Thursday, December 4, 2014

Promises Kept

I just returned from Italy on a lovely family vacation with T-Moe, my niece Cate and my son's friend Chris.  We went to visit Eliza who is studying in Florence. It was a wonderful trip, lots of laughs, eating, drinking, history, walking and just enjoying the country where my ansestors are from.
It was always the plan for Me & Ted to visit Italy once T-Moe was in college... a vacation by ourselves. We had always taken our vacations as a family...we enjoyed that, but were looking forward to this vacation, alone,  together. We had planned it and it was only a few years in our future when Ted got sick.

Ted was a wise and deliberate man. Throughout his illness he  asked for very little, he was a perfect patient, generous and thoughtful of those around him. On days when he was so tired and could barely stay awake, if the phone rang he would answer, and I would hear him say, in a very quiet voice
"ok, sure, see you in a bit" and I would ask who it was and he would tell me and say they are going to stop by. I would say are you sure you are up for it? His reply, always,  was " yeah, we may never see each other again" So as he was making the journey toward the end of his life. He asked me to promise a few things. I won't share them all, as some things are not to share. But one was to promise not to sell his "Kingdom" on Barters Island and the other was  for me to "promise to go to Italy and not wait. We should have gone, promise me you will go and not wait" And so when Eliza was planning on studying abroad, and she decided on Florence, I knew that I would make the trip and Ted would finally get to go to Italy. We would go together, though not alone.

We traveled a bit around Italy, to Florence, Rome, Pisa, Sienna, Lucca and other little villages. My posse of 4 decided that Loro Ciufenna, a little village that we stayed in with a series of beautiful waterfalls, was the place to spread a little Ted. I think he would have loved it.

Sunday, November 30, 2014 more room in this boat!

In the past year, unfortunately,  I find myself not alone. I have had a number of  friends experience the loss of a husband. We are all in the same boat. I have no sage advice. I know although we all have experienced the loss of our husbands, our grief will not be the same, our course steady on, will be inturrupted by conditions beyond our controll,  there is no escaping the storm, just hope we come thru intact, still able to stand.  I also have a few friends embarking on the  the long helpless journey as the spouse of a cancer patient. Again I have no wise words, another unpredictable road ahead, each journey unique to that individual, and to their families.   I can only offer my compassion, empathy, support and hopeful optimism. Just because Ted lost his life to cancer, I have to believe that there are many who survive, will survive...I need to believe this, because if I do not, then why suffer the painful, exhausting effects the treatments produce. I need to know that they will survive! That there are survivors. I pray for that every day.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

To have and to hold...

Today would be our 25th wedding anniversary. We shared 24 blissful years...that would be the answer Ted would give you if you asked how  long we were married. He would say "24 years of bliss!" So on this 25 year... I miss my blissful mate. I know it says "til death do you part". But even though he is no longer here, I feel him close. I still feel married. I know that sounds odd. We did not step out of the marriage. It just ended, and just like that I am alone without  Ted and him without me.  So on this day that Ted never forgot and I was always confused about the exact date. (the 6th or 7th?) I am so grateful for the 24 we had together and so sad that I will miss growing old with that cranky old Yankee. I miss having him to hold.
( He would have loved Eliza's version of one of our favorite wedding pics. )

Monday, September 1, 2014

Still in my Heart

Today is the the Anniversary of Ted's memorial service. It was a lovely day for all of us to say goodbye, remember Ted moments share our stories and our tears. I miss him. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014


And on the 366th day without Ted on this planet, this happened...

I find it no coincidence that the State game is on the day we all  said goodbye to Ted. 
He Loved this team, he knew their potential, as players and amazing young men. He is one "Happy Cappy"!!!! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


