A Budding Blog…

Budding Flower_01

Well, it is with a fair amount of fear and trepidation that I’d like to make an announcement.
Before your mind starts to wander too far, I am not pregnant. That would cause mind-boggling fear and trepidation, and would, in fact, be a miracle.
This is “Not That Big a Deal” which is also the name of my new blog. Yes, friends I have “bitten the bullet, jumped in with both feet, leaped into the breach” and it scares the crumbs out of me. But, I enjoy making people smile and laugh and forget, even if just for a little while, their troubles. I think it’s something we all need now and then. I really do believe that “a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” So, here I go…
My blog link will be posted on facebook and twitter tomorrow and, hopefully, every Friday after that. I hope it does its job. I hope it makes you smile. 


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The War on Bugs

Have you ever thought about all of the places bugs can be in your home? We live in Florida. Florida has bugs. Lots of bugs. Big honkin’ bugs. Fortunately, I am not afraid of bugs. In fact, I have made my peace with most of them.
The “palmetto bug,” which is a euphemism for giant-flying roach, occasionally comes in through our doggy door. They are easily captured and squished, so that’s fine.
The “ghost” ants, are given that name because you can barely see them. I have heard them called “no-see-ums,” which is appropriate, but seems wrong on many grammatical and intellectual levels. So, ghost ants it is. They actually are kind of creepy because you never see them going to a place, but suddenly, there they are…on a plate left on the counter, in the cat’s wet food dish, up my arm and crawling down my bra. We spray for them, leave out borax, sugar and water for them, and still the ants come marching one-by-one. And so, we make our peace placing all dishes and cat food bowls in the sink with water in them and swatting them off of our arms and other body parts.
Recently, we have been fighting a different war on a different kind of bug. We have been fighting a war on fleas. Yes, I know summer is over and even down here it’s cooler, but evidently the fleas don’t know that and here we are.
Can I tell you, fleas are despicable creatures? They seemingly have no idea about right and wrong. No moral compass. If they did, they wouldn’t attack my indoor cat. Indoor cats should be out-of-bounds for fleas, right??? Phoebe, our dog, goes outside all the time and has never had fleas. Charlie Cat sits on a windowsill to watch lizards and gets them. And so begins our war on fleas…

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Food, Glorious Food!

