Sunday, July 7, 2013

Where have I been?

All the things you didn't know...

Where have I been? Well, that is something I ask myself all of the time. But, mostly, it's where am I? lol and I'm sure my hubby would concur, he often wonders where I am, or where my head is at.

It used to really upset him, when my kids were little and I didn't know what day it was. It never really mattered to me, all of the days were the same, until it came to the weekend and he was home. :) I was busy being in the moment, but, I digress. ;)

When I left you all, we had just returned from the Denver Show. We did have a wonderful time at the show and I learned a lot, met a lot of great people, but... the trip did not go at all as planned, but what does one do? Other than suck it up and put a smile on their face and go on. :)

When we returned from the trip, we had some family stuff to deal with and the next thing I knew, I was getting a job. I hadn't worked outside the home in ten years, so it was very exciting. I got a sales position at Macy's for the holidays and I basically just worked like a nut from then on until after Christmas and then found out that they were keeping me on permanently.

Nine months later, I still love my job. I love getting dressed up and wearing make up and jewelry and accessories! It's like playing dress up, every day that I go to work. I love our customers, some of the most fabulous fashion savy people shop at Macy's and our customers are from all around the world. This is so appealing to the world traveler in me. I love the stimulus, the excitement, the work, and most of all, helping people. I confess, I am not an avid clothes shopper, but I love serving others.

This year has had a lot of ups and downs for us and I try to keep focused on the positive rather than the negative...

The highlights so far this year have been, my oldest daughter graduating from Penn State University where she had a major in Meteorology and a minor in.... I always wanna say Business Science, I think she says something else. ;)

My husband turned 50 and we celebrated him being in business for himself for the past ten years.

One of the lowest points of the year so far, has been my mother passing away. She died in the spring and I was there at her side to see her not take one more breath. I was there for her, just as I was for when my father passed away and I feel so grateful and fortunate to have been there both times, for both of them.

Both of  my parents started to fail in the same year, though they had been divorced for the majority of my life.

I had always been so close with my mother. We spoke on the phone daily when the children were little and she was at everything for my kids, we took her on vacations with us, she was just a staple for my kids, which is how I wanted it to be, I made sure, she was always there.

Almost one month to the day of my father going into the hospital, my mother took a fall coming home from work and basically, cracked her head open and was hospitalized. I had her come to my house to recuperate, my brother lived with my father, so he had him covered, but I was busy visiting him, every chance that I could.

After mom with with us for a while, hubby and I were comparing notes and we knew things were not right. After a visit up to my mother's house, I came home and told her, "Tough love, you are not going back home anymore, you are going to stay here." She looked at me with relief in her eyes and smiled.

I had her evaluated by a neurologist and that is when we got the diagnosis of dementia. Dementia is a cruel and heart breaking disease.

I cried every night uncontrollably for a week. I knew, I had already lost my mom.

This is something that I have kept fiercely private, because it has been so close to my heart, so painful... this was my secret, I shared with only a few.

As any parent that has raised children knows, you celebrate each day with each new thing learned and each goal in life attained.

I watched my mother digress and unlearn everything. She couldn't remember how to wash her hair, so we got her hair done every week. She couldn't remember how to tie her shoes, so I tied them for her...

The movie "The Devil Wore Prada" came out and we went to see it. Mother always loved movies and going to see them. This movie totally changed my direction in life. Given my circumstances it was a time of re-evaluation.

I longed for a job in retail again, but, knew that could not be. But, I could fulfill one life dream to go to Paris, so I took my family to Paris the next spring.

I knew I had to do something for me during this time, as I could not leave the house, I had to supervise her and eventually her caregivers.

I decided to go back to what I knew, making dollhouse miniatures. I had a very small business when the children were young and I just sold exclusively to one shop. This was a lot of fun, until my son when to school and I missed him so much, I could not self motivate. I ended up working at an antique store here in my town.

On the anniversary of my father's passing, I opened my etsy shop, dalesdreams. I was just about to spam all of my dear friends and family, when I got an email from one of my dearest childhood friends that her mother was in the hospital and then, a bit later, another email, she had passed away.

My shop opened with a dud, as I no longer felt like celebrating it, those spam emails never went out with any announcement of my new endeavor.

But, it opened, life went on and I had my first sale within the first week.

So, here I am, seven years later, dalesdreams will be five in August. Still making my miniatures... and realizing that in wanting to have something just for me, that I never shared it with my mother at all. She never knew what I was doing and given that she had dementia, I don't know how she would have reacted. (It was very rough for me, us switching roles, she used to introduce me to people as her mother)  I know how she would have reacted years earlier, she would have been so proud of me and happy for me, as she had always been and that's what I keep in my mind.

So, that's it, my deeply guarded secret, now you know...where dale's dreams came from.

And, life goes on....

I'm working on a new line, set to debut on Labor Day and it is the biggest project, my largest endeavor to date. I hope that you will be around for the reveal.

This post is dedicated to Dorothy Rose Rodgers 7-2-28 - 3-21-13
I will love and miss you forever, Mother.


