Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Time ~

Sharing some moments with you, that caught my eye.

My Annual shopping trip to San Francisco.

My sister Jessica and my two nephews, Vincent and Evan were here for a quick visit before heading back to the bay area. How they have grown!

From this angle in our home, you can see both of our trees.

Little Miss Simone is never too far from me. She is my little shadow.

As I walked into the living room on Christmas morning, there was an extra Christmas stocking from Santa, and it had my name on it! I almost cried as I opened each little gift. Santa put so much thought into each one. I still giggle and tears come to my eyes as I think about the detail. Charlie would chime in as I opened the gifts how what it was made out of was only the best; such as the stainless steel metal, and a bamboo handle. Too cute!

There were back-to-back movies featuring Cary Grant on TMC. He kept me company as I put the Christmas ornaments away; the good man he is/was.

Another Christmas come and gone. As the saying goes, "Until next year."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Asked For The Takings ~

I was asked to take some pictures of a wedding held in the evening. I was nervous to say the least. I don't have my red eye down or low lights for that matter and started practicing taking photos up until the event. I am used to taking pictures of butterfly's and flowers or people during the day. It was a good experience.

Charlie will ask me from time to time to take some pictures of his work. Later, he will ask if we could print them to show some clients. Afterwards they will either get thrown away or the clients will keep them. I decided to create a blog for him and post photos of his work so that his clients can see and read first-hand what his recent clients thought of his work. It is a work in progress but, I have had fun working on it.

This is an addition he just finished. It is the part higher than the other two that he added. If you didn't know, I don't think anyone would ever know this house was added onto.

This is the back side of the finished project.

And this is the finished work on the inside of this particular area. He also added a wine cellar and a bathroom, did the wood floor and changed/added some windows.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Poinsettias

We have our very own Poinsettia Greenhouse Nursery in the town I live. Every year I have gotten a Christmas card from where I work, with a gift certificate in it for a Christmas Poinsettia. They aren't my favorite flower, but I do have fond memories of them from when my grandma was alive. I would walk into her living room and it would be full of these flowers on a table next to her great window. She would also have a collection of flowering forced bulbs. The sun would shine through this window and you could feel the warmth from the sun. A perfect spot for these flowers.

There are red wagons ready outside the door to load the poinsettias. During the month of December, the platforms of churches are loaded with these flowers. It really is beautiful!

The door is painted with Poinsettias welcoming you.

When you walk in, the warmth of the nursery rushes in on your face and then you understand why everyone is running around with just a t-shirt on.

There are rows and rows of tables loaded with a variety of colors and poinsettias.

I always choose a white one with a green hue to it, as it will match with my decor better than the red or pink would.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December Views

My niece and nephew in their Christmas program at church.

Santa riding in on the fire truck.

These guys are great! : )

A little slumber at my house.

My days are spent trying to get ready for the holidays.
How many days do I have left to wrap this up?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Family Tree

About six years ago, we started getting a extra little Christmas tree to put in the family room, in addition to our big Christmas tree that goes into the living room in front of the house. The tree is adorned with silver balls and a silver sterling star tree topper. My favorite part is the ornaments which are picture frames with black and white photos of each member of our family. It starts with our great grand parents, to our parents, to us and our children, our siblings and their children, and last but not least, our grand-children. It even has some of the pets we have had throughout the years. I would like to add our aunts, uncles and their children to the tree someday. I have to tell you, it is a process finding small enough faces to fit into the small picture frames (I have not learned how to shrink a picture to fit... should probably learn).

When we gather for the Christmas holiday, I've noticed everyone gravitates to the family tree. Right now, it is a five year generation tree and with time, our little tree will grow as our family does.

I look forward every year to put this tree up!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Meet Me By The Mistletoe!

"I'll just be hanging round the mistletoe, hoping to be kissed."

