Tag Archives: family

Family Reunion across the Rainbow Bridge 

13 Feb


I recently wrote a post about my 14 year old girlie Zelda and how I felt some sadness of the passing of the years.


My Uncle Bill commented, “They have to move on to make room for others!”  I replied, “that’s why God gave us big hearts!”

Apricot Sara

I’ve frequently heard people say “I had a dog (or cat) once but I loved them so much that when I lost them I decided then I would never get another one because it was too painful.   My response has always been “I guess so, but if you lose friend or family member does that mean you never make another friend or love a family member?” Some odd responses to that question!



Each time I’ve said goodbye to a beloved, human and furry, I’ve kept their memory and lessons learned from each.  Lord knows, I still miss Digger, Cherry Merry, Agnes, Iago, Jeremiah, Kaya, Apricot Sara, Nisha and Maeve (my furry family) and of course my cousin Kevin, Grandma and Grandpa, my Dad, Aunt Pat and all of the rest of my Aunts and Uncles and friends too that have passed to a place beyond my frail human comprehension!  Sometimes I think of them all at some celestial Family Reunion with soft grass, soft warm breezes and of course fabulous food.  Love surrounds everyone with their/our dogs, cats, sheep and pony frolicking about, all part of that love!




Loving, departing, scary stuff and renewing the pledge of love!

24 Aug

It’s been quite a year up here on the mountain.  We fell in love with and bought a log cabin on 13 acres and fell in love even more with the cabin and land.  We’ve now had almost a year up here and how could we not!

And that was just fall!  As we settled in to our first winter we realize there wasn’t enough wood.  We needed to hire someone to plow and a scary new health issue reared it’s ugly head, meaning shoveling the many paths needed over and over again was challenging.  

Ya, I had to pull out my lined farmer overalls and hand knit hat and then go rest between shovelings.  It was hard on the dogs, on the chickens and us!

But Spring , early Summer, new chicks and new life arrived up here on the mountain.  So did better health, wonderful young farm hands, a new garden and a new appreciation of the slow but steady way of approaching physical labor!  We got new spring chickens this year…and well I’m not one of them!

We’ve lost a few more of our elders this year…it’s been hard as our family is so closely bonded and beloved to each other!  I know we’ve missed all of them in our own ways…I can still hear all of their voices in my head.  And now we become the elders of our nieces, nephews, grandchildren and the parents they remember.  It truely is the cycle of time and family.  I’m not sure any of you will ever know my memories and love of you all.

And then our animal companions.  Not that everyone understands this but in some cases almost as important as our ” human” family.  Chichi, Digger, Iyago, Tilly, Cherry Merry, Agnus, Sherlock, Shirly, Bernie and Charlene, Lance and Jeremiah.  Yup, I’m pretty sure these are names my siblings and cousins would remember.

Loss is coming to our home as time marches on.  Nisha the Tuxeto kitty is gone now, Maeve kitty is 17 and hanging on best she can, Zelda is almost 14, losing a bit of speed, face color and hearing, Tanner will be 11 this fall and Frankie our “baby” just turned 8!  The joy and sorrow of loving our companions…I can’t stop loving them even as I know the sorrow to come.  

I will not stop opening my heart to family and friends as I will not stop loving the animals that become part of my heart…my heart is big enough for you all!

Beginnings and Continuity

3 Nov

The sun has set up here on Housewarming Weekend.


And what an amazing weekend it’s been for our household and CoyoteCrow Farm! The dogs haven’t moved in an hour or more, Maeve kitty is blissed out on catnip and the Chickens are safely tucked and locked up in their coop. My wife Elizabeth and I are enjoying some wine, soft background music and relaxing into the warmth of the wood stove and love of friends and family.

Friday night brought 2 past and dear friends up the mountain in renewed connection for our House Blessing. It was a simple but straight from the heart affair…a perfect way to begin enfolding who we were into who we are and who we are becoming. Thank you so much Kacy and De’Anna!

Saturday brought waves upon waves of old and new friends and family. At one point it was standing room only with a plea to step away from the front door so yummies from the grill could be brought in! The bounty of food and gifts was almost overwhelming. By the end of the evening we were begging people to take home food not wanting to waste the bounty…after all there are only 2 humans in this household and my Irish Catholic background forbids waste of that kind. Everyone wanting to share in the joy and amazement of where we find ourselves.

One of the most fascinating aspects of all the gatherings I’ve been a part of since I was a child and especially as an adult are the connections that are made between the various parts of my life. I love, love, love that some of the oldest friends I have here in the Berkshires have connected with someone I work with now and also with one of my wife’s knitting group members.

Our Chimney sweep and his partner (yes they were here) we met as a result of a friend’s party years ago who is still a beloved member of the group of women who were here Friday night. And so it continued all weekend long. The weavings of past and present kept popping up.

I gotta say one of my favorite moments was when my rehab buddy’s all high fived over the fact that the bathroom is handicapped accessible and OT approved! We can’t help ourselves…occupational hazard to notice these things away from work!