I kissed a LOT of frogs in my youg dating life. I hated dating,  I was never one for long relationships, hated game playing, never really could stay in a relationship for more than 6  months. Then I met Ted. I knew  instantly after our first date that we would be together for a long time. I cannot describe the feeling, but I just knew he was the guy I woud marry, and before him, I never saw myself married.
He was easy, no games, stratigh up honesty and said what was on his mind. I loved that about him.
We were engaged withing  6 months and married a year later. I was lucky to have spent 27 years with Ted... he was fun, loving, kind, and  sensitive, an awesome husband, amazing father, fierce friend, caring coach, hard worker, passionate about his solar business. I could go on and on, but those who knew him, know all of this. He had his faults, as we all do. We worked hard on our marriage, it mattered to us. He was such a present father... for a guy who, when we first met,  did not want kids, he was one heck of a dad.
When I feel in Love with Ted I never imaganed a future without him in it. Now a year after his death I still have moments of disbelief and sadness at the future we will not get to share.  When I see old folks walking hand in hand down the street, I cry. These past few weeks have been extroinenarily difficult for me. I cannot believe a year has passed. I miss him more today than when he first left us. Perhaps I was exhausted, he was very sick his last months, and I did my best to keep him happy, comfortable and loved. Perhaps I was numb after with all that needs doing after a loved one passes, and you walk thru that fog pretty unaware of what occured. I cannot honestly tell you how I did all the arrangements. But I will say with a little help ( really LOTS ) from our friends. Perhaps I was so concerned for our childrens well being that I just pushed my pain down. I am not saying I did not cry. I did plenty of that. I think once the dust settled, for me the care taking, the constant watch... like when you have a new born, you are on heightened alert, making sure all is well. Then after I was still on that time clock. Not sleeping, crying  you get my drift. I think now, that I am on a pretty decent sleeping schedule, not running on empty, I have the luxury to REALLY miss Ted. I come home and he is not here for me to share my day with. Eliza & T-Moe do amazing things, and I have no one to bask in the glory of our childrens awesomeness with.  Something breaks in the house and my handy man is not here. I struggle some days, overwhelmed and the day to day of keeping homes, being a landlord, blah blah blah, these things Ted was so good at and me, not so much to learn.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Life without Ted

It is amost at that year mark, soon to be 365 since we have had to adjust to life without Ted. I will not color it rosey and say it has been easy. It is most difficult living a life you once did as a whole family,  with an important element missing. Of course there are many good days, but if I am truthful with myself, I will say,  I miss Ted more today than I did in the beginning of this new life without.
We have celebrated many important life events without Ted.. all of our birthdays have come and gone, Christmas Eve, Christmas,  the New Year, Halloween, Thanksgiving, anniversaries, and of course just the silly little family events only we cared to celebrate. He is missed not just by me and our children, but by our entire family, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, our dear extended family, all his "brothers".  All of us have missed  that certain lack of Tedness in our lives. As Flag Day soon approaches, ( June 14 for those of you who are unaware) the Holiday of Holidays for Ted,  ( It was Teds fave. No really, he is the only person I knew who spent his year planning his huge Flag Day celebration.) I find myself sitting often with a heavy heart. Missing my husband, friend, partner in crime, father of our amazing children. Sad because he is not here physically to embrace our children, and tell them how amazing he thinks they are. Sad because selfishly, I am often overwhelmed with the day to day of mothering, working, housekeeping, yard maintaining, bill paying, car fixing,  appointment making,  volunteering, house maitenaining, dog chasing, and the list goes on. Not complaining...I can do it, but oh how I miss my partner in all this. Our children have risen to the occasion, but they are still kids and I am mindful of heaping an adult load on them. They have their own grief to carry and their own path to navigate. It is difficult enough, being a teenager,  without adding the loss of you dad, best buddy and confidant. So we forge forward. I dont know when this heaviness subsides a bit. I am more certain now than I ever was, that grief is not a short term condition. Thoughts of Ted find their way in every day, I did not know it possible for little things to just creep in and for a moment, feel like I should call, that life was normal. I  feel stupid for not knowing how to answer certain questions. Silly questions,  like a question that came up for the Lacrosse program..."what  would you like me to put down as T-Moe's parents" ?  Just me?  I am the only one here... but he did have 2 parents. It's just so damn weird, that little question... made me all upset, confused, and not knowing how to answer. What the what! So I asked my son... he looked at me like I was crazy,  and in the end I put me and Ted, because we are his parents, even though he is no longer here. So I continue this long strange trip, with my children friends and family, hoping for clarity, calm and normalcy soon. I know it will come. I wish there was a clean cut guide, and definitave date. But I am also a realist and know that would be too good to be true.
So I thank you all for your  love and support, kindness, friendship and understanding, as sometimes I am not the easiest person to be around. You have helped us navigate, steadied us, picked us up, heard us out, cried with us, and distracted us. We are grateful for you timing and continued embrace.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Ted Riots"