Love Actually

My great gram had a walnut tree in her front yard that had green bushes of mistletoe in it and she asked if Charlie would cut it out. She suggested we tie red ribbon around single bunches of the cuttings and sell it. I asked her why she wanted the mistletoe cut out and she explained that it was killing her tree. She went on to tell me that it came from bird feces. I had no idea and was shocked to say the least. I will never forget the smirk on her face when she said to me, "I bet I know what you'll be thinking about the next time you get caught under the mistletoe." She was right. Every time. Well... It may start out that way, but I have gotten lost in some of those kisses and forgotten all about the bird poop.
; )

I did tie a red ribbon around single bunches and bagged them as she suggested. We put them all in a basket and sold every single bag for a dollar each.


•The growth of mistletoe had little to do with the bird droppings, and a lot to do with the birds themselves. Mistletoe seeds are extremely sticky and often latch onto birds’ beaks or feathers or the fur of other woodland creatures, hitchhiking to a likely host tree before dropping off and starting to germinate.

Information on mistletoe can be found here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Longing ~

the smell of you lingers
wearing your t-shirt
missing you...

Monday, November 22, 2010


When Charlie is away working on a beach house, he gets poor reception on his cell phone. We have discovered in order to talk, he has to stand in this one spot and without moving, we then, can talk. He also doesn't have a computer there and without computer access, he has no way of knowing how he is doing on Fantasy Football . Right now he is 9-1. That is nine wins and one loss! Last Wednesday he called me and walked me through his Fantasy Football team page to see if he had any players playing on Thursday. I told him he only had players playing on Sunday and Monday. He asked, "Are you sure? Because I will be upset if you mess this up!"
I said, "Oh no pressure felt there, my love."

He made it home late Friday night and went and checked on the computer if I had read it right.
I teasingly told him, "The Jets played the Cubs Thursday night." as he walked into the office.
He yelled back, "Well, we are in trouble then!"
I got nervous and ran into the office and I asked, "Why?"
He said with a grin, "That would mean a baseball team played a football team. Sheesh Angela, get your sports right at least." and then kissed me on the forehead.

I guess that would help a little.


*Fantasy Football image from Google images.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Color Of Fall ~

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.

- Elizabeth Lawrence

I've been feeling a little blue lately and decided to do something that always cheers me up. I have been admiring the trees all dressed up in their fall coats and went for a little drive and took their pictures.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Too Good Not To Share ~

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see?" Her daughter replied, "Carrots, eggs, and coffee."

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

You might want to send this message to those people who mean something to you (I JUST DID); to those who have touched your life in one way or another; to those who make you smile when you really need it; to those who make you see the brighter side of things when you are really down; to those whose friendship you appreciate; to those who are so meaningful in your life.

If you don't send it, you will just miss out on the opportunity to brighten someones day with this message!

May we all be COFFEE!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Missing you ~

I have more room to stretch in bed.
I can stay up as late as I want.
I don't have to make dinner.
I can read as long as I want without any interruptions.
I can get a pedicure in the middle of the week during dinner hour.
I don't have to share the bathroom sink while brushing my teeth.


I'm counting the days until he comes home!

And today, he asked, "Do you miss me?"

*Our first week apart while he is working on a beach house.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


My name is _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. I'm an addict. And this is what addicts do. You cannot nor will not change my behavior. You cannot make me treat you better, let alone with any respect. All I care about, all I think about are my needs and how to go about fulfilling them. You are a tool to me, something to use. When I say I love you, I am lying through my teeth, because love is impossible for someone in active addiction. I wouldn't be using if I loved myself and since I don't, I cannot love you.

My feelings are so pushed down and numbed by my drugs that I could be considered sociopathic. I have no empathy for you or anyone else. It doesn't faze me that I hurt you, leave you hungry, lie to you, cheat on you and steal from you.

My behavior cannot and will not change until I make a decision to stop using/drinking and then follow it up with a plan of action. Until I make that decision, I will hurt you again and again. Stop being surprised. I am an addict and that's what addicts do.


I feel like I have been walking through a war zone, not knowing where the next bomb is coming from or when it is going to hit. I am having difficulty sleeping, and when I do, my dreams are nightmares. I also have a hard time concentrating. I find myself worrying about my sister and wondering how her problem escalated to an acme point of such self-destruction. I feel like I am often in shock and am having a hard time believing that this is really happening. When I do sleep and wake up, it feels like it's a constant hangover that won't go away.

