Category Archives: Uncategorized

first love

first love

The years get blurry, but somewhere around 2006 or 2007, my sister Debbie and our mother sold their house in Old Bridge, NJ and moved to Florida.  For as long as I could remember, my mom dreamed of buying a trailer home in Florida and just moving to sunshine.  And then they did it. Debbie quit her job, they sold their house before the bubble burst and moved.  Debbie quickly got a job with a big bank in Orlando and they settled in a few apartments in Sanford and Lake Mary, until they finally decided to build a house in Apopka.  Life was good in those days.  Debbie found “sisters” in Cynthia and Nancy. They were happy.  Spending too much money, but they were companions, with the same sarcastic, argumentative kind of humor that equally cracked each other up as it drove them crazy.

They lived together all of those years, in Old Bridge, then in Florida, in the Apopka house, then their townhouse, the apartment, the St Catherine rental, and eventually the Independent Living apartment….until July 2023 when the unavoidable unraveling began.

There is so much to say, too much.  I’m jumping into the middle, but I’ll try to make this part make sense.  In January 2022 my mom was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure.  It was the beginning of my mom’s rapid downward spiral in her health.  By this time, Debbie had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (so much to say about that another time). The two of them could not look to the other for support — but they did.  They were immoveable on that point. They wouldn’t, (looking back maybe it was really couldn’t), leave each other. 

The years 2022 and 2023 and the first half of 2024 were the hardest of my life.  Physically, mentally, emotionally.  Our little family, the only people on this earth that were mine….we were falling apart, and my need to try to save them was eating me alive with every action I took or failed to take., with later regret.   My mom had 2-3 very serious stays in the hospital.  In Jan – Feb 2022, I was rehabilitationg mom at our house in St Catherine, while Debbie was taking care of herself at the house around the corner.  Mom was angry, unhappy, she didn’t want to do what the rehab folks, or the nurses or doctors told her to do.  She just wated to go back home to Debbie, back to the way it was going to be. Back to the downward spiral. Eventually she went back home to Debbie and I went home to Maryland, to work and trying to live my life there.  I was torn in two.  The fear of what was going on with them while I was away was overwhelming.  The frantic phone calls from FL about how one of them fell, or was taken away in an ambulance.  Some nights, I would lay in bed in tears, having a panic attack that felt like a heart attack. 

I was talking to them together and separately about change.  What if mom came to live with me in Maryland? And we found a nice Assisted Living home that could give you quality of life Debbie? The answer was silence, or distraction, or argument, or angry name calling.  Every way of saying No.  It became clear with every fight that this was only going to go down one way.  Tramatically.  Some unsurmountable tragedy was going to happen and we had to just wait for it to come knock on our door.

The knock came in July 2023.

Debbie was taken away in an ambulance in the middle of the night.  She was having trouble breathing.  By this time, she and Mom were living together in an apartment in Independent Living at the Carriage House.  My mom called me the next day to tell me what happened.  I was in Maryland, so far away.  Before I could make plans to fly down there, she called me back to say that my brother was there, and she was leaving to go to his house in Georgia.

And that was it.  My mother left Florida that first week of July 2023, went to Brunswick, Ga….and I would only see her two more times right before Debbie died.

You see, I don’t have a relationship with my older brother.  He touched Debbie and me in disgusting ways when we were young girls.  It was a shame that we had to bear this secret and hold it in our bodies and souls for our entire life.  I finally got up the courage to ask Debbie if he did it to her too, and she said yes.  I cried, I’d really hoped she would say no.  We both understood what it meant to be completely and entirely alone in our experiences as little girls. 

I’ve never been in my brother’s home. Any interaction I have had with him has been at a distance for a handful of family events. In 2022 when he and his wife came to FL because my mom was in the hospital, they asked to stay at our home down there. It was an unraveling for me to have him in Peter and my home. I exploded in anger at them in email. To this day his wife probably doesnt understand why. She may not know what her husband did to us when we were young.

But when he took Mom to Georgia… was a moment neither Debbie or I wanted.  In his act of taking our mother to care for her….he took our mother to a place we couldn’t go.  We couldn’t go to the home of the man who molested us as a boy.

