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Saying Goodbye….Again!

Just returned from Florida last Saturday after a two week stay. I’m sure you’re all think lucky Debbie. got to get away from the cold winter and all the snow here in Vermont. Well, yes, that’s true, but I also had to say goodbye again to my daughter.

Yes once again, she is deploying. This time back to Afghanistan. This will be her fifth deployment in the nine years she’s been in.

On the bright side, Jadin, her six year old son, comes to live with us until she gets back in October. That is the only bright side. If I didn’t have him, and a few of my on-line author friends to keep me grounded, I’d drive myself crazy with worry over her.

Saying goodbye to her is always bitter-sweet. On the one hand we get Jadin for eight months, and he is such a joy to have around. On the other hand, we are sending our daughter off to war. It’s hard to reconcile one over the other. Thank goodness for modern day technology. The last two deployments we were able to skype often and stay in touch by email. Hopefully that will be the case this time.

As for Jadin??? He loves it. Not saying goodbye to his mommy, but he enjoys the change of scenery. He actually starts asking about six months into his time with us or Renee if it’s time for him to move again. He tells everyone he has two homes, one in Florida and one in Vermont.

He is in Kindergarten this year, but isn’t even worried about starting up at a new school since he knows most of the kids here from pre-K last year. He is a very well rounded little man.

So, my empty nest is no longer, and I will have tons of Jadin stories to share as well as keep you up to date on how Renee is doing. I’ll also be posting these stories on my website blog.

Now for some pics from the trip.

Debbie Gould


Handling Grief at Christmas

Okay, so this may be a fairly sensitive subject, but for me, and others I know it is a timely matter.
We lost my brother in law four years ago in November. He was only thirty-six and it still seems like yesterday. This year our Uncle, who travels everywhere is dying of lung cancer, and if we can get him through Christmas, we’ll be lucky.

Very dear friends of ours lost their nine year old son, ten years ago at the beginning of December. A loss like that never goes away.

So when I was reading an article about dealing with grief during the holiday season, I thought some of the suggestions, plus my own, might help some of you get through Christmas a little easier. This is not to say that these suggestions will work for everyone. We all deal with grief in different ways, these are just some helpful hints I’ve learned from my years of being a nurse and caregiver.

First off, if this is your first Christmas without your loved one, allow yourself time to grieve. Some people believe if they keep themselves busy enough, they can out run the inevitable. But, there is no escaping it. In the book Death and Dying, a required read for all health care professionals, bereavement expert Edwin Schneidman says ” The deep capacity to weep for the loss of a loved one and to continue to treasure the memory of that loss is one of our noblest human traits.”

Second. Accept comfort from friends and family. Read their cards, listen to their words. Most likely they are feeling a profound loss as well. I went to the funeral of a friend of ours this past summer. He was only fifty and died in a  freak accident. I kid you not, we stood in line at the funeral home for three hours before we actually got into the building. At the end of the receiving line stood Matt’s widow, heels long gone, make up washed away and hair a mess, but she stood their and hugged each person with all the strength she had left. I told my husband I didn’t think I could be strong enough to do that, and he said, “You get your strength from family and friends in times like these.”

Third. Take care of your physical health. This is no time to let yourself get worn down. Exercise regularly, don’t over do, take regular walks, listen to your favorite music, read your favorite book. And, number one in my opinion is to laugh. Don’t feel guilty if you are attending a holiday party and you catch yourself laughing. It’s okay.

Fifth. Honor your loved one at Christmas whether it’s done with a toast at dinneror through a donation to his or her favorite charity in their name -even something as simple as getting one of those little tree’s already decorated for the table in his or her memory. Just talking about favorite memories, playing your loved one’s favorite music with family around or making their favorite dish can help. The saying is gone, but not forgotten. I think you’ll find once you start talking about all your loved ones little quirks, the table will be all smiles and laughs in no time.

Finally, don’t forget the ones left behind. Tell your children, parents, your entire family, how much they are loved and cherished, not just on Christmas, but everyday of the year. Leave no room for regrets.

Have a Blessed Christmas.


First Snowfall…YAY!

We had our first decent snowfall of the season yesterday, but still we only got four inches. Just a half an hour north or us got twenty-eight inches. Soooo not fair. Every year, somehow, we manage to miss the big “dumping” of snow. Just once, I want three feet in one snowfall.

Of coarse I want all this before and up until Christmas. December 26th it can all melt away and go back to seventy and sunny. (Not very likely in Vermont.)

I’d also like this dumping to happen on the weekend, when I didn’t have to be out on the road. Just because we live in Vermont and are used to the snow, doesn’t make the drivers any safer. Actually, in my opinion, it makes them worse.

First of all, you have the sane people like me, who drive at a reasonable rate according to road conditions. Just because the speed limit sign say 55 doesn’t mean you should be driving at that rate with several inches on snow, slush or ice on the road.

Then you have the overly cautious people who drive 10 mph no matter if it’s a dusting or a dumping. These people can be dangerous. In the dumping, 10 miles per hour is fine. With the dusting, they tend to get the next group of drivers anxious and over zealous.

This next group of drivers are the ones found the most on our small state and town roads. They are the ones that believe that since they have a big truck and four-wheel-drive, that they can drive as fast as they like and their 4WD will keep them on the road.

News Flash: They’re wrong. Number one, NOTHING works on ice. Number two, when you’re flying down the road and get caught in slush or a rut, your big bad 4WD isn’t going to be much help for ya, and number three. When you come up upon the ass end of that 10mph driver and have to slam on your breaks, your bid bad 4WD isn’t going to help much either.

