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Life is beautiful whether you're soaking in sunshine or caught in a thunderstorm. I take the beauty of life for granted too often. I have a supportive husband who I don't want to live life without, a beautiful son who is always reminding me of the simple things that really matter, and an independent daughter who is teaching me to throw schedules out the window and live in the moment. My day is made when free samples fill my mailbox. I love discovering a new product and sharing it with others. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts and will share your stories with me as well.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Our Weekend Recap

This was a weekend that you don't anticipate or plan for.   Our Aunt Dorrie was killed in a car accident on Monday, one week ago today.  We left for CT on Thursday night due to the snowstorm that was hitting Maine on Friday morning.  

 I had only met Dorrie three times but I instantly knew she was an incredible lady.  She displayed such class, grace, and love to everyone around her.  The love she had for Uncle Kevin was clearly evident.  My heart aches for Kevin, Stephen, and Morgan as they try to figure out how to live life without Dorrie.  I'm posting several FB statuses that Kevin posted throughout the weekend.  You can feel the love pouring out for Dorrie through her family, friends, and community. 

I NEED to thank all our wonderful friends and Family for all the kind words, thoughts and prayers. I need to especially thank a group of young people who brought us joy in such a tragic time. Our small town of Hartland normally does not allow burials during the winter months due to the proximity of the head stones to the road, making the nearly quarter mile of road unable to be plowed. The Granby GranbyFootball Bears showed up yesterday, the entire team of young men shoveled and snow blowed the entire Hartland cemetery so that my dear wife can be laid to rest Saturday I simply cannot find words to express the overwhelming show of love and support we felt as car after car of young men and women showed up and went to work, Stephen, Jake and I were overwhelmed. I want to Thank Brad Field, Coach Gadoury, The board of Directors, The entire coaching staff, managers and of course the players. I thank the parents of these fine young men. What an AMAZING tribute to you that these gentlemen did this for my family. I simply could not have imagined my dear wife not being able to rest. These young men made this happen. I will never be able to thank you enough.

Doris “Dorrie” (Cook) Blake, 51, of East Hartland, beloved wife of Kevin Gerard Blake, passed away suddenly on Monday, January 26, 2015 from injuries sustained in a car accident. Born in Wurzburg, Germany on January 10, 1964, daughter of Ruth (Hampshire) Cook of Bloomfield and Charles Jeffrey Cook of Ocean Pines, MD, she was raised in Towson, MD and had lived in Alexandria, VA for 17 years beforemoving to East Hartland in 2006. After high school, Dorrie continued her education at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania and later at the University of Virginia where she earned a Master’s Degree in Mathematics. She worked for many years for the Anser Corporation and later took a position with an affiliated company, Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute as a defense analyst. Dorrie was passionate about lifelong learning. She continued to take classes in her field and graduated from the Defense Systems Management College at Fort Belvoir, VA. Drawing on her years of experience, she later authored a book on Anti-Ballistic Missiles (ABM). After moving to Connecticut, Dorrie helped her husband Kevin with their business Action Carpet & Floor Covering and for the last four years she had worked as a medical contract analyst for Harvest Healthcare in Avon. She loved music and was a gifted pianist and flautist. In her spare time, she enjoyed making scrap books and shadow boxes for her family and friends. Most of all, she will be remembered as a kind person who was known for her style and grace. She was always willing to help anyone especially her family whom she loved deeply. Dorrie passed her love of learning on to her two stepchildren Stephen and Morgan by helping them with their homework and school projects. Besides her loving and devoted husband, she leaves her mother, Ruth Cook of Bloomfield; father, Charles “Jeff” Cook and his wife Louise of Ocean Pines, MD; her stepchildren, Stephen Andrew Blake and Morgan Anne Blake of East Hartland; a brother, Jeffrey Cook and his wife Kate of Austin, TX; a sister, Christine Vance and her husband John of Catonsville, MD; her uncle and aunt, John and Sue Hampshire of Ellicott City, MD; and three special cousins, Chris Hampshire and his wife Tammy of Downingtown, PA, Joel Hampshire and his wife Tammy of Ellicott City, MD, and Melissa Turning and her husband Rob of Baltimore, MD. She was predeceased by her maternal grandmother who helped raise her, Ruth Hampshire. Her family will receive friends on Friday, January 30, 4-9 p.m., at the Hayes-Huling & Carmon Funeral Home, 364 Salmon Brook St., Granby. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 31, 11 a.m., at the Bethany Lutheran Brethren Church, 116 Walnut Hill Rd., East Hartland. Burial will follow in East Hartland Cemetery. The family has requested that in memory of Dorrie’s passion for learning and higher education, that memorial donations be made to the Blake Children Scholarship Fund, c/o Simsbury Bank, P.O. Box 377, Granby, CT 06035. For online condolences please visit,www.carmonfuneralhome.com

This is the eulogy I gave for my Dorrie, I hoe you don't mind that I post. I want everyone to know what a truly incredible women she is
I wanted to say a few words about my beautiful Bride Dorrie.
I was told this would be difficult and maybe have someone else read this What would be impossible for me would 
not to be able to tell you about what a wonderful woman I was blessed to have fall in love with me. Please be patient with me, 
indulge, sit back and listen. Any one who knows the Irish, we love to tell a Good story.

My dear Dorrie is my favorite subject. I met Dorrie Feb 18 2005 in the hospital room at Walter Reed Army Hospital while visiting my sister. We always said Linda 
went through a helluva lot to fix me up on a date! We left the hospital, I called "Doris" and asked her to have a bite to eat. 
Innocently, I knew we both hadn't eaten. We went to Mango Mike's, the only restaurant I knew of in Alexandria! 
We sat there for five hours talking, and was eventually were thrown out.
(I am going out on a limb but I am pretty sure it was the only bar Dorrie was ever thrown out of)
We started secretly dating until a week later she and I walked down this long hall in the hospital holding hands (Linda said we 
were skipping, I believe we were just walking on air) I remember Linda sitting in a chair at the end of the long hall, squinting her 
eyes in disbelief from her hospital room. Dorrie walked in beaming!!!!! Well fast forward, we decide to throw a dinner party at 
Linda's for our friends. I keep saying Dorrie this and Dorrie that and finally Linda Jameson says "who the heck is Dorrie" 
Everyone had known "Doris" for years but never knew she was Dorrie outside of work! She was private, they didn't know 
of her talents of playing piano, singing or that she was an accomplished Flautist .
We started dating, I asked Linda if she thought Dorrie would be ok receiving flowers at work....NO Linda said, Dorrie was a very private person....so of course I sent them! I heard she ran from office to office showing anyone who would look that she received flowers! I would send candy 
or flowers or once sent a scone from the bakery downstairs. You would have thought I got her a new car. 
With Dorrie, it truly was the thought that counted! It was something I tried to repeat often, 
because for all she was, it was the little things that made her happy. flowers/ice coffee, a kiss!

We watched football together, Uconn Mens and womens basketball, Dancing with the stars, Secret lives of teenagers, Glee, 
Dance Moms and scandal. I would get ribbing from my Stephen and Morgan, Jake and a few others watching "high school girl shows! 
Dorrie just loved that we would sit on our sofa, hold hands and watch the shows. something basic but it was important to her. 
She loved sitting on the back deck, bundled up with a glass of wine and the fire going. sitting in our bent wood rockers she 
found at a flea market under the Stars. Our night at the new cape house, fire going, we boiled lobsters, steaks on the grill, 
a drink and bundled up together. That's what made her happy. I am a lucky man to have found a soul like her.

She decided "WE" needed to take dance lessons for the wedding. The instructor would show Dorrie a step ONCE, and I mean ONCE 
and BAM, she nailed it. The instructor would show me 6, 7, 8 times, I would kick the wall, words would be uttered not fit for church
and Dorrie would lie to me, tell me I was doing great and eventually we danced at out wedding, she was amazing! I didn't embarrass her! At ease as a person could be and the most completely stunningly beautiful bride I had ever saw. 
I remember as she stepped into the back of the church and there was a gasp, she was that Stunning. I stood at the alter and cried. 
I couldn't believe she picked me. We married on my Birthday, what a present I gave to myself. She joked I did it so I would never 
forget our anniversary, I stood firm she agreed so she wouldn't forget my Birthday!

She used to love to watch the film, Dirty Dancing because she saw herself in the main Character "Baby" . She says she was transformed 
like that when we met! Truth is she changed me just as much. In nine years, 11 months we never had an argument. Oh sure I 
was a jerk sometimes, she would wait it out, smile at me and eventually I would apologize. You see my Dad always said people 
were always made to sound better after they died, but my Dad was wrong. The thing is, there are not enough words to describe 
what a beautiful person my dear sweet wife was. Graceful, playful, happy, Brilliant, stunning. The listing of adjectives could never end. 
And I would dare anyone to find someone to say a bad word about her! there simply wasn;t

Ok, annoying! we annoyed some people with our sweetie and affection. Hear is a secret folks...SHE LOVED IT! That was Dorrie's rebellious side! She cherished the fact that some people were annoyed with the love we shared.I used to call her "My little Rebel" and she would say "oh yeah, that's me I'm a rebel! Dorrie jumped into the roll of Wife, step mom and friend with the ease she seemed to do everything else. She developed a good relationship with Deb and I believe they had a mutual respect and they ALWAYS ALWAYS, ALWAYS put our kids first.Of course when I say she tackled it with ease, Her ease meant she read book after book after book on how to be a proper 
stepmom. (That is absolutely true! ) I remember her studying in her analytical way all the steps she thought she needed to do to be an 
effective step mom, balancing friend with guidance counselor, always respectful of her role and respectful of Debbie who became her friend.
Deb, Chuck , Dorrie and I did our best to co parent. Each person brought their own to the table.We sat and talked one day and I had told Dorrie how much I appreciated how Chuck had introduced Morgan to her love of horses, 
she looked at me and said "Have you ever told him? So at Stephens Grad party, I did! Morgan would have never found her love of horses 
without Chuck! (I am petrified of them)

I always credited Dorrie who graciously took a back seat sometimes, following our lead. I am not sure anyone truly understands 
how hard she worked at being a great step mom. Stephen and Morgan Anne, I know you truly loved her, she loved you with all her 
heart and soul, as if you were her own kids, She cheered your accomplishments, helped guide you and hated when you hurt!I told her from day one she was "slumming" when she met me, She was the youngest manager ever for her company who 
dealt with National security. She co authored a book on anti ballistic missile systems and had the highest of security clearances. 
(A fact, she would NEVER divulge any secrets, I ASKED!! ) 
She obtained her Master degree in Mathematics, played concert Flute at the prestigious Peabody School in Baltimore and as 
a "hobby" taught herself Piano so she could relax (and entertain her MOM MOM and mother) 
The most amazing fact....she gave that all up for The kids and I. She moved from Washington DC to Hartland Connecticut! 
(Most folks would not consider that a lateral move) Dorrie didn't think so either! She LOVED our community! 
Dorrie of course missed and loved her Maryland family especially her Uncle john, and Aunt Sue, and three cousins and their 
spouses Chris and Tammy, Joel and Tammy and Melissa and Rob were like brothers and sisters and 
they welcomed "KDOG" and the kids into the family!

Our first dinner at Dorries grandmother, I walk in and there is a table set for royalty. I mean Silver and china, the works. 
I asked if we should leave, they had company coming over, she laughed and said it was for me! I was totally out of my element! 
She introduced me to the family, her Dear uncle John and aunt Sue, who she looked to as both friends and surrogate parents, 
and the cousins I heard so much about! Joel kept commenting on "being on his best behavior" I finally asked why, he said 
"cause DORIS will kill us! I said, she doesn't;t like the name Doris, he smiled looked at Chris and they both said "We know". 
I was renamed that day KDOG! Melissa and I shared a Orioles game once and we got to just sit and talk 
I listen to stories and felt the love she had for my beautiful bride to be!

A few stories about Dorrie, she would spend hours tutoring the kids in math, she and Morgan worked on cooking a gourmet 
meal and serving to us that still to this day is the best meal I have ever eaten. Food was amazing spiced with the perfect 
amount of love and laughter! 
Without hesitation one day she took 9 screaming 6 year olds to a concert, would help Morgan with horseback riding or 
sit in the driving freezing rain to watch Stephen in a football game. You haven't experienced a sporting event until you
listen to my demure wife scream for Morgan at a horse show or Stephen at a Football game.Stephen once said even through the noise of the crowds, the cracking of helmets he could hear Dorrie cheering 
one especially funny story, Stephen and his cousin Nick got tickets to a 11 hour heavy metal screaming concert! I
 bought her ear plugs and at one point I had to leave the arena due to the strobe lights, but there sat Dorrie 
listening to "MY Chemical romance" and "Mindless self indulgence" as these um, "artists" writhed on stage 
laying down screaming into a microphone. But there sat Dorrie, anything so Stephen could be happy! She loved both kids as her own and was so very proud of all their accomplishments having a special connection with Morgan and their mutual love of horses!

Dorrie carried herself with a grace and class, I always told her she was much like my mom. She had a term 
I coined Dorrie speak"! If she absolutely hated something she would say "that's not my particular favorite! 
She would turn any negative to a positive or at least neutral. If I chose something ridiculous, she would steer me 
to the correct selection and allow me to think it was my idea without hurting my ego! 
She transformed everything she did into near perfection, renovating our home, her latest was a total redesign of our master bath. A
fter 22 years in the business, it is the most beautiful bath I have ever seen. It was 100% hers! 
She took the house we purchased at the Cape this past April and turned it into an incredible beach house! And each weekend, 
she would point out the latest "Craft Fair" we just HAD to attend. I received many, many MANY husband points for 
going to craft fairs, but the greatest point getter was when we went to a Gingerbread house exhibit this past Christmas! 
I laughed at her excitement as she, 60 other women all over the age 99 and me as the lone male um ENJOYED the gingerbread houses. 
I would find myself learning so much from her. Pointing out little nuances about certain things to buy, items I would never give 
a second thought and for very little, she would make it an integral part of the decorating of our home. She purchased a chair that was literally cut in half, then the legs were sawn off (I am NOT making this up) she painted it, hung it on the wall, added a Nantucket basket and it is perfect. 
I had told friends we got this broken chair with no legs that needed to be painted for only $65.00! What a Steal! My brother I think is still laughing at me!

Dorrie was so smart, many in this room have no idea, twenty years after Graduating the prestigious Susquehanna university, we went back fora reunion and every professor remembered her as "COOKIE" ! She was referred to me as Brilliant by her Physics professor! In college She took first chair in the band away from someone who had attended Suck a banana U (Thats Susquehanna to those non grads from SU)
on a full ride music scholarship. She sang and played organ every Sunday at her Ascension Lutheran church, 
the same church we would later be married in.

The kids and I joked with her that she got a "B..... once! I told her honestly " I had gotten a B once also". The difference was that was her lowest grade, my B was my highest...and only once!She never made anyone feel like they were not as smart.
She glided between academics and dancing, from Ballrooms to barrooms with such ease. To all her friends and family, 
Dorrie so appreciated just belonging! She also loved being in the spotlight sometimes, She loved our wedding because it was "HER" day! 
I told her boss I enjoyed bringing bagels or pizza every once in a while because her eyes beamed, she was so proud of our family and our love.
We had what i called "Dorrie days" for those who know me, I am sometimes a little um, overbearing. She was always fine with shining a light on me. 
I used to like to have days that JUST focused on her! She loved getting the Flowers at work, or if i dropped by Bagels! 
All of her co workers would kid her about our term "sweetie", and she would beam and eat it up! ALL those at Harvest, she loved you all, 
talked glowingly about each of you!

She developed special relationships with all my family, especially with My sister Karen, and cousins Butch and Linda, Donna and Johnshe loved Aunt Judy and her Pistachio cake and so enjoyed our Sundays at Obrien's Pub watching The Pats or Red Sox!

Dorrie loved and cherished that she was able to reconnect with her Dad Jeff and step mom Lou, she was excited at the 
possibility to get to know her sister Christine and her Husband John and their family as well as her Brother Jeff, wife Kate and their children.
I cannot begin to tell you the hope and promise that was your relationship.

We called each other "Sweetie" Stephen and Morgan referred to us as the sweetie family. The tenth year was like the 10th day. 
every morning I would wake up, take a shower, shave and come back out, she would have moved to my side of the bed. 
I would hug her and kiss her, but she made sure it was a body hug, then I would get dressed, and hug her again. 
The morning she died, as I hugged her, she pulled me back towards her, smiled and said "I need another, I just love your hugs!

That is honestly the last memory I have of her.
For those of you that new her, her incredible family, her friends, co workers. you know there wasn't a mean bone in her body, she was the epitome of grace, for those who didn't know her that well, you missed out on an incredible soul. To Morgan and Stephen, Dorrie always did her best for you, she loved you both equally, like you were her own, Please always keep her in your hearts. 
For me, I am lost. She made me a better person, looked past my faults, was better to me than I ever deserved. She was my Sweetie, I miss her!

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