It’s no surprise to most people that know me that I love food. In fact, I can think of only two foods that I’ve ever eaten that I probably would never eat again. Liver and tongue. I’ve never had the opportunity to eat any bugs, but I’m fairly certain they would not be high on my list either.
This love for almost all things food has caused some growth on my 5’2″ frame, none of it vertical. I have often prided myself on the fact that I can carry quite a bit of extra weight in spite of my somewhat diminutive height. Most people would never guess that, at my heaviest, I was weighing in at a fairly chunky 146 lbs. It sounds weird, but this made me feel pretty good. Of course, when I tried to boast to my always honest, sometimes painfully so husband, he told me the reason they didn’t guess me to be that heavy was because they’d never seen me naked. I like to think he meant that as a compliment.
I can’t tell you “when” my love affair with food started. Although I do think it had something to do with giving birth. In fact, I think I can blame the labor and delivery nurses. Here’s why…
I would always stop eating when I was in labor because I was told in my birthing classes that if I ate anything while in the beginning stages of labor, there was a good chance that I would throw up during delivery or, even worse, involuntarily you-know-what on the delivery table. Since I could think of nothing worse, I made the monumental and very difficult decision not to eat. This meant that by the time I got to the hospital I was very hungry and I made sure the labor and delivery nurses knew it; so much so, that when I got to that lovely part of labor that doctors and nurses refer to as transition, they always encouraged me through it by telling me that when I was done they would give me something to eat.
I had three children, all three natural deliveries. After the first two, who were both born at 8:01pm, I was rewarded for my labor with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of grape juice. It was, at that moment, the best food I’d ever tasted.
My third baby was born at 2:40am. I had a midwife in the hospital. It was a very quick delivery, but I hadn’t really eaten all day and I was really looking forward to my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and glass of grape juice. While my husband took our daughter to be weighed, I asked my midwife for my sandwich and grape juice. Since she was not a labor and delivery nurse, she had no idea what I was talking about. She told me the kitchen was probably closed and I’d probably have to wait until later that morning. I know this sounds pathetic, but I looked at her and cried. Hard. My midwife, Karen, was a big, tough lady, but I was so pathetic that she went to the nurse’s lounge and found me something to eat.
Fast forward 35 years and about 26 lbs. On April 9th, my poor husband had surgery for diverticulitis. It was a very serious surgery and my Cliff, who normally weighs in at about 135 lbs., lost about 10 more. I found it humorous that I outweighed the man by 20 lbs! I was telling friends. I was laughing. I don’t know what I was thinking. Until…
Cliff and I were talking to good friends of ours in New Jersey. We were on speaker phone and Cliff was talking to the husband and explaining to him all he’d gone through telling him he’s having a hard time putting weight back on. When our friend asked what he weighed, Cliff told him 124 lbs. Our friend was surprised and answered with, “You weigh as much as my wife!”
You know that feeling when, all of a sudden, you come to a major realization in your life, that “aha” moment when reality hits you like a brick and you finally really THINK? This was one of those moments for me. You see, I know this friend’s wife. She is a very dear friend of mine. She is also a little bit bigger person than I am, which made me realize that I am probably about 20 lbs. overweight. That and the fact that my blood pressure is more than a little bit high, hereditary, but still; made me think that I should probably do something. Enter NOOM. Yup, I am NOOMing, guys! And, you know what? I like it! It’s a slow process, a psychology based process, that tells you what kind of “eater” you are and why. I am a forager. I eat anything and everything just because it’s there. I don’t have to be hungry, I just have to be around food. It’s not a good thing, but there it is. It’s been about a month and I’ve lost 7 lbs. I like to lose weight quickly, but that’s not how NOOM does it. Slow and steady wins the race with NOOM. I’m aiming for 125 lbs. Not sure I can get there, but I’m sure gonna try. If not, well, in light of all eternity, it’s really not that big a deal!

Posted in Blessings, Bugs, Challenges, Children, Food, Friends, girlfriends, Hospitals, Humor, Husbands, Life, Pride, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Year of the Cat

Okay, not really a full year, but Eight Months of the Cat doesn’t have the same ring to it.
On May 27th of this year, Charlie our always curious cat, turned one. Evidently, he decided to celebrate this day with a Celebration of his own making.

Celebration One ~ Flying


He didn’t exactly “fly through the air with the greatest of ease,” but he did fly…kind of. His attempt at flight was achieved when, at 4:30 in the morning, he decided it would be a good idea to climb a wrought iron corner shelf in our downstairs bathroom. He realized the folly of this thought when said wrought iron corner shelf fell over vaulting Charlie out the door just ahead of the door slamming shut. If you’ve never seen a cat fly, think of the old adage “when pigs fly”, it’s similar I’m sure. Regardless, it was truly a sight to behold. For about 10 feet, Charlie Cat was truly and completely airborne.
When I ran over to make sure he was okay, he was calmly sitting on my footstool cleaning his paws like the whole thing was intentional. When I tried to open the bathroom door I realized that the shelf was wedged between the wall and the door and wouldn’t budge. Fortunately, that bathroom has two doors.
Flight completed and the landing nicely nailed, Charlie moved on.

Celebration Two ~ Climbing


Within a few minutes of his flight, Charlie decided it would be a good idea to boldly go where he’d never gone before. I heard a meowing. I ignored it for a little while until I looked around and didn’t know where it was coming from. I could hear him in the dining room, but didn’t see him until I looked up. And there he was on top of the buffet. I have no idea how he got up there, but it was very apparent that he had no idea how to get down. Barely reaching him while standing tiptoe on a chair, I managed to bring him back down to earth, where he walked off with a swish of his tail and no word of “thanks” to me at all.

