Garage Sale

We're having a garage sale here today.  We've been really busy and lots of folks have come by.  The weather is beautiful and lots of Leah's friends are around. 

We had coffee outside and ate breakfast outside and had lunch outside, and pretty much did everything outside, because when you have a garage sale, you are STUCK outside.  But, that's ok; we're enjoying it. We are remembering to stay well hydrated, of course.

Our whole neighborhood is having a garage sale, so we visited some of them before, and, because we believe in supporting our local vendors, we ended up buying something from one of our neighbors.  Which means that we won't really be making a profit with our sale.  But we kinda already expected that.  And, it's ok because the money went to a good cause.

Have a great weekend!  See ya on Monday!


The Healing Corner: Barbara's Story

Grief Doesn't Stop

Today ten years have passed since your death. I still miss you with every breath I take. Holidays are always very hard for me to get through. When I look up at our beautiful clear blue skies I remember how much you were thankful for such simple things. You left me with so many wonderful memories of good times we spent together. You also taught me so much. I always look for the good in everything and truly believe things will work out given time. You never complained about anything and were always a happy and thankful person. I see you in every beautiful flower and every cardinal that flies by.

You didn't have an easy life. You grew up during a war when times were hard. Your brother died in that war at only 17 years old. Upon graduating you spent one year with strange family as a mother’s helper, doing housework cooking, and helping with their children. This was a law at the time of Hitler's rule. You then worked for 3 years as an apprentice to be a seamstress in a large factory. Afterwards you had a certificate and they would hire you for a paying job. You married at 24 my father who you knew from church. After 11 years and 4 children later, you left your family and friends and moved to America. You spoke no English and gave up the only life you knew. The 2 week voyage with 4 children ages 10, 7, 4, and 1 for 2 weeks on an ocean liner would have done me in. You had sea sickness most of the time. You still never complained.

It was 6 years before we could buy our first home in Pompton Lakes. We were happy to get out of the apartment in Newark. We continued to go to the German Methodist church for some time but then switched to our church in Bloomingdale. You could not have done any of this without your trust in God. He held your hand through it all.

Then one hot summer august night our lives all changed forever. Rainer, at 16 broke his neck in a diving accident and was paralyzed for the next 8 years. You learned to care for him after many operations, never sleeping a whole night through. We had to move to a house where his bedroom was on the first floor. We all grew up quickly after the accident. My father worked night and day to pay for the endless medical bills. Our church and town had many fund raisers to help. Those 8 years were so hard for us all but when Rainer died there was such an emptiness in all our lives. We all knew his suffering was over, but we still missed him so much. In those 8 years he still managed to graduate with his high school class and continued on to attend college. He was always a good student. Before his accident his name was in the local paper every week for most goals scored in every soccer game. Life changed in an instant.

You still had to suffer more when you had to go through a divorce after 30 years of marriage. It as a shock for us all. I told you then I would always be there for you, and I did all I could to get you through that terrible time. Luckily I had John to help me. Your faith helped much more than I could. You still remained a thankful person after all that happened to you. Your family and countless friends will always remember how you touched their lives. You were a blessing to us all.

I have always been a very private person and my thoughts and feelings are usually kept to myself. I feel everyone at some point in their lives go through some tragic loss. We all cope differently, but we all have our own crosses to bear. If I could take the pain of grief away I surely would. I do live my life with my Mom always in the back of my mind, trying to do what I know she would want me to do. I hope my story will bring you a little insight into my grief without my Mom.

Love Barbara

Theme Song

And we’re back!

It’s like the minute I tell my body that we are going to be exercising, it goes and throws a protest and decides that we are going to be virus-ing instead.

Anyway, I’ve been filling up my ipod with all different types of music. I spend a lot of time driving and listening to music, and I find my mind wandering while listening trying to find the real meaning of songs. I probably read into songs way too much, but I like thinking that there are hidden messages that the songwriters threw in there that only a few people will figure out.