Debbie would eventually go to Hospice in Georgia.  I’ll explain that next time.   This….this is the story of how I lost my mother.

On July 7th 2023 she called me.  It was her goodbye call. I didn’t know that, until it started to happen. She was particularly loving to me.  She said many loving things to me, about how good of a mother I am.  And that I was a good daughter to her. 


I asked her why she was talking in past tense to me.  Like  something was ending.

She was tired.  She didn’t want to talk any more. And that’s what it was.  Goodbye, Diane.  Goodbye, mom, I miss you.

And it stayed like that, until Debbie began to die.

I’m here to tell you, you can Lose your mother, even when she is still alive.  And it’s the kind of long, painful, daily Loss that squeezes your heart every day.  The kind that gets worse instead of better the more you try to fix it.

The ultimate lesson that this part of my life has taught me, is that you can’t fix some things.  And my unyielding need for this to be repaired causes me to go “back into battle” with my mom…only to come out more hurt than before.  My husband Peter and my daughters have been trying to lovingly help me understand…..”Diane, Mom, … your mother isn’t going to give you what you need from her.  She doesn’t need what you need. She doesn’t understand the feelings you have. She is only going to make you feel bad about needing more from her. You have to try to accept that.”

I’m trying.  Every day. 

And one day, my mother will go to heaven, into the loving embrace of my Dad and Debbie…and I just have to hope she knows how much of my love she will take with her.

I will love you forever Mom.  You were the first person to love me and I will miss you forever

Your Diane.

First profound loss

First profound loss

“They” say, we come into this world alone, and we will leave it alone. But what happens when someone you love goes, and you have to stay?

Never having something can be a deep sadness. Longing and pining for something is a lonely walk through life. But having something, and then being deprived of being with that something you once had……that is Loss. When I was 13 years old, my father died. He was in the hospital. He had espohegeal cancer and had it surgically removed. The doctors wanted him to have chemotherapy or radiation or whatever existed back in 1979. But my dad didn’t want to do it. Back then, the treatments often killed you, if the cancer didn’t. I remember he came home after the surgery. He was recovering. Oh it was so hard for him to give up smoking those Muriel air tipped cigars he loved. My older sister Donna smoked cigarettes and I remember my dad, creeping out of his bed, all bandaged up and in pain. But the draw of stealing one of her cigarettes was stronger than the pain of recovering from the surgery that cut out part of his esphogus and lifted his stomach to reattach it. Awful thing, nicotine. It killed my father. It took the only dad I would ever have. He went into the hospital for …. some sort of infection that developed. It felt like a matter of days…and then in a surreal moment, my mom was sitting on my bed at 6am when my alarm went off for school, telling me that I didn’t have to go to school that day. Daddy had died. And my world as I knew it had died too. He was 56 years old. Just like Debbie.

Sudden loss is like being swatted like a fly. One moment, you are flying through the air, batting your wings, blissfully moving forward, going somewhere. You know, living. Until….WHACK! Your father just dies. And you are flat against the sheets in bed. Crushed by life. Crushed by death.

The hardest part for me was the believing. For a really long time….a few years, if I am honest, I didn’t really believe he was dead. My mom asked if I wanted to go see Daddy before the cremation. I said NO, with wide eyed shock. How could you ask me that mom? If I saw daddy….dead….how would I ever be able to close my eyes and see him un-dead ever again? Our family didn’t do death well. We didn’t have a funeral. My dad wasn’t laid out for friends and loved ones to see. No, my father just went to the hospital. And then never came back. He died. And whatever…whatever happened to dead people, …is what happened to my dad. But to my 13 year old mind and heart….I often dreamed that my dad would just come back one day. That he’d pull his brown Oldsmobile sedan into the driveway and walk into the kitchen. Only, the Oldsmobile was already in the driveway. And dad hadn’t come. He’d never come home again.

