Tuesday, November 22, 2016


It is my birthday. It is nearly Thanksgiving. The two celebrations dance around one another each year, occasionally landing on the same day. That is appropriate. Being born. Being present another year. Even the tough years, I am grateful for the experience of being alive. Born and reborn again as time changes some things, but not everything. At least not at once.  So, on the anniversary of my birth, I wish to thank the people who make this fragile but resilient thing, we call life, a happy one for me. For the gifts they give me each day of the year.

Thank you to my children, Ali & Mark, who have grown into adults who rescue kittens, help old people, say hello to everyone and are optimistic about the future. You give me hope.

Thank you to my partner, Caesar, who walks alongside me even when I am literally and figuratively tripping over myself. I can’t think of a more patient person willing to consider my “brilliant ideas” nor a more adventurous companion to my random road trips. You give me joy.  

Thank you to my step-children, Sarah and Melissa, who make me laugh and help me to look at things in new ways. You give me courage. 

Thank you to my extended family who gather around my table, especially Danielle, Roseann and Carmen, my nieces, nephews and children in -laws, who lend tradition, continuity and allegiance to my life. You give me love. 

Thank you to my friends, old friends and forever friends like Cathy Lynne and Barbara who “knew me when” and remarkably still like me. You give me happiness

Thank you to new friends and work friends who make my life more meaningful through shared challenges and experiences. Those people who are there day to day to share a laugh and to share lunch. You give me solidarity. 

Life is for the living and I am glad to be experiencing it with all of you! 

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, June 30, 2016


I was in the basement storeroom tonight, looking for something that I never found. Instead, I came across this, the eulogy I wrote and presented at Mark's funeral in May 2000. Maybe he wanted to remind me and you and all of us one more time. 

Mark was an optimist. When we were just married and our basement flooded with two feet of water, he joked that we had the first row house with an indoor pool. Then he rolled up his sleeves and cleaned the place up. Mark was a man you could count on to get the job done and who found pleasure in the doing. In turn, those around him found themselves laughing too. His good humor was infectious.

Mark was gentle. I think Mark plucked his gentleness form nature itself. I would watch him in the last light of a long, summer day standing by the lake at our campsite. Fishing pole in hand. He'd throw his head back, scan the cloudless sky and sigh. His peaceful moment broken by the shouts of Ali and Mark who caught yet another sunny and Big Mark's excited praise as though they had caught a trophy bass.  Mark would call times like that "his greatest moments". 

Mark was a big man who made a difference in small ways. He was the ear you needed when things were all wrong, he was the strong hand when you needed a helper, he fed our souls as often as he fed our bellies. Mark could diffuse a tense situation with a well placed joke. He was the kind of guy you actually wanted to run into at Wawa. That small encounter was a guaranteed bright spot in your day. 

Mark would say that one should not take from the earth more than he could give back, and to this end, he succeeded. He planted seeds of hope, happiness and optimism wherever he went. It is up to all of us who knew him, who loved him, to allow these seeds to flourish. It is hard to set aside one's grief and even harder to be hopeful. But without that, Mark's life becomes meaningless. We are here today to bid him farewell, the hole he leaves is gaping, but if each one of us donates a little humor, a little gentleness, a little optimism, the void can be filled. And the balance in nature, made right.