" The Ted Riots" That is what one of Ted's oldest friends calls this South Portland team. It makes me smile!
It was a well anticipated game last night vs Kennebunk.  For me and many I know,  thoughts of Ted were close to the field.
 I stand in the same spot Ted watched all the games from last year... it gives me comfort and strength and hope and a feeling of closeness to him, knowing many of his best last days were spent here. 
For many the win last night just another High School game. For me... a beautiful sign of a life well lived, as Ted taught many of these boys the game of lacrosse. He shared his passion, he had a great way of communicating with these small boys, who are now young men. He shared his knowledge and  taught them what it means to play as a team and not as a one. Boy oh boy was that evident last night. This team of amazing athletes, awesome young men,  played as a team... no super stars here (well in my book they all are). They all sacrifice for the better of the team. What a beautiful thing when it all comes together. Ted is one proud coach today! And me so proud of all these boys, and so grateful Ted had the opportunity to do what made him truly happy in his lifetime. I wish that for all theses young men.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

No Place like South Portland, I cannot imagine life elsewhere.

Requires Hugging!

Once in a while you are given a gift that is the most beautiful, unimaginable thing ever. Ted, Eliza,
T-Moe  and I were  given such a gift...our friends and community came together to support our family by throwing an amazing party in my husbands honor. There was an abundance of auction items donated from friends far and near. There were items donated by people in our community who we have yet to meet.  Our talented Artist friends donated their talents of beautiful art, jewelry and music. A professional Lacrosse playing friend, had his team of amazing players...(all whom I have never met ) donate signed jerseys, and attended the live auction event via skype. An old college friend donated a portion of his restaurants sales one evening. Friends donated vacation homes, friends & strangers donated baskets of goodies, talent, music time, space.  Friends spent weeks organizing and gathering auction items, cooking, baking, planning an amazing party,  for all to celebrate Ted...simply amazing.
 It is a rare gift in life when a group of folks  who have touched your life and whose lives you have touched, gather together to share that feeling of love respect, adoration and at the same time share strength. We were given that gift and we will be forever grateful for such an amazing experience. But mostly I am grateful that I married the man they all were there to honor. This beautiful event was on a late November evening. How can I ever thank these dear friends, wonderful acquaintances and kind strangers?
I have thought long and hard and the answer, as I believe it, is to simply live like Ted...Be true to yourself, be kind, help when you can, say yes when asked, mentor our youth,  do good, work hard, make friends where ever you go,  live in the moment,  pay it forward, have fun, be silly, and  laugh...a lot!
I know the memories of that November evening carried Ted through some of the darkest days of his illness. I must admit, when I am sad and missing Ted, I think of that night too, and the love and support from all of our friends, family, still, well it warms my heart...but what really resonates with me is the the feeling I had seeing my hubby actually see what he meant to others, such an unbelievable gift,  to actually see the love, touch the love.  That alone brings me such bittersweet joy.

Friday, March 21, 2014


 I am a widow, it has been  276 days now, of life without Ted.'s a lonely word and I find it a hard word to say. I dont know if I have spoken that word yet to describe myself. These past 9 months have been tough. Grief is unpredictable, it is as unpredictable as the cancer was and it as unpredictable as life itself. I try to steady the course and forge forward, but I often find myself thrown by  unpredictable waves of emotion. Everyone grieves differently. I dont know that there is any guide to grieving the death of a loved one. I am what grief looks like. It's silent and right now,  always present. I think the only true healer is time, and really how much time no one knows. For some only a few months, for others years. I have heard many with the best of intentions suggest that I cry more, cry less, talk to a counselor, exercise more, do yoga, go out, sell your home, get rid of photos, the thoughtful list of suggestions goes on. And although I appreciate all the kind  advice, I listen to my heart. We all process loss, sorrow and heartache uniquely. No one can tell us how to grieve or how long it takes to mend a broken heart. What I do know is that I am happy when friends share their grief. It is comforting to know Ted is missed by friends and family as much as I miss him and as much as our children miss him. Ted had a large personality, he was a huge presence.  I miss his presence daily and dearly. Large and huge....hard to shake.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Missing my mate!

