  The words came in intervals, sometimes pages at a time and at other times, merely sentences.
I wondered who, from our family would be the first to run into Galione.  I hoped it would not be my son.
I called his parole officer.  I wanted to know the conditions of his release.  One of the conditions was, if he were to run into any family member or friend of David, he was to immediately leave.
Of course, it was my son who ran into him first.  My son was in the Uni-Mart, a small convenience store, in Bristol.  When Galione saw my son in the store, he turned around and left.  At least he did what he was supposed to do.  Would it continue?
It was really an awful thing to think but I almost wished he would hurt someone else so he had to go back to prison.  My real self would never wish that pain on another family.  I could not control my thoughts.  I was just so frustrated with the justice system.  People that wrote bad checks got longer sentences than this murderer.
I busied myself with NOVA, talk all the courses and did the training I needed to do to be able to help others.  I joined the speaker’s bureau.  The first time I spoke in front of a group it was excruciating.  I could not control my emotions as I told my story, but I got through the speech.  The group was kind and invited me back to speak again.  It took three speaking engagements before I was able to maintain my composure. 
I enjoyed informing the Bucks County Communities of the services NOVA offered and was surprised at how many people had no idea such an organization existed.  I really enjoyed meeting people too.  It was so comforting when they would come up to me afterward's and say, I remember that story.  I remember your brother.
I was terrified to go anywhere in Bristol alone.  I did not want to run into anyone from the Galione or Reeves families.  I stuck to visiting homes.  I tried to stay out of public places unless I had someone with me.
In October my nephew, Tony was involved in a car accident.  My sister’s son was sixteen years old.  He and his friends where at football practice and decided afterwards to go to Taco Bell.  Driving down Route 13 towards Bristol Borough Tony’s friend lost control of the car and crashed into a bridge embankment.  The friend was killed instantly.  Two others were in critical condition.  All I could think of as I looked around the hallway in that hospital was no, this was not going to happen to us again.  Another one of the boys died.  My heart broke for their families.  I knew the look in their eyes.  I felt there pain.
I was so worried about my sister.  If baby Tony (yes we all called him that ) did not make it through this my sister would never, ever recover.  Tony had many injuries the worst being a
broken neck.  I was allowed to see him briefly, before they transported him to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.  He was alert and able to talk which gave me great hope.
            He improved quickly and was doing well.  His football days were over and I know that was sad for him.  I was so thankful to God that not only was he alive, he was not paralyzed.  I worried about him emotionally.  He had just lost two close friends.
            My sister did not deserve this fear.  Tony was only sixteen.  These were good kids.  There had been no alcohol or reckless driving involved.  I felt selfish for feeling sorry for Tony and my family, when two others where burying their young sons.  I refused to become obsesses with dark feelings.  It was a long recovery, but Tony would be fine.  He had to be.
            That fall I was asked to co-chair NOVA’s largest fundraiser of the year.  It was so exciting to work on the committee and then see the Galaxy Art Show and Sale come to life on opening night.  The show was a success and raised much needed funds for the agency.  I knew why I was involved with the organization so it was interesting to find out why others were.  Some had tragic stories and others just wanted to help.  Why did it take a tragedy for me to want to help?  I promised myself I would never allow that to happen again.  I would always be involved in something that involved helping my community.
The holidays arrived once again as they do every year.  I was getting excited and anticipating the birth of Jill and Kevin’s new baby.  I was praying constantly for my brother and Cheryl’s little one.
Another New Year's Eve came and went.  As usual, and unfortunately as I expected no new arrests were made.
  My pity party was interrupted this year. On January 11, 2006 Avery Paige Timm entered our family.  She was very tiny.  Avery had a double hernia that required surgery.  When I handed that tiny little girl over to a nurse at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, I nearly passed out.  I cried and Jill cried.  I prayed so hard and hoped God wasn’t sick of hearing me.
Avery came out of the surgery fine.  As far as Jill and I, I doubt we will ever recover.
Julia turned six.  It was a bad year for Julia.  Her Mommy left and my son was now a single father.  I can say I have never been so proud of him.  His heart was broken; he really loved his wife but he also loved his kids. I was in awe as I watched him handle the day to day stresses of raising two little ones alone.
Another year since the trial ended.  I was really losing hope.  I was just going to be forced to live in a world were murderers were allowed to walk free.  My strength to fight was gone.  I was angry with myself for not beating down the district attorneys door.  I was not putting any pressure on the police.  I was thinking of doing all of this and more but I did nothing.
A letter arrived from the parole board.  Jerry Reeves was requesting parole.  I wondered if writing a letter even mattered.  I decided I had to try.  I felt like I had to force my family to write letters.  We all wrote them and waited.
            Another April arrived.  Another ecumenical service was held at the park and unfortunately there where many new victims and their families.  I tried to think of the positive things in my life.  A lot had changed in seven years.  A lot happened that David should have been part of.  How could I help but be angry?
            On May 8, 2006, Baron Von Streibig was born.  I was once again blessed to be right there as he took his first breath.   I had my doubts, over the years. Would  I would ever witness my brother Frank holding his very own child?  The moment was amazing.  I could feel David’s presence in the room.  I could hear him saying, Spanky you did it!  He would have loved this day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Friday Fragments:

Happy Friday Everyone!  I said not too long ago that Friday was my favorite day of the week, because I no longer work weekends.  I am working Saturday this week..just for a couple of hours. I still love Friday because it is Friday Fragment Day; where you can just spew all the stuff out of your cluttered mind. Our wonderful host for Friday Fragments is Mrs.4444. You can find her and all of her wonderfulness here:
Peyton Elizabeth
Avery Paige Yep that's her
Imagine my excitement when I stopped by there tonight and saw that I have been awarded the Favorite Fragmenter Award. Thank you Mrs.4444! For the rest of you stop over and see the Fragment that landed me this award. It has to do with my brand newest grand baby Peyton Elizabeth and her 4 year old sister Avery. Well this fragment would not be complete without adding this week's precious moment. I asked Avery if she liked being a big sister. Her answer  " Oh Mom-Mom I'm still the little sister, Morgan is the big sister, I'm little and Peyton is the baby". I said" Why don't you want to be a big sister"? She answered "That's a big job and I'm just too little".
Morgan the proud big sister and Lance

I am also participating in Follow Friday; this is hosted by the beautiful Java and you can find her here: 

And for the first time I am participating in New Friend Friday over at

In case you have not heard I am having my first ever give away to celebrate my 200 followers and my goal of reaching 300 by the end of the month!  For every 10 new followers I will randomly choose a winner. If you follow and have left a comment you are in. If you are the ambitious type you can send over a new follower (make sure they tell me in a comment you sent them) and you will each receive 5 extra points! Good luck Everyone; I really do appreciate your blog friendships (((HUGS)))
My hubby and I are going to Washington next weekend for a rally. We are riding down on the motorcycle (this should clear up a dilemma we had last Friday). I am just looking forward to spending some alone time with my best friend!
I had another MRI on Wednesday. Of course it was awful; they used dye and I could taste it! It was so gross.
Book News: Still in pre-publication doing last minute edits to the last 2 chapters; should have these done by tomorrow and hopefully (please,please) have a publication date very soon. In the mean time I am entering a contest at Glamour Magazine. It is supposed to be a real life story. They will think I made the shit  stuff up! Anyway wish me luck...
Michael is home!! He is still in some pain but he is working very hard at physical therapy and we are expecting a full recovery.  Dominic is also doing very well and is actually putting weight on his foot and still hoping to be able to play football this fall.
Okay I am fragmented out but I will leave you with this: There is a light at the end of every tunnel; you just have to pray it is not a train.
I wish you all a blessed weekend!    