Celebration Three ~ Cabinets


This time I knew how he got up there, which forged the idea in my mind that he could get himself down. No such luck. He walked to the opposite end and seemed perplexed. Should he jump to the fridge or attempt to jump down to the counter below? The fridge is home to bags of potato chips, three different sized woks, a very large stainless steel bowl, and a flashlight. Not a lot of room for a landing. The counter below only sticks out a few inches past the cabinet. Not much room for a landing there either and so, he sat atop the cabinet and cried. He was pathetic. So once again, I got a chair and did my tiptoed rescue. At this point, I admonished Charlie and told him that he was not allowed to visit any more high places…I am pleased to say that he listened! For the remainder of the day, Charlie’s paws were firmly planted on the ground. But, little did I know, he was saving the best for last.

One Year Birthday Celebration ~ The Finale


Like most people, Cliff and I have a nighttime routine, which fortunately for both of us, includes nightly showers. We have an open shower and Charlie loves to sit on the ledge…and stare. It’s kind of creepy.
I have always been told that cats don’t like water. That’s what I’ve been told, but nobody told Charlie. So for his Grand Birthday Finale, when I was done showering and the shower area was still extremely wet, Charlie for the very first time decided to try to turn the water on for himself. I don’t know why. Does he want to clean himself before going to sleep? Does he just want a quick cool down? Does he just want to see if he can turn the handle all by himself?
The world may never know and probably doesn’t care. Because in the light of all eternity, it’s really not that big a deal!



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The Best Laid Plans…

I have been planning to write, really I have. But, as the title implies, plans change…

We had plans this summer!
Both retired. No job responsibilities. No kids at home. No real family responsibilities. Lots of plans. Cliff enjoys making plans. I enjoy the benefits of those plans. We’re a good team!
First, we had our nephew visiting the end of April, so plans to visit Daytona and plans for Disney with him. Plans to go to our grandson’s Mock Trial presentation on the 26th. Plans to visit Asheville, NC with dear friends the first week of May. Lots and lots of plans…
And then…
It was a Thursday. April 7th, to be exact. We had no real plans for that stormy day, which was good because Cliff woke up with pains in his stomach. He wasn’t overly concerned and neither was I. It happens sometimes. But, when he didn’t sleep well Thursday night because of discomfort and still had pain Friday morning, I told him maybe he should go to the ER. He was still not concerned and thought he just had to wait for it to pass. Friday night was a sleepless, uncomfortable night. Saturday he was still in pain. He called his doctor and got a call back that he should go to the ER. No fever, just pain, but, fortunately, we went.