On top of dealing with my sister's self-destruction, my mom and I have been filling out guardianship papers for my sister's four children and when we aren't with them, our time is spent at the court house or trying to catch up on our chores; something always needs to be done. Our whole family pitches in where they can and helps support one another when it's least expected. The children's ages are 19 months, 3, 5 and 8 years of age. The well-being and security of my nieces and nephew are the matter of utmost importance right now.

It has been hard to watch my sister disappear and become someone I don't know anymore. Addicts base their truth on a bed of lies. I love my baby sister so much. I find myself sad, angry, frustrated, and grieving these days. I know her recovery has to be her choice. I pray to God, she will hit rock bottom and come to her senses very soon before it is too late. I pray that He will prepare our hearts for that and will continue to give us strength to get through it, and wisdom to know how to handle it. My mom says this addiction is so much bigger than we realize. It must be so hard, as a mother, to watch and not be able to do anything.

Right now I'm trying to understand the difference between helping and enabling (I don't want to love someone to death)...and also learning not to let her addiction run my life.

I've come to understand that love doesn't hold a candle to addiction.

I feel emotionally bankrupt...

How do you just walk away from someone you love?

Friday, October 8, 2010

What's For Din Din?

Baby Bella mushrooms (I use two packages; we fight over these), green bell pepper, white onion, peas, yellow, red, and orange sweet peppers, broccoli, and celery.

Added one package of bean sprouts for more crunch... some chicken for Charlie, and some KIKKOMAN Teriyaki Spicy Miso sauce.

Mmmm ~ sooo good!

What are you having for dinner?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Call ~

As I was making dinner, my daughter kissed me goodbye and left for a meeting. About five minutes later, my phone rang. I thought immediately it was my son calling as he drove home from his bay area commute. My heart skipped a beat when I saw it was my daughter. I thought to myself, 'Oh she just forgot to tell me something.' When I heard her voice say, "Momma?" I knew. She sounded like she was trying not to cry, and definitely scared. She said, "I got into an accident, I'm okay, but I'm scared momma, there is a man on the ground, please come quick."

Charlie was on his cell phone, and I told him in a panic stricken voice, our daughter got into an accident, and where... to go now. I had to turn the stove off and put the dogs up, and find my shoes. I thought it would be quicker for Charlie to leave and get to her than to wait for me to take care of everything around the house that needed to be taken care of.

My heart started to race even faster as I heard every siren start blaring in the little town where we live. It seemed as if they were on forever. I jumped into the car and turned the corner to where the accident was. I could see they had the whole street of Hatch road blocked off and there were fire trucks, sheriff cars, and ambulance vehicles everywhere. I couldn't see my daughter anywhere. I needed a visual! I had to park a block away and started running to where the emergency vehicles were gathered. I heard someone call my name and looked to see who it was. She happened to be the mother of one of my son's best friend's (a second mom to our son), who also happens to be a nurse; she walked up to the accident with me. Jana was a great comfort as she checked the accident before I was able to see anything, making sure I wasn't going to see anything that was going to throw me into shock greater than I started to experience.

As I saw our daughter standing next to her dad, my heart calmed a little. Then I saw the gentleman who hit our daughter, on the ground (my heart sank). I saw our daughter's car. As I looked around trying to take everything in, I then saw the big rig who had to pull over, it looked like in a rush, to the side of the road. There was also the big four wheel drive who pulled up after the accident and immediately blocked the road so that the other drivers could not go any further.

Our daughter told us, as soon as the accident happened, people stopped, it seemed out of no where and accessed the situation and mentioned they were nurses, paramedics that were off duty. She felt as if they were angels. They are angels!

The driver of the motorcycle spent one night in the hospital and wasn't badly hurt. Our daughter has to pull her seat up very close to the steering wheel, but the air bag didn't blow out luckily because the hit wasn't straight on. When the passengers side view mirror flew into the back seat of her car (she had the window down) it missed her head. My friend, the nurse, called later to check on all of us. Our neighbors and friends also came by to see how we were doing. My heart was full as I said my prayers before going to bed. I am very thankful and feel so blessed.

Sirens in our little town are always a harbinger of talk. What we all do when we hear those sirens go off: we start praying. After all, besides the people who are directly involved in the accident and the emergency crew, there is someone who will get the call.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I Have Butterflies...

A couple of years ago, the California Native Plant Society had a plant sale and I bought some plants. They were drought tolerant and also attracted hummingbirds and butterflies. The plant basically looks like a weed and my husband begs me if he can pull it out almost every time he works in the yard. He tells me so often that I got suckered into buying some weeds that I started to wonder myself. The first year, my plant didn't do anything and I was really disappointed with it. The next year, my plant had some fuzz on it and didn't flower; not a butterfly in sight. However, this year my plant is in full bloom and everyday I find a different species of butterflies. It has been a blast photographing them and trying to figure out what type of butterfly they are.

Patience ~ Good things come to those who wait.


Below are three photos of the Monarch whom are strong fliers.

Ummm... I don't know what this one is.

I believe this butterfly is a Painted Lady.

In this photo, I liked the way the butterfly is a fluttering blur ~ kinda dreamy.

I think this one is a Clouded Sulphur.

I can't figure out what this butterfly is. I do know it is pretty!

While I was waiting for the butterflies to land and bask in the sun, I took some photo's of other's who were visiting my garden.

If you know what any of these butterflies are, please do share your knowledge with me. I find them so fascinating!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Little Doggie ~

Here, my little Simone doesn't feel good... she had a little surgery. She is on the road to recovery and is feeling much better. She was so cute trying to get around with the cone collar around her head.

Our pets are such a big part of our family. When I see they do not feel good, it pulls my heartstrings.


My sunshine doesn't come from the skies,
It comes from the love in my dog's eyes.

Unknown Poet

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Under The Harvest Moon

The days are growing shorter and the nights are getting cooler. I am welcoming the season of Fall.

Does anyone happen to know what the name of the shinning dot to the right hand corner of this photo is?

As I was driving home from one of my classes I took this Fall, I noticed this red tractor with the corn field behind it and the sky with it's purple and pink hues. I thought it was pretty and stopped to capture the rather picturesque moment.

Pumpkins almost ready to be harvested.


I've been quiet...
There has been a lot going on (Charlie is okay ~ smile) and I am trying to process so much. I have remembered and recited The Serenity Prayer, time and time again these last couple of months.

I would like to ask you to pray and think positive thoughts for my baby sister (she is currently in rehab; for the third time) who is thirty years old and her family; she has four children ages ranging from eighteen months, three, five and eight years old. Also for my mom... she has a grieving heart which is broken into pieces and is dealing (as you can only imagine) with so much right now. We haven't learned anything concerning my niece Deja, as of yet. Hopefully soon.
Yes... we need a BIG prayer!

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me
to accept the things
I cannot change,
to change the
things I can, and
to know
the difference.

Matthew 11:29-30

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Rendezvous

A long anticipated camping date with some friends of ours finally arrived.

When we first drove into our camping site, I put our little dogs Sophie and Simone, on the picnic table and helped Charlie back the trailer in. I noticed a movement in the tree just above the table and looked up to see a huge bird that looked very similar to an eagle. I went to get my camera to take a picture and then remembered my girls on the table and turned around, screamed and watched it fly away. I immediately put the girls into the trailer. This should have told me how the weekend was going to go.

Later that evening, as we sat eating our dinner around the picnic table, I watched a bat fly above us and tried not to react in fear of scaring my friend Anita who is 90 years old. Apparently, it was time for bats to fly because when we would go to the store to call our daughter a bat would fly right next to me and get closer every time it made its way back by me. Needless to say, it cut my phone call short.