It took me years to process his loss. Maybe I’m still. The Loss of my dad was so scary. I felt untethered from the planet. I felt like anything could happen to me now, without him. I was at the age where I still possessed little girl dreams. Ridiculous dreams. The kind that probably wouldn’t come true. I was only just beginning to think about my own life. The one I would one day live independent from my parents and the home I grew up in. Without my dad…I didn’t know how to transition from dreamy dreams to real life dreams. I didn’t know what I could be. What was realistic. I didn’t know how to see myself in the world. That also took me years….and alot of mistakes…to figure out. For a long time, I chased security. Permanence. I wanted to be safe again. I wanted to go back to before. The time before ordinary life felt scary. I searched for someone who could help me feel like that. It was another very long time before I learned that no person would fill the Loss that lived in me. I don’t think that I’ve ever healed it. Even today, as a very grown woman….life scares me.

Loss. It is a deep hole.

You lose more than the person you loved. You lose more than their physical hugs and affection. Their laughs, the warmth that radiates into the home from their being. I lost my way, on my way, to growing up. My mom was lost too. She did her best. It was hard. We all lost direction for a while. Hours became a day. Days became weeks, then months, then years. But for a very long time….I was a scared, lonely, lost 13 year old girl living in a young woman’s body. Surviving in a family that did not talk about death or grief or coping with loss. We just cried alone in the dark in our beds, visited daddy in our dreams, woke up the next day and swallowed it down. And did it again. and again. and again.

It was dysfunctional. It was all I knew for a very long time. That was the first big loss of my life. A wound that still hurts. She still cries for her dad, that 13 year old Diane.

Ciao for now…..Diane

To Loss and Back Again: The gift of grief

To Loss and Back Again: The gift of grief

It has been 95 days since my sister Debbie died.  She was 56 years old and succumbed to the devastating effects of Parkinson’s Disease on January 5, 2024.    This wasn’t the first loss of my life, but it was the one that hit me the hardest and has likely changed my life so unexpectedly.

I’ve decided to tell my story.  A little bit each day.  Here in my familiar place.  This story is, well, …it is my life.  So,  it’s still unfolding, (which is good news 🙂 ).  I imagine the process of writing will help me wrestle with ghosts and fears and (hopefully) drive them away, or make them into smaller “Casper-like” friendly creatures that I can live with more readily.  I imagine it will also help me reimagine the rest of my life,  without some of the people who have been the principle sources of my childhood memories and sources of love … until loss came.

Doing “the work” that life requires takes many forms.  Life’s journey is a winding road, equal parts delight and pain, I have found.  This piece of my work will be called, “To Loss and Back Again:  the gift of grief”.  Some gifts come whether you want them or not.  I’m learning that it’s all very much in the receiving. 

See you tomorrow.

Ciao for now….Diane

my happiness project

my happiness project
When I wandered into this place again today, I knew it had been a long dark while. Almost a year. Wow. I’ve been unhappy longer than I’d realized. The only thing I know for certain is — it’s not going to get better unless I work on it.

The next year will be that work. My own little happiness project. LOL, that might sound like I know what I’m doing. Eh, long ago I leaned toward the belief that the best thing’s in life happen when you let gooooo…..when you don’t know what you’re doing. More than anything, what I need is to get my thoughts out of my head, and to start “doing” again. Maybe doing new things, old things, whatever things….but just doing, moving, forward momentum in my life, my feelings….and eventually I think that will move me toward my happiness.

I’m committing to a renewed habit to come here each day, and leave behind some feelings and thoughts. In the end, it doesn’t matter if anyone beyond myself ever reads them. I reminded myself how cathartic the act of writing has been for me during high and low periods of my life. I’m going to lean into it now, and if any bit of what I leave behind helps you…well, that is the gift of community. When you are low, you need the community. When you feel strong, the community needs you.

So please, come….go…take and give…to this community. Happiness….we’re coming for you.

Ciao for now, Diane

When Two Good is 3 good things

When Two Good is 3 good things

Around 2pm, my stomach starts to rumble for a snack. THIS IS GOOD!

It’s hunger. And this snackity expert (me, this girl right here) hasn’t felt that very often. Back in my “before” days when I was grazing constantly…it’s hard to ever f.e.e.l. hunger. Instead I often felt discomfort and shame. But that’s another story for another day.

So, yesterday was shopping, planning and prepping day, AKA Saturday. At the Publix down here in Florida, my husband Peter and I found a good thing. Well, it’s actually Two Good.