Rant aside, Christmas is near, it’s snowing, and that helps me battle the anger that the big retail stores bestow upon me at this time of year. But, that’s a whole nother story, lol.


Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving Traditions

For me, Thanksgiving has changed over the years. It used to be a time of tradition, the family coming together, getting dressed up, enjoying dinner together and conversation or games after. It would start with everyone watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.(Hey, I even marched in it one year!) The kitchen would be full of family all morning long, with wonderful smells wafting through the house all day long. The kids running around outside playing in the piles of leaves, tossing the ball around and spying on the men, who were sneaking shots of whiskey when the stepped outside for a smoke.

All the kids sat at a separate table, the adults lined up at the big one and platters of side dishes covered the middle. Grandpa would emerge from the kitchen with the biggest golden brown turkey you ever saw. Smiles all over his face as if he had anything to do with cooking the thing. He would ceremoniously place it at his setting an whip out his trusty carving knife and sharpener. We would then stare in awe as he sharpened his knife for what seemed a good half hour, an then he’d finally carve the turkey.

Time to eat. I don’t know how I managed it with all those people there and being at the kids table, but someone (I have an image of my mother diving across the table) would always save me one of the legs. Next would come a good helping of mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, green-bean casserole, stuffing, corn, peas, Brussels sprouts (yes I ate them when I was a kid), creamed onions (still one of my faves), and homemade dinner roles. I’m sure there was more, but that was all I liked.

When everyone was finished eating, it seemed all the woman rose in unison. The table was cleared, everyone retired to the living room where Gramps lit a fire and a football game was turned on. The game would be on in the background, card games and board games where played. And then the moment I always waited for the most. Desert would be laid out on the buffet.

Apple pie, Pumpkin pie, Cherry pie, molasses cookies and RED CAKE!!!!! Good Lord, I love Red Cake, lol.

And then, it was time to go home.

Now-a-days, The guys go out hunting, I watch the parade by myself, make some creamed onions and sweet potato casserole and we go over to the in-laws at five pm. Food is laid out buffet style, you line up like a bunch of cows, fill your plates, feed your face and move to the couch long enough to catch your breath and pass gas, then head home. I don’t even get my Red Cake unless I make it.

I miss the old days, I miss Grandma and Grandpa, and I miss the tradition of it being a whole day family process.

So what are your traditions???


Veteran’s Day Thank You’s

Since it is Veteran’s Day tomorrow I want to tell you about my daughter. She joined the Air Force straight out of high school and has been in nine years now.
After high school graduation she decided college wasn’t her thing. We live in a small town and there isn’t much to do, so she went and talked to some recruiters and eventually decided the Air Force was the branch for her.
On September 11, 2001, she was down in Albany, NY bright and early for her physical and swearing in. Well, we all know what happened on September 11th. Since Albany is the capital of NY, they shut down all state buildings and she was sent home, unable to finish the physical, swearing in and signing on the dotted line.
Three days later her recruiter called her and asked if she wanted to reschedule. She responded that yes, of course she did. He asked if she was sure and explained the certainty of consequence the attacks on 9/11 had for the US Military.
She told him that while she was an eighteen year old female, she wasn’t stupid. She did realize that you cannot attack Americans on our own soil and not expect some backlash. She knew the likely-hood of going to war was an almost absolute. And YES she still wanted to join the Air Force and Yes she would fight for our freedom along with everyone else.
Turns out she was deployed to Saudi Arabia when the U.S. declared war. Since then she has been deployed to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once and is due to go back to Afghanistan in March.
The deployments are hard on her (especially since she leaves behind her five year old son with us) and the re-acclimation even harder, but her commitment to the Air Force, the United States and it’s freedom still remains strong.
So anyway, I just wanted to thank her, and every other service member, past, present and future for their dedication and service.

Renee’s Christmas Tree last year in Afghanistan
Notice the pink duct tape on her gun.


Debbie Gould

I’m sick! But it led to a beautiful sight.

Ugghh. Iv’e been sick for the past five days now. Last weekend I had high hopes of getting a ton of writing done. HAH!
I slept all weekend.
Monday I went to work, made it half a day and called it quits. I’ve been working the rest of the week, but not happily, lol. And don’t think my co-workers haven’t had to put up with my whining. Although, since I sound like a drowning frog, they probably can’t hear me too well. No sympathy, I tell ya.
So, I’ve been going home from work and heading right to bed. And, please don’t feel too bad for the husband, he’s been eating supper at his mommy’s. Anyway, last night I woke up at 9pm. Just in time to watch NCIS LA.
Did any of you watch that one? They had a girl buried alive in a box underground. I wish I could remember the name of the Romantic Suspense I read a year or so ago that had the same thing, it’s driving me crazy.
Anyway, since I’d slept from 5p-9p I wasn’t tired so after NCIS LA I watched Chopped on the Food Network, love that show, then headed up to bed and downed some Nyquil.
While waiting for the effects of the Nyquil to kick in I was flipping through the channels and found the coverage of the rescue effort for the 33 miners trapped in Chili.
Sixty-nine days down there. Unimaginable! But, miracles happen and they were bringing the first of the 33 up to the surface.
They had a shot of his wife and son, waiting there to great him and I swear as I type this, I’m bawling again.
As soon as the top of that capsule was in sight the little boy cried out for his father. It seemed like forever, but they finally had him out and in seconds flat he had his arms around his wife and little boy. Such a beautiful sight. I don’t believe I will ever forget that little boy’s face.

This morning I think they have thirteen or fourteen out now. How wonderful!!! Makes my sore throat and stuffy head seem like pretty petty stuff.