In the 25 years Charlie and I have gone camping in the Sierra mountains, we have never had an encounter with a bear. Although we have heard stories about sightings and how they would run up to picnic table's and grab a loaf of bread and then run away. When Charlie and I would hear this, we would exchange a look that would say, "Uh huh. Right." But, this camping trip everyone saw the bear... except me. Nessa even went to show me a picture she took of it (I couldn't believe how BIG it was) and then Rob started hysterically busting up and said she also got a picture of a lion. I realized it was pictures she had taken from a recent trip to the zoo! Ha! Ha! Joke was on me! Our last night there, I got so spooked, I believe my imagination got away from me because I heard...a growl. That was it for me and I said, "Goodnight!"

Charlie actually saw a bear standing on it's hind legs looking into a window of a trailer one early morning. Can you imagine? I think with the season changing, the bears are getting ready to hibernate. Have you ever seen a bear in it's natural habitat?

All in all, not counting the excitement we had, it was nice getting together and sharing a long weekend with good friends and family. Nothing beats telling stories around the fire at night and appreciating the great outdoors!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Summer's Song

Sunshine to warm the heart ~


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daddy's Girls ~

"The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world, but, as in whispering-galleries, they are clearly heard at the end and by posterity."
~Jean Paul Richter

This is one of my favorite photos of my sister Jessica and I with my dad.

My sister is still pretty small in this photo. I am about 2 1/2 years older than my sister and I am trying to figure out how old I was in this photo. Jessica was born on September 7 and my dad's birthday was September 14th. I must have been three or four months shy of turning three years old. I just look so long for being that old! When I look at this picture I see two little girls with a young father. The love already speaks volumes to me. NOTE ~ It came to me later and I couldn't help but smile, 'Well... my dad wasn't that tall and had short legs, which could be why I looked so long laying on them.'

My dad lost his brave and courageous battle to cancer. I never heard him complain... not one time. He was only 59 years old. My dad had made it through a year and two months with this disease. Without chemo, they told us he had maybe three to four months to live. There are moments in a person's lifetime that stand out more than others. It's details are penetrated to the core of your soul and are absorbed. That is not to say those other moments don't mean as much. The last week of his life was like this for me. Super Hyper-detailed.

Thanksgiving, for some reason landed on the 29th of November. I remember checking and rechecking the date to make sure I wasn't reading it wrong (my mind was all over the place back then). I thought it was strange for Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday of the month of November.

My dad fell down twice that week and I remember having to tell him as I sobbed, he was going to have to be patient and wait for me to help him when he wanted to move; I was also watching my nephew who was a toddler at the time. My sister Jessica and her boyfriend were taking a break in their relationship and she decided to move in with dad and help me take care of him; I couldn't have done it without her. My dad expressed to both of us, how important it was that he stay at home; his home. My dad needed constant care. She had a baby and the only way we could both take care of dad was to do it in shifts. While I was at work, she was with dad, and then, I would get off work; I would then pick up my nephew at the daycare and go to dads, Jessica would be going to work. We were like passing ships in the night. While I was with him, he would periodically go over his wants and wishes with me.

That last week, the doctor (who happens to also be my husbands doctor) told us there was nothing else he could do for my dad. Hospice was to come in on the following Monday after the holiday. Meanwhile, our son Rob had an appendicitis attack on Monday night (the same night my dad fell down), and then surgery on Tuesday morning. We were all in the hospital standing around Rob's bed after the surgery, and I can remember following Rob's eyes to the door and seeing my Nina wheeling my dad in a wheel chair into the room. I couldn't believe it! My Nina said, "Your dad was quite persistent and not taking no for an answer, he wanted to see his boy (Rob)." My Nina also shared with me in private, she felt by some of the things dad was saying, he was afraid he wasn't going to see Rob again. Without responding, I understood. Later, when I had time to think about it, my dad did pass away. He must have known or felt his time was running out. Rob got to come home on Wednesday and was very careful traveling to be with my dad on Thanksgiving.