I’m nuts.

Remember when Ally McBeal came up with that whole “theme song” thing? Where everyone had a theme song that would play in their head? I often wonder what my theme song would be. Although my life ebs and flows, and there are good and bad times, one song always seems to adequately represent me more than any others.

“One Headlight” by the Wallflowers.

I’m not sure if I know what that song is about, but in my head? It’s about me exactly.

Surely, I can’t be the only one who has a theme song?  Anyone else?

And, because I love ya, here’s a picture of my great kid. Yesterday was a rough day at our house, and a normal two year old might not have handled a sick mom and dad as well as Leah did. She’s a champ.



From Management

Please be advised that The Great Stomach Virus of Aught 10 has manifested itself at the Deenuts household and we are sad to report that there will not be a post today.

Please feel free to read the blogs of those great people listed on the lower right side of the page and check back in tomorrow for more earth shattering, mind blowing nuggets of wisdom from Dana.

Thank you,


Head Full Of Doubt

Yesterday I bought my first ipod. I know what you’re thinking: That Dana-- always with her finger on the pulse of new technology. I realize that I am several years behind times with my ipod purchase, but just stay with me for a minute.

I also bought some new sneakers. Running sneakers. I’ve never owned sneakers that are geared towards running. But, then again, I’ve never ran before, so it’s not like I’ve been unprepared in life w/r/t running.

I was listening to a song a few weeks ago and the singer told me to “decide what to be and go be it.” And I keep thinking back to that line. Because I don’t remember the last time I’ve done that. I don’t remember the last time I’ve made a big decision at all. Mostly these days, things just sort of happen to me.

I wasn’t always this way. I used to make my own decisions. I used to be in control of my life. I used to determine my destiny. I used to sparkle.

And now?

I’m just rolling with the punches.

When that singer told me to decide what to be and go be it I realized that I wasn’t doing that at all. And haven’t been for a long time. I’m just living life ‘cause I have no choice. I’m trying to make it through the day while accomplishing some made up mental list of things I need to do in a day. I’m Greg’s wife, Leah’s mom, my dead mom’s oldest daughter. But I’m not Dana. Not anymore.

I’m too afraid to be Dana. I’m too afraid that if I stop doing what I’m doing someone else is going to drop dead on my dime. Because I wasn’t watching them breath. Keeping them safe.

I’m exhausted every night and it’s not because I’m too physically active each day. It’s because I can’t turn down my brain during the day and do anything anymore.

So, I bought an ipod and some sneakers. And I set a goal. It’s a small goal, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

My stimulators are The Avett Brothers, who wrote that great line.

My idols are my sister Adriana and my friend Gabrielle. My constructive critic is my husband. My motivation is my mother.

And my inspiration is me. Well, who I used to be. Wish me luck.


The People In Our Neighborhood: Catherine

I am introducing a new series here on DeenutsDana called "The People in our Neighborhood" where I will be highlighting friends of mine that I want to introduce to you.  I know some pretty great people and I want to share them with you. 

Our first Person In Our Neighborhood is Catherine.

Catherine lives in Shelburne, Vermont with her husband Andy and their two sons Matthew and Brendan.  I met Catherine in 1994 at our Orientation for Boston University.  We lived on the same floor freshman year and in the same suite sophomore year.  We lost touch for a few years after college but then found each other in 2006, and she did a reading in my wedding in June of 2007.  We've been close ever since, and this weekend Catherine and her two sons came to visit and spend some time with Greg, Leah and myself. 

I have some great memories of Catherine.  Once freshman year we were heading back to our dorm after a night of partying.  As we stepped out of the elevator, she bumped into me, and my wallet fell down the elevator shaft.  We just watched it fall, almost in slow motion, and then looked up at each other and started laughing.  It wasn't until I sobered woke up the next morning that I realized how royalty screwed I was without any debit or credit cards, i.d. or money.