When we got there at 1:30pm, his vitals were all good except for his pulse rate, which was 126. The triage nurse and I both quickly realized something was amuck. He had an xray almost immediately and right after that a CT scan. The next thing we knew, we were talking to a surgeon. The prognosis, a perforated colon. Not sure where or how or how big, but they were going in. And, just like that, Cliff was being prepped for surgery. It was that fast.
I was ushered to a waiting room and though I had countless offers from family to come sit with me, I chose to sit by myself. You see, I’m used to hospitals and ER’s so I came prepared. I had on comfy clothes and a cozy, warm sweater, my crochet bag, and a really good book. I also had Cheez-its and a bottle of water, so I was good! I was alone in the room and took the opportunity to pray and sing worship songs to the only One who was not surprised by any of this. The only One who I knew was and is safe to trust with the life of the man I love. I had perfect peace.
Cliff came through the surgery just fine and the surgeon, who was younger than our youngest child, came and talked to me. Cliff has diverticulosis (pockets in his colon), that were infected causing diverticulitis. He also had a good size perforation at the bottom of his colon. His stomach cavity was full of infection and so inflamed that he, the surgeon, had a hard time getting everything back in.
I stayed with Cliff at the hospital that first night because, at 68 years old, he’s never been in the hospital for himself and, having had at least 10 surgeries in my life that I can remember, I’m an old pro.
They have chairs that turn into beds now and a little girl came to make up the chair-bed for me. That night Cliff did great, in spite of the nurses coming in every half hour or so to check on him. As for me, well, that night will forever be remembered as the worst nights sleep I’ve ever had. Guys, I can sleep sitting up on a bench in the rain. I have a picture to prove this. But, this chair-bed was like sleeping on a piece of cement with a sheet. To make things worse, I slept with my hearing aids in so I could hear Cliff if he needed me. The result, every time I did happen to drift off I’d turn my head and my hearing aids would whistle a high-pitched little ditty in my ear. It was awful. Funny, but awful. And yet, that next morning I felt fine and every-so-grateful.
Cliff’s only complaint after surgery was the nasal-gastric tube that went up his nose and down into his gut. Fortunately, in about three days it was removed. Five days after surgery, Cliff was home!
The seriousness of his situation hit home when, afterwards I asked the surgeon what would have happened if we’d waited until Sunday. His answer was scary. “There wouldn’t have been a Sunday for your husband.” It was that close a call.
On Wednesday, April 20th, we visited the surgeon for a post-op visit. Staples were removed and Cliff’s healing was deemed “impressive”. Seems most patients that have what he had are in ICU after surgery and don’t leave the hospital for 7 to 10 days. Cliff was not in ICU and out in 5. The NG tube is usually in until right before leaving the hospital. Cliff’s was out in 3 days. We are so grateful! God is so good!
In about 4 months, the surgeon told us, Cliff will have a second surgery to “reconnect” everything. The most excellent news…he plans to do it laparoscopically! Four little cuts around his belly instead of reopening the incision he has now that goes from stem to stern. That’s the plan.
Evidently, plans like rules are made to be broken and when they are, in the light of all eternity, it’s really not that big a deal!

~ “For I know the plans I have have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jer. 29:11

Posted in Attitude, Bible, Blessings, Caring, Challenges, Christians, Faith, Faithfulness, Family, God, Gratefulness, Health, Hearing Aids, Hope, Hospitals, Humor, Husbands, Life, Lord, Plans, Trust, Uncategorized, Vacation | Leave a comment

The Dog Mutterer

As many of you know, our family has owned at least one dog, continuously, for the past 31 years. Never have we ever had a walking issue with any of our previous dogs. Not even the mentally deficient dog who considered rocks a delicacy. All previous dogs were pull free, non-reactive walkers. And then there is Phoebe. Phoebe is both a puller because she must “smell” every blade of grass that is within a five mile radius of where she is walking and reactive because she seemingly must “try” to attack any dog that she sees in that same vicinity.

And so each day before her walk, I mutter…”Now Phoebe, we’re going on a walk today and you’re going to be a good girl, right? No sled dog pulling, no barking and lunging. You’re going to walk like a lady with your head held high like they do on TV. Okay?” It doesn’t work and she doesn’t answer, but I do it anyway. In fact, according to my husband, she hears, “Blah, Phoebe, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.” Of course, as in most things, he is probably right. In fact, Cesar Milan says he is right and Cesar is, after all, much more than a dog mutterer. He is “The Dog Whisperer”.


Have you ever watched Cesar Milan on television? I have. I’ve also been reading one of his books. He is nothing short of magical! He meets a dog that would tear a person’s head off, the dog growls, he gives a quick pull on the leash, makes one little “SHT” sound and the dog instantly obeys. Amazing.
I did notice on the show that the dogs he’s working with many times wear both a chest and a head harness. I decided, since we already had both, to give this a try.