Friday was interesting. My dad was very talkative and towards the end of the night, he was hallucinating and then just like that (snapping my fingers), he seemed fine. Charlie decided to stay with him and told me to take the kids home and try to get some rest. I did. Charlie came home about 4:00 in the morning and no sooner he got into bed and the phone rang. It was my sister telling me daddy woke her up telling her he didn't feel good and to unlock the gate, he called 911 and the ambulance would be there any minute. I threw on some clothes and drove to my dad's to get my sister. When I got there, she thought it would be better if we took separate cars and I went on to the hospital.

As I drove to the hospital, so many thoughts raced through my mind and I remember feeling like I couldn't get there fast enough. When I walked into the emergency room, my dad was sitting up and wanting a cup of coffee. The nurses were trying to take his vitals and were whispering to each other how low they were. The phlebotomist couldn't get any blood from him. They came in to take an x-ray and I remember telling them that my dad had cancer, and tried to catch them up to speed. Someone else tried to take some blood from him and I remember telling them, calmly...  to just quit. I could see my dad's body was shutting down. The nurse asked me, "Do you want them to resuscitate your dad in case his heart stopped beating." I said, "No." My dad watched me as I gave them my answer. and he gave me a smile. Another nurse asked me the same thing a little later and again, I said, "No." My dad smiled, reached for my hand and squeezed it. This was one of the "wishes" my dad went over with me. I had my instructions.

All the while, he kept asking for a cup of coffee.

I had to leave the room so that my sister could come in and be with our dad; the emergency room had a "one visitor at a time" policy. It was then my turn and this time, I brought him a cup of coffee. Apparently, he asked Jess to get him one too, and she did against her better judgement (my dad had heart problems and coffee was a no-no). Daddy thanked us both for the coffee, although he had difficulty keeping it down. I would clean him up. I felt Jess needed a turn, and we switched places. I no sooner sat down in the waiting room and my sister screamed for me. I ran into the emergency room and our dad had a heart attack. As he died, without even thinking what I was doing, I immediately looked up (as if he could see me as he left his body) and I said as tears streamed down the cheeks of my face, "I love you daddy." Jess and I stood there holding each other for quite a while. When we let go of each other, I took the oxygen tube off of his face, then took his glasses off,  placed them in my pocket and shut his eye lids.

I have often wondered if that cup of coffee and the caffeine had a significant role in his heart attack. Did he know? It's interesting how the mind starts the "what ifs," and takes a life all of it's own. It was time and he knew.

We stayed with him in another room for almost five hours until the rest of the family could get to the hospital to say their goodbyes; my dad wanted to be cremated as soon as possible. I held his hand and felt the warmth that his body did have at the end dissipate. I looked at his hand and knew that would be the last time on this earth that I would see it in the flesh, it would only be in pictures or my mind after we left him. It was so hard leaving....

It was about four years later, Jess called crying and said she had something to tell me that was eating her alive; she felt horrible. It was about the day daddy died. As she sobbed, she told me the nurse came in and asked her if she wanted them to resuscitate him in case he had a heart attack and she didn't want me to be mad at her but she said, "No." I couldn't believe she had carried that around for years after daddy passed away. As she told me her story, I could see how heavy it weighed on her heart. I felt so bad for her and told her that was what daddy wanted. He didn't want to be put on machines or connected to tubes. Dad held on as long as he could at home and I think he knew when it was time to go to the hospital. He was the one that made that call because he didn't want us to have to do it. I explained to Jessica that I had two different nurses ask me the very same thing. I told her that dad smiled at me the first time I was asked, like he was proud of me. The second time, he smiled again and held my hand and squeezed it as if he was letting me know, he knew it was hard for me telling the nurse that, but at the same time, again, he was proud of me. My sister and I cried together on the phone. She had no idea. I apologized to her for not talking about it afterwards. I just knew it was what he wanted.

As I look at this picture, seeing the three of us sleeping peacefully and then jumping forward to the day we lost him... it was also just the three of us. My dad with his two girls and all the memories in between. No suffering or tragedy nor deeply seated pain could ever over shadow the bond that we retained. He will be in our hearts... always in our hearts. We're together, though apart. How lucky are that we have those wonderful feelings and memories. We are lucky, lucky daughters. And to have husbands that are such great fathers too! We are blessed!