My second favorite memory of Catherine is when we were playing Uno in our suite sophomore year eating Doritos.  We were singing that song "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and I licked the cheese off of a Dorito and put it down to draw a card.  Catherine picked it up and put it in her mouth, not realizing it had already been licked.  I started laughing and could barely get the words out to tell Catherine that she was eating my ABC dorito.  When she realized it she made this horrible BLLLEEAAACCCCHHH sound and spit the dorito out.  We laughed about that for a while. 

Here is what Catherine would like to share with you, in her words:

I am the youngest of three children; I was born in Brwyn Mawr, PA on October 29, 1975. And yes, I had a Halloween party every year until I started liking gymnastics, and then I had gymnastics parties.  And then there was the year that my mom spilled Hawaiian punch all over my garfield sheet cake.  I'll never forget that.

I moved around a lot, and in 1986 we moved from the Philadelphia area to the Baltimore area.  I went to a Catholic school called Notre Dame Prep in Towson, MD.  We only lived there for three years when my parents sprung on me, "We're moving to California!"  Being the youngest, I had to go.  I was envious of my sister, who was starting college.

My brother would tell you that I was spoiled.  I got a nice car, but he got one too, only mine was in better shape than his.  I used to listen to my sister's phone conversations through the vent in my room.  Once I heard my mom talk to my sister through the vent about finding drug paraphernalia in her room.

I'm not sure what my dad did for a living.  He worked for railroads--that's all I know about that.  We moved around a lot because of his job.

I was a Brownie; I played softball; I swam for a long time--all the way through high school. I love to travel.  I've been to Russia three times on student exchange.  That's what started my interest in international travel. 

We lived in California from eigth grade through high school, and I knew that I wanted to go back east for college. Both of my siblings went to Syracuse. I was accepted there too, but I wanted to be different.  I saw the BU sign at the football field while passing on the Massachusetts Turnpike one day and decided to apply there.  I knew I wanted to major in International Relations and made sure that BU offered it.  It was big school and I wanted to go to a big school. 

After graduation, I worked for Kraft Foods as a sales rep.  I was there for a little more than 8 years.  I met my husband Andy at a Halloween party.  He showed up without a costume and my friend Beth said, "You can't come to my party and not wear a costume." So she put him in one of her business suit jackets and called him Fat Guy in a Little Coat.  We married four years later.

I quit Kraft when my first child Matthew was 9 months old and decided that I wanted to be a stay at home mom.  My son Brendan is three years younger than Matthew.  These days, I live in Vermont and I'm a full time mom and also help Andy at our furniture business Burlington Bedrooms.  Three years ago we launched a pet bed business, called Lillypad Memory Foam Pet Beds, which are ideal for all pets and especially beneficial for older pets.  I like to road bike, run, and plan to do a triathalon by the end of the summer.  I'm doing a half marathon next month.  I enjoy visiting college friends in Sparta, NJ.  I enjoy a good drink or two.  I like to waste time on Facebook, just like anyone else. 

Thanks, Catherine!


The Naked Cowgirl(s)

One of the things that still really stings, and I imagine will continue to for a long time, is when people see Leah doing something, and they ask me if I used to do that.  Or, if she acts in a certain way and they wonder if I acted that way at her age.  If she likes a certain animal, food, toy...did I also like those things?  When the doctor asks at what age did I get my first ear infection or when did I start teething.  What were my first words?  Did I say any words funny?  Did I throw tantrums? Was I funny?  What was my favorite food?  What was my bedtime routine?  Did I enjoy bath time? 

My dad means well, and he remembers some stuff, but he doesn't remember the little things and the milestones the way a mom does.

I never had the chance to ask my mom about being a mom, since she died when I was only 5 months pregnant.  We didn't get that far.  I just assumed she would be a huge part in my baby's life, and I figured I'd have her to answer questions as we went along.