The blessings of the weekend continued on Sunday with the sleeping over of a rehab friend from the North Shore who lived with us as family during her traveling time last summer…the dogs totally remembered her! Shortly after she treated us to breakfast at the general store, my cousins from NH arrived with simple but thoughtful gifts for everyone including treats for the chickens…honestly who remembers the chickens during a move…I certainly didn’t! It’s also why Maeve kitty is blissed out on catnip.

A particular joy this weekend was seeing the kids and grandkids of the cousins and co-workers of Elizabeth and I play catch, run the dogs and check out the chickens over the wide open spaces of our place. As I remarked to my cousin Kathleen, it reminded me of our youth romping over our Grandparents home acreage.

From friends we met at workshops at ColdAntlerFarm traveling from out side Albany, NY, to my sister and her husband from central Ma, my In-Laws from eastern Ma, my cousins from NH and friends and co-workers from all over Berkshire county and beyond, Elizabeth and I so appreciate you being here this weekend. You all helped us celebrate our new beginning and also celebrate the continuity of community we are still a part of!

The cold winds have been howling all day…thanks Chloe for howling with me and the wind! The clocks have been turned back and the darkest, coldest time of the year is upon us.

We will not fear the coming winter months as we have learned to embrace the wheel of the year. This is the time to know the skeleton of the trees and the bones of the land when introspection and uncluttered vision is upon us. We will be sustained with the fuel and food and friendships we have cultivated in the less lean times. We will shelter in place out of the wind and cold in this log cabin in the woods and up the mountain with the warmth of a wood fire and the memory of love and good will. Thank you to all our friends and family for helping keep us warm and loved. We love you back!

Happy Declaration of Independence to the World!

4 Jul


When we were kids, my siblings, cousins and I, the 4th of July meant the yearly pilgrimage to Beverly Farms up on the North Shore above Boston to the McMichael cousins house.

We’d arrive before noon to check out the races and games down on West Beach. We too were racers… racing in and out of the cold Atlantic surf, wandering up and down the beach, under the pier to check out the barnacles,

and gather like a chatty flock of sea gulls on the warm sand.

We would all eventually make it back for the early afternoon cookout with enormous amounts of food as every family then as now brought along enough for an army of Irish and otherwise to eat up.

The rest of the afternoon was whiled away with games like badminton, crochet, whiffle ball, hide and seek and of course many of us brought our baseball gloves to play catch with anyone and everyone… we were a baseball family, especially in the summer. We were just waiting for dusk.

There would be chains of us cousins holding hands, winding our way through the crowds to claim our little piece of sand to watch the serious fireworks about to happen as soon as it was full dark.

The harbor was filled with small boats. (a small harbor compared to what I remember) Their running lights were on and fingers ready on their horns.

The fireworks were shot off that long pier in the harbor and as many firework displays I’ve seen over the years, there have been none better.

And Fireworks music it was! You could hear the ooohs and aaaahs from the crowd on the beach but especially the horns and lights of the boats in harbor.

Spending July 4th with my family as a child is one of the reasons I bought our house in Pittsfield in Berkshire County, way Western Mass, because I could see the fireworks from Wahconha Park from the house. We live just above one of the oldest minor league baseball parks in the country…1914 or so.

I really am 11 inside and fireworks in some way honor that part of me that is 11. So does my favorite movie “THE WIZARD OF OZ” but that’s another story completely.

Something that has been part of my “bucket list” for a very long time is flying above the USA on the 4th of July. I mean how cool would that be… to see our country’s celebration from high above.  Two summers ago, I got my wish. Elizabeth and I left Logan Airport in Boston at 9 PM on July 3rd flying to Finland with a stopover in Iceland.

We hadn’t left the runway yet when the displays started all around us. The plane took off for Iceland and we followed the fireworks all the way up the coast thru Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

The fireworks got smaller and smaller as we headed up higher but still discernible. It was one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen… I still get goosebumps and Elizabeth is still convinced it happened that way ’cause I’m Irish! For whatever reason, it’s a sight I will never forget as long as I live!

Happy Birthday, America… Happy Birthday to our Declaration of Independence and a new way of looking at things…


Happy Sigh!

13 May

Long week, long drive home. But I’m back home with my peeps…my wife and friends, my dog, cat and chicken peeps. I can feel my psyche, nerves, and body softening and relaxing already.

All 5 dogs and cats are in the same room hanging out resting through the night with us. Makes me happy. No chickens however… even I draw the line somewhere. Besides, I’m canine natured not avian like my wife.

I will visit and respond more tomorrow. Hei, hei and kiitos for dropping by to all my Finnish family and friends.




Thank You

10 May

This a post to say thank you so much for those of you who wander by to read, to like and to follow my blog. I do indeed stop by to read and check out most of my fellow bloggers.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult at this time to actually make comments on your individual blogs. You all don’t know how much I wish I could find a way to balance better right now.

The 2 hour plus of commuting certainly shortens my day as does the incredible demands of healthcare paperwork. What I don’t regret in anyway is the time I get to spend with my patients.

To know I can make such a difference in individual lives with my knowledge and experience, my tough love approach to physical therapy and my heartfelt compassion means the sacrifices I make right now are worth it.

It’s worth it because of comments like these from patients from my 3 weeks at a facility on the North Shore… ” if I was 40 years younger, I’d fight your wife to marry you”.

She’s over 90, can barely see or hear, sharp as a tack and sometimes called me he and sometimes she… mmm makes me wonder… as a husband or wife! It’s the short hair.

We in the Rehab department almost killed ourselves laughing over that one. Although we all admitted how sweet the comment was. I hope she made it home!

Another patient asked to dress herself in clothes not a johnny and walked almost twice what she had done before. She told me in the elevator back to her room it had been hard but she’d wanted to do it for me on my last day. I hope she made it home too.

And because of patients where I am now on the South Shore who ask if I can be their therapist tomorrow… even though they acknowledge I’m the weirdest and toughest therapist they’ve ever had.

That’s why it is worth less time for sleep and comments at this time. Not forever this traveling PTA gig but I can do it for the next 11 weeks for my family and the patients who depend on me for right now.

Thanks to my family, friends and readers for hanging with me on this part of my journey. I have had many blessings in my life… may it ripple outward to all!

2 much needed days off.

8 May

After working 6 days my first week at my newest assignment I took a few well deserved days off. Two days spent with family and my boy Frankie have rejuvenated me enough to make it to the weekend. I will head home to the Berkshires, my wife and dogs, cats and chickens.

Yesterday I had a lovely day hanging out in the sunshine. My father-in-law D showed me and Frankie all sorts of places out this way to go hiking and kayaking.

Today I realized I was close enough to visit an aunt and uncle in the town I grew up in. And there were nice conversations with my brother and sister. All in all a nice 2 days!

Here’s a great little video from my wife’s blog of our 2 big dogs (Frankie is only 14 lbs), the new almost finished chicken coop and our rapidly growing 8 chicks.

Reaching for Nonsense

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All will be well!

25 Apr

I find myself very grateful tonight for so many good things and people in my life. Even though I am leaving an almost perfect situation for my first traveling PTA job it has given me confidence to move onto the next one.

A big thank you to the staff especially the Rehab Team for making it easy to fit in so quickly. I feel like I’ve made some real connections there and there’s already been talk of road trips down to my new placement on the South Shore and out to the Berkshire’s this summer.

Being able to spend this time with M&D my in-laws has been a real gift for both Frankie and myself. They have offered to keep Frankie here for the next week til I get situated in my new digs and job. They have been so generous with their home and time. Frankie and I are going to miss them greatly when we move.

I am thankful too for my company recruiter (A.L.) and company for reacting so quickly to the changing situation and getting me a new job and place to live so as to make the transition as smooth as possible. In fact my wife wants to send A.L. flowers for taking such good care of me!

As always I appreciate the love and support of my family and friends. They mean the world to me. And of course, my wife Elizabeth is always foremost in my love and thoughts. Thanks, Babe for holding our center, our home together while the world spins madly about us. All will be well!

Oh, and I’m really thankful we have our small third of an acre CoyoteCrow Farm that will in a few months produce with some hard work our very own home grown fruits and vegetables. Not to mention in 5 or 6 months some backyard grazing chickens laying more than enough eggs to eat and sell.

You Go Girls!!!

Be like water and fit whatever shape surrounds you. A Zen way of looking at change.

25 Apr

Ok, this my third try at a post tonight. Somehow I’ve lost the first two. I’ll try to resurrect them again soon but not this tired night.

Suffice to say there are some unexpected changes coming in the next week. I’m moving on to a new assignment on Monday. I will finish this one to the last bit of paperwork and goodbyes and start the new one to the very best of myself. It’s the influence of the nuns that still sit on my shoulders. Just ask my wife about the nun influence!

While I am a little anxious about this newness of place and employment, I know it will all work out as it should. I believe in my Irish luck, my McCarty charm, and the faith of my wife, family and friends. I also believe each of us has an ultimate purpose in this life time. Be like water even in the most changeable of times. Water always finds its own level and shape but does not change its ultimate nature.


Ticked Off

18 Apr

Shaggy Frankie went to the groomer today. Although I like the scruffy look that he often sports, it becomes more to difficult to manage when the warm weather arrives. We call him Mr Swiffer at times… For good reason!

His hair–especially his beard picks up all kinds of stuff: leaves, feathers, burdocks, paper wrappers and clumps of dog fur. But worst of all ticks can hide out for days in his hair. And it’s really hard to remove them when his hair is long.

This is going to be a very bad year for fleas and ticks. The winter was so mild it didn’t kill them off. It’s already been bad. I’ve pulled almost a dozen ticks off our little dude in a week an a half.

So a haircut was in order. I have no way to upload a picture of his newest do until I get to my home computer this weekend. But until then here’s an earlier haircut picture.

The groomer out here in Lexington did a nice job from a picture on my phone. He’s looking pretty darn good. I’ve even caught him smiling a few times tonight.

Hump day is here and it’s a downhill slope to getting home this weekend to see Elizabeth, Zelda, Tanner, Maeve, Nisha and the chickens. In other words, my family. Home Sweet Home!