Some People Stay & Others Step Away

Life has been a bit overwhelming these past few….well, years. My posts on this blog have been few. I decided to take a minute to get back to writing and simply write. No deadlines, no grammar checks, and no editors. My thoughts and my words. 

When a loved one has a chronic illness, it has a domino effect on your family, and often you’re operating in crisis mode. It’s difficult but allows you to see yourself and those around you more clearly. Turn around and see who is still there and who has stepped away. By still there, I do not mean those you see every day – I mean the people who will always return a call, meet for coffee, or send a card to say they are grateful that you are in their life. If only I could find the words to express what it meant to open that card. 

And for those who have stepped away, it’s ok. Sometimes, you don’t know what to say, so it’s better for you to say nothing. There are no bad feelings or hurtful intentions.  I am grateful that you were part of my life, and our paths may cross again. 

On the flip side, we make new connections or reconnect with someone we thought had stepped away. It’s the way life changes, and we change with it. 

I am the queen of inspirational quotes, and this captures my thoughts….

 “No one comes into your life by chance. People come into our lives when we need them to. Our paths crossed for a reason. A need was met. Some will stay longer than others, but all should be embraced. Just as others will be what you need, you will also be what others need. Open your eyes, arms and heart.”  – Joseph Andrus

So, until our paths cross again….dance like no one is watching.


Stories of my Italian Grandma

My mom said, “Gram will live with us because that is what families do.”

Like most self-absorbed teenagers, I was not thrilled. However, I learned over the next few years that an Italian family takes care of one another. That’s it. My Gram would live with us because she could no longer live alone. A week later, my sweet but sassy Grandma, Mary Fabbri, arrived.

Gram was a master in the kitchen. I loved watching her, and she loved putting on a show.

“Sophia! Sophia!” Gram yelled as she threw the dough over her shoulder and down onto the table.

“I had legs like hers. Sophia! Sophia!” She yelled again, referring to her beloved Sophia Loren.

After a few more slams on the table, the dough was carefully cut and placed in the oven. Twenty minutes later, the smell of cinnamon filled the house, and we were eating the best sticky buns I had ever tasted in my life.

Family recipes of homemade pasta, ravioli, and the secret ingredients in the sauce, the filling, and the meatballs are part of my recipes. A tip: 90% lean meat does not make a tasty meatball.

She also loved giving advice. While some grandmothers were prim and proper, Gram burped and said, “Better out than in!”

“Chickens really do run with their heads cut off,” recalling when she decided to get the dinner started on her own. Dinner was at noon on Sunday. No one was ever late, and I mean NO ONE. If you were late, you found your “dinner in the yard,” even my Grandfather.

As a young woman, she was a force of nature. She had great stories, and I loved hearing them.

We were “thick as thieves,” especially on Wednesday night TV. That was our Dynasty night.” I don’t think my mom was fooled, but she never said a word to imply she knew our plans which usually involved chocolate.

“Just one little piece. Don’t tell your mom,” she said as the show started.

My Gram loved chocolate, but she wasn’t supposed to have it.

I gave her the box.

“What are you doing?” I asked as she methodically inspected the bottoms of every piece.

“Looking for the Carmel ones – they are easy to spot when you poke them with a toothpick, and I did that already,” she replied as she bit into the perfect piece and waited for the opening song.

Every show ended with her saying, “Joan Collins is not Sophia Loren. “

To Gram, Sophia represented the quintessential Italian woman.

I would have to say that I disagree. “Yes, Sophia was a beautiful Italian woman, but she was not Mary Fabbri. Mary Fabbri worked in a shirt factory all week, made homemade pasta on Sunday, and hid a copper still under the chicken coop.”

Mary Fabbri, my Gram, was an authentic Italian woman. “Fierce about her family but loves them deeply because that is what families do.”

An Ode to PD Moms…

As May comes to an end, Mother’s day passes. Please join me with a tribute to all mothers who have been touched by Parkinson’s. They come in all shapes and sizes. There are young mothers, grandmothers, birth mothers, adoptive mothers, those who have been like a mother, and mothers whose children have Parkinson’s. Age and DNA don’t matter. It’s what you do and who you are that make a difference in the lives of those you love.

