Wednesday, April 30, 2014


What a good thing to keep in mind...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Feeding Time

In a multi kitty home (let alone one of multi-ages and special needs), nothing can be as tough as feeding time. So, we use carriers and crates for some of our kitties.

First, it was Kreacher for his extra protein diet and slow eating tendencies. Then, Candice was getting crated too since she's so bi-polar. Then, we started with Oscar because she was getting medication and usually walks away when another cat approaches her dish. The most recent kitty has been Lil Dani who seems to get over-stimulated at feeding time and goes after some of the kitties... and this has been no easy task because he'll leap, jump, run, hide and, if caught, will wiggle, push away from and (though mostly accidental) scratch to get away from being put in the crate.

Well, last night, he jumped in the crate on his own!! I was beyond excited that he caught on to this so quickly (we've only been crating him for like a week) ... and relieved there would be no chasing or scratching for the night :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

"I've realized that my most valuable friends are the ones who stand for my soul, even when that means saying something my ego doesn't want to hear." - Dr. Lissa Rankin

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Today I am grateful for the people that step up for the merry misfits (Joa's Arc).

In order to save the special ones, Joa's Arc needs to have at least: an agreed upon commitment, a foster and/or the funds to do so. We don't always have all three, but love when people step up by offering to foster in our time of need... even when it leads to us committing only to find out the pet is already safe.

There's no shortage of pets in need though, so don't stop volunteering, friends :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

patio in memory

Work started on the farm this weekend for my dad's memorial garden - before we can plant/garden, we had to tear up and start on the beautiful patio dad's friend, Pat, planned out. It's going to be amazing ... and there were some wonderful people that showed up to help out...

Donnie & Matt 

Matt, Pat and mom figuring out what rocks around the property we could incorporate

Donnie, Kris and Matt moving pavers over to use

ladies supervising: me, Ali and mom

A group shot of some of my favorite people

Last photo I took before Matt & I headed out on Sunday afternoon

Matt and I could only stay a bit both days between my work schedule, Matt's back (old car accident injury) and our dogs' bladders, but I loved being with everyone and seeing the work get done. I loved that after a long work week for most of those people and with it being such a nice weekend to do just about anything, that they turned out to work on this project. It was also nice to hear Pat bring up how the first design he and my dad every did together is still together and holding up well too... and at one point when they were putting down sand and evening it out, I was taken back to a memory of my dad doing the same thing - evening out the sand, tossing some loose dirt back on top and evening it out again - it was just a flash of a memory, but nice to get there in that moment with the guys working on this project in memory of dad.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

for dad

Michelle, me, dad & baby Honey
"Those good times with your dad are happening right now. They’ll always be happening. You deserve to keep those alive." - Bones

"I used to joke that you could probably give my dad the street name and local plants growing nearby and he could tell you exactly how to get home from where you were based on that. The truth is, my dad was good for a lot of things: tractor rides, good hugs, sound advice ... and if you ever needed a scary-looking guy standing beside you." - I wrote that down more than a year ago. They were words I wanted to say about my dad when he passed away ... but I didn't say them during his memorial. I couldn't and it was probably for the best because no words were really necessary after his friend, Rick (I love Mr. Nezzie), did.

It's been a year since he passed now though, a year today...

I'm not going to detail this past year because as much as I'm a sharer, this past year has made very little sense to me. Like when his birthday went to hell last year, I bought a bottle of good gin because I just couldn't get the imagine of my dad stirring gin, tonic, ice and lime around with the knife he'd use to cut the lime. What an odd thing to be so focused on, right? Just a knife swirling around those ingredients. I can see it so clearly, something so simple and pretty ridiculous. Then, I spent the rest of the afternoon in the bathtub (with those ingredients in a glass on the side of the tub) because mermaid behaviors make everything better - not all better, but better.

I'm not going to write about our last conversation even though I could - I remember it so distinctly even though I've tried not to by not really writing it down or talking about it.

dad, Sadie & Kyleigh
I won't go into the ridiculous, but very real confusion when I arrived at the hospital and wasn't sure what was going on - why were we waiting? What was going on? I couldn't get myself to ask those questions and no one actually said, "He's gone."

