Tuesday, December 30, 2014

As long as love allows

I've decided to close this blog with our beginnings because there's no end to love. Thanks to all the friends and family who have been so kind and compassionate all these months.


Sometime in the spring of '76 he left this on the windshield of my car because he knew I needed a hug but couldn't give me one. 
He kept on tryin'.


By Christmas the same year, we'd made our plans to spend our lives together.



Between these two events, love caught two people by surprise. The Knight rescued the damsel from the ogre's castle. They taught each other the dance of life and lived happily ever after.

12.25.76


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas

Christmas was always a very special day for us beyond the secular and religious holiday. It was the day we declared our love for each other, the day we made it official. Jimmy said "It might be Jesus' birthday, but this is Our day."

This is our first married Christmas at the shack on Baker Street. We spoiled each other with silly things and toys. I have no clue who took this picture.

A robe fit for a king for him and a "practice" little monster for me. Lots of new music for both of us. Posters to color. books. crystals, tools, tarot cards and other magical things. We were each other's child this year.

For dinner,  a surprise. He hung a sheet over the doorway to the kitchen so I wouldn't know what he was up to. Then he hand breaded and fried an entire pound of popcorn shrimp because he couldn't get any large ones.

There were a few that were pretty dark and crispy but I loved every one of them because of all the love and trouble he went to.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Live from NY...another Saturday night.


Another singular talent and voice lost to us. This song was one of Jim's favorites.

We saw John Sebastian perform this song live at the Westchester Dinner theater, another magical, musical evening. His band was stranded in a snowstorm somewhere and he came out and played alone and charmed all of us.

I wonder how many people remember what a big deal Saturday Night Live was back in the day? If we went anywhere on a saturday night, we had to get home in time to see what the hell was going to happen next.  The live show was sometimes a car wreck. I clearly remember watching this episode with Jimmy and declaring that he, Joe Cocker and John Belushi all used the same hairdresser. He agreed.



Jimmy was one of those guys who had many more bad hair days than good ones. Long hair was a lot of work, hence the ever present bandana.

No matter, I always thought it was sexy. It was a bigger shock to me than Jim when he decided enough was enough and cut it some time between Colin and Jake. Long or short, he always let his freak flag fly.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2012

This was our last Thanksgiving together spent at Missy's Dad's house in the north Georgia mountains.

The kids had just announced their engagement and Don and Jim did what fathers of the impending bride and groom do - congratulate each other on the smart choices their kids were making.

We had a wonderful time at a  Southern style picnic Thanksgiving.

Yesterday, Bob Ivey, our host at this years Thanksgiving celebration, made  the remembrance of our lost loved ones part of the blessing and I was deeply moved and grateful.


Monday, November 17, 2014

a year later

It was just like this a year ago, the morning Jimmy left us. November rain and tears.

I've been ducking this post. I could spend hours trying to be eloquent and only come around to the same essence of the thing, how much he has been, and will continue to be missed.

I know that Jimmy admired my strength and independence, but he was always there ready to hand me his bandana and hug me when he knew, often before I did, that I would cry over something and he would not tease me for it. I know he would give me free pass this day.  He was my husband, my friend, my heart and soul, and I will miss him until we begin again.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Service

Jimmy had to get parental permission to enlist because he was not yet 18.  He was very proud of his service in the 82nd Airborne.

Imagine the mindset of a seventeen year old  back then; the Vietnam War was winding down, but still - Jumping out of perfectly good airplanes any chance he got. Ever the thrill seeker!

This was at jump school graduation. We were married just about three years after this picture was taken and I know that if sport parachuting hadn't been so damn expensive he would have been pulling me out of an open plane door except for the fact that my mother lied to him and told him I had a heart condition. I don't. I have the heart of an ox with an odd beat is all. It was her heart that she was worried about. He never told me any of this until many years had passed.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Saving the best for last

Jake & Missy's wedding  Nov. 2, 2013

He was so happy to make it to their wedding and be well enough to enjoy it. From the  first diagnosis making it to this celebration was his goal. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Celebrations

In 2008 we went to New York to celebrate my parent's fiftieth wedding anniversary.