These days I rely heavily on pictures.  I try to piece together my childhood through the pictures that my parents took.  I hope that they captured all of the important things on film, and I see if I can tell what type of little girl I was before I have any memories. It's fun to find pictures of me doing the same things that Leah does.

Like, take for instance, this.  This picture combo tells me that we both enjoy riding our rocking horses. 

In the nude. 



Yee Ha!



Time. Not On My Side.

I have a serious question for everyone out there.  Like, I need you to comment and give me insight.  This is not a rhetorical question; I am really asking for help.

Where the heck do you find the time to do everything?!

I feel like I am always behind; always fighting the clock to get everything done; always failing at something.  I wake up at a decent time.  I don't take too long to get ready in the morning.  My commute is long, but I make a lot of phone calls and try to get things done while I'm on it.  I usually don't take a lunch, but if I do, I run an errand.  I've perfected my ride home to only take me in high traffic areas for about 5 miles.  I am a multi-tasker to the max; I'm a project manager for christ's sake!  I know how to plan!  I am pretty good at time management.  But, at the end of the day, there are usually about 4 things that I had planned to do that I didn't get done.  And that's a good day.

And, it's killing me!  Especially when it's something that I was looking forward to--like a walk.  Or, some time outside with Leah.  Or, just some time with Leah period.  Where she's not kicking me, of course.  Those times are not looked forward to.  Obvs.

Spending time with this person is important to me.

I have friends on Facebook who will list what they've accomplished each day, and it's a list of like 30 items!  And I'm like--seriously?  You did all that?  Because, today?  I emptied the dishwasher.  That's it.  Emptied the dishwasher and lived.  And that's a good day.

Clearly, I'm missing something.

I look around me and see women who seem to have it all figured out.  Who will let me know at 9 a.m. what they are having for dinner and that they plan on taking their kids for a walk afterwards!  And, me?  I'm not even sure I'm going to be serving dinner in my house, because that is so long from now and anything can happen!

Play with me!

My house is never as clean as I want it.  Either is my kid.  The laundry pile is taller than me.  My hair is always a month overdue for a cut.  Don't get me started on the color.  What are Leah's two year old pictures that people keep asking me about?  Because we don't have them, and, at this rate, there won't be three year old ones, either.  The list of to-do's is out of control.  My dining room has not had a chandelier for four years, and every Saturday I say, "Today is the day I will buy a chandelier" and if I had a dollar for every time I've said that, I could buy you all a chandelier.  And dining rooms.

And it's not like I can't do it.

I plan my crew at work's schedule down to the last minute at times.  I try to foresee all problems and avoid issues at any cost.  But, with my own life?  Not so much.

So, I need some advice.  I need to hear how you do it.  How are your homes so clean, and your errands all done, and your bills paid on time and your refridgerators filled with food?  You always look so great, and your eyebrows are never in need of a wax.  You're not wearing a bra from college because nothing else was clean, and you appear to have had time to put on some lip gloss.  And, look at that!  Your dining room has a chandelier!

How did you do all that?

Look at all of my friends' moms playing with them.
I guess I'll just hold this here bubble bucket and look sad.


There Is Beauty In The World

Today my job took me on the road for the day—out in nature, if you will. I found myself in the middle of a construction site wearing a hard hat, in the middle of a field, walking back and forth over brush and ravines, and in a golf cart rumbling and bouncing around a vast area with overgrown trees and shrubs. When I got back, I realized that my sunglasses were covered in a film of dirt. Upon closer inspection, so was my entire body. I arrived back at my office and looked like I had just been on a safari.

I don’t like to talk about my job on my website, but I guess there’s no harm in telling you that I am the project manager for a company that installs solar panels. I’ve spent many a day getting dirty in the trenches. There’s a lot involved in getting a solar system installed, approved, and eventually turned on, and it’s often unattractive and downright filthy.

But, the result are…NOT.

There are times in which I am very stressed at my job and times in which I am very grimy. But at the end of the day what I do is beautiful. Sometimes I walk onto a site on which we’ve installed solar panels and I am amazed that I get to take part in this. And claim some of its beauty.