I'm not going to go into all the times I've forgotten he's gone, looked for him waving to me from the bathroom window or wondered when he'd slip out during a gathering to try to sneak food.

There are lots of sad things I could write about, but I'm going to try not to...

Instead I'm going to try to lay out things I was lucky to have, even though they are lots of things I'll never find again in anybody else... And, please don't confuse the following - I'm not saying this is who my dad was. I'm just saying this is who my dad was to me...


dad and his 1969 Camaro convertible
He built that Camaro (with a lot of help) piece by piece - I know this isn't unique, but I don't know many dads that have done that. He had work, he had us, but he still had hobbies too and I think that's pretty cool when so many people come home from work already completely spent or exhausted.

When I was very little (and even when I was not so little) and sleepy or sick, my dad would rub my ear lobe - back and forth, big calloused fingers so soft on my ear. I'm not sure if this is why I pulled on my ear in my sleep or if I did that first and then he started the rubbing, but to this day one ear is bigger than the other and it's the one I pulled on/my dad rubbed.

My dad had a good laugh and smile.

Goldens - granted Sunshine was BOTH my parents' first baby, but I will forever need a Golden in my life since one has been there for every moment.

My dad did landscaping for a very long time and I can remember the way he would sketch out the way things would grow - he didn't just think about what would look good in the moment, but how things would grow, when different plants/shrubs/trees would bloom and what kind of care would be necessary.

He had strange collections. He always had good taste, don't get me wrong, but my dad had straight up collections of some very random things - clocks of any size, chairs (even if they weren't whole - missing legs, backs, rods, etc), oil lamps, jars of coins, binoculars (in hindsight, we had a lot of pairs of binoculars than most people, I think), clamps, shovels of various shapes & sizes (and they each had a purpose, I'm sure), etc.

My dad was my softball assistant coach and a timer for the swim meets that my sister and I were in.

On one of my first rescue missions, a hoarder's house, I was so desperate to get cats out that I was handing them out to just about anyone willing to take them... One place was not so great and when I went to get the cat back, they refused - they sent me awful, awful emails and said I'd never get the cat back. Teen-aged me headed over to their address ... with my dad. A guy answered the door, looked down at me and, loosely held a not so nicely barking Doberman, he told me to go away. My dad stepped up behind me, put his hand on the door (so they guy couldn't shut it) and said, "Dobermans. Nice dogs. We've had them." Then something to the extent of, "We've called the police. They're not on your side. Now where's my daughter's cat?" I don't think I would have gotten that cat back if anyone else was with me.

Unk, Uncle Dick & dad on Thanksgiving
I can't think of a time my dad didn't have a pocket knife on him. It was a good go-to gift for him (and I got him a couple on vacations I took) and he really did always find a use for them - like cutting off drink straws that were way too big. He did that a lot for us when Shell & I were little.

The man gave really good hugs - I mean, really good hugs - big, warm hugs with sometimes a little shake, extra squeeze, pat on the back or a little back rub thrown in at the end.

I always felt my dad was really generous - like at the very fiber of who he was, he was generous with his time and attention.

I know I mentioned this above, but the drink mixing thing. I don't know why that's so distinct in my mind, but it is - just mixing away.

My middle name it Lyn, my sister's is Marie, my dad's mom's name was Marilyn - I always thought that was a really neat, really creative way to indirectly honor his mom with both of us and another way to forever connect my sister and I equally to one another and to her.

The rescue I was with when I was younger had an annual yard sale. It was usually me, a couple other volunteers (ladies mostly) and my dad unloading the tables for the yard sale early in the morning. He was at every one...

Obviously with his giant-ness, he was one of the best for throwing you up in the air in the pool.

Back in the days before Facebook, you'd just get these weekly emails of dogs that would either be saved or killed. One of my first dog rescues I did was a transport up from Georgia. A dog I had been emailed about no one else was stepping up for, so I did. Well, the transport was running late - really late - a whole day late! The dog's transport was no longer arriving early Saturday, but Sunday ... right in the middle of a friend's wedding. My dad and I left in between the wedding ceremony and the reception to go pick the dog up.

If my dad didn't know someone in a room, he would soon enough. Without a doubt, the man could seriously make friends (or at least get a conversation going) with just about anyone and anywhere ... I can't deny I feel a little lost in a crowd without him now.

My dad always reminded me of a bear up against a tree when he'd scratch his back on the corner of a wall.

Although my dad had a very "I'm doing it and I don't care what you think about it" attitude, he also had a very deep rooted sense of what was right and wrong. He had strong opinions, but they were often hard to argue with because they weren't just based on "because I said so" or "that's just how I feel", he had sound reasons behind them. He was a meticulous guy, even in his opinions.

It takes some time to pull the memory sometimes, but I can close my eyes and see all the outlined tools - different hammers, saws, wrenches, etc - on the basement wall and the garage wall. Everything had a place ... even if that place was a old glass jar filled with similar knots, bolts or screws.

Heather, dad & me
Although tractor rides in the bucket around the farm were fun, I don't think there was anything quite like tractor rides around Wenonah with my dad. Who had a tractor in Wenonah? And who in the world loaded up their kids (and used the gas) just to take a spin around? My dad. The tractor also came in handy for Wenonah parade floats too!

He may not have always been patient, he may not have walked me through every step to teach me, but my dad never left me out - if there was a project, I was going to be there even if it was just to hand him a nail when he needed it or pick up the big sticks/twigs around the property so he could rake.

Avalon beach
When I couldn't drive myself, my dad drove me everywhere and we always listened to my music. It didn't occur to me until a lot later that aside from a handful of musicians and bands, I had no idea what some of my dad's favorites were because he always just listened to whatever I wanted to put on. I love music, I hate listening to stuff I don't know to hum along to or don't like, so in my opinion, that was pretty selfless of my dad.

Speaking of that, there was never any shame in calling my dad or guilt trips when he picked me up no matter what time it was or where it was. He'd show up. I hope he knew I knew (and appreciated) how reliable he was...

I know there's a logical pattern that's best to cut grass and how you can down-shift the gears in your car to slow down if all else fails because of my dad.

mom & dad
BOTH my parents made such an awesome team together - at the very bottom of everything they made an awesome team and I think that was such an amazing gift as an example of how a relationship should be.

I remember painting the little sitting room in the Pittsgrove house a light blue with him. He was done work and I had skipped class - it was just us, alone, talking and making that house a little bit better.

Two years old or twenty-two years old, the man could pick me up. One of the last times I was horribly sick, I was house sitting. My dad drove there, scooped me up off the bathroom floor, put me in the back of the car, drove me home, picked me up again and put me in bed (for my mom to take care of me).

When we moved to the Pittsgrove property, we had two ducks of a mystery age - dad loved them! One winter we had not seen one for awhile and we finally spotted them with our binoculars on the island. The lake was frozen and I will never forget my dad wrapping a rope around a tree and the other end to himself. All I could think was "I know the reasoning behind this, but, dad, you're huge. I don't know how I'm reeling you in if you fall through!" Thankfully, he didn't! He walked out across the ice and checked on the duck.

If anyone has a Doug Wesh story or even just a characteristic you saw in him & miss, please send them to I'm going to compile them, so please share.

my college graduation
Lots and lots of people remember and obsess about just the good when someone passes, but seriously my dad was a good guy with a lot of people that loved him. I was lucky to have him, lucky he was my dad and lucky he was 110% there for me. Yard sales, plays, soft ball, rescues, car rides, late nights out partying, swimming ... if my dad wasn't involved, he was there.

“If only given
four words to say they would be
Thanks For Loving Me.”
— Daily Haiku on Love by Tyler Knott Gregson

Monday, April 7, 2014

"It is hard to say goodbye. It is hard to understand that the vibrant light of who they were is gone. To never look into their eyes and see love and understanding. I do not know how to say goodbye..."

Saturday, April 5, 2014

auto correct

My phone just changed "ewww" to "ewes" ~ oh, auto correct, it's quite clear we're destined to be farm girls together :)