We had a wonderful time. I wish I remembered more beyond the fact that I accidentally turned my hair orange.

Jimmy said "Thank God it's almost Halloween." and the private jokes about the carpet not matching the drapes.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Event horizon

Rehearsal BBQ  11.1.13
While I was driving through the dark this morning to spend the day with my grandson a very fine piece of music came on the radio and ahead, the horizon started showing signs of blue as I drove into the sunrise, still an hour away. Everyone else was heading in the other direction, headlights blazing. I was grateful for my life on a handful of levels all at once
.
I had a birthday the other day. It's the last of the special days, the holidays to pass since we lost Jimmy. A day does not go by that I don't miss him and cry, but then I stop myself and remember how, whenever I thanked him for something – and the opportunities to do so were endless – he would say “My pleasure” and I got to thinking how he honestly took great pleasure in making me happy; doing little things for me, bringing me unexpected treats, little, simple and inexpensive but so full of thought and consideration.
No matter what you believe, or not, about an afterlife, I know that our lost loved ones live on in our hearts and we owe it to their lasting, loving memories to take pleasure in the smallest things that we can still experience. To love life.


As I appreciate that coming dawn, smell the fresh morning air, and hold Charlie cuddled close I know that everything and every moment that I cherish, is a result of the life and love that I spent with Jimmy. A long time ago I wrote that “...after all, his heartbeat is mine too.” My pleasure is still his.


So, those of you who might find yourself alone and in despair, find small ways to be good to yourself and take pleasure in life. Your darlings would have it no other way.






Tuesday, October 14, 2014

just another day

I think everyone pays less and less attention to birthdays as time goes on. We sure tried to.

When you have everything you need and most of  what you  want on a daily basis, it's hard to answer that perennial question, "What do you want for your birthday?" We both invariably said things like "tires!" or "work boots" and then came up with sweet things like tickets to a Braves game or some new music or book.

Last year my gift was getting home to see that Jim had come down from his sitting room and was getting himself some fresh air and sunshine because I had been bugging him to do so. It was all he could muster and it meant the world to me right then. Still does.



He also got me the best greeting cards and made a point of getting both a sincere one and a funny one.

I'm thinking about the funny ones today. I know the jokes about being officially *O*L*D* would be as rich and full of love as the sentimental ones. As long as we have been together,I have been blessed to be his old lady.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Time

I wrote this post back in the spring..somehow it never got posted. Nothing has changed.


They say that in time, in time the hollow space will become smaller.

Yesterday I went out to do a few errands; stuff that could have waited, but I needed to drive with the windows down. There is a convertible in my future, no doubt a used POS but still, a rag top.

I was out for a while, stopped here, there, missed an exit and wandered around for a while, as always, but after a few hours I  began to feel like I had forgotten something, that something was missing.


Then I realized that it was the phone call. No call from Jimmy checking up on me, making sure that I was OK, asking me to pick something up - really it was just an excuse to hear each others voices, these phone calls. 

My friends made fun of me sometimes, but the best friends just accepted that no matter where I went or what I was doing, Jimmy would be along for the ride. I missed him awful yesterday and had to sit a while and  cry  and remind and convince myself that he was with me heart and soul. I am beginning to fully accept crazy as a valid state of mind.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hooked On A Feeling


 I heard the soundtrack for this before I saw the movie and Colin was right - Jimmy had a direct hand in picking the music!

The first house we lived in was on Baker Street in Mohegan Lake, NY. A very seedy little converted summer cottage on a street with more of the same. We didn't have much, but we had some bitchin' big speakers and rocked them day and night.


Every payday, Jim would go to the record store and bring home four or five unlikely items from the dollar bin. I clearly remember him flicking the shrink wrap off  of "Blue Swede" and putting it on the turn table.

When the "Ooga-chaka-ooga-chaka" came booming out of the speakers we cranked it up high and bounced around the living room until the record skipped and the neighbor across the street started screaming that she was going to call the police. As there was no contraband nor rebels in the crawlspace that week,  we opened the windows and played it again only louder.

He also bought an album called "The Big Whakoo" including "Love is the Sweetest Amnesty", an acapella ballad so beautiful I wanted it for a wedding song, but we didn't have that kind of wedding.  That same day also brought us Ian Matthew's "Tigers Will Survive". These  last two were favorites for both of us all these years.  It was a very good Friday in the dollar bin and we only got a friendly warning.

And now the "Awesome Mix" from the Guardians of the Galaxy is just making my heart smile, all of that music taking me back in time.

Love is the sweetest amnesty
Floats like a cloud between the sky and sea
I'll give it to you
Could you please give it to me
Now we can talk,now we can see
If we disagree we  do it honestly
Let our lovin' be the sweetest amnesty
Love is the sweetest amnesty
Given by the power that let us be
I'll give it to you
Could you please give it to me, 'cause I need you
Now we can talk, now we can see
If we disagree, we can do it honestly
Let our lovin' be the sweetest amnesty
Between you and me
There's bound to be love and rejection
Our spirits dressed in mystery
Speak solely through affection
Love is the sweetest amnesty
Floats like a cloud between the sky and sea
I'll give it to you
Could you please give it to me
We can talk, we can see
If we disagree, we can do it honestly
Let our lovin' be the sweetest amnesty
Let our lovin' be the sweetest amnesty
The sweetest amnesty
The sweetest amnesty

Thursday, September 11, 2014

WTC



 I wonder how many New Yorkers have had to let all their fond memories of the Twin Towers fade away in the face of the devastation and sorrow of  9-11?

What a small thing our personal memories are. And yet, they remain. I am sure  there were a lot of romantic dinners, proposals, maybe even wedding receptions held at Windows on the World   over the years.  It  had just opened when our romance began.

Jimmy had a worker's compensation hearing at the WTC and we spent the day together in the city. A native New Yorker,  tall buildings were  no novelty to him. Even these,  but this country girl was impressed.

We were standing at a bank of of windows looking out into the hazy summer view when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the other tower was coming in and then out of my line of sight. It took a moment to register that I was seeing that both towers actually moved a good bit from side to side with the winds.

When I figured out what I was seeing I almost jumped out of my skin and was queasy. Jimmy laughed and pulled me away from the windows and said
"Just breathe."  We had already been on two dates where he learned about my propensity for throwing up- the Teacup ride at Playland and again at a carnival when the operator reversed the Ferris wheel. He was so sweet about it.

He was right. I splashed water on my face from a drinking fountain, felt better and we headed for the elevators, but he had another idea. He pulled me into one of the local service elevators and hit the stop button. We never even thought about whether there were cameras in the elevators - these were innocent times and we were in love.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

the Work

I  got a spiritual kick in the pants from my darling this morning.

"It's all about the work."

I was scurrying around doing the last minute things to make ready for a gallery hanging. Three fiber art pieces that I finished over a year ago are getting strung up as I write this.

That out of the way,  I thought I deserved clean sheets and flipped the mattress and down behind the bed, found another stack of anniversary and birthday cards from Jim, some with notes inside. All of Hallmark's best efforts were rarely enough for Jimmy.

So, I get it babe. As much as he was all about his work, there was balance. Time for family and fun, too.

I'm thinking he wants me to push myself to find the time to do it all and not let go of making visual art. At the very least, I'm going to make a greater effort to see that pieces already done get out of storage and onto some walls somewhere.
And I'll  keep pushing on with the book, even as I step up to being Nana for Charlie. I can hold a baby in one arm and a pen in the other.

Stranger Angels are coming into our life at every turn and I know who is sending them our way.

Thank you darling.

I could almost quote him "It ain't about who or what you are. It's about what you make or do for others that matters."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

pool season


Pool season is almost over here. I swim almost every day and know that my pleasure is his.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

generations

Those beautiful brown eyes hold true. (Since I first posted this, Charlies eyes have begun to drift toward blue but the jury is still out. He has also starting to reveal his grampa's fabulous dimples.)
Charlie
Jake

Jimmy

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

each new thing

I'm going to be babysitting our grandson today for the first time. I hope I will always have the amazing patience that Jimmy always had for both boys. I used to watch him with them and always had the feeling that time was standing still, with love.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Charlie


So, a few weeks shy of nine months since Jimmy left us, Charlie James has joined the party.





I know Jim is loving this.




Sunday, August 3, 2014

fathers and sons

Jimmy and Jake 6.2.85





This little baby is now holding a son of his own.

Charlie James Lacativa was born 8.1.14.

I know that Jimmy is so proud of Jake. I certainly am.



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Life


Jake is going to have some big boots to step into sooner than we'd hoped. Missy has developed high blood pressure and her doctor has her contemplating life from a hospital bed for another week or so.

Mother, Father and child are all doing well under the circumstances.

We..bring bananas, puzzles and wait.



I struggle with my emotions knowing how tender Jimmy would have been with his grandson.

He was such a softy with the babies.

I will have to love this baby enough for the both of us.







Sunday, July 6, 2014

hug






His face says it all to me.

"This is where I want to be forever."















His favorite

Monday, June 30, 2014

Colin


We had been married for three years when we agreed that there was more than enough love to go around. The kid could sleep in a laundry basket and not complain and really, how much could they possibly eat?

It amazes me to realize that thirty-four years have passed since I took the first photo. Jim was completely enthralled with Colin and his own elevation to King of our world. He would tell anyone who asked that he cried when he saw his son come into the world; that it was the most amazing experience of his life..this from a man who jumped out of airplanes in the Army.



Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day

  When we first married, I had no doubt that Jimmy would be a good father someday; he was the first boy and a middle child of six kids. There's a supervisory position if I ever saw one.

This was a good thing because I had my doubts about my mothering capabilities. I never planned on having children, much less marrying, so how fortunate was I to marry a guy who was so at ease with the most important job in the world.

We had Jim's memorial party here yesterday and what I heard most from friends and family was what fine young men we raised, but I have to make sure everyone who didn't know us as a family, knows what huge role Jimmy played in our son's lives.

 I have so many pictures of him doing the typical Daddy things, but what really mattered was how they saw him be and act and do things in the world when I wasn't there with a camera.

Jimmy made it possible for me to stay home and be a full time Mom for seven years and yet I could count on him to take over parenting if I needed a minute, even as he walked through the door, tired after a day's work. 

And when I did go back to work full time when Jake was only two, he had full charge and responsibility for the boys while I worked the second shift. We would high five and hug in the driveway and I would hand off the conn to him. They never had sitters because they had their Dad and I never had a moment's worry about them. He loved them with all of his heart and I know this weekend has been very bittersweet for them. For all of us. 


Thursday, June 12, 2014

another milestone



Happy birthday my darling. 





We're having Jim's memorial party here at the house in a few days.







Thursday, June 5, 2014

wedding, day 2

For those of you who weren't there, when the judge arrived at our house (twenty minutes late) he took us aside and let us know that once he finally found our address he realized that he  was out of his jurisdiction. He performed the ceremony anyway, but told us we would have to be at his court the next morning at 8:00 to make everything legal.

So, after a day long wedding and entertaining stragglers until the wee hours, here we are, wrinkled clothes, dead flowers and all. I insisted on the bridal gear, but the judge turned up in a baseball uniform! He was on his way to a game and stampeded through the reading of the ceremony in record time,  pausing to ask Jimmy if he had changed his mind since the last time they spoke.  "No? Good. I now pronounce you legally man and wife. "

And of course you wanted honeymoon pictures. There weren't many, but this one captures the feeling.


After driving six hours with our dog Shag in the back seat we arrived at a borrowed hunting lodge in the middle of nowhere New York to three days of mostly pouring rain. 

We got an urgent call from Jim's boss - (he was needed back due to a death in the boss's family) and we broke camp and returned home.

The honeymoon reconvened the following weekend with a day at the Bronx Zoo and the Botanical Gardens and another at Great Adventures Park in NJ. Epic.

It didn't really matter where we were or what we were doing as long as we were together.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 4, 1977

We got all tarted up,  invited a bunch of family and friends and a judge over to our house.  Traded rings, said the words and partied long into the night.