Thursday, September 27, 2007


The day Toby died, I ended up throwing my back out. No, I wasn't doing any heavy lifting.. unless you count lifting my fat ass off the sofa. I stood up, then fell right to the floor. THUMP! I laid there not being able to move, thinking to myself, "This is great, I have work later today, and observations (field experience) starts this week.". Neither of which gives me much wiggle room for rescheduling.. if any.

This morning I was in the bathroom getting ready for a shower when it happened again.. I locked right up and fell to the floor. I was in so much pain I didn't think I would be able to make it to my first observation session at my liaison school.... which would have been a HUGE issue. I managed to shower and get changed, though the car ride was uncomfortable. I almost got into a car accident on the way to the school I am working at when my back locked up, causing shooting pains to travel down to my legs.. I couldn't operate the pedals, and could barely turn the steering wheel. Thanks God I was able to pull over into a hazard lane, and drift for a while until I could regain complete control of the car. Getting OUT of the car was a nightmare. I spent most of my morning observation sessions standing, and I did not go into my 6 hour evening class at UB.

I went to the chiropractor, and he wasn't too thrilled with how I was able to react to the tests he gave. Basically, my lumbar region is shot for the time being, and I need to wear a brace. I went for x-rays, and have to go back for a follow up appointment on Saturday. I just hope I am still able to function and continue with my field work, as well as other classes. It could be worse.

Life without Toby around is very odd. I instinctively look for him when I come home, and really feel the absence of his greeting. When I go to leave, I can almost catch his silhouette at the top of the stairs where he would normally be laying out the corner of my eye. Sometimes I think I can hear him walking around upstairs for a brief moment.. and then it dawns on me he's gone. For the first time in a few years I slept with my door closed. I would close it at night (to keep family out), then remember to open before bed just in case Toby had to go outside.. he knew to come downstairs to wake me when he had to go out. Funny thing was, I would wake up out of a sound sleep before he even made it down to my floor.. we had a connection. There was no longer the need to keep my door open for him... at that moment I felt so alone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In Memoriam

Toby passed away tonight at around 10pm. He was 13 years old.

He was more than just a dog, he was a friend, companion, and family member. He was there for me during the most difficult times of my life... always there with love and affection, only asking for the same in return. My friend Jimmy once said it best when he told me "Pets are here to teach man unconditional love, only we haven't learned yet."

I can't type any more than this right now.. all I can do is whimper and mourn the loss of one of my best friends.. my little buddy.. my little "bean".


Toby's condition has worsened over the past few days. He can barely walk now, and can only stand for a few moments before collapsing. Everyone can see he is in a lot of pain.. except my mother who makes a million excuses as to what is wrong, and won't face reality.

He has no choice (at this point at least) but to stay in my section of the house, on the ground floor, so he doesn't have to make the steps. My idiotic mother has already tried to have him climb the 12 steps to get him upstairs so he can "be with everyone", despite my father and my protests that it would be too painful for him to make the steps, not to mention having to go back down them when he has to go outside. Mom infuriates me because she blames us for looking for excuses to put him down, and won't face the truth. She keeps thinking he will get better, but he won't. She keeps thinking he's not in that much pain, but he is. She wants him to die on his own, but I think that would be so cruel to make him wait that long. He doesn't eat with the exception of the occasional biscuit or table scrap. He's hurting, and that's a sure sign.

Mom finally admitted that he will have to be put down, though she's prolonging making the appointment, at least for today, using Kristy's leaving as an excuse since it's "too much" for her to deal with in one day. So, Friday or Saturday looks like it will be when it happens. I'm hoping for Friday so I can call off work that evening, Saturday I would have to work a 12-9, and that would be horrendous to have to do.

I know it's the best for him, and I know if it was happening to me, it is what I would want, but still it bothers me so much. Just watching him, I wish we didn't have to wait until Friday or Saturday to do it, I know he's suffering so much. But still, he's been my best friend for 13 years. Even though I've been the biggest supporter of this decision, I know I will shed some of the biggest tears as well.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Little Sister

My "little" sister left us today to start boot camp. Well.. she leaves tomorrow, but stays at a hotel with the rest of the new recruits. I already miss her. Of my three siblings, I am closest with her. She won't be back till Christmas, then leaves again for nine weeks or so.