Monday, August 16, 2010

Blog Contest and more from "BRISTOL STOMP"

I am so excited to have reached 200 followers on my blog. To celebrate we are having a contest. I have a goal of reaching 300 followers by the end of August. So, for every 10 new followers I will randomly choose a winner from all followers.  It's that easy! Follow, leave a comment and you are in. Of course if you are ambitious and want to up your chances you can send a new follower to me (make sure they let me know you sent them in their comment) and you will each receive 5 more points.
We have winner #2 and it is the awe inspiring Neasha Clark; thank you and congratulations! to learn more about
Now more from: "BRISTOL STOMP"
 I spent the evening tidying up the waiting room, talking on the phone and sitting with David.  I would sit in a chair and doze on and off.  At one point I woke and saw a man and a woman I did not know sitting across from me.  There son had been in an accident.  A nurse came in to talk to them and they started to cry.  I felt bad for them and at the same time I was upset.  They were invading our space; this was our room.  I went into the bathroom and did my best to wash up.  I brushed my hair and put on some make-up.  The sun was coming up.  Back in the waiting room plans were being made to pick up my son and Birna’s sister from the airport.  I did not want to go.  It was Sunday, April 26st.  The show at the Trocadera was supposed to be today.  I went back into Dave’s room.  There was a doctor in there checking the respirator.  I asked him if he was going to remove it, thinking maybe they would see if Dave would be able to breathe on his own.  That doctor looked at me like I was an alien.  I did not see anything wrong with the question. He ended up just mumbling no, they would not be removing the respirator.
Birna’s sister Elsa arrived, from Iceland.  She had a son just three months younger than Michael. He was adorable.  I was relieved she was here for Birna.  It was an awful excuse for a visit, I thought to myself but Birna needed support and I could not give it to her.  While the happy reunion was going on in the waiting room, I walked back to Dave’s room.  There was a nurse, a doctor, Randy Morris, the police detective and Joe a police officer in the room.  They were whispering but I overheard.  David was brain-dead.  He would not recover.  I was numb.  I sat with him for a long time.  I walked down the hall and back in to the waiting room and said nothing.  I just sat there.  My mother was sitting in a chair, praying for a miracle.  My son arrived and he was talking with his girlfriend and his sisters, still trying to put the pieces together.  He was smiling.  He was just happy to be home.  He had no idea how serious this was.  Michael was crawling around on the floor.  Birna had finally fallen asleep.  I just sat there and cried.  I was in a room full of family and friends and I had never felt so alone.
David’s friends were there.  They were discussing having him transferred to Jefferson or University of Pennsylvania Hospital.  My mind started to play tricks on me.  Perhaps there could be a miracle.  I watched as they hustled back and forth making phone calls, talking to the doctors trying to arrange the transfer.  The doctors said no.  There would be no miracle here.  The benefit concert was supposed to be today and all we heard was the rumbling of the respirator and the faint beeping of the monitors. David and the rest of the band were really looking forward to that show.  I wanted to be angry, I tried to be angry but I felt nothing.  I just cried, slept, went out to smoke and cried some more.  I felt as if my body was being lifted up and I was floating around by the ceiling just looking down on everyone.  People were praying, crying, talking and sleeping.  My brother Nicky was getting angry.  It was just his way.  He said some things that should have hurt my feelings but I did not feel anything. 
I just thought about when he and Dave were little and how much I loved them.  I remembered Christmas’s when they were small and spoiling them with all the best toys.  I remembered giving Dave a Stretch Armstrong guy when he was 4 years old.  One morning he walked up to me with stretch and wanted to know what was inside.  I was busy with Joan who was a baby but I started to feel guilty so I grabbed stretch and squeezed him.  I could not figure out what was inside so to Dave’s delight I grabbed a knife and we operated on stretch.  It is crazy but right now, for the life of me, I cannot remember what was inside that stupid doll.  What I do remember was the two of us laughing so loud and hugging him.  Then we went and bought a new Stretch Armstrong.  I can still hear him looking up at me and saying “You are way cool”.  I remembered the wonderful summer I spent with the boys in Rhode Island.  David was just 3.  I remembered taking them to baseball practice and games.  They were such opposites.  Nicky was outgoing and loud.  David was always shy and quiet.
The doctor’s finally told us David was in fact, brain-dead.  He would never wake up.  They were just keeping him alive at this point because he was an organ donor.  They asked Birna if she wanted him taken off the machines.  She was not ready to make that decision.  None of us were ready to play God.  I thought of a time a few years before when my cousin Robin was in a coma.  His kidney’s had failed.  The doctor’s had asked his wife Tracy if she wanted the machines turned off.  She, at the time was nine months pregnant.  She did not turn off the machines and Rob recovered.  Well sort of and that story would take a whole other book, let’s just say Rob was never the same. Tracy gave birth to a beautiful little boy they named Joseph. She was here now at the hospital supporting us.  She had remarried and well as far as Rob, nobody knew where he was. 
            On April 28th I left the hospital.  I had to get out of there.  I went home.  Most of our neighbors met me in the driveway.  They seemed to know more about what had happened than I did.  I took a long shower, crying the whole time.  I decided to stop by my job at the newspaper just to let them know what was going on and to maybe do a little bit of work.  As always there was a newspaper on my desk.  There was an article about “The Fight”.  Allen Rubenstein, the Bucks County District Attorney was quoted in the article: “What did Mr. Albert expect when he stopped his car; tea and crumpets?  I could not catch my breath and my heart was racing.  This man has no idea what happened that night.  I wanted to drive to Doylestown and punch him right in his face.  He was accusing David of starting the fight.  My phone rang.  It was Jill telling me to get back to the hospital.  As I was driving back I was thinking about the ride to the hospital a few nights before.  It seemed like a long time ago.  Was it really just four nights before?
            When I walked down that long hallway I saw Nicky sitting on the floor outside David’s room his face in his hands, sobbing.  The machines were no longer working to keep Dave’s heart beating.  He was really gone.  They were preparing to take him to another hospital where they could harvest what they could for donation.  My sister Dee and her husband Tony were going with David.  Someone had to be there to identify him.  I did not want him to leave.  I wasn't ready to say goodbye. I still wanted a miracle.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Friday Fragments:

Again; what a difference a week can make. Michael is being released (if all goes well) on Saturday. He had his 10th surgery yesterday and this one was to remove the ventilator and the feeding tube. We are so relieved! He still has a long way to go but he is a champion boxer so we have no doubts he will give this battle 100%. I will never be able to say enough thank you's to everyone who left kind comments and prayed. Thank you!
This is Michael and I after one of his boxing matches..he won!
 So it is Friday Again already and I cannot believe it is August. The good thing about Friday; however is The famous Mrs.4444 who is our lovely host for Friday Fragments where we can dump all the fragmented thoughts out of our heads. You can visit her here and I promise you will not be disappointed
I have a goal of reaching 300 followers on my blog by the end of August. Of course I want it to be fun so I am having my first ever contest/giveaway. For every 10 new followers there will be a winner. If you follow and have ever left a comment you are in. 1 point for following and 1 point for every comment. (I will only count one comment per post). It is that easy. If you want to up your chances send a new follower my way and have them let me know you sent them in a comment and you will earn 5 extra points and so will they. I am so exited as this will hopefully happen around the same time I receive big book news!
I really am quite fragmented this week; so much going on and so much to do and guess what I did yesterday? I went Christmas shopping (please do not hate me but with 11 grand kids I have to do it this way).
I am also enjoying my time with Blogger's over 40. Java also hosts a Friday Follow which you can find here:
We have great news to share; my husbands niece Kate who is also a writer and actually the one that inspired me to create my blog HAS FINALLY LANDED AN AGENT!! We are all so proud of her and you all should hop over and congratulate her...make sure you tell her I sent you!
Has anyone noticed I have learned to put links and photos in a post?   I know about time right? Just ignore that photo bucket stuff; I really thought I was all that and tried to put some photos of prizes in there...maybe by next week!

I am reading "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" It actually comes with a 12 week workbook. I am enjoying the book and although I am a rather passive person I have been getting rather angry lately over being dis-respected and treated well like a 2 year old. I tried to reach out with this person and kind of agree to disagree and I was hung up on.  I am trying really hard to be like Mary..wish me luck!
You all have a positive and productive week!
WE HAVE OUR FIRST WINNER!!! CONGRATULATIONS TO C.Lee McKenzie you can learn more about her here:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Beautiful Blogger Award..

I am so excited to receive this one because; I really like it. was kind enough to pass it on to me. Thank you I really appreciate it!
In honor of this award I must state 7 beautiful things around me:
1) My husband; because he is my best friend and beautiful inside and out!
2) My kids; because they are beautiful!
3) My grand kids; because they give me renewed hope for a brighter future!
4) My tiny little garden because it is actually growing food!
5) My two little doggies because they make me laugh!
6) People that can be honest without purposely hurting your feelings!
7) Honor; it is a beautiful thing and it is hard to find these days!

I have chosen the following seven blogs to receive the Beautiful Blogger Award:
Thank you all for saying something that made me smile:)
Now you must list 7 things beautiful around you
and choose 7 to pass the award on to!

AND LOOK I FINALLY KNOW HOW TO DO LINKS IN POSTS!! It truly is a beautiful day!
Tomorrow, I will be figuring out photo's!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Fragments:

Happy Friday Everyone! Thank you Mrs.4444 for hosting, if you have not checked her out at "half pass kissing time" please do, she is running around like a chicken over there today. The link is down below where you will find all kinds of stuff..

Michael continues to do well in rehab. They FINALLY took him of the respirator! He can talk. We are thrilled to hear his voice again. I will never be able to thank all of you enough for your prayers and kind comments.

Lil Dominic is also doing well; he hates using the crutches so I am hoping they can go soon. He now has company 2 of his cousins also have stitches. The rest of the summer will be video games and movies for them!

A precious moment: I was visiting my daughter Jillian and holding brand new Peyton Elizabeth. I was telling the baby how happy we all were to have her in our family and how lucky she was to have 2 of the best big sisters. 4yr. old Avery Paige said "Mom-Mom you do understand that she can't really know what you are saying and she really can't talk yet". The whole time she was explaining this to me she was softly rubbing the baby's head. That reminded me of a time when Dominic was about her age and in the supermarket there was a woman with a very tiny baby. Dominic asked her "Can I pet your baby"?

For those of you who have asked and commented on the homeless woman we have living in our house; check out my Wednesday post.

We have a dilemma. I know; what else is new. Michael was just in this terrible motorcycle accident and the first thing he said when he could speak was "I never want to ride again". That is more than fine with us. The problem is my husband rides and I ride with him. It is what we do. WE go to Daytona Beach every year for bike week, we ride to the Jersey shore, we ride down some of the most beautiful back and winding roads. And I must tell you I love my alter ego the biker chick. I love the clothes. At first my husband said he too was done. Now he is not sure. I'm not sure. WE will be discussing this one a lot!

I have really good book news coming soon so stay tuned! I am also so excited that I am so close to 200 followers (thank you all so much)! I have a goal of 300 by the end of August. And of course we are going to celebrate along the way. I am going to have my first ever giveaway. If you follow me and have ever left a comment, you are in. 1 point for following and 1 point for each comment. (I will only count 1 comment for each post). If you do want to do something you can send someone to follow me and tell them to let me know in their comment. For that 5 points. So for every 10 new followers I will randomly pick a winner. There will be books and some gift baskets and some other goodies!

It really feels good to be humming Fraggle Rock again and to not be so worried about the boys...

I have other big news husbands niece Kate finally landed herself an agent. The woman is talented and we are all so proud of her..

So please go now and follow Friday Fragments and Over 40 bloggers! You will find their links down below, just go a scrolling and you will find the links. Kate's link to "Some things I think" is there too..check her out; she is funny and talented and brilliant. She did the funniest video...

I am so trying to figure out how to do links and photo's in my post. That is it I am figuring it out this week come hell or high water!

Have a powerful and positive week everyone..