  1. A very moving post.
    Hugs, Faby

  2. It's good to hear from you - but it's sad to hear about your Mom. Yes, dementia is a burden... you're still seeing the person you love but the things that really make a person like character, personality, sense of humour... they've faded away. You've done what you could and that will be your comfort.


  3. Dale, what a beautiful post. I'm sorry you had to go through that difficult time, but so heartened that you count your many blessings. Your mother is smiling down on you!
    ❤❤ Love and many hugs,
    Kate Mein

  4. Dale, what a beautiful post. I'm sorry you had to go through that difficult time, but so heartened that you count your many blessings. Your mother is smiling down on you!
    ❤❤ Love and many hugs,
    Kate Mein

  5. Sending big hugs your way Dale! You are such an amazing woman. And very brave for putting yourself out there for all the world to see. I cannot imagine how hard it was to take that step, but hopefully it was therapeutic for you! Love you lady! :-)

  6. Dear Dale,
    I think your post is a wonderful tribute to your mother. Congratulations on your daughter's graduation. I love your work, and I can't wait to see what you do in the future.

  7. I am so glad to hear you LOVE your new job. I am sure you are very good at it for that reason among others.

    I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Your mother was beautiful! She had gorgeous hair too.

  8. I read every word of your story Dale, fascinating for me as my life has followed similar paths and I lost my mother too, the same time as you. I'm now trying to get my life back on track. Miniatures allow us an escape a while when we're able to concentrate a little. I know how hard it is to have all these feelings inside but try to let them out. Sharing them can help. Your miniatures are gorgeous, I hope they help your coping with life. A big hug, Gill x

  9. Dear dale, my deepest sympathy for the loss of your mother. That is so sad. We all have just one Mom, and the bond we have with them can be very special, as was your's with her. To write about it and the troubles your relation encountered takes courage. Because these are matters of the hart. Like you said, sometimes some things feel to close to share. But your strength is in your vulnerability and I admire you for that. Your family and the bond with your parents has made you the person you are today. Thank you só much for sharing your story and shedding a light onto who you are; amongst a lot of things like wife, mom, sales person at Macy's and miniaturist; the daughter of Dorothy Rose Rogers.

    big hug, Debora

  10. Hello Dales,
    I am happy you love your job and all seems to be going well, but I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. Be strong and hold on to all the millions of happy memories.
    Big hug,

  11. Dale, I am so moved by this post. It is like reading a long letter from you and catching up between now and the time you left my home. Thank you, my friend for sharing this.

    This is a beautiful tribute to your beautiful mother.

  12. A beautiful post my friend. My heart feels for you- and my friend Cia (you may know her -she is following a similar path with her Dad). I am glad that you were able to have your Mom with you while she was afflicted with the dementia and you were with her when she passed. It's never easy to lose a parent. I send you lots of love and always an available ear if you need to chat. Love you!!!!!♥

  13. I had to go through the same thing only with my grandmother so I feel your pain, thank you for sharing your story


  14. I'm sorry for your loss, Dale... she looks like a Beautiful Woman. It can be overwhelming to care for elders... or anyone with extra needs for that matter... and time to yourself is essential. I hope you will find your balance again and think of the wonderful times you had together. Losing your parents so close together must be a huge change in your world... and I hope you take care of yourself!

  15. Beautiful Dale. You make me cry with tears of joy and sadness and sheer admiration at the person you are and that I get to call you family!
    You are an incredible role model, and you always have been. I hope you know that. I love you!!

  16. What a very moving post, condolences on your loss. I know what it is like to lose a parent to dementia, my father went at an early age. It's great you have been able to turn you love of miniatures into a small business, and also good that you love your job, it sounds like an exciting place to work!

  17. Hi Dale! I just joined your blog. I was reading over at Catherine's and I was attracted by the photo of your mother. So, I decided to come over and see who this lovely lady was. What gorgeous hair she had! Dale, I feel like I know you because I've often seen you around on Facebook. I'm very sorry for your loss. It's hard to lose our parents. My own mother is very sick. Although we have always had our ups and downs, still I love her. She will be ninety this month. I wish you the best, Dale. Your job at Macy's sounds very interesting. It must be such a beautiful place to work at. I've never been but I have heard of it. I'm from Canada. Take care!

  18. Hi Dale, Like Lucille, I also saw your posting via Catherine's Kilmouski blog and your mother's beauty drew me to stop by your blog. Having read your letter to the world, I have to say that your love and care for your mother is so touching and you made your mother's life a whole lot smoother for her even though it cost you a lot in many different ways. This is what life is all about; what we do for others when we see a need. You seem to have not just a good heart Dale, but also a big one. Your job at Macys sounds like something that helps get you through your days and being in retail means that you are busy! This is a good thing and helping people in retail can act as a therapy of a sort. I wish you a better year ahead and healing in your heart.


  19. It has always been very hard for me to come back to this post. I know it has been years, but, it was the greatest loss of my life.

    I do appreciate each and everyone of you that has read this post and that has taken the time to write the most encouraging and compassionate comments. My heart swells reading all of them. Much appreciation to all of you! <3 <3 <3


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