Joe or Scott leaving and I wouldn't have even blinked an eye, but I almost cried when Kristy came to see me at work to say good bye.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Today has been a very overwhelming day for me, and I just need to vent here.

I had my group meeting with my guiding teacher for the field experience section, and met the other people going to my school (which they changed from the original location). I have a lot of friends in the group already, so that is helping some what.

The sheer amount of work that has to be done is getting to me. My calendar is so full, and continues to have deadlines and due dates added on a continual basis. I'm drowning in paper work, research, reports, reading, and studying.. not to mention the shit I have to get done for the State (not the University)... and then having to work on top of it.

I had to give a short presentation today in my evening class. I was so exhausted from my morning session and the massive information overload that I was just mentally wiped. When it came time to do the presentation, I bombed. For the first time ever, I was actually trembling as I was speaking. I kept stuttering (more than normal), forgot some basic terms to use, and could not convey my thoughts in a fluid and cohesive fashion. It was only a pass or re-do presentation, but I felt humiliated. I usually never have a problem in front of a group of people. My legs might shake a bit... but I never tremble like I did today.

At home, the whole upstairs is being ripped apart because of remodeling. No sink to do dishes in, no stove. We are living with a micro waves, and disposable dinnerware. It severely limits what we can eat. I never thought I would long for my mom's "cooking", and I find myself living off of peanut butter sandwiches.

The house being torn apart, and everything scattered just adds to the my OCD and need for visual calm... too much clutter freaks me out.

It would be so great to have someone to come home to... someone more than a friend to cuddle up with or just get held for a moment while I exhale and try to relax before moving onto the next task. It has become very clear to me from recent events that no such relationships will be formed any time soon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Yea, well...

I know I haven't updated this in a LONG time, but I've been bogged down with homework. Keeping up with this grad school/certification program is CRAZY work. Like one of my friends from class said, "If someone else tells me it's easy to become a teacher, or 'Those who can't, teach'.. I'm going to jail for murder!"

Anyway.. I'm alive and "well". I will update when I get the chance.. nothing really exciting, so you haven't missed much. LOL

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Fahrenheit 9/11

I caught the tail end of an airing of the documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" on CBC tonight. This "documentary" has come under a lot of criticism, especially when it was first released. I have not seen the entire program, and am not qualified or prepared to make a opinion on the contents, but what I did see made me think.

At the end of this program, the reporter (for lack of better term) approached congress men along with a uniformed member of the United States Marine Corps. He was trying to get them to enlist at least one of their children into a branch of the military to help with the efforts in Iraq. None of them seemed very enthused with the idea. According to the report, only one member of congress (at the time) had a child who was in the military. This made me think about a discussion that people often have when discussing war, a topic we ponder frequently in history classes: "Why don't the people who start wars fight in them?". If leaders of countries had to be the ones to do the fighting, how quick would they be to "take off the gloves"?

Again, I'm not advocating this film, just sharing a thought I had. As my sister prepares to enter into the Army reserves, and begins boot camp the end of this month, the topic of a "just war" and the question of "What are they dying for?" enters into my mind.

God bless these young men and women who step up to the plate and give all they have.. sometimes the ultimate sacrifice, for the sake of our country. Regardless of what we think of the current president or this "war", we should never for a moment waiver in our support for OUR men and women serving.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

In Memoriam

Today marks the one year anniversary of the death of my maternal Grandfather, Vincent Michael (Whom I am named after). It's amazing how quickly time passes. In the year since his death, his home has since passed to my brother and sister in law who were married last October. My Grandparents former home which void of warmth and happiness after my Grandmother's death in May of 2005 has since been given new life and meaning.