I now hold two leashes when we walk. It’s complicated and the first day or two she balked and did all she could to remove the head harness. Eventually, she gave that up AND immediately she was walking by my side with her head held high like the lady I told her she was! It was a miracle! I thought that was it. No more pulling, no more barking, no more lunging, just pleasant walks with our girl. That’s what I thought. It was a wonderful thought, a wrong thought, but a wonderful thought. She still barks and lunges. I don’t know how, but she does.

I decided maybe it’s not just the head and chest gear. I’ve already tried the quick pull thing with Phoebe to no avail. So I came to the conclusion that the magic that I’m missing has to be the sound! And so I tried that. “SHT!” I said as I gave her leash a quick pull. “SHT! SHT! SHT!”
I admit that I was very tempted to add a small letter “i” to my “SHT” sound but, tempting as it was, I figured that wouldn’t work either. And so, I am back to Cesar’s book, determined to learn to do things “Cesar’s Way”. In the meantime, I mutter because in the light of all eternity, it’s really not that big a deal!

Posted in Americans, Animals, Books, Cesar Milan, Challenges, Christians, Dog walking, Dog Walking Tips, Dogs, Encouragement, Family, Florida, Hope, Humor, Husbands, Husbands and Wives, Life, Mornings, The Dog Whisperer, Uncategorized, Walking, Yellow Lab and Treeing Walker Coonhound | Leave a comment

When Opposites Attract

I am 62 years old. I’ve been around the block, down the street, and over the hill a few times in my life and in all of those times I have been told that opposites attract. Recently, while googling this fact, I learned that most people in the world of psychology think this is a myth. I don’t think I believe them. And here’s why…

Cliff and I have been married for 43 years. I can honestly say it’s been an interesting 43 years. A fun 43 years. At times, a trying 43 years, but always a very good 43 years. I attribute all of that interesting, fun, trying, good time to the fact that we are NOT ‘two peas in a pod’. In fact, we couldn’t be more opposite. Here are just some of the facts…
He is of Asian descent. I am of European.
He is a quiet man. I am a loud woman.
He tans easily. I have tanned only once in my life and I think it was a fluke.
He is left-handed. I am right, which also signifies that he is right-brained and I am left.
He rolls his toothpaste from the bottom, very neatly. I squeeze wherever my hand lands. (I like to think this as a sign of creativity and not laziness, but he disagrees.)
He gets things done immediately. I am very good at procrastinating.
He takes a while to fall asleep, mostly because he is thinking of the things he needs to get done. I drop like a rock.
He has excellent short term memory. Mine is better long term.
He is a thinker. Me, not so much.
He is very good with directions and can remember where he’s been and how to get back there even after many months. He instinctively seems to know which direction is North, South, East, and West. I am very directionally challenged. Whichever way I am facing is North.
He is very aware of my directional shortcomings and yet, well…let me tell you a story.

Savannah is one of our favorite cities. We both enjoy it for almost all the same reasons, but one. We both enjoy the historical sites and the fact that it’s a great walking city. But, my favorite part, which is not necessarily Cliff’s favorite part is E. Shaver, Bookseller bookstore. Would I travel all the way to Savannah for a bookstore? Yes. Yes, I would. But now, I have found another reason to love Savannah and it’s right around the corner from the bookstore.

The Tea Room! On our most recent trip to Savannah, one taken with our daughter, Rachel and her family, we stumbled on The Tea Room. Rach and I love tea and found an especially enjoyable, very caffeinated one called Mauritius. Actually, our first time in The Tea Room and still in the middle of “the virus which shall not be named,” I might have almost tasted someone else’s tea, thinking it was my daughter’s. I only touched it, which at the time was bad enough.

Anyway, after tasting the highly caffeinated Mauritius, Rachel and I decided that we would like to come back in the morning for a cup. Then we decided that it would be fun to walk back to get our steps in. Then Rachel informed me that she and I, by ourselves, would never make it. Yes, sadly, I have passed on my directionally challenged gene to my daughter.
I thought we could still probably make it with some good directions, after all, it was only about a mile from our hotel. And so, I asked my husband. You know the one I’ve been married to for 43 years. The one who knows me better than I know myself sometimes. And what did my dear husband say?