I walk the aisle with my WW scanner App AND my education on carbs. As a T2 diabetic person, my #1 job for myself is to eat well. Weight loss is a derivative. I OWE myself good nutrition. I’ve managed to regain control over my blood glucose levels, free of medications, and I want to keep it that way. I’ve made the progress I’ve made by making good choices. Along the way, I shed many foods that used to be staples in my diet. For instance, I rarely eat fruit these days AND its been forever since I’ve had a yogurt.

Back to today. It’s 2pm. I’m hungry. First move – make a pot of tea. See if what i am feeling can be satiated by a nice hot cup of #JOY.

No Go. Didn’t cut it. I’m actually hungry. GOOD Diane. You are actually hungry, so f.o.o.d. IS the appropriate answer.

I pulled one of these Two Good yogurts out of the fridge, opened the lid, slipped in the spoon and tasted.


TWO GOOD will be my 3 small good things for today. But Diane, they are TWO good, how can they be 3 good things?

Well – here is how this yogurt sizes up on my 3 good things list for today.

#1 – It’s coconut. s.w.o.o.n. <3 <3 <3

#2 – It’s only 3 grams of carb and that is due in large part to the fact that it only has 2 grams of sugar in the whole thing! Very carb friendly for a yogurt.

and #3 – The entire 5.3 ounce container is only 2 Weight Watchers smart points. For COCONUT! Hey, all of you coconut lovers out there know, when you “ZAP” a coconut yogurt, you get ready for 7 points on average. I had to zap these three times in the store (um…and once more just now before I ate it)….I just couldn’t believe it. All this coconut yumminess for 2 points and I can make a good carb choice.

Two Good is my 3 good things for today. Maybe you will try it….but however you feed your hunger this afternoon – make good choices for yourself. You. Are. Worth. It.

Ciao for now….Diane

security is under-rated

security is under-rated

I woke up this morning, like every morning, in safety, security, warmth and comfort. Gratitude abundance!

Before I even opened my eyes this morning, I could feel the things for which I am grateful.

Today’s small things are warm, soft and fixed.

#1 – The safety and comfort of my bed. I perhaps don’t think enough about the women and children in this world who live without this…and what it must do to their sense of self and security in the world.

#2 – Sometimes when I wake up an hour or two too early, I reach out, eyes still closed, and find Peter’s hand. He responds and clasps his warmth around my hand….and I drift back to sleep. Peter’s love is a fixed mark and it grounds me to the planet.

#3 – Quiet mornings where my shuffling feet are the only sound in the house. I make my coffee and sit outside, listening to the birds for a few moments…waking up slowly. There is security in this quiet. Our world, in big places far away, and small neighborhoods nearby need more peace.

Find your joy….

Ciao for now…Diane

Bacon, eggs and avocado!

Bacon, eggs and avocado!

Those are my 3 things today. I’m grateful for 1) Bacon, 2) Eggs, and 3 )Avocado.

This combination is my breakfast most days. In some combination, form and function. G.O.N.E. are the days of a tiny yogurt and berries. Eating bird seed and drinking water to save calories and opportunity for a treat later in the day. Those treats would spiral me into sugar oblivion. I’ve learned that those milk and fruit options were also a trigger for me. Not a key to success for me anyway. Of late, I am following a low carb, keto type diet, with focus on protein and healthy fats. It’s working. What does “working” mean, well… firstly, I. AM. SATISFIED! I am full, satiated both physically and spiritually. Hey, don’t discount the spiritual aspect of food. The universe gave us taste buds, so life could be sweeter, spicier, full of flavor and zest. Add those things back into your life, but in a healthy meaningful way.

Conclusion….my 3 small things today fill me with g.r.a.t.i.t.u.d.e. I am HAPPY. And…I’m losing weight and gaining control over my appetite and choices. A+ Diane.

Ciao for now…Diane

Gratitude all around you

Gratitude all around you

Build a habit of finding 3 small things each day. Three small things that make you grateful.

I’ve been gone for too long. So my #1 thing I am grateful for is …You. The fact that anyone is even still out t.h.e.r.e. reading this, is amazing in itself. So thank you. Thank you for listening in on my internal dialogue. The self-imposed therapy as I work my lifelong problem to turn my critical internal voice into a friend.

So we’re here. On the other side of the pandemic. Or we hope anyway. The past 18 months…whew. When somebody finds that DELETE button…PUSH it twice, okay? Just to make sure. Well, actually, maybe I don’t want to delete ALL of it. Let’s go back to gratitude….because I found some things that Ive learned to cherish in the past year….things that have become more deeply important to me than ever before. I wanna keep those. So, let me get them out of the way, and into my treasure basket – THEN, you can push the button. TWICE, remember, hit it twice.

So #2 came in the form of technology. When we all began to hunker down and separate physically, we learned to use ZOOM and let people, friends, work colleagues, and even strangers into our homes. Yea, even strangers. For me this happened in my Weight Watchers meetings. When the Workshops in Maryland closed down, (eh- and NEVER opened again, Grrrr!), an opening in the universe brought me Denise and all my old East Brunswick WW friends on ZOOM! WOW! Gratitude in abundance. It’s Sunday morning at 9am on ZOOM, but o.m.g is it fun. Huh? Weight Loss Can Be FUN? YES! We laugh, we learn, we motivate, we comfort and encourage. We. Are. Friends. My #2 of small things IS that WW community. Still to this day, I have never found a place where I feel as comfortable. There is a green chair in East Brunswick that I miss So So much. But Sundays on ZOOM bring that green chair and the community that surrounds it right. into. my. home. Come friends, you are welcome here. I am really hoping this lasts forever!

Number 3, for today…is family. My daughters who have cuddled closer this year. My husband who remains a solid rock upon which I rely and yet (also) a soft place for me to rest and be safe. Thank you sweethearts….your love and closeness this year has meant everything. My mom and my sister in Florida….boy have they had their fair share (and then some) of tough times. I’m grateful for your resilience and your bravery. You are not alone. Your family , as small as we are, are around you. Rely on us.

So the task for the next while….however long this while may be…is to look inside your life and find the small things. In those small things, I believe, we will find peace, and comfort, and the drive to reach tomorrow…..and its 3 more things.

We’ll find happiness….3 small things at a time.

I’m here, loving that you are there! Thank you….be well friends.

Ciao for now…Diane

A new day with no mistakes

A new day with no mistakes

When my daughter Erin was a little girl of 7 perhaps, we stumbled across a tv show, Anne of Green Gables. Now I had read the book when I was a girl, but soon enough Erin and I had pulled the back sofa cushions off the couch, and we snuggled in under a blanket and fell in love with Anne and Gilbert. Perhaps we became kindred spirits of sorts. Week after week, we laughed and talked and enjoyed being together with these amazing characters. Anne was so relatable….equally for a 7 year old and her middle age mom. We promised one day we’d go to PEI together. It’s still on our bucket list, but I’m convinced it will happen one day.

Anne had a resilience about her that was intoxicating. Every day was a fresh beginning, with no mistakes in it yet. Reflecting back, her mistakes were harmless, joyfully innocent, typically well intended. Anne was the gift to Marilla and Matthew that helped them see the hardship of life through a softer, playful, unbounded perspective.

Mistakes. What of them. Nothing more than an attempt. A try. A stretch with good intentions.

Good thing, tomorrow will come again. And another chance, a new day with a blank canvas upon which we will paint our mistakes. Anne, and my 7 year old Erin, visited my memories today and brought beautiful perspective into the things that challenge me. I’ll try again, and again, and again. We’re blessed with another new day…..use it well friends. I know you will.

Ciao for now….Diane

weight loss is the side effect of being a bad@ss

weight loss is the side effect of being a bad@ss

Sometimes the universe is talking to you….and it takes a little time to hear.

This weekend, i heard this statement, “Weight loss is the side effect of being a bad ass.” I was getting dressed after a nice hot relaxing bath this morning, and it stopped me in my tracks.

This doctor I was listening to on Youtube went on to say….most people who are trying to lose substantial weight ask him, ” I hope once I lose it, I can maintain it”. But what he says in reply is…”Maintaining is the first step to re-gaining”. Whoa.

Yea. Apparently, we need to be vigilant every day. Whew, man….just the thought of that makes me tired. Aren’t you tired? Well, this doctor said, “yea…well…you can be tired if you choose to see living life that way. But instead, he suggests that we shift our mind, and reframe our goals. See life every day as exciting and feeding ourself as one very small part of it. That it’s not hard. We make it hard by how we choose to look at food and weight as work”.

What if weight was just not that important. Huh?

LOL, yea, um – that’s been my life’s work Doc. My weight.

But see, THAT’S exactly what I’ve been doing wrong. Weight…up, or down, or the same….is NOT the point. It’s how I’ve been living my life that matters. My weight is just a side effect of how I’ve been living.

Most significantly overweight people have other factors that have lead to weight gain beyond overindulgance and bad relationships with food. Some of us have confidence issues, and we should work on that. We hide in the back of the photo, or better still — we take the photos to avoid being in them at all. We hide in the back row of our lives. Silence our voices. Bury our feelings. Deny our strengths. Forget our dreams. Fail before we try. Is it any surprise that we doubt our abilities?

The advice to us is to find something, something to throw yourself into that will grow an ability, grow your confidence, potentially open a new door for ourselves….. and become a badass at it. I <3 this!

I think this is what running was for me. Running was such a surprise. How much I loved it. How good it made me feel. And how capable I became at it. Who knew…I could be athletic? When I lost running…I felt like I lost ALL OF THAT. But thank goodness I allowed myself to try something else. None of us are 1-and-done at a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. You can have a fresh start any. and. every. day. of . the. week. Now, kettlebell workouts give me that same feeling.

I. Can. Do. A. Plank .


I Can Swing 53 pounds.

Who Is ThiS Person?

I’m Me. I Am A Badass.

Or at least that’s how it feels every time I do kettlebells.

While in quarantine, the people who run our gym, David and Abby, have been producing daily workouts via Zoom. 2-3 times a day. It’s amazing really. #39MinuteWorkout is an incredible community of badass men and women who work equally hard at becoming strong for themselves as they work at friendship with each other. And the trainers, David, Abby, Drew, Betsy and Wendy care as much about your success as you do. They will believe in you when you feel weak and will call out how AWESOME you are when those burpees rock! It’s unique. I can say this because, if someone like me…someone who lacks confidence in her physical abilities, can join and assimilate with this group of incredibly strong people, without any fear of being the “last kid in gym class to be chosen to a team”….Oh you get me….then, this place is special. #NoDoubt

Peter and I were working out last Monday night on Zoom with our people...and it was hard. Hey – it’s supposed to be hard. Hard means we’re growing. Peter took a step away and took a break to drink some water and he said, ‘Baby, you’re amazing. You push yourself hard, every time”.

Yea. I don’t know where that comes from, but it’s true. I don’t feel competitive. In fact, I sometimes still feel that “I hope no one is watching me” feeling. I am a work-in-progress, but I do push myself. But, you know what, I always push myself. At work, on the job, as a mom, with my kids, at fun, at play. Why should this be any different? Just because being athletic is new-ish to me, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t go at it with the same intensity that I bring to other facets of my life. It’s just been an area that I never allowed myself to think of as mine.

Now I do. And that’s huge.

So, I’ve reframed my journey a bit. I think back to one of my last longer talks with David. He tried to tell me this months ago. He said, “at some point, my mind set had to change. I had to stop looking at weight loss as the goal.” Back then, I couldn’t think my way into what he was saying. Perhaps this time in quarantine at home has given me the time to just do it. I think I get that now. Weight loss is a side effect to being a badass. Whatever that means to each and every one of us. And whatever that means to us over time. How we do it will change, should change. Being a badass is the constant.

Right now for me being a badass means working out with kettlebells on zoom 3-4 times a week and feeling incredibly strong and taking walks in this glorious spring sunshine, and feeding myself food that makes my skin glow.

Weight loss?

I believe it will come.

But my goal? It’s to live this new life of other goals that drive up my confidence and improve how I feel and change the way I see myself. If I string those days together… can I not manufacture happiness?

Be well friends. Rest peacefully when you rest. And be a badass at what you love. Keep walking the journey until you find it.

Ciao for now…Diane