I miss him quite a bit, and think of him often. In fact, the other day I was at Tops to do some grocery shopping. I was driving his old van (which is now my mother's) because my car was in the shop. I decided to buy a scratch off lottery ticket, and instead of scratching off the ticket with my car key as I normally do, I decided to use the key to Gramps' van instead. He used to like to play the lotto, and would always ask if I bought a ticket when the jackpot climbed into the really high amounts. Surprisingly, this time, I won $40!! For someone who rarely wins at the lotto, I was thrilled to have some money, and have done so while pondering the memory of my Gramps.

Below I have posted the eulogy I gave at Grandpa's funeral, though with last names omitted for privacy reasons. While a year has passed, the memory of this great man will forever remain in my heart, and in the hearts of all who knew him.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. And Let perpetual light shine upon him. May he, and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

My Grandfather, Vincent D., will always be remembered in my mind as a shining example of what real men are made of. He could fix anything that needed fixing, he had great physical strength, but he lived his life as one of the most truly humble and modest of men... sacrificing everything he had to see his family happy. He proved a man is not a man because of what he can build, or how strong he might be, but how much he can LOVE.

He graduated from Duryea High School in 1946, and was a star football player on his school’s team. After graduating from high school, he served two years in the United States Marine Corps, and in 1947 was stationed in China to help aid in its reconstruction after World War II.

He became engaged to Helen T., and since he refused to seek employment in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, he came to Buffalo New York to answer an add that was posted in the local Scranton News Paper announcing positions at the Chevrolet plant. He moved to Buffalo in the early part of 1953, and after securing a job with Chevrolet, he returned to Pennsylvania where he and Helen were married on August 1st of that same year.

He was blessed with three children, and later five grandchildren. He was an exceptional husband, father, grandfather, and provider. He worked hard, sacrificed, and did without so his family might have. Grandma and Grandpa wanted to see their family happy while they were alive, and that was their joy in life. We have all benefited by Grandpa’s love and generosity, and none of his children or grand children would have half of what we do, or be where we are today if it wasn’t for his and grandma’s sacrifices. I could see on his face that he was happiest in giving, and doing for his family.

His marriage to my Grandmother will always remain to me a shining example of what marriage is all about. They had their share of fights and disagreements, but they had a love and connection that is so seldomly seen in modern times. So often I would sit and talk with Grandma, and she would regularly say that she had the best husband in the world. They were each other’s best friend, confidant, and life long companions. They scrimped and saved to raise their family, and secure a stable financial future. It was an equal partnership where they both did the best they could to keep the home running. There was no such concept of “men’s work” or “woman’s work”. Grandpa had no problem doing house cleaning, and later helping with the cooking. Their vows of “for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health” meant something to them, and when things got tough, they got closer. They became for the other a source of refuge and strength.

While he had a tendency to be a quiet and reserved man at times, with his immediate family he could be goofy, funny and outgoing. He loved to tell nonsense stories like “Once upon a time there were three robins sitting on a fence, and they all flew away”. End of story. He would always be whistling or singing as he puttered around the house. Grandma used to call him her Bing Crosby. He especially loved to sing Christmas carols, and would sing them all year. It could be the hottest day of summer, and he would be singing of white christmases, and sleigh rides. His exception was during the actual Christmas season itself when he could be heard on occasion singing “Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail”.

He had a simple, yet powerful faith in God and His Church. He was no theologian, but no one was going to ever argue with him against what he believed in. His was the faith of a child. I remember fondly going to Mass regularly with my Grandfather when I was young, and even standing in the confessional line together. During his last days, I was touched by his strength of faith, and knowing there was something much greater than the physical limits of this world. He would often say to me as he looked up with tears in his eyes, “Pray for me Mikey, pray for me!”

I could give example upon example of his generosity, his kindness, his sense of humor, and the gentle giant of a man that he was, but he wouldn’t have wanted it that way. What he did for others, and how he lived his life wasn’t for the purpose of self glorification, but out of love. This eulogy is but a time line of events, and a list of simple facts and personality traits. The real tribute to the man who was Vincent D. resides in the hearts of those whom his life touched. When we think back on all the wonderful times we shared with him, and all the love we felt from him, and all he taught us, that feeling of love in our hearts and minds will be the most fitting testimony to the man he was.