“Just go southeast, Rox! You can’t miss it.”

Assuming he was expecting me to navigate by the stars, I reminded him that we were going in daylight. He then attempted to explain “southeast” to me. Quickly recognizing his folly at trying to explain that which, to me is unexplainable; he agreed to walk with us in the morning so we could get our tea. He’s a good man, which is not to say that I’m not good. The whole opposite thing can only go so far, because really, in the light of all eternity, it’s not that big a deal!

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” Dad’s Got Me”

Cliff and I run a bimonthly Community Group for Metro. It’s a daytime group and consists of what Emily Jessee once referred to as “Seasoned Saints”. When I was teaching middle and high school students, I often wondered who was teaching who. It is the same with this group. Though Cliff and I are the designated “leaders” more often than not it is the people in our group that lead by example and by obedience.
This past meeting, we asked members of the group to bring something, a story, a testimony, a prayer request, anything that they felt led to share. This story was one of those shared. It is the testimony of a little boy named Levi. He is the grandson of Dan and Karen O’Brien-Mazza, members of Metro. It was written by, Jeanne Harrison, the wife of another leader who has also learned by the people she “leads” and it is beautiful. I knew as soon as I heard it that it needed to be shared, especially as we enter this Lenten season. I hope you enjoy it…

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Posted in 2020, Attitude, Bible, Blessings, Challenges, Children, Church, Courage, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Family, Fathers and Mothers, Fear, God, Heroes, Hope, Humor, Life, Love, The Human Spirit, Trust, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“I Love You Where You Are At”

Erma Bombeck, one of my all time favorite funny people once said, “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.” Lately, I’ve been thinking about the truth of this statement. Because I’m not gonna lie, dealing with the death of someone you love is hard. Some days it’s really hard. You can feel like you’re doing absolutely fine and the littlest thing will open the floodgates. There is no way to make it better but I have found a few ways to laugh, at least a little.

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Posted in Aging, Attitude, Blessings, Caring, Christians, Dads, Death, Encouragement, Erma Bombeck, Faith, Family, Fathers and Mothers, Friends, God, Gratefulness, Heaven, Hope, Humor, Life, New Years, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

My Dad

Forgive me people for I have not written. It has been a month since my last post.
I do have reasons or excuses, whichever you’d like to call them. My husband sold his UPS Store and is officially retired. The holidays came upon us with the usual fanfare.
And, on New Years Day, my Dad, Rocco James Sicurello, went home to spend eternity with his Savior.
When I feel sad, I think about the life he lived, I think about the things he did, I think about all that he taught us and the legacy he has left, his most prized possession on this earth, his family.
This post is about his life…It was a good life and he lived it with no regrets…

He was born in the middle of the Great Depression on March 24, 1935. A first generation Italian, he was the middle of three full brothers and the next to the last of 15 total siblings. His oldest full brother, Uncle Nick, was 18 months older. His younger brother, Uncle Joe, was almost exactly 1 year younger. In fact, for 5 days, Uncle Joe and my Dad were the same age. When people would comment on the number of children my grandfather had, my Dad always had the same reply, “They didn’t have TV back then.”

My Dad and his brothers were typical little boys for that time. He and his brother, Joe would sneak into baseball games, waiting for a family to come into line with a lot of kids and slipping into the game with them so they didn’t have to pay.

On May 8, 1945, when the world was celebrating the end of the war in Europe, my Dad and his brothers,  ages 9, 10, and 11, were grieving the death of their Mother. My grandfather, now 50 years old and only speaking broken English was left to raise his three little boys alone. He never remarried. 