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Stranger in my recliner:

Because I have been getting a lot of comments lately about the homeless woman we
took in 18 month's ago; I thought I would re-post the story of Sophie:
The wedding was now nothing more than a blur in my mind. The day went by so quickly. Perhaps it was because I really did nothing to plan the event. John took care of just about every detail. Maybe it was because part of me just believed it would never happen. It was nothing I would have ever planned other than the fact it happened on the beach. Of course the most important, the most meaningful part was the fact that I was marrying my best friend and my soul mate and there was no doubt in my mind, the two of us did not just happen to be together.
Anyway, the wedding behind us I moved into John’s house with his big, fluffy white, German Sheppard dog and his mother. I was in cultural shock. I left my daughter and son-in-laws house where I spent my days caring for seven grand children and my nights working to save the world as a victim’s advocate. John’s house was full of the memories of an 83 year old woman and a 50 year old man. Bachelor pad meets Grandmother’s house to put it lightly.
I considered myself blessed because John’s mother was a wonderful woman. I adored her and loved listening to her endless stories of raising her eight children. As compulsive as I was I was determined not to change anything in her home, other than the dust, of course.
We had only been married a few months when John’s mother took a turn for the worst. I became her caretaker. His six sisters even found a way for me to be paid. There were sleepless nights where I honestly did not know how much more I could take. This one particular night she was having nightmares so I sat in her room with her until she drifted off into a peaceful sleep. There was a religious channel on and I was annoyed. I would rather be watching news if I had to be up at this awful hour. I sat there wondering what I had done to deserve this. A show came on and a priest was talking about caring for the elderly. “How dare you complain about taking care of an elderly person”, I got such a creepy feeling like he was actually talking to me. He went on to say that never in one’s life would you ever be so close to someone so close to heaven. I took that comment to heart and I never did complain again. I truly was blessed because I know that woman arrived in heaven. Kathleen passed away on April 4, 2008 surrounded by her children. I missed her terribly and felt guilty that I was grieving her loss. After all I had known her such a short time. My husband tried to be the strong amazing man he is for his sister’s and younger brother but he was hurting.
Faith, the dog had passed a month before. My husband and I were alone. There were no more endless visits from sisters, grand children, nieces and nephews. I now had no job so when my husband went off to work his twelve hour days I spent my days writing and looking for a job.
I was not used to quiet. I wanted to clean and paint and change everything in the house but decided to wait. I wanted to give John some time. I found a job and now I was working twelve hour days also. The pleasure of arriving home at night together was amazing. We would have a little something to eat, talk about our days and just enjoyed spending time together.
John had been active in an organization for years and on Wednesday nights he would attend a meeting. I used the time to phone my family and do girly things like color my hair.
On this one particularly rainy, cold Wednesday night I got a call from John. He asked if I would mind if he brought someone home with him. He said he was leaving the meeting and saw an elderly woman walking on the sidewalk. She was soaking wet and appeared distressed. He offered to give her a ride and she accepted. It was then he thought he recognized her. It had been maybe thirteen years before he had seen her in one the meetings. He remembered the year because it was the year John’s seventeen year old son had died and this woman had been very kind to him. It became apparent to John this poor woman was homeless and had no where to go. Of course I told him to bring her home. She was freezing so I made her a hot bath, gave her my favorite silk pajama’s and fed her. We made her comfortable on the sofa and went to bed. When I woke the next morning, there she was curled up on the sofa, clutching her plastic grocery bag full of whatever and a small very well stuffed pocketbook. I had tears in my eyes. How does this happen to some one her age, she had to be in her seventies? She had John drop her off at McDonald's and he promised her he would stop by the McDonald's after work and if she was there she could come home with him again.
She was there and came back to our house. Before long Sophie had been moved into John’s mother’s bedroom. John really felt he was doing a good thing and who could argue. I never thought she would be with us long. She had to have family somewhere. I am all for saving the world but I worked twelve hour days taking care of an elderly woman. The last thing I wanted to do when I came home was to take care of another.
I contacted our congressman, Joe Sestak and his office quickly e-mailed me a list of contacts for such a situation. I called Catholic Social Services and a sister made an appointment to come out the next day. She asked Sophie a lot of questions and said she would be in contact with me. I never heard from her again. I called COSA, our local Delaware County association for the aging. They quickly mailed me a packet of useless information. I called our local public assistance office and left a message. Three weeks later after no reply I called again. It was my day off and I was determined to get a reply so I called every ½ hour. At 3:30 pm, Sophie’s case worker finally returned my call. He said she was entitled to $15.00 a month in food stamps and was on some kind of housing list but I would have to call them directly. He also informed me he would be sending out a packet and Sophie would be entitled to more benefits, now that she had an address. I filled out the pages in the packet and sent them back. A few phone calls later Sophie still receives $15 a month in food stamps and nothing more. I decided to take her to her doctor. Maybe I could get some information there on her family or at least her health. That was a big NO because I am not a relative. They did charge me $60 for the appointment. I asked shouldn’t she be on medicare or something. Yes, the nurse informed me but I would have to go through her caseworker. I was so frustrated I basically gave up and just resigned myself to the fact that Sophie lived with us. I continued to prepare food for her before I left for work in the morning. She could not even operate the microwave without a disaster ensuing. Getting her to shower or bathe was a nightmare and a full time job on my day off. When I was home she expected to be waited on hand and foot. Yes, as my husband says this was my fault because I felt sorry for her at first. The poor woman had been walking the streets and sleeping in the woods. I asked her to do little chores for me such as loading the dishwasher with disastrous results. She had three children and sisters and brothers. We could not find them. How did this happen to her?
When I was involved in a car accident and out of work for awhile, my feeling sorry for her was quickly turning to annoyance. She sat in the recliner in our living room all day. When she asked me for a drink I told her to help herself. She never did. However when we went to bed at night she would raid the kitchen. That wasn’t so terrible but the raiding of the trash can just made my skin crawl. While cleaning my living room one day I found 3 rotten banana’s, five cups of yogurt and six cans of Pepsi stuffed into the magazine pocket of the recliner. I had a talk with her. She promised it would not happen again but it still does. I also told her she had to change her clothes daily and at least wash herself. I have to remind her every day for most of the day.
During the day when I come up to my office to write she calls me every five minutes. I feed her and five minutes later she is hungry again. She complains that she cannot walk because she was attacked on the streets and everything hurts her. I tried to explain to her she has to get up and move around or before long she really will not be able to move. She tells me I do not understand what it is like to be beaten up.
I decided I had the time while recovering from my concussion and I was going to remove a drop ceiling and paint. She complained the whole time and when she had to move out of the recliner to another side of the room you might have thought I put her out in the yard. John and I are forced to be in our bedroom just to have a conversation. We also watch television in our room because if we put something on in the living room other than the soap channel or the game show network she whines.
We recently found out her brother is in a facility for the aged very close to our home. I investigated and it seems like a nice place. I thought we would take her to visit her brother, who she swears she loves, but she refuses to go. I called the facilities social worker and explained the story to her and she referred me to admissions. Two phone calls, two messages left and I have not heard from them.
Please do not get the wrong idea. I am a kind person and so is Sophie. She does receive social security and does help us financially on occasion. The help is deeply appreciated especially with me out of work. My deepest frustration is this woman has a family. Where are they? How dare they just leave her alone to walk the streets? Yes she is a lot of work but she is not a member of my family. The words of that priest come back to haunt me daily. How dare I complain about taking care of an elderly woman who has no one else in this world to care for her? I feel so guilty for wanting to live a life alone with my husband and our children and grandchildren.
Every time I leave my house I see another Sophie out there on the street. Why was my husband there that particular night to find her? My only explanation is that it was God’s plan and not for me to question. So for the immediate future the strange woman will remain in the recliner in our living room and I will continue to care for her to the best of my ability.
That does not stop my frustration with the depth of the homeless problem everywhere. I learned awhile back that I cannot save the entire world but I can give up my recliner to one poor soul who has no one else in the world.