There WILL be an answer

I have had some things on my mind lately and it has kept me from feeling very creative.  I miss writing, but it seems like every time I sit down my thoughts are all jumbled by the things I have been  thinking  worrying about.

When I turned on my computer this morning the following lyrics were waiting for me:

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Yeah there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Ah let it be, yeah let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Yeah let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah let it be
Oh there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah let it be
Oh there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Ah let it be, yeah let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be 


I had written them down for a post I was thinking of doing after the Boston Marathon bombings.  I never completed the post, but for some reason I kept the lyrics open in MS Word. This song had been sung at my church the Sunday after the bombings, and it really moved me.

Today these are just the words I needed to hear.  I am feeling confused and anxious about a few things going on in my life and while I focus on them I think this will be my motto.

There will be an answer……

Thanks John and Paul.



A vist to Isla Animals…one thing we did on our winter vacation.

Skip was my favorite puppy at Isla Animals. He was a bit shy, but very sweetAs I have mentioned in previous posts,  Jim and I have been visiting Isla Mujeres, Mexico for several years.  We talk from time to time about spending more than just a vacation there – actually staying for an extended period.

While I can feature myself there for months on end -visiting with friends, going to the beach, reading, shopping, learning the language – I always worry about what Jim would do.  I am afraid that after the initial “vacation” mode wore off, my busy husband would start to get bored.

At home he spends much of his leisure time with our boys – Max and Morley. Max and Morley are "the boys" on Squirrel Hill He was raised in a dog loving family, and he enjoys his time with them.  They are his companions and his main interest here on the Hill. When we leave them he misses them so this year I had an idea…

I had been hearing about Alison Sawyer Current and her work with the animals on the island for several years.  We have friends who have adopted dogs from her, and we have witnessed first-hand the improvement of “dog situation” on the island over the past several years.

When we started visiting Isla in the mid 1990’s there were many stray dogs that roamed the streets and beaches.  Since dogs are pack animals, and most of these strays had not been treated very well by the people that they came in contact with, they could be aggressive and troublesome to locals and visitors alike.  We had actually heard of several instances of dogs menacing people walking on the streets in certain areas. The local government’s way of dealing with the situation was to poison the offenders. This cruel treatment was the norm.  Since the dogs were not spayed or neutered, the population continued to grow, and the problem grew worse.

When Alison and her husband moved to the island (around the same time that Jim and I started making our annual trip) they were troubled by the problem, so they decided to do something to help.  She actually tells her story much better than I do…here is a video of an interview that explains how she got to where she is today.

This year I was determined that we would finally meet her.  We were hoping to be on the island during one of the spay and neuter clinics that Isla Animals, the organization that she runs, hold periodically on the island and the mainland, or to help with the dogs in some other way.

We weren’t really sure as to how to contact her, but I had been following her work on the Isla Animals Facebook page , so I sent her a message.  She responded with an invitation to stop by anytime, so one afternoon we did exactly that. It was a wonderful visit, but we didn’t really do much because they had just had a small spay and neuter clinic the day before. We did get a chance to visit with Alison, and to meet a few special cases that required some extra love and attention – including Hector (click on this link to see Hector’s Facebook page, which contains his story and many photos). Hector was an adorable little guy that was brought to one of the spay and neuter clinics.  He had several problems, the worst of which was distemper. He fought very hard to overcome his illness, and on that day he was resting in another room because he was so sick.  Unfortunately soon after we left the island they lost him, but the page remains as an honor to him; Alsion now posts daily updates there to let us all know what is happening with the rescue.

Later in the week while having  dinner with our friends Tiffany and Brad we mentioned our visit and I talked about how much we wanted to visit again. Tiffany told me that she and her children go and help on Monday afternoons after school.  She offered Jim and I a ride over to Alison’s house the following Monday and we jumped at the chance.Jim playing with one of the pups at Isla Animals

When we got there it became apparent that helping often just meant interacting with the dogs so that they could become more socialized. We had a great time playing with the pups.  I made a special friend of a skittish little guy named Skip (pictured at the beginning of this post).  He is what they call a “low-rider” – a short legged (almost like a Corgi) island dog; my favorite kind.

We spent a few minutes with Alison and she told us that at that time she had over 40 dogs living with  her! We asked what we could possibly do to help and she told us that although she gets many generous one-time monetary donations to help with the many spay and neuter clinics that her organization sponsors, or the special cases that need extra treatments –  the daily cost of caring for these animals is high. She said that often she and her husband use their own funds to make sure that the animals needs are met.  She expressed her hope to generate regular monthly donations so that they had a real operating budget to work with.

Jim and I decided right away that we were interested. As soon as we returned home we signed up for a monthly donation through PayPal. It is not a large amount of money – barely more than a few cups of coffee a month – but we both feel very strongly that Isla Animals is a necessary service for the people of the island.  The work that they have done over the years has improved the quality of care for many island animals, and has done a fantastic job controlling the stray population. Many local people are being educated about caring for their pets and often come to Alison and her husband for help. Jim and I feel that this is one way that we can give back to the island that has given us so much!

The other day on her Facebook site, Alison mentioned that her 60th birthday is coming up on April 26. She said that her only wish this year is to raise $2000 in monthly pledges to help with the daily operations.  It sounds like a lot of money, but Isla Animals’ Facebook pages have over 10,000 followers. If few as 80 of those followers pledge $25 per month or even if  320 people donated $6.25 per month they would meet that goal.  Isla Animals is a 501c3 US non-profit organization and can give donors annual statements for tax purposes.

I am hoping that by sharing our experiences we can help her to generate a few more donations.  Donations can be done online through PayPal by visiting their website and clicking on the “Donate Now” button.

Here are a few pictures of Tiffany’s beautiful children and some of the pups that live there now:My friend Tiffany's son Barlow and his namesake Barlito at Isla AnimalsThis little puppy is one of the many that have been cared for at Isla AnimalsMy friend Tiffany's daughter and the cute puppies at Isla AnimalsMy friend Tiffany's children Lior and Barlow with pups at Isla Animals

Special thanks to my friend Tiffany and Isla Animals for some of the photos and the video 

Never trust your waistband, no matter what it tries to tell you

It is definitely time for an update.  Not another reblog or fuzzy cell phone picture – or even a rework of a one of the drafts that currently reside on my hard-drive, but a real honest-to-goodness update.

Since it is nearly the six month anniversary of the beginning of my ongoing quest for good health and less girth, I suppose that I should bring you up to speed with my progress so far.

As of last Friday, I have officially lost 30 lbs.  An accomplishment, for sure, but before I get too self-congratulatory, I must confess that I am not even half way to my goal – and it is a conservative goal, at that. Let’s see…25 weeks/30 pounds – that is only 1.2 pounds a week. (sigh) However, to put it in perspective, during that time period there have been three major holidays that involve food (five if you count Halloween and New Year’s), we went on a two week vacation to Mexico and we suffered the loss of two important family members.  With all of that considered, I suppose it isn’t terrible, but I would like to have done better.

I am now at that wonderful/awful time when I am beginning to shop my own closet, finding things that I have long forgotten that I had. My current wardrobe is starting to have a “bag-lady” type of vibe to it.  My slacks are baggy in the front and back, and they are starting to get too long to wear without heels.  That wonderful “wow, my clothes feel loose” feeling is quickly turning into “do I really look like I have a load in my pants?”, so I know it is time.

I have done this all before, so I have several items of clothing to choose from at various size levels. Luckily, most of them haven’t gone seriously out of style (or I am actually now so old that my style could be considered “ageless”) Last weekend I dug around a bit and came up with several pairs of jeans! Who knew? I think I must have acquired this particular size at two different times in my life, because I have NEVER had this many pairs of jeans at the same time! I also found a few work pants and a couple of pairs of capris.  This being said, I still needed a few basics.  You know; black slacks, tan slacks – my mother always taught me to buy only black, tan and brown because “they never go out of style”. This actually required a trip to the department store.  Armed with my new size information, I ventured out to stock up.

I have to say that shopping for pants is my LEAST favorite thing. I can never seem to find what I want and our small town has limited options. However, as I wandered around the store pulling my newfound size off the racks I felt confident, even smug. It was looking in a different area with more choices and I felt good. I entered the fitting room with a few of my finds.  I tried the first pair and as I pulled them to my waist I realized they were too tight. What???? I had worked so hard to get to this point – even waiting a few weeks longer than I really felt that I should have only to find that I needed a SIZE LARGER?? This was deflating.  I quickly hung them back up (to the best of my ability – I swear that they have a special way of hanging them that most normal people can never duplicate) and slunk back out of the store to my car.  Defeated.

Do you know those times in your life when you are sick of looking at the scale and you decide that you can tell how you are doing by “how your clothes feel”?

Yea. That.

IT’S A MYTH!!!! I cannot tell you how many times that I have convinced myself that I am doing ok because my clothes still fit. I am here to tell  you that type of thinking is just crazy talk.  Clothes stretch! Seriously. The smaller sized things that I had found in my closet were actually almost a size larger because I had worn them a little to long the last time.  They had expanded to accommodate me as long as they possibly could. This was quite a discouraging revelation.

I can tell you that it will be at least another month before I try again.  I refuse to spend good money on things in the size that I already wear (although I suppose you could actually call this “vanity sizing”), especially since I hope to end up a size or two smaller in the end. The world will just have to deal with my baggy, slightly sloppy self for a little while longer. Thank goodness that I did find a few things that look presentable in my archives, or I would have to become a hermit for the summer.

Let’s hope the next 30 comes off a bit more quickly…perhaps by the time the new winter items are on the racks??

Unfortunatley I am in the awkward baggy pants phase of weight loss
Thankfully I haven’t gotten to this point…..yet.
Photo credit:

Sometimes the “real” world gets in the way

You may (or may not)  have noticed that I haven’t been around much as of late.

I actually have been doing some writing and blogging – just not here in my own space!

My “real” position ( and by that I mean the work that I actually receive pay for) is as the CFO  at a 208 bed, privately owned Assisted Living facility. We also have a specialized Memory care unit, as well as an Adult Daycare/Wellness facility and six stand alone independent residences.  Over the past year or so my job description has evolved to include Social Media.

I have been coordinating three different Facebook pages, a Twitter account, and a Pinterest account for my employer. We have done some really fun things – like a Flash Mob and a few contests, and I think we are actually beginning to get some results in terms of employee satisfaction and family interaction, and hopefully we are beginning to establish our brand and expertise in our local area.

These new duties have added a bit of spark to my otherwise dry daily routine of spreadsheets and numbers, and I am really enjoying it! Recently we amped up our offerings to including a blog.  I have been assembling and editing the content, and I am actually pretty proud of how it is shaping up.

If you feel so inclined, please give it a look. (If you enjoy any of  what you see – or even find it helpful, please feel free to “follow” us as well)  You can click on the logo below to go directly to the page.

The Tanglewood Group Blog

I would love to hear your comments on any of our posts.  Let me know what you think!

All of this extra writing has made it hard for me to concentrate on my own thoughts. I miss sharing them here – my “to do” list for this blog is growing long! Hopefully this weekend I can take some time to share them.

See you soon!