A year after their Mom passed away, and because my grandfather had to work, a social worker came to the house and offered to send my Dad and his brother Joe, to Boys Town camp for the summer. Uncle Nick was allowed to stay with my grandfather because he was 12 and had a job. When summer was over,  my Dad was told that he and Uncle Joe could not go home because they felt my grandfather was too old to care for them. The state had decided that they would be staying at Boys Town. Within days Dad devised a plan that he and Uncle Joe would hide their sandwiches from lunch in their shirts and that night they would escape and walk home. That afternoon, before they could execute their plan, their Dad came to see them. He told the people there that he was going to take his boys out “to buy clothes”. He never brought them back. 

My grandfather worked in a button factory.  There were no safety standards back then and Dad remembered bringing a lunch pail to his dad and seeing the bandana he tied around his nose and mouth and the rest of his face covered in plastic dust. My grandfather slept straddling the back of a chair and resting his head on his arms so he could breathe. Though my grandfather did love his stogies, Dad was always sure that the plastic had gotten into his lungs. In April of 1952, when Dad and Uncle Joe had just turned 16 and 17 and Uncle Nick was 18, their Dad passed away. After my grandfather passed, the older siblings felt obligated but didn’t really want to care for my Dad and his brothers. Uncle Nick enlisted in the Army. Dad and Uncle Joe lived with their oldest half sister, Nicolina. 

In October of 1953, while driving around in his first car, Dad saw a little red-haired girl hanging out with her friends. He waved to her, she waved back. They began their relationship as friends, but Mom remembers their first date was a bus ride to NYC to go to the Roxy Theatre to watch the movie The Robe. They had a spaghetti dinner together. Dad told Mom after a month of friendship that someday he wanted to marry her. 

By December of that year, Aunt Nicolina decided that she didn’t want Uncle Joe living with her anymore so Dad took his brother and went downtown thinking that he and Uncle Joe would enlist in the Navy together. Dad and Uncle Joe were very close. Dad was the brains and Uncle Joe was the brawn and Dad always felt responsible for his younger brother. When they took the test for the Navy, Dad passed. Uncle Joe did not. They took Dad immediately. Uncle Joe, with no place to go, hitchhiked across the country to California to live with a sister he’d never met, Viola. Viola and her husband were in the Marines and helped Uncle Joe to get into that branch of service. 

While in the service, Dad finished high school. Always very mechanically inclined, he became an Aviation Structural Mechanic and was stationed in Iceland at the tail end of the Korean War. Throughout his time in the service he and Mom wrote to one another. By the time Mom was 15 they were engaged. Dad finished his time in the Navy and in January of 1959, one day before Mom’s 18th birthday, they were married. People told them it wouldn’t last. People told them it couldn’t last. People didn’t know my parents. With sheer determination and what they didn’t at first realize was the grace of God, they remained married for almost 63 years until Dad’s passing. 

When Dad got out of the service, he was going to school in Philadelphia during the day and working at night on Mcguire Air Force Base as a civilian Aviation specialist. Mom was pregnant with me and Dad soon realized he could not keep up that pace. He got a job at Tilden Brakes where his boss, Lenny Swell, soon realized his potential and asked him to go into business with him. They bought a gas station, and called it R & L Shell. Lenny handled the behind the scenes, Dad was the mechanic. Because of the type of man dad was, their business thrived. People trusted Dad. After a time, they left the Shell station and moved to a bigger station about a hundred yards away and R & L Sunoco was born. He and Lenny owned that station for many years with Dad winning awards for his service to the community. 

Mom became a Christian first and soon each one of us followed. But, not Dad. One day, when Mom came home from church and was visibly upset, Dad asked why she was crying. She told him she had nobody to sit with at church. Dad said nothing. The following week, when Mom came downstairs to go to church, there was Dad in his suit. When Mom asked where he was going, he said he was going to church. When Mom asked why, he said because she had nobody to sit with. He went to church that day and never stopped. Dad’s surrendering his life to the Lord was a gradual process, but throughout that process Dad showed the Lord his love the same way he showed his love for us, by working and serving. Dad and Mom hosted Bible studies in their home, served together running a food pantry for families in the county and beyond that were in need. They took in homeless people and anyone else that needed a place to stay for a time. Dad volunteered at a home for disabled adults called Cheshire Home where he served as a driver for their van, picking up the residents for church and bringing them to activities. There was never a legitimate need my Dad would not meet. Never a time where he put his needs before others. That just wasn’t Dad. 