Over the weekend, we headed to a birthday party for one of Leah's friends.  It was at a place called Giggles Play Station.  According to their website, "Giggles Play Station offers a clean, safe environment for children of all ages to have fun on different levels. We have the Toddler Area and kiddie rides for ages 3 and under, the jungle gym, bouncer and animated games geared for children 3-8, plus slot cars and the hottest video and skill games for the older children (and their parents, too!). There is something here for everyone!"

According to me, the experience was likened to spending two hours with 100 kids on crack. 
Leah liked some of the activities...

Was indifferent to some of the activities...

And did not enjoy some activities...


The list of activities that she downright despised is longer, but since I try to be a good mom, I did not take pictures of those times.  But, let me just tell you:  it was funny.  Not in a cruel way, but what kid cries on a kiddie train?  Or refuses to get into a ball pit?  Toughen up, lady!
Anyway, it was an interesting experience, and, as she gets older, more of her friends will be having these kid parties at these clean, safe environment(s) for children of all ages to have fun on different levels, so I guess I better get used to popping 3 Aleeve before we walk in the front door. 


G's Spot: Fish Tacos

serves 4

3 Mahi Mahi filets
6 small tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro or cilanto micro greens
1 Tbsp chopped onion
1 tsp chopped jalapeno pepper
2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper
flour tortillas

Mise en place


Mix the cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder and rub the filets with it.

Saute the filets in a pan for a few minutes on each side.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Chop the mahi mahi into large chunks.

Mix the tomatoes, cilantro, onion and jalepeno into a bowl, creating a salsa.

Assemble the taco with a flour tortilla, a few mahi mahi pieces, and a scoop of salsa.  Sqeeze a wedge of lime on top, wrap, and enjoy!



First Memory

I have a brother.  I've alluded to him here, and I've mentioned him here.  One day, when I have more time and some Xanax, I'll go into more detail about him.  Because he drives me crazy.

I was 3 1/2 when he was born.  I don't remember anything before that point, but my first memory is of holding my brother.

He started crying the minute I held him, and I remember my mom saying that he could feel the small hands and he preferred larger ones and that's why he was crying.

Really, Ma?  The *small hands*?  That's what you're going with?

Luckily he got over the small hands thing and we had a pretty good childhood together.  I taught him to write.  We would sit on the couch every afternoon with a Star Wars notebook and I would write letters on the page and make him do the same. 

He didn't end up at Harvard or anything, so I'm not able to claim credit for very much, but I pride myself in the fact that I liked sitting with my brother when we were younger and doing something together that seemed remotely productive.

I also used to dress him in my old clothes and make him prance around the house in a sun dress and a straw hat with me.

The fact that I'm not posting that picture shows how much I care.

He's a quiet one, Marco, so I'm not sure what's always going on in his head.  He was at the house with my dad the night my mom had her attack, and he witnessed the police and paramedics working on her.  He doesn't deal with death and loss the way that my dad and I do, (which would be in the non-stop, no shutty, talk all day and night about the subject way) but I cut him some slack because he saw things that night that I am very grateful for having missed.

I can't always tell him how I feel, and I have a hard time talking about him on my website too.  So, I'll just leave it at that.



Tax Day (And Giveaway Winner!)

First things first, you're not going to believe this.  I took karastefa's advice and used RANDOM.ORG to generate a winner for $15 Starbuck's gift card, and, she won!  So, uh, that's interesting, huh?  She's happens to be my neighbor, so I will be hand-delivering her gift today.  Congrats, Kara.  Enjoy your high-priced caffeinated drink!

Second, around the world today means one thing--tax day. But not for me.  Today, 8 years ago, my husband Gregory asked me to officially be his girlfriend.  For reals!  He really asked me.  It sounds so cute, right?! 

