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A Muna look-alike

A Muna look-alike

Each year, on the anniversary of my sister’s birthday, I haul out this little family treasure because it is one of my favorite “tails”, a family story that always makes my sister laugh. Although it isn’t until Monday, I wish my sis a Happy Birthday Weekend, and look forward to celebrating with her in the very near future. This story ‘splains so much as to why we never really make plans in our family and we just keep going no matter what life throws at us. We are fortunate to have so many great memories. Sadly, as many of you know, Hooper is among those memories now, but we are all so happy to make new memories with Teddy, the Foster who came to Stay and has been with us for a year and a half now. We also love, “cousin Styles” the Staffordshire terrier, who came to reside at my sister’s home a couple of years ago, rescued from a Bergen Co. Shelter. Thanks to Manette, her husband author David Lender, and son, Zac Loudon, Styles has enjoyed the life he deserves.

Thanks, again for being a great little sis! In your honor, I once again present a rerun, originally posted a few years back…

I grew up in Hackensack, NJ, and have had the good fortune to claim many great places as temporary home, or hang out. For the past 15 years, I’ve lived in a beautiful wooded waterfront community in Ocean County, with my husband, Rich, and 8-year-old Hooper, the dog.

Before living this peaceful life, I was caught up in the hustle and bustle of New York City, working as a recruiter for what was called then, Home Box Office, Inc. I had an office, with a view of Bryant Park and even an assistant, all before turning 30! What did I do? I resigned, traveled to an art school in Italy and came home to become a full-time artist. (sounds way more exciting than it was). Some days I think of what could have been, but then I look out my studio window, at my dog, and hubby and wonder no more. Living by the water, isn’t too shabby.

I just want to say a thank you to my “kid” sister, Manette. She has been invaluable to me, helping with this Blog, for instance. I am a noted techno-klutz, and she has been my Blog coach. I ‘ve grown used to her text alerts about my typos, or incomplete thoughts.

My sister likes dogs, but if there was a National Horse Week, she would be saddling up and blazing the trail. When she was twelve and I was one year older, my parents whisked us away from Hackensack, to Boulder, Colorado, for a year. Six of us and a gassy toy poodle made the trek in a station wagon. Along the way, just 2 hours from our destination, our car was flattened by a double-wide. Our car was totalled, but we all miraculously survived. Did I mention, my parents hadn’t secured housing for us in Boulder? So carless, and temporarily homeless, we entered Boulder in a police cruiser! Oh, but here is the “funniest” part, in the middle of all of this, my sister asked my parents if she could have a horse when we got to Boulder.

Long story short, within 48 hours of arriving in Boulder, we had rented a beautiful ranch house on North Broadway, just a few miles from Colorado University where my dad would work. The house came equipped with a few acres and, conveniently, a horse stable. Of course, after the first day of school, my sister arrived home, horse in hand. A beautiful half Arabian, half quarter horse named Muna del Adrienne. The horse had been abused and in need of safekeeping. My sister was happy to oblige. She spent a memorable 10 months with that horse, they were inseparable. It was a sad day for all when we left Boulder and returned to Hackensack and had to say good-bye to Muna.

I tell this story because it highlights the power of creative visualization and faith, (okay, maybe some luck and the right attitude), and a lesson for everyone that it doesn’t hurt to think big. Manette, by the way, is a talented documentary producer, her documentaries on serious subjects like the overmedicating of our children and our autism epidemic (The Drugging of our Children, Autism: Made in the USA) have won awards at the Hoboken and Key West Film festivals, among others.

So on this June 30th, dream on sis, and keep up the great work!



"Is it dog week yet?"

"Is it dog week yet?"

Michelle Mongelli and Wheezey

Pike, at Geiger Key

Hooper in the Keys

Hooper in the Keys

“Two Culprits” by Steven Hall

Logan & Koda


DJ Goes to Westminster

Zac and Cooper

"Look daddy, I can fly!"

“Hooper” – Best in Snow

Pita in Matt’s Garden

Hooper with cousin Roxy, Summer 2009

Me and my “Hoop”