When Cliff and I moved to Florida in 1998, Dad decided he was almost ready to retire and he and Mom came down a few years later in 2001. Dad’s retirement lasted all of 2 weeks before he decided he wanted to continue working. It was then that I talked to Andy to see if he needed help at the church. He asked what Dad’s name was, when I said Rocco Sicurello. He told me he’d never met a real ‘eye talian before. In 2002 the redneck from the North began working with the redneck from the South. They worked hard together. He worked with Andy until he was 80 years old. 

Dad’s legacy is the thing he loved most on this earth, his family. His wife, his 4 children, his 10 grandchildren, and soon to be 8 great grandchildren. As a family, we will always remember the things he taught us.

Things like ~
“Find a job you love to do and the money will take care of itself.”
“You have to love people where they’re at.”
“Always remember your family.”
He taught us to always be content with what we have and to always put the needs of other first. He taught us these things by example. He taught us well.

On January 1st, 2022, Dad began the New Year with his entrance into his heavenly home. Healed, whole, and breathing freely. Greeted with the words “Well done good and faithful servant…” because that is what he was. 


I love you and I miss you, Dad. I always will…

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Life With Charlie ~ What’s That Smell???

It was a peaceful morning. Now that we are fairly empty-nesters most mornings are. I say fairly empty because, though there are no children in the house some of them are right across the street and we have a dog, Phoebe, and a kitten, Charlie Cat. Charlie Cat is not the name we gave him, but our 3 year old grandson came up with this and it stuck. Fortunately, Charlie Cat is very cute because…


As I was saying, it was a peaceful morning and I was sitting in my chair drinking my coffee, reading my book with Charlie in my lap, and wondering; not about my day, not even about what I was going to be eating that day; I was wondering what exactly I was smelling, because whatever it was, it wasn’t good. I sniffed around and discovered the source, Charlie’s cat box. It’s a pretty cat box, one that looks like furniture so nobody really knows what’s in there, unless it is befouled. When I opened the doors, I was greeted with said befoulment.

My morning had new purpose, not one of quiet repose with my coffee and my book, much as I wanted that. This morning was one of war. A battle to clean the befouled, putrefied, “liquid” in the box that somehow did not make it into the litter, a bigger battle to not toss my coffee in the process, and the constant battle for a good attitude when you haven’t finished your coffee and it’s only 4:00 am. And so I thought about my predicament.

I was grateful that the stink and it’s source was inside the box and not on my floor. Then I remembered that I had just bought a pair of new rubber gloves and opening new things is always fun, so that was a plus! Attitude in check, I got started. My first step was to gather all I would need, put on my new rubber gloves, and go to war. I had plastic bags, paper towels, a bucket of hot water and disinfecting wipes. As I prepared to don my new gloves, I realized that my right hand glove was fine and so was the other right hand glove. Wait. What? I had TWO right hand gloves. So, fortunately, I am in fact, right-handed and quite literally, singlehandedly got to work.

The clean up was actually not that bad. I did not toss my coffee. The befoulment was neatly packaged in multiple plastic bags with everything that had touched it. My house smelled good before my husband woke up. I cleaned the two right-handed gloves and put them back in their bag for a return. And then I had the funniest thought! I rarely watched “Friends” but my daughter would often share funny parts of episodes with me. My favorite was Phoebe singing “Smelly Cat.” Our dog is Phoebe, our cat is Smelly…Get it! If not, it’s really not that big a deal!


Posted in Animals, Attitude, Blessings, Books, Cats, Challenges, Cleaning, Dogs, Family, Gratefulness, Home, Humor, Life, Mornings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment