Second Chance

With so much going on in my life between working on new music, acting and being a dog mom and cat mom to multiple beings, there has not been much time to tend to this blog. Like so many people life has been moving so fast, and we all have become accustomed to cramming way too many things into a day. That is until a few weeks ago. When all of us came to a sudden and screeching halt.

Suddenly instead of having no time, we all have too much time on our hands. What to do, what to do? Well, with so much uncertainty in the world today I think we could all use a little hope right about now.

So I thought it would be nice to share a story about second chances. (WARNING: LONG BLOG POST) Hey, but it’s a true story and aren’t all true stories long? Anyone that has followed this blog over the years knows lots of things about me, one of the most important is that I love animals. I can’t say what I think should happen to stupid humans who hurt them because if I do someone will surely show up at my door to lock me up.

My social media has been flooded with pics and videos of my furkids both K9 and feline over the years, especially of my beloved Pepe. I have blogged about his story before when we first saved him from the NYCACC.

pepe shelterThe short version is, he was on the euthanasia list because he was slapped with the label “New Hope Only”. This is a title given to dogs who do not pass their shelter behavior evaluation for whatever reason. They must be pulled by a “New Hope” approved rescue in order to make it out of the shelter alive. In Pepe’s case a rescue we have adopted from asked us to foster him. Not knowing his actual situation we agreed. We drove to the NYCACC and busted him out of the clink on October 3rd, 2012.

 

 

pep jailbird

1st Howl-O-Ween

Had I known what would follow, I cannot honestly say that I would have agreed originally. He had so many problems. He had been abused and was a fear biter, he hid, he attacked our other dogs, didn’t allow grooming, the list was long. However I made a decision early in that this dog, this little creature had clearly been failed by humans for his entire life (he was at least ten when we rescued him) that I was not going to be that person who let him down again. So after convincing the Mr. we made it official and adopted him.

It was an eventful first few years to say the least, but finally he realized he was safe, that we were his people, and that he was finally safe. We showered him with everything he should have had all of his life. We took him on trips, hiking, carried him around in a bag, and as much as he didn’t like it, even dressed him up for holidays like Halloween and Christmas. He went on car rides which he loved, he took selfies, had girlfriends at the vets office, he even learned to be friends with his new cat siblings. He was popular for sure, everywhere we went people would almost squeal with happiness asking “What is that, what kind of dog is that, OMG that face!”, heck chewy.com even had his mug painted, not once but three times.

Pepe Christmas  Pepe hallowen 15 or 16  pepe selfie    pepe painting

Yes we loved that little dog to the moon and back. So much so that as his little body began to fail him at the ripe old age of what must have been at least eighteen I was not able to bear the thought of losing him. So I did everything humanly possible to keep him around a little longer.

I cooked him meals, gave him every supplement known to man, and took him for weekly shots of adaquan for his arthritis. There were steroid shots, Vitamin B12 shots, and even rymadel. In the end it was dementia that finally caused me to make the decision to set him free to fly with the angels. I’ve lost dogs to rainbow bridge before but this one really gutted me. I was in a depression funk especially with all of the corona homebound lockdown going on.

see you later pepe    Pepe is home

Here is where a little magic happened. An ending that turned into a second, second chance. Courtesy I believe of my little Pepe monkey and the man upstairs.

The following is a post I made to Facebook in a Tibetan Spaniel group I belong to. It’s a space where we “Tibbie” lovers share pics, videos, love and support for the ancient breed of dog we all love so much. (See Post below)

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Tibbie friends. 💜Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement about setting my beloved Pepe monkey 🌈free to fly with the Angels this week.

Your words really helped. I read every comment and they all touched my heart.

I apologize for this long post. I hope you all don’t judge me for this as I’m still judging myself. However Thursday when I woke up something happened and I couldn’t help but feel it was a gift 🎁 from my boy.

Most of you know Pepe had a very hard life before we rescued him from the euth. list at NYCACC. He was unadoptable, a terrible biter and had lots of issues. After years of love he finally realized he was safe and turned into a mush. With the occasional Hannibal 😉if you tried to do something he didn’t want you to like clean his ears or trim his Tibbie feet 🦶🙈🤣

Anyway I always said I wonder how he could have been had he not been abused and we could have had him from a baby. Well the universe, God, and my boy I feel heard me.

I woke up Thursday checked the notifications of facebook of my post from Wednesday about him. Still half asleep I saw a new post with a black Tibbie. Didn’t think anything of it just another person sharing their furbaby.

When I focused my eyes I saw he was being rehomed. I thought, huh… black Tibbie being rehomed. Odd. Then one of you tagged me, I looked at the post again and saw it was mentioned he was in NY. I thought hmmm that’s odd, two year old black Tibbie being rehomed in NY… so I texted the number. Called. Turns out he was like forty five minutes from me. Not in NYC, rather the Hudson Valley where we live.

I mentioned to my husband who was like “sure let’s go see him”. I almost fell over because he never wants to rescue dogs or cats, it’s always me. Lol

The woman was in hurry to rehome him. So we went Thursday night. Still in shock really as the loss of Pepe very numbing. ESP since he was pretty much hospice (blind/mobility) for more than a year.

I wanted to wait and think about it as we do have three other dogs, are watching my moms shitzu and three cats. As well as I’m grieving my Pepe. However if I didn’t decide right there she was going to give him to the next person who paid her the next day. Really.

Sparing you the details of what we discovered as it wasn’t quite as tidy a situation as her post laid out. My husband decided for me this time, he scooped him up and said “pay her let’s go”.

He is decompressing in our finished basement as he is not neutered yet and with corona I can’t get it done til April 13th. 🙏🏻 Praying our governor reopens things soon!

He’s been a complete angel. Other than being starved for attention – having bunch of matts that I’m still cutting out – we all walked together and I think my Japanese Chin Yuki and him will be play buddies.

Here is where I need your help. He has no idea what his name is. They said it was Nimble. He does not answer to it.

So please don’t judge me for getting another Tibbie so soon. I never in a million years would I have guessed I’d have another this fast. He will never replace my Pepe. But his birthday is 2/3/18. My wedding anniversary is February third.

I can’t help but feel my boy knew of this boys plight and sent me to give him the life Pepe didn’t have (for the first part anyhow). Too many coincidences for it to just be chance.So I’ve taken the gift from my Pepe and will pass the love forward. My motto has always been – “rescue one until there is none.”

I need your help… he needs a name: he reminds me of a bear. Pepe had a monkey face. 🐵 This guy he reminds me of a bear. 🐻

dog   dog 2   dog 3   dog 5

Names…. now GO:

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I’ll wrap this happy ending in a message. Please #dontshopadopt! There are millions of Pepe’s out there waiting for a second chance. Contact the local shelter, now more than ever animals need help to make it out alive.

In the end something good will almost always come from something bad. Whether it’s a shelter dog who seems to be turning life upside down, or a pandemic that has stopped what seems like the entire world.

Even though we might not see it at the time. Light will always overtake dark, and in the end love will alway win. So even though it might look dark right now, hold onto hope because all of us will soon experience a second chance. The sun will indeed shine again in all of our lives.

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

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Are you earning it

D-day

The Mr. and I had the honor and privilege to meet and hear a fantastic talk a few days back by Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret.). For anyone not familiar with him, he is an American political commentator, retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, author, and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. It was not only informative but also highly motivating. I strongly suggest a visit to his website www.theoldschoolpatriot.com.

allen west

With the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day around the corner he brought up a very valid point and it got me to thinking. He asked us if we remembered the scene in the film “Saving Private Ryan” (one of the best war movies ever made) where Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) tells Private James Ryan to “earn this, earn it” and then dies right there. Col. West then went onto remind us how every American that is and ever is to come owes a debt to every service member who gave their life in that war. How can that debt be paid? By earning it.

How do we earn it? Be involved in our local communities. Participate in civics and serve others. That’s how. Heck, maybe even run for the President of the School Board. Why not? The world might look a whole lot different had it not been for the heroes who stopped evil dead in its tracks. We all might be living in a totally different reality. A reality where the freedoms we enjoy and often take for granted would be nothing but a dream.

Then on the drive home my mind started to wander. I realized we also earn it by living every single day, and squeezing every stinking second out of it. The good days, the bad days, the in-between days, even the days when you wish you could go back to bed and pull the covers over your head. There are countless souls who never had the chance to have those days. We owe it to them to do and be everything that they never had the chance to. It’s the least we can do.

WWII Vets

So on this seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day honor and remember the fallen. Keep the strength and steadfastness of the Greatest Generation the world has ever known in your mind and heart. If you’re lucky enough to know or meet one of those heroes please thank them. I am fortunate to meet a fair share of them from time to time when I sing at Veteran related events. It is always and honor and a pleasure to talk with them and hear their stories. I am thankful and grateful for their sacrifice today and every day. God bless America and God Bless the Allies.

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

 

 

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Never Say Never

tiger woods wins masters 2019

One of the Greatest Comebacks of Ever!

Most people have already seen this image by now. It’s been splashed all over across the news and social media world. Whether one watched the historic event or just caught the highlights, I can’t imagine this image not making any human being smile a great big cheesy happy grin.

I thought it was simply magical to witness a truly gifted and disciplined athlete return to glory. I was also glad to see the folks in the media cheering for him instead of jumping on the bandwagon to tear him down as had been the case in years past.

There is no escaping it in the world we are living in, that is unless you move to the wilderness and get off the grid I guess. It still always bothers me when I see people in the media, and on social media piling onto tear down someone the minute something isn’t exactly “perfect” in their life. Sure everyone likes to be a cheerleader when someone is on top, but as they say a person discovers their true friends in times of difficulty.

Back to Tiger… Seriously though, his win might well be one of the greatest comebacks in the history of ever. How special it was that Woods, who has endured four back surgeries (including spinal fusion two years ago) and personal struggles and scandal ended his dry spell at the Masters. His comeback happened at The Masters, which was the first major tournament he won 22 years ago. I don’t know about you, but I just loved it! I mean this is the stuff movies and the great stories of the ages are made of.

It just goes to show you, you may be down but you are never out, that is unless you choose to stay that way. I was watching an interview with a journalist who ran into Tiger at a charity event last year. Tiger told the journalist he was putting very badly and was practicing three hours a day at that time to get better. Imagine it, one of the greatest golfers of all time practicing three hours a day to get better at something he is one of the greatest of all time at. Sounds crazy but that discipline is one of the things that made him the great that he is. It is also the thing that can take anyone from anywhere they are to anywhere they want to go.

I also learned there was a time when mere standing was painful for him, let alone holding a golf club. When the thing you love causes you pain it takes a special kind of drive to find a way past it to break through. Such a great moment in history, it is one I will never forget. In my adult life Tiger Woods has mostly been on top and a symbol of what one can achieve if they believe, and work hard. I am very happy for him and for what this event can and will do to inspire generations of people from all walks of life for years to come. GO Tiger!

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

 

 

 

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Super Trifecta Weekend

 

Patriots Superbowl 2019

Let the Confetti fall!

I couldn’t be any happier if I tried. Why? Well it all started on Saturday when Punxsutawney Phil gave me a belated Christmas gift with the prediction of an early spring. This had me jumping for joy because frankly last year winter hung around way too long. The Nor’ester that brought trees down all over our yard totaling one of our cars didn’t really add any love to the season for me either.

Sunday started out doing my favorite thing in the world which is to sing, at a military event The four Chaplins WWII Memorial Service. It was also a milestone wedding anniversary with the love of my life and on this same day with a hot cup of magic a la Dunkins in my hand I got to watch Tom Brady and the Patriots deliver a fantastic gift to us and Pats fans everywhere by delivering another historic Super Bowl win! There was so much talk about him being too old, and people speculating if he still had what it took, or if he should retire, and on and on. As the confetti was falling down all around and the celebration began I couldn’t help but think about my song “I Don’t Even Care”.  

It was written about stuffing your ears full of cotton balls when the naysayers of life tell you you’re too this or too that to do something. When they say that something is impossible. First off they are forgetting what the word actually says, “I’m_Possible”.

Nothing is impossible to anyone period, end of story. It’s all in your mind. If you think you can, you can and that is it. Well that is unless you’re ninety nine years old and your dream is to be an Olympic skier, but even then who knows really? The power the mind has on the body is incredible. There really are no words to fully express it.

Anyway there are a lot of people with Tom Brady derangement syndrome out there and I think it is beyond silly. He is an athlete who has broken all kinds of records in the sport. There were so just many beautiful things about this Super Bowl anyone should be smiling watching it all unfold. Especially the twins from my little neck of the woods. First time ever twins played together in a Super Bowl. Twins Devin and Jason McCourty were born in Nyack, NY the area where I live in the beautiful historic Hudson Valley of NY.

People should celebrate others success and be happy when someone achieves a dream or a goal because if it happened to them it can happen to you. Anything is possible if you work hard and take the necessary steps to achieve your dream and goal. I listened to a pregame interview of Brady on Saturday night, and he was saying how he makes a daily choice to do the work necessary to do his job. There was a lot more to it, but it was really poignant. Many people today want things overnight, and feel entitled to have them without doing the things required to get them. Here is a guy who has worked practically every day of his life on one thing, and he is the best at it not only because of his talent, but because of his effort. He works hard, stays out of trouble, and has a beautiful wife and family. I think it is a great example and inspiration to people everywhere.

His interview actually reminded me of a great quote from President Ronald Reagan. It was made while he was Governor of California.

“Attitude, not aptitude, controls altitude. Along with a positive attitude, we must have a positive plan.” 

Very true. Even more so the more you think about it. Another thing that made the Super Bowl so special this year was the National Anthem. I mean HELLO! Gladys Knight knocked it OUT OF THE PARK! Quite possibly the BEST National Anthem ever in my opinion (and to think she didn’t need to write the lyrics on her hands and she was fully clothed) wow – what a concept. I will use my inside voice to describe what I thought about the half time show because my mom taught me if you don’t have anything nice to say, sometimes it is best to not say anything at all.

Onto the third and final item in the what made it a Super Trifecta weekend for this greek girl. Well, it is not really the weekend still because it happens on Tuesday. However, Tuesday is the Super Bowl parade in Boston and the grand finale that same evening… if you guessed the State of the Union you are correct!

I have my popcorn ready (organic of course) and I’m all set to watch the President address the nation. I could go on about another major case of derangement syndrome some people have but I won’t. I will however say that there are far too many people who show no respect for the office. Even when there have been people in that office I did not agree with in any way, shape, matter, or form, I showed respect for the office. The level of discourse out there is frightening. Where is the common decency? People should be able to disagree and not hate each other as people. Good grief Charlie Brown.

Anyway it’s a happy day for me. So go download my song, tell the naysayers where they can go, and go out and make it a happy day!

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New year new you

New Year 2019

Happy New Year!

They say the new year is a time for new beginnings. A whole new chance to begin again. New year, new you, or maybe a new me. Possibly the same old me, just one that I haven’t seen in a while.

It’s that time of the year when we get the opportunity to reflect on the past year and set goals for the new one ahead. For me the last year has really been a great opportunity to grow and expand my awareness of all kinds of things from health/wellness and going almost totally vegan to changes in fitness. The year I began to really love yoga. Which for a girl who spent most of her life doing all kind of crazy workouts, is actually quite surprising. I never thought I would love it as much as I do. In fact it has been the best thing for my back. Having sustained a back injury in two close-dated car accidents years back, really put a damper on the crazy workouts. Since I started to do yoga regularly, honestly my back hurts if I “don’t” do yoga.

Anyhow back to my original thought. It happened kind of randomly actually, but it got me to thinking. My acting representative was visiting shortly before Christmas. He started to tease me a bit about the fact that he has a hard time finding jobs to submit me for. As there are far less castings for blondes than for brunettes. If you are at a certain level in an entertainment career you can have your hair any color and mostly people adjust to you, or you change it for a role, then put it back as needed. However, until that point, you kind of need to be able to “be” what is being cast. So if a role says “female 30-40 brunette” he can’t send me if my hair is blonde.

Unless, my inside voice started to say “unless I wear a wig”. So the next chance I had I dragged the Mr. along to some local wig shops. Just to get an idea of how I would look, because honestly I had not seen it in so long I couldn’t even remember how I looked as a brunette.

Yes it is true, I did not come from the manufacturer (the man upstairs) with blonde hair. So I put on a few and of course none of the pictures below are what I have in mind, but making use of what they had in the shop, I took a few fun pics just to see how I looked in a dark hairdo. So here ya go:

Screen Shot 2018-12-31 at 11.06.32 AM

Holy 90’s hairdo & way dark but hey it’s what they had ;o)

Screen Shot 2018-12-31 at 11.07.34 AM

Whole lotta hair & super dark with BANGS! Good gravy.

As you can see, I look quite different, it was a bit shocking for me. Of course these are much darker than my hair actually grows out of my noggin. However, it was fun to try them on an see a different version of me. So in order to be cooperative with my acting rep, I am going to humor him and comply with his request. Hey what do I have to loose? If it works I can have more opportunities for acting work. If not, I can always put it back if I don’t like it.

My plan, is to just go light brown with some blonde in the front more along the lines of Jennifer Anniston. To have even more options, I am also going to order a wig online in a medium brown ,and then have my talented Mr. (being a super awesome photographer is one of his many talents) take headshots of me in both colors. This way my acting rep has more options.

This my friends is how the new year is going to bring a new version of the old me. What are your plans for the New Year? Do you have any resolutions, big ones, small ones? Whatever they are try to keep a positive mindset. I think sometimes we can set big goals and then beat ourselves up if we don’t accomplish everything all at once or as quickly as we might like.

Remember to be grateful for the past year and thankful for every day, because it is a gift. We only get one day at a time and that my friends is the best advice I can give as to how to roll into the New Year.

Wishing you and yours a beautiful, blessed and HAPPY New Year!

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

 

 

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