This is why Ted loved Bob Marley so...and why we named our son after wish on this snowy day...may you all find your soul it your spouse, brother, sister, friend...someone to share all with...its amazing.

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
― Bob Marley

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hand Lettering, custom work, illustration

I have not been in the studio much this past year, I do miss the making. I have however,  been sketching madly and designing new cards, prints,  fabric & wrapping papers. I have also been doing some design work for brides and grooms, expectant moms, and new moms. Such fun. I really like the process of working with clients. Some have a very clear vision, some none at all and some think they do. As we follow that vision, they often decide that they are not loving that direction. I like to meet with clients first to get a sense of who they are. I try to grab a sense of their style by he way they dress, talk, color choices and just their general essence. I just delivered wedding invitations Friday to happy clients. The process was fun, here is where we started.
I thought a little story about them would be a sweet invite...

K & J Liked the idea, so I did a quick mock up on the computer

They liked the idea, but not totally smitten.   I had visions of hand lettered loveliness for the above, 
but then had another idea...sketched and sent it off...

K & J liked where I was going , so I went!

I drew a few  few more sketches and hand lettered.

K & J liked this, but wondered if trees might be heart shaped- ish...
another sketch to see if I was heading in the tight direction

YES! Below is final drawing before I scanned into computer and colored. 
K & J originally wanted cream card stock, but I liked trees bright white, I suggested a lovely green which would go lovely with the brides muted color choices.
 RSVP Postcard choices:

Below are the final invites. It warms my heart to  able to  make the bride & groom happy. Wedding invites send a beautiful message...I am thrilled they asked me to be a small part of it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Olympia, Betty, Minnie, Min, Nana

When I was growing up my grandmother was often at our house often. She lived only a few towns away, but would come and stay for weeks at a time. I loved it when Nana (aka Olympia, Betty, Minnie, Min, and possibly one or two names I can't recall) was in the house. She was something else. Funny, loving and had the amazing ability to make each of her 16 grandchildren feel they were her favorite.  She was a good cook, enjoyed cleaning, and when at home or in our home could always be found wearing a housecoat, often times with her heels on. I always thought that funny, the housecoat and heels! I loved her dearly and miss her greatly. When I first moved to Maine, and in my first apartment, I often called Nana to get recipes for some of my favorite Nana dishes. There are 3 things my grandmother used to make that I crave to this day, and the taste brings me right back to when Nana was in the kitchen. Chicken Cacciatore, Chicken fricassee and her simple iceberg salad w/ white wine  dressing. Dinner tonight...chicken fricassee, Nana style!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Pretty amazing, every December 31, we get an opportunity for a fresh new start. It's that fresh time again! The beginning of a new year. New, new new. I roll that around in my head  and try to figure out what that means. New, different, strange, unfamiliar, unusual, unique, unlike, unknown, and the list goes on. So here I am, in new 2014. I will be open to new and different and unknown. And hope for awesome and happy and amazing and joyful. I will pray for peace and health and love and kindness for all I know. I will be present, and helpful  and kind to those I know and those I just meet. I will try to  be a healthier me. A good friend, sister, aunt, boss, neighbor and community member. I will take with me the beautiful and hard lessons learned the past 2 years and move into the future a stronger wiser, gentler, more compassionate, extremely grateful, humble and openly emotional person.  I will try to be a bit more mellow like my husband was. I will try to remember to  control what I can, and not stress over what I cannot. I will remember be grateful for EVERYTHING. I will try to ask for help (this is hard for me) I will make time. I will be there, in so many different ways. I will be present, because we can use our words, but like my wise mother told me actions speak louder! Truth! I've seen it in action,  I have been on the receiving end of deliberate and random acts of kindness and love and it is beautiful. So my wish for all I know and love, Peace, Love, Health & Much Happiness and Kindness in 2014 and every year after!