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Appreciating life – and loving what is.


I am fully aware I will eventually lose everything I’ve got.  I mean, we are all are terminal – we will all die.  But have I taken people for granted?  Absolutely.

But while we’re living, I’ve learned a few things.

Especially lately.

I grew in 2015.

I learned that something I held to be true for 25 years was myth.

I learned that I CAN heal quicker than I thought.

I learned  that I am capable of SO many lows and still keep my head above circumstantial water and breathe.

I also learned, or rather – decided – everything does NOT happen for a reason.

Sometimes shite happens. Just … Because.  Life is random.  The chaos theory comes to mind.  And I believe in that.  Something happens and triggers something – also, if you’re positive or negative, you ARE dictating you day/life.


But more than often, life ‘happens’ as it should.

Sounds like I’m debasing my theory, but the bottom line is when someone takes an action, it causes another action.  Not ‘meant to be.’  We have a choice.  A choice how to react and that, in turn, results in an outcome in your head – in your life.

I have intentions of having mostly positive thoughts to attract positive things in 2016 – and no, that’s not a resolution, it’s a hope.

So, the fact that I’m typing this, still missing my mum and mourning my Nannie’s imminent passing is … I don’t know what it is.

I know I’ve also learned these things.

My dad is lost without my mum.

I’m trying so hard to be there.  To do what my mum would want.

At the same time, I have my home, and my work week  and I still have a son who needs me.

I’m so glad he needs me.

Not in the ‘I can’t live without you’ way, but – in the, ‘Show me how to ‘adult’ and help me with college way.

My gorgeous son

My gorgeous son.

So down to the ‘downer’ part.

One conversation with my mum, I’m not sharing more:


And every day it’s the same sort of conversation. How are YOU doing? How is Nannie doing?  And it’s been a month w/out my Mum.  And I so appreciate her and miss her and love her.

When I brought up what I HATED … I loved her response


Talk about positive.

I have a mother spending every day with my dying Nannie and still can appreciate the bulbs of flowers coming to fruition and knowing what is important.

Being there.

Just being there.

For the person she loves and who needs her.

And still has the energy to tell someone not to be jaded.

I have a new love for my mother.

I will not take anything for granted anymore.

I will love what I love and be who I am and live in the moment.

Because we all know (don’t we?) that today is a gift.

This morning, my gift was opening two eyes.



A letter to my mom


I get it.

After years of not understanding, I get it.

When my son fell in love – it was so painful, and all I wanted was it for to be the RIGHT person.

This past Christmas, you gave me a card that read:

‘Daughter, Even though you’re all grown up, there’s a part of me that wishes I could give you want you want most at Christmas.  But I know it’s not as simple as a doll or bicycle anymore. You have hopes and dreams of your own – things I’m sure you carry in your heart with the word ‘someday’.  And though I can’t give you those things myself, I hold them in my heart too.  And I’m always hoping you’ll have whatever makes you feel happy, fulfilled, and loved..  Because that’s exactly what you deserve.”

I cried reading it.

You put  a lot of attention into cards. I know this because it’s how we’ve always been. I keep EVERY SINGLE CARD!

It takes me forever in the card aisle – I’m bawling or laughing and spending way too much time.

Let’s cut this to the chase.


I’ve cried wolf a bunch of times.

Every time I’ve said “I’m in love” I know you’ve cringed.

I know it because internally, I was cringing too.

I, for a while, was in love with the idea of being in love.

You knew it.

I knew it.

We played that game.

But I grew.

And I finally fell in love with myself – and became a great mom in the process.

There was one person I could not get out of my head.



Never did he leave my thoughts.

We had everything in common but I was young and dumb. (As you know.)

I had countries to explore, mistakes to make – relationships to one day compare ours to.

You’re the mom who will bury someone who hurts me up to their head in sand and plant honey and ants around them. lol.

He will never hurt me.

I guess what I need you to know is, I fell in love with an old best friend.

And I finally found someone who I know my son loves.

Your grandson.

And knowing how much you love him is important to me.

He loves you that much back.

You were a second mom to him – and we couldn’t have made it without you.  At all.

Coming home from work, and you rocking him to sleep to that Irish lullaby – priceless.

And I thank you.

And I love you.

And I appreciate you.

And I adore you.

I think of our time in England, when you did everything you could – made me dresses, saved up for birthday dolls – and struggled – and I love you SO much for all of that.

So I hope you’ll believe with my clear and understanding and appreciative eyes, that I now know what love is.


And no, he’s not a doctor or a lawyer. lol.

He is the man I truly love.

Always have.

And I know you’ll appreciate that.

He’s an artist.

Like you.

And he’s funny. And beautiful.  And tough. And does what it takes to make it.

I respect that.

I can’t love someone I don’t respect.

But you’re just like him.  An artist, and funny, and beautiful.  And tough.  And have always done what it takes to make it.

We made it.

And your card came true.

I love you mom. x

Gone to the dogs

I told you she could write – here’s my mum with her post. 🙂 Enjoy.

By Penny Hoskins

My sunrise friends and I are 0’dark 30 people. We’re up and out with our pups while most of you more sane (?) folk are still snoring away and dreaming of running free. Come On People! Get up, there are butts to sniff.

We’re a motley crew and just about all the pups have “issues”. Insanity, twisted humor and sarcasm runs rampant at this early hour. Nothing like laughter to start your day though. Mostly there’s a lot of pointing of fingers and laughing. Thin skinned people need not apply.

And the pups ~ We’ll start with Minnie. Minnie is a little Terrier (terror) mix who runs maniacally up and down the run barking threateningly at anyone who happens to walk, run or jog by. You should see her run up the fence, and I mean literally run UP the fence. Is she bigger than a bread box? Not much but this is the image that her potential victims see from their side of the fence.


If she likes you she’s a genuine sweetheart, but if she doesn’t well…..

Buffy is Minnie’s housemate. There’s really not a lot one can say about Buffy, she’s the geriatric of the pack. Doesn’t move much, Poke, poke, oh good she was just sleeping. If she so much as stands up her person will say “Careful Buff, pace yourself.” She does like to eat though, perks right up if there are treats around.

Katy, ahh Katy Love, a beautiful little Sheltie who has panic attacks every time someone sneezes. You feel that sneeze coming on, oh no, not now Katy’s here. So you try to hold it in, but somewhere from deep in the recess of your memory that thought that someone planted suddenly pops up, the one about holding in a sneeze creates pressure that backs up and you collapse and die from an aneurysm. Sorry Katy Love, can’t risk that so here it comes, and there she goes, twisting in tight little circles and barking fanatically. Apparently a microwave beeping has exactly the same effect.

Then there’s Roxy, “Psycho Dog”. A really, really weird dog who must have been dropped on her head when just a tiny pup. Roxy is a Lab/Pit/Screwball mix who is obsessed with water bowls. She collects them and brings one with here everyday in her human’s “slobbermobile”. Ignoring everyone and everything she immediately starts to play nose hockey with it. She’d do this all day if she could. She’ll put it in the paddling pool to wash it and chase it around then come out and wipe her dirty wet face on Minnie and Buffy’s person’s pants. Good dog Roxy. We thought about getting the other dogs to play this game so we could have our own Puppy Hockey Bowl (pun intended) but the others didn’t want to know, Minnie couldn’t decide, she’s still on the fence. Besides Roxy doesn’t like to share her bowl with anyone.

Ever met an Italian Shih Tzu? Meet Pecos, of Chinese ancestry, a Mexican name and an Italian personality. Pecos can’t speak without waving his little hands around. Well, I guess in his case it’s little paws. He has a lot to say as well, he joins in any conversation and with each bark his front end comes off the ground, his paws lift up as if to give emphasis to what he is saying. Need to get a word in? Just hold his little feet and he can’t speak, let go and off he goes again. Hold feet, quiet, let go, speak, hold, let go, hold let go, it’s really quite funny. He can also fly, oh yes he can, I heard you doubt that. Just ask that pigeon, oh I forgot, you can’t ask the pigeon because Pecos ate it, well a bit of it. Pigeon was taking flight when Pecos leaped up and grabbed that pigeon right out of the air. He’s a multi-talented dog.

Then there’s Meesha. Meesha is a Cocker Spaniel/Australian Shepherd, a cocky aussie. She’s a very discriminating dog, she discriminates freely against all newcomers. Sniff my butt, I’ll bite your face off. She’s a rabbit chaser, chief lizard hunter, and the only dog I know who will choke up a hairball because she’s constantly washing her kitty siblings. At the dog run when she’s not lying on the bench with legs dangling, or trying for round two with her arch enemy, a small pug who is also itching for round two, she will grab hold of her leash drop to the ground, tuck her front legs under her, stretch her rear legs out and insist on being dragged across the grass. A sled dog gone wrong. She also spends a lot of time with her head stuck up a drainage pipe. Butt in the air, she’ll whine and growl into it, which then echoes back at her, convincing her even more that there is something in there. One of the sunrise people put a stuffed toy in the pipe as a joke. Meesha grabbed it, ran off and buried her “kill”. she’s madly in love with Pecos’s human, who tells her everyday how pretty she is. Good grief, now we have a preening alpha.

We’re looking for a canine psychiatrist who might be willing to give us a bulk deal. They could all lie on the couch, which they’re all good at, and talk about their puppy-hoods.

Well, there you have it, you have now met just a very few of the early morning canine characters and some of their amazing quirky personalities. Normal? Maybe not. But who wants normal. Loyal, loving, entertaining definitely. Weird they all are, but weird and happy, very happy.

Mothers Day edition of ‘Musings from the laundromat’

Feeling a little guilty about being here.  They’re closing early for Mothers Day.

I get the same feeling when I pop into a shop on any other holiday and they’re open. :/

I’m sure when I walked in the lady behind the counter was thinking “Oh, great.”  They close in 50 minutes.  I can be outta here by then.

So, Happy Mothers Day! My morning started (after being up with Butters at 5 am) being late up.  I actually crashed out after crawling back into bed and didn’t wake up until almost 9!  Unheard of for me – delightful.

Although, I had planned to be here by 8 am – then I could have avoided the awkward early close predicament.

My son had a surprise outing planned.  We were to leave at 10:45.  What to wear?  His response: Formal casual.  (Note to self: Explain dress codes to Nic.)

Pulling up to the laundromat, my car advised me that it was 110 degrees out, so you can imagine that my attire was more casual than formal.

Here we are driving there.  Yeah, I know, bad influence.  Taking photos while he’s driving.  (ooo!  By the way – I think this was the first time as a passenger I didn’t freak out and actually enjoyed the scenery!  He’s a LOT better driver now.) Here’s me enjoying the scenery: image I didn’t know where we were going – but I knew food was involved.  I’m ok with being fed. 🙂 So we arrived – which of course, means more photo ops. image   image     The restaurant is really lovely and does a great brunch.  I’ll withhold the name but here’s some inside pics: image image     image

That’s the decor, and yes, I did have to take a photo of the golden toilet plumbing and seat cover dispenser. LOL!


This was my first plate … Also had, um, 3 or 4 desserts 🙂


See, I still participate in debauchery.  There were so many to choose from!  How could I not sample them all??  I would have hurt a desserts feelings.

Thank you Nic for planning such a lovely surprise. x

So I’m here … clothes in the dryer and really only wanting to nap off some of that food.  But, due to work circumstances right now, my plan B of going afterwards tomorrow didn’t seem like a good idea.

While we’re on the topic of mothers – the man I process for and assist is going through a very tough time with his mom right now.

I’ve been holding down the fort while his mom is dying.  😦

Friday I spoke to a Father (Priest? Vicar? Deacon?) who was trying to get a hold of him.  It’s been a tough few weeks with false alarms, last rites and emotions riding high.  However, Friday his mom was unresponsive.  I don’t know what to say.  If he was a woman, I could hug him – listen to him.  But, he’s a pretty stoic, logical man.  All I can offer is making sure things at work are running smoothly by stepping up to the proverbial plate.

So to end this edition – let me just say to my mom – I’m glad you were born, glad that you’re here and Happy Mothers Day.  I had a lovely day with you.  Love you, ‘Mand. xxxxx

image image

I’m not a groupie!

Was that eye-catching enough?

Been thinking lately about passion.

My son and I had a chat about this.  His plan for after graduation was to pursue higher education in the culinary field.  I know he has an interest in food (for sure I know this lol) and also in cooking – but not in the way that he’s constantly in the kitchen, or watching cooking shows, or looking up chefs and restaurants on the internet.

I pointed this out to him and have previously pointed out that you don’t just suddenly become a Chef – master of your own kitchen and restaurant.  There’s hard work involved and you start from the bottom and work your way up.

You have to LOVE what you’re doing.  You’re going to be cooking the same dishes over and over and over, in a hot, busy, noisy kitchen.

He wasn’t sure what else he had a talent for or an interest in, until I pointed out the fact that there is one constant in his life lately that he seems to also enjoy.  Photography.

We’ll see where that goes, but I had already been thinking about passion and this only served to bring on more pondering.

What is my passion?

I’m not sure.  I know what I like to do.

I know I’m pretty good at a few things, but by no means do I excel in anything that I’m aware of.

I like to write.  I like to draw.  I like to paint.  I like to sing. I like to take photographs. But I’m really not GREAT at any of those things.

If someone came to me and said ‘Debauch,’ (ok, we’ve established my name is Amanda in my first post, I suppose it’s alright to use it).

Rewind, they start over and come to me and say, ‘Amanda, you no longer have to worry about earning money.  Your rent, food, utilities and car are covered.  Go and pursue your passion!’

I would have no clue what I would do!

I titled this post ‘I’m not a groupie’ for a reason.  I have a few – OK, several ex’s that were in bands.

Yes, it’s exciting to be at a show, yes, it is kind of cool to be the singer/drummer/bass players girlfriend.  BUT!  That wasn’t what drew me to any of them.

Other than my passion for music, I’m drawn to people who pursue their dreams.

Drive, ambition, hard work and gratitude for whatever fruit is born from that.  Yup.

For me, there’s nothing sexier than someone who not only shows an interest in something, but has the tenacity to develop their talent and then not only work hard to chase their dream but to MAKE IT HAPPEN?  Holy cow.  THAT is a turn on.

It says a lot about a person who knows who they are, what they want and has the courage and drive to achieve it.

Whatever ‘it’ is.  Doesn’t have to be music.

I’m not a groupie, I’m a ‘dream chaser connoisseur’.

I had a great opportunity this Summer to meet the Gin Blossoms singer Robin Wilson.

Watch any live video of him on YouTube and you’ll see a man who loves what he does and loves interacting with his fans.

I told him this.  I mentioned how amazing it was to see him enjoying his show.

He told me that he really does love what he does and still has fun doing it.

He went on to share some of his inspirations with me.  Some were other frontmen who enjoy what they do as much as he does.  It really comes through in the performance you know.

No matter what you do – enthusiasm for it, comes through in the performance.

I think right now in my life, my passion may be learning? Growing spiritually and making connections.  If I didn’t have to work – if I had an all access pass to pursue a passion … I think I’d grab my son and hit the road.

I’d show him  some of the countries I’ve had the honor of visiting.

I would want to return to India – show him how happy some of the poorest communities are because they are grateful.

I would want to return to France and Italy and Greece and show him art and architecture.

I would want to return to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran and show him what it’s like to live in surrounded by unrest and fear.

I would do those things, and take photographs and write about it here.

I think I found it.

My passion is all of the things I don’t do perfectly, but love doing. 

Being a mom, a student, a teacher – immersing myself in other cultures and beliefs – and sharing that.

And, if we hit a few concerts on the way?  Just remember – I’m not a groupie!