 “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”Brené Brown

To the young moms…

Parkinson’s is a long journey and a very emotional one. You are facing one of the biggest challenges of your life at the most hectic time of your life. As your family dynamic changes, it can be overwhelming. However, it can also give you a new perspective – the little things matter. They are the wave of joy to comfort you when you are blindsided by one of sadness. As time goes by, the waves of both joy and sadness will ebb and flow. Take a moment and look for joy in your children. To them, you are “mom” and they love you. That never changes.

To the grandmothers

The prime of your has been redefined. A future of adventures with your spouse, family, and grandkids is different from what you had imagined. While some chapters are already written – the rest is up to you. The next chapters start with a blank page. While Parkinson’s plays a part in your story but you are still the author.

You create future adventures. A casual stroll on a flat, paved trail can lead to an awesome view and a memory of a lifetime. Sharing a porch swing with your grandchildren while eating ice cream for breakfast will make you the coolest grandma in the world!

To the moms who support us…

And finally, to the bravest women in my life – my mom, my mother-in-law, and all moms who watch their sons and daughters bravely meet our greatest challenge. As parents, it is heartbreaking to watch your child struggle. While you would take our place and relieve us of our challenges, Parkinson’s doesn’t work that way. The journey is ours but you are on it with us – supporting us with courage and grace.

So, to all my fellow Parkinson’s moms…

You have owned your story rather than running from it. You have loved who you have become. You have been brave.

World Parkinson’s Day

Today is World Parkinson’s Day. For the first time since my diagnosis, the day almost passed without some sort of post from me, Polly Parkinson’s. But as they say, the day ain’t over just yet…

This year, the message is simple and based on a book a friend gave me…one word…that’s it. Ok, so what is the one word I would use to describe Parkinson’s? Unpredictable. 

We have no idea what our day will bring… life on a medicine that brings us up and down with “off” times is impossible to explain. One minute we are moving normally and later we are in the slow lane.  We know it’s coming yet we cannot plan for it. 

So for awareness day, please be patient…give us time to come back “up” and when we get there….live life well and live it now

Birthday Cake & Snausages

Snausages? Yes. They can provide a family bonding moment and they are not THAT bad. At least, that’s my takeaway from the fit of laughter…

We were together for dinner before another birthday celebration. We were really together. So together that when Monty’s snausages were mistaken for an appetizer by one, we all shared in the fun. Why were they on the table is still a mystery but the mishap makes a good story – one that needed to be told. Now, back to the party…

Our family was together celebrating – The man, the myth, the legend – Dad, Bernie, Pap, or Batman. He is a family favorite, but to me, he is a Superhero, defying the odds. We all help him face the challenges, but the love of his life is never far from his side. The party was a celebration of how far they have come and their unconditional love for each other.

The day was filled with laughter, food, and polish 13’s ( 7 and 7 – Bernie style). Some raised our glasses and gave a toast while others recalled stories of our younger days. Stories of a family, woven together like a quilt. Each square is unique, yet there’s a common thread that binds them together. It was a celebration of two of the most loved squares – two that have actually become one and it was perfect.

Our Words of the Year 2022

Last year I was asked to give one word for the upcoming year. My word was peace. I needed to be at peace with my life. So, how did that work out? Honestly, it was a tough year and quite difficult to be at peace with the curve balls life threw at us. I would be lying if I said it was front and center. At the same time, it never left. I was at peace with the fact that some circumstances are beyond our control – I could not determine the outcome. I had to trust that life would play out the way it should. Did it? While it’s not perfect – it’s still good. 

So what is my word for 2022? It is kind. Be kind. The pandemic and the chaos surrounding it has turned our world up side down. The click bait in the media has made us a reactionary society. We can control our reactions – so let’s react by being kind. Everyone is struggling with something you may know nothing about.

And Mike’s word? It is change. Why? He’s had many of them. Stay tuned to see how it plays out.

Look up and See the Top

As humans, we are creatures of habit and we don’t like change. Yet, it is inevitable. There are few constants in life, and change is one of them. Change can be difficult but it can also be good. 

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future.” John F. Kennedy

My life has been filled with changes over the last seven years. Mike and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. I never imagined my life and our marriage being what it is today. We have been given circumstances that no one expects to face. 

It’s easy to fall into the “Why us?” mentality and if I am being completely transparent, we have gone there – or at least I have gone there. But then I stop and think, “Why not us?”  While sometimes life’s challenges seem insurmountable, there is always someone with a bigger hill to climb. It’s just hard to keep that in perspective when you are climbing and you can’t see the top. But once you get there, you are stronger than when you started. 

So, as we move into our 31st year, we have to look up, see the top, and plan for the future.  We don’t want to miss it.

Moving into Norry Nest

Our tiny apartment in Northumberland is called Norry Nest. It is 450 luxury square feet, although 450 square feet and luxury cannot be used in the same sentence. It is, however, our nest for the immediate future. 

It is well equipped for a “furnished” apartment. Our first two nights did have some unanticipated bumps in the road. Most of them come full circle to technology and that we are old school. I pride myself on being tech savvy but not everything is in my wheelhouse. 

Streaming and smart TV’s should be easy but it’s not for the DePorter parental unit. First of all, we have a 65 inch TV. Who needs a 65 inch TV for a 450 square foot apartment? It may be necessary to sit outside and actually watch it. It was even more difficult when we tried to log in to the few streaming apps that we manage to have and know the passwords to find the former tenant is still signed in to all of them. 

After Apple airPlay and Comcast did not seem to be friends, we moved on to connecting our iPad or computer via an HDMI cord. We did it and we were able to watch TV from the front porch. I’m kidding … but it really is a big TV.

I am not a fan of google home, Alexa, or any of those wonderful tech gadgets. Again, perhaps I am old school but they are creepy. Our second morning, at about 6 am, I hear Mike in distress…”Stop. I didn’t do anything. Where is the music coming from?” The google home hub started playing music. Imagine us trying to talk to it. In perfect old-school form, we unplugged it and proceeded to knock out the wifi for the building!

All in all, it was a successful move-in weekend. We just keep saying “…It’s a new path. Let’s see where it takes us…”

The Pages of a New Chapter

As humans, we are creatures of habit. Comfort zones become sacred. The thought of venturing out into unfamiliar territory may sound exhilarating, but is it? 

When you have spent most of your life in one place, the thought of leaving is somewhat paralyzing. Where do we start? Do we really want to do this?  What will we do with all of our “stuff?”  And I must admit, we have too much stuff! 

There are more questions than answers. If there are answers, they may not be what we want to hear. That is where Mike and I have found ourselves. A new job, a new community, and living like nomads. While it is exciting, it is also terrifying.

Life’s circumstances brought us this new chapter and we will fill the pages together. Thirty years are woven into the foundation we have built and yes, it may “wobble but it won’t fall down.”

With a little luck, this will be a new chapter full of adventure but a little less “stuff.”

More Family Stories…

My parents are getting ready to celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary, Adam and Nikki are closing in on year 1, and Kristen and Mark embarked on their life together. Our family was together to celebrate the latest nuptials. 

Once again we gathered around the kitchen island.  It resembled storytime in Kindergarten. There were stories of pigs and horses living on the Fabbri homestead. And the mystery of the “raised chicken coup” was revealed – it housed the copper still. 

Sitting poolside, Pap shared his hitchhiking adventures, including witnessing fights in the front seat as he sat in the back and being picked up by the cops because they knew him. He recalled stories of running around with the big guys who were able to finish a fight that he started. He ended with the classic of how he got his nickname “Killer Kalisky” when he fell out of a truck and his butt landed on the big guy’s face, knocking his teeth out. 

It wasn’t just the grandparents swapping stories of “the good ole days.” Brian recounted days of throwing acorns out of trees and streaking through the neighborhood. Adding a few stories about shooting rats and raising a pig for a pig roast. I cannot even begin to explain it…use your imagination. 

On the wedding day, the house was full of anticipation and hustling around to get ready. Well, except for the makeover marathon – I am not sure how they all made it.  

The ceremony was on the beach and we had a family drop anchor just offshore. I am not sure which nautical genius felt that was a good idea. But more than one wedding guest was ready to hike up dresses and pants to give them a few suggestions for alternative coordinates. 

The whirlwind of pictures, drinks, dinner, and dancing proved to be a great time…creating memories that will become future “stories on the porch.”