Monday, June 30, 2014

Take a NASA Tour with Kelli and Derek: Part 1: Satellite Controls/Clean Room

Kelli and Derek check out the Sun at different wavelenghts
Earlier this month, my niece Kelli and her husband Derek came to NASA for a tour of some incredible things. So, come along as we follow them on their tour (that I gave them). You'll learn some really amazing facts!

STOP 1: Mission Control Centers - It's not a surprise that NASA has a lot of Earth and space observing satellites and each one of them is managed by a team of scientists and engineers in control rooms for each mission.

Our first stop was at mission control for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory -
 The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) takes a closer look at the Sun, the source of all Space Weather. Space Weather affects not only our lives here on Earth, but the Earth itself, and everything outside its atmosphere (astronauts and satellites out in space and even the other planets). SDO is unlike any other satellite. It will be collecting huge amounts of data everyday. In fact SDO will produce enough data to fill a single CD every 36 seconds...
  WANT TO SEE WHAT THE SUN LOOKS LIKE NOW? Click here! 
  
Standing in front of the world's largest clean room
 STOP 2: The Largest Clean Room in the Free World
The clean room at NASA Goddard is 10 stories high, and was constructed that large to accommodate building large satellites. Everything is pristine and clean. In fact, it's cleaner than an operating room!  Why? Because microbes, fibers, pollens, and tiny particles can get on sensitive lenses of satellites and obscure the views. 
Standing in front of a model of the Webb telescope
The clean room has a wall of giant filters (10 stories high) that get replaced every 50 YEARS!  Imagine only having to replace the filter in your furnace once in 50 years. Air blows through the filters and through openings on the opposite wall and funnels around.
The Hubble Space Telescope was built in this clean room!  Now, the Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is being tested and constructed in that same clean room! 
  
WHAT IS THE JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE? -

The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST) will be a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror.  The project is working to a 2018 launch date.
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope
The Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System. 

NEXT: CHECK OUT A HUGE CRYOGENIC (FREEZING) VACUUM CHAMBER
AND SPACE BLANKETS
 






Sunday, June 29, 2014

Book Review: A Fun, Cozy Mystery with Great Characters!

I just finished reading and enjoying a fun "cozy mystery" with some very likeable characters in a great mystery. "Roses
and Daisies and Death, Oh My!" by Penny Cover Petersen is well-worth reading!  I met Penny at a book expo (I was one of the other authors there who was fortunate enough to sit next to her). I could tell that Penny was inspired by the small, historic downtown area of the city we live in. She really paints a great picture of little shops in a small downtown area and the personalities and relationship between two adult sisters that own a shop and adopt a dog they name Malcolm.  It's very easy to visualize the entire story.
   Penny is a great writer and I highly recommend this enjoyable cozy mystery. It left me wanting to know more about the next adventure that Daisy and Rose get involved in!  I hope that Penny writes a sequel soon. - Rob


BOOK SUMMARY: Nothing ruins a peaceful morning walk like finding a blood-spattered body. And Daisy Greene and Rose Forrest, sisters and co-owners of Champagne Taste, really need a peaceful morning walk. They have enough on their minds already. Christmas is right around the corner, business is brisk, and their little antiques district of Old Towne is being plagued with petty thievery and vandalism. Murder is just not in the game plan.
   And if finding bodies lying around walking trails isn't enough to destroy a perfectly good day, Daisy's ex-husband, state trooper Bill Greene, shows up to investigate the murder. Nosy by nature anyway, Daisy takes Bill’s presence as a challenge to find the murderer.
   When Daisy and Rose start asking questions things get hairier. Someone begins stalking them. Daisy receives threatening letters and is brutally attacked.
   Their determination grows when clues lead to a missing priceless diamond and the man Daisy is dating becomes the next victim. With the help of their eccentric mother, Angela, and their hormonally-exuberant dog, Malcolm, they follow the clues to catch a killer.

For more information see: www.pennypetersen.com and http://pennycloverpetersen.blogspot.com 
The book is available in paperback and E-book on Amazon.com
 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Sniffing Spirit's Sign!

    Today at the Frederick Book Festival I (Rob) met a lot of wonderful people and many had their own stories of spirit encounters.
      A woman named Cheryl came to my table (where I was selling my books) and we were talking about my book "Pets and the Afterlife" and dog rescues. - I was also representing DC Area Weimaraner Rescue there (I had the Weim and Book banners displayed). 
    Cheryl told me that her beloved dog named Oliver had passed. She said that Oliver would always make the stress of the day melt away. She said that whenever she would drive into the garage Oliver would run to the door (inside the house) after hearing the garage. She said she would then see Oliver's nose at the bottom of the door that separated the inside of the house from the garage and she would always hear him sniffing when she would get out of the car.
   Now that Oliver had passed, her home felt empty and there was no one there to remove the stress.  One day, however, she had a bad day and came home. She pulled into the garage and got out of the car. She said that she swears she heard Oliver sniffing at the door. She said that she knew that he was in spirit on the other side of the door and she instantly felt better. 
  I explained that dogs on the other side maintain the habits they had in the physical world and it makes perfect sense that Oliver's spirit would be there, doing what he usually did. 
****************************************************************************************
Summary: PETS AND THE AFTERLIFE by Rob Gutro: The loss of a pet is like the loss of a child to pet owners. The love we share with our pets never dies, and in a new book called "Pets and the Afterlife" by Rob Gutro, the author provides proof that our pets do communicate with us from the other side.    Available in paperback and E-book, on Amazon.com and other outlets at: To order paperback of Kindle- http://tinyurl.com/mqgamq2%20

Come meet Rob today at the Frederick Book Festival 9a-6p!

book6 copy (5)

Come meet Rob today at the Frederick Book Festival 9a-6p!

Come on out to the Frederick Book Festival, Friday, June 27th and Saturday, June 28th, 2014 at the Hampton Inn, 5311 Buckeystown Pike, Frederick, MD 21704.
Want to know what inspired a book? Looking for opportunities to meet other authors? This is the meet and greet place to do it!
See you there!

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Resource: Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement- website

Since I've published my third book "Pets and the Afterlife" so many people have reached out for comfort. I recently found a website about an organization that also provides comfort: the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement.
  They have chat rooms,  events, aftercare, information about euthanasia, newsletters, quality of life, products, support, training and much more. 
  If you've lost a pet and are suffering, please contact them. 
Also, please consider a read of my book "Pets and the Afterlife" so you can learn how to see the signs that our pet's spirits are giving us. There's nothing more comforting knowing that our pets remain with us from the other side - Rob

 
FROM THEIR WEBSITE: 
    We are all professionally trained volunteers in pet bereavement counseling, and are here for you. Our beloved animal friends have brought us together, and in honor of them we are now all here for each other, as well. Welcome.
    The APLB is unique, and the only organization in the world doing all this. Our services are free and available to anyone bereaving for a beloved pet. We pride ourselves in incorporating the collective wisdom and experience of all our friends and members. And we make that freely available to anyone who can use it, during deep bereavement for a beloved pet.
Membership is not required for this, but we hope you will Join us.
We need your support to help us expand the many services we are providing
 *********************************
Summary: PETS AND THE AFTERLIFE by Rob Gutro: The loss of a pet is like the loss of a child to pet owners. The love we share with our pets never dies, and in a new book called "Pets and the Afterlife" by Rob Gutro, the author provides proof that our pets do communicate with us from the other side.    Available in paperback and E-book, on Amazon.com and other outlets at: To order paperback of Kindle- http://tinyurl.com/mqgamq2%20

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Today is Our 5th Wedding Anniversary!

Tom and Rob
Today marks FIVE years that Tom and I have been legally married.

  WHAT WAS OUR WEDDING LIKE?   On June 26, 2009, we got legally married in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Because our marriage wasn't legal in Maryland at the time, we had to go to the nearest state where it was legal. That was Connecticut. It took a little work and some good friends to make it all work out.
  My (Rob) brother Doug suggested Bridgeport as a good city to get married in, and he contacted his friend (the mayor of Bridgeport) who recommended a restaurant to have the post-vow lunch.
Mike officiating our wedding as our best man, Jeff looks on
     Our friend Jeff was our best man, and he drove up to Connecticut with us. We checked out City Hall before it opened, a nearby park where we  planned on getting married, and the restaurant  where we planned lunch.
MARRIED BY OUR FRIEND -   Our friends Mike and Amy Bettwy flew to Connecticut. Mike was licensed to marry us, and we met them at City Hall where Tom and I got our official marriage license. We remember how wonderful the City Hall clerk was when we got the license. 
A RESTAURANT WEDDING -   After getting the license, we went outside to the park. overcast skies threatened rain, so we went to the restaurant and called the small bunch of friends who insisted on driving hours from Massachusetts to be there.  It was going to be just us, Jeff, Mike and Amy - but I let some friends in New England know (
our kids: Franklin, Dolly and Tyler
since we were up there anyway). 
   The staff and manager of the restaurant were incredibly accommodating. They knew we had reservations for 12, but didn't know we'd be getting married there!  They put us in an area, and pulled a large curtain around it, giving us a large "private room." The restaurant is "Ralph and Rich's" and we urge everyone to go there: Click for Ralph and Rich's Website.
     The ceremony was short and perfect. Mike did an amazing job. Tom and I each read our own vows, and of course, we both cried during them. It was an amazing day. That was FIVE years ago, and we continue to grow in love with each other. We have 3 amazing canine children, great family and friends.
  
Friends and family at the restaurant wedding ceremony

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

PODCAST! - Dog Works Radio- Hear Rob's 30 min. interview!

Here's the link to the 30 Minute podcast of my interview tonight on Dog Works Radio about my book Pets and the Afterlife!
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST:  http://dogworksradio.com/2014/06/25/dog-works-radio-presents-rob-gutro/

   Dog Works Radio is broadcast from Alaska and the mission of the radio station is to educate the public about responsible dog ownership and the value of the relationship with our canine companions.
http://www.dogworksradio.com/
    Dog Works Radio is brought to you by Dog Works Training Centers and is presented by Twine Group Media.
Robert Forto is the executive producer of Dog Works Radio and is behind the mic on all of the shows. Robert has been a musician since he was in high school and brings a unique (albeit sometimes too tech-y) aspect to the shows.
    Dog Works Radio family of shows; Dog Works Radio, Mush! You Huskies, and The Gypsy Musher, Mushing Radio and our brand new show, The Sibe Vibe, bring our listeners into the wonderful world of working dogs. We share our stories, training advice and antedotes from years of working and living with our canine
companions.

A Doggone Great Mystery: "The Dog Who Knew Too Much"

I'm a mystery fan (Rob) and of course I love dogs, being a dog dad, so the Chet and Bernie mystery series by Spencer Quinn is a great combination of my interests and has delivered another hit!  The fourth book in the series called "The Dog Who Knew Too Much" is another fun read. FIVE STARS (out of 5).
    The series is about Bernie Little who runs the "Little Detective Agency" and his faithful border collie Chet, who narrates all of the books!  It's so much fun to read these books narrated by Chet, because he gets distracted by stories of encounters he and Bernie had in the past that remind him of something in the present- like doing something and then suddenly... "SQUIRREL!" and all concentration is gone.  :) 
 - Bernie and Chet are hired to find out what happened to a kid that went to a wilderness camp and never came back with the rest of the boys in his troop. The mystery really takes them deep into the woods where they find corruption, blackmail, and some seedy characters. 
  This is another great read and you won't want to put it down. Bravo Spencer Quinn! I can't wait to read the next in the series! and... "Go, Chet the Jet!" (You'll get that when you read the series).  - Rob
  Be sure to check the website, too - because Chet features his dog friend of the day and other fun stuff: http://www.chetthedog.com/

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2 min. video: Fireman Saves "Lucky" The Kitten from Fresno, CA Fire

  Our friend Derek posted this very moving 2 minute video of Fireman going into a home in Fresno, California to put out a fire and one of them wound up rescuing a kitten.

Published on Jun 15, 2013:  "Lucky" The Kitten was saved and revived from a fire in Fresno Ca.
Hey guys! This is Firefighter Kalanick... the guy in the film. Thank you soooo much for all the support. I'm shocked how many people have watched the video. Wanted to let you all know that all of the attention resulted in PET OXYGEN MASKS being donated to our dept. enough to have one on each rig. Also, I donated (well technically you guys donated by watching) the money made from the ads on this video to the local emergency vet to help other animals after disaster. Thank you again!
Fireman Cory Kalanick rescues an unconscious kitten from a burning house filled with smoke.
VIDEO: http://youtu.be/CjB_oVeq8Lo
Music  Dexter Britain "Perfect Moment"  http://dexterbritain.bandcamp.com/
Original video here: http://goo.gl/Eyv8Y 

Monday, June 23, 2014

NASA Helps Marvel's Avengers Exhibit Bring the Science!

NASA Helps Marvel's Avengers Exhibit Bring the Science - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
A new exhibit steeped in the cinematic world of "The Avengers" provides a super-powered dose of science and technology from NASA. The unique, interactive educational display premiered at Discovery Times Square in New York City on May 30, 2014, for a six-month engagement.
Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. -- an acronym for Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network -- is an immersive experience in which visitors can explore the fictional superhero universe. The exhibit allows fans to participate in a simulated recruitment as if they were training as agents of the movies' secret agency, S.H.I.E.L.D.
While movie magic is the exhibit's main attraction, its developers approached NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, to provide content that would enhance the authenticity of the experience and pique visitors' interest in real-world science and technology.
The exhibit's NASA-supplied material -- written content, images and videos -- focuses on topics such as the electromagnetic spectrum, black holes as powerful energy sources, and aerospace materials used in creating Iron Man's armor. Deeper connections to NASA content are planned for the exhibit's online companion website.
NASA's Eyes on Exoplanets interactive is featured prominently in the S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibit, helping to place otherworldly content related to The Avengers' Thor into the context of real exoplanets - planets beyond our solar system -- that NASA is studying.
"The thrill of exploring other worlds is not limited to the silver screen, and we're pleased to help bring some real NASA excitement to the project," said Bert Ulrich, liaison for film and TV collaborations, NASA Headquarters, Washington. "We especially hope that young visitors will come away from this exhibit with an increased interest in science and technology."
More information is available on the exhibit website at: http://stationexhibit.com
NASA's Eyes on Exoplanets is available at: http://eyes.nasa.gov/exoplanets
More information about NASA and its missions is available at: http://www.nasa.gov
The California Institute of Technology manages JPL for NASA.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

4 Ways We Found to Improve a Dog's Breath and Teeth!

Franklin and Tyler former bad breath boys!
Bad breath and tartar covered teeth are big
problem for every pet owner, but we've experimented over the years and found 4 things to do to alleviate both problems.

1) Brush your dog's teeth  (at least a couple of times a week - but daily is better)

2) Brush his tongue (that's where all the bacteria build up and cause odor -just like in people)
3) Add Naturel Promise fresh dental additive to his water - it really helps freshen breath.
Fresh Dental Gel
4) We just (accidentally) found an amazing product from Naturel promise (same company) that got rid of the dark tartar on teeth! - it's called "clean teeth" gel.
- just apply a drop and rub it into the teeth just before bedtime (or when they're not eating or drinking for an hour)
It removed the brown tartar stains from  our 2 dachshunds and weimaraner in just FIVE DAYS!
 (their website: www.naturelpromise.com/)
Dolly doesn't mind getting her teeth brushed.
 


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Today 4pm EDT: Listen to Rob's interview on Pet Pourri/Talk Radio Show

Today, Saturday, June 21 from  4 to 5pm EDT tune into the Pet Pourri Talk Radio Show,  live on

WCBM-AM 680 Baltimore as the host, Don, interviews Rob about his book "Pets and the Afterlife." (Rob will be coming on around 4:30 p.m.) 

CLICK HERE to Listen Live: http://player.streamtheworld.com/liveplayer.php?callsign=WCBMAM

 Rob met Don at this past weekend's Carroll County Pet Expo. Don is a long-time dog breeder, exhibitor and representative of numerous animal groups so he knows his
dogs!  You can hear it live if you live on your AM radio in the Baltimore area, or listen on-line.

Friday, June 20, 2014

2 Videos of Current U.S.Capitol Dome Restoration Project Scaffolding

The dome of the U.S. Capitol building is being restored for the first time since the 1960s. The Architect of the Capitol put together an animation to show how the scaffolding will go up and come down and a time lapse video of the progress that's already been made INSIDE the dome. 
  Being an architect, Tom loves this stuff, so we had to share it!
   The United States Capitol Dome was constructed more than 150 years ago and has not undergone a complete restoration since
1959-1960. Age, weather and elements have created more than 1,000 cracks and deficiencies in the dome. 
   While the Capitol Dome is undergoing restoration a scaffold system will surround the entire Dome, from the base of the Statue of Freedom down to the Dome Skirt. At night the scaffolding will be lit as work continues.  For more info on the U.S. Capitol, visit: http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/
 
Here's an  Animated Rendering of Dome Restoration Project Scaffolding
 VIDEO: http://youtu.be/iEcvw8UG-AQ


AND AN ANIMATION OF WHAT'S BEEN DONE INSIDE SO FAR
Rotunda Preparation for Capitol Dome Restoration 
VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7td-pJmTpG0

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Amazing Sign from Mom and Dad's Spirits on their Anniversary!

Mom and Dad gave an Amazing Sign today!
It's Amazing how spirits can send signs.
Today would've been my mom's birthday and my parent's 59th anniversary.
Both have passed, but they just gave me and my brothers and AMAZING SIGN.
This morning I asked mom and dad to give me a sign that they're fine and still around. They delivered!


A LOUD AND CLEAR SIGN FROM MY PARENTS' SPIRITS:
This morning, June 19th, my younger brother Doug called me (he lives in the same town as my parents lived) and said he received a call from the alarm company that monitors my parents' house. The company told him that that the burglar alarm on mom and dad's house (which has been vacant since mom passed 12/29/13) went off this morning! -

Of course there is no one there and no one had entered the house.

Because spirits can manipulate electricity, Mom and Dad made the alarm go off as a way to communicate to me and my brothers- that they're still around, still looking out for us. A final note- birthdays and anniversaries are the time that spirits will usually come through with messages for the living. This is yet another example of that!

Mom's Voice and A Tribute: In Memory of Rob's Mom on her Birthday



Mom in 2001
Today, June 19th, marks the day that would have been my (Rob's)  mom's 86th birthday. Mom passed on Dec. 29, 2013 so this is the first year we're not celebrating her birthday with her -at least in the physical sense. However, I thought it important to continue to remember my mom, and the best way to do that is to HEAR HER VOICE and  read the most amazing tribute to her. 
   I actually saved her voicemail message to me from Nov. 1, 2013 and figured out a way to bring it to everyone. I thought it important to have mom's voice so I'll never forget how she sounded. She always thought that whenever she left a voicemail on my cell phone that I could hear it, so she kept talking, as it if were an answering machine connected to a home phone!   So she'd keep saying "Pick up the Phone!" 
CLICK HERE TO HEAR MY MOM's VOICE: Norma's Voicemail Message to Rob on 11-1-13
 ( http://youtu.be/NX-yobSxi3w)

******************************************************
Following is my mom's eulogy, that was written by my younger brother Doug and spoken by him at her services at St. Ann's church in Quincy on January 2, 2014. Doug really captured the spirit and spunkiness of our mother, and who she was. I hope you'll read it, and get to know her a little. Doug did an amazing job on this and Tom and I thought it deserved to be memorialized on our blog. Thanks, Doug, and Happy birthday, Mom. Love, Rob and Tom

Mom’s Eulogy – Jan 2, 2014
Written and given by Doug Gutro


On behalf of my brothers - Thank you all for coming and for your outpouring of love and support.

Today we Celebrate the life of our mother,

Mom at NASA in 2009 as an Astronaut!
Norma Gloria Gutro - she loved her name – You may have noticed HER NGG initials sewed on her blouses, sweaters and pocketbooks  -  If you live in Quincy, you may have seen her license plate around town NORMA 5 – The 5 stood for five people in our family (mom, dad, and her 3 boys).  It adorned a half dozen cars over the past 40 years from Station Wagons, to her Lincoln Continental, to her current SUV – for a woman who stood barley 5’ tall, she loved big cars. 

Born in the depression - adored her parents Sarina and Giramondo Tutela, as well as brother Ralph and she had the typical sister relationship our aunt Tillie.  If you knew her, she was proud of her Italian heritage.

Rob, Jill B., Mom, and Jim B.
Mom recalled the most Vivid Childhood memories and friendships with her family growing up on the streets in East Boston and Dorchester – she enjoyed dancing, the family traditions, and friendships that seemed simpler back then.  All these years, she stayed in touch with her friend Marion, who she has known from Kindergarten.  

A few months ago, she got to reminisce and reconnect with her cousin Rosalie who she hadn’t seen in 50 years and who meticulously researched their Tutela family back to Italy in the early 1800s. It was a special day, with photos of relatives and ancestors – she knew all their names – wonderful stories, tears, and laughter.  I’m grateful to have shared that walk down memory lane with my mom.

Franklin, Dolly and Cooper in 2009 with Mom in Md.
In 1955 - she married our dad, Edward J. “Buddy” Gutro. They were Fated to be mated she would say. Together they owned 3 new homes including the one they built and lived in on the corner of Puritan Drive and Adams Street since 1963 – She’d say it was on the 18th hole of the Furnace Brook Golf Course – Our dad's home town - she was proud always to live on adams street and in her neighborhood – A pride I've carried forward.

As my dad worked 3 jobs my mom raised 3 boys - many joyous and memorable holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries growing up.  They went to steve’s band concerts, my basketball games, and supported Rob in all he did.

Jill Beyer and Mom make faces
If you hadn’t noticed, our mom had a Knack for Fashion - sharp dresser, her clothes always matched her shoes and handbag, and she almost always wore heels - She could remember names and events from 80 years ago with clarity and she shared them frequently with all who would listen and many you were great listeners.  We learned never to question mom’s memory of an event.  Like a great politician, she never let the truth get in the way of a good story – although I’m sure her embellishments were never purposeful, but a result of how she wanted to remember things or simply a fading memory.   Norma was much like the sun – she could brighten a room with her presence or laughter, things always seemed to revolve around her, and if you got to close, sometimes things got a little too hot for comfort. 

Jeff and Mom joke around during dessert 2009
At home, she had clean house – you took your shoes off before entering. Today, her living room still looks like it hasn't been lived in. She was great cook and loved to feed you – even now making pizzelas and strudels for Christmas – this year the strudels still sit on her dining room table for Christmas that she didn’t make.  She was creative and enjoyed painting and artwork. She made homemade Halloween Costumes and painted comic book or cartoon charters on our shirt or sheets. She loved to talk, enjoyed music, scratch tickets, watching sports or police shows, and loved to laugh. She just wanted to be loved.

As my dad’s career advanced and they traveled the U.S and to England. She had fond memories of those days. This was their heyday - They were living the American dream. 

As we grew up and moved out, Mom & Dad became inseparable.  Walking the neighborhood, working in the yard, shopping, sharing a quiet meal at their favorite restaurants, playing cards, and going bowling. She'd get dolled up as my dad sat on the porch reading his book.  He was proud to be with her. The simple pleasures we all take for granted.
Mom insisted that Tom play the piano for her!!

Kids moved, married, time passed as it always does. We lost my dad 5 years ago. And mom was never the same. Her soul mate, compass, North Star was gone. She struggled mightily and we struggled to fill the void.

Her life returned to making or maintaining her home and yard and affirming that clearly she wasn't moving from the place she loved.

In the good weather she was always doing Yard work - 5 ft firecracker with a saw in one hand always cutting down some trees or branches – you’d think she lived in a forest. A friend of mine who drove by, called me immediately after witnessing the spectacle and asked why I’d let my 80 year old mother climb a ladder and saw trees.  You try to stop her I said.  We both laughed. He knew my mom.  Up until the end she was still driving, shopping, visiting neighbors, looking good, and even wearing heels.

Mom at Christmas 2006
She loved her family and people. Like many of us, she sometimes had a unique way of showing it. But she did. She was proud of Stephen for following my dad in the insurance business.  Proud of Rob and for his work at NASA, The Weather Channel, and National Hurricane Center.  And she was proud of me for serving on the City Council in the City I was raised in. She was happy to see us settled with our spouses, who have been an amazing source of strength for us.  She adored her grandchildren - my boys Brian and Scotty. She loved and still recalled fond memories of her dogs Gigi and penny – who’ve long since passed and more recently enjoyed my brother Rob and his husband Tom’s dogs Dolly, Franklin, and Tyler.

On a personal note, she loved campaigning for me - Dropping flyers and holding campaign signs – she was tireless and proud. One day while walking the neighborhood she asked a man working in his yard if he'd put up a lawn sign for me - little did she know he was running for same council seat as I - he was a good sport and she made a new friend.

In recent years, she spent time walking the neighborhood, bonding with neighbors who always kept a watchful eye on her. She was Interested and opinionated on both neighborhood issues and city wide issues. She was always weighing in with my friend and her Ward Councilor Kevin Coughlin and I.

This past week, our mom succumbed to the effects of a major stroke in the home she loved.

When Mayor learned about my mom’s stroke he was among the first to call and offer sympathy or help in any way. I want personally thank him.  And upon reflection, I may take him up on his offer of help – Mr. Mayor - Councilor Coughlin and I put together a very long list of my mother’s neighborhood concerns, which we’d be delighted to share with you.

To those who called her – especially her friend Jane Ricci who spoke to her every day. Thank you. To those who visited her, Thank you. Those who invited her out or took her into your home, Thank you. She couldn't replace what she lost in my dad - but my brothers and I are forever grateful for your help in caring for our mom during these past 5 years.

Rob's late dog Buzz, and Mom trying to get his attention!
We lost her during Christmas season. It's a time when the world is prayerful and celebrates Jesus' birth.  She loved Christmas as she loved the blessed mother and prayed to various saints. For our family, it will forever hold a spiritual meaning as the time she rejoined my dad, her parents, and siblings at the Gates of heaven. A new life without burdens of pain or sorrow. She’s free again.  Like to thank Father Ronagan who is presiding to day and also said my dad’s funeral mass 5 short years ago and the entire St. Ann’s family. 

Let me close with this story illustrating mom’s feisty spirit and desire to love and be loved - more often than not since we were young boys up until this past week my mom would always say to my brothers and I as we prepared to leave her home - in her characteristically blunt and occasionally unsettling way - "kiss your mother it goodbye, it may be the last time you see me."  Shaking our heads, we always obliged, never believing it was true, always returning to hear it again.  Sadly, this past week mom, that day has finally come and with a heavy heart we reluctantly obliged. We love you mom.

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

Great Books by our friends

Great Books by our friends
Check out these great books (yeah, Rob's are in there, too)

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next

Podcast of Rob's 50 min. interview on Paranormal Filler Radio 7/13/14