We had been dating for a couple of months and he asked me to meet him after work at his friends' house for a BBQ.  It was the first time I was meeting these friends, and I knew that Greg really trusted their opinion.  After the BBQ we went back to Greg's house and that's where he asked me.  I don't think I had ever been asked to be someone's girlfriend, so it was sort of a big deal to me. 

And it was tax day.  So, that's how I remember it.

It's been a great 8 years, Greg, and here's to another 8! 



My Reason

There are days that, when you are finally able to sit down and rest, it's actually bedtime.  Meaning, you started going the minute your alarm went off that morning, and you didn't stop until the end of the day.  Until it's time for you to go to sleep.

There are days when you leave the house so early you are sure you're the first one on your block to leave for work.  When you spend the day doing important, professional things and barely get a minute to stop and take a break.  When you feel like crashing at some point and can't figure out why and look at the clock and realize that it's 4 p.m. and you haven't even had lunch yet.

There are days when you walk in the door after work and realize that there are still a million things to do before you can sit down and rest.  And you start cooking and cleaning and playing and bathing and eating and feeding and reading and vacuuming all at the same time and you swear you must be on auto-pilot because you can't believe that you are still going.

There are days when you have no idea how you do it.  You can't believe that this is your life and you chose to live it.  You wonder why you're not still single working at some fancy job and going out every night.  Or rather why you and your husband didn't just keep it the two of you, spending all of your vacation time traveling to exotic places.  You start to wonder what small changes in decisions that you made in the past could have lead to.  What if I didn't move back to Jersey after college...What if I had not gone to the bar the night I met Greg...What if I had not forgotten my birth control on my honeymoon...What if...

I don't know how or why I do it.  How I spread myself so thin and still manage to take more on.  There has to be something that makes me get up each morning and leave my family and come home each night and work what seems like a second full time shift and go to bed at night utterly exhausted knowing that I have to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

There has to be something that makes me realize that it's all worth it. That this is what I want. That I might not be perfect, but I'm doing an okay job.

There's a reason why I do all of this, and I hope that she knows that I'd do twice as much twice as hard if I had to.

Don't forget; the $15 Starbucks Giveaway is going on until Thursday, April 15th. If you'd like to enter, please go HERE and leave a comment. Who doesn't love overpriced coffee drinks? Not me.



Introductions: Doozer

When I first met Greg, he had a dog named Doozer. 
Doozer was a Rottie/Chow mix.

One of the reasons why I decided to date Greg was for Doozer.  I loved going to visit him.  Greg was nice too, but Doozer was my fave.

He was such an easy going dog.   Shortly after Greg and I moved in together, we got Penny the cat.  A few years later, we brought Ruby into the mix.  And then Leah.  And, while there were times where I swore Doozer would look at Greg and say with his eyes, "Remember when it was just us boys? The good ole' days?" I knew he loved us all, and he protected his family.

He was a big dog, but he didn't think so.  It didn't stop him from doing what the small lap dogs were up to.

He was just a good dog.  And so when he tore his ACL we thought nothing of having it repaired surgically.  And, despite a long recovery period, he was as good as new afterwards.

Doozer also held a special place in my mom's heart.  Sure, he drooled and shed, but as long as you remembered to never wear black when you came to our house, you were golden.

In 2009 Doozer developed a tumor on his leg.  The vet confirmed that it was cancer, and it was very far along.  Greg and I spent a week keeping him secluded and tending to his tumor, which was not pretty.  Or easy.  Actually, it was quite heartbreaking.  By this point, the tumor was messy and gross, but knowing that the cancer, which had spread to his lungs, was going to take over soon was just too much.  He didn't understand why we couldn't let him roam free, and we couldn't stand to watch him slowly lose his spirit.

So, we made a decision. 

And we miss him very much.
And think about him a lot.


Don't forget; the $15 Starbucks Giveaway is going on until Thursday, April 15th.  If you'd like to enter, please go HERE and leave a comment.  Who doesn't love overpriced coffee drinks? Not me.